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WEP Challenge - By Candlelight

  Posted by Jemi , 10 December 2018 · 0 views

Dylan wiped his hands on his new jeans. Maybe he should change into more comfortable ones. Or dress slacks. A tie. He should wear a tie.
No. Too stuffy and he’d never be able to swallow. Or breathe.
Okay. No tie. Stick with the jeans.
Deep breath. If he couldn’t get it together, he’d sweat right through the shirt he'd chosen.
Calm.
His sister was all about yoga and meditation. She’d know how to set the stage and not panic. She’d know how he should dress too. But if he called her for advice, he’d never hear the end of it.
He was doing this solo.
And he was doing it right.
The timer on his cell beeped. Ten minutes. Only ten minutes. Screw calm, he had things to do.
A peek in the oven showed the lasagna bubbling away. Another few minutes and he’d pull it out to rest. Salad was prepped and ready to toss. Garlic bread set to go in as the pasta came out.
He’d set the dining nook and hidden the little box behind the plants on the ledge so he could pull it out at the right time.
At the thought, another wave of sweat rolled down his forehead. He used a tea towel to wipe it away then looked in horror at it. He hadn’t done laundry. Were there any clean ones left?
With a sigh, Dylan swiped the ruined cloth over his neck and wished it wouldn’t be totally disgusting to use it on his arm pits as well.
He’d burned three of his ten minutes. Dylan grabbed the barbecue lighter from the drawer and headed back to the dining nook. It took three tries but he got it working and he slowly walked around the room, lighting the candles he’d clustered. Apparently the effect was better when candles were set in odd numbers, so he had groups of three and five. Seven had looked more like a pyre than a romantic setting, so he’d scrapped that.
The buzzer nearly had him jumping out of his skin. With a sigh at his nerves, Dylan tossed the tea towel and the lighter, then moved to the door to press the button. “H-Hello.” He thunked his head against the wall over the stammer. He couldn’t be lame. Not tonight.
“It’s me.”
Dylan nodded, then groaned and pressed the buzzer. “Come on up.”
“See you in a minute.” The smile reached through the speaker, bringing one of his own. Everything about that voice soothed him right down to his soul.
Dylan unlocked the apartment door. He started back to the kitchen then decided he’d rather meet the elevator than check on the pasta one more time. He walked down the hall and leaned back against the wall to wait. After a moment, he shoved off, not wanting to look too casual. He straightened, then loosened his knees. Not uptight either. Hands in pockets. Yeah. That would work.
He was driving himself way past crazy.
The elevator dinged and in only an eternity the doors swooshed open. “Hey you.”
“Hey yourself, handsome.”
The kiss soothed any remaining nerves. This was right. All the way right.
“Is something burning?”
Dylan whipped around to see smoke snaking out of his apartment just as a smoke alarm split the night.
They raced to the door but the smoke was thicker and a peek showed flames from where he’d tossed the tea towel too close to one group of candles. Talk about a pyre. The sprinkler system kicked on but the flames didn’t seem to care.
When he started into the room, Marc tapped his arm. “Be careful. I’ll call 911.”
Dylan grabbed the fire extinguisher from under the sink and aimed it at the flames. It didn’t take long to kill the fire, but the mess was unbelievable. His shoulders sagged and he swore. “Tonight was supposed to be… I planned everything… Damn it, I was going to propose!” Well, that wasn’t the romantic speech he’d planned.
Marc’s eyes widened as he finished the call and shoved his phone in his pocket then joined Dylan while neighbours gathered in the hallway.
A small smile kicked up the corner of Marc’s mouth. Without breaking eye contact, he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small box. “In a few decades, it’ll make a fabulous story to tell the grandkids.”

***
This story is part of the WEP challenge. Hope you'll check out the rest of the entries for the twin themes of Ribbons & Candles! There's still time to sign up as entries don't close until December 20th!

WEP CHALLENGE FOR DECEMBER - RIBBONS AND CANDLES





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IWSG & My Writing Space

  Posted by Jemi , 05 December 2018 · 0 views

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.




Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

***

December 5th Question: What are five objects we'd find in your writing space?
  • Laptop (obviously!)
  • Mug of Chai tea - resting on a mug warmer
  • My R2D2 USB key sitting beside my BB8 Pez dispenser
  • A LotR map on the wall
  • Framed quotes of the 1st lines of my favourite books as well as my 1st published story (Until Release in Tick Tock: A Stitch In Crime)

How about you - what fun things are in your writing (or reading!) space? 




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IWSG & Creativity

  Posted by Jemi , 07 November 2018 · 77 views

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.




Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

***
Question: How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

Interesting question - I had to think about this one!

As a kid I always played with stories and told them in my head. I used to create Star Trek episodes when I struggled with sleep. However, I never wrote down even a single word of those stories.

