I received my last rejection letter for "I Am a Muse" yesterday. I had tried for a last time with an independent publisher whilst preparing for self-publishing. At least, the letter was encouraging, and the editor has found that "there was a great deal I thought was excellent in these first chapters, but overall I wasn't completely won over". Fair enough.
So Lulu is definitely on. I have found a few hours to format the MSS with Lulu's Digest template - this is the ideal size for me. At the moment, the font I have chosen takes the book to almost 600 pages, I might have to do something about it, maybe reduce the font size, as I am not cutting any more of the book.
A lot of work is required and decisions need to be made... It's worrying and exciting at the same time.
I hope to be able to go back to the books next week.
I have been working quite a lot with the "Paint" programme on my computer over the past few weeks (putting together artwork briefs for a book!) and it gave me the idea to try and do a little mock-up of the cover I have in mind for I Am a Muse. And here it is! Obviously,this is NOT the finished product, but I really like the striking red and thought that the "paint" effect goes well with the subject matter of the book, which is about a painter and his muse. It also gives it a "rough" edge, non glossy look, which I like.
Sabine T's artwork "Daphne" also takes centre stage, as it incredibly reflects some scenes from the book!
Some work needs doing on the font as well, but I have an expert at hand, so I am not panicking just yet!
I have just posted a second long extract of "I Am a Muse" on the I Am a Muse page.
This is the scene where Dan and Constance enter Alastair Maynard's studio for the first time. I hope to have captured the atmosphere of a painter's den well enough!
I am only half way through the big project I am working on (for money this one!) and so the books are on hold for a further two weeks... Much to my chagrin!
I have now posted an extract of my first novel, I Am a Muse, on the I Am a Muse page.
I will post a second extract in the next few days.
I have a lot of work at the moment and will not be posting anything else on here until the first week of June!
This Salon was the first one of a new series of events at Chalkwell Hall, the Metal HQ in Southend. This series is entitled "A Sense of Place" and the 9th May event was dedicated to Southend in literature; Southend as a seaside resort, Southend as a landscape and Southend in contemporary literature.
There are several elements that come together to make the Salon events the success they are: the gorgeous, lovingly refurbished building, the informal atmosphere, the drinks and food, the pop-up book shops — The Book Inn from Leigh-on-Sea and Hoxton Books.
But it is the high calibre of the guests that never fails to impress.
For the 9th May Salon, host Rachel Lichtenstein had gathered a small group of readers to read extracts of the books she had chosen to illustrate the night's topic. There was Alan Dein, broadcaster and oral historian, whose lively reading of a long evocative excerpt taken from Simon Blumenfeld's Jew Boy was one of the highlights of the evening; Justin Hopper, an American artist, writer and curator — currently in residence at Chalkwell Hall — was drafted in to add an authentic American voice to an action-packed extract — set in the Thames estuary — of H.G Wells's The War of the Worlds; eminent freelance journalist, writer and editor C.J. Schüler talked about and read an extract from Norbert Gstrein’s The English Years; finally, the ever engaging writer Syd Moore read a scene from the opening pages of her excellent novel The Drowning Pool (see my review of the book HERE) set in Leigh-on-Sea.
The reading list was incredibly diverse: from Jane Austen’s Emma to Sebastian Faulks’ Birdsong; From Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould’s Mehalah —about which I had briefly blogged about HERE and which you can read HERE — to Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations — in order to see the landscape described in the book for yourself, you can actually do a walk around the Tollesbury area where this year’s BBC adaptation was shot.
SALON 9TH MAY reading list:
Jane Austen – Emma
Charles Dickens – Great Expectations
H.G.Wells - The War of the Worlds
Sylvia Townsend – The True Heart
Simon Blumenfeld – Jew Boy
Paul Gallico – The Snow Goose: A Story of Dunkirk
Warwick Deeping – Mr Gurney and Mr Slade
Sebastian Faulks – Birdsong
Bernard Cromwell - The Burning Land
Simon Schama - Landscape and Memory
Norbert Gstrein – The English Years
Syd Moore – The Drowning Pool
The next Salon event is on June 5th and will be dedicated to London in literature.
