A little trip to the library…

If you know me, you’ll know I’m very naughty when it comes to returning books. In addition, I lose books! And, my youngest destroys books. Library fines are common.

But, during the pandemic my fines got to a point where they barred my account! 😱

I was a bit scared & embarrassed to go into the library to pay my fines. But, as always, the local librarians were lovely. We sorted it out and I can borrow books again.

Ocean Heart never at the library…

When I released Ocean Heart last year, I approached my local library to recommend they stock a copy. And, they did!

It felt too good to be true. So, I searched using Suffolk County Libraries app to check it was really there. It was, but out on loan, with another Suffolk library!

A few weeks later, I checked to see if it was back. It had returned to Felixstowe but was on the Reserved Shelf.

When I paid my fines, I asked what the Reserved Shelf meant. It meant someone had requested it! My book is in demand! And, it had already been collected! 😃

I must say I’m relieved. I love my library and would hate them to waste money on an unwanted book. As a new author building my audience, I worried I might be too unknown. I feared nobody would be interested in Ocean Heart. It makes me so happy to see it’s always checked out.

If you want to borrow the paperback, you’ll need to reserve it. It is in their collection, but there’s a queue. 🥰

For students of Felixstowe Academy, there are a few copies available from their school library.

Ocean Heart on Overdrive App

Overdrive is an eBook app used by libraries. You can search for Ocean Heart and request a copy to read. I don’t think they’ve ordered the eBook yet but all you have to do is ask.

If you love reading eBooks, supporting your library, and supporting authors, get this app and start enjoying a vast range of eBooks for FREE using your library card.

Ocean Heart ISBNs

It’s easy to find my book searching by title or my name, but to be certain you found the right copy, use the ISBN.

Ocean Heart ISBN, paperback 978-1-8382084-0-0, eBook 978-1-8382084-1-7

Paperback or eBook?

There you have it, Ocean Heart is available for you to read for free using your library card. If it’s not currently stocked by your local library, just ask them to order it in.

Buy Ocean Heart

Below are some affiliate links for buying Ocean Heart. You can learn more about these on my Affilate Disclosure Page.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1092737?ref=Redfae

[kofi]

Who runs the world?

Lunch with Hayley Long and Virginia Bergin

This was the second event of the 2018 Felixstowe Book Festival that I chose to attend.

It was hosted at Felixstowe Library and they put on a selection of nibbles.  The sandwiches were really good and I got a glass of fresh orange juice in a wine glass (very sophisticated).  Not so sophisticated was trying to juggle my paper plate, glass, mobile phone, notebook and pen but I somehow managed.

The format of the event was Hayley interviewing Virginia about her book and chatting a little about her own too – like they were two authors hanging out.  It was very informal between the pair.  It made the event very personal as they told us about their books and what inspired them to write these stories.

Afterwards, we got to mingle and I had a wonderful inspiring chat with Virginia.

More about Hayley and her new book “Being a girl”.

Hayley Long - Author profile.png

Hayley was inspired to write a book that gives teen girls advice on how to survive puberty, however, there are lots of useful tips that would benefit women of all ages.  She describes her book at ‘How to make life easier’.

Hayley showed us some pages from her book with illustrations by Gemma Correll (famous for Pugs, not Thugs) and that some text is small like a whisper and some text is big and loud.  It looks like a fun book by about an awkward subject.

I was delighted to hear that Hayley is a local girl and went to school here.  It is really inspiring to hear that someone with similar roots made it and that it is possible.

Writing about such a personal topic was quite scary to publish as she wasn’t sure what reaction she would get.  Of all the complaints she envisioned, she had not anticipated people would complain about a tampon on the cover.

I didn’t buy her book today but if it is still around when my little girl is starting high school it sounds like the kind of empowering book I would want her to read.  She has also written other stories that are based around the Suffolk area that sound really good.  

More about Virginia and her new book “Who Runs The World”.

Virginia Bergin - Author profile.png

Virginia is a very passionate woman who talked about how much the world has changed in the past 100 years for women, like being able to vote and how she feels there is still more to be achieved. She discussed the recent equal pay success but that she thinks the next step is to change the culture and is supportive of the ‘me too’ movement.  It’s not just about changing the law but about changing the way we think towards each other about what is right and wrong.

The idea for this book was sparked whilst chatting to someone studying Tess of the d’Urbervilles at school.  She has also studied this book 30 years ago.  I’ve never read the book so I had to try to follow what it was about by what she was saying but it sounds as if the main character is repressed by a man and although she liked it in school she now looks back and sees how wrong it is.  

Virginia’s imagination then began exploring the idea of a world where women were in control and how this comes about.  She didn’t want to simply switch society over, she wanted to create something new.  Then she came up with the idea of a virus that only affects those with the Y chromosome.

Never wrong a writer (1).png

Killing off all the men made me giggle.  It made me think about a warning I read once about why you should never piss off a writer.  I couldn’t find the quote online so I made my own (see image above) which captures the gist of it. Virginia doesn’t want men to die but this quote makes me feel there are few men that may have made her virus deserving list.