I started writing a novel (another Star Trek story - TNG this time) for fun when my kids were little. It was a blast to pour words onto the computer. From then on, my stories took on more substance and, after another decade or so, began to demand to be written out.

I think the act of writing (and the process of learning that there is SO MUCH MORE to a story than writing it out) has definitely triggered more creativity.

The stories that keep me awake at night now are the ones waiting to be written, not the ones I'm currently writing.

Because of this, I think I will always have at least another story waiting to be written. Currently there are 4 or 5 wrestling for dominance, so I don't think I'll ever have to worry about lack of ideas to write!

How about you? Do you stories keep you up at night too?

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WEP Challenge News!

  Posted by Jemi , 31 October 2018 · 93 views

Fun news!

My story for the Deja Vu/Voodoo  in the WEP (Write - Edit - Publish) challenge took 2nd place in the contest!

Congrats to Kalpana for the first place story - which is seriously awesome & made me wonder about the apps I've downloaded!!



Thanks to the organizers for the honour - there were so many terrific stories. I'm thrilled Jonah made an impact :)

Between this and my Until Release story in Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime, I've definitely become a fan of writing shorter fiction! Who knew????



The next WEP challenge will be in December - Ribbons & Candles. I hope you'll join in!

Thanks again to the fabulous WEP team!

How about you? Do you enjoy writing or reading flash fiction?

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WEP - Deja Vu

  Posted by Jemi , 17 October 2018 · 114 views

The results weren’t good enough.

Again.

Jonah’s research and planning had been thorough. Now, he’d have to reanalyze his data to figure out where it had all gone sideways. No matter how careful and methodical he was, he just couldn’t emulate the results of that first trial.

Disappointment seeped into his bones until Jonah wanted to weep. His premise was sound, the research was solid, his planning meticulous. He needed to figure out how to extrapolate that research into reality. Nothing counted except results.

With a sigh, Jonah pulled out his cell phone to document the current mess. He’d gone into this knowing that it would take multiple trials before he found consistent success, but that first lucky hit had made each subsequent failure more difficult.

Which variable was he missing? Was it in the timing, the speed, the angles?

Jonah took photos from all directions looking for anything that would show him the way out of this deja vu cycle of failure.

A scrap of noise had Jonah jolting up from the pavement. He’d gotten so caught up in the failure, he’d lost track of his surroundings. Moving out of the light, Jonah gathered his nerves along with his knives. He needed to get home, analyze his mistake, and prepare so he could continue his work.

As he eased away from the circle of light, Jonah caught glimpses of where he’d erred and where he’d succeeded. The body lay perfectly centred in the pool of blood, but the wounds weren’t symmetrical. The facial expression showed a moment of confusion, not fear.

Jonah took one last picture.

Next time it would be perfect.

Next time.

***

This is my first time participating in the WEP challenge. Hope you'll check out the rest of the entries for the twin themes of Deja Vu & Voodoo!



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IWSG & Life's Craziness

  Posted by Jemi , 03 October 2018 · 142 views

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.



Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

***

October 3 question - How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

Wow - timely question!

As many of you know, I've got a family member recovering from some major injuries. Events like my loved one's accident and subsequent recovery require a lot of time outside of our regular schedules. As we all know, time is a valuable and coveted commodity. Like many of us, I don't have enough of it and the current situation gives me less time for writing.

When I don't have regular writing time, my groove gets a little bumpy and my confidence drops. To get back into my groove, I end up needing to reread my WIP. More time required, but it does work.

On the flip side, writing most definitely helps me through all parts of life. It's a fabulous way to relieve stress and work through situations.

Despite all the ups and downs that life throws along our paths, I know I'll continue to write.

How about you? Does writing help you cope and relieve some stress? (Except when it's causing you stress!! 😄)

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Pippa Roscoe &

  Posted by Jemi , 17 September 2018 · 133 views

Please welcome Pippa Roscoe back to the blog today!
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Thanks Pippa!




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IWSG & Publishing Paths

  Posted by Jemi , 05 September 2018 · 85 views

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.




Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

***
September 5 question - What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

I'm in the process of making this decision. I'm close (not there but close) to thinking that I know enough to consider publishing my stories.

Now I have to decide if I want to query or self-publish. There are many advantages to both.

I am definitely a bit of a control freak, but I also like having experts in my corner and there is lots about the process that I don't know.

Covers and formatting are 2 examples of things I don't know much about. Can I learn to do them? Probably. Will they be at a professional level? Not sure.

So, even more decisions to make, things to learn. I'm glad I like learning new things!

As many of you know I have a family member who has recently required emergency surgery and is now in the long recovery process. This is going to take up a lot of my time for the next several months so my publishing choices will be on the back burner for a while. No worries, though, I'll get there when the time is right.

How about you? Are you a control freak too? Isn't nice to have experts in your corner?

