WIP Wednesday #Fiction

Today, I am very pleased to report that I have suddenly found myself in that envious position of being totally obsessed with my WIP, The Mystery of Folly’s End.

It is constantly at the front of my mind, obscuring all others. Well, almost all of the others! Normally, at this time of year, I am seed-watching in the garden. Dropping everything to see if anything has sprouted, literally every few minutes, if I am honest.

After so many weeks of going through the motions, re-reading the existing chapters until almost sick of the sight of it. Worrying myself to death that it would never be good enough, and/or what on earth was I doing? To finally see the golden light at the end of the tunnel. I couldn’t be happier.

The one thing that was worrying me was I couldn’t find a twist for the ending. My characters were almost as good as I could make them but for the villain of the piece. That problem resolved itself this morning when a daddy of a notion dawned on me. Sorry, no spoilers from me, but I am so excited!

There is nothing like being in an amazingly good mood, to suddenly find more time for everything else, is there? And heaven knows, the list of must-dos is getting longer. In very small increments, I am slowly wading through the list, all the while desperate to get back to my writing.

Wishing writers everywhere a fabulous surge of enthusiasm too!

Make Me Clean ~ by Tina Baker #Fiction #Women’sPsychologicalFiction #Review @TinaBakerBooks

She will leave your surfaces sparkling.
But she may well leave you dead…

Maria is a good woman and a good cleaner. She cleans for Elsie, the funny old bird who’s losing her marbles, with the terrible husband. She cleans for Brian, the sweet man with the terrible boss. She cleans for the mysterious Mr Balogan, with the terrible neighbours.

If you’re thinking of hiring her, you should probably know that Maria might have killed the terrible husband, the terrible boss and the terrible neighbours. She may also have murdered the man she loved.

She didn’t set out to kill anyone, of course, but her clients have hired her to clean up their lives, and she takes her job seriously – not to mention how much happier they all are now. The trouble is, murder can’t be washed out. You can only sweep it under the carpet, and pray no one looks too closely…

What people are saying…

Darkly funny and completely gripping from the first page to the last, Make Me Clean is one thriller you won’t be able to scrub from your mind. Perfect for fans of Harriet Tyce, Fiona Cummins and My Sister the Serial Killer.

Make Me Clean is Tina Baker’s best yet’ – ALICE CLARK-PLATTS
‘She has topped even her first two novels. Brilliant’ – EDDIE MAIR
‘Quirky, dark and delicious’ – CAROLINE ENGLAND

‘Insightful, moving, dramatic and darkly funny’ – DAILY MAIL
‘Brings a whole new meaning to domestic noir’ – THE TIMES
‘Funny, grim and very touching’ – HARRIET TYCE

About the Author

Tina Baker

Tina Baker, the daughter of a window cleaner and fairground traveller, worked as a journalist and broadcaster for thirty years and is probably best known as a television critic for the BBC and GMTV. After so many hours watching soaps gave her a widescreen bum, she got off it and won Celebrity Fit Club. She now avoids writing-induced DVT by working as a Fitness Instructor.

Call Me Mummy is Tina’s first novel, inspired by her own unsuccessful attempts to become a mother. Despite the grief of that, she’s not stolen a child – so far. But she does rescue cats, whether they want to be rescued or not.

Our Review

A dark, twisted and brilliant portrait of a woman. A deeply flawed yet very human woman.

The minute I started reading, I wanted to know more about Maria and what had happened to her to make her so different.

What would I find lurking in her past, or would I be sorry to learn the truth?

Make Me Clean turned out to be a brilliant read, an intriguing drama, darkly funny, and laced with such heart-breaking emotion that moved me to tears on several occasions.

I loved this story so much I will be reading more of Tina Baker’s stories…

Those were the Days…

Image by NoName_13 from Pixabay 

Those Were the Days

I read a post the other day where they were talking about the wonderful sense of freedom to be found behind the wheel of a car.

Immediately, I was transported back to my independent, working woman days when I owned a car.

Learning to drive was a nightmare for me, as it took me a while to learn anything new, but once mastered, the world became my oyster. Not only did I drive myself to work every day, my family found newfound freedom with that car as we visited so many interesting places.

Becoming an experienced driver opened a very different world for me, a world where I finally felt competent and capable, something I had never felt before.

It wasn’t all roses, though; there were a few hair-raising experiences along the way.

