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Thursday, 16 July 2015

Why we write...and why we should never give up!


When I was at high school in the early 70s, I was the only person in my class who owned a typewriter. When I say typewriter, I mean a big, black metal thingy that took up most of the desk, It had flat black keys lettered in off-white, (They were white once, but years of usage had taken its toll.) a rubber roll thing at the top which facilitated the movement of the paper upwards, a slender gap in which to feed in the paper, and a chrome carriage return. I remember the paint used to chip off of it if I got too vigorous with my typing, and sometimes the keys would get stuck in the middle, sort of tangled up with each other, and it would take me ages to extricate each key. I wrote all my exam course work on it, and I truly believe I got better grades because I could type, and because everything looked neater than my classmates work.

Each piece I typed I treated like a journalistic article. It makes me laugh when I think of it, but the sense of satisfaction it gave me was enormous. In the winter I would sit in my room huddled up with loads of cardigans or with a blanket wrapped around me and feel like I was achieving something. My room was at the very far end of a house that everyone said was like a train. I suppose it was like a train. It was a converted hat factory, and yes, it was very long.

It was in this room at the end of our house that I wrote my first story. And on that very typewriter. Of course, I'd written stories since childhood, but the first one written here was when I discovered how serious I was about becoming a writer. I could think of nothing else. It was all I wanted.

When our local paper had a careers open day, I went with my mum to discuss with a journalist what I needed to do to be taken on; the qualifications I needed, which were the best colleges in which to learn my trade. The conversation was very short. "Girls aren't taken on as journalists," said the careers guy. "Oh, well," said my mum. "You'll have to do something else." That was the beginning and ending of my journalistic career. It's probably the shortest story ever written.

Recently, I read an article about some of the reasons why people feel the need to write. And for some of us, I do believe it is a need. I've heard said that anyone can write a book, that completing a story, or even a full novel is about getting words on the page in the right order. (Isn't that the challenge?) Consequently, it should be within most people's capabilities to write something of fiction, or a factual piece based on someone's knowledge of a subject. Every subject under the sun is written about. Everywhere we look, there are words that someone somewhere has written. Advertisements, street signs, maps, price tags, menus, birthday cards, cards for anything. School reports, invitations, the list is endless. It got me thinking.

Writing is actually one of the most important things about being human. Writing, and reading. What a privilege. How lucky we are that we have the capability not only to read and write, but to create? This is why I feel about writing the way I do, and why when the journalist guy said girls couldn't be journalists I wouldn't give up. Every job I have had since that day required writing and creating. So I feel I proved him wrong. How I would love to send him my books. And it would be to say, 'told you so.' I don't mind admitting it.

Is there something someone said you couldn't or shouldn't do? Did you believe them and let it change your life, or did you do it anyway? I'd love to know.

Love Valentina xxx

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Self-publishing and turning a new page

As a self-published writer, I feel in quite a good place. I'm really happy with what I've achieved so far. My dream has always been, like every writer of course, to see my work in print, stories that are read by others...not just me. To date, I've published three novels, two in the 'Notes from Random Knight' series, NOTES ON A REBELLION  and A GIRL CALLED RANDOM, and A DISH OF STONES.

I've had a little break, decorated our guest room, primarily used by my grandchildren, made the curtains and the blind, shopped for new stuff and feel pleased with the results. It was something physically creative that I really enjoyed. (I was up and down the stepladder like a gazelle. Ahem). I've also baked Brownie Enrolment cakes with my granddaughter, Scarlet. It's her enrolement this week and she's so excited to become a fully fledged Brownie. And a bit nervous too, I think.

And all the time, I was thinking about the next story.

Readers of A DISH OF STONES have asked what happened to Kate, Emma and Christina, and whether Diana and Joe get together. I had planned to write the third story in the Notes from Random Knight and complete the series, currently titled, 'TICK...TOCK, The Time Has Come', in fact I started to write it a few weeks ago, but something tugged at me. I wanted to know what happened to Christina and Emma, and Kate, too. And did Diana and Joe get together? I couldn't stop thinking about them, and I knew I had to explore their story further.

My daughter, Samantha, who is always very vocal about these things, said, "How can you leave them there? You have to tell us what happened to them, Mum." So, that's what I'm doing. It's so good to be back with them, but they are in a very different place from where they were in 1975. CHRISTINA MCGUIRE is set in 1995, when Christina is seventeen. The fresh page can be rather daunting, but once I'd got the idea in my head it just took off. It helps that Christina, Emma and Kate know exactly where they want to go, and that their emotions and feelings are so familiar to me. I'm so looking forward to writing their story. Tell me, how do you feel when you start a new story? Does it scare you, or does it excite you? I'd love to know.

Lots of love Valentina xxx

Thursday, 2 July 2015

NOTES ON A REBELLION ~ Flash Freebie on Amazon

To introduce A GIRL CALLED RANDOM, I'm offering the first story in the 'Notes from Random Knight', series NOTES ON A REBELLION for free here for one day.

Click me!

Past meets future when feisty seventeen-year-old, Random Knight takes control of the timing of her own death. After joining a renegade bunch of raiders, including her soul mate, Ethan Smith in an attack on Castle Firamodor, Random must make a judgement that throws her into the path of a brutal and terrifying adversary. Notes on a Rebellion is a powerful novel set in 2046 when fears for our world in a changing climate result in 'The Warming'.
'Is this the end of life or just the beginning?' 
Random Knight ~ Pray she succeeds!


NOTES ON A REBELLION is the first story in the NOTES FROM RANDOM KNIGHT series, and sets the scene perfectly for A GIRL CALLED RANDOM. 

'Love is mightier than the sword'.
The Warming has caused turmoil on Earth. Seeking vengeance against Random Knight and the exiles for taking his castle, power obsessed Zacharias Azazel enlists a grotesque accomplice, Chaos the Navigator, and his ghost ship, The Morvydd, to help him commit a crime that will make every parent shudder with fear. As Lord Azazel grooms the Scion of the Knights as his heir and prepares his soldiers to retake Castle Firamodor, Random and her companions run a gauntlet of obstacles in The Compendium, while Chaos forms Les Marionnettes, an army of children stolen from a century past and turned to stone. 
Set against a tale of sibling rivalry, time travel, and an under-sea war of angels between the Sachiel and Marceline, past and future collide to create a heart rending story of loss, discovery...and the most wonderful love of all.

Enjoy, lovely Blogettes.

Lots of love
Valentina xxx

The Blogettes