Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Back from the Book Launch Tour

I’ve finally caught up with my own writing after the five day trip we had to the Isle of Man.  That was a lot of fun  - if  a bit hectic.  I spent the time there wearing my other ‘hat’  -  that belonging to the Babe Magnet’s PA as he set about launching his new book of Yorkshire based  short stories -  Uncle Albert  - and the ‘one man show’ that goes with it.

We started off at the Henry Bloom Library in Douglas  where there was a warm and  enthusiastic crowd  in spite of the rather chilly and damp evening.  As well as Uncle Albert stories there was selection of ‘good bad poetry’ as requested by the publisher of Uncle Albert,  Linda  Mann.  The lovelorn  black ‘widower’ spider’s lament  reduced Linda to tears – of laughter.

The next day was spent doing radio interviews  - after we had found the Manx Radio Broadcasting House high on Douglas Head above the town. It was still cool and blustery  so this exposed headland was rather wild –  I dread to think what it would be like getting up there in the depths of winter!  During this trip  was the only time we actually saw any cat – in spite of the reputation the island has for breeding the famed Manx(tailless) cat. This one had a fine fluffy tail so we missed out on the Manx breed.

On Saturday morning  there  was coffee and croissants at the  Port Erin Arts Centre where Uncle Albert once again regaled his audience with tales of Yorkshire,  carol-singing, betting   . . . and the ‘good bad poetry ‘ again – with the Spider  poem  back 
'Uncle Albert' is introduced bt John Bethell,
Director of the Port Erin Arts Centre
by popular request.  There are rumours of the  bad poems  appearing in  a new volume of Uncle Albert’s stories which is being planned for  hopefully future publication.

  This performance was in the lovely  Harry’s Bar in the Arts Centre as part of the Manannan Festival.  The event had a special – and unexpected – extra zest to it  with the discovery that two members of the audience had actually grown up in the village of Churwell  where so many of the stories are set.  So many of the references had a particular emphasis for them.

Port Erin was where the Babe Magnet and I  - together with the Offspring when young – stayed back in 1987 so this was a nostalgic trip for us as well as a very successful launch for the book.

Finally, reluctantly, we had to leave the island – just as the weather was warming and the sun coming out -  and all the new friends we made there and come back home.   But we now know that Uncle Albert  and his stories (and very possibly the bad poems too) will be appearing at some festivals here
'Uncle Albert' spots some fellow 'Yorkies'
from Churwell in the audience.
in the UK later this year.

So far, the list of venues is : Morley Lit Festival (Morley in its fictional form being another of the places Albert’s stories are set ) on October 29th and Ilkley Festival Fringe on October 3rd. There’s also the possibility of Wakefield Festival  - and the Babe Magnet is running two courses  on the ‘Writing Local’ theme/Writing about Your Uncle Joe – at AlstonHall in September and at Swanwick with Relax And Write in October.   ‘Uncle Albert’ won’t actually  be there in person  but there might be some bad poetry of some sort!

So now I’m  taking off the PA’s hat  and settling down to my own work  - the ‘To Do’ list is l-o-n-g and needs tackling. There’s my own Complete Romance Writing Course for Writer’s Holidayat Fishguard in July  and  I’ll be joining Uncle Albert at Swanwick to run another of the popular Focus on Writing Romantic Fiction Writing Retreats.(If you’re interested you’ll need to make inquiries/book soon as the last I heard this was almost full already.)

Incidentally, if you are a writer yourself – specially if you write short stories -  the Priory Press are looking for  new stories to publish:
We are aiming to publish a new collection of short stories on the lines of our previous Manx collections, in particular 'A Tail for All Seasons volume 4'. The stories we are looking for should have their own 'voice' and evoke the spirit of a Yorkshire past or present. They should have a beginning, middle and end, be well written, easily readable and just plain memorable!
Further details are on the Priory Press web site.  (Where you can also get your own copy of Uncle Albert.)

And that’s enough of the PA stuff – back to my own latest novel . . . . planning those courses . . .

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Books on Offer - Translations

Some weeks can go by with no parcels of books arriving at the door. Then other weeks there are so many deliveries I can't keep up with them..  The last few weeks have been like this-  books in all sorts of languages arriving , boxes of them, and I'm not sure what to do with them.

Some will go to the libraries but first I thought I'd see if anyone  out there would like a translation into their own language while I have them to give away. I did this before and it was great to send them out to the countries they belonged in.
So - tomorrow I'm heading for the Isle of Man  to accompany the Babe Magnet of his  publicity 'tour' there - Douglas Library (Thursday evening) .  Port Erin Arts (Saturday morning)  Radio  interviews . .  if anyone's on the island and would like to meet up with 'Uncle Albert' .

