A second Crime Cymru blog post, and other bits and bobs

Full disclosure: this is a rewrite of the original posting, as I - fool of a Took that I am - managed to close the browser without saving the first version. Ah, well.

First things first. There’s a new blog post by me over at Crime Cymru; the post discusses using Welsh locations in fiction a little, and includes a tiny bit of a tease about a forthcoming Dan Matlock book following on from East of England.

Second, the crowdfunding for an East of England sequel - Canine Jubilee - continues over at Unbound Publishing. Please consider supporting the project if you can! In all fairness it’s going a little slower than East of England’s crowdfunding did, though that’s only to be expected. We’ll get there, one way or another. This is the last time I’ll crowdfund a book, so make the most of that alluring opportunity.

Third, blogging over at Benches of Llangollen is on hiatus until the beginning of June. Day-jobbery is taking up all the time and brain space at present, but there’ll be public seating shenanigans galore on a weekly basis from the first Tuesday in June onwards. Oh, and Benches of Louth is eminently available if you want a copy; those local to Louth in Lincolnshire should find paperback stock in at Mark Merrifield’s Off The Beaten Tracks record store.

Benches of Louth Ebook Cover DIGITAL.jpg

Fourth, micro-blogging on my ongoing reading and movie-watching continues at 255BookReview and 255Review respectively. Note that all the book reviews are mine, but only the movie reviews tagged with my name (that’s most of ‘em, to be fair) are mine, as this site is a collaborative effort.

Fifth, East of England is on offer on Kindle/ebook for 99p or thereabouts pretty much everywhere that sells electronic books, so avail yourself of bargainage while you can. The cheapest paperback option that I’m aware of is over at BooksEtc, where it’s less than £6 including delivery. The book’s been generally well-received, which is gratifying; if you’re able to leave a review or a star rating on the likes of Goodreads or at your book-buying site of choice, then that’d be most appreciated too!

East of England cover.jpg

Sixth, and slightly teasingly, there’ll be another Dan Matlock book sooner rather than later. This’ll fit between East of England and the crowdfunding Canine Jubilee and will hopefully fill the time nicely while the latter’s funding. I’ll say more about this in a few weeks’ time, but the intention is to deliver a novella-length Dan Matlock story that’ll be available towards the end of the year. In all probability this’ll be a self-publishing effort via Amazon. It’s got the working title Piece of Work.

That’s all for now

Thanks for reading

Eamonn

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East of England hits the streets!

The book’s out. You know what to do. Read, review, repeat.

Buy for Valentine’s Day, Pancake Day, Easter, Mother’s and Father’s Day and so on and so forth.

Massive thanks to all who’ve helped with the crowdfunding, and with the book’s production. East of England is yours now. Have fun with it! And if you yet haven’t got a copy, try here for starters.

All sizes catered for.

All sizes catered for.


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East of England: cover reveal

Hi all

Here’s the cover for East of England:

East of England cover

East of England cover

Not bad, is it?


As I've mentioned before, the book's released on 24th January. At the time of writing, there's still a last-minute change to be a patron of the book via pledging to the project at the publisher's website. This closes on Monday 3rd December and is the absolute last opportunity to have your name immortalised in the book's credits. Get in while you can! 

East of England can be pre-ordered at all of the places that you can buy books from, both in ebook and in paperback. There's a list of links to East of England's page with a range of booksellers here

If you've already pledged to support the book, then your copy will arrive shortly before the 24th January. 

In a few days, I should be able to give details of a handful of book signings and the like...

Thanks for your support!

Eamonn

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East of England: a brief update

Hi all

Here's where we are with East of England

First, I've had a few proof copies printed up. These are for review and advance promotional purposes only, so that folk can sample the book in advance of publication (and hopefully garner a few supportive quotes for publicity use along the way). They turned up today, and I've posted the first few out, so hopefully, they'll get a positive response!

Second, East of England is now available to pre-order from all of the places that sell books and ebooks: 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/East-England-Eamonn-Griffin/dp/1789650143  
Books Etc: http://www.booksetc.co.uk/books/view/-9781789650143
Foyles: https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/east-of-england,eamonn-griffin-9781789650143
Hive: https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Eamonn-Griffin/East-of-England/23300459
Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/east-of-england/eamonn-griffin/9781789650143
Wordery: https://wordery.com/eamonn-griffin-author

Plus your friendly neighbourhood independent bookshop too. Incidentally, buying through Hive - currently, the cheapest as they've got a pre-order offer on - supports your local bookshop, as a percentage of the sale goes to them.
  
That's it for now. Next stop, the cover (mid-December maybe). The book goes on sale on 24th January!
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10 questions: William J Meyer, author of Valkyrie

As part of the crowdfunding and whatnot for my own novel East of England, I'm showcasing other writers who've got projects with Unbound Publishing. Today it's the turn of William J Meyer. Over to William:

WJM_Unbound10.jpg

1. Who are you and what’s your book about?

Hi! My name is William, I am a writer from Wisconsin now living in Los Angeles. I like to write novels, screenplays, plays, and audiofiction. My book VALKYRIE is about a Valkyrie named Hildr recruiting dying warriors for her own secret purpose. The book unites theatre and Norse Mythology to tell an adventure story of both sacrifice and grace.

2. Why should folk read your book? 

I think folks should read my book if they like theatre and myth. Large, explosive stories— but with moments of emotional intimacy. There’s romance and action and environmental concerns and the mystery of life and like much of myth, death and what happens after.

VALKYRIE_0.jpg

3. What’s the appeal of your book?

One appeal might be, it weaves between prose and playwriting. Another would be, the notion of nested realities. The reader is an audience member watching a play, but they are also an actor in another, larger play. Also, swords and smooches.

4. Sounds great! Where/when can I get hold of a copy?  

VALKYRIE is crowdfunding now on Unbound. It’s about 20% funding at the moment, so if you’d like to help bring the book to print, please visit its page on Unbound. Pledge rewards include concept art and original manuscript pages.

