Get to know me tag


Hello all.

Thanks to Mollie for the tag. You must go over and read her musings, you will not regret it. I hope you all enjoy finding out a little more about me. 

1. What is you middle name?

Jennifer

2. What was your favourite subject at school?

I had three. Art, Graphic Design and English.

3. What is you favourite drink?

Breakfast Boost from Marks and Spencer. A heavenly smoothie drink.

4. Favourite food?

So many to mention. Really enjoy Mexican food. But I will have to go with Pizza. Cheese, tomato, peppers, onion, a delight. Oh, I’m really fond of Kiwi’s too, fuzz free of course. 

5. What is the last thing you bought?

Cherries and a pack of coke (cans). 

6. Is there anything I should know?

Yes, my middle name isn’t Jennifer. It’s Rachel.

7. Favourite colour?

Purple – Purple phone case, purple tablet holder, purple tops. I think my fascination was born from my obsession with Jack Nicholson and his portrayal of The Joker.


8. Do you have any pets?

Three. Mac (Ginger) and Milo (White) Guinea pigs and Ruby (the cat)



 9. Favourite perfume?

Diesel aftershave. Only the brave.

10. What was the last picture you took with your phone?


I was admiring the view from the beach.

11. Do you speak any other languages?

I have limited knowledge of Polish and Russian.

12. How many siblings do you have?

One brother and one sister. I’m the baby.

13. What is your favourite shop?

I love Waterstones for its books and little gadgets, Whatever Comics for whenever I get chance to peruse and any stationery shop. Oh and CEX, a good place to buy cheap but quality DVDs and BluRays. I have a favourite shop for certain things. eBay is a great place for geeky things such as SciFi and Fantasy t shirts and accessories and small towns are good for quaint shops and neat unique items.

14. Favourite restaurant?

Currently Wagamamas. Amazing Tex and Mexican combination. I love spicey food and even though I’m not a vegetarian, the vegetarian options are delicious. 

15. What phone do you have?

iPhone 6 Plus.

16. How tall are you?

I’m short, 5’10.

17. Can you cook?

If you count cheese on toast and baking Ginger cakes. I can cook, but not a great fan. I prefer washing up so my mind can wander freely to a fantasy land.

18. Have you ever been stung by a bee?

Yup. That or a wasp, and it was painful. I remember laying on my bed and crying for a long time. I was 5.

19. What is your best childhood memory?

Oh. I do not know. Film nights were pretty cool and so was days out as a family and seeing the wildlife.

20. How would your friends describe you

Erm, I know one friend calls me, Crazy Ol’ Al. Others, I don’t know. They see me as a bit weird I think.

21. Watch TV or read?

Read first, but there are so many great TV shows out there it would be hard not to watch. And films, so many films.

22. eBook or Paperback?

I prefer a book, but an ebook is better for convenience.

23. Plane or train?

Trains…can easily get off quicker if you desired too and I feel you can get more accomplished on trains.

24. What is your definition of family?

Love, warmth and respect.

25. Why did you choose to be a writer?

Because it allowed an escape route…and fulfilled all my desires.

Thank you all for reading. Feel free to answer the questions at your will. 


Project Jagan: A novel idea

Good morning folks.

I hope that you all are well and enjoying the warm month of July. It will soon be August. So you may have seen the title of this post and wondered what exactly Project Jagan is.

Well, over the past month I have mentioned on my Twitter feed and blog posts that I have a  novel that I’m writing which is separate from the The Sibling world. Well I am here to tell you a bit about it.

It started off as an idea for a fantasy novel that popped up last year and one I wanted to use for the November CampNaNo. Well, I failed as I couldn’t understand crucial parts of the story or how they would work. Skip ahead eight months and I was sitting down enjoying a nice hot cup of tea, as I do, watching the football and then bam! Ideas flowed through my mind which explained the flaws in the original idea but also offered solutions and a beginning, middle and end. Then I couldn’t stop writing. It was a bit surreal as I had completely forgotten about the story.

I have no idea what the story will be called, my mind didn’t allow the part of the process to happen, but I do know it will be a standalone epic fantasy novel which I will be working on for the next few months or longer. I haven’t set myself a deadline for completion and not too sure what plans I have for releasing it. So for now it is called Project Jagan. 

I will keep you updated with the progress throughout the writing stage. I will leave you with an unedited excerpt as a taster.

Project Jagan


“It is getting late, m’lord. May it be wise we retreat to shelter and return when it is light?” 

Osborn was right, but Nolan ignored his guide. The Band of Jagan had not travelled to the end of the Dead Lands just to turn and retreat at the last moment. Seven men and five women had died on their journey as they battled the heat of the South East and the cold of the North West to reach the perished wastelands of Norvthe Ends. 

“It would be futile to turn away now, Osborn. We must hold our ground. The darkness will open to the light soon enough.”

“Yes m’lord.”

Nolan’s horse, Deses, shifted beneath him as she got restless. The travelling had been harsh on the group, especially the horses that travelled miles in the snow, desert land and higher reaches of the mountains. He patted the side of Deses head and soothed it with gentle cooing.

