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Writing because words are the essence of my life.


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Valentine for a Canine: When horror turns soft

 

HerbieThere are many complex relationships in my debut novel, Crone. I agonised over the relationship between Heather, my protagonist, and University researcher Trent, because I didn’t want her to be so wrapped up in him that she couldn’t then focus on defeating the evil at the heart of the novel. Crone isn’t a love story after all, and I didn’t need Heather to be a woman who loses herself at the merest hint of testosterone. I certainly didn’t want her to become a weaker sidekick.

That’s not to say that Trent isn’t perfectly adorable. He’s intelligent, brave, thoughtful and supportive, but he’s also the non-believer, preaching caution when Heather has wild ideas, and when her desire for revenge starts to burn her up inside. They make a good couple – the perfect yin and yang.

Fortunately, there are two other men in Heather’s life who balance Trent’s influence, otherwise Crone may have been a very different story and genre! The first is her dead teenage son, Max. At the beginning of Crone, Heather has largely disassociated herself from the world, and her bereavement has alienated her from any pleasures in life. The third relationship, and perhaps the most important to her when the novel opens, is Pip, her aging and scruffy lurcher dog.

Crone BRAG

I have several friends who have suffered the loss of a child or children. How do I know them? Through our mutual love of dogs. Observing from a distance, I feel that their dogs have given them a reason to carry on. Pets in this instance are not a substitute for children by any means, but they provide a necessary outlet for love.

As humans, most of us have an infinite capacity to give love in one form or another. When the life of someone you care about is wiped out, you find yourself floundering around, unsure of how to define yourself (a child who loses her parents is an orphan, but parents who lose children? What name do we give them?). In addition, society loses interest in the bereaved after a while, and we politely ignore ongoing sorrow. In the UK, we expect our emotionally wounded to ‘keep calm and carry on’. Outwardly, in Crone, Heather is coping, but really all she is doing is putting one foot in front of another … and remembering to breathe.

Pip gives Heather a two-way conduit for her love. He provides a reason for her to get up in the morning. By get up, I don’t mean wake up – note, because Heather doesn’t sleep. She lies awake wondering why her son is dead and she is alive. Pip is the reason Heather visits the supermarket. He needs to eat, so she’s shopping for him, but then she remembers to buy food for herself too. Pip helps Heather to bond with Trent, because Pip is ecstatic when Trent is around.

In the first draft of Crone, Pip didn’t make it through a particularly horrible encounter in the forest, but in the end I couldn’t do that to Heather. It just felt too unnecessarily cruel, and besides I’m a soft touch. It was a good decision in retrospect because a number of readers have told me how much they worried about him, and loved his presence in the story.

Beautiful Pip was based on my own Bedlington Terrier X Lurcher, Herbie. When I began writing Crone, Herbs, my constant companion, was alive and well and always under my desk, nudging my knee when he wanted my attention. By the time I’d published it, he was gone prematurely. It seemed fitting that I memorialise him in Crone, as a remembrance of one of the important relationships in my own life, as well as Heather’s.

I struggled so badly with the loss of Herbie that I wrote a book that was part tribute, and part support for others affected by dog bereavement. Losing my Best Friend is my most consistent seller, and every copy sold makes me eternally proud of my beautiful boy.

Happy Valentine’s Day canines everywhere ❤                losingmybestfriend

Useful links

Buy Crone myBook.to/CroneJW

Buy Losing my Best Friend myBook.to/LosingMyBestFriend

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https://twitter.com/Thecushionlady

https://www.facebook.com/jeanniewycherley/

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If you go down to the woods today: Cover reveal – CRONE

 

If you go down to the woods today you’re sure of a big surprise. The East Devon countryside is the setting for Jeannie Wycherley’s debut novel – think dense and ancient forest on the Jurassic coast and you’ve pretty much got the idea.

Jeannie was driving home one night from Sidmouth to Ottery St Mary underneath the dense overhanging canopy, when she wondered how she would react if she saw a strange woman in the undergrowth. This quickly became the inspiration for the malevolent Aefre, who is at the centre of the novel’s evil misdoings.

