Thursday, 25 April 2013

Book Reading at CCP

On World Book Night, 23 April, I did my first book reading. You may be aware of this, I might have mentioned it. Okay, I mentioned it a lot, because I was so petrified. I was asked to read at my old workplace, the library at City College Plymouth. It seemed like such a good idea at the time...


Having a drink before hand
Spilling my drink - good start!

Me, John van der Kiste
and Matt Sharp
It was a very busy day in the end, because Hubby was doing 24gigs in 24hours (the link takes you to his fundraising page - charities benefiting are the Devon and Cornwall Air Ambulances, donations still accepted for a couple more weeks!) so I was rushing to get to a couple of those, plus fitting in my reading.

I read The Walking Dead from That Sadie Thing, although I found myself editing as I was going along, which is perhaps not the best way to read aloud.

It was a small turn out, because I was there so early, but it meant I knew almost everyone, so I volunteered to read first just in case any strangers turned up! In hindsight it wasn't as bad as I was expecting it to be, so if anyone wants me to read my books, I'm ready for it... (just give me some warning, and a glass of wine!)

John read Death of an Artist 1905 from his book Devon Murders and Matt read his story Robot Hunter Squad which was published in Riptide 8.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Happy St George's Day

By Steve Webster [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I've always found it slightly... erm, odd (yes, I'll go with odd) that English people celebrate St Patrick's Day in March but don't know when St George's Day (the patron saint of England) is. In case you've just woken up and you're not sure of the date, it's 23 April.

Okay, I know the Irish have Guinness, but England have cider and real ale.

If I didn't know most of my blog visitors were in the middle of the A-Z Challenge, I might have considered a bloghop, but instead I'm going to ask just one question:

What does England mean to you?

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Reading out loud

Firstly, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who left such lovely comments about me on Alex's blog the other day... A few people - I was embarrassed to realise - I hadn't visited for a while, so I'll rectify that soon. And welcome to the new followers resulting from that post, it's great to meet you and I'm looking forward to getting to know you.

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm doing a reading on Tuesday (argh! so close!). I chose the story, printed it out in 14pt (just in case I get a sudden attack of fear-related blindness), and read it out loud...

"OH HECK!" I thought, or words to that effect. It was awful. The words stumbled over each other, there were too many trying to fill my mouth at once, my voice sounded flat. And there I was thinking this was one of the best stories ever! "I'm a bad writer, I should just stop writing right now!"

But, luckily, I had another thought... I've spent the last fourteen years reading bedtime stories. My kids are growing out of it now, which I miss, but the other night Youngest was feeling poorly and asked for a story. We reverted to my all-time favourite Monkey Puzzle. (This is very closely followed by A Squash and a Squeeze.) Such an easy story in verse to read, and so easy for young kids to join in on the repetition.

Sorry, I side-tracked a bit - over those fourteen years I've also read stories that I've found difficult to read, and three pop into my head straight away: Mr Men stories, Thomas the Tank Engine and Harry Potter. I struggled to read all of these aloud even though they flow so well when I read them silently. No one would say these are badly written, but they just don't work quite so well when the words are spoken.

"Hmmm," I thought this time, "perhaps the style needs to differ between stories designed to be read silently and those to be read aloud." And then I felt much better.

The advice I've read for a very long time has been to read your work out as part of the editing process, but I've decided that this ain't necessarily so. (On the tally of writing rules I've broken, I'm up to about fifteen now!)

I'm off to find a different story to read on Tuesday.
What are your thoughts about reading aloud? Am I wrong to break that editing rule?
Are there stories - your own/kids books etc - that you struggle to read aloud?

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Looking backwards and forwards

So, I am now a year older, and five days more exhausted than I was on Friday!

Looking Backwards
I had such a great time with Kyra Lennon - first at lunch, then at the Fozzy gig in the evening. My mum cooked a great meal, and baked a birthday cake with far too many candles in it (although unfortunately it was the right number). Manchester City won the FA Cup semi-final, although some of the unsporting behaviour was awful and best glossed over. And the Duke Special gig that Hubby took me to last night was such fun because he played my favourite album in its entirety, so I knew all the words and I started to get a flash of a story while he was singing... I just don't know what the story is yet.

The free promotion for That Sadie Thing seems to have been successful - lots of copies were downloaded, including three in Germany and two in Canada. It's lovely to know that these poor old stories are getting a second lease of life, and aren't just languishing in my filing cabinet. So, thanks to everyone to now owns a copy, and I hope you enjoy it.

Looking Forwards
So now I'm ready to get back to my novel, possibly tonight, but definitely tomorrow. And I'll be practising a lot for my first ever book reading on the 23rd April for World Book Night. The venue is the library I worked at for fifteen years (I left three or four years ago, I can't remember which!) so it will be like going home. Several of my old colleagues still work there, and I'm dragging another ex-colleague alone with me for moral support. Fingers crossed I don't turn into a puddly mess!

The other thing that's happening is Hubby is undertaking 24 gigs in 24 hours in aid of our two local air ambulance charities. I'm going to be following a couple of gigs, but I'm not getting up before dawn! If you live around Plymouth (that's the UK version, not the several worldwide ones), then why not check out the times on the link and pop along.

Friday, 12 April 2013

That Sadie Thing - free!

Today marks the start of an awesome weekend for me. It's my birthday! And because it's so awesome, I thought I'd offer That Sadie Thing as my gift to you. I know that's not the way things usually work on someone's birthday, but who cares.