Nolan wrapped his hand around the rope to his leather bound water flask and pulled it up to his seated position. He uncorked it, took a generous mouth fall and hooked it back to the saddle. Nolan’s ebullience started to dwindle and felt his eye lids become heavier over time. He had not slept in over a day and a half and it started to catch up with him. Nolan knew he needed to occupy his mind or risk falling into a deep sleep.

The Dead Waters of Norvthe Ends slept below them, the waves of the water breathing at the rocky shore. Light from the glorious moon in the sky shimmered across the green waters revealing an empty sea. The Band of Jagan were at the farthest point north with the Dead Lands of Norvthe behind them and the Dead Waters in front. Other than the gentle cool breeze that rocked the dead flowers atop of the mountain and spread through the night sky, there was nothing but the sound of the men and women breathing and the discomfort grunts of the horses. There was no sign of any ship in the distance. 

To Nolan’s side, Osborn’s horse buckled and collapsed to the ground with exhaustion. Osborn fell to the side and onto the cliff of the mountain as his horse rested. The rest of the horses shuffled away, panting in distress but remaining upright. 

“M’lord, I protest that we rest and seek shelter,” Osborn begged as he jumped to his feet, brushing the debris from his uniform. 

Nolan sighed, too tired to argue with his guide but too stubborn to give up on the quest. He was adamant that it was the day that the Creatures of Jagan would return and reclaim what was rightfully theirs. If Nolan and the Band were not there to greet them then it would not bode well for the future. They would be seen as outlaws to the cause and face necessary punishment. The Band of Jagan needed to stand fast and sacrifice man and animal or pay for their sins later. The latter was not an option Nolan was willing to risk.

“Osborn, the Creatures of Jagan will be fast approaching. It has been written in stone and ink therefore it is unfeigned.”

Nolan commanded the horse forward a few steps, halting it close to the cliff and turning to face the seventeen men and twenty one women that had survived the arduous journey.

“Three hundred years to this date, Ruler Of Nvorthe and its three seas was banished from his settlement by the people of this land. Three hundred years later, the Ruler and Children of Jagan will return and reclaim Norvthe and destroy any cursed blood that intends to halt him in his quest. 
“My father and his father before him and ancestors before that learnt the words of the Jagan and preached it to the selected and trusted few. It was said they would return and we must be there to greet them. If we fail in our journey then we shall fail in life. For those who request shelter in this sacred land before the Ruler returns will be deemed punishable for their actions. Speak now if you wish to turn your back on your oath. Speak now if this act of allegiance to the Jagan people is too much for you. Speak now or forever hold your peace.”

Nolan brandished his sword from its sheath and directed it towards Osborn, the tip digging into his guide’s neck. “My dear guide, please tell me, do you wish to seek shelter?” Nolan asked with his lips curling into a smile.

Osborn took a gulp of air and shook his head. “Apologises m’lord, it seems that I have spoken out of context. I am happy to wait, as I am sure so are the others.”

“As I had thought,” Nolan said, retreating his weapon and sliding it back into his leather sheath.

“My lord, Nolan,” a young woman said claiming his attention. She had been ignoring the altercation and had kept her eyes on the sea the whole time. Her arm was outstretched and pointing towards the water. “Look.”

Nolan directed Deses to face north and looked out towards the see. His heart raced as he reached for his spyglass and pulled it to his eye. In the distance mist had appeared over the green water, concealing anything further. It was no natural occurring mist, as the clouds weaved and wafted into intricate patterns and circling a particular part of the Dead Waters of Norvthe End. 

A minute past of the mist tossing and turning until all went still. A few seconds went by of pure silence. Not even the breath of the horses could be heard. The whole land was mute. 

The sea roared to life, erupting in a furious display of water shooting high in the air as a black ship emerged from the depths of the ocean and rested on top of the water. It was a beautiful sight for Nolan to behold. He had been told the stories, read the books of the Ruler and instructed on the day in his lifetime that the Children of Jagan would return. Out of all the people in the land, he, Squire Nolan, devout follower of Jagan and the leader of Norvthe Jagan Community, would be the man to greet them.

Rise of the Sparrows by Sarina Langer

Blurb:

Rifarne is a country opposed to magic. When its people demand harsh action, King Aeric sees himself with no other choice but to outlaw those with the gift. Rachael, a homeless orphan with the rare gift of a Seer, soon finds herself with visions of her own violent death. When her escape goes wrong and she ends up in the clutches of a vicious Mist Woman lusting for her blood, she finds she is the only person to stop the war against people like her – and assassinating the King to become Queen to a people who once wanted her dead may well be the only way to do just that.

My thoughts:

I had the great fortune of being offered the chance to read an ARC of Rise of the Sparrows but unfortunately I was so swamped I never got around to my duties in time. Then, fortune struck again, and I won a paperback version of the book to my delight. I then made it my mission to read it there and then. 

I really enjoyed this novel. The pacing was terrific with the build up of characters, first meeting the villain of the story and building up to the characters that I soon would love. I liked the tension between characters and the human nature of each. The actions of the characters and the way they dealt with conflict was superbly.

