Paris 1925


The Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Moderne of 1925 is the setting for my current work in progress, No. 5 in my Dead and Talking Series, the first three of which are available on Amazon.  Number 4 in the series is now with my readers and I’m waiting for feedback.



Works in Progress

I never meant to, honest I didn’t, but the muse spoke and my role is to keep up with her.  That’s great, ordinarily, but this time she has me working on two storylines at the same time.  Yesterday she decided that wasn’t stressful enough for me, and calmly proceeded to whisper the outline of a third into my already full brain.

Even that would have been ok had I not been miles from home, in the middle of nowhere, without my notebook or phone.  I mean, why couldn’t she have waited until I got home?  Maddening she is!

Home – that bastion of comfort, safety and relaxation – but not at the moment.  My kitchen is upside down as we’re doing some updating to it.  It’s not a mess, not exactly, but the frozen food is currently sitting in a cool box waiting for a new freezer to be delivered, and the chilled items are in a basket, covered with towels to try to keep them cold until the new fridge comes.  They’re due at some point in the next 3 hours.  Hope it’s sooner rather than later.

Anyway, what with the kitchen in a state of undress, it’s rather thrown my equilibrium – not to mention my sanity.  Roll on next week when I can, once again, shut myself away in my writing room and actually get down to some serious writing.  

Ah yes, the writing.  I’ve almost finished the first draft of one of the novels, and about half way through the first draft of the second.  I had planned to have the second one ready first – but the muse intervened and said ‘hey, but I have a great idea for a Christmas story’.  Christmas!  It’s only May – who’s thinking about Christmas!

I’d love to hear if anyone else has more than one novel currently in progress.  

Scribblings and Scribings

Why is it when you’re concentrating on one writing project another story insinuates itself into your head?

I now have one I’m currently working on (to be published early summer), a short story (written and currently polishing to a high shine) for mid-May, and a third project taking shape in my notebook which will be my first Christmas themed offering. 

Two of the above are part of my Dead and Talking series, the short story is a stand-alone.  

I’ll be sharing some scenes from each for feedback shortly, so please keep popping back.  I’d really welcome your feedback and comments.

Draft scene from current WIP

I promised I would post a draft scene from my current WIP, so here it is:

11:00am on the 6th day of April 1925, on the concourse of Croydon Aerodrome, three young women in their mid-twenties stood gazing up in awe at the massive modern building, marvelling at the perfect symmetry of its facade, and admiring the simple beauty of its shape and the linear no nonsense masculine lines of the building.  This was it, the start of their adventure, and where better to start than right there at the cutting edge of travel in this modern age. It was incredibly exciting and new and, listening to the conversations taking place around them, the women realised they weren’t the only passengers for whom this would be their first experience of flying.

Their fellow travellers numbered 17, of which 14 were male and, of those, three were roughly the same age as themselves. Indeed two of them appeared to be mustering the group towards the door, whilst the third held said door open, completely oblivious to the existence of the neatly attired doorman whose role he had usurped.

Lettice, used to taking the lead in all things, strode in first, leading the group into the reception area where they would go through the formalities of passport control. Laurie and Clarice let a couple of chattering family groups go ahead before walking into the vast open reception area themselves, Laurie thanking the elegantly attired gentleman whose demeanour suggested for all the world that he owned the building (he did not). 

Waiters carrying trays of champagne glasses mingled amongst the group. Laurie and Lettice were each handed a glass by one of the young men who immediately introduced himself as Captain Bryce Topping, and his companion as Byron Amies. The third man, the pseudo doorman, had wandered away and was looking through the large rear windows which overlooked the bi-planes lined up outside.  

He was watching their luggage being trundled across to the aircraft in a handcart, when he spied some equipment being loaded into the body of the plane they were to fly on. From what he could see it looked suspiciously like a film projector. He was intrigued, wondering what it meant. He would have carried on watching the scene playing out before him, but his eyes were suddenly captured by the reflection of an elegantly dressed woman in her mid-twenties who appeared to be trying her best not to be noticed. He wondered why, and decided there and then he would like to know more about her. Turning round to get a better look he took in the smooth lines of her face, her dark bobbed wavy hair – or as much as he could see of it under her close fitting hat – the way she held herself, the way she purposefully avoided eye contact whilst still taking in everything around her.