5. Describe a typical writing day, or at least a typical day with some writing in it:

Okay, I’ll describe the ideal day, saying the average day contains some bits and pieces of this. It starts with Twitter and breakfast. The Twitter habit is real. Then, a bit of reading to get my brain functioning. Currently, I’m half-way through ANNA KARENINA. Then I’ll do some writing, until about 5pm, and then I’ll take a walk. After dinner, I’ll do some more writing again, until I fall asleep. This sort of schedule is during the writing time I buy for myself with freelance post-production work, an example of which you can see in the VALKYRIE book trailer.

6. Pick one book about writing. What it is and why have you chosen it? 

I choose Madeleine L’Engle’s WALKING ON WATER: REFLECTIONS ON FAITH AND ART. I like it because it challenges me.

7. Pick three books that have influenced or inspired you as a writer: 

GIANTS IN THE EARTH by O.E. Rölvaag for its multi-generational journey of Norwegian immigrants in the United States.

JANE EYRE by Charlotte Brontë for its language and romance, and the religious ligaments that connects its themes.

A PRINCESS OF MARS by Edgar Rice Burroughs which, for me, was a revelation not to stifle my imagination. We can write anything. 

8. Pick three desert island books - works you couldn’t live without:

I’ll go with JANE EYRE again,  NAUSICAÄ OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND by Hayao Miyazaki, and Tolkien’s LORD OF THE RINGS. All these have romance, myth, and adventure to one degree or another.

VALKYRIE_4.jpg

9. Any words of writing wisdom? 

Encourage empathy.

10. Let’s make a movie of your book. Give me the high-concept pitch: 

It’s colorful and full of music, like Coppola’s DRACULA. It’s melancholic and aggressive, like Kurosawa’s KAGEMUSHA. It’s theatrical and raw as an open nerve, like Tyrone Guthrie’s OEDIPUS REX.

Social media contacts: 
Twitter: @byWilliamJMeyer

Unbound URL: 
https://unbound.com/books/valkyrie/

Previous publications:

STRANGE/LOVE, my short story anthology podcast
www.strangelovepodcast.com

FIRE ON THE MOUND, my podcast novel
www.fireonthemound.com

Thakns to William for playing along! Hopefully, there's something about the book whcich intrigues you,and you'll consider supporting his crowdfunding efforts!

 

10 questions: Tim Atkinson, author of The Glorious Dead

As a means of supporting others who are going through - or have gone through - the process of crowdfunding their book projects via Unbound Publishing (my own humble effort East of England is here), I'm interviewing fellow Unbound authors. Today it's the turn of Tim Atkinson, whose post-WWI novel The Glorious Dead is being published later in 2018. Here's Tim:

TApic.jpg

    1.        Who are you and what’s your book about?

Tim Atkinson – The Glorious Dead tells the story of what happened AFTER the guns fell silent at 11am on 11th November, 1918. Who cleared the battlefields and buried the dead? And why did so many men who fought – and survived – stay on?

    2.        Why should folk read your book?

It’s the untold story of the First World War. Thousands of troops volunteered to stay in France and Flanders for meagre pay, doing the Empire’s dirty work. Once the British Army finally withdrew (in 1921) many stayed on in a civilian capacity. Some never came home. People need to know why.

    3.        What’s the appeal of your book?

 War is universal and the fascination of the Great War shows no sign of diminishing. But there are still so many stories that need to be told. Perhaps the biggest of all, though, is the story of our own mortality and what facing it – as these men did, first in battle, then combing the battlefields for fallen comrades – does.

    4.        Sounds great! Where/when can I get hold of a copy? 

Before midnight on Sunday (July 1st) you can still pledge on Unbound. After that, it should be the shops (and be available online) in November.

TA cover.jpg

    5.        Describe a typical writing day, or at least a typical day with some writing in it:

My job is to get up, get the kids to school and then get in front of the computer. The walk back (from the children’s school) is great thinking time, and I’m usually ready to start writing as soon as I get through the front door.

    6.        Pick one book about writing. What it is and why have you chosen it?

Modesty prevents me choosing my own, of course! And I have to admit although I’ve taught creative writing classes, mentored authors (and written my own ‘how to’ book about it) I don’t actually read many books about writing. But one I unfailing recommend to students is the very funny How NOT to write a novel by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman.

    7.        Pick three books that have influenced or inspired you as a writer:

Three? Impossible! Ok, then... but I’m going to have to make rules (for myself) like ‘no classics’. Otherwise, I’d seriously be here all day trying to whittle it down. So... I really really admire Sebastian Barry – not only as a prose stylist but as an insightful and intriguing writer. And The Secret Scripture was a masterpiece. I’ve only recently discovered Helen Dunmore and especially liked ‘Counting the Stars’ (although I could so easily have picked ‘The Lie’). Finally, I’m going to choose ‘The Emperor Waltz’ by Philip Hensher – Dickensian in scope but with the inevitability and tragedy of Dostoyevsky.

    8.        Pick three desert island books - works you couldn’t live without:

Some might well come from the list above, but... the Authorised (King James) Bible would have to be there, as would Homer’s Iliad (in the translation by Robert Fagles). Finally... impossible to choose! More Homer? The Odyssey, maybe? Or something from Russia? Perhaps, The Idiot would be appropriate!

    9.        Any words of writing wisdom?

Keep it simple: one, write. You can’t be a writer without writing. (Sounds obvious, but it’s the most common error!) Two, write what needs to be written. Tell your story your way, or tell a story no-one else has told. Three, edit like mad. But only once you’ve finished. And preferably a long time afterwards.

  10.        Let’s make a movie of your book. Give me the high-concept pitch:

It's 1918 and at last the guns of the Great War fall silent. But for Jack Patterson the war still goes on. The enemy now is mud and unexploded shells as well as memories – both of the horrors of war and the dark secret back home that first led him to enlist... a secret Jack hopes isn’t about to be dug up on the Flanders battlefields!

