What does this year (2011) mean to you?

What are your hopes and aspirations?

Have you set yourself new challenges, or are you still catching up with the old ones?

What do you hope to achieve in 2011?

 

I’m often asked these questions, so I thought that I would get organised and put it all into a blog. This was my intention for the first week in January but after a serious bout of swine flu (amongst other injuries) there has been a delay and i’m doing it now.

Last year – though wonderful in many ways – was a strange year.  Some might even say disastrous; illness and challenges galore. Remaining positive throughout was tough, but I managed to do just that. If last year taught me anything, it was that I am a fighter; I never give up.

In my quest to become a full time writer, I’ve become similar to one of those psychopathic characters in a movie that just won’t die. You know the ones, you keep whacking them but they just won’t stay down. Two distinct differences between me and those characters though: i’m not a psycho and i’m real, honest! I just want to write and people to read and love my work.

So, anyway, what does 2011 mean to me?

It means a new beginning; a fresh page.

Last year I was a mere seedling planted in fertile soil. Forcing my roots down deep and starting to push fresh shoots up, breaking through the surface to feel the warmth of the sun. I’m growing more every day and I have other writers to thank for that, both experienced and aspiring.

This year means a large amount of hard work if I hope to achieve my goal, but it’s work that I love, that i’m willing to do to get where I want to be.

Kirie’s hopes and aspirations

With my first novel virtually complete and a few writers’ conferences lined up, I hope to find a fabulous agent who recognises my potential and takes me under their soft, downy wing.  As always, I aspire to write more, write better and write for longer every day.

I don’t do resolutions as I hate to feel like a failure, so this year I have set myself goals. I am making these public in a bid to encourage me to stick to them, so here goes:

1)   Finish my current MS, Dreme Guardian

2)   Start my second novel in the trilogy and finish it

3)   Enter as many competitions as physically possible

4)   Work more, procrastinate less

5)   Make more fabulous friends & meet more mind giants on Twitter / Word Cloud and at the conferences

6)   Support my fellow aspiring artists in all ways possible

7)   Practice my zombie acting skills ready for when i’m an extra for Indywood Films

8)   Read more amazing and enlightening text

9)   Work hard on my new fantasy project, Vampolice, with a fabulous illustrator who will soon be featured as a guest on this blog (he doesn’t know yet!)

10)Become successful and a great role model for others

As far as new challenges go, I think that I have pretty much covered everything in my goals but I have purchased some “How to” books to help me on my way:

How to Write Great Screenplays and get them into production by Linda M James and Getting Published by Harry Bingham.

I will review them in the Book Review section on this blog and i’ll let you know how they have helped me.

Conferences I will be attending this year are:

http://www.festivalofwriting.com/

25-27 March 2011, York University, England.

 

http://www.writersconference.co.uk/

1st – 3rd July 2011

 

Both conferences have great reputations and are different in many ways, i’m very excited to be attending.

On a last note, I was born in 1975 which was also The Year of the Rabbit. This is my year people!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I recently blogged about a very good (cloudy) friend of mine and the release of his forthcoming biography of Wellesley Tudor Pole, an extraordinary English gentleman.

SEE – Author Interview with Gerry Fenge.

Well, he’s only gone and done it, by jove! The book is printed & delivered & ready for purchase.

The book is available for order on Amazon (see link details below).

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Two-Worlds-Wellesley-Tudor-Pole/dp/0979170060/

I am so proud of Gerry. I’m sure that all aspiring authors will join me in congratulating him on his first (of many) published work.

A proud Gerry receiving his first batch of books (FREE from his very generous publisher!!)

 

If anyone would like to feature Gerry’s amazing book or contact him for an author interview / feature, please see my previous Author Interview blog or feel free to comment on here and I will pass your details on.

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Two-Worlds-Wellesley-Tudor-Pole/dp/0979170060/

I first came across Gerry on The Word Cloud writers community. Intelligent and humerous, his imput, critique and general advice have always been spot on. It is with great pleasure that I introduce Gerry to the rest of the world (tadaaaah) and along with many others, I look forward to the release of his Wellesley Tudor Pole biography.

 

A Writer’s Inspiration

What was your favourite / most inspiring writing guide?

We’d been listening to a talking book version of a well-known fantasy novel and Chrissy (my wife) threw her hands up saying, ‘I could do better than that.’

Suspecting she had oodles of hidden talent, I said, ‘Go on then.’ She resisted, but I promised to act as all-round slave, discuss her ideas, offer some of my own, try not to pout when she rejected them, type up anything she wrote, get meticulous with commas, and so on. After a while she found her momentum and was away. Result: young adult fantasy thriller, The Salamander Stone, 120,000 words, scrupulously plotted, written, revised and polished. (We didn’t know the word count would kill it stone dead.)

