My exhibition at Newcastle Central Library, Part the First. 

Not another double entendre from me, you cry! To which I reply, I insist on getting it out as often as possible with as many different people as possible. Yes, getting our work out there, it's the perennial question to which there are many answers, all of them sadly requiring time away from writing, watching NCIS and messing about online. I’ve just returned from overseeing the installation of one such, ‘Will Power’, a solo exhibition opening today, which I was offered by the central library in my nearest city, of my poems inspired by Shakespeare.
Exhibition Part Two: My 'Ophelia's Sista' Hamlet rap, some of my play posters, and Will S.
I’m better known for death, sex and pathology poetry lately but occasionally I’ve bashed out a sonnet, sometimes based on one of Will’s but on a modern subject. As I’ve found with my science-poetry art installations, from very untechie (beachballs, sheep, swimming pools, huge posters) to electronic (animated text, film) poetry writ large in public spaces is a good way to reach new audiences. On another floor they are displaying the actual First Folio, a book of Shakespeare’s plays put together in 1623 by a couple of actors. Eighteen of his plays survived in other forms but if this one, now unique, book hadn’t survived the past 400 years of wars, plagues, floods, we would never have known The Tempest and Macbeth (two of my top faves) existed, among the other eighteen which appeared here for the first time. Imagine!
Exhibition Part Three: poetry and book covers, one of them with a Hamlet quote for a title.
I shall be running a workshop during the exhibition’s run (1st-7th April) for others who want to let Shakespeare shake up their writing. Copyright isn’t a problem as he’s been dead a smidge over the required 70 years, but I shall be making a point of the importance of giving him full credit in the resulting poems. Which brings us to another way of ‘getting your work out there’. Instead of putting your back catalogue on Kindle and other ebook platforms, you could find out that someone else has kindly done it for you, taking some of your novels, changing the names inside and making a nice pile of wonga from selling them on Amazon. This is the link to an egregious case of plagiarism. Someone who’s read all the advice to ‘write a lot of books, it helps sales’ found a quick way to get out a full-length novel every few months. Do read this case and ponder, then dash off to Kindle your own novels.
Exhibition Part Four - more poetry and some other things I've done, livestock related.
Meanwhile, such work as I’ve put ‘out there’ (including one of my children) wouldn’t exist either if I hadn’t survived a disabling car crash THIRTY YEARS AGO TODAY! Which is why in my family, today is Accident Day, not April Fool’s Day. Either way, enjoy it folks, and stay safe out there.

Here's one of my poetry books which is on Kindle, and has a Hamlet quote for a title (in full, 'All that lives must die', as it's about sex, death and pathology).

Find out more about my various projects and productions on (books, art installations etc)
Some of my thirteen books, including crime novels, are now on Kindle UK US, iBooks UK USKoboNook and more, on all platforms worldwide.
Follow me on Twitter @ValerieLaws or find me on facebook 


Umberto Tosi said…
Yes, Valerie. You feed the spirit of celebratory expression. Never hide thy light under anything, I keep telling writers in whose work I see sparks shining through false modesty. As as for Shakespeare's continuing inspiration, I'm working on the sequel to Ophelia Rising right now and I need all I can get. Happy April Fools Day!
Susan Price said…
Happy accident day, Valerie! So glad you survived.
And I've so enjoyed your 'death poetry' that I'll certainly be looking at what you and Bill (S, not K) can produce together.
Jan Needle said…
And the Irish ebook nicking tale is truly amazing!
Mari Biella said…
Getting it out has always presented something of a challenge to me, Valerie - but your exhibition sounds like fun. And that plagiarism story - eek!
Dennis Hamley said…
Valerie, I read the sample poem on Amazon - The Shrinking of the Brain. I thought it was brilliant: terrible, psychologically spot-on and beautifully organised, so the form dramatises the process. I've bought the paperback!
Lydia Bennet said…
Thanks All for the lovely comments, and thanks Dennis for buying the book!
So glad you're still here, Valerie! And so interested in your poetry - wish I could get to Newcastle - wish the exhibition was going on longer. I read about the plagiarism case and thought the poor writers who had been plagiarised were incredibly understanding. Too much so, really. There's a temptation to believe the best of people, to think that there must be some terrible underlying condition or problem that makes people do things like this. Eventually, you realise that sometimes people are just plain venal or greedy. I have a couple of friends who work in the law - they seem to reach these conclusions a lot sooner than the rest of us.
Chris Longmuir said…
You're looking good, Valerie. Good luck with the workshops I'm sure you'll wow them. I'd read that plagiarism article before and was shocked, particularly as the author who was doing the plagiarising is reasonably well known, and I've seen her books (well, not really HER books) praised in various online groups. I think if I were the author concerned I 'd feel like ripping her to pieces.
julia jones said…
Dea Valerie - as ever I salute you for your energy and determination as well as your amazing range and versatility. Has Lydia's blog made it into paperback ? I'd love to buy it in hard copy. I recommended it (and you) to a lit fest organiser a few weeks ago and wished I could have thrust it into her hand.

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