....welcome to my blog on writing, reading and living in London ......

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Lindy Hop Music Video - want to help?

I have been contacted by the wonderful Ian Howorth. He is working on a truly exciting project to create a Brighton based music video involving two local bands. They are collaborating to perform Ella Fitzgerald's "When I Get Low I Get High". The bands being 'The Speakeasy Three' and 'The Swing Ninjas'.
They are filming in December at the Proud Ballroom formerly the Hanbury ballroom click here for some great photos on flickr, a superb venue pictured above which has finally fulfilled its potential as a performance venue. The music video will be very much a performance based one, centred around the collaborating groups but also focusing on the 20 or so lindyhoppers and jive dancers taking part, not to mention the 80 or so extras on top of that. Production wise, they've already secured all equipment, venue is paid for, make up, hair , costume and art dept is all sorted as well, so things are progressing well. They are shooting on motion picture cameras (Sony F3 and FS700) and will be employing industry standard grip equipment to allow a truly cinematic feel (think track and dollies and cranes) Here's where you come in. They've set up a kickstarter page to help them reach the last bit of funding they need to pay for a few expenses and catering for the shoot. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/344516429/the-speakeasy-three-are-doing-a-music-video If you could consider digging (deep as possible - sausage rolls don't come cheap you know!) in your pocket to help them along you will contribute hugely to a fantastic independent project promoting lindy hop and dance, which brings so much pleasure to so many people. Some of my happiest moments have been spent on the dance floor and I set my book 'Tango at Midnight' partly at a tango class. I've supported this film project myself as I love the whole idea, and can't wait to see the finished video. Good luck to all involved! By the way, it's a marvellous song, sung by the incomparable Ella who was one of my father's favourite singers.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Next Big Thing

Author Kate Jackson Bedford who writes pocket novels and is a prolific short story writer for D C Thomson's People's Friend has invited me to take part in THE NEXT BIG THING blog event. This asks a series of questions about what is coming next in our writing life. So, here goes..... What is the title of your book? Yikes I don't have one yet! One will come to me, probably out of nowhere. Singapore will probably appear somewhere in the title as that's where the book is set. How did you come by the idea? I like books that pitch opposites together. My lady detective, Jessica is no nonsense, kick arse and likes to break the rules. Her new Singaporean partner, the rather gorgeous Danny plays by the rules and does his best to keep her under control - a difficult task. What genre does your book fall under? Definitely crime but with some romance to spice it up. Which actors would you choose to play your characters if it were a movie? That's a difficult one because Danny's Chinese and I don't know many Chinese actors. If I want to feel inspired though, I'll always think of Ryan Gosling, so here's a totally gratuitous photo of him! Sandra Bullock would play Jessica really well. Will your book be self-published or traditional? I'm aiming it at a traditional publisher but whether they'll accept it, who knows? How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? It's a work in progress that I started for National Novel Writing Month at the beginning of November. It's going too slow to be completed by the end of the month but I hope perhaps to have it half done by then. Who or What inspired you to write this book? A trip to Singapore to see my husband who was working out there made me fall in love with the place. It's an ultra modern city which has somewhat engulfed the past. But I like history and much of the book is set around the older parts of Singapore, in the shophouses of Chinatown. I also loved the stray Singapore cats, all very well behaved and clean and tidy like the rest of Singapore. They have the most curious fan shaped tails and my hero Danny has saved a lovely one upon which he dotes. I shall now be passing THE NEXT BIG THING baton on for 27 November to Hywela Lyn who writes for the Wild Rose Press and to romance writer P D Strange both of whom I met at the Festival of Romance. Over to you ladies....

Monday, 19 November 2012

What to expect at the Festival of Romance

I have just returned from this wonderful event and thought it might be worth recording what went on for others thinking of going next year. Bedford was much more interesting and picturesque than I'd imagined with the Park Inn hotel looking out over the River Ouse. We happily breakfasted watching rowing boats collide with each other! I had a stand at the Romance Fair where people sold books. This was in the historic Corn Exchange. That for me was the best bit because I was sharing with such wonderful authors. There was Gilli Allan with her books 'Torn' and 'Life Class'. She writes romance which is out of the ordinary. Then there was Caroline Bell Foster with her Carribean set books such as 'Saffron's Choice'. Also, poet Oscar Sparrow and Emma Calin who writes hot police romances. We were a wonderfully mixed bunch - thank you for your company! In addition, we did readings at a local coffee bar and in the shopping centre and there were costumed characters from historical novels both in Bedford and at the historical afternoon tea. It was a fabulous opportunity to network, great fun and I hope it will become an annual fixture as it has grown so much since last year. Many thanks and congratulations to Kate Allan, Festival Director for achieving so much.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Dressing for the Festival of Romance

