Patterson’s Curse Week 8 (I think)

Hey folks

Firstly I have to apologise for totally missing Week Seven’s blog – I don’t know where the last couple of weeks have gone, but I promise you I’ve been busy writing up a storm on Patterson’s Curse.

I’m pleased to report I hit 65,000 words, and am about to start chapter 22.

Usually I’m a fairly chronological writer but for this book, with four strong female point-of-views I’m jumping around a bit and writing a scene when it takes my fancy. I’ve also been doing a lot more planning than I’ve ever done on a novel before. Most of my planing is usually done on my head but with four sisters and thus four stories interlinked, I resorted to something other some other writers swear by. I bought some post-it notes, some highlighters and a massive piece of cardboard to stick on my wall and I created this:

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Each of those yellow post-its is a scene that I know must happen before I get to the climax of the book and each colour is a sister. Sadly, there are a lot more scenes I need to add and I’m seriously beginning to worry about the length of this book. You guys will certainly get your money’s worth with this book 🙂 But I’m trying not to worry TOO much and just write.

Here’s a little extract for you until next week:

It was Hugo’s turn to frown. ‘But you’re definitely going ahead with having a baby on your own?’

‘Yes.’ If anything, the hassles of finding a donor had made her more and more convinced of her decision. With each disappointment, her yearning to have a child of her own grew stronger. The way she’d almost lost control of her emotions in theatre proved that she needed to see this decision through.

‘I’ll do it.’

‘Huh?’ Lost in thoughts about the beautiful baby she’d just delivered, she thought she must have misheard. Or that the conversation had moved onto some other topic without her noticing.

Hugo leaned forward and planted his elbows on her desk, clasping his hands together in the way he always did when he was serious or focused on something. Her heart picked up speed as he opened his mouth.

‘I’m offering you my sperm, Madeleine. That is if you find me, as a donor, suitable.’

Holy shit! Was he kidding? He checked all her boxes for suitability a hundred times over.

She couldn’t help the smile that burst on her face as she imagined what a baby made with their combined genes would look like. Would it have blonde hair like hers or the sophisticated copper of his? Until she’d met Hugo, she’d never imagined anyone with red hair could be sexy but he defied this myth. They were both tall and sporty, so unless they shared some weird recessive genes, their child would have good body structure and muscle tone. And they both had high IQs – she imagined them sitting on the floor doing flashcards with their super bright baby.

The word “perfect” popped into her head, until she remembered Hugo wouldn’t be sitting on the floor sharing parental duties. He wouldn’t be there for the good times or the bad. That wouldn’t be the arrangement. Her bubble deflating, a voice in her head said she should thank him for the very kind offer but decline. It was the sensible thing to do. After all, a close friend donor was never one of her options. And also, this hadn’t been Hugo’s idea originally. If Celia hadn’t suggested it at dinner, he’d never have come to her on his own. Would he?

‘Are you sure?’ The question came out of her mouth of its own accord but it was a good one. If, and it was a big if, they did do this, she wanted to make sure he wasn’t feeling pressured by Celia or herself.

He nodded. And the only time she’d ever seen him looking so serious was the rare times he lost a mother and/or baby unexpectedly. Despite today’s medical advances, it still happened occasionally. ‘I’ve barely thought about anything else the past few days. The idea of you going out and looking for a stranger to… to do this mammoth thing, just doesn’t sit right.’

‘But you don’t want children?’

He lifted one shoulder. ‘Celia doesn’t want children, I’m indifferent, but I love Celia.’

Madeleine tried to ignore the stab in her heart at his confession. Of course she knew he loved Celia. Everyone loved Celia.

But then he added, ‘And you want a child and I love you too.’

A shot of adrenalin jolted her heart but somehow she managed to ignore it. He might love her, but not in the same way he loved Celia.

 

PATTERSON’S CURSE week six!

Hi everyone

Can’t believe I’m into week six of PATTERSON’S CURSE.  On the one hand it feels like I’ve been writing it forever but that time has also gone super quick. There are another nine weeks until my deadline but two of those I’ll be touring with the fabulous Fiona Palmer so it’s really seven. And two of those seven are school holidays, during which I never seem to manage to write much (and fair enough… I want to hang out with my babies)!

Anyway I like a challenge and this book is certainly a challenge. But I’m not going to whinge and whine today, instead I want to share with you my favourite things about last week’s writing.

