UK Indie Lit Festival 2018

I am delighted to announce that I will be taking part in the 2018 UK Indie Lit Festival, which will be returning to the Kala Sangam Arts Centre in Bradford for a second time.  This years’ event will take place on the 28th July, with doors open at 10.00am.

 

The event is free, and with over 30 authors representing a multitude of different genres, there’s something for everyone to enjoy, including a Prize Draw.  There’s an international hub where a number of authors will be appearing throughout the day via video links. If you are planning on writing a novel, but don’t know where to start Follow This Publishing and IngramSpark will be on hand to offer advice on how to get your book into print. Need some advice on how to promote your book, then join one of the workshops taking place throughout the day. In addition, several authors will be giving readings from their novels and poetry.

 

With only 37 days left until the event there is still time to get a ticket. As I mentioned it’s FREE to attend. Tickets are available from Eventbrite or by visiting the UK Indie Lit Festival website. So, do come along and say hello, as I’ll be giving away various goodies, including a book and audiobook!

 

 

 

Back at my desk …

After four glorious weeks in Scotland, I am back home sat at my and eager to work on my novel. We had fantastic weather, so don’t believe anyone who tells you it only rains in Scotland!  And as for the famous Scottish Midge, as I was staying near the coast I avoided their biting, itching presence!

Usually my trip to Scotland takes place in September to coincides with the annual Wigtown Book Festival. Visiting earlier in the year has its advantages as the woods were full of bluebells, in fact, I don’t recall ever seeing so many. The scent occasionally combined with wild garlic was overpowering.

Of course, no trip to Scotland is without some research for my next book, including a visit to Portpatrick, the village in Galloway I have based my fictional village on.

 

Glenwhan, a garden created over a period of 30 years out of open moorland and bracken, has not only solved an issue I had with my hero’s occupation, but also given me an idea for another book.

I’ve not been completely out of touch with the publishing world while away. Some of you may be aware of the Trademark issues that are taking place across the Atlantic, where a romance author has trademarked a single word in order to protect ‘her brand.’ In doing so, she has created a furore that so far has seen three people in court and resulted in Amazon removing books from its website. After  intervention by the Romance Writer’s of America and the Author’s Guild, Amazon has reinstated the novels affected pending the results of the ongoing court case.

Fortunately, an application has been filed to have the trademark in question overturned. I hope it succeeds, because as things stand, it has far reaching consequences for writers of any genre. ***

Words are frequently repeated in book titles, as indeed are titles themselves. I know of one book with the same title as my novel, The House on the Shore. Did I threaten to sue the author, or they me? No.

Trademark law works differently to copyright law, which protects the contents of a book. I won’t bore you with all the legal details (this article explains the issue) other than to say that Trademark law indicates a source of goods;  ie., a brand such as Apple Computers.

Like many authors, I am concerned that these applications for trademarks may set a precedent. While lawyers fight it out in front of a Judge on the other side of the Atlantic, I shall continue to  work on my next novel.

Until next time,

Victoria

 

*** Since writing this post I understand another application has been made by a different author to Trademark the words Dragon Slayer, Tamer, Destroyer and Star Justice. If granted, these would affect Paranormal authors and Science Fiction authors. This application is also being challenged.

 

Spring Update

As the first three months of 2018 draw to a close, the good news is that work on book four is progressing, albeit slowly.

On the 16th March, as part of Write Radio, Sheffield Live, I took part in a discussion for Valentine’s Day .  The podcast is available by clicking on the following link.  Write Radio Valentine’s Day Special  I can be heard chatting to Jane Armstrong, discussing whether Heathcliff in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, is a romantic hero or an anti-hero.

The following week, 22nd March, I was a guest of Fishlake Women’s Institute.  I had a lovely time chatting to the members, although I do wish they had warned me about the VERY narrow and somewhat rickety bridge that leads to their village.

Not only will I be taking part in the 3rd UKIndie Lit Festival in Bradford later this year, but you can also find me on Sheffield Authors‘ stall at the South Yorkshire Festival, at Wortley Hall, near Penistone on Sunday 12th August.  It promises to be a great event with craft and food stalls, as well as books by local authors.  I do hope you will come along and say hello.

