Thursday 31 May 2012

Gorgeous scenery, great people, fondue and Luxemburgerli ...

Sorry, bit late posting today as there's always so much to get organised after you come back from a trip!

I had a fantastic time in Switzerland. There is plenty I could say, but I'm exhausted and think I'll just let the photos (which you can see by clicking here) do the talking!

Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of food! I knew I forgot something ...

Back to normal next week. Have a great weekend!

Thursday 24 May 2012

Auf Wiedersehen!

So I'm taking a mini hiatus until next Thursday because tomorrow I'm off to Zurich, Switzerland, for both business and pleasure. Who ever said you couldn't mix the two, huh? Ridiculous :o)

I'm meeting up with my sister, Allison, after three (two/four? lost track of time ...) long years of not seeing each other. And I'm also going to meet the team I work with at Education First. Absolutely lovely bunch of people over email. Let's hope I have the same reaction when I see them face-to-face! (hehe ... joke Joyce)

But before I go, let me say a big thanks to those who have, and will, be promoting Fabric while I'm away. Yesterday the lovely Theresa Milstein wrote a great post by giving it a personal touch, and Stephen Parrish put my announcement up on his blog too. Today, Hart Johnson, in the midst of her own busyness, posted my announcement as well. While I'm away, Kemari Howell, June Ash Moore, Jodi Cleghorn and Brittany Rose are helping spread the word. So thank you, all you wonderful bloggers! :o)

Have a great weekend and see ya next Thursday!

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Our writing is worth every penny you pay ... or ... is it in fact, worthless?

With Amazon's free promo facility, there are so many readers that don't "buy" anymore. They just scan the free lists. I know this for a fact. I recently read it in an Amazon forum.

What is the future for us? Don't you think the value of our work is being degraded? Isn't this giving out a message that literature isn't worth paying for? I think it's only going to get worse.

I did a free promo for Twisted Velvet Chains at the beginning of the year. Initially I thought it was a good idea. Easy way to get exposure. But I also noticed, after doing the free promo, that it stopped selling. So was it a good idea after all? Will any of the 3000 that downloaded the book actually read it? Who knows ...

There's nothing wrong with giving away free work. In fact, I would advise that writers give away as many copies of their work as possible. But after a lot of thought, I think it's more beneficial to have control over who gets it for free. Give give give, but give wisely. Ultimately, I think the randomness of Amazon's free promo is going to destroy us. It's sending out the wrong message: Download me for free because I'm not really worth the money.

Can you imagine a supermarket opening an online shop which gives away Kellogg's cereal for free? No one would want to buy their cereal anymore would they? They'd just go and get it for free. Why spend money when you don't have to, right?

This is dangerous.

What do you think? Would love to hear your thoughts.

PS: Many thanks to Tricia and Elizabeth for highlighting Fabric on their blogs today!

Monday 21 May 2012

I Think I'm in Love ...

So I discovered this woman over the weekend. I was immediately attracted to the CD cover. She calls herself Sóley ('Sunflowers' in Icelandic). And I AM IN LOVE, and really wanted to share. I haven't reacted to music so emotionally in years. And when I say years, I mean at least 5, at least. My gosh, the tears, this music evoked so many tears last night ...

There are SO many amazing tracks, each one quite different, and equally brilliant, so I found it really hard to choose one to embed here. I had to do the eenie meeney miney mo, thingy ...

Have a listen, but seriously, listen to more than just this one!

Have you ever fallen in love at first sound?

PS: Big thank you to Len Lambert for helping me promote Fabric today!

Thursday 17 May 2012

The Only One Left Standing ...

I’m weighed down by a thick need
tangled between a man who doesn’t care
a waitress who seems to care
and a conscience that cares too much.

Cuban tunes lace Mexican dreams;
cloud the reality I left behind
tucked under a cushion
on our dirty cream suede couch.

I sip my margarita, watch them dance
feel the thump, the twang, taste the tang.
Senioritas twirl, orange skirts become a blur
behind the mumble and slur of his speech.

Then I remember.
I’m still in Greece.
In the restaurant near the bus stop.

The only one left standing.

This is a poem from my latest collection, Fabric, which is now available. Please support the life of poetry today by spreading the news about Fabric. Perhaps you might even like to purchase a copy for yourself?

The e-book is only $1.99 and the paperback $5.50.

Check out the trailer:

Here are the purchase links:

Let's keep poetry alive! ... Please help spread the word :o)

Special thanks to Matthew MacNish, Cathy Powell, Eightcuts Gallery, Glynis Smy, Karen Jones Gowen, and LM Preston for helping me promote yesterday and today!

