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Take One At Bedtime

Hi everyone. This is the first time I’ve visited Coffee Time Romance, so perhaps I’d better introduce myself.
My name’s Jenny Twist (it’s my real name) and I’ve been writing now for about ten years, but have only recently had my first book published – . I had always wanted to write but life kept getting in the way, so I didn’t actually get started until my husband and I retired to Spain.
Not long after we moved here Stephen King brought out his seminal On Writing, which has been my bible ever since. One of the things he does in the book is set the scenario for a short story and suggest that you finish it. The result in my case was Waiting for Daddy, the last story in the book. I was so pleased with it that I sent it to a local magazine, Streetwise, which publishes, amongst other things, short stories for English people living in the Costa del Sol. To my delight, they asked me to provide a piece every month, alternating between articles and short stories. This was really good for me, as it gave me deadlines to meet and I really set to and began to write down stories I’d had in my head for years (which felt a bit like cheating) and the occasional new one. I also started writing stories for competitions, one of which was set in Spain in the 1950s and became the first chapter of my novel, Domingo’s Angel.
I spent several years sending stories to magazines and getting them rejected or ignored and I had really given up hope of ever getting any published. It seemed there just wasn’t a market for the kind of stuff I like to write. I tried my hand at more middle-of-the-road romance, which is what the English magazines prefer, but they all have their existing stable of authors and aren’t really interested in looking at anyone else. Most didn’t bother to reply at all. Those who did were usually quite obviously using a form letter and clearly hadn’t read the work in question. I once, to my amazement, got quite a rude letter from a major magazine publisher which appeared to be criticizing an entirely different piece. The comments didn’t relate to my story at all. What amazed me was that they should be so unkind to people who submit stories to them. Surely many of these are their own readers. Do they really think it’s a good idea to insult them?
By this time the novel was nearing completion and I began sending it out to publishers and agents. I had higher hopes for the novel because it seemed to be a more commercially viable proposition.
During my research on publishers I had a very close shave with a vanity publisher which had disguised its true nature so cleverly that I was about to sign the contract when my husband, re-reading the small print, noticed it was ‘author-funded.’ I could have committed myself to paying £3,000 (about $5,000) to a publisher who would have had no interest whatsoever in marketing my book, since it had already been paid for printing it.
Then I discovered the site The Passionate Pen. If you are an author looking for a publisher, you really need to know about this site. It not only lists all the publishers who pay YOU (rather than the other way round), and all the reputable agents, but it also has a list of the ‘bad guys.’ Through this site, I found the wonderful publisher, Melange Books, then called Midnight Showcase.
I sent them the novel, but I noticed that they specialised in short stories, albeit with word counts considerably longer than mine. So I enquired whether they would look at shorter stories if there were enough for a whole book. They would and they accepted the anthology a few weeks later. That was one of the happiest moments of my life.
A few weeks after that they accepted the novel as well. I had gone, in a matter of weeks, from struggling writer to soon-to-be-published author with TWO BOOKS to my name.
Take One At Bedtime was published 23 April this year and Domingo’s Angel on 10 July. I have since had another five stories accepted, Doppelganger, which appeared in the anthology, Curious Hearts, on 24 July, Uncle Vernon, which was included in the anthology 2011, published in October, Jamey and the Alien and Uncle Albert's Christmas, which will appear in the anthology Warm Christmas Wishes in December and Mantequero which will appear in Winter Wonders. My cup runneth over!
Some of the stories in Take One At Bedtime have been in my mind for so long that it’s difficult now to remember where the ideas originally came from. But I can remember a few.
The Apple Tree, for example, is based on a ghost story told to me by another student one drunken night after the college ball. I thought about it on and off for years afterwards, trying to come up with an explanation for how the aunts could have been dead and alive at the same time.
The Scam is based on a real incident that happened to a friend of mine in a motorway service station in Madrid. It was my way of getting revenge. I thought what if they’d picked on someone with the power to get their own back? My friend, incidentally, didn’t like the story. She is much more forgiving than I am.

If you would like to know a little bit more about Take One At Bedtime, here is the blurb:

TAKE ONE AT BEDTIME

Nobody ever goes upstairs in Margaret’s house. So what is making the strange thumping noises up there? And why is there a toy rabbit under the kitchen table?
Margaret’s Ghost is just one of a collection of short stories consisting mainly of horror and science fiction, ranging from a classic gothic tale – Jack Trevellyn – to the Wyndhamesque Victim of Fortune, and the modern Waiting for Daddy, with its spine-chilling twist.
There is also the occasional excursion into romance with A Castle in Spain and Jess’s Girl.
But most of these tales take you to a place which is not quite as it seems.
It’s bedtime now. Time to go upstairs. Time to take a look.
Just one look.
WARNING: Do not exceed the stated dose.

