Category Archives: Books

Author on air!

Following on from my last post a couple of weeks ago, I can now tell you that my NVTV interview will be broadcast this evening (Sunday, July 23) on the Novel Ideas programme at 7.15pm. It’s on Freeview Channel 7 (just retune your Freeview if you don’t yet have NVTV!), and it’s also available¬†on Virgin and online. You can find out more on the NVTV website here: http://www.nvtv.co.uk/schedule/

I’ve already seen the preview of this and I’m really happy with how they’ve put it all together – though it’s always weird watching yourself and seeing how you come across to other people!! Anyway, if you’re interested in seeing that, then feel free to have a wee look, and I’ll post a link to it afterwards in case you miss it. ūüôāIMG_1966

Aside from that, I enjoyed an afternoon at Flowerfield Arts Centre yesterday in Portstewart, as part of the first of two open days at the centre over the summer. There was a brilliant turnout for this, with people picnicking out on the lawns and listening to the live music, kids playing in the park, and all sorts of other things going on inside and out. I was on hand to do some reading from Magical Masquerade, and flitted from the Storytelling Chair outside by the park, to the gallery inside, while there were also a couple of wandering poets, plus face-painters, crafters, a teddy bear hospital and more.

It was a lovely way to encourage people to use the centre more and make it their own, and it was great to be asked to take part as a local author! FullSizeRender (3)

The summer has been a little hectic so far, with one thing and another, and I¬†do find anyway¬†that I’m better suited to writing in the darker days of autumn/winter for some reason (!) but I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently, and I’m¬†also still planning my¬†next little project¬†… In the meantime, I’ve acquired a few more notebooks which need filling, so I’d better get onto that! ūüėČ

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Author appearances…

In my last post I mentioned some upcoming interviews and events … Well, I’m happy to report that I have since visited Northern Visions TV (NVTV) in Belfast to take part in their Novel Ideas programme. 19510322_817633191734311_6052347708625643068_n

NVTV is a local TV station which streams online as well as on Freeview and Virgin (check their website at the link above for specific channels), so I was delighted when Debbie McGrory asked me to come along and chat to her abut my writing and Magical Masquerade. I’m told the interview should air sometime in July, as there’s about a three-week turnaround on these,¬†so I’ll keep you posted as to when it’s available for viewing!

It was an interesting experience in many ways, not least in seeing what goes on behind the scenes¬†during the¬†recording process. As a print journalist I’ve never really worked with cameras etc. so I enjoyed getting a glimpse of the practicalities of it all. Let’s just say – I have a¬†renewed appreciation for people who make programmes or films of any kind as there was a lot of equipment and a lot of work involved just to record one author!

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Aside from chatting with Debbie, I also had the opportunity to read a little extract from Magical Masquerade as well, so I’m looking forward to seeing how everything is edited together for the final programme.

Flowerfield Arts Centre Open Day event

Flowerfield

 

In other news, I’m excited to say that I’ll be taking part in Flowerfield Arts Centre’s open day in Portstewart on Saturday, July 22. This is the first of two open days at the centre, and will include everything from a Teddy Bears’ Picnic, to pottery fun and lots more – including a little storytelling from myself, as I’ll be taking up residence on the Storytelling Chair (if it’s sunny… if it rains I’ll be inside!) to read from Magical Masquerade and answer any questions the kids have about the book or writing in general. I’m looking forward to this as I’m keen to do more events up on the north coast, where I live, and it sounds like a fun afternoon!

You can check out details on the Flowerfield event page for this here: https://www.facebook.com/events/313629819090667/

Books Ireland article and listing19732063_822271447937152_8027612305948428255_n

Yesterday, I was also delighted to receive my copy of Books Ireland Magazine in the post, a publication which features news and reviews of Irish books, and supports Irish writing in general. I wrote an opinion piece on my self-publishing journey to date and Magical Masquerade is also featured in the First Flush section of the magazine, which lists all books published in Ireland within the past two months.

