DEVELOPMENTS/MAKING PROGRESS AND BOOK FAIR REPORT

Lots happening tonight!

Facebook – General and Chandler’s Ford Today

I shared details of my latest Chandler’s Ford Today post earlier in the day about last weekend’s Book Fair. Going to share it again as my lovely editor has turned the galleries of photos into slideshows (which look fab. Many thanks, Janet).

I take a look at, not at only the event itself, but why I think the Book Fair helped writers (and is of wider benefit to a community that no longer has an independent bookshop). I also love the fact that when writers work together, great things can happen and the Fair was a great example of that.

Image Credit:  The photos in the slideshow are a mixture of those taken by me and my lovely Chandler’s Ford Today editor, Janet Williams, who started the site alone and has developed it into a popular online magazine.  Slideshow right at the end of this blog post.

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

I love the way stories can come in so many different formats – literally everything from flash fiction to epic novels. This aspect was very well represented at the Chandler’s Ford Book Fair last weekend.

Then there are the formats of “transmission” – everything from the book itself to the audiobook to the play and film scripts. A good story is adaptable to more than one medium and can be appreciated and loved in more than one medium too. I have a soft spot for radio (and one thing on my To Do list is to try to write something for radio that makes it on to the air).

As well as “straight” stories, so to speak, there are the well-done spoofs, which are a sheer joy to read or watch. Last weekend was a busy one with the Book Fair in the morning and my going to see the Chameleon Theatre Group’s production of Murdered to Death by Peter Gordon in the evening.

I’ll be writing about that for next week’s CFT post but just wanted to say now that the story world, regardless of genre, truly is a fantastic one. The fact it can send itself up via farces/spoofs as well just adds to my love of stories overall.

 

My stories are in The Best of Cafelit 4, 5 and now 6 and also by Bridge House Publishing (Alternative Renditions). My first collection From Light to Dark and Back Again is published by Chapeltown Books.

My stories are in The Best of Cafelit 4, 5 and now 6 and also by Bridge House Publishing (Alternative Renditions). My first collection From Light to Dark and Back Again is published by Chapeltown Books.

Fairytales With Bite – Developments

There have been developments in my writing career which I thought I’d take the chance to share now.  I also hope to look at how I’ve changed the ways in which I develop my characters.

Firstly, I’m now part of the Goodreads Author Programme.  I am blogging on here once a week but am also open to questions on its Q&A section.  So if there is anything book/story/writing related you would like to ask, please head on over and send me some questions!

Secondly, Goodreads have author/book widgets for those writers on their programme, meaning you can link to reviews of my book, From Light to Dark and Back Again.  Also listed on Goodreads is Alternative Renditions, an anthology by Bridge House Publishing, where the first thing I ever had appear in print, A Helping Hand, was published.  I think it is quite a nice symmetry to have my first book and my first published story listed in this way.  (What is also nice for me is my late mum, who so encouraged my love of books, got to see my first published story.  My dad, who I lost earlier this  year, got to see my first published book).

Thirdly, I am now taking part in more book related events and loving each and every one of them.  The latest was a local Book Fair and my Chandler’s Ford Today post this week is a report on this.  There are plenty of pictures so it does give a good “flavour” of the event.  All good fun and I very much hope there will be more Fairs like this.  I hope to have more news of further events later on in the year.

As for character development, increasingly I am looking at what impact I want my characters to have on my readers.  This is, I think, essential for flash fiction with its tight word count.  The stories have to be character led so I am looking more closely at my characters’ motivations and what they are prepared to do to achieve their wishes!  I am also looking at how I want my characters to make the reader feel.  Those two things together, I’ve found, are giving me a clearer picture of my characters in my head before I actually write them and are helping with the writing of the stories immensely.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34146438-from-light-to-dark-and-back-again

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Let your stories have impact. Image via Pixabay

This World and Others – Making Progress

All writers should, obviously, seek to make progress with what they do but I would add that the progress should be what you are happy with.  Writers work at different paces so therefore progress has to differ.  Besides, nobody can guarantee publication or an instant best seller but you can work towards the first (and hope for the second, we all do!).

