Competitions: July’s Which Book is This Anyway?

rp_Mystery-Competition-300x1931-300x193-300x1931-300x1931-300x193.jpgFancy a book surprise through your letterbox? It’s July. Summer is officially here and it’s time for this month’s Which Book is This Anyway?

Many of us judge books by their covers and make our choices based on that and the accompanying blurb. Our competition adds a little mystery.

The prize for this competition is a book but the identity of that book will not be revealed until the lucky winner receives it. It could be a recent new release or a well-known classic. Who knows? We won’t even reveal the genre. It’s a surprise. If you feel like having a guess in the meantime though, that’s OK, just comment below.

All we will reveal about July’s choice is ‘this book has been described by one reviewer as the perfect book. It’s about rediscovery, a trip of a lifetime, determination, falling in love and everything going wrong.’ 

How to enter:

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Author Interview: Howard Robinson

Howard Robinson

Howard Robinson

Hello Howard, thank you for joining us. First, could you tell us about your route to publication?

It’s such a complicated route for most writers that sometimes I feel like I need a sat-nav to get there. I self-published my first book and was fortunate that Micah Seven Five was picked up by a great little independent press, Inspired Quill. It’s really tough without an agent and finding an agent is really tough because most publishers won’t even look at submissions unless they’re from an agent. It’s like trying to break into a very closed shop. I have so many emails being very positive about my writing but saying they’re just not in a position to take things forward. So each book needs to be pitched from scratch, which is both time-consuming and, at times, a bit soul-destroying especially when the emails come back so quickly, you just know they’ve not even been read. Hopefully, somebody will pick up the new one; we’ll see. So the answer is there’s no easy route – you have to just keep banging on doors.

 

If you were told you could only own three books, which three would you pick?

Empire Of The Sun by JG Ballard, The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom and Charlie & The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

 

Are you much of a planner and do you edit as you go?

I’ve tried being very planned and very unplanned and my favourite way of working is somewhere between the two. I like to have a general route map of where I’m going and how I’m going to get there but then I like the freedom to change as I write or to move off into slightly unforeseen directions. I tend to write everything and then go back and edit quite severely afterwards. I usually do two or three redrafts.

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July’s Book Club: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Orion, February 2012

Orion, February 2012

Book Corner is our monthly online book club. Anyone can join. 

How it works…

We love books and we love chatting about them even more. Every month, we pick a new book for discussion. We will post a question to kick things off and then you can talk about any of your thoughts about the book in the comments box below. The best thing about our book club is that EVERYONE CAN TAKE PART. It’s open to all. You can read the book at any point in the month or if you’ve already read it, tell us what you think.

This month, our pick is: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell.

About the book…

It’s 1999 and for the staff of one newspaper office, the internet is still a novelty. By day, two young women, Beth and Jennifer, spend their hours emailing each other, discussing in hilarious detail every aspect of their lives, from love troubles to family dramas. And by night, Lincoln, a shy, lonely IT guy spends his hours reading every exchange.

At first their emails offer a welcome diversion, but as Lincoln unwittingly becomes drawn into their lives, the more he reads, the more he finds himself falling for one of them. By the time Lincoln realizes just how head-over-heels he really is, it’s way too late to introduce himself. What would he say to her? ‘Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mails – and also, I think I love you’.

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Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2016: Winner

rp_Writers-and-Artists-211x300.jpgThanks to Bloomsbury, we had one copy of the 2016 edition to give away.

Well done to Clair Bendle who has won herself a copy.

With 80+ articles, the Yearbook is now in it’s 109th printing.

The new edition is to be published by Bloomsbury on 2nd July 2015.

The yearbook is acknowledged as the indispensable companion to navigating the world of publishing. This book provides guidance on writing for newspapers, magazines, scripts for film, radio and TV; advice on writing and submitting plays, poetry, non-fiction and fiction of all genres and how to contact publishers and agents; managing finances as a writer; negotiating legal issues, such as copyright; understanding the editing process; self-publishing and conventional routes; digital and print.

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June’s Which Book is This Anyway: Winner

rp_Mystery-Competition-300x1931-300x193-300x1931-300x1931-300x193.jpgIt is time to announce the winner of June’s Which Book is This Anyway? Did you guess which book it was? (May’s book was Daughter by Jane Shemilt.’)

