Thursday, 27 January 2011

Riders - Missing (Chapter 1 - Zoe) cont...

I am not happy with this next section of chapter one (the prose is not great), but then I have to remind myself this is just the draft.  Still lots to do once it is all complete.  So here goes. 
I also have to make one comment ..... I never realised how much research has to go into one little book!  From architecture to vehicle design and medical terms ... wow.  So if my research is incorrect, and somebody has the correct info I need - your advice is greatly welcomed.

‘Zoe,’ puffed Simon holding his sides and gasping for breath.  He had sprinted all the way from the harbour to the little cottage perched on the hill and was battling to catch his breath.
‘What’ shouted Zoe exasperated? Her heart had begun to hammer and her previous foreboding almost overwhelmed her. She stood up quickly and the dog whimpered softly as if in sympathy.  ‘What, for heaven sake?’
‘Your dad,’ gasped Simon, ‘he .. he .. the ambulance has taken him to St Edwards Hospital.’
Zoe’s hands flew to her face, the blood draining from her cheeks making her look even paler than before and incredibly fragile.  Her legs felt week and she was angry with herself for dreaming about a different life.  A life where she didn’t have to look after her father, ensuring that he ate a good meal every evening, wore clean clothes and matching socks.  He was her father, her only living relative she could not live without him.
‘What happened,’ she demanded.
‘He was lifting the fish crates out the boat when he suddenly collapsed,’ explained Simon.  ‘I.. I’m so sorry Zoe, I told him I would do the crates but he insisted. You know how stubborn he is.’
‘Yes, yes,’ stammered Zoe. ‘I know.’
The young man standing nearby muttered a quick apology and feeling uncomfortable slowly lead his reluctant dog back down to the beach.
‘Who was that?’ queried Simon jealously.
‘Who?’ asked Zoe confused.
‘The man and the dog,’ muttered Simon.
‘Some visitor, I don’t know,’ shouted Zoe getting angry with Simon.  ‘I need to get to the hospital.  My father needs me.’
‘I’ll drive you, we can take the truck?’ queried Simon, indicating the old Chevrolet pickup truck parked in the garage next to the cottage.
The truck was her Dad’s pride and joy.  If he wasn’t sitting smoking on the veranda he was in the garage polishing his truck or tinkering in the engine.   It was a classic 1953 half-ton short-box pickup truck which according to her father was perfect to drag the boat in and out of the water and transport the crates of fish.   Not that the truck was ever used for this as he preferred the short one mile walk to the harbour each morning.  The truck spent most of its time in the garage except when they decided to take a short trip to their favourite picnic spot further down the coast to the place he had met her mother.  He was very protective about his truck and did not like anyone driving it.
‘No, that’s fine, I will drive myself,’ she said a bit shortly. ‘Thank you.  I am sure my father would prefer if you finished up at the harbour.  He would not want the catch to go to waste.’
Simon agreed reluctantly and slowly returned down the hill towards the harbour, looking back over his shoulder every so often.  She was far too stubborn to accept any assistance.   He sighed to himself wondering again what he would have to do to actually get her to notice him.  She treated him like a brother who was only there to assist her father with the family business.  He had asked her on a date once and had been shot down unceremoniously, in fact she had laughed at him as if he had been joking.  It would take him awhile to get up the courage to ask her again.  She was extremely beautiful and the girls were jealous of her and the boys in the village called her a snob, as none of them were apparently worthy of her attention.  Simon believed differently, behind her tough exterior was a soft caring girl.  He hoped her father would be alright.
Without giving Simon a second thought, Zoe turned quickly and returned to the little house to retrieve the truck keys.   This small two bedroom cottage had been converted from an old granite barn, tucked away behind a low wooden fence, on a hill overlooking the secluded beach adjacent to the small village harbour.  The small garden in the front contained a great variety of rare and exotic plants which Zoe tendered to daily.  She had a natural green thumb and everything she planted flourished to create this wonderful, wild and colourful garden.  Her father had built the small veranda extending along the front of the cottage.  This had been her home since she was born.
The familiar scent of lavender and thyme hanging in the kitchen calmed her wildly beating heart.  The open plan kitchen and living area had black slate flooring with wood burning stove and stone fireplace.  The low beamed ceiling created a warm homey feeling inside.  A heavy, simply jointed wooden table stood in the centre of the kitchen and the truck keys lay in the small bowl in the centre.  A bowl she had made for her father for Fathers Day many years ago.  Her father insisted on putting his keys inside as he believed everything should have a place so they would not get lost.  With shaking hands, she quickly snatched up the keys and her bag and went out to the garage.
The truck started first time and she quickly reversed out the narrow driveway onto the small dirt road at the back of the cottage.  Winding her way carefully along the little lane she turned right onto the small country road heading out of town towards the nearest local hospital.  She had to think positively, her father was not that old and was fit and healthy.  He did have the occasional pipe, but he had cut down during the past couple of years.  He was not one to get sick and if he did he never moaned or complained.  He was strong and he was going to be alright.  He had to be.
Twenty minutes later she pulled the truck into the hospital parking area.  She found a parking close to the main doors, left the truck and hurried into the main entrance.  She quickly approached the nurse sitting behind the reception desk.
‘Morning, my father was brought in by ambulance, can you tell me where I can find him,’ Zoe queried shakily.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Jacket cover overview

