New MSP Author – Philippa Jane Keyworth


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I have re-blogged this from my publishers website as it’s such good news!

Philippa Jane Norman (Keyworth) Is Getting Published!


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I am back from holidays and I have some fantastic news. Yes, you’ve guessed correctly if you have read the title:

I’m Getting Published!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There aren’t actually enough exclamation marks on the end of that statement! I am so very, completely, totally, wholly, entirely, utterly, absolutely from top to bottom and tip to toe EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Okay, ridiculous over-excitement is now on hold for a few moments while I tell you the answers to these questions you might be asking yourself:

1. What book is she going on about?

A: My book which is currently named, ‘The Debtor’s Redeemer

2. Who is ‘she’??

A: This is me:

Philippa Jane Keyworth - Author - The Debtor's Redeemer

Philippa Jane Keyworth

3. When did this happen???

A: I signed the contract on Friday the 29th June 2012

4. Who is she getting published by????

A: Madison Street Publishing in the USA.

5. What is it getting published into?????

A: Hard copy books and ebooks!

6. What’s the story about??????

A: The Debtor’s Redeemer focuses on a young West Country widow struggling in 1815 London Society against poverty, a domineering mother-in-law and the deep-rooted fear of falling in love.

Emotionally scarred and physically abused, Lettice Burton is widowed and penniless at two-and-twenty. Thrown into London Society, Lettice must hide her painful past and struggle in surroundings she does not know.

A chance encounter with Society’s most eligible bachelor and notorious rake sparks something for which neither of them are prepared. The Debtor’s Redeemer is a book showing the redemption that can be found through true love.

7. When can I get my hands on a copy???????? (or at least I’m hoping you’re asking yourself that question 😉 )

A: The launch date is yet to be set but for a sneak preview check this out!

Whether you have been reading my blog for a while or are a newcomer I hope you have captured the excitement I have because my work will finally be in print and, hopefully, enjoyed by many. If this has made you want to read my novel, the first chapter of The Debtor’s Redeemer is available here.

Over the coming months I will be talking more about The Debtor’s Redeemer, the Regency research, tantalising excerpts and all my characters – Thrilling!

Now, where was I? Oh yes, over-excitement….WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SEX SELLS – So Do Books….


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No, I’m not going to tell you how to write a good sex scene.

But I have been thinking about this for a couple of weeks and as it is a rather controverisal subject I kept my twitching typing fingers at bay. Now however, I feel ready to talk about it….Sex that is…..Well, Sex in writing that is….

At the beginning of this post (or rather in the second paragraph) I just want to make sure it’s understood that these are my views and they are not an attack on anyone else or their writing – so don’t get the hump….get over it…..

Also, it’s important you know where I’m coming from on this one. I’m a Christian and I believe sex is made for marriage. That does NOT mean I’m disconnected from the culture however, I am only twenty-one and fully aware of how ridiculous these values will seem to others.

Sex Sells - Writing - Philippa Jane Norman - Author

Adverts with sexual over-tones started a long time ago…

The plain fact is, that sex does sell doesn’t it? And it sells in books just as much as it sells elsewhere. Why I hear you say? I reckon because:

1. It’s enjoyable and exciting

2. Most humans end up with experience of it

3. It is the most intimate act between a man and a woman

Having said the reasons why sex sells in literature, I find that having the values I do does affect my approach to the subject. That does NOT mean I’m averse to the subject, in fact, I don’t actually mind reading a love scene. I think with some books those loves scenes are quite beautiful (if written well) but note I say ‘some’ not all.

Take Jane Eyre for instance – Is there any sex in it? No.

Is it one of the best English romances written? Yes.

Charlotte Bronte manages to create an incredible love relationship between a man and a women (who are both ugly – don’t get much of that nowadays do you?). The relationship may portray sexual tension but never is sex explicitly written in a scene or even alluded to. It didn’t need to be. Bronte has managed to write so beautifully, so brilliantly and so intensely that it just doesn’t matter. Who do you hear saying, ‘Oh, where’s the good rough and tumble in Jane Eyre?’ – No one.

Sex Sells - Writing - Philippa Jane Norman - Author

Jane Eyre is one of the best love stories

The fact is, in our culture sex is synonymous with love and yes, I won’t deny that when you get married you plan to have sex obviously, it is the physical expression of your love for your spouse. However, that is not the sole expression or definition of love and yet that is what our muddled culture tells us.

It’s all sex, sex, sex and to be quite frank I’ve had enough of hearing it. Sex is something which was create for the enjoyment of men and women in marriage and is so intimate, so special; but when it is plastered across the media, including literature, that sacredness is significantly lessened.

