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25 August 2011

Don't Miss It! Closing Date for Foreign Flavours

Foreign Flavours is the title of the second anthology organised by Writers Abroad. The theme is food, drink and cooking from around the world and submission are welcome from writers who are expats (or repats). We are accepting both fiction and non-fiction alongside recipes if appropriate to the piece.
The acclaimed writer known for his No 1 Detective Agency series, Alexander McCall Smith, has agreed to write our foreword.

The proceeds of the sale of the book (via Lulu) will be donated to The Book Bus, a well deserving charity which promotes the access to books for children in Africa and South America. To maximise these donations there will be no payment to authors who are selected to appear and Writers Abroad members are giving their time to edit, proof and produce the anthology. So a worthy cause all in all!

Deadlines for submission is the 9th September at midnight (Central European Time) and the Anthology will be available for publication at the end of October, making it an ideal Christmas Present, so if you can't submit, put in on your gift list instead!
Visit Writers Abroad for submission guidelines.

Don't Think Just Write

12 August 2011

Shatter by Michael Rowbotham

This is the first of the book analysis I talked about. I'm playing about with format, so it will kind of 'grow' and the system is adopted from Read Better, Write Better Novel Study Workbook.

TITLE:             Shatter
AUTHOR:       Michael Robotham
GENRE:           Crime (Shortlisted for Crime Thriller Award)
AUDIENCE:   Adults
VOICE:            Quietly powerful, clear
TONE:              Solemn, thrilling, scary
MOOD:            Mystery, dark, emotionally disturbing
THEMES:       Relationships, death, psychological, good vs evil

FIRST IMPRESSION: The first thing that struck me was how dark the cover was, after reading the story, it was a very apt colour to choose. There is an image on the front which I can’t quite work out, looks like some kind of angel.

PREMISE/PLOT: The blurb is both intriguing and all encompassing, makes you want to read on. A woman throws herself, naked apart from a pair of red shoes from a bridge for no obvious reason. Her daughter claims she would not have committed suicide and was afraid of heights.

ORGANISATION: Seventy short chapters, which suits my reading style. I like reading from scene to scene and putting the book down after a cling hanger, only to pick it up seconds later because I have to read on! Has an epilogue which is very appropriate and rounds off the story, because you care about the characters.

NARRATION/POV: Mainly split between the main protagonist, Joseph O’Loughlin and the ‘baddie. Point of View changes only with scenes which made it an easy read.

SETTING: Set in Bristol, an area which is very familiar to me and a definite pull for selecting it to read.  The events take place in a reasonably short time frame.

STRENGTH/WEAKNESS  The major strength of this novel was the portrayal of evil through a non-physical manner. The author handled the psychology of evil and portrayed how, when threatened with what people believe to be true, they will and can do things they wouldn’t normally do.  I couldn’t find any weaknesses.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: First time reading work of this author and would definitely read another.

Don't Think Just Write

2 August 2011

Multitasking and the Art of Zen

I like to think that I'm the kind of person who can do more than one thing at any given time. I don't know why, as a child I just could not rub my tummy and pat my head at the same time, why should it be any different now? 
I've been thinking this blog could include the activity of learning, a bit of self development. So one of the things I'm going to try and do over the next few weeks is to post some book analysis on the blog. Since I've started to write more seriously I've found that my approach to reading has altered. I am constantly looking at the way a book has been turned out from cover to the last line and am always trying to put into practice some of the things that work and abandon the bad habits I've picked up on the way. It should be a great way to critique a book from writing perspective (and I will make it clear that the analysis is purely a personal view but hopefully a measured one) and help my writing develop at the same time. Who knows! Only time will tell. Hope to get one done by the end of the week, so watch this space....

So it's now officially the Summer season here in Italy. Tools have been put away, notices have been posted on doors and the beaches will be awash with activity of the passagiata - men, women and children will strut along the shore at various paces and then stand, arms akimbo and slowly turn to follow the sun, a little like the large yellow flowers which fill the fields here at this time of year. I shall be keeping away, too many people and not enough private space for my liking. I'm going to go all Zen like and just breathe in my surroundings...

Couldn't find an appropriate quote for August but I was quite taken with this poem...

"August rushes by like desert rainfall,
A flood of frenzied upheaval,
But still catching me unprepared.
Like a matchflame
Bursting on the scene,
Heat and haze of crimson sunsets.
Like a dream
Of moon and dark barely recalled,
A moment,
Shadows caught in a blink.
Like a quick kiss;
One wishes for more
But it suddenly turns to leave,
Dragging summer away."
-  Elizabeth Maua Taylor 

Don't Think Just Write