On Friday 20th September, the Curious Café (at The Dovetail Centre, Chandler’s Ford Methodist Church) will be hosting Claire Gradidge, local author and winner of the Richard and Judy “Search for a Bestseller Competition 2019”. [Read more…] about Meet Local Author Claire Gradidge at the Curious Café on 20th September
Regardless of what you write, no two writers have exactly the same journey (whether it is to publication or just to produce work they value for their own pleasure).
There are, of course, many elements in common, not least of which is the fact every writer goes through highs and lows as they try to make progress. We all have to work out how to deal with these. Yes, even the highs, because while they are wonderful, life as a whole is not one long continuous good news chain so why should the writing life be any different? [Read more…] about The Highs and Lows of the Writing Life
There are often best and worst lists – for example the 10 best jokes, the 10 worst ones. (Some make it on to both lists, which just goes to prove humour is subjective!). Then there are the best and worst cars, supermarkets, holiday destinations and so on. Almost anything can be listed if you try hard enough!
What can be a pain is not knowing what the best and worst options are at times – and this does go for writing and publishing too. When you are starting out as a writer, where do you go to for advice? [Read more…] about The Best and the Worst
1. The methods by which people write. (The biro is one of the world’s great inventions, as was the fountain pen before it. I would not want to use a quill to write, though you have got to hand it to Shakespeare for his sheer creativity especially given the equipment he had. What would he have made of the typewriter, the word processor etc? His friends, John Heminge and Henry Condell, would have had a far easier time of it compiling the First Folio though and what wouldn’t they have given to be able to access the photocopier!).
2. What people used to write on – everything from cave walls to A4 paper to post-it notes.
3. The methods of publishing writing. We owe a huge debt to Guttenberg and Caxton. What would they make of online writing, where actual printing out is not always necessary, and where texts can be sent by email or scanned and stored?
4. For centuries only the privileged could read and write and then have access to books. I am so glad, in general terms, this is no longer true, though I would love to see a world where good literacy rates and access to books was a “given” everywhere. Sadly, this is still not the case and progress needs to be made on education, especially for girls and women, in particular areas. But that can and should be worked on. Compared with how we were a century ago, has progress been made? Yes – in our part of the world at least but I would like this to spur efforts on to make it true for everywhere.
5. The kinds of writing there are in terms of what is produced – everything from flash fiction to massive fantastical sagas to the Encyclopaedia Britannica and the Oxford English Dictionary.
Allison Symes’ sound advice on publishing and its perils, The Frustrations of Publishing, set me to thinking about my life as a writer and in some respects as a publisher, or rather editor of journals and series of books. I was fortunate in having a few bright ideas at the right time such that small publishers who were seeking to expand their business took me on as a series editor for books in philosophy, ethics, and science related topics. [Read more…] about How to Cope with Publishing and Editing
There are few authors who don’t know about the frustration of getting their work out there. Also, even fewer make their living “just” via their books (as regular surveys by the Society of Authors make depressingly clear).
George Orwell made a significant amount of his living via book reviewing. The benefits of his creations passing into the English language as shorthand, sadly, were not realised by him directly. I’ll be returning to my 101 Things to Put into Room 101 (which is loosely based on his creation of Room 101 in 1984) in a few weeks’ time. You don’t want all my moans at once! [Read more…] about The Frustrations of Publishing
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?
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…’
My post last week was the first part of my interview with Martin Kryle, former local Liberal Democrat councillor and published author. His book Jottings from the Trans-Siberian Railway, edited by Barbara Large , is now out.
Reviews are crucial for all writers and one for this book reads:- [Read more…] about Jottings from the Trans-Siberian Railway – Part 2: Martin Kyrle interview
A cyber launch is basically a Facebook online party celebrating the publication of your book and promoting it. There are usually quizzes with prizes, giveaways, special offers and so on. The only requirement is to be logged on to Facebook at the time of the event. [Read more…] about What is a Cyber Launch? by Allison Symes
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
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
You may be surprised to find Chandler’s Ford Today website has a new design today.
The colour is now much toned down.
The improvement today has made Chandler’s Ford Today a mobile friendly website. If you read this site using mobile phones or a tablet, you may find the site is now easier to navigate and read. [Read more…] about Chandler’s Ford Today Community Website – New Design, Great Content
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
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
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
Have you tried writing Flash Fiction?
Yesterday I wrote a brief introduction to Flash Fiction and shared one of my flash stories as an example. Do you have a favourite Flash Fiction story to share with us? [Read more…] about A Peek into My Writing World – Tools and Inspirations