Just look at romance novels: What are the majority of romances focusing on these days? Are you finding yourself reading what is supposed to be a love story but instead of the crescendo being the hero and heroine declaring their love for each other or being honorable, it’s sex? Some books I’ve read, and yes they were absolute trash, have literally been a trail of mediocre writing interspersed with raucous and badly written love scenes.

Thanks to all this great mess of sex and writing I decided to ask my friend, who shall remain nameless, about writing sex scenes in novels. I was sort of wondering whether I should venture there, knowing my views on sex in real-life, and she gave me one of the best answers I have had and one which I constantly use as a guideline in my work:

You should only ever write a sex scene between your characters if you have to show a side to your hero or heroine that can only be shown during a sex scene. If you can show that characteristic in any other scene then you don’t need the sex!

Now, I haven’t asked her whether I can put that in, so she may well renounce all recollection of telling me, if she even realises it was her in the first place 😉 (I will give full attribution if she wishes it).

However, even if she does renounce it, that will not stop me from using that piece of advice in my writing. One of the few books which I think the sex scenes were vital to was ‘Redeeming Love’ by Francine Rivers. This book tells the story of a prostitute in the American West, who becomes the wife of an honourable man, and her story of redemption.

Sex Sells - Writing - Philippa Jane Norman - Author

Redeeming Love is a brilliant book which every woman should read 😉

I have written love scenes, so don’t get me wrong, but I just cannot believe that it is essential to a romantic novel to have a sex scene. The worst occasion where this happens is in historical fiction where I am reading a book thinking, ‘Well that would never happen because of ettiquette, practicalities and a mountain of other historical issues which would just bar those two from having sex.’ 

So, to sum it all up:

1. Sex is a good and special thing

2. Sex in writing can work but only if it has purpose

3. Writing without sex can be equally exciting, full of tension and great

So come on then….those are some bold statements……who has been stewing the entire time whilst reading this? Who categorically disagrees? Who wants to give me a piece of their mind? Give me your best shot —

Philippa Jane Keyworth – Author

The Internet Is No Excuse For Bad English & Grammar


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But my screen makes my eyes hurt.

But it’s hard to read on a screen.

But I can always go back and edit it.

I wanted to post a blog yesterday and was seriously upset that I have been so busy and stressed and AHHHHHH-ing that I just couldn’t face my blog. Then today, I was reading an article for work (I do stuff online) and I was shocked that I had to read the first paragraph about 4 times before I could figure out what the dufus was saying….Now there’s nothing like a little anger to get you in the mood for blogging is there? 😉

So I know I make mistakes on my blogs, others will read them and probably frown thinking,

‘I thought this woman was supposed to be able to write.’

Well, *blows raspberry* maybe I should but what I am talking about in this blog is the fragile state of grammar and English online thanks to the self-publishing empire, the Facebook Proper English killing phenomenon and the apathy of our nation – Big stuff.

Bad Grammar & English In Writing - Philippa Jane Norman - Author

Awful! Just Awful!

It’s not ok not to write your best, it’s not okay to think you can go back and fix it, it’s not okay to look at typing as second importance to pen and paper – yes, maybe you may feel a little like that if you are a traditionalist like me who still has a writing desk over-flowing with sheets and notebooks and scraps of written-on paper – however, the fact remains, times are moving forward and writing in all shapes and forms is going digital.

You might love hard copies of books, you might like library shelves full, you might like book shops, you might like writing with a pen – I sure do – But if you want to be a writer in this day and age, you need to firstly come to terms with what is happening to the writing world, secondly move with it and thirdly, keep your standards up.

Get an Oxford A-Z of Grammar and Punctuation book as my dear friend, M.M. Bennetts, sent me in the post…..I think it was an obvious hint…….

Although I still get things wrong….ALOT…. I am trying, and so should all writers and bloggers. Don’t be that person who misspells, has crud grammar and whose work is literally a work in itself to read – Don’t make me cling to my laptop screen in desperation, make grunting noises of annoyance and finally slam the thing shut – Get up, learn correct English, keep at it and be the best that the internet has to offer.

Gosh! I think I’m preaching to myself here………………….

I read an article which said:

‘we will be perusing legal action’ when they really meant, ‘we will be pursuing legal action’

‘I’m not going to be treated like somebody’s jockey’ – er, I think this FB user meant, ‘I’m not going to be treated like somebody’s lackey’

And always remember, it’s a lot easier to publish something online, and once it’s out there, it’s out there – You may delete the post but chances are, Google had already indexed it and got it on file. Therefore, before you hit publish, proof-read and think twice then…..hit…..the…..button……


P.s. I’m laughing because I have probably made numerous mistakes in this post – Why don’t we start a competition – Who can count the most mistakes?
Philippa Jane Keyworth – Author

I Bet You Can’t Write Horses…


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That title was a wind-up…..have you come here annoyed?……

Since my last post I have been thinking about horses and horses in writing. There were some mammoth discussions on Facebook after my last post and I could see there are a lot of people who know a lot about horses. However, I am still aware that horses can be a big subject and some people find it hard.

