Saturday, 25 February 2017


"Finish it. There is nothing more depressing than an abandoned manuscript."  
Lionel Shriver 

I've had this quote in my inbox for the past year, and I read these words every time I doubt my writing ability and worry about every finishing this novel.

I thought it was time to share it and hopefully it might inspire you.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Orlando Ortega-Medina's Imaginary Bookshop

Today we welcome Orlando Ortega-Medina to the Imaginary Bookshop. Orlando's debut book, Jerusalem Ablaze is out now.

Jerusalem Ablaze includes 13 stories about love, obsession, faith, desire and redemption which take the reader from Japan to Quebec in Canada to California and to Jerusalem Notable stories include a Japanese boy’s understanding of the ferocity of hate an adulterant’s unusual fantasies about a werewolf Richard Wagner and a young priests’ encounter with a blood-thirsty dominatrix.


What would be the name of your imaginary bookshop?
Words Without End

Where would your imaginary bookshop be located?
Mumbai – the largest city in the country with the most readers.

Would your bookshop have any special features? E.g. a performing stage, a cocktail bar, etc.
The shop would be designed like the interior of the Star Ship Enterprise from Star Trek. It would have a multilingual staff, including at least one person who speaks Klingon, one person who speaks Elvish, and one that speaks Esperanto, and the books would be available in all the languages into which they have been translated. The shop would feature a combination performance space/cinema for events, readings, and screening Sci-Fi classics. There would also be a Star-Trek style cocktail bar for relaxing and networking, with recorded intergalactic jazz and pop playing in the background. The bookstore itself would have lots of interesting, comfy reading niches. Finally, there would also be a lending library section.

What would make your bookshop different from all the other ones?
Words Without End would be a destination for lovers of Sci-Fi from all over the world, and for those who are Sci-Fi curious.

What sections would you have in your bookshop? And what sections would you ditch?
Anything and everything that is Sci-Fi and Fantasy, and related, would go up on our shelves.

Every bookshop needs a display table. Which books would you have on your display table? Why?
Our display table would contain the best of the best literary Science Fiction books, including foundational classics, Sci-Fi by both female and male authors, and Sci-Fi (in translation) from all around the world, e.g. from Cuba, India, Israel, and Japan. Following are some specific titles we would feature on our opening day, in [Roman] alphabetical order:

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
A Legend of the Future by Agustín de Rojas
Central Station by Lavie Tidhar
Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa
Ten Billion Days and One Hundred Billion Nights by Ryu Mitsuse
The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh
The Female Man by Joanna Russ

If you could run only one author event who would you have? You can pick a living or dead writer. What sort of event would they run?
I would invite H.G. Wells, and we would compare and contrast with him the world in which we are living with the one he predicted in his books, and to ask him where he sees us going from here.

A customer comes up to your till with a copy of your novel and asks you to give them a reason on why they should buy it. What would you say?
Our idea of a great book is one that is well-written, tells a great story, takes risks, does not shy away from controversial or difficult issues, and stays with the reader for a lifetime. Jerusalem Ablaze: Stories of Love and Other Obsessions is such a book.

What sort of cake would you offer when launching your book in your bookshop?

Space Cake, of course. For those who prefer something more earthbound, we would offer Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Quinoa Cake with Halva Dairy-Free Ice Cream


Jerusalem Ablaze ( Cloud Lodge Books) by Orlando Ortega-Medina will be out on the Thursday 16th February.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

So January...

So January… 

You showed us how appalling people can be but also how this can inspire people to take a stand. It scares me the way people are so narrow minded, or don’t seem to think outside their own social situation. People seem to have forgotten how to be human and care for each other. It could be easy to get depressed with the world situation but we can make small differences just by being fairer and kinder to each other.

Somehow I managed to read six books in January:

We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Such a short book but such an important book about creating happier women, happier women living in a fairer, truer world. This book should be posted through everyone’s door with a note saying read this. Especially to the road rage guy, with children in the back seat, last night who scream and shouted some nasty things because I was half parked across an entrance to another road in back to back traffic so no one could move.

How Much The Heart Can Hold – Various Authors
This short story collection contains seven stories on love but not the clichéd type. There are stories about a husband watching his wife die from starvation, a woman trying to hold together her family after her father ends up in hospital and a woman obsessing years later over a school crush. My favourite stories from the collection were Nikesh Shukla’s White Wine and Rowan Hisayo Buchanan’s Before It Disappears.

Strange Weather in Tokyo – Hiromi Kawakami
Tuskiko finds herself drinking alone in a local bar and ends up sitting next to her former school teacher. Over the coming months they share drink, food and time, developing a deep intimacy. This is a book about a slow burning friendship leading to romance, and urban loneliness. This is a fantastic book. Think Haruki Murakami crossed with Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City.

The Empathy Problem – Gavin Extence

This is a book about second chances. Gabriel, a hedge fund Manager, finds out he has a tumour. It’s now or never as he starts changing his life around, trying to find meaning. You can read my review here.

The Princess Diarist – Carrie Fisher
This is Carrie Fisher’s last book, and also the first book I’ve read by her. This is her diary from when she worked on the first Star Wars film. This is an interesting read showing that famous people are just as insecure as normal people.

Books For Living – Will Schwalbe
This is a fantastic book for readers as Will explores the power of books and reading in a series of essays. This is also a dangerous book as I’ve already added several books to my wish list thanks to this one book. I’ll be reviewing this book in more detail soon.

I have five chapters left to redraft! It has been a long slog and I’m still not there but I’m hoping that later this year I can start submitting it to agents.