1) The romance! Although this book is more women’s fiction than straight romance, I can’t write without a least a little bit of romance plot. Each of the four sisters have a love interest, although I don’t think all will get their HEA in this book. But my favourite romance so far is that of sister #3 Charlotte (Charlie) Patterson and her childhood friend, Mitch McDonald. Mitch is most definitely a beta hero and probably my biggest challenge (cos I’m already so in love with him) will be making sure he isn’t TOO perfect. Below is a little extract from Charlie and Mitch’s storyline:

She slept through Port Augusta and Port Pirie and didn’t even stir until Mitch returned to the ute after stopping at a servo just outside of Adelaide. She startled as he closed the door behind him and settled back into his seat.

         ‘Hungry?’ he asked, a boyish grin stretched across his face as he held up two Golden North Giant Twin bars.

         ‘Oh my gosh,’ she shrieked, all but snatching one out of his hands. ‘I haven’t had one of these in years.’

         He laughed, leaned back in his seat and ripped the wrapper of his ice-cream open. They sunk their teeth into the chocolate covered treat at exactly the same time and moaned in unison. Memories of their youth when they’d sit outside the Meadow Brook General Store on a wooden bench, stinking hot despite being under the shade of the veranda came into her head and she couldn’t help but smile even more.

         ‘Remember that time you lost your pocket money and couldn’t afford our after school snack?’ Mitch said, obviously thinking along similar lines to her.

         ‘Uh huh.’ She cringed, her cheeks flaring in embarrassment. ‘I cried because you’d be able to buy a Giant Twin and I wouldn’t.’ In her defense, she’d only been eight years old.

         ‘Your theatrics worked though, I gave you half of mine,’ he said, his tone amused. ‘You do realise I wouldn’t share one of these’ — He held up the few bites that were left of his ice-cream. ‘With just anyone.’

         She swallowed her mouthful, relishing the way the cold creamy sugar melted on her tongue. ‘You are a true friend, Mitch McDonald.’

         ‘And don’t you forget it.’ He screwed up the wrapper of his Giant Twin and offered his hand out for hers. ‘I’ll go put these in the bin. Do you need to visit the conveniences before we get going again?’

         ‘Good idea.’ Charlie gave him her wrapper and opened the ute’s door, finishing her final mouthful as she climbed out. Truth was she could eat another but if she did, she’d probably feel sick. She didn’t want to ruin a good thing. After freshening up in the less than fresh bathroom of the service station, she headed back for the ute to find Mitch leaning up against the bonnet, basking in the rays of mid-afternoon sun. His square jaw roughened with dark stubble glinted in the sunlight and he looked utterly gorgeous but she pushed aside the curl of heat that flickered in her belly. Most of the time she simply thought of Mitch as her oldest and closest friend, a bit like the brother she never had, but every once in a while she felt things she didn’t want to feel.

2) The research. Normally I’m not a HUGE fan of research – I’m always worried about providing too much detail in case I a) get it wrong or b) bore my readers to tears – but I’m enjoying the research I’m doing about fertility for this book. And I’m learning a lot. Two of my sisters are trying to get pregnant in various ways for various reasons (don’t want to give the plot away), so I’ve been reading a lot around the subject of difficulty conceiving and fertility testing. In addition to this I put a call out on Twitter and FB for anyone who has had some personal experience in this area and was willing to answer some questions and I got a great response. People are SO generous and I thank those ladies who have replied to my plea!

One of the ladies told me during her time trying to conceive she bought a fertility statue. I’d never heard of one of these but she educated me and it is SO going in the book!! See picture of one below:

Venus-Willendorf-6-Statue-(2282)

 

Right, I suppose I’d better get stuck into today’s writing. Thanks to everyone coming along on this journey with me. I hope you’re enjoying these blogs.

x
Rach!

PATTERSON’S CURSE week five!

Hiya folks

Sorry – I missed one week of PATTERSON’S CURSE updates because I had almost a whole week away at the Romance Writers of Australia conference and then was too shattered last week to update. Besides I wrote about one page in that week, so there wasn’t really much to tell. Aside from that I had a fabulous time hanging out with my good writing buddies, meeting new friends and being inspired by AWESOME speakers. The highlight of the conference had to be listening to Cherry Adair – both in her plenary speeches and her workshops. What a fabulous person and amazing writer.

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Me with the inspirational Cherry Adair!