All we said about it was that ‘this is a book from a popular Irish author which focuses on large changes in the lives of the characters, their relationships and the importance of friendship.’

Well done to Caron Edwards who is our winner this month. The competition for July will be open soon.

About ‘Which Book is This Anyway?’

Many of us judge books by their covers and make our choices based on that and the accompanying blurb. Our competition adds a little mystery.

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Blog Tour: The 3rd Woman by Jonathan Freedland

Jonathan Freedland PHOTO CREDIT Philippa Gedge 2015

Photo Credit: Philippa Gedge

The 3rd Woman Jacket image

HarperCollins, July 2015

I am very pleased to welcoming author, Jonathan Freedland to Novel Kicks today. His latest novel, The 3rd Woman is due to be published later this week on 2nd July. Here’s the blurb:

SHE CAN’T SAVE HER SISTER

Journalist Madison Webb is obsessed with exposing lies and corruption. But she never thought she would be investigating her own sister’s murder.

SHE CAN’T TRUST THE POLICE

Madison refuses to accept the official line that Abigail’s death was an isolated crime. She uncovers evidence that suggests Abi was the third victim in a series of killings hushed up as part of a major conspiracy.

SHE CAN EXPOSE THE TRUTH

In a United States that now bows to the People’s Republic of China, corruption is rife – the government dictates what the ‘truth’ is. With her life on the line, Madison must give up her quest for justice, or face the consequences…

Jonathan is an award-winning journalist, author and broadcaster. He writes a weekly column for The Guardian and his also presents BBC Radio 4’s The Long View. He has written seven books (two are non-fiction) as Jonathan Freedland and has also written best-selling novels under the pseudonym, Sam Bourne.

As part of the blog tour, we review the novel but first, Jonathan (and HarperCollins) have kindly shared an extract. Enjoy.

 

Nothing that suggested a struggle. Maddy recalled the words and, above all, the expression on the detective’s face as she had said them. How dared she imply that Abigail had been some kind of willing participant in her own death? Of course it was murder, of course it was. Madison just had to get the police to realize it. And soon: she had covered enough homicide cases to know that speed was critical. They always talked about that ‘golden hour’, the period immediately after a homicide has been discov­ered when detectives are able to gather the most, and the best, forensic evidence from a crime scene. Maddy feared that time had been and gone. That while they played around with their absurd sex-game theory, valuable evidence might be vanishing.

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Review: A Little in Love by Susan Fletcher

IMG_1327Paris, 1832. A street girl lies alone in the darkness, clutching a letter to her heart. 

Eponine remembers being a child: her swing and the peach tree, and the baby brother she loved. But mostly she remembers being miserable. Taught to lie and cheat, and to hate the one girl, Cosette, who might have been her friend. 

Now, at sixteen, the two girls meet again and Eponine has one more chance. But what is the price of friendship – the love of a boy. 

I am only familiar with Les Misérables as far as the Hollywood film version (with Hugh Jackman.) I know, I know. The book has been on my to read pile for so long and now, after reading A Little in Love, I might have to get around to reading it.

The story of A Little in Love begins when Eponine is sixteen and it then goes back to when she was a child. Out of all the characters in Les Misérables, Eponine is the character I have always been intrigued with the most. She wants to be a good person – decent and kind but the circumstances of her life conspire against her.

She does not have the best start in life and in trying to gain her mother’s love, she turns her back on the one girl who may have been her friend – Cosette. I found Eponine’s story so heartbreaking. Anyone who has an idea of the story knows what happens to her but that did not stop me from willing it to end differently.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Four People

rp_friday-300x16411111111111111-300x164-300x1641-300x164.pngFriday 26th June 2015.

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt. The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can. Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

Today’s Prompt: Pick four people (it could be anyone.) Your character is having them around for dinner. What would the conversation be about? Do they all get on? Write this entirely in dialogue.

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Book Haul: Five Books For June

It is time for another book haul. I have brought and been sent some great and interesting titles this month and I wanted to share five of them with you. The five books below have been sent via publishers. What books have you received/brought this month? I’d love to know in the comments box below.

