Tag Archives: Bridge House Publishing

Being The Writer

One of the things we writers have to work on is confidence when it comes to sharing our work. The first time I did this was at a writing group meeting. I had just joined the year or so after I lost Lee. So personally I have to say I was lacking in my usual drive and some of that came from grief. Some of that also came from never really knowing if the writing was any good. But in the end I did read out, I was receptive to feedback and that in the end led to success.

I think the first time I had to read at the launch of my first publishing success (Making Changes, Bridge House Publishing, 2008) I was pretty scared because now there were a lot more people than in the writing group meetings. But you know, only you know how your work should really sound and therefore you know how it ought to be read.

The more successes I had, the more I was able to share and read my work until that day when my novel was launched and there was I having to read (just me in the spotlight) and in an African Amercian accent don’t ya know! Now I do enjoy reading and have done so many times and with a microphone! The more we do it, the easier it becomes. But I know one or two writers who still suffer with nerves, but they are also at the beginning of the journey and it will get better 🙂

So let me share some photos of the fab writers who read from Baubles and The Best of CafeLit at the launch in London this past Saturday… and brilliant they all were… I have not used the word brilliant for a long time I have to say!!!

 

Gallery… not in the order they read…

chris

Chris Bowles

dianne-stadhams

Dianne Stadhams

margaret-bulleyment

Margaret Bulleyment

mary-bevanMary Bevan

mike-olley

Mike Olley

paula-r-c-readman

Paula R C Readman

penny-dale

Penny Dale

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Waiting for the guests…

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Buy our books!

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Don’t be scared, Paula…

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Yvette Gyles greeting writer, Clare Weze

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What is a collection of writers called?

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Dad… with writer Elizabeth…

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Writing Tweets and sharing tips!

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Thanks to all those who came to celebrate the launch of our books!

And the theme for next time is Gliterary Tales! Opens for submissions January 1, closes March 31st

www.bridgehousepublishing.co.uk 

Also check out www.cafelit.co.uk always open for stories!

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Baubles, Bangles and… Book Launches!

Well, what a wonderful weekend it was and many many thanks to all those who came along to the launch of the new Bridge House collection Baubles and The Best of CafeLit 5! And this year no stolen handbag! That always helps!

The event took place in the Prince of Wales Pub not far from Chalk Farm tube and we had the room upstairs. It was altogether a much better venue than last year and everyone agreed we ought to book it again for next year!

A HUGE thanks to my business partner and friend, Dr Gill James, for organising it, and for the input from daughter, Yvette Gyles, who did a great talk on marketing!

The speed dating at the start that makes you move table, and talk to other people was a great idea again. We also shared news, tips, wrote dynamic tweets and had some fab readings which I live-tweeted photos of!

So here are the books for you to rush out and order online and please please post reviews to raise the profile of our little books!

baubles-cover

Buy me

best-of-cafelit-5

Buy Me

And tomorrow some photos of the event!

And I will tell you more about the Bridge House theme for next year!

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The Bearer of Good Tidings…

I have said on here before how much I love it when I get to say YES to people — especially writers.  As one myself, I have waited on news and seen my stories accepted for a number of collections. It’s a great feeling! So this weekend I got to don my editor/publisher hat and share the news with the writers we have accepted for inclusion in the 2016 Bridge House Anthology 🙂 Yay! BIG SMILEY FACE.

With a busy past few weeks, and a busy weekend, also helping people celebrate life milestones, I had to find the time to let the writers know the news and to update the Bridge House website (link below). We had chosen by the end of June deadline but with so many good ones we still had some on our ‘maybe’ piles that Gill and I had to choose from. So it took an extra week of re-reading and discussion but we got there in the end. We have a great collection, yippee!

If you sent us a story and it wasn’t chosen this time, do make sure you look at the story again, tweak if need be and re-submit to another competition or publisher. Bear in mind that while some stories are rejected because we don’t feel the writing or the story is strong enough, sometimes it’s rejected because it doesn’t quite fit the selection — so all kinds of factors come into play. We can’t offer personal feedback as we have too many for that, but I always dealt with rejection by then re-examining the work, changing if I felt it needed it and re-submitting 🙂 I have had rejected stories accepted or WIN competitions like that. So please don’t be too disheartened.

But for the ones who did make it in — very well done folks! Contracts have been sent out with acceptance emails and we have a party to plan for December! We usually launch this collection at the same time as the next Best of CafeLit, so we will be choosing those soon too!

And you know, while we have just passed the half-way point of 2016, we are now going to be in full gallop towards the 2016 Christmas celebrations (paused for scared face… no on second thoughts make that ‘excited face’ as personally that will be the party of all parties if my plans all go right!) the launch will be here before we know it!

Bridge House Link

So above is the link and please start the week passing on good wishes to all the successful writers… oh and another celebration this weekend was for Murray! WELL DONE THAT MAN!

That is all, may life’s celebrations fill your week!

champs

Celebrate everything! It’s great to be alive!

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When Writers Meet

Just a short post this morning after a weekend of fun… and frustration.

