Monthly Archives October 2013

New books coming soon

Kate Riordan After an auction between six publishers, two novels from Kate Riordan were signed by Penguin division Michael Joseph for a six-figure sum. Fiercombe Manor is a story of two women in different eras, the 1890s and 1930s, set within an isolated Gloucestershire manor house. The second novel signed is another dual-narrative historical novel. Vanessa Curtis The Earth is Singing by Vanessa Curtis is the story of Hanna, a 15-year-old Jewish girl of Riga, whose life is turned upside down when her father is taken away by Soviet forces. Hanna and her family move to a ghetto with 30,000 others and endure starvation, forced labour and imprisonment. The novel is based on the true story of the Jews of Riga. Publication is due on January 27, 2015 which is Holocaust Memorial Day and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Marilynne Robinson Lila, new from Marilynne Robinson, is based on the same world as her previous novels [Pulitzer-winning] Gilead and [Orange Prize-winning] Home. Lila is the wife of character John Ames, and Robinson’s new novel will tell her story. Robinson has also won the PEN/Hemingway Award for best first novel with her 1981 title Housekeeping. TR Richmond What
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Categories: Book Love.

Great Opening Paragraph 43… ‘The Crying of Lot 49’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“One summer afternoon Mrs Oedipa Maas came home from a Tupperware party whose hostess had put perhaps too much kirsch in the fondue to find that she, Oedipa, had been named executor, or she supposed, executrix, of the estate of one Pierce Inverarity, a California real estate mogul who had once lost two million dollars in his spare time but still had assets numerous and tangled enough to make the job of sorting it all out more than honorary. Oedipa stood in the living-room, stared at by the greenish dead eye of the TV tube, spoke the name of God, tried to feel as drunk as possible. But this did not work. She thought of a hotel room in Mazatlán whose door had just been slammed, it seemed forever, waking up two hundred birds down in the lobby, a sunrise over the library slope at Cornell University that nobody out on it had seen because the slope faces west; a dry, disconsolate tune from the fourth movement of the Bartók Concerto for Orchestra; a whitewashed bust of Jay Gould that Pierce kept over the bed on a shelf so narrow for it she’d always had the hovering fear it would
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Flash Fiction: ‘An Apple Five Ways: 5/Trainers’

The trainers were new and very white. He didn’t want to walk every day, but neither did he want to die. He couldn’t ignore the doctor. His wife came back from the shops with the trainers and a pedometer to measure every step he took. He couldn’t ignore his wife. He didn’t want to die. So on Monday morning he dressed as usual – old grey trousers, white shirt thinning around the collar now, black belt he’d worn for years with his work suit but notched tighter, ditto the grey tie. The trainers shone as bright as a Belisha Beacon; if a Belisha Beacon was white of course, not orange. They’ll do the job, he told himself as he laced them up tight. He walked back and forth across the pink shag pile bedroom carpet, up one side of the bed and around to the other. If he shut his eyes, he might think he was wearing his slippers. He didn’t see why he couldn’t do his ‘heart walk’ as Margaret called it, in his old brown suede lace-ups but Margaret had taken control, as always. As always, it was easier to do as she said and she said trainers
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

Reading for research: A Good Likeness

A Good Likeness is a well-written account of an adoptee’s journey, not in the least bit self-obsessed or mawkish. Paul Arnott knows he was adopted but doesn’t stop to think about what it means until in his thirties with his own children. He writes to his adoption society and gets a letter back with information about his birth parents. “The section of my mind concerned with the concept of identity, which had been lying under a sheet in the garage since I was born, suddenly roared into life.” He shares the emotional ups and downs of his search, which finally takes him to a second family in Ireland. “Instead of being Paul Arnott, 11/11/61, I was now Rory Brennan, 11/11/61.” It was this sentence that really grabbed my core. He was Rory, not Paul. “It must be inconceivable to those raised by their blood parents, surrounded by grandparents, sisters and brothers, that a man in his thirties had never given any serious credit to the potency of family resemblance.” I read this book as research for Ignoring Gravity, the story of journalist Rose Haldane who finds out she was adopted as a baby. ‘A Good Likeness’ by Paul Arnott [UK: Abacus]
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Categories: Adoption and On Researching.

Great Opening Paragraph 42… ‘The English Patient’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“She stands up in the garden where she has been working and looks into the distance. She has sensed a shift in the weather. There is another gust of wind, a buckle of noise in the air, and the tall cypresses sway. She turns and moves uphill towards the house, climbing over a low wall, feeling the first drops of rain on her bare arms. She crosses the loggia and quickly enters the house. In the kitchen she doesn’t pause but goes through it and climbs the stairs which are in darkness and then continues along the long hall, at the end of which is a wedge of light from an open door. She turns into the room which is another garden – this one made up of trees and bowers painted over its walls and ceiling. The man lies on the bed, his body exposed to the breeze, and he turns his head slowly towards her as she enters.” ‘The English Patient’ by Michael Ondaatje  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘A Change of Climate’ by Hilary Mantel ‘A Farewell to Arms’ by Ernest Hemingway ‘The Sense of an Ending’ by Julian Barnes And
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