 

IMG_1279The first book is The Astrologer’s Daughter by Rebecca Lim. 

I am loving this cover. This is the first book I will have read by Rebecca Lim (she is the author of the Mercy series) and I am looking forward to reading this book. It sounds very interesting. It is published by Text Publishing on 25th June 2015. It’s available in paperback and also as an e-book. Here’s the blurb:

The Astrologer’s Daughter is the story of Avicenna Crowe, whose astrologer mother has suddenly gone missing. Avicenna Crowe’s mother, Joanne, is an astrologer with uncanny predictive powers and a history of being stalked. Now she is missing. The police are called, but they’re not asking the right questions. Like why Joanne lied about her past, and what she saw in her stars that made her so afraid.

 

The second novel is The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon.

IMG_1280This book is one I am particularly looking forward to reading. It sounds very intriguing and I very much like the sound of the premise. It was one of those ideas that, when I read the blurb, I said to myself ‘I wish I had thought of that idea.’ Available in paperback and electronically, it’s published by W&N (18th June 2015.)

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Mick’s Musings: Would You Call This ‘Procrastination’?

rp_Mick-Arnold1-224x30011.jpgArguably the most important part of any book written is the first chapter, in particular, the first page. Get this wrong, not only would you lose the reader, but more likely, you wouldn’t have had the novel published in the first place.

Now, for the latest story I’m writing I’m on the third different opening/prologue/first chapter. What this says about me as a prospective writer, I don’t know, but I suspect that it’s more of a common problem than I’m making it out to be. Have I hit on the opening? I don’t know. Two of my lead characters though are suddenly opening the book whereas before it was looking like they wouldn’t be making an appearance until at least the third chapter. But it feels right!

Does it read right though? Actually, yes and even more surprising since I had to decipher the scribbled notes I made before going to bed on Friday night! My Lady Wife is always saying I should have been a doctor, the state of my hand-writing. It’s short, just shy of 1,200 words, but just because it’s short, doesn’t mean to say it isn’t right. But, this is only a first draft, so undoubtedly there will be changes as the story progresses. At least it’s nice to meet these guys sooner rather than later.

So why did I bring up the dreaded ‘P’ word? Because it’s taken me a while to start up writing again. Yes, I know the old adage that you should write at each and every opportunity, no matter how rubbish it may come out. Continue reading

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Competitions: Win a Copy of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2016

Writers and Artists

With 80+ articles, the Yearbook is now in it’s 109th printing.

The new edition is to be published by Bloomsbury on 2nd July and we have ONE copy to give away.

The yearbook is acknowledged as the indispensable companion to navigating the world of publishing. This book provides guidance on writing for newspapers, magazines, scripts for film, radio and TV; advice on writing and submitting plays, poetry, non-fiction and fiction of all genres and how to contact publishers and agents; managing finances as a writer; negotiating legal issues, such as copyright; understanding the editing process; self-publishing and conventional routes; digital and print.

This year’s edition includes articles from Alison Weir, Ben Schott, Susan Hill and Rose Prince.

The 2016 edition is available to pre-order in paperback and eBook (e-book will be published on 6th August 2015.)

Thanks to Bloomsbury, we have a paperback copy of the 2016 edition to give away.

How to enter:

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Bella’s Scribblings: Sell! Sell! Sell!

rp_Bella-185x300111111.jpgSo I’ve been out of the writing closet for a while now and friends, family and work colleagues have got used to the idea that I have another life as a writer. So when I see people they often ask “how is the book going?” (which is jolly nice of them to show an interest). I usually reply with something along the lines that my editor is very pleased with how it’s doing for a debut novel and that I’m thrilled with the fab reviews I’ve received which shows that most people are enjoying it. At this point I usually get an odd look from them, followed by “So how many have you sold?” To which my answer is “I have absolutely no idea.”

Am I alone in really not being that interested in how many it’s sold?

My original intention was to see if I could actually finish a whole novel (I was a serial novel starter who got distracted and then started another one). Getting it published was never in the plan, because I knew how unlikely this was, but with a lot of luck and good timing my MS landed on the right desk at the right time.

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