Heather Keynes’ teenage son died in a tragic car accident. Or so she thinks. However, deep in the wilds of the Devon countryside, an ancient evil has awoken … and is intent on hunting the residents of Abbotts Cromleigh.

No-one is safe.

When Heather takes a closer look at a series of coincidental deaths, she is drawn reluctantly into the company of an odd group of elderly Guardians. Who are they, and what is their connection to the Great Oak? Why do they believe only Heather can put an end to centuries of horror? Who is the mysterious old woman in the forest and what is it that feeds her anger?

When Heather determines the true cause of her son’s death, she is hell-bent on vengeance. Determined to halt the march of the Crone once and for all, hatred becomes Heather’s ultimate weapon. Furies collide in this twisted tale of murder, magic and salvation.

Edited by Amie McCracken, and with a fabulously unnerving cover design by Jennie Rawlings at Serifim.com, Crone will appeal to a cross section of readers who enjoy fantasy, horror and women’s literature. With a female protagonist and an eerie female protagonist, Crone is unlike anything you’ve read before.

I’m hugely excited that Crone will be available soon, with this amazing cover to creep you all out, so follow me on Twitter @thecushionlady, or on Facebook @Jeanniewycherley, or follow my blog. Watch this space!


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Three shorts

I’m busily gearing up to publish my debut novel Crone, which is wonderfully exciting (and a bit ohmigerd at the same time) but then remembered there are other fab things on the horizon – namely the release of three short stories this month.

The first one is The Fly Man, which I’ve self-published to Kindle using my pseudonym. You can find The Fly Man on Amazon.co.uk, or on Amazon.com. It’s a hot, erotic story, that is very loosely (VERY) based on a work placement experience I had in the last millennia. There was a gorgeous theatre technician, and Peter Gabriel was singing Sledgehammer on the TV when I needed to borrow a sticking-plaster, and alas that’s it. I wrote it for a submission call but unfortunately it was rejected. I happen to think it’s a great story, and the anthology I wrote it for never saw the light of day, so what the hell … please enjoy.

The second short story was also rejected for an anthology (this time regrettably and for length) and I happen to think it is one of the best things I’ve written. The Municipality of Lost Souls (the short story version) deserved a home, and thankfully The Society of Misfit Stories gave it one for which I am so grateful. After I’d finished writing this story, it just wouldn’t leave me alone, and so I am currently 70,000 words into the novel length version, with some new characters and a more in-depth plot. I am really enjoying the writing of this. The short version will be available from Amazon on 17th February 2017.

The Municipality of Lost Souls is the first story to be published under my married name. I decided that a surname like Wycherley, however it is acquired, was too good to keep under wraps and I want to publish Crone using my own name, so from now on, all my non-erotic stories will be under my name, and I’ll keep good old Betty Gabriel for the other stuff.

The final short story for the month is An Encounter with Old Duir, appearing in the Sirens Call Ezine, Women in Horror Month Special. This is my favourite market – they gave me my first break and have been so supportive over the past few years. The amazing thing is, the whole E-zine is free. All that reading and you don’t pay a penny.

An Encounter with Old Duir is a special story. After I lost Herbie last summer it took me months before I could find any inspiration to write. It seemed impossibly hard. I would sit at my desk and stare out of the window, lost in sadness, until one day I noticed the hill across the valley and the trees on top of it … and bang! A new horror story was born.

Other things on the horizon

March is going to be alternately stressful and mind-bogglingly awesome, as the publication date for Crone comes nearer. I haven’t settled on a date – everything has to come together, and as this is my first time, I’m not clear on how long it will take. April 1st seems fitting though – we’ll wait and see!

I should have a cover reveal for Crone soon though. Jenny Rawlings at Serifim is designing my cover, and I’m dancing with anticipation.

Crone is off to my editor, Amie McCracken, for some TLC. I’m at the stage where I could weep with the editing of it. I can’t see the wood for the trees, and there is a LOT of forest in Crone.

And I have a new website in the offing. I’ll still be copywriting, but I’m not actively looking for new clients, so I figure I need to big up my creative writing.

Keep your eyes peeled! More on Crone as I have news to share!