Wednesday 16 May 2012

This filthy stinky gooey blob called jealousy ...


Does it have to do with the May moon?

Stories from fellow writer friends are hitting my inbox like a mechanic fly swat about the dark side of being published.


It has become a cue to involuntarily cull friends from your life. It doesn't seem to be like this ON THE OUTSIDE. On the outside there is so much support for each other that it can be overwhelming. Everyone joins forces to help each other out. But unfortunately there are some people in this world who (thankfully I'm not acquainted with) seem to have an agenda that goes far beyond the organic nature of what helping others is all about.

I feel sick when I read things that are patronizingly over-the-top supportive, because I can instinctively feel the curl of their jealous snarl from behind their computer screen.

I once thought I was imagining it. But apparently I'm not, because I have a few published friends who have confided in me about the horrible happenings behind the scenes.

Goodness me, people, jealousy is EVIL. Jealousy can take over your world to the extent that every innocent act is perceived to be slobbered with jealousy goo. There has to be a way to stop this. Doesn't there?

Sure, I've been envious of some of my friends. It's only natural to feel a bit of a sting when someone you're close to gets something you want. But NEVER have I EVER felt this full-fledged jealousy that turns wonderful people into a vicious amalgamation of snotty, spiteful and cruel behaviour (of which I cannot mention, I'm sorry.)


Can those of you who have been victim to the filthy stinky gooey blob of jealousy, please put all of that jealous energy into reaching your own goals? Please? The first person it will benefit is YOU.

Have you ever been victim to jealous friends? Have you lost friends because of jealousy? How did you deal with it?

Monday 14 May 2012

Another baby of mine is born into the crazy jungle ...

FabricToday I'm celebrating the release of my new poetry collection, Fabric ... Wait! Please don't close the tab at the the mention of poetry! 

My poetry will not baffle you with phrasing that scholars award for academic genius and that can only be understood by those who wrote it. My poetry is for the everyday reader. In fact, it is even for those who don’t like to read poetry at all. Because it is real, stark and simple.

The poems in Fabric are no different. They explore specific moments in different people’s lives that are significant to whom they have become, the choices they’ve made. It’s about how they perceive the world around them, and how each and every one of their thoughts and actions contributes to the fabric of society. Perhaps you will even learn something new about yourself.

So, even if you do not usually read poetry, I urge you to give this one a go. Not because I want sales (though, they are fun!), but because I want more people to understand that not all poetry is scary and complex. Not all poetry is going to take you back to high school English, and not all poetry is going make you feel “stupid”.

You can still say to people that you don’t read poetry … I really don’t mind. Because if you read Fabric, you’re not reading poetry, you’re reading about people. And that’s what reading is about, yes? Living the lives of others?

Are you still here? I hope so!

Please support the life of poetry today by spreading the news about Fabric. Hey, perhaps you might even like to purchase a copy for yourself? The e-book is only $1.99 and the paperback $5.50.

Check out the trailer:

Here are the purchase links:

Let's keep poetry alive! Because not all poetry is "dead" boring ... Please help spread the word :o)

Special thanks to Maggie for interviewing me today. You can read the interview HERE. And to Leigh T. Moore, Janice Phelps Williams, Angela Felsted and Dawn Ius, for featuring me on their blogs to help promote! Thank you!

Friday 11 May 2012

Questions, questions ... no answers.

A few years ago, I wasn't very open to making new friends. I had a couple of people I'd spend time with, and that was it. I didn't need any more. I didn't want any more. Sometimes I didn't even want anything to do with those people. Yep, loner at heart. :o)

e-thiaki postcards - flipping gorgeous
But over the last couple of years, I seem to have shed a wall. Not sure what kind of wall, but I'm am so much more open to letting people in and showing my true colours. Of course, I still have my down days, but they are becoming less and less, I have noticed. This is an excellent thing.

I often wonder if this simply has to do with "growing up", or whether it's a sign that I am generally happy with my life and don't care what others think. Perhaps it's a combination of the two. But isn't it interesting, how when we are unhappy, we push the very things and people away that could change that? It really is a chicken and egg situation, isn't it!?

Common sense says it's some kind of instinctual act of protection. But protection from what? Really? When we are depressed, what are we protecting ourselves from when we hide away? Because obviously, the shit has already hit the fan. What could possibly hurt you now when you're already feeling the pain? Looking at it logically it seems ridiculous. But there is never any logic to depression. That is a given.

This post seems a little unfocused, I know. There really isn't much of a point to it, or any single question I'm seeking an answer for. All it is, is a little slice of my mind this morning. Feeling analytical. Wondering why some mornings I wake up with a smile and others a frown, for no particular reason at all. I suppose it's just life. I suppose it's just what I am ... I'm a smile in a frown and a frown in a smile.

