Saturday 30 May 2015

Newsletter May 2015

I’ve just today finished all of my marking for Semester 2. I still have a few units to moderate and literally as I made my final comment on the last script, the doorbell rang and there was the postman with a parcel from Leeds University with the work I have to look at as an external examiner. But yes, I’ve been reading and commenting on a lot of stories and by doing so I enhance my own editing skills.       

Books and short stories  

Girl in a Smart Uniform continues to burble along. It’s shaping up a little better now though it’s a slow process. I’ve almost finished the second draft. I’m getting to know my characters a bit better. I even quite like them. That’s always useful. 
I’m now working on a second chapter for my non-fiction book proposal. I’m discussing Lemony Snicket and Hans Christian Andersen :- in other words, authors who offer no happy ending at all. Next will come a chapter on war. Then I’ll craft the introduction. At that point it will be ready to send out.
I’ve written two more short stories but I’ve not yet sent those out. They’re resting in a drawer at the moment. They’ll be on their way soon, though.
I’ve now also started on my Coffee Talk Selection. These are the stories I’m collecting when I work as a Writer in Residence in one of the Creative Cafés. They can be stories that writers contribute. Or folk just tell me their story and I write it up. The stories change a little. I collected three last time. I’ve written one and almost finished the second. The third will take a little more research.
I’m continuing too with my Tweetpics project. On days when I’m reading and researching more than writing I take the time to produce a 140 word piece of flash fiction, inspired by the first photo I see on my Twitter feed. It’s fun and it also forces a bit of self-discipline. I’m not precious about it, though. Why don’t you have a go? In fact, have a go and send it to me. I might just publish a second collection.     

Bridge House

We’re currently reading for the next anthology.
Debz and I met up on 9 May and had a fabulous pancake at My Old Dutch. We’re changing the way our partnership works but that won’t affect anything to do with the books. Nor will it affect the way we work.
We are, however, shortly going to take out of print any book that is not covering its overhead cost. This is a mere £8.50 a year but one or two are no longer covering that. We like to operate in a way that we can’t ever lose money. We’ll, we’re losing a tiny amount there.
Yet there is another side to this. The electronic version remains in print forever. There are no overhead costs. So we’re pleased to announce that we’re also gradually releasing on Kindle books that we’ve not had on Kindle before, so in effect a relaunch. We’ll probably prioritize the books that are about to go out of paperback print.     

Creative Café

Don’t forget as well we’re always looking for stories for CafeLit.
I’ve now added some pages of resources for writers to the web site. Do look out for those.
Debz is busy putting together The Best of CafeLit 4. And I’m still on the lookout for more cafés. Do let me know if you come across one. Use the form here.

School Visits

I continue to offer free school visits, details below.   
These visits are up to 90 minutes long and are focussed on my books.
In addition, many of us from the university are going out to schools and offering presentations on what is on offer on our programmes. I’ll generally throw in a creative writing exercise. 
I’ll reiterate straight away that authors should be paid for school visits, but these free ones are actually part of the work I do at the university.
I offer readings for 14+ of Veiled Dreams, Scum Bag, Spooking, Fibbin’ Archie and The Peace Child Trilogy (The Prophecy, Babel, The Tower) a short question and answer session and a creative writing exercise for your class. For primary children there are Jason’s Crystal, The Lombardy Grotto and Kiters. Read more about my books here. There are of course also my stories in various anthologies. All other visits are at the rates suggested by the Society of Authors. Schools can mix and match these visits. I do ask that travel expenses are covered. 
I’m offering visits and talks specifically about my The House on Schellberg Street project for a donation towards the project. I’ve devised a whole interactive workshop for this. The book is now out and selling steadily. It would be a real asset for any school teaching the Holocaust at Key Stage 3. Even if a school can’t afford a donation, I’d be happy to run the project.
Here’s some further news about the Schellberg project.
Query for a school visit here.

The Red Telephone

I’m working on Kathy Dunn’s The Demon Magician. This has a fast-paced plot and some delightful characters.
There will be a new call for submissions shortly.
We’ve also started something that is between a mentoring system and an online course. Though publication is not guaranteed, we will at least look at your full book if you’ve attended one of the course. We’re offering it for free to a few people at first. We’ll refine as we go along based on feedback from our clients. We’ll then continue to offer it at a discount for a while before going to full price when we’re completely happy with it. We’re not sure what full price will be. Again, we’ll be guided by our current clients. Find out more here.    


The Society of Authors North held a great event in May.  The Media Tool Kit. We learnt   plenty about marketing.
Also, fellow member John Rice, set up a photographer’s studio and many of us were able to get new author photos. I’m delighted with mine. Here are a couple of them.  

I very much enjoyed Daniel Blythe’s talk about school visits. I’m quite used to these, of course but I still learnt plenty.

Coming soon

6 June SCBWI-BI North West Scrawl Crawl.
I really recommend SCBWI for children’s writers – published or unpublished. I also recommend joining your local network. If you’re in the North West, find some news here.

17-19 June  Salford Uni Create Festival
I’d like to invite you and all of your friends all along to that. More details here.

20-21 June Great Writing Conference at Imperial College, London. International Conference.

I go along to this as a creative writing academic. I shall be delivering a paper there, based on my work for Clara’s Story.     

No comments: