Monthly Archives November 2014

#Flashfortnight… image rights

  The #Flashfortnight competition by Ether Books is a two-part affair: the first week involved writing the seven stories, this week the emphasis is on promotion. Each story has a dedicated promotional image directly related to it, you can see them here.     From top to bottom: Beginnings… a beautiful tiara brings bad luck [above] Revenge… June’s weapons are a sandwich + binoculars [above] Celebration… the end of a friendship [above] Movies… step into a black cab and a world of movies [above] Home… Joey is more like pigeon Darth than he realizes [above] Space… Why is John’s mother singing ‘Space Oddity’? [above] Endings… the final 60 minutes, the Golden Hour [above] Copyright for all photographs: Sandra Danby [except Beginnings:  Millisenta | Dreamstime.com]
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

#Flashfortnight… Endings

It’s the final #Flash Fortnight story today and the theme is Endings. The End. Fin. Conclusion. The Golden Hour. Click here to read my story Endings for free at Ether. If you enjoy the story, please leave a review. #Flash Fortnight is a competition for very short stories – ie ‘in a flash’ fiction of up to 500 words – so last week I wrote a story a day. Each day, organiser Etherbooks announced a different theme. The first week was about writing the stories, this week we release the stories to the world.   Click here to read my other stories:- Beginnings Revenge Celebration Movies Home Space     To read Ether’s selection of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays to your mobile or tablet,  click here to download the app at iTunes or GooglePlay. Follow all the Twitter gossip about #flashfortnight and discover new writers using the hashtag or by following me @SandraDanby and @Etherbooks
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

How to get ahead: Zandra Rhodes

Zandra Rhodes “Don’t see any job as beneath you. There is no such thing as a small job – only small people. The reality is, because of the credit crunch, there aren’t that many roles out there. If you have to go to a lesser job, do it with the best intentions, as you don’t know what it might lead to. All the best interns I’ve had working for me – like Philip Treacy and Matthew Williamson – would turn their hand to any task, even if it was just making a cup of tea.” [Zandra Rhodes, quote from ‘Grazia’ magazine January 18, 2010] Dame Zandra Rhodes is a British fashion legend. If she asked me to make a cup of tea, I would make one. Her advice works for me in strong economic times, as well as in poor. The best way to learn any job is bottom-up. The best way to write a novel is to write, write lots, write every day. Write flash fiction, short stories, poetry, essays, blogs. Unfortunately best-selling novelists don’t take on interns, as fashion designers do. Otherwise I’d be first in the queue… Kate Atkinson, PD James, Philippa Gregory. Which novelist would you
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Categories: On Writing.

#Flashfortnight… Space

The sixth theme for #Flash Fortnight is Space.  What did your mother do during the Space Race? John thinks he knows what his Mum did, but he’s wrong. Click here to read my story Space for free at Ether. If you enjoy the story, please leave a review. #Flash Fortnight is a competition for very short stories – ie ‘in a flash’ fiction of up to 500 words – so last week I wrote a story a day. Each day, organiser Etherbooks announced a different theme. The first week was about writing the stories, this week we release the stories to the world. Click here to read my other stories:- Beginnings Revenge Celebration Movies Home Coming tomorrow, the final story… Endings. To read Ether’s selection of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays to your mobile or tablet,  click here to download the app at iTunes or GooglePlay. Follow all the Twitter gossip about #flashfortnight and discover new writers using the hashtag or by following me @SandraDanby and @Etherbooks
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

#Flashfortnight… Home

More than halfway there now. The fifth theme for #Flash Fortnight was Home. Joey has more in common with his pigeon Darth than he realizes. Click here to read my story Home for free at Ether. If you enjoy the story, please leave a review. #Flash Fortnight is a competition for very short stories – ie ‘in a flash’ fiction of up to 500 words – so last week I wrote a story a day. Each day, organiser Etherbooks announced a different theme. The first week was about writing the stories, this week we release the stories to the world. Click here to read my other stories:- Beginnings Revenge Celebration Movies Coming tomorrow… Space. To read Ether’s selection of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays to your mobile or tablet,  click here to download the app at iTunes or GooglePlay. Follow all the Twitter gossip about #flashfortnight and discover new writers using the hashtag or by following me @SandraDanby and @Etherbooks
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

