The Characters’ Wish

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‘She’s been making cards and stuff all afternoon,’ says Gina in a confidential whisper to Cynthia.

‘Cards? I thought it was a book launch? Anyway, how do you know what she’s been doing?’

‘We’re her characters; we’re in her head, aren’t we? So, of course we know what she’s doing; especially if it’s about to Our Book.’ Gina nods her head meaningfully.

‘Oh, I see,’ says Cynthia. ‘I’ve never noticed. It seems a bit impolite poking about in her head, though.’ Cynthia pauses. ‘But why the cards?’

‘Marketing,’ says Gary, joining them at the little table in the back garden. ‘Giveaways, contact details, that kind of stuff.’

‘Look at you, eh, Mister Marketer,’ Gina gives Gary a playful prod in the arm. ‘Ever since he left the Social Security and went to work in that posh insurance company in town,’ she glances down at her new engagement ring and smiles, ‘he’s come over all ”private sector”. He’ll be voting Tory next.’

Gary pulls a face at her.

‘Connor showed me that lovely review she received, from that nice young lady In Sheffield…what’s her name?’ said Cynthia.

Ellie Scott you mean?’

‘That’s right, darling. I though she caught me rather well, don’t you? I’m sure she didn’t mean to imply I was something of a lush.’

‘That would never enter anyone’s head, Cynth,’ says Gary, almost managing to keep a straight face.

Cynthia glares at him frostily and stares toward the bottom of the garden where Connor is gesticulating animatedly. ‘Who’s he talking to now? Or is he just declaiming to that old rosebush again?

Gina follows her gaze. ‘It’s her,’ she hisses. ‘It’s our author! Look, they’re coming this way.’

‘Oh well, in that case…’ Cynthia leaves her sentence unfinished and disappears through the French doors.

I follow Connor back up the garden. He’s been reading to me from his latest slim volume of poetry. Perhaps I’d like to include some of it in my next book. My next book?

‘Ms Hall and I have been talking,’ Connor announces as we approach.

‘Are you going to write another book for us?’ Gina asks, eyes widening with excitement.

‘Like that nice young woman suggested,’ adds Cynthia, emerging from her French doors carrying a tray of glasses and a bottle of wine.

What’s this? My characters are at it again!

Connor gestures to me to sit down on the garden bench which has been moved to a sunny spot near the little wrought iron table where they’re all gathered. I sit and Asmar, Cynthia’s beautiful Abyssinian cat, jumps on my knee, purring his head off.

Cynthia pours the wine. ‘We do hope your book launch party goes well on Friday, darling,’ she smiles at me.

‘Hear hear, old thi…Cynthia,’ Connor adds, picking up a glass from the tray and raising it to me. ‘Cheers.’

We hear a noisy old vehicle rattle to a halt outside. Moments later Bob appears at the side gate with Fingers on his shoulder who immediately starts to chirrup excitedly. Tony Wong is behind them in what looks like a new suit. He has an air of someone who’s come into money and has plans.

‘Well, Ms Hall, the gang’s all here,’ says Connor. ‘What’s our next story?’

I take the glass which Cynthia is holding out to me. Maybe. I lean back and close my eyes. Let’s see…

asmar


If you’ve no idea who these people are, or what they’re talking about, you’d better read the book!

The Characters’ Verdict

youll-never-walk-alone-by-chris-hall-proof-copy.jpg“Here it is!” I hold up the proof copy of You’ll Never Walk Alone to Cynthia and Conner, who are sitting outside in the little garden wasteland outside Cynthia’s flat. It is pleasantly and unseasonably warm for an April afternoon in mid 80s Liverpool.

Connor stretches out his hand. “Let’s have a look then.”

I hand the pristine proof over to him. He turns it over in his hands and nods. “Look rather fine, I must say, Ms Hall. Worth the wait, so it is.” He flicks through the pages and frowns. “Print’s a bit small.”

Cynthia takes the book from him. She riffles the pages, holding it up to her face. “I love the smell of a new book.”

I nod and grin enthusiastically. “What do you think?”

“It’s very nice, my dear.” She looks at the pages more closely. “Oh look, Connor, there’s a little drawing of a cat here.” She holds the book out to him, open at the title page. “Is that my clever boy, Asmar?” 

