Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Writer's Corner

This is where I sit and write. I always write longhand and then transfer it to my computer. Usually, my thoughts come too fast for my typing speed, and I can't keep up! As you can see, it is also Kitty Corner as well!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Day 24, NaNoWriMo

Done! 50,046 words. I really didn't think I could do it until the past week. I'm actually pretty proud of myself!

Yay! I did it!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Update for Day Twenty Three, NaNoWriMo

Well, I thought I was done for the day, but my mind had other ideas. Ended up with 4455 words for the day, and only 1904 left to finish, with a total of a little over 50,000 words,and surprisingly, that will be enough, at least for the first book! Should be done by tomorrow, then I can upload my word count to NaNoWriMo, and pat myself on the back, and put on the winner's shirt I bought. I figure if I bought it, I would have to complete the book!

Day Twenty Three, NaNoWriMo

Went great guns today; finished with 3285 words for the day, a total of 46,926. Only 3074 left. Aiming to finish by the end of Monday. By George, I think I can do it! Thanks to NaNo WriMo for giving me the impetus to get it done!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Day Twenty Two, NaNoWriMo

Finished today at 43,641 words. Only 6,359 to go!! I hope I can finish by the 25th! In a much better space today, now that I know my cat will be OK.

Day Twenty One, NaNoWriMo

Finished the day at 41,369; 8361 to go! Had to take kitty to vet, so got more done than I thought I would, which is good. Ideas still coming, and had a dream last night that has given me an idea for another story not related to Penelope. We'll see where that goes. Took notes so I don't forget and probably start it n the New Year, as I still have costume commissions to do!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Update to Day Twenty, NaNoWriMo

Finished the day at 39,349 words; 2623 for the day, 10,651 words to go! Yahoo!!!

Day Twenty, NaNoWriMo

Getting there; only 11,000 words left to go, and still more than a week left!  Light at the end of the tunnel. Feeling really good about this. Publishing is looking like a reality.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Excerpt From Penelope Parker: Witch in Training

An excerpt from Chapter Three of my upcoming book.

An Introduction to My Book

An Introduction to my upcoming book, Penelope Parker: Witch in Training.

Chance to Win!

Leave a comment on my blog and have a chance to win one of five autographed copies of my book. Those who have already donated $15 or more are not eligible, as they will already be receiving at least one copy.

The book will be out in early to mid February, barring any snafus along the way. The contest ends December 31, 2013. Winner will be notified through this blog, Twitter and facebook. You can also leave your email when you post.


May not get too much writing done today. I'll be working on a short video, talking about my book Penelope Parker: Witch in Training," and reading a short excerpt. I will discuss the motivation behind it, and my hopes for the book. It should be live on my blog and YouTube sometime today or tomorrow. Stay tuned! :-)

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Day Fifteen, NaNoWriMo

A slower day today, only 1299 words, but I am still way ahead of par! At the rate I am going, I only have to write 985 words a day to finish by the end of November! Totally doable. I don't usually write under 1000. Today is the lowest count since I started.

It's kind of funny, but if I lie on the couch to catch 40 winks, my brain opens, and all these ideas come pouring out faster than I can write them down. I have the ending for the book, and a start on what I want to do with the second. It's telling me there will be three books in the series, so I guess I have my work cut out!

Self Publishing Campaign

My campaign is featured on Indiegogo again! Please check it out and consider donating to help with publishing costs. The more you donate, the better the perks!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Day Fourteen, NaNoWriMo

Had to take yesterday off to take one of our cats to the vet. It seems he has an abscess in his lower canine, poor guy. He's feeling much better today, as he's on pain meds and antibiotics. Surgery next Thursday.

Made up for yesterday, and got 3302 words done today, giving me a total to date, of 33,935. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself :-)

Must try to keep up the pace, because I probably won't get anything done on Thursday. I know I'm way ahead, but I'd like to keep it that way!

For those who love kitties, here's a picture of Nikki, the one with the abscess, in better days. As you can see, he likes his pillow!

Thank You!