It’s great to see a publication like this supporting all writers – both traditionally and self-published – and I was happy to see that MM was deemed of good quality and design in the First Flush section (which doesn’t review the books listed but records the readership they’re aimed at and remarks on the overall quality of each book).19905148_822271521270478_431312977935644621_n

Plotting and planning…

Aside from this… I’ve been working on some other things in relation to book number two, though life has got in the way a bit over the past couple of weeks, so writing hasn’t really had a look-in for various reasons (other than the day job). That being said, however, I’m still plotting and planning away and looking forward to what might come next. ūüôā

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Countdown to launch…

It’s just TWO days until Magical Masquerade launches at the Belfast Book Festival – Saturday, June 17 if you’re interested.

Tickets are free and you can book here: https://crescentarts.ticketsolve.com/shows/873573911/events )

Also, I can now also share the news that BBC Radio Ulster will broadcast the interview I did with Anne-Marie McAleese on their Your Place and Mine programme on the same day. So, if you’re near a radio on Saturday morning, the show kicks off at 8am and at some point I’ll be on it! A wee taster for the launch event later in the day. ūüôā

Book festival round-up

Page to stage picI’ve already enjoyed attending some BBF events – I also had fun interviewing authors Jane Talbot and Hilary McCollum last week about how their work went from page to stage. They shared some great insights into the creative process, along with info on what they learned along the way and what it was like working with theatre companies.

Jane’s short stories were adapted from book form for the stage by Big Telly Theatre Company in NI, while Hilary has written specifically for the stage, creating verbatim and more traditional stage productions. FullSizeRender (2)

It was great, as well, to catch the launch of Ciaran McMenamin’s debut novel, Skintown. He was interviewed by Belfast author, Paul McVeigh (author of The Good Son) on the day, but if you’d like to read an interview with him, then I also spoke with the actor-turned-writer myself ahead of the event for Culture NI. You can read that here: http://bit.ly/2rQQXHu

 

Tonight, meanwhile (so there’s still time to get tickets if you’re free!) I’ll be reading some of my work at another BBF event: Lagan Online presents 12NOW – New Original Writers.

12NOW BBF

Six of the 12NOW crew will be reading their work so there’ll be a mixture of poetry and prose and genres… all for just ¬£4!¬†You can book here if you want to come along: https://crescentarts.ticketsolve.com/shows/873573897/events

Launch day…

Aside from that, I’ll be spending tomorrow prepping for the MM launch on Saturday, IMG_1277making sure I have all my books packed and ready to go, along with my MM bookmarks, author biz cards, nibbles and whatnot. I also have to double-check what bits of the book I’ll be reading during the Q&A/chat with Jane Talbot¬†– all¬†in between the day job of course. ūüôā

Looking forward to Saturday and seeing all who can come along! I’ll update you about how it went as soon as I can! ūüôā

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MM takes to the air!

This week, I was invited along to Belfast 89FM, where I enjoyed chatting about Magical Masquerade, the Belfast Book Festival and books and writing in general with hosts, Heidi and Colin McAlpin. I first met Colin back in 2011/12, when I wrote the original manuscript of MM. I was sending it out to publishers and came across a small publishing company based not far from me along the North Coast Рrun by Colin and a friend of his.

With Heidi and Colin McAlpin

We met for a coffee and, although it transpired they didn’t publish children’s books, it was great to talk about the publishing industry/process and to discuss my book, as I’d told no-one at the time that I’d written one! It made it seem more real, in a way.

Fast forward to 2017 and not long after Northern Woman magazine published their interview with me on MM, I got an email from Colin, whose daughter Heidi also happened to be featured in the magazine that month.

Chatting on radioHe saw that I’d published my book and said we should catch up again – which we did – before offering to have me on the radio show he does with Heidi. I was absolutely delighted of course and, deciding to wait until the book was officially on sale, and then holding out until the BBF news was announced, I finally made it on the air this week!

I really enjoyed the experience – I tend to almost forget people are listening in on the chat though, as you obviously can’t see them, but hopefully it will also be good practice for the launch event on June 17th!