Published by Melange Books 23rd April – Editors’ Pick. http://www.melange-books.com/authors/jennytwist/twisttakeoneatbedtime.html

Available on Amazon and Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/Take-One-Bedtime-Jenny-Twist/dp/161235064X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314428115&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Take-One-at-Bedtime-ebook/dp/B0053CYTA2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1306922804&sr=8-1-spell

Excerpt from the tale: Victim of Fortune:

She reached up and switched on a hanging lamp above the table, then marched across to the door and switched off the main light. Instantly the room was plunged into near total darkness. Only the space in the middle of the table was illuminated with a deep, rosy glow. He noticed that the lamp was draped in some soft, silky material of a deep red. Behind him came a stumbling sound and a muffled curse as the old woman tripped over something on her way back to the table.
After some fumbling, she resumed her seat and carefully unwrapped the object she had removed from the windowsill. It was a simple glass globe on a wooden stand, but she gazed at it reverently as if it were a holy relic.
Passing her hands over the top of it several times and crooning under her breath, her face bloodied by the red light, she could have been some ancient priestess communing with her dreadful gods. Gradually, he began to get the impression that her face was under-lit, that the globe itself was giving out a milky luminescence. She closed her eyes and swayed slightly, then opened them wider than before and peered into the globe.
“I can see a strange land,” she declared in a sonorous chant, her voice suddenly taking on a deep and powerful note. “It is a dreadful place, all red desert and black rocks. And it is hot.” She drew her hands back from the globe as if she could feel the heat scorching her flesh. “So hot.” She moaned.
She seemed to have forgotten the presence of the young man and he leaned forward, trying to see into the globe. It remained clear and empty, bland and innocuous.
“There are terrible storms here. The winds rage over the surface and rains fall on the black rocks. A terrible place.” She drew her breath in a long whistle. “The rain is poisonous. Nobody could live here. How could anyone live in this desolate place?”
She lifted her eyes and looked at him, but it was clear that she wasn’t really seeing him. In a daze, she returned to the crystal.
“Yet there are people here. There are buildings, and I can see people walking amongst them. I think they are people.”
She uttered a low moan, closed her eyes and shuddered, then her eyes snapped open and she looked directly at him, seeing him.
“You!” she cried. “You come from this place!”

For more excerpts and other stuff, go to my website.

https://sites.google.com/site/jennytwistauthor/

Thank you so much for sharing my visit and thank you, Coffee Time Romance, for giving me the opportunity to talk about my writing.

‘Bye for now.
Jenny Twist

jennytwist

was born in York and brought up in the West Yorkshire mill town of Heckmondwike, the eldest grandchild of a huge extended family. She left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and escapologist’s assistant, she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford. She stayed in Oxford working as a recruitment consultant for many years and it was there that she met and married her husband, Vic. In 2001 they retired and moved to Southern Spain where they live with their rather eccentric dog and cat Her first book, Take One At Bedtime, was published in April 2011 and the second, Domingo’s Angel, was published in July 2011. Her novella, Doppelganger, was published in the anthology Curious Hearts in July 2011, Uncle Vernon, was published in Spellbound, in November 2011, Jamey and the Alien was published in Warm Christmas Wishes in December 2011 and Mantequero was published in the anthology Winter Wonders in December 2011.

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28 Responses to “Take One At Bedtime”

  1. caroline says:

    What an inspiring artical from an excellent writer. Thankyou Jenny.

  2. I enjoyed your interesting blog and I'm waving at you from Kent. :-)

  3. Congratulations, Jenny, on your awesome writing journey! I've read and thoroughly enjoyed Stephen King's book on writing, too – I think it's one of the best.
    Good luck with your forthcoming pulications!

  4. Well done Jenny. Very interesting blog and great excerpt plus some useful info for us newbies. It seems 2011 has been a good year for you! I hope 2012 is even better.

  5. Janie Emaus says:

    Congratulations on your sale.    I love your title.

  6. Teddy Fenwick says:

    The background to getting your stories out for us to read is fascinating. I'm pleased you didn't "throw in the towel" and persevered. So now you jest that your cup runneth over! Hoorah!! There will more good stuff for me to enjoy reading. Well done Jenny .

  7. Great article, Jenny :) Even having read TOAB, I am charmed again by your work, and will likely exceed the dose when I indulge shortly :) and congradulations again on Mantequero!

