Karla Mouncey-Jaggers

Posts Tagged ‘fiction’

Introducing Nicky Bray…

In Book 1 on September 12, 2011 at 12:18 pm

After a long day Liv starts a long night…

“I pressed three to delete it and waited for the next message.

“Liv, it’s Nicky”

Nicky was an acquaintance of mine. He owned an Italian restaurant on the Southbank near the aquarium. We’d gotten to know each other last year when I saved him being chomped on by a nasty red-headed vamp. He got his life and I got free Italian whenever I was hungry. The message continued.

“I wasn’t expecting a machine. Erm. Look I need a favour. I’ve got a real problem down here”

Spit it out Nicky I thought to myself

“There’s someone, well something. Look Liv please I need your help. Just get here fast ok? Please. I promise there’s a lasagne in it for you”

I hung up. Great, nice and vague, the sun had only just gone down and I was already confused. It was going to be one of those nights.

By the time I arrived at Nicky’s it was 5.30. In November that meant it was officially night-time. I’d brought my gear with me. Bow, Arrows, stakes and a few syringes of garlic essence. Garlic won’t kill a vampire but it can really slow them down when used properly. Nicky’s restaurant stood in the middle of a row of shops. It wasn’t much to look at but Timeout had given it four stars so it was usually packed. Tonight was no exception even this early in the evening. I pushed open the door and was hit with a strong smell of cheese. It permeated the place after years of cooking the walls secreted the stuff. The restaurant was set up like a living room. Four round tables filed the small intimate space. Each table held twelve people so you either brought your whole family or you made friends. To the right of the place there was a small bar with a few bar flies. I guess everywhere had there regulars. I located Nicky quickly. He stood out in most crowds because of his hair. Nicky was a natural brunette but liked to change his hair colour as often as his underwear. Tonight it was cherry red, he was young for a restaurateur thirty fiveish, and I never got specifics. He was lean and tall but had recently developed a little pot belly. Carbs had caught up with him.

I called his name. When he turned to me I knew something was wrong. His usually bubbly blue eyes were pinched and tense, he motioned with his hand to the back. I followed eagerly as he led me to his office and asked me to sit. The office was immaculately kept, piles of neatly stacked paper work were ordered into in trays. The walls were lined with alphabetised cookbooks and his radio was talking mutely in the corner. He opened a window and lit a cigarette. He inhaled three times before he finally said

“Thanks for coming Liv”

“That’s no problem Nick”

I emphasised his name and waited for him to continue. He carried on smoking.

“Nicky” I said “What’s going on? You look like wound tighter than a dogs arse”

I’d never cared for subtlety.

“I’m in a bit of a pickle Liv” he began “I’ve got a serious problem in the kitchen and I feel awful asking you for help but I didn’t know what else to do”

“Spit it out Nicky, I’m loosing dark” he was starting to bug me

“Sorry” He breathed “I’ve caught a vampire Liv, A fucking vampire in my kitchen”

My heart sank, this had to be a joke, what did he mean in his kitchen? I took a moment then fixed him with a full on glare

“Ok Nick, Start from the top.”

He finished his cigarette and stubbed it out in an ashtray then chucked it out of the window.

“This morning I came in alone to open up. I have my routines. I go to the kitchen, I check everything is clean from the night before. I get out all the fresh ingredients and prep.” He hesitated “Then I get all the frozen meat out for defrosting. I went to the walk in freezer and it was already open. It didn’t make any sense because I knew I’d locked it. I’m a bit OCD when it comes to the restaurant. I walked up to inspect the hinge and that was when I heard it”

“It?” I asked

“The sucking” he paused “A quiet sucking noise, like a baby sucking on a bottle. I wasn’t sure what I was hearing so I bent into the freezer and I saw her. She was turned away from me, she was wearing a child’s play dress, yellow and pink and she had no shoes on. I didn’t know what she was, I only thought this child, this little girl must be cold so I called out to her. She turned and that’s when I realised. Her eyes were black holes in her face and she looked right through me. She was holding a raw T-bone steak to her mouth and sucking it. Like a fucking meat lollypop! She paused and looked up at me bearing her fangs. I slammed the door shut and haven’t been in there since”.

