ReBlogging – What’s That All About?

Dan Alatorre - AUTHOR

There's even MORE shit I have to do? There’s even MORE shit I have to do?

While you are building (or expanding) your platform, it’s a great time to polish, edit and add or delete whatever you want added to or deleted from your book. Plus, a lot of the time we have to make choices about what the blurb will say and what the cover needs to look like. Bouncing that stuff off a bunch of Facebook author page friends or Twitter followers or Blog subscribers is a great way to see what the feedback is – and spend no money to find out.

Part of the way you increase your base is by adding people as followers on Twitter, Facebook, and your blog, or whatever other social media you like doing. Most of you have blogs, so let’s focus there.

That's how it feels, yeah. That’s how it feels, yeah.

Look what happened when I posted and tweeted about my…

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You know you’re a writer when you’ve found a million ways to procrastinate #writer #writing

Another great post from Gee over at https://thewritingchimp.com

G.L. Cromarty

You know you’re a writer when you’ve found a million ways to procrastinate…here are a few tips to help you spot the procrastination pitfalls.

Reading really is the perfect excuse for any writer because you can convince yourself that it is actually helping you to become a better writer. Yes, it certainly is, but sometimes you do need to put the book down and get back to your keyboard and write.

Snacks.If you want to keep your writing brain in tip-top working order you need a snack, right? Yes, until you realise you’ve eaten enough food for a small party, and then it’s time to explore the possibility that you might be letting procrastination creep in.

Daydreaming is the birthplace of all good plot ideas. But maybe if you’re daydreaming about ‘fetching another snack’, it’s time to get on with actually writing the book!

Editing! Is the worst form of writer procrastination. You know you need…

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What I learned by publishing a book. #writing #books #publishing #amwriting

Great post from Gee over at thewritingchimp.com!

G.L. Cromarty

Letting go is hard. No matter how much time you spend revising, or how many rounds of editing, your book will never be good enough for your satisfaction. When you do publish, you will almost certainly receive new feedback that you wish you had known before. You will need to accept that your book can always be better, but that ultimately there needs to be a point where you do let it go. The struggle for perfection is what writing is all about.

You will receive support from unexpected places. The people who take the time to read the whole book and give you their feedback are little gems. The ones who tell you if they liked it, and even if they don’t. Surprisingly, you will learn most from the less than perfect reviews, will see how you can improve, and what to look for next time around. And the people who tell their friends they loved it, there…

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Book Review: Forgotten by Neven Carr

Jessica Jesinghaus


⭐⭐⭐⭐💫 4.5 out of 5 stars

Claudia Cabriati has no memory of her childhood before the age of about 7 or 8. Raised in an overprotective Italian household with a doting father, a somewhat standoffish mother, three brothers and a large extended family she has been convinced this memory lapse is nothing to be concerned about. But as an adult, she begins to question that notion. Do her recurrent dreams have anything to do with it? And what about the nameless, faceless individuals she perceives following her, watching her from a distance? When bodies start to turn up in Claudia’s vicinity, and I mean A LOT of bodies, the possible connections become impossible to ignore.

Enter Saul Reardon, an enigmatic man whose sole purpose in life appears to be helping those in trouble. Saul is a mystery, his real motivations and resources never fully explained (maybe we’ll get more in…

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Changing Times

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Chapter 5

Written by: Rosemary Wakelin

Nelson parked his canvas duffel bag between his feet, mindful of its progressively fraying drawstrings.

“Need me to wait?” the cabbie asked.

The icy, nighttime northerlies burnt Nelson’s cheeks and he drew his faux-leather jacket tighter around him. He glanced at the double storey semi-detached house across the road. Frannie was in that house, his Frannie. Not that he had the right to call her that anymore.

So, why was he here?

“I’m fine.” But was he? The pungent stench of exhaust fumes tortured his nostrils as the cabbie sped off. Nelson made cover beneath a nearby street lamp, hunched his broad shoulders and blew warm air into his cupped hands. A sudden surge of wind penetrated his clothing. He pictured icicles hanging from his bones, had forgotten how damn cold this place was.

