The Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2015 and other developments

I’m sure you know this by now (I might have mentioned it a few times), but I began contributing over at Sourcerer last week. I’ve been excited about it for a while and it is a true joy to be part of the team. I will be providing weekly reviews of Arrow, the latest of which can be found right here.

This leads me to the main subject of the post (you’ll understand in a minute), because I’ve decided to take part in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2015. The A to Z challenge has been running since 2010. It takes place during the month of April and involves a post a day, except for Sundays (you’re rewarded for good behaviour!). The twenty-six remaining days, once you’ve subtracted the ones for rest, are dedicated to a themed challenge – beginning on the 1 April with the letter A, and ending on the 30 April with the letter Z. In addition to taking part on my own blog, I will be joining the fun over at Sourcerer too. I have been allocated the letter N, joining an excellent line up of contributors *adopts best Louis Balfour voice* (The Fast Show) ‘Nice!’ I’m so excited about taking part, and will share the theme with you in a future post. If you’d like to learn more about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, click here.

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2015] - Life is Good

Other developments

You may have noticed I’ve been posting inspirational quotes on Mondays, in preparation for the #1000Speak project – an event which will take place on the 20 February 2015. If you don’t already know about the project and would like to find out more, click here.

Over the past few weeks, during the course of my adventures, and chatting with Gene’O, I’ve been introduced to some pretty fantastic bloggers. Diana, for example, at Part Time Monster, runs the weekly #WeekendCoffeeShare, which I’ve enjoyed taking part in. I also met Heather and Robin from Writeonsisters.com and have enjoyed exploring their site. A few of my friends have set themselves reading challenges this year, and I’ve been meaning to since I read Callum’s post. Today I found just the right one, inspired by Robin in her Top Ten Tuesday post. So, I’ve joined Book Riot’s 2015 Read Harder Challenge, which I’ll tell you more about next week. I will mention that the list involves a collection of poetry, which is great for me since someone I know is about to publish a collection (isn’t that right, Callum?).

Needless to say I think I’ve found a great starting point this year and I’m really looking forward to taking part in the challenges ahead.

Thanks for stopping by, and please let me know if you’re taking part in the A to Z challenge – it’s my first year so I need all the advice I can get!

Mel

Focusing my energies – WIPpet Wednesday/ROW80

I usually start with my WIPpet, but it relates to my ROW80 update, so I’ll begin by saying my goals have taken a back seat this week, or should I say, all but my writing goals. I dedicated the time to working on my NaNo novel and things are progressing at a steady pace. I’m still behind, but that’s okay.

So, on to WIPpet. The maths is easy this week – 19 paragraphs for the date. I wrote the scene this morning, so it’s still a little rough around the edges, but I wanted to share it with you. Enjoy!

As he walked the path to Lilly-May’s door, Tyler was consumed with memories. A week had passed since he’d lost his mind and kissed her, but it could have been moments ago. The feel of her soft mouth on his, the surprised little sound in her throat, her small, capable hands on his arms. She hadn’t been appalled by his behaviour, she had been intrigued by it.

His feet paused before the first step, finding a stubborn will of their own to prevent him from moving forward. He knew why – Lilly-May was a beautiful, sensual creature, driven by curiosity, and when it burned away, he would be a pile of ash.

The same fierce determination he used to confront a fire spread through his system. He could do this. Then she opened the door and he could barely breathe, let alone move.

She’d left her hair down, so it caressed the edge of her slender shoulders. The golden hue of her skin was untouched, making him want to groan. She wore a deep blue strapless dress, which clung to her generous curves and stopped just below the knee. And, sweet Jesus, he was in so much trouble.

“Thank you,” she breathed, her green eyes sparkling. “Though, if you keep looking at me like that, we may not make it to dinner.”

Tyler grinned, he couldn’t help it. He wasn’t even embarrassed she’d seen his reaction to her, he was tired of hiding it. Tired of hiding himself. “How about we skip to dessert?” He was shocked as soon as the words left his mouth.

Lilly-May, on the other hand, laughed in delight. “You’ve been keeping secrets from me,” she said, closing the door and turning the key.

“Secrets?”

Her shoulders lifted in a careless shrug, pulling his eyes away from her face. He wanted to sink his teeth into that soft flesh. So much trouble.

“I always knew you were charming, but I’ve never seen the affects of that first hand.”

“That’s because, where you’re concerned, I’m usually trying not to trip over my own tongue.” What the hell is wrong with me?

