Karen Tucker's Blog

January 31, 2016

I'm so excited! At long last, after a year of writing, and six months of waiting on tenterhooks for it to be available, the new subscription website for my collaborative spiritual novel is up and running!

The story takes place in modern times, and we focus on the lives of a special couple who have long been engaged in spiritual work. When the book opens, they are on one of their regular public tours through the American Southwest, sharing information about the mysterious Crystal Skulls and other World Mysteries. Then a sequence of very unusual and profound activities guides the main character, Joseph Schwartz, to an unusual invitation – to travel through a dimensional door and experience what life is like on the other side, in the dimensions we exist in between our earthly lives. But what is so special about this journey into the unknown? Will our main character have a way to prove he was there? This could turn the world on its head and awaken humanity to their true nature as immortal spiritual beings!

I’ve been working on this novel with Joshua for about a year now, and it’s so exciting to have the first instalment now available for people to subscribe to. There will be a new chapter every month, along with extra material, such as interviews with interesting people. There is also a second book being released alongside it – The Crystal Skull Chronicles – being written by another author in collaboration with Joshua. You can subscribe to one or both, and get the link to the new chapter straight to your inbox as soon as it’s released. Go to the website page at I’ve been working on this novel with Joshua for about a year now, and it’s so exciting to have the first instalment now available for people to subscribe to. There will be a new chapter every month, along with extra material, such as interviews with interesting people. There is also a second book being released alongside it – The Crystal Skull Chronicles – being written by another author in collaboration with Joshua. You can subscribe to one or both, and get the link to the new chapter straight to your inbox as soon as it’s released. Go to the website page where you can click to register. Once you’ve signed up, it’s all done for you.

We haven’t finished writing the first novel yet, but it’s going well, and I’m looking forward to seeing the story unfold, even though I know pretty much where it’s heading. There are always surprises along the way! Go to the website at http://cse.crystalskullexplorers.com/... where you can click to register. Once you’ve signed up, it’s all done for you.

We haven’t finished writing the first novel yet, but it’s going well, and I’m looking forward to seeing the story unfold, even though I know pretty much where it’s heading. There are always surprises along the way!
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Published on January 31, 2016 01:11 • 79 views • Tags: crystal-skulls, joshua-shapiro, new-book, spiritual-novel, subscription

January 1, 2016

My apologies for not posting here for a while, again. In November, I was busy writing 50,000 words for the NaNoWriMo challenge, and in December, I was frantically busy knitting Christmas presents for my family.

Also, I have a new blog, on my newly-updated website, and in all the excitement of recent weeks, I forgot to post about it on here.

So if you'd like to know what I've been up to recently - and especially about what I wrote for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), please go to https://karentucker.me.uk/blog/ and have a read.

Among other things, you'll find a link on my most recent post to the Prologue of my latest work, a children's fantasy/alternate reality series, currently called Grail Maiden.

I hope you enjoy reading my words, and do please let me know if you have any comments on what I've written.
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Published on January 01, 2016 01:02 • 19 views • Tags: alternate-reality, blog, children, fantasy, nanowrimo

August 3, 2015

It’s been a while since my last blog. Not because I haven’t been writing – though there have been periods of inactivity – but mostly because I simply haven’t got around to it in all the hustle and bustle of other things to do with my time.

I apologise. I may not have many readers, but I’m grateful for those I do have, and I’ve been letting you down, the last few months.

Partly this has been due to pressure of ‘busyness’. Partly (paradoxically), it’s been because I’m conscious it’s been a long time, and I feel guilty and unsure how to catch up. Partly it’s due to not having a close enough focus on what I want to write. But I’ve been reading the latest issue of Writing Magazine on my way to work this morning (yes, I still have a day job at this point!), and I had some inspiration.

You may be aware that I write in quite a number of different genres. In fact, one of my previous posts was all about how many different pies I had my finger in, and how I was wondering which of them to work on next. So I thought I’d cover each of those genres in a bit more depth in my next few blog posts.

But then I had to make some decisions. Such as, which genre to cover first? Well, I thought perhaps, taking the excellent advice of The Sound of Music, I’d start at the very beginning. But what does that mean? I could present them in the order in which I started them, or the order in which they’ve been published (but they haven’t all been published), or the order in which I finished the original script. But I haven’t finished the original script of many of my projects, so scratch that idea.

And if I started at the very beginning, would that be the beginning of my published writing, or when I first started to write? As an adult, or do I go back to my childhood? I’ve considered starting a memoir – not necessarily for publication, but to chart my own personal development over the years. But again, the problem is – where to start.