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K.A. Servian & The Unreliable Narrator

  Posted by Jemi , 03 September 2018 · 92 views

Please welcome K.A. Servian back to the blog today!
***
I’m currently reading (well, listening to on Audible, if I’m honest) Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. It has been in the top ten alongside Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and The Lord of the Rings for ages, so I thought I should give it a go.  
I very quickly came to the realisation I was dealing with an unreliable narrator in the protagonist, Eleanor. Her reactions to everyday situations seem odd and out of place, but as her back-story is slowly revealed, we begin to understand why. As a character she is wonderfully quirky. Her scorn over the ‘lack of manners’ in other people and her unintentional humour is skilfully portrayed by Honeyman.
Realising that Eleanor was unreliable because she was seeing things from her own skewed point of view, I started thinking about other examples of unreliable narrators. 
Daphne Du Maurier uses the device in Rebecca. The protagonist (who remains unnamed) is unreliable because she doesn’t have all the information. She builds an image of her husband’s late
wife that is completely wrong until we find out the truth about Rebecca at the end.  This provides a very clever twist and, as readers, we realise when we look back there were clues all the way along—brilliant writing.
Another example of an unreliable narrator is Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Carraway’s feelings about Tom, whom he views negatively, and Gatsby, whom he views positively, skew his opinions and therefore his narration. He is also an observer of the action rather than a participant, so does not always have all the information required to provide a balanced viewpoint.
In both of the above examples the narrator is unreliable because of their ignorance of the facts. But there are other ways to make your narrator unreliable. An example of a narrator who is deliberately misleading is the character of Michael Rogers in Agatha Christie’s Endless Night.  I’m going to do a spoiler now so if you haven’t read this book and plan to read it, please close your eyes.  Right until the very end Michael portrays himself as a bit of a drifter and a hopeless case who falls into a fortuitous marriage to Ellie, a rich, American heiress.  However, we find out at the very end that Greta, who is apparently Ellie’s friend and confidant and appears to be a stranger to Michael, is in fact his lover and they have set out to ensnare and murder Ellie for her money. 
Each of these examples uses an unreliable narrator in a slightly different way to add interest, intrigue and sometimes a shocking twist to their story. 
Other examples of books that have an unreliable narrator are: Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. 


What are your thoughts on how the device is used by these authors and can you recommend other novels with unreliable narrators?  
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About the Author
An overwhelming urge to create led Kathy to pursue qualifications in both fashion design and screen-printing which were followed by a twenty-year career in the fashion and applied arts industries. 
She then discovered a love of teaching and began passing on the skills she'd accumulated over the years—design, pattern-making, sewing, Art Clay Silver, screen-printing and machine embroidery to name a few.  
Kathy’s first novel, Peak Hill, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Pacific Hearts Full Manuscript contest in 2016. 
Her second novel, Throwing Light, was published in February 2017.
The Moral Compass is her third novel and the first in a historical series set predominantly in colonial New Zealand. 
Having recently completed a diploma in advanced creative writing, Kathy fits writing around teaching sewing and being a wife and mother.
K. A. Servian on the web:
Website       Facebook     Twitter     Instagram    Author Page  

A Pivotal Right: (Shaking the Tree Book 2)

Florence struggled for breath as she stared in the face of a ghost. "Jack?"

Twenty years after being forced apart Jack and Florence have been offered a second chance at love. But can they find their way back to each other through all the misunderstandings, guilt and pain?

And what of their daughter, Viola? Her plan to become a doctor is based on the belief she has inherited her gift for medicine from Emile, the man she believed was her father. How will she reconcile her future with the discovery that she is Jack's child?

A Pivotal Right is the second book in the Shaking the Tree series set in colonial New Zealand. It continues the story of Jack and Florence begun in The Moral Compass.

Buy on:

Amazon Kindle             Amazon Paperback

Amazon UK                  Amazon Aust
***
Thanks K.A.!

The first unreliable narrator I remember reading was another Agatha Christie story (love her!!). Spoiler Alert: I reread The Murder of Roger Ackroyd as soon as I'd finished it because I was so thrown off and fascinated by the ending. So well done!

How about you? Any favourite unreliable narrators out there?

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Catch Up Time

  Posted by Jemi , 20 August 2018 · 153 views

About 2 weeks ago, someone in my immediate family was involved in an accident. Injuries required him to be airlifted out of town to a larger hospital with specialists. Thanks to these specialists, my family member will recover and be good as new after some time, care, and rehab.

The air ambulance's regulations allowed me to accompany him along with one small carry-on bag for both of our needs. The stay of a few days extended to almost 2 weeks. I did have my cell phone with me, but it absolutely refused to deal with more than one email account - and sometimes refused to deal with even that. Because of that I've been completely out of contact with all my author emails and social media accounts.

I'll catch up over the next little while as time allows, although it's going to be even more chaotic than normal for a while.

Now, tell me what I've missed!

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