Meeting New People

Hello Lovelies,

This week has been a pretty exciting one in terms of my writing progress with my first novel Lonely Hearts.Whilst I haven’t quite reached my goal for this month yet, the breakthroughs I’ve had this past week have been super exciting.

I’ve been able to explore Rose’s ‘gift’ in more detail as well as meet a couple of new characters. Lillian Jones and Matthew Johnson are both employees of Thomas.

Lillian is Thomas’ secretary and personal assistant, she is in her mid-thirties and loves all things fashion. She has short chocolate brown hair, brown eyes and a pale complexion, she likes to stand out and loves to wear bright red lipstick. Lillian is unmarried and isn’t sure if she will ever marry as she is still in love with her fiance who died in battle in World War I. Lillian and Rose will become great friends.

Matthew Johnson is a man of many talents, his main occupation is as a driver for Thomas, but there are many things outside of his job description that Johnson ‘takes care of’. Johnson served in World War I in Gallipoli and played a big part in the elaborate deception operations that aided in the evacuation of Allied Forces in December 1915. After returning from the war, Johnson had some difficulty adjusting to life again in Australia and much of his time was spent in the local bars and winning round after round in the underground boxing scene in Sydney. Thomas and Johnson met when some members of one of the many Razor Gangs at the time, attempted to rob Thomas. Johnson fought off the men with his bare hands and Thomas immediately recognised the value of having a bloke like Johnson around (because well… he’s built like a brick shithouse) and offered him a job as his driver.

I could talk all day about these two great characters and their backstory, but I’m sure you won’t find it as interesting or exciting as I do. Every character has a backstory, it’s up to the writer to decide what parts of each characters backstory add value and which parts are simply for the writer’s eyes only.

So, I’m off to work closer to my self-imposed word count for the month, while I leave you with a little excerpt to enjoy, remember this is very much a first draft, so be kind!

-KK

“Rosie, are you coming?” Lillian knocked on the door but opened I before I could answer, “Hey what’s wrong, are you crying? I told you, Mr Heath wants to see you, not some fake and flawless Hollywood starlet.” She walked towards me and gave me a reassuring hug then took a step back assessing my emotional state, I smiled, but shook my head at her, “It’s not that, I believe what you said, I was just thinking about my mum, and I just wish she could have been here.” She hugged me again, “Oh Rosie, she is here believe me, as long as we remember them and hold them in our hearts, the ones we love will never really be gone.” Lillian stepped back but held my hands in hers, “I know, thank you Lillian, for everything.” Lillian was right about that, our loved ones would always be with us but she had no idea how right she really was. “Thank you Lillian, for everything.”

“Hey Rosie girl, this isn’t goodbye, we’re going to be great friends, I can feel it! How about lunch next week and you can tell me all the dirty details of your evening.” I gaped in mock horror, “Lillian there will be no dirty details I can assure you. It’s just dinner, but lunch next week sounds lovely.”

“Ok lunch it is, I’ll organise and send you the details early next week. Oh and I love a good story, if there’s no dirty details then make them up, now come on Rosie girl, let’s not keep him waiting any longer.” With a ridiculous smile on my face, I pulled my light black wrap around me, in an effort to cover my exposed back, then went to the door and stepped outside. As the warmth of the evening breeze caressed my skin, my smile quickly faded as I saw Thomas’ driver standing next to an expensive looking limousine, a Lincoln I believe it was. Obviously Thomas was delayed and had sent his driver to take me to wherever we were going for the evening, which was completely understandable. I couldn’t help the wave of disappointed that swept over me, I don’t know what I expected for the evening, but I guess I thought Thomas would be here to escort me, not his driver. The man was dressed in a type of uniform that I assumed was the standard sort for a driver and wore a black driver’s hat which he tipped to me as I stepped towards the car. He didn’t really look like a driver, he had the clothing and the hat but judging by his size and obvious strength, I had the feeling that he was more than just a driver. “Miss Greene, I’m Johnson, Mr Heath’s driver. If it’s not too bold of me to say so, you look lovely this evening, Miss Greene.” I thanked him and smiled politely as he opened the door for me and I slid into the car.

