Monthly Archives: March 2013

Memories, description and friends…..

When I was a child and was ill enough to stay in bed, I always wanted my grandad to make lunch. It didn’t seem to matter what I was ill with, or whether my lovely mum was there, it just had to be my grandad, and I knew the difference too, so mum could never step in. Whenever I was ill he used to make me cheesy scrambled eggs on toast with a cup of tea. It was the best thing ever (apart from the actually being ill bit of course) to be tucked up in bed with my Enid Blyton books and the knowledge my grandad would be bringing my lunch.

Funny the things you remember isn’t it? Grandad passed a couple of years ago and I have some wonderful memories of him – the way he used to wear socks and sandles together, with a hanky knotted on his head when we went to the beach. The poorly lunches, the smell of old soap and the way he always had a spare hanky in his pocket in case I had a nosebleed (which I was prone to as a child). He was also mega strict and used to shout at me a lot too!

My memories pretty bad all things considered – I’m the girl who got good grades in school, college and uni because I studied constantly and revised about 3 months ahead of the exams, not because I remembered everything. I have some amazing memories of when I was a kid, not just relating to gramps, but I’m also missing large portions too. I love it when something triggers a memory I didn’t realise I had. Memory is a wonderful tool for writing too. As authors we draw upon our emotion, our memories of events to aid us in writing, to help us make the words we write hit the heart and soul of our readers. I’m grateful for all the memories I have, all the memories I make as I live life. I also love hearing other people’s memories, their stories. It’s all this that helps me be descriptive in my writing – to make my words come alive.

Going on to descriptions, I’m reading a book at the minute called Dark Winter by David Mark. He is a very descriptive author, I’m loving the detail in his book, I can picture myself walking alongside the Detective Sergeant as the story progresses. There is a lot I don’t like about it too but hey ho – I read something in it that made me realise that a couple of sections of my novel could use more descriptions too. Gotta love the odd epiphany!

I’m writing this early morning, as usual for my blog posts, and my goodness it’s chilly. I only put the heating on when both me and Peter are in and cold, but I could use it this morning! It’s positively bitter sat here writing. I’ll soon warm up though – I’m off to town shortly to post the first three chapters of With Deadly Intent to the editor – yeay! And I’m meeting a good friend for a cuppa in the lovely Starbucks. I am blessed to have a wonderfully supportive set of friends. Some, like this one, I don’t get to see as often as I’d like, but I just love getting together for a chin wag and a bit of ‘putting the world to rights’. Every one of my friends supports my writing – I have never had one discuss the non-benefits of writing, and they all firmly believe I will eventually become published. I am truly humbled by all the positivity that surrounds me in my loved ones. You are all amazing!

I thought I’d put a pic on this blog – a cute lamb, always a sign spring is here and I’ve noticed the wee baby sheep in the fields already! Pic was obtained from an internet search and is not my own. Hope you all have a lovely easter and overload on chocolate and egg hunts. Take care and, as always, thanks for reading xxx

Hopes, Dreams and taste……

Wow it’s been a busy week – again! In a good way of course.

I started with an electronic interview with the lovely guy who’s helping me develop Jacob’s background information and history. My source was a paratrooper who got in his full 22 years before leaving service and going into IT – Jacob is actually based a little bit off him after having him regale me with stories a few years ago. It’s fantastic when you meet people who have done things in their life that you can relate to a character, and use those things to help build a profile. Jacob is turning into a wonderful lead, he’s a joy to write and to get to know. Actually the whole of book 2, so far anyway, is the same. At the present moment it’s flowing so well, and every one of the characters and sub plots is coming into play.

It’s actually so easy to lose myself in my writing that when I can’t actually do it I get withdrawal symptoms. Like this week, I had an interview to prep for so two days of my usual writing time had to be utilising in preparing for the interview.

Which I did because I want the job.

But it was so tempting to open the laptop and put in a couple of hours. It’s really hard when your priorities don’t present in the order you want them too. I’d love to be a full-time writer, and not have to go to my day job, but while it’s a necessity to pay the bills at the present time, I will attend interviews and apply for jobs that are more local to me to at least try to help save a few pennies in this climate of expense. I have my fingers and toes crossed, and am sending positive vibes out into the universe.

The positive vibes thing is something that’s been working really well for me this year. It was my new years resolution, and do you know it really works! Not that I was a particularly negative person beforehand but I didn’t understand the importance of fulfilling dreams through positive thoughts. Now I approach things believing in myself more, I find that good things happen. You might think it’s a load of old tosh, but it’s made me a happier person this year, even in the face of adversity. It’s meant less bickering about menial things and believing that everything will always come right in the wash. And most importantly it’s this way of thinking that has enabled me to finish book 1 during January despite hitting a wall over christmas, and progress onto book 2 at start of February with focus and determination. To me, it says a lot when I realise that in seven short weeks I have written over 27000 words whilst working and running a home, and even fitting in socialising. This kind of focus will make all my dreams come true, and I will embrace the new opportunities that come my way employment wise.

