I was going to do Tuesdays for #TheDarkerSideOfFiction2017 posts but as more events are added to my calendar it makes sense to pick Tuesdays as the day for all my posts about live events and signings. Darker is creeping up on me just ver 7 months to go but this week it is the #leeds2018 event which takes precedence and that is because this Friday 3rd March at 8pm tickets go on sale, and in a brilliant move the ladies from Hourglass Events are heading north and will be hosting the launch live on FB from the venue. Of course being just down the road in Huddersfield means it would be rude not to go join them for a beverage or two, (though not too many need to be on a train back at half ten as I have work next morning and next train is half one!)
So if you live in Leeds or in the surrounding areas why not come along and join us for a little tipple but if you can’t do not despair, instead grab you chosen beverage, get comfy on the sofa and join us live on line in this group, which you really should join anyway because there are some amazing authors in there, so click here to pop over and join up.
I have to say I challenge anyone who has heard his voice not to read this and hear him talking to you…
As usual begin with the Goodreads blurb…
Ten childhood snapshots from the master of the monologue Alan Bennett recalls his childhood in a sequence of talks that are funny, touching and told in his unique style. Hampered, as he sees it, by a family that never manages to be quite like other families he recounts his early years in Leeds a place where one learned early on the quite useful lesson that life is generally something that happens elsewhere: there is hiking every Sunday, trips into town and teas in cafes. Its an ordinary childhood, Bennetts father a butcher, his mother a reader of womens magazines who dreams of coffee mornings and cocktail parties and life down south. He re-lives family crises, early pieties and the lost tradition of musical evenings round the piano, all these tales told with that wry observation and ironic understatement that has earned Alan Bennett a place in the forefront of contemporary writing.
Even though his childhood in Leeds took place decades before my own I can still relate to much of what he was saying, I grew up on the outskirts of Leeds in a mining village and to be honest it always felt like you went back a decade or two from the city centre. But the truth is that even for those who grew up in other areas there will be elements from their own childhood they recognise, after all we all have those certain characters in our childhood that make their mark one way or another. Though it is written about a specific area the language is not dialectically difficult, and as I said in the opening if you have heard Alan Bennett’s voice it is impossible to read this without your head creating the illusion of him narrating it to you. It is also interesting reading the introduction the understand more about his reasons for choosing to use this medium to relate his personal stories. It is a slim book and can be read in one night and makes a refreshing change to some of the ‘celebrity’ memoirs that are three hundred volumes of drivel., it is a testament to Bennett’s genius that he can select out a few memories that give you such an in-depth understanding into his childhood without needing a whole book.
And for the score, well it has to be five out of five stars.
So the first month has flown by and I hold my hands up, it has not been the start to the year I would have wished for but O really want to concentrate on finding the positives so let’s see how I did…
01) Lose weight, yup this old chestnut again, I lost a stone and a half in the second half of last year so just set up a fresh spread sheet and new targets, while I know I have a lot more weight to lose than my target weight I am simply being realistic about losing weight in a healthy way.
Well at the end of the months technically I am down but would have been better if I had not had the blip in the middle, the problem is nights out and stress have both contributed this month to that pound put back on but I want to just focus on the positive and the 2lbs lost. I really want to be losing a pound a week so I did half of what I wanted this month lets hope next is better.
02) Publish the remaining two parts of the Queen of Ages trilogy
I have started on the second part but am well down on where I wanted to be by the end of this month, however I am determined the first draft will be done before the middle of March so time to get stuck in this month and make up for lost time.
03) Exercise more
I have not made it to the pool this month at all, just bad timing with other things I have had on but next month I fully intend to start getting back into the Monday morning swim at the very least. As you can see I did not hit my 10k step target very often, it is annoying that I cannot get it to show the full month rather than the 28 days but as I can’t change it just have to work with the stats we have. as they were all set at zero on first of last month the increase looks fab but the important thing will be to keep that figure going up, the one thing that is obvious is I need to do more than just housework on Sundays.