Someone dropped something from a bridge just as I drove underneath. The windscreen splintered, leaving me in a state of shock and unable to see anything in front of the car. 

I had been travelling at about 65 mph, and for a few seconds, I froze. I had no memory of anyone behind me, but my instinct was to slam on the brakes in an emergency stop. The silence after the car stopped was deafening, and I sat there stunned and with my eyes shut.

I became aware of someone shouting, and when I opened my eyes, a furious man was standing beside the car, demanding to know what the hell I thought I was doing.

I couldn’t answer him. I was still in shock and confused, but I remember thinking, what the hell did he think I was doing?

More to the point, I wonder what he would have done in the same situation?

He stomped back to his car and drove off. At that point, I wanted to go home too, so somehow, I punched a hole in the splintered glass and drove away.

Another time, we were just leaving the garage in our car, feeling rather pleased that it had miraculously passed its MOT. It was a lovely sunny morning, and our spirits were high. We were looking forward to a visit to the coast that afternoon.

We were waiting at the top of a narrow exit ramp when we saw a rather large laundry van at the bottom of the ramp.

We wondered what the van was doing. Surely, he wasn’t going to reverse up the ramp?

Oh yes, he was, and he obviously hadn’t seen us waiting at the top. He continued to reverse, we expected him to stop at any minute, and when he showed no sign of slowing down, we started thumping the horn like a pair of crazy people.

Because the ramp was narrow, we couldn’t get out of the car. We were being forced to watch the disaster unfolding.

Our car needed a new bonnet and radiator after that, but our nerves took a while to mend!

To this day, every time we see a Sunlight Laundry van, we still want to scream!

I was a driver for more than 25 years before my hip put a stop to my fun, but all those years sitting in the driving seat were some of the best years of my life…

New and Improved…

We now have a gloriously new and improved blurb for The Scarlet Ribbon, thanks to the wonderful response to Monday’s post, The Blessed Blurb ~ Help Needed.

Grateful thanks to all of your helpful suggestions, especially those from Audrey, Darlene, John and Annette…

The new, improved blurb

Where do you go when you’re in a coma?

A car loses control and mows Maggie down in the street, changing her life forever. She never liked her life, but when she ends up in a coma, she fights desperately to wake up to the sound of her husband’s voice.

Lost in the world of the coma, unable to communicate, she is forced to witness the bitter truth of her old life. In this dark place, she rescues an abused and terrified child, determined to take her home.

Trapped between life and death, Maggie doesn’t know what is real or a dream. She needs to wake up to change her life and help this child.

But is this possible if forced to stay in a nightmare world?

But will I pay for another blurb?

Maybe not. This exercise, and the helpful responses we received, have taught us so much.

We have ten more blurbs to check, improve and/or rewrite. Hopefully, the write angels are on our side this time!

Happy Blurb writing!

The Blessed Blurb… Help Needed?

Well, I went ahead, out of sheer desperation, I might add, and paid for a professional blurb for Anita’s wonderful story, The Scarlet Ribbon. This is part of our general improvement campaign.

I am not sure how I feel about the result, to be honest, but I know I can rely on our good friends to point me in the right direction.

The Original Blurb on Amazon

When a car loses control and mows Maggie down, leaving her in a coma, her life changes dramatically in an instant, and she finds herself in another world.

A world where she rescues a sad, neglected and abused child from a violent situation, but when it looks as though Maggie will wake up in her own world, she has to find a way to bring the child back with her.

Is this other world real, or was she only dreaming, locked in the prison of her coma?

And if it is real, can she save the child?

One of my efforts ??

Will love take Maggie to the place she was meant to be…

A car loses control and mows her down in the street, changing her life forever.

She finds herself lost in another world, unable to communicate

Forced to witness the bitter truth of her old life.

She rescues an abused and terrified child, determined to take her home

But how is this even possible if she has to stay in this nightmare world?

The Blurb I Paid For…

Where do you go when you’re in a coma?

Maggie doesn’t like her life, but when she ends up in a coma after a runaway car knocks her down, she finds herself fighting for it. Fighting to wake up to the sound of her husband’s voice that she keeps hearing but is unable to respond to.

However, when the darkness of the coma takes her to another world, Maggie starts fighting for a lot more.

There’s a child in that world, a neglected and abused girl in a horrible situation. Maggie doesn’t hesitate to rescue her but is unsure what to do next. She needs to leave this strange world and wake up – and hopefully change a lot in her life; she didn’t even realize how bad it became – but what about the girl? She can’t just leave her there!