So, why was he here?

Frannie’s house still looked the same, with its neatly trimmed hedges, its evergreen vines that obediently snaked up the rustic walls.

But somewhere, somehow it had lost its original friendly charm. The lights spilling from the upstairs windows, the many candles flickering downstairs, all appeared cold, more threatening. Even the suffocating stream of rumbling traffic wasn’t playing fair… making the air too difficult to breathe and the road a challenge to cross. And he wondered if guilt had painted this picture just for him.

So, why was he here?

For forgiveness?

He didn’t deserve forgiveness. Not after what he had done to Frannie, leaving her to battle the emotional and physical scars on her own. But it had been painful for him, too, seeing her suffering like that.

Grow up, Nelson, his inner voice said. Time to move on from the reckless, self-serving thrill seeker you once were. Whatever pain you felt, you could still ‘walk’ away, drown it with the stunning ‘sights’ of Thailand. Neither of which Frannie could do. And you now want her to join you in Chi Phat?

Nelson drew a sharp breath, sensed the cold air seer his insides. Coming here was a mistake. He heaved his bag onto his shoulder, teetered on the kerbside, searching for the next taxi.

“Guilt’s a destructive emotion.”

Nelson spun around. An age-wearied woman wearing an unravelling yellow jumper, faded black trousers and several tattered scarves, stared up at him. Her forest-green eyes, Nelson noted, were rich with kindness.

“Excuse me?” he said.

“Guilt,” she explained, balling her small, wrinkled fist, “is like an uninvited guest – it clings, sucks you dry… until you would sell your soul to shake it off. Don’t let it destroy the good things in your life.”

The old woman then wobbled off until she disappeared into the far unlit darkness.

Nelson tried to rationalise what had just happened. Was the woman real? Or had the intense cold messed with his increasingly confused head? And yet, he couldn’t ignore what she had said either.

Across the road, the upstairs lights went out.

Nelson bit down hard on his bottom lip and headed towards Frannie.

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Comments

Rosemary I love what you have done here, while Frans world changed it makes us aware that so did others and how they come to terms with change
thanks, Jasmine.
What a lovely use of language – icicles hanging off his bones. I can imagine that is how it feels after leaving Asia.I agree with Jasmine. You reminded us that Frannie alone was not affected by what happened. This added insight adds another dimension to the story and fresh complexity. This is about the time in the story for this to happen also.
Thanks Suraya 🙂

 

The Beauty Contest

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Serial Starter

Written by: Rosemary Wakelin

There’s a camel in my backyard.

Eating Mrs Whitman’s neighbouring prized white and violet hydrangeas.

I make a coffee, deciding that whatever I drank last night must’ve been good, like really good. The first caffeine sip and I shudder.  The next and, one by one, my muscles stand to attention.

A goose-bumpy cacophony of nasally groans snaps my attention to the living room. Snorey-Corey must’ve stayed over. I flip-flop against the old, patchy linoleum in my tiger-print slippers, [a Coles’ winter special]. I was right. Snorey-Corey is spreadeagled on the divan, fast asleep, wearing his Mighty Thor boxers and a dopey grin that I find quite disturbing.

I make a fast retreat to the kitchen.

More caffeine required, much stronger this time.

What is it about first morning coffees and windows? That fixated need to blend the two. I look up [for the second time] and immediately wished I hadn’t.

There’s a camel in my backyard.

Now feasting on Mrs Whitman’s daffodil-yellow roses.

I rub my eyes. But no amount of rubbing makes the one-humped creature disappear. I try recalling the previous night. An instant mistake. Nights like that are not for recalling. Mainly because one can’t.

I study the camel further. It is bejewelled in a sun-dazzled green and gold bling necklace. Was that envy I felt staring at the bling? I quickly shrug it off; begin the compulsory skin pinching. Surely, this is nothing more than some poorly scripted dream.

When my skin hurts from over-pinching, I make tracks to Beatrice, my flatmate. She is on her bed, wearing her black eye-mask, a pair of paisley-printed harem pants and matching top that reads: Life is good when you’re in pyjamas.