Also with the second, most of us would recognise that book sales are not necessarily the most reliable indicator of a book’s quality (am not going to name titles here, but I’d be surprised if you couldn’t think of some titles where you wonder how that got published at all! Again, we all do).  I think most of us would recognise then that you need to put your work out there, do what you can with regard to marketing (this will vary from writer to writer), and that sales build up over time (usually).

What I’ve sought to do since seriously trying to write for publication is to make steady progress year on  year.  Some years that has been just to have more work online.  Now I do have a book out, From Light to Dark and Back Again, my aim has been to promote it as much as I can and carry on writing the follow up to it.  I’ve recognised that book marketing is an ongoing thing.  Even when I have book 2, book 26 or what have you out there, I will always be referring to my back list etc.  So to a certain extent marketing for any one book doesn’t really stop.  Therefore it makes no sense to put myself under unnecessary time pressure.

On my Fairytales with Bite site tonight, I’ve written about Developments (both mine and in how I write characters now, as opposed to when I first started writing) and I share that link here.  I am now on the Goodreads Author Programme and talk about that in this post and welcome writing related questions on the Q&A spot it has so please do go and have a look and come back to me!  I’ve shared on there the Goodreads widget leading to my book reviews, below I share the widget showing my books.  What is nice here is you see both my first published book and the anthology, Alternative Renditions, where my first published story appeared, A Helping Hand.

As for progress for 2018, I don’t really make New Year’s Resolutions but I do over the Christmas break, think about what I’d like to see what happen – and then do what I can to achieve it.  At the end of the year, if I’ve achieved it all, brilliant.  If I’ve achieved some (and especially if opportunities have opened up where I didn’t expect and I’ve rightly followed those), equally brilliant.  If I’ve achieved “just” some, then that’s fine too.  Onwards and upwards!

Image below is just a screen shot but if you follow the links above via Goodreads you will come to my author page with all relevant information on it.

Goodreads Snip

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What is a Good Fairytale?

Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today

A quick reminder about the Chandler’s Ford Book Fair is my topic for Chandler’s Ford Today this week. Hope to see some of you there. Everyone taking part is hoping this will become a regular event especially since there are no bookshops in Chandler’s Ford now.

We’d all be glad to see fellow writers too and can give information about local writing festivals and creative writing classes too – so do come and ask! There will be signings and special offers too.

Why are events like this important? Well, they give local writers both a voice and another outlet, which helps us all.

Events like this show the community there IS a strong creative writing element within it. (At the earlier Hiltingbury Extravaganza, there had been some surprise expressed at the range of writers and genres respresented there. There will be many more at the Book Fair tomorrow!).

We also hope the Fair will promote the love of books and reading in general.

BookFairPoster8

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Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Reading your work out loud is useful for helping you to pick up where your sentence construction is perhaps not as smooth and free-flowing as you thought it was (especially for dialogue). It is one of those oddities that something which looks fine written down is not necessarily easy to read out loud.

It is also useful for picking up the rhythm within your story and I’ve found it handy for detecting hidden undercurrents of mood in my flash fiction. It is another oddity that the writer doesn’t always pick up on these immediately! (That in turn helps me when I read the finished work out publicly. It helps me “pitch” it correctly).

I hope to read a couple of my stories at the Chandler’s Ford Book Fair tomorrow. If anyone has questions about flash fiction, please do come over and have a chat.

 

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Goodreads – Book Review

I share here my review of friend and fellow writer, Jennifer C Wilson’s excellent novella, The Last Plantagenet?  Novellas aren’t as common as they once were but they work brilliantly for those stories not long enough to make it to full novel status or are far too long for a short story.  I’d like to see more of these.

 

The Last Plantagenet? by Jennifer C. Wilson

The cover of Jennifer’s novella.  Image from my review on Goodreads.