Writing is all about making decisions. Before you can put pen to paper – or finger to keyboard – you need to have made certain decisions. Some things can be filled in later. Even your character’s name can be Blank or Joe/Josie Bloggs, and be changed later when you have a better idea of what suits them. But you have to start somewhere.

Any or all of your decisions can be changed as the writing process progresses. But at the very least, you have to make temporary decisions. What’s your first sentence? Where is your opening scene set? What kind of scene is it – will you jump straight into the action, describe an outcome and then show how the characters got there, or does your story want a long, slow, descriptive start? How much description of the character, setting, back story etc are you going to include in the first chapter? What viewpoint are you going to use; what tense or timeframe?

Will you use flashbacks to tell the back story? Or have new characters introduced who don’t know the back story, and use them to give your reader the information they need? A mixture of both? Will you use letters, emails, reported speech, or tell it through action rather than the characters’ words?

Each of these decisions will depend upon, and determine, the type of tale you are telling. Is it a short story or a novel? A novella, perhaps? For children (and if so, what age group?), young adults, or adults? Could you use an unusual form of storytelling, like having the main character show their feelings in a diary, or through writing poetry?

So many people would love to ‘be a writer’. It’s one of the most sought-after jobs out there. Most probably think it’s an easy job. You just sit down at a computer or a desk, and you write. Surely?

Perhaps that’s why so many people who ‘would love to write’ have never actually got around to it? Because, when you do sit down to write, or even think about sitting down to write, it helps to have some idea of what you want to write – and where you’ll start. I wonder how many of those people ever will sit down to write – and how many will succeed. Some will, of course. But many more will suddenly discover that it’s not quite as easy as they thought.

Perhaps then they’ll decide that writing’s not for them, after all. Perhaps they’ll even develop a greater respect for the writers whose work they’ve enjoyed over the years. And perhaps they’ll come to understand, just a little, that writing, like any other profession, is not for just anyone.

I hope this doesn’t read as a rant. It’s not intended to be. It’s just that, like so many writers, I suspect that not many people appreciate the amount of thought and effort that goes into a published piece of writing – or the better sort of pieces, anyway. Those times when I’ve had to take a break from my writing have usually been times when I’m working hard, not getting enough sleep, or just plain tired for no apparent reason. It takes brain power and a certain amount of focus and concentration to write. I take my hat off to those writers who manage to achieve publication on 3 hours’ sleep a night and while looking after a houseful of children. That’s determination, folks! Me, I don’t think I could. But at least when I have the time and the brain power, I get on with it.

So the next time you’re about to tell someone that ‘one day you’ll write a book’, perhaps you might want to consider just how much work goes into the process. If you struggled to turn in a 1,000 word essay in English lessons, an 80,000 word novel might be a little daunting! Of course, there are always short stories, and there’s a large market out there for them. But the question is … where will you start? And when?

PS. Next time, I really will give you the low-down on one of my writing genres. And I won’t leave it so long before the next one, either. Promise! If you have a favourite piece of my writing, and want to know how it came about, or would like me to start with a particular genre, do let me know.
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Published on August 03, 2015 08:43 • 55 views • Tags: book, genre, writing

October 20, 2014

In an attempt to get some useful feedback from people who know about these things (not just friends and family, who all love what I write), I've joined a couple of local writers' groups in Tunbridge Wells.

One of these is a largely informal gathering every two weeks, although they do hold events where members can read out their work, and put out collections of members' stories on Smashwords for free every now and then. (See https://www.smashwords.com/profile/vi... for details and downloads.) Watch for details of the children's story collection, coming out to coincide with World Book Day next year, which will contain a sneak preview of my children's fantasy series, The Secret Magicians.

The other group is quite different, and holds a number of very useful and interesting workshops throughout the month, as well as offering other ways to connect with fellow writers and critique each other's work.

The monthly workshop I've started going to is for flash fiction. Each month, we sit and write a complete story in about ten minutes flat (or is it 15?). I thought readers might like to see some of these efforts, so here's the first one I wrote with the group. Be warned - it's a bit of a tear-jerker!

The brief was to include one, two or all three of the following prompts, being a line of poetry, a song title, and a headline:

'In my medicine cabinet, the winter moth has died of old age.'

'If I had a hammer.'

'Pray for me.'

I thought about including the middle one as well, but opted against. So here's my offering (as written, unedited), based on the first and last of these prompts.

He would never take a pill, ever. He'd die sooner.

That's what worries me. I keep telling him, but he won't even go to the doctor.

'Nothing wrong with me that a whiskey won't cure!' It's been his only medicine since he was 12 years old. I suppose it's no wonder he swears by it.

