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Posts Tagged ‘East Anglian Festival of Culture’

As tradition requires, I’ve been looking back at all the lovely literary/writery things I have done in 2016 (sorry I’m a bit late)

January – Planning for the Unique Writing Workshops I run twice a year at Gunton Hall Coastal Village (April and November). Unique as I cover everything from getting started on your first writing project to publishing and marketing your finished work. These are interactive and fun-filled days – but you can pick and choose, come for any or all of the sessions.

February – Began the month with a writing holiday to Tenerife.

Author gig at Woodbridge Library in Suffolk.

March – On Southwold radio.

Author gig at a women’s literary festival in London.

April – Author gig at Chelmsford Library in Essex.

Ran my Unique Writing workshops and met some inspiring writers.

May – Two author gigs this month in Suffolk, one at Kesgrave Library and one at Bury St Edmunds.

June – Arranged an evening Beach read. Weather a bit blowy but everyone had fun.

Author guests on blog were: Sandra Delf, Ellie Holmes and Tricia Cass.

Ran a writing competition. Winning entries and those highly commended would be included in a published book and sold on Amazon. All royalties would go to Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Cover change for Books 1 and 2 in my Chatty Cat series: ‘Chatty Cat: My Purr-fect New Home’ and ‘Chatty Cat: Spring into Summer’ (books for children and adults read them too). Designed by Rachel Lawston and I love them, hope you do too.

chatty-front-cover-from-amazon                                  chatty-book-twofront-cover-on-amazon25th-june-2016

ISBN-13: 978-0995484436       ISBN-13: 978-0993493447

 July – I ran the 2nd East Anglian Festival of Culture (#Eafoc)  at the Coconut Loft, Hatfield Hotel and The Clyffe Hotel.

Two author gigs this month, Great Yarmouth Library (Norfolk) and at Saxmundham Library (Suffolk)

Author guest on my blog: Lynda Stacey.

Book release: Book 3 in the Chatty Cat series: ‘Chatty Cat: My Purr-fect Friends’

front-cover-on-amazon ISBN: 978-0993493454

Book endorsed by children’s authors Terry Tarbox and Wendy Leighton-Porter.

August – Author gig at Gorleston Library (Norfolk)

Published an anthology of stories written by writers from the writing weekend in April, ‘Dreaming on Paper’, under my imprint ‘East Anglian Press’, edited by Jo Wilde. All royalties to Alzheimer’s Research UK

dreaming-on-paperfront-cover    ISBN-13: 978-0995484429

September – Author gig at a Lit Fest in London.

I ran writing workshops at Woodbridge Library and met some inspiring writers, some who aim to publish their work.

October – On Southwold Radio.

Planning the writing workshops ready for next month.

November – This month, author Jane Lovering came and did a ‘Writing a Novel’ workshop for my company, ‘Get Writing’ (www.getwriting.co.uk)

First planning meeting for the East Anglian Festival of Culture #Eafoc 2017

Planning a writing retreat for Jan 2017

Published this anthology (poetry and short stories) under my imprint East Anglian Press. ‘View of the Sea’, edited by Jo Wilde. All royalties to Alzhemier’s Research UK

view-of-the-seacover-on-amazon   ISBN-13: 978-0995484467

Although I had new covers for Chatty Cat books 1 & 2 I found that children liked the new covers and older readers, including people who wanted to purchase a book for their loved one who had suffered a stroke and just getting back into reading, preferred the covers with Chatty Cat actually on them and both are now available

chatty-catsuzan-collins    chatty-front-cover-from-amazon    Chatty Cat~Spring into Summer~draft FRONT cover    chatty-book-twofront-cover-on-amazon25th-june-2016                     

              Book 1                                               Book 2                      

December – The final month of the year 2016 sees my book, ‘Chatty Cat: My Purr-fect Friends’ in the WINTER 2016 Collection. It would make my day if you could vote for it please (voting is open until 28th Feb 2017)  http://www.peoplesbookprize.com/book.php?id=1474

During the Autumn I had the wonderful opportunity of running writing enrichment sessions at the Ormiston Denes Academy. I worked with young inspiring writers and illustrators and have offered contracts to two young illustrators who will see their work in print very soon.

Writing plans for 2017:

The Get Writing Buddy

Second novel

Chatty Cat book 5, ‘Chatty Cat: Autumn into Winter’

Izzy Cat book: ‘Izzy Cat: New Family New Home’

Two individual books to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Thank you for your fabulous support in 2106 which was greatly appreciated.

