The Epic Journey

what do you see 4 by chris hall lunasonline

He’d battled over the Melancholic Mountains of Mythndlore,

scythed through thick forests where Dark Shadows lurk

stumbled across Mind Leaching deserts and now

wading through the stagnant Green Marais

at last he’d found what he was seeking.

The light at the end of his personal

Tunnel of Angst

Finally, he types

THE END


Written in response to Sadje’s ‘What Do You See #4′ photo prompt.

NaNoWriMo Week #2

nanowrimo 2019

Well I’d be fibbing if I was to say it was all going swimmingly. And, in a sense this is more prevarication. So I’ll keep it short.

This week two things have been troubling me:

Firstly, the story I’m working on is set in a semi-fictional part of South Africa, which I know fairly well, and it’s sort of present day, but there’s something which doesn’t feel right. I’m not yet sure what it is.

Secondly, I’m having trouble with a couple of characters. I can’t quite work them out. I’m still waiting for them to speak to me. I’m sure they will. I need more conversations!

I just checked back to this time last year. I was doing better word-count wise, but I can see there were doubts in my mind.

Oh and my laptop is on a go-slow. Must be the heat: mid afternoon, 34C in the shade.

Okay, I’m telling myself it’s going to be fine, fine, fine. Just go with the flow and enjoy it! It’s not that anyone but me is piling on the pressure.

Going back to the writing ‘happy place’ for a couple of hours…

Onward and upward, fellow Nano writers!
(as I said this time last year).

To which this year I add:
Relax. Enjoy.

 

NaNoWriMo Week #1

nanowrimo 2019

Okay, I can’t stop long: brain to squeeze, imagination to let fly, words to get down…

I was feeling confident to begin with; I had a bit of a head start: the main characters were waiting for me and I already had parts of their stories. Some of you might remember, young Sam and his little boat, Johannes the retired engineer, feisty Albertina, the two little aunties and shopkeeper Abdul.

So I spent a day or two reviewing and re-writing. Big mistake! I wasn’t getting the flow. No-one speaking to me, so no-one was guiding the story ahead. (You have to remember, I sit back and let my characters do the work).

Temporary crisis of confidence. Why am I doing this? There’s nothing there! NO story to tell!

But then I ran out of old stuff and started out again. Now we are moving forward. Scenes are emerging before my eyes, there is an overarching theme, there’s going to be a road trip, and I can see a little vervet monkey sitting on a book shelf. The monkey tells me he’s called Felix, but I’m not sure where he fits in yet. But he will.

Oh, and there will be mystery… and magic… and a stick fight…

 

Heads back down, fellow NaNoWriters! I hope it’s going well.

NaNoWriMo here I come!

nanowrimo 2019

But not officially.

I’m going to write, write and write some more under the ‘NaNo’ umbrella, but just for me, just as I did last year. That was pretty successful. I have the recently released ‘Following the Green Rabbit‘ to show for it!

I don’t do unachievable targets. I don’t set myself up to fail.

I’ll consider around 30,000 words a major success. I won’t have finished a new book, but I’ll be well on the way. And that suits me.

I’ll be touching base out there in ‘twitter-land’ and I’ll post a little weekly update to brag (or shame myself).

And for a little light relief, I’ll be continuing with the what do you see?’ challenge, which has recently been revived by Sadje.

Good luck to everyone who’s doing this! See you on the other side.

 

Eyes like saucers!

Following the Green Rabbit by Chris Hall
Following the Green Rabbit – proof copy

Today I’ve been busy proof-reading my new novel. In all modesty, I have to tell you it’s a really good story, and because I haven’t looked at it since sending it through the publishing process, I almost have to remind myself that I wrote it! But, of course, I must remember that as usual several of the characters had a hand in the plot too (animals included).

Although I wrote it as a story aimed at younger readers, the more I think about it, the more I’m certain it will have much wider appeal – 9 years to 99 years! That’s also the impression I got from those of you who were reading along under it’s former working title ‘A Nick in Time’. Thanks once again for all your encouragement.

Also today, for a little change from the Rabbit, I’ve been casting a critical eye over friend and fellow author, Paul English’s latest novel-in-the-making, the next in his wonderfulFire Angel Universeseries. This is a real treat, because it’s all fresh and new. We have an excellent reciprocal arrangement of reading and commenting on each other’s work, which naturally also involves coffee and cake!

‘Following The Green Rabbit’ is due to be released next month, and I’m sure Paul’s new novel ‘Fire Angel: Igniting the Spark’ will not be far behind.

The Green Rabbit illustration
Lino-cut by Cliff Davies

 

 

Writing My City Book Launch

writing my city book launch at the Fugard Theatre with Africa Melane
Book launch discussion hosted by Cape Talk‘s Africa Melane

Last Saturday saw the launch of the #WritingMyCity book, the exciting collection of
Cape Town writing, put together by Cape Town Library Service and Open Book.

writing m city book launch at the Fugard Theatre
The Fugard Theatre was packed!

The selected authors signed a copy for the organisers, Christelle Lubbe and
Frankie Murray. Then we opened our copies and started reading each others stories.
There are some fascinating stories, poems and memoirs in the collection.

 


Here’s the piece I wrote (page 96):

I’d been late leaving school that afternoon. I’d stayed behind because nice Miss Leibrandt had been helping me with my poem.

On the way home I’d been kicking a can along the dirt pathway between the shacks when I heard shouting over on the main road. Then there was the explosion. Flames shot up into the air, all red and angry-looking. Black smoke billowed upwards.