“Well, hello there.” I gasped as the unexpected sound of his voice caught me by surprise. There, sitting in the back of the expensive looking Lincoln, was Thomas smiling that smile that sent quivers of awareness shooting through my body. I sat in shock and for a moment I thought that perhaps I was a little crazy. I was, after all, a person who talked to her dead mother, maybe I was crazy and this wasn’t really happening. Then he reached towards me taking my hand and kissing it ever so gently. His touched sent waves of heat through me, making me realise that I was not imagining things, I still was on the fence to whether I was a little crazy or not, but I definitely was not dreaming. “Hello,” was all I managed to say, my voice sounding little more than a whisper. He smiled that smile again, still holding my hand and rubbing his thumb back and forth across my knuckles, a small but seemingly intimate touch, especially for two people who barely knew each other. I finally gathered myself as Johnson climbed into the driver’s seat and pulled out onto the street. I needed to say something to fill the silence so I said the first thing that came to mind, “This is a very nice car Mr. Heath, but it’s different to the one you came in the other day, is it not?”

“Ah, you are not only beautiful but also very perceptive, Miss Greene.” He let go of my hand and I felt bereft at the loss of his touch.

“Rosie, please call me Rosie.”

He tilted his head as if he was considering some great dilemma, “I will call you Rosie, when you call me Thomas. Now, to answer your question Miss Greene, yes this is a different car the one you saw last time was my town car, this is my evening car, it’s a 1935 Lincoln model K V-12 Series 301 limousine, it’s not available in Australia yet, I have the only one in the country so far. This is the first opportunity I’ve had to take her out” The excitement in his voice was clear as he talked about his new car made him actually look his age, like a child in a candy shop. “Well it’s a lovely car Thomas and I’m glad to give an excuse to take it out.”

“I’m glad you like it, although I wasn’t sure you would when I saw your face as you stepped out the door, you sort of looked like somebody just told you your kitten had died.” I can’t believe that he noticed my expression when I stepped out and saw his driver waiting there- not him. I sensed that he was having a joke at my expense- again. “Thomas, you’re not making fun of me are you?” The look on his face told me he knew exactly why the look of disappointment had flashed across my face mere moments ago and I had the feeling that it was all a part of his plan. Thomas gaped in mock horror, “Who me? I would never do such a thing as to poke fun at such a beautiful woman.” I blushed at the compliment and turned to turn out of the window trying to hide my reddened cheeks. I turned back to him as he took my hand in his again and looked at it as if he were studying it intently, “Oh and thank you.”

His expression of gratitude took me by surprise, what was he thanking me for? Liking his new car? As I tried to comprehend the meaning of the statement he looked into my eyes and clarified, “Thank you for calling me Thomas, not many people call me by my first name anymore.” My mind spun as I tried to grasp how something as seemingly small as calling him Thomas, could mean so much to him. The look in his eyes told me that there was more to this story, but now was definitely not the time to pry. He was definitely a man of complexity and in that moment I wondered if I would ever understand the man that was Thomas Heath.

“So where are we heading?” I asked trying to fill the silence that had taken hold once again.

“Oh well, that my Rosie, is a secret,” He said, tapping the side of his nose and winking playfully, “But you’ll find out soon enough, we’ll be there shortly. Luckily we’re both dressed for such an occasion.” It was then that I noticed that Thomas was dressed in black-tie with his blonde hair combed neatly in his usual style. It was obvious that Thomas was not going to be giving away any details any time soon, so I decided to sit back and enjoy the sights as we drove through the city, all the while Thomas kept hold of my hand.

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Through Time and Space

“Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.
Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”
― William Faulkner

Hello Lovelies,

As the above quote suggests, I have been reading quite a lot lately. I’m calling it research and not procrastination of course! I’ve been reading a lot of romance novels, as this seems to be the genre that Lonely Hearts fits into. As you probably know, when it comes to the romance genre, there is an awful lot of trash out there and I have read quite a number of them it seems while browsing some of the free e-books available on Amazon.