Thank you, Maria Bucar for your contribution to my campaign!

More Thank Yous!

Thank you, Emma Jane Holloway for your generous contribution! It's folks like you who will make this dream possible!

Interview with Tom Gillespie, Author of Painting by Numbers

A huge thank you to Tom for taking time out of his crazy schedule to sit down for an interview. Read about this amazing and talented author.

Where did you grow up Tom, and how did this influence your writing?

I grew up in a small town just outside Glasgow, Scotland. The town was pretty working class. It was an ex –mining and textiles community that had been decimated by the gradual (and then sudden) decline in industrial output from the 70s onwards.  In many ways I was lucky as my Mum and Dad were what you would call the upwardly mobile working class, but even so, the threat of poverty or re-possession was never far away. And although my writing is not immediately political, I think the lives of the people I grew up with inform how, what and why I write.

 When did you first start writing?

I think we are all born to be creative souls, but some of us defiantly resist growing up, or having our creativity twisted out of us by society’s pliers. When I was ten, I won a writing competition. I’d never won anything in my life before that (or indeed since), so I thought that this was something specific that could help me channel my galloping imagination. It’s interesting because my daughter is approaching her tenth birthday and recently she won a creative writing competition. She is really into words and art and music, and her mind is stuffed full of ideas, strange characters, pictures and stories. She is such an inspiration to be around, and she helps me stay connected to that wide –eyed wee boy who rattles around inside my head and likes to make a nuisance of himself. I hope she manages to cling on to her gift and remain defiantly ten for as long as she possibly can.

What's the story behind your book ‘Painting with Numbers’?

I love the visual arts and I have an interest in allegorical paintings. I am also into the relationship between science and art, and how many of the old art masters used early science to help them create their amazing compositions. The relationship intrigues me, and its not that long ago that science was considered one of the dark arts. So that is always bubbling away under the surface.

But then on a visit to El Prado in Madrid, I was in the Velazquez gallery, gaping at Las Meninas, the artist’s mind-blowing masterpiece, when I noticed a strange Magritte like man laying out lines of thread on the floor next to the painting. He was at it for about five minutes, before he got turfed out by a couple of security guards. But the incident lodged in my brain, and that night in my hotel room, I wrote up a very short, one page story.  A year or so passed, but the incident and the man wouldn’t leave me alone. I returned to my page of scribbles and developed it a little further, but then, his story began to unfold backwards and forwards, until I had the bare bones of a novel. 

The journey to complete Painting by Numbers was amazing. It gave me the opportunity to combine a number of my loves, art, science and the strange, inner workings of the human mind.  A number of brilliant people including a mathematics professor and art historian helped me piece together my central protagonist’s various mad obsessions. But although there is some weird science in my novel, it’s mostly all smoke and mirrors, as my tale is really about love and loss and the fragility of the human condition, all hidden and tucked away under the guise of a page-turning psychological thriller.

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?

I love all of it, from stream of consciousness scribbles to complex and exhausting line editing. I love losing myself in my characters and narratives, and I love picking through words and sentences and thinking about language, structure and the arc of my story. The whole journey is a mad, joyous, frustrating and ultimately enthralling ride, and I don’t think I could live without putting myself through it on a regular basis.

What do your fans mean to you?
I don’t know if I have any fans, aside from my cat who enjoys sitting on my manuscript when I’m trying to work (though this may be a cupboard kind of love).. I suppose as writers, all we can hope for is that readers engage in a positive and constructive way with whatever we produce, and even if they don’t like what we do, the engagement and dialogue is still interesting and encouraging.

Who are your favorite authors?

Writing that sings to my heart, rattles in my chest and raises the hairs on the back of my neck.

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?

That would be telling!

What is your writing process?

In my head I follow the Haruki Murakami method which is – up at 5.30am – write until 8.00 – light breakfast – write until lunchtime – steamed fish lunch – a long run through the park or along the beach, and then the rest of the day spent contemplating the universe.