 

Fairytales With Bite

A good fairytale is not necessarily one with a happy ending but, as with other stories, it should show the lead character changed during the course of the tale.  Ideally it will be for the better.  They will have learned something from their experiences and so on.  Sometimes a character does NOT learn from their experiences (the result is usually disastrous – the lesson there is for us readers.  It’s a warning we should learn or risk disaster ourselves).

A good fairytale will also show us something of ourselves/our human nature.  That doesn’t necessarily mean we will like what we see!  The Little Match Girl by Hans Christen Andersen is, to my mind, rightly scathing of those who pitied the girl because she was dead but did nothing to stop her dying, which is the whole message of that story (and the exposure of hypocrisy).

A good fairytale will have memorable characters and there is usually a strong moral message with it (though conveyed in the story.  A good story, of whatever type, will never leave you feeling as if you’ve been preached at).

A good fairytale will keep you gripped to the last world, will conjure up images of its setting and give you characters you can identify with/root for, even if they are strange alien monsters!  A good fairytale will usually see injustices put right too.

 

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Fairytales can be considered as “pie in the sky” but the reality is they often convey great truths.  Image via Pixabay (and one of the images used for my trailer for From Light to Dark and Back Again).

 

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

One advantage of flash fiction is it has to be character led.  There isn’t the room for lengthy descriptions so your characters “carry” the stories.  So you have to create the world your character comes from via them directly.

This can be done through internal thoughts.  Show what your character thinks about their situation and what has led to it.  That should reveal some insights as to the world he/she comes from.   For example:-

She threw the cup at the wall and watched it smash.  Bloody government.  I’ve already voted once.  Why have I got to do it again?

That reveals at once that the government is dictatorial, voting is clearly compulsory, and any world where you have to vote again (to get it right this time perhaps?) is somewhere you probably don’t want to live if you have the choice.  She is taking her frustration out on a cup so there is no choice element here (and almost certainly severe consequences if she doesn’t vote again).

You can also show something of your created world through what your character observes.  In a flash fiction story, this would have to be a line or two at most (though that does make you stick to the really important things you want your reader to know so is no bad thing).

Description is the obvious way of showing a world but, again, in flash, a line or two at most and focus on what is important to the character (as this also reveals a lot about them).

 

Themes pour out of good books - image via Pixabay

Great Themes pour out of wonderful books but it needs strong, memorable characters to achieve this.  Image via Pixabay.

 

Books, Writing Flash Fiction Almost Anywhere, and a Non-Fiction Favourite

 

Classic Books - image via Pixabay

Non-fiction and especially history should not be deadly dull.  Image via Pixabay.

 

Good range of topics tonight, I think.

Definitely covers the spectrum (well, okay, I left novel writing out but another time perhaps!).

Facebook – General

What is on your to be read list? I have a mixture of history (fiction and non-fiction), fantasy, crime, P.G.Wodehouse, biographies – and that’s just on my Kindle.

Still, it is always good to have plenty of wonderful material to read and I’m in no danger of running out anytime soon.

Logically then you might feel the last thing I need is more books. Get out of it.

Logic does not come into it when it comes to buying books. A title/story (and I include non-fiction in this) grips you and you want to read it as soon as you can or not as the case may be. Therefore, you have to buy!

Well, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Looking forward to the Chandler’s Ford Book Fair on Saturday!

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My Bridge House Publishing/Cafelit/Chapeltown Books works to date.  Image by Allison Syme

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Looking forward to the Book Fair on Saturday. I buy books as well as write them!  Image from Catherine Griffin (Chandler’s Ford Writers’ Hub).

Feature Image - Flash Fiction - Books are Gateway - image via Pixabay

Says it all really and applies to non-fiction equally as fiction. Image via Pixabay.

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Making progress on what I hope will be my second book. I suppose another thing I love about flash fiction is it also easy to write almost anywhere. Naturally, I keep notebooks and pens in my bag but am increasingly using my mobile phone for this kind of thing.

