Saturday, 28 July 2012
The Sanctuary. Her exact words were, "I was touched by your story, to the point of tears." Now that could just have been because it was so bad, but I hope she was crying in a good way. I love a good cry at a book or at the movies. I remember sitting in a cinema and wailing over "West Side Story", it's heart wrenching after all that exuberance - singing, dancing and falling in love when it all comes crashing down after the shooting. Then, of course, there was the bit in Bambie where his mother gets shot. That was so sad. Plus, don't even mention 'Breakfast at Tiffany's', where they go and find that poor cat, soaking wet in the rain. Here's a link to that scene which still does it for me, every time! What films or books have made you cry I wonder?
Akram Khan's totally moving choreography remembering those who couldn't be with us, reflecting a somewhat darker side of terrorism which occasionally blights our wonderful city.
Wednesday, 25 July 2012
The Sanctuary at seaside locations. By the way, it's still on summer sale at only .99 cents or .77 pence from Amazon. There's a donkey in my story which is about a girl who inherits an animal sanctuary. The donkey in the photo above is one of a group which gives children rides on Weymouth beach and I am indebted to writer Laura James who tells me that the lady who owns them has won awards - they certainly looked very happy as they mooched up and down the sands.
Sunday, 22 July 2012
the link. The Sanctuary is described as a warm and uplifting story in the review. What's more, my publisher Astraea Press are having a summer sale and all books are only 99 cents or just .77p. So, if you haven't already got your holiday reads on Kindle etc, do go and have a look today. Astraea do sweet romances, romantic suspense etc. Perfect beach reads. Enjoy!
Friday, 20 July 2012
Romantic Novelists Association conference this year. However, one of those who did attend, Kate Jackson Bedford has posted up a really useful blog about one of the talks. Maggie Seed who is the editor of My Weekly pocket novels gave a presentation about what she looks for in a pocket novel. I have had six pocket novels published by My Weekly and People's Friend. These include 'The Sanctuary' a romantic mystery with a rescue dog and a troubled teenager thrown in. This is on the special low price of .77p for the summer!!! Buy now! Like all genres, to keep up with the times, pocket novels are changing to include more mystery, murder and mayhem but essentially they are still heartstopping romances. Kate's blog gave a very good round up of what they're looking for in submissions. They are a wonderful antidote to Fifty Shades of Grey! You will also find tips at The Pocketeers Blogspot. Happy reading and writing! PS - the photo above is of Douglas Booth and outrageously good looking young actor who has been the model for many of my pocket novel heroes. Sigh...
Thursday, 19 July 2012
Giselle Green - an incredibly talented writer - invited me to a writing retreat with her and a couple of friends. I was sceptical. How on earth would I cope somewhere which had no connection to the internet, no telephones and no TV. Did such places still exist on earth? Well, they do and they can be fabulous for a writer. It's an opportunity to get away completely. Most retreats are either in the country or by the sea. Our retreat is in amongst wonderful gardens and here they are. my book, The Sanctuary at this retreat. If you're sitting in front of a PC people never feel you're working and writing time can be so easily curtailed by a phone call or other work and pressures. We each have our own little self-catering room so that tea and coffee is on tap whenever you want. It also means that one of us cooks and invites the other over in the evening. So, after an isolated day writing, reading and making notes we can get together for a gossip and a laugh. I'm a very early riser and do my best writing between 5 and 10am but by then I'm pretty pooped. When I'm on retreat I can have a nap and then be ready to write again in the afternoon. I simply can't follow that pattern when all the demands of house, children etc crowd in on me at home. I had a truly wonderful time. I managed to iron out a lot of the difficult areas of the crime story I'm writing and now have only 10,000 words to go till the end. What's more I made a new best friend while I was there. That's his picture above. He's a red siberian pedigree cat with an amazing yowl of a miaow, and the skinniest cat I've ever seen. Anyhow, I should be off writing those 10,000 words now so, goodbye and if you get a chance to go on retreat, grab it!
Saturday, 14 July 2012
'The Sanctuary' I have an inheritance, a family mystery and a marital breakdown THINGS HAPPEN. Make things happen in your writing and you are sure to be published. Good luck!
