Wednesday, 2 October 2013

What's up Wednesday, and express yourself

What's up Wednesday is run by the lovely Jaime Morrow. You can check out her blog here. It's a really simple blog fest. Each week we answer the questions below and you get to learn a little about what we are up to. So, lets get started. 
1) What I'm reading:

Well, I am still finishing Dangerous Lady at the moment, by Martina Cole; only a few more pages to go, though. 

I've really enjoyed this one, too, although it hasn't gripped me quite as hard as the other Martina Cole books have. It probably has nothing to do with the book and more to do with the fact that I am ready to move onto a different author. 

The books I have lined up to read next are:

The 13th Floor: complete collection, by Christine rains. I'm very excited about this one. 

Then I'll be going Maggie Stiefvater mad, because I just bought a load of her books. 

I first read her Shiver, Linger, and Forever books and fell in love with her writing style. I've been seeing a few of her newer books being talked about around the blogger-sphere and decided it was time; so, heading my way right now, thanks to Amazon, are the following books. 


2) What I'm writing:

Quite a lot at the moment. As well as doing my blog posts, I've been editing Memory book, which is going really well and working on two other novels; Rehabilitation Girls and a very new novel that I'm keeping quiet about, as far as plot is concerned, for now. 

I could try to explain Rehabilitation Girls to you, but instead I thought I would share the first chapter with you, as that seems to have gone well with those I've already allowed to read it. It's just a first draft, so still needs some polishing. Don't feel you have to read it. I know that often time can be lacking; but, if you do, please let me know what you think. :) 

Chapter 1

Placement day, the day every inhabitant of Ridmore dreaded; a day in which anyone who'd received their pink slips, regardless of age, was at risk.
Riley Carson had escaped eviction, as the residents liked to call it, for three years. Up until this point, she had been deemed too damaged for placement; however, a month ago, on her sixteenth birthday, she'd received her pink slip and now she faced the all too real risk that placement days posed.
Standing in the large viewing room, Riley pulled at the rolled neck of her top as she gazed blindly ahead of her, trying to look past the parade of people that slowly made their way along the opposite side of the glass partition. Each was dressed in their own way, some bright and colourful, others dark and bland, but still able to be who they wanted to be and wear what they wanted to wear.
Riley had once been just like them, a unique individual; but, Ridmore had eradicated any sense of individuality as soon as she had stepped through its huge doors and earned the title of rehabilitation child.
Before losing her parents, she had visited this very centre and wandered in front of the same glass partition that she now stood behind while her parents examined the lines of uniformed girls. Now, as then, they’d been ordered from shortest to tallest. At the time she’d paid little attention to any of them, never for a moment considering how they might feel.
Now, here she was, standing with them, wondering just what fate had in store for her. Would she be one of the lucky ones, who went to a good home with good people? Would she become a part of a nice family, either as their daughter or a well-treated servant? She could only hope.
It was a difficult situation. Her longing to be free of the centre was great, but there was no guarantee that a better life awaited her outside and so it seemed to her and many at the centre, that to remain was the best option. Here, at least, you knew your place; knew that, unless you broke the rules, you would be safe.
Everything in the centre was certain. There were strict schedules and rules, right down to the style of your hair, a highly unflattering crew cut, and the clothes you could wear:

