Today I am taking part in the blog tour for Bone Deep by Sandra Ireland. Today I am sharing an extract from the novel:Book Description:
What happens when you fall in love with the wrong person?
The consequences threaten to be far-reaching and potentially deadly. Bone Deep is a contemporary novel of sibling rivalry, love, betrayal and murder. It is a dual narrative, told in alternative chapters by Mac, a woman bent on keeping the secrets of the past from her only son, and the enigmatic Lucie, whose own past is something of a closed book. Their story is underpinned by the creaking presence of an abandoned water mill, and haunted by the local legend of two long-dead sisters, themselves rivals in love, and ready to point an accusing finger from the pages of history.
Here is the extract from Bone Deep:
Other gifts arrive from the young Lord Musgrave: love tokens, lockets, even a pony, white as new milk. It is unusual for the younger sister to wed first, and Father pretends to be angry, perplexed and put out in equal measure. There are long discussions in secret between the two men, and much ale is consumed. Eventually the deal is struck, and a wedding date set. Elspeth has never been thwarted, after all. Bella can’t bear to be in her mother’s bower anymore, as the talk turns to flowers and dresses and bairns. They even discuss the wedding night, making Bella turn crimson inside and out. She begins to dread that she will never know such a night, that no man will ever come to her father’s castle to seek her hand. Maybe she will die here, unloved, with just the old hound standing guard over her body. The hate seed burrows deep and germinates.
Love tokens. Doesn’t that conjure up something sweet and timeless and real? My fingers are stiff with cold. I put down my pen and tug the blanket more tightly round my shoulders. If I look like a bag lady, so be it. My circulation is shot to hell, all a result of this heart problem they cannot get to the bottom of. Love tokens. I press my palms against my ribcage, as if searching for the butterfly ghosts of some lost emotion, but all I can detect is a slight, tight burning sensation, the result of too much banana on my cornflakes. Jim once carved for me a love spoon out of apple wood. I think I can still remember the tickle of possibility deep inside, the belief in magic.
A memory surfaces. An elderly spinster aunt, living alone here in Fettermore, in the house by the church, my mother packing me off at regular intervals. Make yourself useful. She has no one else. The house smells of broth and mushrooms, and the dust on her fine mahogany dining table is dappled with cat-prints. I wipe them off, make tea, volunteer to shop. From the cupboard under the stairs, the old dame drags a tartan shopping trolley, deep and wide. I notice cobwebs in the corners. It is a relic, the type of monstrosity that negates my whole self-image. My mini skirt, my cute beret, my whip-smart understanding of the nuclear arms race and the ethical treatment of animals: my whole being droops like a pair of un-elasticated pants as I drag the relic along the village street. Folk stare at me from cottage windows. I am an incomer, a foreigner with a posh accent and a borrowed shopping trolley. I still remember that walk of shame.
I lived for the times when my old aunt ran out of flour. It meant I could escape to the mill. Jim would be there, a young man just out of school, helping his father. He’d fill my measure with fresh, powdery flour and smile and voice mundane country thoughts that meant nothing to the young, urban me. Been a good growing season. His slow, blue-eyed smile. Looks like we’re in for a dreich day. I started to tell him about my life in Edinburgh. My visits to the mill became more frequent. I’d wait for him in the half-dark under the apple tree, imagining the taste of flour on his lips. The apple tree was the oldest one in the mill den. It would be even older now, if that ignorant gardener hadn’t chopped it down. Back in those days, people knew how to prune trees, and one day, in the month before I left for Cambridge, Jim presented me with a love-spoon, carved especially for me from one of the branches. It’s in the drawer somewhere.
It must be. The need to find it is overwhelming. I push my chair back from the desk and get heavily to my feet, completing a 360-degree spin around the room. I feel disoriented, as if the stacks of books are bearing down on me. I bend double, hugging my laboured breathing close to me. The love token. I must find it. You kept it. You did. Every bitter bone in my body laughs off the notion. Memory chimes in with a snigger. You snapped it over your knee. You fed it into the Aga.
Sandra Ireland was born in Yorkshire, lived for many years in Limerick, and is now based in Scotland. She began her writing career as a correspondent on a local newspaper but quickly realised that fiction is much more intriguing than fact. She returned to higher education her 40s, to study for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at Dundee University. In 2016 she won Creative Scotland funding for a residency at Barry Mill, a National Trust for Scotland property. Her debut novel was Beneath
the Skin (Polygon, 2016).
Today I am taking part in the Blog Blitz for No Place Like Home by Rebecca Muddiman. Today she will be sharing with us about her writing process. Bloodhound Books is the publisher.
What would you do if you came home to find someone in your house?
This is the predicament Polly Cooke faces when she returns to her new home.The first weeks in the house had been idyllic, but soon Jacob, a local man, is watching her.
What does he want and why is he so obsessed with Polly?
In a situation where nothing is what it seems, you might end up regretting letting some people in.
The Writing Process:
With my four previous books (and the unpublished books before that), I always planned in advance. I don’t like to plan in too much detail, preferring room to breathe and change things as necessary. But I still like to have some plan. Something to guide me along.
