Sweet Treats!

Just a quick little post for today in response to the daily prompt: Treat

I’m currently running a little giveaway with goodreads!

There are two paperback copies of Burning Embers up for grabs! Just make sure you sign up here!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Burning Embers by Fiona Jeeves

Burning Embers

by Fiona Jeeves

Giveaway ends January 30, 2018.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

Too many books???

Welcome to Fionajeeves.com on this very cold and wintry evening.

Now, age old question, is it possible to have too many books? I have a few friends who would argue definitely not. However, I have recently come to acknowledge that there can be too many books for my current home. If I ever move to a castle (big dreams!) then I fully plan to become a gluttonous bibliophile and Gorge on all of the books. ALL OF THE BOOKS!

In the meantime, some tiny books have arrived! That’s right, my piece of flash-fiction has been published in miniature and the books are here. Honestly, they’re the cutest thing ever – look! They’re so teenie tiny – and there’s my flash-fiction on page 43!

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In other exciting news, there’s an additional book to buy! A second piece of flash-fiction has been published and is in the Sensorially Challenged anthology below! This is available from amazon – just click on the picture and it’ll take to you the right place:

Paperback: here for £6.99

E-book: here for £2.49


sensorially.jpg

I went to get the picture and ended up purchasing a copy myself…as soon as I have received it, then I’ll be putting up a review. Remember that for every copy purchase £1 is donated to the National Literary Trust.

Hopefully this is enough exciting news for one evening!

Let me know how your writing endeavours are going – I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Reading!

Fibi xxx

2015

Well Happy New Year!

It’s another one of those, I’m so sorry I fell off the face of the planet posts. I’ve decided to try and set myself achievable goals with my little corner of the internet and would love to post at least once a week. A Monday seems like a good day, but no doubt I’ll be spurred on by something exciting and inspired to keep posting until one day I don’t…and then it’s so much harder to return to. So here is my mini-mission. Post every Monday. Maybe more. But Monday, Monday will be the day.

I’m currently very inspired and fizzy with excitement. Over the Christmas vacation I managed to write the best part of 10,000 new words for my manuscript. Not only are the words down, ordered, typed up and edited, but they’re half-decent too. I feel that I found my balance on the past two weeks. That precarious tipping point between allowing everything to flow, imagination to roam and strange little phrases to trickle onto the page; but tempered with control.

No more for me, (well currently) the mental splurge of patterns; the equivalent of randomly throwing paint at a canvas. But also, no more persistent concern and over thinking. Writing phases for me come and go and I’m currently content. My secret for now is to write with pen on paper. Get it all out. No editing, not really. The internal voice is difficult to silence, but with pen and paper I’m able to hush it. After all, I can go back and re-write the ink. It’s what I’ll be doing tonight. I’ve tackled another fresh chapter and don’t feel satisfied by the first draft. So I’ll read it and start again on a new page from where it stops working for me.

The second stage is the type up in a separate document for the chapter. I have to admit that I’ve fallen in love with my new PC and keyboard. I skim through the full manuscript, have a quick tidy up and fall back in with the overall tone. Then it’s a new, exciting chapter. The handwritten page is an excellent guide and sometimes I end up typing it verbatim. Other times I run off and expand by filling in ideas or cut out repeating images. In the end, there’s a shiny new chapter. It’s printed, added to the main manuscript and read by someone else.

I feel very fizzy. All is well. The journey continues.

How do you get your writing mojo together? Do you have any tips?

Wishing everyone a very happy new year and a wonderful festive season!

Edit out the habits: How to Improve Work

There are certainly a few recurring ‘snags’ as it were in the cloth of my carefully constructed words. By editing and work-shopping I’ve been lucky to identify the trends in my work that make it less accessible to the reader. If you have to work hard to read something, then you’re more inclined to give up part-way though. For my rambling thoughts on what puts me off reading a story, there is a post here: Scared of Reading – actually funny story. I started writing this blog post and it originally turned into that one. So I decided to split it into two complete and hopefully coherent articles! Fingers are crossed.