“There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.”
― Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

Sometimes I feel as though I am reading the first draft of a novel with some of these e-books, complete with missing sentences and horrible spelling mistakes, but I can’t help myself, if I start reading something, I must finish it, despite how rubbish it may be. Unfortunately for some of the authors, their story idea is quite good, but not fully developed and the story ends abruptly without any real answers and no sign of a sequel, that’s sometimes one of the most frustrating things. I think to myself, if only they had gotten an editor (or a better one) or spend longer developing their ideas then perhaps their novel wouldn’t be the half-assed crap it turned out to be.

“The first draft of anything is shit.”
― Ernest Hemingway

However, occasionally I am pleasantly surprised by some of them and I even discover myself a new author to follow. Shelly Thacker is one of those authors and while she is not a newcomer, she was not an author I had previously heard of until I came across the first book in Shelly’s Stolen Brides series, Forever His. Shelly is an Historical Romance author, whose work has previously been published through Avon and Dell. According to Shelly’s website, she is now an Indie author, publishing her own books with the help of digital media platforms, something which I admire.

Now, back to the book. Forever His, like all of Shelly Thacker’s books it seems, is an Historical Romance – but with a twist. Here’s the synopsis straight from her website:

Stolen Brides: Forever His by Shelly Thacker

Image courtesy of shellythacker.com

On New Year’s Eve, she tumbles 700 years back in time–and into the bed of a darkly dangerous knight.

Sir Gaston de Varennes wanted a docile bride who would fit into his plans for vengeance and justice, but a trick of time finds him married to a thoroughly modern American lady who turns his castle, his life, and his heart upside down. Will her desperate secret tear them apart after only a few bittersweet weeks of stolen passion — or will they conquer mistrust, treachery, and time itself to discover a love that spans the centuries?

I very much enjoy historical fiction, I like the idea of there being some truth behind the fiction. Perhaps this is why Rose and Thomas’ story came to me in such a way (in such a time). The twists and turns in the plot of Forever His had me totally hooked and kept me guessing. I just had to keep reading, even in the wee hours of the morning, when I really should have been sleeping…. or writing. There is really only one complaint I have, I want to know what happens next to Gaston and his American bride! That’s no fault of the author though, the story ended quite well and probably when it should have, but I always want to know what happens after the “Happily Ever After”, I’m the same with movies as well.

Even though Forever His is the first book of the Stolen Brides series, judging by the synopsis of the other books in the series, they follow the stories of different characters.

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

I really enjoyed the twist in the historical aspect of Forever His, as well as the interesting historical aspects in the story. Shelly’s details and descriptions of scenes and characters, transported me to medieval France, not only describing the visual aspects but also the smell and feel of the world that she has so carefully created.

Perhaps I am totally behind in my discovery of Shelly Thacker, perhaps everyone has already heard of her, but for me she is definitely an author I will be following from now on.

And now my lovely followers, I have another small excerpt from Lonely Hearts for you all, remember it is still the first draft, so be kind.

Enjoy,

KK

Over the next few hours as Lillian helped me to get ready. I started to get to know her. Lillian was probably in her mid-thirties. She seemed to be kind and caring and had a wonderful sense of humour. I discovered that she was a woman of many talents, not only did she perform the usual duties of an assistant, such as making appointments, typing various business related correspondence, organising meetings and what not, she also had an impeccable talent for styling hair and accurately guessing a woman’s sizing just from a glance. It seems before picking up the dress and shoes that met Thomas’ requirements, Lillian had casually walked past József’s shop and from the quick glance she had, she accurately guessed my dress and shoe size, her accuracy was unbelievable. I couldn’t help feeling a pinch of jealousy towards Lillian though, this woman had the opportunity to see Thomas every day, she probably knew more about his day-to-day life than most people, perhaps even his family. As Lillian made the final touches on my hair and make-up, I pushed those feelings aside and focused on the exciting evening that was planned for me. Then for the first time I could remember in a long time, I allowed myself to get a little bit excited about something, well, maybe more than a little. Again my thoughts drifted towards the different possibilities of the evening’s plans. Thoughts of him grasping my hand and kissing it sent waves of awareness through my body. I momentarily allowed myself to be lost in my little daydream, imagining the hardness of his body brushing up against mine as we dance, his strong body framing mine as he leads me effortlessly around a dance floor…