However, back on planet reality, it’s up at 7.00 – mad rush to get all of the family washed, dressed, fed, bags packed and out the door for work and school. I’ll teach all day – come home exhausted –then another mad rush to cram dinner, help with homework, tidy up the mountain of dishes, dirty laundry and toys, try for an adult conversation with my wife.. And after all that, if I’m lucky,  and/or  in the mood, I’ll force myself to scribble a few words and try desperately to avoid crashing in front of the TV with a bottle of beer and a headful of sleep.

What do you read for pleasure?

I don’t read anything when I’m writing. I find that the style, characters or ideas start to bleed into my work. However, when I’m on a beach somewhere, I tend to turn back to the classics for comfort and the sheer thrill of the language and the power of the writing.

What is your e-reading device of choice?

Kindle - though if I’m brutally honest, I’m going off e-reading at the moment.  It’s a bit soulless. I miss the touch, the smell and the grubby physicality of printed paper. I always feel like a bit of an adulterer when I’m on my kindle. Somehow it seems like a kind of cheap betrayal of the written word.

Describe your desk

Orderly chaos , or as my wife likes to call it.. a bloody mess.

Do yourself a favour and read this gripping book.

Here are links to where you can buy his book, and links to websites he is on.

amazon UK


amazon US


facebook: /tomgilespiewriter
twitter:  tom_gillespie

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Thank You!

Thank you to Darren Duncan for his generous contribution to my publishing campaign!

Day Twelve, NaNoWriMo

Cracked 30K today; 30,633, and 1865 words for the day. I'm feeling really good about this! There is finally light at the end of the tunnel.

Getting There!

My campaign is currently featured on Indiegogo !

Thank You!

A big "thank you" to John Harriz for his generous donation. It is folks like you who believe in me, who are helping to make this possible.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Another Thank You!

Another big thank you to Janet and Dave Filipovic for their generous donation to my book publishing campaign. Thank you both, so much! You will receive two autographed copies of the book and your names on the Acknowledgement page.

Day Eleven, MaNoWriMo

Back at it again. Only 1737 words today; total 28,768.  As long as I crack 30K by the end of the week, I'll be happy!

More Thank Yous

Thank you so much to Lauren Wallace for her generous contribution to my book publishing campaign!

Thank You!

A huge thank you to my first contributor, Pete Filipovic for his $100 contribution to my Indiegogo Campaign! You will be the first to get a copy of the book when it is published!

Monday, 11 November 2013

A Big Thank You!

I would like to thank the photographer of my cover pic. They have graciously given me permission to use it. See more of their work here

Book Funding Campaign

I have started a campaign to raise funds to help publish my book. I am looking at a a launch date in late January or early February. The book will be finished by the end of November, and of course, time is needed for the inevitable editing! Follow the link provided in the widget at the top right of my page, or click here.

All donations will receive a Thank You, posted on facebook, Twitter, and here. Read about my campaign to see what other perks are available.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Funny Post

This was sent to me by a friend of mine. Thought it was too funny not to share, and very apropos!

Day Ten, NaNoWriMo

No writing today or tomorrow, as there are domestic things that need to be taken care of(like clean laundry!) Lots of ideas percolating in my head, and I know as soon as I pick up that pen on Tuesday, the brain gates will open and they will come pouring out! And I'm at 27,031 words, so well on target.

So, no post tomorrow; back on Tuesday. Hope you all had a great weekend.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Day Nine, NaNoWriMo

Not so much done today (754 words), because life kind of got in the way. However, I'm still way above par, so I'll chalk it up to a bad day. Not all bad, though, as I get to spend some of it with my daughter who lives in Vancouver. It's been along time since we could get together. As Scarlett once said, "After all, tomorrow is another day!"

Friday, 8 November 2013

Day Eight, NaNoWriMo

Not so much today; 1140 words, but I'm still way over par, so still well on schedule. It's not that ideas are not coming; I am getting a bad case of Writer's Cramp. :-( I will make up for it tomorrow. Have to, because company's here on Sunday, laundry day Monday!

