No, it isn’t a new kind of deviant game (shame! shame!) It’s a writers’ game and I was delighted to receive this invitation on Facebook, from my author friend, Ailsa Abraham – this links to her post… and more.

WIP-tease: Post any paragraph from your work in progress, then tag three others.

Thanks for naming me, Ailsa, although I was torn between my ‘NIP’ and my ‘WIP’. NIP meant trying to find something from my Novel in Progress – “Fates Maelstrom” – but that needs WORK. So this is from my WIP = World in Progress.

Photo of a cloud illuminated by sunlight. ~ by Ibrahim Iujaz from Rep. Of Maldives

Photo of a cloud illuminated by sunlight. ~ by Ibrahim Iujaz from Rep. Of Maldives

The opening paragraph from the first tale in the “Gossamer Flames” series, provisionally entitled ‘Ghost Light’.

“Darkness should grant Arati the same protection as the others stealthing through the night. Darkness was perfect for keeping unwelcome eyes blind to their activities.But unwelcome eyes were in every shadow, she warned herself. They had always been there, one reason not to go outside after sunset. Besides, without light it was impossible to see the insects. Life was too precious to blunder blindly into the night, even to find seclusion for personal necessities. Someone moved ahead of her and she stiffened. Fellow dissident or police? Or something worse?”

‘Ghost Light’ will be available free, when revised, to all those that subscribe to my newsletter.

I am re-posting this on FB so that my tag-mates are properly invited. They are: Jane Bwye, Ashleigh Galvin, and Awen Thornber.

Horses for Courses: My Descent Into Crime

My first Guest Blog invitation was a chance to delve into my memories of an equestrian past. So today you can find me in the fresh air and wild exotic vistas on Jane Bwye’s website:

Jane Bwye

Join me today as I welcome Roland Clarke in a jolly mood, reminiscing about his life with – and without – horses. I judge dressage regularly at Borde Hill, Roland; never knew you were so closely involved with eventing there. My book also contains the beat of galloping hooves, albeit in an African setting. But your “Spiral of Hooves” is a joy to read for any horse-lover.


With my mother, Nidia Clarke, at Borde Hill Horse Trials 2005

Over to you, Roland… 

I wonder what my grandfather would think about my life. Would he feel that I had ignored his example? Have I failed to make proper use of my private school education? Would he approve of my involvement in crime? Hard to say, but I’m sure that he would be pleased that I hadn’t totally abandoned horses, but then he had predicted that I wouldn’t.


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News Worth Sharing

InsecureWritersSupportGroup2   For the first three of my monthly posts in the Insecure Writers Support Group I expressed my insecurities, concerns and general fears about my writing. Today I want to be positive as our monthly posts are also supposed to be offering encouragement. There are usually some excellent words of wisdom out there. I’m only number 207 among 320 other great bloggers. If you click here there are links to all of them and you can visit as many as you want. After months of prevarication, I have drafted my first newsletter and taken the first step on the MailChimp route – and I don’t regret it. This won’t be a MailChimp Guide since there are excellent ones available, like Jeri Walker-Bickett’s post “How to use MailChimp – From Sign-up To Send”. All I’m attempting to do today is to explain why I decided to go down the newsletter path and what I hope to find. Letter writing was not something that came easily to me, whether writing Thank You letters as a child, or staying in touch with friends as I grew older. However, during my career as an equestrian journalist I produced a 12-24 page quarterly newsletter for a carriage driving club. An interesting challenge as I had to master design software and PDF production. So no excuse when it comes to a simple one page newsletter in MailChimp.

Dick Lane and his team of Lipizzaners at Brighton Driving Trials

Dick Lane and his team of Lipizzaners at Brighton Driving Trials

The design options are more basic than Publisher but I can see the potential to offer readers the following – in no particular order:

  1. Links to recent Blog posts
  2. Updates on published novels, like “Spiral of Hooves”
  3. Research thoughts and Links relating to my Worlds & Work In Progress
  4. Books read, reading and recommended
  5. Interviews with authors I follow
  6. News about my current writing projects
  7. Other people’s Tweets, Blogs and thoughts that have inspired me

Most of these don’t make interesting blog posts and yet they can be very useful to followers, when phrased right. The Gossamer Wings Newsletter will allow me to keep in touch better with you… better than sporadic posts that give a snapshot of my life. I want to make this work and I believe that having a newsletter is part of the way forward, not just for me but also for other authors. What would you expect to see in my newsletter? Would you be interested in receiving a copy? How often would you want to be sent one?

