Days like these

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Some days, things just seem to fall into place, the sun shines, good things happen to people you love and all is well with the world. Today is one of those days when my face won’t stop smiling and anything seems possible. When days like these dawn, we have no way of knowing whether outcomes we hope for will surprise us, or disappoint. So days like these are precious in ways that silver and gold could never be and I thank God for them.

Beth

Beth

This morning, my daughter had an interview for a job that everyone who knows her believed would be perfect. Many of her days have been turbulent recently, so prayers have been prayed by friends from across the world who have longed for this lovely young woman to find her feet placed on ground that will not give way. This has been one of those days when prayers have been answered in one of those grin-inducing ways; she got the job, one step in a very good direction! As I dropped her off for the interview, I watched her walk away from me and I began to pray. I remembered the first moment I held her; the toddler who squawked rather than talked (it’s amazing what results a well-pitched squawk can achieve); the gangly school girl who fought her way through academia to gain successes despite her dyslexia; the beautiful young girl on the cusp of womanhood at her final school prom; her graduation from the university she never thought she would get to attend. And here she is today, a young woman with a CV that tells one story, and a life that has overcome many difficulties to make her the person of promise, the gift to the world, that she is today.
I have no doubt that days like these are so precious because of the days when darkness seems so dark that no light will ever banish it and burdens are so heavy they will break more than backs. And it’s days like those, when we can’t see, when life aches our hearts, when powerlessness tells us to turn our face to the wall and close our eyes, when we must find our feet, when we must peer through the murk, when we must put one heart-heavy footstep in front of the next, when we must continue to pray in faith we cannot feel. Because it’s days like those that bring us to days like these and give us the strength to delight in the treasures they bring.

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Writing Process Blog Tour 2014

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This summer, whilst on holiday in Cornwall, I discovered how absorbing combing a shoreline for sea glass can be. Returning home, with the sea only twenty miles away, I have continued collecting. Last night, just before the sun went down, I was delighted to find not only a piece of deep blue glass, but bright yellow too. Neither of those colours are, in my limited experience, common.
Reading one of W.K.Tucker’s short stories is, to my mind, akin to finding sea glass of unexpected colour. If you haven’t read any of her work yet, you have a treat in store.http://wktucker.com/ It came as both a surprise and honour to be tagged by her to participate in the Writng Process Blog Tour 2014, which involves me replying to the questions below and then tagging three other writers – not an easy feat, whittling down the talent I read on the web to only three, whom I list below.

Veronica Haidar- http://veronicahaidar.wordpress.com/
Cheryl Pennington – http://tropicalaffair.me/
Paul Ruddock- http://echoesofthepen.com/

1. What are you currently working on?
If I’d been asked to answer this question one week ago, you would have got a very different answer. For months I have been researching an idea for a timeslip YA love story that has been brewing for the past half dozen years or so. In June, after copious reading and plotting and listening to characters, I thought that the time was right to finally write it. I was wrong. Life for various reasons put practical obstacles in my way (mainly in terms of the time I’ve had available, though other constraints suddenly sprang up too) and I put off the start until September. And then, lo and behold, a voice in the form of another project that has been bubbling away in the background of my brain for a similar length of time, shouted so loud the force of it almost stopped my heart beating. And within a few minutes, I knew that story was the next I had to write. All I will say at this point is that it’s the first in a YA fantasy series and I get so excited every time I think about it that my heart literally beats faster.

On top of that, I took the decision earlier in the summer to put some of the (small) savings I have worked for over the years into having my work professionally edited. So, I have one manuscript in the pipeline for that process. Another manuscript, Selkie, is currently doing the rounds of agents, and, although there has been some interest, with one agent asking to see the whole novel -“It’s not often that I down tools and read a submission on a Monday morning (after the weekend there are loads sitting in my inbox) but I’ve always been fascinated with the Selkie myth and so, having given these first three chapters a very quick read, I’m writing to request the full manuscript please?” – though finally deciding not to take it any further at this point. Selkie will be the next manuscript I shall have professionally edited and then I will self publish as an ebook. I already feel like the proverbial plate-spinner, so let’s see whether my plan to see Selkie available on Amazon in the Spring of 2015, and the first draft of my current novel ready for editing by early summer, actually runs to schedule. I have never known my life run to a schedule, so I’m not promising anything …

Solway Firth sea glass

Solway Firth sea glass


2. How does your work differ from others in its genre?
I don’t set out to write in either a genre, or to be different. With each book I write, I set out on an adventure where I am privileged to unfold the stories that would otherwise rattle round in my head, take over my life and send me insane. Perhaps one of the liberating aspects to indie writing and publication is that an author doesn’t have to look at markets in order to write their books, wondering if they will sell. Of course, it would be lovely to sell lots of books, but that’s not the reason I began to write, and it’s not the reason I continue to do so. I write because I am incapable of stopping.

When it comes to Strong as Death (already published) and Selkie, I guess that readers who enjoy paranormal romance are more accustomed to discovering stories set in America. Strong as Death is set in northern England, in Carlisle, which is where I live, and Selkie is set on the west coast of Scotland and draws heavily on the mythology of that part of the world. My current novel comes straight from my imagination, which has been fed a rich diet of fairytales and mythology over the years; a heady and unpredictable mix.
3. Why do you write what you do?
I think I’ve just answered that one.
4. How does your writing process work?
Strangely, or not perhaps, a lot of my writing is actually done when I am not sitting in front of a computer. By that I mean that a lot of the process involves thinking and planning. When something clicks into place, or a vital snippet hits me between the eyes, I have no choice other than to reach for a pen and the nearest available paper and write the word, phrase or paragraph down. This could mean stopping in the middle of the pavement and fishing around in my enormous handbag for something to write with and on (I have notebooks everywhere, but rarely in the place at the time I need one) or suddenly leaping out of bed in the middle of the night. I’ve had to stop the car before now, just so I can capture an idea before it evaporates, for evaporate my ideas will if I don’t get them by the scruff of the neck before they run away. Once I begin the discipline of putting everything together, I cross out sections in my diary and I use that time to go and write, whether I feel like it or not. The most wonderful part of the creative process is the dreaming and imagining. The most difficult part involves the discipline of producing words on a page. Once I’m in this phase, which is where I am at the moment, I can become fairly anti-social and resentful of any other responsibilities that take up my time, like going to work (in a job I really enjoy) or talking to members of my family (who I really do love). Over the next few months, blogging will be lower down my list of priorities too, though I will try to keep up with bloggers who encourage and inspire, and ‘snapshot’ social media like Facebook and Twitter don’t demand the commitment that blogging can.
As I finish this post, my heart is starting to beat just that little bit faster as I leave my laptop behind and take myself off to my writing room at the bottom of the garden where I can lock the door and disappear into the world I cannot wait to discover and create all at the same time.