Blood Bath – Weekend Coffee Share 9/4/16

weekend coffee share

If we were having coffee I would tell you that, between interpreting jobs, I had a fun and creative week with my daughters. My eldest has a photography project due, so we set up a few spooky photo sessions (one of the artists she chose, Sarah Thompson, creates haunting images). The original shots are manipulated to create mood and atmosphere, which is an interesting process – especially the layering effect. We have a ghostly image that resembles a scene from the poltergeist movie (spooky doesn’t even begin to cover it); a blood bath;  rainbow tears (okay, so that one’s kind of sweet), and a few others that may just give me nightmares!

Grace3

This might lead to a discussion on photography in general, and hopefully you would share your favourite images with me, or the kind of shots you enjoy to take.

If we were having coffee, you might ask if I enjoyed the movie last weekend, and I would deflect by rambling on about the fun I had with my brother. There’s also the fact I went to the movies twice – my girls chose the second (The Huntsman: Winter’s War) and I enjoyed it more than Batman v Superman, so that would speak volumes.

I would ask if you’ve seen anything at the cinema recently, at which point, if we felt so inclined, we would chat for a while about films or our favourite programmes.

Ponderosa2

If we were having coffee I would tell you I spent the day with my nephew, and as the general theme appears to be photos this week, I would share my snaps from the animal park we visited.

Then we would replenish our mugs and chat about our other adventures, the large and the small that made up our week. I would tell you that next Saturday it’s my birthday, and share that I have absolutely no objections if you want to bring cake to have with our coffee!

After that, I would head over to Diana’s place and check in.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Meet the Barkers – Weekend Coffee Share

 

weekend coffee share.png

If we were having coffee, we would be surrounded by the whole Barker clan! We often get together, but this weekend is a little different, because my brother is here for a visit. We all miss him. Andrew is the life and soul of the party; he is quick to laugh and always manages to lighten my mood. He is my (not so little) little brother.

I would tell you that yesterday we went for a meal, yep, the whole clan. We managed to snag a round table, so the conversation never stopped – neither did the laughter. We can be a little rowdy, but the good kind, not the ‘I’ll get my coat,’ show you to the door kind. There were a dozen conversations happening at once, and it felt great; the kind of atmosphere I try to reflect in my writing because I feel so lucky to have it.

If we were having coffee, I would ask about your weekend plans. We might move to the other room so we could hear above the din! Unless, like me, you can sign, and then we’d wave our hands about instead! I would ask if you’ve seen the new Batman v Superman movie, and tell you we’re going to see it tonight – yes the entire brood…maybe we should call ahead and warn them! I would admit that Superman is my favourite comic book character, and I know I always say I don’t have favourites, and I talk about Marvel characters waaay too much, but my first comic was a DC comic, and then I saw Christopher Reeve in the movie…enough said.

if we were having coffee

I would ask what’s new in your life, like for example, if you’ve chosen a cover for the novel yet *cough*Jacqui *cough.* Then I would refresh our beverages, make everyone else one while I’m at it, and we’d settle down to finish sharing our news.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that a friend I haven’t seen in twenty years is coming to stay with me in July, and I’m really looking forward to it. I met Magali on a school exchange programme when I was sixteen, and my first experience of France was truly inspiring. I loved the country, the culture, the language, and most of all the family. We lost touch for a long time, so I was thrilled when she got back in touch on Facebook. Magali and her family are coming to England, and I’ll finally get to see her again. I’m excited and terrified; the fear stems from the fact I’ve forgotten most of the French I learned in school. Between now and July I won’t be going anywhere without my headphones and a French course running on my phone, so I can try to rectify that.

I would tell you that I’ve missed our weekend chats, it’s been too long since we had a good old fashioned chin wag!

Then I would hop on over to Diana’s place, and catch up with everyone.

