Editing – does it ever end?

I have been editing a short story for my next anthology. It is based on the painting ‘Autumn in the village’ by Marc Chagall.

marc-chagall-autumn-in-the-village

When I’d finished and felt pleased with the result, I thought I would post a few paragraphs on Facebook. Ah, I saw a repetition of words and a slightly clumsy sentence and…Yep, I took it down and spent another hour editing one paragraph. Was I happy with the result?

Yes and no.

So I tweaked it again.

And again.

And…well, you get the idea.

So, as a writer, do we ever think, ‘Okay, this is it. This is perfect.’

I suppose we just have to let go and allow the reader decide.

But, oh, how I twitch and itch to change it!

Anyway, here is the beginning of my story – The Shivering Oak:

Coward.

To conceal yourself up a tree like a rat.

I did not hide. I was there for all to see. Lounging larger than the low roof I reclined upon. At least that’s how it seemed to me as I raised my chin to the sky and let the sun kiss it. Yes, even the heavens were on my side.

So, I waited.

I did not grow tired or hungry. I was nourished by the warm May winds that gently stroked my bare arms and lips, which were red. I painted them the colour of blood. But, when I glanced at my reflection in the darkened window of the building opposite, I thought they resembled the hue of the roses on my dress. Or perhaps they were nearer the shade of the berries on the bush that grew below your dangling feet. I noticed how the soles of your shoes were worn. Was that a toe? That pink protuberance that stuck out from the emerging hole? The twitching thing that made Genghis yank at his leash.

I sat up to get a better look. You struggled to maintain position on the creaking branch. One hand wrapped around the frail wood, the other clutching onto your fiddle. The same violin you used to seduce me at the Christmas concert.

The village hall was crammed that night with the young, old, and those in between. Forced to stand at the back, I peered over the shoulders of the tall men. I didn’t mind, though. It was good to be in the world again after all those years cooped up with dad.

I squinted when the lights came up and saw you standing stage right next to the accordion player. The drummer had far too much facial hair for my liking and for some reason I took an instant dislike to the piano player. I think it was because he kept winking at a young woman two seats down from where I sat.

You moved away from the clarinettist, who contorted his face and body so much when he began to tune his instrument, that I was forced to lower my gaze to avoid witnessing his grimaces. I’m glad I did, for when I looked up again, my eyes rested upon you. You were staring at the ceiling, instrument tucked under your arm, paying attention to something other than the music. Standing still all statue-like, I gazed at you and wondered if you had indeed turned to stone. If so, I’d place you in my garden by the dried up pond.

When it was your turn to play, you sparked into life as though switched on by an invisible flick. I may have drooled when your fingers slid right to the top of the neck of the violin. The shrill and lilting notes you played made my backbone dance involuntarily. You made me yours that evening, by the stroke of a bow on horsehair.

Hope you enjoyed this extract. Please feel free to comment. Thank you!

If you are interested in my short stories, I have a collection on amazon called – Glimmer and other stories.

Here is the link: http://bookShow.me/B00H89AN1M

Also my author website link: http://www.nicolamcdonagh.com/

glimmer front red 2

Free Short Story Anyone?

It is nearly the weekend and I thought that I would see if anyone out there would like to have a short story from my Sci-Fi/Dystopian/Action Adventure series – The Song of Forgetfulness – to read for FREE!!!!

It is called Changeling Fog

Fogforblog

I’m going to put it up on Amazon and other sales platforms in the next couple of days for $0.99 and £0.99. So this is a chance to get it for FREE!!! 

All you have to do is either go to my website: http://www.thesongofforgetfulness.com/ and click on the ‘here’ button under the headline ‘FREE DOWNLOAD’.

Or you can buy a copy of Whisper Gatherers: http://bookShow.me/B00YMSP1UA and click on the link on the Free Download page. I know, cheeky of me eh? It is a good book, but don’t take my word for it. Here is part of a recent Amazon review:

“If you like action, and science fiction then you’ll appreciate one of the first books EVER that gives you high powered adrenalin with chilling revelations of utter suspense! This book is amazing to read and you will not want to put it down!”

WhisperS8front cover only

Still not sure?

Well, why not read this extract from Changeling Fog and decide for yourself.