But whiskey won't cure a tumour. I've given up hope he'll ever show it to a doctor. He's dying, and he won't admit it.

What can I do? If he were still 12 years old, I could drag him along, make him take the medicine, sign the consent form for surgery. But he's not 12. He's 52. I love him, but I have to let him go.

It won't be old age that takes him. It'll be the Big C.

I can't stand to lose him.

Pray for me.
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Published on October 20, 2014 01:22 • 90 views • Tags: flash, flash-fiction, medicine, short, short-story, tear-jerker

August 23, 2014

So, having asked in my first post how I’m ever going to get around to all the many projects I have floating around me, wouldn’t you know it, I now have another one.

Well, when someone I’ve known for years (albeit mainly at a distance), and whose newsletters I’ve subscribed to for almost as long, put out the call for a novelist to help write up a story idea he had, I couldn’t resist. After all, I’m already collaborating with three other people to help write their novels – what’s one more?

This one is likely to be the most active of them all, as my collaborator is hoping to have the first book in the trilogy completed by the end of 2014. He’s just started an Indiegogo appeal for funding to help pay for the design, editing and printing of the finished title, and to give us some income during the writing of the books. He’s also written a 100+ page outline of all the material he’s hoping to include!

As he lives in Seattle, and I’m in the UK, we’re working by email and Skype to discuss the content. I’d never actually used Skype before, as most of my friends live in England and don’t cost a fortune to phone, so my first task was to download and install the program. Luckily, that was an easy task, and we were up and flying …  !

The story is of a spiritual journey towards new knowledge that will help make the world a better place. The same person is also working on another series of novels, with another writer, and more details, including the whole crowdfunding campaign, are available on our special webpage with Indiegogo. So in effect if you decide to become a contributor you will become a member of our publishing team. We have tried to discuss on our page at Indiegogo what we can about what the two stories will be about (both novels will be part of a trilogy actually) without giving too much away. The other writer is already into Chapter 5 of the first book and we are just about ready to begin the second story which will deal with a person who will travel into another dimension and brings back key information to share with humanity.

Check out our crowdfunding campaign by visiting: http://igg.me/at/two-paranormal-novels

Any contribution you can offer, we would be so grateful. And please, if you know of others who like the paranormal and stories based on true events and activities please feel free to send them to our page. This campaign goes for 60 days and will end on October 19th - if all goes well there is a possibility one of the novels might be ready before the end of this year.

In other news, I’ve recently submitted a true-life story to a proposed anthology, also crowd-funded, which will be crammed full of amusing relationship meltdown moments. Mine is about an extended argument, on Christmas Day, with my ex-husband, and is both amusing and somewhat baffling!

I’ve also finished a first edit of my two-book children’s fantasy series, The Secret Magicians. Given that I’ve just bought an ebook on how to write gripping fiction, more editing may still be in order, but it’s one step further towards getting them out there.

And I woke up one morning a couple of weeks ago with the idea in my head to rename my Liberty Gibbens stories. We’re all familiar with the concept of a ‘whisperer’ being someone who can communicate in unusual ways or with unusual beings – animals, spirits, etc – so I thought ‘ghost whisperer’ would describe her talent pretty precisely. It turns out there’s a TV series of that name, but there’s no copyright in words, and others have also used it, so the two volumes of short stories are now renamed Liberty Gibbens – Ghost Whisperer.

I now have two stories written for the third volume, but with so many other writing projects on hand, it may be some time yet before the collection is available for purchase. However, I’m open to persuasion – if any readers feel I should be concentrating on that, please feel free to let me know!
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Published on August 23, 2014 09:53 • 161 views

July 13, 2014

I’ve been writing for many years (almost since I could write, in fact), but only recently decided to give it a go and publish my own work, hoping that a readership would follow. But with so many writers out there doing the same thing, it’s not as easy as all that.

One piece of advice I’ve read time and time again is – use social media. So I’ve mentioned my publications on Facebook, and I’ve opened a Twitter account (where I now have nearly 100 followers), but it’s a slow process. So what else can I do to get my work out to more readers?

Well, another piece of received wisdom says – get yourself a blog. That way, you can build an audience while you’re writing the book. So, here goes.

One reason I’ve steered clear of blogging so far is that I’m not entirely sure where to start. But if you’re going to do it, you have to start somewhere, so I decided to do some research. One of my favourite authors is Barbara Erskine, so I thought I’d have a look at her blog. I was reassured to find that she only started 5 years ago, having been writing for much longer than that, of course, so I figure if she can do it, with all the hassles involved in being a full-time writer, then I probably can!

