Friday 17 December 2010

A New Journey for The Romancer – she’s now available Online

They say learning new things keep you young. If that’s the case then I’m getting younger every day. On the inside anyway.

The latest is that after something of a journey of discovery i have created a way in which you can from from me in a collector’s  edition through Amazon. Click on One new 7.99 This means it will be available for friends at home and abroad so hooray for that. I’m dying now for someone to give it a try to see if it works, If it does I will do the same for all my books.

I’m just looking round now for something else I need to learn…


Monday 13 December 2010

First Reader for The Romancer

I was touched to hear from Anne Ousby, who brought a real smile to my face this morning. She’s just reading The Romancer.

‘I've started The Romancer and am finding it gripping. Obviously it's autobiographical but also written as a story - much like your other novels and it seems to me that there's enough distance between the you and 'the girl' to almost forget it's about you. I love the way you've introduced true stories that inspired your novels and woven them into the narrative…’ 

Anne is a playwright, short story writer and now a novelist. A member of our Room To Write conference, she has just brought out her intriguing novel Patterson’s Curse. Anne Ousby  RtW loved her novel and encouraged her in getting it out there, where it’s now selling well.

It’s so heartening for me to get a perceptive reader’s comment on my much loved  hybrid literary creation.

I hope other people out there are reading and enjoying it and would love to hear from them.

Friday 10 December 2010

Stop Press

I see copies of The Romancer have not yet arrived at Amazon. (Can’t think why …) If you are in a hurry to get one for ChristmasWendy with rings for your writer buddies you can get one directly from me (  Email me with an address and I’ll invoice you and despatch it directly. I’m very keen for people to read it sooner rather than later . wxx

Friday 3 December 2010

Books In The Snow

by Wendy on December 3rd, 2010

Nine days since the launch of The Romancer and the snow is still unremitting.  It closes in and fogs up the brain. I thought concentration would be easier confined as I am to the house. But no it’s curiously harder.

Still, today I’ve laid down the tracks for the 6th December Writing Game for Bishop FM. It features the inimitable Pat Barker and a choice of Christmas books from friends of the programme.  (James suggests that Bishop FM may apply to put The Writing Game on itunes. A fine thought, just about compensating for the wall of snow – picturesque but imprisoning.)



Christmas Books on Bishop FM

Recommended by, among others, Pat Barker, Kathleen Jones, Debora, Pat Kidd.  Wendy,and of course, our official reviewers Glynn and Gillian

Frank: The Making of a Legend – Hardcover (4 Nov 2010) by James Kaplan:  Frank Sinatra Lissten to what Glynn says on the programme

Howards End is on the Landing: A year of reading from home by Susan Hill (Paperback - 8 Jul 2010)  ­ Listen to Gillian’s recommendation on the programme

The Singapore Grip – Paperback (1 July 1996) by J.G. Farrell. Listen to lynn’s recommendation on the programme.

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont (Virago Modern Classics) – Paperback (6 April 2006) by Elizabeth Taylor. Listen to Gillian’s recommendations on the programme.

Recommended separately by Debora in London  and Pat from Morpeth

Wait For Me: Memoirs of the Youngest Mitford Sister by Deborah Devonshire (Hardcover - 7 Sep 2010) The Duchess of Devonshire must be one of the last people alive who met both Adolf  Hitler and J.F.Kennedy. As the youngest of the legendary Mitford sisters, she has witnessed much of the history of the twentieth century from a ringside seat. Her humour shows here, as does her steely stickability; here is a unique patrician voice echiong down to us from the 20th Century.

Chosen by Biographer Kathleen Jones’  who was featured in our November program. She would like to give:  The Still Point – Paperback (4 Feb 2010) by Amy Sackville  Kathleen  tells us  this  is a marvellous novel.  It’s the writer’s  first and … ‘ so beautifully written I’m in awe.  The way it’s narrated, the reader is like a ghost, haunting the characters, eavesdropping on their lives.  The story concerns a young woman, Julia, in a troubled marriage, whose ancestor was part of an ill-fated expedition to the North Pole leaving his very new wife behind.  The common factor between these two women, separated by time, is the house, which Julia has just inherited, full of artefacts, curiosities, diaries and letters and family history.  The narrative moves from the past to the present, weaving the stories of both relationships together until you come to a surprising, but very satisfactory conclusion.  It’s a marvellous blend of fact and fiction  and it deserved to be short-listed for Orange and Booker prizes, though it didn’t win.  I’m sure she will one day…’