Malle Vallik form Harlequin gave a fabulous workshop on the writer’s brand, particularly what a good website should entail. Mine does okay according to her checklist but she had some fab ideas I’d love to enact so watch out for a new website for me soon 🙂

The Harlequin dinner and other social events were also big highlights. I posted some photos to my FB page but below are a couple of others from these nights:

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The gorgeous Flo Niccol from M&B UK, me, shirtless waiter and
fab rural romance author Tricia Stringer.

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Good friends and awesome authors: Maisey Yates, Dani Collins
and Beck Nicholas

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Me hanging out at the Destiny welcome cocktail party with some
of the fab team from Harlequin Australia

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After the Awards Dinner, Escape Publishing through a fab after party 
and hired a fun photo booth for the evening!

Now… for my PATTERSON’S CURSE update. Last week involved a lot of second guessing myself and deleting words, putting them back in, deleting them again and then putting them back in. I actually cried, which I haven’t done over a book for quite some time. I whinged to my husband and my good writing friends and they all offered advice and pep talks. Somehow I got over myself and decided that I WILL CONQUER THIS BOOK whatever it takes.

Some books are easy to write, some are hard. This one has been a bit of a challenge so far but I hope that means it’ll be AMAZING by the time you guys read it next year!

Progress thus far:

  • two chaps, which means I’m now into chapter eight
  • 28,579 words so far (another week where I didn’t meet my word count goal but I’m hoping to make it up in the next couple of weeks)

Here’s an extract for you from this week’s words:

‘What happened to the woman who gave the curse?’ Abigail asked as Madeleine turned the car into the main street of Meadow Brook.

‘Oh, she stayed in town,’ Mags said, seemingly happy to tell all now she’d started. ‘Drove Laura wild, following her, shaking her head and fingers and uttering mumbo jumbo whenever she could. In fact, her daughter still lives in town. You might know her as Wacky Wanda.’

Madeleine almost swerved off the road and into the local Australia Post Box at this news. She recovered, brought the car back into the middle of the lane and then looked in the rear view mirror. Abigail looked deathly pale.

Oblivious, Mags continued. ‘Her real name is Gretna, she was the same age as my father but never attended school. She and her mum kept to herself until her mum died and Gretna still keeps to herself. I feel sorry for the old girl. She’s in her eighties and I’m not sure she’s ever left Meadow Creek in her life. Some say she’s not right in the head.’

Madeleine met Abigail’s gaze in the rear view mirror and saw her look of utter horror. ‘Sounds like the whole family weren’t right in the head,’ she said, rolling her eyes.

Mags laughed. ‘Crazy as cut snakes I’d say.’

‘But what if…’ Abigail’s question died on her tongue as Madeleine turned the van into the motel car park and saw an ambulance parked out the front.

‘What’s going on?’ asked Mags, leaning forward as if doing so would give her a better view.

At that moment the front door of the reception opened and Madeleine saw Charlie holding it open, a stricken expression on her face as two men in ambulance uniforms wheeled out a stretcher, Lucinda bringing up the rear.

‘Dad!’ gasped Abigail.

Madeleine flung open the door and almost tripped in her efforts to get to him. ‘What’s going on?’ she demanded to no one in particular as she stopped alongside the stretcher, glancing at the oxygen mask and defibrillator attached to her dad.

‘He had some kind of turn. They think it’s his heart,’ replied Lucinda, her voice shaky. ‘They’re taking him to Port Augusta.’

Madeleine looked from her dad’s ashen face to the serious expressions of the volunteer ambulance officers. ‘Mitch,’ she said, recognising one of them. ‘Have you given him Aspirin or a GTN spray?’

‘Yes. We’ll look after him, Mads.’ He offered her what she guessed was meant to be a reassuring smile.

She puffed out a breath. ‘I’m coming with you.’ Mitch might be very good at driving trucks and fixing things but what did he know about fixing people? And as for the other volunteer, he didn’t look old enough to buy his own underwear.

PATTERSON’S CURSE week three! And an excerpt!

Hi folks

I must admit this week has been a bit of a struggle for words! Possibly because I took a couple of days break to finish the final read through of THE ROAD TO HOPE and therefore didn’t start writing PATTERSON’S CURSE again until Tuesday. But I think it’s more to do with a horrible, crippling thing called SELF-DOUBT. 

I think because this is a slightly different kind of book to my rural romances, I’m stressing that it’s not working. In a romance I almost always introduce the hero and heroine in the first chapter and get straight to the action – their ‘backstories’ come out as they face their issues and learn more about each other. However with this book – my first attempt at women’s fiction with only a splash of romance – I’m setting up four sisters and the premise. I think because I had to introduce ALL the sisters and set the scene of them being back in the small town of Meadow Creek at their family’s motel, before I got to introduce the CURSE, I worried that it was slow. I worried that readers might not stick with me to get to the good bits. I worried that these first few chaps weren’t good enough. Basically, I’ve realised where my writing is concerned I’m a worrier.