#Flashfortnight… Movies

The theme for the fourth day of #Flash Fortnight was Movies. A passenger steps into Jarek’s black cab and enters a world of movies and double-meanings. Click here to read Movies for free at Ether. If you enjoy the story, please leave a review. #Flash Fortnight is a competition for very short stories – ie ‘in a flash’ fiction of up to 500 words – so last week I wrote a story a day. Each day, organiser Etherbooks announced a different theme. The first week was about writing the stories, this week we release the stories to the world. Click here to read my other stories:- Beginnings Revenge Celebration Coming tomorrow… Home.   To read Ether’s selection of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays to your mobile or tablet,  click here to download the app at iTunes or GooglePlay. Follow all the Twitter gossip about #flashfortnight and discover new writers using the hashtag or by following me @SandraDanby and @Etherbooks
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

A poem to read in the bath… ‘My Heart Leaps Up’

This short poem by William Wordsworth says a lot of me about being a child, being an adult, and appreciation of nature. I had a wonderful Wordsworth lecturer at university who truly loved the poet and she brought his poems to life with her enthusiasm, so this poem is dedicated to Mary Wedd who recited Wordsworth’s poems and showed us photographs of the Lake District. ‘My Heart Leaps Up’ My heart leaps up when I behold A rainbow in the sky: So was it when my life began; So is it now I am a man; So be it when I shall grow old, Or let me die! The Child is father of the Man; And I could wish my days to be Bound each to each by natural piety.” Above is my old copy of ‘Selected Poems’, written on the inside cover with my name and college and the date ‘December 1979’ making it one of the first books I bought. I remember the anticipation I felt, never having studied Wordsworth before. My Everyman’s University Library edition was published in the Seventies by JM Dent & Sons. Dent is now an imprint of Orion. For the Poetry Foundation’s biography
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Categories: Book Love and Poetry.

#Flashfortnight… Celebration

The third theme for #Flash Fortnight is Celebration and my story tells about the toxic combination of three girls, three dresses and a forthcoming party. Click here to read Celebration for free at Ether. If you enjoy the story, please leave a review. #Flash Fortnight is a competition for very short stories – ie ‘in a flash’ fiction of up to 500 words – so last week I wrote a story a day. Each day, organiser Etherbooks announced a different theme. The first week was about writing the stories, this week we release the stories to the world.   Click here to read my other stories:- Beginnings Revenge Coming tomorrow… Movies.   To read Ether’s selection of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays to your mobile or tablet,  click here to download the app at iTunes or GooglePlay. Follow all the Twitter gossip about #flashfortnight and disc over new writers using the hashtag or by following me @SandraDanby and @Etherbooks
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

#Flashfortnight… Revenge

My second story for #Flash Fortnight is Revenge, about June who sets out with a cheese sandwich and binoculars. Click here to read Revenge for free at Ether. If you enjoy the story, please leave a review.   #Flash Fortnight is a competition for very short stories – ie ‘in a flash’ fiction of up to 500 words – so last week I wrote a story a day. Each day, organiser Etherbooks announced a different theme. The first week was about writing the stories, this week we release the stories to the world.  The theme for the first day was ‘Beginnings’, click here to read my story Beginnings. Coming tomorrow… ‘Celebration’.   To read Ether’s selection of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays to your mobile or tablet,  click here to download the app at iTunes or GooglePlay. Follow all the Twitter gossip about #flashfortnight and discover new writers using the hashtag or by following me @SandraDanby and @Etherbooks
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

#Flashfortnight… Beginnings

#Flash Fortnight is a competition for very short stories – ie ‘in a flash’ fiction of up to 500 words – so last week I wrote a story a day. Each day, organiser Etherbooks announced a different theme. The first week was about writing the stories, this week we release the stories to the world.  The theme for the first day was ‘Beginnings’. My interpretation of ‘Beginnings’ involves a beautiful tiara which brings bad luck. Click here to read Beginnings for free at Ether.   Coming tomorrow… ‘Revenge’.   To read Ether’s selection of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays to your mobile or tablet,  click here to download the app at iTunes or GooglePlay.   Follow all the Twitter gossip about #flashfortnight and discover new writers using the hashtag or by following me @SandraDanby and @Etherbooks
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

Are you on Goodreads?