#WritingPrompt Writers’ BLOCKbusters… Freddie Mercury

Here’s a #FirstPara writing prompt from Writers’ BLOCKbusters to get you started writing today. Select a track by Queen, perhaps ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ or ‘Killer Queen’. Imagine Freddie Mercury, and a young couple with a new baby.“He was determined the baby should be called Freddie Mercury, she preferred Fitzwilliam.“ © ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby Want more inspiration? Try these other writing prompts:- Were the Berries Edible? Beach Moon Rocks What are ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’? I want to help you put words on the page. Those words won’t necessarily be the first line of your novel, or indeed anything to do with your novel, but they will be words to fill that intimidating blank space. And it couldn’t be quicker. Writers’ BLOCKbusters is a collection of three ebooks of writing prompts. Why are they different? Precisely because they are short, easy to use, and flexible. Designed for writers of fiction, any genre, novels, short stories, flash fiction, they are suitable for all genre of fiction precisely because each exercise is based on a subject unrelated to whatever you are struggling with. I am not looking over your shoulder. Ebooks coming in 2019 at Amazon… Writers’ BLOCKbusters: #500 FirstParas Writers’ BLOCKbusters: #500 FlashPics Writers’
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

I agree with, Rachel Joyce

Rachel Joyce “I have to have faith in good stories and good characters winning through. They are what I look for when I read – and they are what I want to try to write. There’s absolutely nothing wrong, though, with hitting all those story ‘beats’ and making sure your book works as a page turner. That is good story telling, I think.” [Rachel Joyce, in an excerpt from an interview with ALCS News] Although The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was Joyce’s first novel, she had already written more than 20 original plays for Radio 4. Harold Fry in fact started life as a radio play called To Be a Pilgrim about a man walking. It was broadcast and won Joyce the Tinniswood Award for radio drama in 2007. It was writing for radio that taught Joyce about story beats, though she says there were signs that she was ready to write a novel: “The narration in my radio plays was getting longer and longer, and my dialogue shorter and shorter!” Thinking of the story I want to tell is the easy bit, the ideas, the creation. Working out how to tell that story and keeping the pages turning,
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Farewell Tom Clancy

Tom Clancy died yesterday. His gift at telling a good story is evidenced by his 17 Number One New York Times bestselling novels. I was a bit taken aback when I read that. I can name the Ryan ones, the ones made into films. But I couldn’t name the others… can you? The Hunt for Red October Red Storm Rising Patriot Games The Cardinal of the Kremlin Clear and Present Danger The Sum of All Fears Without Remorse Debt of Honor Executive Orders Rainbow Six The Bear and the Dragon Red Rabbit The Teeth of the Tiger Dead or Alive Against All Enemies Locked On Even I, who do not like technical gobbledegook in my thrillers, gobbled up his books. For me there is no debate: Harrison Ford is Jack Ryan. Alec Baldwin and Ben Affleck are just not right. Did you know:- –       Clancy wrote about commercial airliners being used as missiles several years before the 9/11 attacks; –       He once said in an interview: “The writer with writer’s block doesn’t want to write”; –       The Naval Institute Press, publisher of his first book The Hunt for Red October, was concerned there were too many technical descriptions. Clancy cut
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Categories: Book Love.

#BookReview ‘Ferney’ by James Long #romance #timetravel

I missed this book by James Long when it was first published in 1998 and so came to it with some anticipation. I was not disappointed. Set on the Somerset/Dorset border, Ferney tells the interlinking tale of Gally, her husband Mike and elderly countryman Ferney. It’s difficult to review without giving away too much of the story, suffice to say it combines modern and ancient love stories in a setting so evocative of this mythical magical part of the world. It makes you believe in the power of true love. Young couple Mike and Gally find a rundown cottage at Penselwood and move into an old caravan next door while the builders renovate. The countryside seems to dispel Gally’s nightmares and her sadness at a miscarriage, in fact the countryside seems to be a character in itself and is an integral part of the story. History, folklore and nature are woven into a love story across the centuries. I know I will read it again and again, it is an uplifting story stuffed with history from Saxon times via witchcraft and rebellions. Just when you think you have worked it out, something unexpected happens. It is tender, touching, and right
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Categories: Book Love.

↑↓ Going Up Going Down 13

↑ Sorry Kelly I have nothing against Kelly Clarkson: I like ‘A Moment Like This’, I like American Idol and am not in the least bit snobby about it [its much better than The X Factor]. But I am relieved that Jane Austen’s turquoise and gold ring will stay in the UK. Clarkson outbid Jane Austen’s House Museum at an auction last year, buying the ring for £152,450. Culture Minister Ed Vaizey put an export bar on it until 30 September 2013 and the museum in Chawton, Hampshire started a fundraising campaign. It raised enough money to buy back the ring, including an anonymous contribution in August of £100k. Clarkson accepted the bid. The ring will go on display at the museum in the New Year, alongside other pieces of Austen’s jewellery. To learn more about the Chawton museum, click this link:-  http://www.jane-austens-house-museum.org.uk/ ↑ Re-imagining Jane Austen Harper Fiction is running a Jane Austen writing competition for 16-18 year olds on the theme ‘Jane Austen: Re-imagined.’ Entries will be judged by novelist Joanna Trollope. The winner will be published on a special website. Trollope will visit the winner’s school to talk about Austen, and the school library will also be
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Categories: Book Love.