Monday, October 31, 2011

Want to get your Novel Published? - Novel Fair @ The Irish Writers Centre

This is a great opportunity being presented by the Irish Writers Centre:-

(Note Closing date is the 11th November 2011)

The Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair Competition
The inaugural Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair for first-time novelists will take place on March 10th 2012.  The Novel Fair aims to introduce up-and-coming writers to top publishers and literary agents, giving novelists the opportunity to bypass the slush pile, pitch their ideas and place their synopsis and sample chapters directly into the hands of publishers and agents.
A judging panel of experienced industry professionals will be asked to select a shortlist of successful entries, presented to them anonymously. There is no limitation on style, genre, or target market, the only requirement being that the writer has not published a novel before.
Publishers and agents will be invited to come along on the day to the Irish Writers’ Centre and meet these writers in person. Each writer in attendance will have a stand at the Fair with copies of the synopsis of their novel, the finished novel itself and biographical material.
Representatives from Penguin Ireland, Transworld, O’ Brien Press, Lilliput Press, Hachette Books, Liberties Press, Little Island, Arlen House and New Island will be present on the day. Literary agents such as Marianne Gunn O’ Connor, Yvonne Kinsella, Emma Walsh, Ger Nichol, Paul Feldstein and Jonathan Williams will also be present.
This is an incredible opportunity for first-time novelists.
For terms and conditions please click here>>>
To download an entry form please click here>>>
Deadline for submissions: November 11th 2011

For any further information, and to pay via Paypal, you can check out link for the Irish Writers Centre HERE

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Thought for the Weekend - Any Dream Will Do!

Normally, I use famous quotes for these blog posts - words of wisdom from writers, philosophers, artists, and those wise folk called anonymous, but today is slightly different.  Today, I'm going to go with 'Any Dream Will Do', which some of you might connect to the musical 'Joseph' or 'Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat', which I knew it by.  It just so happens though, that it is also the title of a new book, one which is in the shops NOW, written by one of the many great people I have come to know in Twitter Land -Maria Duffy.

So I got to thinking how important these four words actually are.  We all need dreams, we all need something to strive for, and these dreams are as individual as we are.  My hubby has been more into the dream idea over the years than me.  And for the most part, most of his dreams have come true.  I tended to things that dreams were things you did in your sleep, and probably should be left there.  But over the last while, I've been thinking that perhaps I'm wrong.  You have to dream, to have to believe that wishes will come true, because even if they don't, it's a whole lot better dreaming about them than not!

Here's a pic of Maria's book, which I plan to pick up very soon myself - and Maria, I warn you in advance, your signature will be required.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Savage Chicken Poetry

It's time for some words of brilliance from the fabulous Savage Chickens - you just gotta luv them!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The CWA Debut Dagger Competition



How to Enter the Debut Dagger

The 2012 Debut Dagger competition opened on the 22 October 2011 and will close on 21 January 2012. The prize money is £700, plus two tickets to the CWA Awards and the entry fee for both postal and online entries is £25. To be notified of the opening and closing dates, and stay abreast of any developments or news, including the shortlist and the 2012 winner, please sign up for the free newsletter, using the
form at the foot of this page.

Before you enter, you must read the rules.

Postal Entry

To enter by post, please send:
  • The first 3000 words (or fewer) of your novel
  • A 500-1000 word synopsis of the rest of the novel
...both typed and double-spaced
  • A completed entry form
  • A cheque, postal order, or international money coupon for £25
  • A self-addressed, stamped postcard if you wish us to acknowledge receipt
Please send your entry to the following PO Box.
Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger
PO Box 273
Boreham Wood

