Uni update: Week ?

I haven’t done a uni update for a few weeks, have I?

Sorry about that. I changed my medication during reading week and I’m still adjusting. Since then I’ve had two days at university. In week six(?) we started talking about ghost stories; what makes a ghost story, why people read them, etc. and watched a bit of ‘Spirited Away’.

I had started my ghost story, I’d already written one but it wasn’t long enough so I’m saving it to enter in to a short story  competition, probably the on-going monthly Writer’s Forum magazine competition. I’m waiting until I have some money though, because I want to pay the extra for a critique. Over the weekend, between weeks 6 and 7, I finished a second ghost story, which I hope to use as my assignment piece, because I don’t have much more in me in the way of ghost stories, not at the minute anyway.

In week 7 we talked about ghost stories we liked, and I borrowed a Dean Koontz book from my tutor. I read it in one sitting. It’s called Odd Apocalypse, and is part of a series. I don’t know if you’ve read it? I quite enjoyed it. I think I’ve tried to read it before and couldn’t get on with it but this time I could. Interesting characters and plot, and a different take on the ghost story/haunted house idea.

Other than giving each other feedback, I think we’ve pretty much finished ghost stories. Half the lesson last week was about what to do next, dissertations, getting published, that sort of thing. I told our tutor I had three complete novels and another five (at least) planned. He asked what I was doing with them. ME: Nothing, because I don’t know what to do next.

I have decided to try to enter more competitions. So far I’ve entered the ‘Writers and Artists Short Story Competition’ which was free – that was in February, and last night I entered the ‘Writer’s Forum Flash Comp 186’, which was also free because I’m a subscriber to the magazine, with a little sci-fi flash I wrote yesterday morning and left to bubble for 12 hours before I edited and sent it off. I’ve started another sci-fi short story that I’m going to enter in the ‘Writing Magazine’ competition later in the year. One of their monthly competitions had a sci-fi theme, so I’m going to try to enter that.

I’m going to enter ‘Hidden Fire’ in some ‘first chapters’ and first novel competitions, once I get my next student loan payment. The entry fees are about £15 – £30 so I’m going to have to be selective.

This week we are supposed to be sharing the first part of our ghost stories in class; since I already have mine written and it’s 3061 words I’ve shared it with my classmates already so I don’t have to read the whole thing out but can still get some feedback on it. I’m hoping to get some decent feedback, and to get more insight into what the hell I’m supposed to do next with my novels.

On Saturday I will be in Nottingham for the East Midlands Writer’s Conference. It will be a long day, as I have to catch the train at 7 a.m. and I won’t be home again until half seven in the evening, at the earliest (depending on whether I can get a lift from the station or not). I am looking forward to it, even if the thought of sitting in a room with a hundred-plus other people is uncomfortable. I have everything planned, down to which tram to get from the university to the train station in Nottingham on Saturday afternoon. The train tickets have been booked and delivered, I have my information pack printed out. I should be okay but I’m prepared. The new medication is definitely helping with the anxiety.

 

Also, awesome writer and course rep, Jo, has started her own book review blog. Go and see her work at https://feedmebooksblog.wordpress.com/. Also, she has a YA romance e-book out on amazon.co.uk, called ‘Hello World’, which she wrote a few years ago. It’s good, and she’s an even better writer now, so look out for more of her work.

In other news, my friend Michelle Conner released the paperback of her new novella ‘The Bound‘ yesterday and the e-book is released tomorrow.

 

Review: ‘Let The Dead Speak’, by Jane Casey

Published by: Harper Collins UK

Publication Date: 9th March 2017

Format: Ebook

I.S.B.N.: 9780008149000

Price: £9.99

Available here

When an 18-year-old girl returns home to find her house covered in blood and her mother missing, Detective Maeve Kerrigan and the murder squad must navigate a web of lies to discover the truth… When eighteen-year-old Chloe Emery returns to her West London home she finds Kate, her mother, missing and the house covered in blood. There may not be a body, but everything else points to murder. Maeve Kerrigan is young, ambitious and determined to prove she’s up to her new role as detective sergeant. In the absence of a body, she and maverick detective Josh Derwent turn their attention to the neighbours. The ultra-religious Norrises are acting suspiciously; their teenage
daughter definitely has something to hide. Then there’s William Turner, once accused of stabbing a schoolmate and the neighbourhood’s favourite criminal. Is he merely a scapegoat or is there more behind the charismatic façade? As the accusations fly, Maeve must piece together a patchwork of conflicting testimonies, none of which quite add up. Who is lying, who is not? The answer could lead them to the truth about Kate Emery, and save the life of someone else.

My Review

I read this novel in one seven-hour sitting. Despite being exhausted I couldn’t put it down, because I had to find out what happened next. This is a tightly written crime thriller, packed with suspense and an unexpected twist. The characters are rounded and well written, although I found the evangelicals a little stereotypical. The relationship between Maeve Kerrigan and Josh Derwent, at once confrontational and affectionate really draws the reader in as they discover the secrets of Kate Emery and her neighbours.

4/5

Author Spotlight: Michelle Conner

A local YA author is releasing her new book on 21st March, which will be free via Kindle Unlimited. Michelle Conner is a published poet and painter, as well as a writer of YA fantasy and she designs e-book covers for other authors. She is married with three children and a dog, and writes around her family life.

Her author Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/Authormichelleconnor.

Her website is: michelleconnorauthor.co.uk

Her cover design page is: www.facebook.com/michelle.ebookcoversonline/

The website for this is: http://ebookcovers.online/

She is also a personal friend; the first time we met, in December 2015, we talked for four hours almost constantly about books. I read some of the early drafts, so naturally I am biased.

Continue reading

Uni: Week 5 – Last week of Life-writing

Yesterday was our last life-writing workshop; I think I’m beginning to get there, and so is everyone else. I’ve made a few changes to my piece and now I’m working through my essay. It’s about half written.

It was a quiet day other than that. I drank a couple of cups of chai latte, had a natter with people before the workshop, nothing exciting happened. I cried a bit during the readings, but then I’ve been a little low and emotional this past week or so. I’m feeling better now and I have a few more ideas for my essay, so I’ll probably work on it tomorrow afternoon.

Next half-term we will be studying ghost stories and have to write one as an assignment. I’m listening to ‘Turn of the Screw’, and I have a few other books to read, including M.R. James’ ghost stories, and a book about critical approached to ghost stories.