I usually start with the idea, developing it until I know who the characters are and the basic outline of the plot. I like to know the beginning and end and the main points in between. Once I have this, I write each plot point onto a card and spread them across the floor. This helps me see structure, pacing, where there are gaps (how to I get from here to there), and I can adjust things accordingly. When I’m happy, I write a chapter by chapter outline. Some chapters basically get one line – Gardner goes to visit so and so – but others get a bit more detail if I know specific things have to be said or done in that chapter, or maybe I’ve already come up with bits of dialogue.
Either way, once I’m finished I should have a guide for when I sit down every morning. Sometimes I end up going off book and add things I hadn’t planned for, or sometimes realise that something in the outline is actually unnecessary and skip it. I could never be one of those writers who plans every last detail in advance and sticks to it. Things come out while I’m writing that I hadn’t thought of while planning. I see links and opportunities. The characters develop as I write them and that offers new directions to go in, twists I hadn’t seen coming. So I like to have some directions to follow but also the freedom to ignore them if I want to.
So that’s how I usually write. But with No Place Like Home, all that went out the window. I don’t know if it was because I was writing something totally different. I’d spent the last few years working on four novels in a series and wanted to try something new. So I decided I was going to try and write in a new way too.
I had a vague idea for the plot and a main character, but I didn’t really know who this person was or why they were doing what they were doing. I knew how it would begin but not how it would end. I was just going to sit down and write.
So I did.
And I got about ten thousand words before I had a meltdown. The words were coming, but I had no idea where they were going. There were some parts I liked, but not knowing where I was heading was scary. What if I got to the end and it just fizzled out? Or what if it was all just nonsense? What if there was no cohesion whatsoever?
So I stopped. I didn’t write at all for a couple of weeks. I felt paralyzed by it. It was suggested to me that I take a step back and do what I’d normally do and come up with a plan. I’d tried something new and it wasn’t working. People write in different ways and clearly this way wasn’t working for me.
But I’m stubborn. I wanted to see it through. I decided even if it was a mess at the end, at least there’d be something to work with. It’s the same with any first draft. So I went back to it and kept on writing. I’d sit down every day and start, not knowing what I was going to say. And eventually I started to enjoy it. I was surprising myself. Shocking myself sometimes. Some days I’d come away from the desk feeling a bit sick, a bit uncomfortable with what was coming out of my mind. There were things in the first draft which subsequently came out because it was a bit … too far. Other days this feeling pleased me. It felt like the writing was more brutal, but also more honest.
Without giving anything away, I think I was about two thirds of the way through when I realised what would happen in the last few chapters. I knew it was inevitable, I just didn’t know for which characters. But I think I always knew the ending. Maybe not how it would happen, just that it had to somehow. Of that, if nothing else, I was certain.
Would I use the same method again? Maybe. The book I started after No Place Like Home was a historical novel, based on a true story, so had to be planned carefully. But writing without a plan can be the best way to surprise yourself. And if you’re writing a crime novel, surprising yourself is probably the best way to surprise your readers too.
About the Author:
Rebecca Muddiman was born and raised in the North East and worked in the NHS for many years. She has published four crime novels – Stolen, Gone, Tell Me Lies, and Murder in Slow Motion. Stolen won a Northern Writers Award in 2010 and the Northern Crime Competition in 2012. She is also a screenwriter and was selected for the London Screenwriters Festival Talent Campus in 2016.
Most of her spare time is spent re-watching Game of Thrones, trying to learn Danish, and dealing with two unruly dogs. Sometimes all at the same time.[Top]
Today I am on the blog tour for Oh Crumbs by Kathryn Freeman! This is a cute chick lit novel brought to you by the publisher Choc Lit (You have to love their name: I know I do!) There is also an international giveaway going on!!!
Sometimes life just takes the biscuit …
Abby Spencer knows she can come across as an airhead – she talks too much and is a bit of a klutz – but there’s more to her than that. Though she sacrificed her career to help raise her sisters, a job interview at biscuit company Crumbs could finally be her chance to shine. That’s until she hurries in late wearing a shirt covered in rusk crumbs, courtesy of her baby nephew, and trips over her handbag.
Managing director Douglas Faulkner isn’t sure what to make of Abby Spencer with her Bambi eyes, tousled hair and ability to say more in the half-hour interview than he manages in a day. All he knows is she’s a breath of fresh air and could bring a new lease of life to the stale corporate world of Crumbs. To his life too, if he’d let her.
But Doug’s harbouring a secret. He’s not the man she thinks he is.
Win a paperback copy of Too Damn Nice by Kathryn Freeman
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Book Description for Too Damn Nice:
Do nice guys stand a chance?
Lizzie Donavue went from being the sister of his best friend to the girl Nick Templeton most wants to kiss. On her birthday, he finally summons up the courage to make his move. But it looks like Nick’s missed his chance when he discovers that Lizzie has been offered a modelling contract, which will take her away to the glamorous fashion scenes of New York and Los Angeles.
Nick is forced to watch from the sidelines as the gawky teenager he knew is transformed into Elizabeth Donavue: top model and ultimate English rose pin-up, forever caught in a whirlwind of celebrity parties with the next up-and-coming Hollywood bad boy by her side.
But then Lizzie’s star-studded life comes crashing down around her, and a guy like Nick could be just what she needs. Will she take a chance on him? Or is he just too damn nice?
About the Author:
A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero.
With two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.[Top]