I will be will be at The Forum (Southend's new state of the art library) on Saturday 28th March as part of The Southend Area Local Authors' Day, an event which is part of the Essex Book Festival.
I will be promoting Arcane Publishing's publications from 10am to 4pm and will have copies of I Am a Muse and The Book of Thoth on sale at special "events" prices!
Matt ArtPix has done a lovely poster introducing my work-in-progress, The Right Place!
Come and see loads of authors and purchase lovely books!
The poster (which will become a flyer soon) by Matt Artpix!
16/3/2015 0 Comments
A mummy's tale
This could possibly be the soundtrack to my second novel, The Book of Thoth!
By Devilish Presley.
The Right Place: it's all GO!
You know how it is: when an author is interviewed and asked what their tips to wannabe writers would be, the answer is always "write every day, do exercises".
I'm such a bad, bad, writer: I don't do writing exercises, I don't write short stories, haiku or a journal. I try and keep this blog up to date though, but this is the only regular kind of writing I do in between books.
Basically, I haven't written fiction since I typed "The End" at the bottom of the last page of draft 1 of The Book of Thoth in January 2014. OK, I did quite a lot of revisions afterwards but this was not "proper" writing.
So recently I have been uncannily anxious - stage fright for writers: would I be able to start writing again now that I was ready? (Ok, I admit it, there's still quite a bit of research and plotting to do, but I just couldn't wait to get started and I am trying to stick to the publishing schedule).
So yes, I am relieved: I have now added about 800 words in two days. Yay! I have started chapter 1! Before that, in 2012, I had managed 800 words of introduction. Hey? 2012?
The Right Place was not supposed to be my third novel, you see; Anti, which in my head is a surrealistic urban noir tale set in London was going to be Book #3. But then I was accepted on Metal's Culture Lab: On Writing Fiction (OMG! Over two years already?) and I had to work on a manuscript that had something to do with the sea (in order to be included on the programme of the Shorelines Festival the following year.) So I had to swap Book #3 and Book #4 and wrote the intro in about three hours one morning at Chalkwell Hall. It's been slightly revised since. You can read it on The Right Place page on this very website.
After Culture Lab, things got mad: I spent yet more time revising my first novel I Am a Muse, then started the publishing process for it - it was out in April 2013. By then, I had started writing The Book of Thoth. I had to try and promote I Am a Muse and my imprint as much as I could too... As they say: 20% creativity, 80% business...
The provisional pub date for The Right Place is September 2017 and I have quite a strict publishing schedule for this one.
It is quite exciting as I would like to do something quite different with this one and make it a bit more "alive". I will also be staying in a very inspiring place for two months in order to soak up the atmosphere of the Dorset countryside (blog on its way soon about the location!)
Arcane Publishing is looking into crowdfunding The Right Place (we have never done this before so bear with us, this will not be in place before at least the autumn) and we'd like one of the rewards to be tickets to a "launch" event/gig featuring a few of the artists who appear on the playlist (and no, as much as I'd like it, it won't be PJ Harvey or NIN, sorry...)
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a book to write!
11/3/2015 0 Comments
Robert MacFarlane's Landmarks
I love Robert MacFarlane's work. I like the fact that he is passionate about nature and landscapes. In our increasingly urban society which abhors nature (or at best turns it into a holiday time theme park) and does its utmost to keep it out of our cities and our individual and collective consciousness, Robert MacFarlane's books become more and more essential every year.
I just have to get his new book, Landmarks, "about the language of landscape and our descriptive vocabulary".
Watch below the lovely animated trailer for the book.
It is at the same time beautiful and sad.
In my third novel The Right Place, I want to try and make the landscape a fully-fledged character in the book and I will take my inspiration from Robert MacFarlane's work.
The Right Place location: The Knoll
The Knoll ("another word for hillock, a small, low, round natural hill or mound" according to wikipedia) is an iconic landmark perched on top of a hill on the West Dorset coast; you can see it from the B3157 coastal road... The view up there is breathtaking.