My heart and gut tell me the book is okay – that meeting these very different sisters and throwing them back home together is interesting and will keep people reading but my brain or the little crow of doubt on my shoulder keeps shouting otherwise. 

I think it also had a bit to do with chronology. I had a few things I knew MUST happen and I got them mixed up. Until I worked out the problem, I couldn’t go forward and I doubted everything. I know some writers skip back and forth, writing scenes all over the shop and then stitching them all together but that’s never worked for me. Although this time I might be tempted to try – if one sister is giving me grief, I’ll try switching to another. 

Anyway the good news is that despite this being a slower week than I’d hoped, I’ve made progress and I’m finally happy with what I’ve got. I also reformatted the chapters and made them a little smaller, so now I have MORE, which looks like I made more progress than I did. Yay! 

Progress thus far:

  • three chaps, which means I’m now into chapter six
  • 21,400 words so far

Now… just cos I love you all, thought I’d share a little of my work-in-progress (see below). 

Happy reading

x

Rach!

‘Okay, I’ll admit,’ Madeleine said after taking her first sip, ‘now I’m curious.’

Abigail smiled. ‘So what are we going to do about it?’

‘Maybe we should just leave it,’ Lucinda suggested, twisting the stem of her wine glass between her thumb and forefinger. ‘Mum and Dad obviously don’t want us knowing. I trust their judgment and shouldn’t we respect their opinion?’

Charlie nodded. ‘I agree. If we didn’t stumble on the cards we’d be none the wiser.’

‘But we did,’ Abigail pleaded.

‘And I for one have better things to do than spend all eternity wondering if some curse is going to strike me down dead when I least expect it,’ Madeleine announced. Abigail couldn’t tell if she was taking the piss or not, but at least she now wanted to know.

Charlie shot Madeleine a disbelieving glare. ‘I didn’t think you’d place any importance on things like curses? Aren’t they along the same lines as palm reading, horoscopes and all the other things you take great joy teasing me about.’

‘Maybe.’ Madeleine shrugged. ‘But none of those things affect me personally. This one is a “Patterson” curse. I think we have a right to know.’

Silence followed and Abigail guessed her sisters were all pondering the same thing as her. Did they have a right to know? And did she really want to know? What if the curse was something about death or bad luck or disease? She shuddered. Dad’s brother, Uncle William had died long before his time when he was caught in a rip on a family holiday to Goolwa Beach. And as Madeleine had just informed them, Dad’s aunts had died in a horrific car accident. One of William’s sons – their cousin Tim – had died at only three years old of a brain tumour. Sheesh! Maybe there really was some ghastly Patterson’s Curse.

‘So how do you plan on finding out?’ Lucinda asked. ‘I don’t think it’s a good idea to keep pestering Dad in his current state.’

‘Yes, Lucinda, thank you for that blindingly obvious piece of information.’ Madeleine tapped her fingernails on the bar. ‘We could make general enquires to locals who’ve been living in Meadow Brook forever and might know something.’

Lucinda shook her head. ‘You’ve been in big cities too long. Word would get back to Dad and he’d be upset we’d gone behind his back. Look I think we should just forget about it and concentrate on the important things, like sorting through Mum’s stuff and helping with the motel.’

‘What do you think, Charlie?’ Madeleine asked.

‘I think sometimes knowledge is dangerous,’ which Abigail guessed was Charlie’s way of saying maybe they should let this go.

‘But knowledge surely beats ignorance? Forearmed is forewarned and all.’

PATTERSON’S CURSE week two!

Hi folks

Week two is just kicking off here in PATTERSON’S CURSE land so as promised here’s my update.

Progress thus far:

  • two chapters
  • 10,348 words

This is not quite as far along as I was hoping to be by now as I’m aiming for 15k per week. However this week I had an evening event in a town two hours away and also the final read through edit of THE ROAD TO HOPE (out March 2015) to do. So I’m trying not to berate myself too much.

In addition to these chaps I made a lot more notes this week about what will happen in certain scenes and tried to jot down some sort of time line for necessary events. Much of my “plotting” happened when I’m out on my daily walk with Rose my dog and if I feel the need, I use the voice recorder on my phone to make I don’t forget.

