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
Christmas is, for authors and publishers, the most important time of the year for selling books and is a major lifeline for our bookshops.
With so few independent bookshops around now, it is nice to be able to share news of one that is not only continuing to do well but is also stocking local author Richard Hardie’s Young Adult novels, Leap of Faith and Trouble With Swords.
[Read more…] about Local Author News: Richard Hardie
I write mystery novels set in and around Winchester – and sometimes even in Chandler’s Ford!
Chandler’s Ford has been home since 1981 when we moved here from Surrey for my husband’s new job. I come originally from Poole and my husband comes from Oxfordshire. When we moved here our son was twelve and went to Thornden, followed in due course by his sisters: our elder daughter who was ten when we moved here and went into the top year at Hiltingbury Juniors, and the younger one, who was five, who started school at Hiltingbury Infants. [Read more…] about Introducing Myself – Nicola Slade
It is typical there is no Local Author News for ages, then there are two at once!
I am delighted to bring you news of my latest publications, including the production of my first book, From Light to Dark and Back Again, which is a flash fiction collection being published by independent press, Chapeltown Books. [Read more…] about The Writer’s Journey: Allison Symes
Michael Ondaatje writes a good story and some fine poetry. I have enjoyed his ‘Cat’s Table’ and ‘Running in the Family’. ‘The English Patient’ is his best known work.
I had been reading ‘Running in the Family’ about Michael’s early life in Kegalle, Sri Lanka. Michael Ondaatje left Sri Lanka at the age of 11 in 1954 and after a few years in England he moved to Canada in 1962 where he is a respected literary figure. The Ondaatje family had a coconut estate in Kegalle called Rock Hill where Michael spent his childhood. [Read more…] about Michael Ondaatje – Author
One hundred years ago a group of Japanese Red Cross nurses travelled from their Far Eastern homeland to offer their services at Royal Victoria Military Hospital in Netley in Eastleigh, at the height of World War 1.
The 20-strong team, many of whom had never travelled outside of Japan, spent a year at the Netley hospital, supporting their British counterparts, to attend to the thousands of soldiers wounded in the bloody battles of the war.
[Read more…] about The Japanese Red Cross at Netley, 1915-16
Sometimes I write reviews of concerts and shows; sometimes I write about places to go for a day out. This post isn’t intended to be either of those, though it may look a bit like both.
Last week I fulfilled an ambition I’ve held for several years by going to see the stage version of The Railway Children. This was one of my most-loved books as a child (and that of my sister too), and the 1970 film is undoubtedly one of my all-time favourites. [Read more…] about Review: The Railway Children
This is Part 2 of my interview with Barbara Large, MBE, founder of the Winchester Writing Conference as it was known. Now known as the Winchester Writers’ Festival, it is recognised as one of the major writing events of the year.
Despite stepping down from running the conference in 2013, Barbara is as busy as ever running workshops, leading tours around the CPI production plant at Chippenham for those interested in self-publishing and having her own creative writing consultancy – Creative Words Matter. [Read more…] about The Writing Life – Barbara Large, Part 2
A new coffee shop has opened in Eastleigh town centre.
Now, your reaction to this might be “Bill Bryson was right; Eastleigh needs a new coffee shop like a fish needs a bicycle”.
In a previous post Coffee vs Discount in Eastleigh I pondered the reasons for the consumer demand for expensive coffee. [Read more…] about Too Many Coffee Shops in Eastleigh? Think Again.
I had the great joy of meeting Barbara Large at the Winchester Writing Conference (as it was known) many moons ago. Now known as the Winchester Writers’ Festival, this three day writing event was started by Barbara in 1980. She led the conference until 2013.
Barbara is as busy as ever and runs workshops. [Read more…] about The Writing Life – Barbara Large, Part 1