Okay, so I know it is INCREDIBLY shallow to be focussing on dresses and shoes for the Festival which begins tomorrow. But of course, I'm doing just that! I blame my unconscious after all, I woke up this morning and while I was asleep had constructed an entire outfit in my head. That was truly the first thing that entered that very empty area of my anatomy. Sad but true. Blue, I have to let you know is the colour scheme for my day time wear on Saturday. There are some fabulous electric blues around at present especially in H&M and I am working them big time folks! Then for the awards dinner (most exciting, I have been shortlisted although my money's on one of my fellow shortlisters to win the award - it would be telling to say who though) I have a most gorgeous monsoon dress in cream. I can finally get into this after many years of having it so tight around my ample butt that I looked like a pair of shrink wrapped Granny Smiths. Not a good look. On more important matters, my flyers STILL haven't arrived but I do have oodles of business cards thank heaven. I also have biscuits shortly being delivered which have dinky little toppers which are pieces of rice paper with the cover of my book The Sanctuary embossed on them. They too have not quite arrived yet but I'm sure they will (crossed fingers and toes) shortly. Until then, quite frankly I am a nervous wreck, just hoping it's all going to be okay. Whatever, I'm sure we and the readers who join us will have loads of fun. So, come to sunny Bedford this weekend and chat about writing romance! Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

NaNoWriMo - how are you doing?

I've never done NaNoWriMo before, mainly because I hate being tied to producing a certain thing at a certain time. That of course changes if there is a call for submissions and I'm aiming for publication. In those circumstances I can write like a demon and have very often been successful because I am pushing at an open door. NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month is a collective activity where a number of people sign up and basically pledge that they will try and complete a novel in a month. It's a very good discipline and one that many successful authors in the distant past have achieved way before NaNoWriMo came into being. Dickens springs to mind as an author who wrote many of his novels as monthly serials. I cannot imagine what it must have been like in an age before word processors to have to come up with writing as sparkling as his on an ongoing basis when you couldn't even revise substantially. Perhaps that is why some of his writing is as fresh today as when it was first written. NaNoWriMo started on 1 November and I am pleased to say that I have already completed over 6000+ words. It's not a huge amount it's true but it's a not too bad start which I hope to improve upon. Most of all I feel that the 6000 words are ones I'm happy with so far and most of all ones I can build upon. I believe the secret to making NaNoWriMo work is to have pre-planned as much as possible. The work in progress I have is my Singapore novel, a crime novel which has been in gestation since this time last year. I blogged about Singapore which I found a fascinating place when I went on holiday there. I'm not a great planner on paper, but bit by bit I have mentally been storing information. Not only that but I have been waiting eagerly for the new D C Thomson Easy Reads which contain a new crime genre. I have managed to read the first one and now have a better idea of what they're after. As a result I now have a feisty kick-arse heroine - a Scotland Yard detective. She has been partnered with a smooth, cool Singapore detective who cut his teeth in the narcotics section. I'm so hoping that when finished, the Editor likes my book. But if not, at least it's been fun writing it. Good luck with your NaNoWriMo manuscripts, let us know how you're doing!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Yay! I've been shortlisted for Festival of Romance Award...

Yes folks, 'The Sanctuary' has been shortlisted in the Best Short Romance category and I can't wait to go to the awards ceremony. I am in very good company as other excellent writers and friends such as Liz Harris (The Road Back AND Evie Undercover), Phillipa Ashley (Miranda's Mount), and Talli Roland (Build A Man) are also nominees. There is to be a glittering awards ceremony - HOORAY, any excuse to buy a new dress and shoes!!!! This will be held at the Festival of Romance Gala Dinner on Friday 16 November. If you haven't already booked for the weekend, do take a look at the website here where you can get details of all the fantast events such as a Romance Readathon and a Meet the Authors for coffee and cake where I will be present (I'm never far from a piece of cake!) I hope to see some of you there! Do let me know if you're coming, it should be a fabulous weekend.