“Rosie, Rose, ROSIE!” Lillian’s voice shook me out of my thoughts, back into the now. “I’m sorry Lillian, what did you say?” She let out a dramatic sigh, “Thinking about something in particular Rosie? Or perhaps you were thinking of someone?” Her smile told me she knew it was someone I was thinking of and exactly who that someone was. “Sorry Lillian, I was miles away.”

“Yes, I noticed, well I’m all done here, what do you think?” I stood carefully not wanting to trip on the bottom of the beautiful sleeveless V-neck silk gown that had been chosen for me. It really was gorgeous, the back was a little risqué and I was thankful that my hair covered the majority of my almost bare back. The dress was in one of my favourite colours, a lovely shade of emerald green colour that was perfectly matched the necklace and earrings that had been delivered earlier that afternoon. Running my hands over the smooth material of the dress, I took a deep breath to calm myself. A mixture of nervousness and excitement surged through me but as I looked more closely into the mirror and nervousness began to take over. My breathing began to quicken and even though I knew I was being silly, thoughts of the teasing and bullying I endured as a child returned to my mind. There they were, despite the makeup, the freckles that covered my face were very clearly visible. What if Thomas didn’t like freckles, I’m sure he saw them the first time we met, but what if it’s something he wanted covered, something he found to be unattractive in a woman. Lillian must have noticed the rising panic in my eyes, “What’s wrong, is it the dress, the hair? I have enough time to change your hair if you don’t like it.”

I shook my head, “No it’s nothing, really, I love what you’ve done with my hair.” It was the truth I really did love what she’d done, my hair was down in a wave of honey blonde down my back, parted to the side and held back from my face with a beautiful emerald and diamond hair comb that matched the earrings and necklace.

“Then what is it Rosie?” Lillian prodded. I let out a small sigh, there was no way I could really say this without sounding silly, “It’s just that… um… you can still see my freckles.” Lillian stifled a laugh, I knew it would sound silly, “My girl, your freckles are what makes you, you! Don’t be ashamed of them! Plus, Mr. Heath specifically requested that I go lightly on the makeup he said he wanted to be able to recognise you, so I’m assuming that means freckles and all!”  I smiled at Lillian, feeling a little relieved, I was sure she wouldn’t make up something like that just to make me feel better. Could it be true that Thomas actually liked my freckles? However much I doubted it, in that moment I allowed myself to believe and the excitement for the evening ahead began to trump my nervousness again and I looked at myself in the mirror and nodded in approval, “So we’re happy now are we?” Lillian asked. I gave Lillian a small hug, “Thank you, there’s no way I would have been able to do this without you.”

“What, you couldn’t brush your hair and put on a dress without me?” she joked, “Anyway, it was my pleasure. It’s nice to have some time away from the desk, the schedules and the men in suits. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my work, but everyone and then a woman needs some ladies’ time.” I nodded knowing a little of what she meant, I cared for József dearly, but I had very few female friends and wondered if perhaps Lillian could become a friend. “So Lillian, what’s next?” It was early evening and I knew soon, my evening with Thomas would be beginning. “Well dear Rosie, first we put on our shoes,” she said holding up a lovely pair of satin peep-toe shoes in the same shade of green as the dress, “then…” there was a knock at the door and which sent my stomach fluttering, “then we answer the door, because I believe your chariot awaits.”

