Monday, 3 February 2014

Those pesky doubts.


I hope that my poor mastering of the ever evolving technology allows me to post the link to my Goodreads Giveaway below.

I have three, signed copies of  'In the Light of Madness' to give away. However, this time around, I'm only offering them to people who live in the UK, as whenever I have included other countries, the USA always wins! I thought I'd give my fellow Brits a chance this time!

I'm currently writing the third novel in the DI Wednesday series, and I've been struggling for a few days now. I'm close to the denouement, but I am doubting my route. I'm wondering whether there are enough twists, whether the reader will have guessed 'who did it'. My mind is being tortured by the taunting of the characters, who all seem to be leading me a merry dance.

In January's edition of 'Writing Magazine', Val McDermid is interviewed, and I found much comfort in her words. the interview began with 'I still approach every book with a sense of doubt and dread'. I'm with you there, Val. She goes on to say that she believes it's 'a healthy approach'.  I want to laminate her interview so I can re-read it at moments such as this.

Val McDermid also says that she has self-doubt with every single book when she reaches about three-quarters of the way through the book. However, she just keeps writing. She suggests writers reaching this stage just write through it. This is me, and I'm going to follow her guidance and just write through it.

I can prevaricate as well as anyone; even writing this short post has taken me away from a blank page. I need to buck-up my ideas, and stop worrying so much, otherwise DI Wednesday will get very cranky with me, and justifiably so.

So, head over to Goodreads and enter the giveaway. Fingers crossed you get it.

Happy Word Flow One & All

PS. The link I posted didn't work (what a surprise!), so just head over there, I know you can find it.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

New Year, New Rules


For the first time in my life, I haven't made any New Year Resolutions, and quite frankly it's liberating. There's no list shouting at me to achieve more in whatever arena I've chosen to focus on. I found one I wrote in 1991, and boy did it make me laugh!

But is allowing myself free-reign on my life a wise decision? I believe so. I don't need reminding to read more novels; I devour them as much as I can. I know I need to keep writing - just try and stop me - and I know there's always room for improvement. Always.

It would be lovely to lose a few pounds, but who am I kidding, I've never dieted in my life, and I don't intend to start at this stage of my life.

So, the new rules for this year are just to believe in myself more without the constraints of forcing myself to conform to a list of resolutions. Perhaps you should try it one year.

Happy New Year One & All & Happy Word Flow.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Writer's Drought


I write every day to flex my creativity and mind. I don't have a specific amount of words, or whether I write by hand or on the keyboard. I sometimes choose to work on my WIP, my blog, or just on scraps of paper.

However, these past few days I've experienced a drought of creativity and word flow. I have found it a painful and demoralising experience, with a risk of it bringing me down if I don't deal with it. So here I am, talking to you, and hoping that discussing will reignite my writer's mode. But even this is proving to be hard.

So what's getting in the way? Work is tiring, but that's not a good enough excuse. Christmas is around the corner, and I'm preparing for the event, with all presents nearly bought, but again it's a poor excuse. Household chores can also hardly be counted as an excuse. So what's happening?

My third novel is due out this month, and I'm painfully aware that I should endeavour to promote my work more liberally.  I have the second book in the crime series already written and accepted by the publisher, and I'm currently writing the third.  So I have plenty going on in the writing world, and yet I'm drawing a blank page in my mind.

I know I need time and peace to write, both of which can be difficult to find in a family home. I am sensitive to the moods of others, not helped by having a teenager in the home! 

I think I need to stop procrastinating and browsing Twitter and FB, and damn-well get on with it.  There is no magic to writing, just a lot of hard work and reaching deep into ones mind. So with that in mind, I shall post this then open my WIP and get on with typing words, no matter that I will delete and re-write many of them in the near future.  

Happy Word Flow, One & All.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Cover Reveal

Okay call me lazy, but here is what my publisher has put on my author page on their site I couldn't say it any better...

Cover Reveal: In the Light of Madness

Crime Novel, In the Light of Madness is the third title from author Hemmie Martin, due for release at the end of November. Hemmie weaves a dark tale that is sure to keep you wanting more. Check out her other two novelsAttic of the Mind and The Divine Pumpkin.
 A murdered boy in a Cambridgeshire graveyard sets in motion an investigation into the local church and school, with suspicions of a cult murmured throughout the community. With their first case, DI Eva Wednesday and DS Jacob Lennox explore the various levels of desperation and malice that can stem from an unhappy or dissatisfied life, where no one takes responsibility for their actions. They quickly find that everyone harbours a secret which, left uncontrolled, can bring forth devastating self-destruction.
Happy Word Flow One & All

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The Pain of the First Draft.

I'm three-quarters of a way through the first draft of my third novel in my crime series and I'm feeling the pain. I'm suffering with moments of doubt in my ability to write, worries about a flat-lining plot and giving birth to cardboard characters. The pain is crippling at times.