Social media contacts:

Website: https://www.timatkinson.info

Facebook: https://www.Facebook.com/AuthorTimAtkinson

Twitter: @dotterel

Unbound URL: https://unbound.com/books/the-glorious-dead/

Previous publications:

Writing Therapy (2008)

Discover Countries: India (2010)

Discover Countries: The United Kingdom (2010)

Tiny Acorns (ed.) (2010)

Fatherhood: The Essential Guide (2011)

Creative Writing: The Essential Guide (2011)

Homer’s Iliad: A Study Guide (2017)

 

Huge thanks to Tim for his time. Hopefully, The Glorious Dead shrikes a chord and it'll be of interest to you! The novel's available via Amazon here - other physical and virtual book retailers are also available! 

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10 questions: Mark Ciccone, author of Discarded

As you know, I'm currently crowdfunding my new novel East of England through Unbound Publishing. And I'm not alone! So, I've asked a few fellow writers on Unbound's current roster to give a quick overview of their writing work, and the book they're crowdfunding themselves (or have completed funding) in a ten questions set format. 

Today; it's the turn of Mark Ciccone. Here's Mark: 

Mark Ciccone.jpg

1. Who are you and what’s your book about?

I am Mark Ciccone, and Discarded is the story of Greg and Leah, two genetically engineered soldiers on a journey to discover their origins—and face the enemies that would keep those origins buried.

2. Why should folk read your book?

Super-soldiers and genetic engineering have been staples of science fiction since that genre was first coined, in countless different forms: books, movies, and especially video games. Yet while plenty of these works also include stories of self-discovery, it is my impression that few look past the action and drama the characters go through or create during those tales, and ask what it truly means to be such a figure—and whether they can have a life outside that of hero or destroyer. This book is my attempt to write such a story, letting readers see what scifi/action characters can become when the adventures and battles are done, and all they want is peace…and answers.

3. What’s the appeal of your book?  

It blends sci-fi with thriller and drama, and travels across much of a war-torn, recovering U.S. in the not-too-distant future.

4. Sounds great! Where/when can I get hold of a copy?  

It is currently still funding on Unbound.com, with many different pledge options and rewards!

5. Describe a typical writing day, or at least a typical day with some writing in it:

I get up around 9 each day, and usually start writing and/or researching right after lunch, in intervals of an hour or two. On the days when I have classwork or day job hours (I’m a 3rd year History PhD student, and I work as a Library Circ Assistant), I usually try to get in a few paragraphs to a page, minimum, on my current draft before heading off to either, then at least an hour in the evening.

6. Pick one book about writing. What it is and why have you chosen it?

Stephen King’s On Writing. It gave me a good introduction to the demands and joys of being a writer (if an aspiring one) and encouraged me to create my own set of writing rules, to keep me focused during research or draft work.

7. Pick three books that have influenced or inspired you as a writer:

How Few Remain by Harry Turtledove is a richly detailed, impressively written Civil War alternate history, and inspired me to write my own such stories (some of which have already been published!). Fatherland by Robert Harris did the same with regards to WWII and helped me greatly in refining my noir and thriller writing techniques. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a sobering yet enthralling read, with eloquent 1st person prose that soon had me trying my hand at such a style.

8. Pick three desert island books - works you couldn’t live without:

Lion’s Blood by Steven Barnes, Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove, 1984 by George Orwell.

9. Any words of writing wisdom?

Always have a book and/or something to write with/on close to hand, for when ideas strike. ALWAYS find someone to beta-read, before sending any draft(s) in for self- or regular publishing.           

10. Let’s make a movie of your book. Give me the high-concept pitch:

After more than twenty years of fighting, running and hiding, the survivors of a top-secret U.S. military super-soldier program have finally begun to create a home for themselves, hidden from those that created them. Yet despite this new-found peace, many questions still remain: What lives did they all have, before the program—if any? Are they still being hunted, as perceived threats to the government and scientists who molded them into the perfect soldiers? And what future can they create, for themselves…and their possible descendants? Two soldiers, Greg and Leah, set out to find the answers to these questions by any means, trekking across a war-torn, slowly-recovering North America. But there are far more answers waiting in their old world of espionage and black ops than they ever expected. And others are seeking these out as well…and willing to do anything to keep them hidden…

Social media contacts:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WIwriter88

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Mark-A-Ciccone-118412591868473/

Blog/website: https://wordpress.com/posts/markaciccone.wordpress.com

Unbound URL: https://unbound.com/books/discarded/

Previous publications:

Red Delta: A Novel of Alternate History (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078NRSN9B)

Obsidian & Steel (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GOUPH66)

For State and Country (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CTN98SU)

Dillinger in Charleston (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0167UTNT0)

Divided Worlds: An Alternate Space Race (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BW8DPGK)

Huge thanks to Mark for playing along! Hopefully Discarded will be of interest to you as readers, and you'll help it on its journey to publication. 

10 questions: Julie Warren, author of Glarnies, Green Berets & Goons: The Life and Legacy of Larry Stephens

As you know, I'm currently crowdfunding my new novel East of England through Unbound Publishing. And I'm not alone! So, I've asked a few fellow writers on Unbound's current roster to give a quick overview of their writing work, and the book they're crowdfunding themselves in a ten questions format. 

Today it's the turn of Julie Warren, who's written a book about a leading light of post-WW2 British comedy, Larry Stephens:

Julie_Warren.jpg

1. Who are you and what’s your book about?

I’m Julie Warren and my book is a biography of Larry Stephens, a man whose work influenced everyone from the Beatles to Robin Williams.

2. Why should folk read your book?

Although he’s relatively unknown (at the moment!), Stephens was one of the most influential characters of the 1950s. He died at the age of 35 but managed to pack a lot into his short life. He was a founding member and one of the main scriptwriters for the Goon Show (which made stars of Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe) and wrote for the most popular television show of the 1950s, a programme that developed into the Carry On films. He wrote scripts for all the leading actors and comedians of his day, including for his best friend, Tony Hancock. During the war he served as an officer with No. 5 Commando and trained some of the very first Royal Marines Commandos. He was a talented artist, jazz pianist and songwriter. He excelled at pretty much everything... apart from staying alive!

