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Saturday, 18 October 2014

I’m on it…




Apologies for the blogs being hit and miss recently but I am in full writing mode and so close, I mean agonisingly close to finishing the first draft of Beyond the Lies. I put myself under so much pressure when I really don’t need to. I have no publishing deadline for this second novel although there are quite a few people eagerly awaiting the next instalment, if only life didn’t get in the way! It has taken me twice as long to write this book with valid reasons. I have had to combine writing this with the marketing of Beyond the Past which was my very first, full length novel. When I wrote Beyond the Past the only plan I had was the main character would be Annie and the book would feature rugby league. In fact, it didn’t even start out as a crime, it started as a romance but quickly turned into a crime thriller.

This new book is purposely different. I have planned this one. Although the plan detail has grown organically during writing, the planned timeline has remained consistent throughout. This is a conspiracy crime so continuity is vital. The timeline incorporates all the characters, all the timelines had to match and be realistic. In addition, I don’t know about you but I expect a sequel to be better than the first. Serves me right really!! Now, I have to put into practise what I have complained about for years! I am confident, however this sequel is a knockout.

Like with any new profession, you only get better the more you do it (Probably what Annie and Mark think too!!!). I already feel my writing is improving and my confidence is growing (at long last!). Nobody is perfect at anything and we can all strive to be better.

One thing that did spring to mind this week – in all the years of reading, I can honestly say I never thought about how the authors struggled in their writing careers until now. At the moment I am literally working for nothing so I am hoping my hard work pays off before I am too old to enjoy it. I also read books in a different light wondering what the author’s motivation was to write a specific novel – hazards of the job I suppose! I have also read lots of authors’ blogs this week and don’t feel as isolated or as much of a lunatic anymore (ha ha) especially when I read this - it really made me smile.

Wetherby Library Author Talk

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of talking to a lovely audience of book enthusiasts at Wetherby Library. Wetherby is the local town that features the police station DCI Fisher and DS Davies are based at. My only previous talk as an author was at Wetherby High School when I discussed inspiration and motivation. The presentation slides for that talk are available on my website.

Anyway, I spent most of Tuesday feeling really nervous and worried it would be a flop or no one would turn up. Of course, neither happened and it was a delightful evening which actually went too quickly! I hope everyone that attended enjoyed the evening as much as I did and thank you to all the staff at the library.

Now I have my first author talk under my belt, there is no stopping me! If you would like to book an author talk, please contact me via my website 

Goodreads

Congratulations to Tracey (from Arizona, USA) and Wendy (Ontario, Canada) who both won copies of Beyond the Past. The books are on the way to you. I look forward to receiving your constructive feedback shortly.  Come over to goodreads and join me

Before I go, I just want to tell you this. At the 6th form this week, Wes was set a task, along with his peers to find out how stressed out they were. A number of questions were given rankings from 0 to 10 and then the totals were added up at the end. If you scored less than 50 you was under stressed and over 50, over stressed. Because Wes scored under 50, his tutor told him he runs the risk of not being motivated and being  a lazy adult, this is to a child who trains three times a week, does all his homework, exceeded expectations on his exam results, is flying through his A level work and plays football when he can. Apparently, he reached this score because I don’t put any pressure on him at home. Why should I pressure him? As far as I am concerned, parents should NEVER EVER  need or want to put pressure on their children. Encourage them and support them but never push them to the brink of being over stressed! What a ridiculous notion. Let’s face it I can’t be doing too bad a job with the success both boys are having. I can’t get my head round why stress, or lack of it, is a measurement of motivation and success. The simple fact is I have taught both my boys to manage stress through being able to talk to me and I also know when the boys are stressed and deal with it with them. Pressure my boys, my eye! (I don’t like to swear on here otherwise I would!!).

What concerns me more than the exercise being carried out in the first place, is the fact that once they identified the stress levels, no counselling or support was offered to the students that were over stressed. Yes they were given childline’s number but really?!? Now that is worrying.

Next week I will definitely finish the first draft of Beyond the Lies. Once this is done, I then start the task of a full plot and evidence review. Then the joys of editing. In the middle of this I will be back on social media pestering you all. Have a fabulous week everyone.

