Saturday, 2 August 2014

Bookish Comic Strips

These comic strips are so cute, I just had to share them. Not to mention that, as a book lover or a writer, you might sympathise with some of them. :)

These two are definitely me. I love the smell of old books! In fact, did you know books can smell differently as they age, depending on the binding process they underwent during publication? No? Read more about it and other bookish nerd facts here.

Which book lover has not stayed awake until some ridiculous o'clock to finish a chapter or a book? And which bookworm has not hid in a secret corner somewhere in the library, under the duvet, in the garden, to read that all so important moment of the book when all the pieces of the puzzle come together and you finally get the whole picture? Yes, you know what I'm talking about. Don't talk to us when the world is about to fictionally end.

For the aspiring or published writers out there, this one says it all. It's that all too familiar feeling "it sounded funny/sexy/romantic/intriguing in my head." Good writing provokes a reaction. You laugh your head off; you gain some insight into your own nature; you feel inspired; you dream. You bawl your eyes out; you suffer as if it was you; you throw the book on the floor, you want to burn it with your anger; you even wish someone (a character) dead. Somehow, your very real and human partner just doesn't step up to the fictional love mark; that main character is your reserve wife/husband; oh, if he/she was real! Behind all those feelings there is a writing genius, someone that brought that book to life after many hours of labour. And at some point, they too would have been human and doubted their gift, like every other mortal. Hats off to them, not only for creating the world we love to travel to and in, but for persevering against their own mental blocks and blank spots. Knights in their literary armour. :)

Friday, 1 August 2014

August 2014 ~ Events for Book Lovers, Writers and Curious Souls

This will be a busy summer! Competitions, book clubs, writing groups, theatre, signings, comic cons, festivals, exhibitions... It's all going on in August. And if you are a fan of sci-fi, this is definitely a good month for you.


Deadline: Fri 28th August ~ Are you an aspiring crime writer? Then The Northern Crime Competition is looking for you. The winning novel will be published on eBook and paper. More information

Deadline: Sun 31t August ~ Just the thing for aspiring poets. The Portico Brotherton Poetry Prize is now open for entries. The theme is 'Conflict and Community'. You can focus on particular conflicts and their effect on the community or write from the perspective of an individual experiencing conflict. Check categories and details.

Deadline: Mon 15th September ~ Fancy winning return tickets to Brazil? Well... Undergraduates studying a Portuguese language course in any UK university can. All you have to do is write an essay. More information.


Don't forget to check your local library and bookshop for events. Most of them host book clubs and writing groups. Libraries, in particular, are very good at hosting events for young children.

Mon 11th August ~ The Continental Book Club takes place in Preston on the second Monday of every month and it's FREE. This month, the club reads and discusses the winner of Theakstons Old Peculiar 2014 Crime Novel of the Year, Rubberneck by Belinda Bauer. In September, they read The Library of Unrequited Love by Sophie Divry. Details and location here. Tags: BOOK CLUBS

Mon 18th August ~ Geek Up Preston takes place every third Monday of the month at The Continental and it's aimed at people working or interested in the Internet & Technology Industry. Ideal if you want to meet and chat with web developers and programmers. Notice I said 'meet and chat', not network. You'll most certainly do both, but this is a casual social event, rather than a business scouting session, so have a taste of one of the many local and international beers served at the bar and go make some new friends. :) Details. Tags: SOCIAL EVENTS, NETWORKING, TECHNOLOGY, LOCAL EVENTS

Mon 25th August ~ The ScRibble Creative Writing Group meets on the last Monday of every month at The Continental in Preston. It's free to join and it offers a monthly challenge, writing exercises and constructive feedback on your writing. Ideal if you want to strengthen your writing or build your confidence in your writing skills. Location and more info. Tags: WRITING


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

In the Mail {19} - Replica by Jack Heath and The Colour Black by Maia Walczak

I'm being spoiled this week. Both Oxford University Press and Jacaranda Books have sent me a copy of their latest releases. 

Sci-fi YA novel Replica is the seventh novel of Australian born author Jack Heath. Published by Oxford University Press, Replica releases on August 7th, just in time for all the Sci-Fi Cons hitting the UK in August - keep tuned for a list.

'Whose body is that on the table?' I ask.
She stares at me, as though the answer is obvious. 
'It's yours,' she says. 

Chloe’s memories have been erased. All she knows is she’s imprisoned in the basement of a girl who looks exactly like her. Who is her captor? What does she want? Chloe is running out of time. She’s in more danger than she realises, and nothing is as it seems… 

I'm having the chills already! :)

The Colour Black is the adult debut novel of artist and illustrator Maia Walczak. A fan of traveling herself, Maia uses her experiences to write an adventure about love, life and discovery. Published by Jacaranda Books, it released on July 24th.