 

Until next time,

 

A Holiday and Research

I love autumn, and am always happy when I spend it in Scotland. And, if I can combine a trip to my favourite part of the country with a little research for my next book, I’m even happier. The air seems crisper, the vistas clearer, the sunrises, and sunsets more stunning. I don’t mind the darker mornings and evenings, which give me the impetus to sit down and write, or finish the knitting projects that were abandoned in spring when longer days meant time spent in the garden.

I’ve just returned from two weeks staying on the Mull of Galloway, that ‘hammer head’ part of southwest Scotland that juts out into the Irish Sea. Part holiday, part research for my next book, it turned out to be two weeks full of beach walks, ancient stone circles, and stunning gardens hewn from hillsides.

Glenwhan Garden, Dunragit
Glenwhan Garden, Dunragit

The fictional village in my current manuscript is based on the town Portpatrick, a former port for transportation to and from Northern Ireland. The ferries have long gone, and Portpatrick is now a holiday resort and the starting point for the Southern Upland Way, a long distance path that stretches to the east coast some 212 miles away.

Portpatrick
Portpatrick

A little further south, lies the village of Port Logan, created by Colonel Andrew McDowall, the Laird of Logan in 1818. The Bell Tower at the end of the harbour was designed by Thomas Telford, better known for designing bridges and the Caledonian Canal.

The Bell Rower, Port Logan Harbour
The Bell Rower, Port Logan Harbour

I’m fascinated ancient carved stones, and was surprised to find a fine example of bothat Kirkmadrine Church. It is home to a collection of the oldest Christian monuments in Scotland.

 

Early Christian Stone Carving, Kirkmadrine Church
Early Christian Stone Carving, Kirkmadrine Church

While driving back from Wigtown, I also came across the Standing Stones of Torhouse, a Bronze Age stone circle consisting of 19 granite boulders. The three central stones are known as King Gladus’s Tomb, a legendary and probably mythical early Scottish King. While the dumpy granite boulders are not as impressive as the stone pillars of Callanish on the Isle of Lewis, it was nonetheless interesting to read that the circle was probably erected between 2000-1500 BC as a religious centre.

Torhouse Stone Circle, Nr Wigtown
Torhouse Stone Circle, Nr Wigtown

And no post would be complete without a photo of the weather forecasting stone from the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse.

Weather forecasting stone, Mull of Galloway Lighthouse
Weather forecasting stone, Mull of Galloway Lighthouse

I am now home, armed with a camera full of images to inspire and a notebook full of ideas, it’s time to knuckle down to finishing the next book.

Until next time.

York Afternoon Tea

On Saturday the 5th September, I had the pleasure of joining over ninety fellow romance authors and members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association at an Afternoon Tea held in the fifteenth century York Guildhall.

 

Interior York Guildhall

 

 

Organised and hosted by the Yorkshire Terrier Chapter of the RNA, this was the first time such an event had been held outside of London.With a glass of Prosecco in hand it was time to circulate and chat with friends old and new, assisted by our name badges, before taking a seat at one of the tables.

Grace was said by Kelvin Woolmer, husband of RNA Chapter Liaison, Jean Fullerton. Then tea was served on delicate vintage china. The caterers did themselves proud, supplying copious amounts of tea, sandwiches, savouries, and cakes.

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Multi-published author, Milly Johnson entertained us with an hysterical talk on the habits of ‘The Northern Bird,’ and how she differs from her southern sister. Milly concluded with her own variation of the well-known Robert Burns poem, with her ‘Address to the Scone,’ after which we appropriately tucked into scones with clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam. Yum!

It was a lovely afternoon, spent in great company.

 

The Allure of Scotland

What is it about Scotland that draws writers and readers alike? Is it the rugged peaks, hidden lochs and glens, great Castles and stone circles? Is it because the Highlands are teeming with heroic men and equally brave women? The harsh climate and rugged landscape certainly make an ideal backdrop for adventure. Add a history that is also seeped in legend, and you have the basis for some very engaging plots. However, that still doesn’t explain the allure of Scotland in fiction.

