Saturday, 22 December 2012
It´s been a week since the end of our Cinderella pantomime´s run. The dust has settled (and the excitement) and it´s about time to post a couple of photos from the production.
Here´s the wicked step-mother, Estella, and the two step-sisters. Nasty pieces of work, as you can see. A glass slipper would never fit on either of their feet, you might think. In fact, we took some liberties with the original story. In our version, the second sister, Patience, gets the slipper onto her foot, just after the Prince has recognised Cinderella. For a moment he looks from Cinders, to step-sister, and back; then decides to take Cinderella. Patience points out to her sister, Prudence, that they never had a chance, whereon Prudence suggests that there are plenty more fish in the sea. Exit Buttons and Manfred, hotly pursued by the two sisters.
The mirror-on-the-wall also made an appearance, and after informing the Queen that she was not the fairest in the land and being informed in her turn that she was in the wrong fairytale, went on to advise the Queen that the Prince was in need of a wife. That got the plot back on track.
Here´s the whole cast:
Sunday, 16 December 2012
This autumn the language centre of Tampere University started a new English course in creative writing. Each week throughout the autumn term half of the course participants posted a text to the course blog. The other half posted a text the following week. Class sessions involved discussing that week´s pieces in small groups, plus completing an in-class writing exercise which could be worked up into a finished piece of writing out of class, if the author felt it was a piece they wanted to pursue.
Over the 13 weeks of the course a very wide range of writing was produced: from realist to the supernatural; from re-workings of classic texts (Romeo and Juliet appeared in a new light, and so did Plato) to experimental pieces, to song lyrics; from minimalist poetry to fiction that extended over several weeks´ submissions.
There is a public blog with examples of work produced on the course at:
Monday, 10 December 2012
Here´s some great news, just in time for Christmas: the Kindle versions of my novel, The Finn´s Tale, and poetry collection, Midas Touch, are on special offer on Amazon now at £1.53 or $2.45. If you don´t have a Kindle reader, you can download a free app that allows you to read Kindle books from an ordinary pc. My Mac can read them without needing to download any software.
If you still see the old price, then wait another day. It takes Amazon a bit of time to update their site.
If you´re in Finland, you need to go to the American site, Amazon.com to download Kindle versions. American and Canadian readers will find The Finn´s Tale interesting for its revelations about the life of Finnish immigrants in the early 20 century, especially if they have Scandinavian roots.
Update on Wednesday 12 December: The reduced price is up on Amazon.co.uk but not on the American page. I don´t know why it´s taking so long, but it should be coming soon. Just hang in there, folks. (Amazon Canada has the Kindle version for $2.99 which works out at about €2.40).
Wednesday, 5 December 2012
This is The Next Big Thing. Each Wednesday, invited authors answer a set of questions about the writing project(s) they are currently engaged in. They then invite 5 further authors to continue the discussion the following week, providing a short biography by way of introduction. My selected authors can be found at the end of this post.
I was tagged by Adele Ward whose blog you will find at this address:
Many thanks to Adele for inviting me.
1. What is the working title of your next book?
Arthur´s Eventful Weekend. Sounds a bit quaint, I know. One friend, when I told him the title, said, `Oh, is it a children´s book?´ I can understand that it sounds a bit like that, but no, it´s not a children´s book.
2. Where did the idea for the book come from?
I don´t really know. It contains many scenes that are based on actual experience and I imagine it must be one of those that acted as the trigger, but I really cannot remember the point at which they began to form into a story or how that happened.
3. What genre does your book fall under?
I´m not sure that I know the names of all the genres. Is there one that includes a first person narrator taking stock of his life as a result of receiving information that makes him question who he is? That sounds a bit like it could be confessional, but I myself don´t see it that way. Another way to define it might be to refer to the fact that many of the scenes, events, characters and even imagery are derived from the Arthurian legends and transposed into modern settings. Maybe it´s a modern epic. On second thoughts, no, it ain´t epic enough for that.
4. What actors would you chose to play the part of your characters in a movie version?
Arthur is a 51 year old man; short, slightly plump, thinning on top but not really bald yet. He´s a highly contradictory character. I can´t think of a male actor that fits that description, though of course, many must exist. If anyone is picturing Arthur Lowe from his Dad´s Army days, that´s not the idea I mean. Julia is the other main character. She and Arthur are married. The marriage is rather tense. She ´s quite a strong character. It would need an actress who is good at conveying the impression that she is constantly having to keep her temper in check. Who would that be?