Thanks for stopping by

Mel

Saturday Book Club – 26 March 2016

I got a little side tracked with my reading this week. I’m still reading Rogue Lawyer, but a friend told me about a book called ‘Why Does E=mc²?’ by Brian Cox & Jeff Forshaw and, like I said…side tracked. It’s heavy, but written in an engaging tone, which is often amusing, so when you have to reread a paragraph to let it sink in, you have fun doing it! The theories relating to space and time are fascinating, so I got completely caught up.

I’m reading them simultaneously, which is a nice balance, but means I haven’t romped through Grisham’s book as I would normally do. So, rain check on my thoughts about that particular adventure. I have a few days off work, so I’m sure I’ll catch up.

Moving on from reading, a blogging friend, Jacqui Murray, shared photographs of her work space this week, and you can check that out by clicking here. I thought I would share my own space with you, as I do most of my writing, and reading, sitting at my desk. Here is what my office looks like – it’s suprising what you can do with a box room!

PicMonkey Collage

In terms of writing, I’ve been trying to create character profiles for The Collective to display on the website. I thought it might be good for readers to follow along with the series and get to know the main players a little better. I’ve had a few formatting issues, so I’m still working on that. I also want to create a glossary, and that is next on my agenda. It’s almost time to release the first episode, so that’s exciting. With that in mind, I thought I would share a sneak peak with you – the introduction to Esha Tomas.

“Damn, vampires,” Esha muttered, pacing the courtyard. “Why do we continue to put up with Isaac’s crap?”

Leela tried, but failed, to cover her amusement. “I’m not sure where to start with that. First, your best friend is a vampire, and second, Isaac is his brother, and, do I need to remind you, a Noble Shield.”

“Yes, and I ask myself the why of that last one every day.”

Esha was a Noble Shield, as was Leela, their best friend Aaron, and his idiot brother, Isaac. There were thirteen Shields in total, all in service to Constance, the Siren Queen.

“Let Aaron deal with it,” Leela said in a placating tone. “Constance respects him.”

“It’s the only reason Isaac is still alive.” Esha glanced across at the enormous stone pillars that sat astride the steps leading to the palace. She didn’t see the noble architecture, the glistening stone that formed part of the land, her thoughts were on Aaron. It stung that he felt it was his duty to face Constance alone. They had his back in all things, but his brother had brought shame to the family, to their queen, and Aaron took the responsibility for Isaac’s actions. He always did.

Esha’s wings twitched. She longed to take flight. As a siren, she was part bird and, warrior or not, she was at her best in the sky. She often chose her half-form, like now, because she liked the feel of her wings. Her head dropped back and she looked up, following the path of one of her comrades as she flew out to scout the area.

“You’ll be able to stretch your wings soon enough,” Leela said beside her, the desire to shift as powerful as Esha’s.

Esha nodded. Their region was vast. Marsacre was one of the largest in Nearyon. It sat beside Valcrest, home of the Enraptured; Aaron’s true home. But their friend had chosen to serve Constance, and in doing so, his loyalty was to her. Esha and Leela shared that loyalty, but they also swore to protect one another. When Aaron began his journey, they would accompany him, whether he liked it or not.

Her body froze the moment she caught the scent of their friend’s arrogance. By the gods, but there was no denying Aaron had balls the size of cantaloupe.

She watched him, friend and fellow descendent of the Clanderians and, as she did, Esha considered their differences. They were both part of the same fucked-up gene pool, but in many ways – they were kin. His steps were sure, his posture deceptively relaxed. He had skin the colour of burnt treacle, with eyes so dark they stole some of the light. Yes, he was a magnificent creature. She gave him credit for holding his powers in check. He didn’t even try to buffer her annoyance. He never did.

That’s it from me this week and, as always, I want to know what you’re reading, what projects, if any, you have on the go – anything you want to share.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Saturday Book Club – 19 March 2016

Hi, how was your week? Mine was a little crazy, so I’m thrilled it’s the weekend – more so because I get to catch up. So let’s talk. I have a pretty comfy couch, so we’re good here for a while.