04) Blog at least four times a week
If you are reading my blog you know I failed this terribly but I promise you it is going to get better, family issues and commitments as I discussed earlier in the month have had to take priority but am now getting better organised and balancing everything better.
05) Get out more
If you get my newsletter or follow me on social media you will know I did get out twice this month, once with friends and the second time with the monster (it counts for now okay) both times to the Chinese Buffet, which actually accounts for that pound put back on lol. No actual nights out planned for this month but do have a lunch planned with my lovely friend Debbie and hoping to arrange a coffee meeting with another friend. I am also working on a special outing the month after which I will tell you more about nearer the time.
06) Write every day
I did not manage to write daily but what I did do was write when I had chance and also sort out several old folders with different bits of short stories, as you can see this actually is providing the basis for two very different short story collections potentially, well actually you can’t see both just the one but not going to say which one will come first lol, at the minute one looks like it may be family/relationship based and the other horror, just out of curiosity please answer in the comments do you prefer themed short story collection or ones that are a complete mix of genres?
07) Work on my self belief
This month I have taken on a new mantra ‘It is what it is!’ By this I am looking at accepting my failings without judgement upon myself, I will not rip myself to pieces because I did not achieve all my goals, I will not waste energy fighting the tide on things I cannot change and I will embrace situations and make the most of them. It does not mean I shall not strive to push myself but it does mean that I shall have faith that if I fail there is a reason and it is not always myself at fault.
08) Time management
Well obviously I as have not been hitting my targets it would seem I have been failing miserably however it is not quite true, because I have been making more time for family and to spend quality time with my son. I do need to focus more and be more productive during the daytime hours I have spare for writing and that will be my focus for the next month.
09) Update my wardrobe
Well obviously two pounds is not enough to justify a new wardrobe but I have been thinking about what I want my look to be, I recently added some purple to the pink in my hair and I am tempted to move more towards purple than pink, I am rather liking the idea of a ‘steam-punk’, Victorian ‘Gothic’ I like the idea of the corseted structured look with maybe the long bustled /layered skirts however with a butt the size of mine that may not be the most flattering look to go for.
10) Publish the newsletter each month
The February newsletter went out on time and I am pleased to say I had plotted out half of it during the month, with the exception of a book to my friend Heidi and the January prize sending out I am now caught up on the mailing situation so that is a huge bonus. I am hoping to have more exciting things to discuss in the newsletters as time goes by because it is hard to make it so they are more than a rehash of FB and Instagram posts and not just pushing the same book over and over again.
11) Work out what I want in my personal life
This month my personal life has not taken a step forwards, backwards or in any other direction. My son has been my priority and my one night out was not exactly the sort of night that was going to give the opportunity to meet someone. At the minute I have so much on making time to met new people is going to be hard, I don’t really want to go down the on line route and just talking to people on line because you can’t judge if the chemistry is there via text or even on the phone, it is a physical reaction, I did meet someone last summer but due to other issues it did not work out but the chemistry was off the chart and the memory of how alive that spark made me feel means I am not about to settle for anything less.
12) Keep my website up to date
I am technically behind by one post as I write this, mainly because I struggle to think of interesting things at the minute to put on up there, I also am due to add another today as I am finally finishing this in the Sunday despite the fact it has been on the go since Wednesday but it has been a rather chaotic week personally so I am going to forgive myself as after all ‘It is what it is!’
I am thrilled to announce that it became official this week that The Darker Side of Fiction will be an annual event to be held in Peterborough. While there is of course no guarantee I will be invited back each year I can see me attending on a regular basis even if only as a guest, I love the fact Hourglass not only were willing to take a chance on me personally but that they work tirelessly to support and promote independent authors and give them chances they would struggle to achieve on their own.