3. What’s the appeal of your book?

It will set our comedy history records straight and will highlight No. 5 Commando’s role in WWII. Books have been published about most of the Commando Units but never about No. 5, a Unit which fought in an often-overlooked theatre of war. My book will also include a recently-rediscovered script for a Tony Hancock series which is believed to be the first in British broadcasting to have been described as a “situation comedy”.

4. Sounds great! Where/when can I get hold of a copy?

The book is with the crowdfunding publisher, Unbound. If you pledge, not only will you get a copy of the book but you’ll be able to grab yourself some unique rewards too!

5. Describe a typical writing day, or at least a typical day with some writing in it:

I’m a morning person so that’s when I prefer to write but everyday life tends to make that impossible! I like to shut myself away in silence when I’m writing.

6. Pick one book about writing. What it is and why have you chosen it?

The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook is such a wonderful resource. It’s been produced every year since 1906 and contains a wealth of useful information. As well as comprehensive lists of publishers, agents, newspapers, magazines etc., it is jampacked with articles and guides from the top writers in every field you could possibly imagine.

7. Pick three books that have influenced or inspired you as a writer:

Rather than pick three books, I’d like to pick three writers if I may. The first of these is Sue Townsend. Adrian Mole and I grew up together and his rejection letters from the BBC helped me to feel much better about the rejection letters I received from publishers and agents! I attended a writing course on a Greek island tutored by Sue Townsend and ended up living there so Sue influenced my life in more ways than one. The second is Bill Bryson. I love his travel books but his other works, such as At Home, are great examples of how entertaining history books can be too. Finally, Enid Blyton. As a child, I so wanted to be one of the Famous Five or to climb the Faraway Tree (I’d still like to do that now actually!) and discovered that the best way to do this was to write myself into my own stories.

8. Pick three desert island books - works you couldn’t live without:

Three books I can read over and over again and enjoy every single time are Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson; The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and Rivals by Jilly Cooper.

9. Any words of writing wisdom?

Nothing very original, I’m afraid! Read lots, write lots and if you want to write for publication, develop a thick skin and never give up.

10. Let’s make a movie of your book. Give me the high-concept pitch:

You need to read this in the voice of Don Lafontaine!

In a world ravaged by war, a hero rose up and helped us to laugh again. He was the first person Peter Sellers attempted to make contact with beyond the grave; the Best Man at Tony Hancock’s first wedding and he supplied one-liners for Ealing Comedy, The Ladykillers. During the Second World War he served with the Commandos in the jungles of Burma. Finally, his story can be told. Larry Stephens: coming soon to a cinema near you!

Social media contacts:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VathenaUK (me) and https://twitter.com/lsggbg (Larry)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/larrystephenswriter/

Unbound URL: https://unbound.com/books/goons/

Previous publications: Contributing author to Essex Belongs To Us: Writing about the Real Essex

Thanks very much to Julie for answering my questions. I've pledged to support this book being a life-ling Goons fan, and hopefully, you'll consider pledging to this project too!

10 questions: Dave Philpott, author of Dear Mr Pop Star

While I'm currently crowdfunding my new novel East of England through Unbound Publishing, I'm by no means alone in doing this! So, I've asked a few fellow writers on Unbound's current roster to give a quick overview of their writing work, and the book they're crowdfunding themselves in a ten questions format.

Today it's the turn of Dave Philpott, here to chat about - among other things - his new book Dear Mr Pop Star.  

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1. Who are you and what’s your book about?

My name is Dave Philpott - it’s a nom de plume, and our book (written alongside my long-suffering Pa) is a book of deliberately deranged letters to iconic rock and pop stars regarding their lyrics, with genuine in-on-the-joke replies from the artists themselves.

2. Why should folk read your book?

Simply because it’s a totally unique concept and one that no one has manage to pull off before. We have managed to get a line through to nearly 100 musicians and songwriters and they have entirely allowed themselves to get ‘in on’ the joke. Poking fun at us for our naivety and in some cases poking fun at themselves. The replies are clever, insightful and very, very funny. As are, although we do say so ourselves, the letter we write to them.

3. What’s the appeal of your book?

We are focusing on artists and songs that are already there in the collective unconsciousness, as they are piped into our lives through our car stereos, in the background at work or even when we’re out doing our shopping. But we are asking questions that ensure that the listener will never hear those songs in the same way again. Also, as the majority of replies were secured around the back door of the industry, via roadies, cousins of bass players and social media rather than official channels, there is a real human element to how it was written.

4. Sounds great! Where/when can I get hold of a copy?  

It’s available on pre-order now via Unbound, with these people receiving a better quality version than will be shops and about 6 weeks before the official launch date of September 20th.  

5. Describe a typical writing day, or at least a typical day with some writing in it:

Such is the nature of the project there really isn’t a typical day; the letters are so painstakingly crafted and take so long to do that we only produce one if we’ve had the green light from the artist that they wish to get involved. Not to be ruthless, but if an artist is semi-committal and says something along the lines of ‘I might do it but I’m not sure’ we don’t invest any more time in it, but tell them out of courtesy. So we can go days or even weeks without writing and then receive five definite yes’ all at once via email.  Then we can find ourselves writing flat out for a month.

6. Pick one book about writing. What it is and why have you chosen it?

I’ll be perfectly honest here and admit that I haven’t read any books on the art of writing at all. What we do is very particular to us, we have our way of doing things and, given the nature of the project, we can’t find parallels elsewhere. I suppose you can say that we’re kind of making our rules as we go along.