I love using Evernote to scribble down ideas and stories when I’m on trains etc. Really useful program and I can share contents to different places so I know I will always have at least one back up. I’m using the free version of Evernote at the moment but like it a lot.

Nice to be able to use it to take pictures, which I have done. Have not used the audio function as I prefer to write stories, rather than dictate them. Good to have the option though!

And it remains my big hope that flash fiction as a whole will tempt people who are reluctant readers (you’re not asking them to commit to a big read all in one go).

Also, I hope it will encourage those who feel they don’t have enough time to read to realise well actually you do. Five minutes here. Five minutes there. And flash fiction is the answer when it comes to providing a quick read!

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Goodreads Blog – Favourite Non-Fiction

My favourite non-fiction is usually history, based on an era I know reasonably well, but which then goes on to show me aspects I had NOT known.

A good example of this is The Maligned King by Annette Carson, who re-assesses Richard III’s reign and uses source materials to do so. It is a fascinating read.

I like the whole Wars of the Roses history (though thankful not to have lived through it!) but the story of Richard and the “did he or didn’t he?” motif is a particular favourite.

There is so much material here I had not heard of and there has been an update to the book recently given the discovery of the King in the now infamous Leicester car park. I had the original book in hardback, the update gave me the perfect excuse to download it to Kindle!

I am, of course, open to reading about other eras I know less about but, given limited reading time, I “target” my reading accordingly. Why is there never enough time to read as much as you’d like?

Personal history can often be found in things like old exercise books, which in turn reveal things about political history and how much people knew at the time. Image via Pixabay.

Personal history can often be found in things like old exercise books, which in turn reveal things about political history and how much people knew at the time. Image via Pixabay.

Wishes and Flash Fiction

 

Facebook – General

One week to go to the Chandler’s Ford Book Fair from 10 to 12 at the Age Concern Centre in Brownhill Road. Good range of authors and genres represented. Should be good fun.

If one of my fairy godmother characters could grant me three wishes, what would I choose? (For that matter, what would YOU choose for yourself?). My choices would be:-

1. To send predictive text into oblivion and arrange things so people forgot it ever existed. (I’m counting that as one wish, my fairy godmother character may disagree, but I would sacrifice a wish cheerfully to get this through. Much as I love my smartphone it has confirmed my loathing of predictive text. Complete pain when writing, It rarely predicts anything I can actually use!).
2. To NEVER be interrupted by anything when reading. (Think my fairy godmother character might struggle with this one).
3. For paper jams and power cuts to be a thing of the past. They always happen at the most inconvenient times.

If I could sneak in some extra wishes, I’d go for:-

4. For all people to be able to read and write and to want to read. Reading can easily be dismissed as something people don’t have time for and I’m at a loss as to why. Same people would happily watch a 3-hour film. Maybe reading needs to be seen more as a form of entertainment than it currently is?
5. For genre fiction to no longer be looked down on (though there has been some progress here). Why shouldn’t a book JUST be for entertainment? Why does it have to be worthy as well?

So what would your wishes (+ 2 bonus wishes) be?

More of the books

Local writers’ books  including mine recently on sale at the Hiltingbury Extravaganza.  Hope to see some of you at next week’s larger event, the Chandler’s Ford Book Fair.  Image by Allison Symes

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Thanks to Catherine Griffin for the excellent Book Fair poster.  Also to Sally Howard and all in Chandler’s Ford Authors who are organising this event.  Should be good!

Well, what IS your story? Image via Pixabay.

Well, what IS your story? Image via Pixabay.

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

A flash fiction tale has to be complete in itself with a beginning, middle and end, but its great joy (for me at least) is the ability to imply so much more.

My story, Serving Up a Treat, is a tale of domestic abuse where the character brings an end to it. (For how you’ll need to see the book!). What is implied in this story is the backstory. It is implied that what has been happening to the character has gone on for a very long time.