Goodreads… if you are already a member, you know how it works so please add Ignoring Gravity to your ‘To read’ list. And once you’ve read it, leave a review saying what you thought. Even if it’s only ‘Enjoyed it’. Every review matters.If you haven’t discovered Goodreads yet, check it out. If you love reading, it’s a great way to find new books in your field of interest. Fiction, non-fiction, art, children’s, history, sports, comedy, food, you name it, it’s on Goodreads. It is not a book sale website, it is a community of readers who love discussing books and authors from general fiction to specialist subjects. Join in conversations with people who like the same sort of books as you. If you join, please send me a Friend invitation so we can see each other’s reviews. Click here to check out the Goodreads website… … and click here to visit my Goodreads Author Page. For news about Connectedness, the sequel to Ignoring Gravity, click here to sign-up for my newsletter. Your contact details will not will be shared, the e-newsletter is sent 1-2 times a year.   ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah Press] Click here to buy
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Categories: Book Love, Book publicity and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

Book review: The Various Haunts of Men

It is 10 years since this, the first Simon Serrailler novel by Susan Hill, was published. I recently read the eighth in the series and it made me want to revisit the beginnings of the character of Detective Inspector Serailler and the cathedral city of Lafferton. I remembered two things, the enigmatic DI, and the misty spooky Hill, its ley lines and standing stones. Re-reading The Various Haunts of Men, the dichotomy of the setting was as I remembered it: cathedral, choir, close-knit community, beautiful countryside and looking over the city, The Hill. Benign and beautiful by day, spooky by night. One woman disappears, a private, quiet, hard-working woman. Next, a dog vanishes on The Hill. Alarm bells start to ring with the third disappearance, a young woman, plump, problem skin, depressed, who has recently developed an interest in alternative therapies. Characters are introduced and there is that extra frisson at the beginning of a series when every character is unknown: which are the victims, which is the murderer? With the luxury of ten years since my first reading, I did not remember the identity of victims or criminal. Re-reading it, I wasn’t disappointed. It has spurred me on to
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Categories: Book Love.

New books coming soon

Myriad Editions will publish Hush by SARA MARSHALL-BALL [below]. The story follows a woman who, because she suffer from selective mutism, allows her partner speak for her. Re-visiting her childhood home, she unearths secrets that lie at the heart of her condition. Due: autumn 2015. The Liar’s Chair is a debut psychological thriller by REBECCA WHITNEY, to be published by Mantle in the UK. It tells the story of a woman in a toxic marriage, who is involved in a hit-and-run. The deal includes a second novel by Whitney. Due: January 2015. An action adventure series of thrillers by BEAR GRYLLS and DAMIEN LEWIS will be published in the UK by Orion. The first, featuring Dan Ranger, an ex-SAS, ecologist and adventurer, is Ghost Flight. Grylls said: ‘This series of novels will combine the best of Bond, Bourne, and Indiana Jones in one gripping series of books. We take the former SF soldier Dan Ranger into the murky depths of covert modern-day Nazism, gritty survival and the Special Forces brotherhood in a way we have never seen before. Hold tight for the adventure.’ Click here for an article in The Guardian about the Grylls/Lewis series. For the Bear Grylls website, click
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Categories: Book Love.

Reading and a cup of tea go together like…

… peas and carrots … a horse and carriage … raspberries and strawberries … gin and tonic … love and laughter To celebrate the publication today of Ignoring Gravity, I’m running a little competition for all you book readers. I want to know your favourite pairing of tea and novel. Is it Jane Eyre and English Breakfast tea… or Lord of the Rings and a cup of Assam? Perhaps you prefer to read Stephen King’s Gunslinger series with a mug of Darjeeling? Join the conversation and the competition – and maybe win some Yorkshire teabags – by leaving a message here. Alternatively, you can join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #teaandnovels or leave a message on my Facebook page. A big thank you to Taylors of Harrogate, the makers of my favourite brew, Yorkshire Tea, who didn’t think I was mad when I suggested this competition. They even sent me an enormous box of teabags to give away to the lucky winners! So if you haven’t tried Yorkshire Tea, this is your chance.
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Categories: Book Love and Book publicity.