One funny thing happened this week, well I think it’s funny (not haha funny). It’s a bit of a boring standard but I’m a milk and two sweeteners gal when it comes to coffee. I hated coffee when I was younger; then when I was DJ’ing and working on a construction site, and putting in hours at a local pizza shop, I eventually turned to it as a source of staying awake. Back then I used to drink it without sweeteners but always with milk unless I was really tired when I would have it black (naively believing black was a better caffeine hit??). Obviously my taste adjusted as I grew older and moved onto the wonder that is Alta Rica – ahhh sweet nectar how I love you so. Anyway, I digress. At work the other night I filled my cup with hot water then returned to my desk to put the coffee and sweeteners in. Bit backwards I know but hey ho. I stirred in the coffee, clicked the clicker to release the sweeteners then once I’d logged in I realised I’d forgotten the milk. I now couldn’t log out to get milk, and my team were on later start than me so I couldn’t even badger one of them to get me milk. So, and I think you know where this is going now, I drank it black (shock horror!) – and even more shocking I actually preferred it this way!

It’s definitely a strange thing how tastes change. I remember being a kid and eating paste sandwiches for lunch, now I cannot stand paste – love pate, but there’s something about paste that just makes me feel sick! Think it’s the texture. And when I was a kid I loved brussel sprouts and now I think they’re one of the most vile things that come out of the ground, and trust me I’m not a fussy eater! Then I drank full sugar pop, now it has to be diet, full sugar just tastes like syrup. And as to sweets, well if I’m honest my tastes haven’t changed there lol. I still love sweets and cakes! The trick is moderation – I moderately choose a wide selection 😉

I’m really happy that spring is finally here – well in theory anyway. I love spring (and winter and autumn lol) – those who read my blogs know this already. I had thought this week would be the wonder of listening to the baby birds currently nesting in the eaves of my porch roof, and watching for the buds to finally start appearing on the trees. Instead I find there is more snow, a drop in temperature again and no buds – boo hoo. Hope those baby birds are wrapped up snug in their nest cos springtime is still trying to make its way into the world! It’s approach however, has helped those people who suffer SAD’s – I’m definitely seeing marked improvements and lack of moodiness and low feeling around me.

This next week will hopefully be filled with lots of inspiring things. I’m finally booking my ticket to attend Harrogate Crime Festival! Can’t wait – it’s the first year I’ll be attending all the events and staying over. Pop over to their website and have a gander – it’s a brilliant event, authors, editors, agents, publishers, and most importantly readers all getting together to go over the finer points of crime writing, inspiration etc! http://harrogateinternationalfestivals.com/crime/ – you can also follow them on twitter @crimefest. I’m also having a well-earned mummy-daughter day with my lovely mum. We are planning one of our lovely trips out for the day, equipped with sandwiches, flasks and me with my SLR camera. Very exciting! And naturally I will be fitting in lots of writing and editing along the way.

I hope you all have a fantabulous week – and as usual, thank you for reading 🙂

Characters, development and niggles…..

By the title I’d say most people expect me to write about characters first then development and launch into whatever is currently niggling. Right?

Wrong.

I’m going to start with the niggles so I can move on and end the blog on a positive note (as per the norm). So what is bothering the writerly world of Kerry today? Well in all honesty they’re mostly minor and not directly affecting me. Except this cold and cough, that’s affecting me but I’ll move on from that 🙂 One niggle of the moment is the introduction of bedroom tax by this oh so wonderful government (note the sarcasm). While it doesn’t directly affect me, it affects my mum greatly. Mum lives in a 3 bed semi with her disabled husband, and has her disabled son come to visit weekly, and stay over on the odd occasion such as Xmas. Mum and Dad often can’t sleep together due to his disabilities so two bedrooms is required. Also the house is adapted for disabled living and mum has put in her own touches such as fire, pond/landscaping, driveway etc. In their infinite wisdom it’s been decided that as Michael doesn’t actually live there he has no rights to be able to use the toilet, or sleep over, and that Dad isn’t on the tenancy agreement so his disabilities won’t be taken into account! I’m here watching my mum and dad get insanely stressed out believing the council are trying to force them out of their home, despite the obvious indications above that they’re in the right place. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with bedroom tax within reason as long as the obvious exceptions are made – I wouldn’t expect to live in a three bedroomed home if it was just me for example, not when there are families needing a bigger house. But it’s hard to comprehend how the government can implement something affecting so many people country-wide and not take individual cases into consideration! Naturally I realise they are starting to adapt and do this but it’s a very slow process and in the meantime the country’s family’s are incurring unnecessary stress and heartbreak!