The “snap” point should be expected so does the piece deliver on that expectation? Yes, it does. You do have to follow through! However, that doesn’t mean you have to spell out every last detail. In fact, with flash you can’t as there simply isn’t the room with the limited word count.

I’ve found flash fiction to be a great way of improving my blog posts, longer short stories etc because it forces you to ask what is REALLY important. What MUST the reader know? What can I drop hints at and leave them to work things out from there?

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From my railway station signing. The lovely origami boxes were made by my CFT editor, Janet Williams.  Image by Allison Symes

Writer at work. Image via Pixabay.

Writer at work! Flash fiction stories must be complete in themselves but they can imply so much.  Image via Pixabay.

 

Many thanks to all who’ve reviewed my book so far on Amazon and Goodreads. 

Goodreads – Author Programme – Blog Post

Why do you read? Like me, I suspect you have several answers to this. Mine include:-

1. For entertainment.
2. For education.
3. For research (for a story or post I’m writing. Not quite the same thing as for education above. I define that as reading to learn but for its own sake and not necessarily to “use” elsewhere).
4. Because I always have read and reading is simply part of what I am and do.
5. The book is nearly always better than the film!
6. I like to read at bedtime to help me unwind and have a better night’s sleep.
7. To widen my tastes in books and stories, I have to be prepared to try genres new to me so I see this as a kind of exploration of what’s out there. I have no idea at this stage whether I’m going to like what I read or not so can’t say if I will be entertained!
8. I’m thrilled to be published myself and I do see it as necessary to support the industry I’ve entered. How can I best do that? By buying and reading books! (A kind of self-help here I think).
9. To enjoy what my friends are writing!
10. To explore literary culture. In the last two years, for example, I’ve read and seen more Shakespeare plays than I ever have done and part of this is to expand my knowledge here. (It’s a very enjoyable exploration too and I love National Theatre Live for making it easier to go to see productions).

There is no right order for any of the above reasons for reading but they strike me as all being very good ones to do so!

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To write books you need to have a deep love for the written word and how else can you develop that other than by reading widely?  Image by Allison Symes

Other News

Many thanks to Jennifer C Wilson for hosting me on her excellent blog a little while ago.  I share the link to my post here (Falling into Flash Fiction), but highly recommend exploring the rest of her site and her paranormal historical fiction works, Kindred Spirits: Tower of London, Kindred Spirits:  Royal Mile, and The Last Plantagenet?  Jennifer is published by Crooked Cat but her most recent book, The Last Plantagenet?, is her first self-published novella.

STORY ENDINGS

A definite theme emerged tonight.  Which do you find most difficult to write – the ending of a story or its beginning?  I share some thoughts on both my Fairytales with Bite and This World and Others posts.  Comments very welcome.  And I would welcome questions coming in via the Goodreads Author Programme Q&A too.

Firstly, though:-

FACEBOOK – GENERAL AND CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY

This week’s Chandler’s Ford Today post looks back at YA author, Richard Hardie, and his book signing at Eastleigh Library last weekend. This was part of Cub/Brownie Uniform Day and, overall, part of the Love Your Library Week.

The post looks at what libraries can do (Richard’s report) and I share my thoughts on how writers and libraries need each other, as well as give a summary of the book signing event itself.

If you missed Richard at Eastleigh, then he will be at the Chandler’s Ford Book Fair on Saturday 28th October from 10 am to 12 noon, along with many other regional writers, including me. We hope we can see some of you there.

There will be a good range of books on offer from Richard’s YA fantasy books (Leap of Faith and Trouble with Swords) to my flash fiction (From Light to Dark and Back Again) to short story collections (Secret Lives and More Secret Lives of Chandler’s Ford) and many books and genres besides. Far too many to list here but that’s a very good thing!