7. Pick three books that have influenced or inspired you as a writer:

The Timewaster Letters by Robert Popper, Delete This At Your Peril (In fact all the Bob Servant books) by Neil Forsyth and any number of Viz annuals. We’re delighted that Viz are fans of our work. We often get compared to Henry Root, but honestly, this is quite a lazy comparison; we find it to be crudely written and frankly unfunny.  Also we love Diary of A Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith, because we can draw parallels between us and Charles Pooter’s rather mundane but extraordinary life. (We’re aware that we’ve made four choices here - sorry!)

8. Pick three desert island books - works you couldn’t live without:

The Outsider by Albert Camus, Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice, The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka.

9. Any words of writing wisdom?

If you’re really not feeling like writing when you wake up in the morning then don’t. If you try it will seem forced. The ideas will come when they’re good and ready, half-formed or forced isn’t good enough.

10. Let’s make a movie of your book. Give me the high-concept pitch:

I don’t think it can be done, but if it did happen it would have an absolutely amazing stellar cast and there would be cameo after cameo. Everyone would be playing themselves, although you’d never see us; we prefer to retain a little mystery - that way you can build up your own image of what these demented, obsessive writers look like for yourselves.

Social media contacts:

Twitter @DerekPhilpott

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThePhilpotts/

Unbound URL: https://unbound.com/books/dear-mr-pop-star/ 

Previous publications: Dear Mr. Kershaw - the cult classic that started it all http://amzn.eu/8A7l5ib and also http://www.planegroovy.com/philpott.html 

Thanks to Dave for playing along. Hopefully the book's of interest and you'll get a copy!

10 questions: Ivy Ngeow, author of Heart of Glass

As you are hopefully aware, I'm currently crowdfunding my new Lincolnshire-set thriller East of England through Unbound Publishing. And I'm not alone! So, I've asked a few fellow writers on Unbound's current roster to give a quick overview of their writing work, and the book they're crowdfunding themselves in a ten questions format. 

Today's guest is Ivy Ngeow, the author of Heart of Glass:

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1.      Who are you and what’s your book about?

I am award-winning author Ivy Ngeow and my book Heart of Glass is a dark pacy tale about obsession, greed and music in 1980s Chicago and Macau.

2.      Why should folk read your book?

My book addresses the themes of the Reagan era which are greed and success. The protagonist is an American girl of Chinese origin. She is a young, uneducated, pretty, and naive musical genius who happens to be an immigrant to the USA. She is blinded by her desire for fame, success, love, everything. She is an antihero and this is a story of an underdog and underachiever with hopes, dreams and fantasies usually squashed by mainstream society and realities of life as an immigrant.

3.      What’s the appeal of your book?

Firstly, my book’s settings in the thrilling cities of Chicago and Macau in the 1980s, glittery towers of success held together by the economics at the time. Secondly, the hedonistic aspect of a lifestyle only driven by and for music and disco and thirdly, the characters who are all emigres eking out their living and their versions of success.

4.      Sounds great. Where/when can I get hold of a copy?

You can get pre-order a copy on Amazon for a discounted price now and it will be launched on 30 June 2018. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heart-Glass-Ivy-Ngeow/dp/1911586645/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1529315722&sr=1-1&keywords=HEart+of+Glass+Ivy+Ngeow

5.      A typical writing day

I write in the morning for 40 minutes until no more words drip out. If more come, I do another 40 minutes. I am a slow writer. I cannot bang out 20,000 words in 20 hours.

6.      Pick one book about writing. What is it and why have you chosen it?

I pick Creative Writing – A Practical Guide by Julia Casterton. (MacMillan, 1986). This is quite an old book but still very relevant. From time to time I have to refer to it. This book is written like a manual and for those who already suspect they cannot live without writing. It is so slim and yet it goes through all the tenets of writing – why we need to do it, what is a short story, what is an adjective or abstract noun. Everything is covered in its 96 pages. It has no beating about the bush fantasy or quotes to inspire you. There is nothing inspiring. You’re supposed to be inspired already because you fancy yourself as a writer. This is just about writing. The reason why it is so thin is because you should not really be reading it, you should be writing.

7.      Pick three books that have influenced or inspired you as a writer.

I pick Lolita by Nabokov, The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter and Wild Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys.

8.      Pick three desert island books – works you couldn’t live without

I have to pick things I love rather than need or want, because on a desert island you could die any minute anyway.

All that Man is by David Szalay

Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan

Therese Raquin by Emile Zola

Yes, they are all European. I do prefer misery lit, where everybody’s mad, bad, sad or all three).

9.      Any words of writing wisdom?

Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Do all six. No shortcuts.

10.  Let’s make a movie of your book. Give me the high-concept pitch.

Watch the book trailer here: https://youtu.be/nRDowKLhuW0

Everything is in the 58 seconds. It is the thrilling evil four Ds: dark, disturbing, drugs, dance music. It’s a heist gone wrong, it’s Chinatown, it’s immigrants, greed and guilt. It’s the 1980s.

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Social media links:

Website/blog: writengeow.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heart-Glass-Ivy-Ngeow/dp/1911586645/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1529315722&sr=1-1&keywords=HEart+of+Glass+Ivy+Ngeow

YouTube: https://youtu.be/nRDowKLhuW0

Twitter: @ivyngeow

Instagram: @ivyngeow

Tags and keywords: #HeartofGlass #1980s #Chicago #Macau #Chinatown #heist #thriller #disco #music #culture #diversity

Email: ivy_ngeow at yahoo dot com

Thanks very much to Ivy for joining in. Hopefully you're intrigued by Heart of Glass and you'll pick up a copy soon!

In the meantime, check out my own East of England, which shares some similarities with Heart of Glass.  

10 questions: Patrick Kincaid, author of The Continuity Girl

As you know, I'm currently crowdfunding my new novel East of England through Unbound Publishing. And I'm not alone! So, I've asked a few fellow writers on Unbound's current roster to give a quick overview of their writing work, and the book they're crowdfunding themselves in a ten questions format. 

Today's subject is Patrick Kincaid, whose novel The Continuity Girl has just  been published. 

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1. Who are you and what’s your book about?

