Friday, 28 February 2014

35 pages to go ...

This has to be the trickiest part for a writer. That final check before you send your darling off to the latest competition or literary agent or *gasp* to be published.

Despite the fact that I've done it about half a dozen times already, I always read it aloud - every single word, not just the dialogue, to see where I stumble, what snags.
As I write this, there are still 9, 482 words out of 52,315 (about 18%) still to go. Why do I keep stopping to do stuff like write about it? Because it's so-oo hard. That nasty little creature, self-doubt, is doing everything she can to make it even harder, convince me that I have no right thinking anyone would ever want to read my amateur scribblings.

That's where a crit group comes in real handy - people who give their honest reactions to your words. And if a relative stranger says something like:
'I read your excerpt today.  Loved it!  I felt like I was reading something that was part Hunger Games, part Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and part Eragon.  Really charming!'
Well, the teeniest tiniest part of you has to sit a little straighter and think - maybe I can do this after all.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

How much do I love my ABNA buddies?

Like all the way across the pond and back! I feel very privileged to be chatting to so many talented writers all over the world: Australia, Canada, Ireland, Israel, Norway, South America and of course dear old Blighty, but the vast majority are doing their bit to teach me American Geography - every time I meet someone new, I have to go look up where their state is compared to the ones I think I know about. What fun! And lots of them like Journey, so it's all Rockin'.

Keep an eye out for this page - I'm hoping when the gates close to run a little quiz here.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Rory - first Page

Rory coverArcher examined the tiny room for somewhere to conceal his bow and quiver. Under the cot may suffice – no, Julie called it a bed. His new foster mother had instructed him to “hang out” with the other boys when he finished unpacking. Opening the back door, he was half expecting a gallows mob and sure enough, they surrounded him like predators.
‘So, Archer, think you’re Robin Hood, mate?’
‘Yeah, what’s with the bow and arrows?’
‘Most people throw their toys away when they reach puberty.’
‘He obviously thinks he’s still a baby – calls his bed a cot.’
Where I come from, babies sleep in cradles. Archer said nothing. This was familiar territory; he learnt long ago to show no reaction. He knew only one way to deal with bullying, deny the wolves their sport until they got bored or caught the scent of fresh meat.
Their howls followed him into the house where his new foster father, a gruff man called Dave, was staring at a box in the corner of the room. Archer gaped in horror at pictures of a battle with mighty explosions and wounded people.
‘Can we not help those people? They need…’ he tried to fathom how best to treat a leg torn off at the knee and pumping blood.
The image changed to women on a beach as Dave glanced round. ‘Close your mouth son, never seen a woman in a bikini before?’
‘What happened to the wounded men?’
‘Are you for real? They’re in the Middle East. Didn’t they have a TV where you came from?’
‘A TV? Is that what you call the box? How does it work?’
 ‘I don’t know. I’m no electrician.’ Dave’s sigh was evidence of his annoyance. ‘I’m sure it’ll tell you on the internet. Well it would if Peter hadn’t kicked his football at the monitor and smashed it. Try the encyclopaedia. ’ He nodded at a shelf. ‘You can read can’t you?’
Archer smiled as he saw something he could understand. Books. He took the one marked S-U, up to his room and lay on the bed, catching up on several hundred years’ worth of inventions.

Rory Pitch - For ABNA

Sixteen-year-old Archer's medieval village is under threat from a parallel world: modern-day England. His orders are clear. Travel. Investigate. Report back.
His assigned foster home is a nightmare. The other boys strive to break his spirit using his bow - they have no idea they are dealing with a trained warrior. His courage prevails: he teaches them honour, integrity and archery; they teach him how to get in trouble with the authorities. The result is a new foster home where he is faced with a far worse torment. Girls.
Pink-haired Mandy fancies him, but he dislikes her aggression. Twelve-year-old Rory fancies him too, but he protects her like a little sister. When Mandy finds them in his bedroom doing algebra, she threatens to tell. Archer has a choice: submit to her blackmail or get kicked out. Again. She lures him into a gang of teenage shoplifters led by a vicious thug. Rory’s detective skills reveal their scam, but Archer needs every ounce of inner strength to survive when even his friends betray him. Before he can save his village, Archer must save himself.
RORY is a “fish-out-of-water” tale where one teen’s spirit changes the world around him.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Radio 2's 500 words competition

Well, this is my third year as a first round judge for this wonderful competition and this year, I'm taking Chris Evan's advice and going out into schools promoting the competition and running workshops for the children.
The poor teachers don't know what hit them when a cloaked old lady transforms into a wicked witch who picks a hair from one unsuspecting child and casts a spell on the whole class/school.

 There are definitely some askance looks when she turns into the Lady Rowanna, complete with sword and dagger, who revokes the spell and rescues the class.
Having got their attention, they are fascinated by the array of magical objects they can listen to, feel, smell and even lick! Ewww!
A couple of the schools have asked me back for a second session dealing with how to edit their master pieces, not quite as entertaining, but we soon find any excuse to have them up the front practising their acting talents as they deliver the same line in two different ways and the rest of the class has to guess what the tag line might say. Genius.
It's so cool when they show me their stories - there's some real talent out there and I'm privileged to be a part of it.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

This one's a little trickier:

Now I’m getting really tricksy - must be the math teacher in me. Marianna at the wonderful Happy Glastonbury bookshop created this interview of me talking in my (not so) cute British accent.

Have a look at the video and answer one of these questions.
Don’t forget to leave a comment so I know you’ve visited.
Q1 What is the name of Hengist’s brother? Vortigern, Horsa, Thanet.

Q2 What type of settlers were they? Viking, Roman, Saxon.

Q3 What animal is on the flag of Kent? White Horse, White Lion, White Elephant.

Have fun - but don't laugh too loud - it was all done in one take with no script.

Indie Authors Love-in

Hi Guys,
If you've come here from the Indie Author love-in looking for answers:

To win a copy of Archer, you can go to:, like it and tell me one of the ingredients of the Harmonious Mix.

Or go to,
leave a comment there and tell me one of the lines of text in the trailer (apart from the first one – Be Brave, Be Worthy).

Or read the post above this one - when it appears.

Have fun