On the blog today, guest author Val Penny.

Today on the blog I am pleased to welcome fellow crime writer Val Penny as my special guest.

About Val.

author pic 2

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However, she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ and ‘Hunter’s Revenge’ are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The third book in the series, Hunter’s Force, follows shortly.

My Writing
I write crime novels, largely because that is the genre I like to read. I enjoy puzzles, mysteries, crosswords and crime novels. I like to try to work out ‘who done it’ before the author tells me: and I am not alone!
Lots of people like crime, at least in novels! Often, I meet dentists and bank managers with clever plot ideas, or nurses who read every crime novel they can lay their hands on. If I visit a writing group, there are always members keenly producing new murderous plots. Lawyers and convicts show equal enthusiasm for this genre. For those who want to write a crime novel, there are several reasons to want to do so. Here are a few of them.
Emotional Release
Often, those who write crime novels find an emotional release in their craft. Crime novelists deal with the dark things that people usually push to the side of their minds in order to get on with everyday life. The cathartic attraction of writing can be decisive.
Some crime authors tell of poor sleep patterns, punctured by night-mares that are repaired when they start to write. Others, panic, constantly scanning doorways for signs of danger. The stiffening fear that afflicts them resolves when they are busy writing crime.
The Story-Telling Urge
The sources for crime novels are many and varied. Ideas can spring from the news and current affairs; memories from the past and historical events or things that puzzle or fascinate the writer. Once an author begins to exercise their creative muscles, they often find that they run into stories demanding to be told. The stories demand to be told and will not stop coming.
For Companionship
It is often said that writers can be difficult people: gloomy, competitive and quarrelsome. However, for the most part, I have found crime writers to be an inclusive and convivial bunch. They are certainly hard-working. The pressure of producing a book a year is intense, yet they never seem to turn their backs on fun. If you have a chance to go to a crime-writers’ convention, do take it. They are exhausting, exhilarating and irresistible.
An Outlet for Aggression
Most crime-writers will tell you that they are good company because they channel all their belligerent thoughts into their stories, so in real life, the authors are meek and mild. It is not always true, but I can confirm that a crime novel is an excellent place to park your rage! The prospect of giving vent to righteous anger in a safe form can be a particularly pleasing device. When characters require to act in a violent way or commit violence the reader is willing to witness this on the page but they would shy from it in real life. Crime writers can let rip on the page in a way they avoid doing in the real world.
The Thrill of Research
I can personally confirm that the research you do for crime novels and for academic purposes are equally satisfying. It is also extremely diverse. It may involve visiting prisons, refuges, police stations or drug dens. Police are often very willing to be of assistance to crime writers, even if it is just to avoid being irritated when otherwise the writers would get police procedures wrong. This information is most useful and helpful. Indeed, when you are writing a novel, no information or experience is wasted!

Val’s books.

Hunter's Chase book cover

Hunter's Revenge Cover

How to contact Val

www.authorvalpenny.com

www.facebook.com/valerie.penny.739

facebook groups

Val’s twitter

Hunter’s Chase

Hunter’s Revenge

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in creativity, Guest Bloggers, managing your writing, my blogs, selling your books, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On the blog today, guest author Val Penny.

Today on the blog I am pleased to welcome fellow crime writer Val Penny as my special guest.

About Val.

author pic 2

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However, she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ and ‘Hunter’s Revenge’ are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The third book in the series, Hunter’s Force, follows shortly.