Book launchBBF pic_claire_savage_web-01_large

On that note, it’s now¬†just 13 days to go until the official launch of¬†Magical Masquerade at the Belfast Book Festival (you can get your free tickets here: http://bit.ly/2qwxuvC ).

So,¬†the countdown is on and I’ve decided to record that over on my Facebook page (Claire Savage – Author),¬†publishing at least one post per day in the run-up to the launch, which can include anything from excerpts from the books, to anecdotes, pictures of locations which inspired me while writing and so on.

Competition

Also, if you’d like to win a signed copy of MM, then Culture NI¬†is running a competition where two people can win a book each. This might be limited to the UK so just check the Ts&Cs of that if you’re entering, which you can do here: http://www.culturenorthernireland.org/competition/magical-masquerade

BBC Radio Ulster – Your Place and MineWith BBF prog

Wee update on the Radio Ulster interview which was recorded a week or so ago. I think that it will be broadcast on the¬†Saturday, June 10 show but I’ll be updating re news of that on social media, as it’s not totally confirmed as yet.

In the meantime, I’m preparing for the BBF next week and trying to get some notes scribbled down for book two…

More as I have it. ūüôā

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Magical news and reviews…

It’s always a little scary¬†releasing your work into the¬†public domain¬†for people to read –¬†especially with fiction, I think, as it’s much more personal than other writing. So, I’m delighted to begin this week’s blog post with news of a lovely 5* review for Magical Masquerade which is just in this very morning from a very happy reader.

swirl and thread screenshot

You can read Emily Hearne’s take on the book over at her mum Mairead’s blog, Swirl and Thread, here: http://www.swirlandthread.com/magical-masquerade-claire-savage/

Mairead is an Irish book blogger who reviews adult fiction, but as her daughter Emily is the perfect age for Magical Masquerade and loves to read, she agreed to give an honest opinion of the book. Suffice it to say, I’m very glad she enjoyed it – and is now asking for the sequel!

I am working on the next book but in the meantime, there’s¬†been a lot going on over the past couple of weeks which has kept me quite busy otherwise. I missed blogging last week, so we’ll begin with what I would have included in that post…

 

Guest blog postBook blogger logo

First up, London-based bookseller and book-lover, Joanne Frazer, who has a great bookish blog called In Case of Bookishness, invited me to write a guest blog post for the site, so you can read that at the link below.

‘In Case of Bookishness’ guest blog post link: https://incaseofbookishness.wordpress.com/2017/05/15/guest-post-why-writers-need-writers-by-claire-savage/

 

Waterstones reading with Women Aloud NIWA NI group in Waterstones

Last Saturday, I also enjoyed a wee trip to Waterstones Coleraine for an afternoon of readings with the Women Aloud NI crew.

Me reading MM in WaterstonesA group of us read extracts from our work – including poetry, prose, biography and more – and it was great hearing snippets from all sorts of genres on the day.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first reading from Magical Masquerade in bound book form, and it was a lovely event to be a part of.

 

BBC Radio Ulster interview – YPAM

Yesterday, meanwhile, I had the pleasure of meeting BBC Radio Ulster presenter, Anne-Marie McAleese from the Your Place and Mine show, to record an interview about MM. We met at one of my local (and favourite) beaches, Runkerry Beach, in Portballintrae, where Felicity’s adventures start in the book – a landscape which definitely inspired and influenced my writing.

With Anne-Marie McAleese

With Anne-Marie McAleese

 

The interview will be broadcast ahead of the Belfast Book Festival launch of MM, so I’ll share links etc. to that when it’s online and if you want live updates, then I’ll be sharing info on social media as well.

 

Belfast 89FM

This Thursday afternoon (sometime between 2pm – 4pm) I’ll also be appearing on Belfast 89FM with Colin and Heidi McAlpin, so you can listen in live to that, or again, I’ll share links afterwards. I’m not sure of the exact time that I’ll be on air as yet, but will post social media updates during the week.

