Jan 2014—Mar 2014
So it’s nearly 2014! I never thought I’d see it. And what an amazing time it is. It took the ancient Sumerians a few hundred years to make the jump from making odd marks and signs to developing a real written language, and then several hundred years more before someone thought of using writing to record stories like the Epic of Gilgamesh. In fact, as a non-fiction writer, I should note that non-fiction (historical and biographical works) came first! Anyway, we then had a couple of thousand years of rivalry between paper/papyrus and ink in Egypt and then Greece, and inscribed clay tablets in Iraq, before the paper and ink system won. I have to say that in terms of document preservation clay tablets are really a better idea since the hotter you burn them the harder they become and the longer they last. But paper was cheaper and more convenient and so it won. And so it was for another couple of thousand years. William Caxton introduced printing; some clever person invented word-processing; but we still used paper. But now, suddenly, it’s all change again. Nanotechnology has triumphed. King Ashurbanipal of Assyria had a huge library constructed at Niniveh to house his massive collection of inscribed clay tablets; if written on paper they would have fitted into a small wing of the great library of Alexandria; and now the whole of what was in Alexandria would fit within the memory chip on a modern-type tablet. It has been an extraordinary revolution. And yet the art of the wordsmith is the same as it ever was. The Epic of Gilgamesh (read it if you get the chance) reads just like a modern adventure tale. Herodotus’ histories read just like a modern travel book. And all of this means that writers still have a role to play – and that NWUK also still has a role to play in encouraging and helping. As 2014 looms over the horizon it is not a threat, simply a fantastic opportunity to bring our rich and varied collection of writings to an ever wider audience.
Contents 3. Notes from the Editor Rachel Littlewood 4. Yasir Hayat gets a Special Mention! 5. Teddy Goes to Buckingham Palace—Waterstone’s Book Signing 6. In Focus Nick Thom 8. Grammar Steve Taylor 9. Update John Baird 10. Great Beeston Book Read Alan Dance 11. Readers Recommended Self-Published Authors 15. New Members
Book Trailers now on the website www.newwritersuk.co.uk
Notes from the Editor Another year is almost done and as we warm ourselves from the damp cold with mulled wine and mince pies, it’s a good time for a little reflection. We’ve heard that some of our members have had some fantastic successes in 2013, for others it has been quite a traumatic year. For New Writers UK, we’ve had a hectic year. We said goodbye to John as our Chair and welcomed Nick. Our festivals have been extremely successful and the word about who we are and what we’re about has spread far and wide. The fifth volume of Nottinghamshire Children Tell Tales is almost ready for publication and, once again, the standard of entries was astounding. Creative writing in Nottinghamshire is assured a safe future. We’ve grown in membership and can boast members from all around the world. Indeed, with all the admin staff of New Writers UK working full time, it’s a difficult task trying to keep up with all that’s required! It’s worth noting here that we are having a few technical issues with our website and this has had a knock-on effect on our emails. Put simply, we can’t access them at the moment. We’re working on putting those gremlins into sunlight as this issue is being typed. As we all know, occasionally these issues come up and it would be wise to ‘like’ our Facebook page as this is kept updated regularly. There is a correction that should be noted. In the previous issue, Vivien Steels was incorrectly named as Vivien Steel. Many apologies Vivien. All that remains is for me to wish you all the very best for the Festive Season and I look forward to seeing you all again in 2014! Rachel
New Writers UK Website www.newwritersuk.co.uk Events www.newwritersuk.co.uk/newsevents.html Blog newwritersuknews.blogspot.com Facebook search: New Writers UK www.newwritersuk.co.uk 3
Yasir Hayat gets a Special Mention! In November 2013, New Writers UK Member, Yasir Hayat found that he had been mentioned in the extremely popular blog, The Asian Writer. Below are some excerpts from the blog.
“Write a vampire novel with an Asian angle?” That was the advice a first time novelist was given recently, by his new agent. You heard it here first: A vampire novel with an Asian angle. “So what do you think I should do?” he said, in all seriousness.
I could sense he was uneasy about the whole thing. His last novel was commercial fiction – a coming of age sort of novel. Vampires were neither present nor alluded to. “Should I do it?” he pressed. “No” I said. ”I think you should write about what you want.” I couldn’t really say more. Asian writers have been writing science fiction for some time. The Muslim
Fantasy and SF writers group on Facebook (yes, really) took me to Sultana’s Dream, a classic short story of Bengali fiction written by Rokeya Sakhaway Hussain in 1905, where women take over the planet aided by technology and men are locked away. But the work remains largely unknown and little read.
and finally Yasir Hayat, author of that vampire novel, aptly named, Memoirs of the Damned. To read more of this blog, go to: http://theasianwriter.co.uk/2013/11/sci-fi-asianwriters/ 4
Teddy Goes to Buckingham Palace It would be difficult to see how things could be going better for Susan Beecroft. If being officially sold in Buckingham Palace wasn’t enough, she’s just had an extremely successful book signing in Waterstone’s! Susan not only found herself signing lots of books for customers, she was also finding herself answering a bombardment of questions such as “How did she get started?”, “Was there a sequel planned?” as well as plenty of children suggesting new adventures for Teddy! Susan’s planning to do another signing in Easter 2014 and we wish her the best of luck.
