A-Z of Fictional Characters: J is for Jobber

I could easily have gone with Jane Ayre for ‘J’, but that would have been the easy option.

Instead, I’d like to introduce you to Jobber, the heroine of New Moon, the first book in Midori Snyder’s Queens’ Quarter trilogy.

Now, *(small) Spoiler Alert!* back in the day when I first read this, any novel where the heroine was disguised as a boy was a shoo-in. I didn’t even realise when I first started reading this, so when the revelation occurred it was like being suddenly ramped up to warp 9.

(I seem to recall a start trek joke about this, but when I tried to google it, the results were too geeky even for me!)

So, Jobber. Whoa.

She’s gruff. She has no finesse, she’s not pretty. She’s an unkempt, argumentative ragamuffin, and she’s the only fire elemental (apart from the mad queen) left in a world where anyone possessing elemental magic buries it deep if they want to survive.

But everything is out of balance. The queen is paranoid and likely insane. There are rebel factions gathering in the hills, while in the city the street children hide from the authorities and steal to stay alive. But someone is murdering the children with magic, people are desperate and Jobber is the catalyst…

Obviously one of my favourites, Jobber was an influence. A refreshing change and an excellent example of someone with faults, who screws up, invariably says the wrong thing and yet you can’t help but love her.

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Free Stories! – July Storytime Bloghop

I didn’t have anything ready for the latest story-hop, but I’m looking forward to seeing what my fellow hoppers have come up with. I’m excited to see some new names mixed in with some old favourites.

Enjoy these bite-sized speculative stories from around the world, and don’t forget to say hi!

Hell’s Play, by Juneta Key

To The Moon And Beyond, by Fanni Sütő

Surprise, by Katharina Gerlach

In A Picture by Erica Damon

The Past Tastes Better by Karen Lynn

Revealing Space by Barbara Lund

The Rose Tender by Raven O’Fiernan

The Last Sleeping Beauty by Tamara Ruth

Freeman by Elizabeth McCleary

The Token by Eli Winfield

Moshe by Chris Makowski

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A-Z of fictional characters: I is for Incy

I couldn’t think of an ‘I’, so I opted for Incy Wincy Spider.

She (or he, depending on your point of view) is, after all, the classic hero(ine).

She sets off on a journey.

Disaster occurs, and despite all her struggles she is swept back to where she began. (You could argue that this is the Thomas Hardy approach of using natural disaster rather than a specific antagonist, but I think that’s acceptable in such a classic tale).

Then, when all seems lost, when life must really suck, when someone up there is taking the piss and chucking it all down the same drainpipe at her – does she give up?

No. She straps on her superhero exoskeleton, grabs her brolly, pulls up her socks (all eight of them), and tries again.

Yay! Go Incy! An example to us all!

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The story that could!

A year ago this story was rejected by a different magazine. Since then it has been rejected by others too.

My Weekly rejected it initially as well, BUT, the editor told me that although she liked it, it was the wrong length. However, she’d be happy to reconsider if I cut it. So I did, and here we are 🙂 🙂 🙂

I’m super chuffed because this has always been a favourite of mine, AND they kept my title! (Often that gets changed. Or at least in my case – I guess I need to get better at titles.)

Anyhow, I suggest you take from that;

Keep trying!
Be flexible!
Celebrate your successes!

Happy Tuesday 🙂

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#IWSG June: Failure IS an option…

…but it’s up to you what you do with it.

The first Wednesday of the month is IWSG posting day.

(That was yesterday.)

As you’ll notice, I failed to post yesterday. I needed to reboot and catch up with some zzz’s. I feel much better for that today.

I didn’t have anything in mind to talk about until I saw this morning’s news:

Yesterday, Sweden opened a Museum of Failure, highlighting some epic fails and how those attempts led to further innovation.

That’s brilliant. If I ever make it to Sweden it’ll be top of my list to visit. Failing that (see what I did there?) maybe someone could open one here in England?

You see, I’m a fan of failure. I’ve gone on about it before, because it’s failure that leads you to try again. To see where you went wrong the first time and to improve. If we all got things right the first time, things would be pretty stale.

Have you built on the ashes of your former failures? What were the results?

The co-hosts for June’s posting of the IWSG are; JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner!. Do stop by and visit their blogs to say hi.