My Writing
I write crime novels, largely because that is the genre I like to read. I enjoy puzzles, mysteries, crosswords and crime novels. I like to try to work out ‘who done it’ before the author tells me: and I am not alone!
Lots of people like crime, at least in novels! Often, I meet dentists and bank managers with clever plot ideas, or nurses who read every crime novel they can lay their hands on. If I visit a writing group, there are always members keenly producing new murderous plots. Lawyers and convicts show equal enthusiasm for this genre. For those who want to write a crime novel, there are several reasons to want to do so. Here are a few of them.
Emotional Release
Often, those who write crime novels find an emotional release in their craft. Crime novelists deal with the dark things that people usually push to the side of their minds in order to get on with everyday life. The cathartic attraction of writing can be decisive.
Some crime authors tell of poor sleep patterns, punctured by night-mares that are repaired when they start to write. Others, panic, constantly scanning doorways for signs of danger. The stiffening fear that afflicts them resolves when they are busy writing crime.
The Story-Telling Urge
The sources for crime novels are many and varied. Ideas can spring from the news and current affairs; memories from the past and historical events or things that puzzle or fascinate the writer. Once an author begins to exercise their creative muscles, they often find that they run into stories demanding to be told. The stories demand to be told and will not stop coming.
For Companionship
It is often said that writers can be difficult people: gloomy, competitive and quarrelsome. However, for the most part, I have found crime writers to be an inclusive and convivial bunch. They are certainly hard-working. The pressure of producing a book a year is intense, yet they never seem to turn their backs on fun. If you have a chance to go to a crime-writers’ convention, do take it. They are exhausting, exhilarating and irresistible.
An Outlet for Aggression
Most crime-writers will tell you that they are good company because they channel all their belligerent thoughts into their stories, so in real life, the authors are meek and mild. It is not always true, but I can confirm that a crime novel is an excellent place to park your rage! The prospect of giving vent to righteous anger in a safe form can be a particularly pleasing device. When characters require to act in a violent way or commit violence the reader is willing to witness this on the page but they would shy from it in real life. Crime writers can let rip on the page in a way they avoid doing in the real world.
The Thrill of Research
I can personally confirm that the research you do for crime novels and for academic purposes are equally satisfying. It is also extremely diverse. It may involve visiting prisons, refuges, police stations or drug dens. Police are often very willing to be of assistance to crime writers, even if it is just to avoid being irritated when otherwise the writers would get police procedures wrong. This information is most useful and helpful. Indeed, when you are writing a novel, no information or experience is wasted!

Val’s books.

Hunter's Chase book cover

Hunter's Revenge Cover

How to contact Val

www.authorvalpenny.com

www.facebook.com/valerie.penny.739

facebook groups

Val’s twitter

Hunter’s Chase

Hunter’s Revenge

 

 

 

 

 

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The Waiting Game

The last couple of months I have been busy on a number of things related to my writing and moving it forward.

I have done an online course on how to pitch to an agent and found a great deal of benefit from doing so. My pitch is now much sharper and is within the mythical 300 words maximum. That takes a bit of doing to get all that you need in and take out all that is superfluous.

I have also been dealing with beta reader comments on my current WIP, Jack Janson and the Storm Caller. So many little details that need to be looked at and carefully considered. I cannot stress enough how important it is to find good, reliable and honest beta readers. Their input is vital if a draft is to become a decent polished manuscript for submission.

Finally, and by no means less important, I have been going through published guides and websites that provide details of agents and their requirements. The list is long and each has their own specific criteria that an author must comply with. You simply must do as they ask otherwise your book, no matter how good, will not be read. It is as simple as that.

So, with my submission in to selected and correct genre agents I now have the long dark of expectant anticipation waiting for that email or even better, that phone call that will bring my book to fruition.

Keep writing.

Posted in agents, creativity, editing, fantasy faery story, managing your writing, my blogs, publishing, research, submissions, The Handbook of TOP TIPS To Manage Your Writing, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A great night at the New Writing Showcase

Last night I was part of a writers showcase at the Glasgow West End Festival and I was able to read two of my poems at the event to around forty people.

I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome three years at the tender age of 51 and recently I have been inspired to write about and reflect on my life with Asperger’s. Much of my writing on this topic has been poetry and the one below is one of those I read out last night.

To be understood

What do I have to do to be understood?
In this maddening world of the bad and the good.
Where confusion, anger and despair seem to rule
People look at me and think me a fool.

The truth is I’m much cleverer than most
I’m just saying the truth, not meaning to boast.
They look and they stare and are too quick to judge
As if somehow they harbour a grudge.

But I am in pain and cut up inside
For the gulf between us is millennials wide.
Dejected, neglected and ignored all the time
I stand alone and pretend I am fine.

If only you knew what its like to be me
The Asperger’s kid worn down socially.
Instead I just can’t wait to be alone
Like a dog on the floor playing with a bone.

There’s little for me in this world that we live
Despite all the things that I know I can give.
I just need the chance to prove I have worth
Instead of regretting the day of my birth.

It’s down to you to change your perception
Of the strange little kid you met in reception.
It’s up to you to see all the good
Only then will I be understood.

A big thank you to the organisers and to those who came along to read their work and support other writers.

