Val saw one lost looking author (me!) wondering which way to turn out of Derby Railway Station to find the coach to go to Swanwick and promptly took me under her wing! [Read more…] about Hunting Out a Career in Crime Fiction – Allison Symes interviews Val Penny
Last week’s post was part 1 of my interview with Jennifer C Wilson, author of the Kindred Spirits series and also of The Last Plantagenet? She writes paranormal historical fiction. It’s not often the heroes of a story are the ghosts but Jennifer specialises in this and the books make for a great read. I met Jennifer at Swanwick in 2016. [Read more…] about Stepping Back in Time: Part 2 of Jennifer C Wilson Interview
I first met Jennifer C. Wilson in 2016 at the first Swanwick Writers’ Summer School for us both. We became friends and this year we had the great joy of “racing” each other to Swanwick’s Book Room to put our books out for sale! [Read more…] about Ghosts, History and What Might Have Been: Introducing Jennifer C Wilson
Image Credit: Unless otherwise stated, all images were taken by Allison Symes.
A group of regional writers took part in the Winchester Discovery Centre’s 10th anniversary celebrations on Saturday 25th November. [Read more…] about Winchester Discovery Centre – 10th Anniversary Celebrations
On the face of it, times have not been good recently at Fryern. Grovers the Butchers has closed as has our branch of the Nat West. I’m always sorry to see an independent firm go, some history goes with them I feel, but, to my mind, the bank branch closure is a stupid decision. It’s not as if the bank wasn’t busy! [Read more…] about Keeping it Local – Community and Writers
It is one of those oddities where writers, so often renowned for leading a solitary life chained to their desks scribbling away for all their worth, also know they have to “put themselves out there” and spread the word about their writing. Well they do if they want any sales!
Some writers take to the spreading the word idea readily and get right into the spirit of things by taking along props. I know a crime writer who takes a noose to her events – and you should see what is on her tablecloth. Let’s just say it wouldn’t pass the old Daz advert for being “whiter than white”! [Read more…] about Writers Getting Out and About: Book Fair 2017
Image Credit: Unless otherwise stated, all images were taken by Allison Symes
This year’s Extravaganza was on Sunday 17th September and, despite a cloudy start, the sun finally emerged during the afternoon, which in itself seemed to bring out more visitors.
I was at the writers’ stand with Brenda Sedgwick, Karen Stephen, Catherine Griffin, Maggie Farran and Sally Howard. Many thanks to all who popped by to see us to buy books, talk about creative writing and so on. It was good to see you and share information about writing classes, the Hampshire Writers’ Society and so on. [Read more…] about Overview of Hiltingbury Extravaganza 2017
I love books. No surprises there. It would be an odd kind of writer who didn’t love books. My problem? The age old one of the bibliophile – where do you put them all?
My answer is to every so often have a clear out and take books I no longer require to a charity shop such as Marie Curie at Fryern.
This is where I love the Kindle. No clear out really ever necessary and it is so easy to transport 10, 20, 100 books on it! Still, some things don’t change regardless of technology. You can still only read one book at a time! [Read more…] about Collecting Books
Last week Anne Wan, local children’s author, talked about why writing for children is fun and what she learned from writing her debut novel, Secrets of the Snow Globe: Vanishing Voices. In Part 2 she shares her three top tips for writers and what she loves and loathes about editing. There will be a lot of common ground here for writers in all genres! [Read more…] about Writing Children’s Fiction – Anne Wan Interview Part 2 – Allison Symes
Sshh – do you want to know a secret about Chandlers Ford? You may not be aware that last year, we were thrilled and proud to publish a collection of short stories called “Secret Lives of Chandlers Ford” . Together with my writing chums, Maggie, Catherine and Sally, we spent a year researching, writing and publishing our first anthology of short stories: “Secret Lives of Chandlers Ford”. We wanted to write stories that were locally set and derived from the happenings and history of this lovely area. We also wanted to reflect Chandlers Ford modern and diverse characteristics. [Read more…] about Sshhh – Do You Want to Know a Secret about Chandlers Ford?
What does the average author, with a book “out there”, want from their readers? Well, we obviously want you to enjoy what we’ve written but what we would appreciate are reviews on blogs, certain famous online retailers, Goodreads and so on. Why?
Book reviews are a lifeline for writers. Reviews help spread the word about the book. Given every writer must be prepared to do their own publicity, (even the big publishers save their efforts and budgets for the blockbusting author, everyone else has to “hit the campaign trail” for themselves), reviews give a helping hand. [Read more…] about The Art of the Book Review by Allison Symes
I loved the cyber launch for From Light To Dark and Back Again held at the beginning of the month. Thanks again to Chapeltown Books and Cafelit for hosting the event. I was co-host. This post looks at how I prepared for the event and what I learned from it. I hope it will be of use to other writers. The images used in the post were those I used during the launch itself.
[Read more…] about Cyberlaunch Lessons by Allison Symes
Would you fall in love at first sight – with a house?
When my second Harriet Quigley mystery was published, blogger Geranium Cat said, in what is still my favourite review:
Not listed in the Dramatis Personae at the start of A Crowded Coffin is the Attlin family’s farmhouse, although you feel it should be there; once known as the Angel House, Locksley Farm Place dates back centuries, perhaps to a Roman villa on the same site. The author conveys the sense of the house’s age and antiquity seamlessly… and the reader is left with an impression of great solidity and warmth which permeates the whole book…’
For a variation on the common “kindle vs. book” debate, I’m turning my attention to church hymn singing. Some churches now use large screens rather than traditional hymn books – but is either better than the other? [Read more…] about The Great Book Vs. Screen Debate
Martin Kyrle, one of the authors of Jottings from the Trans-Siberian Railway, is best known locally as a former Liberal Democrat Councillor. He served on the Chandler’s Ford committee for 50 years. He wrote his new book based on notes he kept as he travelled and long term friend, Michael Roberts, took the photographs. [Read more…] about The Trans-Siberian Railway: Martin Kyrle and Michael Roberts
I am thrilled to announce my debut flash fiction collection, From Light to Dark and Back Again, has now been published by Chapeltown Books. It is available in paperback and in Kindle format via Amazon and, of course, directly from me but more on that later.
The stories range from 100 words tales to 500 words to 750 and there are one or two which just creep in as flash fiction, being just under the 1000 words limit. This is generally recognized as the cutting off point between flash and standard short story lengths. [Read more…] about Published – My Debut Flash Fiction Collection
JANE AUSTEN FESTIVAL AND THE SARAH SIDDONS FAN CLUB
One of my favourite authors is going to have a Festival in Southampton in 2017 thanks to the Sarah Siddons Fan Club winning a Heritage Lottery Grant to co-ordinate such an event. [Read more…] about In the Footsteps of Jane Austen and Sarah Siddons by Allison Symes
My post last week was all about Classic Books but the problem with this topic is it will be inevitably biased towards fiction. Tonight’s post will redress the balance.
I look at why reading non-fiction widely is vital for fiction writers (as well as being a great thing to do given it widens your reading “diet” and general knowledge). [Read more…] about Fiction -v- Non-Fiction? No Contest!
Once upon a time almost every child found an annual under the tree or in their stocking and I have one given to me when I was about seven – The Christmas Stocking.
We carried on this tradition with our children who always opened their annuals at bedtime on Christmas Eve so they had something to keep them happy until morning. I always hoped they’d lie in bed and read instead of getting up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning, but it didn’t work!
[Read more…] about Christmas Books and Local Settings