Changeling Fog

The air became more natural the further away I sneaked from Puritytowers. My nostrils twitched as smells of rot replaced the artificial floral scents that were perpetually pumped around Cityplace. Despite my tum flip-flopping with nerves, I continued on towards the outskirts of my home. A part of me wanted to venture further, out beyond the perimeter fence and into the Wilderness where Carnies and Praisebees wandered. Where Woodsfolk dwelt deep inside the forest, and the elusive Ladies had their hidden dwellings. But, I would not dare go to a place so wild and fraught with danger. Wolfies also abided there. Nope, my trip to this forbidden outer-city location was adventure enough.

The light changed too. From a glaring radiance to a sinister, gloomy glow. Now, I was used to brightness everywhere, both inside, from the many round lanterns recessed in the walls and ceilings of our abodes, to the always switched on street lamps and towering info boards that lit up the sky so much, that we never really saw the moon and stars, unless we dared to wander away from the security of Cityplace Central. Like I was doing now. I peered ahead and saw the dark enclosure I needed to get to.

As I walked towards it, the gas tubes that were stuck in the ground to illuminate the path to the perimeter fence, dwindled until there were no more. I was left with nowt but the setting sun to guide me on. The ground changed from a smooth and even stone walkway to a cracked and gravelly trail devoid of any familiar landmark buildings. All became a bleak and empty area I did not want to be in.

To rid myself of the feel of lonely, I turned my head and gazed at the dazzling concrete structures of Centralplaza in the distance. How small it appeared to be. It looked like a vid I’d seen in history class. Teach had shown us a reconstruction drama of when NotSoGreatBritAlbion was not mostly under water, and was populated with many more folk than it is now. When trees grew in cities and animals still lived in the wild, and in people’s homes as playthings and companions. When birdies landed on the ground and let folk feed them without the fear that they would be snatched and gobbled up; since they are now the only animal-type thing left in this sorry land. Except for Wolfies, but they don’t count, they are too ferocious and mean to be caught. Poor birdybirds, doomed to live in the tops of trees and in constant fear of being ate. Just as well no one knows about my gift. Although I am not so good at calling the birdies down as yet, I am getting better, and one day soon, I will be able to sing and make the birdies come to me.

There were lots of birdybirds in the classroom vid. Pigons I think they were called. They were everywhere, plopping and flapping and making a “Hoohoo-hoohoo,” sound. But that was not the main thrust of this playacting vid. This drama was about some kind of ceremony thingy, a coronation, or something. It showed a fem sitting inside a strange wooden box that was perched on big wheels being pulled by massive horsles all dressed up with ribbons and feather plumes. She wore twinkly clothes and a tiara, and was sitting next to a manlyman, her hub, and both were waving to more folk than I could ever imagine even existing in all of this puny land, never mind just in the place called Lundon.

Teach said she was the Queen of Hingland and ruled the land until she was one hundred and twelve years old. Then her grandbub took over, and apparently, things started getting worse. Now, I’m not saying that this new and last king was to blame for the plagues, famine and diseases that began to sweep the nation and beyond, but like I said, it began when he took over.

Still all that was so long ago, who can say what is fact or fiction.

author banner for FB event

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Have a lovely weekend!

Meet Fantasy Author Jane Dougherty

Prior to the Facebook Extravaganza – Fantasy Sci-Fi Dystopian Steampunk Bargain Books Party I am spotlighting each author taking part. Today I would like you to have a look at the very talented Fantasy author Jane Dougherty. I am familiar with her work and can vouch for the fact that she is a brilliant writer. Dark Citadel is an excellent read by the way.

Welcome, Jane Dougherty!! IMGP4852 3Jane Dougherty writes various kinds of fiction but finds it very hard not to include at least an element of fantasy. Her self-published trilogy, The Green Woman is straight up no nonsense fantasy. The retellings of some of the great love stories from Irish myth, she co-authored with Ali Isaac, are in that hazy, magical domain between historical fact and flight of poetic fantasy. Wormholes, her new YA series, starts off as gritty, realistic Armageddon, but rapidly takes off into pseudo-science fantasy inspired by some of the more trippy writings of the Apocrypha. The first volume is to be published by Finch Books this autumn. Jane is also a prolific writer of short fiction and poetry, some of which has been published in anthologies, literary journals, and webzines. To read some of her poems or download a short story, visit her blog at: https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/ For official purposes she gives Bordeaux as place of residence, but most of the important stuff goes on inside her head.