Posted in Asperger's Syndrome, Change, control, creativity, depression, freedom, lifestyle, poetry, research, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scenes from a park bench, part 2

It’s a more peaceful day than it was last week because there are fewer gulls and pigeons flying about. A gentle breeze caresses my face as I sit and watch a courtship ritual between 2 pigeons that ends in a brief coupling before they both fly off.
Single men walk by, some with dogs, others not so. Perhaps they walk to clear their heads from last nights excesses. A couple canoodle on the bench opposite and a jogger struggles to do another lap of the pond.
A child shrieks from the play area away to my left with a cry so hard you would think his leg had been bitten off by a crocodile. There is no alarm and no fuss, just another false alarm that all parents are conditioned to take note of. I turn away as a proud grandparent pushes a pram past me.
There are as many single people as there are couples at the park today, a ratio that will change dramatically later in the afternoon as picnic bags, Frisbees and dogs chasing balls and sticks descend upon the open space.
Cars roll by behind me, some of them hitting the pothole by the bus stop, other missing it. The bleep of the pedestrian crossing breaks that moment only for a bus to hit the pothole with a loud thud and shudder. I pity those with a bad back who are sitting on the bus, jolts like that can result in days of pain and misery that they will bear with strained smiles. A fast car speeds away from the pedestrian crossing as though he is on the grid at the races and the red lights go green. One day it will all end in tragedy when a loose child escapes its parents grasp and is in the firing line. Thankfully, not today.
Another couple of pigeons do their courtship ritual just a few feet away from me, the larger male strutting and cooing around the female. She isn’t impressed by his efforts and flies off. The male looks up at me and I am sure it is a sad face that greets me, before he too, turns and flies off after the female.
More mothers and babies in prams saunter by and a fit man in a striking lime green and bright pink leotard rushes past at great speed. Someone starts to feed the ducks, but they are mobbed by gulls and pigeons that appear out of nowhere and sweep down on mass to steal what they can.
Although I have been sitting for quite a while, a dizzy turn grabs me and makes me feel uncertain about standing. I decide to wait a while as a dog barks in the distance.
Everyday life continues unabated in the park and eventually I decide to head home. I just hope my balance holds. It does, but I am reminded of something someone said to me once. “You walk like a drunken old man.”
Thanks for that, just the boost I need.
Keep observing and keep writing.

Posted in Change, creativity, fantasy faery story, managing your writing, my blogs, research, The Handbook of TOP TIPS To Manage Your Writing, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Write something dramatic.

I am often asked by fellow writers how to keep ideas fresh and maintain interest in your books. Often, they are writing in a specific way that fits with their genre and sometimes, those “restrictions” are actually stifling the creativity and writing.
My recommendation to them is to have something dramatic happen, an unexpected event. It could be anything that brings in, or takes out, a character or introduces a situation that will spark the interest of you as the writer and your readers.
Such events could be a storm, this can work well in literary and historical novels where technology is not as advanced as it is today, perhaps a free falls and bursts through the lounge window when the family are having a crisis meeting of some kind.
Think Beau Geste by P.C Wren, the family are having dinner, the lights go out and when they are put back on again, the famous family heirloom, the diamond, has gone and the story takes a new direction from there.
In more modern writing, have someone come to the door unexpectedly, maybe a woman with a baby needs help, or a car crashes through the bay window into the lounge. These are both dramatic and introduce new characters.
Let your imagination go, allow yourself to think of something different and see how you can weave it into the story.
Other dramatic events could be the sudden loss of all technology, everything stops working. What do people do? How do they manage? Perhaps someone digging in the garden discovers something and when it is finally unearthed, strange things happen. Think the Tommyknockers by Stephen King, or someone gets stuck in the middle of nowhere like in Misery.
The scope for that dramatic event is endless, it is your job as a writer to make it believable and gripping.
Keep writing.

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What I do at the end of a writing session to keep the flow going.

As a writer I am lucky in that I can sit down in a disciplined way and write. I always have ideas and they flow onto the page without much trouble at all. One of the things I am sometimes asked by fellow writers is how do I keep the continuity going from one day to the next when there are breaks between writing sessions.
For me, that is as easy thing to answer, I never finish a writing session at the end of something. If I have reached the end of an action piece or the end of a chapter, I always start the next part or chapter. It gives me a pick up point and I can get back into the rhythm and flow of what I was writing before I stopped. If I am pushed for time for some reason, I will write a few sentences and add in bullet points of what is to come so that the thread of the story continues as seamlessly as possible.
It is a tool that has served me well in my writing and may help you to, so give it a try and see how it works for you.

Posted in editing, fantasy faery story, Fendrels' Tale, managing your writing, research, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment