I had a great day at So Vintage London at Old Spitalfields market yesterday. The truth is that this is probably my favourite market!
The logistics are incredibly easy (get into car/A13/arrive), you get a buzz the whole day because you are in the middle of that fabulous city that is London.
The Arcane Publishing/Matt ArtPix pitch was fantastic, with a lot of space to get creative with our tables and create a colourful and attractive stall. We had changed the layout of the stalls and we had tweaked our stock - and we had a lot of interest, people really looked and browsed and even asked us when we'd be back, which is fantastic.
Unfortunately, I cannot post any pictures of the day as I HAD FORGOTTEN MY CAMERA! But trust me, the stalls looked fab.
I now need to stock up on more books about vintage fashion and classic icons - my "Marilyn Monroe in fashion" book lasted less than an hour on the stall!
We hope to be back at Old Spitalfields market on November 1st (we booked some holidays and a local event ages ago for September and October!).
But I have been discussing the possibility of getting a monthly slot at Old Spitalfields with Matt ArtPix in order to build up an audience/custom from 2015. Watch this space!
I am preparing for a big interview next week in London (Yes, 2014 might see the end of my freelance stint) and haven't really had the time to work on my book, my blogs or promotion.
But I would like to remind everyone that I will have a stall at Old Spitalfields market alongside my partner in crime Matt ArtPix this Saturday 2nd August, 11am-5pm. We will be in the So Vintage London bit of the market!
We'll have art, books and vinyls! Come and see us - and have a look at our great stock (some items that will be on my stall are featured on the Arcane Publishing blog).
Unfortunately, it looks like The Book of Thoth has now slipped behind schedule; I might not have the printed copies with me before November. This is a shame but I really want to make sure I publish the best book I can... Still quite a few amendments to make...
I hope to have some nice blogs to write for you over August, but I will not be able to post the fabulous report from the ALT-FEST festival I had in mind; it has been cancelled and is now the subject of a huge Twitter/Facebook storm. We are very very sad indeed about the demise of what promised to be the best and biggest Alternative festival this country has ever seen with a lot of bands we love plus some fantastic art installations and performances.
As we had booked a lovely hotel for the event, we will still go away and make the most of our time in the area (which I don't know at all!). We were so excited about it, it is a huge disappointment, but my heart really goes out to the organisers whose dream is now in tatters.
Here is a quick update on what's happening with the books!
I will be taking I Am a Muse to various events in the next six months, mostly selling copies of the book on my second-hand/vintage book stall. The list of events can be found on the EVENTS PAGE on Arcane Publishing's website. The list is being updated regularly, so keep checking!
Matt ArtPix is typesetting The Book of Thoth and the first completed PDF should come to me in within the next week or so. Then I'll have to check things over, adjust bits and pieces, and check the second PDF, etc. until we get the content finalised!
Half the cover has been done (see above), so work will be required on this - Matt ArtPix's job again!
We hope to have everything ready to go to the printer by 25th September - after our fortnight in Dorset! Fingers crossed it all goes to plan!
And then today, I am starting working again on my third book, The Right Place, set in Dorset and inspired by PJ Harvey's song, The Wind.
I started work on this book during my week-long Culture lab course at Metal Southend in October 2012 and read the opening pages at the Shorelines Literary festival in November 2013 (you can read them HERE).
This project had been pushed to one side while I finished The Book of Thoth, but now that TBOT is being typset, I can go back to The Right Place and throw myself in it properly (plot, research, etc.).
I have a few characters already that need defining and refining and a few plot lines, but things are still pretty vague. I want the inspiring landscape of the county to play an important part in the plot, and I'd like to give the book an atmosphere of mystery and an edge that will make it stand out. A genteel book about rural idyll it won't be!
In the forthcoming days, I will also work on the brief I will send artist Sam Cannon who has agreed to illustrate the cover. It's going to look amazing!
The main obstacle for this project is lack of funds. I will need to spend quite some time in Dorset in order to write in a quiet environment surrounded by the landscape that is such an important part of the book, but accommodation costs a lot of money. I am still not sure how things will turn out, but we live in hope!