·         2 roll neck cotton tops with chocolate brown, faux leather shoulder yokes
·         2 pairs of wide leg linen trousers with one sharp crease running down the front of each leg
·         2 pairs of white linen socks
·         1 pair of chocolate coloured, leather, flat soled shoes
·         2 sets of chocolate, cotton underwear that, depending on physical development, either came with knickers and vest or knickers and a basic bra.
These outfits came in three colour sets, which were used to indicate a girl’s status at the centre. Most started out in black and Chocolate, the colours for those in rehabilitation, before progressing to white and chocolate, which signalled that you’d moved past any emotional distress or behaviour problems and were ready for placement. The third and final colour, which was an outfit made up completely of chocolate brown, marked you out as difficult, a lost cause, or as the centre put it impossible to rehabilitate. Anyone receiving their browns knew they were headed down into the bowels of the centre, a fate believed to be worse than death.  Although very few wanted to earn their pink slips and make it into the white outfits, no one dared fight it, because the alternative didn’t even bear thinking about. 
So, Riley stood there, alongside all the other girls dressed in white, and prayed that she would either go unpicked or be one of the lucky ones chosen by a loving family; however, luck hadn’t seemed to be working in her favour, since her parent’s death.
Every time she heard the now familiar click of the speakers coming to life followed by a few seconds of static before the names of the chosen were called, she would hold her breath, eyes closed in prayer, as each name was announced. She’d only allow herself to open them again, once the black containment tubes of the chosen had thudded into place and the speakers had gone silent, once more.
For an hour, things continued in this manner. The remaining girls were beginning to sag under the strain of standing still and rigid for so long, each within their own little circle. Their view of one another was now blocked by containment tubes, all of which indicated a chosen child. People on the other side of the glass partition continued to move back and forth, pointing at this girl or that, as they tried to decide which to take home.
Riley reached a hand up to pull at the rolled neck of her collar. She was feeling unbearably hot under the gaze of the beady-eyed man who had been scrutinising her for the last fifteen minutes. It didn’t help matters either, when, without returning his gaze to any of the others, he disappeared from sight.
His disappearance was quickly followed by the click of the speakers, then a short burst of static, and a sharp, firm voice which hissed, "Riley Carson.” Riley’s eyes grew wide and her hands flew to her mouth, as she brought the image of the beady-eyed man to the forefront of her mind. She prayed desperately that it wasn’t him who’d chosen her. Leaning forward slightly, hands clasped about her waist, she fought the urge to vomit.
 “You are reminded that all girls are to remain standing at all times, arms by their sides, feet together, facing forward, and are not to try to engage those beyond the glass in any way.” The words echoed around her head, leaving her uncertain as to whether she had been chosen or not.
“Failure to comply, Riley, will result in punishment.” The voice added, causing her to quickly drop her arms to her side, once more, and resume the expected position.
With the click of the speakers turning off and the lack of a containment tube raising around her the reality slowly began to sink in. She hadn’t been chosen; she hadn’t, at least not this time, she just prayed her luck would hold out.
Another twenty-five minutes passed; the speakers, occasionally crackling into life, followed by the raising of a containment tube or two. Riley’s remained firmly down.
There were only two people on the other side of the glass now, compared with the thirty odd girls, still stood ramrod straight alongside her. Surely this meant the odds were now stacked in her favour.
She eyed the remaining patrons carefully. One was an elderly lady, who continuously raised theatre glasses to her squinting eyes. Her expression was one of distaste, as if none of the girls could quite match up to some imagined image she’d built up in her head. The second was a tall, thin man with a half halo of hair. He was plain and simple in appearance, and wore black-rimmed spectacles that encircled soft, hazel eyes. Riley watched him with interest, as he sat in one of the hard plastic chairs, up on the highest viewing platform, carefully scrutinising the girls below. Neither of these people seemed a threat, but Riley knew that you could never be too sure.
She ignored the old lady, in favour of the man; for she felt drawn to him in a way she could not explain and found herself watching his every movement, as if by doing so, she’d be able to accurately gage his character. She watched as, gnawing on his lower lip, he raised a hand to his chin, where he began to rub at his neatly trimmed beard. Instinctively his fingers drew together, causing his bottom lip to pucker out, while his attention remained still deeply absorbed in the little white book that he held between the long, supple fingers of his left hand.
