This week I chat to friends from Bridge House Publishing, CafeLit, and Chapeltown Books, who didn’t launch one book in lockdown. They launched several! Now there’s a challenge!
Welcome to Part 3 of my Launches in Lockdown series.
My guests tonight hail from that wonderful phenomenon known as the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School, believed to the oldest residential writing school in the world. See its website for more.
The cancellation of the 2020 Swanwick was the first cancellation in its 70 year history and deeply saddened all who love this wonderful celebration of all things connected with writing. We all hope it will be the only cancellation too.
Welcome to Part 2 of my new series. I’m talking to various authors about the challenges they’ve faced launching books in lockdown.
As well as sharing my experiences (see last week’s post), I’ve talked with writers from the Association of Christian Writers, Authors Reach, Swanwick Writers’ Summer School, and Bridge House Publishing/CafeLit/Chapeltown Books.
Everyone agrees 2020 was extraordinarily challenging!
But books still needed to be launched.
It’s fair to say 2020 was challenging. Next week, I’ll be starting a new series called Launches in Lockdown. Fellow writers and I will share our experiences of launching books during what has been one of the strangest periods in modern history. (I wish I could say I was exaggerating).
There is another side to this coin. How did 2020 impact publishers? I thought I’d talk again to local YA writer and publisher, Richard Hardie. He has a good view from both sides of the fence.
I use a variety of writing exercises to help trigger ideas for stories though a lot of these are also useful for generating thoughts for articles.
Continuing Professional Development occurs across most industries and it applies to writing too.
I’m delighted to welcome back a good friend of mine, Dawn Knox, to Chandler’s Ford Today. Dawn and I are both published by Cafelit and Bridge House Publishing. Both of us are flash fiction and short story writers but Dawn is also a playwright and has recently released her second hilarious set of “chronicles” stories called The Macaroon Chronicles. This is the follow up to her debut set of chronicles called The Basilwade Chronicles. If you like a good, funny read, do check these out.
Dawn Kentish Knox is a great friend and we have publishers in common – Cafelit and Bridge House Publishing in particular. We usually meet at the twice yearly Bridge House events (though technically the one in the summer is the Waterloo Arts Festival Writing Competition one, though Bridge House sponsor that). We are both missing these events this year though we have met on Zoom.
Along with Paula Readman, whom I interviewed a few months back, Dawn and I make up the photo that appears on top of the Scribblers Sans Frontiere Facebook group which is for authors published by Bridge House and its imprints (including Chapeltown Books).
One joy of going to a great writing event such as the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School is discovering so many wonderful writers and their amazing range of work.
It is my pleasure then to introduce Elizabeth Hurst, another Swanwick stalwart, who writes the Lost Souls series.
It’s a wrap! How often have you heard that? It usually means a film or a scene within it is “finished”. For writers, I guess our “wrap” is when we’ve written our draft, edited it and polished it, and then finally sent it off to a publisher for their consideration. At least you’ve got that stage done!
Just a quick post from me this week to flag up my cyberlaunch for my second book from Chapeltown Books, Tripping the Flash Fantastic, on Saturday, 10th October 2020.
I’m holding this event on Facebook from 7 pm to about 9.30 pm. Would love it if you could join me. (And if you can only pop by for just two minutes, you’ll still be most welcome!).
The lovely thing about online launches? No worries about social distancing etc! And they give an author a chance to celebrate the fact their “baby” is seeing the light of day!
See https://www.facebook.com/events/1246876649024453 for more details. Meanwhile I am delighted to share a link to my book trailer. I share one of my stories from the new book here – Time For Some Peace.
In this bit of nonsense, I have included each of the NATO Phonetic Alphabet codewords …
Last November, alpha male Mike and his Zulu boyfriend Charlie took a holiday at the famous golf hotel in Lima. Wanting a break from the game, they took a drive through the delta, up into the sierra, where they heard the famous echo. In the evening they were joined by their yankee soldier friend Victor (who was in uniform) and his Papa.
They all went to the theatre where they saw Romeo and Juliet (it was an Oscar-winning performance – ‘Bravo’, they cried) and then went dancing, first the foxtrot then the tango. [Read more…] about A Romantic Romp through the NATO Phonetic Alphabet
The defining thought for my recent CFT posts has been how writers can pick up on the zeitgeist, long before we know there is one to tap into!
