Friday, 7 April 2017

'The Cold' is going to be published.

Some of you may have noticed (or not :-)) that I've taken The Cold down from one of my charity-fundraising-novel-blogging-blogs. Ooh, that was tongue-twister, if ever I heard one! The reason – which I’m extremely excited about - is it will be published by HarperCollins – HQ Digital, with all my royalties going to the cancer charity I'm raising money for.

I can’t begin to describe how thrilled I was today when the signed contract dropped onto my doormat. It now feels so real.

Thanks again to EVERYONE who has supported my novel-blogging by donating and sharing the news, making it possible for me to raise £400 so far.

I'm hoping the figure will go up once The Cold is published, and I’m also hoping some more pennies may trickle in through Phototime,  which I’m going to leave up on my other novel-blog for a wee bit longer, if anyone would still like to read it HERE.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Guest Post: The Beachside Sweet Shop by Karen Clarke

I’m not only thrilled to be inviting a brilliant writer to my blog today, but also a lovely friend.

The very talented Karen Clarke is here to answer a few questions about her shiny new book The Beachside Sweet Shop. And I’ve also been super-nosey and discovered her favourite books, sweets as a child, and other interesting snippets.

So without further waffle, I’m going to open a jar of Rhubarb and Custards for us to share, and welcome Karen to my blog.

What was the first book you read that made you cry?

I can’t remember the first, but Me Before You by JoJo Moyes had me blubbering recently. I don’t like a sad ending, but accept that sometimes it’s the only one that works.


What was the first book you read that made you laugh out loud?

The Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 and three quarters, by Sue Townsend, and the rest of the series was funny too.

Which character in The Beachside Sweet Shop would you get on with best, and why?

Marnie’s best friend, Beth, who as well as being supportive and fun, is grounded and sure of herself, and knows what she wants from life.

If you could give your younger-writing-self advice, what would it be?

Start now! Life was always getting in the way, and I do wish I’d started my writing career earlier. But maybe I wasn’t ready.

What was your favourite sweet, growing up?

I loved toffee whirls. My gran used to bring a little sweet-shop paper bag of them whenever she visited.

How did you select the names of the characters in The Beachside Sweet Shop?

If nothing springs to mind right away, I look up names that were popular during the year my characters were born. Sometimes see a name I like in the credits of a film or TV programme, and I’ve been known to pluck names from Facebook J

What was your hardest scene to write in The Beachside Sweet Shop?

I struggle with sexy scenes, imagining my mum reading them, so it would be the encounter between Marnie and Josh in the stockroom!

What is your favourite childhood book?

I loved Enid Blyton, so probably The Magic Faraway Tree.

Which character in The Beachside Sweet Shop would you least get on with, and why?

I wouldn’t get on with Isabel, as she thinks she’s a cut above everyone in Shipley, and isn’t interested in getting along with her neighbours.

Have you ever met anyone famous, and, if so, were you in awe?

On holiday a few years ago, we were served at a farmer’s market by Elizabeth Hurley (she has her own brand of sausages) and I did feel a wee bit star-struck.

***
Thank you so much for visiting, Karen.

The Beachside Sweet Shop is available on Amazon  HERE for 99p, which is an absolute bargain.  I guarantee you’ll love it!


Friday, 3 March 2017

Short Stories and Novels

I’m thrilled to bits to have a story in the latest People’s Friend Special (number 136) called ‘They Also Serve’ that I mentioned in an earlier blog post. The story means a lot to me, as it was based on my father’s time as an evacuee, so I’m delighted The Friend published it. I’ve obviously used poetic licence, but the core of the story is what happened to my father.  He's almost 87 now, but he remembers that time as if it was yesterday.

I’ve also got a story in this week’s My Weekly,  called ‘Winter’s End’. My inspiration for that story came from walking on the beach in winter, always something I love to do.  So it does just show that inspiration for stories come from just about everywhere.  Although sometimes I must admit that inspiration packs its bags and takes a holiday - I hate those times.


I've also had pick-me-up-off-the-floor EXCITING news about my novel The Cold, which, as you know from my endless posts on the subject, I’ve been blogging for Cancer Research.  I’m not sure if I can say any more than that at the moment, so better not, but I can say the news will mean I will be able to raise so much more for Cancer Research – so YAY YAY YAY.   I'll be sharing more news as soon as I can, well that's if I don't burst before that!

I’m still blogging Phototime HERE if anyone would like to read it. So far I’ve raised £381 for Cancer Research – which is unbelievably AMAZING. So thank you again to everyone who has donated or helped promote my venture or helped in any way at all - you're all fantastic!








In other exciting news (as if that wasn't enough) my lovely friend Karen Clarke’s book 1 in her Beachside series is now available to buy HERE.

The Beachside Sweet Shop is a feel good rom-com, that I can vouch is a wonderful read.





