Friday, 1 March 2013

Lost & Confused? Yeah, me too..

It seemed prudent to get a website, so I did. What I did not anticipate was having to move my blog, but I have.

You can now find me at 

Huge apologies for confusion to those who follow me and if you just happened to land here whilst navigating the e-sphere, do please click the link above, you never know you may like what you find at the end of the yellow brick road.

                                                 Travel safely

                                                 Incy Black

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Titting & Tatting

Shehanne Moore tagged me back.  Tit for Tat!—a tempting subject for a future posting with which I could have a lot of fun given  I’ve met a good number of tits (idiots for those unfamiliar with the insult) and encountered a lot of tat (hookey rubbish)…but that’s for another time.   

Post a snippet from your current WIP exampling the word ‘look’, Ms Moore challenged in retaliation for me tapping her with an interview a couple of weeks ago.

 A word I use rarely, I dismissed with a mad muttering about not having time for such shennanigans.  Boy, was I wrong.  58 uses of the word per the ‘Find & Replace’ function and I’m only on Chapter 8. Damn.

 And I was wrong about how deeply buried the word ‘look’ would be too.  Tripped over it a bare six lines into my current work in progress…hmm.

Him? Set a honey trap? Not bloody likely! He’d give his life for the Service—damn near had on the last occasion, taking a bullet to the gut and one to the chest—but he drew the line at pimping his body.

 “…It’s imperative we locate her brother. They’re close. Twins. She must to know where he is. Take her to bed, gain her trust. Consider it an assignment with fringe benefits. Dr Treherne isn’t bad looking after all.”

She wasn’t, if you liked your women uptight and severe—which he didn’t—and you were prepared to get your bollocks frozen off—which he wasn’t.

So there you have it, challenge met (if a little ungraciously, but Ms Moore knows where I’m coming from).  And to share the pain, I now tag: Andrea Walpole, Joanne Stewart and Jane Linfoot.)

Friday, 9 November 2012

Aw hell, I am so screwed…

To date I have studiously ignored all attempts to ‘tag’ me, not because I mind participating but because the guilt of inflicting the same sense of panic on those whom I must ‘tag’ in return, twists me into knots tighter than tangled dental floss. On this occasion however, I decided to test whether curiosity did indeed kill the cat by accepting the baton from Aurelia B Rowl, in the ‘Next Big Thing’ Blog Tour.

I should probably confess that I’ve yet to master the art of tagging others so the chain might well stop right here.

Apologies in advance to Shehanne Moore, Aimee Duffy and Andrea Walpole – y’all have been tagged – maybe. Ladies you are on your own from this point forward….you now have to answer and post the questions below before tagging three others to do the same.  Good luck!

What is the title of my current work in progress?

‘Compromised’ – which sums up in a single word, about the only thing Will and Angel have in common.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

From a strange and violent world far, far away, known as Planet Incy.

What genre does your book fall under?

Romantic thriller with a hint of chilli heat.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

They would have to be new, undiscovered and able to make the characters their very own.  In terms of physical attributes, Damon from TVD might serve as Will but for Angel, I’m not sure that female has yet been born.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

A sexy commitment-phobe with his eye firmly on the top job, falls for an ice queen set on sabotaging his career by keeping secrets that could get them both killed.

Is your book self-published or represented by an agency?

Neither.  My WIPs languish happily in no man’s land until completed. Only then do I start searching for the most appropriate home for them.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Hey, it’s not finished yet!!!  But I edit and re-edit as I go along (must be the Virgo in me) so I don’t think in terms of drafts (probably because I can’t count that high). As to timescales, much depends on the number of interruptions life throws at me.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

How about James Bond tangles with The Snow Queen only to find out she’s really Suzy Wong playing fast and loose with both their lives in a game of Russian Roulette. (Hey, don’t pigeon hole me.)

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The hero, Will Berwick, himself.  Having played a supporting role in two previous books and given the punishment he took in both, I felt he deserved his own story by way of compensation. Aside from which he would probably have hunted me down and shot me had I not given him his chance in the spotlight.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Hmmm…it’s fun watching two complicated characters push each other’s buttons to see who will be the first to surrender. Oh, and that’s without the conspiracy, murder and mayhem and a very ill-conceived honey-trap.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Belly Button Fluff - Poor you if you've got none.

We are who we are. Statement of fact.  But as individuals, do we really know who we are? Are we aware of the traits that irritate the hell out of some and compel others towards us? I’d suggest not. Thank God!

If you think you truly know yourself, then I’d venture you’ve spend too much time naval gazing and whilst you might have the cleanest, fluff-freest belly button on earth, I won’t want to know you. Not only are you unnatural (not a sin in itself) but you are most likely the most boring, pointless person alive. That’s the real crime.

Faults shape us, like the facets on a gem, they reveal the flame within. Without faults to distort perfection and refract light you’re about as interesting as a pane of glass without a view—of any kind.
This relates to writing, how?  Well, nothing is more deadly than reading about the piously angelic, Ms or Mr Perfect, that’s point one. Point two is if your heroine/hero has faults and flaws, then they are unlikely to be aware of them.  Keep your story real. Make sure your characters flow with blood not ink. Too much introspection on the path to self-knowledge is just not authentic. It’s also filthy boring for the reader.