Eastleigh Library - Richard at work

Richard at work in Eastleigh Library,  Image by Allison Symes

Allison Symes, Richard Hardie, Daniel

Richard, his dog, Oscar and my son, Daniel, were amongst my supporters at my signing earlier in the year. Image by Janet Williams, Chandler’s Ford Today’s lovely editor.

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Richard and I will be two of the authors at the local Book Fair soon.  Image via fellow Chandler’s Ford Writer’s Hub member, Cahterine Griffin.

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

One of the dilemmas I sometimes face when writing my flash fiction is knowing where to stop!

Sometimes I bypass this dilemma by writing a short piece (usually 100 words) and then, separately, extending the story out to a standard 1500 to 2000 word count later on if I feel the idea is strong enough to take this. (I then use those stories for standard short story competition entries).

I don’t do this too often as I’m usually well engrossed in the next story idea and I also think this solution is one best done sparingly anyway. You want generally to move on to the next idea, the next story etc. However, for a really strong idea, there is no reason why you can’t do this and have two stories based on a strong central premise. Waste not, want not!

The other way around this dilemma, which I use more often, is to work out which ending would have the most impact on the reader and at what point. I then leave the story at that point. You can’t go wrong with that method, I’ve found, but this is where putting work aside for a while pays dividends. You can then look at the piece with fresh eyes and read it as a reader would. It is only by reading it like that you can work out what that best impact point is in the first place!

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My latest story is in The Best of Cafelit 6, recently published.  The rest of the books shown here are where I’ve been published by Bridge House Publishing, Cafelit and, of course, Chapeltown Books.  Image by Allison Symes

Love the cover for this. Image supplied by Bridge House Publishing.

My last Bridge House story is in here. Naturally I hope there will be many more to come! Image supplied by Bridge House Publishing.

The links below take you to my Weebly websites with these posts but I have set up a slideshow on both not reproduced here.

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

One of the joys of writing flash fiction is it doesn’t limit your possibilities with a very strong story idea.  I have written a short piece (usually one of my 100-word tales and then, separately, extended the story at a later date to the standard 1500 to 2000 words required by most writing competitions.  So I have two stories around one strong central premise.  I like this!

I must admit I do this sparingly because I have usually moved on to the next story idea etc. (I also think it is something best done sparingly anyway and for your very best ideas only, otherwise you dilute your own work too much).

This situation comes about when I realise I am having problems working out where exactly to end a story.  Do I leave it at the short punchy ending which suits flash fiction so well or do I extend the characters out (and the plot with them) and trust the right ending will emerge from that (it always does incidentally)?

My main method of working out the right story ending is to work out at which point the story has the most impact on the reader and that is where I leave the tale.  Nothing more, nothing less, job done.  For flash fiction, which aims to give short, sharp impressions on the reader, this is by far the best way of working out where to stop the story (I think).

Feature Image - Flash Fiction - Books are Gateway - image via Pixabay

One of my favourite stock images because it is so true.  Image via Pixabay.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

My theme tonight has been the right story endings – right for your story that is, as all endings have to be appropriate for the tale and that can have so much variety.  I can’t imagine Shakespeare’s Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet with happy endings (can you?!), but the way these plays finish is appropriate for the characters and the situations they are in as the Bard of Avon wrote them.  (He also went for maximum impact on his audience, which ties in with my post Finding the Right Story Ending on my Fairytales With Bite site tonight).

So happy ever afters then?  The classic ending for fairytales, usually but not always.  Hans Christen Andersen proved with this with The Little Mermaid and The Little Match Girl in particular, which I guess I could describe as two of my favourite “weepies”.  But, again, the endings are apt for the way he wrote the characters and the situations he put them in and I think this is what we should aim for with our own stories.  Sometimes a happy ending will be appropriate, sometimes it won’t, sometimes the possibility of a happy ending to come beyond the life of the story is an apt way to finish, and sometimes a tragic solution is the only way to end the story.