But here are the trends that I learnt to look out for in my work.

  1. Passive verbs passive verbs.

My characters had many limbs that did things for them, but instead I needed to just write, that the characters –did-the-thing- much simpler, much clearer. So for example: Her hand reached out toward the glowing embers. – Passive. What would be better is: She reached toward the glowing embers. – Active. It’s just easier to imagine what the protagonist is doing.

  1. Did uh…did that just happen?

A lot tends to happen to my heroine as she goes about her journey. But I was informed, and then realised that although she reacts physically to the things around her and says things, the reader was being cut out of her thoughts. This was causing a second problem in that my reader felt disconnected from her and therefore my storytelling was less effective. The manuscript I’m working on, was supposed to have a close-third person narration, but too often it was just narration and I wasn’t as close in the third-person as I thought I was. Cue thoughts and responses! It sounds very juvenile but I listed a number of responses such as:

‘She was surprised’, ‘shocked, Sarah turned,’ ‘torn between’, ‘relieved’ etc and then used them as a prompt sheet to include things more in my writing. The result has so far been successful and feedback very positive. Hooray!

  1. Too many wonderful, amazing, blue, sparkling adjectives.

Description is a beautiful thing. However, going through everything with a cut-happy pixie on my shoulder I realised something else that I’d been previously told. I have a tendency to repeat myself. With repetition and a build-up of adjectives, some of the writing was getting lost in itself. Cut, cut, cut! And the work made more impact. I kept the best phrases and descriptions or reworked the ones I really loved and couldn’t bring myself to part with.

  1. For a moment she was a little afraid.

In a final bid to avoid unnecessary repetition in the manuscript I did a ctrl-f word search for a few phrases such as ‘For a moment’ and ‘a little’. I’ll tell you something, I use those tags far too often! I think within 30,000 words I ended up deleting them over 50 times. They didn’t add anything to the story, the plot, the description. They were filler! All they did was water down the writing and stop the protagonist committing to any particular emotion. If she was ‘A little afraid’ why is she just not afraid? If ‘she paused for a moment,’ why doesn’t she just ‘pause.’ Cut!

Everyone has different version of these phrases that they fall back on. My nemesis as I’ve started to refer to them. They’re things I don’t even remember writing! Maybe I don’t, maybe they just appear… That must be it. Those and spelling/grammar errors.

It may be worth going through any work under editing and seeing if you can find one or two and then doing a word search to find out just how many times they sneak in, pesky little things. I definitely go through additional phases of ‘word of the day’ that will sneak in over and again in a chapter if I took a shine to a certain sound when the chapter was in construction. Thank goodness for editing!

The best thing about recognising (the latest) failing of you work, is that when you go on to write new things, you are aware of them and so you make them less often. This does open up the path to making shiny new mistakes, but I like to believe that by slowly eliminating bad habits and trends I’m improving every time I do a thorough edit.

I’m sure there is even evidence to support this as whenever I write I feel it’s better than what I was able to write 6 months ago. I still need to edit the draft, but the process is less painful. I know what I’m looking for, what needs to be edited for clarity what is actually my style. Maybe I still use too many adjectives- but that is because I like long and rambling description. That is a choice, it’s not just the adjectives sneaking in a little.

What are the writing habits you have learnt to look out for? Let me know 🙂

Fibi xx

So Many Plans…

What am I working on now?

Well, my amazing cousin Alex is approaching the final stages of his ten adventures. It’s been emotional folks! But as a final project in support of this I will be editing/pulling together a second book with memories, blogs, poems and photographs about the ten different events he has completed from all the people who have helped along the way. This will (hopefully) be available to buy at a final shindig to celebrate all that has been achieved this year.