I was flabbergasted, this had to be a joke. None of it made any sense. Why was a vampire left alone after sunrise? Where had she come from? And the obvious question why has she chose to suck on Nicky’s stock instead of Nicky himself? I said the only thing I could

“Take me to her.” ”

(c) Karla Mouncey-Jaggers 2011

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Vampire Nest

In Book 1 on September 5, 2011 at 2:48 pm

After a rather intense conversation with Ben, Liv follows her instincts and gets caught in a dangerous situation…

“It was dark in there almost pitch black. I looked for the couple and my eyes were drawn to a small sliver of light to my left. I walked forward slowly and readied my bow. I peeked through the gap and saw the girl on the floor. Her skirt had ridden up and her legs were covered in patches of dirt. Her hair was tousled like he had used it to throw her to the floor. She had thick lines of mascara running down he pale cheeks. She was terrified and she looked like a cow waiting for slaughter. Her huge brown eyes darted around the room looking for an escape. He was above her cackling

“What’s wrong Eva?” he laughed “You were so keen a moment ago” he was crazed with his head thrown back and eyes bulging wildly.

My foot was almost in the room when something made me stop. Another vampire was entering the square of light he was more composed than the other. His hands were at his side and he moved gracefully and cat-like.

“What have you brought us Tom?”

Us. Was he talking in the third person or had I just walked into a nest? My question was answered when two female vampires stepped out of the shadows. They looked loonier than Tom and they moved together like sister tornados. Moving through each other like snakes in a pit, I couldn’t figure out who moved first it was as if they were fluid.

“She’s a bit skinny Tom” the women hissed. Again, I couldn’t tell who’d spoken first or if they both had. It was very unsettling

“We told you we like butch girls” they laughed and the sound raised the hairs on my arms. Walk away Liv, walk away, she’s dead anyway don’t give them another body. I couldn’t I was riveted to the spot, my heart controlling my head. I knew I couldn’t save her but I also couldn’t watch her die.

“Shut up Matilda” Tom snapped “I don’t see you volunteering to hunt” one name for both girls. Matilda pouted and then they were both on the floor at the girls face. A hand from each vampire on either side of the victim, he had called her Eva. She tried to flinch away but Matilda had her gripped too tight and she yelped in pain. Gaze her I willed them Gaze her away from all this.

“What’s wrong Angel” Matilda asked Eva “You should be thrilled, you should feel blessed, you have been chosen to die for your gods” the voice rose manically, god, this bird was messed up. Eva screamed.

“Please, I don’t want to die, I have a daughter she’s waiting for me at home” She was trying to humanise herself this is the advise they give you in self defence lessons. Make your attacker see you as human but this wasn’t a good option when vampires see you as cattle. Matilda laughed again “I can smell that your lying darling” she kissed the girl and during the kiss bit hard into her lower lip and jerked backwards taking the lip with her. Eva screamed again and I held back bile. The blood poured freely from Eva’s lip and she scrabbled around holding her face. The blood made the vampires noticeably excited and tension filled the room like a lion’s den”

(c) Karla Mouncey-Jaggers 2011

My Dear Friend

In Book 1 on August 31, 2011 at 3:45 pm

I often have to correct myself when talking about my protagonist. I find myself referring to her as if she were a real person or friend. I say things like “I’m too busy with Olivia to focus on that” or “Olivia does that”. When talking about this with my non-writer friends I find that they often ask me to seek medical help. When discussing this with my writer friends they say its very normal and (although possibly unhealthy when your character is tormented vampire hunter) a good thing that I relate to my characters.

I find that when I write it is like I am an invader in Liv’s head, taking notes on what she feels and thinks. When she is having a really interesting an engaging conversation I find myself getting excited and involved with her. When she is seeing a rather harrowing scene I feel her pain and I have physical symptoms with her like sweaty palms.

Having said all this I also find it very easy to put her in a box, when I am finished writing or my tired eyes make me go to bed I put her away like my favourite toy. She lives at my desk or in my notepad, I find it impossible to access her if I am writing on a scrap piece of paper.

I think of her with a fondness that I associate with an old friend and I hope everyone else will love her with me.

How Long Should a Sentence Be?

In Book 1 on August 27, 2011 at 11:58 am

When I wrote my first draft of book one, I was not worrying about grammar or punctuation. I was concentrating purely on getting the book out of my head on the page. Now I am typing up the book from my hand written scribbles I am finding myself struggling between using short punchy sentences and long descriptive ones. In my original notes I used a lot of commas instead of using words like ‘and’ or ‘as’. The book reads very much like the internal thoughts of my protagonist and the way she talks and thinks in fits and starts. The question then becomes how much effort should I put into making the sentences grammatically correct. I think I could be at risk of stifling her original voice by dwelling to much on the ‘appropriate’ way to write.

