Tuesday, September 6, 2011

World Book Night

I am curious to know if any of the free books from World Book Night have found their way to my usual base of operations, Lanzarote.
There were one million books given away free in a party atmosphere all over UK and Ireland in 5 March 2011, two days after World Book Day. The specially produced books, 25 titles, are clearly identified as coming from the event and the idea was to encourage reading. Readers were asked to share and pass on the books. I was a recipient through the hospital library in Bolton where I joined the Six Book Challenge earlier this year, when I also received a free book!. I have passed my book to Ann, who like me is a member of READ (Read Enjoy And Discuss) the Book Club founded by Rita from the Book Shop in Costa Teguise. It will be passed on but do let me know if there are others out there for us to share. I had already read ten of the chosen books, now eleven, and there are a couple more that I have added to my list. If you are interested type 'million book give away' into google. If you want to write you need readers. Three cheers for this and any initiative that encourages a love of books.
Here's what Sarah Broadhurst, one of the givers on World Book Night, had to say:

"I am sure we can all tell some wonderful tales about last Saturday’s WBN, but here is mine. I decided to give away Lee Child’s Killing Floor because my chosen site was the local pub. I wanted to encourage all those skittle/darts/pool players, those who chew the cud at the bar and those who pop out on a Saturday night for a bite to eat in the pub, to rediscover the joy of reading. Boy did I achieve!

I put a poster up in the local shop, notice board, village hall and the pub itself and I wrote a bit for the local paper. But because I am in the trade I thought I would take the opportunity to share a great deal more than just Lee Child and I took nearly 200 proof copies of books, going back for years, down to the pub with me. I came home with a dozen books. The pub buzzed, I am surprised we didn’t drink it dry. Folk came from all over and I did indeed press Killing Floor into the hands of some very bemused lads who then started talking books, reminiscing about their GCSE, one even recited some Wilfred Owen! Most admitted they hadn’t read a book since leaving school, most promised they now would.

One million books were given away that night. I was proud to be part of the inaugural event and if the publishing industry repeats it I shall apply again. If not, most of us readers in the pub promised to meet same time, same place, next year and bring at least ten books each from our shelves at home to share with others. World Book Night now is born, we must keep it alive."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New authors and getting published

I had an interesting morning yesterday, at the hospital library! They have 'Six Book Challenge' which has obviously run before, through the local libraries from conversations around me, and involves a commitment to reading six books in six months. You are supposed to write a little crit of each and get it stamped at the library, in a diary which they give you, and after 6 you get a certificate. It is just about encouraging people to read but they organise things like visits from authors. The last one was Tess Gerritson but I did not find out about it in time. Today it was Bill Rogers, who lives locally and writes detective novels set in Manchester. His seventh book is due out soon. He has also written books on education and was a teacher and school inspector. Four generations of his family have been in the Metropolitan Police Force and he had strong links/contacts with the police having been involved with several initiatives to discourage youngsters from involvement with drugs, gangs etc.
As it was St David's Day we had Welsh cakes and brith with our tea and coffee and everyone who signed up for the challenge got a free copy of Bill's first book. I bought the second, which he also signed and after meeting him and listening to him I look forward to reading them. They do feature a particular detective and his team so there is some character development but he says it is not essential to read them in order. I will let you know what I think of his books but he, himself was a nice guy and interesting to talk to in the informal session and also in the short 'lecture'.I asked him if he fancied coming to Lanzarote and speaking to my writing group and he said, 'Certainly, if you're paying.'
What he had to say about the difficulties of getting published was interesting. A publisher wants x amount per copy if he publishes a book, and he wants quite a lot! The retailer wants to make a profit, the agent wants a decent return or it isn't worth his while and wannabe authors are under the impression that there will be some money in it for them if they can get into print. One major problem in recent years is that Asda, Tesco and the like are cutting the retail price to the bone. The publisher wants the same as before leaving very little for everyone else.The only way the agent is going to get a worthwhile amount is if sales are massive. So they will not take on new authors unless they are confident they have a blockbuster in the offing!
So while we may have enjoyed the lower prices for the books that we read it is a 'shoot yourself inn the foot' situation for writers!

Another suggested event is for everyone to read a particular book and then watch the film version together and discuss them. I think that sounds good and have floated it with my local book club, in Lanzarote.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Poetry Competition

Members of my Creative Writing Group, and anyone else who would like to join in, were invited to send in a poem inspired by an apartment I was looking at for my convalescence (but decided against!)which was described as a luxury apartment and 'open plan'.The en suite bathroom consists of a corner of the bedroom sectioned off but without a door! Below are some of the entries so far, enjoy!

From Lyn:

There once was a lady called Sue
Who lived with an open plan loo
She would sit on the throne
For a strain and a moan
Whilst whistling or calling woohoo!

From Marc:

An open plan apartment!
I didnt have a clue
How easy it could make life
Stirring dinner from the loo

I may be here a short while
So i suppose I'd better settle.
And its handy that within two steps
I can fill and boil the kettle

It makes a lot of sense
After my eight hours
To roll nonchanently from my bed and
Land right in the shower

And if I forget the soap
It is no longer scary.
I just reach under the kitchen sink
And squeeze a drop of Fairy.

I can reach the fridge from my bed
And turn over the telly,
And dispite all my misgivings
Its not at all that smelly.

Singing Flanaghan and Allen
I stroll to clean my teeth.
I only have one arch here
And the sinks not far to reach.

Its compact and its bijoux
With no room to swing a cat.
But im here while I get better
In this cosy little flat

I have to use a tiny pen,
To do my creative writing
Anything longer than a bic
Plays havoc with the lighting

And when I hunker down at night
With new sounds, creeks and a hum,
I close the curtains with one foot
And turn the light out with my bum.

So if you will excuse me
I just saw that theres decking.
I just opened a bottle of red
So I'm off to do some necking.

From Chris:

Sue’s Loo

Now come on Sue, don’t be shy

When using the loo, enthroned on high.

It’s not an injection, it’s not radioactive,

You won’t get infection, it’s rather effective.

But as for your chums who must answer the call

They risk showing their bums; it won’t do at all.
Thanks Guys. Keep 'em coming

Friday, February 4, 2011

After several great sessions during December and January the group is taking another enforced break as I have to return to UK for further medical treatment. Thank you to all the loyal, regular members who turned up. Sorry to miss those off-island or unable to join us. I will be back asap and hope to reconvene as soon as I am able. Watch this space!
I recent weeks we wrote from a single sentence as stimulus,looked at rhyming slang, dialect and acronyms and their use (or misuse (!) in writing. We wrote about things we liked and disliked and used current events as starting points. Finally we used everyday objects to create ideas for characters.
Here is a Brain Teaser we used in one session, just because we love playing with words!

Unusual Words
Look at the words in list A. Use your knowledge, skills and linguistic expertise to match them to the meanings in list B.











1. Breath or exhalation.
2. To make trivial objections to something.
3. The practice of eating human flesh; cannibalism
4. The renunciation of a belief, principle or affiliation that a person previously held.
5. Treachery; betrayal; deceit.
6. Sulky; whining
7. The part of a house in which women and girls are secluded in India and Iran.
8. To delve into; to learn; to understand.
9. Excessive or uncontrollable sexual desire in men (the male equivalent of nymphomania).
10. An abnormal fear of the number 13
11. (In the Middle Ages) the steward in charge of the household or estate of a lord or prince.
12. Someone who collects or studies funny personal names.