If you would like to keep up to date with Chatty Cat and Izzy Cat here is the link to Chatty’s blog: https://chattycatno1.wordpress.com/

And if you would like to follow me on FB or Twitter here are the links:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/Suzan-Collins-author-page-186401074847655/

Twitter: @suzancollins

May this year, 2017, be a good one for you.

Until next time

Suzan  x

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Welcome, Pat Casselden…

Can you tell me a little about yourself? Pat~head and shoulders

I am a 67 year old wife, mother and grandmother, now retired after spending many years working with adults with learning disabilities.

I write fiction under my pen name of Tricia Cass which is a shortened version of my full name and have just written a story for an anthology, to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK, under my own name, Patricia Casselden

What is the title and genre of your book?

My book is titled ‘No Going Back’ and is a story of Drama / Crime / Family and LovePat's front cover~25th May 2016~green text~used snipping tool

How did you come up with the story?

‘No Going Back’ is totally fictional. It started in my mind as a short story when I attended a Creative Writing course at my local college.

As the characters grew, the story evolved.

It has a lovely cover. Did you have any say in what you wanted the cover to be?

Thank-you. Yes, I knew roughly what I wanted and met with a local Artist who came up with the cover. I loved the colours and felt it was perfect for the context of the book.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Look for writing groups / courses where you get advice and support. The local Library is a good place to get information.

Believe in yourself and enjoy.

What is your writing routine?

I don’t actually have a routine as I write when the mood takes me. I can get lost in my writing so I try to clear anything pressing before I start.

I like background noise when I write – it seems to help my concentration.

Do you have an editing process?

I did most of my own editing for ‘No Going Back’ as it was my first book and I had no idea of how to go about things. I had invaluable help once I found out more about the process and I will use an Editor for my next book. The cost involved will be well worth it when I think of the blood sweat and tears I used up this time.

What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?

I love getting lost in my work.

I love discovering how my characters come to life and take me off track.

I love it when one chapter flows into another (This doesn’t always happen)

I get excited when I’m nearing the end.

I get frustrated when my ideas get blocked.

I hate it when my brain won’t switch off when I’m trying to sleep.

Where can people find you on the internet?

Facebook:

Pat Casselden: https://www.facebook.com/patriciacasselden49/?fref=nf

Tricia Cass: https://www.facebook.com/Tricia-Cass-Author-100423340370911/?fref=ts

Twitter:

@patcasselden

@triciacassauthor

Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?

Yes – I will be at the East Anglian Festival of Culture (Eafoc) across the weekend of 2nd and 3rd July in Lowestoft (details below). I would love it if people stopped by to say hello so don’t be shy.

How does it feel to finally hold your book in your hands?

So proud I can’t describe it – it’s a lifetime dream come true.

I love all the positive feedback I’ve had.

Thank you, Tricia. You have been a marvellous guest and I look forward to seeing you at the East Anglian Festival of Culture (EAFOC) this July in Lowestoft, Suffolk.

And if you would like to come and meet Tricia and get a personalised signed copy please visit the website for more details: www.eastanglianfestivalofculture.co.uk . Alternatively, if you are unable to come  to the festival here is the link to buy a copy on Amazon

Pat's front cover~25th May 2016~green text~used snipping tool

https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-Going-Back-Tricia-Cass/dp/0993493475/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466250135&sr=1-1&keywords=tricia+cass

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Welcome Ellie Holmes…

Can you tell me a little about yourself? (inc if you use a pen name and why)Paula Guyver

I was born in Essex but made in Cornwall and use those two places as the source of inspiration for my writing. Like most people, I juggle commitments to family and friends, a part time job and my writing so my days tend to be hectic and my nights are long.

I write under the pen name of Ellie Holmes which is a combination of my two grandmothers’ names. I decided to use a pen name because I also write darker, crime driven novels which I may publish under my own name in due course although I haven’t completely made up my mind about that yet. I might introduce a darker line of Ellie Holmes’ novels instead.

What is the title and genre of your book?Ellie Holmes front cover

My debut novel is called The Flower Seller and it is commercial romantic fiction.

How did you come up with the story?

Believe it or not, it was supposed to be a short story about a woman re-entering the dating game after many years of marriage. One hundred thousand words later you can see my imagination took over. It developed into an exploration of the idea that people are not always how they first appear which is a rich seam for a writer to mine.

It has a lovely cover, did you have any say in what you wanted the cover to be?

