Posts Tagged Waterstone’s

Poems about Birmingham Wanted

In February 2017 Birmingham will be hosting ‘Verve’, its first ever Poetry and Spoken Word Festival, organised by Waterstones and the Emma Press.

To get things started a poetry competition has been launched for poems on the theme ‘Birmingham’.

So start thinking poetic about things like Spaghetti Junction, Edgbaston Cricket Club, the Bullring, the Jewellery Quarter, New Street Station etc. etc. Maybe you live in the area or maybe you’ve done the tourist bit or perhaps been here on business – whatever your connection to the city, there’s lots of inspiration to get your teeth into.

The only problem is I’ve left it a bit late to tell you about this. The closing date for the adult section of the competition is September 11th 2016 and for the children’s section it’s September 30th. But a short deadline is good – it forces the brain cells to perform!

Full details of the competition are on the Verve website.

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Genre Jumping

I’ve been getting out of my literary rut recently – by trying Sci-Fi.

English: Icon from Nuvola icon theme for KDE 3...

I am attempting to enter each of the Monthly Writers’ News competitions. The September brief was for a science fiction story so, although I’m not exactly sure what constitutes sci-fi, I had a go. Creating a whole new futuristic world seemed too much like hard work, so I set the story in the present day with ordinary characters but included a new piece of technology which did a little more than it said in the instruction book. The result caused my main character a problem and so the story developed. This may or may not be classed as science fiction – but at least I had a go!

By coincidence, I also received a science fiction book to review from Waterstone’s this month – Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton. It was billed as a futuristic crime story and I love crime so that was why I entered my name in the prize draw for a chance to review the book. But I got more than I bargained for – it is a HUGE tome, 1087 pages long. It involves a murder, clones, space travel and hi-tech police procedures but at the end of the day it’s still the characters that drive the story. I liked Detective Sidney Hurst, who is the main policeman and there’s another intriguing personality in Angela Tramelo. She only ages 1 year for every 10 years of her age and was locked away 20 years earlier for a similar crime. But she has always protested her innocence and swears that the original killing was an alien attack…

This venture into Sci-Fi was accidental and it hasn’t converted me to the genre but it has taught me a few things:

  • It’s refreshing to try something different
  • The elements that make up a good story are the same, whatever the genre. The setting/time-period/pre-occupations of the characters may differ but if you make the reader care about the protagonists then it is a good tale
  • Moving out of one’s comfort zone (in real life as well as writing) may not be appealing but once you’ve done it, it creates a feeling of confidence in your own abilities.

Finally, if you are a Waterstone’s loyalty card holder and want the chance to review books, click here to see what’s on offer.

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Summer Break

bucket and spade time

Image by Jo Peattie via Flickr

Apologies to those of you who were looking out for my regular Monday lunchtime post this week. I’ve decided that since so many people are on holiday at the moment, I’m going to take a short break from blogging. Normal service will be resumed in September.

Over the next couple of weeks, amongst other things, I’ll be reading and reviewing The Barbarian Nurseries by Hector Tobar for the Waterstones website. If you fancy reviewing books for Waterstones (no payment but you get to keep the book) grab yourself a Waterstone’s loyalty card and click here to see the current book prize draws, each has around 25 copies of a forthcoming title up for grabs in return for providing a review.

I also hope to find time to read Sally Quilford’s My Weekly pocket novel ‘Sunlit Secrets’. I recently won a signed copy via Sally’s blog and am hoping that it will point me in the right direction with my own pocket novel. I have a 50,000 word first draft sitting in a corner waiting to be edited…

If you would like to be notified when I start posting again, please put your email address in the box on the right and you’ll receive my next (and subsequent) posts via email. It’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time.

By the way, the beach photo is just wishful thinking – although I do hope to manage a cycle ride in the local park plus an icream (everyone deserves a treat!). 

See you soon!