I had an English teacher that told me I should never start a sentence with ‘but’. But what if the previous sentence is far too long and by not starting a new one it become wordy and leaves the reader out of breath. Are there loopholes when is comes to writing colloquially? I always disagreed with grammar and spelling in school and I praise the day spell check was invented. However I now find myself thinking far too much about how others will read the book and not enough about Liv’s original voice.

When reading does the reader actually notice things like the length of sentences? I find that I will only notice the words on the page if something seems out of place. I would never read a sentence in a book and think ‘my god that sentence was put together really well’. I am too busy seeing what the sentence is showing me to notice its construction. My mother (who used to proof read all my essays) told me she loves short precise sentences. My father (who has never been much of a writer) tends to ramble on in long and complicated sentences. My writing style seems to be a mixture of both.

Notice the long sentence preceding a very short one!

Broken Cross Playlist

In Book 1 on August 25, 2011 at 7:28 pm

” In the metal scene this place was known for the best jukebox in London. In the vampire scene it was known as the safest place to feed in London.”

A SAMPLE OF THE SONG’S FROM THE BROKEN CROSS’ JUKEBOX

– Running Free, Iron Maiden
– Iron Man, Black Sabbath
– Walk, Pantera
– Living Dead Girl, Rob Zombie
– Chop Suey, System of a Down
– Phantom of The Opera, Iron Maiden
– War Pigs, Black Sabbath
– Duality, Slipknot
– Back in Black, ACDC
– Until the End, Kittie
– Ace of Spades, Motörhead
– Freak on A Leash, Korn
– Master of Puppets, Metallica
– My Curse, Killswitch Engage
– The Bleeding, Five Finger Death Punch
– Angel of Death, Slayer
– The Number of the Beast, Iron Maiden
-Cowboys Do More Dope, Rebel Meets Rebel
– Down With the Sickness, Disturbed

The Arch Vampire of London

In Book 1 on August 21, 2011 at 10:19 am

“Good evening beautiful” he said with a huge grin that showed off his fangs. He was wearing a cut off t-shirt with no sleeves. The shirt said ‘Iron Maiden: number of the beast” it had a grotesque skeleton holding a puppet of the devil, I marvelled at the irony. He looked like he had been poured into his faded black jeans. He could have been the sixth member of Iron Maiden with shorter hair.”

BENIDICT
Age:665
Born to his human life in 1311, son of a baker he came from humble beginnings in Old London. At the age of 35 on the year 1346 he was mugged, robbed and left dying in an alley. His maker Rosalind found him and took pity on him she turned him into a vampire. Rosalind was a terrible role model she left him after a few years to fend for himself.

Ben fought his way to the top, after he was accepted into the London vampires in 1450 he challenged and killed every superior vampire. He killed the previous arch vampire Jack in 1652. Ben owns and runs a heavy metal pub in Soho; “The Broken Cross”

(c) Karla Mouncey-Jaggers 2011

Olivia “Liv” Everett

In Book 1 on August 17, 2011 at 7:52 pm

My feet hurt from walking in heels too long, my eyes are itching from lack of sleep and still she calls to me…

“The sweet scent of lavender hit me as I entered the room it was my scent of choice for relaxing baths. I lent over to feel the temperature and drew back scolded. I turned off the hot tap and let the cold run. I looked in the mirror. The face staring back at me was a stranger, my once flowing curls were clipped short and scrapped back. Long hair always got in the way i’d only grown it for James, he had called it my “mane” but now it looked more like a mop at the moment. My eyes were dark and sunken in my face and my lips were pale and cracked. I looked haggard, at lease ten years older than I was. I used to consider myself pretty, I had worked briefly as a Christina Ricci look-alike in University. Now I was more crypt keeper than Christina.

I shook off my hoodie and pulled my t-shirt over my head. I splashed some cool water on my neck and face and then I removed my joggers and socks. I was about to unhook my bra when I caught another glimpse in the mirror. My skin looked ethereal, I was so pale. It has been a while since I was out in the sun and I was beginning to fade, to look like one of them, an imitation of life. I sighed and wiped the mirror with my hand as if to erase the image. I removed my underwear and sunk into the bath.”

(c) Karla Mouncey-Jaggers 2011

An Inconvenient Convenience

In Book 1 on August 15, 2011 at 6:14 pm

 When I first wrote out book 1 of the Olivia Everett Series I hand wrote it all in several notepads, the reason I did this was because most of my ideas came to me whilst away from a computer i.e. on a train or at work. Keeping a notepad nearby seemed the obvious solution but when I was at home near my computer I tried to write my ideas on a keyboard, I found this a frustrating experience. My fingers couldn’t not type fast enough to keep up with my brain and I came out with pages of red and green underlining. I also felt that my ideas seemed flat, almost tainted by the act of putting them into digital format . I was instantly off put and handwrote the rest of the book, I realised that writing with a pen and paper gave me a great sense of convenience it also made me feel connected to the eons of writer before me who put pen, quill or charcoal to paper or parchment. The very act of handwriting inspired me to write.