I have done small signing event in my friends shop, I have done an on-line book launch but proper signing events are very hard to organise, I believe it is possible to arrange to do them in your local Waterstones but like everything it costs, and of course so does this but here is the big difference. You publish your first couple of books but are still struggling to make your voice heard and get your books read, all those people that promised reviews somehow never quite got round for it so you and trapped in the undercurrent of Amazon’s logistics, so how do you make you voice hear, get your work seen, well in steps an angel or in this case a couple of angels.
Hourglass events is run by Jo and Rachel, and they decided to combine their events business with a love of reading and create first the Leeds event then the Darker event, this gives smaller authors like myself the chance to sign alongside others with established followings, it provides the possibility of reaching a wider audience, that someone looking at the next stall might pick up your book and decide it looks interesting and worth taking a chance on. Kindle give-aways are great for getting you book onto peoples kindles what they can’t do is get that person to actually read it and post a review if they enjoy it, someone picking up a print version and investing their own money is more likely to at least read it, the review well that can come down to numerous other factors but you do stand a higher chance if they loved it.
I would really encourage anyone who gets the chance to go along to one of these book signing events, they are a fairly cheap way to pass a few hours, and even if you don’t by a stack of books you get the chance to meet new authors, get their cards and follow them on social media so you can find out more about them and maybe buy the books at a later date, but more than anything give them the support to continue following their dreams in an industry where so often you can be left feeling like you have banged your head against a million walls.
I haven’t really done one of these for a while so it seemed like a good way to have a quick catch up.
Lets start with the fact it is 12 months to Peterborough and #TheDarkerSideOfFiction2017, I am so excited and now really it is my main focus for the future, I had planned on doing The Dragon’s Mark as stand alone book next however as I worked on the project it became clear it has the potential to be a series with a various characters taking the leads at different time, this means I am going to go straight ahead with the Queen Of Ages Trilogy, I shall be doing a cover reveal next Monday as well as announcing the launch date next in next weeks vlog.
OF course the writing is the most important thing but I cannot help but take a look for ideas for swag and of course the search for the perfect ball dress has begun.
If you are on FB you can keep up with the Darker Side event here…https://www.facebook.com/groups/1433818133602201/
And the 2018 event here (as it stands I am not signed to be a signing author at this event but I will be there at the evening event for certain it is just too good to miss) https://www.facebook.com/groups/1541707772746487/
And if you are interested in coming to see me in Peterborough then this is the link you need… https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-darker-side-of-fiction-2017-author-book-signing-event-tickets-24955322040
I am so excited about the future and feel more positive than I have in a long time, make sure you sign up to the newsletter for your chance to get your hands on some bonus give away prizes and be first to know what is happening, I know I have not been very good at keeping up to date with them but I will be sending them out from now on the first of each month and every month one person who opens their newsletter will win a prize though the prize will change from month to month, so anyone opening the November newsletter will go into a draw to win a signed print copy of Voices Across The Void.
Right need to finish editing tomorrows vlog, had a slight technical issue as my memory card slot on the computer decided to die this morning so had to find the camera cable, I will not say how many wrong cables I picked up before finding the right one but I will say I swore.
Take care and if you dress up for Halloween post your pictures to my FB page I will set up a Halloween thread there.
Have decided I am going to film these earlier in the week from next week and actually put a little more thought into the production and editing, so here is the last vlog in the basic format and hopefully you will enjoy even more the ones I hope to start doing from next week 😀
Did you miss me? What can I tell you am back, my hair has gone alarmingly pink lol but I am feeling really good. I needed to take a step back to make some decisions about my personal life or to be fair my lack of it, so I made some changes, joined a dating site, despaired of the human race and came to some conclusions but this is not the place to talk about those but I will post at a later date about some of the conclusions I reached.