Her eyes widened in shock, a moment before she smiled. “Who are you, and what have you done with Tyler?”

He groaned at the reminder. She only saw him as the quietly serious and loyal member of their group. A family she’d claimed as her own. There was no going back from this, because he wouldn’t pretend anymore. “Promise me something, Lilly,” he said, needing them to be clear on this one thing. “Promise me, whatever happens, this won’t come between us.”

She searched his face for a moment, all traces of humour gone. “I promise. Whatever happens, you’ll always be my friend.”

It should have discouraged him, yet he was oddly soothed by the term. His heart might be in tatters by the end of this, but he wouldn’t lost her completely. Enough with the drama, Ty.

“In that case,” he said, moving up a step so they were nice and close. “Good evening, Lilly.”

Before she could reply he bent his head, and did what he’d wanted to do since the moment she stepped out of the house. Pushing aside her hair, he placed his lips against her shoulder and kissed the smooth skin.

Her sharp intake of breath had arousal beating in his blood, so he stole the sound with his mouth. She came alive, her arms locking around his neck as she tried to get closer.

It was a wild thing, the fire building between them. Every thought in his head snapped out, until there was only Lilly-May.

Thanks, as always, to K.L. Schwengel for providing us with an outlet to share our works in progress. I’m on my way to visit the rest of the gang!

I hope you’re having a good week.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Not much of a progress report – ROW80

You may have noticed my absence on Wednesday, so I apologise I didn’t have time to participate in either WIPpet Wednesday or ROW80. I’ve been preparing for the release of The Fifth Watcher, and juggling a busy workload, so this week has been chaotic to say the least!

I almost didn’t post today, because I don’t have a great deal to report. I’m on track with my writing, and back to editing. I made progress on my blogging goals, and even managed to post on the Lance Legion blog. Which is all pretty boring, right? I could have tried to make this post more entertaining, but my energy levels are low, and so is my sense of humour it seems!

So, this is me, touching base. I hope you all had a good week, and I hope to learn of your progress when I visit my group.

Until next time.

Mel

Last minute changes – WIPpet Wednesday/ROW80

As it’s the first Wednesday of NaNoWriMo I was all set to share with you a snippet from my new project – a continuation of the scene I shared with you last week.  But Tyler will have to wait a while, because my mind is on other things. The short version is that The Fifth Watcher is all set for its release on the 21st of November and, while that should be the end of that, I haven’t been able to get a scene out of my head all day. So I wrote it, and am now considering adding it in (because we all like to make changes at the last minute!).

I’d like to share it with you for WIPpet Wednesday, and am hoping feedback will help me to determine what I should do. You’ve been so helpful in the past when it comes to this project, and I’m grateful for that.

For the math, I added the day and the month together to give me 16 paragraphs. It’s a little on the long side, but I hope there’s enough action to make it worth your while!

I shifted the instant I received confirmation from Havers, the sound of Audrey’s torment travelling with me – a scream which reverberated inside my head long after she’d blacked out.

As I arrived in the small laboratory, I became aware of two things. Audrey’s sister slumped unconscious against the wall, and three armed men piling through the doorway.

I had mere seconds to react. The renegade heading up the crew had already fired his weapon; his henchmen turning towards the prisoner. Diving in their direction, I hit the floor with a resounding thwack, taking all the weight on my right shoulder.

The jolt made my teeth rattle, but I didn’t think about that, or the aroma of burning cloth from the shot which had grazed my arm. I rolled towards Audrey’s sister, disengaging my own weapon as I fired at the nearest scumbag.

Nate loomed behind the group, his arm around the shooter’s throat. “Are you out of your God-damn mind?” he yelled at me.

I took it for a rhetorical question and kicked out to bring the fight to my level. My shot had found its target, rendering the other man unconscious, so it was two against two.

My opponent was surprisingly strong for his size. He was small and wiry, with protruding joints he used to his full advantage. He jammed his elbow into my shoulder, the pleasure in his eyes letting me know how much he relished the fight.

I barely felt the pain because I was pissed. I’d behaved impulsively and deserved the reminder. That didn’t mean I was in the mood to wrestle with an untrained thug. The sound of battle rose up from the hallway, as my men cleared the building. I used it to focus, pinning my scrawny foe to the floor so I could think for a second.