The story was well structured, the characters were likeable even though at times I was unsure if I should like them or not. Sarina added an extra layer of depth to the story with the great detail and beautiful descriptions. There were also some characters I would have loved to see more of but the balance was enough to keep me happy.

I never wanted the story to end and it left me salivating for more. Really can’t wait for book two and to get my teeth sunk into it.

If you are looking for a fantasy novel then this is one that you should definitely get your hands on. 

My rating for this novel:  5 out of 5 Pandas


Get this novel from Amazon in either paperback or kindle edition: Click here

I hope you enjoyed the post. Look forward to future posts coming up very shortly.

Have a great day all. 

Writing, surgery and study – Things just got real


Hello folks. 

I have been rather hit and miss with this blog as I have been hard at work with two feature novels; The Sibling sequel and an unnamed novel that currently is under wraps. So I thought I’d give a little update.

The writing is going well with words being written daily but have yet set a deadline for either but had the end of year in mine. Everything was in hand…

…then came the news that my knee required surgery and I have been booked in to have it looked at. It shouldn’t be too much of a big deal and I will be resting up for a week or so (unless things are really bad) but I cannot commit to writing in this time as my mind may not be into it. Fingers crossed all is well and the writing can commence shortly after.  


Then came the surprise at work that the degree in Learning and Development I had been pushing to start for over a year has finally been granted and this will start early October. Great, another hindrance (no matter how much I’m pleased it’s finally been granted) to my writing. But I will persevere and write when I get chance. It is going to be a hectic six months which will culminate in a two and a bit week break to America which I will leave all my writing and study behind to finally relax.

I may be quiet over the next month or so where I get as much writing done as physically possible but no doubt I will be back soon enough writing random blog posts. I will however keep up to date with my fellow bloggers as it will be the distraction I need.

I hope everyone is having a great week and are enjoying the heat. Take care all.

Words that count! 


Hello all!

It is nice to be back to writing a blog post again, feels like it has been an age. I haven’t had a chance to be on this for awhile and looking forward to reading through everything I have missed from all your beautiful posts.

I am currently in the process of writing two novels, alternating the story every other day so that both, where possible, get time to shine. 

Whilst mindlessly sitting at my desk at work, then later as I was driving from one town to the other and then relaxing in the chair, the same question hit me. Do word counts matter to all writers? Do daily word counts matter and do you have a target you wish to achieve for a novel?

It can be hard to juggle writing when working a full time job but every second and every word counts. Here are my thoughts and targets on a daily and overall basis.


Daily

To me, I enjoy setting myself a target. When I started out last year writing a novel, I set the target at 500 words a day. It was a start. But then I was blasting it each day, even on my ‘down’ days I was achieving over 1000 words (I seem to be more productive between the hours of 3am – 8am on my days off, than I do in a whole day I plan to write between work and daily chores).

So the target has now changed to 1000 words a day, even on my down days. If I don’t achieve it I’m not too fussed but just the other day I managed to write over a thousand for one novel and close to two thousand on the second novel without much hassle (days like these are very rare, I barely scrape just past the thousand mark on a good day.

Overall


I know that different genres genuinely have different page lengths and word counts. The two novels I’m working on are on different spectrums. The first novel I am hoping to achieve at least 75,000 whilst the other I’m hoping for plus 100,000. Ambitious but the tale has enough depth for me to achieve this (I’ll let you know how that one works out).

I love the challenge of a daily word count. I don’t think it is restricting or too demanding and the idea of having a word count in mind for the overall story helps too with the direction and editing stage. This may not be ideal for everyone but it has worked so far for me.

You

I am interested in learning and improving, trying and testing new and wonderful techniques, so here I ask what works best for you? Do you have a word count in mind per day or overall? Do you have set targets, be it chapter length, time scales or book length? I would love to find out more so please get in touch and join me for some cake.

Mid Year Update – I’m back


Good morning, evening and afternoon to all. I hope that everyone is fine and dandy and enjoying the sunshine this summer is gifting us with.

I have finally returned to the blog world and I will warn you now, I will be catching up with all of your blogs so please lookout and don’t be worried if you are inundated with comments, I have a lot to get through. 😉

I will also be writing reviews of the books that I have been reading, so fans of KJ Chapman’s Evo Nation series and Sarina Langer’s Rise of the Sparrow book keep an eye out.

This year saw me release my first novel The Siblings and have done some promoting around that recently, however it’s time I looked forward to the future. Here are a few of the projects I am working on.

The Siblings 2 – Untitled 


During my week off I had ideas flood me and I could not push the urge to write away. I’m getting in to the swing of things now.

Professor Hokum


Yes, the story continues. 

Yet to be titled project


I’ve had an idea for a standalone novel for awhile now and it looks as if it soon will be written. I’ll update more on this nearer the time.

Sci-Fi idea


An idea has been on my mind for awhile now and I may take baby steps to see where it goes.

I look forward to catching up with you all and seeing the fun things you are up to and have planned. Good wishes to all.