My name is Patrick Kincaid and I am the author of The Continuity Girl, a comic love story set on the banks of Loch Ness in 1969 and 2014.

2. Why should folk read your book?

Jonathan Coe calls it a ‘wistfully entertaining romantic comedy’. I was wary of ‘romantic comedy’ while I was writing it – but I like ‘wistfully entertaining’. I think people find that the love story at the centre of the book resonates. Also, if you’re curious about the state of Hollywood in the late sixties, or the search for evidence of the Loch Ness Monster, there’s some detail here you might find intriguing.

3. What’s the appeal of your book?

It’s one of those stories in which people from very different worlds collide. It’s also about outsiders – people who don’t quite fit in anywhere. I think at some level we all feel like one of those. Here, it’s a source of comedy.

4. Sounds great! Where/when can I get hold of a copy?

Amazon and other online retailers and bookshops throughout the country. Soon to be available in German, published by Heyne.

5. Describe a typical writing day, or at least a typical day with some writing in it:

I still work as a teacher, a job that only gets more demanding. So it’s sensible to begin a novel in the summer holidays, to try and get a head start. When term begins, I write a very little every weekday – between 6.30am and 7.00am – and for longer at the weekends. Conrad managed 800 words a day - Will Self calls a unit of 800 words a Conrad. I tend to write in Graham Greenes – 500 words a day.  

6. Pick one book about writing. What it is and why have you chosen it?

Never read one!

7. Pick three books that have influenced or inspired you as a writer:

The End of the Affair, Lucky Jim, Restoration.

8. Pick three desert island books - works you couldn’t live without:

They’d have to be big. Joyce’s Ulysses would be one. I’ve got a few translations of Dante’s Divine Comedy, so maybe I’d take the original and a teach yourself medieval Italian book.

9. Any words of writing wisdom?

It’s really old, but you do have to be prepared to kill your darlings. This gets easier the more things you write – it’s tough when you’ve just that one book you’ve been working on for ages.

10. Let’s make a movie of your book. Give me the high-concept pitch:

What happens when a chic Hollywood career woman meets a naive British monster hunter, against a Scottish Highlands backdrop and with a 1969 jukebox score.

Social media contacts:

Twitter - @patrickkincaid Facebook – facebook.com/patrickkincaidauthor

Website: www.patrickkincaidauthor.com

Unbound URL: https://unbound.com/books/the-continuity-girl/ 

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BIg thanks to Patrick for joining in. Hopefully you'll find his novel - available in all good and virtual bookshops alike - of interest!

Mne own crowdfunding book - a noir-ish crime thriller set in the flatlands of the east of Lincolnshire - is here: East of England. 

 

10 questions: Eamonn Griffin, author of East of England

It only occurred some time after knocking up this questionnaire format for fellow Unbound authors to maybe apply it to myself. Trust me, this website isn't a brains type of operation. Anyway, for good or ill, here's the skinny on me and my forthcoming noir-ish thriller East of England.

The artwork shown here isn't official material for the book, but was done as a favour by my younger brother Maxim - information about his own crowdfunding project Field Notes may be found here

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1. Who are you and what’s your book about?

Strangely enough, I’m Eamonn Griffin, and my novel East of England is a noir-ish thriller set over five consecutive days in Lincolnshire. Dan Matlock is released from prison after serving a couple of years inside. He’d like to go away and to start a new life somewhere else, but when his elderly father isn’t there to greet him on the outside as promised, he knows that there’s something wrong, so he’s compelled to return to his hometown to find out what’s gone awry.

2. Why should folk read your book?

Because it’s great! Because it’s fast and dark and violent in places, and about family and honour and revenge and inevitability. About immovable objects and irresistible forces, and about the weirdness that lurks under the surface of rural communities.

3. What’s the appeal of your book?

Well, East of England is very influenced by US pulp writers of noir crime fiction. I like writers such as Joe R Lansdale, Michael Connelly, and Lawrence Block, each of whom have been something of an influence. So there’s something of the American noir thriller but displaced into eastern England – the book’s set in a slightly-fictionalised version of Lincolnshire – and there’s also something of the kinds of books that people like Ted Lewis, who wrote Jack’s Return Home, the basis of the Michael Caine movie Get Carter (and the two other film versions that are out there) used to write. It’s very much a British take on an American model, and hopefully, there’s some appeal in that for readers.   
 

4. Sounds great! Where/when can I get hold of a copy? 

Well, as of the time of writing – late June 2018 – the project is coming to the end of its crowdfunding journey, so there’s still time to back the book and to become a patron of the project. Folk can do that here: unbound.com/books/east-of-england/ - the book should be funded by 4th July 2018, after which there’ll be the chance to pre-order through the same link. It’s up to the publishers quite when the book will hit the shelves and people’s e-readers of choice, but a best guess right now would be very early 2019.   

5. Describe a typical writing day, or at least a typical day with some writing in it:

When I’m first-drafting, I aim for 1000 words per writing day. I like to write fairly quickly, as I think the speed of getting ideas and action onto the page communicates to the reader. As I’m a freelance writer full-time, the creative work has to fold around the other paid work that I do. Ideally, I’ll do other work from 8am to 2pm, then work on the current novel from 2pm till 4pm.   

6. Pick one book about writing. What it is and why have you chosen it?

I’m going to cheat slightly and opt for two. The first is Writing A Novel by Nigel Watts. This is something of a classic of the writing advice genre, and perhaps the best pound-for-pound how-to book there is. If you can, get an older copy as the book's been reissued several times with additions by others after Watts’ death, and for my money these editions aren't as effective as supports for beginning writers. It’s very much about the mechanics of story, rather than the inspirational kind of writing book, such as Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, so bear that in mind, but it’s a very useful book to have.

The second book is On Writing by Stephen King. It’s part autobiography, and part writing advice non-fiction; the former is absolutely necessary to understand the latter half. I’m recommending this because of the audio-book, narrated by King; the personal connection that this gives is very effective. It’s well worth your time.    

