Monthly Archives: September 2011

Deadline extension for SWWJ

THE SOCIETY OF WOMEN WRITERS & JOURNALISTS has announced that the closing date for entries to its OPEN INTERNATIONAL ONLINE ‘LIFE WRITING’ COMPETITION has been extended to 30th November 2011.

‘Life Writing’ is a fluid term used to describe the recording of experiences and memories, whether one’s own or another’s. It covers biography, memoir, diaries, letters and personal essays etc., and, more recently, digital forms such as blogs and email. It can also be linked with genealogical study when recording one’s life, it is common to become curious about the lives of others that have affected one over time and, if they have not recorded their own life, to start doing it for them.

The Word Count is 3000 words maximum BY EMAIL OR HARD COPY

The Competition is open to any writer world-wide of 20 years old and over.  The judges are Sophie King for category (i) 20/40 year olds and Katie Fforde for Category (ii) over 40s.

There are three prizes in each category. 1st £3000.  2nd £1000. 3rd  £500.

The entry fee is £7 (seven pounds sterling).

 

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Shortlisted: Total-E-Bound Best Romantic Read Award

What a lovely start to a Monday – I’ve just been informed that Love & Freedom has been shortlisted for the inaugural Romance Reader Awards under the Total-E-Bound Best Romantic Read category.

Whoop!

Here are the shortlists for the two major awards:

For the Total-E-Bound Best Romantic Read Award:

Juliet Archer – Persuade Me (Choc Lit)

Fiona Harper – Swept off her Stilettos (Mills & Boon, Riva)

Carole Matthews – Wrapped up in You (Sphere)

Sue Moorcroft – Love and Freedom (Choc Lit)

Talli Roland – The Hating Game (Prospera Publishing)

For the Choc Lit Best Historical Read Award:

Charlotte Betts – The Apothecary’s Daughter (Piatkus)

Annie Burrows – Captain Corcoran’s Hoyden Bride (Mills & Boon, Historical Regency)

Christina Courtenay – The Scarlet Kimono (Choc Lit)

Jean Fullerton – Perhaps Tomorrow (Orion)

Jan Jones – The Kydd Inheritance (Robert Hale)

It’s great that I’m joined by two fellow Choc Lit authors, Christina Courtenay and Juliet Archer, but as I know just about everybody on the lists, I congratulate them all.

There’s something warm and fuzzy about being shortlisted for an award. It’s a great feeling to think that your book has been read and commended for its quality. It’s like introducing your best friends to someone and having them loved.

As it happens, I was in Brighton, yesterday, where Love & Freedom is set (didn’t see Martyn or Honor), eating fish and chips on the beach in the sunshine, feeling quite sorry that I’m no longer writing about the area. Although I’ve already had some readers asking me to set another book in Eastingdean, so, y’never know … There’s something about the sea, the gulls, the pier. And the happy faces. What is it about sun and sea, together, that makes people smile?

More warm and fuzzies, I guess.

And for anybody who voted for Want to Know a Secret?, shortlisted for another award, the Big Red Read, I’ll be at the awards event at Gant’s Hill Library on 4th of October. You can come along.

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Steven Hooper in ‘I Am Nasrine’

Today is the premier of a film called I am Nasrine. It comes out on general release in November.

Why is this important to me?

It’s because Steven Hooper, actor and model, who helped me with the research for Love & Freedom, is in it! This is one of the stills from the film and you can see a trailer here. (Ste is on the left in the photo, by the way.)

So, wow, I know a film star!

Huge congratulations, Ste, and I hope the film does brilliantly for you and the rest of the crew.

Here’s the blurb from the film:

I Am Nasrine: a coming-of-age story of modern refugees. 

When you change where you are, do you also change identity? I Am Nasrine is a journey of self-discovery, startlingly beautiful and quietly profound. Set in modern day Tehran, and the UK, the film follows Nasrine and Ali, sister and brother from a middle class Iranian home. For Nasrine, Iran is an unyielding place. Breaking the rules has consequences and punishment is more than she bargained for. 

Nasrine and Ali set out for the UK, embarking on a reluctant exile. Still, for Nasrine, there is undeniable excitement about starting a new life and eagerness for its promise of new freedom.

 Nasrine settles into her new life, making friends, forming bonds. Meeting Nichole from the gypsy/traveler community, she realizes her inhibitions and doubts are their own prison, and strives to live for herself. Ali struggles with the realities of UK life, his sister’s uncontrollable independence and his own awakening sexuality.

Then comes 9/11. Their parents will be unable to join them in Britain, leaving them quite alone. And quite apart, when an unimaginable tragedy occurs. Nasrine must discover incredible courage to accept what fate has dealt her; discovering that the end of her journey is really just the beginning.

Can hope, simple untainted hope, overcome the darkest of tragedies? I Am Nasrine explores this questions and more, and offers answers that are sure to surprise.

And here’s another shot of Ste playing a space marine in Salvage. Just because I think it’s cool.