Nate stepped forward, as if on cue, and jabbed him in the neck with a syringe. “Don’t ever pull that shit on me again.” His voice echoed with barely contained rage. “How am I supposed to watch your back, if you take me out of the equation?”

“It won’t happen again.”

“You’ve got that right,” Nate snapped out, clearly working on his anger. “Because if…” He felt the threat the moment I did, and started to turn.

Cursing myself for the complete lack of preparation, I grabbed his weapon from its holster and fired at the doorway; mine was on the damn floor where I’d dropped it.

Nate glanced at my handy work. “Nice shot,” he said, as we rose to assess the damage.

The renegade officer, a bear of a man at least 6ft 3″, had hit the deck hard. Stepping over him I couldn’t help but feel a wave of pity; he might prefer death to Taylor’s brand of interrogation.

“Why don’t you do the honours?” He motioned towards the hall. “Since you’re hell bent on sticking your neck out.”

I ignored the jibe, bobbing my head through the opening to get a better look. “All clear.”

I know it needs a little work, but I’m hoping the bones are there. I will be doing a cover reveal next Friday (the 14th), so if anyone would like to help out by featuring the cover or allowing me to do a guest post, please let me know. That would be great 🙂

Thanks so much to K. L. Schwengel for hosting and providing us with an opportunity to share with and support one another.

ROW80LogocopyI’ve been concentrating on my writing goals this week, for NaNo, and have about 8,900 words so far. I haven’t connected with as many people this time, but I’m hoping to rectify that. I know we write mostly in isolation, but one of the things I loved about NaNo last year was the sense of community.

My editing goals are on track. I wish I could say the same about my blogging goals, but I haven’t made much progress in that department.

Overall things are good. I’m a little tired, but I’ve been interpreting a lot in the past few days so that takes up most of my brain power!

I hope you’re having a good week, and I look forward to catching up with you.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Turning up the heat – WIPpet Wedensday/ROW80

Welcome to another instalment of WIPpet Wednesday, organised by the wonderful K. L. Schwengel. A chance to share our progress and support one another.

This week I’m moving on to my new WIP and, as it’s Halloween week, I thought I’d give you something fitting. The math is easy – 10 paragraphs for the month…maybe I should have said the math is lazy 😉

Enjoy Tyler, and don’t be too hard on him – he has a good heart!

Tyler eased his foot off the accelerator, just a little. He felt the car protest. It was built for speed.

His grin was slow and easy. Life was good. At eighteen he didn’t have a care in the world; no responsibilities, nothing to worry about except which university to choose.

Convincing his father to buy him the sports car had been child’s play. All it took was reference to his brother’s absence and his genuine envy that Sebastian was out in the big wide world. Tyler couldn’t imagine leaving Winchester long term, but the thought of losing another son had kept his father sweet.

He felt invincible; young, smart and sophisticated in the flame red Porsche. The road stretched ahead, enticing him to open her up – to give the beautiful beast free rein. He couldn’t have known what was around the corner.

Tyler sensed the commotion before he saw it. Some impending doom, or perhaps an echo of the disaster ahead. Fire was the first thing he noticed. It demanded attention as it mushroomed outward, threatening everything in its path. Heat was the second. Even from the opposite side of the carriageway, separated by the central reservation, it was enough to incite fear.

For a moment his brain froze, stuttering in its attempt to process the scene. The twisted, burning metal of a dozen vehicles too horrific to contemplate. As he edged closer he hit a wall of sound. It was like a physical blow, and it snapped him out of his stupor in time to prevent another collision. Slamming on the breaks he stopped a hairs breadth from the car in front. He knew what had caused the tail back; the carnage across from them was hypnotizing.

Flipping his indicator, he checked his mirror and pulled over. His wasn’t the only car to hug the hard shoulder. The small group gathered at the front of a dark blue range rover were all talking frantically into a series of devices.

He stepped onto the road, his eyes drawn to the wreckage opposite. Without the insulation of his car he could hear the piercing screams of those trapped. The sound shot straight through his heart, sending another ripple of fear through him. He wanted to stay and fight for these people, as much as he wanted to get back in the porsche and leave the nightmare behind.

A siren cut through the chaos, and all but Tyler turned towards the sound. His gaze followed the sea of cars, all the way back to the ball of heat he could feel like a brand against his cheek. He made a quick calculation and estimated there were twenty cars surrounding the crash site. It felt natural to follow the small group as they headed towards the central reservation. They were the only line of defence until the firefighters arrived.