Part of my problem as a writer is that I want to write in so many different niches. Until recently, this was the extent of my dilemma:
1. My first novel, Healing the Wounds, was about past lives, and how healing them can help to improve your current life. I have about half of the sequel written, but haven’t touched that in a while now.
2. I have a small volume of heart-warming stories available on Amazon Kindle, and I’d love to write some more.
3. I have a paranormal crime novel (Past Sins) that I’m part-way through editing – which everyone I’ve talked to about it really wants to read. I’ve even started the sequel, and have plenty of ideas for future novels starring the same heroine.
4. I’ve written several ghost stories, which are now on Kindle, and which I’d like to get made up into small, pocket-sized physical books.
5. Following on from those, I’ve taken my paranormal crime heroine and combined her with the ghost stories to create two books (so far) of short stories in which she meets some of the ghosts from Horripilations Volumes 1 and 2 (and a few others) and learns their stories, then helps them to pass over. Liberty Gibbens, Paranormal Investigator Volumes 1 & 2 will be followed, when I get around to it, by Volumes 3 and 4.

Problem enough, you’d have thought, without adding to the options. But I’ve got a bit side-tracked since I wrote the first story of Volume 3. I decided to enter a short story competition for the Swanwick Festival this year (2014), and having just completed an online course in Writing Story Books for Children, I thought I’d try my hand at a children’s story.

Finding a subject was easy enough. The theme was Unsung Hero. I knew I couldn’t write a contemporary novel, set in the here-and-now, as I don’t have enough contact with the culture of my audience, but my course told me that fantasy is very popular among readers of all ages. Great! I’ve been an avid fantasy reader myself for many years, so how hard could it be? In fact, I had a great idea pretty quickly, and wrote and edited the original short story in just a few hours.

999 words later, I had something that not only was I really pleased with (and that was much enjoyed by my two child test readers), but that could also be worked up into a much longer story.

So, deciding to do something different for a while – much as I love Liberty Gibbens (Libby for short), I was happy to give her a short holiday – I sat down to write the novel-length version – and then discovered I had a problem.

The course said that for 7-10 year olds, which this story is aimed at, a book should be about 30,000 to 35,000 words long. But my story took on a life of its own – diverting considerably from where I thought it was going to go – and didn’t fit into that length, so I had to divide it in two. The Secret Magicians Series, comprising books with the working titles of The Flight to Safety and How to Stop a War, are now in the test-reading stage, and I’m itching to start editing them.

But there again, I have a problem. Immediately I finished that series (and I’m talking the very night I finished How to Stop a War), I had an idea for another children’s story, so I’ve started working on that. It’s going rather more slowly than the first two – I wrote The Flight to Safety in just 8 working days! – but I’m really looking forward to seeing how it pans out. I’ve read many times that one should leave the first draft to settle and work on something else for a few weeks before starting to edit (though I did do a very quick edit for spelling, punctuation and continuity before sending it for test-reading), but if I wait until I’ve finished Girl-Boy-Girl, given that it’s taking longer than expected, that could leave The Secret Magicians hanging around for longer than I want.

So what should I do now? Try to fit in the occasional short story so I can get another Libby volume up on Kindle this year? Edit up the Secret Magicians series? Finish Girl-Boy-Girl before I start doing anything else? Or make time to finish editing Past Sins (the paranormal crime novel) which, after all, I know is definitely worthwhile, since it was shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association’s Debut Dagger Award in about 2003?

And that’s not to mention the two friends whose work I’m helping with – Cloud over the Citadel, by James Bambling, and the one by James Coppard (both fantasy – the first one aimed at children), and the collaborative work with my brother Dave – also fantasy! I’m afraid these aren’t getting the attention they deserve at the moment, as I’m so busy with my own writing.

I gather there are some writers out there who worry that their flow of ideas will dry up and they’ll be unable to write any more. Not a problem I anticipate encountering, at least for many years to come! After all, when I’ve finished all of the above, there’s Arthur’s Women, The Jewels of All Wisdom, The Apprentice’s Error, Wolf Girl, the wyvern-riders book I started years ago … oh, and a story that started life as an exercise for my writers’ group, and wants to grow up to become a novel one day …

Curiously, most of these are fantasy novels, so perhaps I’d be best off concentrating on the fantasy writing for now?

What I need, clearly, is to win the lottery. I simply don’t have time to do all this and work at something else for a living as well!

Unless there’s a publisher out there who’s willing to take on one of my many offerings and pay me for the privilege of publishing it? That might just tide me over until the royalties start pouring in … but how do I find one, when I’m so busy writing?! And which work do I edit up to send them?

Answers – or even just suggestions – on a virtual postcard please!
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Published on July 13, 2014 03:07 • 69 views