Saturday saw the annual Christmas get together for Bridge House and CafeLit where we launched both collections at Waxy O’Connors pub off Leicester Square in London. This was a different venue for us as our usual was booked and what a quirky place with all kind of cubby holes and nooks, a bit Harry Potterish! I stood at the door and lead people around to our cordoned off section as I was sure people would be walking around in circles, as I was when I first arrived, looking for Gill!

The place had a great atmosphere although we discovered that the acoustics were a challenge for reading, and a thoroughfare to the kitchen meant a little busy. However it was wonderful seeing so many writers, some I knew, some I was meeting for the first time! I just think it’s important to bring writers together to celebrate their successes. I did try to get some good photos but with my phone they were a little dim but some shared here anyway.

photo 1 (1) photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 (1) photo 3 photo 4 (1) photo 4

 

The only dampener on the day (apart from acoustics) was the theft of my handbag which stupidly I left on the table with my books and notes when we talked… since the area was reserved for us I thought it was safe but not so… so I had to cancel all by cards (that someone tried to use) and lost house keys, sentimental things like pens that had been gifts and keyrings, my business cards (thankfully bearing no home address) and reading glasses which was the stinger as has cost me a fair bit to order new ones. However, and this is important, there are far worse things going on in the world right now so a little carelessness was a lesson to me and this time next week will be remembered just as that. Yesterday I was treated to a new handbag, replaced my favourite lippy, ordered new glasses, ready readers in the meantime… and well, all will be well. In time the keyring and pens will be replaced and I needed new business cards anyway!

 

But just a word of warning to be careful…

That is all!

Was great to see so many people there!

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A Bridge Between Two Worlds

I am a writer: first and foremost that is what I am. But I remember when I first started to submit thinking how little I really knew about the world I was trying to dip my toe into. It almost felt like an invisible barrier I placed between what I wanted and what I was. Rejection, while serving as the fuel to drive those dreams harder, also made that barrier stronger, until I  found a way to break it down slowly and walk tentatively across.

Working for a small publisher and then actually editing for a larger one later taught me, that like anything, experience, tenacity and hard work are key to success. The more you write the better you become, so long as you get feedback and keep at it. I still have much to learn and often stand on the bridge between the worlds thinking about who I really am and what I really want to happen next. But now I realise anything is possible, with a lot of hope, determination and sometimes a sprinkle of fairy dust. Just don’t give up.

That world we seek isn’t really so far away and that bridge isn’t really so long. Just make sure you’re prepared for the journey. Find out about what lies the other side before you take that tentative step.

Yesterday I watched with excitement as they announced the short list for the Bath Short Story Award, now into its third year. I was proud to win the first one, the inaugural award and have not entered since as you can’t beat that, so now I am looking forward to seeing who wins this one.

And yesterday I also had the pleasure of finalising the selection of stories for the new Bridge House collection. Gill and I worked together sharing our favourite stories and thinking about how they’d work together in a collection called Snowflakes, literally and also metaphorically, stories with intricate layering. All the successful authors should now have been notified and the list of names will appear on the website too. I guess I also straddle both sides of that bridge as well, both submitting and being the writer as well as being the giver of good news as the publisher (albeit a small press) and also the editor. When you work in both worlds, the bridge seems shorter.

No mountain cannot be climbed.

No story cannot be written.

No dream cannot be realised.

Have a wonderful day.

Bridges

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Publisher Hat on and Workloads!

I now have some editing work after a bit of a slow time and some more due in soon so I hope things are picking up!

But in a way is has meant I have been able to devote my working time almost exclusively to the various publishing projects in the current proverbial pipeline! The end of the year for me as a publisher is a busy time.

After selecting and editing my chosen stories in the Bridge House Collection the book is now in its final proof ready for the printer — thanks to Gill and Martin. I am bogged under with proofing so thank goodness the authors also get to check their stories as my time is limited. Great job guys!

With Paws I have two books: Wild n Free Forever which needs a proof read before I upload it to the printer, I am alone on that one so anyone fancy proofing, shout! Don’t all shout at once! It’s all for charity of course and I can only give a free book for your help!

The Poetry book has been a lot of work and has taken a lot of time as we are up against it with the process taking longer than I thought, so it is now with Bridge House’s designer who has offered to set it for free, but since it’s just under 100 poems, 32 illustrations, 7 photos and logos, book covers in ads, there is a lot of messing I fear! But I know we will get there!

My biggest fears are getting the names wrong when you have to spell so many unusual names from around the world, and with poems editing and checking layouts etc meant individual emails to all, it’s great but a LONG process! The good news is we are getting closer…

I love the small press things I do, they taught me not only about writing itself, but copy editing, proofing, layouts and I feel, that with tiny presses, it’s what they do at the big publishing houses, just on a smaller scale! And you get to learn process! Project management I guess. Love it!

Of course we do all of this for free and while I lose money with Wild n Free projects (hence having a break after this year — boo) I do it for love and the proceeds go to a good cause! With Bridge House we get a free Christmas dinner every year. But as I have said before, it’s not always about the money. Do it from the heart.

So this isn’t intended as a rant, when I see those children at the two launch events holding their books I will know it has all been worthwhile! Same with the adults at the Bridge House event, in fact I will be at a lot of events!