There’s more in the way of interviews and so on coming up, but as the above¬†events are happening more imminently, I’ll share details about other things as and when they come up!

biz cardsAside from all of that, I also got round at last to designing my author business cards this week. I’ve already got my bookmarks for the BBF launch, but these are just handier to carry around and they turned out really well. Although, I¬†may have to tell people the fairies designed them, as I seem to have made the font just a smidgen too¬†small on the back, lol. But still, they do the job – sure, as long as you can read the details… even if some of the finer print¬†might require¬†a magnifying glass!

Writing-wise, I’m finding it a little hard to settle myself to work on book number two, as there’s so much else going on at the moment with book one and with work in general. But I think this is a period to enjoy – I like the¬†promo side of things and chatting about books and writing, and it’s exciting to see people find out about MM and to show an interest in it. Even better when they read it and like it!

Fellow NI author and friend, Jo Zebedee, whose latest book, a fantasy novel called¬†Waters and the Wild, will be published in July, also got her hands on MM this week, so I’m awaiting feedback from her and her daughter Holly too. ūüôāJo and Holly

The first few months after a book release will always be busier as you try to spread the word and it certainly won’t last forever, so my mantra is to embrace all opportunities and just have fun with it.

Anyway, speaking of writing, it’s a bank holiday weekend, which means a bit of breathing space¬†to get those words on pages. More as I have it… ūüôā

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Proofs in the post…

So … I was fully expecting to be sharing the news (and pics!) of the arrival of my book proofs today, but alas, they have not yet arrived …

I’ve decided not to worry too much about this – yet – though it is frustrating, given that I was told by CreateSpace they would be here by March 30. However, fingers are firmly crossed for tomorrow …

In the meantime, there’s not much that can be done except wait for them to arrive and I’m hoping that after careful examination and much poring over by myself and a few other eyes, I’ll be all set to move onto publication stage. I’m still on track for my April release date, but it’s definitely looking likely that it’ll be towards the latter end of the month before that happens – which is what I’d always anticipated, so all is still running to schedule.

Anyway … aside from waiting for the postman the past few days, I also managed to submit a couple of short stories to a literary journal (another waiting game!) and ideas have been spooling for the next writing project … Once I get Magical Masquerade approved, the pen will be hitting the paper again!IMG_1216

FairyLoot (spoiler alert!)

Although I missed getting MM in the post this week however, I did get another lovely bookish delivery in the form of my first-ever FairyLoot box, which lived up to expectations very nicely. The book within was, of course, the main event, and I was pleased to see that it was the one I’d guessed – a beautiful hard cover of Laini Taylor’s latest release – Strange the Dreamer.

The book cover design is lovely and the pages are edged in blue, which I think is just for the UK editions, and it’s a whopper of a book that I can’t wait to get into. I am, however,¬†currently reading¬†the last book in the Shades of Magic trilogy by VE Schwab¬†(A Conjuring of Light), so I’ll get to it after that …

FullSizeRender (19)I won’t post any other spoilers about what else was inside the FairyLoot box, as I know some people overseas still haven’t received theirs (I feel your pain!), but suffice it to say that everything inside was great and I look forward to next month’s!

More news on the proofs as I have it and don’t forget, if you’d like to pre-order the e-book, you can go right ahead and do that here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XQ2GF27

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Pre-orders open for MM e-book!

Can there be a more exciting email subject line to land in your inbox than this¬†–¬†‘Proof shipped: Magical Masquerade…’ ? Not really, no! Yes, Magical Masquerade is currently winging its way to me from the States so¬†you may or may not¬†see a photo of me clutching it with a big grin on my face in the next blog post –¬†depending on how quickly it travels.

In the meantime, I have more exciting news (exciting to me anyway lol):

The Magical Masquerade e-book is now available to pre-order!