As if on cue, Cynthia’s beautiful Abyssinian cat emerges from the bushes and stretches languidly in front of us, mimicking the pose in the drawing.

Cynthia turns to the back cover. “Nice photograph of you, Ms Hall.”

“Thank you!” I smile delightedly.

“It must’ve been taken quite a while ago.”

I wince. Cynthia leans forward and pats my hand. “Well why not? None of us is getting any younger.”

Before I have the chance to reply, we hear voices coming around the side of the house. It’s Gina and Lucy. As soon as they see me, they call out in greeting. I hold up the second proof copy I have ordered for my household of characters.

“She has our book!” Lucy and Gina say together. Never mind that it’s my book. Whose name is on the cover?

They take it from me and sit down on the tatty wooden bench next to the wall. They exclaim in delight at the opening paragraphs. Lucy and Gina are, of course, in the opening scene. They start to read and for once they fall silent. After a couple of pages they look up. I can see in their eyes that they approve.

asmar


You’ll Never Walk Alone‘ a novel by Chris Hall will be published next month (we hope).

Character Confusion

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Previously

I’m back in Cynthia’s flat and the main characters from my very-soon-to-be-published novel are all staring at me. They don’t look happy.

“The book’s going to be out soon. Aren’t you pleased?” I say brightly.

Connor stares at the bottom of his empty wine glass then looks directly at me “We’re pleased that you’ve set the wheels in motion, so to speak.”

“Good.” I nod. “I’ll get the draft copy of the paperback around Easter.”

Connor looks around the room at his fellow characters. Cynthia nods at him.

“Well, Ms Hall, the thing is…”

Lucy interrupts. “We’re sorry,” she says, squeezing Pierre’s hand, “but we’re not really sure about the cover.” She smiles at me weakly.

“Oh?” I shake my head. “Have you any idea how long it took and how many versions of my beloved’s artwork I uploaded before we, or rather I, was happy?” I frown at them all. “I’m really pleased with it. It looks really…”

 “Old-fashioned.” Gina interrupts.

I was going to say ‘retro’ actually. Like a Penguin Original.

“But why a drawing?” Lucy says, fiddling with her long golden hair. “Why not a nice photo of all of us?”

“That’s, er, not going to be possible.” How do I tell them they don’t actually exist?


Another true-life story of an author and her characters 😉

When your characters really come alive

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Elena Koycheva @lenneek on Unsplash

Connor turns from the window where he has been gazing out onto the empty street. “You’re the author, Ms Hall; we’re entirely in your hands.” He fiddles with the change in his trouser pockets. “But well, we were wondering, when exactly is our book coming out?”

I stare back at him, not comprehending the situation. My gaze travels around the room. Next to me, dressed in a blue silk caftan, legs curled up underneath her on the couch, is Cynthia. She is busy examining her beautifully manicured nails. Opposite sits Lucy, long blonde hair glowing.

“It’s just that it’s been so long,” Lucy says, a little breathlessly. “I mean…” her voice trails off and Pierre, her boyfriend, who is perched on the arm of her chair, squeezes her shoulder gently.

Lucy turns to Gina who is sitting in the matching armchair next to her. I notice she is fiddling with a shiny new ring on her third finger. The light catches the bright solitaire diamond sending patterns flashing across the worn Persian rug where Asmar, Cynthia’s cat, is lounging. He dabs at the flickering light with a casual golden paw. The blaring of a televised football match filters down from the flat upstairs where Gary, Gina’s boyfriend fiancé now? must be watching.

Gina sits forward and leans towards me. “It’s not that we’re ungrateful. We’ve loved our story. It was so exciting!” She pauses for a moment. “Well, mostly.” She frowns momentarily. “It all turned out all right in the end though,” she adds, grinning. “It’s just that, I’m sorry to have to say this, but we feel like we’re in limbo.”

I look around the room at these people whom I know so well; these people with whom I’ve spent so many hours.

Connor clears his throat. “Time waits for no man… or woman.” He takes his hands out of his pockets and puffs out his chest. “I have had a second slim volume of my poetry accepted for publication since you finished our manuscript.”