Thank you, that’s very kind of you. Yes, absolutely.  As an indie author the cover is so important. I chose the cover designer I wanted to work with – the wonderful Berni Stevens www.bernistevensdesign.com and wrote her a detailed brief.  My brief included my wish for the cover to be “eye catching and beautiful with rich colours” and she certainly delivered on that. I love it and count myself very lucky to have such a beautiful cover.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Do something writing related every day. Really it’s the only way. If you can carve out a few precious minutes each day you will be amazed by what you can achieve. But that doesn’t just mean writing. In addition to that it could be catching up on a webinar on an aspect of the writing business you need guidance on. It could be researching a topic for your next book. It could be choosing editors or cover designers if you are self-published.

If you are engaged in the business of writing and serious about what you are doing and have the commitment and the strength of will to keep going for longer than a few weeks you are a writer. Being a writer is not about having a deal or not having a deal. It is not about traditional publishing or self-publishing. It is about the commitment.

What is your writing routine?

I aim to write 5,000 words a week, a 1,000 words a day for five days, usually in the evenings. In addition, I write two blog posts a week.  The blogs I tend to write first thing in the morning. The one day a week I am at home (apart from weekends), I spend editing.

Do you have an editing process?

I usually let a piece of work sit for a few weeks before I start editing. When I do, I’ll read it through making a few notes about the flow, any loose ends I haven’t tidied up and the areas that need expanding upon. Then I start the hard work of working through it chapter by chapter until each chapter sings. Once I reach the end of the beginning (usually around the thirty thousand word mark for a full length novel) I’ll do an out loud read through of that section. It helps to improve the flow and sharpens up the dialogue when you hear it out loud. Then I repeat the process for the middle section and the final section. Before doing an out loud read through of the whole thing. My read throughs for The Flower Seller were accompanied by the loud snoring of my longhaired Dachshund Sasha, hopefully my book won’t have the same soporific effect on humans!!

What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?

I love the buzz when you have an idea and you start to develop it and suddenly the characters take over. When you are in the zone it’s almost as though you are taking dictation from them which is wonderful.

I don’t enjoy writing the blurb for the back of a book. I am a hundred thousand word kind of girl (fifty thousand for my novellas) sticking to 150 odd words is HARD!

Where can people find you on the internet?

People can find me at my website www.ellieholmesauthor.com

I am also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EllieHWriter  and Twitter @EllieHWriter

and Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/EllieHWriter

Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?

Yes – I am going to be taking part in a pop up book shop at the East Anglian Festival of Culture across the weekend of 2nd and 3rd July in Lowestoft (details below). I would love it if people stopped by to say hello so don’t be shy.

How does it feel to finally hold your book in your hands?

When I first held my book it was a bittersweet feeling. My mum had very much been looking forward to sharing the moment with me but she died earlier this year. My dad is also gone and I know he wanted this for me perhaps even more than I wanted it for myself. Then, as I remembered all the hard work that had gone into not just writing the book but creating it, I felt very proud.

Thank you, Ellie. You have been a marvellous guest and I look forward to seeing you at the East Anglian Festival of Culture (EAFOC) this July in Kirkley, Suffolk.Ellie Holmes front cover

The Flower Seller   http://goo.gl/UrHYRb

 

 

And if you would like to come and meet Ellie and get a personalised signed copy please visit the website for more details: www.eastanglianfestivalofculture.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jeanette Heiwtt

Since the recent publication of Jeanette’s book ‘Exclusion Zone’  many things have happened and I asked Jeanette to come back and tell you all about it, and here she is…

On February 14th – Saint Valentine’s Day – my debut crime fiction novel was released into the world on Kindle. I knew that this time around it would be very different to my previous two published novels. I was much more active on social media for a start, and I had spent the last couple of years building a network of support in readers, bloggers and other writers. But when I sat down to look at the book on Amazon (yes, narcissistic but I done it), I wasn’t prepared to see that it was at number 156 in the International Crime and Mystery category. I done a little push on Twitter and FaceBook to see if there was any way I could get it into the top 100 and lo and behold, when I awoke the following morning it was at number 50! It’s a huge thrill to be able to say that Exclusion Zone was in the bestselling 100 books in Crime and Mystery. Because of the Chernobyl setting it also got in the top 100 in Military and also in the History section.

jeanette hewitt~Exclusion Zone cover

In the two weeks that Exclusion Zone has been released I’ve been lucky enough to take part in some blogs just like this one, the readers of which might otherwise miss out on hearing about my crime novel. Word really does spread on social media and though a lot of it is actively pursuing people and groups, sometimes bloggers and authors hear about the work and make an offer for me to appear on their blogs with an interview or a Q&A session. And that’s one of the things I love most about this game, the total and utter support given. I’m sure it’s got to be one of the friendliest professions that I’ve come across. Of course, it’s not good etiquette to just ‘take’, and I’ve always tried to pay it forward in supporting, sharing and retweeting writers and bloggers and readers if I come across something I’ve really enjoyed or has touched me. I built a Facebook page and with sponsorship and support from my very technologically minded and creative partner, Darren, we managed to reach far and wide to draw people in. The page is a place where I can play, and right now I’ve having a lot of fun posting some Chernobyl facts accompanied by photos. People seem to enjoy them, which is great to hear because I enjoy the educational side of this important piece of history too.

