The bar in my head

Hi lovelies!

I was reading my friend Manna's blog and came across the most beautiful image of the brain of a writer that I had to share it. Her blog is definitely worth checking out for writing tips and insights into her writing journey. 

She described her mind as being a bar filled with her characters that she could dip into at any time. I loved this image because it gives you this sense that as writers our characters are alive beyond the moments we call on them to appear on the page. When we turn away from the computer they get up for another drink, start a game of pool and live out a life without us watching them. Or in my case right now with Maeve, putting the poor girl through a world of hurt (sorry kiddo.)

It made me think of what my characters would be like if they were in a bar;

The place itself  would be some 1930’s gin dive with hardwood floors stained darker than Santangelo’s soul. Jade green shades hanging low over secluded booths, velvet backed and with a fog of cigar smoke hanging heavy. A long gold edged bar would take up one entire side, crystal glasses chinking against one another and a bartender dressed in a suit with a holster under his shoulder. He’s pouring amber whisky over ice with half an eye on a TV above his head, pointedly trying to ignore the robots and one Dalek cruising around.

There, in the most strategically placed booth of course, is Santangelo. He’s slouched back into the plush velvet booth, whisky in one hand and cigar in the other. There’s his weapon on the table in front of him holding down a map. Saint’s attention is completely on Ronnie, whose tucked in against his side with her fingers wrapped around the stem of a cocktail glass. She’s talking low to Vin across the table, stabbing a finger down at the map. There’s 1930’s jazz playing around them and Vin will occasionally glare around the room at the other patrons. Santangelo's gaze remains on Ronnie but you can bet your bottom dollar he'd know if someone coughed over the other side of the room. 

There’s the booth with the robots and Dalek of course, though the Dalek is having a hard time getting into the seat.

Then there’s Gabriel sprawled in a booth, leaning forward with his elbows on slightly sticky wood. His hand’s wrapped around a bottle of whatever’s going and he’s telling an old war story. His other hand runs over his whiskers and his gaze will clock over each one of his crew in turn every few minutes. Gabriel wears a contented smile beneath eyes that carry an ancient fire. 

Dex is similarly sprawled, arms hanging over the back of the booth, telling bad jokes one after the other and drinking everything going, including some that's not. His hair is mussed, his tunic is no better and he doesn't remember the last time he had a soak but his smile lights up the place. An easy charm exudes from him, following a voice like honey. 

Irma's feet are tucked up under her, sitting cross-legged on the seat. Long, delicate fingers curl around the stem of a wine glass. Cascading waves of sun-kissed hair fall down around her, stars and beads wound here and there through it. Her lilac eyes are watching everything with that soft way of hers and wherever she looks, peace reigns for a bit. Irma's gaze stays resolutely away from Santangelo and drifts often towards Maeve. 

Logan is in the same booth, as far away from the others as possible without falling out of the booth. A crystal cut glass is precisely turned to the edge of the table, filled with something clear and crisp. His dark hair is neat, unlike the others. His eyes are sharp, not unlike the others. He has seated himself opposite Santangelo, the better to keep an eye on him. A thin line has taken possession of his mouth. There's a data-pad resting by his left hand, formulations scrawled across it. Logan's eyes refuse to go over to Maeve and Taren, creeping so far their way before he grinds his other hand into the wooden table and brings his gaze back again. 

Maeve is in the booth just across from them, close enough to hear Dex's jokes. She's snorting at a particularly bad one, trying and failing to stop it turning into a full blown belly laugh. She is also sat cross-legged on the deep seat though not as gracefully as Irma. She's leaning forward, chin resting on her hand and the emerald eyes turned upwards towards Taren. An expression of peace and adoration has settled on her face much to Logan's disgust. Maeve could not care less if they were in a bar or on the edge of a mountain at midnight, as long as the ice blue eyes she's staring at are there too. Her free hand cups a creamy mug filled to the brim with rich coffee. She's leaning into Taren as she laughs. 

He's looking down at her while she laughs, the corners of his lips twitching as he tries not to. The deep emerald of his cybernetic implant twinkles as he drops a kiss on the top of her head. She leans into him a little more, into the muscled arm looped low around her back. He is slouched into the seat, curled around Maeve, his boots slung up on the opposite seat. The hand not holding Maeve holds a datapad instead where he's scribbling notes and skidding them across to the robot on his other side. Taren is relaxed in the same way a panther relaxes, all whispered menace and coiled limbs.  He raises a middle finger to Logan, matches it with a crooked grin. 

Over the other side of the bar sits an Archangel and the Devil. They're pretending not to know each other.  Two Archangels sit next to the first and a demon sits next to the Devil. They're fine to admit they know each other, they just don't like each other. Samantha and Sebastian. 