If I had to pick a third (I'm a bit nerdy about this sort of thing) I'd go for Into The Woods by John Yorke, which is a great book about story structure, and which contains pretty much everything you need to know on the subject. Then again, you could pay due respect to the classics and pick up a copy of Poetics by Aristotle, which covers the same territory. And so on. I've read an awful lot of these kinds of books, and while there are loads that say good things, there's no one perfect book out there. You have to synthesise your own from your reading and your writing experiences.  

7. Pick three books that have influenced or inspired you as a writer:

Blimey. It’s times like this that I wish I’d thought in more detail about the questions that I’d set for other people to answer! There’s a hundred or more, I’m sure, but here’s three to be going on with:

Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel – Wolf Hall is great, but the sequel is better. A storming thriller, a fine slice of whatever “literary fiction” is, and a marvellous dramatization of well-known history. An object lesson in the old saying that it's not the story, but the storyteller...

The Emperor’s Spy by MC (Manda) Scott – the first of Scott’s Rome series is a wonderful historical thriller as well as a sly commentary on contemporary politics and the follies of organised religion and fundamentalism. 

Freezer Burn by Joe R Lansdale – Lansdale is the real deal, a great writer of Texas-set westerns, horror, SF, semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novels, and thrillers, with a fine ear for dialogue and a knack for the absurd. This is one of his weirder creations, the story of a criminal on the run who hides out in a travelling fair because of bee-stings so bad he can pass for a sideshow attraction, and who gets into way more trouble than he could have ever done if he’d just surrendered himself to the law.  

8. Pick three desert island books - works you couldn’t live without:

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco – my favourite book of all time, and one I re-read every couple of years.

Fletch by Gregory McDonald – perhaps the funniest thriller ever written.

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris – forget the movie versions, this is the real thing. Perhaps the most influential thriller of the last 40 years. Absolutely indispensable.

9. Any words of writing wisdom?

In a previous life I taught creative writing in a college context, so in some ways I’ve already covered this to my heart’s content. However, there’s three things I will say:

a) Learn how your word-processing software works. Your laptop is your primary tool, so be comfortable with it. Writers’ needs here are few, so learn how to use the tool you’re using. It doesn’t take long, but it’ll save so much time in the long run. It's bewildering how many people who profess to want to write don't consider the tool they use.

b) Recognise your mistakes, and learn from them. Many’s the student who made themselves willfully blind to easily-rectifiable errors, through a combination of arrogance and ignorance. Try not to be that person.

c) Don’t have any expectations. If you’re going to write, do so because you like the activity for its own pleasures. No-one owes you anything.    

10. Let’s make a movie of your book. Give me the high-concept pitch:

A man missing. A debt due. Dan Matlock has had two years to plan revenge, but so have the forces being levelled against him. This won’t end well.

Social media contacts:

Twitter: twitter.com/eamonngriffin (@eamonngriffin)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eamonngriffinwriting/

Unbound URL: unbound.com/books/east-of-england/

Previous publications:

Juggernaut: A Sequel to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Torc

The Prospect of This City

So, big thanks to me for contributing these answers to my own questionnaire! Hopefully East of England sounds of interest to you, and you'll consider backing the book if you haven't already done so.   

10 questions: Ewan Lawrie, author of Gibbous House and No Good Deed

As you know, I'm currently crowdfunding my new novel East of England through Unbound Publishing. And I'm not alone! So, I've asked a few fellow writers on Unbound's current roster to give a quick overview of their writing work, and the book they're crowdfunding themselves in a ten questions format. 

Today, here's Ewan Lawrie, who's published Gibbous House through Unbound, and who is currently crowdfunding its sequel, No Good Deed

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1. Who are you and what’s your book about?

My name is Ewan Lawrie and I am the author of Gibbous House a smash-hit sensation of a gothic romp and its sequel, currently funding at Unbound, No Good Deed. (Some of that is true).

2. Why should folk read your book?

Why shouldn’t they? Oh, very well. Gibbous House is funny, (so I’m told) thrilling and full of historical detail, so is No Good Deed … I hope. 

3. What’s the appeal of your book?

The central character, Moffat, is unlike any protagonist you have met before: Murderous, magniloquent and morally ambivalent, Moffat finds himself at the centre of complex plots without ever quite understanding how or why.

4. Sounds great! Where/when can I get hold of a copy?

All good bookshops and Amazon. Some copies are still available direct from the publisher. No Good Deed is still funding.

5. Describe a typical writing day, or at least a typical day with some writing in it:

Up at seven, check Unbound campaign page, sigh.
Check Amazon ranking and sales, sigh again.
Write e-mails to do with crowd-funding, submissions to various magazines and fiddle with GIMP graphics programme to make Social Media posts at least interesting enough to read. Make coffee. Write something in a notebook. Write it into an open office document. Delete it. Read something I wrote years ago. Ask myself why I don’t write as much/well/often now. (Delete as applicable).
Check Unbound campaign page, sigh.

6. Pick one book about writing. What it is and why have you chosen it?

The Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker. It was recommended by my tutor on my creative writing course with the Open University over 10 years ago. I read it cover to cover then and I dip into it now, when I need to. I am a “pants-ster” rather than a plotter and it does me good to go back to TSBP from time to time.

7. Pick three books that have influenced or inspired you as a writer:

Great Expectations, The Master and Margarita, The Quincunx.

8. Pick three desert island books - works you couldn’t live without:

I nearly picked The Coral Island, Robinson Crusoe and Lord of the Flies. To be honest, I’d take a King James Bible, a notebook and Bulgakov.

9. Any words of writing wisdom?

Read, read some more, read anything, read everything. Write a bit, then read some more

10. Let’s make a movie of your book. Give me the high-concept pitch:

“This book’s not for you, Mr Winestone,  aren’t you in enough trouble?”