‘Ignoring Gravity’… published today

The day is here at last, my novel Ignoring Gravity is published today as an e-book. Click here to buy now at Amazon. To find out what it’s about, click here to watch the book trailer. To hear me talk about how I wrote the book, click here. Coming soon… the Ignoring Gravity paperback. To keep up-to-date with news about my books, sign-up here to receive my e-newsletter [published 1-2 times a year]   ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah Press] Buy now
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Categories: Book Love, Book publicity and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

I agree with… Vanessa Lafaye

How author Vanessa Lafaye drew inspiration from the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane “On the one hand you have a set of real events that need to be depicted accurately, and on the other hand you have a bunch of fictional characters that you are making up from scratch, and you have to weave the two together.” From an interview with ‘The Bookseller’ magazine [October 3, 2014] Debut author Vanessa Lafaye is talking here about hew novel Summertime, to be published in the UK in January 2015 by Orion. She was inspired by the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane which hit the Florida coastline with tremendous force. Some of those killed by the strength of the storm, and the government’s lack of action, were veterans just returned from the Great War. Their story gave Lafaye, born in Florida but now living in England, the passion and motivation to tell the story. Fictionalised. “…that was part of the passion that I think every author – and especially first-time authors – need to keep them going through all the obstacles you have to overcome to get a book published.” Reading her words made me recognize a similar passion motivated me to start writing Ignoring Gravity,
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Categories: Book Love, My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity' and On Writing.

Applying the rules of art to writing: art is a form of experimentation

“But most experiments fail. Do not be afraid of those failures. Embrace them. Without courting the possibility of something miscarrying, you may not take the risks necessary to expand beyond habitual ways of thinking and working. Most great advances are the product of discovery, not premeditation. Failed experiments lead to unexpected revelations.” Excerpt from ‘101 Things to Learn in Art School’ by Kit White Nowhere is this more true than in writing: predictable, safe, boring, unpublished. Words set in concrete. Do not be constricted, particularly if you are writing for a genre which can be a straitjacket. Take a deep breath and write something unfamiliar, you don’t know where it will take you. My attempt [below] at being Picasso at www.picassohead.com was, understandably, deleted. But I did experiment.I take most risks in my short stories, it’s an opportunity to try a different genre or voice, even a dystopian world. I get more from experimenting with short fiction if I give it space to breathe, before reviewing, before making a judgement. Sometimes I press the ‘delete’ button. Sometimes an idea takes root that may one day become something bigger. ‘101 Things to Learn in Art School’ by Kit White [MIT Press] Buy
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Categories: On Writing.

Why I’m fascinated with identity

“Sandra’s Ignoring Gravity is a tale of examining the nature of identity and belonging, when the permanence of both is thrown into the air by adoption. Prior to her book’s release I thought it would be cool to catch up with the author and interview her to find out more about her book and reasons for writing,” says author and book blogger Lisa Devaney. Read the full interview about my writing methods, tea drinking, and why I became fascinated with identity. Read my review of In Ark by Lisa Devaney.   Read what other readers are saying about Ignoring Gravity. Want to know more about Ignoring Gravity? Watch the book trailer. ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah Press] Buy now And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: On #writing & why I’m fascinated by identity http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1mb via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love, My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity' and On Writing.

Book review: Some Luck

It is 1920, the eve of Walter Langdon’s 25th birthday and he is walking the fields of his Iowa farm. The first two pages of Some Luck by Jane Smiley are a wonderful description of him watching a pair of owls nesting in a big elm tree. And so starts the first book in this trilogy about the Langdon family. Chapter-by-chapter it tells of the family’s life, their farm, the ups and downs of daily life, births and deaths, and always the land. At first it feels as if not much is happening. Smiley is so good at the detail: of Walter farming, Rosanna doing the laundry, babies being born, growing into toddlers and then pupils walking the track to the tiny school where they are taught with their neighbours in one classroom, all ages together. Steadily the chapters, and years, march on. The eldest child Frankie goes away to college and then to war, becoming a sniper in Africa and Europe. His younger brother Joe shows no inclination to leave the farm. Lillian, ‘God’s own gift’, the beautiful daughter, meets a man and goes to Washington DC. And so more babies arrive into the Langdon’s household, and the family’s
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Categories: Book Love.

I agree with… Truman Capote

Truman Capote “Work is the only device I know of. Writing has laws of perspective, of light and shade, just as painting does, or music. If you are born knowing them, fine. If not, learn them. Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself. Even Joyce, our most extreme disregarder, was a superb craftsman; he could write Ulysses because he could write Dubliners. Too many writers seem to consider the writing of short stories as a kind of finger exercise. Well, in such cases, it is certainly only their fingers they are exercising.” [in an interview with The Paris Review, 1957] He talks like a journalist. Just do it, write, get on with it, stop fussing. Other journalists turned novelists say the same thing, learn the rules, break the rules, just write it. Other truisms from Capote include: “Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it.” “Life is a moderately good play with a badly written third act.” Ernest Hemingway, another former journalist, has some of the best quotes about ‘getting on with it’:- “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” “Do
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.