Several words to describe this #novella by @_iris_b ’emotional’ ‘quick read’ and ‘captivating’. #romance #newbeginnings #fiction #heartwarming #books

Several words to describe this #novella by @_iris_b ’emotional’ ‘quick read’ and ‘captivating’. #romance #newbeginnings #fiction #heartwarming #books Continue reading

Jonathan Hill in the spotlight.

As winner of my short story competition back in April, Jonathan Hill as earned a spotlight  on WWBB.


Hill’s clever comic novellas are awash with the crazy antics of his crazy character, Maureen. Fresh and funny (with a smidgen of real life–we’ve all met a Maureen!) he takes you to places and situations and lets you see them through the eyes of a ‘means well, really’ middle-aged battle axe Maureen. B sure to grab yourself a copy.


Maureen goes to Venice

If Maureen were real, I would advise you to avoid her like the plague. She somehow attracts disaster and farce in equal measure wherever she goes.

As she is fictional though, it should be safe enough for you to encounter her from behind your Kindle. 


Maureen had a disastrous trip to a modern art exhibition in ECLECTIC: Ten Very Different Tales. Well, now she’s back in her own feature-length adventure!


The book will give you plenty of laughs and a taste of Italy, so join hapless Maureen on her Venetian break and just be glad you’re not there with her! 



See my review here.




A Letter for Maureen

Amazon.UK
Amazon.com
“Maureen’s back! 
Run away!  Hide anything she might
break!  But this time, that might include
your heart.” (Amazon reviewer – January 2013)


When it’s Maureen’s turn to chair the local book group meeting, choosing a new
outfit turns out to be the least of her worries.  A secret confided in Maureen by a fellow
reader impacts on her life greatly over the following year.  Then comes a revelation which could change
the way Maureen lives her life altogether.


The disaster-prone Maureen, recently recovered from her comic mishaps in
Venice, stars in a story that is both hilarious and heartbreaking.
A novella of ~18,500 words.  This is the
second to be published in the Maureen series, but the book can be read as a
stand-alone story.



Jonathan Hill is also the writer of  Ecelectic: Ten Very Different Tales where in one of the stories, you’ll meet Maureen again. You have been warned!



Little Guide to Unhip

book by 
Kate Rigby

Have you ever worried about not being quite hip enough?  Or maybe you are one of those who flaunts your unhipness with abandon?
Either way, The Little Unhip Guide is for you. Although it charts my own personal unhip top 50 with the likes of Gilbert O’Sullivan, Morris Dancing, Vicar of Dibley, Sanitary Towels (with wings), and the colour beige to name but a few, I picked those characters, characteristics, attributes or material objetcs with a universally unhip feeling to them.  Each is given an unhip rating up to five for you to keep a count of your own unhip rating, and some sections include a few personal anecdotes.  There is also a ‘bubbling under’ list for a further 14  unhip things not quite making the top 50. 


This book carries a warning: some readers may seriously dent their coolness if caught reading this material!
Kate Rigby has been been writing for over thirty years and has released many titles. Her latest is Little Guide to Unhip by Night Publishing. Little Guide to Unhip is a comedy lightly based on the author’s own experiences as she blundered through her teen years to adulthood. Not targeted at any particular audience, but probably better suited to thirty-somethings plus due to the era of the novel. 

Maybe Kate’s “unhipness” has abated because she penned a punk novel titled Fall  Of  The Flamingo Circus which was published by Allison and Busby and by Villard. It was reviewed in The Times and The Face. Since then she has seen Seaview Terrace and Sucka! published by Skrev Press and Break Point, and shorter works have appeared in Skrev’s avant garde magazine Texts’ Bones including a version of a satirical novella Lost The Plot. 

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wiswor0a-21&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1904492940&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrA poignant novel, Thalidomide Kid, was published by Bewrite Books which brings back the era of the 60s and 70s wonderfully, so if you’re looking nostalgia as well as a tearjerker maybe that’s the one to try.

Kate has many short stories published, and received a Southern Arts bursary for Where A Shadow Played (now renamed Œ Did You Whisper Back?), and Dancing In The Dark is an erotic anthology by Pfoxmoor Publishing.

