A brave new world – by Jackie Baldwin, author of DEAD MAN’S PRAYER

Category: Author Post

The irony of being published as an ebook has not been lost on me. All my life, I have been easily frustrated by technology and prefer to use pen and paper and speak to a ‘real person.’ I used to run a busy court department with one large hard backed diary. My system was never down. I have allowed myself to fall so far behind with modern technology, I fear I may never catch up.

If I had a time machine, I would send back the following tips to myself…

  • That thing you found on your desk after maternity leave and called ‘the abomination?’ Get it back out of the cupboard and learn to deal with it. Computers are not malign entities out to get you, (yet!)
  • Get a move on with that book you plan on writing. You need time lapse photography to show progress that slow.
  • Do not snort, roll your eyes and paw the ground like a bull when you see a Kindle for the first time. One day you’re not only going to be using one, your book is going to be on one. You are going to have so many books on that Kindle it is going to resemble a literary black hole with its own gravity field.
  • When your husband buys you a Smart phone do not thank him, smile sweetly, and ask him to take it back to the shop. Learn how to use it. You will also be able to chat on it to an AI called Siri and ask it meaningful questions in the hope that you will one day get a sentient reply.
  • Start going to parties, or store openings or anywhere with crowds of people in preparation for attending crime festivals. Practise your opening conversational gambits in the checkout at Tesco.
  • Engage with social media. Change your Facebook settings so that you are not the only one who can see your posts. Oh and do some posts. Nothing terrible will happen if you post that is raining. (Usually, but subject to the usual disclaimers).
  • One day you will be on something called Twitter and make tweets of 147 characters or less. I mean it, stop laughing!
  • You will go on a blog tour. No it’s nothing to do with rock music and you can’t buy a T-shirt. No you don’t need a suitcase or a tour bus. Organise this in plenty of time if you want to maintain a tenuous grasp on your sanity.
  • You will have to read from your book in public. Wear a stiff unyielding fabric that won’t tremble with you.

That about covers it.

Oh, and enjoy every single crazy moment!

Jackie Baldwin’s chilling debut crime novel, Dead Man’s Prayer is out now in ebook. Buy it now.

DMP-highres

 

 

S is for Strawberry – S. Williams on pseudonyms

Category: Author Post

Author S. Williams of Tuesday Falling talks writing under a pseudonym. And a quirky one at that.

‘The problem with being with a writer is that you either never see them, or they want to get involved in entirely inappropriate ways,’ said my partner.

‘What’s wrong with wanting to call our child Grim?’ said I, bewildered.

Nothing. Obviously. Good Old English name. Means fierce, or determined. Sort of. But it was not to be. Neither were Iggy, Codeine, Tuesday or Marmalade.

What?

It’s not that I was being difficult, or would want my children to suffer at school. It’s just that I like words, and juxtapositions.

As Mycroft’s brother said; ‘Sherlock is a girl’s name.’

When I sent off the sample of my novel, Tuesday Falling, to Anne-Marie at The Ampersand Agency, it was under the pseudonym of Strawberry Sorrow. It was not my only pseudonym. Oh, no. I had given myself different names for different types of writing. A form of literary compartmentalization for my brain.

When I got an email back saying how much she had enjoyed the opening chapters, and could I send the rest, I was ecstatic.

Obviously, the next months of writing, re-writing, cutting, chopping, cropping and jigging were brutal.

And then finally she thought it was in a fit state to send to a publisher.

‘What do you want to call yourself?’ she asked.

What did she mean?

‘What’s wrong with Strawberry?’ I said, bewildered.

I could hear the sighing down the line. Frankly I could probably have heard the sighing if I’d hung up, gone for a nap underground and removed my ears for safekeeping.

Strawberry wasn’t a proper name.

‘But it’s brilliant!’ I said. ‘Perfect!’

It was not to be.

‘Why don’t you just go with “S” instead?’ she suggested. That way, I could still be Strawberry in my mind. Could still hold onto my little writing cell in my brain.

I could, of course, have just gone with my full name, but I have to use that every day. For paying bills. For my driving license. For just stuff. All the detritus that makes up the grease of modern living.

For my book I wanted my name to mean something different. I wanted it to soar.

And be a fruit.

Oranges aren’t the only ones.

So, just in case anybody was wondering what the ‘S’ stands for:

‘S’ is for Strawberry.

Tuesday Falling is out now. Be sure to follow S. Williams on Twitter @tuesdayfalling

A Spy Novelist in Russia

Category: Featured

Earlier this month, author Charles Cumming was invited on a trip to Russia, organized by the British Council, as part of the 2014 ‘UK-Russia Year of Culture’ programme. They stayed in Moscow and Tarusa, visiting some absolutely incredible places – Tolstoy’s house at Yasnaya Polyana, Chekov’s country estate, the Kremlin – and soaking up the local culture (and, we assume, a sensible amount of vodka).

In case you didn’t catch Charles’s live tweets from Russia, we’ve provided a recap below. And if you want to see more of his accomplished photography, head on over to his facebook page ( to get a peek inside the Grand Kremlin Palace, see close-ups of Chekov’s writing desk, and James Bond’s swimming trunks!

Charles Cumming @CharlesCumming · Sep 7

Inside the Grand Kremlin Palace on Saturday afternoon pic.twitter.com/ID9F7PjpaE

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 Charles Cumming @CharlesCumming · Sep 8

At Kim Philby’s grave in Kuntsevo cemetery @StMartinsPress @HarperFiction #BritishCouncil #Moscow2014 @BenMacintyre1 pic.twitter.com/TBQAbrNDz9

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(If you have read Charles’s novel, The Trinity Six, you’ll appreciate this photo of him standing by Kim Philby’s grave.)

Charles Cumming @CharlesCumming · Sep 9

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The room in which he wrote War & Peace #Tolstoy #BritishCouncil pic.twitter.com/FYqMNw9ZmE

Alex von Tunzelmann @alexvtunzelmann · Sep 8

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UK authors visit Anton Chekhov’s house. The only one tall enough to ring Chekhov’s lunch bell is @CharlesC umming. pic.twitter.com/2HrHAYw70T

 

Charles Cumming @CharlesCumming · Sep 11

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Chess players in Gorky Park. The man in the cap beat me in 18 moves

 

Charles Cumming @CharlesCumming · Sep 9

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Tolstoy’s grave in the forest at Yasnaya Polyana pic.twitter.com/aByJLbiNRQ

 

Alex von Tunzelmann @alexvtunzelmann · Sep 8

breakfast pic

The most anguish-inducing breakfast I have ever seen. Welcome to rural Russia! @Tussymarx @CharlesCumming pic.twitter.com/oiyuevI6qn

 

Charles Cumming’s latest novel is A Colder War. You can follow him on twitter here and find him on facebook here 

A Colder War