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Schadenfreude

November 17th, 2017

At the recent Hong Kong Literary festival Ian Rankin, author of the John Rebus novels, was quoted as saying that in a world of uncertainty, increasing violence and terrorist attacks people were turning away from grittier novels and looking for something more ‘kind and gentle’.

I agree that reading is a form of escapism. But I also suspect that there is a degree of schadenfreude among the reading public. We sit comfortably with our book of choice and enjoy the fact that we’re safe while the protagonists are undergoing all sorts of perils and problems. And it’s not a new thing. You only need to go back to the Bronte sisters. Wuthering Heights…Jane Eyre… very romantic but also very gothic. They must have sent an enjoyable shudder up the spines of many a well-brought-up young lady. Read the rest of this entry »




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The London Book Fair

April 24th, 2015

PuzzlebookblogLast week the London Book Fair was held at Olympia from Tuesday 14th to Thursday 16th April. I made several contacts at the LBF last year (the first time I’d ever attended), resulting in me getting contracts for five picture books. This year I attended on the Tuesday and one of my first meetings was with Ms Mudit Mohini, the director of Vishv Publishing, who have just published my picture book ‘Where’s the Puzzle’. Here she is giving me my author gratis copies. I had meetings with several other publishers too and found it a very useful day.

Even if you are a new writer, with no publishing contacts, I’d recommend that you attend next year, if only for a day. It’s a really interesting place for authors, writers or anyone interested in publishing or books. There’s so much to see and learn. Most of the major publishing companies have a stall there, so you can see their latest books and pick up a catalogue to browse through. Remember to take a notebook and pencil with you, to wear shoes you’re comfortable walking in and take a bottle of water. Refreshments are available if you want them, but the queues can be long. Read the rest of this entry »




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World Book Night

April 17th, 2015

AJVRG-blogFirst, I’ve got to say I loved Phil’s photo that accompanied Monday’s post. Keswick is one of my favourite places and it’s hard to beat Castlerigg stone circle early in the morning when you’ve got it all to yourself.

Next, Thursday is World Book Night when 20 books are selected and then 80,000 copies are distributed to people who wouldn’t normally read for pleasure or own books.  It’s run by The Reading Agency, a national charity, and an army of volunteers distribute books in their communities.

Have a look at the books that will be given out – they’re quite an eclectic mix. So why have these particular books been chosen? According to the organisers they have been selected because they are all ‘good, enjoyable, highly readable books with a strong compelling narrative’. Just the sort of thing to get someone who’s not a regular reader hooked!

Incidentally, you might win yourself a set of all 20 if you tweet them (@worldbooknight   #reading journey) and tell them about your own reading journey – the book that first turned you on to reading, the books that have inspired you and how reading has shaped you. Read the rest of this entry »




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Where There’s a Will …

March 30th, 2015

Knights-Vampire-BlogCarole Taylor’s a stubborn lass. Even back at school she told everyone that, one day, she was going to write a book. Now, granted, she did get a bit side-tracked raising a family (and with her daughter the deputy head of a London primary school, son a departmental leader in an international bank, I think we can assume she put a reasonable amount of effort into that.) More recently, there’s been a major health scare with her heart. And now, as well as working part time for a TV production company, her first grandchild’s appeared on the scene … Nonetheless, she never did give up on that book thing and, in the end, didn’t just write one, but five. They’re not only written either, she’s had them all published as ebooks by an American online publisher. So, if any of you out there were thinking it was too late to get started on a writing career – read on. Read the rest of this entry »




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Finished!

January 26th, 2015

Fireworks-blogHey, I’ve made an album! All my own songs. I played most of the instruments too. It took a year to record, and we did the final session last Tuesday. So that’s it – job done. I’ve just got to sell the thing now and … oomph! … there I am, back to Earth with a bump.

Seems like polishing off an album is just like finishing a collection of poems, a set of stories, or a novel. After all the great creative work, you have to get down to business. Should you release the thing yourself (self-publish)? Or try for a record company (publisher)? Who’ll do the artwork? Should you get a stock of hard copies made, or just go digital? And what about marketing? Read the rest of this entry »




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