Ok – rant over – it’s been bugging me all week seeing mum so down and worried about it all.

So moving on now to characters and development.

It may have been noticed by those of you who follow my facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/K-A-Richardson/117179681794105) that I have been really getting into my characters this last week. Sub plots have emerged that I had no idea were even there until they appeared! It’s been a fantastic week this week, resulting in some 5000 plus words being written – if only every week could be this way! I have had six days off from my day job though which definitely helped matters. I found myself extremely focussed and intent on getting to know Ben and Jacob even more than I already did. I actually have an interview scheduled (EEK – excellent word use Helen Anderson!) with an ex-paratrooper on Monday to go over some finer points of Jacobs character – so exciting to analyse him in such depth and gain an understanding of what makes him tick. Aoife (Ben’s aunt) has also really come into her own and we are learning more about the bad guy with every page. Someone once asked me what is the most important thing to remember when building a character – the answer to this, to me anyway, is simple. The character has to be a real person. If you just write a character without knowing what upsets and challenges then, what makes them smile, what makes them want to live their lives the way they do, you will end up with a 2D representation of something that has no reality about it. Imagine if your best friend didn’t laugh with you, cry with you, and understand you – they probably wouldn’t be your best friend right? It’s exactly the same when preparing characters. Through the book, as you write, they grow and you learn even more about them, getting to know them. When I finished writing With Deadly Intent, for the first couple of weeks after I felt a little lost. I had gotten to know Cass and Alex so well that they formed part of my thinking on a daily basis, and moving away from that was quite hard. I also found it equally hard getting into Ben and Jacob’s minds when I first started book 2 – it has already been redrafted now though and they’re both wonderful people – with flaws of course!

As to the development side, it’s safe to say I’ve been multi tasking this week! I’ve been keeping on top of social media and chatting to other authors, finding inspiration in random things seen such as a quote on twitter posted by someone, written by Buddha – it quite fits with what I’ve been saying earlier – “Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike: each has their suffering. Some suffer too much and others not enough.” My poor mum is one of the ones who suffers too much – if I could I’d fix it all and just let her have happiness. Who knows, one day maybe I will be able to.

I’ve also been writing book 2 (whose title is eluding me at present – any suggestions around the theme of watching or seeing gratefully received via the comment on this post section!) and editing With Deadly Intent, as well as keeping on top of the boring stuff such as housework. It’s things like this though that keep me focussed. I want to be at least half way through book 2 when I approach agents with book 1 – Baring in mind I only really started writing book 2 around the start of February, I have done really well in the last 6-7 weeks getting to 24000 words whilst editing! I am feeling very much like the cat that got the cream.

So the week ahead? Well obviously there’s the interview – which will result in further character development, then there’s the dreaded day job for six whole days (gah – interrupting my writing time!) but I shall most definitely keep on top of my writing, and hopefully finish the latest Baldacci novel, The Forgotten, which is fantastic also!

Hope you all have a fantastic week – and as always, thanks for reading. x

Exciting times, and rain….

Well what an exciting week I’ve had.

For a start I’ve got a little of my work back from the editor, all nicely polished for my review! It’s absolutely lovely working with Jenny, she’s fantastic and knows her stuff inside and out. It’s so different having someone else edit your work as they see the parts you’re too emotional about to see as fluffy (excellent word – thanks to my Uni lecturer Carol Clewlow!) or too wordy, and they either recommend changes or just rip them straight out! My first instinct when I read the returned copy was ‘where have all my descriptions gone’ quickly followed by ‘eek i didn’t know there was that much wrong!’ but as I sat and read it over, I very quickly realised that it was still my work, just much more punchy and to the point. I’m looking forward to comparing it to my last draft and polishing it even more.

I’m also smack in the middle of writing mode of novel two – the plot is coming together nicely and the characters are a joy to get to know. It’s a constant part of my mind, I’m finding myself playing out scenes in my head while doing other things – which is great but sometimes (i.e. when driving for example) I can’t just grab a pen and write it down which is so infuriating! Luckily for me I have a good memory and nine times out of ten reach for the pen as soon as I arrive at said destination! I’m not having many people read it at this stage, but my good friend Vicky Brown has been instrumental in me checking I’ve got emotion right, and facts right – so huge thanks to her for putting time aside to help me when I know she’s manic busy herself! Can you believe I’ve written over 3000 words in the last week around my everyday job! Exciting!

