Wednesday 26 October 2011

Normal Service Will Resume ...

No proper post today, as I am burning midnight oil, busy with edits. See you soon.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

A Question

What do a homeless man with amnesia and a reclusive research scientist have in common?

Well - for a start, they can both read minds ...

And they might just be about to fall in love ...

And someone is defintly out to get them ...

They're Jay and Madison, the rather unusual hero and heroine of Out of Sight, Out of Mind the book that took me to the final of the Romantic Times Magazine's American Title Contest for the first time.

Now I'm thrilled to be able to say that Choc-lit will be publishing Out of Sight, Out of Mind as my second book from them, in the autumn of 2012.

As hinted above, it's a paranormal. Not the claws, paws, fangs, fins type, just two human characters, with human problems that are complicated by the paranormal power that they share. Both Jay and Madison have secrets. Unfortunately Jay can't remember what his are. But someone else knows, and that's where the trouble starts.

If you want to read a little more, please check out the 'Books' pages on my website.

It looks like 2012 is going to be a very exciting year for me.

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Leaving it to the Imagination

It was my turn to choose the Wednesday man on the Choc-lit blog today, another of my ambiguous heroes, if you want to hop over and have a look.  I’ve followed the career of the actor in question for quite a long time.  And when thinking about the post, I naturally reviewed my memories of his career.  The first time I saw him on stage the part involved nudity. The second time the part was an ambiguous one -- a charmer with evil under the surface.  Now, if you had asked me, I would have said that the nudity came second, but researching the two plays it was the other way around, which leads me to something I've been meaning to explore in a post--- memory and the tricks it plays.  So I had two possible posts today, nudity and memory.  Funnily enough, I decided to choose naked actors and to keep unreliable recollections for another day.

Everything goes in phases. At one time nudity on stage was very much the thing.  In fact, it got a bit boring.  ‘Oh yes, dear, I've seen all that. Now could we have a bit of acting please?’  Either that, or the audience was laying bets on how far into the play it would be before a member of the cast stripped off.  Mind you, I don't claim to be an angel and I have been known to purchase a front row seat on more than one occasions to see the same play, knowing that a particular favorite would be appearing, without barriers, as it were.  In my defense, I have seen plays multiple times when all the actors remained fully clothed at all times, so it's not my only reason for going. 
Absolutely the most memorable nude scene ever was a multi award winning play called Take Me Out at the Donmar Theatre.  Now that theatre is a very small space, and the play included a shower scene involving a whole baseball team.  That’s nine men, with only a bar of soap between them.  It was a brilliant scene from nine brave and talented American actors.  Strangely, when theatrical memories are being exchanged amongst my group of friends, that one is quite frequently mentioned.  Nudity on stage has rather gone out of fashion of late -- although I gather that in the National Theatre's recent production of Frankenstein the monster appeared in the buff, which does have certain logic to it.  I saw the performance on the cinema relay, where the assets were covered, and I can't say that the addition of a loincloth in any way detracted from my appreciation of the performance.  And that's what I'm getting to, in this lengthy excursion into nudes I have known and loved.  It is possible to leave some things to the imagination.  And that, I think, is one of the beauties of books.  The author tells a story, but the setting, characters and events are fleshed out in the reader's own mind.  And every book is different for every reader.  There is a lot of debate in writing circles about headless covers -- you know the ones, where you only get hero or heroine from the chin, or neck, down. While they look a bit strange, they do have the advantage of not imposing an image of that hero or heroine.  You can imagine what you like.  And that's the thing about writing books -- the writer can only do so much.  It’s a contract.  What the reader brings to the party is their own imagination.  And that's a powerful thing

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Listening in

Most authors will admit to being compulsive eavesdroppers. I know I am, and while I would never use any overheard conversation in a book, I do take special note of the way that people speak. Expressions that they use, the rhythms and the sentence construction. When you write genre fiction conversation is a huge part of the book and it's good to get it as realistic as possible. You don't reproduce all the ums, ahs and you knows that make up an awful lot of what we say, but pauses, broken sentences, emphasis and interruptions make it sound authentic.

I find that characters do develop their own way of speaking.  I remember a friend and fellow author reading a manuscript for me and commenting that I'd used one particular phrase over and over again. I was puzzled, as it wasn't a phrase that I was particularly aware of using. When I looked back at the manuscript I could see what had happened. It wasn't me, it was the character in the book. It was her favourite expression and she used it a lot, and I hadn't noticed. I was hearing her voice, not reading words off a page.

That's another thing I do, which is read dialogue aloud to myself. That's not too bad, but acting out dialogue, playing all the parts, with facial expression, in public places? That can get you some very funny looks. And sometimes you don't even realise you're doing it. For some reason I often catch myself doing that on the way to the railway station. So - if you meet me on the way to the trains, and I'm talking to myself again, take no notice.