I shake her.

“I’m asleep,” she grumbles.

“There’s a camel in our backyard.”

She lifts one eye patch. Her bloodshot eye is not pretty.  “Sure, Molly, just like there are ants in my pants.”

I push the troubling image from my head. “I’m serious,” I say in my best serious voice. Beatrice grumbles some more and then struggles to her feet.

 ***

We are all in the backyard. Me, Corey, Beatrice… and the camel.

Camel slowly twists its long neck, pouts out its large, floppy lips and bats its black curly eyelashes.

Corey hitches up his boxers and carefully approaches the camel. “Nice camel,” he purrs in a ridiculously tawdry voice.

Camel lets out a freaky sounding bellow, follows through with one colossal spit. Corey’s face drips with something sticky-looking. “I think it likes me.”

“Because it just puked on you?” Beatrice doubles over, laughs so hard, she starts choking.

Corey makes for the nearest hose.

“Molls, why’s the camel in the backyard?”

It’s Gerard [current boyfriend] wearing his Sunday bests and a clearly mortified expression. He hoofs it to the camel and inspects it with the most bizarre care. “It shouldn’t be here,” he says.

Well… hello.

“It should be in the garage, instead.”

What?

“This sun,” Gerard says, “is really bad for its complexion.”

Yours Truly

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Chapter 6

Written by: Rosemary Wakelin

Jacques found Bernard’s mega-modern penthouse, outfitted with all the latest gear, seriously awesome. “You own all this?” he said, half-expecting a Kardashian to stroll in with full entourage in tow.

“Yeah, pretty much,” Bernard said with a half-smile.

Jacques headed straight for the ginormous curved television screen and imagined watching World Cup soccer on it. His reflection stared back, all wide eyes and gaping mouth. “Are you like some famous movie producer or something?”

Bernard chuckled. “Nothing that exciting; just a mere physicist. Coffee?”

Jacques nodded, wandered over to the full wall of unblemished glass. Nothing but zillions of tiny flickering lights lay beyond it. He stared, mesmerised, excited, his short breaths fogging up the glass. Yep, seriously awesome.

“I knew a physicist once,” he said. And he thought of his uncle from long ago. Something sharp pinched his chest, felt the artificial air begin biting his skin. “He taught me all sorts of cool stuff.”

Bernard handed Jacques his coffee. Jacques wrapped his hands around the large mug, sucked the warmth from it and wondered where his mum was. “Trust Bernard,” she had told him via Bernard’s car phone. “He’s a good man.”

“Like what exactly?” Bernard’s manner had curiously changed, more sombre, almost sad.

“Stuff about the world. I was only small but I like really loved it. We’d test out so many crazy theories about electricity and magnets and…. ” Jacques stopped, noticed his own saddened tone. “He sort of got me, you know? Possibly the only person that ever did.”

“And your dad?”

Jacques shrugged. “I just frustrate him, make him angry or both… tells me that I should be a real man, work a solid, eight-hour job, not waste my time with airy-fairy physics nonsense like my uncle had.”

Jacques thought about his almost fifty-year-old father, how he got up at five every morning, punched holes into train tickets with his painted on smile. So precise, so regimental; black was black and white was white.

No room for greys like him.

“And then my uncle went and died.”

The air in the room became heavy, much colder weighing down hard on Jacques already slumped shoulders. Jacques sought refuge in a nearby chair. It immediately grew footrests and yanked his body into a reclining position.

Bernard sat across from him looking quietly concerned. “And your love for physics?”

“Died with him.”

“You have such a natural talent for the subject.”

“So?”

“So use it … enter the physics competition… win it. If not for yourself, at least for your uncle.”

“My uncle?” Jacques forced a short laugh. “My uncle left me when I needed him the most.”

“He died, Jacques, it wasn’t his fault.”

So why did Jacques constantly believe it was? He searched Bernard’s oddly familiar face, felt irritation prickle him. Why did Bernard even care? “Who are you really, Bernard?”