 

HARD WORK, PERSISTENCE AND MOTIVATION ARE IN ABUNDANCE HERE




The first three chapters of Beyond the Past are posted on my website to give you a taster 

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Thursday, 9 October 2014

Menieres Madness



I live with pain every day. Some days it’s a dull ache other days it feels like my ears are going to explode. The buzzing drives me to distraction especially when trying to listen to people in crowded places. BUT the worst part of this unpredictable illness is the frustration of not being able to do the things you want or need to do.

Monday started off with me writing over 10,000 words in one day. I was so pleased with myself. I had a plan for the week after spending the weekend nursing Lucas through yet another stomach bug caught at school. The amount of letters I get home from school telling me I’ not allowed to send my child to school until at least 48 hours after any sickness yet someone must be sending their child in because my cops for it every time! Anyway I should know by now that planning a week is futile. Monday night I started to feel ill and by Tuesday morning the floors were moving. Thankfully Tuesday was a training day but instead of completing tasks, I spent the whole day laid up. The sensation of everything moving around me is truly unnerving. I can’t do anything until this phase passes. It is really depressing - the noises, the ground moving and the sickness! I have no choice but to succumb to it which is even more depressing because I’m a fighter and don’t like losing. I did try and do the ironing and managed the school uniform, just. I worry about the boys on the bad days but I needn’t do. They are so understanding and considerate.  They do like being at home doing their own thing which is probably just as well.


Wednesday was better. I thought great the ground is still so I cracked on and got lots of work done. I’d managed to get to page 402 of the sequel, promote Beyond the Past, unblock the sink, finish the ironing and do the washing. That is me taking it easy! I am so grateful the boys completely understand the illness, regrettably some adults are totally ignorant to it. I do thank my lucky stars that it could be much worse.

Today is Thursday and it’s not a good day. I have the mother of all hangovers (without drinking) and the words are jumping around the page but I don’t want to spend another day doing nothing. I want to crack on and finish the sequel. I have readers waiting for it and I want to finish it so I can start on my next project.

All I can say is thank goodness for writing because without it I really don’t know what I could do. The illness is bad enough but each time I have an episode it erodes away by self-confidence and self-esteem. It makes me feel inadequate and weak. I get so cross with myself because I can’t go at one hundred mile an hour and do everything.  It’s also bloody tough to keep going but I won’t let it beat me. I don't want your pity, sympathy or understanding, just your awareness of a disease that affects people worldwide. I was disappointed to receive some unwanted advice telling me I shouldn't discuss my illness as it would put people off and lessen my chance of finding a partner. It astonishes and saddens me that this sort of bigotry and prejudice exists. Guess what it is advice I will choose to ignore thank you.

Writing has been such a liberating experience. It’s let me work when I can’t move, it has helped me come to terms with my past and it has given me the opportunity to meet some truly fabulous people. Do I want my life to be different? NO. I’ll live with the illness if it means I can do something that I truly love.

One thing that cheers me is up is hearing the boys saying thank you for all that I do for them and both show their gratitude almost every day. Lucas is especially vocal and thanks me for being here for him – like I’d be anywhere else! It is so important for children to feel loved and supported. They need to know they live in a safe and happy environment. I believe a child is likely to be more independent if they know they have a safety net and I am theirs. I don’t believe in the sink or swim attitude of some parents – lazy parenting! It makes me laugh when they moan that youngsters are paying too much attention to the X Factor, pop stars and overpaid footballers but are unprepared or unwilling to become effective role models to their own children.

Lucas and I watched the Pride of Britain awards and we discussed all sorts during the programme. We discussed the bravery and selfless acts but we also discussed politics – yes politics with an eight year old! He wanted to know who Ed Miliband was which then started a full discussion of the parties and their ideals AND where the Queen fits into the whole process. He was brilliant and asked some very clever questions. I love spending time debating issues and discussing life with both the boys. I can see a few screwed up faces reading this BUT knowledge is power and education is not just about what is taught in the classroom. It is my responsibility to discuss life with them and ANY topic is available for discussion. It keeps me busy researching if I don’t know the answer immediately!

Author Talk


Tuesday 14th October 2014 6 -7 pm I will be giving a talk at Wetherby Library, discussing my journey as an author so far. You are all very welcome to attend this free event.
I will also be signing books. See my website for details or facebook.







You can purchase the book from :



Amazon UK  
Amazon US
Kindle
Pegasus 

 
OR ORDER FROM YOUR LOCAL BOOKSHOP.