My longstanding interest in Scotland began many years ago, not from reading novels, but primarily from childhood holidays in the Highlands. Such was my love of the country that I chose to make it my home for twenty happy years.

Skye

I wish I could explain why Scotland inspires me to set my novels there, but I can’t. Whether this is because I can trace my mother’s ancestors back to 1697 Scotland, I don’t know. I only know that the moment I cross from England into Scotland, there is a song in my heart and a spring in my step.

Scotland, it’s people and landscape continues to be popular with novelists and readers. Sir Walter Scott, Nigel Trantor, Iain Rankin, Gavin Maxwell, Rona Randall, Anne Maybury, Dana Gabaldon, Lin Anderson, and Linda Gillard, to name but a few, have all used Scotland’s landscape and it’s history for settings of their novels.

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To me, Scotland is magical. The way sunlight casts shadows on the waters of a loch, a ruined castle, or the sight of a solitary croft house in an isolated glen seem to kick-start something in my brain and the ideas seem to flow.

Holidays 012

It will therefore comes as no surprise that my next book will also be set in a place that I think of as home.

 

A fun filled day!

As some of you may know, Milly Johnson and I held a crash course in novel writing on the 17th June. I must admit that, for a short time at least, I had a few sleepless nights about picking a date that coincided with Father’s day here in the UK.  Fortunately, I need not have worried at 50 people turned up to our event.  The feedback we have received has been very positive, but don’t take my word for it.  Here is a copy of an article that appeared in the local press.

 

 

 

Exciting News!

First of all, I’m on Book IT! on SineFm chatting to Sheila North about books and the workshop my good friends and fellow author, Milly Johnson, are giving on the 17th June.    The interview will be available as a podcast for the whole of June.    http://www.sinefm.com/a_z_of_shows/book_it

 

Secondly, there are still places available for our Crash Course in Novel Writing on the 17th June.  Milly and I are promising an information and fun filled afternoon, with supporting literature and refreshments.  We’ll tell you how to develop your ideas and characters; how to plot, how to make your novel flow and a whole lot more.  So come along and be inspired to start writing that novel you’ve dreamed about for years.  Just drop me an email victoria@victoriahoward.co.uk to reserve a place.

Finally, I’m currently in discussions about placing my workshop on line.  It’s early days yet, so I don’t want to say too much. Watch this space for more details as they become available.

 

 

World Book Night 2012

World Book Night is now in its second year,  was celebrated in the UK, Ireland, Germany and the USA by tens of thousands of people gifting books. This year it fell on the 23rd April which also marked the birth and death of Shakespeare.

Thomas Rotherham College
World Book Night 2012 - Thomas Rotherham College

The college had been chosen as a giver and had copies of Kazuo Isiguro’s ‘The Remains of the Day’ to give away to ‘A’ level English Students and their guests.  I had been invited to take part in the celebrations and to give an introductory talk about novel writing.  After refreshments we settled back into our seats for readings from staff and students of various texts including Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’ and ‘As You Like It.’

I would like to thank the Staff and the students for a very enjoyable evening and wish them all good luck in the forthcoming examinations.

New Year – New Book

I’ve spent the last few weeks of 2011 undertaking research for my latest romantic suspense novel. That done, it’s now time to put my fingers on the keyboard and start writing. I find starting a new project daunting mo matter how well I’ve researched the subject matter or how detailed an outline I’ve written. It’s what I call ‘the blank page/screen syndrome.’ You’re faced with what feels like acres of white space to fill and the first sentence is the most important of all. It has to hook your reader, draw them into the story quickly, so that they’re anxious to continue reading and find out what happens next.

My first chapter will go through several drafts before I feel able to concentrate on the rest of the book. But spending so much time working on the opening chapter can stifle my creative process and slow my writing. So this year I have a plan. My opening chapter will go through three drafts, then satisfied or not, I will move on and work on the rest of the manuscript, returning to it only when the book is complete.

I already have a working title for the book, and as with my three previous novels, it will be set somewhere different, albeit in a familiar place – Derbyshire. And that’s all I’m going to tell you about it at present.

I’m not the only person who’s been busy over the holiday period. My editor at Vanilla Heart has produced a new free sampler for my novel, The House on the Shore. The House on the Shore Sampler