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Fenella Miller talks about the Festival of Romance

The Festival of Romance takes place on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd October 2011 at Hunton Park, near Watford, Herts, UK.

I’m really looking forward to attending and I’m pleased to welcome fellow romantic fiction writer Fenella Miller to my blog today for a five minute interview.

What are you looking forward to at the Festival of Romance?

It’s another great opportunity to spend a weekend talking about writing and books without seeing the usual row of glazed eyes.

What will you be doing at the Festival of Romance?

On Friday between nine and ten o’clock I’m on a panel with Annie Burrows, Jan Jones and Isabelle Goddard to talk about Regency romance.

On Saturday between two and three o’clock Jean Fullerton and I will be talking about historical romance writers whose books we have enjoyed – from prehistory to the 1940s. This will not be a history of romantic fiction as the original title suggested.

Why should romance readers come to the Festival?

I think anyone who loves romantic fiction and has  a couple of days, or even one day, free should come along and enjoy the wonderful workshop, talks and panels on offer. This will be the first time anything like this has been staged in the UK – a wonderful opportunity for readers and writers to meet.

Here’s Fenella’s latest book.

And here are a few of the things you can expect from the Festival:

Carole Matthews celebrity author interview 
Book fair, panels, debates and reading group 
Meet authors and fans from around the world 
Competitions and quizzes 
Writing workshop with Sue Moorcroft 
Learn from the experts how to write romance 
Chocolate tasting with Choc Lit 
Meet the Mills and Boon editors 
Win a publishing contract with Xcite Books 
Fashion show, Book Awards and Ball 
New Talent Award for unpublished writers 
Judges: Donna Condon, senior editor at Piatkus and Jane Judd, literary agent

Good, huh? Hope to see you there.

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More about Kindle

It’s a while since I wrote about how much I love my Kindle and I’ve had a few people contact me to ask about covers and lights and stuff.

I didn’t buy the cover for the Kindle, the official one with the integral light, because it was overpriced, in my view, as I didn’t think I’d use the light much (and I don’t). I bought one of those Kindle covers that stands the Kindle up, like a photo frame, which I liked because it was easy to read while I ate lunch.

Then I was given another Kindle cover, one that opens like a book and has a light with it. I have to say I like it more than I thought it would. It’s really sturdy, so I’ve been using it when I felt protection was required, but it’s a touch heavier than my first case. What I didn’t think I’d use at all is the wrist strap – but I use that all the time. I hadn’t realised how often I have a drink in one hand and food in the other … To have the Kindle securely dangling is better than tucking it under my arm or, um, balancing it on top of my cuppa. And, as you can see, it stands up so that I can read when I’m eating.

It’s quite a nice looking thing, with a vinyl cover and pretty purple lining. And the stitching is neat – I think I must’ve been a seamstress in a previous life, because I hate wonky stitching.

My reaction to the light is a bit mixed. It fits neatly within the spine of the case but I seem able to switch it on accidentally. It sticks to the top of the Kindle cover magnetically, which is a lot of fun, and it’s amazingly secure. But I’m not keen on the light it casts. It’s not even.

But if you’re looking for a value for money option, this Kindle cover is a good one.

And now I’ve bought an iPad 2 – wow, I love that, too! I bought a keyboard dock for it and can transfer documents from Word on my desktop Mac to the iPad and work on them wherever. I can browse the web, deal with email, use GPS, make notes, take pix, play videos and music … And, of course, it syncs to my Kindle, so whatever I’m reading on my Kindle I can just pic up my iPad and read on there, if it’s more convenient.

I’m about to take the whole thing away for a couple of days, so it’s going to get a lot of use.

But the iPad doesn’t replace the Kindle because it’s heavier and you can’t read it in the sun, when the screen might as well be blank. So I do need both (just in case someone was thinking of taking one of them off me … grr. Gerroff.)

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Definitely a beach read

I’ve been sent this pic – isn’t that great? I love that my books are available at the airports.

I’ve had some great feedback on Love & Freedom, recently, including a man who said he’d bought all my books on his Kindle and read them one after another, and an older guy who said he’d just read A Certain Scene and the batteries in his pacemaker had nearly exploded. Whoops … that wasn’t even the hot scene! Am not sure I’ll ever hear from him again. And The Real Dominic tells me that reading Love & Freedom on the tube got him speculative looks from young women, which he seemed quite happy with. (I told him to read All That Mullarkey, next, as it has such a bright pink cover – bound to get him more attention. See how kind I am to my friends?)

These conversations have made me wonder whether a) more men are reading romantic fiction and b) whether it’s because of ereaders? I’m not saying that men are embarrassed to be seen reading romantic fiction but, just in case they were, reading on screen rather than on the page kind of gets over that, doesn’t it?

I do get messages from men about my books, none of which snort, ‘This is a GIRLY read!’ And I don’t see why they don’t read more of it. After all, most people like falling in love and having great sex, so why read about grim things when you could be reading about that?

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