Just click this link: http://amzn.to/2mF6YK6 dfw-cs-mm-cover-ebook

I didn’t actually realise you could do this … if I had, I would have mentioned it in the Northern Woman magazine article … The main thing, however, is that it is doable, so if you have a Kindle and want to give it a go, it’ll only cost you a couple of dollars. ūüôā

I’ve set the e-book release date as April 29,¬†because I want it to be available at the same¬†time as the paperback (which, by the way, I don’t have an exact release date for yet, other than April. This is because it can take a week or two to appear on Amazon after I hit ‘publish’ and I still need to approve those proofs…)¬†It basically¬†gives me enough leeway to ensure that the e-book¬†won’t be out before the paperback and, if all is well with my print proofs, then I might be able to move the¬†publication¬†date forward. I.e. You might get it earlier than April 29. I will keep you informed! And no – you can’t pre-order the paperback version, as this is only an option for the e-books currently.

As I mentioned before, I just couldn’t face doing the e-book formatting in the end, after tackling the paperback, so a big thank you¬†to the ever-helpful Averill Buchanan for assisting with this! She’s done a great job and it certainly wouldn’t have been¬†uploaded¬†as quickly if I had been at it!

Bookstore update

As well as sorting out the e-book, I also took some time this week to contact a couple of NI’s¬†leading bookstores re stocking the paperback. Now, as a self-publishing author, I realise that online sales are the focus for my book. Indeed, the general advice is not to try getting into bricks and mortar stores¬†because it’s just too expensive for the author – you end up having to bulk-buy the books yourself and/or go through a distributor, which could end up costing you thousands … (Not a good plan unless you have money to burn!)¬†Also, some stores won’t take SP books anyway, though it’s always worth asking if you’re keen to get into one.

However, I’m not trying to get the book everywhere offline and I was interested to see what the response would be. Feedback was that the paperback may have a chance of¬†getting into one of my local bookstores but nothing is as yet confirmed and it may be they can just buy in enough books for an author event. I’d be happy with that, so we’ll see how it goes.

I also have a few independent stores who are willing to take the book so I’ll keep you updated on this too.

Other than that, I will be on the air waves again once Magical Masquerade is published, so I’ll let you know when and on which radio¬†station that will be happening once all is confirmed.

Other bookish stuff

I will certainly be watching¬†eagerly for my postman over the next 10 days, as¬†not only am¬†I looking forward to receiving my proofs, I’m also expecting my first-ever FairyLoot box, which also happens to be their first anniversary box. (So it’ll be extra-special I hear¬†…)

If you haven’t heard of FairyLoot, I’ve linked to it a couple of lines back but essentially, it’s a YA (Young Adult) subscription box of bookish treasure, including a new release YA hardcover and an assortment of bookish gifts every month. Quite frankly, it looks brilliant from what I see online.

February’s box has the theme Myths & Monsters,¬†while April’s¬†theme is Dreams & Wishes (yes, I’ve already ordered the April box without receiving my first box, such is my faith that it will be great!). I should point out that I’m not affiliated to FairyLoot in any way – it just seems like a really cool bookish brand and if you like YA fantasy books then I recommend you check them out!

Anyway, those are all my updates for the week!¬†Now, back to waiting for that postman …

PS Don’t forget – if you want to pre-order the Magical Masquerade e-book for Kindle, you can do so here!¬†https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XQ2GF27 ūüôā

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Bookish day out in Dublin

This time last week, I was in Dublin, having made the journey down¬†to meet my editor and chat face-to-face about the feedback she sent about my book. I know that in this day and age with the internet, such meetings aren’t necessary – you can conduct entire business transactions and editorial relationships without ever actually shaking the other person’s hand, but I do like to meet people where I can and with Dublin just a couple of train rides away, I thought, why not?

img_0523My editor, by the way, is Emma Dunne¬†– former managing editor¬†of New Island –¬†and it was great to get the opportunity to talk things over with her in person.

For me, getting an editor’s feedback is utterly welcomed and embraced – it reminds me of being at school and reading the comments in the margins of your English essay. Maybe I stand alone in this, but I always loved reading what my English teacher had to say about my writing – the good points and the constructive criticism. After all, if we can’t take on board comments designed to help make us better writers, then I really don’t know why you would bother asking someone to review your work.