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

More Than Just Pleasantville

Hello Lovelies,

Last night I was watching the movie Pleasantville and it got me thinking about the importance of conveying emotions within each of our characters. Now of course this is not something new to me, but rather something that was reinforced by the watching of the movie.

In case you haven’t seen the movie, here’s a quick rundown of the plot. Basically, teenage siblings from the modern day, David and Jennifer, are transported into the 1950s television world of ‘Pleasantville’ into the lives of Bud and Mary Sue, where everything is well…. pleasant; pleasant weather, pleasant people with nothing but pleasant feelings doing pretty much the same thing day in and day out. The TV show that is depicted in the movie, is in black and white, so naturally when the two main characters are transported into that world, becoming the Pleasantville characters of Bud and Mary Sue, they also are in black and white.

 

Content of this clip remains the property of Warner Bros Studios

However, things start to change in the TV land of Pleasantville, as people begin to experience other things besides ‘pleasant’, the world starts to slowly fill with colour, one person, one flower, one door at a time.

There are many lessons to be learnt from the movie Pleasantville (such as those suggested here) however something which I took out of this movie was the importance of self-discovery and self-acceptance, allowing for the experience of all emotions.

But see? That’s just the point! It can’t stop at once, because it’s in you, and you can’t stop something that’s inside you. -Bud/David, Pleasantville

Sometimes, the world isn’t just pleasant. Sometimes it’s more, it can be amazing, exciting and exhilarating and sometimes is not pleasant at all it can be sad, lonely, dark and painful. The important thing though is that we allow ourselves to experience the world in all of it’s technicolor glory! Allow ourselves to feel happy, sad, excited, depressed, ecstatic, angry or even down right pissed off! The point is, not only is it important for our own lives to allow ourselves to experience all of these emotions when appropriate, it is also an important part of character development to create characters that experience a world that is more than just Pleasantville. In order to develop our characters we need to consider Bud’s words from the quote above and find out exactly what is it inside our characters that can’t be stopped? What is their emotional response to each complication in the plot? (Even the smallest complication that seems insignificant). We need to consider their life experiences and things that have shaped the person they are in the story we are trying to tell. Their background and history may not be important to the story, but it is something that is important for the writer in the development of each character.

Enjoy you week,

KK

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Twenty-Fifteen on The Writer Within

Hello Lovelies,

For this week’s post, I’d like to share with you my plans for 2015. A little more than a year ago, I started this blog in the hopes of encouraging myself to take my writing and creativity more seriously and take it to the next level. The year resulted in many new ideas and a range of different plot ideas, which I began to explore, causing me to be jumping back and forth between multiple WIP. I realised later in the year that not only was it extremely confusing for myself to do this, but also if I were to really get anywhere with these WIP then I needed to seriously concentrate on one thing at a time and stick it out until the end.

So this is when I chose to stick with Thomas and Rose’s story as it was the one I felt most invested in. Through the name changes, changes in POV and the realisation that I had began their story in the middle of what I hope to eventually be a series, I went right back to the very beginning and things seemed to be working out. Then life got in the way and my highly developed ability to procrastinate.

I’ve done the math and in order to finish Lonely Hearts in 2015, I need to write an average of 6000-7000 words per month. Given the fact that I have written this amount in roughly two days before, for an assessment I left until the last minute, it’s beginning to look entirely possible that I would be able to accomplish this goal. What’s even more promising is that a few nights ago I wrote roughly 1000 words in less than an hour!

So this is what I need to get done in 2015;

  • write 6000-7000 words a month to finish Lonely Hearts (This is the most important!)
  • Stop procrastinating!
  • finish my Masters degree (only two units to go!)
  • Stop procrastinating!
  • Weekly blog posts (which I do anyway)
  • Stop procrastinating!
  • Keep to one WIP at a time (but keep note of new ideas in one of my many notebooks, to be explored AFTER Lonely Hearts)
  • Stop procrastinating!
  • Recruit Beta Readers (already recruited one!)

And finally;

  • Stop procrastinating!

So, there it is, the plan. Let’s hope I can stick to it!