My smile is water. My frown is heat. My writing is rain.

Do you often wake up with unanswerable questions and scattered thoughts? What do you with them?

Thursday 10 May 2012

Please welcome Roz Morris, bestselling ghostwriter and book doctor ...

Ever wondered what it would be like to be a ghost writer? Well wonder no more, because today I have a guest post from the lovely and amazing Roz Morris, bestselling ghostwriter and book doctor. Thank you so much for being here, today, Roz. It's an absolute honour to have you!

After so long as a ghost, this novel is for me.

My novels have been in the bestseller lists. Fans discuss them on well-subscribed message boards. I nurture them on my hard drive and in my head, but they go out under other people’s names. Such is the lot of the ghostwriter.

Ghosting is how I got my break in publishing. I was serving my apprenticeship in the writing class at London’s Morley College and dreamed of rising from the slushpile.
I knew my show from my tell, I understood structure, I could keep a pace ticking and could twizzle plots and characters into a right old twist.

A lucky accident got me to an editor who needed a manuscript in a hurry. I wrote a novel to their brief; they liked it. So began my career as a ghostwriter.

Meanwhile, I was finding my real literary identity - in the authors I cherished. Iain Banks for oddness, Gavin Maxwell for humanity, Jan Mark for peculiarity, Donna Tartt for cleverness, Ann Patchett for passion, Barbara Trapido for humour, Kevin Brockmeier for poetic vision.

They were light years away from the thrillers I was writing as a ghost.

You can read my
review of this here.
Finally my own novel was ready - My Memories of a Future Life. If a trauma in a past life can haunt you in this one, what would you see if you visited yourself in a future lifetime? My narrator is a concert pianist with a career-threatening injury who gets involved with fringe healers offering miracle cures. While she tries to make sense of what she’s seeing in her possible future, her current life becomes all the more mysterious and tangled. The novel is a hybrid genre; literary fiction with elements of romance and futuristic speculation - but most of all it's the story of a lost soul looking for where she now belongs.

Soon, the novel wooed an agent. Publishers said it was compelling, original... but could I make it more commercial? A thriller, perhaps, like those lovely thrillers I sold bucketloads of?

Until that moment, I’d thought my priority was to see my name on a cover. After so long letting others take the credit, that gets to be an itch. I could have had it, easily, if I'd changed my novel. But I’d already got stacks of books I had written to fit the agendas of others. And the authors whose work I treasured didn’t neuter their books. So I went indie.

When I published, I had a surprise.

With a ghosted book, I’d hand it in and move on. But my own novel keeps coming back. Out of the blue, readers email me. When this first happened it was a big and delightful surprise. It still is.

In endlessly unexpected ways, they tell me I have understood the core conflict of their lives. A few of them tell me off as well, furious with what I’ve made them experience. (With that in mind, it's curious to imagine the fanmail I might have inflicted on the authors who adopted my ghosted novels. I did some bad things in those books.)

I never knew this happened, this renewing current between writer and reader. It makes me so glad I stuck to my vision, and mined my story for the truths that were most important to me.

When I write for someone else I'll do whatever they want. And I don't disagree with those who compromise to secure publication. We all are aiming for different things.
But publishing my own novel has reminded me how our stories become a reader's most private moments. My prose becomes the voice whispering beside their own thoughts in their alone-time on the train, or the drowsy pre-dream period last thing at night. With that in mind, how could I not be true to my material? Obviously I'll take advice on what isn't working, but I won't change anything for markets and fashions. Our books outlast those anyway.

After so long writing for other people, my own novels are for me.
Roz Morris is a bestselling ghostwriter and book doctor. She blogs HERE and has a double life on Twitter; for writing advice follow her as @dirtywhitecandy, for more normal chit-chat try her on @ByRozMorris.

My Memories of a Future Life is available on Kindle (US and UK) and also in print. You can also listen to or download a free audio of the first 4 chapters here.

She also has a writing book - Nail Your Novel: Why Writers Abandon Books And How You Can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence, available in printand on Kindle.           

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Yep, the Allomorph has finally exposed herself on video ...

So, remember how I had the Steinbeck Festival thing last weekend on Ithaca? Here's the video I made for it. The wind wasn't our friend that day, but I think we did a pretty decent job considering ...


Have you ever read this book? What did you think of it? If not, have you ever read the original Odyssey by Homer? I have tried, I really have, but I just don't have the patience for it. That's not very "literary" of me, is it! :o)

Monday 7 May 2012

You little ripper!!!