And while I'm away I'm offering  copies of these translations to anyone who's interested in one.
This will be strictly on a first come first served basis - one book per person.  Please let me know which book you'd like in which language and give me your postal address so that I can get it in the mail to you.
email me kate  at kate-walker.com

Back on Sunday afternoon - after which the offer is closed and the books will go to the library

I have:
Italian editions of: 
His Miracle Baby
A Question of Honor

Dutch editions of:
A Question of Honor
The Proud Wife
Saturday’s Bride  (with books by Catherine George and Anne Mather)

A  Throne for the Taking  (with a book by Trish Morey)

Danish edition of
A Throne for the Taking
Her Secret Bridegroom

Russian edition of
A Question of Honor
Norwegian/Swedish/Finland editions of:
A Throne For the Taking (together with Michelle Condor Duty at What Cost)

German editions of:
Throne For The Taking

The Duke’s  Secret Wife

I've also had Japanese editions of  A Question of Honour and a  Manga edition of His Miracle Baby - together with the fabulous Manga comic in English of    Bedded By The Greek Billionaire  but I'm afraid I don't have spare copies of these.

Monday, June 22, 2015

In the 'news'

In the coffee shop- this morning,  I  opened a newspaper today to find, unexpectedly, that there was a familiar cover staring out at me from the centre of an article.

No Holding Back  was being used to illustrate an article ‘revealing’ that apparently Harlequin Mills& Boon novels now have   a ‘racy newlook’  and that this is apparently influenced by the success of the erotic novels  50 Shades of Grey etc.

Errr . . .

Well this might be sort of relevant if they hadn’t chosen a book of mine that came out in  1995 – and was re-released as a ‘Vintage’  M&B in 2012.   And if they’d been looking for an example of a raunchy cover, I’m sure a little effort could have unearthed  something rather less restrained, even in my own output since then.

The Sicilian’s Red-Hot Revenge for example, or Kept For Her Baby.  Though the first of those is almost ten years old; the second only two years  younger  - published back in 2009.

The other  ‘recent’ covers cited  - on books by Sandra Marton and Kelly Hunter  are a good five years old  with Not For Sale and  Flirting with Intent both dating from  2011. The only actual up to date cover – from this month – is a Blaze title  by Nancy Warren  -  in which – shock horror – the heroine‘s shirt has slipped to reveal her modest  white bra.    So, according to the Daily Mail this is new and raunchy and influenced by 50 Shades . . . Oh, for heaven’s sake
It doesn’t take two minutes’ research to turn up an article  that claims, in the same stunned tones, that Mills and Boon have become  ‘Millsand Boom Boom’! – This time, apparently ‘influenced’ by the popularity of Black Lace erotic novels.  The two articles could quite easily be transposed – all that’s needed is that the names of the editors quoted and the  books that are ‘influencing’ the writers  can be swapped about and Shades of Grey becomes  Black  Lace  - and there you go!  

Not a hope in hell of considering that Harlequin  M&B authors have been influencing other popular fiction authors as we hold on to a large amount of the  novel selling market  with books that have had a wide variety of tones, voices, levels of sensuality and stories  - and continue to do so.  In today’s article,  amongst the hugely dated covers of books from the 30s, 40s, 50s (show me any novel with a cover that hasn‘t dated when it’s over 50 years old!) there is the comment by Joanne Grant, Mills & Boon executive editor:

Mills & Boon has adapted to reflect society and popular culture. You can really chart the changes because we have a history lasting over 100 years. In the past, the sex itself wasn't so obvious on the page. It was implied, and there was lots of sensuality so you could imagine what had happened behind closed doors, but it wasn't explored on the page. Now there are no worries about that – we can be very open.

But as any reader of Mills & Boon knows this isn’t something we’ve just discovered – or have been pushed into by the ‘influence’ of 50 Shades.  It’s part of the natural growth and changes in our books – and so many many others to reflect to society in which we’re writing and in which our readers are reading.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to find that the ‘news’ about the books we’re publishing might at least be contemporary and not a good five years old or more.  I’m not holding my breath.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Back from the Book Launch

I have just about recovered from a hectic weekend!   We had a family reunion in York with two of
my sisters and a brother-in-law.   The rain was lashing down when we set off but luckily had dried up by the time we were in the queue  for lunch in Bettys. 

From there it was off to Haworth where the book launch for the Babe Magnet’s  book  of short stories   Uncle Albert   was to be held in The Black Bull. 

