Have you ever noticed that when something stalls in one area of your life, it affects everything else?
This was what had been happening in our house for over a week, so my sister, Anita decided that we should have one of our brainstorming sessions this morning. Something we do now and then which usually benefits either my book or hers.
Only this time, it was me, the writer, that was being brainstormed because I was on the verge of a major meltdown over my current WIP.
Somehow, the conversation became all about how I write. The genre, the characters and the way I think about everything. She knew I had been having trouble and had some definite ideas about improving it.
Now, although I usually hate my work being criticised, I have to bow to her greater ability as a writer. She never struggles with plots or character problems, just gets on with it. Her characters don’t argue with her either, and I have always considered that a good sign! She can write more in one day than I can in a week.
So I allow her to say what’s on her mind, not that I have ever been able to stop her! But, all joking aside, she has been a great help to me over the years. The reason I can call myself a writer has a lot to do with the example she sets.
I think she is a natural writer. She doesn’t have to think about it or worry constantly about the plot. Whereas I do. I don’t find the writing process easy at all and this morning I may have discovered why.
I hadn’t really thought about my protagonist at all, thinking the antagonist, or serial killer was all important. That somehow everything would simply revolve around him, which I now realise is not the way to go about it.
I had been digging myself into a dark hole, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, so I needed to sort the problem out, and fast!
Brainstorming with Anita can be a dangerous venture, as neither of us accepts criticism well. But when you are wedged between the proverbial rock and a hard place, you have to do something about it…
Sometime later, after harsh words, temper, tears and finally realisation, (all from me, BTW ) it was agreed that I hadn’t lost the magic, it was a temporary lapse, something that could be fixed. Finding another way of approaching the problem may be the way to go, and maybe a rewrite. Or another story all together…
If you don’t hear from me again, it means I have walked into the sea…
The first book in this trilogy opens with an idiot thinking he could outwit Hurricane Charley. Breathless opening sequence as the storm seeks him out, followed by an accurate and disturbing description of what happens to somebody caught in a hurricane.
This storm affects the people in this story very differently. Ronnie, the female lead, is somehow transported back to the eighteenth century. She feels the same but looks very different, and in this strange antiquated world, she has an angry and violent brother.
There turns out to be a very good reason for her transportation, and it has a lot to do with a bracelet she wears. I loved the way the author makes us jump through time and back again, as we keep track of the storyline.
Going back in time is usually portrayed as an exciting occurrence, but not in this book. Ronnie has never been treated so brutally before, and the bloodletting scenes are brilliantly written. It’s not just Ronnie who has been misplaced, parts of history are not right either.
This book has it all. Mysterious circumstances, violent characters, historical facts, and more than a touch of the supernatural. Our heroine is subjected to an arranged marriage, a witch hunt and a little romance along the way. Her life is threatened more than once, and her struggle to live will leave you breathless.
About The Author
KJ Waters is the author of the Stealing Time series. Her prior work experience was as the Director of Marketing and Communications at a national health care company. Her award winning blog, Blondie in the Water, features water stories and information about the books. She is also the owner of Blondie’s Custom Book Covers helping authors and publishers create stunning book covers.
Book Title: Ninja School Mum
Author: Lizzie Chantree
Release Date: 30th January 2018
Genre: Chick Lit / Women’s Fiction
Book link: viewBook.at/NinjaSchoolMum
Obsessive-compulsive school mum, Skye, is a lonely elite spy, who is running from her past whilst trying to protect the future of her child. She tries hard to fit in with the other parents at her son’s new school, but the only person who accepts her unconventional way of life is new mother, Thea.
Thea is feeling harassed by her sister and bored with her life, but she suspects that there is something strange about the new school mum, Skye. Thea has secrets of her own and, although the two become unlikely friends, she hesitates to tell Skye about the father of her own child.
Zack’s new business is growing faster than he could have dreamed but, suddenly, he finds himself the owner of a crumbling estate on the edge of a pretty village, and a single parent to a very demanding child. Could he make a go of things and give his daughter the life she deserved?
When three lives collide, it appears that only one of them is who they seem to be, and you never know who the person next to you in the school playground really is.
Crooked Cat is releasing Ninja School Mum on the 30th January 2018. The tour for the launch will run pre-release from 9th-29th January and then the release date onwards from 30th January-3rd February 2018. Thank you to everyone involved in the tour, for taking part and being part of the #NinjaSchoolMum tour team.
This book opens with a typical mum, Skye, waiting at the school gates for her little boy, Leo.
Thea, another mother, is waiting there too, but that is where the similarity ends. She has a child and is secretive about her past.
By the end of chapter four, I discover that Skye is not who she claims to be either, something to do with the death of her husband Reece.