 Dark Citadel – The Green Woman Book 1

The Dark Citadel cover for Amazon Deborah has a secret Though she doesn’t know what it is. The Protector does And so does Abaddon, the demon king. Both of them want her destroyed. Her only shield, a wild boy and a pack of wolfdog pups. Between them, Deborah and Jonah have forged a weapon that even the demon fears: Love. Together, the pariah girl and the dog boy will change the world. Or die in the attempt.

 The Dark Citadel is Free to Download on 14th and 15th July. You can grab a copy of the book here:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Dark-Citadel-Green-Woman-ebook/dp/B00JW86TYM/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Dark-Citadel-Green-Woman-ebook/dp/B00JW86TYM

The Subtle Fiend – The Green Woman Book 2

TSF cover for Amazon

When reality becomes a nightmare, only dreams can save the world. Deborah, daughter of the fabled Green Woman, has disappeared. Hera, another grey-robed schoolgirl, has become the hostage in her place. Amon is destined for a military career, but convinced of the innocence of his prisoner, he begins to question the laws and values of his city. To hang onto power the Protector determines  to destroy the Green Woman’s allies within Providence by lighting the sacrificial fires of Moloch. When the flames have burned out not one will be left. As the flames of evil leap and dance in Providence, Hera and Amon resolve to defy the Protector, with courage as their only weapon.

Buy the book here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Subtle-Fiend-Green-Woman-ebook/dp/B00I481BVM/ref=pd_sim_351_5?ie=UTF8&refRID=168Y08N5BAQB1G648RF3

http://www.amazon.com/The-Subtle-Fiend-Green-Woman-ebook/dp/B00I481BVM/ref=pd_sim_351_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0RM5QXJQA46JNCS3MWBE

Beyond the Realm of Night – The Green Woman Book Three

BTRON cover for Amazon

At the end was darkness. Now it is time to go back to the beginning and rekindle the light. Deborah, the daughter of the Green Woman, reaches her journey’s end only to find it has barely started. Escaping Providence was the easy part. Now, as her mother’s strength fails, the burden of the Memory passes to Deborah. The Garden is waking, the Iron Horde is massing, the Queen’s host is gathering. The Fianna have sailed the western ocean and Providence is alight. But evil has put down strong roots in the hearts of the citizens of Providence and Deborah fears she has not the power to tear it out. If she cannot summon up the green earth magic of the tree, Abaddon and his Iron Horde will trample the new shoots of the Garden. For Abaddon has the power of death with him. The weapons to defeat him are life and love, but Deborah longs to join the shadowlands, and her love is dead. This is the final volume of The Green Woman series, in which the broken pattern will be mended and the balance of good and evil restored. Or not.

Purchase links for this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Realm-Night-Green-Woman-ebook/dp/B00MU1XO6Y/ref=pd_sim_351_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1BWNDA58WQX5XTKJBBKJ

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beyond-Realm-Night-Green-Woman-ebook/dp/B00MU1XO6Y/ref=pd_sim_351_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1RE9FGWNFHJNB6ZNQ942

And now here is your chance to get a FREE DOWNLOAD of a Green Woman short story. Midnight Visitors is a five day free download from the 14th to the 18th July.

Midnight Visitors

MidnightRays

This short story is set in the world of The Green Woman. It follows naturally from the second volume of the series, The Subtle Fiend, but can be read as a stand alone story. When Aisha learns the identity of her betrothed, something unheard of happens—her parents try to prevent the marriage. But in a city bounded by a crystal Hemisphere, where no rebellion is tolerated and every gesture is monitored, where can Aisha hide? Adam, her brother, believes the rumours of a resistance movement, the followers of the Green Woman, but to put his sister in their hands, first he has to make contact, and the Pure Ones have so much more practice at rooting out clandestine activity than he does. The Green Woman is moving, but so is the evil generated by the the Elders of Providence. Many stories will end in tragedy before the fate of the world is settled.

Get your FREE story here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Midnight-Visitors-Jane-Dougherty-ebook/dp/B00K8DYOC4/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

http://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Visitors-Jane-Dougherty-ebook/dp/B00K8DYOC4/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

  I hope you enjoyed learning about Jane’s books.

Don’t forget – join Jane and me on 18th July for Fantasy Sci-Fi Dystopian Steampunk Bargain Books Party.

Facebook  book banner

Just go to this link to download Free short Stories and watch book trailers: https://www.facebook.com/events/577034945770324/