Saturday, 30 June 2012

Book Winner, giveaways and A Quick Update on Me

Many congratulations to Dan Holloway who has won a copy of Housewife with a Half-Life in the giveaway by A.B. Wells!

I am delighted to say I have a few more author interviews and giveaways scheduled in the future, including the one already running with Laura Wilkinson for a paperback copy of her fabulous book BloodMining, so do keep an eye on my blog if you like giveaways.

I would also like to thank everyone for the enormous response to my post What The Funk? on here as well as via email, Twitter and Facebook. It's great to know you are not alone when you feel like that.

I'm pleased to say I have been spending more time away from my computer (I still feel slightly allergic to it so I'm limiting my time online) and I've been doing quite a lot of exercise (I know!!) and even more reading. It's felt like a holiday but the beauty of it is, the time away from my computer is giving me lots of ideas for blog posts that may be of interest to other writers, as well as readers, and also I now have a fully formed sequel to When Dreams Come True in my head and have already been in discussions about a cover, which I am really excited about.

Thanks as always for reading, and even more so for being there. It's amazing to know that people can be so supportive, even when (in some cases) you've never actually met them in real life.

One of these people is author Emma Williams, who has actually written a response to my post. Her guest blog will be posted tomorrow so please do come back and give it a read.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Interview with Author Laura Wilkinson - Includes Giveaway and Event Info

Laura Wilkinson
It gives me great pleasure today to welcome Laura Wilkinson, author of Bloodmining (one of my favourite recent reads) to my blog for an interview, giveaway, and information on an exciting event she is taking part in on 12th July.

Hello, Laura and welcome to Ramblings of a Rusty Writer.

Hi, and thanks for having me.

Please could you give us your bio in under 50 words?
I live in a never-to-be chic area of Brighton. A water tiger and a scorpion, I’m not as scary as that sounds. I’m seeking representation for my second novel (see below) while writing my third: a tale of friendship and betrayal set against the backdrop of the 1984/85 miners’ strike.

You write novels and short stories and I understand you also do editorial work. How do you balance all of these?

I’m not all together sure; somehow I just do. I’m mum to two ginger boys, so time management (horrid phrase) is important. Discipline is key. My background in journalism and copywriting served me well in this respect; I respond well to deadlines (self-imposed or otherwise). When I’m working on the first draft of a novel I don’t take on any editing work; I need to be totally immersed – obsessed with my characters and their stories. Creativity needs to be protected, and I wouldn’t do my own work justice, or, as importantly, others’ work justice if I attempted both simultaneously. Once that first draft is down and I’m in editing mode on my novel I find I have the head space to edit others’ work.

Short stories? These I tend to write during those periods of distance from drafts of the novel, before I get the red pen out. Recently, I discovered flash fiction and though I’ve only written two pieces (one of which appears in the NFFD anthology Jawbreakers) it’s a form I want to do more of. It’s dynamic and exciting, somewhere between poetry and short stories. And quicker than novels!

Could you summarise BloodMining using 5 words?

Motherhood, love, identity, catastrophe, rats.

Do you plan your novels before you write them, or write what comes into your head at the time?

I describe myself as a pantser, and though I never begin writing with a chapter by chapter outline, I do have a sense of the themes I want to explore, the story arc and the journey my characters will undertake. But I don’t necessarily know how they’ll get to their final destination.
I do a lot of thinking and dreaming before I sit down to write: I fill a notebook with ideas, observations, clippings, and so forth. I complete detailed character profiles. All of this changes and develops as I go along and I like to be open to that. One of the most exciting parts of the process is when characters do something unexpected and take the story along a surprising path.

Do you draw on personal experiences when you are creating your characters and plot lines?

Plot lines – not often. Themes – sometimes (identity is a bit of an obsession of mine, as is absent fathers…) Settings – yes, BloodMining is principally set where I grew up in Wales, Parade is set on a notorious estate in Manchester where I lived as a student (it’s since been demolished).
Characters – yes, don’t most writers? I never base entire characters on people I know – this feels dangerous – but my characters are composites of my imagination, characteristics of various people I have met and known, and my observations and interpretation of the human condition.

What's the best advice anyone has ever given you?

I’ve been given so much good advice and I’m grateful to all those more experienced writers who offer it so generously. If I had to choose one? Write with your heart; edit with your head.

How do you react to a bad review?

I aim for philosophical, though I don’t always achieve this. They can hurt, because like most people I write to be read, to entertain and provoke thought, and I hope that readers will enjoy my work. But, of course, as writers we will never please everyone. I’m resilient and soon bounce back. I worked as an actress in my twenties, and was advised by a (famous) actor/director to listen only to your inner voice and people whose opinions you really, really trust. ‘If you believe the glowing (reviews); you have to believe the bad. Believe neither.’ It was sound advice and can be applied to fiction.

You have several short stories published via the Ether App. If you had to name a favourite, which would it be?

That’s a tough one. There are two that I favour. New Life - a young paraplegic discovers a reason to live when she meets a quadriplegic in the hospital where she is rehabilitating – and Buried, a story about love and class in 80s Britain. What a cheat I am!

What next? Could you give us a little summary of your next book?

Sure. Parade (the current title; I’ve had four) is a contemporary novel, set in Manchester and London. It is told through the eyes of beautiful artist Diana; and interwoven with the story of Cal, a severely deformed boy. Both of them are seeking love, trying to find acceptance and their place in a world fixated with image. The novel follows their relationship across two decades and explores obsession, concepts of beauty, and the meaning of unconditional love. Diana is an idiosyncratic heroine; a pageant queen as a child in America, she is quirky and driven. I don’t expect all readers to like her, but I hope they find her fascinating.