Cover Art by Jon Hunsinger

I’m currently reading Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham, but we’ll get to that in a minute. First, I promised a summary of my thoughts on Crossing Bedlam by Charles Yallowitz, which I finished last week. I wrote a review, and you can find it by clicking here.

So, back to Grisham. I actually read a review on  Don Massenzio’s blog, and as I used to be a huge fan of Grisham’s books, after reading what Don had to say about Rogue Lawyer I couldn’t resist. So far, so good. I think I might actually be hooked again. I’m a faithful reader, so I tend to stick by my favourites. Unfortunately the last couple I read of Grisham’s made me hesitate when considering his latest release. I would have got to it eventually, put it on my ever growing reading list. I’m glad I didn’t wait. There are so many authors I enjoy at the moment, it’s not easy to choose. Unless it’s Lee Child (because I have a serious weakness for Jack Reacher), I tend to read them in order.

Rogue Lawyer

Going back to the crazy, as in week, that would be crazy busy, I’ve only read a couple of chapters. I expect I’ll have more to say about it next week, though. If you’ve read it, feel free to share your thoughts.

Writing wise, I’ve mostly been editing. I’m working my way through episode 2 of the Collective, and trying to make sure the characters have a unique voice. It’s written in third person, but each episode is told from multiple points of view – changing characters depending on the scene. Again, it’s different to my novels, juggling so many characters (and plot lines), so the challenges just keep coming! Not that it isn’t fun. I’m having an absolute blast. In fact, I’m so excited about this project, I had to pull over to the side of the road yesterday to jot something down (safely).

One of the things I love about getting to know my characters is that, even when I know their background, think I know all their secrets, bam, out of the blue they share something with me and I think ‘No! Really?’ I know I’m not alone in that – even the most explicit of planners get caught by surprise. I mention this because it’s the reason I had to pull over (safely).

I will be releasing a sneak preview of the first episode next week (Chapter 1) on the website, so I’ll share a link with you. I already posted it to Watt Pad, so if you want to check it out, you can do that here. Just a note, if you read the post I wrote for Writer’s Quote Wednesday, you will recognise the first part of the chapter, so you’ll need to scroll down for the continuation – to find out how the scene ends.

But that’s it from me. I’ve rambled enough. I want to hear about your week. Are you reading anything new? If it’s still the same book, how’s that going? What about writing, blogging, creative outlets in general – do you have anything to share?

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

 

 

Saturday Book Club

Welcome, I hope you had a good week. I am having a lazy Saturday. I’ve almost finished Crossing Bedlam, a novel by Charles Yallowitz, so I’m in my lazy-day clothes. All my jobs are done, and I can camp out on the sofa and finish the adventure. I will be writing a review, so next week I can share the highlights.

I travelled quite a lot this week, so as I can’t read and drive (how great would it be if we all had KIT to rely on), I listened to an audio book. It’s an old favourite – the In Death series by JD Robb (Nora Roberts). I also find my household chores get done a lot quicker, because I get lost in the story and ‘voila’ the rooms are as neat as a pin – well, okay, not quite. But close enough.

saturday book club

Writing wise, it has been all about the Collective. The gang follow me around just about everywhere I go, and I find writing a serial is a new kind of challenge. There is so much to remember, I’ve been forced to adapt my current system just to keep up. I know some writers who tackle a project working almost in reverse. So they write the final scene first. I never understood this until the Collective. I wrote the final scene to episode four first, because it was so clear in my mind I had to get it down. It had a curious effect because everything slotted into place as the team clawed their way towards the cliff-hanger.

That’s another interesting part. I have to create a cliff hanger at the end of each episode, with the final scene of the season incorporating an explosive finale. Not altogether different from a novel, but it feels more immediate, certainly more structured. I should have done this years ago!