A lack of self-awareness sparks friction, you should be able to feel the rub of sand against sand in the interaction between characters as they blindly bumble through life, trying their best, but largely getting it wrong.
 Not that people can’t change, they do, they grow (not necessarily towards sainthood) but only in response to some trauma or challenge. Something they don’t like, something that disrupts their peace of mind and prevents them from getting what they want, now!  Even then, it’s more a compromise than an outright change of who we once were.  If you have a stinging temper and your current love interest reacts adversely, then the chances are you’ll try and dull the sting. That’s not self-awareness, that’s compromising to get what you want, but the temper that is a part of you will still hold strong and there are times, even in the happiest of ever afters that it will out.

If you’ve written a bitch or a bastard, chances are they are going to stay a bitch or a bastard. But in romantic fiction the reader expects someone to fall for the lead characters regardless.  And  if, as a writer,  you’ve done your job properly, the reader will love them too, flaws and all. 

If I’ve got this right, then a story spins more on convincing reaction than long term changes in personality.  Maybe that’s why series are popular. Readers go back to see how their old friends are faring handicapped as they by flaws, within a new dynamic.

Got a view? Then come on, rub some sand.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


                            HARLEQUIN MILLS & BOON
...that’s right, the organisers of this global writing competition.

Now given I entered, it might seem the height of bad manners to fork through what’s on the plate rather than consume gratefully but this post is less criticism and more a reality check .

Key Point:  The way the voting works, SYTYCW is less a test of writing ability and more a test of social media use and ownership of devices (you can vote more than once as long as you do so from a different device).

It’s a popularity contest in other words.  Got enough family, got enough friends, got enough followers, got BIG ENOUGH BALLS to tout shamelessly your entry across the e-universe and you should go through to the last 25 regardless. (In addition, the organisers choose 3 ‘wild card’ entries which, they believe, merit attention.) Lucky 28 contestants.  Well done! That upward streak is your profile on the rise.

To the remaining entrants, don’t worry about not placing. It is not a reflection on your talent but do learn to e-network (even if only with other writers).  There are some superb opening chapters buried deep in e-silence, if yours is one of those, don’t give up.  Cream rises.

Actually, no-one should give up.  Your ability to write, your skill at engaging a reader from the get-set-go, your future potential, has not been tested. Not in a meaningful way. Not under this voting system.

And why is HM&B the overall winner?  Free publicity.  $$£££$$$ worth of it. They have gifted nothing they would not otherwise have given, albeit by another means and under different circumstances (the slush pile).

Is this wrong? Nah, it’s marketing-smart and integrity often takes a hike when protecting/growing market-share takes to highway. 

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Not As Bad As You Think (I bloody hope)

Amid the debris littering my desk (scraps of paper, half-drunk cups of coffee, pens so old and mashed they vomit red, blue and green and lie in the little lakes of their own making, war-torn Lego men courtesy of my son…and yes, I do believe that is a regurgitated fur-ball - eewwww) I am determined to find a prominent place for the notice ‘It’s not as bad as you think’.

Why? Because trust me, over-writing can suck the very life blood from your work, leaving it in much need of a laxative.
Try and remember your reader is reading your story for the first time.  Their eyes and minds will be fresh and eager rather than bleeding.  Chances are they won’t give a flying-f about the correct use of the Oxford comma, or occasional lapse in the sequence of MRUs, not if your story flies, not if your characters rip free from the page and not if you have succeeded in transporting them into a world they never want to leave.

If you have done a half decent job on your story (getting the GMC up front and central helps), they will not be bored stiff  to the point of applying leeches to their eyelids and throbbing temples. Chances are they will be too engrossed and therefore forgiving of little tics and errors.  (Best to avoid sloppy typos and spelling though, they’ll skin you for that or worse, abandon your book).
So, don’t hate your manuscript. Recall the verve that rushed through your veins as you punched out the first draft. Because that is what it means to write from the soul and that’s what will give your book its unique personality.  All over-writing ever achieves is frustration on your part as the writer, and a Mogadon-effect in the reader.
Hence my new mantra:  It’s not as bad as it looks…maybe?
Caveat: This mantra does not excuse crap writing! 
Second Caveat:  Those elipsey things (brackets) are all mine, and I'm on trend.  My own trend.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Bloody Afflictions!

Of all the afflictions a writer might hope to avoid, ‘memory like a sieve’ must rank near the top.  I have a tough job with names (even have to run through the register when addressing one of my own kids), and book titles too.  This makes it hard to share/recommend/enthuse about a good read.

And it’s no bloody fun when you’re trying to track your own work.

I do a lot of my writing in my head. Driving to work and home again. Zoning out in meetings so tedious I want to open a vein. Even sitting here blogging right now. One part of my mind is always preoccupied with the story I’m working on.  Problem is, the minute I hit the computer, it all seeps away, can’t even find the thread to tie a knot in it, half the time.

Carry a notebook, you might advise.  Ah, no thanks. I already have three points on my licence (for doing 34mph—yup, still pissed off cos I forgot to send off the fine and got hit for £230 rather than the original £60), and have you ever noticed how in a meeting, your closest neighbours are always checking out what notes you’re taking. Besides, I’ve tried scraps of paper and lose them every time only to come across them months later, to wonder WTF.

Yet I plod on, always back-reading what I’ve already written (which takes hours) in the hope that something will stick for good or better still trigger some random thoughts from earlier on.  Why? Cos that’s another affliction of mine, a cussed stubbornness not to yield any ground.

Yes this all makes me a difficult person to live with but I do have one saving grace, I value my friends, and damn straight, I never forget them.

Got any afflictions you want to share?