Tag Archives: paperback

Diary of a hopeful author: Rolling with the punches in a pink tutu…

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

Hey there. How was your summer? Long-time no see. Well, I’m back. You may (or, most likely, may not) have noticed, I’ve been unusually quiet over the course of the summer. And now, like a fairy in a pink tutu (?) I’m skipping into autumn, humming a tune and it’s all systems go. The reason I’ve been away is, to be honest, I needed a break and wanted to have some family time. My kids are getting bigger and I have a sinking feeling in my heart that this may have been the last summer they truly want to spend the whole of it with me. I know. I am a lyrical drama queen, but then I guess I am Irish.

Anyhoo, the great thing about having a break is that it gives you time to think. And read. And I do love a read. A writer can’t write if she doesn’t read. Right?This year, we went to France camping (rained so heavy one night the tent nearly caved in – me and hubbie drank neat Cointreau out of the bottle while we guarded the tent. Slept surprising well after that…). France was followed by Centre Parcs in Holland and that was where the real reading began, um, for no other reason than I could actually see the page at night (turns out camping torches don’t work so well…). With the iPad Kindle app thingamajig loaded up, I turned to one book that may surprise you. It was the autobiography of Bear Grylls. Mud, Sweat and Tears, it’s called. As a writer (of sorts), I always go everywhere with my Moleskin (get me) note book and pen to scribble ideas on. Turns out I needed it a lot this time, because Bear gave me a fair bit to ponder. For those of you who don’t know the big Bear, let me shed some fairy dust on it for you. He’s a British adventurer who was once in the SAS, climbed Everest (at 21!) and is now a huge TV person type man who, as the Stranglers say, is Big In America. Oh, and he fronts a show called Man vs. Wild (or Born Survivor in the UK). You’d think a fellow like this – old Etonian, posh voice – would be a bit of arse. But turns out he’s not. Just goes to show you, we must never judge. The delight is in the discovery, as they say. Bear has wise things to say – and I ended up spending every night of our first few days in Holland reading his book. I even got up at 3 a.m. unable to sleep – and read his book.  What is it about certain autobiographies that make us look at our own lives and question them?

Grylls scribbles down pearls of wisdom, some passed down to him from older generations, some learned from his own experiences. How could I ignore that? ‘Dig deep’ is a phrase of his that sticks in the mind. Along with ‘Who dares wins’ the SAS motto. Other phrases stick too. Like ‘roll with the punches’ – a phrase from his mum. This one made me really think. Rolling with the punches means excepting whatever comes your way, don’t always fight it because you never know where it may take you. I repeated the phrase to my kids. It didn’t quite go to plan. ‘Why do I have to roll?’ asked the youngest, frowning. ‘Do we roll down the hill?’ said the eldest. ‘’cause that’s fun!’ I guess I need to explain metaphors a little more. Reading a couple of other books on holiday helped all round. I got through While I was Asleep by SJ Watson, a debut novel and well worth the hype. Cracking writer. Also read Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ book, News of a Kidnapping. Highly recommend it – the man is a Nobel prize-winning genius.

Anyway, now I’m back in Blighty, rolling with the punches is the new me. In fact, the new me is soon to be a new weekend columnist for another local newspaper. I know! What were they thinking? I’ll let you know next week which paper it is, but what I can say now is that I’ll be writing a regular column for the re-launch of their new glossy weekend magazine. Nerves, woman. Control the nerves. I have to do new pictures (aargh!), and an interview sort of thing to introduce myself. Gulp. I am really looking forward to it – and it will all be alongside my weekly Gazette column. Happy, happy days.

I don’t know what’s going to happen with it all. I don’t even know if it will all work out. But as Bear says (alright, well, his mum), I’m going to roll with the punches. I’ll have a laugh and see what happens. In the meantime, I’m going to keep editing my next novel in which I am knee deep (still no bloody title, mind) and I’ll also be changing the blog post line up, just to enhance it a touch. Think of it as a blog makeover, if you will, but with just the same amount of wrinkles. It’s like a fairy in a tutu skipping into Autumn. New season, new look.  Let’s roll with those punches then and see where it takes us. Put ’em up!

Links: Bear Grylls Twitter, Mud, Sweat & Tears autobiography

**Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest newspaper column to my blog. This week it’s all about why our town shop fronts should be better**

Win a copy of The Boy Who Played Guitar – now out in paperback

It’s Media Monday where I post my views on the latest writing and publishing news: The Boy Who Played Guitar is now out in paperback…

Oh my giddy aunt! I don’t normally pop a post about my own Media Monday news, but I’m off on my holidays so what the heck! My book The Boy Who Played Guitar is now out in paperback and to celebrate – and because you’re all so nice – I  I have a free copy to give away .

To win a copy of the book, simply answer this question:

What was the title of my short story that won the Wotton Arts & literature 2012 Short Story Prize? Was it:

a) The Woman Who Had a Limp

b) The Woman Who Had Piles

c) The Woman Who Walked to School

You can find the answer (if you haven’t guessed already…) by taking a look through my blog posts. To send your answers, just use the ‘contact me’ section to my blog – that way no sneaky answers will appear in the comments section….