Next job: send out the letters. Job after that: collect the rejections. Job after that: take stock. Mm, better try some reading services. So she/we worked with Cornerstones and revised the book a lot more. Then she/we worked with Pollingers Agency (yes, they took her on) for the best part of a year until the agent took maternity leave – resulting in much hiatus, sending of enquiries, waiting of months and eventual verdict of  ‘Sorry, no’. Then she/we worked with the Hilary Johnson Authors’ Advisory Service, after which another agent thought there are ‘many published writers who aren’t a patch’ on Chrissy – though the answer was still ‘No’.

But that’s how I learnt the rules. I wouldn’t have bothered for my sake but learnt them for someone else’s sake.
How did it help you?

The first book I wrote, age seven, was ‘Luck for the Goodies’, a short epic about cowboys and justice. A few million words followed in subsequent decades, although rarely in approved form.

Since helping Chrissy, however, I have vowed to be good and do as the industry specifies. I/we have consequently found a few ways to pronounce POV and SNT. (Try a snarl: ‘PV!’ Or a growl: ‘SNOT!’). And we have tossed other ideas back and forth – Narrative Arc for instance, or Active-v-Passive. Most such concepts are instinctive, but it helps to bring them out of the unconscious into the conscious.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given as a writer?

The best advice comes from Chrissy nowadays. Having trained herself up, she became an excellent critic, pushing opinions she previously would have mistrusted.

Also, of course, different people have different strengths. I tend to be stronger on ideas and plot-mapping, whereas she’s stronger on drama and characters. So if she decides a section needs more drama or that someone is acting out of character, I ought to listen because she’s better at those things than me.

What is the best piece of advice you can give to other aspiring authors?

General life-advice: give whatever you can – you’ll get plenty more in return.

Specific advice to authors: who are you? What matters to you? What gets you so buzzing you can’t sleep for thinking about it? What expands your mind, your soul, your whole being? What is unique about you? (Yes, there really is something.)

Then, if you can call to mind an action or an event that set you thinking/pondering/feeling, you might be onto something. Passionate concern + trigger = inspiration.

What do you enjoy reading? Which books have helped you develop your craft?

Wordsworth and Coleridge were in the business of discovering Truths of the Imagination – getting to the essence of things: top men both.

The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho): only a sketch but it has a clear, inevitable, archetypal shape.

My ultimate Desert Island Book, however, must be My Dear Alexias, a selection of letters from Wellesley Tudor Pole to Rosamond Lehmann. (Wellesley Tudor Who? – ah, perhaps I should explain. Come with me, gentle reader.)

Tell us briefly about your publishing journey

Eleven years ago I took a break from self-expression (it can get a bit claustrophobic) and tried expressing someone else, beginning a biography of Wellesley Tudor Pole, the most remarkable Englishman of the last century. Research, collation, editing and writing involved about four years; then a London agent took on the result and some time later retired (not cause and effect, I trust) – after which, the book dozed.

What next? I stepped even further from self-expression and worked for Chrissy’s book instead (result approximately similar.)

And then lo! – the Universe decided fair’s fair and gave me a leg up. In September 2010 a prominent New Age figure in America spotted my wellesleytudorpole.com website, and emailed me to arrange publication.

Starseed Publications (part of Lorian press) will bring out The Two Worlds of Wellesley Tudor Pole very soon. So get ready to place your order. (Come on, you want to know about the most remarkable Englishman of the last century, don’t you? Course you do!)

UPDATE: Gerry’s book is about to be released!! I am told that it will be available for order this week! We’ll keep you informed.


Anything else?

Well, seeing as you ask, look out (eventually) for The Most Beautiful Girl In The World (novel); also for A Short Selective Journey Through Hell (follow-up novel); and maybe even A Few Brief Sorties Into Heaven (if ever I find time). Yup, Gerry finally got back to self-expression. (Or, shall we say, expressing the Universe.) None of these novels are out as yet, but the future’s a wonderful place, and that’s where you’ll find them.

 

Meanwhile

Have a chat with Gerry, if inclined, on The Word Cloud. Not a member? Well, there’s a simple enough remedy for that, isn’t there?

There is a direct link from this blog, over there, on the left.


 

I first had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer Wylie through the Twitter webiverse, at this point she was waiting for some clever publisher to snap her up. Friendly and encouraging, she always offers great advice and is still bubbly and jolly when she has the flu!!  You can imagine how delighted I am that she has agreed to talk to us about her writing journey and the forthcoming release of her amazing short story, JUMP.