Wednesday, 15 February 2017

£277 RAISED SO FAR FOR CANCER RESEARCH BY NOVEL BLOGGING.

Okay, I know I’ve probably out stayed my welcome with posts about raising money for Cancer Research by blogging my novels. So this is the last one, I promise-ish.  I honestly, truly, will be posting about other writerly things very soon!  I have plans. Lots of plans.

But I just wanted to do one more plug, to say both novels are now up in their entirety, if you fancied having a read.

THE COLD - a suspense novel with a twist....

Isla Johnson survived an attack by serial killer Carl Jeffery six years ago, which left her psychologically damaged at the time.

Now, after being happy with Jack for three years, things have taken a turn.  An odd university reunion arranged by her first boyfriend; sightings of someone dressed like Carl Jeffery; and who is the mysterious Andy?   Is Isla in danger, or is she losing her mind?

You can read the novel by clicking HERE 








PHOTOTIME – a magical, humorous journey into manhood.

At the age of 23, Isaac’s dad has died, his mum has disappeared in Australia, and he's fallen in love.

He meets Cillian, a man in his fifties, who is on a quest of his own to find his long lost brother.

Cillian teaches Isaac about Phototime – a way of visiting the five minutes after a photograph was taken – and the unlikely pair set out on a comical, magical adventure that takes Isaac on a journey into manhood.

You can start reading the novel by clicking HERE






You are very welcome to read for free, but if you read and enjoy (or even if you don’t J) and would like to donate £2 to Cancer Research that would be blummin’ marvellous.   My Just Giving page can be found HERE or on the novel blogs.

Thank you to all who have already given, and to those who have been so brilliantly promoting my venture. You are ALL fantastic.As the post title suggests, I’ve already raised £277 so far, which is brilliant. WHOOP!

And thank you to Helen who invited me to guest post on her blog HERE and Maria who invited me to guest post HERE and Teresa who shared my venture HERE.  I very much appreciate your help, ladies, THANK YOU.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Who invented blogging, and has it died a death?


Apparently a young man called Justin Hall created the first blog on Links.net in 1994, and he called it his personal homepage. Online diaries and journals have been about since around that time. Of course, they weren’t known as blogs, but it was the start of blogging as we know it.  

The blog was independently invented by Ian Ring, in 1997, and lots more on the evolution of blogging can be found HERE

My own step into blogging came in 2008, when I set up another blog in the name of Annie Bright, and talked about my dream to have a story published one day. 

Annie Bright
Eventually, when I sold a story to My Weekly, and came out of the Annie Bright closet and said who I really was – and I’m glad I did, as I made so many super friends through blogging.

I moved here in 2009 and blogged manically for a few years, before joining Facebook, like so many other bloggers, and ended up neglecting my blog – but I do sometimes miss those day, when writing and blogging was shiny new.  And I have wondered, since I ventured back into the world of blogging, whether it’s not what it once was. It is extremely quiet compared to how it had once been.

I suppose people live such hectic lives, so Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vlogging and the like, get our points across so quickly.

But you know what? I still think there’s a place for blogging, and there are still some fantastic blogs out there for writers and just about everything else.

Like Womag’s Blog – which was started by the lovely Kath McGurl, and is now run by the equally lovely Patsy Collins. Both fabulous writers.  It was definitely my go-to place when I started writing short stories for women’s magazines, and I still pop over as it’s updated regularly by Patsy. And I'd really recommend it to new writers.

Of course, if blogging didn’t exist *my novel The Cold wouldn’t even have a storyline, as many of the chapters are written as a travel blog, and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to blog my novels at all.  And I've been in a super-lovely private blog since 2010, where writer friends post stories and generally chat about this and that, and that's all thanks to blogging.  And actually, you know what, I do quite like the slower pace here in Blogland.

So here’s a huge thank you to Justin Hall and Ian Ring, and everyone else involved in making blogging possible. Blogging still has a huge place on the internet and is still alive and kicking in my book. I still have a soft spot for it, and think I always will have.

*Yes, I did mention my novel again - sorry!

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

More Phototime Chapters

For those lovely people who are reading PHOTOTIME, I've just added three more chapters - HERE. 😊

And here is a taster of Chapter 3.


The man’s cropped dark hair was flecked with grey, and he was wearing a short-sleeved checked shirt that gaped around his stomach, and squeezed his upper arms. He shoved his hands in the pockets of his bright green shorts and rocked back on his flip-flops.
‘I’m looking for Kate O’Donnell. I’m her son,’ I called.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Finding your voice as a writer

I admit, this old chestnut has flummoxed me since I began writing fiction nine years ago. 

I was told by my super Open University tutor, that I would need to find my voice in writing, but, even now, I don’t think I have.