Still feeling really positive and upbeat. 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Day Seven, NaNoWriMo

Got my total a little over 25K this morning. The ideas are starting to flow again, and it's hard keeping up with them. I don't type fast enough so I have to write longhand, but I'm having trouble keeping up that way too! Shouldn't complain, I guess; at least I'm not having a problem with writer's block (knock on wood).

Interview with Author Helen Howell

Helen Howell graciously agreed to do an interview for my blog, for which I am most grateful. Helen is an inspiration to women everywhere, who have always wanted to write, but have not had time because of family obligations, and think they are now too old. Helen is a shining example that we are never too old, and in fact, many of us get better and more creative as we age, Helen most certainly has! Enjoy the interview!

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in England in 1951 and lived in Essex. I think because I was there for all my formative years, (I didn’t leave for Australia until I was 31), that most of my stories have an English flavour to them. It is those memories that I call on when I write even though I have now lived in Australia for almost as long as I lived in England.

When did you first start writing?
I started writing around five years ago.  I’ve always done something creative. I taught ballet in my younger years. I also spent 18 years exhibiting my watercolour paintings and when I grew tired of doing that I needed something to replace it, and writing seemed the natural course to follow. Now I’ve always wanted to write, and did in fact write the odd silly poem, but I never thought I had what it took to be a writer. Then one day I came across a site that had the title, ‘Let’s Write’ and it said write about anything and so I did and from there I grew in confidence. Writing is a skill that has to be learnt, just like any other skill. I was lucky because I have a good imagination, and you’re half way there with a good imagination; the rest can be learnt and the more one writes, the better they become.

What's the story behind your book ‘I Know You Know’?
Some of you may already know that I read tarot, both for fun and professionally, although not so much professionally these days. I got to thinking what if a tarot reader saw something terrible about a client of hers, and what if the client suspected she knew? What would happen then? So my two characters were born: Janice the tarot reader and Mr. Edgar Kipp the serial killer who targets fortune tellers. Then I decided to add to it a paranormal element in the form of Janice’s dead grandmother and so this psychic thriller came into existence.

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love to breathe life into the various characters that swim around in my head. Also it is a joy not to have limited myself to one genre. I write fantasy (which I love doing) horror (so enjoy scaring people) humour and noir.  Very occasionally I will write slice of life. I guess you could say the greatest joy of writing for me is the ability to explore these different avenues of writing.

What do your fans mean to you?
My readers are very important to me. It gives one a sense of purpose to know that others not only read what one writes but enjoy it too.  I love to receive comments on my website, (we all know that comments are like chocolate to a writer ^_^ )  and am always open to constructive criticism.  To know that people will come and read what one writes because they enjoy your style of writing is very humbling.

Who are your favorite authors?
I read such a diversity of writers that it’s hard to say who is a favourite. I guess Terry Pratchett would be among this list, I like most of what he writes. I’ve read all of Laurence Sanders Deadly Sin series (sadly he is with us no more I believe). I enjoy fantasy writers. As you can see, it’s hard for me to actually pin point favourites as I’ll read anything from Alice in Wonderland to Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes.

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Most of my spare time is spent in the garden; my second love is gardening. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to raise something from seed and see it flourish regardless of whether it be a flower or vegetable. Also I like to go walking and try to do this most days of the week.  I’ve just started a new hobby, card making and I am enjoying spending time creating new cards. I’ve done beading and have made and sold my jewellery. So really anything that is creative is where I spend my time and that includes cooking too. I’m just planning the gingerbread house for this year’s Christmas and I think it will be a Swiss House.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, I do. It was just after I found the site “Let’s Write,” where it said write about anything. So I went for a walk and came back and wrote about that walk; the sounds, smells and sights that I had experienced. I sent that first tiny piece of writing to my author friend Scotti, who was and is a well established writer. She was so encouraging about what I had written that it jump started me into writing. In fact I went from that tiny story to writing a fantasy fiction novel for 9years — adults. This was later edited (several times) and published by me in 2012. It was met was a good response and received some lovely reviews on Smashwords.

