Miss Alexandrina

The thinking-space of a not-quite novelist


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A Vignette from the Costellos

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I just wrote to relax with characters I know.

This was the result.

Victorian Steampunk THE BRASS BEE Pill Case Or Trinket Box http://www.etsy.com/listing/51310832/victorian-steampunk-the-brass-bee-pill:

She’d written three times in as many days.

Gabiee twisted the letter between her finger and thumb until it had rolled into a tube she’d easily hide up her sleeve.

Asif on cue – and an ominous cue at that – the grandfather clock in the atrium struck. She unearthed the chain from around her neck – from it dangled a pocket-watch, battered but carefully strung. A gift from her husband, and from his father to him. Seven exactly. Home-coming, in so many words.

“What is it that gentleman normally say when they return from the town?” echoed a voice through the atrium.

“Friedrich,” she called. They’d recently okayed a renovation of the blue room into the atrium and Gabiee’s voice travelled even when she couldn’t move more than a waddle.

Cara Spousa,” he boomed, storming through the open-plan house as he did.

Gabiee swallowed. A moment later, her husband swanned into the blue room, and Gabiee collapsed onto the chair.  The letter slipped into her silk sleeve.

“You’re home—”

“In time. For once,” he interrupted with more than a hint of condescension.

A smile slipped her over lips. Gabiee coyly murmured. “I was not about to say that.”

His eyes floated across the desk. Papers – his, mostly – lay adrift the desk, with the stray book or two she’d sneaked it when borrowing the firm back of his arm-chair, and curls of parchment. One had been torn, by her own fingers mere minutes ago, and it was the more restless of the papers.

The tear lay like a crack across the wood. He’d notice it.

Gabiee edged closer to her husband, and skimmed a hand over his chest.

“But you are home, sir, and that I appreciate. I was about to give order for dinner, though I might craft of my own a dessert for us. You would like that?”

Their eyes met, strong, piercing, warm. Oh, so warm that Gabiee filled with tingles from her toes to the tips of her ears. Before any thought had even verbally stretched between them, Freidrich leant in. His hot breath, tinged with tobacco, danced over her lips, before it was joined by his tongue and lips. Gabiee stretched onto her tiptoes and kissed him in return. This was almost relief.

The kiss had only left her lips when Freidrich’s expression darkened. His hand scrabbled, searched up and down her arm. Then, he stopped.

Gabiee’s cheeks burnt. She prayed he’d decided she had nothing to hide, rather than that he’d uncovered exactly what it was.

Their fingers met. Gabiee thought he was pulling away—but the rough bristle of parchment between her middle and index finger made her blood freeze for a second. An ache ripplied through her belly, and Gabiee drew her eyes up her husband.

“Gabiee…” His tone had already darkened, his jaw had already hardened. “Give me the letter, wife.”

She squeezed her chubby fingers closer over the slip of a message. He’d prise it from her without any effort – so why did he ask?

Gabiee protested, “It’s not her fau—”

“Damn it, stop defending her. Give me the letter.”

Wilting, Gabiee released the scroll from her fingertips, and folded her arms over her distended belly. He might demand words of her, but he’d never demand anything of her child.

A quick Google search found me an image of Gabiee’s dress. I like it.

As proof of my lack of time, I haven’t actually had the time to finish off this extract, so I will get back to this vignette next week. Have a lovely rest of your weekend. :)


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Beautiful People: The Resolutions Edition

Hello, blogosphere. :) Today, I’m linking up with Cait and Sky’s beautiful monthly linkup Beautiful People. And this month it’s about the authors – new year, new goals (supposedly). So I guess that makes me a Beautiful Person.

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  1. What were your writing achievements last year?

I culled and rewrote so many darhlings… I got some industry interest in my novel. I gave two talks to my creative writing group: one about blogging – the other about tradition publishing and querying. I wrote a 16,000-word short contemporary romance. I wrote about 6,000 words of a Steampunk novella. I wrote about 45,000 words and completed a Steampunk novella for Camp NaNo July, then edited some of it.

I did a lot of research.

  1. Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year.

Editing, I think. Editing my novel. Editing my novella. Doing some subbing. Tell you? Okay, the premise of my novella, codenamed ASB303:

It’s 1870 and Lady Summer is two months away from completing her MA dissertation study of a brain, kept animated by a jar of its neural fluid. When she stumbles upon an activating tesla MRI machine during some of her night-research, however, Summer is shocked to find her brain hooked up to it. And worse—the monster that forms from it, threatening to destroy the Psychobiology department’s reputation, the lives of the many university students in campus over autumn, and Summer’s precious brain dissertation.

  1. List 5 areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve this year.

Spend more focused editing time. Listen to more science TED talks/podcasts instead of watching YouTube. Stick to, and be inspired by, a motivational star-chart. Work on more compelling character motivations in scenes, chapters, and arcs. Work on improving first- and early-draft pacing.