The thing is because people rarely ride these days or have anything to do with horses, who were once the dominant source of power on the planet, it can be all to easy to write a rather ‘sketchy’ description of a character riding a horse and end up writing it inaccurately. This can be a large (as big as a horse if you will) stumbling block for historical writers, therefore I thought I would right a few tips out for those who have an equine friend appearing in any of their work.

Here’s a heads-up on a few basic horsey things for those of you who NEVER want to meet a horse in real life but still want to write one:

1.  There are four gaits (paces) which a horse has: walk, trot, canter and gallop. (If you are writing a story based in the American West then you might include ‘lope’ which is a slow canter). These gaits work like so:

  • Walk is four beat – When you’re sat on a horse it feels like a beat of one-two-three-four
  • Trot is two-beat and bumpy – Think of a quick one-two, one-two – The horse’s legs move in diagonal pairs
  • Canter is a three beat pace – Think of up-and-down sort of like a boat or something, you have to seat deeply into the saddle – one-two-three, one-two-three (or like a waltz but much faster!)
  • And gallop is a four beat pace again with a moment of suspension when all four hooves of the horse are off the floor – yes, you are actually flying….. Don’t get canter confused with gallop, it is a totally different sensation. When a horses moves into gallop, instead of an upward momentum everything goes forward, you can feel the horse stretch it’s neck low, reach as far as possible with it’s legs and it’s ears flick back making it totally streamlined (except the bumbling rider on top 😉

2.  Side-Saddle was hard – I don’t know if everyone appreciates riding side-saddle was not some dainty, simply form of riding, it meant the lady rider had to be able to go with the horse’s movement while compensating for the fact that all of her weight was favouring one side of her horse. (Plus side saddles have two girths – straps holding the saddle on – not one).

Writing Horses - Philippa Jane Norman - Author

Side-Saddle or Aside riding

3.  Jumping side saddle was harder – I’m not just saying it, look at a video on youtube and you will see. When a rider is riding astride they stand up out of the saddle to allow the horses body free movement when it comes up and forms (hopefully) a lovely bascule (arch) beneath them over the jump. You don’t get that with side-saddles, oh no, the woman first leans forward into the jump, then is jolted backwards when the horse lands before being jolted forwards again one the first stride out of the jump.

4.  Mares and Geldings and Stallions are different – DON’T get them confused – It sounds basic but they all have their idiosyncrasies. I never really understand why books go on about mares being a ladies horse. They can be rather sharp (not all of course) and are known to be rather a handful when in season. Stallions are reserved for GOOD riders. These are horses with their entire manhood and with that comes a far higher physical development in terms of muscles – they are MUCH stronger – and an altogether heightened attitude which can be vicious. Geldings, are to me, a happy medium. They are male horses that have been castrated; they tend to have a more laid back attitude than mares whilst retaining the boyish fun of a Stallion (on a far more MUTED level).

Writing Horses - Philippa Jane Norman - Author

Stallions can be somewhat of a……handful, though this is a trained Lippizaner stallion 😉 Author Tom Hammer

5.  Horses don’t just go beserk e.g. Buck, Rear, Bolt for NO reason. Horses are a flight animal. That means that in the wild, they are designed to run when they sense danger – now the fact they go fast makes sense doesn’t it? Well, horses are not dumb either, I have ridden classic cobs which have not batted an eyelid at flapping tarp, gigantic tractors, banging doors, chickens and screaming people. Other horses would have gladly dumped my round butt on the floor if they had so much as thought of one of these things.

My point is, there has to be a reason usually they’re naughty, excited or scared. Bucking can just be a sign of excitement when a horse starts a gallop – they are easier to sit to. Bronc-ing however, is where a horse rounds it’s whole body and their head will literally DISAPPEAR while it pops it’s nose between it’s toes and broncs (bucks) – this is much harder to sit to and cannot be confused with bucking. Rearing is very dangerous (not as romantic as Zorro) as the horse can fall back on itself if the rider pulls the reins….eeek! Bolting is probably my favourite as I prefer the horse going forward than standing still and deciding what he wants to do to have me off 😉

Writing Horses - Philippa Jane Norman - Author

YEHAWWWW COWBOY! Author Daniel Johnson

6.  There are such things as GOOD riders and BAD riders even in history – NO not every person in Regency England could ride a darn horse! Just because one had an estate in the country did not mean one could ride well. It’s like today, you have people who just have a natural ability with horses, it’s not magic, they just understand them, can move with them and can work with them. There are riders today who bump around on top, yank the reins and fall of rather too frequently – they’re bad riders.

