Monday, 27 October 2014

My Sad Kat

Yup. I drew myself looking really sad. Obviously.
It's been about 10 years since I pencil shaded anything, which is probably why this picture seems to me to have the whiff of A-Level art about it.

And as always, I think it looks far better from an angle. 
That said, I really enjoyed it and am already itching to do more and improve. 

In many ways, I do feel like I wasted the past couple of years by not drawing or writing much. It's like my life is slowly starting up again, as I'm concentrating more on personal work in my free time rather than my actual job. It's slowly gathering momentum, and I'm finding more time as well as finding it's making me happier. I just wish I'd started it earlier.

More to follow. For the good of my head:)


PS, the title is in reference to @mysadcat, who you really ought to follow on Twitter. He's really got me into Morrissey.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Goodreads Giveaway!

If you fancy a free copy of His Wicked Shadow, I'm currently running a giveaway on Goodreads, where there are five paperback copies to be won.

All you need to do is go here! If you aren't a Goodreads member, you can also sign up with your Facebook account, for ease (int technology grand?).

Or you can click on the fancier link below!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

His Wicked Shadow by Katherine   Holt

His Wicked Shadow

by Katherine Holt

Giveaway ends November 30, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Good luck!

Friday, 3 October 2014

My Hero - James Elliot

When I was first planning His Wicked Shadow, I was going through a bit of a love affair with Kate & Leopold. By which I of course mean, I was more than a little bit enamoured by Hugh Jackman. As such, it was only natural that he was my casting for James Elliot, the troubled Earl of Lincoln.

"My dark and brooding nature cannot be contained within a mere caption."
James and the secret that rules his life are the reason I made the switch from third to first person narrators - a switch I've never gone back from. It's much easier to keep a secret when the narrator doesn't know!

Following shenanigans with his childhood friend, Elinor Montague, at a masked ball, James high-tails it to Europe for two years, returning a changed man. Here's where he and Ellie see one another again for the first time after he makes a surprise return...

Door number five was ajar, which was unusual, and I stopped abruptly, wondering if I had miscounted. Door number five was never open, and I never remembered it being used before. As I leaned nearer, something moved in the room and I froze as a figure leaned into view. All I could see was the back of a man in shirtsleeves; a slice of his shoulder and arm as he moved before the dresser mirror, tucking his shirt into his pantaloons. I stared at his reflection, a feeling of nausea circling my throat. There was only one man that it could be, but that was impossible, inconceivable, unbelievable.
He leaned over, reaching for something on the dresser, and my eye was caught by some strange marks on his wrist. Reflected in the mirror I could see two long, parallel lines – white, puckering scars, which stretched almost the length of his inner forearm. Just below the wrist were two more slashes, forming a shallow cross. I unconsciously moved forward to try and get a closer look. There was something strange about the marks, and I stared at them, trying to imprint the shape in my memory.
As I shuffled closer to the door I stepped from the carpet onto the wooden floor. At the tap of my boot against the bare board, he looked up into the mirror. Cool amber eyes held mine for a long moment.
I fled.


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Ye Olde Planning - Then and Now

Back when I was a wee nipper of but... 23(?) I started work on His Wicked Shadow. It wasn't called that then, and it was a very different book.

It seems a long time ago, and although it wasn't my first attempt at a novel (we aren't talking about that), it was the first one I wrote after I had realised that I knew nothing and it would probably be rubbish. That's a big thing to learn, and it was a turning point in both my career and my writing style. By admitting to myself that I couldn't write, and deciding to learn how, I was committing myself to future years of try, try, trying, and then trying again. I wanted to be a writer, and I wanted to do it properly.

I read articles and books on techniques, to do and not to do lists, I drafted, re-drafted, made new friends and dented my pride even more. And when I was looking on an old hard drive for something completely unrelated a few weeks ago, I found this:

James was being an absolute bastard.
A husky was also there.
I am overcome by nostalgia. This is one of my chapter plans from the very early days, when what is now the middle of the book was the beginning.

In the four intervening years I have discovered what many people have discovered before me. There isn't a definitive way to write a good novel, and it's a hard slog. But admitting my own hideous crapness was the first step along the road to where I am now. I'm currently working on what will hopefully be my third complete novel - and I still have no idea how to do it. There's a vote of confidence for you! It's one of the hardest things I've ever done, and it's mostly arse-on-chair, head-in-hands repetition. Whether that's paid off, I leave to your judgement. But it's also the best thing I've ever done, and as addictive as hummus.

And if you are intrigued by how this scene turned out in the end, here's a little preview...

‘I shouldn’t be here,’ I murmured, letting him pull me towards his chest, and push me gently back against the wall, imprisoned by his body and his touch.
‘Who would say anything?’ he whispered, his breath catching the sheen of moisture on my neck as he leaned towards me. ‘I’m a family friend. An old family friend.’
We both knew he was wrong, that I’d be ruined if anyone happened upon us, but neither of us cared. We hadn’t cared before, and it was the recollection of that which brought me back down to earth.
‘No. I can’t. You can’t.’ I put my hands between us on his chest and pushed him away. ‘Not again.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘It happened before. God, you really did forget.’
‘The kiss?’
‘It was more than a kiss.’ I burned crimson with shame as I said it. I couldn’t tell him how much it had meant to me, or how broken I had felt when he left me. I had some pride.
‘You’re right, it was more. It was… unexpected. Surprising. But above all, wonderful.’ He looked at me with an intensity that made me believe him, or at least want to believe him. He leaned towards me again, gently restraining me. If I’d wanted to escape I could have, but to my shame, I didn’t. I could hear his ragged breathing, and stared at his mouth, slowly coming closer to mine.
‘But then you left,’ I said.
I drew myself up to my full height in an effort to claw my dignity back. He moved his face away from mine and stared at me.
‘So I did.’
‘Without a word. Without anything. And you’d told me you’d call the next day. How am I supposed to trust you?’
James turned away from me then to lean on the rails that looked out over the gardens, a mottled navy in the cloudy night. He was quiet and his shoulders were hunched. I almost stepped forward to comfort him; his silhouette was that of a broken man.
His voice was quiet, so quiet I strained to hear him over the dull thrum of the music from the ball.
‘No,’ he repeated. ‘You were right. You shouldn’t be here.’