The first three chapters are posted on my website to give you a taster 

 

New Ideas


Last week I spent some time reading other author blogs. I realise how fortunate I am to have had my very first novel published in a relatively a short space of time from completing it (just two years!). There’s lots of examples of authors writing lots of novels for decades before they even get that glimmer of hope of being published. I don’t underestimate my achievement one bit nor do I take it for granted. I am within a whisker of finishing the first draft of Beyond the Lies and I’m so happy with how it is shaping up. As a huge fan of books one thing I hate is reading a sequel that does not deliver the same punch as the first so I have taken my time in writing this one – sorry to those waiting for it but I promise you it is worth the wait x

After finishing the sequel I need to decide on my next project. Another great storyline came to me last week and I quickly scribbled the outline of it. I just can’t work fast enough at the moment. Lucas and I are still working on his first book and I have to say it is very enchanting. He is very clever.

Have a great week, what's left of it. Make the most of what you have and go get what you would like... YOU CAN DO IT! Enjoy your weekend x




Thursday, 2 October 2014

There’s always hope…




It’s been an incredibly busy two weeks, professionally and personally. After months of dredging up the past and forgiving myself for the horrible mistakes I have made, I am ready to move forward. I have even found myself thinking of dating again – I never thought I would ever say that again but third time lucky, maybe? Internet dating is an absolute no, no for me, especially as one of my future crime novels will feature the pitfalls of it (shudders at the thought!). The trouble is, outside of running the kids everywhere I don’t go out and there my master plan of finding a partner in crime fails miserably before it has even started. You never know, they say love turns up in the most unexpected places. We shall see. For now I shall keep creating my leading men rather than living with him – there are a thousand pluses to that statement!



I’m writing this while enjoying a cream tea at Roundhay Park – honest I don’t get out much. The sun is shining and only the gentle cool breeze gives away the time of year.
Still on a high from the book launch, I am also delighted to report Kindle sales have increased in the UK and in, drum roll please, the USA! Me! Little ME! My book is out there in the world. My book is being read in places I can only dream of visiting. I know one thing, I will get to New York and Washington before I die, along with seeing a NRL game live in Australia.

Last Sunday was our last rugby league game of the season. Where has this year gone? Usually, we are ready for a break – all rugbyed out! But not this time, well not me. Wes probably doesn’t share the same sentiment with his sore nose and black eye from the last game but I’m sad its over and it could be the last game he plays for the Hawks – a short spell indeed. The Rugby Football League decide next week the Academy format for 2015 and it is very likely it will be a new system next year. We are waiting the news before we can plan to move forward. Whatever happens his future looks great and as a parent that’s what I hope for.

What next?

Well, I spent two days carrying out a full plot review of the sequel just because I woke up at 3am in a blind panic that the continuity was all wrong and that I’d got one of the characters visiting a prisoners when he himself was in custody – sounds like an episode of Soap! Do you remember Soap? Anyway, I hadn’t – the prison visit occurs before the incident he is arrested for. Panic over. Serves me right for doubting myself. Old habits die hard. I can’t say much more, I don’t want to give anything away. I am very, very close to finishing the first draft of this book now, hence the 4.30am starts – I write better in the morning.

My biggest decision when the draft is finished, is which storyline to choose next. All of them excite me… decisions, decisions.

GoodReads Giveaway

A huge thank you to all 714 people who took the time to enter the competition. Congratulations to Wendy Holland of Ontario, Canada and Tracey Trafford, USA. Your signed books will be on their way to you shortly.

You can purchase the book from :

Amazon UK  
Amazon US
Kindle
Pegasus 
OR ORDER FROM YOUR LOCAL BOOKSHOP.

The first three chapters are posted on my website to give you a taster 





This is my book trailer providing details of the plot.




Author Talk

Tuesday 14th October 2014 6 -7 pm I will be giving a talk at Wetherby Library, discussing my journey as an author so far. You are all very welcome to attend this free event.
I will also be signing books. See my website for details or facebook.

Well, I’m off to pick the boys up now (actually I’m finishing this off sitting in the car outside school – every minute counts!)

Good luck to all the teams in the Championship Grand Final at Headingley this week – gutted Sheffield Eagles didn’t make it but there’s next year. Good luck to the Rabbitohs in the NRL Grand Final, which is typically on at the same time as the Formula One – thank goodness for Sky Plus!

Until next time… stay safe and have lots of fun.