But i have to believe in the process of writing a novel. i have to remember that there will be numerous drafts before the publisher even gets a whiff of the story. Each draft will be an improvement on the last although still in need of work before i work on it with an editor. I should have, 'this is only the first draft' tattooed on the inside of my left wrist. Now there's  thought...

In this first draft, i need to connect the threads that make up the plot line; weaving my thoughts into a web that will eventually tell the story from my imagination. i may have characters in this draft that don't make it to subsequent drafts, but that's okay, they may appear in future novels, or just die...

i try and make each chapter start with a bang and end the chapter with the reader wanting to know what happens next. If I'm struggling to find my way, I write in bold, capital letters something like, 'NEED MORE ON EVA AND ALEX HERE.

I must remember that the actual role of the first draft is to map out the story I wish to tell. Subsequent drafts are where i concentrate on vocabulary, structure, tension, plot twists, the arc and in-depth characterisations. 
It's one thing saying all of this, and another thing to remember it whist in the process of carving out a new novel. it's so easy to read a novel by Ian Rankin, for example, and believe that the book as it is now came straight t the page in one swift movement. of course this isn't so.

 I take great strength from Katie Fforde's acknowledgement in her novel 'The Rose Revived' where she states, '...and especially to my editor, Richena Todd, who took my horrid, furry-edged manuscript and, cheerfully and uncomplainingly, turned t into a book. (Arrow Books, 1995).

Happy Word Flow One & All.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

So is this it?


Being an author isn't all I expected it to be. But on reflection, what was I expecting? Was I expecting instant success and wealth, fortunately not.

It wasn't until I had a publisher that I truly realised just how many authors are out there. The world is awash with Indie authors and self-published authors, never mind the ones with major publishing houses.The Indie world was not one I  totally understood until I set foot on it. We are authors with a minimal budget - if that -  for publicity, as are our Indie Publishers.

So I'm a raindrop in the sea; how will I ever get noticed? Answer: rarely. I don't have a publicity budget, I have an 18yr old daughter going to uni to study Veterinary Medicine for 5yrs, and a 16yr old who will also be going to uni in 2yrs. Budget blown.

I've given a talk at a local book group and have been in the local community magazine twice, but is that enough? Answer: no.

I should be chatting on Twitter about anything except my novels, writing my blog and updating my FB author page. Do I do all of this? Answer: not enough.

Instead, like most authors, I have a family, pets, chores, cooking, a part-time job, editing and writing the next novel. Is this how I imagined it? Answer: not at all.

I expected my family to respect my writing time. I thought they'd take my writing more seriously. can you hear me laughing!

So is this it? Answer: for the foreseeable future yes. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not seeking pity, I know I'm extremely lucky to have a publisher, with whom I have a mutually respective relationship. It's just, I thought I'd feel different, perhaps more conscious of having books I've written on my bookshelves. Perhaps I'll feel different one day.

The amount of work an author is required to do is immense and not that glamourous, and yet it's addictive. I never want to stop. So am I happy? Answer: yes!

Happy Word Flow One & All

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Missing My Characters


I alternate between writing contemporary fiction with a dark edge and crime fiction. Currently, I am writing the former, but this morning I woke up missing my detectives, DI Eva Wednesday and DS Jacob Lennox.

The first novel in the crime series comes out this November, and I have already written and submitted to the publisher, the second one. Therefore, I have come to know the detectives well, and I am already witnessing their own personal journeys throughout the two novels. They both have complicated personal lives, where mental health issues, divorce and estranged family relationships can take their toll on Wednesday and Lennox.

They have become friends albeit sometimes irritating ones with the choices they make, but friends I cannot be without. I can feel their presence whether I am writing about them or not. I can see, smell and almost touch them, which is why I think I am missing them today. They are trying to grab my attention for a third novel in the series. I know there quirks, their likes and dislikes. For example, Lennox likes beer, malt whisky and will tolerate wine if there is nothing else. He likes black coffee with two sugars. Wednesday is sensitive, but passive aggressive and drives a cream VW Beetle. Lennox comes to know Wednesday's personal life rather too intimately for her liking, in the first novel.

You see, I am rambling on about them to the point of obsession.

I am 70,000 words into the first draft of a contemporary novel, so the characters there are also real. But Wednesday and Lennox are distracting me today, and I want to know why. Perhaps a new story is burgeoning within me, but I do not want to notice it until I've finished my current WIP.

I hope if the characters feel so real to me, they feel real to the reader. After all, that is what we authors want. I have a feeling that Eva Wednesday and Jacob Lennox will be a recurring partnership in a few novels to come.

I hope your characters live with you in the same manner. I must say I am never lonely!

Happy Word Flow One & All.