Online Entry

You can now enter the competition online. To do so, please have ready the following:
  • The first 3000 words (or fewer) of your novel
  • A 500-1000 word synopsis of the rest of the novel
...both in the same computer file and with the line spacing set to double. We can accept entries in Microsoft Word Document (.doc or .docx) ; OpenDocument Text (.odt); Rich Text File (*.rtf); or Portable Document Format (.pdf - sometimes known as Adobe Acrobat).
  • Your credit or debit card to pay the entry fee of £25. If you do not live in the UK, your credit card company will handle the currency conversion.
  • Alternatively, if you have a PayPal account, you can pay us using that.
  • PayPal tell us the cardholder's name and address. We do not see any other card details, and you don't need to sign up for a PayPal account to use your card.
  • You are now ready to complete the online entry form.
  • We will acknowledge receipt of your entry by email.
  • Please note the closing time and date of 23:59 on 21 January 2012 is UK time. If you are in a different time zone please make the appropriate adjustment, for example on the west coast of the USA (PST) the relevant time is 15:59 on 21 January.
  • If you already have a PayPal account please make sure that any associated credit card has not expired, particularly if you have not used the account for sometime.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thought for the Weekend - Frank O'Connor

I thought we could go all writerly for this week's Thought for the Weekend - and who better than Frank O'Connor to set us on the right path!

'There are three necessary elements in a story—exposition, development, and drama. Exposition we may illustrate as “John Fortescue was a solicitor in the little town of X”; development as “One day Mrs. Fortescue told him she was about to leave him for another man”; and drama as “You will do nothing of the kind,” he said.'


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Echo Echo

The Queen of Socks put her hair up last week and got her picture and story in the ECHO.
Just click on the link HERE and scroll through to find me - I'm the one at the Poet's Corner, no not Pet's Corner, Poet's Corner!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Book Club Review -Before I Go To Sleep

At long last the reviews are in.  As per usual, there were the usual disagreements, arguments, praise, criticism, all forming an interesting and entertaining cocktail of Book Club opinions.  Having said all that, 'Before I Go To Sleep' has probably been the most successful book reviewed so far.  But enough of all that - here is what everyone had to say.

As a bit of a thriller addict I feel in a good position to pass judgement on this novel. My verdict? Excellent! The idea was original, the execution confident - the experience for the reader is an overall very enjoyable one. I read most of the book in one sitting, I couldn't put it down. So, any negative comments? Well, while not giving too much away, some aspects of the plot were a little too tidy and I didn't feel we were given enough red herrings to keep us guessing. But, when it came down to it, these points didn't really detract from the enjoyment of the novel. 9/10.

'Before I go to Sleep' was a very enjoyable read, though some of the plotting was forced at times, perhaps its greatest achievement as a book about memory loss was to give such entertainment and yet be completely forgettable.  I could read it again next year.  But hopefully won't!

'Before I Go To Sleep' ticks many of the boxes for me.  It was engaging, kept me second guessing all the way through.  Had a great plot with no inconsistencies that I could find.  I liked the premise behind it, although I did think he made a 'not so old women' appear a lot older than her years.  The triumph for me was the final third of the novel as I just could not put it down - managed to stay awake until 4 in the morning in an attempt to finish it.  As a plot driven thriller novel goes, it certainly worked for me.

Before I Go To Sleep is an elegant and compact thriller. It is a genre novel with a sophisticated concept. I found it supremely readable. The style is stripped back to a stark functionality, but there is something refreshing about it's uncluttered surface. The pleasures of the text are in the clever plotting and in how the plotting serves the concept - how the author manages to tell the story of it's amnesiac protagonist is an ingenious feat in itself. Some people in the group have argued that it isn't a classic or very re-readable but I think it is an original and notable example of it's genre.

While difficult for a male writer to narrate from a female perspective, S.J. Watson pulls it off with aplomb in ‘Before I Go to Sleep’. He avoids clich├ęd female traits to deliver a suspenseful and well-written debut novel. While the writing is very tight, all the loose ends are tied up a little too quickly at the end which pulls the reader from that bubble of imagination. Also, Watson uses some weak structure in places – it’s just too convenient that Christine is abandoned by all of her family and friends, only adding to her vulnerability and state of confusion. However, the reader is tantalised by what is real and unreal in this well-layered story and Watson avoids a ‘groundhog day’ feel by steering clear too much repetition. ‘Before I Go to Sleep’ is a good read; it will pass the bus journey to work but it’s not one for the bookcase.