Her novels tend to be character-driven and a bit quirky or gritty ­whether contemporary or retro ­and deal with issues of today: drugs abuse, homosexuality, neighbourhood conflicts, and a common theme is about the experience of being an outsider in society.
Titles now available on Kindle:
Little Guide to Unhip
Thalidomide Kid
Seaview Terrace
Break Point
Suckers n Scallies (formerly Sucka!)
Down The Tubes
Smashwords:
 Kindle:
Paperbacks:
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/39905 – Dancing In The Dark, where I have two stories
Website:

Ever wondered what happened to Cinderalla after she married Prince Charming?

Michelle Davidson Argyle tells the story…

Cinders is the story of Cinderella after she marries her prince and sets out to live her happily-ever-after. That happiness soon turns into something completely different when Cinderella discovers her fairy godmother has been imprisoned in the castle and she remembers a man she met two years before her marriage.
This man is mysterious, and Cinderella is sure she’s still in love with him because his love was real while her Prince Rowland’s love is tainted and governed by magic. Cinderella soon sets out to find her true love again, but encounters death and heartache around almost every turn.
Written in a poetic, literary tone, Cinders is reminiscent of the original Grimm’s fairy tales. It is dark, visceral, and filled with twists and turns that will surprise any reader. In Cinders, Cinderella may be a character who readers find hard to love, but she is also a character we can relate to, one who makes decisions that will keep readers thinking long after they close the book.

Click for the interview:
 

What age group is your book geared towards?
Adults, mostly, but many YA readers seem to have it enjoyed it so far.

Into which genre would you say your book falls, and what’s is about?
CINDERS is adult literary/fantasy. CINDERS is about Cinderella after she gets married. Money can’t buy love, but in CINDERS magic isn’t a sure bet either. Cinderella – now officially a princess – finds royal life is not what she once dreamed. When a figure from her past stirs up a long-suppressed passion, Cinderella begins to wonder if there really is love under the spell that earned her husband’s heart. But undoing magic can be harder than casting the initial spell, and the results are even less predictable.

What is your favourite scene? Can we have a snippet?
One of my favorite scenes is my kitchen scene where Cinderella begins to see how unhappy she is in the castle, but it is quite long. Another favorite scene of mine is at the beginning where the reader begins to learn about Cinderella’s attitude toward her situation with the prince.

The prince hosted many balls—one a week for the first month after the wedding. There was always dancing and food and beautiful gowns. Cinderella liked it until she discovered how much work it was. First she had to bathe. That took a lot of effort with a lot of servants, and it was always cold no matter how warm they heated the water. It was the middle of winter, and they liked to comb her hair dry by the fire, counting as they went, one two three four five six…one hundred and two…until she wanted to scream stop! But she spoke softly and smiled at them as kindly as she could. She knew what it was like to be in their position.

They pinned up her hair in elaborate fashions, gently tucked in the prince’s shells, dusted her face and chest, applied the rouge, tied up her corsets, fluffed her skirts, rubbed rose oil on her temples and ankles, and asked if she wanted to wear her fur shoes.

“No, no, they don’t fit properly. I might lose one,” she’d laugh, her voice echoing off the stone walls. She wondered what would happen if she lost one; they were the only thing left of the old woman who’d given them to her. Everything else had vanished.

“But they must be warm,” Cinderella’s lady-in-waiting, Amie, remarked.
“Yes, but the ballroom is stuffy.”

And it was, terribly so. Most of the time, Cinderella found herself drifting to an open window to breathe the fresh cold air. Sometimes it would be snowing, the flakes falling in slow succession, gathering in layers across the frozen moat. She imagined the fish moving along the bottom, their bellies as cold as the ice, their eyes seeing nothing in the darkness. Sometimes she felt the same way, especially when she danced with the prince and everyone watched. She’d close her eyes and see nothing, only the smell of candles reminding her that this was real, that he held her close because he loved her, that his lips on her cheek were warm and kind.

Sometimes she forgot about the other man, the stranger she’d met long ago, long before she was given fur shoes and knew there were such things as magic and spells.

Author Michelle Davidson Argyle

Have your characters or writing been inspired by friends/ family or by real-life experiences?
Not directly, no, but I do think most of the emotional situations that Cinderella experiences are things I’ve either thought a lot about or have seen second-hand.

Which comes first for you – characters or plot?
It seems to depend on the story. For CINDERS, specifically, it was the characters that came first. It’s a very character driven piece, and although the plot is important, it never felt as important as the emotional journey of Cinderella.

Who is your publisher and where are your books available? Are there e-books and hard copies available?
CINDERS is independently published, but I do have a publisher for my spy thriller, MONARCH, which comes out in September of 2011. I’m with a small publisher (Rhemalda Publishing), but I will be independently publishing some other titles in the future, as well.

