Whose Turn Is it in The Sun

This has been a day of sunshine and shade, starting out cloudy but developing into a glorious spring/summer day. When I took my first walk of the day, part of the time the garden was bathed in sunshine and part lost in the shade of a few large clouds.

Depending when I looked, some of my favourite flowers were basking, spreading their petals to catch every moment of warmth, others waited patiently in the shade until it was their turn again.

So what inspiration did I take from my walk today?

Well, I got to thinking how it is that, as writers, sometimes we shine a light on one character, sometimes on another. There was a time when most books were written from only one perspective, but these days readers are quite used to different parts of the story being written from different viewpoints. In most cases that is a helpful thing to do because it allows the reader to see and feel how the different characters react to what is happening. It can make for a richer reading experience.

In my last post, I included a little excerpt from Mirabelle’s viewpoint about her fashion choices when it comes to outer-wear. Today, I’d like to bring her daughter, Summer, into the light and share with you her mixed feelings about her mother’s appearance:

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Searching for Summer

Summer watched Mirabelle as she made her way to the ice-rink. It was amazing how light she was on her feet, given she was still massively overweight, even though she’d lost tons. Made you realise how ginormous the woman used to be. Can’t possibly be healthy to be that huge.
She looked stupid in her flapping dress and dripping shawls, her feet in big, furry sheepskin boots darkened by the snow that wet them. Summer tried to feel the old disgust at Mirabelle’s unique, un-cool dress code but, instead, affection and tolerance filled her heart.
Why should Mirabelle conform? Why should she be as every other mother of her old school friends: either neatly turned out in their designer outfits, or sporting clothes that no longer suited them but made them feel young and fashionable? Mirabelle was different, all Summer’s school friends had agreed on that. It used to matter, used to embarrass, frustrate, infuriate even. But now? Summer smiled. Mirabelle was exotic, even in her soaking wet state, she was bright and bouncy. Eccentric, yes, but so what? She was lovely.

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The Reluctant Detective Series

When Mirabelle’s daughter, Summer, disappears one Friday night, her life changes for ever. Wandering the streets of Edinburgh, living with the homeless, or trailing her daughter across Scotland, Mirabelle finds she has a gift for finding other people’s children while she’s searching for her own. Her kitchen becomes an unofficial missing persons agency, and she becomes a reluctant detective.

Searching for Summer ~ Traces of Red ~ Rusty Gold

Other books by Christine Campbell

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Tone of Voice

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A grey day today.

I set out on my thankfulness walk anyway this morning, thankful that at least it wasn’t raining. I don’t go far on my walk, just several times run the garden, counting my blessings as I go, thinking about all that I have to be thankful for.

I’ve been on my own this past few days and decided I’d talk out loud – just to see if I still had a voice since it hadn’t been used in quite a while. But I didn’t like my tone of voice. It didn’t sound thankful for long. I started grumbling about the fact the temperature has dropped and it’s damp and cold again, more like March than May, and it was affecting my joints, making it too painful to walk round the garden more than once, and anyway I don’t feel so steady today, don’t have much energy.

My walk quickly became a grumbling walk instead of a thankfulness one.

I didn’t like my tone of voice.

The list of grumbles continued as I came upstairs to start writing, and that got me thinking about a writer’s tone of voice. It changes too, depending on the subject matter and what part of the story you’re telling.

The voices of your characters need to change too. It’s no use having a miserable character saying pleasant things in a miserable tone of voice. It’s not going to work. Nor will it work if your normally cheerful character doesn’t adapt the way he/she speaks when tragedy strikes or difficulties arise.

In the first three books of The Reluctant Detective Series, Mirabelle, the main character, is an eccentric, bubbly sort of character, but when her daughter goes missing, she loses that bubbliness and becomes depressed and anxious. Her sister, Yvonne, is one of her comforters. She shelves her own problems and supports and encourages Mirabelle to keep going. She’s always there for her. Never too busy to listen. Never too busy to help.

In my current WIP, For What it’s Worth, I am telling Yvonne’s story, so Yvonne’s voice has to change a little. She is no longer the one to be jollying Mirabelle along. She has become the one who needs comfort and encouragement.

Will Mirabelle rise to the challenge of lifting her young sister’s spirits? Can she become the comforter? The encourager? Will she be there for Yvonne?

Fortunately, I’m not one to be down for long. A wee spell here at the computer with a cup of herbal tea beside me and my spirits lifted. My tone of voice will hopefully be better when I have occasion to use it again.

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One of the things that added to my list of grumbles this morning is the fact that I got a letter the other day from my publisher telling me what to do once I have approved my book. Well, that would be fine if the book had come for me to check over and see if I approve or not! But it hasn’t, and it clearly should have. Grumble, grumble, grumble.

It really shouldn’t be long though, so you’ve still got time to catch up on the first two in the series if you haven’t read them.