What was your favourite / most inspiring writers’ guide?

I’ve never actually used a writing guide. However Google is my friend for any questions I may have. Luckily I’ve become quite adept at using it properly so I don’t have to wade through pages of non-relevant material. 🙂 I    find it helpful both in looking up technical aspects of writing, as well as in researching.

I’ve also been lucky the last few months to meet some amazing authors on twitter. They have all been a wonderful support, not only encouraging my writing but answering any questions I may have.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given as a writer?

That would be to never be too nice to your characters. You can’t have EVERYTHING go right for them and still have an interesting story. You need things to go wrong, you need hardship and conflict. The more the merrier. 🙂


What is the best piece of advice you can give to other aspiring authors?

Always keep writing. You can always improve, and practice helps this. Not only do you need to know how to write, but to edit. Research editing online, make sure you are using correct grammar and punctuation, be wary of being repetitive in your word use. If you can find readers or editors to go over your work then use them. Fresh eyes are always helpful.

If you are searching for a publisher I definitely recommend you create a web presence. Most either require this or it is an added bonus. Have a website, Twitter, Facebook, blog. Even if you aren’t published yet you can gain followers over time. It is also an excellent way to meet authors, agents and publishers.

What do you enjoy reading? Which books have helped you develop your craft?

I love reading anything fantasy. If there is some romance involved I’m extra happy LOL. (I’m a romantic girl, what can I say) I suppose all reading has helped, with every book you pick up a little something.

Tell us briefly about your publishing journey?

Before I signed on with Echelon and had been querying agents I lost count of my rejections over the year and half I was sending them out. Certainly over 50, perhaps even 100. I didn’t let it get me down. Obviously I query wasn’t good enough (so I kept rewriting). The problem is getting someone interested enough to want to read more, hard to do in so few words!

This past summer I read about Echelon Press online and found them interesting. I started following them on Twitter and had some nice tweets with Karen there and also in a comments section on another’s blog. I checked out the publishers website, and also the books they’d published so far and thought they would be a great publisher for me. I submitted my novel, as well as two short stories. After a few months of waiting (the waiting is always the hardest!) I received contracts for both of my shorts in mid-September. Near the end of September I got one for my novel as well. Since then there has been more waiting and editing. I’m quite excited for my work to be coming out soon!

Short Story Blurb: Jump

If you were told to jump off of a bridge would you? Perhaps it would depend on who was doing the asking. Our heroine has spunk and a sense of humor, however suffers from an extreme case of inappropriate clothing. When things take a turn from dangerous to worse what will she do when fantasy becomes reality? Warning: May include hot leather clad men, singing and demons.

Jennifer’s short story, Jump will be coming out in eBook for December 15 2010.

Pre-order Jump by following this link:      https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-jump-493574-234.html

 

Her second short, The Forgotten Echo will be released March 1 2011.

In addition, Jennifer’s novel, Sweet Light, will be coming out in May 2011.

 

Author Bio

Jennifer Wylie was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. In a cosmic twist of fate she dislikes the snow and cold.

Before settling down to raise a family, she attained a BA from Queens University and worked in retail and sales.

Thanks to her mother, she acquired a love of books at an early age and began writing in public school. She constantly has stories floating around in her head, and finds it amazing most people don’t. Jennifer writes various forms of fantasy, both novels and short stories. Sweet light is her debut novel to be published in 2011.

Jennifer resides in rural Ontario, Canada with her husband, two boys, an Australian shepherd, a flock of birds and a disagreeable amount of wildlife.

 

Website: www.jenniferwylie.ca

Blog: http://jlwylie.wordpress.com/

Author interviews

Posted: December 7, 2010 in author, Books, writing
Tags: , , ,

This is just a quick message to let my regular readers know that I will blogging about some wonderful authors over the next few weeks. The interviews will be published under the authors name.

I hope you enjoy reading the interviews as much as I have enjoyed conducting them.

Honorary Patrons
Dame Beryl Bainbridge
Baroness James of Holland Park
Jacqueline Wilson OBE
Maureen Lipman
Colin Dexter OBE

2010 was the year I decided to become a serious writer and Winchester was my foot up.

Don’t get me wrong, i’ve been writing poetry and stories from around the age of five, but 2010 was the year to take my writing seriously; to be brave and let other people read my work.

Two years prior I had been involved in a car accident that left me with fairly minor injuries…….at the time! The injuries became more serious as time went on. Last October I spent almost four long weeks in two hospitals, and many more months sick and weak; not nice! But it was the kick up the butt I needed to release my inner creative genius, ahem. Boring back story over and done with; exciting future beckoned.