7.  Horses don’t go around neighing and wickering all the blinking day! – Life is not the movies. This is something which always bugs me about Hollywood – whenever a horse is in a movie it makes noises ALL the time – and you want to make sure you don’t do it in your novel. Horses neigh for two reasons – 1. They have been separated from their friends and want to find/hear them 2. They are scared and it comes out more of a scream than a neigh/whinny. Horses whicker, or at least I think they do, for one reason alone………FOOD (Please fight me on any of this if you don’t agree).

Writing Horses - Philippa Jane Norman - Author

Horse Neighing……FOR HIS FRIENDS

8.  Horses cannot simply gallops for hours and hours so don’t expect that if you’re writing an escape or chase scene. Even quarter horses in the Wild West are so called because they are quickest over a quarter of a mile. It takes a fit horse to gallop over a sustained amount of time and when I say sustained, I’m not talking about hours.

9.  Horses WERE and ARE expensive so make sure you know who would own one. For instance, carriages were a massive luxury item in the Regency era, especially if you were in a city where horses could eat you out of house and home quite easily. Therefore only the richest of people could own a carriage and team and many would think twice about bringing it to Town.

Writing Horses - Philippa Jane Norman - Author

Horses are tres expensivo – Author Newlitter

So, I hope that has given you some help with writing horses. I know I may have made mistakes or forgotten bits so please don’t bite my head off if I have 😉 I just wanted to help those who might never meet a horse but definitely need one for their hero to swan-off on……

Writing Horses - Philippa Jane Norman - Author

The Devil’s Horseman are like this guy and I’ve seen them in action – Totally AWESOME – Author Mark Robinson

Philippa Jane Keyworth – Author

My Authority – Your Authority


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Write with authority or don’t write at all.

TThis is a motto – Not my sole motto but one I use as a guideline when writing.

Writing Techniques - Horses - Philippa Jane Norman - Author

Just a token beautiful picture because… shall become clearer as you read on…

Why? Because I do not want to write something and have someone reading it thinking – ‘Well they clearly don’t know what they were talking about because I have experienced that and it was nothing like they describe.’

Obviously everyone experiences things differently but as a writer it can be easy to think you know everything – Yes, I do quite often think this….as my close friends will tell you.

I’m wrong.

Before I was married I sort of made a rule that I would not write about a marriage in any intimate detail as I had never experienced being married. I confined myself to the world of courtship, which I love, and, now I am married, I am only just starting to explore writing about marriage and man alive is it hard!

That is not to say you can’t write about what you don’t necessarily know a great deal of but it is an area of danger and you must be aware of that. As a writer you do tend to write about things which you haven’t always experienced – it’s called imagination, however, know your limits. Be careful when tackling large subjects like abuse or death when you have little experience of them. The reasons for this are:

1. For the sake of your writing which could potentially be poor or simply wrong as a result of your lack of knowledge.

2. For the sake of your readers who may well have experienced these things and be offended or think you are trivialising isssues which are sensitive to them or they might just generally think your work is poor quality.

On the positive side of things; always remember to glory in the subjects which you do know.

Pip Riding Ferdy At Stockbridge - Philippa Jane Norman - Author

Me riding Ferdy-Cogs at Stockbridge – Good times 😉

I used to work with horses. I know horses. I know what it feels like to be kicked, stamped on, dragged, squished against a wall, sit a bucking horse and have a horse rear with me on top. I also know how it feels to get to know a horse, to understand what they’re scared of and where they like being scratched, I know what it feels like to work together with a horse in beautiful synergy maintaining that perfect collected canter. Finally, I know what it’s like to feel the pent up energy of an excited gelding explode into a gallop beneath me while the rain pelts my face, praying with every bound forward that the horse won’t slip while at the same time grinning like a maniac from the adrenaline rush!

I can use my authority in that and write about horses with it (something I want to do at some point). So, now I’ve yammered on about myself, what are you an authority in?

Remember, when you are an authority in something, it usually produces the best writing. Never forget your strengths – Exploit them instead – It’s so much more fun 😉

Philippa Jane Keyworth – Author

Characterisation and Causation


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I have been challenged recently and thought I would share the challenge with you all.

The challenge I have faced is in reference to writing characters. The thing is, I guess one has to learn that one cannot simply decide that their hero is going to be broody and cynical because that’s attractive and that’s what they want, nor that their heroine is witty but slightly defensive just because she is.