I gave you an agent, I think to myself. I fiddle with the pen I’m holding and glance down to see my notebook open on my lap.

Connor darts forward and grabs it. “Oh no, Ms Hall. No more changes. It’s done. Finished. You told everyone so.”

I hold my hands up. “I know. And it is. Finished I mean.” I sigh, my hands dropping into my lap. “I’m just waiting for the artwork for the cover.”

Connor nods gravely.

At that moment there is a knock at the door.

“It’s open,” calls Cynthia.

Tony Wong, whose flat is across the hall and who is landlord to Cynthia, Gina and Lucy, smiles and enters. He pads over the rug and holds out a bowl stacked high with pale brown crackers. “Would you like a fortune cookie, Ms Hall?”

I take one and pull out the little paper message, but it’s like one of those plot-halting moments. I can’t read a single word.


A true-life story of an author and her characters 😉

I’ve been Nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award!

Sunshine Bloggers Award.jpg

I’m delighted to say that Sadje, of Keep it Alive, has nominated me for the
Sunshine Bloggers Award!

Sunshine Bloggers Award Rules

Thank you, Sadje for the nomination, it’s an honour!

Okay, here are my answers to Sadje’s questions:

What made you start blogging?
I set up Luna’s on line about 6 years ago purely as somewhere to store my short stories. I was also experimenting with WordPress as I had started my ‘ghost blogging’ career.
It wasn’t until early this year when I started working from home full-time that I got up and running with it and started interacting with other writers and bloggers. I am so glad I did; the support and encouragement is amazing.

Do your friends and family support you in this?
I have a lot of encouragement for my writing. Maybe they actually believe I’ll be a best selling author one day so want to be nice to me! And a special mention for Cliff, my husband who’s really supportive unless it’s suppertime (a bit like Luna, my cat).

Which is your favorite time of the day?
I write best in the late afternoon, so it’s then.

What would be your dream vacation?
Visiting the gorillas in Rwanda. I’d need to have some strong-armed bearers to carry me and to bring the G+Ts.

What genre of movies you like best?
It depends on my mood. I have very eclectic taste (although I don’t like rom-coms or splatter movies much).

What are your strengths and weaknesses?
I’ll own up to a couple which work both ways: I get too involved with my characters. I talk to them, often out loud. Also, I’m a dreadful grammar pendant.

Are you an emotional person?
Don’t you have to be if you write fiction?

What motivates you in life and writing?
Imagination and an enquiring mind.

What sort of friend are you to your pals?
I’m there in mind and spirit, always.

Have you written poetry as well?
Some, but it’s not really my forte.


sunshine cup
Now imagine: I’m standing at the podium in full evening dress – gold lame, glitzy earrings, killer heels – (I did say imagine) and I am holding the 11 envelopes.
Here’s the speech…

These are some of the most inspirational, inventive and supportive writers I’ve met in ‘blogland’ so far. This is my thank you to them! Check them out. I’ve put in some links to their sites and to their work.

  1. Kent Wayne, the Dirty Sci-Fi Budda for being the first person to like my first post – check out his Echo series: I really enjoyed Vol.1 and I have Vol.2 is ready to read. Thanks for all the re-tweets!

  2. JI (Jenn) Rogers, a great inspiration – all those Six Word Challenges, wow, she’s right, they are addictive! Check out her book The Korpes File, vol 1 – a cracking read – vol 2 will be out soon; can’t wait to find out what happens next.

  3. Jean Lee’s World such lovely writing and great support. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed several of her ‘Tales of the River Vine’ and I now have ‘Fallen Princeborn: Stolen’ to read on my Kindle.

  4. Teresa Grabbs, The Haunted Wordsmith, for all the inspiration and support, I’m reading her short story collection, ‘Tales from the Haunted Wordsmith’ now, and her new novel Reflected Echois lined up ready to read on my Kindle too.

  5. Ellie Scott for being awesome and witty and from Yorkshire (where I grew up). Ellie writes lot of lovely little engaging pieces not only on her website, but on Twitter and on Instagram (clever!). She’s on Medium too – head over and give her a clap.
    I’ve started reading her
    Merry Bloody Christmas: A Short Story Collection’ – one story a day in the run up to Christmas, although it’s tempting to pig out on a whole week’s-worth in one go! 

