Tag Archives: #amreading

Parents: An amazing story book on disability that every child should read

9781781322031_100dpiHad the utter joy of meeting my wonderful friend (who I met this year at Hawkesbury Lit Fest) Jo Allmond today – one half of the Jess the Goth Fairy books. Jo, along with her amazing, talented daughter (and also my very good friend) Jess, have written a series of books for children that encourage understanding of disability through beautiful, fairy flying fiction. If you have young kids, I’d urge you to get them these books – not only do they foster understanding of difference, they are delightfully written and beautifully illustrated – and would make the most wonderful TV series! It’s an amazing story book series on disability that every child should read
I’ve popped the link for you below, plus a few pics of Jo, Jess – and of course, the fairy 🙂

www.amazon.co.uk/Jess-Goth-Fairy-Hiles-ebook/dp/B00OHX9T12

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The Killing Files is up for review – and it’s scary!

The Killing Files
Here’s the cover – what do you think? Like?

I’VE HAD MY HEAD DOWN, WRITING MY THIRD BOOK, NOT BLOGGING AT ALL – SO SORRY. It’s been so busy – my second book in the Project trilogy is out in the UK on 2nd June next week, and the first one, Subject 375, is out in the USA (!!) this summer.

So, amid all this, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who’s reviewed The Killing Files so far. It’s so scary when you first put your work out in the world – I’ve been working all hours on deadlines and so I was nearly in tears of relief this morning when the good reviews started to come in. So to all who’ve reviewed The Killing Files so far, are due to – and to all the fab, fab book site admin folk – this message is for you. As publication date looms next week on 2nd June (!!), from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU xx

PS. Happy writing – I’ll be back soon, blogging with writing advice 🙂

PPS. Ooo, before I forget: to get a Net Galley UK review copy, you can request one here. To pre-order The Killing Files, nip here. All reviews are mighty welcome! USA & Canada: I’ll blog as soon as I have a publication date set.

What I’ll be reading this Christmas… #ChristmasReads

fiction-fridayWelcome to Fiction Friday. This week’s fiction gives you the selection of books I’ll be hunkering down to read by the fire this Christmas (mince pie optional)

 

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The Tea Planter’s Wife – Dinah Jefferies

A dear friend of mine, this is Dinah’s unforgettable new (and Sunday Times bestselling!) novel, The Tea Planter’s Wife is a haunting, tender portrait of a woman forced to choose between her duty as a wife and her instinct as a mother…

Buy here

The Well – Catherine Chanter

51aSPnU8ciL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_When Ruth Ardingly and her family first drive up from London in their grime-encrusted car and view The Well, they are enchanted by a jewel of a place, a farm that appears to offer everything the family are searching for. An opportunity for Ruth. An escape for Mark. A home for their grandson Lucien. A Richard & Judy book club pick.

Buy here 

The Kind Worth Killing – Peter Swanson

A critically acclaimed novel, delayed in London, Ted Severson meets a woman at the airport bar. Over cocktails they tell each other 51xhf1bAusL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_rather more than they should, and a dark plan is hatched – but are either of them being serious, could they actually go through with it and, if they did, what would be their chances of getting away with it?

Buy here 

The Humans – Matt Haig

After an ‘incident’ one wet Friday night where Professor Andrew Martin is found walking naked through the streets of Cambridge, he ihumanss not feeling quite himself. Food sickens him. Clothes confound him. Even his loving wife and teenage son are repulsive to him. He feels lost amongst a crazy alien species and hates everyone on the planet. Everyone, that is, except Newton, and he’s a dog.  What could possibly make someone change their mind about the human race. . . ? Love Matt Haig’s award-winning writing, and Humans is a fine example of it (I’m five pages in).

Buy here 

So there you go – that’s my Christmas reading list – what’s yours?

How to find your writing voice… #amwriting

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Welcome to my weekly ‘Diary of a hopeful author.’ This week it’s all about finding your own writing ‘voice’.

I come from a background of regulation, working wise, that is. Embroiled in a world of statistics and focus groups and set patterned deadlines, my mind asserts that things should be done certain way at times, to a particular timescale. And while this approach, this attitude, if you will, was very handy in the domain of marketing, turns out it’s not quite so hot on a permanent basis for creative writing.

And so to my week and my utterly paralysed writing. I am, see, in the middle of an edit. Book two of my trilogy and way before this stage I assumed I had it all figured out – plot, characters development. The lot. And yes, while these things are definitely moulded, what a great (my) editor does, I am discovering, is take what you’ve got and help fine tune it in ways you never thought possible.

With my head in a muddle, it was only when I went away for the weekend, away from not only my laptop, but from my routine, from statistical head, really, that I realised I had been applying my old marketing work ethos to my writing. I was, in effect, attempting to ‘statistically analyse’ the merits of my edit changes. It came down to this: I had lost my voice. I was forcing words and ideas into my mouth without them actually being mine. It was not genuine. It was not,  I realised as I journeyed up the M4 home, me.