Characterisation & Causation - Philippa Jane Norman - Author

A broody hero has to have a reason to be broody – remember Darcy? He was brought up to be proud and privileged and made protective and closed by Wickham’s behaviour…

I hear you say ‘What!?! Why can I not decide what my characters are and aren’t like?’

But the thing is, you can, I’m not saying you can’t, I can write any character I want HOWEVER, within characterisation, there must be causation.

Characterisation & Causation - Philippa Jane Norman - Author

Sherlock Holmes was altogether strange and rude creating an enigmatic character and why? Because his intelligence alienated him from others.

Causation is my fancy word – yes, you like it don’t you?

What I mean by that is that, say my hero is broody and cynical (as they all seem to be nowadays), well WHY exactly is he like that? You need to realise that when you are writing you are writing a real human being on paper and a real human being comes with positive and negatives, with issues and baggage in some areas and not in others.

Characterisation & Causation - Philippa Jane Norman - Author

Who can forget the forthright, justice-led and daring conversationalist – Elizabeth Bennett – And why is she all these things we admire? Because she is proud initially (yes, I said that and believe it) and is protective of her sister Jane.

So, I will ask you challenging questions – What is your hero or heroine like? Why are they like that? What in their past has shaped them to be like that? How does that affect their thoughts, actions and reactions? And ultimately, how is that worked out into the future of your book?

Be aware that, as with humans, your characters aren’t just going to fix themselves in a few pages of heart-to-hearting with another character, no, if it’s a true representation of real life then usually the character will stick with them and shape good and bad situations for them continually.

I shall be answering the above questions for myself as I go back to ‘The Debtor’s Redeemer’ for another revision and I count it a joy – The last time I revised it it completely changed and deepened the story – How will it change, bearing in mind this post, this time!?!

Philippa Jane Keyworth – Author

I HATE them – Plot Devices Pt 3


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So, I should have written, ‘I LOVE them’ in the title of this post but I thought it sounded too sappy. People are negative beings after all and I bet half of you clicked on this just to find out who I hatedShame on you!


Anyway, I was writing today and thought about another plot device. As a writer you need to fall in love with your characters, only when you love them will others do the same. It counts the same for villains, which is where I guess the title of this blog comes in (yes, that’s right, it went from obsolete to slyly apt), you have to hate your villain in order for your readers to hate them!

I was thinking about this when I was writing today and, quite by accident, fell in love with one of my sideline characters……oh, the conundrum….. see if you can tell why:

“…What’s that you have there?” The naive Mr. Lyndham peered into the Duke’s substantially larger glass.

“A fine port. Mason always stocks the best.”

“Shame on you, Rutland.” A new and decidedly cynical voice joined the conversation. “I had it on your good authority, when you dined with me last week, that my port was the best in London.”

The man who had joined the conversation was a broad, towering gentleman who lounged back from his hips and held a quizzing glass directed at the Duke of Rutland.

“Weston again? I would have thought on my last recognising of his work, you would have bethought yourself to tell your tailor to take more care.”

“How remiss of me.” replied Rutland, to this scathing speech, without the smallest sound of remorse colouring his words and a faint smile of amusement hovering over his lips.

“Indeed,” The man turned his glass on Mr. Lyndham who, unused to this particular gentleman’s idiosyncrasies, coloured from the tips of his shirt points to the roots of his hair. “And, this must be your charge?”

Mr. Lyndham, feeling impetuous and in need of proving himself thanks to the dreadful feeling of self-consciousness, thrust his hand forward.

“William Lyndham, sir, son of Captain Lyndham.”

The tall gentleman looked at his hand but did not take it. “My lord.”

“Pardon?” asked William, colouring again and now unsure of whether to retract his snubbed hand or not.

“I am a lord, so I am referred to as, my lord, not some poxy sir.”

“Carey, have pity.” said Rutland, coming to Mr. Lyndham’s aid.

“Well, Rutland, do your duty.”

“Very well, Lord Carey, may I present, Mr. Lyndham.”

William was about to offer his hand again.

“I am afraid, my Lord Carey does not shake anyone’s hand, Mr. Lyndham.”

“Indeed?” he said, angry to be made a fool.

“There is nothing I detest more than clasping the hand of a sweaty gentleman, whether he be my dearest relation or the Prince Regent himself.” offered Carey, now dropping his quizzing glass on its riband and smoothing a lapel.

You guessed it…. I fell in love with Lord Carey. What a hoot! Now, as most writer’s will find with their uncontrollable characters, he is barging his way, most domineeringly, into the rest of my novel…..

