A Lover of Books

Archive for the tag “collection of short stories”

Guest Post by Glenn McGoldrick

Gleen McGoldrick is a writer of short stories.  Today Glenn is on my blog with his very own story which I hope you enjoy reading.

 

My Story

Where to start? I liked writing as a kid. Yep. My stories at primary school. Tiger Man was one of them. I wrote and wrote, page after page. Can’t remember any of the story at all. I was probably around 7 years old. I just had the main character, Tiger Man. Total crap.

I won some kind of prize for it. Notepad? Jelly babies? Gold star? Something.

At secondary school I was The Man in English class; won the yearly prize plenty of times. I could spell. I was Mr Coleman’s favourite, when I wasn’t being a little bastard in class.

And I was a reader too. Oh, yes. I liked reading so much that I stole a nice collection from Mr Coleman’s shelves. All the classics, in really attractive covers. There were about ten copies of each book, so he didn’t really notice me skimming a book every couple of days.

And I was a reader. What did I read? Stephen King. Yeah, horror mostly; during my teens, I loved it. Westerns, too.

I kept a diary for a few years too. Found it helpful to write stuff down. But I stopped, in my early 20s. With my mother helping me, I tore up all my diaries, chucked them in the bin. Why? It felt like I was letting go. Of what? Moving on? From what? It felt therapeutic.

Now I have my writing ‘sessions’. Something bothers me, then I write about it, pages, free flow, let it rip. It’s personal, a conversation with me – that’s what I tell myself.

It’s a confessional, a chance to just get it all out, no editor, no censor, just throw it onto the page. Sometimes I’m scared of where it takes me.

Sometimes it takes me to dark places, upsetting places. Painful. Yeah. Sometimes. But I usually feel better afterwards. Lighter. Clearer of mind.

When did I start writing fiction? I had the idea in 2012. Read a ‘How To’ book and thought, this is something I can do.

I enrolled on a course: Creative Writing Flying Start. Different assignments and exercises. The last assignment was to write a story. So I wrote my first story. It was OK, good marks.

I moved to Argentina. I wrote some stories, but didn’t get much done, as my head was coming apart. Thousands of miles from home, and I just didn’t want to be there. I didn’t really want to be with the woman I was with, but I struggled to just say it.

I just kept it to myself, growing more miserable each day, drinking more. I’d sit in the garden until long after midnight, drinking, thinking about my family back home, staring at the tall trees in a neighbour’s garden. I looked into the dark tree tops silhouetted by moonlight, seeing strange shapes, big cats, snipers taking aim at me; I was just hoping to see the faces of friends.

Eventually it all went to hell, and I came home broken and confused. I didn’t know if I’d see her again, how big I’d screwed up, or what was coming next. A week later my mother died.

So, as well as seeing a therapist for depression, I started another writing course with Writer’s College. Somehow I got plenty of work done. How did I focus? Jesus. I don’t know.

But I got work done, happy to have something to throw myself into, and my marks were good. Eventually I started dating again, and felt a lot better about things.

Why writing? Short stories for now. It’s hard at times. Need discipline. Just sit down and write. Never mind the laundry, or making a curry, or going for a bike ride – sit your ass down and write. There’ll always be other stuff to do, so get to it after you write.

And criticism? Yeah, it sucks. I paid for critiques from a professional. Some of them got to me. Not his fault; it just hurt.

You’ve been working on something for a week or two, develop it, get it down, finish it off, sit back and think about how good it is. Then a stranger shows you all the holes in it and you think, Bloody hell! He’s right. It’s not so great.

So, initially it was rough, facing criticism of a story that I’d put a lot of work into. But I toughened up.

I can’t expect every story to be a success, every story to sell. If it does well, then great; if it doesn’t, then too bad. I just get the hell on with the next one.

I pay attention to all the critiques I receive, and try to take all the criticism constructively. If I don’t get too ruffled by some negative remarks, then I see it as a chance to improve, hopefully getting a little better with each story.

And when a story is accepted, it’s great. Relief. Joy. Satisfaction. Validation. I can do this. Show me the money.

So I’ve had some successes, sold some stories, won a competition or two. I’ve had plenty of rejections and disappointments too. So what. It’s all part of the game.