Thursday, 12 July 2012
www.astraeapress.com Or from Amazon Books: www.amazon.co.uk If you enjoy it, please review it on Amazon or leave a favourable comment on Astraea's facebook page. Thanks! carolmaclean.blogspot.co.uk
Tuesday, 10 July 2012
Festival of Romance, yaaaayyyyy! In November in Bedford, this is a wonderful chance to meet and chat to romantic novelists. I'm really looking forward to it!
Friday, 6 July 2012
E L James worked in television first so had a background in PR and had built up a sizeable following on social media networks when she supplied her book initially on a print on demand basis. This meant that once it started selling, the publishers knew it was worth taking a risk. Then, her book was originally written as fan fiction, a genre I had to explain to my dear mama. This, I told her is where people cannot get enough of their favourite genre. Fan fiction is a sort of homage to things people already love like Dr Who or the Alien films. 50 Shades was a homage to the phenomenally successful Twilight series and so neatly jumped on that bandwagon. It was very clever of E L James to put together two protagonists - Christian who is a millionaire and into some seriously adult stuff with Anna who is somewhat virginal and unworldly. The two would be unlikely to get it together in just the way that the two protagonists in Twilight had their seemingly insurmountable difficulties. This is ideal for a searing romance. Give your couple huge differences and then find a way to get them together, it's classic Romeo and Juliet stuff. Why erotica? Erotica is already selling big time particularly with the advent of Kindles. E L James was extremely savvy to pander to that trend even though authors such as Kitti Bernetti , Lucy Felthouse , K D Grace and Kay Jaybee have been writing and selling it for years. I explained to my aged relative that 50 Shades is therefore a perfect storm which has come together in our interesting age of social networking, self-publishing and the advent of bookselling in the supermarkets so that you can now buy erotica with your frozen vegetables. I haven't read 50 Shades myself but have read reviews of it, good and bad. The amazing thing for me is what a fantastic story there is behind its success. Even that respected newspaper The Independent is running an article claiming 50 Shades might start off a baby boom. If you'd written a novel about a woman who decides one day to write a smutty book that would be read around the world by grannies and twenty-somethings, readers would never have believed it!
Wednesday, 4 July 2012
Huffington Post, to the New York Daily News is focussing on his marital difficulties. His fiftieth just made me think of how many of his films I have thoroughly enjoyed. My favourite with an 86% rating on the film site Rotten Tomatoes is Collateral. Cruise plays the mean, driven, psychopathic but at the same time incredibly attractive contract killer Vincent perfectly. The best thing about this film is the juxtaposition of Jamie Foxx's sweet, shy, thoroughly decent taxi driver, Max - a decent guy pitted against a ruthless one who has nothing to lose. Max, who is kidnapped by Vincent to act as his driver during a spree of killings has everything to gain. Right from the start, you are desperate for Max a warm but weak man to become stronger and conquer Vincent. It's a classic fairy tale like George and the dragon or David and Goliath. True, Cruise's character is the attractive, smooth-talking, brisk alpha-male and Max the mild-mannered taxi driver is totally beta in comparison. But as the story unfolds, Cruise's character forces Max into standing up for himself. Max NEEDS those lessons in life so badly and you know that without Cruise exploding into his life he would never have found the impetus to stand up for himself, grab the girl and attain alpha male characteristics himself. The film was an object lesson in good story telling. Above all, as we're saying Happy Birthday to Mr Cruise, it was a great acting tour de force from both men. A thoroughly satisfying use of two hours of my life which is all you can really ask from a film. As a writer, (my latest is The Sanctuary published by Astraea Press) this film was an object lesson in characterisation with two leads at totally the opposite end of the spectrum. I could watch it again and again. Thank you Tom, and Happy Birthday!!
Tuesday, 3 July 2012
The Sanctuary available here from Astraea Press were jotted down in a Moleskine. Team them with a bunch of coloured pens and I am in stationery heaven. Long live the Moleskine!
Sunday, 1 July 2012
There was some truly wonderful art at the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy in London's Piccadilly which I visited recently. These paintings evoked emotions and kickstarted the imagination - wonderful fodder for a writer. Hope you like them. It goes on until 12 August so you still have time to visit. by clicking on this link.