This summer the topic has been about changing direction. Some writers do this a lot, others only every now and again. Some make the change a permanent one, others see the variation as a detour from what they usually write though they will resume that in due course. My recent interviews with Scottish crime writers, Val Penny and Wendy H Jones, are good examples of this.
Another author changing direction is Jennifer C Wilson who has gone from writing ghost stories crossed with history in her Kindred Spirits series to romance with The Raided Heart and is now writing non-fiction with her recently released A Novel Approach.
Sometimes writers can feel as if they’ve “caught something” in the air and definitely not Covid-19! We refer to the zeitgeist where we subconsciously pick up on a bubbling mood which then does come to the surface and grabs public attention.
For me, and for many writers recently, that bubbling mood has been about changing direction with our writing. This has manifested itself in two distinct ways. Firstly, this has been in taking on new roles which are likely to be permanent (editing for me). Secondly, the other change has been in writing something different from what we are usually known for (as I’ve recently discussed with Val Penny and will be again soon with Jennifer C Wilson).
This week, I invite Scottish crime writer, Wendy H Jones, back to Chandler’s Ford Today as her new venture is something very special indeed. Wendy is the only UK writer in the The Power of Why (see Amazon link). There are 23 stories in this collection of women from around the globe who have taken steps to change their lives by starting their own businesses.
Writing is the fulfilment of many people’s dreams (and being published even more so) but, as with any other area of life, there are those prepared to make money out of your dreams and rip you off doing so. When you start out, it is knowing what to look out for that can be tricky. Also, where do you go for advice? (Answer: The Society of Authors, The Alliance of Independent Authors, and talk to other writers. Word does get out about scams and the like).
Welcome to Part 2 of my new series. You can find the link to Part 1 here. Writing colleagues and I share tips we hope will be useful ranging from contracts to marketing to even handling professional jealousy. There is much to learn from here!
Any industry attracts charlatans. Writing isn’t exempt. From copyright infringements to piracy, it pays to be aware of what can happen and where to go for advice. It is also useful to know what to avoid.
So much has changed in the industry since I started writing seriously. I’ve gone from using manual typewriters to laptops. I’ve gone from sending submissions in by snail mail to sending almost everything in by email. (There is still the occasional competition which prefers post but these are as common as the Dodo).
In the joy of creativity, and unless you have decided to write solely for your own pleasure, which is fine, it is easy to forget writing is a business. As with any industry, there are charlatans out there.
It is only when you’ve been writing for a while, when you’ve had setbacks, you realise how much you don’t know. There are things I wish I’d been aware of when I started writing.
For this three part series, I share tips and contributions from writing colleagues. A big thank you to them for taking part in this series. We all hope you find it useful. There will be a brief bio for my colleagues plus links to their Amazon Author Central page and the like. Between us, we represent a very wide range of genres and experience in the industry.
This is a true story. The illustrations are by my nephew Hari Gopinathan, a talented furniture designer and freelance illustrator Hari Gopinathan (Instagram handle).
I owe an apology to your cat. On my evening walk yesterday, I saw him halfway to Tesco, looking lost and forlorn. An elderly couple was engaged in conversation with him. He was instantly recognisable: a mix of tabby and white with tortoise shell grey, playful kitten approaching full cathood, no collar, and slight to moderate belly. It was Sonny and he was lost.
Sliding my headphones off, I said to the couple,
“It’s my neighbour’s cat”. [Read more…] about Cat in the Bag
I’ve mentioned before that I love word games and these can take all manner of forms from Scrabble and Boggle to The Times’ cryptic crossword. (I pass on the latter. If I go for crosswords, it is always the quick kind!).
I will often unwind after an evening’s writing by playing Scrabble on my phone.
The advantage of using technology to play a board game is it does mean I never have to worry about losing a tile again. It does also mean I can’t lose the Q or the X no matter how much I want to at times. There is always a downside to technology!
Oh and before you ask, I have been known to get miffed when the computer, which effectively is what the smart phone is in many ways, beats me at Scrabble yet again. I am improving though.
Now that doesn’t mean Val is leaving her (writing) life of crime (!), but she has turned to non-fiction with the recent release of her Let’s Get Published.