He looked for all the world as if he were just relaxing in the sun with a good book, not perusing the local rehabilitation centre for a living, breathing girl. His legs were stretched out before him, long and thin, his shoes plain and simple, and the soles clean and unblemished. He’d be looking for a diligent servant and not a wife, Riley was sure. Why else would he spend so much time studying the book that listed each of the girls name and attributes?
Riley suddenly found herself wondering what had been written about her. Perhaps that she was a good cook, for she excelled in her food preparation lessons. Perhaps that she was diligent when it came to eradicating dirt, dust, and all forms of grime. Surely that she was obedient, well-mannered, and honest too; all points that might raise her status in his eyes, if he was indeed looking for a good servant.
However, if it was a wife he was looking for then she was certain she would fall short. She wasn’t pretty like the some of the other girls here. She didn’t have rosy cheeks, fluttery lashes, or pretty eyes to make her stand out amongst all the other crew-cut statues around her. She was simply average without the long, auburn curls that had once cascaded down her back and over her shoulders.
She suddenly found herself in a very unexpected situation. A situation, in which, she actually longed to be chosen. It wasn’t that the man on the other side of the glass had captured her heart, far from it. It was more a certainty that he was good and kind. That he would not hurt her. He was, in short, her best chance of a pleasant freedom.
She pondered the book in his hands, hoping that it expressed how well she cared for the babies here at the rehabilitation centre. She hoped equally that it did not allude to her lack of interest in the residents more her own age.
It wasn’t that she didn’t like people, because she did. She just couldn’t cope with the worry that would ultimately follow, when they were placed. Never knowing what had become of them; never knowing if they were happy. With the babies it seemed easier, somehow. After all, how could anyone hurt something so small and delicate.
She knew also that the screening process for baby adoption was far more stringent than that of the older girls. They were to be guaranteed family members, only placed where both their future mother and father were equally enthralled by them. She had seen it for herself; had sat in the room as potential parents spent time with the children and had observed the love and devotion in the eyes of those people as they held the child they had chosen in their arms.
Months would pass before they would even come close to being allowed to take the child home, hours and hours of careful observation on the part of the staff at the centre. They wanted no mistakes when it came to the babies. If only they cared so much for the older girls too.
So deep in her reverie was Riley that she didn’t notice the speakers clicking to life. Only when the harsh voice of a matron kicked in did her head shoot up, her eyes scanning the area behind the glass partition, only to find it empty.
This was it, the final name calling. Soon they would all be sent back to the dining hall to eat their dinner with relief, thankful in the knowledge that they, at least, had survived to live another month at Ridmore.
 "Final placements are Vicky French, Gina Gatsby, Hannah Martin, and Riley Carson. The rest of you may now make your way to the exit, in an orderly fashion.”
The containment tube, black as pitch, slowly began to rise from the floor, as Riley stood frozen, trying to process what had just happened. Fear held her breathless in its cruel, relentless grasp as she watched the line of girls, the lucky ones, slowly moving past her, while the tube continued to steadily rise, engulfing her in blackness. Stumbling back against it, Riley slid to the floor, tears gently escaping the corners of her eyes.
Four girls had been chosen; four girls, when there had only been two patrons. The old woman flashed before her eyes, her distasteful stare fixing in Riley’s head and successfully eradicating any hope, she’d once had. Her fate now rested in the hands of two unknowns and all seemed bleak as she sat there in the darkness, waiting for her rebirth for with the light she would discover her fate, her new life, and only time would tell if she was lucky or not.
3) What inspires me right now:
How motivated I am feeling. I go through stages where I just really struggle to push myself to get working and so the fact that I am really enjoying my work, at the moment, and feeling productive is really inspirational. 
Also, making lots of new writer friends, via the follow fest, and seeing how hard they are working and hearing about their work is very inspirational as well. 