Today writer/poet, Glynis Smy adds author/novelist to her name. Her debut Historical Romance Suspense novel, Ripper, My Love, has finally been launched in ebook format and paperback.

I met Glynis when I started blogging a little over two years ago, and upon learning that we almost live in the same country (her Cyprus, me Greece), we've developed a really lovely bond. I'm so proud of Glynis for releasing this book. It's been niggling at her backside forever. Release me! Release me!

So here it is. Released. I've read it. It's great! You can read my review here.

All about this little ripper:

Growing up in late nineteenth century East London, Kitty Harper’s life is filled with danger and death – from her mother, her beloved neighbour and the working women of the streets.

With her ever-watchful father and living surrogate family though, Kitty feels protected from harm. In fact, she feels so safe that while Whitechapel cowers under the cloud of a fearsome murderer, she strikes out on her own, moving into new premises to accommodate her sewing business.

But danger is closer than she thinks. In truth, it has burrowed itself right into her heart in the form of a handsome yet troubled bachelor, threatening everything she holds dear. Will Kitty fall prey to lust – and death – herself, or can she find the strength inside to fight for her business, sanity and her future? And who is the man terrifying the streets of East London?

Who is Glynis Smy?

Glynis was born and raised in England, in the coastal town of Dovercourt, near the port of Harwich (where the captain of the Mayflower lived). After qualifying as a nurse, she married her school friend, and they produced three children. During her rare quiet moments, she wrote poetry and articles for magazines. In 2005 she and her husband emigrated to Cyprus for a new life in the sun. It was here that Glynis lay down her cross stitch and started making writing friends on the Internet. With their support and encouragement she shared her poetry, and was successful in a few contests. She shared a short story with a friend, who wrote back telling her it was worthy of becoming a novel, and not to waste the premise upon a brief plot. The story is the one being launched today. Glynis found her love of writing 19th Century, historical romances and her second novel, Maggie's Child, will be published at the end of 2012.

Aside from writing and Cross stitch, Glynis enjoys creating greetings cards, and sells them to raise funds for a small hospice in Cyprus. One of her pleasures is to sit on the back porch with a glass of wine, and reflect upon her good life. She can often be heard chatting to new characters urging her forward.

Her desire to pay back those who had supported her is realised in a blog designed specifically to promote the books of others: New Book Blogger. You can find her personal writing blog at Glynis finds the community spirit of writers on Facebook a valuable one.

Want to purchase a copy?  Launch day price for the Kindle is 99c/77p!

So come on, folks! Let's celebrate the launch of this book and offer Glynis a little support, hey? Purchase a copy? Visit her blog and offer a congrats? Pretty please?

Thursday 3 May 2012

Steinbeck International Fringe Fest and other news ...

I'm heading off to Ithaca this afternoon to host the Steinbeck International Fringe Fest!

I'll be reading from 'The Lost Books of the Odyssey', by Zachary Mason, on Dexa Beach, where Odysseus is said to have returned. Then in the evening, a celebration of voices at Spavento Bar in Kioni will take place: music, drinks, and if I'm up for it, a little dancing! :o)

If you'd like to learn more about the Steinbeck Festival, why not take a squizz at their Facebook page. You may even find an event being held in your area!

What to expect here next week:
  • Monday: Glynis Smy's launch celebration of her debut, Ripper, My Love. You can read my review here!
  • Wednesday: I'll be posting a video and photos of the Steinbeck Festival for your amusement. And tell you all how it went!
  • Thursday: I have the talented Roz Morris, ghost writer of many a best-selling book, here to talk share her knowledge with you.

Have a great weekend!

I'm off to bask in the beautiful Ithacan sunshine ...

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group (sorry I missed the last couple!)

Wow ... I think I've forgotten to post for this group in the last two months ... I'm so sorry!

I have a lot of insecurities, actually. I think any creative being does. It's possibly the most felt feeling among us. So why is it so hard to voice?

I'm going to be completely honest. I don't really feel like talking about my insecurities today, because I'm trying to block them out after learning my publisher, Lucky Press, is ceasing publication, and that my debut novel, after only SIX months, will be out of print.

But hey, life goes on, and (fingers crossed), I may just be lucky enough to find a solution very soon. My fingers are tightly crossed, believe me! Please do me a favour and cross yours too!

I think you can probably guess what my insecurities are after this news, so I won't go into them.

So let me leave you with this:

Initially, I was angry. Then I was depressed. Then I was understanding ...
But now I'm in limbo. I feel like my book is in a coma. And I can't wait for the day the doctors tell me it's woken up.

If you were in my position, how would you feel?