Waterstone’s Window Display—can you spot Teddy?
For independent book reviews visit
In Focus—Nick Thom
What made you decide to join New Writers UK? I had just self-published my first book and my wife Jackie happened to see a publicity flier for the first ever NWUK event, at Thurgaton church hall. I went along without any expectations – but was delighted to find other people in the same position as me. I joined immediately. How many books have you written? 3 (or 4 if you include a text book) What do you like to do when you're not working or writing? A good film, preferably with plenty of action. What has been your most embarrassing moment? Obviously I cannot answer this one truthfully, but costing my uncle’s company thousands of pounds by accidentally losing control of a trolley and letting it get sucked into a super-conducting magnet was pretty embarrassing. Who has been the greatest inspiration to you? In terms of historical research (my books are non-fiction ancient history), I think Immanuel Velikovsky. Although his conclusions have been widely discredited, I was amazed at the boldness of his thinking and it was that aspect that inspired me to do my own off-the-wall research. If you had access to the T.A.R.D.I.S, where and when would you go? Troy, although I might leave before it fell! What's next for you? I have had a couple of years off (revising my text book among other things), but I have one or two other ancient mysteries that I have been investigating and which may turn into books. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? I’ve no idea, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t civil engineer / writer (which is what I am).
If your book(s) were to be made into film, who would you like to see in the cast? They are a bit tricky to make into films other than re-enactments perhaps, but I think Harrison Ford is now old enough to make a good action-man Noah. What three songs make up the soundtrack to your life?
‘Space Oddity’ by David Bowie (Ground control to Major Tom) ‘Amazing Grace’ by John Newton ‘Land of my Fathers’ by Evan James – I’m not Welsh but it still stirs me
Grammarâ€”The Importance of a Space Stephen Taylor
A secretary got an expensive pen as a gift from her boss. She sent him a 'Thank you note' by email.
The Boss's wife read the email and filed for divorce. The email says: "Your penis wonderful. I enjoyed using it last night. It has extra ordinary smooth flow, and a firm stroke. Initially its tip had to be licked to bring it to working order. I loved its perfect size and grip. Felt like I was in heaven when using it. I've always desired it and you fulfilled my wish. Thanks a lot" Moral: A "space" is an essential part in English.
Update from John Baird Hello pen-pushers, remember me? I used to be your chair. I’m still running the NWUK blog so please email me with any items you’d like to go on there. ‘Editor Wars’ A couple of months ago, I proposed that we have a competition for our editors. The idea being that an exclusive, unedited short story be emailed out to them all for a copy edit and proofread. They’d each have one month to finish the edit and the various versions would all be put online, for writers to see the different ways that each editor approaches the same text. I had suggested we did this in December but that didn’t go down so well. They understandably also wanted a shorter story than I suggested. So, the competition will happen later this year, with a 1000 word story. Writers: If you have a short piece of fiction (full story, adult, any genre) of approximately 1000
words in length - that has never been seen before - then email it to me and I’ll consider it for the competition. Obviously your story will be subjected to a good going over from several editors and, potentially, your mistakes will be viewed by thousands, but, on the plus side, your story might get a free professional copy edit and proof read from several experts so it’s worth thinking about. John Baird
THE BIG BEESTON BOOK READ New Writers UK ‘Book of the Year’ 2013 competition is ‘The Big Beeston Book Read’. It is becoming something of a tradition that the winner of the previous year’s competition should organise the next one. So Alan Dance, whose entry Leen Times won ‘The Great Kimberley Book Read’ in 2012, chose Beeston Library to host this year’s competition. Eight books, all published by members during the past year, have been entered, and each of the authors has donated four copies of their books to the Nottinghamshire County Library Service, and these will then remain as part of their stock for future readers to enjoy. The eight books are: A Dilemma for Jamie, by Angela Rigley Break, by Myella Jayne McCarthy Day of the Dolls, by Morgan Maelor-Jones Jenno’s Gangs, by Peter St. John Memoirs of the Damned, by Yasir Hayat Ripples and Shadows, by Stephen Taylor Sarcophagus, by Tom Bryson The Express Diaries, by Nick Marsh The competition was launched by the Mayor of Broxtowe, Councillor Iris White, on Saturday morning 20th July at Beeston Library, since when members of the public have been able to borrow any of the books from Beeston Library and give them a score between 1 and 10. The competition closes on Saturday 21st December after which the scores will be assessed and the winner selected. The presentation ceremony will take place on Saturday 25th January 2014 at Beeston Library at 11.00, the winner receiving the award from popular BBC Radio host John Holmes. Everyone is welcome to attend. DIRECTIONS TO BEESTON LIBRARY Beeston Library (NG9 1AE) is at the top of Foster Avenue, Beeston (this is a cul-de -sac). There is a council car park on Foster Avenue free for 1 hour, then pay and display. However, due to tram extension work, and the closure to through traffic of Chilwell Road Beeston, it is better to park in the Sainsbury car park (NG9 2LA) free for 3 hours. The library is only 2 minutes walk away. The Sainsbury store is on Wollaton Road (A6006) and is best accessed from the A52, Nottingham to Derby Road. Leave the A52 at the Nurseryman pub, into Wollaton Road , up the hill and down the other side, until you reach the Cricketers pub on the left and the Commercial Inn on the right. Turn left into Cross Street for the Sainsbury car park. Walk across Wollaton Road, and along the side of the Commercial Inn to the library. Beeston is also well served by buses from Nottingham. If you have any further queries about directions, you can ring Alan Dance on 0115 9678460.