I’m also plugging away at the rest of my manuscript. I have 30,000 beautifully polished words and have realised that the rest of the book needs a good shine up too! I have written a (very long – how did that happen!?) new chapter but am approaching a point where the old manuscript and the new manuscript can marry up nicely. Whoopeee!!! So close, it’s so close now!

Other creative projects include the planning stages of not one, not two, but three murder mysteries with my partner in crime-writing Mr Lovely. Two of these events to be hosted at the gorgeous Racing Sea Horses B & B in England have already sold out. They’re fully booked! Eeek! We best get plotting! But it’s okay we have an A2 pad for brainstorming and everything…

Finally, blogging! I intend to create more blogs and return to my writing conundrums, explanations and explorations of craft.

So many plans.

Have wonderful Tuesdays!

Fibi xx

I believe!

I’m sure you’ll all be sick of me talking about this, but thank you Daily Prompt for a perfect oppertunity! Another reason to believe….

Currently my reason to believe is the generosity of the people around me. A few weeks ago I put out a call for poems, stories, artwork and photographs to pull together in a book. The purpose of this book was to help raise money and awareness for cystic fibrosis and the fire fighters charity via Alex’s Adventures.
I was overwhelmed by the amount of work I received back, and the immense quality of so many of the pieces.
One of my favourite things is a poem written by my three year old niece about her favourite person. Honestly, it’s inspired! But there are also some gorgeous short stories and many poems dedicated in love to those who have passed on from this world. I’m so proud of the collection and just feel so grateful to all of the contributors who helped make it what it was.
It’s been an emotional journey, pulling it all together but it’s worth it. I hope it does well as all proceeds will go to charity and help raise awareness for things that are close to my heart.
One final, enormous thank you has to be to a friend I contacted, out of the blue just two days before sending the book to print. I asked, because I knew he was into arty things, if he had any illustrations that would fit the theme. His response was just incredible. He managed to get three amazing pictures back to me, for three poems. They are amazing and so beautiful. His website is Unknown Creatives and they come very highly recommended.
If any of you lovely bloggers would want to review this raw and heartfelt collection that would be amazing! Please contact me 🙂

And here it is! You mean the world to me… a collection made and dedicated to love.

Memory lives

More than her years
So forevermore she will remain
More than one who has left us
Because she stays
In the words that we say
And the ones that we don’t
She’s the prayer on the motorway
For everyone to come home safe
She is the one that we ask
To make things okay
She is the hope in the night
That there will be a new day
We remember a smile
The most beautiful face
She is with us
And with us she’ll stay

This is dedicated to the memory of my cousin Melissa Mould who ten years ago passed away due to cystic fibrosis at the age of 19. Her younger brother is doing ten challenges in her memory to mark this and raise awareness for CF. More information about his adventures can be found here: http://alexsadventure.wordpress.com/

 

This is part of my contribution to the collection of poems and short stories I’m pulling together for Alex’s Adventures. The theme is You Mean the World to Me. I’m currently working on a family related vilanelle but it’s a tricky devil.

This was originally posted on http://poetreecreations.org/ and I would have reblogged however the picture put up with the poem doesn’t quite fit! Sorry guys!

 

Fibi xx

Jumping on the Bandwagons

After some kick-starting inspiration I have decided to write a Steam Punk novel. I’m in the very early stages and it currently doesn’t even have a proper name! However, I am going to try and write this as part of NaNoWriMO so wish me luck!

Participating in NaNoWriMo has been a very last minute decision and I’m still very new to the whole system. The way I understand it, is that it is a challenge to write 50,000 – a full novel throughout the month of November – phew, this is going to be a tall order!

But, I’ve started off today, the 1st of November and I have submitted 954 words so far. I’d ideally like to double this amount by the end of the day so I can be ahead of the daily average of 1600 words required to make 50,000 in 30 days.

Apparently there is a place to plan out novels, I’ve not found this yet, but I’m looking forward to creating some lovely excel tables about how many words written and how many to go…

 

With a little faith.

