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.


Saturday, 12 July 2014

Bookish Art {2} ~ The Paper Art of Adersen M Studio


I first came across Adersen M Studio last year, at the Manchester Art Gallery's The First Cut exhibition, an exhibition showcasing what paper could become in the talented hands of several artists. I have been a fan ever since.

You too would have seen and admired their work, albeit not being aware it was them. Do you remember the Nationwide bank TV advert with a city made of paper? Yes, it was them. Or the ITV3 paper scene domes in between programs? Yeap, them as well. Do you want a book connection stronger than just using paper? Then you are in for a treat... for nobody less than J.K. Rowling has also used their paper art skills for the introduction video of Harry Potter's virtual world Pottermore. These guys can literally make a book come to life by cutting and moulding the pages to create 3D images. I personally prefer calling them works of art, as can only imagine how time consuming each of these projects must be!!

You can watch an interview with the two brilliant minds behind Adersen M Studio, brother and sister Martin and Line Adersen, over a Little Scraps of Paper and watch videos of their artwork on their YouTube channel.

Lucky for us, we get to enjoy and admire their beautiful work. :)

Friday, 11 July 2014

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

There are so many cool events going on in July, it was honestly a nightmare not to get sidetracked. I couldn't help it! The result is a list involving events in Bolton, Bury, Harrogate, Huddersfield, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Preston and Whalley.

I'm also trying something different on the way we publish our event list... this month's events are listed by date and have highlighted tags just in case you are looking for something in particular, for example, a movie screening. Tell me what you think about it and if it makes it easier for you to find what you need when you need it. 

Enjoy your July! :)


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.


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.

Bookshop Foyles is now offering Literary Tours around England & Wales. If you enjoy exploring the places where literature meets real life, you can check dates and details here.

Tue 22nd July ~ BookMachine London with Sam Missingham. BookMachine is a networking event for anyone involved in the world of book publishing. They also regularly invite speakers to talk about their experience and challenges in the industry - this month's guest speaker is Sam Missingham, Head of Events at HarperCollins. Tickets and info.

Mon 28th July ~ The ScRibble Creative Writing Group meets on the last Monday of every month at The New Continental Inn 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


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

BBC Radio Lancashire Interview with John Gillmore {3}

Once again I have invaded BBC Radio Lancashire for part of the afternoon to catch up with John Gillmore and talk about books, Brazil and the World Cup. It's all part of my World domination plan (insert evil laugh here). ;)
I don't know if it was because I was flustered (tyre problems are never a good way to start the day), but I seem to have been suffering from an inability to think straight and string coherent sentences together during my interview. Oh dear! *drops head in shame* This is when some music genius makes a rap of my repetitions (Oh Lord Jesus is a fire!). *_*
Anyhow, I had a great time over at BBC Lancashire, as always, and was invited to return, despite the fact Gilly had to remind me that I couldn't say the female character was "badass" on live radio. :) However, there are a few things I must apologise for and correct before you watch the little video I have made for you:
P.S. You will be happy to see a good improvement on my video making skills after my debut masterpiece a couple of weeks ago. (I'm sorry! I had to behave like an overly proud parent, as I think this is a lot better than the last one. But ok... Focus!)
1. Both Sao Paulo and Rio are hosts cities to the World Cup, ignore when I say it's just Rio.
2. The Negro River is 5 miles wide and 900 miles away from the sea. Not 900 meters away from the sea. Let's not mention that's not even a kilometre, which is under a mile!! Oh dear Lord... I don't think my two neurons were talking to each other. *_*
Anyway... Thanks Gilly and the guys over at BBC Radio Lancashire for inviting me yet again. It's always a pleasure!


Monday, 7 July 2014

Music Monday ~ L O N E R by Marz Leon

American indie singer songwriter and producer Marz Leon is brand new to the music scene, but her debut single L O N E R is only the scout for the EP she is planning to launch in the summer. Full of style, with a dark sultry and catchy sound, Marz exudes intrigue and inspires curiosity. I heard this track on BBC Radio 1 and liked it so much I had to go digging the playlist on their website to find out what it was. You can read more about Marz over at Pigeons & Planes, where she talks about her new EP.

The track is so new, I couldn't find a reference for the lyrics anywhere. The lyrics below are my own transcript. If you notice something is not correct, just give me shout in the comments box and I'll rectify the mistake.

I hope you like it as much as I do!! :)

Happy Monday!! 

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