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
As a result of questioning his own origins, Arthur takes stock of his past and eventually sets out on a quest to change one part of it. (I use the word quest advisedly, although I might add that the book ends as his quest begins.) That´s two sentences, isn´t it?
6. Will your book be published or represented by an agent?
I understand that it will be published by Ward Wood Publishing sometime next year.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft?
About a year.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
This may be my idiosyncracy, but I sometimes think of it as my Jane Eyre. However, I´m a bit odd and probably the only person ever likely to imagine the remotest similarity between the two.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Partly King Arthur, and partly a woman and man team who may have tried to mug me in Italy. `May´ here means that if that was their intention, they backed off before committing the deed.
10. What else about the book might pique the reader´s interest?
Arthur speculates about many things during his reminiscing, including the range of lengths of foreskin to be found on the male member. This is an issue that can have serious consequences.
That´s me done. I hope my answers inspire some interest among readers. And now I pass the baton. I contacted 5 writer friends. Three have agreed to do their bit next week. Their biogs are below. I am waiting to hear from one more and I will add her details as soon as I get her agreement. The fifth writer, Nancy Mattson, felt unable to participate since she has no writing projects on the go, so instead I will recommend her two recent publications: Lines From Karelia and Finns and Amazons, both fromArrowhead Press.
Joan Barbara Simon
Novelist, poet and researcher, Joan Barbara Simon writes intellectual erotica, short stories, poems, post-ethnic literature, children’s stories and academic publications on children's plurilingual cognitive development. She is the author of Mut@tus (2009), shortlisted for the Eight Cuts Gallery Prize in 2010, of Long Time Walk on Water (2009) and The Red Room (2009). She is also the editor of a number of anthologies of creative writing.
‘This is some luscious prose. This goes beyond erotica, beyond the culturally censurable. It is sheer beauty as was Henry Miller at his most liberated. What I loved most of all was the slow transition between objectivity to subjectivity. At some point there was a breach, just as there is that point of contact before which there was no sex and beyond which sex was undeniable. There was a breach, but where? That is the beauty of your writing and the transmogrification of the characters in your novel. I feel they would be dumb to put words to the process themselves. But, somehow their creator did. And marvelously, too! I back this confidently, gloriously!!! ’
online review (authonomy)
on Long Time Walk on Water:
In some ways this is very different from the same author's Mut@tus, which is one of my very favourite books. Where Mut@tus is a very inward-looking tale of one woman's self-discovery, Long Time Walk on Water has an epic sweep that takes us on a global voyage where Mut@tus takes us on a journey through the soul. Yet look closer and the stamp of Simon's writing is clear. The exquisite interweaving of narratives, the way she captures the moments of realisation, actualisation and passion that pepper her characters' lives. And like Mut@tus this is, at base, a journey of self-discovery, beautifully crafted, and one that will leave the reader as changed as Simon’s characters. Highly, highly recommended.’
online review (amazon)
visit Joan Barbara Simon's website:
Ann Alexander lives in Cornwall now, but was an advertising copywriter in London for many years. Her three collections are Facing Demons and Nasty, British & Short from Peterloo, and Too Close, from Ward Wood.
Since Ann doesn´t have her own blog, I will be hosting her Next Big Thing here on my blog. Check it out next Wednesday.
Donald Adamson is a poet and translator, currently living in Finland and Scotland. In 1995 he was awarded a Scottish Arts Council writer’s bursary. He has lived in France, the Middle East, and Finland, and has translated Finnish poems for How to address the fog: Finnish poems 1978-2002 (Carcanet/Scottish Poetry Library, 2005); also songs for the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, and for the World Music group Värttinä – the texts in the CD Miero were gruesome enough to be described by a critic as ‘cultural terrorism’. He is currently working on translations of the Finnish Nobel Prize nominee, Eeva Kilpi.
Donald co-founded the Scottish arts and literature magazine Markings, and has had two pamphlet collections published (Clearer Water, and The Gift of Imperfect Lives). He has been a prizewinner in several poetry competitions. His poem ‘Fause Prophets’, which in 1999 won the Herald Millennium Poetry Competition, is buried in a time capsule under the walls of the Scottish Poetry Library. His new collection, From Coiled Roots, will be published by Indigo Dreams in 2013.