Now all I have to do is decide where to publish the episodes. The full season will be available as a set, but in the meantime, how do I release the monthly instalments. It is a dilemma!

Right, so enough about me. I have my coffee ready, the goodies out (I’m so organised today). Tell me about you. What are you reading? How are the writing projects going? Did you have any interesting blogging adventures? Talk to me!

Mel

 

If we were having coffee, I would tell you a story…

weekendcoffeeshareIf we were having coffee we would be relaxing on my sofa, feet up, with our drinks close by as we nattered about our week. Call it what you will, gabbed, chatted, chewed the fat (to throw in an American phrase) – we would set the world to rights. I’d want to know everything you’ve been up to, especially as it feels so long since we last caught up. I missed last week, and almost this week until a friend reminded me how much she enjoyed our little get-togethers.

It’s my own fault. I’ve been writing non-stop, but also waving my arms around quite a lot. By which I mean interpreting. But of course you know that. It always reminds me of a friend, Van, who enjoys to ask ‘what do you call a group of interpreters?’ and the answer, which I’m sure you’ve heard before, is ‘a flap!’ Maybe it’s an in-house joke, and we all have those don’t we?

I would tell you I went to the cinema with my youngest daughter. She decided not to go out with her friends, and I’m not sure if that’s because she wanted to spend time with me, or Dylan O’Brien (an actor in the movie!). I took her to see The Maze Runner, and whatever the reason for her company, we had a great time.

If we were having coffee, you would no doubt ask me how the story a day is coming along, at which point I would groan. Mainly because I’ve been late posting nearly every day this week. I’m really glad I decided to write a continued story, because I’m hard pressed writing something between jobs as it is, let alone something completely new. I’m in these characters’ heads now, and they’re cooperating, which is good. That said, I’m going to have fun in the editing stage!

After we’d caught up, laughed, and had our fill of caffeine, I would share with you my instalment for today. I would do this only because it’s short, and I only just finished it. After that, we would saunter over to Diana’s place to catch up with everyone else – feeling relaxed and itching to learn how our other friends are doing.

Missing Part 16 (Day 19) A Story A Day

Holly couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t think, couldn’t move, couldn’t see. Panic had her in its grip, which only made her lungs tighten further.

She’d been right about the crew moving out. Holly had waited for hours, listening to the sounds of organised chaos outside her box. The prospect of leaving filled her with a fear so sharp and bright she felt it clawing at her insides. Even though she had fought to escape, she knew this prison was safer than what lay ahead.

She sucked in a breath, trying not to breath through her nose. The cloth sack over her head smelled of fear and fruitless tears; a reminder that she was completely at their mercy. Her hands and feet were bound, which was her punishment for fighting back. Still, it had been satisfying to hear the grunt of pain when she’d kneed one of her captors where it hurt. She’d bitten him too.

It’s not over yet.

Holly tried to hold onto the thought. She repeated it over and over in her mind, clinging to hope, praying for an answer. It was working, until a scream pierced the air an instant before she heard the squealing of tyres. Something hit the van they were travelling in. There was no mistaking the shock of impact. Her heart accelerated, hope burning bright, even as her body began to fall and her world was turned upside down. Then her head rapped against something hard and sharp, and darkness engulfed her completely.


Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend.

Mel

If we were having coffee…there would be a lot to discuss.

weekendcoffeeshareIf we were having coffee I might glance over my shoulder from time to time, and be forced to admit that I’m worried about retribution. I pranked my daughter a few days ago and she swore payback – she’s extremely good at it! This would no doubt lead to a conversation about pranks, and I would ask if you’ve ever pulled a prank on your family and friends. It’s not uncommon for our discussions to turn to books, and because there are great examples in literature, I would tell you that my favourite Roald Dahl book is The Twits. The pranks they played on each other were truly hilarious, in a twisted kind of way! My daughter is a fan of Amelia Jane by Enid Blyton, so she has a mean streak! But don’t worry, her beef is with me so you’re safe.