4) What else I've been up to:
Well, at the weekend, I went to Threthorne Leisure Park with my son, Kye, my hubby, Dan, and the in-laws for Kye's birthday. It was a great day and the first real test for my new scooter, which performed brilliantly; even managing to get around some really tight spots. 

I completely fell in love with the spotty piglets they had there and so, while the others were doing the crazy golf, I went back to spend some time with the sweet little pigs. I used to help train pigs for film, way back when I was a teenager, at a film farm where I was doing my NVQ training in animal care, animal management and animal science, and ever since then have had a real soft spot for pigs. My dream is to have one or two or three or... well, you get the picture, lol. 

It's always a little hard, when you go to these places and are disabled, as you often feel a tiny bit on the outside, looking in; but, at Trethorne, it was very easy to get pretty much everywhere and be able to see what was going on, so I didn't get that feeling as badly as I have at other places. It was really great watching Dan, Kye, and my sister in-law, Lisa on the bumpy slide; especially Lisa, because she has lost so much weight since she had gastric band surgery that she is just looking amazing and you can see how happy she is for it. 

 Kye really enjoyed himself though; although, there were a few things he couldn't quite grasp, like air hockey. As hard as we tried to explain it to him, he still kept trying to shoot his little paddle to the goal, instead of the puck, lol. Hey! It was his birthday, so he got to make new rules, right? :) 

My favourite part of the day; however, was watching my beautiful son and my lovely hubby playing on the Bungee Bounce. I've never laughed so much in all my life.

Overall, we had a really great day and are even considering getting a season ticket, so we can go as often as we like. The staff at Trethorne were also amazing and Dan got in free as my carer; so, that saved us just over 9 pounds, I think.

I narrowly escaped getting "Paid" stamped to my forehead, too; but, thankfully the lady at the till gave the stamp to Lisa and not Dan, and although Lisa contemplated it, at Dan's urging, she was nice enough not to actually follow through with it, lol. Dan, on the other hand, would have. :) 
Overall, it was a lovely day out and I want to say a big thank you to the whole family for ensuring I had someone with me, keeping me company, pretty much all of the time; bar when I forced my lovely mum in-law Jean to go and play mini golf with the rest of them, instead of lingering with me, which she had been doing most of the day, bless her. I didn't mind, as it gave me a chance to sneak back to these guys.

Now, onto the awesome Express Yourself. 

Express Yourself is an awesome, weekly blog hop that is hosted by the lovely Jackie and Dani, in which, each week, the entrants answer a specific question, then we all hop from blog to blog, reading everyone’s entries.
          If you would like to join in with this blog hop or simply check out all the other awesome blog posts for it, then click here.

First of all, a big happy first birthday to this blog fest. Being it's first birthday, the question this week is... 
What has been your favourite question during this first year of Express Yourself? 
For me, that was the fairly recent question we had, which was, "Name a movie character, who's personality is exactly like yours." 
The reason it is such a recent one is that, like the post says I am Dori-esque and as a result, have a terrible memory, so I can't remember back, all that far. 
Anywho, if you want to read that post, here's a linky-link. 
Well, that's it from me. I hope you are all having a great week,

Love and hugs,
Joss xx


  1. Looks like you had lots of fun at the farm ^_^

    That first chapter is definitely an intriguing set up and I'd like to know more about what's going to happen to your MC... and what has already happened to her in this rehabilitation centre. My only advice would be to watch where you've used the same word a lot - "fate" cropped up quite frequently. It's a great start!

  2. Thank you, I will keep an eye out for that when I edit it and try to fix it. Yes we had a great day out. Really enjoyed it :)

  3. Ooooo The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves are my FAVORITES! Enjoy!

  4. Now I want to go play on a slide. =( I loved that chapter, btw, and guess what? I've got the 13th Floor series up next in my reading cue too! Yay!

    1. lol, I know it looked like awesome fun. awww thank you, I am glad you like it. That's awesome, it means we'll be reading it at the same time. :)

  5. the Scorpio Races is one of my favorite books ever and I just recently reread it, hope you love it too! your excerpt has me curious, gotta know what happens next!

    1. I am really looking forward to reading it. I loved her shiver, linger and forever books so I am sure I will love these too.

  6. SO GLAD you will be reading more Maggie! I LOVE her books!

    Also, productivity IS inspiring, isn't it?! Good for you for finding a productive groove!

    Have a great week!

    1. awww thank you Alison you too. I loved her shiver, linger and forever books so I am hoping I will enjoy these as much.

  7. I liked that Express Yourself, too. :)

  8. Definitely want to know what's going to happen next to your MC! Thanks for sharing your first chapter with us. :-) I'm currently reading THE DREAM THIEVES by Maggie Stiefvater, and she's one of my favourite authors for sure. I have the whole SHIVER series, but still have yet to read them. Plus, I need to restart THE SCORPIO RACES and finish it this time! (I'm waiting for November for that one because that's when the story takes place.) My sister and I might have the opportunity to see Maggie Stiefvater at a signing in my province later this month. Author events very rarely happen anywhere near us, so we're excited at the possibility of going.