Haworth of course is  the Yorkshire village where the Bronte sisters, Emily, Charlotte and Anne all  lived and wrote in the Parsonage there, producing  classic novels like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and  The Tennant of Wildfell Hall.  And the Black Bull is  the inn where their brother Branwell spent   many hours of his life drinking in the bar.  There is even an old chair reputed to be the chair Branwell sat in regularly during his long drinking sessions.  We had to pass this chair every time we went  upstairs to our room.  That room looked out over the back of the pub and the graveyard by Haworth Church where so many past inhabitants of the village are buried.  Charlotte Branwell and Emily are buried in the crypt below the church.

The Black Bull is reputed to be haunted  by several ghosts – one of which is supposed to be Branwell
Bronte himself -  but in spite of that we slept very well!   It was only in the morning when the Babe Magnet said he had heard an animal –possibly a fox? – crying  in the night. Er, yes, well – one of the ghosts is reputed to be a child crying in the middle of the night.  Fox or child?  . . .   We didn’t investigate further.

Saturday was a cold rainy day but we still enjoyed exploring and revisiting some of our favourite places in Haworth  before we got ready for the evening and the official book launch.  There were glasses of prosecco, great snack food (the Black Bull does great food)  live music – and of course Uncle Albert! There were even Uncle Albert  beer mats all over the bar tables.  I’m not sure that many of the regulars in the bar quite knew what was going on but they  enjoyed the readings and several of them came up afterwards wanting to buy copies of the book for their Dads on Father’s Day.
The publishers also announced their search for new short story writers – check out their web site www.priory-press.co.uk  for details.

By the end of a long  evening we were too tired to care whether any sounds in the night were animal or spectral.  Sunday morning was lovely and warm and we all – the Babe Magnet’s brother, the 
publishers (Priory Press Isle of Man)  and us  enjoyed breakfast on the balcony as the sun warmed up.

So  that’s the official launch – next thing is a trip to the Isle of Man where  ‘Albert’ is appearing at the Douglas library,  talking on Manx Radio – and appearing at  the Mananan International Festival in the Erin Arts Centre Port Erin.  I shall be there in my role as PA  and ‘author’s wife’. It’s 15+ years since I last visited the Isle of Man so I’m looking forward to seeing how it’s changed and visiting places  I last saw in   1987 – when I only had 6 books published!  The island isn’t the only thing that has changed a lot!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Tote Bags and Book Launches

Today is the 12th of June so that means it's my day for blogging over on Tote Bags N Blogs  where I'm talking about the fabulous Manga in English Harlequin Comics editions of my books.

That's because there is a new Manga comic book out next week - the Manga edition  of  Bedded By The Greek Billionaire.

It has the most amazing cover !

But this isn't the book launch I've been busy with. The reason why I've been missing on this blog for a while is because I've been helping the Babe Magnet and his publisher Priory Press with preparations for the launch of  his new book of Yorkshire short stories - Uncle Albert.

You may remember that I wrote about this book and interviewed its author back in April   Now there's the official launch in one of my favourite places   in all the world - Haworth, the village that was home to  Charlotte Emily and Anne Bronte.

The launch is being held in one of the iconic buildings in Haworth - the Black Bull Inn  where the sisters' brother Branwell Bronte just about  drank  himself to death.

The launch is there on Sunday night -
An evening with Uncle Albert and friends

                              At the Black Bull,
                                       119 Main Street, Haworth, Keighley, BD22 8DP.
                                       On Sunday the 14th June 2015

The main festivities kick off at 8pm with a short introduction and Stephen Wade’s one man show.
       ‘Introducing Uncle Albert’.
           A rare Yorkie wit, raconteur extraordinaire and little known poet.
                                 There will also be
    live music from the simply fabulous Joe and Ann Gallagher Acoustic Experience

So that's where I'm going to be this weekend.  If you're passing  do drop in!   At the moment the forecast is for violent thunderstorms, lightning and torrential downpours - which seems very suitable to the place where Wuthering Heights originated.  I hope it won't be too wet and make everyone reluctant to turn out.


Wednesday, June 03, 2015

It's been a busy time (when is it ever not?) and I've been away from this blog for a while . But somehow it's got to June so today I'm over on the Pink Heart Society  blog for Writers' Wednesday.

As I've just heard from Relax and Write how quickly my next Writing Retreat  coming up in October is filling up,  I thought I'd write about  what goes on on one of my retreats - and the fun and inspiration they always give me.

So if you want to come along on the next Focus on Writing Romance  Retreat -  it's at The Hayes Swanwick in Derbyshire 9-11  October -   I suggest you check out the details on my Events page or the Relax and Write web site and get a booking in before they all go!

Or if you want a Writing Romance  course - the next one coming up is the wonderful Writers' Holiday in Fishguard in Wales (can't wait for July!)

In the meantime I'm talking retreats, notebooks, timers - and writing over on The Pink Hearts Society


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