So, I said weekend, right?
  • Today I am meeting up with the amazingly wonderful Kyra Lennon to see Fozzy. You might have read about our antics the last time we saw them in December. Hopefully it'll be a bit warmer today than it was then.
  • Tomorrow I'm having a meal with my family.
  • On Sunday, I'm planning a lie in and a stonking workout at the gym. Then it's the Manchester City vs Chelsea FA Cup Semi-Final, which I'll be watching alone while Hubby goes off to a gig and the kids wander off and do whatever it is kids do... I've got chocolates!
  • On Monday Hubby's taking me to see Duke Special.
And for each of those four wonderful days that I am having fun, and not even thinking about sales figures, That Sadie Thing will be yours to own for absolutely no pennies at all.

You can grab it here for the UK and here for the US. If it's not free when you check, go back later... I know  Amazon time doesn't necessarily match real time.

Happy Birthday to me!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Where's the fire?

It's a phrase can be used to mean What's the hurry? of course, but today I'm going to take it literally.

Yesterday my WIP flew from my fingers onto the screen, running free and wild, as I watched my story taking shape... Until the moment one character noted that the fire had taken hold of part of the building and the firemen were retreating and regrouping.


What was the problem? I had not even hinted at a fire in the previous 2165 words, not a plume of smoke, not a smell, not one person pointing out the rescue of two trapped people might be hampered by the extensive heat.

How had I missed something so vital? Erm, I don't know. I was working from handwritten and typewritten versions, trying to merge them into something slightly different, and this fact kind of got missed off. In another part of the story that I've already written, a character mentions that even two days later the smell is still lingering, so you'd have thought I'd have remembered that at least! Except, I wrote that part of the story last week, so maybe not.

My choices are to delete what I've got and start again, or slide the fire into the scenes I've already written. I'm going to go with the second option, mostly because this is a first-and-a-half draft, and I know it will bear no resemblance to the final section anyway. I am in awe of people who edit as they go and have publishable work at the point they move on the next chapter. Me? No...

When I was at school, I loved technical drawing. If anyone has ever done it, you'll know you start of with a lot of pencil marks and the page looks like a complete mess of unintelligible lines. Then you flourish your 0.5 black liner and slowly, out of the jumble of pencil, comes a shape that makes sense - a 3D box or, more advanced, the floor plans of a house. That's what my writing is like, a jumbled mess until ta da!!

So, yes, today I will be squeezing a fire into my chapter, and shattering the zen-like calmness my characters had chosen to adopt!

What mistakes have you made when you've been writing?
Have you ever made glaring omissions?

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

IWSG - I'm a co-host!

It's the first Wednesday of the month, and you all know what that means by now. Even if you don't take part yourself, you'll have seen this badge all over blogs you visit.

It's a huge honour to be selected to co-host this month's IWSG alongside Julie and Elise.

And co-hosting actually fits in very well with my insecurity this month...

Do I do enough to support my fellow bloggers/writers?

Alex does... everything. Arlee Bird founded the A-Z Challenge that many of you are taking part in - and he has many co-hosts helping, and this year the co-hosts have minions (love that word!), so there are many 70 or so people helping out there. Misha Gericke has her Paying Forward awards, and some fantastic people offering prizes for the winners. Livia Peterson bounced into bloggyland relatively recently and blasted through it all (and she's co-hosting the A-Z Challenge in her very first year of taking part). So many more of you constantly host cover reveals and blog hops and book launches and tours, as well as beta reading for each other and giving random shout outs and book reviews.

I've been on the receiving end of so much good will over the life of my blog, especially once I started having my books published. But I wonder whether I give enough back. Could I do more? 

To everyone who has ever helped me out, let me visit their blog, revealed a cover, interviewed me and reviewed my books...

Thank You - you are awesome, and I'll try harder!

(PS. Before I go I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who visited my interview on Dan O'Brien's blog. I had a glance down at the other interviews he's done, and they maybe garner one or two comments, or sometimes none at all. You guys have left 13 - as of Tuesday morning, when I wrote this! That's awesome, and completely proves that I belong to the most supportive group of writers/bloggers!)

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Rachel Morgan's cover reveal

Today I have the great honour of taking part in Rachel Morgan's cover reveal for The Faerie Prince. Look at that cover... How could I not have it on my blog, it's gorgeous!

Title: The Faerie Prince
Author: Rachel Morgan
Publication Date: May 30th 2013

Guardian trainee Violet Fairdale is just weeks away from one of the most important occasions of her life: graduation. After messing up big time by bringing a human into the fae realm, Vi needs to step up her game and forget about Nate if she hopes to graduate as the top guardian of her year. Everything would be fine if she wasn’t forced to partner with Ryn, her ex-friend, ex-enemy, current ‘sort of friend’. They might be trying to patch up their relationship, but does she really want to spend a week undercover with him for their final assignment? On top of that, the possibly-insane Unseelie Prince is still on the loose, free to ‘collect’ as many specially talented faeries as he can find—and Vi is still at the top of his list. Add in faerie queens, enchanted storms, complicated not-just-friends feelings, and a murder within the Guild itself, and graduation is about to become the least of Vi’s problems.

Add THE FAERIE PRINCE to your to-read list on Goodreads.

If you haven't yet read the first book in the Creepy Hollow series, THE FAERIE GUARDIAN, you can find it at the following places:
To connect with the author, visit Rachel Morgan's blog.

Good luck with the book, Rachel!