What is your writing process?
Well, now that depends on what I’m writing. If it’s just something small, say a 100 word story (Drabble), then I just write by the seat of my pants. If it’s a flash fiction of up to 1000 words then I do like to have a beginning, middle and end in mind, although sometimes I will just write and see where it leads me. For novellas , etc. I do an outline, just the bare skeleton of one so that I don’t lose direction. Then I outline each chapter, again just a bare skeleton for direction, but I usually allow the writing to take me there and sometimes I become surprised at the direction it takes. By not plotting a strict structure to either the novel or the chapter, but just putting down a marker of where I want it to go, I find the writing to be more spontaneous and fresh.

What are your five favorite books, and why?
1: Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll opened the door to a wonderful imaginative world where the reader could suspend their disbelief and enjoy this incredible adventure along with Alice.
2: Dracula - Bram Stoker wrote this classic, and what a classic it is. It’s true horror without the gore. It’s a wonderful gothic tale that captures the true nature of what Dracula really should be.
3: Mort-Terry Pratchett shows us his remarkable talent as a writer in this book which is filled with humour as Death experiences an alternative existence.
4: Wind in The Willows by Kenneth Grahame purely because it’s such a delightful tale, one I have read and re-read.
5: Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin - This is an epic fantasy and Martin’s ability to write descriptively takes the reader right into his world, he gives you just enough information to allow your own imagination to take over.

What do you read for pleasure?
All of the above — basically anything that takes my fancy, but I do love reading mid grade fantasy.

What is your e-reading device of choice?
Right now the only one I have is an Ipad.

Describe your desk
It’s an L shape desk. My computer sits in the corner of the L and note pads sit to the side. Also to the side of that sits an oil burner, my tarot reading cloth, an obsidian crystal ball and three crystals. Down the long part of it, sits my old portable Imperial Companion typewriter that I’ve had since I was 16. My father gave it to me when I was at secretarial college — it was his. Beside that sits an old pewter inkwell and my feather quill. Of course lots of bits and pieces get left on the desk and I have to have a tidy up every now and again.

Do you have another book planned for the future?

Yes I have a new novella that will be published early next year by Crooked Cat Publishing called Mind Noise. Mind Noise is about a boy who can hear peoples' thoughts and this tends to alienate him from others. Then one day an old man appears who is able to communicate with him through thought. The old man offers to help him control this gift he has, but the question is, is the old man who he seems to be? And should the boy trust him?

I Know You Know - Published by Crooked Cat February 2013

The darkest cards in the tarot deck reveal the darkest side of the man sitting opposite Janice—Mr. Edgar Kipp.

She feigns an inability to read for him, but will he believe her?  His parting words indicate that he knows she knows he's a serial killer. And he plans to return. 

The voice of her dead grandmother urges her to be careful, warning Janice she might be seeing her own future in those foreboding cards. 

But Janice doesn't want to listen. Gran's dead. 

How can she possibly help her?

Jumping At Shadows: Self Published 2012

When Belle discovers the secret of a family heirloom, she and her friend Rosy are propelled into a world of the shadows—the same shadows that have been haunting Belle all her life. Soon Belle realises that the future rests in her hands, and only she can keep the magic of her ancestors from falling into the clutches of a dangerous mad man. 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Author Interviews

Stay tuned for interviews with Helen Howell, author of I Know You Know, and Tom Gillespie, author of Painting by Numbers.  His book was a finalist in The People’s Book Prize.

Day Six, NaNoWriMo

Day six, and slowing down a little. 2052 words today. The ideas are still coming, but it's so cold, my fingers are like ice. I longhand first, then transfer to the computer, and handwriting is kind of hard when one's hands are so cold! Maybe I'll write more later, after it (hopefully) warms up.


Anyone who donates $10 or more towards helping me self-publish my book, will get an autographed copy as soon as it's out, which will hopefully be by the end of January 2014. I'd like to get it out for my birthday in mid January, but we will see how things progress. In the meantime, any little bit helps, as expenses will be over $1000.