  6. Debra of Nana’s Whimsical World  for her ever-so-wittily described crafty projects, her wonderful stories about Foster and Panda (you have to read these!) and general awesomeness – this woman installed her own toilet!

  7. Adam West, The Writer of Age with whom I’ve probably had the longest email exchange ever when trying to download his free offer on Amazon (they like to make it tricky for you if you live in deepest, darkest Africa). However, The Vague Ship: A Tale of Ambiguity was well worth the effort!

  8. Freja Travels – a travel blog by Mickey & Yunni, so beautifully illustrated with photos. I followed them every step of the way through Madagascar. And Yunni is reading my work-in-progress novel from this blog (so I’d better hurry up and finish it).

  9. Muted Mouthful – Tiara has truly found her feet in her blog! Awesome stuff. I really don’t know why she doubts herself. And she lives in New York, which I find very cool!

  10. Jason H Abbott, The Aetheral Engineer – wonderful witty flash fiction. He’s on Twitter and Instagram too – thanks for being there.

  11. Keith Sandvidge -– dark and witty tales. Great support over in ‘twitterland’. Don’t tell anyone, but I think he’s reading my first novel…I wonder how it’s going.
    He also writes on Medium – pop over and give him a clap.

…and there are others, newer to my circle – and since Sadje also very kindly nominated me for the Liebster Award as well, I’ll give them their shout out there – stay tuned!

And I’m not going to ask anyone any questions, I merely offer the invitation to grab the ‘Sunshine Blogger’ banner, tell us more about yourself and pay it forward if you’d like.

You are someone's sunshine

 

The Clock’s Ticking!

the clock is ticking lunasonline Photo by Jordan Benton from Pexels
Photo by Jordan Benton from Pexels

Just to let you know that I won’t be around quite so much for the next 6 weeks. It’s nothing bad.

I promised myself at the beginning of March that I would finish the draft of my new novel by the end of October (this year), and then do something I’ve never done before, and which I’ve wanted to do for almost 10 years: NaNoWriMo.

2018 is the year.
It’s going to be a challenge because I’m going to have to plan this properly.
Starting…now! Well, soon.

I’ll be popping up for air to see what everyone’s up to, but if I don’t interact with you much, you’ll know it’s going well. If I do start wittering on it will mean I’m prevaricating which will not be so good. You might even find me crying in a corner of Twitter.

But let’s be positive. I’m going to get it done.

Wish me luck!

Your Writing Needs This Pacing

300 words a day – not much, about a page. Do this! (Note to self)

A Writer's Path

by Richard Risemberg

There is one indispensable step to writing, and that is that you must sit down and write.

This is technically untrue, and was not such a hard and fast rule in the ancient days: Homer, said to be blind, would have been functionally illiterate; he worked the great epics in his head and presented them to live audiences. What we have now are versions likely written down by scribes taking dictation.

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How to Protect Against Plagiarism If You Post Fiction Online

A very important issue. Some useful guidance for those of you who like me are posting their work online.

A Writer's Path

by Sarah Pesce

Let me start this off by saying plagiarists are the WORST.

Unfortunately, plagiarism is made easier than ever with self-publishing these days. If you post your work online – on fanfic forums, on Wattpad, on critique sites, on your own website, etc. – you run the risk of that work being stolen and put up for sale as an ebook, with someone else potentially making money off of your labour.

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The best reference for authors

Elements of Style by Struck & White lunasonlineReading a blog post from Cristian Mihai in The Art of Blogging, earlier this week reminded how useful I’ve found this little book over the years. Most recently, when I was doing a spot of editing for my good friend, Paul English, whose latest book, “Fire Angel: Turning Point”  from his ‘Fire Angel Universe’ series, is just out now.

Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style” was first introduced to me by the wonderful Ursula K. Le Guin (sadly no longer with us), in her excellent book on story writing: “Steering the Craft”, which was a huge help to me early on in my writing life.

Read what Cristian Mihai says about it in his post: ‘The (Very Short) Ultimate Guide to Blogging’