This is the current work in progress and the plan is to have this out by the end of the year. If you have read ‘Fragments’, this is from the same universe.
There is no release date yet, so I will post up the pre-order links as soon as I can.
I am currently running a competition to give away two copies of the Fragments paperback. Each one will also come with a Petal’s Potted Preserve mug.
You can find the competition at the Petal Orticultural Obbit Facebook page.
If however, Facebook, twitter, instagram are not your thing, then please comment on this post! Maybe even follow and share.
The competition closes at 10pm UK time on the 22nd September 2017. Both national and international entries are welcome!
I rather cherish the memories of standing in Mum’s kitchen holding my own books in my hands. Each time, there has been a smile as to having worked hard and crafting something that I am very proud of and ultimately would like to share with others. I am not writing anything at the moment; my pens have temporarily fallen silent and are reflecting on new possible stories.
I am also involved in a project called the Peace Series That link will take you to the Facebook page. There is even an event that will hopefully plant Peace firmly on the map. My contribution is scheduled for release early in 2018, and is currently being polished.
There were plans to write a cookbook! Plans being plans, this is on pause; I will get around to that eventually.
For now, I have three books in circulation that I am genuinely proud to have written and developed. Two, are primarily to do with gardening and cooking; with this year being a poor year on the allotment plot, they are a reminder of good times, of fruitful times.
Then there is ‘Fragments’, which is my first foray in to writing fiction. This does not mean I have abandoned my green plot. Simply that I have decided to add an additional string and broadened my horizons a little more.
Bit of a heads up. This is not a fluffy book with hearts, rainbows and butterflies. It’s not a textbook either!
Above are a selection of passages from Fragments, these touch on the six different stories that are interwoven to paint a picture of how loss and bereavement may effect us. The people and their experiences are varied and diverse; I wanted to write stories that could be seen to reflect and represent the world around me and to some extent how I see it.
I like my book; I am however, very biased. It is seeing and hearing that other people have picked it up, read it and invested in it that truly makes me feel less biased.
You can find the ebook here . For paperback, click here. If you happen to be in the USA, you can even walk into Pipe and Thimble in Lomita, California to buy a copy! The store is the only place on the globe that actually holds any of my books right now. That in itself is a tad mind blowing.
If you do invest in a copy, of either version, then please share and leave the review. As a non-traditional, self published author, I am a cog in the Indie publishing world. Reviews help that universe expand, allowing books that we wouldn’t ordinarily come across become more visible. This expansion then allows myself and other Indie authors to be stumbled upon with our works being shared.
For now, my pen, all three of them actually-are at rest.
All of the writing projects are in a lull. One writing project is being reviewed at a draft level for release slated as March next year. The others being very much being paused due to a lack of mojo. I am taking a rest, as the daydreams have disappeared for a bit and have left me to my own devices.
With that, I have been thinking about Fragments and the process of writing it. What I have been reflecting upon, is why I wrote it and the stories that are within the pages. For days, I have been thinking about what I might share about a book that I feel I had to write, wanted to write and hope that people might something out of. Three things, that are no different to how I felt when writing about my allotment and on this blog. Three very important drives when picking up a pen and committing thoughts and feelings to paper.
‘Fragments’ is not a book full of sunshine, rainbows or butterflies. The theme of the book and that which covers all of the six stories is grief. Grief, bereavement and loss is something, that like taxes is part of our lives.
It happens to us all, but for each of us the journey that occurs is unique.
Grief, bereavement and loss are also veiled in social acceptance; talking about grief, showing how it affects us and then processing it, is all very much on the down low. It is shied away from, thought of as dark, gloomy and best dealt by alone. Grief, bereavement and loss feel spikey; we hold these things at arms length and wrinkle up our noses when faced with them.
‘Fragments’ started it’s life nine months after I experienced the loss of my maternal grandfather. He was the last grandparent. To this day, I remember the message that my sister sent me, I remember telling my mum-the hardest thing, that I have ever had to do-and I remember leaving work, climbing into George, turning off the music, and heading off towards the A444. I remember Nana still being there and at home, whilst I went looking for saucepans and tea bags in the kitchen. I remember cursing March, as it was such a pain in the backside. There was relief when March ended, I can assure you.
Starting to write in November and much later in the year, I didn’t think about purpose, tone or audience. I wasn’t even thinking about writing a book. All I wanted to do, was write down the day dream that I was experiencing and as quick as I could on lined paper with a green biro. I had written two thirds of the first chapter, when I realised that what I was writing was important. I couldn’t give it up, and I had to go with it. There was no plan, I had not plotted out arcs or characters. This was seat of the pants writing, and then some.
I found a notebook, a robust one; I wanted to do this properly. This daydream was far too important to ignore and at this point, I thought about planning what shape it would take.
All in all, six interwoven stories appeared on the page. I know, there are only five on the blurb. But hey, find it, open it, and find the sixth.
