Sunday, 28 March 2010

The Book Nook makes space for Shropshire Writers

I attended the Local Authors Book Fair on the 27th March. The Book Nook in Newport, Shropshire arranged for 19 local authors to gather and sell books and give talks about publishing and writing. Alison, owner of the shop arranged for some writers to give talks up on stage or huddle for an informal gathering to talk about what we love doing most - Writing!

I shared a table with my Mom, which was wonderful, and it was close to Simon Whaley, who will probably need more than one table next time as he has written so many books.

It was so wonderful to have time to chat. Simon is always willing to give so much advice at these events. I felt like I had been on a mini workshop with my head crammed full of brilliant advice after talking to him.

Then a first experience for me and Mom too! We got a few people asking for our advice on writing! I was a bit daunted to start with - who am I to give advice? But I think we got through it in the end and set them on the right path.

I enjoy these events because I love mingling and talking to other writers. I was so excited when I met Karen Lowe (the lady in the red jacket) I bought her book 'Witches and Warriors' nearly ten years ago, it's all about local folk lore in Shropshire, and to meet her was wonderful. I couldn't believe it, but now feel a little embarrassed at my excitement when I said 'Oh my god - you wrote that?' She is a lovely lady and I was very pleased to meet her.

Helen Leathers is the lady on her right, I met her through the WIRE network group. Women in rural enterprise is a wonderful networking group for any women who are in business. I felt a bit odd to start with as I did not feel that writing was a business, but I did get a lot of useful advice.

Helen has written many books about the spiritual outlook, and getting the most out of our life. I enjoyed chatting to her so much as this is a subject I am interested in too.

I got goose pimples talking to the the next lady and her husband.

Catherine Cooper writes what I want to read! OK, so I am not a child, but I love the sort of stories she writes. Magical stories, set in our magical Shropshire. Her display was wonderful. She told me the plot of her novel 'The Golden Acorn' set around the Wrekin in Wellington, and within a few minutes, she brought it to life by using her hand made props including a model of a raven, a cauldron, and a golden acorn. I was captivated by just listening to her and had to buy her book before the end of the event.

I could not leave out my own Mom on this post. Author of Gentlemen of the River.
She said she enjoyed this event more than her own personal book signing event last December. She loved chatting to people too. She made this sale as shown above, then went off for a while into Newport to get a sandwich. On her return, she delighted in telling me that she had gone to another book shop in town and sold three copies of her book to the owner!

It was a lovely event and though I only sold two copies of my book, it was a wonderful experience. To sit next to my Mom selling our books and talking to some of the most interesting people in Shropshire about our passion for writing is something that every writer should do.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Taking the bull by the horns

The last few days I had so many ideas about writing that have entered my head without invitation. There I am minding my own business when an idea just calls in! I am sure my brain must look like spaghetti junction at the moment, with stories and articles coming from every direction with no traffic control in place

Last week, I drove to work one morning with so many ideas that I wanted to explore. The minute I got in, I had to run to my desk like a mad woman and scribble it all down before I forgot it.

There was no way out. I would have to ask for a day off! At short notice! Which is not easy, but I got it! Today! And so today, I made use of very second I could.

* I emailed someone asking for an interview with view to a future article idea.
* I started the writing part of a non fiction book.
* I took the photographs for the non fiction book as mentioned above.
* I read a book for research for yet another book, despite my hens wanting to read it too! (see my other blog - inside the chicken coop for that one!)

I was so glad that I took the bull by the horns. Sometimes you just have to go with something if it feels right at the time and get it done. I only had one day and wanted to make the best of it. I hope some of the work I have put in will pay off but if not, I will do it all again!

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Drumming up some inspiration

Our monthly Wrekin Writers meeting was very different today. We had a drum workshop where we all got to play these incredible instruments. (I forgot the name of the drums we used so if anyone can remember, please do make a comment)

It's amazing just how inspiring it is to create such a sound. None of us had done it before, but as you can see from the video, the result is quite mesmerising. It really stirred my emotions and inspired me so much to write something. This will be our challenge for next month so I am already jotting ideas down.

I found it fascinating to learn some of the African songs and a little bit of the history of how the people would make these sounds for all sorts of occasions as they still do today. How wonderful it is to embrace different cultures by gathering together and making a sound that is so primeval all over the world.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Mothers Day

Mothers Day is not just for humans. The bond between an animal and it's baby is magical too, just like the mare and foal above. This picture was taken last year in a field close to my horses. It was very special to watch the two of them as their beautiful relationship started to develop the moment the foal was born.

The Ewe with her lambs was an incredible experience too. I actually captured it on video last week which I posted onto Facebook. The Ewe was amongst hundreds of other sheep with their lambs. She suddenly called out and across the field, came racing her little lambs who singled her out immediately. It was a privilege to see.

Happy Mothers Day to everyone!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Bringing a story to life

I often walk in the very places that I have set my novel 'Red Kite'. It helps me to bring a story to life, if I am actually there, in the place that I have set a scene.

Over the years I have walked miles in the footsteps of 'Brodie' my central character. The photos on this post are what he has seen, so by viewing these images, you are looking through his eyes.

I think many vistors to the Titterstone Clee may have given me a wide berth at times if they have spotted me acting out a particular chapter when I have been talking to myself, perhaps counting steps , hiding in places with my notebook franticly scribbling down ideas, or just sitting in the very places where Brodie has visited.

It is a great way of bringing a story to life. If you experience it in the real world, it can breathe so much life into your work. I know this may not always be possible, especially if you are writing Sci-fi and of other planets, but back down on earth, it's worth trying. Saying that, I think the image above looks almost like another planet!

The photo above is perhaps the most chilling as it is where Brodie has the most terrifying experience ( You will have to buy the book - if it is ever published - to find out what that experience could be!)

I sat in this very spot the other day. I was enjoying my escape back into 'Red Kite' It was silent apart from the birds and the hum of a distant tractor. Suddenly a man called out a boys name from behind me. Nothing odd about that you may think - except it happened to be the name of Brodie's dead brother! How spooky was that? I turned around like I had seen, or heard a ghost! Poor man must of thought I was bonkers!

That was bringing my story a little bit too close too life, but what a magical experience it was to have.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Wrekin Writers fix it

I wanted to send a few flowers to say thank you to my fellow bloggers and Wrekin Writers who helped me yesterday. I had a horrible problem with my blog which had been taken over by horrible spam! I was so upset as I really thought everything had gone forever. I had been working on a post for ages when all of a sudden a load of adverts kept flashing onto the screen and would not let anyone access it.

But you came to my rescue via facebook and email with a fix that worked
( Bryan and Carole you are brilliant!)but thanks to everyone for giving me support. It was so lovely this morning to see people responding and I fixed it before even getting out of bed for work!

I had added a few gadgets to my blog. This seems to be quite a problem so beware of adding anything. I had a fish tank, a pet bat and a nature machine, I know that sound a bit excessive, but it apparently happens with all sorts of things, including those counter things so just be careful.

Thanks so much everyone

Monday, 1 March 2010

Two Shropshire Lasses

What a lovely end to my week off. The Shropshire Star came out last Friday and took this photo of me and Mom with our books. I am really pleased as it was in today's version of the Shropshire Star. It was so much fun, we got a fit of the giggles when the photographer was there.

It's been a real boost, and although my book was published ages ago, there is no harm in giving it a bit of a re-launch, and I am so proud of Mom with her lovely book that is doing really well.

I was back at work today, but had an email from a publisher when I got home who is prepared to read one of my children's stories. I am feeling on cloud nine tonight, so rather than the Monday blues, I think I will re-name it the Monday 'Whoo hoos!'