Thank you to all of you for your support!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

A Short Excerpt From Penelope Parker: Witch In Training"

This is just a short excerpt from my novel, to give you a taste of what is to come.

Penelope soared through silver filigree clouds set in a cobalt sky. Off in the distance she could see a prism of colour glowing in the night. Looking down, she was astonished to see herself astride Hec’s back; a Hec with wings!
“What are you staring at?” came a familiar voice in her head. “Haven’t you ever seen a cat with wings before?”
“,” said Penelope, somewhat taken aback at the turn things seemed to have taken.
“Well, for your information, I’m a cat-bird,” said Hec. “It comes from my father’s side back ten generations or so. Every two or three litters one of us is born, and it’s no joke, I assure you!”
“I didn’t mean to insult you,” stammered Penelope. “I was just very startled. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen you with wings, you know. I think they’re beautiful!” And indeed they were. Feathers of iridescent blue edged with silver, quite a magnificent sight!
“Well,” hrrumphed Hec, “I suppose I forgive you. You are the daughter of the Arch Wizard after all.”
“Are you deaf, girl? I said you are the daughter of the Arch Wizard. It’s him we’re going to see, you know.”
“Umm...why is he called the Arch Wizard?” asked Penelope.
“Good gracious, girl, you are full of questions, aren’t you? He will tell you himself if he sees fit. Now, be quiet and watch where you’re going.”
            Penelope rather thought it was Hec who should watch where she was going, but she wisely said nothing and turned her attention to the landscape below. It was dominated by the light of the prism, and was a desolate landscape indeed. Dead tree stumps, foul looking pools of stagnant water, and things moving around she didn’t want to look too closely at.
            Shivering, she pulled her cardigan tighter around her, realizing the air was freezing cold. She wondered how on earth she got here. The last thing she remembered was being on the train with her mother. Remembering that, she also remembered the gift from her father. Looking around her, and being an observant child, she saw, with a catch in her breath, that the clouds resembled the silver filigree work on the box, as did the sky resemble the box’s colour. Looking ahead, her eyes widened as the prism came ever closer. It looked just like the prism she had seen in the centre of the crystal ball! What on earth could it mean? Just as this and other questions started to collide in her head, she jumped and grabbed the nearest thing she could, which just happened to be the scruff of Hecate’s neck.
“Sorry, Hec, but you startled me, diving like that!”
“Rrowww! Silly girl. Wouldn’t have fallen!”

            As this last was said, Hec swooped in for a perfect four-paw landing in front of the prism, shaking her beautiful wings and folding them against her side, whereupon they promptly dissolved into her fur.

Day Five, NaNoWriMo

I'm at a little over 20,000 words, ahead of target. I took most of yesterday off in order to catch up on domestic stuff, like doing laundry so we have clean clothes! Slightly over 1800 words today, still above the daily target of 1667, so I'm good with that. My daily word count target is down to 1135, more than doable. Still feeling really positive, although the thoughts are starting to slow somewhat.
Write on!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Day Four, NaNoWriMo

Just a little over 1800 words today; domestic stuff to do. Laundry, shopping, etc. I think I can justify it, as I'm at a little over 17,000 words total.

Went over the book last night, checking for typos, and other errors, and realized, it doesn't seem like I wrote it. It's as if someone else did. I don't know if that is common when one gets in the "zone." Anyone else have the same kind of thing happen?

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Day Three, NaNoWriMo

1649 words to go to reach 15,000. I'm happy with my progress so far, and hopefully, I can keep up this pace. At this moment, words are flowing and it is easy for me to get "in the zone." No writer's block (knock on wood!) Still feeling really positive that I can do this. I have a really bad habit of starting something and not finishing, so this is my chance to complete my novel. A couple of years ago, I went back to school, to college, determined to get my English degree. I kept telling myself that I was not going to quit this time, and I didn't, something I'm proud of myself for. Having finished one thing I started, I think it will make it easier to finish another. Hence, NaNoWriMo and my novel.
Wish me luck!