So, Monday morning and I asked myself this: was I writing from my gut? The answer, when I made myself admit it, was no. It was a light-being-switched-on moment. It was not me, that voice I was trying to shoehorn into the edit, but something else, my statistical head, maybe, who knew. But no amount of economics degrees or results analysis were going to help me, because I had been censoring myself, restricting, without realising, my own voice. It was not coming from inside.

We all find this, us writers. Do you find this? We think we should, see, write perfectly straight off the bat, forcing our words into a mould because we think that’s what should be written, that’s what people expect. And the result? The work we produce when we write like this is not true, not us, instead it is someone else’s and, the irony is, that when that happens, the result ain’t good.

So what to do? Well, you can, as I did this week, get into your true writing mojo mode by asking yourself a series of simple, honest questions. Honesty is the key here…

To find your voice, ask and answer these questions:

  • What I would really like to say is…
  • What am I frightened of is…
  • It would be great fun to say…
  • If no one was reading my work, I would really write about…

We all get a confidence knock from time to time – hell knows I do – but these questions to ourselves help. You may have one answer to them, you may have several, but the single thing you’ll most certainly end up with is the true key to who you are and what you write. In short,  you’ll end up with your voice 🙂

Thanks for reading 🙂 Join in the writing conversation  below…

How to increase your writing productivity… #amwriting

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Welcome to my weekly ‘Diary of a hopeful author.’ This week it’s all about how taking time out can make you more productive…

I’m in the middle of an edit and I have come to a halt. Fuggy, brain a ball of cotton wool, I have stopped and wondered what on earth is up with me. Why can’t I think straight, I ask myself? I have been sitting at this laptop working non-stop, the writing was good, but now? Now it’s dried up, a well that’s empty of water.

And then I realised: my well, yep, the fact that it was empty – that was my problem. See, as writers, when we get on a working roll, we don’t often want to halt. ‘I can’t stop now,’ we say, ‘I’m in the middle of writing.’ But, I’ve discovered along the way since I got published, that to really be productive, you have to step back when times are busy. We get, we do, see, one eye on the end product. ‘I want a book at the end of this, a succesful one!’ It’s what we think, often obsess on, and that can be our down fall. We wind up loving the end product rather than the process of writing itself.

Here’s the rub: to write, we have to love writing, and to write well, we need to step back from it. That means taking ‘writer’s time’, a day here and there when we go out, somewhere new, refill our well, as it were. Because we need to look up, that blink in the sunshine to remind us about life, because it is life that we draw from to write with, to imagine from.

So, if you’re stuck like I was this week, in a fug after working so great before, step away from the laptop and get out. Breathe in some air, run, go to an art gallery, a museum, the seaside (yes, please!) – anywhere you fancy. Sure, you’ll have a moment of panic where you think you should really be working to hit that deadline, but trust me, by taking some writer’s time, you’ll come back more refreshed, more (without a doubt) productive on the page. Your mojo will return.

What more could we want, hey? Going out for a day and calling it work? Not a bad gig, this writer’s life 😉

Happy writing 🙂

Thanks for reading 🙂 Join in the writing conversation  below…

#FridayReads: My review of Stasi Child by David Young

fiction-fridayWelcome to Fiction Friday.This week’s fiction gives you my review of the debut thriller Stasi Child by David Young (Twenty7Books)

Let’s go from the start here. Set in East Berlin, 1975, this novel features Oberleutnant Karin Muller and her deputy, Unterleutnant Werner Tilsner, with the narrative starting when Muller and Tilsner are called to investigate the broken body of a young girl by the Berlin Wall (except Young has a different, more Orwellian name for the wall:  the ‘Anti-Fascist Protection Barrier.’)

When Muller and Tilsner arrive at the scene, there is a Stasi officer, stasiKlaus Jager there, ahead of them, and they are to assist him. Not the other way around.  Cue then not only an investigation into a girl  fleeing from the West and escaping into the East, but something altogether more powerful, deep and sinister.

Atmospheric and achingly haunting at times, this novel paints a scene of a world we thought we knew and yet, when we read on, we soon understand that what we thought of the former East Germany is just the tip of the iceberg. Young, with his debut, has created a constant, tense string of not only intrigue, but emotion too. I remember the Berlin wall falling. I remember images when I was young of people trying to climb over it, of being shot in the  process.

This debut works the main characters well. Interwoven and developed, it plays out the narrative and plot, as you move through the pages, with skill.

Deep and dark, this debut is utterly gripping, sucking you in straight from the get go. Fascinating backdrop, well observed characters and a corker of an ending. All in all, superb.

Out now in e-book, the paperback version is out in February 2016. Available on Amazon here