The Knoll will feature in my third novel, The Right Place.
Beyond The Knoll is the Bride Valley, a gorgeous part of the world that will also be used as a location for my novel. More about this later this week!
Fittingly, The Knoll was a Customs lookout post to keep an eye on smugglers bringing in contraband goods... Smugglers do feature in The Right Place!
The rather fab and very dynamic music promo collective Chaos Theory continued their 5th anniversary celebrations (we had also attended Jo Quail's Nocturnes show as part of their celebratory series of events) with an exceptional bill in the intimate setting of Dalston's Cafe Oto.
The venue is located on Ashwin Street in a great building which used to be used as workshop and HQ for Reeves and Sons Ltd, makers of artists' colours. One section of the building still bears the manufacturer's name (the picture below is from Flickr as we got there when it was dark!). A wonderful remaining piece of London's past!
Lucky, lucky us... On that night, we got to see some really special international artists in a very intimate venue (which served Earl Grey! Yes! I was allowed to watch a gig whilst sipping my favourite tea! Well, you're rock'n'roll or you're not, you know...)
As some great videos of the night have been made available, I will add them to the blog instead of trying to conjure up the music with words...
We had seen Alexander Hacke back in November 2014 when he was on stage at Koko with Einsturzende Neubauten for the stunning Lament (see my report HERE).
In his interview for Louder Than War, John Robb described the couple Alexander Hacke/Danielle De Picciotto as "International multi-media storytellers, avant-noise artists and super-smart conceptualists with a dash of the dark stuff in their souls". A great way to summerise the rich, life-long artistic path of those two fascinating wandering characters...
Their performance was mesmerising and intriguing. I loved observing the way the pair cooked up their music in their "sound kitchen" and witnessing the lovely chemistry and intimacy between them was heartwarming.
Below: Alexander and Danielle perform "Awake" from their forthcoming album "Perserverentia" at Cafe Oto, 13/02/2015.
The amazing "Doom-cellist" Helen Money's performance left us speechless. You thought you knew what a musician could do with a cello? Well, then...
The mainstream media pick and choose their icons and impose them on the sheep-like masses as role models to look up to. These days, it looks like it's Kim Gordon's turn. In a bland article in a Sunday newspaper magazine that will remain nameless (the article focused on her divorce from ex-bandmate Thurston Moore; moreover, I am pretty sure this magazine hadn't remotely been interested in Sonic Youth whilst the band was still going - but then Ms Gordon has loads of celebrity friends so she must be ok!), it was written about her that she was the "... universally acknowledged boldest woman in rock." Haha. It's official, then. (Not that bold it seems: http://electricliterature.com/review-girl-in-a-band-by-kim-gordon/)
In my humble opinion - and if always highlighting the gender of a person(ality) as if it were relevant is what you go for - then "the boldest woman in rock" is (and has been since the early 80s when she became an essential member in the pioneering, viscerally powerful New York based band Swans) the inimitable and always fascinating Jarboe, who has dedicated her incredible life to her art and continues to reinvent herself and push the boundaries of her artistic and personal ability without ever compromising her independence and value system (for several years, I have tried to follow her very interesting online journal, The Artery, regularly).
Jarboe now has a brand new album (Wasi Sabi) and has also recorded an EP of collaborative work with cellist Helen Money. It was the result of this latest collaboration which the pair were performing at Cafe Oto - joined on the piano for the track "Truth" by Anni Hogan. The songs were raw, minimalist, austere and, of course, achingly beautiful, although the intense set was far, far too short! We do want more...
Below, Jarboe and Helen Money perform their track "Truth" with guest Anni Hogan on piano at Cafe Oto.
Jarboe on how she started playing music in a fascinating interview recorded on the current tour:
All live videos in this blog were recorded on the night by Peter Junge for Chaos Theory.
The photos are mine but the camera didn't like the low light and I was on the wrong side of Jarboe's fringe! For more and much better photos, go to Magda Wrzeszcz - Room with a View photography.
I think therefore I write.
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