I would refresh our mugs and we would talk about our week. I would share my snaps from my day at the seaside last Saturday, and share my memories. We had a great time.

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If we were having coffee, our discussion would turn to blogging, because there are several great things happening in the blogosphere right now. Part Time Monster has a special month planned for October, which I’m particularly excited about. The Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) are running an anthology contest, which is open until the 1st of November 2015. To find out more, click here. Elizabeth Tyree is running a new feature, interviewing authors and illustrators. To find out more, click here. Charles Yallowitz posed some interesting questions in this week’s round of his new feature: Questions 3. I really enjoy the threads this feature generates, and (as we are having coffee) I thought I would share the questions. You can join the thread on Charles’s site by clicking here.

Q1: If you survived the apocalypse, what would be your first priority?

Finding the rest of my family and friends. My first thought when considering this question was of the new television show Fear the Walking Dead. It’s a great show because it starts from the first outbreak and gives us a glimpse of what our world would be like if a deadly virus destroyed the planet. In reality, and depending on how many people survived; the dangers present, etc. I would try to get to my family. You have to consider that phones lines would be down, and the roads treacherous at best, but I would give it my best shot.

Q2: Would you be a loner or gather a group and why?

I’m probably going to surprise a few people, being an introvert and all. But I would gather a group. I believe in strength in numbers, and you have to build trust early. If I chose to be a loner (with the exception of family, I hope), that trust would be hard earned if forced into a situation beyond my control. I’m sure there would be ample opportunity for me to get some alone time!

Q3: If one object survived the initial chaos, what would you want it to be?

Probably my car. There are things I’d grab from the house, supplies I would take with me (that I assume would survive). But if I’m going on a mission to find my family and other survivors, I’m going to need some wheels!

If we were having coffee, and we were satisfied we’d fully explored Charles’ questions, we would probably head over to Diana’s place – where the conversation would continue. And the coffee, of course.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

If we were having coffee…there would only be time for one cup.

weekendcoffeeshareIf we were having coffee, it would be ridiculously early (sorry). I’m going on a trip to the seaside today – Bridlington to be exact. It’s a place my dad particularly loved and, as it’s his birthday, my sisters and I always take this day to do things to remember him. So, we go to the coast; we eat doughnuts, walk along the harbour, go on the Waltzers (dad’s favourite), and an arcade game or two. Oh, and the beach. Weather permitting, we always sit on the beach and share our memories. In fact, we’ve spent a year or two sitting in the rain. As Peter Kay would say – that fine rain that soaks your through!

dad

I’d ask about your plans for the weekend, catch up on your adventures since the last time we shared coffee. I’d tell you I had two days to myself this week because my girls were away. I could have done anything; caught up on my writing, my emails, done some work, done anything productive, visited people. Instead I had a TV marathon. I would normally feel guilty about that, but I can’t seem to drum up the emotion.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you my work in progress is going well – sort of! All but one character is cooperating. The problem with Andrew is his arrogance, or maybe it’s mine. I had it in my head that he would be kidnapped by a group of hired thugs. But here’s the thing. He’s special forces and there’s no way in hell he was going to let that happen. Every time I wrote him into a corner, he got out of it. He’s slippery that one! It would be nice and easy if, like in the TV show Dexter, someone could stab him with a syringe and knock him out (in seconds no less). But, who am I kidding. They wouldn’t be able to sneak up on him in the first place. Even if they could, Blue (his trusty canine sidekick) would get in their way.

But enough about that. This is the point where I’d have to apologise for not having the time for a refill. I enjoy our chats, and as I haven’t been posting as often as I would like, I thought I’d fit this in before hitting the road. So, if we were having coffee, I’d wish you a wonderful weekend.

Don’t forget to stop by at Diana’s place to catch up with everyone else. I’ll be heading over when I get back home, and my stomach has settled from all the doughnuts and the fast, crazy rides my sisters will no doubt drag me on!