As proof that I have been writing, here is a small excerpt from Lonely Hearts.

Enjoy,

KK

His words beautifully etched on the card, caused my stomach to flutter and my cheeks to warm. How could something as seemingly innocent as the word ‘tonight’ hold so much power and promise? I wondered what his plans were for the night, he spoke of dinner but I was beginning to get the feeling that what most men meant when asking a woman to dinner was not exactly what Thomas would have planned. Would there be dancing, music, where would we go? There were so many lovely restaurants in the luxurious hotels in the city I wondered if he would choose one of those. I’d been inside the lobby of a few of those hotels to deliver suits and other items that some of their guests had ordered and each I was overwhelmed by the extravagance each building and that was just the lobby! I was so caught up in my daydreams that I failed to notice the woman who had entered the shop until she was directly in front of me. The woman had dark chocolate coloured hard which she wore pinned back at the sides, she was probably in her forties and she carried a small bag, what seemed to be a large garment box and another smaller one which she placed on the counter to my left. “Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you come in. Can I help you? Do you need some alterations done? I’m free now if it suits you.” The woman smiled at me kindly and shook her head, “Oh no dear, you don’t understand. I’m here to help you.” I stared at her blankly not understanding what she meant and she continued, “You see I understand you have a gentleman admirer who has planned something very special for tonight…” I nodded vaguely beginning to understand where she was going with this. “…Yes, well I have specific instructions that I am to get you all dolled up and ready…”

“Oh, well I’m not quite sure what I’m wearing yet.” I actually was sure I even had anything suitable to wear, especially considering the extravagance Thomas has already gone to, I was actually positive I would have nothing fit to wear.

“That’s fine Miss Greene, I have already taken the liberty of choosing a dress and shoes, under Mr Heath’s guidance. I’m sorry but I had to guess your sizing, but if it’s wrong I can get someone to pick up the correct size and bring it over in a jiffy.” Before I could gather myself and the extent that Thomas had clearly gone to, József wandered out from his office, “Rosie, has the papers from Mr Hea….” His voice trailed off as he noticed the woman in the store, “Oh I’m sorry, I did not realise you were with a customer. I will speak with you later.”

The woman, whose name I still did not know quickly corrected József. “I’m not actually a customer. Please allow me to introduce myself. I’m Lillian Jones, a personal assistant and secretary for the Heath family.” She smiled politely and extended her hand to József which he shook, but with a rather confused look on his face, mirroring my feelings exactly. “Very nice to meet you Miss Jones, is there something I can help you with or has my Rosie got everything under control?” The woman who I now know is called Lillian Jones, took a moment to understand József and his strong European accent, it is sometimes difficult for people to understand József at first, especially when a word has a ‘th’ sound, it always comes out as someting, anyting, everyting. “Actually, there is something you can do for me, if you don’t mind.” József listened as Lillian Jones spoke, “You see Miss Greene here is to accompany Mr Heath to an important dinner engagement this evening. Would you mind terribly if she finished work a little early today?” József looked as shocked as I was mere moments ago and he hasn’t even seen the jewellery yet. Shaking of his moment of shock he pulled me into a quick hug, “Of course not, off you go édesem, enjoy your evening.” Turning to Lillian, his fatherly instincts took over, “It was lovely to meet you Miss Jones and please tell Mr Heath to make sure he looks after my Rosie.” Smiling like she was privy to some hidden secrets she replied to József, “Oh not to worry Mr Szabó, your Rosie will be very well looked after.” I mouthed to József a quick, “thank you” before handing him the papers that were delivered earlier and heading out the door, helping Lillian Jones –Personal Assistant and Secretary, with her things- my things I guess. “So Miss Greene…” she said as I led the way next door, “Are you ready to be all dolled up for a night on the town?” She smiled that smile again and I knew she was the one who helped Thomas hatch his undoubtedly grand plan. I let out a nervous sigh and opened the front door, “Ready as I’ll ever be.”

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.