Self-publishing News: Indie Writers Are Doing It for Themselves!

My latest guest post for The Huffington Post on the latest trends in self-published writing.

http://tinyurl.com/qcgaazq

It comes just as my own  As I Walked Out Through Spain in Search of Laurie Lee    self-published book has become a top 20 Amazon chart hit

Just in time for all those setting off to Spain for the Easter Holidays !

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EARLY ON A COLD ST VALENTINE’S DAY (A TRUE LOVE STORY)

I was asked last month by Samantha Verant to write a short story for Valentine’s Day. Samantha published her book, Seven Letters From Paris last year.

My story is a true one and you can find it here

http://www.samanthaverant.com/2015/02/early-on-cold-st-valentines-day-true.html

“The rose is a rose and was always a rose”

What Makes a Writer – Nature or Nurture?

My latest blog is a guest blog for ALLI- The Association of Independent Authors and describes my journey as an indie writer.

Thanks to Chris Tuff Photography for the stunning photo  http://ctphoto.moonfruit.com/

 http://www.selfpublishingadvice.org/what-makes-a-writer-nature-or-nurture/

Happy Birthday Laurie Lee – 100 today

 

The End of the Road

Today is a landmark day for me, a day towards which I have been working for over two years. My book As I Walked Out Through Spain in Search of Laurie Lee is officially published today  and available on Amazon.co.uk as a kindle/paperback.9781781322079-PerfectCover.indd

 

Birthday Wishes

Laurie Lee would have been 100 today.

There has seen a plethora of articles and broadcasts in celebration of the writer, including an article by me on one of the Book Industry’s  leading trade websites Book Brunch. I tell the story behind the research and writing of my book and the journey that I made following in Laurie Lee’s footsteps down across Spain in the summer and autumn of 2012.

The Radio 4 “Today ” programme carried a headline piece on Laurie Lee, the podcast is now available, see links to other articles carried today.

Crowd Funding Site Still Live-10 days to go

My crowd-funding appeal at Pubslush.com is standing at 34% with just 10 days to go, if you would like a signed and dedicated copy or a selection of other extras, check out the site and support me in raising money for good causes.

 

 The Wheel Has Come Full Circle

 

In a strange and magical way my journey has now turned full circle. In my book I mention a lost love of mine that still haunted me as I made my journey down through Spain. We shared a life in Spain in the 1980’s. This is us then….

Kay&Paul_Sept1981 002 (1)

Just a few weeks ago, through the book, we were re-united and everything just fell back into place as if it was meant to be !

 

It looks like I have my Indian Summer, my little summer of the quince after all.

 

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A  New Dawning

To cap a lovely day I received a small gift from a friend of my mother’s who had just received a signed copy of my book. Pam had heard on the radio that Laurie Lee, who loved plants and nature, always had his favourite rose climbing up and around the front door of his cottage in Slad. It was called “New Dawn” and Pam just happened to have one growing in the garden. She sent my mum back with a cutting for me and here it is…photo (25)

A new dawn for me beckons…

 

 

 

My Many-coated Man – A Surreal Week

I came to Falmouth 6 months ago to learn the craft of becoming a writer, I had a Second Chance in Life to realise an ambition. It followed a low period of my life, redundancy, divorce, bereavement. It has not been an easy journey but, at times, a satisfying and rewarding one.

The last week of February has taken me on a surreal journey, a product of my decision to dive into the fast flowing waters of academic life beside the sea in Cornwall.

The week starts with the arrival in the post of a beautiful new book, “To the River, A Journey Beneath the Surface” by Olivia Laing, An account of a walk along the length of the Ouse: the Sussex river made famous by the author Virginia Woolf , who loved it and lived by it, but who drowned herself in its waters in 1941. The opening lines of the book are:” I am haunted by water. It may be that I’m too dry in myself, too English, or it may be simply that I’m susceptible to beauty, but I do not feel truly at ease on the earth unless there’s a river nearby.”