P.s. My characters are all fictional.

Philippa Jane Keyworth – Author

Plot Devices Pt 2: Galumping Through A Story



I guess when I read a book there is no time for that. I tend to galump (yes, possibly a new word) from chapter to chapter – Clare Hughes

How do you keep someone galumping through your story? How do you get them so wrapped up in it that afterwards it’s a tangle to get out of, they just cannot stop thinking about it?

Writing Techniques - Philippa Keyworth Author

Well in this second instalment of plot devices I want to talk about the use of your characters unconsious actions as mentioned in the comment by my friend Clare.

In the case of romances (which is primarily what I write), it can be somewhat easier to keep a reader whizzing through the story but what actually is it that makes them do that?

Writing Techniques - Philippa Keyworth Author

Well I want to conjecture here, that perhaps the reason is that they are wanting the hero and heroine to get together…..clearly obvious….however, it is several techniques which romance writers use in order for this ‘whizzing’ to happen.

One of which is the ‘unconscious actions’. This is where the hero/heroine does something unconsciously sparking the interest of the other. This can be an action as small as biting a lip (always tantalising!), or as large as the hero secretly paying off the debts of the heroine.

These unconscious actions are usually the cause of romance or attraction between the two main characters. The hero ends up skipping from one scene in which he observes an attractive character trait of the heroine to another scene in which he observes another. It’s important not to forget that the reader is doing the EXACT SAME.

The reader is going on the journey of the hero and heroine falling in love so they too are skipping from one scene revealing a character trait to another — Fantastic! This is one way in which to keep your character ‘gallumping’ through your story, they are wanting to see more of your character’s character and then watch the reaction of the hero to it…..GENIUS.

Hope this helps you’re writing…..signing out…..

[BLOG ENDS HERE: Story Series cont’d] {See Previous Story Series Exerts Here and Here and Here and Here}


I walked along the sea front, pulling my wool coat closer to me while the sea wind tugged and knotted my hair. I squinted as the drizzle was blown against my face and closed my salty lips together. I continued walking along the lichen covered and damp sea wall. The waves roared to my left under the angry purple sky, and empty cottages lined my right, with their bright coloured doors chipped and rotten from neglect.

A storm was coming from the East, I could feel it in my bones, smell it in the air, the electrons buzzed around my ears.

“Pants!” I said as my high-top trainer submerged itself in a salty puddle.

Now I had wet socks. It was ridiculous, but this made me wanna cry. Maybe it was the cherry on top of my silly life, or maybe I was just being a pathetic girl. I think the second one summed it up better. I needed to grow a pair. I bit my lip so hard to get a grip, it bled, I just licked the metallic taste up into my mouth, it was mixed with salty sea spray. I dug my hands into my pockets and stopped to look out to sea, burying the bottom of my face in my scarf.

The white capped sea stretched its iron grey body out before me, a great animal moving, groaning, labouring under the forces that relentlessly had their way with it. I liked it when it was rough like this, when I could feel the anger of nature built up, about to break loose, it felt kinda familiar. I liked the ominous threat of rain, of thunder, and the knowledge that both brought relief to the earth.

It was getting a little chilly, but I didn’t want to go inside just yet. I took shelter in the doorway of one of the abandoned cottages. Sitting on the damp threshold I could still see the horizon ahead of me. I relaxed and breathed out, happy. The door behind me creaked.

“Oh, no…”

Sure enough the thing gave way. It fell backwards and slammed down on the floor just before I did. I lay there for a minute watching the ceiling, not even taking my hands out of my pockets,

I laughed.

After mulling over the hilarity I decided I’d better get up, maybe put the door back up or something. The rain, however, had different ideas; it drove me further into the house. It poured outside the murky panes of glass. Sheltering here wouldn’t do any harm I decided.

I turned around and was surprised to see a fully furnished house. They must have evacuated pretty quickly I thought. I suppose the threat of a dragon was pretty serious, though I personally found myself a cuddly dragon, but hey, people were weird remember.

There were pieces of sea-worn glass and pebbles all over the table, like some kid had just come off the beach to show them to his mother. I could imagine her, stirring soup or something like that on the dusty cooker.

“Hi sweetie,” she’d say. “Oh, they’re pretty.” Act as though she’s really interested, humouring the child.

I was fascinated now, all this normality in front of me, like human’s lived, like all of them spent their lives. I walked up the creaking stairs, one broke underneath me. I was thankful I had quick reflexes. The upstairs had beds slept in and not made again. Clothes were dropped on the dirty carpeted floor. They had packed quickly. To escape us, to escape creatures like me.