On Saturday just gone I was lucky enough to get a slot to pitch to an agent at the Curtis Brown / Conville Walsh Discovery Day, held at Foyles in London. Hundreds of aspiring writers had congregated there, and once again, I met some lovely people. Julie Stock, Elaina James and a fantastically friendly lady who had flown in from France among others. I wasn’t nervous, mainly because three years ago I had a similar shot at stardom when I was shortlisted for the Inspire and Mentor Award and got to meet the legend that is JoJo Moyes. And said legend asked me which authors I like to read and my brain suddenly emptied itself, and the only name I could recall was Jackie Collins. So no, I wasn’t nervous about the most recent event, having had my worst mind freeze a few years back, and luckily this time my brain stayed lovely and full and I managed to read out my pitch without looking at my notes and answer the agent’s questions without stuttering or forgetting anything!

It’s all about putting yourself out there, which can be hard as it’s not natural (to me, anyway) to ‘big yourself up’. Writing is rather solitary, so it’s a strange dynamic to spend six months alone with your characters and then be thrust out into the world to talk about them. I had some good practice last year when I was on a panel with fellow crime writers SJI Holliday and Jane Isaac at the Felixstowe Book Festival. This year I’ll be appearing again, but this time I’ll be on my own. I’m very much looking forward to being part of the East Anglian Festival of Culture (Eafoc) as that will be relaxed and chatty, something I can do!

The paperback of Exclusion Zone is now on sale too and on 26th April I’ll be having a launch at Stillwater Books in Felixstowe. There will be some talk, some drinks, some freebies and some fun and I’ll be using that opportunity to put my public talking into rehearsal!

Updates on the launch will be posted on my Facebook page – www.facebook.com/j.mhewittauthor – and also on my website – www.jmhewitt.com – so if anyone does fancy coming along do keep an eye on my pages.

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Welcome, Jeanette Hewitt…

 Jeanette Heiwtt~1

Can you tell me a little about yourself? (including pen name if you have one)

My debut crime fiction novel is being released under the name J.M Hewitt. I’ve had two novels published previously in my own name, both contemporary fiction, and this is my first venture into the world of crime.

What was the first story you wrote?

I would have to think back very far to answer that one, I recall writing a short story about a woman soldier when I was about eleven years old. I always remembered it and I’ve revamped it recently and entered it into the Flashbang Flash Fiction competition for Crimefest 2016.

Were you inspired by someone or something?

I remember quite clearly declaring at ten years old that I was going to write a book and for me, it seemed a natural progressive move from reading. I’ve had many inspirations over the years, Ffyona Campbell (the first woman to walk around the world) and her books detailing her travels always stuck with me. She’s a strong woman, and after she completed her trans-world walk she went off the grid for many, many years. I always felt so desolate that this woman would never know that she was my inspiration, and my second novel, Worlds Apart, was written with Ffyona in mind as the main character. Imagine my delight when a few years ago she reappeared in Devon, having spent years living with the Aborigines and was now back in the UK, ready to teach all her findings. She runs wild food walks now, and we have interacted many times since she came back. One of these days I’m going to accompany her on a walk. And to walk side by side with your own hero, that’s rather a mind blowing thought!

Alex Marwood was the one who led me into the world of Crime Fiction, with the debut novel The Wicked Girls. I have met her several times and count her as a valued friend. Ruth Dugdall, fellow Suffolk author, is also so supportive. And these lovely people, they branch off into other friendships and introductions, often I can’t believe that the genre we write in houses such wonderful folk.

What do you like about writing a story?

Firstly I love to teach with my work. It’s my own personal opinion but I always think if you can read a book and learn a little something then you take away so much more than you ever expected. This train of thought probably comes from how I was taught. One of my earliest memories is of my parents teaching me from their own history books, this was before I even went to school! So that method is probably engrained within me.

Can you tell us about your newest book?

On 26th April 1986, reactor four exploded at the factory in Pripyat, Chernobyl. At the same time teenager Afia Bello vanished from her home without a trace.

The damage from the nuclear fallout is examined over the following weeks, months and years by Afia’s younger sister Sissy, as she unwittingly uncovers clues relating to her sister’s disappearance, and the secret life that Afia kept hidden from her family.