It might take a week or two perfecting a newsletter that is worthy of being sent but, if you are interested, please sign up below. [I tried adding a Widget to the site but it seems that MailChimp and WordPress haven’t sorted out a compatible code.]

But I have now found the solution and you can sign up here: http://eepurl.com/V3mq5

My Main Character

Snowdon Night ~ by Juanita Clarke

Snowdon Night ~ by Juanita Clarke

This is one of those blog themes doing the rounds and it was Ailsa Abraham, after blogging about her Main character, that asked for volunteers as so many of us had already taken part. 🙂 I was hesitant to step forward but Facebook writer friend David W Robinson encouraged me to have a go  – although I had to confess that it might be another means to put off my outstanding editing. In fact that’s been outstanding for eleven months.

First I should say that David is the opposite of me, as a visit to his ‘My Writing Process’ post at http://www.dwrob.com/2014/05/my-writing-process/ should make clear. He’s also a very prolific writer and one of the awesome Crooked Cat authors, which is in contrast to my single novel in print. Or can I count all those magazine and newspaper articles… guess not.

However, we share a passion for crime, even if his novels see the world outside his productive mind. Please check out his site and enjoy his writing.

Beyond the words ‘sporadic’ and ‘erratic’ there is a pattern to my writing. At specific times of the year, mainly during November and NaNoWriMo, I focus on getting a first draft down on paper. I usually aim to plot this novel out in detail during previous months, leaving room for the characters to introduce their own direction to the tale. Sometimes I manage to fit the draft for another novel into a year, and write that in the same way – outline and fast first draft.

That means that it’s tough to choose a main character, especially as I’ve also been working on the various shorts set in my “Gossamer Flames” world.

Enough prevaricating, time to talk about about My Main Character. But I need to answer the ‘set questions’ about the draft most likely to be read by my devoted fans 😉 – “Fates Maelstrom”.

Snowdonia ~ Juanita Clarke

Snowdonia ~ Juanita Clarke

1. What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

Although there are two POVs in “Fates Maelstrom”, the plot revolves around Twyla Locke, a fictional young woman in her last year of college in North Wales. Although she is a creation of my imagination, I am sure that I have taken some traits from people I know.

2. When and where is the story set?

Set in or just before the present. In the first draft of “Fates Maelstrom” the story was set predominantly in and around the fictional village of Hawktrewen on the edge of Dartmoor, with some climactic scenes around Lake Como in Italy. However, I am relocating the Dartmoor scenes to Snowdonia where I now live. The setting plays a key role as the story unfolds, with ancient standing stones and 18th century follies as well as natural landscape weaving into the plot, along with the rich legends of the area.

3. What should we know about him/her?

Twyla was just a baby when her parents died in a boating accident on Lake Como, so she has been brought up by her mother’s sister Ruby Horn in the Romani community of Horn’s Furrow, which has earned a place in the village, despite prejudices about ‘travellers’. However, her father was born into the local English landowning family, the Lockes, themselves seen as interlopers by the native Welsh.

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

The murder of Twyla’s grandfather Aubrey Locke exposes the deceptions that lie behind the prejudices of a divided village. Twyla becomes the prime suspect not only because she is seen as a ‘typical gypsy’ but because there are witnesses to her being at the murder scene at the right time. Either someone is impersonating her, or she has a split personality. The latter becoming more likely as she suffers blackouts, and fears that she is becoming like her ancestor Mad Geffron Locke, whose spirit haunts her. American journalist, Brogan Keyes gives her an alibi but his relationship with her cousin Yazzi Locke arouses her suspicions and drives her closer to a breakdown. .

5. What is the personal goal of the character?

Before she was accused of murder, Twyla was aiming to obtain her degree and help her aunt Ruby with the horticultural business that keeps the Romani community thriving. However, beyond clearing her name, Twyla now needs to ensure that Horn’s Furrow survives the threat to its existence that is caused by the death of Aubrey Locke. Also, are her health problems a sign that she is going mad? Or has someone framed her for murder?

6. Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

The working title is “Fates Maelstrom” and I will keep my followers informed of its progress on this website. When I have revised the first draft to reflect the new setting of Snowdonia, I will probably add another page, as I did with “Spiral of Hooves” and “Gossamer Flames”.

7. When can we expect the book to be published?

I have to work around my health problems, and my inclination to distract myself, so it will probably be some time in 2015… and that will also depend on a publisher.

Anyway, whatever I do to prevaricate, you all know what I intend to work on – as well as the “Gossamer Flames” shorts. Suppose that means that I have no excuse now. Tomorrow I must start on revising something – or maybe next week.

Please can I also ask for volunteers to take on the “My Main Character” torch – thanks and good scribbling.