Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Z Files: Wendy Janes ~ Capricorn

Astrology ~ a bit of fun, a load of rubbish, or something to take seriously?

I invited around 70 writers/bloggers to write a piece about how typical they are of their sign, and how its traits affect their writing life ~ if at all...

Has your favourite writer been featured yet?  Links to all previous posts at the end of this one :)

Since I made my initial invitations to be featured in this series (I invited about 65-70 writers and bloggers; at the time of writing 51 have taken it up), it's been interesting to see which signs have given me an immediate 'yes please!' and which have not been so interested.

Those cautious Capricorns were one of the three least responsive, then, just when I thought I'd got all submissions in, the goats began popping their horns into my email inbox!  Perhaps they were seeing how it panned out, first... and here is one of late, hircine arrivals, proofreader, supportive social networker and now contemporary drama writer, Wendy Janes :)

Wendy's recently published her first solo novel, What Jennifer Knows ~ it's HERE on Amazon UK.  And there's a rather nice trailer for it, too:

Now I'll step back and let her tell you about her Capricornian traits!

"Let’s ignore those negative Capricorn traits and dive right in with the positive ones."

 "Yes, my approach to writing is ‘organized’ and ‘efficient’. I revel in the sense of order and purpose I achieve via daily, weekly and monthly to-do lists for all my writing projects. 

I aim for ‘high standards’. I plot, I plan, I write, rewrite and rewrite, edit and re-edit over and over again. Sometimes the initial getting the words on paper/screen is a little akin to pulling teeth, but once I have something down I love tinkering with it until it feels right. 

I’m definitely ‘resourceful’. The initial spark for most of my fiction comes from my own experiences or, more often, from those of my family. The genesis for my short story ‘Verity’ came from rescuing an elderly lady who had fallen in the street. ‘Verity’ also contains a number of anecdotes that have become family folklore. My husband says he’s a trifle concerned that anything he says or does will be used in my writing. Oh look, I’m even doing it in this post."
(Terry's note: 'Verity' is from a lovely anothology about mothers, definitely the best anthology I've come across since Kindles were invented, my review HERE)

"People tell me I’m funny, so I’d like to think that in addition to creating some ‘witty’ characters, I’m fairly witty on social media, and hope I spread a little smile through the ether.

I can’t finish without making reference to the Capricorn trait of being ‘simply irresistible’. As I’ve only recently published my first solo novel, I think it’s a little too soon to judge whether the reading public think What Jennifer Knows is simply irresistible, but I can dream!"

If you'd like to know more about Wendy and all she does, here's her website, Facebook author page, and her Twitter profile

Now, well known Capricorn writers ~ and indeed we are none of us worthy...

...because the first one I've chosen for Wendy is one of my absolute favourites, the High Priestess of historical fiction ~ Phillipa Gregory 

...and Booker prize winner 
(does it make me a pleb to say I've never read one of his?) ~ Julian Barnes.

Up next ~ A book blogging Scorpio!

Previous posts: (click name to view article)
Aquarius and Capricorn: Nicky Black

Monday, 23 November 2015

The Rosie Amber Review Team Awards

Well known UK book blogger Rosie Amber wants to give out some virtual gold and silver roses!
See details below:

The books ~ how they were chosen

For anyone who doesn't know, Rosie runs a very popular book blog with many interesting features, and has a reviewing team of 25-30 readers.  Obviously the nominations are taken only from those that have been submitted to Rosie and the team for reviewing, so it is not a far reaching selection, though we still had a few hundred to choose from.  Rosie divided all the books that have been submitted in 2015 into five general categories, and the review team members (around 30 of us) each nominated up to three out of each category.  Please see below the six in each category with the most nominations ~ these are the books that you, the reading public, may vote forYou may vote for up to two per category.

Please do NOT vote in a comment on here, or by tweet, but wait until voting opens on Rosie's blog, on November 30th.
The voting will be open for ONE WEEK ONLY.
Results will be announced on December 15th.  

Please only vote for a book that you believe deserves an award.  We value everyone's contribution and you are not required to vote in each category; it may be that you will vote for just one book if there is only one that you a) have read and b) deem worthy of the accolade of the Golden or Silver Rose!  

Obviously, authors are asked not to vote for their own books.