The competition closes Monday 6th August when I’ll pull a name from the hat to chose the lucky winner.

If you fancy ordering a copy of The Boy Who Played Guitar, if you know, you feel like it, you can on Amazon. For the UK, click on this link. For the USA, click on this link.

The book’s already received rave reviews, with review site FacE-Bookers saying: ‘It was a flowing story…that had them giggling in some places and crying in others.’

Here’s a bit more about the book…

What do you do when life hits a rut? Stuck in a failing secondary school in Cheltenham, ageing Assistant Principal, Dan McClean, is fed up. His 16-year old pupils won’t learn; the school’s changing to an Academy; his wife can’t have a baby; and his middle is growing faster than Facebook. So when one day the school Principal tells Dan to get his pupils’ grades up or they’re off the higher exam paper, Dan hits on an idea: he’ll start a school choir. But what Dan doesn’t know is that by setting up the choir, he’s starting down a road where life will never quite be the same again.

From columnist and debut novelist, Nikki Owen, a heart-warming, poignant tale of courage, loss and what it really means to find out who your friends are –even if they do like Lady Gaga.

Thanks for tolerating my shameless plug! Have a great week – and thanks so much for following my blog. It’s great us all getting to know everyone.

I’ll be taking a little blog break now, so see you after my holiday. France – here we come!

Nikki

**

Diary of a hopeful author: Would you want your old life back?

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

I went to a music festival at the weekend. I know! Get me! It was the amazing Nibley Music Festival and we all had a whale of a time. Many a band played on the stages, some of which were new and local, others which were older and well, not local. One of these bands was The Christians. Do you know them? They were big, in the UK at least, in the 1990s and sung songs like Ideal World and Hooverville. (If you don’t know them I’ve stuck a link below so you can watch them on You Tube.) Anyway, there we all were right by the main stage watching them when it got to in between songs and the lead singer spoke. He talked about how things were back in the 90s when they were really big – and then he said something that made me stop in my dancing tracks. ‘We want our lives back,’ he said. That phrase stayed in my head for the rest of the day – even when I was boogying to Dodgy and laughing my little head off, not that I’d had a festival drink, you understand (red wine).  

Afterwards, as we trooped on home, our legs weary, our ears ringing to within an inch of their lives, I got to thinking about what he had said. What makes someone say that they want their life back? The life The Christians had when they were big must have been amazing – fame, fans, um, fine food …(sorry, was going for an alliterating three fs there…) What must have happened to them along the way to make them want it all back a decade or two down the line? Take a look at our own lives and how does this relate? Do we all want our old lives back? Bachelor days, student days, child-free days, successful days? Aren’t there times in our lives when we all think: I’d just like to re live that time again just once? The whole thing made me think about my writing. When I was younger, writing wasn’t my goal – I was too distracted by other things and my career choice was marketing and I was going to conquer it! (think power suits…I know…I had big hair, too).  Don’t get me wrong, I always wrote a little – poems, plays, bit and bobs – because I did like to write. But it was only as I got older did I realise that it was my passion, that I had to do it, had to go for it. And I guess that’s my point: I never had it, the success, so I can’t wish for it back. Does that make me lucky? Are we lucky if we come to something later than earlier in life? Or is it just a case of whichever way the cookie crumbles?

I do wonder sometimes if my life would be the way it is now if I had gone into writing when I was younger. I might not have met my hubbie, not had my kids – who knows? This week, my book, The Boy Who Played Guitar, officially came out in paperback and when I held the actual copy in my hands on Monday I couldn’t actually speak (miracles do happen…). Tears sprung to my eyes. I have been working at writing allsorts now for 15 years in between everything else – in between getting married, working and commuting to London, having two babies, more work. But do you know what? Even though it was hard all that writing with minimum success, I wouldn’t change anything (okay, except for my feet, I’d change those – they are truly appalling. Who knew nails could get that thick? Sorry.)

We’re off on holiday next week (hoorah!) and while we’re away, the hubbie and I are going to talk (drink French wine) through the launch party for my book (just the phrase launch party makes me want to run around screaming) and finalise marketing things for it (plus synching it with the Kindle version – not quite happened yet, dear Amazon…) Who knew all this would happen? Who knew I’d make great friends with lovely Twitter and blog people along the way who are always 100% supportive (like Make Shift Mummy and Citizen of Ville Joie)? And I’m pushing 40! With some (lots) eye wrinkles!

So if someone said to me do you want your life back, I’d say, nah, you’re alright, I’ve already got one, thanks. Yup, our lives now may not be the ones we had mapped out for ourselves or had lived 20 odd years or so back, but do you know what? They’re pretty okay, actually. So, if you were asked the same question – do you want your old life back – what would your answer be?

Links: Nibley Music Festival

To get The Boy Who Played Guitar in paperback (only if you want to…), here are the links: UK Amazon   USA Amazon Europe search link    PS A bit cheeky of me, but if you do kindly read it, could you stick a review on Amazon or your blog? Enormous thanks!

Out on Thursday “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest newspaper column to my blog. This week it’s all about equality and how women should be Bishops…**