CINDERS is available in print and ebook. You can find all formats here: http://www.michelledavidsonargyle.com/2008/07/purchase-cinders.html

Do you have an agent, or have you gone alone?
I do not have an agent at this time, but I may in the future. Although I have a traditional publisher now (Rhemalda), I will still be independently publishing because I really enjoy it. I knew I had to wait to independently publish a book, and when I started on CINDERS I knew it was the right project. It was a bold move that required a lot of courage, but I haven’t regretted one step of the journey!

What marketing have you been doing to help sales?
I mostly network online for all my marketing. Facebook and blogging, mostly. I think all writers can benefit greatly from having an online presence.

What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
I have a four-year-old, so it’s pretty difficult to find any great time to write. I think late at night is the best right now – when there are no distractions every 10 minutes. It has literally taken me 2 hours to do this interview, hah. Writing a novel is even more difficult.

Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
All on the computer! I used to write with pen and paper, but now I think too fast for my pen to keep up. I get too frustrated.

What do you draw inspiration from?
Honestly, I don’t know! Ideas seem to come from wherever and whenever. CINDERS came from my daughter watching Disney’s Cinderella over and over. No surprise there!

Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
Nope. Like I said, I have a child, so snatching any amount of time is a challenge. I just get down what I can. Mainly, I have goals of finishing a scene in one sitting, but that rarely happens. I’m a pretty slow writer.

What are you working on now that you can talk about?
I’m currently working on THIRDS, the next novella after CINDERS. It’s a retelling of the Grimm’s fairy tale, “One-Eye, Two-Eyes, Three-Eyes” and is about Issina, a 16-year-old who has two sisters. One has one-eye, the other has three-eyes, and their mother has one-eyes. Issina only has two eyes, and because she’s an outcast in the family, she is treated terribly. She is also blamed for her own father’s death. When she meets an elf in the forest surrounding her home, she discovers another world, one that could possibly fix everything bad that has happened in her life – if she’s willing to pay the price.

You can find a snippet of THIRDS on my Author Site. Since it is not published yet, I’d rather not share it anywhere but there.

How long does it take you to write a book? Have your written other books (give titles)?
It usually takes me 4 – 5 months for a novella, and 9 – 12 months for a novel. I have written MONARCH, an adult spy thriller, that will be released by Rhemalda Publishing in September of 2011.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?
I’ve given this advice elsewhere, but I’d like to give it here, too. Write first, then network, then write some more. Also, one person’s publishing path may not be right for another. Some people don’t need agents, some people do. Some people are fine with a small press, some people need more than that. No matter how you decide you want to get your work out there, be proud of your decisions and go forth boldly as soon as you feel ready. I think many writers publish too soon, so take the time to do your homework and see what will work for you.

What is your website and/or blog where readers can learn more? Can they friend you on Facebook or Twitter?
You can find me at my author site: http://michelledavidsonargyle.com/, and my blogs: http://theinnocentflower.blogspot.com/ and http://literarylab.blogspot.com/ I’d love to have you friend me on Facebook! You can find me here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/michelle.ladyglamis and on Twitter: LadyGlamis

FREE books with Tom Lichtenberg.

Tom Lichtenberg has written a “bunch of books” which he’s giving away for free as e-books via Smashwords and Feedbooks. He’s been writing for twenty years, but only recently self-published and put his books out there.
Zombie Nights spent the summer as the #1 most downloaded book from Smashwords. It’s currently #2, behind Smashwords own required reading – their style guide.
Lichtenberg likes to think his books are genre free. He has five books on Smashwords’ 100 Most Downloaded list, including a YA thriller Snapdragon Alley, a sci-fi detective farce Death Ray Butterfly, a mystery adventure Freak City, and a sort of magical realism tall-tale Secret Sidewalk. Among other books are some atheist comic pulp fiction stories Orange Car with Stripes and Missy Tonight, non-traditional time travel Time Zone and Golden, and young children’s read-alouds Tiddlywink the Mouse, to name but a few.
The books have garnered a wide range of reactions from the public, with over 100,000 copies downloaded in this period. Reviews have been varied from “probably the worst book ever” to “work of genius”. All in all the books tend to be viewed as odd, and if you like your reading material “odd” than we’ve certainly found the author for you!
Author, Tom Lichtenberg
Hi Tom, tell me, all in all just how many books have you written?
I’ve written more than sixty books over the past thirty years or so. Following my all-time favorite advice for writers, from Henry Miller, I’ve thrown away the first half of those books. I remember reading where he once said something like ‘you’ve got to write a million words, perhaps more before you get down your first true word’. I’m not a big Henry Miller fan, or anything, but it did seem to make sense to me. You have to find your voice and there’s only one way to do that. Write, write write.

