Wednesday 26 November 2014

Short story long

If anyone says the words 'Short Story' to me I show a distinct tendency to hyperventilate. It's not the 'story' part that gets me - I love to tell stories, I've been doing it all my life. The bit that has me running for the hills is the 'short'. My evolution as a writer has shown that I like complicated plots. Complicated plots tend not to fit into small spaces - so, I don't do short. I do very small - like a few hundred words, but not 'short'. Yes, I know - but writers are weird.

Which is why, when my publishers, Choc-Lit, started to talk about an anthology of short stories a while ago, I did the equivalent of sticking my fingers in my ears and humming loudly. But then everyone else was doing them, and I started to wonder. And then I had an idea that I thought might turn around in a smaller space. Might. Just might.

So, I had a go, and produced a story I was rather pleased with, considering I don't do short stories. But when the anthology was ready - the first Choclit collective, Love Match - I was up to my eyes with editing and proofing for Out of Sight Out of Mind and the prospect of more of the same was not top of my agenda. I waved the others, and the anthology, on with a smile and promised myself I'd look at it again some day, with a view to making it longer, and turning it into a novella.

But - the guys at Choc-lit Towers don't give up that easily. When the idea of a second anthology was suggested - Fairground Attraction was added to the list and is making its debut in Kisses and Cupcakes. The brand new Choclit collection, just in time for Xmas. It's an autumn story, set in November and it doesn't actually have a cup cake in it. I hope reader will like it, even so.

And you can buy it from Amazon here

Monday 24 November 2014

Book Signing

I'll be joining a host of authors signing books at the Caerphilly Book Fair at Caerphilly ICE next Saturday, 29th November. It would be lovely to meet people there. A chance to buy some Christmas presents and have them signed. Find out too about the forthcoming 'novella with no name'.

All sorts of authors, including non fiction and children's. Come along and make it a great day out!

The line up so far is Diana Brook | Annie Cooper | Eva Detko | Mark Dorey | Jermaine Harris | Sam Kates | Will MacMillan Jones | Steve Lockley | Lis McDermott | Marit Meredith | Simon Okill | Colin R Parsons | Tim Richards | Andrew Scowcroft | Sophie E Tallis | Evonne Wareham | E Mary Wilce | Brenda May Williams

See the Fair on Facebook by clicking here.

Wednesday 19 November 2014

10 things I like in books

I was daydreaming on the bus the other day, on the way to Cardiff and for some reason started on a list of things I enjoy in books. So today I thought I'd share it.

One of my favourite things to find in a book. Food!
1. Attractive settings. I like places I've been to, or might like to visit.

2. Food. Preparing it and eating it. I love descriptions of cooking and eating. And that's an opportunity for a shameless plug, as Choclit have an anthology of short stories out called Kisses and Cupcakes. With recipes.
Kisses and Cupcakes buy here on Amazon

3. Art. I'm definitely drawn to books with painting, sculpture, etc. Usually someone stealing them!

4. Gardens - creating them, restoring them,walking in them.

5. Interesting occupations - I'm always open to learning about jewelry making, or glass painting or micro brewing, or whatever, Provided it's not over done. I don't need to know everyhting that the writer knows on the subject.

6. Sunshine.

7. Buildings - stately homes, small hotels, coffee shops, a B&B on the beach. I'm a push-over too for those stories about people renovating old buildings.

8. Amusing and/or intelligent animals.

9. History - but I'm a bit picky about that, Academic stuff is the 'day job', so I prefer the more frivolous kind in my escapist reading - swash buckling stuff. Yes, I know I'm a lightweight.

10 A happy ending. If I've made it to the end of the book, I want something positive at the conclusion.

That's my list. I don't think I'd ever score all of them in one book, but three or four and I'm a very happy reader.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Fairground Attraction

Choclit has a new e-book anthology out and I have a story in it. Romantic suspense, set in November - right around now, in fact. The anthology is called Kisses and Cupcakes. There are 18 stories, with recipes. But my recipe isn't for a cup cake. If you read the story you'll find out what it is.

Oh, and the story is called Fairground Attraction - it's the last in the book.

I've had fun with a video. Don't watch it if you suffer from coulrophobia.

This is the link. Fairground Attraction

Friday 7 November 2014

A Brand New Anthology from Choclit

Just in time for Xmas - a stocking filler or a present to yourself - a well deserved treat after cooking that enormous turkey - Choclit has a new short story anthology out.

Kisses and Cupcakes has stories and recipes from 18 Choclit authors, including me. 

Out now on e-book.  And here's the link to buy it!  
Kisses and Cupcakes

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Time to Remember

The month of November has two events associated with the idea of remembering. The first is a UK phenomenon, Guy Fawkes night - tonight. 
Remember Remember the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason and plot. 
An anniversary commemorating a failed attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament and now an occasion for bonfires and fireworks.

The other commemoration is more sombre. Remembrance Day. The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, chosen as the date to honour the dead of the Great War - the First World War - the day that marked the end of that conflict and now also commemorating the dead of many subsequent conflicts and marked with the emblem of a poppy.

My 'day job' involves study of the Cardiff area in the Second World War. I take any opportunity to look at things associated with the period and had the chance to see the war memorial to the staff of Cardiff City Council on a recent trip to City Hall. The names of the dead for the 1914/18 conflict took up maybe three quarters of the wall - the panel beneath - the 39/45 war - the one I possessively consider to be 'my' war, was a much smaller panel. Which says a lot about the conduct and the technology of the two, with so few years between them. And the Second World War was different too in that for the first time, because of the possibilities of aerial warfare, the civilian could be as much in the front line as the soldier. Men and women volunteered to drive ambulances, put out fires, watch for bombers, dig casualties out from heaps of rubble, defuse un-exploded bombs, sometimes on a nightly basis, night after night. It's them I'm studying. I hope I can do them justice.

November. A time to reflect. And remember.