He climbed into the danger zone, thinking only of the desperate cries of those trapped. His heart was pumping adrenalin around his body so fast that, at first, he didn’t react when the explosions started.

That just leaves my ROW80 check in.

I don’t have anything of interest to report. I’m editing, writing and blogging as much as I can, so I’m beating back those goals 🙂

I hope you’re all having a productive week. I look forward to checking in with you.

Mel

Chained to my desk…ROW80 update

Happy Sunday everyone 🙂

I’ve spent the last couple of days beta reading. Plus, I’ve almost finished the books I agreed to review in time for the upcoming tours on Writing Room 101 – so the spotlight section is on target! Before you get all excited about my progress though, I must point out I still haven’t written a post for my character blog Lance Legion. In fact, he’s sulking! This was a weekly target and I haven’t managed to achieve it, so yeah…I’d be sulking too!

My writing goals have taken an interesting turn. I managed to hit my weekly target, but most of it was…I hope you’re sitting down…spent planning. Hard to believe, right? I do have a specific reason though, aside from trying to find a little balance – I’ve decided to do NaNoWriMo again. Last time I stuck to my usual pantser ways, but this time I’m going into the adventure with a few new tools under my belt. I actually have a plan, as infinitesimal as it may be, it’s there!

Which leads me to my final set of goals – editing. I’ve been chained to my desk for the past few days (hence the title), because I got the notes back from my first round of betas on The Fifth Watcher. For that reason my focus will be on making revisions over the next few weeks. The feedback is positive, but more than one person didn’t bond with Audrey until the third or fourth chapter and this is not good. I need to change that, and so I’ll be banging my head against my desk until the answer comes to me!

So that’s me. I hope you’ve all had a good week, and look forward to catching up with you soon.

Mel

No excuses – ROW80 Check in

I’m not going to bombard you with excuses as to why I’ve made little progress since Wednesday – I’ve completely neglected my goals. I wrote no new words, and edited none of my current WIP *hangs head in shame.*

To make matters worse, I’m late with the prompt for Featured Fiction this week, and so behind on visiting my favourite blogs I’m not sure how I’ll catch up. I fully expect you to shake your head in a derisive manner, with a few ‘tut-tuts’ thrown in 🙂

I am going to finish on a positive, and by no means defensive note, though. I honoured my sponsor duties, gave cheer where cheer was needed and met some amazing people. So it’s worth it. I also added a new section to Writing Room 101. There is now an Author Gallery, for spotlighting authors and their work.

I’ll catch up with you Wednesday.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Something new to share – WIPpet Wednesday

Before I get started, I want to thank S.L. Schwengel for giving us the opportunity to talk about our WIP’s every week, and build a support network.

I want to start with a quick update on my ROW80 progress first – otherwise my snippet won’t make sense!

Blogging: Writing Room 101 – I’ve prepared a few posts for the author spotlight section, but still need to work on the format for the site. Later this week there will be a special feature, but you’ll just have to wait until then – you’ll get no spoilers in this post J I haven’t done my weekly Lance Legion post, but I will. He’s following me around, and using my guilt against me – I’ve neglected him of late.

Writing: I’m 2,500 words into my 8,000 per week goal. I haven’t come up with a title yet, for my current WIP.

Editing: I’ve edited a few pages of Fractured, and my inner editor is brutal. So, the less said about that the better!

WIPpet:

I finally let go of The Fifth Watcher and sent it to my beta-readers. You were all a great source of encouragement during the past few weeks, so thanks again for all your support.

I’ve already mentioned that Lance has been pretty vocal recently. What I haven’t said (but you can probably guess), is that he’s not the only one vying for attention. Obadiah is driving me quite mad, seriously, that man is loud! I swear I hear a constant buzzing in my ears, or maybe that’s tinnitus – I should maybe get it checked out J

Anyway, due to the fact I’m tearing apart Fractured, piece by piece, and I’ve nothing worthy to bring to you right now. I’ve decided to share Obadiah with you. I started bits and pieces of the sequel to Fractured (as you do), because, well, the buzzing. I’ve been working on a scene this morning, and I can’t remember if I’ve shared some of this with you before. Apologies in advance, if I have.

Here are ten paragraphs (for the month), of Obadiah’s introduction to our world:

“Holy shit!” Obadiah slammed into the concrete with enough force to break a dozen newly formed bones. He was as weak as a kitten and he didn’t have a taste for it, or the blood filling his mouth. His power would not return until he’d been through the transition, which meant he was bound to the restrictions of his human body.