Here are the details:

Searching for Summer ~~ Traces of Red ~~ Rusty Gold

You’ll find all of my books on Amazon

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*** UPDATE ***

Rusty Gold is now available for purchase as a paperback or as an eBook on

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Waterstones or FeedARead.com
or can be ordered from most bookstores

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Have a nice day, whatever you’re doing.

I’d love to hear what turns a grumbly day into a cheery one for you.

Do share in the comments.

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The Number 1 Reason You Flub up Your Exercise Program

Are you a person who hates to exercise. Find out the number 1 reason you flub up your exercise program. Review of “No Sweat” by Michelle Segar Ph.D

via The Number 1 Reason You Flub up Your Exercise Program.

Here At The Gate

How good is your memory?

Can you remember much about your childhood? The happy times maybe?

But what about dramatic events. I’m sure you can remember them, can’t you?

What about an event that was so dramatic it became traumatic?

How good is your memory then?

Here at the gate 3

Mhairi had worked hard to build herself a normal, stable life, but there had always been a dark fear inside her. No matter how happy she was, it was always there.

It followed her about like a black bat, haunting her nights, hiding in a corner during her days, flapping out at odd moments, scaring the wits out of her.

It was as though she was standing outside a high-walled garden, barred from the secret of her past by the wrought-iron gate. She could see all the bushes and trees, the rhododendron and hydrangea. She could even smell the roses and the honeysuckle, but then the gate would swing shut and she was outside and it was dark.

Now her happy, settled life was being threatened by her own daughter and she knew she had to force through the darkness. She needed to remember what she had spent a lifetime forgetting.

HERE AT THE GATE

Available on Amazon all over the world:

http://a-fwd.com/asin-uk=B00KIW95OW&asin-com=B00KIW95OW

feedaread.com

Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, and can be ordered from bookstores.

Sometimes, You Just Have to Laugh.

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Writing is a solitary occupation. No-one else can express the thoughts inside your head or the feelings in your heart. It has to come from you. The quotation is true, ‘There is no handle on the outside of your heart. It has to be opened from within.’ Writing gives the opportunity to open that door marked ‘Private’.

This may sound contradictory, having said that writing is a solitary occupation, but it doesn’t have to be accomplished alone. Yes, it is only you who can do the writing, but others can help you find within yourself what to say and how to say it.

In our writing retreat, our little group of three found we could work together to find the key. We opened our hearts to each other as we walked in the countryside or talked by the fire. Then, having opened that door from the inside, we each began to coax out some of the  precious images waiting to be revealed. Still a gradual process, we gave ourselves space and time to work alone, to research and write and edit as we chose before coming together again to share the results.

Not everything we wrote is ready to be published: some of it is still marinating, some is not for strangers’ eyes, but our week away began to bear results. We were getting back in the swing of it. We were writing again.

For one of our ten-minute free-writing prompts, What Made You Laugh?, I wrote a flash fiction piece. Bearing in mind the idea is to write without planning or careful thinking, to just get something down on paper, I was delighted with the result …not because it was a great story, not because it was well told …but I was writing again. That’s what mattered.

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What Made You Laugh?

It was the girl who had to stand, swaying with the movement of the train. Clearly there were no gentlemen aboard.

She was holding the strap above her head with one hand and the brown-paper-covered book she was reading in the other.

It started as a tiny, muffled chuckle which she quickly stifled. But it refused to be suppressed and built inside her with each sentence she read. I was watching and could see her shoulders shake and the little bubbles of laughter popping in her throat. I started to smile.

When the next giggle broke through her defenses, I saw it coming and felt it build in my chest in sympathy. This time she couldn’t hold it in at all and gave up trying. What started as a giggle grew into a full-blown, throw-your-head-back laugh, making me laugh along with her. I had no idea what she was reading: no clue what was the joke.

Someone sitting across from me started smiling, a chuckle escaped from someone else. As the girl’s laughter was brought back under control, we all settled down and resumed whatever rumination we’d previously been engaged in. But she couldn’t resist the next sentence she read and, once more, her laughter resisted restraint.

The bubble in my own chest hadn’t quite settled, and popped again. The lady opposite joined me, nudging her neighbour who laughed too. We lost it. The ripple of laughter travelled the length of the carriage, its magic touching someone else every now and then. They infected others until the girl on the train had the whole carriage laughing, really laughing. The kind you just can’t keep in. It breaks out in unmeasured quantity, uncontrollable and satisfying. You don’t need to know what’s funny any more. Laughing is what’s funny. It just feels so good.

The girl smiled and waved as she stepped off the train at the next stop, leaving everyone laughing and smiling, talking to their neighbour whether they knew them or not. In her hand, she waved the book. Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

Mission accomplished.

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You can find all of Christine’s novels here for Kindle or for paperbacks.