I have posted two possible jacket cover synopsis for my book.  What is your preference?  Which one would entice you to read the book?  Or should I try again?  Please take my poll on the side coloumn.

Option 1

The balance of the Universe as we know it is in danger of falling and Cycnus is rejoicing.  Twenty years have come to pass and he is about to reap the reward of his plot to rid the World of the Angel of Life.  The Brotherhood of Universal Balance will be on their knees before him, the circle will be broken and he will be the First Rider.   There is just one other that knows his plan, but she is of no concern to him.  He will reign supreme.

Unbeknown to the dramatic events that are about to pass, Zoe is devastated by the sudden passing of her father - a well loved local fisherman in the little village of Polperro.  With his passing, her childhood nightmares almost overwhelm her as they increase in intensity and relentlessness.  Is she going insane or is there a message that needs to be unravelled?  All the signs, strange as they seem, are pointing her in one direction.  She must find her mother.

Option 2

The balance of the Universe in peril
An ancient Brotherhood in disarray
A journey of discovery

The eight Angelo’s of the Brotherhood of Universal Balance (Bh.U.B) are the messengers of balance and harmony in the World.   Without one the balance would be broken and the outcome un-comprehendible.   Overseen by the ancient Ruler and with the introduction of modern technology the Titans have become complacent.  One of their Angelo’s is on a mission to overthrow their rule and reign supreme.  His plan has been twenty years in the making, now the time was near.

In a frantic race against time, Zoe must now overcome the sudden loss of her father and decipher her childhood dreams to discover the link and save the world.  The ring she finds in her fathers belongings leads her into places beyond her dreams.  This is her quest and all the signs, strange as they may seem, are pointing her in one direction – she must find her mother.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Riders - Missing (Chapter 1 - Zoe)

Today is Sunday 23rd January 2011, and as promised I am attaching a small excerpt from the start of my novel as a teaser.  No laughing now, please.

The freezing North Atlantic Ocean swirled around her pale legs, the black water rising rapidly.  Bright flashes of light pierced the sky beyond the cave entrance and the sound of angry thunder reverberated around the granite walls.  The single thought shouting in her brain was ‘they have found me’.  The tangy scent of the sea and bitter taste of betrayal overwhelmed her with sadness.  Quickly, without further thought she removed the gold ring from her finger and hung it from the chain around her neck.  Stepping carefully through the constantly rising water she made her way out of the cave to the edge of the rocky point.  Sitting down she closed her eyes against the black clouds and pounding surf, turned her head to the wind and began to sing.

Her eyes flew open in panic and she stared in confusion at the pale blue sky above her, the clouds drifting harmlessly across the open expanse. It was a beautiful hot summer day in Polperro.

She could not have been asleep. Not much time had passed since she had walked to her favourite spot in front of the small cottage and lay on the soft grass enjoying the heat of the sun. But the nightmare had felt real, her heart was still pounding and she had a deep sense of foreboding.

She closed her eyes again in an attempt to calm her nerves and slowly absorbed her surroundings; the smell of the salt air drifting from the sea, the shrill cries of the seagulls from the harbour, the burning sun shining red through her closed eyelids and the cool touch of the grass beneath her fingers. These were the pleasures that gave her peace, centred her troubled mind and stilled her cravings for understanding. She had experienced these nightmares or daymares as her father always said since she could remember. They were always similar and always left her troubled, no matter how much her father tried to reassure her that it was merely a product of her over imagination.