I published a collection of some of my stories on Amazon Kindle. Researched for a couple of months, did all the work, even the cover photo. I wanted to be able to say that I’d done absolutely every part of the process myself. It turned out quite well, I think; it was stressful at times, but very rewarding, and it’s great to see my book on Amazon.

I promote the book on social media, and I’m trying to spread the word, get reviews, all that jazz. I’ve sold some books already, but it’s not enough. It’s never enough.

But, to me, there’s no hurry. The sales will pick up, I think, as I learn how to better promote my work, and until then, well – I’ll just get the hell on with the next story.

 

About Glenn McGoldrick

I worked in land-based casinos for five years, living and working in such diverse places as Luton, Israel, Greece and Middlesbrough!

In 1996 I started to work on cruise ships, then travelled the world for the next 15 years. I saw many wonderful places, had some great times and met some real characters.

I finished working on cruise ships in 2011, and since then I’ve settled in England, making my home in the North East. Life is good, but I still miss a little bit of scuba diving…

 

Links

Website:       http://www.glennmcgoldrick.com/

Kindle:         http://amzn.to/2p1vU0k

Paperback:    http://amzn.to/2pddBFA

Twitter:         @G_T_McGoldrick

Facebook:      Glenn McGoldrick

Goodreads:    http://bit.ly/2pLDbES

 

Blog Tour – ‘Sugar, Sugar’ by Lainy Malkani

‘Sugar, Sugar’ was published in paperback on the 25th May 2017 by HopeRoad Publishing, an independent publisher whose aim it is to support neglected voices by focusing on writings and writers from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.  I was delighted when HopeRoad contacted me via my blog asking if I was interested in taking part in this blog tour.

Lainy Malkani has written a guest post for my blog about books that inspired ‘Sugar, Sugar’.  First though, here’s what Lainy’s book is all about.

 

Book Blurb

A fascinating web of honey-coloured threads linking Indian migrant workers, who first left the SubContinent more than a hundred and fifty years ago, and their descendants now living in contemporary Britain

Sugar, Sugar is a contemporary collection of short stories which reveals a rich and culturally diverse history behind India’s migrant workers and one of the most abundant and controversial commodities in the world.

Inspired by historical documents between 1838 and 1917, and the living memories of the descendants of indentured workers, Sugar, Sugar, spans five continents, travelling through time uncovering inspiring tales of courage and resilience.

With sugar at its heart, this collection unveils lives rarely exposed in modern British literature and adds a new dimension to the history of sugar, post emancipation, whilst sharing a previously untold strand in the story of the making of contemporary Britain.

 

Guest Post

Books that inspired this book 

When I decided to write Sugar, Sugar I submerged myself in the short story genre trying to find my voice as a writer. I particularly enjoyed and felt connected to the stories in ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Her stories are steeped in African culture and also contain universal themes which make them accessible to all readers.  I read, ‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez so many times I have lost count and the same goes for Satyajit Ray’s ‘Twenty Stories’, which I love for its haunting atmosphere. Clare Wigfall’s ‘Night after Night’ found in her debut collection of stories, ‘The Loudest Sound and Nothing’ was a master class in getting to the heart of a story in the first line and I read Anton Chekhov’s Selected Stories every night before I went to bed, just so I could wake up feeling inspired.

 

About Lainy Malkani

Lainy Malkani is a London born writer, broadcast journalist and presenter with Indo-Caribbean roots. In 2013 she set up the Social History Hub to bring the stories of ‘unsung heroes’ in society to life. Her critically acclaimed two-part radio documentary for BBC Radio 4, ‘Sugar, Saris and Green Bananas’, inspired her to create this collection of short stories. She has written for the British Library, the Commonwealth and the BBC. She is married with two children and lives in North West London. Her cross-cultural roots; from Britain, India and Guyana, in the Caribbean, has been a great source of her work, both as a writer and journalist.

