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Showing posts from November, 2015

The World Was Different Back Then - Guest Post by Alison Boyle

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The world was different back then: In 2008 I became intrigued by the question of what online social networks were good for. It was a time when this kind of technology was less familiar to the general public, but thankfully not alien to a few geeky members of the Scattered Authors’ Society who supported me in research about online commentary on fiction texts. What I discovered was published alongside a piece by Michael Rosen.

In the years that followed, although my curiosity about technology remained, I decided not to adopt it directly for authorial purposes. That is until last year when two things coincided: my curation of a community exhibition at the People’s History Museum on the Salford/Manchester border, Colours, Community and Chemistry and a website in need of updating.

The starting point for both was a crossover novel written with my father, from Pakistan to Preston.


For the exhibition which drew on the book’s themes, I made sound recordings of craftivists, feminists, academics…

Pantomime Time: N M Browne

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When I was a child my grandmother would take me to the  panto in Cardiff each Christmas. I would squirm with embarrassment at the audience participation, but I adored the transformation  scenes when the lights would change to flood the stage with magic; a pumpkin became a coach, a servant girl  a princess, and the beast  the handsome prince. I’ll be honest Panto is not a great preparation for life - don’t get me started on frog kissing, or on lying around on a bed of thorns waiting to be rescued -  but it fed my imagination as a writer.  Everyone knows that writing is all about transformation. Words on a page transform into story, the story transforms into a book and the humble scribe, by dint of performing a set of obscure magical tasks, is, with publication, transformed into a real writer just as surely as Pinoccio becomes a real boy. Once I accepted the logic of this, as I accepted that a bit of slap, glitter and the glamour of a shimmery dress made a maid a princess. You will be re…

Death, "The Quickening", and Resurrection (of dated manuscripts)

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I have recently emerged from reading Mari Biella's scary, ghostly and disturbing novel: "THE QUICKENING". I'm usually a slow reader, with an uncomfortable tendency to abandon a book and come back to it later - 'later', in this context, meaning anything from days to weeks. Ruth Rendell, however, with her psychological intricacies and insights into the nastier side of humanity, has always grabbed me by the throat, and once 'into' a Ruth Rendell novel, I don't emerge until I've seen it through, although there have been a few exceptions. THE QUICKENING grabbed me in precisely the same way. I found myself deeply involved with the tragic protagonist, but also with the strange, flat landscape of the Fens (note to self - must go there one day) and the wild and unsettling weather, both of which form the vivid backdrop to this story. I don't often write reviews, but this book impressed me, so thank you, Mari.

On the right (I hope) is the cover image …

Creating an Audio Book on Amazon - Andrew Crofts

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So, working on the theory that the more platforms a book appears on, the better its chances of getting noticed, I decided that it was time to create an audio version of my novella, Secrets of the Italian Gardener. (It is already available as a paperback, a hardback and an e-book). As promised in an earlier posting on this site, this is my account of the audio-adventure so far.


It all starts with ACX Audible, (easy to Google up). This company is owned by Amazon – like so many good things in the new publishing world. Once on the site you tell them your requirements and put up an extract from the book which actors can use as an audition piece.
This is the first stroke of genius. The actors can audition for you without any of the embarrassment of face-to-face rejection – you know the scene; the starving thespian gives their all in an empty theatre to a bored director sitting in the darkened auditorium, only to hear the words, “thank you, we’ll be in touch … next!” I did not want to be ha…

An Unlikely Shrine by Ruby Barnes

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Ireland is a beautiful country, at the price of the frequent rainfall of course, but the countryside isn't very accessible. Here in Kilkenny there aren't many options for country walks, especially dog-friendly walks.

One of the few places I can take my furry little bundle of joy for a good long run is Millennium Forest. Two hundred and thirty acres of woodland, this is the largest of sixteen Irish millennium forests that were planted in the late 1990s with a tree for everyone who was resident in the area at the time. It's matured nicely and the man-made aspect has been softened by time and nature.


The various routes through Millennium Forest take between half an hour and two hours to complete and are surrounded on all sides by densely planted oak, ash, birch, alder, cherry and spindle (I've never heard of spindle before). An established stream criss-crosses the land, passing under the paths in several spots and providing a nice place to stop, meditate and watch the flo…

News From PriceClan Publishing - by Susan Price

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