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Archive for June, 2013

In the weeks following publication of my debut novel Secrets, I wasn’t sure what to do next. Having invested considerable time in writing Secrets, an adult psychological thriller, I couldn’t imagine completing an entirely new novel. It seemed impossible.

Then, about a couple of months later, I started a story about a fourteen-year-old boy who goes looking for his father shortly after his mother’s new boyfriend  moves into their Manchester flat.  Although the central character EggHead doesn’t consciously link the two, his mistrust of his mother’s boyfriend, along with his natural father’s rejection of him, leads him to taking a number of dangerous risks, which eventually rebound and result in him going into care. Three years later, he emerges in a remote coastal resort off the North Sea, cut off from the rest of the family and in considerable danger.  The novel tackles the theme of bullying and addresses what can happen when the recipient of the bullying loses control and retaliates…
 
I completed EggHead in about nine months and found that previous writing experience with my debut novel helped when it came to structure and planning. I enjoyed writing from an adolescent viewpoint, and have been informed that the voice is strong and authentic. However, I found the writing process draining at times, particularly when it came to depicting the bleak and lonely coastal surroundings, and I would sometimes consider abandoning the story. I self-published EggHead at the end of last year, and have just completed a new novel for Young Adults.  It feels strange to be going through the polishing stages again so soon after EggHead.
 
My debut novel Secrets by Lawrence Estrey is available from Amazon in paperback and e-book. 
 
 

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The name Last.Fm has a similar sounding ring to Classic FM.  I’ve uploaded a couple of online piano recording to last.fm and I have found them a pretty awesome site, although I’ve never totally got used to the layout. I’ve been working on one of the album presentations (cover, biographical notes, SEO) with the intention of giving it a more professional feel.

Still haven’t got Classical Piano quite to shape yet in terms of cover details, but I think it’s looking a lot better than it was..sort of cosy autumn afternoon style than sophisticated…

 

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From the latest novel I’m working on, a psychological thriller:

We’re standing on a narrow path behind the warehouse, in an area with little light, the rustle of wind and flames getting closer, the acrid fumes and heat from the fire permeating the night air.  The fire has spread along the back wall, causing a cloud to mushroom upwards.  Moving away from the building and the possibility of sudden explosion or collapse, we stumble along the narrow pathway in the semi darkness, tramping in broken glass as we make our way to a deserted stretch of road at the side of the building. 

As you can probably see, my intention is to make the scene as vivid and atmospheric as possible. 

Meanwhile, my debut novel Secrets by Lawrence Estrey is available from Amazon in paperback and e-book. 

 

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Back soon…

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Many stories pass through eight stages:

The starting point (“stasis”).
An inciting event (“trigger”).
The central character’s search for an answer, an object or a person (“quest”).
A succession of obstacles preventing the character from achieving their aim (“surprise”).
Decisions the character makes (“critical choice”).
The consequences of the choices (“climax”).
Consequences of climax (“reversal”).
Aftermath/New Stasis (“resolution”).

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I’ve reached a critical point in the draft of my latest novel Silent, a psychological thriller set on the Yorkshire/Lancashire borders of UK –  the dramatic peak and where to take it in terms of story content. Some creative writing instructors refer to this stage of the story as the Critical Choice, as the character has to make a choice that will determine the outcome of the quest.  Whatever the case, I’ve been finding the remaining third of the story difficult to shape.

Silent  falls somewhere in between the crossover between teen fiction and adult thriller/Young Adult.  Gavin (18), a classical musician on a prestigious summer school piano course, has got involved with a girl on the course, but has quickly realised the girl’s playing mind games with him.  Nevertheless, he continues in the relationship, thinking he can help the girl.  Meanwhile, events in the surrounding village spiral out of control. The village has a tragic history, including an unsolved serious crime.

 

            ‘You owe me a train ticket.’ 

            Silence.  

            I thought I heard footsteps, then the lights in the main hall went out, and a pair of hands gripped me around the waist, travelling up to cover my eyes. A knee lodged in my kidney, forcing me back, and I found myself half-falling, half thrashing out in self-defence. Shit, he was crazy, far more so than I’d ever anticipated. Totally crazy. Dangerous. I tried stamping on his foot, but he seemed to sense the intended move, and anyway, he had me in an awkward position that prevented me from lifting my foot high.  No good. I couldn’t do the equivalent of playing dead either: pretend to relax, twist into the lock and force him to release me that way.  My only option was to try to protect my head and eyes. Crucial. Yet, I couldn’t even move my arms. Powerless. Like waking up in the middle of a night terror when you can’t move any part of your body. While this was all happening, I realised that there was no one else around. The others had gone off somewhere. Supposing he had a knife. I’d only just turned eighteen. I would die, just like he’d threatened several times in the last couple of days.

            The grip tightened, and another thought struck…supposing this wasn’t him, but the other guy.

Meanwhile, my debut novel Secrets by Lawrence Estrey is available from Amazon in paperback and e-book. 

 

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Ten months have passed since I last smoked a cigarette, depending on how one counts – weeks or calendar month anniversaries.  Either way, July 23 to June 1 is a pretty long time.

Apart from when I came off the Nicorette patches, I haven’t found abstaining from cigarettes too difficult.  Formerly, I smoked between thirty and fifty a day, usually roll ups.   I smoked for at least twenty-five years. In the evenings, I would chain smoke.  I even smoked through bouts of pneumonia and flu.  I’d tried lots of times to give up.  The longest – three weeks. Day Three always proved the most difficult, and I found myself in a constant cycle.  Stop for thirty-six hours….feel awful…buy a pack of tobacco and start smoking again. 

Ex-smokers try out a number of methods, ranging from ideas set out by Allen Carr at one end of the spectrum, to using Nicorette, which delivers small doses of nicotine to the body, often via the lining of the mouth rather than through the lungs.  Although some ex-smokers don’t agree with the idea of nicotine replacements (the Carr position), I feel the end has to justify the need: avoiding cigarettes at all costs by whatever means.  For me, the Nicorette Inhalator has proved invaluable during the last ten months.

I’ve also used various relaxation techniques, including the practice of slow or deep breathing,  and Progressive Muscle Relaxation, a method devised by the late Edmund Jacobson, a psychiatrist and doctor famous for telling the American public that they needed to relax, I think in around 1934.  As well as producing nice, peaceful feelings, these methods also have various physical benefits, so I believe.

As the first year anniversary of not smoking approaches, I look forward to many more years of living smoke-free.

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