Virginia is very animated when she speaks, especially doing typing hands when talking about writing.  It made her a very likeable person to listen to.  She told us about how difficult writing this novel was as she kept worrying about what people would think and if she has portrayed women without men’s influence in their life correctly.

She questions how gender is portrayed and spoke about how strong women are always made out to be masculine and asks why this is. Why can’t women be allowed to be strong and still accepted as a woman?

Virginia likes to make people think “How do you want the world to be different” and is often impressed at school visits how much the children are aware of what is wrong with the world and how they want to change it.

She recommended reading The Power by Naomi Alderman.

Mingling afterwards

After the interview there was time for us to eat some more food, buy the books and chat to the authors.

I waited patiently and then had a lovely chat with Virginia.  I asked her about whether people had judged her for writing SciFi.  Most people I know, judge me for writing fantasy.  She was very encouraging about writing what you love and never giving up.

I asked her about how long it took her to find the right agent.  She told me that a few years ago she had been writing scripts and had an agent but when she wrote The Rain she found a publisher quickly and was picked up by an agent too.  She told me never to take rejections personally and to keep trying. She also pointed out that self publishing has come a long way and especially for Sci-Fi and Fantasy it can really expand the market for writers.

She encouraged me to find local writers groups as these can be really useful to critique your work.  Another lady overheard us talking and introduced herself.  She does a leisure learning course at a local college on Creative Writing and encouraged me to come along and meet the other students who often form their own group once the course is complete.

I bought Who Runs The World and Virginia signed it and wrote a nice message to me inside to encourage me to never give up.

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Ally plus text

Art and craft with Arty Mouse

This was the first event of Felixstowe Book Festival I attended this year. I went last year too and loved it.

Parents with children aged 2 to 6 years old were able to drop in between 10am and 12noon to try out the Arty Mouse range. This is ideal for their age group.

This was a free event (no ticket needed). However, the books were available to buy at half price and I couldn’t resist.

Representatives of Arty Mouse (I think from Top That Publishing) and volunteers of Felixstowe Book Festival, had prepared tables with different activities for the children to try. The children were able to move freely between the tables.

Here is a pic of Noah trying out their Arty Flashcards. These cards enable children to practice their writing and develop their reading skills.

Afterwards, children were rewarded with a certificate and some Haribo sweets. Sadly, I left behind Noah’s certificate and drawing of a cat, although, I think I would have been in more trouble with him if I had lost the sweets (luckily I put them in my bag).

The Arty Mouse products are a little bit special and make lovely gifts (especially the box kit books). I told Noah he could have two for the summer but the box ones I’m saving for his birthday and Christmas. He was very good about me taking them away as I could tell he wanted them most.

Noah was excited to get started in his book right away and really loved the themes in the book. He’s very into anything with wheels and robots are trending with him at the moment.

As I mentioned earlier, I am already a fan of Arty Mouse after discovering the fabulous books during last years Felixstowe Book Festival.  I can’t believe I haven’t written a review of those we bought last year and I will make up for that later this month.

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Ally plus text

Felixstowe Book Festival! I’m going – are you?

What is Felixstowe Book Festival?

Usually the event is split between two venues (Felixstowe Library and The Orwell Hotel).  Although, these two venues will host most of the events, new venues have been added.  All across town, their are workshops and author talks for anyone introduced in books and writing.  Each event, isn’t that expensive, from free to about £10 – you did need to buy tickets.

I’m going – are you?

So, I’ve been most years to the festival since it started 6 years ago and look forward to going every year.  Each year, the festival gets bigger and better.  I tried to make a spreadsheet of what events are on and where and IT’S MASSIVE!

As of 31st March 2018, the tickets for Felixstowe Book Festival became available to the public to buy.

Highlights from last year:

Alwyn Hamilton at Felixstowe Book Festival 

Alwyn gave some great insight into the traditional publishing route for writers.  She talked about what went into naming her novel, the movie right and so much more.  She was an engaging and likable author who spoke enthusiastically promoting her book.

What you need to know about Children’s Picture Book Publishing

Simon and Dan were like a tag team delivering their well prepared talk.  They shared so much on what goes into publishing a picture book and had prepared a presentation for all the participants (a copy I still have).  This was a great talk for illustrators and writers alike.  These guys had a wealth of knowledge and the time flew by.  We all would have happily spent the day with them absorbing all the information they had to offer.

What’s on offer this year?

Check the programme on the Felixstowe Book Festival website and book tickets.

Here is my attempt of trying to put the activities into a spreadsheet (many of the events fall under more than one category):

  • Green – workshops
  • Purple – fiction talks
  • Brown – history/non-fiction
  • Red – crime fiction/non-fiction
  • Pink – poetry
  • Blue – other events

Felixstowe Book Festival programme

Wednesday, 27 June 2018/Thursday, 28 June 2018/Friday, 29 June 2018

Felixtsowe Book Festival - Weds Thus Fri

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Felixstowe Book Festival - Sat

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Felixstowe Book Festival - Sun