    Those pigs are adorable! Glad you all had so much fun there. :-)

    1. Oh wow, I am incredibly jealous. We rarely have anything good happen where I live either. It's no fun, so totally envy you :) We had a lovely time it was a really great day. :)

  9. Awww, the spotty pigs!!!! I want one or two or three, too. :)

    Maggie's books are beautifully written and I'm a fan. I hope you enjoy reading them.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today. So nice to meet you. :)

    1. It's lovely to meet you Lola and thank you for returning the favour.

  10. Looks like lots of fun going on. I'm jealous. Like the spotty pigs.

    1. Aren't they lovely, we have a no pig or poultry clause that the builders of our property imposed on it back in the 60's when they were build. Which means I can't have a piggy until we sell and move to our next place. So my dreams of owning a piggy will have to wait a little while longer.

  11. That's an awesome stash of Maggie Stiefvater books you ordered! I hope you enjoy THE SCORIO RACES, THE RAVEN BOYS, and THE DREAM THIEVES as much as I did. Your trip to the leisure park looks so fun! I totally want to go on that big slide! Thanks for sharing your first chapter with us. :)

    1. I am sure I will love them, if they are as good as Shiver, Linger, and Forever. It was a brilliant day. Thanks for stopping by I really appreciate it :)

  12. I'm waiting for THE DREAM THIEVES to get to me, just ordered a few days ago.

    That big slide reminds me of the (much smaller) yellow slide at my elementary school playground. Whenever we slid down it, we generated so much static electricity that it would shock up a bunch of times. Pretty much the worst slid EVER.

    1. Yeah, that doesn't sound like so much fun. I am a coward when it comes to stuff like that, lol. One shock from your Elementary school slide and I would have been avoiding it like the plague. We used to have a hob top on our cooker that would randomly shock you. It did it to me twice then I refused to cook on it, until my husband either replaced or fixed it. I think it was the quickest he ever fixed something lol.

  13. Aww, it looks like your family had so much fun at the park! We love doing things like that on the weekends too. :-) I'm a Maggie Stiefvater fangirl too, and THE SCORPIO RACES is my very favorite of hers. Happy reading and happy writing, Jossie!

    1. Thank you Katy, I can't wait to rad The Scorpio Races, I have heard so many good things about it. I'm going to dedicate this weekend to reading.

  14. What a fun day at the park! Love the pictures. :) Congrats too on all your great writing progress!

    And your Maggie Stiefvater kick might require sequestration. Bring lots of snacks! How fun to get to read them all like that.

    Hope you have a great week!

    1. Awww thank you Kris, I intend to spend this weekend lost in books. Love weekends like this. I hope you have a lovely week too :)

  15. That pig is so cute! I love pigs. :) I think they get a bad rap for being stinky and dirty, but they are actually super sweet and cuddly - and really not that stinky if they are well cared for. Anyhow - love the pig photos and it looks like you had a great time at the park. As for your son tossing the hockey paddle instead of the puck? I still do that. :)

    1. lol yes pigs are awesome and your so right about them not being smelly if they are looked after properly. I am so pleased to hear my son is not along in his hockey paddle tossing too :) Hope you have a lovely week :)

  16. Looks like you guys had tons of fun, and that pig is simply adorable (yep, pigs ARE cute). Every week I tell myself I have to read those Maggie Stiefvater books, and every Wednesday I'm angry because I still haven't gotten around to it.

    Keep writing away!
    Oh, and I still have two free ebooks for you from the Jill Robinson Adventure series, which are waiting to be claimed. Please let me know if you want them as .mobi or .epub so I can have the publishing company send them to you - tdrecker (at)

    1. I've emailed you hun. So as long as I made no mistakes with the addie you should hopefully have it in your inbox next time you check.
      Hope you have a lovely weekend :)