And the pain, dear god but it hurt like a bitch. He was a helpless as a new-born, and in some respects that’s what he was.

He spat a wad of blood onto the pavement, surprised he had the energy. Not that it would do a damn bit of good against his enemies; he could barely turn his head.

When he did manage a better view, he caught a glint of steel. It took him a moment to realise the metal covered a toe-capped boot.

A boot which slammed into his shoulder before he could process the new information. He had even less time to be thankful it wasn’t his skull, because the pain stole his breath. The demon attached to those fancy boots didn’t let up. He kicked him again, this time in the ribs.

By then, Obadiah was clenching his jaw so tight he couldn’t be sure which bone cracked. He was only conscious of the sound, followed by a white, hot blast of misery.

“Hey!”

He registered a new voice in his foggy brain. It ricocheted off the walls of the alley like the crack of a whip.

“Fuck off,” one half of his welcoming committee said gruffly, the foot not missing a beat.

For a moment, when all he could hear was the crunch of his own bones caving under the onslaught, he thought the bastards had broken him. Where else would the howl be coming from, if not from him? Then it registered, the pathetic whimpering came from the scum-in-boots. A noise so undignified he was almost embarrassed for him, and probably would be, if not for the fact he wanted to hurt him too.

Hope you enjoyed it and thanks, as always, for reading.

Mel

The journy begins…a round of words in 80 days

ROW80LogocopyDespite the dismal weather, the dark skies and freezing temperature, I’m feeling sunny this morning! It’s the first day of my new adventure – a round of words in 80 days (ROW80). I’m sure some of you will be wondering how I’m going to achieve such a feat – I mean, it involves setting goals. I actually have to plan for something. So you’ll be shocked to read the rest of this post because I actually have things in black and white! Make sure you’re sitting down because, here they are – my writing related goals for the next 80 days.

Blogging Goals

  1. Develop Author Spotlight Section at Writing Room 101
  2. Update the adventures of Lance Legion at least once per week
  3. Find a theme and update the layout for Nat Hobson (pen-name)

Writing Goals

New project (no title)

  1. Decide on title for new project!
  2. Write 8,000 words per week

Editing Goals

Fractured – Novella to form part of an anthology

  1. Edit 1 Chapter per week

ROW80 Sponsor duties

  1. Visit my group twice weekly
  2. Visit other ROW80 contributors as time permits

So there you have it, my goals (baby-steps, people!).

I’m really looking forward to my duties as a sponsor because it’s one of the things I love about blogging the most – supporting other writers. So, with that said – I look forward to spending time with you all 🙂

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

On being social – a quick update of sorts

As some of you will know, I’ve been sharing my work in progress for the last few weeks, courtesy of a blog hop entitled WIPpet Wednesday – organised by K. L. Schwengel. From the 6 October, I will also be taking part in a Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80), and sharing my goals and progress within that period. For this reason I won’t be taking part in NaNoWriMo this year. ROW80 will allow me to focus on a particular project too, while giving me the freedom to work at my own pace. Last year, nanowrimo took over my life, and though it was a wonderful experience, I don’t have the luxury of checking out this time. Still, if it hadn’t been for nano I probably wouldn’t be here (on WordPress – I’m not that dramatic).

So, while we’re on the subject, one of my goals will be to increase my presence on social networking sites. I forget about Facebook, get overwhelmed by twitter, and don’t even understand what pins are. Okay, so I exaggerate, but you get the drift. And because I like to stretch myself, I’m always looking for new and exciting ways to achieve my goals.

I’m getting to the point…honestly. Power2Indies are hosting a Big Book Bash on Facebook. The aim is to allow people (authors, book bloggers, illustrators, publishers, readers, etc.) to meet, chat and have fun. Time slots will be allocated, putting people in charge of the event (hourly), so they can run question and answer sessions, giveaways, and a whole host of things to engage their audience. Check out the site, here, to find out more.

I will be hosting two sessions, for those of you who are interested in stopping by. The first will be on Friday the 17th of October at 9.00pm (GMT), with the second session the following Friday, the 24th of October at 8.00pm (GMT).

I’ve spent time over at the site already, and it was a lot of fun. Who doesn’t like to talk about their favourite books, characters, or movies!

If you have the time, book a slot. You’ll get to meet people in a safe environment and put your planning skills to good use!

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Mel