Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Readings, Reviews and Signings Too!

Sales seem to be going well, but I'm still unsure how to log in and find out actual figures.Ormaybe i'm subconsciously too scared to look!

Here's a review posted on Amazon - had to share it with you!

There doesn't seem to be any synopsis here so I'll tell you what the back of the book says:

'Sophie and Danny arrive to find their holiday destination full of old folk and resign themselves to a week of boredom. Forced to make their own entertainment, they soon discover all is not as it seems. Venturing away from the beach, they encounter many curious sights; a lost boy, a mysterious puppeteer and the remarkable Mrs Dawson. Before long, the lines between daytime and dreamtime become increasingly blurred. Read on for a tale of conflict, daring, magic and menace, as Sophie and Danny embark on an adventure which will change their lives forever.'

This book is a great read for 7-12 year olds, those in their teens, or for the younger child if you want to read it to them. It is imaginative, full of twists and wonderfully dark in a way that will enthrall and engage children. In a world still high on the likes of Harry Potter this book is infused with adventure and magic realism in a seaside town that most children can easily identify with!

A thoroughly recommended debut novel!!!

Quite pleased with that!

I've also been included as a Featured writer of the Month on Creative Writing Support; the Writers Bureau Students Page on Facebook which is lovely!

Next week, December sees the start of my signings and events in bookshops and schools - I'm in Rotherham at Sitwell Infants, then Sitwell Juniors on December 2nd with a signing in the Juniors entrance hall at 3.30pm.
On Sunday, December 4th I'm up at Waterstones, Orchard Square, Sheffield from 11.00am at a Book Event reading from my novel and talking about how I started writing.

Meadowhall and local libraries are set to see me over December and January. I'll keep posting and hope to see many faces there! I've got my pen at the ready! 

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Book Events for Driftwood & Amethyst - its life begins!

Well, well, well.
Two long weeks of icy days and hazy days have resulted in little me being a hermit and doing little else than research and lots of reading . . . Ernest Hemingway has kept me company through the day with Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises although I unwittingly chose my first EH book to be based around bullfighting - the clue was in the title and Margaret Clark's Writing for Children as a refresher on plotting and character development. During  my night time waking I'm reading Sadie Jones' Small Wars, and after attending a talk by a friend's favourite writer, I'm reading Millie Johnson's Birds and Bees, which by her own admission is an early and clunky book but it's a great study in developing character relationships and enjoyable which counts for a lot at 5a.m.!
My husband, Andy, is now working with me on a screenplay of Driftwood as we've both always thought how well it would work as a film - so that little project is in its infancy.

I have managed to secure my first book event for Driftwood at Waterstones in Sheffield (Orchard Square 11.00 - 1.00 Sunday Dec 4th) and am waiting to hear back from a number of bookshops across Sheffield and some local libraries. At Off the Shelf 2012 - I may be doing a workshop as a fledgling children's author - that would be great but I need to see where I'm at with health and my writing next year! I'm also doing two school events next month which are readings and signings - I'll be ready with my pen and hope the children want to buy when I've hopefully hooked them in with my spooky reading voice!

It's been a case of pacing myself and making phonecalls and visits to shops when I'm able - then letting the days when I need to recharge just happen, rather than fighting them.

Gently, gently, catch 'e monkey! It may take me longer to achieve my goals but I'm more the tortoise than the hare nowadays - and the slowboy didn't do so badly in that story!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Driftwood and Amethyst is finally out there!

Sorry for my absence - but remember:
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

I have been a busy little thing,discovering how the world of Amazon et al work behind the scenes and finding out how best to market my novel. The internet seems the obvious way, using Facebook and Twitter to update those interested parties, but I also need to be out there, which is a little difficult for someone who prefers to hide away with my laptop in a darkened room these days, my health being nothing but unpredictable!
But I have taken the bull by the horns in a not-advocating-bullfighting sort of a way and am gently pushing myself forward using all the media I have available to me at present.

So, with Driftwood now selling as an ebook and a paperback (and a hardback if you feel so inclined, they are lovely) I am on with my second childrens novel, using NaNoWriMo as an opportunity to write a first draft in a month. Writing is the best bit, it's true, but I must admit, the first edit is the exciting part when I get my red pen out, my thesaurus and start whipping the story in to shape!

Being an author is a dream come true. After five years of floundering, the chronic pain and countless procedures  aside, I am starting to see a different life for myself. I never thought, in 1995 when I began teaching, that I would ever do anything else. Teaching really was everything I'd ever wanted. The writing I did during my teaching career was merely to use as a starting point for history, literacy and drama lessons. I could not envisage myself ever writing a children's novel, never mind publishing it.
But life changing events really do happen.
Until two years ago, I honestly saw no way out of a rather dismal cycle of pain and medication reviews. Luckily, my family and friends provided a safety net to catch me whenever I stumbled and fell. My children were there demanding that I shake myself out of it and play trains or castles or do baking again and again and again. My husband's approach was to leave me a few jobs to do then quietly come home and do them himself. My mum is always at the end of the phone or my settee with coffee in hand for heart to hearts, mediating beautifully any crises that arise. My friends (near and far) who are always there for coffee, chat, cake, and more chat to help me back on track when my nerve has faltered. Between my children, my husband, my mum and those friends who turn up regardless with cake and gossip and of course my weekly baking sessions with my boys (more recently we've relied heavily on box kits to make our buns and gingerbread men) I feel like I am having some semblance of a normal life.
In Occupational Therapy, I learned quite quickly that I was very good at avoidance and normalising my behaviour by staying away from situations I find tricky - going out, meeting friends out of the house, simple tasks I can no longer do on my own. But in the house, my life can be quite normal. This place is my sanctuary and after five years of this, I'm happy to play along. My writing has been my silver lining - and I'm so glad I can write.
Time will tell if the book is well received and I do, sincerely, hope that readers will like it.
Driftwood and Amethyst - Kate Muscroft : XLibris

Books, the Blues and Writers Block

This post was written mid-October, but wasn't published as I've been too unwell to edit it. I thought I'd publish it anyway.

Writing is a precarious business.
You write well: all is well. You write, therefore you are a writer.
You write badly: you hide. You are not writing and so are not technically a writer at that time. 
You can't write: all is gone.You can no longer speak of yourself as a writer in the present tense.
The previous two weeks have been spent marketing Driftwood & Amethyst and preparing the bones of a book signing tour. I've also been prepping an outline for a rather strange children's novel set in our world and an otherworld. I've rather neglected my daily burst of fiction, although I have written two short stories so that's not entirely true!
My medication this last couple of weeks has too undertaken a change. As the weather has turned colder and wetter, I've needed to up my morphine dose which seems to stifle my creativity and require me to sleep more each day. It's the worst. I live in a complete fog, feel far too cold and spend my days wrapped up in a rather tatty Tintin jumper over a carefully chosen co-ordinated outfit.
I'm hoping I'll develop tolerance of this new dose nice and quickly so I can get back to my writing.
Even writing this is like wading through treacle! Life is an uphill struggle but at least I'm warm in my house with  cups of tea and jammy dodgers. 

I'm focusing on building my characters for my next novel as I like to get to grips with those as early as I can. Reading an Andrew Miller article in the Guardian today, he suggests that developing characters fully is key to a great novel - and references great character writers such as Dickens, Wilde and Austen. Readers forget plots but they remember memorable characters.I'm building the grim ones first as they're more fun!