Showing posts from January, 2013

Guest Post - Jan Ruth: Locations & Inspirations


Guest Post: Elizabeth Kay – Travel Broadens the Pen

My first trip abroad was when I was fourteen. My father hadn’t been back to Poland since he’d been deported to Siberia twenty-five years previously, so it was an emotional journey. The iron curtain was a border few people crossed in the sixties. I can remember it all so clearly; the queues of people we could see from the train when we passed through Berlin, waiting to cross from east to west for Christmas. The soldiers carrying sub-machine guns on the trams in Krakow, the strange and wonderful food, the horse-drawn sleighs that acted as taxis in Zakopane. Seeing real mountains for the first time. It was the sort of experience destined to have a permanent effect on me, and from then on foreign travel was an obsessive goal.

During my student days I hitch-hiked round Europe, getting as far as Istanbul and meeting interesting people, getting in and out of sticky situations, and becoming more and more hooked on other cultures, climates, scenery, wildlife. It’s only since my kids have gr…

Jane Austen didn't have a Kindle! by Hywela Lyn

Yesterday, 28th January 2013, was the 200th birthday of Jane Austen's most famous novel 'Pride & Prejudice'.

It was marked by a 'readathon' at the Jane Austin Centre in Bath, hooked up with a 12 hour broadcast with Jane Austen Societies in Australia and North America.

A conference has also been organised at Cambridge.The conference will explore the original historical context of the novel, as well as the numerous screen adaptations and literary spin-offs the book has inspired.

In the coming weeks the BBC will celebrate the anniversary of the book by recreating a Regency ball, like one featured in its pages, and there are several more events planned throughout the year, to celebrate the anniversary.

Many new books about the writer have been published, with examinations of the history of the novel, and there is also a new high-end hardback edition available.

First published by Thomas Egerton in 1813, Pride and Prejudice was Jane Austen's second novel. On rec…


Recently I've been asked to narrate one of the story-apps I'm doing with Flying Books. The last time I used a mic was at the launch of FOR MARITSA WITH LOVE and on that occasion I nearly wrecked it, so I regard the things with great caution. I don't have a mic on my computer, so we bought a tiny clip-on one. It was strange to be doing a reading without a visible audience. Now, don't misunderstand - I have always read aloud - for me, it's an essential part of working - but it's a private thing, and I hate having anyone around while I'm doing it. Reading finished work to an audience is something else. It's a special kind of sharing, and audience feedback is an essential part of it. A formal reading with a mic, pausing briefly for each page turn, has been a curious experience, and I still haven't got it right - I was told it had too much echo, so I may have to give up and hand over to one of their professional narrators (I …

A "Well Sick" Story - Andrew Crofts

This month the folk at Wattpad turned their attention to promoting “The Overnight Fame of Steffi McBride”, which had been pulling in a few readers on its own but was lagging a long way behind its prequel, (“The Fabulous Dreams of Maggie de Beer”, which has now had comfortably over 300,000 hits). As well as putting Steffi on their “featured” page, which is pretty much like getting onto the front table at Waterstones, they also suggested we put up a contest, asking Wattpad readers to give one good reason why they would like to become famous overnight, and one good reason why they would not. The contest is running for another couple of months but we have already had several hundred entries, all of which show a commendable grasp on the advantages and disadvantages of instant fame. This month also saw a preview of the finished television pilot for Steffi from Emerald Films, which is going up on the internet in February with all the attendant social media hoo-ha. The film is a beautiful piece o…

Why be a writer when you could be normal? - by Rosalie Warren

First of all, my apologies to Jeanette Winterson (who is, incidentally, one of my favourite authors) for playing with the title of her wonderful book Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? (If you'd like to read my review of this book, please see my blog, Rosalie Reviews.)

Why be a writer when you could be normal? Why be a writer when you could be happy? Why be happy when you could be a writer? Why be a writer...? OK, that's enough permutations for now. But all these questions are currently very much on my mind, and I'm going to try to make a few clunky stabs at answering them here.

For years and years I wanted to be a writer, but was, on the whole, too busy getting on with life to do very much about it. Six years ago I took early retirement for reasons of ill-health, and since then I've been, as they say, time-rich. I started (and continued) writing because I wanted to, and because it felt as though I had at least two-thirds of a lifetime's accumulation of stuff to …

What's Your Kindle-book's Name?


Writing About Writing - Stephanie Zia

I've just been tagged in a Blog Hop meme by Susie Kelly via Victoria Corby called The Next Big Thing - French Twist. A Q&A about current work in progress. It looks great and I want to participate, I will participate. But it's a long time since I wrote about writing. Problem is, it's a long time since I wrote at all despite all recent good intentions. I have 3 WIPs to complete, selecting one to revisit will, I'm sure, help in the mission to get back to writing. It brings it all back, in a good way, as to what it's all about. My happiest writing times were the pre-publishing hoo ha years of creative writing classes, mostly short stories, a bit of poetry. No pressure beyond getting the words right enough to read out loud, listening to others and entering a few competitions. Like many of those who were to become my friends on the courses, I dreamt of one day being able to write what I wanted to write, publish how I wanted to publish - .....oh hang on?

So what's …