  1. Are you participating in any writing challenges?

I’ll do Camp NaNoWriMo in July like I do every year, but I don’t have a specific plan just yet. I have several book ideas, but I’m not pushing them out into the open until I actually have time to write. So I’m not sure which yet I’m going to focus on, whether novel or novella, fantasy or contemporary.

  1. What’s your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year?

I always have plans to expand, but, when it comes to Critique Partners, my eyes are bigger than my stomach. That is, I took on two new Critique Partners last year and managed to crit some of their stuff without editing my own to send to them; and vice versa. Adding to that, that I neglected my first CP (who got a two-book deal last year!), I’ve decided that I can’t take on any others without neglecting one (or more) arm of what I already have.

  1. Do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year? Or are there specific books you want to read for research?

No, I don’t yet have any plans to read any writing/skill books. I’ve got a couple of Linguistics books and articles to read for uni research, as I will have expectantly for the next three months alongside my textbooks.

  1. Pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this?

I’d love to learn more about the MC of my novel’s family, Mr. and Mrs. Masters and their two elder daughters and son. I’ve extensively explored the family history of my other MC/the love interest, but this is because the Costellos’ money makes them more inclined to scandal and foul behaviour. Their morals are twisted by societal success and boasting. Plus, they are more crooked by nature than the Masters who are only seeking to elevate their daughters into better society. The irony!

How do I plan to go about it? Vignettes and scenes. And quite a bit of daydreaming. That always works.

  1. Do you plan to edit or query, and what’s your plan of attack?

I am currently editing my main novel and going through the rounds with it already, and, although I don’t expect to get my quota in every month with my uni expectations, I hope to continue working on it with similar rhythm. On the other hand, I have a little pile of books waiting to be edited – my YA contemporary murder mystery; my Steampunk novella (which is chapter-by-chapter slowly going through my Beta).

  1. Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  What are the books that you want to see more of, and what “holes” do you think need filling in the literary world?

Ooh, difficult question. Love that quote, though. I guess I’d like to see more unusual/fantasy university-set fiction. I mean, I’m biased because the aforementioned Steampunk novella is a fantasy set in a fictitious English university town, cogs and all. I have no objection to the boarding school novel, but we always see those, with their narrow halls and fixed staff-set, and we rarely see the insides of universities, where it takes one 30 minutes to get from lecture to lecture and one gets lost in a single building. Or only for contemporary romance.

  1. What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?

It’s really difficult to say at this stage. Well, no, it’s not, but few of my current wishlist achievements are writing/work related: graduate with a good grade, get healthy, spend a good summer with my darling partner, start post-graduate plans – whatever they end up being. Oh, and write something, read more, and get an agent.

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A motivational star-chart (example from November).

That’s me done, then. Now I’m off to read some others in the linky. *waves and skips off*


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Winter Reading (Again)

I’m hoping, or at least trying, to read a bit more over my winter break. I guess I’m averaging a chapter a day, but with the amount of different books I want to read… And since I clearly don’t talk about reading enough on this blog, I’m gonna look at that.

So, what am I currently reading?

I love the edit I've done on this photo. Magic, indeed!

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V E Schwab. I’m currently half way through this novel, and I have mixed feelings at the moment. I don’t feel like much is actually happening, but I like the writing. I want to keep reading, so something is going right :)

A CONSPIRACY OF ALCHEMISTS. Liesel Schwartz. I will keep reading this one! It’s just not been on the top of my reading priorities, so I’m hoping to use the winter break to get through it.

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I lost my copy of THE LABOURS OF HERCULES, by Agatha Christie, for a bit, which means I am behind on that one, but I’ve got it back now, and intend to get back to thundering through this, a la my love of Christie. It’s an easy read.

I’ve started reading the novel Five Nights At Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes by Scott Cawthon, who created the game series which inspired this book, and Kira Breed-Wrisley. Always a mystery/horror fan, I am eager to unravel the plot of this novel. Obviously, it’ll be a change from the games, but that’s what I’m looking forward to, the POV and the unique story.

It’s an ambitious list, in terms of numbers.


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#IWSG : How Do You Stay Nimble? #writing

Daily (w)rite

Insecure Writer's Support Group Insecure Writers!

I’m struggling with a bad back, so beta-reading and critiquing is most I can do by way of work. I’m also submitting to magazines, but that’s about it.

Today is IWSG day: Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaughfor organizing and hosting theInsecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) every month! Go to the site to see the other participants.

In this group we writers share tips, self-doubt, insecurities, and of course, discuss the act of writing. If you’re a writer and a blogger, definitely go join rightaway!

