Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Planets Meeting

Novel Kicks Fiction FridayFiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt. The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can. Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

Today’s prompt is about the planets around us.

The planets are all getting together for their annual solar system conference. What they talk about and where they meet is up to you.
However, the only rules…. Venus likes Mercury. Jupiter is grumpy and Neptune doesn’t like Earth (is jealous of earth,) so they can’t sit next to one another.

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Writing Room: Seeing Is Not Always Believing

rp_writeanything-300x19911-300x1991-300x1991-300x199-300x1991-300x199-300x199-1-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-1-1.jpgTuesday 20th September 2016.

Today’s prompt: Seeing is not always believing.

Senses are obviously very important. Visual is what we most rely on.

For today’s exercise, describe a place of importance but only use smell, hearing, touch or taste.

Anything but visual descriptions.

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Blog Tour: The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan – Review

perfect-girlTo everyone who knows her now, Zoe Maisey – child genius, musical sensation – is perfect. Yet several years ago Zoe caused the death of three teenagers. She served her time, and now she’s free.

Her story begins with her giving the performance of her life.

By midnight, her mother is dead.

The Perfect Girl is an intricate exploration into the mind of a teenager burdened by brilliance, and a past that she cannot leave behind.

Zoé and her mother Maria moved from Devon to Bristol to start a new life following a big tragedy. Maria is now married to Chris and along with his son, Lucas, Zoé and Maria seem to be getting their lives back on track. Tessa, Maria’s sister is also living near by.

Zoé finds that she isn’t going to really find protection from her old life when it very much catches up with her. When more tragedy strikes the family, Zoé is worried she is going to become suspect number one but is she really to blame?

I loved Burnt Paper Sky so I have been waiting patiently and excitedly for Gilly’s new novel, The Perfect Girl which is due its paperback release on Thursday (22nd September.)

The Perfect Girl has a great build up of suspense across the novel. It is set in a very short but very tense space of time. The lives of the characters are complicated and fascinating.

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My Writing Ramblings: Taking Myself Seriously?

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225-300x225.jpgIt is amazing how quickly a week can go and how little you can actually achieve. It has been seven of those days that seems to have merged into one. Where the day job (or in my case this week has been my first lot of night shifts for months) has taken priority.

I have been trying to sneak bits and pieces in here and there. I’m still making my way through Emma. I am a little behind. I am not too worried about that. Reading Austen was never about how quickly I could get through them. If you’re reading along with me, how are you getting on?

I have been writing about two hundred words of a short story this week to make sure I at least write something. My planning has got to a stage where I need to sit down and map out plot so it is not something I have been able to do this week as I don’t want to rush it. I have done that before and it has not got me far. I am so tired from my shifts though that once I do get home, I just want to sleep. Surprisingly, I am not actually getting too worked up about it. I am still working my way through the plot in my head. That counts…right?

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Woods For The Trees

image1Fiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt. The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can. Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

Today’s Prompt: Woods for the trees.
What does the picture inspire?
If you need further inspiration, how about this… There are two characters – one male and one female and they are just about to enter the woods. It is up to you whether this man and woman get on and why they are going into the woods. It is also up to you what happens once they go into the woods.

rp_friday-300x16411111111111111-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x1641-300x16411-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x1641-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x164-1-1-1-1-1.png

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Blog : Gill Paul Chats About The Launch Party For Her New Novel, The Secret Wife

71jrs-bsytl

The Secret Wife is the latest novel by Gill Paul and it was released by Avon on 25th August 2016.

A Russian grand duchess and an English journalist. Linked by one of the world’s greatest mysteries . . .

Love. Guilt. Heartbreak.

1914

Russia is on the brink of collapse, and the Romanov family faces a terrifyingly uncertain future. Grand Duchess Tatiana has fallen in love with cavalry officer Dmitri, but events take a catastrophic turn, placing their romance – and their lives – in danger . . .

2016

Kitty Fisher escapes to her great-grandfather’s remote cabin in America, after a devastating revelation makes her flee London. There, on the shores of Lake Akanabee, she discovers the spectacular jewelled pendant that will lead her to a long-buried family secret . . .