Social media contacts: EwanL@Twitter.com, https://www.facebook.com/ewan.lawrie.9 https://www.facebook.com/PleaseAllowMe13/

Website: http://ewanlawrie.blogspot.com/

Unbound URL: https://unbound.com/books/no-good-deed/

Previous publications: Gibbous House https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gibbous-House-Ewan-Lawrie/dp/1783520892

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Check out Ewan's writing, and consider both buying Gibbous House and supporting its sequel into life! 

10 questions: Mary Monro, author of Stranger In My Heart

As you're no doubt painfully aware, I'm currently crowdfunding my new novel East of England through Unbound Publishing. And I'm not alone! So, I've asked a few fellow writers on Unbound's current roster to give a quick overview of their writing work, and the book they're crowdfunding themselves, in a ten questions format.

Today, it's the turn of Mary Monro, the author of the just-published Stranger in My Heart

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1. Who are you and what’s your book about?

I am Mary Monro and Stranger In My Heart is my quest to discover the lost world of my war hero father.

2. Why should folk read your book?

Understanding who you are starts with your family – parents, grandparents and beyond. Their lives influence ours in subtle and diverse ways, but the generations who saw the World Wars were mostly silent about their experiences and so we don’t incorporate them fully into our understanding. I want to inspire people to recover their family stories before they are lost forever.

3. What’s the appeal of your book?

Stranger In My Heart skilfully weaves poignant memoir with action-packed biography and travels in modern China.

4. Sounds great! Where/when can I get hold of a copy?

It was published on 9 June 2018, available as paperback and digital editions from bookshops and online.

5. Describe a typical writing day, or at least a typical day with some writing in it:

I wake early and often do some writing or researching before I go to work as an Osteopath. Sometimes I write in the evenings or if I have a free day I try to sit down for a good chunk of time, in between life admin tasks. I’m good at focusing when I need to – writing has to fit into all my other responsibilities.

6. Pick one book about writing. What it is and why have you chosen it?

There are books about writing? I have just learned that Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande is a classic.

7. Pick three books that have influenced or inspired you as a writer:

Beryl Markham’s Journey into The West is heartbreakingly well written. Laurens van der Post’s Yet Being Someone Other is a beautiful piece of reflective writing. Iris Murdoch’s The Bell is rich and compelling.

8. Pick three desert island books - works you couldn’t live without:

The Web of Life by Fritjof Capra, Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, The Heart of the Hunter by Laurens van der Post.

9. Any words of writing wisdom?

Write a lot and read a lot.

10. Let’s make a movie of your book. Give me the high-concept pitch:

A young officer survives intense battle and imprisonment in Hong Kong to escape through war-torn China, unable to hide or communicate, threatened as much by the Chinese as the Japanese. Later he faces another battle to rescue the PoWs he’d left behind, caught up in a power struggle between the architects of Pacific War strategy. In a bitterly ironic twist, he ends up in the blood and sweat-stained jungles of Burma, fighting a campaign that should never have happened. He dedicates the rest of his life to freedom.

Social media contacts: @monro_m276

Website: www.strangerinmyheart.co.uk

Unbound URL: https://unbound.com/books/stranger-in-my-heart/

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Other retailers are available, though here's the Amazon UK link. Hopefully some of you will check out Mary's book!

East of England - funding update Easter Sunday

Hi all, and a happy Easter to you if you're having a break, be it a religious festival, a few days off, a handful of chocolate eggs, or any blend of the preceding. 

In terms of project progress for the funding of East of England, we're at the 37% mark, which means there's £1500 banked with the publishers and £2500 to go. There's 88 supporters for the book already - which is fantastic - so that means attracting about another 180 to hit the funding target. At the present rate of progress, that's about 5-6 months' work. These things take time, it seems! So, if there's anything you feel inclined to do in terms of nursing the book into life (shares/comments/retweets on social media, telling family and friends and the like) then that'd be very much appreciated As you might imagine, getting people interested in a book that's not available yet (even though it's written) isn't altogether straightforward.

The money raised through the pre-ordering process goes to meet the production and distribution costs of the book - I don't see a penny until a) the book's over 100% funded and b) it's on sale and folk buy some. 

Most of the higher-level pledges have been taken (I've got one "name a character after yourself/a friend") place left, so big thanks to those who've bought those packages. I've got a nicely roguish pair of characters selected that'll be slightly rewritten to accommodate the names/appearance of these fine folk. I've also got a couple of pledges available for me to go anywhere in the UK and give a creative writing class/talk/event of some sort (you can decide the content). Got a plan for one of those slots though...

I've written the first draft of a short story set in the same fictional universe, and this may yet get bundled into the book as an additional extra. More free stuff! I spoil you, I really do. Also, I'm cooking up ideas for a sequel, and I'd hope to include the first chapter of this at the back of the published book to lead folks towards another reading adventure. 

Finally, another project for you to consider. Some of you may know my brother Maxim; well, he's been approached by Unbound to produce a book for them, and crowdfunding for that started this week. You can find more details about the book - Field Notes - here. Have a look and consider backing his project too! 

Thanks for reading (and for being patient during the funding process!)

Eamonn

@eamonngriffin

https://unbound.com/books/east-of-england

Cover artwork concepts for East of England

Here's a series of six cover art concepts prepared by my brother, the talented Maxim Peter Griffin, to give a flavour of East of England in visual form. 

They're in no way official, so I wouldn't necessarily expect any of them to end up as a cover to the book when it gets published, but they are - I admit - pretty cool. 

East of England is being crowdfunded via Unbound Publishing; this means pre-orders of the book are necessary to raise its preproduction costs (editing, proofreading, design, printing, the cover, advertising, promotion and distribution and so on). So, don't wait till it hits the bookshelves! As you'll see from the book's details, there are a handful of different pledge levels with escalating rewards; plus, everyone gets their name in the book as thanks. Plus, you get to be a patron of the arts, which isn't too bad, is it?

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Which one's your favourite? And how do they relate to your own visual sense of the book? Again, details  - including how to support East of England - are here