Suddenly, a wet tongue lapped at her face and she laughed in relief, rolling away from the excited dog now trying to climb onto her lap.

‘Puppy, you are too big to sit on my lap,’ she scolded lightly at the large Alsatian dog that was now trying to slobber her to death.

The dog snuffled in disagreement and continued to gaze at her in adoration, tongue lolling to one side.

‘Oh! I.. I am so sorry,’ stuttered the young man running up the hill towards them. ‘I don’t know what happened, she slipped out of her leash and came dashing towards you. She is not normally so forward. Oh look, she has covered you in mud.’

She laughed again, ‘Don’t worry, please – it will wash. She is truly a beautiful dog. ‘Aren’t you, big girl.’

She continued to ruffle the wet fur of the big dog sitting awkwardly on her lap. She loved animals; her father always despaired at the menagerie of animals she brought home. If there was an injured or hungry animal in a hundred mile radius, she would find them and bring them home. She would love to continue her studies to become a veterinary surgeon, but this was a dream that she kept quiet as her father, a fisherman in the village, could not afford the University fees. One day she will have saved enough money to complete her studies, but for now she was content to work as a care giver at the local clinic and look after her father.

‘What is her name?’ she queried softly.

‘Roxy,’ answered the young man, desperately trying to attach the leash to the dog’s collar. ‘I am so sorry about the mess.’

‘That’s ok, Roxy did not do it deliberately, did you girl?’

The dog seeming to understand chuffed softly and reluctantly allowed her master to pull her away, her brown sad eyes watching her dolefully.

‘Do you live in the area?’ she asked casually. ‘I don’t recognise Roxy here.’

The village consisted of a small, tight knit community where she had grown up. She knew all the people in the village and they all knew and loved her. It was like living in a large family even though it was only her and her father. She had never known her mother who had left suddenly just after she was born. She didn’t hold any anger towards her mother, as her father always talked lovingly about her. The stories he told about how they had met and how amazed he was that she had been at all interested in him. After all he was just a common, lowly fisherman. She always denied that her father, the great Alex Alexander, could ever be common or lowly. He was a robust, rugged man with distinguished greying hair and brown eyes. After a hard day’s work he loved to sit on the veranda, smoke his pipe and reminisce about her mother. Even after all these years he still adored her and had not taken another wife. He had told her many a time that she was the splitting image of her mother.

Before the man could answer, there was a shout from the beach below. ‘Zoe!’

Zoe looked down and saw Simon, her dad’s apprentice, rushing towards her. The young blond boy seemed agitated and dishevelled, and her heart seemed to miss a beat from sudden anxiety. Her previous sense of foreboding rushed back.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

how to write a short novel

Just a few tips I have picked up on How to write a short novel.  These are mainly a reminder to me to keep on track, and a warning to anyone reading that what I put down in the next couple of months is a rough draft.  So please excuse any spelling and grammar errors, because there will be lots.

  1. Choose your genre. (Crime, Horror, Romance, etc) The genre I have chosen is fantasy drama. And the Title (for now) is Riders - Missing.
  2. Create the main cast - Think of one to three main characters who are interesting. Write a Character Breakdown (describing the looks, personality and history of each major character). They should be as familiar to you as your best friend, brother, sister, mother and/or father. Once you do this, your characters will talk for themselves and they may even surprise you by what they say. When this happens, you know your characters are interesting.  My three main characters are Zoe, Thanatos, Gaia with a number of secondary characters who you will meet.
  3. Plan your short novel in a notebook or on your computer. An outline of plot points (places where important events happen) can be detailed as you want. I have read somewhere that the plot is not that important.  If your characters are good, that is what you need. This is the area I have been struggling with, as I wasnt 100% happy with were my original plot was going - so I changed it.
  4. Choose a place and a time for the setting (say London 2010). Make it as interesting and attention grabbing as you can. The place and setting is The World - past, present and future.
  5. Develop the plot. Think of a really good and original storyline for the characters to be involved in. This can be done with the epitomous 'fish out of water' story where the character suddenly is in a situation they know nothing about (ie: Castaway). Or perhaps something happens to them or a family member and they have to deal with it. But be aware of obvious storylines. This is an ongoing process.
      • Don't go over the top with the storyline! The simple ones are usually the best.
      • There are four parts of a story: setup, conflict, climax and resolution. 
        • Your set up shouldn't be very long; just long enough to introduce the characters and the situation.  
        •  The conflict is then what the character has to deal with and solve.
        •  All this leads to the climax of the story where the situations reach a head.
        • The resolution ties up loose ends and sends the story out.
  6. Write. Remember a book should have a minimum of one hundred pages, but more would be preferable. Remember, you do not have a deadline so take your time!
  7. Keep writing and then, once finished, put it away for a few weeks, a month even. Come back to it and then rewrite, rewrite and then rewrite some more. First draft publications are rare, impossible even. Much of the magic of prose come from rewriting anyway
  8. Once you've edited and finalized your short novel, find a publisher to show your short novel to.

