Saturday, 29 October 2011

For Books' Sake

For Books' Sake is a book website, founded in 2010, for independent women who love reading. For Books' Sake help give women authors and readers a platform to have their voice heard.

I am currently over there talking about my favourite authors, favourite literary characters and books in the Five Minute section. Those questions were really hard to answer!

You can read by answers over here > Five Minute Friday: Jessica Patient

For Books' Sake are also looking for more Five Minute Friday participants.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Review: The Fall - Claire McGowan

The Fall
Claire McGowan
Headline, February 2012

Earlier this month Claire McGowan was offering proofs of her debut novel on Twitter. I jumped at the chance as I love reading her blog even though I rarely read psychological crime novels. And you know what, I enjoyed The Fall.

The Fall is about a murder that takes place in a nightclub and the after effects of that incident. A former banker, Dan is arrested as his credit card is found at the scene. But Charlotte, his girlfriend, along with Keisha who was at the bar that night with her boyfriend, have to face reality and unravel the truth. The tag line to this book is 'What would you do if the man you love was accused of murder?' This is a book about Charlotte's fight to find the truth.

The three different perspectives told from Charlotte, Keisha and Hegarty, the arresting police officer, show the reader the way an act of violence can change ordinary lives. McGowan creates the split narrative in a very convincing way. Each character has their own voice and conflicting opinions on what is the truth. Ultimately the truth will tear the characters away from each other.

Through the course of The Fall, both Charlotte and Keisha need to let go of their past. Charlotte needs to escape from her cotton-wool, middle class lifestyle to face the realities of surviving on her own and taking control of her life. Keisha needs to face up to her life and responsibilities with her family and escape her violent boyfriend and get her daughter, Ruby, back from the authorities.

The Fall is very topical in the way it looks at how the recession effects live, sometimes for the worse, the way the media reports the 'truth' (especially around Dan, the banker), the gang culture in inner London and opinions about the police.

McGowan's writing style is very engaging. The reader may think they know what way the plot is heading but McGowan turns it around and hits the reader with something unexpected. The Fall held my attention with its twists and turns.

The Fall comes out in February 2012 and will be available online and offline.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Guest Post: Scott Pack: How Not To Be A 21st Century Writing Dodo

Scott Pack aka Mr Harpercollins / Friday Project aka Steve Stack aka the Author of 21st Century Dodos has kindly agreed to pop over to Writer's Little Helper and talk about the Internet being an important tool for writers. You don't want to become a 21st century Dodo!

I am on a blog tour.
If you don’t know what that is, allow me to explain. Pretty much every day in October I am appearing on someone else’s blog to promote my new book, 21st Century Dodos. I have posted a video of my son unicycling while reading an extract, chosen three literary dodos, shared a picture of my copyright page (of which I am justly proud) as well as answering questions, sharing extracts and other delights. The idea is that by spreading myself across the Internet I am also spreading the word about my book.
Beats spam mail, that’s for sure.
And the Internet is an important tool for writers today. OK, so my blog tour isn’t going to sell millions of books but it will get the word out to a whole bunch of people who may not otherwise come across it. Especially those readers in Israel, USA, Ireland and New Zealand, places I am unlikely to visit in person for signing events.
I think it is vital today for writers to have an online presence of some kind, ideally a few kinds. I run an imprint of HarperCollins and most of my most successful authors are very active through blogs, Twitter and Facebook. They are able to interact with their readers, get to know them (if they want), support each other (very important, that one) and keep themselves in the public eye in the gaps between books.
Now, I realise such activity isn’t for everyone but find me an author who has no online profile and I will show you either a) an author who was already big before the Internet exploded or b) doesn’t sell all that many books.
And with many authors now turning to self-publishing, especially digitally, there is even more reason to be online every day. It is where your future readers are, it makes sense to spend time there.
But not until you have bought a copy of my new book, of course!


You can buy a copy of 21st Century Dodos from Amazon and other online/offline retailers.

My review of 21st Century Dodos is here.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Book Reviewing For The View From Here Magazine

Now this is some good news after two short story rejections this week. Mike French, Senior Editor at The View From Here Magazine has asked me to do some book reviewing for his online magazine. Reader, I said yes!

My reviews will appear alongside a lot of great writers and publishing wizards. There is Claire King, her novel comes out in 2013, Jonathan Pinnock his book, Mrs Darcy Versus The Aliens,  was reviewed here a few weeks ago, Elizabeth Baines writes the great 'Fiction Bitch' blog, Simon Trewin, Literary Agent, who looks after two of my favourite authors - Steven Hall and Scarlett Thomas, Literary Agent Annette Green and Publisher and blogger, Scott Pack, his book, 21st Century Dodos, was reviewed last week and he will be here on Sunday with a guest post.

Look, it's real I'm on the Crew page > here. There's a real-life picture of me!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Review: 21st Century Dodos

Steve Stack's new book 21st Century Dodos, published by The Friday Project (an imprint from Harpercollins) is an affectionate farewell to the many inanimate objects like your beloved VHS player and collection, cultural icons like your local lighthouse keeper and other general bits and bobs like minidisc players (I literally saved up my pocket money for months to buy one only to be told by the guy in the local record shop that no produced albums on minidisc) and Smash Hits Magazine. Most items are on the verge of extinction and many have vanished already. For the first time we have an endangered list and it is up to us to save these objects in our lofts and basements.

21st Century Dodos will make a great present for anyone who says 'in my day' and/or like to sit on the toilet, reading. The short chapters make it ideal for toilet reading. I didn't actually experiment with reading the book on the toilet because I didn't want to have a ring around my bum as the book pulls you into a nostalgic frenzy.

21st Century Dodos is funny and I guarantee you will be reading out extracts to your partner, the person sitting next to you on the bus or your pet snail. I don't remember the days when you have to use tapes to load games on computers but my boyfriend did and he loved that section of the book!

I found this book really inspiring too - I am currently writing a series of stories called 'The Department of Extinct Objects' and I now have a few more ideas. One will be published at Referential Magazine in the near future. Thank you to Scott Pack (the real Steve Stack) for sending me a copy, ready for his visit later on in the month. You can buy 21st Century Dodos from Amazon and other good book outlets.

You can now access all of my previous reviews by clicking on the 'review' label on the right-hand side.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Three, Two, One And A Coming Soon

Good news - one of my short stories will be re-published by Eunoia Review February 2012.

Three short stories out in the field, waiting that red cross or green tick.

Two competitions entered and patiently waiting the results.

One agent has the first three chapters of my novel.

Coming soon - Steve Stack AKA Scott Pack AKA Me and My Big Mouth will be on the 16th October as he continues his blog tour for his book 21st Century Dodos.