BTW: still tickets to the Bridge House Launch Party £16 a ticket in London, buffet and one free drink included. We will be talking all things publishing in a panel discussion, power to the short story, so if you fancy it, here’s the link: December 6th (Saturday):   LINK

And there are still places on my free Wild n Free Forever party for the children here: LINK

Have a great Thursday!

Here’s the cover by the way! Cover artist, Year 8’s Morgan Joy Ashby from Scotland!

Wild n Free Forever Cover (Final)

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In The Spotlight Guest Author Laura Wilkinson

I have a very special guest in the  spotlight today — some of you already know, the talented Laura Wilkinson whose first novel BloodMining won the first and only Bridge House Publishing Debut Novel prize and has since gone onto to have great sucesses.

Laura’s new novel is now out and after we met Kit last week with her novel based around the miner’s strike I want to introduce you to Laura’s novel — downloaded and waiting to be read, along with Kit’s. Both inspired by the same period in history but very different. So I hope you, like me, will read both and see how the writers handled it.

So without further ado I would like to hand my blog over to Laura …

Welcome Laura Wilkinson

Welcome Laura Wilkinson

Laura Photo

 

Remembering our Foremothers by Laura Wilkinson

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike, an industrial dispute which divided the nation like no other and whose effects are still reverberating today. The role of women in the furore cannot be overestimated. The strike made feminists of many miners’ wives – women formerly used to fulfilling a very traditional role – and after the conflict, there was no turning back.

My novel, Public Battles, Private Wars, is set against the backdrop of the strike and tells the story of a young wife and mother who finds her voice, and love, during a time of great hardship and struggle. I have been asked why I’m interested in an industrial dispute decades old, who wants to read a feminist novel, and what relevance does it have for modern women?

I answer these questions by quoting Elie Wiesel: ‘Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilisation, no society, no future.’

While I was researching the novel, I spoke with a number of the women involved, miners’ partners and women from the political movements who rallied round – Labour Party activists, Marxists, Feminists and others – about the often profound impact of the strike.

Memory is key to our identity, image and awareness, and for many women, the conflict was a defining period in their lives.

I have my own memories. My step-father was a steelworker, an industry crushed by MacGregor and Thatcher before they turned to coal, and my mother was an important role model. Growing up in a working class family in the 70s, I was unaware of the feminist movement until I studied for a degree in Manchester. Whether or not she wore the badges, read the books and attended the marches (though we did visit Greenham on route to a CND demonstration when I was a child) my mother was undoubtedly a feminist, and her involvement in local politics had already helped shape her identity – she took public office as a town and county councillor, as well as becoming mayor of our town. My stepfather was also a feminist, though he too would never have described himself as such. Even before he lost his job, there was never any question of him not pulling his weight in the home, with cooking and cleaning and shopping and so on. Theirs is a relationship of equals with the mutual respect this implies. In this, we were different from many friends’ families in the rural Welsh town I grew up in.

When the miners came out on strike, I was in my first year of an English degree. Like so many of my fellow students, I marched and rattled buckets. My mother helped the women of the Point of Ayr Colliery and it was women like my mother who became role models for women who previously lacked confidence and belief in their abilities.

There is a stack of writing about the strike, but the bulk of it is non-fiction and none of the three novels I’m aware of focus on the women. Until now, with the release of Public Battles, Private Wars and Kit Habianic’s novel. While much of the non-fiction available makes for compelling reading, nothing sticks in the memory quite like stories. Narratives evoke emotion, take readers on journeys and allow them to walk in others’ shoes, to live the life vicarious, and learn from the experience.

There is still widespread oppression of women across the globe, but as the women’s role in the miners’ strike demonstrates, there is power in collective action and the cross fertilisation of ideas. History (herstory) is important because we learn lessons from our pasts, collective and individual, and it helps us to understand our present and shape our future.

Public Battles, Private Wars is published by Accent Press.

Yorkshire 1983

Miner’s wife Mandy is stuck in a rut. Her future looks set and she wants more. But Mandy can’t do anything other than bake and raise her four children. Husband Rob is a good looking drinker, content to spend his days in the small town where they live.

When a childhood friend – beautiful, clever Ruth – and her Falklands war hero husband, Dan, return to town, their homecoming is shrouded in mystery. Mandy looks to Ruth for inspiration, but Ruth isn’t all she appears.

Conflict with the Coal Board turns into war and the men come out on strike. The community and its way of life is threatened. Mandy abandons dreams of liberation from the kitchen sink and joins a support group. As the strike rumbles on relationships are pushed to the brink, and Mandy finds out who her true friends are.

Here’s a buy link:

AMAZON

E-book is on special offer at the moment too – just £1.

You can find out more about Laura and the novel, including Book Group Questions, here: http://laura-wilkinson.co.uk

Accent are running a giveaway over at Goodreads. There are 6 paperbacks up for grabs. Competition ends 25 April: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21488069-public-battles-private-wars

 

 

Thanks so much Laura and I have to say I am looking forward to this — so come on followers and get buying!

Have a great day everyone! Something amazing is about to happen, if you believe!

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