  8. John M. says:

    Jenny: It's great to read the story of how you became published and the stories behind the stories, congratluations again on Take One At Bedtime and Domingo's Angel as well as your short stories. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your work in the future.
    As always my best wishes,
     
    John M.
     

  9. T.D. Jones says:

    Great article. I have to say I'm proud to be in the book Curious Hearts with such a great writer as Jenny. You go, Jenny! Keep up the good work.   T.D. Jones

  10. Kari Thomas says:

    Wonderfully inspiring story about your writer's journey, Jenny! Thanks for sharing. And wishing you LOTS of Sales on your book!
     
    hugs, Kari Thomas, http://www.authorkari.com
     

  11. great history of your writing career! 

  12. Eva says:

    It's lovely to hear the stories behind the stories and you've given such inspiration there as well as some good tips for the newbies. Well done for getting so many pieces published in such a short time!  They are all fabulous so keep it up!

  13. jennytwist says:

    I am overwhelmed by so many lovely comments. Thank you, all of you. Some old friends in here, but some of you I`m meeting for the first tme. Marion from Kent. Emily Harvale and Janie Emaus. I'm so glad to meet you. Annette, I've seen your posts before and enjoyed them.
    I'd like you all to know how much I appreciate your support.
    Love
    Jenny
    xxx

  14. Mel Teshco says:

    great post Jenny,
    I'm so glad you're now getting you're stories out there =)

  15. Jenny,
    Loved your post and learning how it all came to be. And what an interesting life you've led. Good luck with continued success.

  16. Mysti Parker says:

    Jenny, your story is so inspiring! I found Melange (then Midnight Showcase) on The Passionate Pen too. Romance author Jenna Petersen runs that site–and I suggest all of you try out her books. Love em. :)
    And I'm so glad Jenny found it. Otherwise, I wouldn't have met her. She's such a fabulous writer and person. Take One at Bedtime was awesome! I can't wait to read Domingo's Angel and anything else of hers I can get my hands on.
    Lots o' love, Mysti
     
     

  17. Hi Jenny,
    Great to read your story.  I found Melange on The Passionate Pen, too! Interesting that Mysti did also. A writer's journey always seems a long road but such a satisfying one.  Continued success to you!

  18. desiree says:

    that is a dirffernt and unusal book and i like the wy you did hope you will come out with mroe  keep up the ood wrk

  19. Good for you! Glad you realized your dream of getting published. Also, glad your husband had keen eyeside and noticed that small clause the first time.
    Morgan Mandel
    http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

  20. jennytwist says:

    Good morning, Mel, Desiree, Bobbi and Morgan
    All new friends. How lovely to meet you all. Thank you for your comments. I treasure them.
    And good morning to my old friends, Brenda and Mysti. Brenda and I are going to be in the same anthology in December – Warm Christmas Wishes. I'm looking forward to reading your contribution, Brenda.
    Mysti, I am so pleased to be your friend. We've never been in the same book, but we've done blogs and reviewed each other's work. Love your stuff, Mysti, and I value your friendship SO much.
    Isn't it spooky how many of us were put on the right track by Passionate Pen. We should award Jenna a medal.
    Lots of love
    Jenny
    xxxx

  21. Liz Crowe says:

    an amazing and inspiring post!  Thanks so much for sharing it!
    Liz

  22. I liked the excerpts very much, Jenny. 

  23. Cara Marsi says:

    Jenny, your writing journey is so inspiring. I'm happy for your success. Loved the excerpt. Good luck to you.

  24. Nora Weston says:

    Hi, Jenny! 
    Lovely post. :) I always get my scalding hot tea and Twizzlers when I see you have a new post up! LOL It's like you are visiting with a group of friends and sharing great stories. The Apple Tree is a fabulous story! Now I know more about it, which makes me want to read it again. Take care…

  25. Marika Weber says:

    Hi Jenny.  I met you earlier on Casea's blog.  Congratulations on keeping on writing.  Sometimes I want to quit but I keep going.  :)

  26. jennytwist says:

    What a lovely surprise it was to log in this morning and find five new comments. I'm so pleased to meet you, Liz, Sandra and Cara, and very grateful for your kind remarks. Lovely to speak to you again, Marika. I'm very glad you keep going. It pays off in the end. And Nora. What can I say? You are such a treat. Everything you say makes me happy.
    Lots of love to all of you
    Jenny
    xxxx

  27. Sheila says:

    Really interesting blog, full of ideas about writing.

  28. jennytwist says:

    Thank you, Sheila. I really appreciate your feedback.

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