Monday, 27 July 2015

COURSE - Writing Women’s Popular Fiction

A Tŷ Newydd photo taken by Rowan

Professional writers have CPD just like any other profession. There's craft as well as art; words should be used like a sniper's bullet (every shot counts) rather than a blunderbuss (KERBLAMMO! with everything you've got and hope a pellet hits). Although I learn from the many fantastic editors I work with, I also regularly attend writing courses. I listed some of them here; others here; and my course at Tŷ Newydd last year. Well, I've just got back from this new course at Tŷ Newydd.
Writing Women’s Popular Fiction
Monday 20 – Saturday 25 July
Julie Cohen and Rowan Coleman
Guest: Katie Fforde
Women’s popular fiction accounts for an enormous percentage of the adult fiction market, ranging from the commercial to the literary, from contemporary comic romance to multigenerational sagas and historical fiction. Women’s fiction is about the woman’s story, her hopes, fears, fantasies and empowerment, whether it ends happily or in a tragedy.
You might think it's a strange course for me to pick if you've only read my survival horror novel Turner, but in reality I often write from a female perspective, and for a mixed audience. In Cold Fusion 2000 all the key characters (apart from the clueless protagonist) were women; my new novel 2000 Tunes has male and female protagonists, and I love them both equally.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Show Me The Paper

I just found out that some people might be having problems ordering my new book 2000 Tunes in print. It seems like some distributors are out of stock and are having delays in getting more copies to fulfil orders. They will go out eventually, but I know delays are frustrating. If you're having problems getting hold of print copies at this stage please contact me and I'll see what I can do (a signed copy or whatever). Also, if you got a copy with no problems, please let me know - it helps me to work out which distributors are doing well! Many thanks.

[Later note - this should be sorted now.]

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The Alliance of Independent Authors

The Alliance of Independent Authors - Author Member 

I have been a member of many different professional organisations. Today I joined The Alliance of Independent Authors (my profile is here). It's a non-profit professional association for author-publishers whose members adopt a code of standards. I also subscribed to the additional Ethical Author Code - it doesn't involve doing anything that wasn't already part of my standard professional practice!

  I'm an Ethical Author

Friday, 10 July 2015

2000 Tunes Can Be Played Right Now

Yesterday I realised I hadn't yet made the announcement that my latest novel, 2000 Tunes, was available.

My latest novel, 2000 Tunes, is available.

And yes, I did write an FAQ for the novel before formally announcing that it was available to buy. Semitemos I od sgniht sdrawkcab.

If you're interested in the kind of music here, you might enjoy it. If you aren't interested in that music then you still might enjoy it. After all, it's just a story. About a man and a woman. Dip in to their lives and take your time. Summertime needn't be a rush.

As a celebration I'll make the e-book version of its partner novel, Cold Fusion 2000, $0.99 until September (normally $2.99).

What do I mean by "partner novel"? 2000 Tunes and Cold Fusion 2000 are both set in Manchester in the same summer, year 2000. There are crossover characters and places and themes and events, but each is a standalone novel. So read one, or both; if you read both, then read them in any order. I think there is a lot to be gained from reading both carefully and comparing them (there are many playful little cross-references), but it is optional.

To finish: thanks to all my fans! If you want to support me then please buy my books for yourself or as presents for others; take the time to review or rate my work on Goodreads, Amazon etc; and ask your local library to stock them. Each book page (see "My Books" in the top right of the blog) has the book's ISBN for bookshops and libraries.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

2000 Tunes FAQ

Have you read 2000 Tunes? Did you have any questions? Maybe you'll find the answers here! If you haven't read it yet then beware of reading on: there are massive spoilers. As usual I'll add to this if more questions occur.

What's the novel about?
See the blurb here. It's not a fast-paced plot-blaster. I think of it more as a soap opera, where you dip into lives to find out what happens next. There is a point to it all. The book won’t be for everyone, since it is quirky and takes its time over the little details in life, but I’m proud of it. It’s a labour of love, in many ways. My love/hate relationship with Manchester the city; the importance of music to life; different types of love in relationships; and finding where your heart wants to be.

Can you tell me more about the songs you reference, and Manchester music in general?
Manchester Music posts (and a breakdown of the songs and bands); Manchester Music Overview 1976 – 1998.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Tales From The Lighthouse #3

A new issue of my little newsletter, Tales From The Lighthouse, was released recently. I'm up to issue #3! You can subscribe here (free, obviously). Older issues can be found here.

Monday, 29 June 2015

500 Words

Back in March I was one of the judges for the BBC's 500 Words competition. I was assigned fiction from the 5-9 year old category, so I read lots of stories about guinea pigs and pets, dragons and witches, dinosaurs, magical food, making wishes, siblings and teachers and parents, superheroes, and accounts of last night's dreams. I also read stories that were incredibly sad when you read between the lines, stories focussing on being brave, ways to overcome bullies, or children finding gold so they were not poor any more. Stories that said a lot about the child's real life, yet also made me smile at times, such as this:
"One upon a time there lived a very lonely girl called Sarah. She lived with her mum but she had no dad because they had got divorced. Her mum’s a lovely lady except she made horrible food and the worst puddings ever that tasted of gung and smelt horrible."

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Love Spreads

Band: The Stone Roses
Album: Second Coming
Year: 1994
Label: Geffen
Status: Still going
Love Spreads was the first release from Second Coming, the Stone Roses’ long-awaited second album. It’s famed for its virtuoso John Squire power guitar: from the distinctive opening notes to the solos, the guitar can barely be controlled, like it wants to bust out. Bends stretch the sounds out, sounds you can ride. It’s not all his show though: the whole band come together in something timeless and perfect. There’s pace. A journey. Believe, and see the light.

Love Spreads is about Jesus as a black woman. About female strength, female power to save, about love and forgiveness. Their previous single had been I Am The Resurrection, also about the depiction of Jesus. Second Coming indeed. The album’s opening track is Breaking Into Heaven. A statement of intent? Or because we all dream of meeting the dead again, those we’ve lost, as referenced in How Do You Sleep? Is it all just about having a second chance?

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Just When You’re Thinkin’ Things Over

Band: The Charlatans
Album: The Charlatans
Year: 1995
Label: Beggars Banquet Records
Status: Still going
This song, recorded in Wales and released the same week as the Blur vs Oasis Britpop nonsense, was The Charlatans’ biggest hit since The Only One I Know. Its upbeat hummable tune and nice Rob Collins piano work has an echo of the Rolling Stones.

What’s it about? A difficult time, the sun going down, needing something to cling to – but there’s nothing there. A song to someone sun-connected who doesn’t follow the line, someone in the only place that can be a home. Burn everything down and go there.