I’m working my way into this novel, which is a little different (as I said to my others).

I have four sisters – Madeleine, Lucinda, Charlie and Abigail – and the challenge for me is telling their stories equally, knowing when to change from one point-of-view to another. I think this will be easier as I progress into the story but in these early chaps when I’m trying to set the scene, it’s a bit like a jigsaw puzzle.

In my romances I try to get to the action of the story fairy quickly – I guess I mean showing the conflict and attraction between the hero and heroine at at least the first couple of chapters, but I have noticed in women’s fiction authors often take more chapters to set up the premise.  That is certainly my experience so far with PATTERSON’S CURSE. I’m trying not to stress too much about this and just follow my gut and I’m praying like crazy it’s working.

Hope to have more of an update on how the story is progressing next week.

Until then.

x

Rach!

PATTERSON’S CURSE week one!

Hi folks

I’ve been quiet on the blog for a while recently but I thought it might be fun to blog the journey of writing my next book. I’ll try to blog every Monday morning, updating you all on what’s happening in the book and how I’m tracking.

Today is the first day back at school for my boys for Term 3 and I’m kickstarting the new book. Details below:

Title: PATTERSON’S CURSE (this is a working title and may still change)

Word count: aiming for 100k but feel like I might go anywhere up to 120k

Deadline: Dec 1st for my publisher but Nov 1st for me. I like a few weeks to read through and edit.

I will aim to write every weekday and get about 2000 words. I’ll sometimes write on the weekends. I will likely take the October school holidays off to read and hang with the kids. I also have a week away for the Romance Writers of Australia conference in August and a tour with Fiona Palmer in September/October. This means I have about eleven weeks of writing time. At 2k a day I SHOULD achieve my goal. Of course, there’ll be kids sick days, school carnivals, edits and other things crop up in there but I will do my best.

And please feel free to ask any questions you have about my writing process or the book in the blog comments section 🙂

First things first… A clean and tidy desk.

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I’ll take another photo when I’ve finished the book!

I’ve also started a Pinterest page for PATTERSON’S CURSE. To check it out click here! There are four sisters in this story and it’s my first attempt at a more Women’s Fiction than Romance story. And as the title says it’s about a curse. The curse of the Patterson family, not the weed that plagues farmers!

In addition to Pinterest preparation, I’ve started a brand new notebook to record my thoughts, ideas and future directions of the story. I guarantee by the end it will be a total and utter mess.

photo 2-14Now I’m cheating a little bit because I proposed this book to my publisher a while back and wrote the first few pages back then. So I think it’s only fair that I share the first few paragraphs with you to start this blog series. While you read, I’ll get writing!!

 

Chapter One – South Australia

‘Dad.’ The word slipped from Lucinda Patterson’s lips on a whisper as she walked through gate 29 Adelaide Airport and spied her father. The last time she’d seen him was almost six months ago and she wasn’t sure if he looked better or worse. He’d lost weight and appeared to have grown a few more greys in his thick mop of black hair. He stood tall, his glasses perched on his nose as they always were and his arms folded across his chest as he waited in a sea of people desperate to claim their loved ones so the holiday season could kick off.

Thrusting her shoulders back and pushing her chin high to give an air of confidence she didn’t feel, Lucinda side-stepped a couple so lost in a passionate reunion that they either didn’t care or hadn’t noticed that they were holding up the traffic. Once upon a time she and Joe had been like that whenever he came home from his two weeks up north, but lately, not so much. Pushing that thought away, she stepped around them and her dad rushed forward, his arms wide open for her. Her handbag slapped against her back as she flung herself into his arms and dropped her head against his strong, broad shoulders.

‘Dad,’ she said again as tears welled in her eyes.

‘Lucinda,’ he whispered back. ‘My Lucinda.’ His voice held raw emotion, making her feel safe and loved and needed all at once. Still holding her, he shuffled them slightly to the left and out of the throng of people rushing to leave the plane. There wasn’t room for her and her dad and the tongue-locked lovers.

‘How are you, sweetheart?’

His heart-felt question almost unraveled her. It was she that should be asking him that. He’d been the one that had been six months without his soul mate. Although she too had been six months without her mother, living away she’d sometimes forgotten that her mum wasn’t still in their home town of Meadow Brook, making beds, cooking meals and greeting guests at the Meadow Brooke Motel. Living away she could sometimes still pretend that her mum was alive, but being back home for Christmas would put an end to that illusion pretty damn quick.