Haunting, moving and beautifully written, The Secret Wife effortlessly crosses centuries, as past merges with present in an unforgettable story of love, loss and resilience.

Gill Paul has joined me today to chat about the launch event for her new novel (which sounds amazing and I am looking forward to reading it.)

Hi Gill. Congratulations on the release of The Secret Wife. What was the launch party like?

img_8106I organise parties like military campaigns with master lists covered in arrows and squiggles only I can decipher. There were lots of elements to this one, which I’d been planning since June, when the Open Russia Club kindly said I could hold The Secret Wife launch there. Among things to arrange were:

• Lots of booze, including vodka I’d brought back specially from St Petersburg.
• Several different types of canapés: caviar on blinis, smoked fish on rye, chopped egg, cream cheese and beetroot, and two trays of gluten-free ones.
• Cupcakes (made by my powerhouse friend Karen, CEO of Orenda Books).
• A large screen showing home movie footage of the Romanovs with a Tchaikovsky sound track.
• Four boards with postcards of Fabergé eggs pasted on them.
• A table for the lovely Waterstones bookseller Maria to heap up the books.
• Postcards of Tatiana and Dmitri for guests to take as bookmarks.

Like most military campaigns in history, this did not go entirely to plan. It turned out there was no way to fix the Fabergé boards to the walls so we propped them on the floor and no one could see them once the crowds arrived. The television screen was too low down so not everyone could get close enough to watch the incredibly moving pictures of the Romanov girls prancing around in their white dresses and Alexei playing at being a soldier. The music my friend Lee had spent so long mixing couldn’t be heard over the chatter in the room. And worst of all, I forgot to bring my makeup bag to the club with me!!

img_8108Several guests arrived early, including Linda Hill – which was great because these early birds were the only people I got to have a proper conversation with all evening. Suddenly, at 6.30, a crowd arrived en masse, the room filled up, and all I could do was wave, air kiss and smile. My editors Eloise and Phoebe acted as bar staff, and were so good at it there’s definitely another career waiting for them should the publishing thing not work out. I seemed to spend the rest of the evening signing books, trying desperately not to spell anyone’s name wrong.

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My Favourites: Book Worlds

harry-potter

J.K Rowling. Bloomsbury. 2001.

I have always loved reading and always will. There is something so magical about being able to escape to another place for a while. Whenever I feel anxious and want to relax, I pick up a book. It can be such a comfort.
One of the things I love most about escaping into a book is that I get to experience all of these different worlds. I get to travel, get to know the characters and see life through their eyes (it appeals to the part of me that is incredibly nosey.)

Having loved reading since I was young, I have visited many places and worlds. Some I have loved, some I have found intriguing and there’s some where I’ve outright wanted to pack up everything and go and live there.

I don’t think it is any surprise to anyone then that the first book world that’s my favourite is the world Harry Potter inhabits. From the moment I started reading these I fell in love with the magical world. I want to be able to own a wand and do magic. I want to go to school at Hogwarts and learn spells, potions and transfiguration. I don’t think there would ever be a dull day. This is the one world where I would like to actually go live rather than just visit. Can I head to the Hogwarts Express now?

C.S.Lewis. HarperCollins Children's Books. Nov 2009.

C.S.Lewis. HarperCollins Children’s Books. Nov 2009.

Narnia is another world I would love to go and visit (although unlike Hogwarts, I am not sure I’d want to live there.) The stories and the world of Narnia is something I’ve been reading since I was a young child. When I was little, it was the characters within the world that I loved the most and the power to overcome someone like the white witch. As I grew older, I began to appreciate the whole world.
Is it strange though to say that I love the bit with all the snow (yes, coming from the christmas freak.)
My favourite bit is the part with Father Christmas. The setting is just so magical. The imagery you also get at the end where Cair Paravel is described as being by the sea with what I imagined as a beautiful view. It would be somewhere nice to go on holiday.

Never Never Land – the land where you don’t have to grow up. When I was a teenager, I couldn’t wait to grow up and become an adult. I ignored all of the warnings my Mum gave me when she told me to not be in such a hurry and… yes… she was right.