These are the books available for your votes on November 30th.  These are the ones that received most nominations from the members of Rosie Amber's Review Team.
(please note, some of the reviewing team are writers, too.  We were only allowed to nominate ONE book by a team member)

Historical Fiction
An Unlamented Death by William Savage
Two Rivers by Zoe Saadia
Danger at Thatcham Hall by Frances Evesham
The Black Hours by Alison Williams
Owen by Tony Riches
The Doctor's Daughter by Vanessa Matthews

Romance/Chick Lit
Holding Back by Helen Pollard
French Kissing by Lynne Shelby
Playing House by Donna Brown
The New Mrs D by Heather Hill
The Promise Of Provence by Patricia Sands
Lovers By Midnight by Emily Arden

Contemporary Fiction
The Cunning Woman's Cup by Sue Hewitt
Last Child by Terry Tyler
The Night Porter by Mark Barry
Public Battles, Private Wars, by Laura Wilkinson
The Song of the Cypress by Tonia Parronchi
Jack Gets His Man by Dena Haggerty

Mystery/ Thriller/Crime
Concealment by Rose Edmunds
Any Man Joe by Robert Leigh
The Jack Lockwood Diaries by Geoffrey West
Death in a Dacron Sail by Noelle Granger
Rise Of The Enemy by Rob Sinclair
A Deadly Learning by Faith Mortimer

Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Post Apocalyptic/Horror
The American Policeman by John Privilege
The Sickness by Dylan J Morgan
Will O' The Wisp by C.S Boyack
One Way Fare by Barb Taub
Fallen on Good Times by Rewan Tremethick
The Viper and the Urchin by Celine Jeanjean

See you on the 30th! 

Sunday, 22 November 2015

The Z Files: Haydn Lee ~ Gemini

Astrology ~ a bit of fun, a load of rubbish, or something to take seriously?

I invited around 70 writers/bloggers to write a piece about whether or not they're typical of their sign, and how its traits affect their writing life ~ if at all...

Has your favourite writer been featured yet?  Links to all previous posts at the end of this one :)

Another mercurial Gemini today: young writer, lover of old books and one of the Novelistas group, Haydn Lee, who writes 'a pastiche of mystery, horror and psychological exploration'.  She's had a few pieces published in anthologies and the (now sadly defunct) UK Young Writer magazine.

Tell us about how being a Gemini affects your writing life, Haydn!

"I’m a Gemini and a writer, and I believe that the Gemini traits I possess benefit my writing.

I create my characters first, taking inspiration from everyone around me. Although I’m not at all talkative around strangers, I love watching people and am fascinated by their quirks. This demonstrates the typical Gemini’s curiosity for the world around them. I read voraciously from all genres, again showing my Gemini curiosity and a wide range of interests. One day you’ll find me reading Proust, the next a biography of a 1950s movie star. I’m versatile in writing many genres as well: stories, plays, poetry, and odd scenes from imagined film scripts."

"However, I cannot claim to lack any of the Gemini’s negative traits. I am easily distracted by new ideas. I will drop all my old work and get so excited about my new project that I forget what I’d originally set out to write! I have so many unfinished stories and vivid characters without fictional homes because of my fickle and unreliable enthusiasm.

One project I have committed to for years, against all ‘unreliable Gemini' odds, is my diary, which I have kept almost daily from the age of eight. I may be shy around people, but the detail of my diary’s writing demonstrates the Gemini’s primary need above all things: to, somehow, communicate the whirlwind of their thoughts." (Note: Anne Frank was a Gemini)

"All Geminis love words, whether it’s pouring out an inner monologue to anyone who will listen, or self-expression through writing. Geminis have an enthusiasm for all kinds of communication, which lends itself to writing. Just give us a schedule and a plot to stick to first."

One of the best accounts of a sign I've read so far, in that it explains exactly how the sign affects this writer's attitude to her craft.  You can visit Haydn's blog and follow her on Twitter :)

Now, a couple of Gemini twins to make a trio...

.... writer of an 'old book' or two for Haydn ~ Thomas Hardy

.....and translator of Dante's Divine Comedy 
and crime/mystery writer, Dorothy Sayers

Coming next: a very practical and determined Capricorn!

Previous Posts:
Aquarius and Capricorn: Nicky Black

Friday, 20 November 2015

The Z Files: Julie Haiselden ~ Pisces

Astrology ~ a bit of fun, a load of rubbish, or something to take seriously?