Where do I start? I mean, it’s obvious you take the first step on a ladder, but which ladder?

So, first things first – the internet. Research into other writers I like, read and respect; Stephen King, Stephanie Meyer, James Herbert, Tolkien, Kate Morton, Dickens etc, etc to name but a few (I have eclectic taste in everything!!).

Stephen King had published a book on writing called, well, Stephen King, On Writing; what a perfect place to begin. His “memoir of the craft” was inspirational (a fellow accident survivor) and brilliant, just what I needed to read.

Wise words!!

Amazon was my next port of call; books on grammar, writing and publishing.

Finances and my situation at the time did not allow me to attend a course / college, so books and websites were my only option. Within minutes of searching (books on writing) I found the most brilliant and comprehensive book; Your Writing Coach by Jurgen Wolff. This book covered pretty much everything, so became my bible.

Jurgen Wolff recommended that I attend the Winchester Writers’ Conference, so, I checked out their website. Wow, this year they had the one and only Sir Terry Pratchett giving the Plenary Speech. SIR TERRY PRATCHETT!!! I love him….. ticket sold. Saving every penny I had, I bought my place and entered a couple of the competitions detailed on their website.

Attending this conference was the best decision I had ever made. Winchester guided me to a doorway into a world I never knew existed; a world of words and wordsmiths, aspiring authors just like me. For the first time in my life I felt like I was somewhere I belonged, with people just like me.

“Hello, my name is Kirie and i’m a bibliophile.”

Hundreds of delegates from all corners of the globe attended the 2010 conference, I am honored to call some of these budding writers my friends. We keep in touch, moan and support each other in our otherwise solitary fantasy lives.

 

“The Winchester Writers’ Conference offers a wide range of courses, workshops and one to one appointments for the aspiring or established writer.”

The 2011 conference is a must! I recommend that all budding writers reading this do their best to get there!

http://www.writersconference.co.uk

Barbara Large MBE FRSA HFUW
barbara.large@winchester.ac.uk
Founder-Director Winchester Writers’ Conference

In the words of the organisers; 

“Writing West Midlands is the Literature Development Agency for the West Midlands.”

“We focus on work to develop opportunities for writers, including supporting young writers and building audiences for writing. We exist to help good writing and literature activities flourish in the West Midlands.”

(Event held at South Birmingham College, Saturday 20th November 2010)

This was the first time that I had attended a Writers’ conference in The Midlands, though it was their third gathering; I have always had to travel further afield as I didn’t realise there was such a vast and enthusiastic pod of writers in my area (what is the name for a group of writers?? Suggestions in the comments box please). I came across the conference details purely by chance whilst reading about funding information on The Arts Council UK website; i’m so glad I did!

The event is organised by and hosted by Writing West Midlands; Jonathon Davidson, Chief Executive and Sara Beadle, Director. The day is extremely well organised and thorough, covering a wide range of topics with each Panel Session. They welcome writers of all kinds as well as publishers, agents, producers (Radio, Film and TV), teachers and literature development workers.

The Panel Session Topics were as diverse as they were informative: Writing for Broadcast, Real Writing Lives, Writing and Reading in the Mental Health Sector, Different Fictions, Understanding Publishing, Creative Writers in Schools, The Rights of Writers, Doing Digital, Writing and Science, Writing in Places, The Future of Theatre Writing, Building Audiences for Poetry, Creative Writing and Higher Education.

The speakers / panel members for each session appeared to be both enthusiastic in promoting the aspiring writer / established writer, and encouraging and forthcoming with help and advice. The question and answer sessions at the end of each panel member introduction (of which I seemed to dominate slightly) were helpful and stimulating. Not wanting to come across shy or self-promoting (ahem), I made sure that I asked any questions which I thought could potentially help others, I hope that this worked!

The keynote address: No Messages, Jim Crace, novelist, was humorous and enlightening. I am ashamed to say that I had never heard of Jim but have now ordered some of his books from Amazon!

Book Titles: Continent, The Gift of Stones, Arcadia, Signals of Distress, Quarantine, Being Dead, The Devil’s Larder, The Pesthouse.

The Closing Address: The Writer’s Smoking Jacket, Graham Joyce, author. This was an informative and concise speech by Graham and opened my eyes to many possibilities and opportunities.

Book Titles: The Devil’s Ladder, Simple Goalkeeping, Do the Creepy Thing, Memoirs of a Master Forger, The Limits of Enchantment (and many, many more!).

In conclusion, I would recommend that you look for future events held by Writing West Midlands and come and connect and socialise with “others in the business of writing”.

http://www.writingwestmidlands.org