However I now find myself in the painful process of having to type up my handwritten notes so I am asking myself if it is worth overcoming my conflict with computers and start typing up all my work to begin with.

I also feel a strong aversion to Kindles

I feel like Rupert Giles…

Jenny Calendar: Honestly, what is it about them that bothers you so much?
Giles: The smell.
Jenny Calendar: Computers don’t smell, Rupert.
Giles: I know. Smell is the most powerful trigger to the memory there is. A certain flower, or a-a whiff of smoke can bring up experiences long forgotten. Books smell musty and-and-and rich. The knowledge gained from a computer is a – it, uh, it has no-no texture, no-no context. It’s-it’s there and then it’s gone. If it’s to last, then-then the getting of knowledge should be, uh, tangible, it should be, um, smelly.”

When I first had the idea for The “Olivia Everett” Series…

In Book 1 on August 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm

 

When I first had the idea for The “Olivia Everett” series I was sitting on a train listening to a podcast about paranormal romance. I was enjoying hearing about some of my favourite authors and their methods and muses for writing. I came to me, in the last few years almost every vampire/paranormal novel I have read had become predictable.

Don’t get me wrong, predictable is not a bad thing, I loved guessing the ending before I’d gotten there or figuring out which character was a were or which was magickal. I figured the reason I has turned into the Sherlock of paranormal fiction was because I knew the dogma that each of these books should follow and I thought. I can do that. It was a whim at first, I started to imagine my hero/heroine and all of a sudden like being hit by a car the first scene was in being played in my head. I think I would have missed my stop if it hadn’t been the last one on the line. I saw in perfect detail my heroine running through the streets ofLondonchasing a vampire intoWaterloostation and then dusting him in the middle of Friday night drunken crowds. It was an incredible rush.

At the time I was working at a theme park playing a Vampire bride, my job was to walk around in character and scare children. This was the perfect mindset to let Liv grow. The day after my epiphany I woke in the morning with the whole book in my head. Not exact chapters, exact words or exact scenes but the bones of book 1. It was a beautiful day and I sat in the garden at 8am in my dressing gown with a pot of tea and wrote the outline of the entire book.

I then spent the next hour or so writing bios on all the main characters and giving them names. Olivia came to me out of a discussion about how English I wanted the book to be an using a Shakespearean name seemed to fit, I yo yoed between Olivia and Viola but when I started thinking about her voice I heard her saying “keep it together Liv” she had told me her name and I was going to listen. The next two hours I wrote out the first chapter until I realised I hadn’t eaten or been to the toilet in five hours. As usual when I’m writing it was my physical body not my head that made me stop.

My best friend Mr Lewis was arriving for afternoon tea in half an hour and I rushed to get dressed and finish the chapter. I read it to him over scones and champagne in the freakishly hot April of 2011.

It took me two months to finish the first draft, I think it only took me this long because I was getting married whilst writing it. Now I am spending my spare time getting it typed up so I can start sharing Liv with the world.

She might not be the most friendly of heroines but she’s dying to meet you…

After a long week

In Book 1 on August 14, 2011 at 10:36 am

After a long week of work I sit at my desk to begin typing up some more pages. With my kitten watching me from my bed, my mug of tea is steaming and music blaring next door I sit and let Liv talk to me.

As she strides down the streets ofLondonin my mind I silently try to take notes on what she thinks, feels and does.

Sometimes I wonder if she exists…

“I felt a sense of inevitability, and underlying feeling of predetermination. Not as strong as déjà vu but there nonetheless. I was nearing the window and I could see rows of sleeping bags in many different designs and colours. Everything was fine and then it struck me when had I ever seen a group of children so still. I bent down to catch a glimpse of one of their faces, I leant on the window to get my balance and it creaked which made me jump. I stepped inside and a smell hit me it was a metallic smell, strong and fresh. I knew that smell. I pulled back a sleeping bag, the boy inside was deadly still, his eyes were closed and his hands were lifeless at his ears as if he was reaching for something. He looked like he was sleeping except for the wound at his neck, two round puncture holes with deep purple bruising. His wound mirrored my own.”

(c) Karla Mouncey-Jaggers 2011