Readers Recommended Self-Published Authors The Guardian has, just this month, published its list of reader recommended selfpublished works. The link to this is here: http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2013/dec/05/ readers-recommended-self-published-authors Finally, self-published authors are getting the recognition they deserve and are no longer being relegated to the realm of the ‘vanity publisher’. We at New Writers UK have always championed the indie author and are overjoyed to see authors that are not traditionally published achieving the recognition they deserve. Between this list, and the statement that over a quarter of all Kindle downloads in the US were from independent publishers; we know that we are heading in the right (or should that be ‘write’) direction. Below are a couple of paragraphs to whet your whistle should you wish to read the whole article: “Back in June, we started a new series dedicated to highlighting the best English language self-published books. To make our self-publishing showcase a success, we asked you to tell us about the good self-published books you had discovered. There are hundreds of thousands of books published each year: we needed the wisdom of the crowd to find the needles in that towering, intimidating haystack. Thanks to everyone who has added a recommendation to our list. Our spreadsheet now contains over 3,200 authors, enabling us to find and feature some great authors.” Rather wonderfully, included on this list, is New Writers UK friend, Helen Hollick: • Harold the King by Helen Hollick, recommended by EarlGodwin: 'In 2008 I picked up Harold the King by accident. I thought it was "true history", rather than historical fiction, and subsequently tossed it across the room in disgust. Six months later, after tripping on it and nearly breaking my neck, I decided to give it a glance… What I discovered was a tremendously well written and historically honest story that I could not put down.' There is every possibility that The Guardian may make this an annual list. How long before we see New Writers UK Members filling up the spaces?
“I’ve been told my book needs to be proof-read and edited. It’s my story! I don’t want to lose my ‘voice’. Editors are just going to change everything I want to keep.” “I know I should get into things like Facebook and Twitter, but I haven’t a clue where to start!” “I’ve got my Facebook page set up, but I simply don’t have the time to run it.”
“I’d love to get my book out there more, how can I get more reviews?” “I’d love to be more active with local press, where on Earth do I start?” Any of the above sound familiar? Author Press is the brainchild of Rachel Malone, an experienced proof-reader and copy-editor, she has recently branched out into publicity and marketing for the independent author. “So many times I hear the same things, and there are authors out there whose work should be read but they get overlooked for a variety of reasons. I hate seeing writers giving up on their dreams simply because they’re not getting any further towards their goal.” Getting publicity can be extremely difficult for independently published authors and Rachel is offering publicity packages that include Blog Tours, contact with local radio stations and press releases for local newspapers. Blog Tours are a fantastic way of getting your book out to millions of potential readers, bloggers are usually more than happy to have something different for a week. Organising the tours, however, is rarely straightforward. All of the packages can be tailored to suit depending on your need.
For more information, You can visit www.rachelmalone.co.uk or contact Author Press via Facebook, give us a call on 07771 601431 or drop us an email at email@example.com
Thanks to our website gremlins, our new members can't be put on yet, so for the time being, we'd like to introduce you to our latest two new members Susan Lintell and Elisabeth Merrion. Susan is the Channel Islands based author of 'Ninja Marketing', a fantastic approach to marketing that really needs to be checked out. Elisabeth is the author of 'The Night I Danced with Rommel'. This is a personal story, based on facts that has garnered some rave reviews including: "A wonderful story of Hilde's life from a young girl and the run up to and during the 2nd World War. Her home and family life in East Prussia, her love for her husband Karl, her friends and struggle of bringing up a family on her own during difficult times, A very emotional must read!" It is fantastic to welcome these two new members to our fold.
Watch this space in future editions for our latest events and signings. In the meanwhile, all of us at New Writers UK would like to wish you all the best and encourage you all to keep writing! We look forward to seeing old faces and new in 2014.
For further information on upcoming events, please check our website www.newwritersuk.co.uk and our Facebook group page.