The week continues with me wandering fairly aimlessly down Falmouth’s high street that skirts the meandering edges of the bay. I pass the Falmouth Booksellers, resplendent with its new vivid, swirly aquamarine display promoting Diving Belles. This is a lyrical debut book by Lucy Wood, a  recent graduate from the Exeter MA Creative Writing course, a sister to my MA Professional Writing course at University College Falmouth. The book brings to life the rich and magical Cornish cornucopia of myth and legend : a folkloric cocktail of sea, sirens and mermaids lolling on blanched sands and bathing in moonbeams.

  I glance cross the road and strike gold.

 A second- hand shop. A bare utilitarian window display. Twinkling like a jewel sits a rare and coveted book.  A signed 1955 first edition by the poet and writer, Laurie Lee.  He of Cider with Rosie and As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning. He, that sparked my lifelong love of Spain and language and words.

I had to have this small book of poetry “My Many- coated Man.”  I did have it and bore it home, unopened, a treasure to savour.

On Friday, I join the University guest speaker of the week, Sylvie Saunders,  from the design agency, Pearlfisher. Sylvie has, what must be the best job title in the world,” Head of Words.” She specialises in Design and Packaging and has clients like Innocent , Jamie Oliver and Maldon Salt. She has to tell stories using sometimes just 4 or 5 words, spare, sparse minimal prose to conjure up magic. She is good at it.  I can relate to this as I await to see whether my 62 word story, Blood Cell, one of a hundred such stories in 26 Hidden Treasures, gets the green light for publication by Unbound. It looks very likely which is great news.

 Sylvie wraps up the talk and hands out her business card. Can a business card be a thing of beauty?

 I think perhaps it can, hers is a single block of greeny- blue texture with the solitary word, Sylvie, swimming across its centre, in white.It is beautiful and minimal and just floats past the eye.

I go home and open up My Many-coated Man at page 15 and read the following from the poem “Song by the Sea.”

Girl of green waters, liquid as lies,

Cool as the calloused snow

From my attic brain and prisoned eyes

Draw me and drown me now

O suck me down to your weeds and fates,

Green horizontal girl

And in your salt-bright body breed

My death’s dream-centred pearl

I look at Sylvie’s green rectangle of green in my hand.

I go back, that evening, to that same small stretch of street in Falmouth, seemingly alive with early Spring magic, and slip into the Poly and listen to The Roving Crows, a band voted the best Irish Celtic rock folk band in 2011. My eyes and my ears are drawn to, and bewitched by, Caitlin Barrett, a water sprite of a girl from the Emerald Isle who caresses and coaxes her fiddle to evoke her Celtic ancestry and to tell stories of grief and love and hope.

SECOND CHANCES IN LIFE

Getting it Right First Time Round

Swimming Home is the title of Deborah Levy’s latest well reviewed novel, her first for 15 years. She was speaking about the novel at an event, hosted by University College Falmouth Department of Writing, last Thursday 25th November 2011.   

For me one really interesting story emerged from the Q and A session that followed the reading of an extract from the novel. This told of a serendipitous encounter that radically changed the course of her life as a writer.Levy had been asked what had been the most critical step in her finding her true voice as an author and becoming the writer that she is.

  This is what she told us: during a gap year before she was due to go to a traditional English university to study mainstream English Literature , she had been working at a small art house cinema in Notting Hill, London. One week it was showing films by the illustrious director,Derek Jarman.Jarman had asked Levy what she was planning to study and Levy had shared her plans.  He took her under her wing for the day, a remarkably kind act by the distinguished director and took her to an art exhibition by Joseph Beuys     a performance and installation artist.

The exhibition switched a light on in Levy’s head and she, as a result, decided to change course and study Performance Writing.  She ended up studying at Dartington College of Art , now incorporated into University College Falmouth  and the rest, as they say, is history.   

So: what’s this story doing in a blog devoted to grasping Second Chances in Life?

Simply, I guess,  that it illustrates that getting it right in the first place can save an awful lot of time  further down the line.

 We are not all as lucky perhaps as Levy, which is where” Second Chances in Life” come in.