In the summer of 2015 Private Detective Alex Harvey is hired to investigate the disappearances that have been occurring within the exclusion zone. He can think of only one person to bring along with him to help; Ukrainian national Elian Gould.

Elian – who was adopted at birth – has her own reasons for accepting the job; namely to search for her own family history which has always been a mystery to her.

But the remaining citizens of Chernobyl are hiding their own secrets and with a darker force at work, the missing person’s case suddenly turns into something much more serious.

How did you come up with the story?

I was only eight years old when the nuclear disaster happened, but it has always intrigued me greatly – a place on earth where nobody can go? It led me to thinking, what about if people didn’t leave; what if a bunch of them stayed and something terrifying was happening but because it’s a no-go area no law enforcements would help them… I must say I’ve absolutely loved the research that I needed to do in order to do this book justice. It’s so interesting, the parallels between man-made disaster, science, the reclamation of nature and government cover ups. I’m still researching now as I’m going to be doing several talks about it this summer and every time I delve into it I discover something new.

What genre best fits for the book?

It falls in the genre of crime fiction, with a little bit of history thrown in.

jeanette hewitt~Exclusion Zone cover

Are you working on something new at the moment?

Yes, I always kind of knew that the Chernobyl book would be the first in a series. I’m currently a third of the way through the sequel and this time, its set in Schevenigen, Holland. Many of the characters from Exclusion Zone will make an appearance in book two.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Never, ever give up. My line of thought is this: you can never get worse, your writing will only improve with time and experience and there is no age limit in this choice of career, unlike if you wanted to be, say, a model. I took part in a workshop last year and some people were saying that if this opportunity didn’t lead to anything they were going to give up! I was horrified, sure, the rejection can be tough, but rejection is everywhere in life. Take it, learn from it and keep going!

Also, interact with writers. There are many events which cost next to nothing or are even free; talks, book signings etc.

Do you write in a writing group?

Yes, I belong to a lovely group called the Felixstowe Scribblers. They are a mighty fine, supportive bunch of people. We meet twice a month and we have homework to do, usually 1000 word pieces but sometimes flash fiction. I’m so thankful for this homework, creating short stories takes me out of my comfort zone, which is a good thing!

Do you have people who will critique your work? (And if you do, do you acknowledge them in the front of the book?)

My mum is usually my first reader and she’s honest too, which is what you need. I’ve got a couple of critique offers for the next book I’m planning, but the making of Exclusion Zone moved so fast there was no time. However, I’ve had an unbelievable amount of support from fellow authors and bookish friends. They will certainly be acknowledged; in fact I think my acknowledgement section on Exclusion Zone is at least a page long. It’s like a weepy Oscar winning speech!

What is your writing routine?

I write by hand during the week and then type it all up on a Saturday. If I’ve finished typing it up I’ll continue on with the story through to Sunday. Any spare moment is spent writing, that includes train and plane journeys, holidays and evenings.

Do you have an editing process?

With writing longhand and then typing it up its almost editing right there, as I can see what’s not working the second time I go through it. I try to write blocks of words at a time, maybe going back chapter by chapter to pick up any errors that slipped through the net.

What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?

The creation – of people’s lives (and deaths!) is a good feeling of power! Of course, the characters go off on their own paths and sometimes I have to follow them and see where they lead me; I’m not totally in control. I really don’t think there are any points I least like, I truly love every part of the process, especially research.

How important is it for you to share your writing?

To be a published author has been my dream for around thirty years, so when people tell me they’ve read it and they liked it that’s great. When they say they learned something that they didn’t know that’s even better!

Where can people go to read your work?

My two previously published novels are available on Amazon.co.uk and can be purchased almost anywhere on the internet. They will also be on sale at the East Anglian Festival of Culture in July. I’ll be there too and would love people to stop and say hello!www.eastanglianfestivalofculture.co.uk

Where can people find you on the internet?

I’m on twitter @jmhewitt and more details can be found on my own website: www.jmhewitt.com

Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?

If anybody does fancy finding out a little more about Chernobyl or my work I’m in the process of arranging lots more events throughout 2016, so do keep an eye on my website.

I’ll also be a ‘guest curator’ on BritCrime in April. BritCrime is a fantastic free online festival made up of many crime fiction authors that usually runs in the summer. Do check them out on Twitter: @BritCrime and on Facebook: BritCrime Authors.

jeanette hewitt~Exclusion Zone cover

http://www.amazon.co.uk/J.-M.-Hewitt/e/B01BT1SJRY/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

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