Jacques mother finally appeared wearing a fitted, white suit and a totally alien expression. “Someone important,” she whispered, “someone you once knew… very well.”

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Yours Truly

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Chapter 5

Written by: Rosemary Wakelin

The call went straight to MessageBank. Jacques thought it odd.  As a rule, his Mum always answered… like embarrassingly so. So where was she? More importantly, how did she react when she saw her bended fender? He could just picture her horrified expression. Her distempered dog impersonation, he called it, all feral, flared nostrils and gnashing teeth. Jacques shivered and left his Mum a message to call as soon as.

“Jacques?”

He recognised her voice immediately. Emily.

Jacques shot up from the seat and spun to her, almost dropping his phone in the process. She stood there straight, draped in the near full moonlight looking so damn hot in her skin-tight mini-dress and her super high-heeled shoes. How chicks managed to walk in them, he had no idea. He was just glad Emily could. His heart slammed against the back of his throat and his insides liquefied into a delightful mush.

“The party’s totally mad,” she said with just the right amount of eye-rolling. “You should be in there.”

Jacques stuffed his moist, clumsy hands, along with phone, into his back pockets. “Umm… just had to check up on someone.” His cheeks flushed hot and he prayed she didn’t notice.

Emily moved closer. A soft, sweet scent surrounded her, reminding Jacques of his grandad’s cool citrus orchard.

“I hope they’re ok.” She had the voice of angels and he sighed. He then cringed at his ridiculously cheesy thought. Cool it, Jacques, before you make a total jerk of yourself.

“Oh… yeah… she’s fine.”

He swore. Had he just made out there was another girl in his life? “I mean…my mum… she’s well… well… she’s fine.” Yep, Jacques, you’re totally killing this conversation… NOT!

Emily smiled. “Coming back inside?”

He waved his hand, pictured a dead jellyfish as he did. “Nah, have to get home to the fam.”

Her ruby-red lips pouted as she slowly ran her long red fingernail down his shirtfront. His insides just became a whole lot mushier.  “Okay, then,” she said. “But before you go, can I ask something?”

Anything. Jacques managed a small nod.

“You’ve heard about the latest physics comp, right?”

Another slight nod.

‘You’re so smart with all that E= mc2 stuff.”

He shrugged. “I’m okay, I guess.”

“You entering it?”

“Nah, too much of a grind.”

She fell silent for a short time appearing disturbingly serious. Had he disappointed her? “My dad has such high expectations… says I have to win it.”

“I can help you,” Jacques said a little too quickly.

Emily’s pretty sea-green eyes lit up, swelled wide. “That’d be so cool.”

****

Jacques decided on walking home. Not that he had much choice. Three more attempts to ring his mum, failed. Was she all right?

Car brakes squealed still beside him.

Bernard.

The way this guy kept turning up in the most unlikely places, was becoming a little too freaky.

“Need a ride?” he said.

“I’m good.”

“Worried about your mother?”

Jacques froze.

“She’s at my house as we speak.”

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Comments

Oh yes! A masterful piece of dialogue. Dialogue can ruin a story for a lot of reasons but here is a great example of pushing the story forward, combining with action, and balancing the setting of the scene at the beginning with the following dialogue. This is great. Nice one, Rosemary.
thanks Ray 🙂
Yes, I agree with Ray. This is good use of dialogue. You use it to reveal character and keep the story moving forward. One of the reasons this works so well is because you keep your sentences short and don’t get bogged down in expository.

The Diary of Pearl Farrell

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Chapter 3

Written by: Rosemary Wakelin

I must confess, my dear descendant, that my initial encounter with Taine was not what I would have termed a genial one.  My arduous journey combined with the disturbing sight of my gravely ill husband had left me more than a little harried. Taine’s manner, which I had foolishly misinterpreted as both boorish and unfavourable, did little to improve my disposition.

And yet, I recalled how impressive Taine appeared in his long cloak, profuse with bright red feathers, his hair pulled high into an impeccable topknot and his face marked with a tempest of graceful black spirals.

“Dr Hanley broke tapu,[1]” Taine said in a voice devoid of any inflections.