Hope you are all on your toes now in excited anticipation! (Can I use lol here?)
Enjoy, I am.

Friday, 21 January 2011


Right! I started this blog over two weeks ago and have promised my followers a look into what I have been writing. Well the fact of the matter is …. I have no followers. The reason why I have no followers is because I haven’t advertised my blog link to anyone. That’s right, nobody, not even family. Loser you say? Well I would totally agree (as it would seem the past couple of weeks I have been talking to myself), but … I have come to the conclusion there are possibly two reasons for me not jumping up and down and shouting it from the roof tops. These are:

1. I am a perfectionist and don’t like sending out something I don’t think is good enough.

2. I suffer from Atychiphobia – the fear of failure. Yes, you have guessed it right – I Googled it. 
And the result is ….

Symptoms - Atychiphobes generally gather a defeatist attitude out of fear of failing, making them avoid trying to achieve anything due to potentially failing at it. They may also subconsciously undermine or sabotage their own efforts to prevent having to continue to try, and therefore preventing any potential failure.”

Origins and Causes - An irrational fear of failure could have developed from either very demeaning parents or siblings who placed an unnaturally high stigma upon failure at a young age, or from a traumatic childhood event that resulted in serious embarrassment and humiliation, even from a minor failure.”

Well none of that is correct as I have the most amazing parents and siblings who have been every bit supportive and have been excellent role models in my life. So it has to be the fact that I am a perfectionist. This is sometimes good, but in this scenario it is not.

So, saying all this I have put the risk and reward into perspective. I have considered the cost of missed opportunities, researched the alternatives, looked at the worse case scenario and made a contingency plan – which is to bite the proverbial bullet and put a peg in the ground.

My link is going out TODAY, and you will all be able to read a small excerpt from my book by Sunday 23rd January 2011. By putting the date down, I can’t pretend I meant the following Sunday, or the first Sunday in June.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite. Or waiting around for Friday night or waiting perhaps for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil or a better break or a string of pearls or a pair of pants or a wig with curls or another chance. Everyone is just waiting.” ~Dr. Seuss

Friday, 7 January 2011

writers block?

Now that I have started my first blog, I am suddenly lost for words.  Sitting here at my desk, fingers poised on the keyboard ready for action, and .... All that is going through my head is the fact that my index fingers are in the correct spot on the raised strips found on the F and J keys.  That is if you have a QWERTY keyboard.  Not sure what keys you have to position your fingers over on any other type of keyboard?

I think I may have writers block.  I haven't even started and I am blocked.  This is not good.  I wonder what the symptoms are and if there is a remedy?  Let me Google it.

"Writer's block is a condition, associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand. At the other extreme, some "blocked" writers have been unable to work for years on end, and some have even abandoned their careers. It can manifest as the affected writer viewing their work as inferior or unsuitable, when in fact it could be the opposite."

Well that solves it.  I do not have writers block as I do not write for a profession.  Having only recently started writing for pleasure, this is a great relief to me.  I can just relax and enjoy and hopefully others will enjoy as I flounder my way through this whole new experience of writing and blogging.

Over the next couple days, weeks, months, years I will be attempting to release my inner creativity that has been building up inside.  My friends have all informed me that I have an extremely overactive imagination and half the drama's I imagine could never possibly transpire.

So with the writers block booted into oblivion.  I will be posting a few teasers on what I have been working on and any comments, suggestions would be welcomed with open arms.  Except of course if they are bad, then keep them to yourselves.  No, seriously now - any comments will be welcomed.

Now do I save this and will it appear on my blog?  Hmmm let's give it a bash.