So you need to ask yourself what would be the most appropriate finish for your story?  Does it tie in with what we know of your characters?  Does it have the maximum impact on your reader?  The most important thing about endings is they have to be definite and definitive.  Something about the ending must bring to a satisfactory conclusion what you have revealed about what your characters – this is where the “ring of truth” to fiction comes in.

Do you find writing the endings to stories more difficult than the start?  Comments welcome!

 

Eastleigh Library 2017 - Richard gave his talk from here

Richard Hardie gave his talk from this wonderful rug at Eastleigh Library but I also thought it a good way to wrap up this post tonight.  While I have talked about story endings, story beginnings can be difficult too, but for fairytales, you can’t beat this one!  Image by Allison Symes

 

BOOK SIGNINGS, LIBRARIES AND TECHNOLOGY

Facebook – General

My Chandler’s Ford Today post this week is another one about book events. None for ages, then like buses, two on top of each other!

Following on from Anne Wan’s book launch report last week comes Richard Hardie’s news about his book signing at Eastleigh Library last Saturday. This signing was part of Uniform Day (encouraging Cubs and Brownies to complete their book reading badge) and the overall Love Your Library week. It was good to see a packed library. The event was great fun.

I talk about libraries and writers needing each other, Richard shares his thoughts on how the event went and what libraries really can do, and if you did miss Richard at last week’s event, he will be back with his books, Leap of Faith and Trouble With Swords, at the Chandler’s Ford Book Fair on 28th October from 10 am to 12 noon. More details in the post tomorrow.

Meanwhile, for my part, there is plenty of writing and editing work to do so best press on then! (Though I may have a sneaky read of The Best of Cafelit 6 first. Love what I’ve read so far – well done all contributors!).

Eastleigh Library 2017 - Richard gave his talk from here

The rather splendid rug at Eastleigh Library from which friend and fellow writer, Richard Hardie, talked about his Young Adult fantasy novels recently.  Image by me.

Eastleigh Library - Richard at work

Richard’s table at Eastleigh Library recently.  Image by me.

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Richard and I will be two of the authors taking part in the Book Fair coming up soon.  Image by Catherine Griffin of the Chandler’s Ford Writers’ Hub.

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Flash fiction, I think, is the ultimate proof that less can be more when it comes to storytelling! I am convinced technology (particularly smartphones) helped the form to take off, which is a nice side benefit.

Often when technology brings about changes, there are always fears it will be the death of something else. For example, the monks who wrote out all books by hand (and beautifully done too) didn’t exactly welcome Guttenberg and Caxton!

But things do need to move on. I don’t miss having to use carbon paper when I needed more than one copy of a typewritten letter. I don’t miss literally cutting and pasting stories to get them in the right order for yet another re-typing later on.

I want to see technology getting more people reading, albeit in different ways than previously. I like the way libraries have embraced e-books and I know in Hampshire the Library Service holds regular “Get to Know Your I-Pod” sessions. (You can even borrow one for the duration of the course though you do have to register for these). My Chandler’s Ford Today post tomorrow also talks more about what libraries can do as Richard Hardie and I report on his most recent book signing at Eastleigh Library.

So however you read, enjoy! Ultimately, that is the most important thing.

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Traditional books will always have a place. My stories are in The Best of Cafelit 4, 5 and now 6 and also by Bridge House Publishing (Alternative Renditions). My first collection From Light to Dark and Back Again is published by Chapeltown Books.

 

The Kindle. I read from it at bedtime and have a wide variety of non-fiction and fiction books on it. Image via Pixabay.

The Kindle. I read from it at bedtime and have a wide variety of non-fiction and fiction books on it. Image via Pixabay.

 

NEW ANTHOLOGY, A BOOK FAIR AND HOW I FELL INTO FLASH FICTION

Facebook – General

Delighted to say I received my copies of The Best of Cafelit 6 today. My flash fiction tale, Pressing the Flesh, is in there but there is a lovely range of short and long stories in the anthology. Highly recommend even if I wasn’t in it (though I admit that does give me an incentive!). Am also looking forward to the Bridge House/Cafelit celebration event in December. It is always good fun and it will be nice to meet other authors in the collections given we usually only get to meet on Facebook. Great and useful though that is, there is something nice about actually meeting the writer though.