Clarice had held back deliberately. She was absorbing all the sights, sounds and smells of this new experience, and committing to memory every detail of her fellow passengers. She was so focussed on this task she was completely unaware she was being watched. It came as an unwelcome shock to her when she looked up and her eyes met those of the man who had held the door open for everyone. He was quite clearly staring at her. .  

His heart leaped and he was surprised to find himself unconsciously moving towards her. She broke eye contact and looked down at the ground blushing rather becomingly, he thought. He noticed her looking round rather frantically for her companions, but they were flirting quite happily with his friends.

‘I’ll ask her if she’d like some champagne’, he thought to himself as he walked towards her. ‘She’ll have to speak to me then. I wonder if her voice matches her beauty,’

Clarice, aware of the man’s approaching presence, was rather annoyed that she was about to have her personal space intruded upon, but she hadn’t been brought up to be rude so she turned towards him and smiled as he asked her if she would like some champagne.

‘Champagne, yes that would be lovely.’ Clarice noticed the relief which crossed his face and smiled to herself as she broke eye contact and, again, dropped her eyes to the ground. ‘Mustn’t encourage him, poor love’, she thought to herself.

He, oblivious to her thoughts, merely believed her to be extremely shy. Hailing one of the waiters, he helped himself to two glasses of champagne and handed one to Clarice.

She raised her eyes again, smiled, said ‘thank you’, in the most charming voice she could muster, turned round and walked away.

Feeling as though he’d been metaphorically slapped on the face, he couldn’t help experiencing mild annoyance at the woman’s seeming rejection. He looked over to where his friends were still engaged in flirtatious talk with her companions, and walked over to join them.

Meanwhile Clarice was privately fuming that she had been interrupted in her research. All she wanted to do was people watch and she was desperate to get back to her notebook to write down and sketch what she had seen: the colours, the people, the planes, the aerodrome – it was all so new to her and now she’d lost her train of thought. Damnation. What’s more, she’d noticed that he’d gravitated towards his friends who were, at that moment, paying an awful lot of attention to Lettice and Laurie – which would mean they would, more than likely, meet again whilst they were in Paris.

She really wasn’t sure how she felt about that. Clarice had her own agenda for agreeing to this Parisian voyage. She wanted to sketch some of the buildings she’d heard had been built for the Paris Exposition, immerse herself in all the new sites, smells and people she would see. She wanted to wander round the Louvre for hours on end, making sketches whenever something caught her eye. She most certainly was not interested in flirting with handsome young men. A dalliance was not on her agenda.

Work in Progress

Currently working on my next novel which is set in Paris in April of 1925.  It was an exciting time and a buzzing city, with artists, artistes, architects, singers, jewellers, designers of all types, gathering from all over the world to celebrate modernity and to promote their new designs.  It was a time, and a place, of experimentation, where the avant garde pushed the boundaries, found new ways to express themselves.  

In England three bored, rather well-healed, women in their mid-20s took it into their heads to fly to Paris for a couple of weeks, primarily to visit the Exposition which was the centre of the new modernist designs.  None of them had flown before, none of them had ever been to Paris.  None of them knew what to expect.

I’ll post a draft scene later this week.  

Free writing course

For the past eight weeks I’ve been busy working through the first draft of my next novel, and taking part in a free writing course.  The two are inter-related as I’ve used the course to thrash out ideas and get feedback – which has been incredibly useful.  

I’ve also been using the course to develop new ideas and characters.  The results have surprised me as I seem to have a leaning towards the dark side – how on earth did that happen?  I’ve no idea, but it’s a whole lot of fun.  The end result is a firm plot for my WIP, three more plotlets (I know, not a real word, but I like the sound of it), for my series, and a couple of disturbing characters  – I now need to build a world for them to inhabit.  All that from an amazing course which cost nothing but a few hours of time each week.

If you’re looking for something to help with writer’s block, or you could use some interaction with other writers, or if you want to try your hand at writing but don’t know where to start, I can recommend having a look at Futurelearn and signing up for the Start Writing Fiction course.   

Gypsy Caravan

I took a photograph, over a year ago now, of a gypsy caravan I came across whilst walking through a town somewhere.  I can’t for the life of me remember which town I was in, nor why I was there.  I only remember stalls selling crafts and a group of Morris dancers waiting for their appointed slot.

Some time afterwards I discovered an app formy iPad, called Waterlogue, and decided to try it out.  It’s a clever little app which takes an image and then creates a watercolour type drawing from it.  This is the app’s rendition of the gypsy caravan.