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I couldn’t bring myself to re-post something today. I really wanted to write something new.  I haven’t been checking the daily prompt on a particularly daily basis so this is adding to my lack of blog posts. My next post on the 10 Day Challenge, is about the top four websites I use as a writer, and It’s stumped me a little. I feel I need to go and do some research into this before crafting my response. Alas, it is also taking some time, a commodity I feel is slipping through my fingers.

So, today I thought I would share a few things with you; namely a picture of trees. I like trees. I know this picture isn’t the most amazing, beautifully lit or framed photograph in the world. But I loved the setting and wanted to capture it. As such, the picture has no edits, it is simple what my phone captured in that moment of time (last week when I was taking a very long, slightly unexpected walk!)

What else have I been up to, other than impromptu rambling and photo snapping? Well, I have been making concerted weekend efforts to work on my first manuscript. I have added in a chapter and am very excited to get back into writing and add a few more chapters. It’s all coming together! The more I work on the story, the better it pulls together. It’s taken a very long time to muse over the plot and threads as a whole, but now everything feels as though it’s slotting into place. Not only am I anxiously awaiting the weekend, or some extra free time to re-work the new chapter and spin some more, but I’m eager to complete this project in time for my deadline (end of the month- eeek!) But I’m becoming slightly intoxicated with the thought of launching into the second manuscript.

Mr Lovely and I had a very long talk on Sunday morning and I went over again the background information for the series.  I was then able to talk about my ideas for moving forward with the second, third and fourth books and the multitude of ones that link in. However, at the end of the discussion, I had a much clearer idea of what the second manuscript needs to be.

I always had a plan for the plot of the second book. I’ve always known what the end result will be, but the rest has always been a bit, well…misty.  A large mind-fog. I’ve always been confident that the information I need, and a decent story is under there, but I’ve been stabbing at it blindly, hoping to pick it up.  For an assignment of my masters, I took the opportunity to write the beginning of the book. This was ridiculously helpful. I didn’t get the beginning on the first write, in fact I wrote several starting paragraphs and then put them away in disgust, unable to find anything that I wanted to continue from. However, coming back a few weeks later (assignment deadline looming) I realised that yes, although the paragraphs weren’t very good, a few of the sentences were great. I’d managed to write what I’d wanted to write; it was just diluted in a lot of other dross, and spread out over several different false starts. Between the bits I liked, I was able to craft a beginning I found really exciting. I was able to move on with the story, a huge relief!  In fact, the first chapter that I submitted for the assignment was one of the best pieces of writing I feel I have pulled together. After all, my masters is having the desired effect, I’m becoming a better, more honed writer.

So, first chapter complete. A full, exciting bound back into the world my reader leaves behind in the first story.  So I knew how it ended, I know how it begins…what happens in the middle? How do I drive the plot from A to B?  (Well, plot ‘should’ be driven by Character but a lot needs to happen) After my conversation with Mr Lovely though, bonus. I  have a firm idea of what is going to come, and I’m so very, very very excited to get writing and get the story done, finished. It’s going to be epic and that’s all I can say…

Again, another huge sense of relief. I always knew the story was lurking in all the fog and I’ve found at least the thread of a path through it. The path even has a few stones on it, leading the way.

Wishing everyone happy writing, and a little faith.

Fibi xx

 

You may stare at me for many hours – I am a book!

boooks

 

Well, at least that is what I imagine Lewis is saying…

Beneath him is my reading for the Summer. I have been introduced to Robert Jordan by my very own Robert. Although I am only reading the second book; I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into the series.  I’ve also been listening to some Bernard Cornwell as audiobooks. I’m  fan of Sharpe, but really enjoyed listening to the Last Kingdom and the Pale Horseman.

Just some of my many recommendations for any writer! The advice I’ve come across over the years, has been to read, read, read and read – whilst I’m on a break between semesters, this is what I intend to do!

…I have far too many books….

Fi