My house was the other way, but I had to see. I peered out from the end of the lane. People were jumping up and down in the street, arms waving angrily. They were chanting.

Flames licked out of the little corner shop. My friend’s shop. Mr Kabongo whose skin was as black as night, who came from another country further up the map of Africa. Mr Kabongo who told me stories about the animals of the forest where he grew up and the people who lived there before the war in his country. Mr Kabongo who gave me sweets when I went to fetch a half-loaf for my mother.

And now his shop was destroyed. I wondered if he was safe. Had he run, as he’d run before?

Why can’t we all live together?


writing my city book on the coffee table
The latest addition to my coffee table collection

And they’re not even in it!

pimms-lunasonline.png

At first, I think I’m having a flashback. I’m sitting on Cynthia’s garden bench and the sun is shining. A bead of moisture runs down the glass I’m holding.

“Cheers, Ms Hall!” Connor raises his glass to me. “Here’s to another great review of our book!”

Cynthia smiles at me. “It’s so nice to see our author doing well.” She sips her drink and leans over to stroke Asmar, her beautiful Abyssinian cat, who is lounging by her feet. “And even darling Asmar gets a mention.” Asmar pricks up his ears at the sound of his name. “Well, he was rather a hero, wasn’t he?” Cynthia continues. Asmar rolls over and looks up at me, the suspicion of a smug smile behind his long whiskers.

I stretch out my hand towards him, nodding in agreement.

Next I hear a familiar screech and Fingers bounds up to me from the side gate where Bob and Gary have just appeared. The little monkey launches himself at me, chattering excitedly. Bob hurries to retrieve him. “Sorry about that luv, but he’s dead excited about being in a book review.”

Connor refills he glass from the jug of Pimms which is sitting on the little wrought-iron table. He sits back down and leans towards me. “I understand you’re running a wee promotion on that first book of yours?”

“Marketing eh?  Sound.” Gary gives me a ‘thumbs up’ sign. His face lights up as Gina appears at the French doors. “We got any beers upstairs, luv?”

Gina rolls her eyes and sits down next to him, ignoring his request.

“I’ll go,” says Bob, lowering Fingers into Gina’s lap.

“And bring some crisps,” Gary adds. Fingers chirrups in agreement.

The Silver Locket, it’s a lovely romantic book with a touch of mystery and magic,” says Cynthia.

“Oh yes, it’s dead good,” chimes in Gina. “Just the kind of book to read sitting in the garden on a sunny afternoon. Like that nice Ms Scott said.” She sighs. “They even go to Paris! Wouldn’t that be wonderful, Gary?”

Gary pulls a face, he’s not one for ‘abroad’. “How do you two know what’s in the book anyway?” He glances at me, frowning. “She wrote it a while before ours.”

“Ah,” Cynthia reaches for her glass. “Gina and I, and Lucy too, were in a short story Ms Hall wrote, even before that.”

“That’s right,” Gina continues. “We had to wait ages for her to write our book.” She looks at me and smiles, fiddling with her engagement ring. “You could take us to Paris…”

Connor clears his throat. “Interesting idea, this downloading, Ms Hall. Not really sure I understand. I suppose it’s something from the future which we haven’t been written into yet.”

Was that another hint?


kindle edition cover

Mystery, romance, ghosts and dreams: perfect reading for a lazy sunny afternoon!

Get your ebook freebie of The Silver Locket,
written under my pen name Holly Atkins by clicking on the links below.

Offer runs until Fri 23 August:
USAhttp://ow.ly/Px5t50vD8nT
UK –  http://ow.ly/4hwF50vD8nU
Aushttp://ow.ly/Q2Lc50vD8nZ
Canhttp://ow.ly/cUgu50vD8nV
Other countries, such as South Africa

 


And if you really want to do it properly…
although Cynth would probably add a large shot of gin to the mix!

how to mix a perfect pimms lunasonline
Source

Author Angst

Nothing to Say by Chris Hall lunasonline

Drag open cupboards! Rummage the dusty shelves!
Words spill out; letters separate, scatter across the floor.
Photos flame to ash, picture frames’ contents
ooze sludgily down the walls.

You fling open a window. There’s a beach, sunshine and the smell of the sea!
Waves lapping; a boy in a boat.
He points and you look
but there’s nothing to see.

A sudden squall
slams the window
shut.

Here’s a door; chained and padlocked.
There’s a message, curled and yellow, stuck to the frame
A single word, written in your own hand:
No.

You step away, anxiously.
You know. Now
is not the time.

Turn away, turn back!

You trudge step-by-step
over the disturbed contents
of your untidy mind.

Empty handed.
Empty headed?

You take a breath, drain the mug of tepid tea and realise that
Today, you simply have
Nothing to say.

Without you

Without You by Chris Hall lunasonline
Source

On the blank screen
the cursor blinks

Impatiently?
Accusingly?

Like a heartbeat?
A countdown?

Close your eyes
Listen and look

Who’s there?
What are they doing?

Write it down
Quickly! Quickly!

Be nice to them
Nurture them

Or one day they
your characters, might run away.

And then where would you be?

Just sayin’

000Make an author's day by JI Rogers

Some really helpful advice from author, J I Rogers.

If you were wondering how to jump aboard the ‘author’s helping authors’ band wagon, this makes it so easy!

You can see from the side panel that I regularly read and review books on Goodreads. I also post the review to Amazon for the books I’ve downloaded and read by indie authors. I know how important it is.

So, all of you ‘indies’ out there, time to help each other out. Share the message and post your book links!

And to all you gallant readers: let’s have your reviews! Pretty please?