IWSG Badge
The IWSG was founded by Alex J Cavanaugh, where writers can blog about their hopes, dreams and fears. If you want to join this merry band of writers Click here to add your name to the list.

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I’ve been awarded a blog nomination

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yada, yada, yada. I know, these are sort of the blog equivalent of chain letters and I don’t like the pass-it-on aspects, but I also can’t resist the opportunity to witter on about myself either.

So, I have nominated a few people. Feel free to ignore, join in, answer here or whatever. Peace and love guys 😉

So, the award is the Mystery Blogger Award. If you want to know why, then I suggest you check out the creator, okoto enigma’s site. It’s all about spreading the luurve.

The Rules:

Rule 1:  Put the award logo/image on your blog. (Above)

Rule 2:  List the rules. (You’re Reading Them)

Rule 3:  Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog. (That’s Juneta Key at Writer’s Gambit – thanks Juneta!)

Rule 4:  Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well. (Just above the logo)

Rule 5:  Tell your readers three things about yourself.

Three Things About Me:

  1. I recently took on 2 tortoises for a friend who is going travelling for a couple of years. They’re quite soothing creatures to have around, and because of what they can and can’t eat it has both increased my knowledge of the plants in my garden and highlighted how much I don’t know.
  2. I have a nasty feeling I may be a bit of a hypochondriac, but I try not to let on. I had a piece of thorn stuck in my finger the other day and because it got red and irritable (my finger), I started to worry it would get infected and need amputating. Or maybe that’s a side effect of being a writer and having too much imagination.
  3. Apparently I’m very good at giving directions to loos. I discovered this talent on a recent girls weekend and put it down to my background as a programmer – if you don’t give the right instructions, things can go horribly wrong!

Rule 6:  You have to nominate a bunch of people (some say 5 others say 20).

  1. Becky Howard.
  2. Marie Claire Allington.
  3. Anna Simpson.
  4. Ellen the cynical sailor

(Hey, I always look at rules as more like guidelines. Nobody is under any obligation to continue the award thread, but these are all sites worth having a look at regardless).

Rule 7:  Notify your nominees. (Yeah, I still need to get to that…)

Rule 8:  Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice, one weird or funny question.

  1. What’s your favourite smell?
  2. If you could choose to keep one memory, what would it be?
  3. If you were put in charge of meet & greet for our first alien visitors, what would your advice be for them?
  4. If you had to be a tree, which one would you be?
  5. What was your favourite story book as a child?

Rule 9: Share a link to your best post.

I’ve chosen my first post, it may not be my best but it reminds me of how far I’ve come and reinforces that you just need to take the leap sometimes.

And finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for (Hey you! No, not you – him, the guy who’s dribbling on his neighbour’s shoulder. Yes – you! Wake up!) Right, everyone paying attention? Then here are my answers to Juneta’s questions:

  • If you could get a redo on ONE thing in your life without impunity, what would it be?
    Not to have said THAT THING about THAT PERSON just to look cool 😦
  • If you had three wishes, what would your THIRD wish be?
    That I could talk ‘tree’.
  • Describe your “true self” in three words.
    Shy, inappropriate, optimist.
  • If you were a Star Wars character, who would you be?
    Chewie – he’s cool, he never has to worry about shaving his legs and he always wins his arguments.
  • If you had the opportunity to know your future, would you? Why or why not? Yes. Because I’m not great with surprises and I work better when I know what to expect. (Obviously there are downsides to this, but at least I’d know what parameters I’d be working with).

Thank you for sticking around. Don’t feel upset if I didn’t nominate you – just add your answers here! 😉


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A-Z of fictional characters: H is for Harriet

Harriet Stone by Angela Wooldridge.

Don’t panic – you didn’t miss anything!

Harriet is currently gathering dust on my shelf. I hope to return to her one of these days but I needed to go off and write about other things and different people.
Harriet’s is my first novel and I recognised that there’s a lot of ‘first novel’ all over the manuscript. I need some distance before I go back and make some fundamental changes. But there’s a lot of history to Harriet and she wouldn’t be happy if I left her on the shelf forever. Writing about her here gives her a bit of exposure and reminds me of all the things I love about her.