I invited around 70 writers/bloggers to write a piece about how typical they are of their sign, and how its traits affect their writing life ~ if at all...

Has your favourite writer been featured yet?  Links to all previous posts at the end of this one :)

Pisces was, initially, one of the two signs from which I had the least response for this feature... maybe because they're all swimming about in their own little world?  Today, I'm delighted to introduce Julie Haiselden, who I first 'met' on Twitter when I read her blog post (have a look at it if you care about such things!) The Use of Language ~ do we dare to care?  Julie has recently published her debut novel, a thriller set in the Lake District, Long Shadows 

Float into my corner of cyberspace, Julie, and tell us about being a Pisces writer...

Picture is from a WW2 am-dram production (very Piscean, acting, of course!)

"Pisces is the twelfth house of the zodiac and it’s said that those of us born under this star sign internalise traits from the other eleven houses.  I suspect this may be true as I’m a mass of contradictions.

This is probably why my approach to writing is a little haphazardSometimes I’m enthusiastic and excited and write into the night.  Other times I find every excuse under the sun to avoid going anywhere near my manuscript.

"If procrastination became an Olympic event, I’d be up there on the podium.  I blame Twitter and Facebook and can use up a whole day doing little else; it could be argued this displacement activity is attributable to the negative Piscean traits of laziness and being weak-willed, so actually it’s not my fault. 

Our star sign is two fish swimming in opposite directions; we can be as dangerous as a shark and as harmless as a herring.  Lizzie Tennyson, the main character in my novel ‘Long Shadows’ is the personification of this.  Subconsciously I’ve given her some of my own traits (albeit somewhat exaggerated).  She can be considerate, intuitive and altruistic, as can I.  She can also be pessimistic and over-sensitive, as can I."

"I went into a state of abject misery after receiving a three star review.  Forget the five star and four star reviews, all that mattered for days was Mrs Three Stars. 

As a cathartic exercise I wrote a blog looking at ways of coping with negative reviews.  I’ve had lots of very positive feedback and my suggested coping mechanism sounded so convincing that I almost believed it myself.  Heaven knows what will happen if I get any one or two star reviews.  I need to look towards the other eleven houses for strength and determination to accept and deal with criticism.  After all, the only alternative is to be a writer who never publishes anything."

"Arguably my strongest Piscean trait is being a dreamer.  I walk regularly, in Devon, Cornwall, Scotland and the Lake District.  As I walk, I plan and plot.  My imaginary world, populated by my imaginary friends, takes over and I come home brimming with ideas.  Some make it to full manuscript others bite the dust on the way. 

I find inspiration in everyday events and I’m slightly embarrassed to admit I had a great idea at a funeral.  My long suffering partner will attest to the fact that I scribble on anything; napkins during formal dinners, drinks mats in pubs and even on one occasion his handkerchief (serves him right for not using tissues like the rest of us).

Neptune is our key planet and depicts the dissolution of reality.  Sometimes we rely on escapism and imagination to help us through the tough times; nothing wrong with that but it does help if you’re married to a confident and enthusiastic Arien!"  

If she was any more Piscean she'd have scales and gills....!
You can swim along with Julie on Twitter and Facebook  

I've chosen two famous fish to wave fins at Julie across the ocean depths ~

... author of the amazingly successful Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn

.... and a fascinating lady indeed, the charismatic and multi-faceted Anais Nin

Up Next ~ fellow mutable sign, Gemini

Previous Posts:
Leo and Aries: Terry Tyler and Proofreader Julia
LeoAnne Goodwin, Rose Edmunds, Alex Johnson
AriesTrisha Ashley, Cynthia Harrison
GeminiNorah Colvin, Jerome Dumont, John Privilege, Shelley Wilson,
Aquarius and Capricorn: Nicky Black
AquariusCathy Ryan, Lynda Renham
CapricornAnnie Lyons, Steffany R
SagittariusRachel Amphlett, Wendy J Lennox, Katrina Mountfort,
CancerSarah Boucher, Katie Oliver, Mark Barry
VirgoLouise Marley, Elizabeth Ducie, Barb Taub,
PiscesMaria Savva, Sacha Black
ScorpioGemma Lawrence, Robert Leigh, Catherine Hokin, Jenny Twist, 
TaurusValerie-Anne Baglietto, Valerie Poore,
LibraTom Hocknell, Jen Ammoscato, Joanne B