I'm an avid reader, but this is one of the best books I've read in a while. The first third pulls you in, the middle keeps you tensed and waiting and the last is absolutely un-putdownable. Ticks all the boxes. If I bit my nails they'd be bitten to the quick by now . . .

Thoroughly enjoyed reading this, kept thinking I had the measure of it but I was wrong every time, held me in suspense right to the end.  Didn't take me long to read because i truly couldn't put it down.  I note Ridley Scott has acquired the film rights, this says it all !

Before I go to Sleep S J Watson - I read this novel in two sittings.  I loved the notion that a journal could hold your reality even when if you were unable to hold it yourself - the notion that your own written word might be the only
word that you could trust. It's a riveting notion that you might see, in your own hand, the words ‘Don’t trust Ben’ – about the only person you thought you could trust.
The writer’s style - or the writing - didn’t make an impact on me good or bad.  It certainly didn’t intrude on the plot.  I was surprised afterwards to realise that I couldn’t describe it.  I only remembered the characters, and the journal, not the writing.  I think that might
be an achievement!
I loved the plot.  I could pick some holes in it but I would have to
be really-really picky. Like: where are the social services? Why did she have to develop a cringey attraction to Dr Nash, there was plenty going on between them without that.  If you set it in Ireland and make Brendan Gleeson play Ben and Gabriel Byrne play Dr Nash it might work.  But Dr Nash is too young....
The extent of Christine’s vulnerability was shocking – in the end I just wanted no more bad things to happen to her...I won’t read it again but I will recommend it to everyone as riveting read.

This is a good book; the pages turn, the sentences flow and it’s not demanding.  For a thriller I’m told it’s fantastic and with its high concept and nicely placed plot revelations, I can understand that it is.  My husband, who only reads thrillers, loved it.  I want more from a book.  I want to enter a world that dazzles me with its brilliance.  I want to read sentences that leave me breathless.  I want to learn.  Instead I ran through passages wishing the old biddy, Christine (she’s only 47, but feels more like 60), would stop wittering on and on about how dreadful, and how hard, and how awful.  The poor, unfortunate woman has not a drop of humour and her every waking hour is consumed by her tragedy.  I know this is reasonable considering her tragedy is dreadful, and maybe I’ve just had enough of the economy,  the radio,  and the multiple endearment that are uttered throughout the book that sound like cardboard.  I will add that the authors finest page is his last.  I admired him for that.  

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thought for the Weekend - Steve Jobs

Okay I know I've been a bit quiet lately, but believe me I've had good reason.  In the meantime this quote from the late Steve Jobs does it for me right now!

'You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.'

- Steve Jobs -

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

So light they almost fly!

Puffin Advertisement 1956 - So light they almost fly!
I know many of you are fond of these old vintage ads!  The above colourful one came to mind when I read an article via Twitter from @CarenKennedy (well worth following btw) - see article from Independent.ie newspaper below.

THREE pensioners attending the funeral of a friend in southern California had to be hospitalised after getting high on brownies and being unable to stand up. The three, all in their 70s and 80s, had accidentally consumed brownies that had marijuana added to them. The pensioners became unwell at a Huntington Beach memorial service and had to be taken to hospital after they were unable to stand up unassisted. At the service, a tray of brownies were offered around that has since been determined to have contained marijuana.

Link to main article here http://t.co/zrwxEJT7

Friday, October 7, 2011

Life's No Picnic On The Street

A very special project took place over the summer where some amazing works of art produced by Depaul's service users, and artists like novelist Mia Gallagher, poet Colm Keegan, singer/songwriter Pearse McLoughlin, NCAD's, culminated in an exhibition down at Electric Picnic this year.  The exhibition has now relocated to the Atrium on Stephen's Green which means anyone who didn't make Electric Picnic can now check it out. It certainly looks like an exhibition not to be missed.  See details below:-

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