And – to receive – Kathleen chooses -  ‘I would most like to receive Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson (Hardcover - 19 Aug 2010)    Kathleen says, ‘Detective fiction is one of my addictions.  Most of it is quite badly written, relying on the strength of the plot to carry the story forward and you read it to solve the puzzles rather than for the beauty of the prose.  But Kate Atkinson is a seriously good writer and prize winner of fiction, so when she began to write detective novels I was in bliss!  The books are such a good read I am always sorry to get to the end.  A new one is a celebration.  So, yes, please, this is one for my Christmas stocking!

Pat Barker – from today’s programme – chooses  Heartstone (Matthew Shardlake 5) by C. J. Sansom (Hardcover - 2 Sep 2010) ‘ The most recent in a crime series set in the reign of Henry 8Th centring on a hunchback lawyer Matthew Shardlake The others are Dissolution, Dark Fire, Sovereign and Revelation. I can recommend all five books – to give and to get – with great enthusiasm. The in depth research never gets in the way of character and plot. Both the historical and invented characters are brilliantly drawn and the narrative pace never lets up. Even if you think you don’t like crime fiction or don’t like historical crime fiction please give this great series a try.

My own choice of  a book to receive is  Kathleen Jones’ Katherine Mansfield: The Story-Teller – Hardcover (30 Nov 2010) . If you remember Kathleen and I talked about this new book in the November Programme. Katherine Mansfield is a tragic and exciting figure – one of the three best ahort story writes of the first half of the 20th century, As I am studying the short story for the March Room To Write Conference.  I am so  looking forward to reading this.

The book I’d like to give someone is  My Name is Mina by David Almond (Hardcover - 2 Sep 2010). Listeners will remember that David and I  discussed it at length on and early Writing Game. I am such a fan of good writing , in fact, that I would recommend any book by David Almond. Each one is a treasure in it own right. David’s books are marketed as children’s books but they read well at every level of age, sensibility and literary awareness.

And finally  – for Christmand cheer Debora in London Chooses to receive : Comfort and Joy by India Knight (Hardcover - 25 Nov 2010) The good, the bad and the funny sit alongside each other in this wonderful book about love family and Christmas.  This is a laugh out loud book –  enormous fun and perfect escape from  Christmas preparation. One reviewer says, ‘Yes there are stereotypes but they can be funny and comforting – I loved the characters such as Sophie – the mother who makes her own yoghurt, I loved Clara, I loved her funny rants about family, about Christmas, about stuffing the turkey and the ridiculous attempts we all go to to create ‘the perfect Christmas. It all rang horribly true, was laugh out loud funny, warm and somehow kind of glamorous.’ 

As you read through the joy and pain of her Christmas you can see elements of your own family Christmas.

I have to say that the range of books here demonstrate  just how much enjoyment, escapism and delight on offer from Books at Christmas. Even in the snow…


Wednesday 1 December 2010

Snow Follies

I can't play bridge. I don't play tennis. All those things that people learn, and I admire, there hasn't seemed time for. But what there is time for is looking out the window. Alice Munro


Gilly says she’ll close the cafe when we go.

The snow cranks itself up into a blizzard. People pass by - head down against the white onslaught, conscious of their hero-status. Girl sporting flat blonde hair and leopard spotted fur bustles by.

My  friend wraps up and braves the blizzard to plough her way to the park. Her mission is to take photos of trees  that have strutted their brilliant stuff in the snow for two hundred winters.

I – frightened of slipping - opt to stay by the window, drink a glass of chilled white wine and think about  my new novel which, thank the Lord, is set in sunny France. Nice to contemplate.

Gilly’s friend -  carrying a shovel, wearing work cap and fluorescent jacket  – makes his way to the door. ‘I’ll see youse!’ he says to Gilly.

I follow him through the door  and think of Gilly, clearing the tables and closing the cafe behind me.wendy[1] (2)


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