My post today is about the writing process: I think I write inside of me most of the time while doing physical work. I don’t make things up, I just welcome whatever bubbles up within me.

Writing fiction inspiration Staying nimble with your writing

Each morning, I try to write 3 pages, to start my day off, and that has helped me stay nimble. I…

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DIVIDED by Sharon M Johnston

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DIVIDED: AN OPEN HEART NOVEL

Sharon M. Johnston

Publication Date: November 24 2015

New Adult Science Fiction Romance

A new heart should mean new life, instead it’s a living nightmare. 

Mishca Richardson’s life is at an all-time high after her heart transplant. With new boyfriend, Ryder, she has the perfect summer romance. Even the nightmares plaguing her sleep since her operation can’t dull her new dream world. Yet, life starts to unravel when Mishca develops superhuman abilities. She does her best to hide them so as not to end up a science experiment in a lab, but she can’t ignore the strange instant attraction she experiences when she meets her university professor, Colin Reed. Torn between love and the obsession, Mishca must decide between the two men. But as the organization responsible for her weird powers moves in, she’ll have a lot more to worry about than romance.

FIND DIVIDED ON GOODREADS

BUY DIVIDED: AMAZON // BARNES & NOBLE // KOBO // iBOOKS // CITY OWL PRESS WEBSITE

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SOMEONE MUST DIE so I can live. I’ve come to terms with that. Before it turned my stomach, thinking about my donor’s death, but now I’m used to it. Most likely, it’ll be a car accident or a drunken fall. It won’t come from illness or any other natural causes that corrupt human organs and make the deceased ineligible to be a donor. A violent, painful death will be my savior. It’s the only way I’ll ever get my new heart.

I open my eyes and stare upward, hoping the white fluffy clouds splotched against the blue sky will distract me from my imaginings of people dying. I guess I’m not as used to the idea of getting someone else’s heart as I thought. The harsh Australian sun makes me squint.

I swing my legs around and hoist myself upright on the stadium bleacher, looking over the sports field. Readjusting my tank top strap that had slipped off my shoulder, I try to conjure up happier thoughts. At least I won’t be responsible for the person who dies, even if I get a new heart out of the mess.

Yeah, happier thoughts.

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Giveaway

I’ve got one BIG prize bundle as part of the celebrations!

You could win:

  • Heart Marcasite Earrings
  • $10 Amazon Gift Voucher
  • Owl Christmas Decorations
  • Dinosaur Christmas Decorations
  • Owl Pen
  • Heart Pen

Author Bio:

Sharon JohnstonSHARON JOHNSTON is a New Adult author from sunny Queensland, Australia. She specializes in intriguing stories and soulful contemporaries across category boundaries. Working as a PR specialist by day, in her spare time she writes, blogs for YAtopia and Aussie Owned & Read, spends time with her fur babies, and plays computer games with her family. She’s also been trailed by women wanting to know where she buys her shoes.

Find Sharon on TWITTER and FACEBOOK and on her WEBSITE.


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Thursday Think on the Romance Genre

But for some people, marriage and 2.3 children works towards this lasting relationship. It’s about relative feelings and situation – such that no relationship is like another. This post highlights that not all romance in novels has to end in marriage or commitment, though. You know – in life nowadays, there are so many different ways in and around monogamy, and it might be good to see more of those in popular fiction.

TRISH MARIE DAWSON

Like what I assume are millions of other people over the last few months, I came across E! Online’s article this am about the lovely Goldie Hawn, pulled from her Porter Magazine article in June, and one of the things she talks about is her ongoing 32 year relationship with Kurt Russell. If you don’t know much about them, they still aren’t married, which is actually kind of awesome and impressive, considering this is a Hollywood couple, where dating/marriage status never seems to stay the same for long. Even us normal(ish) folks can look at a relationship such as Hawn’s and Russell’s and find it inspiring. In this interview, Goldie says about relationships:

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I’ve always loved Goldie Hawn, but as she ages (beyond gracefully and beautifully, may I point out) she continues to be not only a positive influence for other women in the acting industry, but all women…

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How Do I Become A Writer?

Great advice for those thinking of writing as an income by Katie Teller.

Aussie Writers

I get asked this question a lot, especially by my “non” writer friends. I think it’s interesting because I know it secretly means How do they become a writer? I’m also fairly certain most of the people who ask me haven’t read my books, but that’s another issue at this point.

So I’ll begin with one thing: a burning need to write a story. Then another, then another. This need needs to be more than just an idea. You need to write it down, hash out the plot, the twists and turns, develop the characters.

No time? Congrats, I don’t have time either. I’m a mother and wife, which in themselves are crazy busy gigs, I have a baby and almost five year old, have church and family commitments, and work. Yes, my work is mostly edits, but that leaves very little time for actually writing, and before I received…

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