Here's the (provisional) blurb for The Right Place - some elements in it might change:
Catherine (Kat) Moorhouse is a quiet, mature fourteen year-old girl. She was only a baby when her mother, a musicologist from New Zealand, died in a car crash on a research trip. She has lived with her widowed journalist father in New York, Edinburgh and London.
After a vicious bullying campaign that has left her seriously shaken and heart-broken, Kat is relieved when her father decides to move to Dorset for an indefinite period of time. The young girl soon feels at ease in her new environment and falls in love with the county’s ancestral landscape. She is particularly drawn to St Catherine’s chapel in Abbotsbury, with which she shares her name. One evening, on Chapel Hill, she meets a mysterious woman, also called Catherine, who works as a “life assistant” to a local elderly aristocrat, Ronald Sinclair. The origins of Lord Sinclair’s family are rather dubious and are the stuff of legend in the area.
As her relationship with Catherine develops, Kat finds herself at the same time fascinated and repulsed by her new friend and understands that nothing is what it seems in this idyllic part of England…
A new, very special item has now been added to the Arcane Publishing's stock.
This is the story "L'Oiseau du Nord et l'Oiseau du Sud" / "The Snow Bird and the Sun Bird" narrated by Grace Kelly of Monaco! This is a bilingual vinyl from 1970, recorded by Grace of Monaco, formerly movie star Grace Kelly in two languages, French and English. There is also the illustrated book of the story in both languages; the images are by prolific Belgian artist Nadine Forster (linked article is in French).
This comes from my personal collection.
This is a genuinely lovely item that will enchant any story-loving child and adult!
Find it on my stall at So Vintage London at Old Spitalfields market on 2nd August!
We had a great day last Saturday at So Vintage London at Old Spitalfields market...
We will be back there on 2nd August!
On the left is our I Am a Muse display!
You can read more about it and see more pictures of our stall and stock on the Arcane Publishing website HERE.
Matt ArtPix has been hard at work on Part I of The Book of Thoth, trying things out... It does look good... A few tweaks required but we're there, really! I am extremely pleased with the look of it!
Today, I am sorting our my study and preparing to get started on Book 3, The Right Place. I will probably start on research and planning around mid-June, after I've finished sorting out a few admin issues... I am still thinking about the ways I could fund this release... I cannot wait to get started as it is set in one of my favourite places, Dorset... An excuse to spend more time in that wonderful county!
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get permission to print the lyrics of PJ Harvey's The Wind in the book (nobody answers... probably not interested in a small imprint!) *sigh*.
Typesetting work on The Book of Thoth should start in June too...
I am absolutely thrilled to present to you the first in my interview series, "Book Talk".
And what a way to get started! an absolutely thrilling interview with the very talented Jordan Reyne, whose first novel, Remembering The Dead, is out now.
What began as a "Book talk" became something else altogether. Really, really interesting.
Subjectivity in the way we interpret history - very fitting with the current debate surrounding WW1 "celebrations" - as well as philosophy, music, the fluidity of language(s), writing, self-publishing, storytelling, surviving...
It's all in there and more.
Thank you Jordan for giving us such in-depth answers to my questions!
READ JORDAN REYNE: REMEMBERING THE DEAD
My second book, The Book of Thoth, is inspired by the classic genre of the Gothic novel. Before I started, I printed a few documents listing the characteristics needed for a story to classify for the "Gothic novel" tag.
I've regularly had a look at the list of conventions pinned onto my noticeboard as I planned and wrote TBOT. Let's count, shall we?
OK, so here they are:
--wild landscapes (Kind of, does the Somerset countryside count?)
--remote or exotic locales (Does Somerset qualify? Oh, hang on, I mention Egypt. Is that ok?)
--dimly lit, gloomy settings (There's plenty of those in TBOT!)
--ruins or isolated crumbling castles or mansions (later cities and houses) (Yes, yes, and yes)
--crypts, tombs (Oh, yes! An Egyptian-style mausoleum and a sarcophagus)
--dungeons, torture chambers (Well, there's a tower. No torture, though...)