My cold hand picked up a well worn book from one of the bedside tables, some pages fell out, but I didn’t pick them up, it wasn’t like the humans were coming back was it? I should probably get back actually, I suddenly thought, the weird trip through other people’s life coming to an end. I draped a hand over the bed sheets as I walked to the landing.

Holy crap, man!” I shouted, jumping back from the doorway.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”

Typical scar face, I mean Chy, kept forgetting to call him that. I tried to walk past him down the stairs.

“Found anything interesting?” he asked looking at me in that annoyingly compassionate way.

“Nope, nadda!” I said, pushing past him and getting downstairs and out onto the sea wall again.

“Hey, come on, you’ve gotta be thinking something in that silly head of yours.” he called, making it onto the street just behind me. That was strange, the first time he’d been abrupt with me since the whole torturing thing. I think he was probably usually one of those quiet, irritatingly calm types.

“Hey, I’m just a disgusting morpher remember, nothing much but killing goin’ on up here.” I tapped my temple, wishing he would just leave me alone.

“Don’t be such an ass all the time!” he shouted suddenly. The rain was making it’s way into his hair now, it dripped onto his face. “Have you made a decision yet? Do you wanna protect people like the ones whose home that was,” He pointed back to the cottage, “Do you want to prove that you’re a civilised, good creature, not just the monsters they think we are?”

“I don’t care! How many times do I have to say this to you? It doesn’t matter to me.”

“Really?” He ran to me and grabbed the scruff of my coat. “You don’t care if innocents die and you could have done something to save them? You don’t give a damn? You’re too much of a lone wolf are you? You really gonna prove the others right? That you’re just a survivalist, no heart?” His face was so close to mine, I felt him spit on my cheek. But even though he was yelling he wasn’t mad, his eyes were despairing, compassionate and begging, all at once and I felt that sick feeling. You know, the one where you’ve done something bad and someone finds out and gives you that disappointed look. Guilt. Feeling bad made me angry, I didn’t like feeling this rubbish responsibility, like I should save the people that hunted me.

“Bad move.” I said looking down at his hand. It was as though he read me like a book. He already knew I was mad before I did. He threw me away from him. There was a flash of light. Was that me?

I morphed, this time remembering to go slow, keep the clothes and all that. I felt the rush of warmth and then my claws scraped against the stone sea defences. I crouched and swung round to confront him, I would scare him at least, teach him to leave me alone. The sea roared behind me, I added my own noise to it. The throaty roar wasn’t on the audience I expected though. That light, it hadn’t been me, what the?

He was bounding towards me; I didn’t know he was a morpher. His wildcat tail swished behind him, his lion claws bounded him forwards giving him the grip he needed on the wet stone. His hooves clattered on the stone following the front. His fur merged into feathers at the back and his wings were flaming red, pushing him forward with the air. His scarlet eyes were locked on mine. He pounced. I beat my huge wings, willing to get away from those claws, but I knew I was too late. He dug them in between my scales. I screamed, breathing fire as he brought me back down to earth with a thud. I thrashed and tried to release myself from underneath him for at least twenty minutes before I realized he had me pinned just too perfect, what made me think he hadn’t done this before? Now he was scar face griffin man.

His eyes were still locked on mine and when I stopped thrashing I saw the truce in them. I nodded and clucked my beak on the stone wall, an agreement. He jumped back and was almost immediately morphed back into his human form. I followed suit, but I didn’t want to let him get away with the wounds he’d given me. I ran for him and threw my fist at his face.

He laughed and grabbed my arm, twisting me in the air and catching me in one of strong his arms. Smooth idiot. “Shall we go to the infirmary rather than take revenge on me while you’re bleeding?”

“Fine.” I grumbled, but I would beat his ass.

The walk back underground was the longest and most humbling walk I’ve ever taken. It was long because of the eight stab holes that wouldn’t let me breath properly, the pain was so sharp when I combined inhalation and walking. I made out that nothing was wrong, and he let me alone.

“Told you.” I panted through the pain as we reached the door to the underground base. He turned his back to me to enter the key code. Maybe, I thought, if I collapse right behind him he won’t notice. My legs buckled and I hit the floor. The pain burned my rib cage but I thankfully felt the relief as the pressure on my stomach was released.

He turned around as the door opened. “Ok are you?” he said sarcastically.

“Just chilling.” I waved my hand dismissively, “Come back for me in a bit.”

He laughed, I wasn’t joking.

He looped a strong arm under my own before I could protest and hoisted me, taking most of my weight. I suppose it wasn’t a lot as I was pretty tiny. I limped with him, leaning on him as much as I could to ease the stabbing. He didn’t say a word, didn’t gloat, nothing.