Maybe it’s partly because I write short stories for magazines, and like to vary my style, depending on the magazine I’m writing for.  I’ve certainly developed a few voices for my short stories, four at last count. No, that doesn’t mean I have multiple personalities. Well I don’t think it does.

My problem with voice has extended to novels. The suspense thriller I’m editing now has a very different voice to Phototime, and in turn earlier novels I attempted had a different voice again.

Maybe with novels, it’s because I haven’t been published. I’m still trying to find a voice that captures the interest of the reader.

So it seems I’m still on a voice-discovering journey – even after all this time. It’s as though ‘the voice’ (no not the TV programme) is a bit like buried treasure I can’t find. And even if I did find it, would I recognise it?

I know I need to find a voice that makes my work unique and stand out. It needs to make the reader sit up, mute the TV, and say ‘Hang on, this is a jolly good voice, by jove.’ And not only that; they’ll recognise it next time. I need the voice to speak to the reader. I need a voice that’s individual.

No pressure there then.

Oh, and HERE’s a blog post with five steps to finding your writing voice.  

And another HERE about knowing your voice. 

Right, I'm off to have a look in the bottom of the wardrobe. I mean that’s got to be where C. S. Lewis found his voice, yes?





Thursday, 19 January 2017

PHOTOTIME - Chapter 2

So, in my continued effort to be novel-blogging brave.😀  Chapter 2 of my novel Phototime  is now up HERE, and below is a teeny-tiny snippet of the second chapter...

Isaac
I’m not going to lie, I got a huge buzz walking out on Olivia before she threw me out. I even sprayed my chest with her expensive perfume, for reasons I can’t quite explain.

Leaving a note telling her she could stick her job and her apartment, was up there in my best moments of all time – almost on a scale with being photographed with Stan Lee at Comic Con... 

Thursday, 12 January 2017

PHOTOTIME by AJ Brittany


I've decided to blog my novel, Phototime on a cozy, shiny-new blog, that I've set up HERE - in the hope to raise funds for Cancer Research, and you are SO welcome to visit.   













I completed Phototime…a comedy, fantasy, that I had so much fun writing, in early 2016. It was lucky enough to be seen by two publishers, who said nice things about it. 



But sadly it never happened. My balloon of hope burst, and I felt pretty deflated, I can tell you. 




So, I'm putting the whole book, a chapter a week, on my shiny new Phototime blog.

The first chapter is already up *gulps*, and I’ll put a taster on here each time I publish a new chapter.

I’m quaking at the thought of it, and have got everything crossed that if you decide to pop over (thank you so much if you do), you enjoy it. 

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Short story inspiration

Happy 2017 everyone.

So, it’s another brand new year.  And, like many of you, I always feel it’s a time for new beginnings. So here I am, AGAIN, attempting to be a good blogger, but this time I feel more determined than ever. 

Oh yes, I do!

Sadly, I haven’t written much since then end of October. The well of inspiration dried up on me, as the ill-health of loved ones took over all my thoughts. 

But I’m determined to get those creative juices flowing again.

But how do you do that?  How do you become inspired?  What triggers a story? How, when our heads are empty of ideas, do we create a short story?

Answers on a postcard please.

In the past, I’ve found inspiration from stories based on real-life. Like a story I have coming up in The People’s Friend that was based on an incident that happened to my father when he was an evacuee in World War II.  I took that incident, and created a fictional world around it, but all the time imagined my dad as a cheeky little boy of nine, as the main character. 

Other times, I’ve heard someone, often a child, say something very funny, and used that to kick-start a story.

Pictures are great triggers. 
This smashing illustration by Ruth Blair was sent to me by The People’s Friend, and I was asked to write a story to fit it.  The story didn’t come instantly, but I kept looking at the picture, and eventually it started to fall into place. It appeared in a December 2016 issue of The Friend.

So, the thing is, I should be able to do it again. But I’ve been struggling.

But then, as I was sorting through some old postcards to scan for my local history blog, one postcard, dated June  29th 1929, caught my attention.

It was of a local river, and I turned it over to see a message addressed to a Miss Parrot.

Dear Poll,
I am having a grand time here, hope you are the same...
This place is very pretty.  I went here the other day. The weather is nice, but very windy. I am writing postcards with no hat on. Simply lovely.
With love,
Bill Brightman.



My mind started whizzing.  Was Poll her real name, or a nickname because of her surname?  Was Bill a friend?  Did he love her?  Did she love him?  Why wasn’t she with him?  Had he got dark hair? Twinkly blue eyes?  Why had he sat by the river? Was he an artist? A successful one? Who else was he sending postcards to?  Did Polly Parrot wonder that too?  Did they end up together, and live happily ever after, or was Bill a bit of a cad?

So I now have my inspiration, and a story itching to be written. I just hope I can get it down.

And I think I just need to try to remember that when that well dries up, inspiration is everywhere.