One beyond them sits a woman with hair as crimson as the heart of a fire, her face nothing but a mist of shadows. Beside her sits a man wearing crusader armor, or at least, he used to be a man before he lost the ability to look at himself in the mirror. Magic crackles around them like the spitting beginning of a thunderstorm. 

Five officers from a homicide investigation squad for paranormal creatures are their neighbors. Four of them are male and one of them is an alien. The fifth is a woman with darting eyes who sits like she isn't sure what table she is meant to be at. Her face is also missing. 

I think you don't realize how many ideas are bubbling in your brain until you sit down and try to write something like this. Some are my current books or work in progress and some, like the officers are an idea that has yet to be put to the page. Maybe you only know that they will actually get on a page when they get into the bar. Is there a limbo outside where ideas lie? 

What would the bar in your head look like?

Blog Review - Through Her Eyes

Hi lovelies!

I was offered the chance to read THROUGH HER EYES, the debut novel from Sophie Fahy and honestly, I’d like to make it recommended reading for everyone.  When I first started building an Instagram presence for my book and finding other authors Sophie was someone who was just so welcoming and friendly. On a social media platform that is constantly calling you to compare, her account is one of encouragement and positivity towards everyone. I always smile when I see her posts!

Now, let me tell you why I love this book so much. Here’s the blurb:

Life is not always black and white, sometimes it’s a thousand shades of grey. Seventeen-year-old, beloved Alyssa Darlington has always been a party girl: quick-witted, fierce and very smart; with a strong future ahead of her. But after surviving a brutal attack at her best friend’s end-of-summer house party, the only thing that seems fitting for Alyssa, is revenge. And when this becomes her twisted reality, it’s easy for the shadows to take over. . After something so traumatic, Alyssa struggles to stay at the top of the social ladder – climbing to the top is hard – trying to stay there while, newly, partially blind, is even harder.There’s a weight upon her shoulders. Quietly searching for answers, Alyssa unlocks memories and reveals secrets that should have been buried.


THROUGH HER EYES is like Gossip Girl meets Thirteen Reasons. Thirteen Reasons because of the thought provoking content, the haunting mystery and the emotional gut punch it delivers. Gossip Girl because just like you daydream about Chuck and Blair, I found myself thinking about Alyssa when I was meant to be working! You’ll find yourself doing it too, trying to work out the mystery.

Alyssa starts her story at a party, drunk and out of it. She experiences a horrific assault and barely survives. When she wakes, her vision is so badly impaired that she’s practically blind. As someone whose worked with victims of attacks like this I found her writing absolutely spot on. I think it’s a very difficult area to write and to represent. Yesterday I was reading an article about the “misappropriation of misery” and how easy it was to write something traumatic and have it come off as gory or not deep enough. Sophie has avoided all of this and managed to create a vivid experience through Alyssa’s eyes. I could have been reading patient notes which was both scary and a testament to Sophie’s writing.

The story is literally through Alyssa’s eyes and while she has a lot of the Gossip Girl typical teenager characteristics she also has a lot more depth to her. The trauma happens very early on and she’s thrown into how to cope with that, as well as having to adjust to her changing role. Alyssa adjusts quickly but teenagers do. Teenagers and kids adjust much faster than we think they do and they mask their pain far better than we think too. Have you ever watched one of those hospital trauma shows? I love ‘24 Hours In ED’ and when you watch it you see these kids suddenly crash. It’s because they appear well when they’re very sick until they crash. A kid that looks well can still be very unwell. Alyssa gives off the same vibe – she looks like she’s adjusted very well but underneath it there’s a sense of an impending crash just waiting to happen.

THROUGH HER EYES should be optioned by Netflix because it is an edge-of-your-seat, 2am-but-I-have-to-know story. You might as well read it on a weekend because you won’t be getting any sleep once you’ve started! I thought I had a good handle on the mystery at first, had a suspect and was confident in my choice...until I turned the page.

Alyssa has flashbacks of that night which are superbly written but don’t do anything to help me find out who the attacker was! It is really one of those mysteries where you never know until the last page and when you DO know it throws you. At the same time though, the attacker made perfect sense and having come from that world professionally, it was also sadly familiar.

I think that’s what I love most about THROUGH HER EYES (besides the brilliant writing, the great characters and the non-stop mystery that is) Her experience is so vivid and authentic. It reminds me of so many of the stories I’ve heard before and I think it should be recommended not only for young adults but for anyone who works with youth. THROUGH HER EYES is one of those powerful novels and I’m so proud of Sophie for this!