In my late teens and early twenties I wrote pretty much non-stop, always in long-hand, always in blank books and notebooks. I developed a heck of a blister on my right middle finger and I wrote some really weird stuff. Actually I still have those books but can’t decipher the handwriting, but it’s no great loss, I’m sure. I’d get to the point where I would have to decide if the book was “typewriter-worthy”, and then in later years whether it was ‘computer-keyboard-worthy’. A handful of earlier works did survive those filters. I stopped writing entirely for more than a decade, and when I started up again, in my late thirties, it was as if I was a completely different writer. Where formerly I wrote longish novels, I began to write shorter ones. Where previously I did a lot of planning, now I just make it all up as I go along. I’m having a lot more fun than I used to.

Most of my books are novellas, running typically between 15,000 and 30,000 words. I have written longer ones, but the way I work now, it just seems to turn out this way. I think I begin a book with a certain amount of energy – voltage potential, you might say – and it lasts only so long. The result is too long to be called a short story but too short to be called a novel. I don’t really think of them as novellas, just as stories which happen to be of a certain length.
And the genre is mixed?
Almost all of my stories bleed across genres, incorporating elements of science fiction, mystery, paranormal, magical realism and comedy. I like to think of them as belonging to the ancient tradition of “tall tales”.
I do, and it changes from month to month! This month it’s my Secret Sidewalk or Squatter with a Lexus. Other times it’s ‘Orange Car with Stripes’. I’m afraid I’m smug enough to really like my own books a lot!

All your books are listed on Smash Words and Feedbooks, do you have any in paper form ie paperbacks?
All of my books that are on Smashwords and Feedbooks are also available in paperback, from Amazon, through Lulu.com. There are also Kindle editions on the Amazon site as well. Some people want them in the book form, and it does cost to produce such things, but I try to keep the prices as http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wiswor0a-21&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B002ACYAUC&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrlow as they will let me. Lulu’s pretty good. I’ve found them easy to work with, the end result is all right, if not gorgeous, and the cost is reasonable. I like the whole print-on-demand concept too. I don’t feel like my words are wasting any excess trees. Lulu also does offer some marketing and promotional services but I haven’t used any of those, so I can’t comment on them. With Kindle, the lowest I can price the ebooks is 99 cents, so that’s what I’ve done. Sales of my books and ebooks through these places are miniscule, while through Smashwords and Feedbooks I’ve had well over a hundred thousand downloads this year alone.

Are you looking for an agent?
No. I feel like I’ve been putting my books out there like paper boats on a stream and just watching to see where they go.

Have you approached an agent?
No. I’m not really looking to get my stories into the traditional book world.

Do you have any rejection letters?
No. The last time I sent something to a publisher was back in 1983. It was a terrible book and I sent it to a very small press. They very kindly told me how very awful it was. I decided that I would just focus http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wiswor0a-21&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B003QHZ5ZE&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifron the writing for its own sake, and put off venturing them into the great big world until some later date.

That time came around only recently, with the advent of the free ebook distribution systems, so it didn’t seem necessary to go the old submission route any longer. I get plenty of rejection from readers, though, so I don’t suffer from any shortage!

My stories tend to get really extreme reactions. On sites like Barnes and Noble and Goodreads, I’ve seen as many one-star ratings as three, four and five stars put together. I understand that my stories often defy reader expectations, and that they are not at all conventional or mainstream, so it’s not surprising if many readers are disappointed or frustrated with them. I’m a pretty picky and eclectic reader, so I do my share of rejecting too – only I do it in the privacy of my own home and don’t feel the need to trash someone or their books in public.


No. I have a regular career as a software test engineer, working for high-tech startups in California’s Silicon Valley. I make a good living and work pretty hard. I also have a young child at home, so most of my writing occurs very late at night, and much of my thinking about writing happens during commute time or when I get out to walk the dog.