Thank you for joining us here on Ramblings of a Rusty Writer.
Well, thanks for spending time with me!

You can join both Laura and Rachel Connor at an event on Thursday 12th July:
Surrogate Mothers; Sisters, Wives
Is a true mother the woman who gives birth, or the one who provides the nurturing? How far will a mother go to ensure her child’s survival? And what prompts a mother to abandon her offspring? Laura Wilkinson’s BloodMining and Rachel Connor’s Sisterwives conjure a world in which the traditional nuclear family and women’s roles are questioned, and where ethical and spiritual beliefs are put to the test. Laura and Rachel talk about their debut works and the journey to publication.

Thursday 12 July, 7pm (90 mins)
£8 / 6 concs

The Women's Library
London Metropolitan University
25 Old Castle Street
E1 7NT
T +44 (0)20 7320 2222
F +44 (0)20 7320 2333

Laura has very kindly said she will do a UK giveaway of one paperback copy of her book BloodMining. To enter, just comment beneath this post. A winner will be selected on 10th July.

Megan Evens appears to have it all: brains, beauty, a successful career as a foreign correspondent. But deep down she is lonely and rootless. Pregnant, craving love but unable to trust after the destructive affair with her baby's father she returns to the security of her birthplace in Wales. 

When Megan's son is later diagnosed with a terminal condition, a degenerative, hereditary disease, everything she believed to be true about her origins is thrown into question. 

To save her son Megan must unearth the truth; she must excavate family history and memory. 

Enlisting the help of former colleague Jack North, a man with a secret of his own, Megan embarks on a journey of self discovery and into the heart of what it means to be a parent.

Connect with Laura Wilkinson on:

Monday, 25 June 2012

Monday Mention: Stephanie Abbott - Emma Jameson - S.A.Reid

Blatantly stealing the #MM meme from Twitter, I'd like to mention an author I have recently connected with. She writes using three pen names; Stephanie Abbott, Emma Jameson and S.A.Reid.

I have just finished reading through a copy of her novel Blue Murder. This is the second book by this author I've read and I can say for certain now she is an absolutely fantastic writer.

Is it just me, or is that a fab looking cover?

Two Dead Men
In London's fashionable Chelsea, a Halloween bash goes terribly wrong. Emmeline Wardle, daughter of a frozen foods baron, throws a party which results in the demise of two university schoolmates. Handsome golden boy Trevor Parsons is dead. So is pasty computer nerd Clive French. Both died on the Wardle estate within minutes of one another, and both died the same way - an axe to the skull. Given the social connections of all involved, New Scotland Yard sends a real baron to investigate: Chief Superintendent Anthony Hetheridge, also known as Lord Hetheridge, ninth baron of Wellegrave.

Two Prime Suspects

This time around, Detective Sergeant Kate Wakefield and her partner, Detective Sergeant Deepal "Paul" Bhar, have their work cut out. Bhar must contend with Emmeline Wardle, a spoiled blonde with a penchant for the finer things, including a certain illegal white powder. Kate must decide if Kyla Sloane, model-pretty and delicate, is being truthful about the events of that fateful night. And if Kyla's connection to a former lover of Bhar's means nothing - or everything.

Lord & Lady Hetheridge, Book Two

Return to the world of Ice Blue in Blue Murder, the second of the Lord & Lady Hetheridge series. In addition to solving the double murder in Chelsea, Anthony Hetheridge plans on proposing marriage to Kate for the second time. He has the ring. Now all he needs is the proper moment...
Available to buy now from:

Thursday, 21 June 2012

What The Funk?

I usually don't post anything unless I'm capable of being all happy and jolly, even if sometimes, quite honestly it is an act. This is an exception to that rule, and I'm posting it in the interest of honesty, because I have a feeling we all have times like this.

I know some of you will read this and think, what do you have to be fed up about, you silly cow? Well, that just shows how good I am act keeping up the happy show the whole time  ;o)

I'm really happy about my multiple publications in anthologies. I'm pleased to have a short story collection and two novels published. I'm delighted when someone gets in touch to say a story they have read (of mine) has touched them in some way.

But at the moment, when I go near my computer, I feel fed up. I don't feel like writing, I'm behind on all my emails and social networking stuff, and I haven't written anything new (novel -wise) for quite some time now. The most important thing is though, I am sick to the back teeth of all the marketing and pushing and promo stuff. I am boring myself going on about my own books all over the place and finding it ridiculous how I feel like having a party when I sell one book a fortnight. Or worse. I don't feel like a writer at the moment, I feel like some sort of marketing assistant who is doing a really rubbish job.

I think what I need, is a proper break from it all. So I am going to step back from the computer and (apart from emails), give everything else a bit of a break. I don't know how long for, possibly even only a matter of days, but I feel like I need to go somewhere and hopefully find my happy face again.

See you soon, and thanks, as always, for reading.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Indie Author Giveaway Hop Winners and Other Giveaways

The winners of my Indie Author Giveaway Hop are:

Gillian Holmes who wins a copy of When Dreams Come True
A J Walkley who wins a copy of A Knowing Look and Other Stories
I will be in contact with you shortly

Today, When Dreams Come True is free for Kindle

Charlie is happiest when biking with Max and Toby, or watching films with Allie. But when Charlie reaches year nine (age 13), everything begins to change.

As her friends develop new interests, Charlie's dreams become more frequent and vivid, and a family crisis tears her away from her friends.

How will Charlie react when old family secrets are revealed? Will her life change completely when some of her dreams start to come true?