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Setting

rp_writeanything-300x19911-300x1991-300x1991-300x199-300x1991-300x199-300x199-1-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-1-1-1.jpgTuesday 13th September 2016: Setting. 

For today’s writing exercise, we’re going to be looking at setting.

Choose a place that you know well. Place your work in progress or an idea you’re thinking about developing into this setting.

Now think of an event that began up to a month before the beginning of your story.

Then, by only describing the place/setting reveal as much as you can about the story and the characters.

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Today’s New Releases: 8th September 2016

mount by jilly cooperHello, hello, hello. How is everyone? Thursday has rolled around again. This week has gone incredibly quickly I must say. Here on Novel Kicks, Thursday means a new list of new book releases.

Rupert Campbell-Black is back in Mount which is the latest novel by Jilly Cooper.. It has been released by Bantam Press in hardback and eBook today.

Rupert is the anti hero we all love to hate and hate to love. We find Rupert consumed with his grey horse, The Love Rat. He longs to beat Roberto’s Revenge, the horse owned by his rival Cosmo Rannaldini. This obsession means abandoning Penscombe and his wife, Taggie.

The fort at home is being held by Rupert’s assistant, Gav. Gala also arrived at Penscombe. Gav is attracted to her. The bad news for Gav is that a returning Rupert is also dangerously tempted.
Riders is so delicious and so it’s good to see Campbell-Black make his return.
If you’re a fan of Jilly’s novels, be sure to pick up a copy of Mount.

 

protectorThe Protector by Jodi Ellen Malpas has also been released today this time by Orion. From what I get from the blurb of this book, it sounds as though it would make a great book to take with you on holiday if you’re managing to escape the impending Autumn weather and the darker mornings that seem to be sneaking up on us.

People think they know Camille. They see her as a beautiful spoilt daddy’s girl who uses her father’s money to fund her lifestyle. Camille however is desperate to have a life free from his strings. She has fought hard for the happiness and independence she now has but she soon finds that her father’s ruthless business dealings threaten her new life.

Camille prepares herself for the measures her father will take to protect her. That is until she meets Jack. He is hired as her bodyguard but he has his own issues. Jack soon finds out that his perception of Camille is incorrect.

I’ve not read any of Jodi Ellen’s novels before but this one sounds very intriguing and a good place to start. This book feels as though it would be a good insight on first impressions and how incorrect they can initially be.

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Competitions: September’s Blind Date With A Book

IMG_7913It is very easy to judge a book by its cover. I know I do it. The cover is the thing that initially catches our eye in the book shop. It can sometimes completely sell the book or make you walk by it without giving it a chance. Our competition is one with a twist. It’s your chance to win a blind date with a book.

I’m not going to reveal what the title of this month’s book is nor will I reveal the cover. All I will reveal is that the themes include ‘childhood, siblings, friendship, family, triumph and tragedy.’

How to enter: 

All you have to do is comment below with your name and county (although county is optional.) The closing date for entries is Thursday 29th September 2016 at 23.59.

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News: Another Screenplay Release For JK Rowling

fantastic beasts

Little, Brown. November 2016

There has been so much divided opinion since Harry Potter and The Cursed Child was released at the end of July. For me, it was lovely to be back in the magical world that these wonderful characters inhabited. Yes, there were elements for me that didn’t quite add up but regardless, this was another piece of the world I love so much and that is better than nothing. It is for that reason that I am excited for the upcoming release of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them which is due to be released in cinemas on 18th November (it is starring Eddie Redmayne as main character, Newt Scamander.)

When Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt’s fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone . . .

Inspired by the original Hogwart’s textbook by Newt Scamander, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original screenplay marks the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, author of the beloved and internationally bestselling Harry Potter books.

This film is based on the short book JK Rowling wrote especially for Comic Relief. That short book was based on the textbook that is required reading for students of Hogwarts.

At a recent trip to the cinema, I saw the trailer for this film. I’ve only got to hear that music and I am back to when I was reading all the Harry Potter books for the first time. It never fails to make me smile.

To carry on the trend of releasing screenplays in conjunction with their performance counterparts, the original screenplay is being released on the same day.