I gripped onto the mother-of-pearl handle of my small parasol and swiftly glanced at Mrs Dunstan. “Tapu?”

“A little like our laws,” she said with an dismissing shrug.

Dr Hanley breaking a law? I immediately vented my vexation at such a preposterous idea.

Mercifully, Taine appeared unperturbed by my outburst.

Mrs Dunstan took my hand. “The good doctor may have simply pulled a leaf from a tree where the native’s ancestors sleep; a seemingly innocent act to us but one of great wrong-doing to them.”

“The Doctor is very good,” Taine said. “I can make the doctor whakanoa[2]”.

Again, Mrs Dunstan enlightened me. Taine was a Maori priest and wanted to purify my husband from a supernatural entity.

The proposition troubled me.  How could a Tohunga help my dying husband, an acknowledged practitioner himself? With little choice, I acquiesced, not ignoring my own urgent prayers to The Lord Almighty. After many long hours of perpetual incantations, Dr Hanley was bathed on the banks of the Wairoa River. Taine touched him with a karamù[3] leaf, then allowed the river’s gentle ripples to set the leaf free.

“It takes away bad spirits,” Taine said. “The doctor is better now.”

I waited for the morrow and prayed.

****

Wairoa, 12th December, 1873

My dear descendant,

Dr Hanley has made a remarkable recovery and has returned to his doctoring although I fear his medicines are doing little to cure the Maoris. I do not profess to understand the cause of Dr Hanley’s own odd illness or the unorthodox nature of his healing. But, I remain much obliged to Taine.

Several families have settled in newly built whares – comfortable gabled cottages constructed from reeds and flax of all things. Dr Hanley’s home is not unlike them, a little less distinguishable but just as restful.

I have learnt much about the Māori people since my arrival to this peaceable settlement, shedding my voluminous petticoats to join them in their daily lives. The other English wives declared it wasn’t my station to mingle with the Maoris as I did. I didn’t care.

Oh, I have much to tell you.

More importantly, I need you to know the truth surrounding the unjust acquisition of Maori land.

And I pray that in your lifetime, you can make it right.


[1] Spiritually sacred, prohibited

[2] Free of tapu

http://maoridictionary.co.nz/search?idiom=&phrase=&proverb=&loan=&histLo…

[3]…the takutaku, involved touching the patient with a karamū leaf, which was then floated downstream. The malevolent spirit would be carried to sea and then to Te Waha o te Parata (a huge whirlpool, caused by a great monster), and finally to the underworld. Freed of the spirit, the patient was then sprinkled with, or immersed in, water.

http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/rongoa-medicinal-use-of-plants/page-2

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Comments

I can’t deny this is a challenge.
Hi Rosemary
I found your piece to be very cinematic in its execution. Well done.
Kind Regards
Mike
That’s a great chapter, Rosemary. Well done. Full of drama and interwoven with Te Reo. This serial just keeps getting better and so does our protagonist. She is very likeable and I love how she is taking up the new culture that she is becoming immersed in.
Rosemary, you have done yourself proud!! This serial is really becoming interesting. I love your description of the Maori rituals and their inherent beliefs. Great research and great piece of writing.
Thank you Ken, Mike, Angela and Hemali. This was one the hardest chapters I have done and I wasn’t sure if I pulled it off. Your comments are much appreciated. 🙂
Rosemary, you can be sure you pulled it off. I am really enjoying the amazing depth of research that is going into this serial. Writing demands so many skills of the writer and I am in awe of the writers of this serial. The standard is incredibly high, which is really exciting. I love the fact that not is the research superb but so it is the voice giving us a genuine colonial feel. Marvellous!
Totally agree with Suraya. I don’t want to wax lyrical but I thought of Ken Follet when I read this. His capture of the Colonial voice is perfect and yours was very much there. What I also liked was the ‘mature’ language… After many long hours of perpetual incantations, Dr Hanley was bathed on the banks of the Wairoa River… The first paragraph was so good I read it twice – what a real puller that is. Terrific work, Rosemary
Thank you to all of you. I am beaming!