Jade, who was apparently the nurse, had me patched up in no time. She spent some time checking me over before she actually bandaged me up. She remarked on the bruises on my sides that were now yellowing.

“Just a broken rib, no worries.” I tapped my nose, she understood it meant both broken in one fight. My nose wasn’t that bad I didn’t think but it was slightly off. I had tried to set it myself – ha!

She finally let me down from the scary medical chair and gave me back my clothes. I was thankful that I still had my pants on and that the bandage was over my chest as Chy came straight into the room.

“How you doing?”

“Geez man, can’t you ask me when I’m clothed?” I flashed my eyes at him.

“Suit yourself though you know I’ve see…”

My looked made him shut up before he said anything in front of Jade.

“I’m fine thank you.” I grumbled on the way back to my room. He walked beside me looking very concerned. “Seriously” I said feeling a bit bad about his expression, “I’ve had worse.” I smiled quickly and then looked ahead. I caught a flash of something unreadable in his eyes,

“Yes!” he said victoriously. “You smiled!”

“And you’re weird, hey, this is a fun game.”

He smiled, his face took on a whole new look when he smiled, much softer, like it broke the hardness of his countenance.

“So, why’d you not tell me you were a morpher.”

“Dunno, just wanted to see if you’d treat me differently if you thought I was human.”

“Did I?” I asked.

“Nah, not really, you treat both with equal hostility.” I thought he was joking for a minute but when I looked his face was dead serious. “You mistrust both.” He added a little more quietly.

“So?” I said as a rhetorical question.

He ignored it and instead began talking. He told me about his childhood, the first time he’d morphed he’d killed someone standing next to him. He’d run away after that, he was only ten. He’d lived away from humans for seven years before he came back into society. He’d gone to the Rockies and lived there, not morphing back into a human. When he came back in he had a hard time controlling his temper. He looked at me then. I scowled. He’d tried to be normal, he’d even gotten married and worked at a normal job.

“So what happened?”

“Dragon’s came to where I lived, we were all evacuated, Tanya died, in a wild fire.” He was looking down, and his eyes were closed, like he was bearing immense pain while he told the story. “The authorities called a death sentence on all mythical creatures. I realised that I didn’t belong to the human’s world. But I believed there was a point to it all, we weren’t just made for destruction but protection.” He stood up from my bed where he sat talking to me, I was curled up in a ball on my sofa. I uncoiled myself, almost I thought to stop him leaving, to tell me more, but he didn’t give me a chance to ask.

“See you later.” He patted my shoulder and left me in my room to ponder things over during the night.

Philippa Jane Keyworth – Regency Romance Author

Plot Devices Pt 1: The Old ‘Don’t Know You’re Looking’ Ploy


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So, this is part 1 of the expansion on the post which had my friend Clare’s comment in it.

Once upon a time…

I said that I would talk a little about how you can move your plot line on and just wanted to expand on Clare’s point about seeing the realness and depth of someone’s character when they don’t know you’re looking.

Although this is true, especially in the case of romances, I think that it can work within many different relationships when writing a novel. It’s true that when we think no one is looking we do things we wouldn’t normally show others.

Like when people in a car somehow think that no one can see them and their windscreen is made of tinted glass – ‘IT’S NOT, SO STOP PICKING YOUR NOSE ON THE MOTORWAY!’

In a novel it is much the same thing. You could use it when showing a person’s character and perhaps show a depth or a trait that otherwise would be impossible to write in. Have you ever thought that? I want to show they’re this but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to write that well.

Writing Techniques - Philippa Jane Keyworth - Regency Romance Author

A hero and heroine c. 1420

For instance, if you are wanting to write in that a woman is particularly generous let’s say, but the problem is she is also humble, so there is no way she would say she is generous and no way that she’d tell any of her friends so there’s no way for that character number two to find out.

How about when she thinks no one is looking, she gives an extra coin to the stable lad who kept her horse because she talked to him earlier and knows he’s hungry. How about she also says, “Take this, no fuss! Now run and get some bread before anyone sees. Go on, run!” ……Perhaps someone sees? Or perhaps just the reader sees.

Writing Techniques - Philippa Keyworth - Author

What a dashing hat…

Within a little aside to the storyline you have just showed that this mysterious lady’s character is both kind and humble.

In terms of romances, it’s an old favourite ploy of mine to get the hero (who’s never such a hero to begin with),  to observe the heroine a little. In these observations, though at first he’s not interested, he soon sees unusual qualities he did not expect in her – AH! The start of love!

It may be something you’ve heard of before or it may be a completely new idea, but just remember, as much as there is dialogue in your book, a lot can be said for just watching as well!

Have a go and let me know how it goes……?