Harriet has layers. She’s socially awkward and covers that up by seeming unruffled on the outside. She doesn’t quite ‘fit’ anywhere, although she’s brought some of that on herself. She keeps distant because it’s easier that way; life, emotions and relationships are messy. It’s far safer to steer clear.

Why is she like this? Upbringing. Her parents were from completely different worlds. Her mum came from a respectable middle class family, while her dad… Well, he was a thief and a gambler. And a charmer. Her mum was thrust into a world of families who looked after each other as the menfolk were often detained by her majesty for stretches of time. But she was an outsider and she held herself apart. That inability to fit destroyed their relationship.

Harriet grew up in that. A part of that life, and apart from it. When her parent’s marriage collapsed she had to take sides. She stuck with her mum, but that isolated her too.

When we meet her, Harriet has moved back to her hometown. She lives alone, but beneath the isolation there’s a part of her that’s like her father. She gambles. She still needs human contact and relieves it with occasional one night stands. Thus she addresses her needs, but keeps them neatly partitioned.

But when she discovers that her flat is haunted by a murder victim, she needs the contacts from her childhood to help solve the puzzle. And her nice, tidy life starts to unravel.

Posted in A-Z of Fictional Characters, Writing | Tagged | 4 Comments

#IWSG I can’t believe it’s May already!!?

Yes, it’s the first Wednesday in May, and that means it’s IWSG day.

The co-hosts for the May posting of the IWSG are; Nancy Gideon, Tamara Narayan, Liesbet @ Roaming About, Michelle Wallace, and Feather Stone!. Do stop by and visit their blogs to say hi.

IWSG Badge
The IWSG was founded by Alex J Cavanaugh, where writers can blog about their hopes, dreams and fears. If you want to join this merry band of writers Click here to add your name to the list.

I didn’t have a hope of posting in April, I was just about treading water through the Easter holidays. (Riding the wave, but pleease don’t ask me to think about anything!)

Then I got back from a girl’s weekend in Bucharest at 1am this morning, so please ignore the matchsticks propping up my eyelids, while I tell you about the weird places that research can take you. Continue reading

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Storytime blog hop: April 2017

I’m storytime blog-hopping again. Joining up with other writers of spec-fic around the world to give you a smorgasbord of coffee break tales.

Here’s my offering, and don’t forget to follow the links below for more stories!

Never kid a kidder. Continue reading

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Making up maps

I’ve been a little slack on the blogging front lately, but that’s because I’ve been concentrating on the writing end of things, so that’s good, right?

I’ve been working on my Skye & Poggitt world, and have decided to stick with Alternative to Frog, as a title. I like it, it works and making that decision has helped me clarify a few things in the story. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then the origin stories Alternative to Frog and Uninvited Guests, will get you up to speed. Continue reading

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#IWSG July: So, what has the IWSG ever done for me?

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time to blog about the Insecure Writers Support Group.

You might wonder, sometimes, if the IWSG is for you. There have been times when I have. Why am I bothering? I’d think, I don’t really feel that insecure, and Actually neither do a lot of these other people…

Well, here’s what it has got me:

Back when my blog was a mere fledgling twinkle in cyberspace, it gave me a purpose in blogging at least once a month.

Visiting other blogs gave me practice in talking to other writers online. Often, we can be too polite, and even though we might read someone’s post, we won’t like to say anything because we don’t really know them. A blog hop like this encourages interaction and, over the last few years I’ve blossomed from a terrified vanilla blogger to the chatty waffler you see now.

As a result of the IWSG and a couple of other online groups, I’ve made contacts around the world that people in my hometown writing group don’t have.

If you’re new to this, you need patience. These things don’t fall into your lap all at once; You talk to people and some will talk back. Gradually you realise that you have ‘regulars’. Eventually, what started out as speaking alone into the void becomes engagement across the ether.

So, what has the IWSG ever done for you?

The co-hosts for July’s posting of the IWSG are; Tamara Narayan, Pat Hatt, Patricia Lynne, Juneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan. Do stop by and visit their blogs to say hi.

The IWSG was founded by Alex J Cavanaugh, where writers can blog about their hopes, dreams and fears. If you want to join this merry band of writers Click here to add your name to the list.

Posted in IWSG, Writing | Tagged , | 7 Comments