Many writers have unpublished short stories, novellas tucked away but wouldn’t dream of publishing because they are so dire, are you the same?
Oh yes! I used to write these big old dystopias, all very political and serious. My favorite title was ‘The Magic of Failure’, which I may re-use someday, but the book itself was dreadful, set in and around massive tent cities in a mess of a 21st century America. I also wrote a novel about the unhappy marriage of a cashier and a psychic. I’ve always wanted to go back and rewrite that one. I’ve always thought it would be such a drag to actually be psychic. You’d be pretty depressed all the time, I think.

I’ve been promoting my books through the internet; blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Indie book websites, and so on. It’s been kind of sporadic. I’m not really comfortable with tooting my own horn too much. I try to make my books sound interesting and intriguing enough that people will want to read them, so I focus more on the stories themselves than on myself as a brand. I’ve always been wary of Bob Marley’s admonition, “Don’t be just a stock on the shelf”. Of course, he was talking about prostitutes, but still, I feel that my stories have a life of their own, and it’s my job to get them down and put them out there and do just enough hand-waving to get them some attention. In the end, it’ll be up to them to garner readers who like them enough to want to tell their friends, and so on. No amount of marketing is ever going to sail a sinking ship, but you’ve got to send up some flares in the first place. No one can ever see a thing they are never shown.

You say you’re not in it for the money (I can understand that), so why do you write? What is your drive?
I recently posted a little essay about this topic on selfpublishingreview.com called “Why I Am Not An Author'”. To summarize, everywhere I turn, I find this connection between writing and money, and I don’t like it. I understand it, but I don’t need it. I do a lot of work with open source software. I love the free apps on my Android phone. I’ve been inspired by the very talented musicians in my town who get together on all sorts of occasions and play for free, and now, with the advent of distributors like Smashwords and Feedbooks, it’s become possible for me to do the same thing with my writing that others do with software and music. I write for the same reason my musician friends play – I love it! It’s my hobby and my passion. I have a lot of ideas and I get to live with them for the weeks or months it takes me to follow them through to their conclusions. Writing for me is an adventure, an living improvisation, a way of life. It’s like exercise for my soul.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wiswor0a-21&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B002ACVUZA&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrI have nothing against the traditional book world. My grandfather was a New York publisher who began with Horace Liveright in the 1920’s. My mother was a librarian, and I worked in independent bookstores for nearly twenty years. I love books, but I’ve never made a fetish of them as objects. It’s always been the content for me, and ebooks give me the same satisfaction as printed books. I also love the freedom and control that’s available to writers now, In traditional publishing, you wait a long time for your book to come out (if you’re lucky enough to get that far), and then it’s not out for very long, it goes out of print, you don’t have the rights to it anymore, and there’s a lot of waste of resources involved. With ebooks, you now have the freedom and control to do what you want with your writing. It’s all up to you.
Lichtenberg Links:

Novellas by Catherine Chisnall

Descending and Surfacing Novellas
by
Catherine Chisnall

Emily is a lonely, disillusioned, teaching assistant at a college of Further Education. Jamie is a neglected, unpredictable student. Trapped together in a falling lift, wherever will this lead? Told from Emily’s point of view, this story explores the ambiguity of relationships between staff and students, and reflects on who is actually in control.

Suddenly the lift began sinking, slowly at first, with a terrible metallic groaning sound, then faster and faster.
I screamed and put my hand out for Jamie to find he was reaching out for me too. He pulled me towards him and we clung onto each other as the lift plunged. I realised I was screaming but he was just holding on.

The sequel to Descending. Emily is in shock. What happened with Jamie changed her life irreversibly – but will it be for better or worse? Should she confront him, or just move on?

‘Er- about two months ago. Something like that.’ I stifled a laugh. How ridiculous. I was a thirty year old woman and I could’t be pregnant by a seventeen year old boy, it was unthinkable.

Catherine Chisnall was born in the Midlands, England and now lives with husband and child in the South. She has had a varied career working in banks, libraries, charities and for the last ten years, secondary and further education.

Catherine Chisnall ignored the desire to write, thinking it wasn’t a valid career but the call to writing proved too strong. She has had several factual articles published and this gave her confidence to publish some of her fiction.

Descending and Surfacing are available for download at:
Lebrary: http://www.lebrary.com/author.php?id=503
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/16102

Catherine’s thoughts on the world of writing so far…

“I have been writing stories as long as I can remember. It is something I have to do, not just a hobby. Often it feels like my characters are in charge of themselves and I’m not, so they do what they want and write their own story. That probably sounds pretentious but that’s just the way it is. I am pleased to say because of that I’ve never had writers’ block, well not so far anyway. My favourite saying is ‘just do it.'”