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An Endless Summer

The summer break from work continues, but the sky is grey again and the air muggy.  I go back to work next week.  Looking forward to it after three months.   I haven’t done any writing during this time, apart from a brief tidy up on my current novel, a psychological thriller for Young Adults, and I’m still waiting to hear back from an agent.  In the meantime, I practise classical piano and continue to work on my French, German and Russian.

Occasionally, I like to look through some of my earlier writings  and I found this one told through the eyes of a man in his early twenties:

‘No, Hope,’ he said. ‘Quit the I-need-you act. You and I are finished.’

He deactivated the hands-free kit and sped away in the car, past Stansted Airport, down the A120 and along flat country, continuing until he reached a lonely shore that looked grey against the darkening horizon and the dull flecks of rain. Hope had no idea of how much she’d hurt him. Hope didn’t understand anyone’s feelings but her own.

He stayed on the deserted sand in the wind, alone, staring out at the restless water and sipping milky sugary tea from a chipped flask, planning what to do next.

 

 

Autumn/Summer

Soon, the summer will come to an end.  Autumn, time for new challenges.  The changing seasons. I haven’t done any writing this summer, apart from a brief tidy up on the manuscript and I’m still waiting to hear back from an agent.  At the moment, I’m sifting through a number of ideas for a new novel, a choice, I think, between action of some sort (thrilling, tense) or a story more along the lines of a psychological drama (confusion, paranoia).  In the meantime, I practise piano most days and study French, German and Russian.

 

Just looking through old writing projects that never really took off, generally because I had too many things happening at once and readers wanted a more structured piece.  I’ve always loved a good psychological thriller.

In the following section, set in Dorset and Hertfordshire, a man in his mid twenties becomes increasingly obsessed with the woman whose family were responsible for the break up of his own fifteen years earlier.  At this point in the story, he heads back to his room in north London and crashes out:

He began to drift away into a mishmash of unsettling dreams; dreams of meadows and orchards and abandoned farmhouses; of chickens feeding on sawdust and maize by a fence of barbed wire in the midst of an August heat wave; of petrol cans and parched grass and an old wooden barn in the centre of a field. The scene changed and he saw Laura once more, her raven coloured hair damp after her early morning swim. His beautiful Laura had come back to him after leaving without a word. She was standing in front of him near the boat huts on the shore, her face close to his, almost touching his, her hair smelling of the sea. Then, the scene changed again. He and Laura were a few miles from the old farmhouse. He saw himself chasing her across a wild stretch of heather in the rain. Laura was running in diagonal lines, screaming as she tried to get away from him. She tore along a muddy trail down a hill towards a solitary grey house with smoke coming from a tall chimney beyond the trees in the distance. He was pleading with her to stop, telling her that it wasn’t how it seemed, but she continued to run.

He bolted forward with a shout.

A Summer That Lingers

A lingering, humid summer – that’s how I would describe this one.   Still waiting to hear on my third novel, a Young Adult thriller about a group of music students.  In the meantime, the heavy weather continues, electrical and sticky.  I practise piano most days and spend my free time studying foreign languages – Russian, French and German.   I’m learning Liszt’s 12th Hungarian Rhapsody and trying to get fluent in French. 

Not a bad summer, but quite tedious.

I’m taking a short summer break from blogging and other online activities.  Recently, I sent out my third novel, and now I have little to do in terms of writing.   I’m concentrating on piano playing and languages.  Just started Russian.  Very difficult.

Back soon.

I’m a day away from an important anniversary – two years of not smoking. That means complete cessation, no secret cigarettes or drags of cigarettes. As I sometimes tell people, yes, I smoke, but only in my dreams. A pretty unpleasant dream that occurs from time to time.

I took up smoking in my early teens and continued for years – I’m reluctant to give an exact figure.  I smoked during a serious bout of pneumonia and several of flu. In fact, I couldn’t envisage the thought of never having a cigarette again.

Then, two years ago, I went on a special quit-smoking program that required total abstinence from any tobacco product. Everyone had to undergo regular breath tests to see if they’d stuck to the rules.  We also received Nicorette prescriptions to help with withdrawal symptoms, and admittedly I do use small doses of Nicorette now.  People have strong opinions on the use of Nicorette,(for and against), but I personally don’t see how Nicorette can carry any of the risks associated with smoking.  Pretty safe, in my opinion.

Which brings me to the next point. A person has to have a compelling reason to give up smoking.  For me, health mattered more than anything else, especially when a nurse measured my true lung age and found I had the lung function of a seventy-five year old!  Decades out, but horrifying, and this give me the determination to stop smoking and never touch another cigarette.  Since then, the lung function has increased substantially – in fact, after three months of not smoking – and I lost my long-term morning cough after just twenty-four hours of stopping. Pretty impressive.

 

Indie…independent publishing.  Indie bands.

In the last few years, the Indie publishing has really taken place as digital technology advances and gets more sophisticated.  But what are the pros and cons of going Indie?

The pros:

Relatively easy to get into motion

Relatively cheap

The artist has full control

 

The cons:

Hard to market

Huge competition

Requires expertise in IT

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