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Coming Home

rp_writeanything-300x19911-300x1991-300x1991-300x199-300x1991-300x199-300x199-1-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-1-1.jpgTuesday 6th September 2016: Coming Home

Write a story about a man named Max. He is twenty-six years old. He’s just returned home after a ten year absence. He’s returned for his mother’s funeral.

What is the reaction of the people he returns to? Why has he not been back for so long? What made him leave home at sixteen?

Write in the first person and up to two thousand words.

What if it was a twenty-six year old girl named Rachel? How would the story be different?

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Author Interview: Vicki Wakefield Talks About Her Novel, Inbetween Days

VikkiWakefieldI’m pleased to be welcoming Vicki Wakefield to Novel Kicks today. Vicki is the author of the YA novel, Inbetween Days which was released by Text Publishing on 26th August.

Jacklin Bates has life figured out – dropped out of school, moved in with her runaway sister, in love with an older boy. But why does she have a sinking feeling that she still needs her mum? Perhaps because she’s stuck in Mobius – a dying town with the macabre suicide forest its only attraction – stuck working in the roadhouse and babysitting her boss’s demented father.

Vicki, thank you for joining me today. Can you tell me about your typical writing day?

There are no typical days. I write when I feel like it, or when a deadline forces me knuckle down. It’s not that I don’t love writing, it’s just that I focus best when my slate is clean. I tend to deal with family, housework, bills, pets and life first, and then I breathe out. I can be epically productive or utterly paralysed. There’s no middle ground.

 

Do you have any writing rituals (coffee, silence?)

I’m terribly provincial. I can’t do cities, hotel rooms, libraries or cafes (I wish I could, but I either get distracted or lonely). I like to be outside; I like my dog under my feet. I prefer to write at night when everyone else is asleep, and I need tea, wine, chocolate or biscuits (not necessarily at the same time, but I’ve been known to go on a bender). I keep only one working file, so any changes are lost forever (I’m told this is the equivalent of base-jumping, but to me it’s a superstition, like wearing your lucky stinky socks for every game).

 

Do you edit as you go and plan much prior to beginning a book?

I’m always thinking about a new book long before I finish working on my current one, so the planning can take place years before I write a single word. I keep notebooks filled with random ideas and drawings to help me get to know the world and the characters, and I’ll usually have my opening paragraph perfected before I open a new document (the blank page scares me). Planning in advance helps me to decide whether a story has legs, and drawing helps me to refine my characters before I begin. That said, I’m not a plotter. I trust that the story will take me where it needs to go. I do edit as I write the first draft (against most advice on writing first drafts). It’s my way of feeling out the story. My ideas change so often and so unexpectedly that I worry the novel would be unfixable if I ignored my instincts and tried to write through.

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My Writing Ramblings: Whoosh, There Goes My Deadline….

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225-300x225.jpg‘I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.’ – Douglas Adams.

Happy Friday all.

I can’t quite believe that August has gone and we’ve now reached September.

It’s been one of those weeks where the day job has kind of taken over. I’ve been on mid shifts which on the whole don’t bother me but it’s meant that productivity of everything else has been put on the back burner. This includes the Austen challenge.

However, I now have a few days off so I will be back on track with finishing Emma before I know it…I hope. For the people doing the Austen reading challenge with me, the book for September is Mansfield Park.

My deadline to begin my novel was yesterday.  I’ve not fully finished my planning so I’ve not started writing yet. Not finishing my planning has been my number one procrastination excuse. No more. I have given myself one more week.

I have so many feelings about beginning my novel. It has been something I have been talking about for such a long time. It’s this thing that has been built up in my head. I do worry about whether I am going to be able to begin it and keep going this time. However, I also think about when I’m a lot older and what I would regret more. Finishing a novel that possibly is not publishable but I’ve done it or not starting. Plus, there is also editing.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: It’s All Mythical

Novel Kicks Fiction FridayFiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt. The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can. Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

Today’s Prompt: It’s all mythical. 

For today, write a story that is based on or uses figures and creatures from mythology. Any time period or culture. Your choice.

For example, what if Thor met up with his best friend once a week at a bar. His best friend is a basilisk by the way.

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