 

Links

‘Sugar, Sugar’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sugar-Bitter-Indian-Migrant-Workers/dp/1908446609/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1496069257&sr=1-1&keywords=sugar+sugar

HopeRoad Publishing – http://www.hoperoadpublishing.com/

 

Guest Post by Wendy Clarke

author-picture

I’d like to introduce you all to Wendy Clarke.  Wendy has written and had lots of short stories published in various magazines.  I invited her to write a guest post for my blog.

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When I tell people that I write short stories for magazines, there are three things they always want to know: what made me start writing, why I chose magazines and where I get my ideas from. I’ll start my post by answering these questions.

Unlike many magazine writers, I started writing later in life. Despite loving creative writing at school, and enjoying teaching it in the classroom, it had never occurred to me that I might one day make it my career. It took an unfortunate event (the closing down of the school where I taught) and an online writing course, to show me my new path.

It was my course tutor who suggested I try submitting some stories to magazines. The course had just finished and, feeling bereft at not having a weekly piece of writing to submit, I decided to give it a go. At first, I had the expected rejections but I didn’t let it put me off. I carried on writing and I carried on submitting then, three months later, I had a letter from the People’s Friend saying they liked one of my stories… hurray! This was followed by a sale to Take a Break Fiction Feast and Woman’s Weekly.

That was the start and, four years on, I’m still writing for them all and have had around two hundred stories and two serials published. I still find it hard to believe!

Moving on to where I get my ideas… I get them everywhere. My friends will tell you that we’ll be having a conversation and I’ll suddenly shout, “Wait! I have to write that down!” This will be followed by a frantic scrabbling for my notebook. I get ideas from conversations, newspaper articles, things I’ve seen, memories, poems… even meeting Mary Berry. The list is endless. At present, I have around thirty ideas in my notebook I haven’t used yet.

Despite my notebook, there are sometimes frustrating times when I can’t think what to write or just don’t feel in the mood. If this happens, I don’t try and force it. Instead, I’m kind to myself and allow myself to have a couple of days off from writing. This helps to recharge my batteries and fill up the writing well again.

So why do I love writing short stories? For a start, I love that there are so many different people’s heads I can be in, so many places I can visit and so many adventures I can have. One day, I might be a twenty-year old girl on holiday in Greece and the next a male taxi driver picking up a fare in London. It’s never boring! I also like the excitement of making a sale and seeing the story in print (often with a lovely illustration). A selection of my published magazine stories can be found in my collection, The Last Rose.

book-cover

If I have any advice for a new writer hoping to break into the market it would be this:

  • Write the best you can
  • Study the market but write what you would like to read
  • Grow a thick skin (believe me, you will be rejected!)
  • Don’t give up
  • Write for love, not money

Which leads me to my final point. Enjoy your writing… if there’s not pleasure in it, there’s little point in doing it!

 

About Wendy Clarke

Wendy lives in West Sussex with her husband, cat and badly behaved dog. She has written around two hundred stories and two serials for national women’s magazines and is a regular fiction writer for The People’s Friend. She has also written several articles for Writing Magazine. Wendy is a member of the RNA NWS and has just finished her first novel. She has published two collections of short stories, Room in Your Heart and The Last Rose.

 

Links

Blog – http://wendyswritingnow.blogspot.co.uk/

Facebook –   https://www.facebook.com/wendy.sargent.376

Twitter – @WendyClarke99 

Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Rose-Stories-family-friendship-ebook/dp/B00U1WBAC4

 

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Lost and Found’ by Maria Savva

Book Cover

This is the cover of Maria Savva’s new book and I have to say that I think it’s absolutely gorgeous.  ‘Lost and Found’, a collection of short stories, is being published as an eBook on the 18th March 2016.  It will also be available in paperback soon.

 

Book Blurb

Human nature is not neat and predictable.

What makes us betray a loved one?
Can isolation lead to irrational behaviour?
Why do other people’s lives always look more appealing?

Ordinary people living ordinary lives, torn apart by regret, remorse, and deceit. We’re all stumbling through life together. This collection of stories shows you the Lost and Found among us.

 

Links

‘Lost and Found’ is available for pre-order on Amazon:-

UK – http://amzn.to/1Qecjnm

US – http://amzn.to/1mVxKOk

 

Website: Maria Savva – Official Site

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Author-Maria-Savva-171466979781/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Maria_Savva

 

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