Silvia Cruz lives quietly as an artist in San Diego, drawing the contours of the human body - Max, Arthur and then one day, Jack.

Silvia is inexplicably drawn to Jack, and confines in him about her past, revealing a secret which drives them both out of town. Together they travel across the landscapes of America to Alaska, looking for answers and finding adventure.

Two lives, one secret and a journey that will change everything, The Colour Black is a stirring take on the American road novel from debut British novelist Maia Walczak.

Sounds interesting, right? I have Under the Tuscan Sun  and Eat Pray Love in my head. If it heads along the same lines, I know I will love it. :)

Monday, 21 July 2014

Music Monday ~ Cold by Rae Morris

It was tough choosing a song to feature on today's Music Monday. That's because I heard so many good new tracks this week, it was untrue. But  Rae Morris just had to be the one. Not only because her song Cold was on permanent repeat on my YouTube Channel, but also because the girl is from Blackpool, around the corner from where I live. Go Lancashire!!
I'm no music expert, but it doesn't take one of those to see that her voice, lyrics and style create enough momentum to lift you and take you to another place, making you sympathise with the heart-breaking conversation of a couple that lost their spark. I just loooove this track!!! Good luck with the launch of your EP, Rae. I honestly hope it does well.

Happy Monday people! I hope you all have a great week!

Thanks for dropping by.


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Interview ~ Writing STUFF by Playwright Mick Cooper

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of watching the play STUFF, part of the 24:7 Theatre Festival happening in Manchester until the 25th of July (you can read my review of this play over at Lancashire Life Magazine). Curious about the idea and concept behind the play as well as the idea of writing for theatre, I just had to interrogate Mick Cooper, the playwright behind STUFF, and unveil the story behind the curtains. Here is the result:

1. I understand you are not originally from Manchester, so how did you come to be in the North?

No. I'm originally from Basildon, Essex (hence my undying love for West Ham United), but I grew up in Morley, West Yorkshire, and went to university in Keele, Staffordshire. Manchester is a popular "post Keele" destination, so I moved here in 2004, post graduation, with several of my friends. Co-incidentaly, Keele was also where I originally met the man who would become the director of STUFF, Gregg Scott.

2. How did an English and Law student become an actor?

In my head, I was an actor well before being an English and Law student. I was a marvellous Vince Fontaine in Woodkirk High School's production of Grease! So I stayed an actor throughout my degree, performing with Keele Drama Society, then I joined Stockport Garrick Theatre post-uni and have kept working ever since.

3. Have you always written or was writing something you discovered later on?

I've always written, but it wasn't until last year that writing became my biggest focus. I was always concerned that my ego wouldn't allow me to not perform in the spotlight, but I've found watching my own work being developed by others to be quite a rush.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

In the Mail {18} - Night Runner by Tim Bowler

I love receiving books in the post! It's as if Christmas has come early! 

Today, I received a proof copy of the Night Runner by teen fiction (YA) master Tim Bowler (published by Oxford University Press). Bowler has had great reviews from both national press and bloggers, and I'm definitely itching to get started on this baby. Here is a little taster for you:

"Zinny's life is falling apart. Shadowy figures are following him. His parents are keeping secrets but he can't figure out why. Then his mum ends up in hospital, his dad disappears, and Zinny has to do whatever he can to save his family. Even if it means helping the very men he's running from...

 As the clock ticks, Zinny knows it's only a matter of time before someone ends up dead - and it could be him."

If you are a fan of Michael Grant's books or action-packed films like The Bourne Identity and Abduction, this might be just up your street. Night Runner launches on August 7th.

Thanks the team at OUP for sending me a copy! :)

Monday, 14 July 2014

Music Monday ~ Youth by Ben Khan

While British musician Ben Khan is still a bit of a mystery, I'm in love with the sultry, dark and seductive sound of his music. I'm no music expert, but I'm a sucker for the mixture of deep base, catchy mixers and smooth vocals.

The video can be taken as a little out there, but I think it eludes to Youth Chav Culture in the UK. In case you are not familiar with the term, Chav is a British stereotype of working-class youth who, although not always connected to a group or gang, behave under a sort of 'gang mentality' - dressing the same, behaving the same and having pride in being feared by and offensive to others, sometimes engaging in illegal activities.

Ben Khan's Youth is slowly but surely becoming one of the tunes for this summer, I can imagine it being amazing at festivals, but don't stop just on this single, please also check the other tracks on Khan's 1992 EP. Absolute genius. The type of music you can dance along to even if you are alone in your kitchen, which I do quite often. My neighbours probably thing I'm having a fit or something. But who cares! Get those bones moving. All you have to do is close your eyes and let the waves take you. :)

Happy Monday! I hope you lot have an great week.

There were conflicting lyrics online, so this is my transcription. If you find any mistakes, please drop me a note in the comments box and I will rectify them.