Perhaps because of this, and because as a journalist and copywriter I know the value of editing your work, I’m really enjoying working with a professional editor, which is the first time I’ve done so with my prose writing. I want those red flags to be held up for me; I want the fact that I’ve created a fair amount of magical portals in my book pointed out because, guess what – I hadn’t even noticed. And yet – it’s clear as crystal to the professional reading the book. (Of course it is – this is why you need an editor!!)

img_0571I was at a writing event on Saturday in Belfast which was put together by Words Ireland. The focus was on how best to sustain your career as a creative writer, with a panel contributing to the discussions (poet Moyra Donaldson, publisher Patsy Horton, children’s author Sheena Wilkinson and author Ian Sansom). I chatted briefly with Sheena afterwards and when I mentioned I was working with an editor on my book, she looked relieved and said she was very glad to hear it. Her reaction, of course, was because so many self-published authors still think they can publish a book without hiring an editor. And, well, they can, practically speaking, but it will just never be as polished and professionally presented as an edited book. That’s just the way it is. I make a point of mentioning the editing process when I speak about my book now, as I want to make it clear that I am not one of those writers who dismiss editors. Yes, they cost money, but if you’re expecting people to buy your book (and you want to give self-published authors a good reputation), then they’re just necessary.

Anyway, I digress.

 

img_0533

Unicorns at The Marvel Room at Brown Thomas.

Back to Dublin, and myself and Emma spent a couple of hours chatting about those beta readers, plotlines, scenes that could be cut, and¬†scenes which could be kept. I think we’ve agreed that if the passage the betas loved is given¬† more of a reason to be there and moves the story on better than it currently does, then it could stay.

 

We also discussed some of the changes I’d already made in the week since I’d received her report, as I’ve tightened up on certain elements of the story and made the rules of my magical kingdom a little more clear.

Reviewers also popped up in the conversation. I’d be interested to find out more about anyone who professionally reviews self-published¬†children’s books, and also, anyone who runs a blog dedicated to this. Self-publishing is gaining a better reputation, I find, but there are still barriers to getting your work in front of people and one of the problems in someone not hiring an editor is that many reviewers understandably aren’t prepared to read a book that hasn’t been professionally produced. We’ll see what happens on that one anyway.

img_0536I also had time to pop into one of the local independent bookstores while I was in the city, and they’ve agreed to stock a few copies of my book, which is great. Another shop up north has agreed the same, so that’s all very positive. I haven’t really been doing the rounds in that regard yet with retailers, but when I find myself in a store and there’s the opportunity to ask, well, I do. ūüôā

Since getting back home, I’ve been doing rewrites and whatnot, and am keen to get more time for this over Christmas, though I’m trying to fit it in where I can up until then.

Some other good news, is that one of the short stories I submitted to a journal recently has just been accepted for publication in their next issue. It’s based in Wales¬†and they haven’t announced the contributors yet, so I’ll post more details on that soon.

 

img_0535

A cosy nook at The Winding Stair bookstore.

All in all, it’s been a busy week or so and it’s set to stay the same, as I want to get the¬†manuscript reworked in time for the New Year. I’ve also finalised my blurb, which I’d been rewriting, so I hope it does its job… (To be honest, I will probably always think I want to change bits of it, but there comes a time when you have to just make a decision and let it go!).

 

So, that’s what’s been happening with The Book and I. Now, back to work and then, back to book work… ūüôā

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Cover credentials

They say don’t judge a book by a cover but let’s face it, we all do. A cool cover is what stops us in our tracks in a bookstore. It entices us to pick up one book over another and, even if we don’t end up buying that particular novel, we’ve still been¬†seduced in some way by its¬†appearance. (The Bone Clocks cover certainly caught my attention!)

bone clocks

So – just how do you go about creating a good cover for your book and what are the vital ingredients? Well, I’m a writer but I’m also an avid book-buyer so, while I’m in no way a professional in this area, I do have some inkling of what might work and what might not.

I also know that a boring, dull cover won’t make much of an impression on kids, so when you’re thinking of a younger age-group, you’ve got to be spot on with the design. Thankfully, my cover designer is going through a fairly in-depth process with me at the minute to uncover the essential ingredients of my own book, so hopefully it will represent the story as I imagine.