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

If we were having coffee…we would be dicussing strong female role models

weekendcoffeeshareIf we were having coffee I would avoid talking about one job, just so I could prattle on about my other. It’s a beautiful day, so we would be outside in the garden, sitting beneath a large red umbrella with an array of tasty treats between us. Perhaps we would have a cold drink or, more accurately – you might. I’m rarely without a cup of tea, whatever the weather! From our position at the patio table, we’d have a direct line of sight to my glorious daisies. They’re drooping a little in this heat, though, granted, they are exceptionally tall this year.

Being in the garden would prompt a discussion about helping my mum out this past week. Her garden has a low running white wall along the entire boundary, topped with fencing. She got the messy job of painting the fence, I got the arduous job of painting the wall – it was a serious workout! The rest of the family helped too; we listened to music, chatted, and shouted insults for dripping onto each others section! It’s almost done, and just in time for my brother’s visit. He’ll be here for a few days, and we have lots planned during his stay. Most importantly, we’re having a garden party. Yes, it’s been several weeks since he got his promotion, but we haven’t seen him, so there will be banners, balloons, gifts, and a few celebratory toasts.

Zak paining

If we were having coffee I would ask about your week, and your plans for the rest of the day. I would top off our drinks, and we might go inside for a while where it’s cool.

Eventually, the conversation would turn to writing. I’ve been too busy to write this week, and the work in progress is not going well – so I’d probably be avoiding it anyway! After the weekend I will continue with the next book in the Morgan and Fairchild series. I enjoy writing strong female characters, and Ellen Parker, one of the protagonists, is a tough cookie (in more ways than one!) She’s a former Artillery Troop Officer (Royal Artillery); a weapons expert, and skilled in hand to hand combat, so, yeah – she’s fun!

Ellen has similar personality traits to my great-grandmother, which makes her a formidable woman. My great-grandmother, Doris, who was my grandfather’s mother, is one of my role models. Not because she raised four boys single-handed (my great-grandfather died young), but because, no matter what life threw at her, she came out fighting. She had a wicked sense of humour, and that’s one of the things I remember most fondly. She had Parkinson’s disease, and struggled with her health in general when I was a teenager, but she never let it beat her. I once visited her with my sister, just to check in. “What have you being doing today, grandma?” my sister asked. “Nowt but bloody shaking!” Oh, how we laughed…she always made us laugh.

Doris's boys

If we were having coffee, I would thank you for stopping by, and wish you a very happy weekend. I have an editing job to finish, which should be complete by tonight, and then I can make my rounds and catch up with everyone else at Diana’s place. Don’t forget to check in with the others who take part in the Weekend Coffee Share at Part-Time Monster – it’s a lot of fun.

Until next time.

Mel

Three…two…one…and we’re live! Weekend Coffee Share

Organised by Diana (Part Time Monster).
Organised by Diana (Part Time Monster).

If we were having coffee, I would apologise for the radio silence; loosely translated as a distinct lack of comments due to an incredibly busy week. We would be sat in my garden because the sun is positively beaming, and I have so much energy I can’t deal with confined spaces! You would catch me up on your week as we sipped our drink of choice, and in your company I would begin to relax.

Then, you would ask how I feel about my live interview this afternoon with Jonas Lee, and the nerves would start dancing again, to a very distinct tune. As  an interpreter I’m used to having a conversation over FaceTime, but it’s always in sign language and it’s not about me it’s about the job. So, yes, I’m slightly nervous, not least because I might go into auto pilot and start to sign! I would tell you that my interview is at 3.30pm UK time, so if you would like to ask questions you can leave them here. There will be a YouTube video I can share later, which may or may not need subtitles 🙂

If we were having coffee, I would ask about your week ahead, and what you have in store. Then, we might head on over to Diana’s place, our gracious host, and catch up with our other friends.

I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel