Friday, 7 April 2017

'The Cold' is going to be published.

Some of you may have noticed (or not :-)) that I've taken The Cold down from my charity-fundraising-novel-blogging-blog. Ooh, that was tongue-twister, if ever I heard one! The reason – which I’m extremely excited about - is it will be published by HarperCollins – HQ Digital, with all my royalties for digital downloads going to the cancer charity I'm raising money for.

I can’t begin to describe how thrilled I was today when the signed contract dropped onto my doormat. It now feels so real.

Thanks again to EVERYONE who supported my novel-blogging by donating and sharing the news, making it possible for me to raise over £400.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Guest Post: The Beachside Sweet Shop by Karen Clarke

I’m not only thrilled to be inviting a brilliant writer to my blog today, but also a lovely friend.

The very talented Karen Clarke is here to answer a few questions about her shiny new book The Beachside Sweet Shop. And I’ve also been super-nosey and discovered her favourite books, sweets as a child, and other interesting snippets.

So without further waffle, I’m going to open a jar of Rhubarb and Custards for us to share, and welcome Karen to my blog.

What was the first book you read that made you cry?

I can’t remember the first, but Me Before You by JoJo Moyes had me blubbering recently. I don’t like a sad ending, but accept that sometimes it’s the only one that works.


What was the first book you read that made you laugh out loud?

The Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 and three quarters, by Sue Townsend, and the rest of the series was funny too.

Which character in The Beachside Sweet Shop would you get on with best, and why?

Marnie’s best friend, Beth, who as well as being supportive and fun, is grounded and sure of herself, and knows what she wants from life.

If you could give your younger-writing-self advice, what would it be?

Start now! Life was always getting in the way, and I do wish I’d started my writing career earlier. But maybe I wasn’t ready.

What was your favourite sweet, growing up?

I loved toffee whirls. My gran used to bring a little sweet-shop paper bag of them whenever she visited.

How did you select the names of the characters in The Beachside Sweet Shop?

If nothing springs to mind right away, I look up names that were popular during the year my characters were born. Sometimes see a name I like in the credits of a film or TV programme, and I’ve been known to pluck names from Facebook J

What was your hardest scene to write in The Beachside Sweet Shop?

I struggle with sexy scenes, imagining my mum reading them, so it would be the encounter between Marnie and Josh in the stockroom!

What is your favourite childhood book?

I loved Enid Blyton, so probably The Magic Faraway Tree.

Which character in The Beachside Sweet Shop would you least get on with, and why?

I wouldn’t get on with Isabel, as she thinks she’s a cut above everyone in Shipley, and isn’t interested in getting along with her neighbours.

Have you ever met anyone famous, and, if so, were you in awe?

On holiday a few years ago, we were served at a farmer’s market by Elizabeth Hurley (she has her own brand of sausages) and I did feel a wee bit star-struck.

***
Thank you so much for visiting, Karen.

The Beachside Sweet Shop is available on Amazon  HERE for 99p, which is an absolute bargain.  I guarantee you’ll love it!


Friday, 3 March 2017

Short Stories and Novels

I’m thrilled to bits to have a story in the latest People’s Friend Special (number 136) called ‘They Also Serve’ that I mentioned in an earlier blog post. The story means a lot to me, as it was based on my father’s time as an evacuee, so I’m delighted The Friend published it. I’ve obviously used poetic licence, but the core of the story is what happened to my father.  He's almost 87 now, but he remembers that time as if it was yesterday.

I’ve also got a story in this week’s My Weekly,  called ‘Winter’s End’. My inspiration for that story came from walking on the beach in winter, always something I love to do.  So it does just show that inspiration for stories come from just about everywhere.  Although sometimes I must admit that inspiration packs its bags and takes a holiday - I hate those times.


I've also had pick-me-up-off-the-floor EXCITING news about my novel The Cold, which, as you know from my endless posts on the subject, I’ve been blogging for Cancer Research.  I’m not sure if I can say any more than that at the moment, so better not, but I can say the news will mean I will be able to raise so much more for Cancer Research – so YAY YAY YAY.   I'll be sharing more news as soon as I can, well that's if I don't burst before that!

I’m still blogging Phototime HERE if anyone would like to read it. So far I’ve raised £381 for Cancer Research – which is unbelievably AMAZING. So thank you again to everyone who has donated or helped promote my venture or helped in any way at all - you're all fantastic!








In other exciting news (as if that wasn't enough) my lovely friend Karen Clarke’s book 1 in her Beachside series is now available to buy HERE.

The Beachside Sweet Shop is a feel good rom-com, that I can vouch is a wonderful read.





Monday, 23 January 2017

Finding your voice as a writer

I admit, this old chestnut has flummoxed me since I began writing fiction nine years ago. 

I was told by my super Open University tutor, that I would need to find my voice in writing, but, even now, I don’t think I have.

Maybe it’s partly because I write short stories for magazines, and like to vary my style, depending on the magazine I’m writing for.  I’ve certainly developed a few voices for my short stories, four at last count. No, that doesn’t mean I have multiple personalities. Well I don’t think it does.

My problem with voice has extended to novels. The suspense thriller I’m editing now has a very different voice to Phototime, and in turn earlier novels I attempted had a different voice again.

Maybe with novels, it’s because I haven’t been published. I’m still trying to find a voice that captures the interest of the reader.

So it seems I’m still on a voice-discovering journey – even after all this time. It’s as though ‘the voice’ (no not the TV programme) is a bit like buried treasure I can’t find. And even if I did find it, would I recognise it?

I know I need to find a voice that makes my work unique and stand out. It needs to make the reader sit up, mute the TV, and say ‘Hang on, this is a jolly good voice, by jove.’ And not only that; they’ll recognise it next time. I need the voice to speak to the reader. I need a voice that’s individual.

No pressure there then.

Oh, and HERE’s a blog post with five steps to finding your writing voice.  

And another HERE about knowing your voice. 

Right, I'm off to have a look in the bottom of the wardrobe. I mean that’s got to be where C. S. Lewis found his voice, yes?