Yes – work has begun on the cover of my book! I’ve spent the past week answering a number of questions about the story, the characters, the writing, covers I like and covers I don’t like which are already out there, and much more.

I’ve taken my time over it and have only the book blurb for the back cover left to upload, which I’ve decided to copy in below if anyone feels like giving feedback on it. I’d be interested to hear what you think and what it conveys to you!

library-425730_1280For me, a professionally designed book cover is of great importance. As a soon to be independently published author I want my novel to have the look of one that’s been traditionally published as much as possible. It should look just as good in its design as any other book, otherwise why would anyone want to buy it?

I write because I love it and self-publishing is a way of getting my¬†stories out into the world just as anyone else in the creative industries is wont to do with their work. However, when you put something up for sale, it becomes a product and that requires investment in how that product looks, to ensure that whoever buys it will get something worth buying. My years of¬†writing, the editing process and the professional cover design are all part of this. I want to create something that I’m happy to sell to people and that I would want to buy myself as a reader.

From my jumble of ideas, a cover will soon emerge and I’m excited to see how it takes shape over the next few weeks and what the end result will look like…

Book blurb

‚ÄėIt‚Äôs the tale of a girl, just a little too thin.

When she went to the beach one sparkling spring day,

She picked up a pebble…

…and it whisked her away.’

 Summoned to the Fairy Realm by the curious Pebble People, Felicity is faced with not one, but two adventurous quests in a world which mirrors her own but is full of hidden magic. Can she stop the mysterious pebble thieves before it’s too late and will she solve the Rhyming Riddler’s puzzles before she’s trapped in Fairyland forever?

With witches, goblins, fairies and all sorts of tricks and enchantments to contend with, Felicity’s most startling discovery, however, is yet to come…

 

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Stuck in a book

book coverVery often these days, books are over-hyped when it comes to promotion. We know this, and yet still, we¬†fall into the lure of dust covers decorated with dazzling quotes from other writers and eye-catching designs. However, quite often, these books leave us feeling disappointed, as they fail to live up to the marketing campaign that’s gone before. It’s the same with films and other things of course, and perhaps nothing can ever really live up to the hype, but when publishers push titles onto us, it can be difficult to know whether to invest the time in the stories.

Which makes it all the more special when you happen across a book that isn’t being forced in your face, but which nevertheless,¬†delivers great storytelling that you just can’t put down. I found such a book at the weekend – A Good Day for a Dog by Enniskillen-based author, Carlo G√©bler. I’ve known of G√©bler’s work¬†for some years, but only recently started reading it (!), and it was for me,¬†quite literally, a page-turner. I couldn’t put it down.

Writers, Ian Sansom (L) and Carlo Gébler (R) at Aspects Festival in Bangor.

Writers, Ian Sansom (L) and Carlo Gébler (R) at Aspects Festival in Bangor.

As a creative writing teacher in prisons in Northern Ireland, G√©bler has first-hand knowledge of the prison system here, and this novel, published in 2008, makes good use of that knowledge, as it depicts the story of Stephen Melanophy, who spends his life in and out of prison. It’s a compelling story told deftly in punchy chapters which constantly move the story onwards – this is a¬†book which prompts the reader to move swiftly from page to page and never really presents you with a moment when you wish to put it down for a break. It’s a style of writing which we all, I think, strive for – one which completely absorbs the reader in the tale being told.

Kelly Creighton coverI was at a literary festival on Friday where G√©bler was speaking, which is where I picked up the book, and he said on the day that he writes with the reader in mind always. He went on to joke that that reader is a version of himself, but there’s something in the delivery of his writing that just works. I wouldn’t ordinarily say that my book of choice is a gritty tale about prisons and drugs and beatings and shootings and the like, as I have a tendency towards elaborate fantasy books, but when the story’s good, the story’s good.¬†Along with my friend Kelly Creighton’s recently published¬†novel, The Bones of It, it’s enough to get me back into reading the crime genre… ūüôā

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