The link takes you to the Amazon page for the book.  There’s a nice range of stories from flash fiction to standard length short stories and a good mix of styles.  Go on, have a look!

Looking forward to the Chandler’s Ford Book Fair in the Age Concern Centre in Brownhill Road on 28th October from 10 am to 12 noon. There is a nice range of authors taking part with different genres represented including YA, short stories, romantic comedy, my own flash fiction and many more besides. So there should be something to suit the book lovers in your life (which I hope would include you too!).

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My CFT post this week will be an update from Anne Wan about her book launch went for Secrets of the Snow Globe – Shooting Star. This is the second book in her Snow Globe series and these will also be at the Book Fair. Book launches are vital not just for the author but often for the bookshop or other venue in which they are held. Events do get people through the doors.

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Many thanks to Catherine Griffin for supplying the Book Fair poster, to Anne Wan for her poster and the last image shows Anne and I at Bay Leaves Larder in Chandler’s Ford. I had just interviewed Anne for a CFT post when this image was taken.

Anne Wan and Allison Symes at Bay Leaves Larder

Anne and I enjoyed a lovely chat at Bay Leaves Larder when I interviewed her for Chandler’s Ford Today.

 

Facebook – General – Part 2

I thought I’d share a quick post I put up yesterday which looked at why we write.

What is the real reason you write? To express yourself through story? Because you absolutely have to write and could no more stop yourself doing so than hold the sea in a sieve? (I think you’re allowed one bit of colourful description and that’s mine for tonight!).

Deep down for me, there is a feeling I need to give back to the world of story for the great joy it has (and continues) to give me. The way to give back is to create stories of my own and to put them out there.

There is also the sheer love of the written word and a desire to preserve the printed word. (I don’t see the Kindle etc as a threat. It is merely another format for story. I also don’t think anything can ever stop the appeal of a paperback. It is a question of getting stories out there in different formats and leaving it to your audience as to which format they prefer).

Sometimes, especially when feeling bogged down, it can pay to take a little time out to focus on why you write. It can help re-invigorate the old creative spark. Going to see stories performed (by live reading, theatre productions etc) is also good for the literary soul.

The important thing is to love stories and to love writing them. I couldn’t tell you how many rejections I’ve had (I definitely could wallpaper the room of my house with them!) but onwards and upwards has to be the motto. Else you make no progress. It is also true the more you write the more you improve and increase your chances of being accepted.

Stunning place in which to read and review - image via Pixabay

What a place in which to read!  Image via Pixabay

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

I was thrilled to be part of Jennifer C Wilson’s blog last Sunday with a piece called Falling into Flash Fiction. I talked about how I came into writing flash (it was a happy accident!) and shared two new stories, which I hope will make it into the follow-up to From Light to Dark and Back Again. (Many thanks to Jennifer for not only hosting me but for also linking to her lovely review of my book. Both are much appreciated!).

The real trigger point was my willingness to have a go at writing flash to see if I could meet Cafelit’s 100 Word Challenge. So do be prepared to try new forms of writing. You never know where it may lead you. I had never anticipated being published in flash format yet here I am!

What is also nice about flash fiction’s growing popularity is that a fair number of well respected competitions are now adding it as a category. For example, The Bridport Prize and the Winchester Writers’ Festival now have flash as specific competitions. There are several online competitions too and then there are the websites such as Cafelit where there is a standing invitation to submit stories.

I very much hope the growth in flash fiction continues. I would love it if people, perhaps reluctant to read, become avid readers, because they loved reading flash and then decided they wanted to read longer works of fiction.

 

Today, I have as a visitor the lovely Allison Symes, to tell us how she fell into flash fiction, and all about the writing form. You can read my review of Allison’s collection From Light to D…
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