--dark towers, hidden rooms (Tower? Check. Hidden rooms? Dozens...)
--secret corridors/passageways (Loads)
--dream states or nightmares (YES!)
--found manuscripts or artifacts (CHECK!)
--ancestral curses (Yes, a terrifying Ancient Egyptian one!)
--family secrets (Indeed)
--damsels in distress (Two. Hang on, one is a flapper, so not in distress at all!)
--marvellous or mysterious creatures, monsters, spirits, or strangers (Of course!)
--enigmatic figures with supernatural powers (YES! Several ones!)
--scientific tone (fantastic events observed empirically) (TICK. A rational character, and a scientist and scholar, although the latter is also an alchemist)
--specific reference to noon, midnight, twilight (the witching hours) (All the time!)
--use of traditionally "magical" numbers such as 3, 7, 13 (NO! oops!)
--unnatural acts of nature (blood-red moon, sudden fierce wind, etc.) (YES, quite a few!)
OK, so only one convention that doesn't appear in my novel. Not bad, eh?
But maybe I should double-check... The Guardian Books has just posted a fun little guide to the Gothic Novel.
So if you'll excuse me, I am off to check whether The Book of Thoth definitively fits the genre!
Tomorrow, I am off to the Whitstable Literary festival to attend their event "British Gothic: a macabre evening with Christopher Fowler and Barry Forshaw".
I'm very busy these days. Things are moving fast and a lot needs to be done. I am just glad freelance work has dried up this month so I can get on with stuff (Ok, no money in, but we won't panic just yet!).
I still need to promote Book 1, I Am a Muse, and my imprint and bookselling venture, Arcane Publishing. More on that later this week I hope, I am waiting for something to come in to share it with you on this blog.
I should also be able to tell you more about some forthcoming events and ideas! Watch this space...
By the way, talking about I Am a Muse: Steve Pottinger, the poet and publisher who created the independent imprint Ignite Books and who so generously shared publishing tips with me and typeset I Am a Muse last year, is on the BBC news website because of a letter he had written to Caffe Nero about their tax-evasion tactics (someone has done some research about it, see the results HERE). Steve is a very passionate and eloquent speaker who deserves your attention. He will be appearing at quite a few events over the next few months, so try to go and see him! All dates HERE.
The manuscript of book number 2, The Book of Thoth, is now finished. Draft 4 was completed yesterday and I am giving it a quick once-over this afternoon. I am quite pleased with it, it is definitively the book I wanted to write. I could probably fiddle with it for another six months or so but time is running out: publication date is December 2014 and I would like to have the freshly printed books piled up in my lounge by the end of September latest.
The manuscript is now going to Matt ArtPix who will be designing the cover and typesetting the whole book. No pressure, then!
I am now turning my attention once more to The Right Place, which will be book number 3. I wrote the opening chapter during my week-long Culture Lab "On Writing Fiction" at Metal in October 2012 and read an updated version of it at the Shorelines literary festival last November.
Now is time to start the next phase of my research: I need to build up the back story, plan the plot, etc. Unfortunately, my Arcane Publishing funds are severely depleted and will be even more so once The Book of Thoth has been printed (it is a big book!).
I hope to find a solution to this state of affairs in the forthcoming months and keep the ball rolling!
I love using boards. I pin anything I think will help me put the book together: pictures, notes, postcards, maps, ideas, etc. The one I have for The Right Place only has the two pictures above on it; I pinned them this morning. The images come from The Sunday Times Magazine's Spectrum section. They are part of Italian photographer Marina Rosso's project "The Beautiful Gene". Kat Moorhouse, one of the main characters, is a red-haired girl. I'd like to inject a bit of Pre-Raphaelite beauty into the book...
Another character in The Right Place will be the Dorset landscape and its relationship with the people who inhabit it. The book might not feature any straightforward supernatural phenomenon like The Book of Thoth, but the mythical and mystical qualities of the countryside there will definitively have a strong influence on the story.
I cannot wait to get started!
I think therefore I write.
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