It’s been a good home week too – me and Peter have deep cleaned the house – don’t you love that feeling when you’ve pulled out the units and beds, and cleaned underneath along with the skirts and paint-work? I love it! Occasionally wish spring would come more often! Speaking of spring, the daffodils and crocus’s (?!) are starting to unfurl and make welcome to this lovely time of year – it’s like the whole country starts to wake up from its slumber. Even the spiders in the garage are starting to wake (yuck – they could just stay asleep if they liked). I know several people who suffer badly with SADs (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and even they are starting to pull out of the depressive mist a little and notice the things around them: lighter mornings and evenings, buds starting to show, and birds doing….well what birds do at this time of year!

And now on to the rain – I know, you don’t need to groan. I know I waffle on a lot about the rain but lets look at why. I was born in November which means I’m a Scorpio (water sign) meaning I naturally embrace all things water related (true I promise!). When it’s raining the windows of the house turn into an access point to another world – outside those windows looks so completely different when its raining, especially with the mini rivers and waterfalls streaming down the glass! It’s obviously wet outside, and generally a touch cooler temperature wise, so it means that instinctively we want to stay inside, wrapped up warm with a blanket and a cuppa. Which (and here’s the final point!) means that it’s perfect writing conditions! I love being provided with additional opportunity with which to sit at my laptop and write – I schedule in writing time as most authors who work to pay the bills have to do – so if it’s raining and I’m meant to be doing something else outside, it’d additional pen time! Which is always a good thing. Like today – today I had scheduled to do my blog at work during down-time tonight – but it’s done now meaning later I get to do some more editing/writing!

Anyway that’s it for this week – but I hope you all have a fantastic week and embrace the joys of spring! Dont forget to like my facebook page if you don’t already – http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/K-A-Richardson/117179681794105 and follow me on twitter @kerryann77.

Final comment – thanks for reading as always – it’s you guys reading that make this worthwhile and I really appreciate it. x

Social Media, confusion and ramblings….

As you all know I’ve been busy this last week editing With Deadly Intent (book 1) and researching/preparing book 2 which is as yet untitled.

Because of wanting to get book 1 done and book 2 started, I’ve slowed my reading down and put certain things on the back burner, such as Writing magazine. Getting to work this evening I realised that I had both February and March copies to read, and it being slow tonight, I decided to make a coffee and crack them open.

One article, Blow Your Own Trumpet (pg 58, February issue, Writing magazine) made me pause and consider. The article is basically about an up and coming author, Philip Henry (website www.philiphenry.com, twitter @philiphenry9) who was struggling with the use of social media and blowing his own trumpet. It made me think about how much things have progressed since I first started writing those stapled-at-the-side books for my teacher in primary school. At 4-11 years old the most technology I was exposed to was an old atari computer, a handheld pacman game and eventually I think a gameboy! Social media back then was newspaper articles and radio shows.

Now I personally own a digital SLR camera, the latest model Iphone, an Ipad, a kindle, and a laptop and I use social media in its literal terms on a daily basis. This is probably because I happen to be in the generation where all of the devices and social media options have become readily available. I don’t claim to be technically minded, despite having the Bsc and Ma under my belt. I am however a learner, I love learning how to use things and do things. Reading the above article about Philip however made me realise, that although it is all second nature to me, it would be very daunting if I hadn’t been brought up with it all. Twitter is full of people plugging their work constantly, often over selling if this is possible. Google plus gets us noticed, linked-in means we make and maintain professional contacts, facebook is well just facebook! But the point of it all is to get ourselves noticed. It’s actually heart warming to realise that people want to read what we post, and opens up a virtual journal in many cases of people’s lives. With all of this going on it’s naturally going to be confusing.

As a writer, I have spent much time deliberating when is best to do my social media – should I put time aside to do it? Should I do it when it takes my fancy? Or just when I have something worthwhile to say? Well the simplest answer for me, having been honing my social media usage since the initiation of my website all the way back in January (wow its March already!!!) is that I use it when it doesn’t interrupt other things. So I’ll pop on twitter as I lay in bed, or if its quiet at work. I’ll do a quick facebook page update at the same time – the ease of use on my portable devices making this immediately possible. And I try to use my personal facebook account strategically – I’m nosy by nature so this is the hardest part! Linked in gets checked every couple of days and my website? Well needless to say I’m a little obsessed with the checking of stats.

I think the most important feature of social networking is not to let it take it take over our lives – use it as we need to, and recognise it for what it is. A tool to connect, converse and advertise. But remain true to ourselves and our lives in general.

On other subjects, I have sent the first section of With Deadly Intent to an editor (see Sections of my Work for sneak preview of the prologue). The next few months will be busy editing the whole thing again, again and more than likely again, as well as continuing work on the new one which I will naturally keep you updated with.

It’s finally springtime too – take the time to look around and take it all in as the world wakens from winter. It won’t be long until the daffodils flower, the baby birds start singing for their supper and the baby bunnies start bouncing all over!

Hope you found my personal insight interesting and, as always, Thanks for reading. 🙂