The ever excellent British Library in London has got an exhibition about writers and writing named Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands
This sounds exactly like my kind of thing (and it won't be too expensive thanks to my National Art Pass!).
I really cannot wait!
"From William Blake to the 21st-century suburban hinterlands of J G Ballard, Writing Britain examines how the landscapes of Britain permeate great literary works. It will allow visitors to read between the lines of great works of English literature, discovering the secrets and stories surrounding the works’ creation, shedding new light on how they speak to the country today.
Over 150 literary works, including many first-time loans from overseas and directly from authors: sound recordings, videos, letters, photographs, maps, song lyrics and drawings - as well as manuscripts and printed editions."
So dystopia is the buzz word in the publishing world right now.
Samantha Shannon, a 20 year-old Oxford graduate, has landed a six-figure book deal for a seven books series (so that's around the next 10 years of her life mapped out!). Good luck to her... The pressure must be incredible.
Maybe by the time I have finished The Book of Thoth, the trend will be for Gothic novels set in the 20s with time travel and Ancient Egyptian gods?
Who knows... ?
A six-figure sum would guarantee the little house in rural Dorset where I could write yet more books! *sigh*
And this will close this series of Dorset blogs for now...
The Quarr Gallery is a small but perfectly formed art gallery in the heart of Swanage.
It sells prints, originals and cards – I bought cards!
The artists and photographers featured in the gallery are based in and around Swanage.
Mark Bauer’s photographs are spellbinding. Some of my favourite ones feature the atmospheric Corfe Castle.
I loved Endre Röder’s beautiful painted ladies that reminded me of several artists I like. The Hungarian artist’s characters have a seductive, timeless quality.
I also really liked Trai Hiscock’s humorous pictures, full of colour and lovely scenes from Dorset.
The Quarr gallery is well worth a visit!
This is one of those places where we will have to go back: we came across this lovely little place in Beaminster, Café @ Ann Day: part café, part Art Deco shop – there were some very nice things in the window! Unfortunately, it was shut when we were there...
When I later checked the website, I discovered that this is a pretty dynamic little place: vintage tea ware and jewellery, digital art and events (Dorset Arts Week, Beaminster festival)...
Also, if you go to the section titled "Helen Day" on the website, you will learn about a book called London Born. Helen Day (who I guess is related to the owner of the café) helped her grandad write the book: “Sidney Day was born in Highgate in 1912. He cannot read or write but his grandaughter, captivated by the stories he tells, decided to transcribe his words and shape them into his memoirs.” The book was published by HarperCollins in 2010 (London Born on HarperCollins).
I haven’t read the book yet, but I will as soon as possible, because I have always been fascinated by the history of London and Sidney Day grew up in an area of the capital I know very well, having lived in North London for about 12 years.
London Born has its own website with audio clips, pictures and reviews.
Warning: pictures of cute animals!
All the pictures in this blog are © Matt ArtPix
There is a pond just opposite the Lulworth Cove Inn in which there's always a whole bunch of fluffy ducklings - we counted 10 this time. I wonder whether they just plonk them there on purpose! Because of course, they are incredibly popular with the tourists!
Then we went to the wonderful haven that is Monkey World.
This is not a zoo - I can't stand these - but a sanctuary, and the work they do around the world to save badly treated primates is just staggeringly amazing. Let's remember: we share 95% of our DNA with chimps and 97% with Orang-Utans. I think a visit to Monkey World should be compulsory at primary school, because then kids would be familiar with the theory of evolution and understand a bit more where they come from. And they would think a little bit more about our relationship to the natural world and animals. It would be a start! A visit of the site is exhilarating, touching, poignant, hilarious... 65 acres in total!
The hills of Dorset were alive with lambs. I have never seen that many! Maiden Castle was literally covered with them... Did you know they liked racing? Or maybe they were preparing for the Olympics too!
And on our way to visit family in North Devon, we stopped off once again at the lovely Donkey Sanctuary near Sidmouth to say hello to our friends!
I think therefore I write.
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