As they become friends, we gradually begin to learn more about these two women, but something doesn’t add up, what are they not telling us or each other?
The book seems to concentrate on Skye as the main character, but I was already guessing she might not be the only one. This mysterious element winds its way around everyone, creating a lovely guessing game. Even when bits of the truth are revealed, your mind refuses to believe them at first.
This book has everything, mystery, danger and humour. The relationship between the two women was believable and well written, as was the love affair between Skye and Zack.
This story moves smoothly between all these fascinating characters, as they evade the truth like experts, always managing to keep back important details.
A complex and compelling style of writing from Lizzie Chantree, I will be reading much more of her work!
Award-winning inventor and author, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now runs networking hours on social media, where creative businesses, writers, photographers and designers can offer advice and support to each other. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.
Author page: viewAuthor.at/LizzieChantree
I was in dire need of a day out, but the weather was awful. Now, what could we do about that?
All of the lovely places we have visited flashed through my mind, and I realised that I could enjoy one of these without leaving the warmth of my home.
So I rooted out one of my favourite posts to share with you…
We wanted to do something different that week. Something we hadn’t done in a while, and someone suggested the river walk.
We hadn’t been back there since we first discovered it several years ago. It is a bit of a hike, three miles or so, there and back, which is probably why we hadn’t returned before now, but it is a lovely walk and we sort of talked ourselves into it.
It was originally a railway line, running through what remains of Liss Forest to the village of Liss itself. Two rivers converge along its length, the Rother and the Blackwater and the area is a nature reserve with several wet meadows and mixed deciduous woodland.
But it is so much more than that.
Because it was a railway line, the walk is slightly higher than the surrounding countryside, so you don’t really feel swamped by the trees, but still a part of it all. The weather that day was ideal. Not too hot or windy, and once inside the forest, every shade of green overwhelms you.
I have a special affinity with trees, and to be in such a grand company of them was wonderful. Bird song followed us as we strolled along, stopping every few feet to look at all the special details. A fallen tree, a freshly dug animal burrow, the wild flowers, including masses of honeysuckle, left behind when people once lived close by.
The smell is amazing too, at this time of year the normal intoxicating aroma of the forest is suffused with all the wild garlic that grows all along the riverbank. A heady mix.
Along the way, you cross three huge bridges, refurbished with new green oak, but built on the original steel and concrete structures. Towards the end of the walk you come across the old station and platform, eerily empty at first glance, but linger a while and you can hear the ghosts of yesterday.
It was a long walk, but a lovely one. Well worth every aching muscle!
It’s as if we are on a merry-go-round, and everything is becoming a blur. This was brought home to me this morning as I drank my first cup of tea. I was watching the sky get lighter, gradually changing from inky black to grey, wondering what kind of day it would be.
Would it be boring, or eventful maybe? Busy, for sure, my cluttered desk an indication of that. As I watched, gentle fingers of soft pink stretched across the gradually lightening sky.
Even as I watched the wonder of it all, it faded away in an instant, leaving no trace behind. It made me think of all those sunrises and sunsets of my youth. Was it my imagination, or did they seem to last longer?
Was my memory at fault, or has the world become a much faster place?
I didn’t make any resolutions this year as I couldn’t bring myself to think positively about anything much. Two days before Christmas, I had my second annual mammogram to check if the monster in the woodpile has returned. They never tell you at the time, and the letter took an age to arrive. Luckily, the results were clear and I can breathe again until next year.
This ongoing personal drama has been a timely reminder that time is not elastic, that no amount of cramming and stretching will make it grow or change the outcome.
I didn’t want to write this post, but I thought it might help me to wade through the gloom that tries so hard to envelop me, allowing me to see the light that I know is still there somewhere.
Yesterday, I had an x-ray to see how bad they think my hip is. I am not expecting to be offered a brand new one just yet, although it is possible. It is more likely to be something else to be endured because of my age, and I will just have to give up trying to walk into town.
If I could afford it, I would get myself one of those disability scooters, or zoom buggies, as I call them. Although I would probably end up being banned, as the thought of whizzing around town is very appealing!
Then there are the cataracts. Last time they checked, they weren’t big enough to warrant being removed, so my eyesight is getting progressively worse.
I usually manage to smile at adversity, being an optimistic soul, but since my new teeth are the most uncomfortable things I have ever put in my mouth, that pleasure has been denied me too. I have an appointment next week to see if anything can be done about them, but I am not holding my breath!
So you see, all of these things have rubbed most of the New Year gilt from the gingerbread if you know what I mean. Finding something to smile about gets harder each day, and it is only my online friends that keep me going…
My New Year Resolutions may never make an appearance, but keeping my chin up is probably number one on my list!