February’s Pot Luck Club
Welcome to this month’s Pot Luck Club, a round-up of writerly bits and pieces. The end of winter means different things to different people. And for those of you who go by the weather, we still have a way to go here in UK, judging by this week’s forecast. But for me, winter ends when I can go to the gym in the daylight, instead of fumbling around in a pitch-black country lane, trying to juggle a torch and an ice scrapper while wearing mittens. So I am delighted to report that last Tuesday when I left home at 6.15am, there was a smudge of daylight on the horizon. Not a full-blown sunrise, but enough to make me start thinking about spring and warmer days. Something to relish if the promised snow arrives later this week.
I finished the first draft of Corruption! bang on time at the end of January. It’s currently with two of my most trusted readers undergoing a structural edit. And I already know there’s a fair bit of work still to do. But it’s getting there and I’m confident of arriving at the launch date on schedule.
Business of Writing and Swanwick
At the end of December, I mentioned I had a particular reason for getting my Business of Writing books re-issued and new titles out there this year. Well, it’s now official and I can proudly announce I will be presenting two short courses on this topic at the Writers’ Summer School in Swanwick this August; and I will also be co-presenting two sessions on that wonderful tool for writers, Scrivener.
It’s no secret how much I love this annual event. This year will be our 70th Anniversary and booking is already open. In fact, places are disappearing fast, so if you are a writer who fancies a whole week of total immersion in all things writerly, why not check it out now? There are bursaries for students and assisted places, plus the chance to win a place for free in the short story competition.
Exeter Writers Short Story Competition
And while we’re on the subject of competitions, you have just two days left to enter the Exeter Writers Short Story Competition. Closing on 28th February, it has some great prizes. So what are you waiting for?
UK Southern Book Show
If any of you live in the Worthing area, why not pop along to the first UK Southern Book Show, being held on Sunday 4th March between 9am and 6pm in the Pavilion Theatre on the Pier? The brainchild of author Natasha Murray, this is a free event, giving an opportunity for anyone who loves books to meet authors from the UK, listen to readings and talks, and learn about writing and publishing. It’s also a chance to discover and buy some great books: fiction, non-fiction, adults, teen and children’s books. And there will be some free giveaways too!
Now, unfortunately, Worthing is a bit far away from Devon, so I’m not going to be there in person, but I am part of the virtual group and trailers for all my books will be running on the screens throughout the day. So I’ve been having fun making trailers this month. Checkout this one for Gorgito’s Ice Rink.
Coming up in March, we have Mother’s Day in the UK. If you’re looking for something a little different as a gift this year, why not think about a book? Providing hours of enjoyment and completely calorie-free! And with Easter coming up at the end of the month, there’s another opportunity on the horizon for thoughtful present-giving.
Of course, there are lots of authors out there; many of whom will be happy to provide signed copies of their books. So you don’t have to choose one of mine… But if you would like a copy of Gorgito’s Ice Rink, Counterfeit! or Deception! just get in touch. With the dedication of your choosing, I’ll even gift wrap and post it if you like!
Pausing for Thought
This month, I had the opportunity to present Pause for Thought on BBC Radio Devon. It’s a 90 second slot every morning from Monday to Sunday on the Early Show. Some weeks there are traditional religious themes; other times it’s secular reflection. And then there are people like me who talk about all sorts of random stuff. In the past, I’ve talked about lessons learned while working overseas; the meaning of community; and books that have influenced me throughout my life.
This time, I went through Seven Decades of Song, the closest I’m ever likely to get to Desert Island Discs. I had great fun researching music from the fifties onwards and reliving some musical memories. I will be using the pieces on my blog later this year, but in the meantime, you can hear the first piece by clicking here; I come on around 1hour and 20minutes into the programme.
Writers Are Readers Too
Once again this year, I’ve set myself a Goodreads challenge; and this time, it’s a biggie. I’m attempting to read and review 100 books during 2018. At the moment, I’m running a couple behind target, but with some big holidays coming up later in the year, there’s plenty of time to catch up. But I want to mention a recent novel that I absolutely loved.
Black Water Lilies by Michel Bussi was recommended by a friend who bounded up to me at a party, bursting to share the news of his latest discovery. Such was his enthusiasm, I bought it as soon as I returned home – and I was not disappointed. Set in Monet’s Giverny, this is a murder mystery centred around three women and a secret they share. The twist is so elegant and completely took me by surprise. The writing is somewhat similar to that of Georges Simenon; and, like the Maigret books, Black Water Lilies was written in French. But the translation by Shaun Whiteside is flawless and there’s none of the uncomfortable use of language that occasionally comes with translations. This is one of my rare 5-star reads and I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves a murder mystery with a difference.