Trapped between life and death, Maggie can’t determine what’s real and what’s just a dream her comatose brain is producing while struggling to heal. But if it is real, can she find a way to bring the girl back with her?

Can she save the child that desperately needs her?

Over to you my friends, and please be brutally honest, my blurb writing days are depending on you…

#WIP Wednesday…

I managed to plant that hydrangea yesterday and spent some time arranging and tidying up at least one of the unruly flower beds in our garden. I worked slowly and methodically, with plenty of sit-downs in between. I wanted to cut the grass, but although the sun shone for most of the day, I knew it was still far too wet to cut.

The amount of work that needs to be done is overwhelming and depressing if I am being honest. Judging by my performance yesterday, it will take more than a month of Sundays to get it all done. Surprisingly, being stubborn isn’t helping, for I can only go as far as my body will allow. Hopefully, slow and steady will win the race.

This approach is not helping on the writing front, however. Committing words and ideas to paper is one of the few things I can do with any speed and comfort, but lately, that has slowed down to a crawl too. I try to tell myself it isn’t me, it must be the story, but I don’t really believe it. I have tried reading the completed chapters and all the character material several times lately, but it wasn’t until this morning that a germ of an idea paid me a visit. Someone had written a post about how to handle your villains when it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t decided on the bad boy for the new story yet. I had a few candidates, but nothing concrete.

I was seven chapters in on The Mystery of Folly’s End, so the villain should have made his presence known by now, so why hadn’t he?

This is where my usual method has let me down. Normally, my characters, once created, get on with it, often dictating who does what, where and with whom. A case in point: one of my favourite characters, DI David Snow, has been nagging me lately with a brilliant idea for a new mystery thriller, for him, of course. I have to admit to being more than a little interested, so was I deliberately dragging my heels on MFE?

It’s not supposed to rain today, but I won’t be cutting that blessed grass. I have something better to do…

Tuesday Teaser…

Tuesday Teaser


After days of rain, today promises wall-to-wall sunshine. I have just been for my X-ray, and although it feels very cold out there, I think it will warm up later, so I can venture out into the garden.

First, I have something more important to do.  For months, I have been working on our book blurbs. I don’t like them and don’t think they do our books justice. But no matter how hard I try, I cannot come up with anything that inspires me. So not likely to inspire anyone else! They say it takes a different mindset to write a good blurb; obviously, that part of my brain is out to lunch. I’m just grateful the rest of it still works!  I have been researching like a crazy person to find a solution, even if it means paying for it, and yesterday I decided to give Fiverr.com a try. I have used them before for beta reads and am very happy with them. I chose one that wasn’t expensive, had brilliant reviews and an extensive list of material needed. I spent the rest of the afternoon compiling this list and will be sending it off any minute now. I will receive the blurb in two days’ time.

Nothing ventured nothing gained, they say, and whatever I get cannot be any worse than the ones we have already. I will do a comparison post so you can offer your judgement! I am looking forward to a little gardening, even though I don’t think the grass will dry out enough to be cut. There are seeds to sow and a Mother’s Day hydrangea to plant. Such a beautiful blue, and I hope it doesn’t revert to pink.

 Later, I intend to write, hopefully in a good creative mood after all that fresh air…

WIP Wednesday… To Write… continued

True to my word in last week’s POST, I turned off the computer yesterday and moved to my writing chair. I opened the current WIP folder and spread the contents out on the desk. There were six chapters and quite a lot of notes and research material.

If I thought I could simply start writing a new chapter, I soon realised how foolish that was. I had to climb back into the story to get my bearings first.

This story, with the working title of The Mystery of Folly’s End, is about two sisters, Charlotte and Angela. They have been estranged for years and living very different lives, but when tragedy strikes, Angela seeks her older sister’s help.

I had opened the story with Charlotte, Charly to her friends, and those chapters seemed fine. The trouble arrived when I realised that I didn’t know her sister very well, if at all. Most stories have just one protagonist, but I envisioned Folly’s End as having two. I wanted both sisters to rule over this one, so both characters must cut the mustard if you know what I mean.

Despite countless distractions from visitors and some unwanted help from Milo, I spent most of the afternoon reading those six chapters and making more notes along the way before coming to the conclusion that I must complete far more detailed profiles for both sisters.

Despite the shaky start this year, I love this story already. I am so glad to be back in the saddle again…