There are the Anands, Christopher, Daniel, Michael, Aldo and Matthew within the pages.
The Anands are an Anglo-Indian family who lose a wife and mother. Christopher loses his dog. Daniel loses his husband, Michael and Aldo are parents bereaved. Like me, Matthew experiences the loss of a grandparent.
I have another character in the book. Marcy, a counsellor.
All of these characters, these people somehow reflect the world around me. There were times, that during the writing process they all felt real and very much three-dimensional. Figments of my imagination these characters may have been, but within the pages of Fragments their worlds are some form of reality.
Over the course of nearly two years, the six stories were developed. I must have dragged them on every adventure I went on, used bottles of ink and spent hours poring over the two notebooks that the stories would fill. There were tears, when I felt the stories so strongly and had to sit back with a cuppa to be at arms length. There were smiles when the words flowed. In writing the book, I had put my soul onto the page to go through both pleasure and pain.
When it ended, I felt a loss and not to dissimilar to that experienced by the characters.
Fragments had become a part of me, it contained so much that I thought I had dealt with. It became an act of self care-though, at times when I pushed myself to get it written, this didn’t feel the case. Writing helped me to process what my own feelings and thoughts were and I cannot find the words to convey this more clearly.
When eighty per cent of Fragments was written and Christmas 2016 drawing close, there was another family bereavement.
My pen froze.
December 2016 was painful as Aunty Indra passed away. Again, I was cursing the month for being so awful. I couldn’t write a single solitary thing. I don’t think I was supposed to, the universe didn’t want that to happen and at that point, I put books of any sort aside.
It was an interesting book-end. Fragments started with a death, it was finishing with a death.
Time had to pass and grief had to be processed before I could pick up my pen again. When I did and at the end of January, Fragments was ready to resume its course.
It wasn’t just the writing that was therapeutic. Making the cover was also important to me. Whilst I had the title of the book, nothing felt right when it came to the cover. So much so, I fancied getting creative. In already having a stash for colouring, I knew that I had soft pastels somewhere. I used these to create three different pieces. All blue; blue felt right for this book and I went with it. Playing with sugar paper and soft pastels was rather interesting! What I couldn’t then do, was decide which one would be the cover and the options went to a public vote via social media. I gave no clue as to what the image was for or what the content of book was. In then end, ‘Fabric of the universe’ won and became the book cover.
Recently, when learning about grief and bereavement during my counselling diploma, Fragments took on another dimension. I saw the book, the themes from a different perspective and as being even more real One hell of a light bulb moment occurred, and writing the book felt even more important.
I opened with saying that my pens are at rest. For now, they are and until the mojo returns, that will remain the case.
Until then, I shall be smelling the roses…..
Over the last eighteen months, I have been working on this.
So far, all of my writing projects have drawn upon the allotment and have been non-fiction. Writing about the allotment, was wonderful. I enjoyed it immensely; like the allotment, it was organic, gave me a huge sense of pleasure and fulfilment whilst teaching me some very valuable lessons. I am proud of the two gardening books, I would not have written them or unleashed them-yes, like The Kraken-if I didn’t think of them as having value or a be part of me, for that matter. There may still be further gardening books; I will never say never. I have plot cook book scheduled for later this year, so allotmenteering is still very much part of my world and the contributions that I want to make to the universe. (Thanks Humanistic approaches to counselling, I have been listening, yes.)
Fragments is a bit-well, very different. This is fiction, and my first foray into this corner of Indie publishing. The process has been an interesting journey; there were good days, bad days; the notebooks got hauled to Brighton, to Italy and to Lanzarote.
I wrote whilst sunburned in the Canaries, whilst my feet were swollen having trekked to the Vatican. I wrote, in between lessons at work and tutted loudly when told that my handwriting looked like Sanskrit. (I did actually laugh at that one, I was definitely writing in English!). I wrote, when the daydreams were so intense that I picked up my pen and let it have a mind of it’s own; I was not going to argue. (It’s a Parker Sonnet, and I love it. There are two, and Gods forbid anything happens to them.)
The book is currently available in ebook, and in the course of the next few days will be available in paperback. It is the paperback cover that you see above and with the blurb. You can click on the image in the side bar to get your copy. I won’t give you chapter and verse about what ‘Fragments’ is about-see above!
I even got arty and created the cover. A spot of pastels did the trick, and the image is called ‘Fabric’ of the Universe. The two gardening books, have creatures on them rather than human beings. I am still thinking about having humans on covers, and I’m exploring this with upcoming works.
What’s next? As mentioned before, there is cookbook on the agenda. There is also the romance novella-Retreating to Peace-which is part of the Peace series and is another step in a different direction.
As well as sowing seeds, there are a couple of writing projects that are waiting in weeks for different points of this year. All being well, these will available in March/April and then in December. There is a cook book pencilled for somewhere in the middle!
‘Retreating to Peace’ sees me work alongside a smashing group of indie authors on the Peace Series. You can find details here about the authors involved.
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