So lets get this done. I am heading out this afternoon to the cinema with the kids to see this film…
So for now a couple of blog posts to share and a vlog then back to normal from tomorrow…
- It seems so long since I had an away day, really feel the need for one growing especially after seeing posts like this https://nigelborrington.com/2016/09/06/september-on-the-river-swans-on-the-river-suir-county-tipperary-photo-story/
- I personally try not to put too much faith into statistics, after all I have never actually met anyone who has taken part in one but regardless of the inspiration this post is still genius https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2016/09/06/the-health-benefits-of-reading-fiction-guest-post/
- As you know I do love my notebooks and keep a rather sporadic journal, however although I can see the merits of this particular technique I fear it is not for me however I thought I would share it just incase it is the right fit for any of you https://frootbat31.wordpress.com/2016/09/03/the-joy-and-woe-of-morning-pages/
Catch you all next week for coffee and a chat and scheduled posts in between xxx
Around 3am I climbed into bed exhausted, while I may not have run 5000km last night, or 800m, or even one leg of the 4 x 400m, physically, let me tell you mentally I ran every single one! I bounced in my seat cheering Team GB on to what has been our best ever medal haul at an Olympics. For this lazy Sunday I will share a couple of blogs still but I want to talk about sport first.
At school they try to tell you it is the taking part that counts not winning and, to an extent that it true, but once you reach the levels these athletes reach winning means performing to the very best of your ability, we have seen elation and heartbreak, and we have heard athlete after athlete, swimmers, cyclists and representatives from every sport thank the National Lottery who fund many of the projects. I have also seen on FB people complaining the lottery money is being used in this way and that saddens me, it saddens me they are so short sighted they do not understand how the success of a small group of individuals can inspire hundreds of children to decide they want to give a sport a try. We live in a time where schools and councils have sold off playing fields, free sports other than football, cricket and rugby are becoming fewer, and at a time when the world is in such turmoil and hate seems some days to get the upper hand they dismiss the way in which sport bring people together. Maybe this more than any other image sums up to me the lessons are youth can learn from the Olympics, that even in your own quest for success and glory, compassion, camaraderie, and decency bring you just as much respect if not more.
One of our greatest athletes, Mo Farah was born in another country and there are those who would argue that he should not be here but I guarantee you not one of them feels the same pride in our country as he does, they would not be willing to put in the hard hours, gruelling training sessions to pull on that vest and represent us all, anyone who questions if an immigrant should represent a country only needs to listen to him talk about how much the British shirt means to him.
Sport brings together people from different countries, backgrounds and beliefs together and I think even more so at this games we are seeing a break down of barriers, people challenging taboo subjects…
The last video there features a controversial character because of a medical condition which means her body produces high levels of testosterone, she has had to fight to compete and if you consider her appearance she does indeed appear masculine, but so do some others without any genetic reasons, there is an argument that it gives her an advantage but if that were true she would never have won a silver previously and would all the records, she has proved medically she fits the criteria to compete and that should be enough.
Sport is the one thing that has the potential to bring equality, understanding and friendship between nations, both teams and fans, okay some sports such as football the rivalries get out of hand but think rugby, think of those who cheered Michael Phelps on to his final golds, we should encourage anything that promotes healthy activity, team work and harmony.
So it is evening now, my daughter has been here all day, she was supposed to be going out with a friend but a cancellation saw her show up on my doorstep and we have spent the day watching wrestling and sorting out book shelves, I swear even I wonder at times if there is such a thing as too many books then realise I just need a bigger house and it will all be okay. As it has got so late I am going to just share a couple of blogs then head off to write a book review for tomorrow before watching the closing ceremony in bed…
- First up your chance to grab a free book over on Mel’s blog, not only is she a brilliant writer she also designed my Voices cover so I may be biased https://msfowle.wordpress.com/2016/08/20/free-book-giveaway/
- I have never been to the Edinburgh Fringe but blogging means you can often live vicariously through others https://annkoplow.wordpress.com/2016/08/21/day-1329-edinburgh-dreams/
Going to hit publish now and get off to bed I really will be back to normal soon I promise, but at least this week I can get back to sleep properly.