First of all, thank you to everyone who has supported us and used our site. Since our last newsletter, at the end of 2017, our little blog has had 35,000 views and 11,000 visitors. We owe the people who interact with us in the writing community so many thanks!

The first quarter of 2018 has seen some notable updates in the creative careers of the Scribblers…and we want to share all the lovely good news with all our newsletter subscribers!

Individual news

Michelle KenneyMichKenBoF

Fire and Mythology, Genetics and the Voynich… it’s got to be Book of Fire Part 2!

I’m so excited to share that the second instalment in the Book of Fire series (it has a title, soon to be revealed) is now simmering away nicely. I’ve just sent in my structural edits, and I’m awaiting feedback from my lovely HQDigital Editor, Hannah Smith, before we hit the copyediting stage. This stage is always my favourite, because it’s when most of the hard work is done, and the edits are about shading and perspective. And, to be honest, I love editing a brand new book that is so near completion, and yet still not out in the world. It’s the most wondrous and terrifying feeling in the world – one fellow author once likened it to downhill skiing, blindfolded. I can empathise with that.

And this follows a whirlwind 6 months! We chase this Holy Grail called writing for such a long time, and then when it finally happens it feels like being placed ‘inside a kaleidoscope, inside a centrifuge’. It’s just so bewildering, colourful and satisfying all at the same time. To have lovely readers buy and enjoy something you have written is a real blessing, and one I know I will keep on finding completely humbling every time it happens. So to all those who have bought my first book, taken the time to review and/or got in touch to talk about some of its themes or characters: ‘THANKYOU.’  You all rock, and each and every review is appreciated more than you know.

So on to Book Two itself. I can’t talk too many details because its still undergoing editing wizardry. However, I can confirm that we rejoin Talia’s feral journey a year on from where we leave her in Book One. We spend more time on both the Inside and Outside (thank you readers for this request, it was great fun fleshing out some of the differing worlds, which only existed in my head in Book 1) and of course, Talia’s temporary reprieve is soon to be shattered. High stakes, Mythology and the the Voynich always make for an interesting combination, and I’m not exaggerating when I say I wrote some of Book Two sitting on the edge of my seat!

Anyway, I’ll leave it there for fear of spoilers, but do keep in touch. So many of your comments resonated with me as I wrote Book two, so keep them coming because the grand finale is coming up next year, and its great knowing I’m covering off any outstanding plot questions from yourselves. In the meantime, happy reading, and do keep an eye on any of my social media for Book of Fire Two news this summer. The future’s looking pretty feral from where I’m sitting 😉

Twitter: @mkenneypr (&@HQDigital) & Instagram: @michken01 Author FB page: https://www.facebook.com/BookofFireMK/ for news about cover reveals, events, giveaways and publication dates.

Thank for reading, have a great summer!

Mich

CM Power

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On February 10th this year, I self published my first book, an upper middle grade mystery.
It wasn’t a decision I took lightly. Two years ago, this book had been requested by 18 agents and had multiple offers of representation. A dream! I settled on ’my’ agent and discussed a rewrite with her. All was going well until last year, when we parted ways. My book had been rewritten, and read by an industry professional several times, but never made it out to publishers. So, I jumped back on the merry go round of submission.

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In eighteen months, the book world had moved on. No one wanted my story of a girl living her life in a wheelchair anymore. But I felt like it was still relevant and important.
I work with kids. All kinds-all races, colours, religions, abilities and personalities. I wanted them to see themselves in a book and Ella, my MC, was a small step towards that. So, I put a person of colour on the cover which, shockingly, is still so rare. And she’s in a wheelchair, yes, but that doesn’t define her or the story. She’s witty and smart and values her friendships. I loved her and wanted to share her with the world.

So I did. World, meet Ella Wilde

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Since the last update, I’ve had some more good news. Though I am still unagented & unpublished (over 6 years and counting…), Locusts has been longlisted again, this time for the Exeter Novel Prize, as well as shortlisted for the Flash500 Novel Competition. I was also accepted onto the #AuthorMentorMatch programme by my fabulous mentor Adrianne Finlay, who has written an AMAZING YA scifi romance novel, YOUR ONE & ONLY. Do go and check it out! She’s given me some great feedback on Locusts, and I’m currently working through my edits before finally biting the bullet and sending it out to agents. Here’s hoping this will be the one . . . but nothing’s guaranteed in this business–except that if you give up you definitely will never get published!

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Dreams do come true…if you work very hard and never give up. Sounds uber cliched, but it’s spot on in this instance.

I’M GETTING PUBLISHED! (more here)

Yup, so happy to announce that STORM RISING, my YA Fantasy novel, featuring the incredible Corena Storm, an intersex ice-witch who battles dual-discrimination in a deeply binary and religious world, is due to be published in January 2019 by the amazing Nine Star Press.

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Here’s something for now to get you in the mood. I’ll post more details about the process as and when they happen! So delighted to share this with all of you!

They feared her power

They took her away

But when she lost the one thing she cared for

Her greatest fear imagined

She sought revenge and they thought they’d contained her

But they didn’t count on the power of her love

 

There’s a Storm coming…are you all ready to rise?

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Sophie Joelle shares her thoughts on how to create a welcoming open mic community, for both performers and the audience, here.

Group news

Writing events

Cynthia and Lorna attended their local SCBWI NW Event, Character is Destiny, which was lead by the seasoned author and scriptwriter CM Taylor. Taking the famous 2500-year-old quote by Heraclitus as a springboard, Craig took us through the theory and practice of the character-driven plot. It was a very engaging and helpful talk that helped us to focus in on theme and how, in narrative art, the character carries the theme through the plot.

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Precise moment at which Lorna’s brain exploded

It was an excellent and thought-provoking talk, which made my brain explode with the implications for my MS.

Lorna also represented Writers’ HQ‘s children’s offshoot, Scribblers’ HQ, by leading their fabulous Write a Novel in 60 Minutes workshops in Manchester and Leeds. It was a great experience to help children (& their grown ups) write their own stories.

Blog content

We’ve worked very hard in creating valuable writing content for people to read, learn from or enjoy. We also started a series of writing tips which we will continue to help those writers who are going through the same development that we did.

We have a series on YA SFF books, competitions (which we try to keep up to date), courses, author interviews and our vlog/blog series. Stuart also did a series on Re-Reading Potter.

Competitions

#1st250 (+ 200 word synopsis +pitch)

We changed the format of this event, trying to include more from the authors. This meant fewer people than normal participated but it meant we saw more of the amazing writing. The peer feedback section seemed to leave everyone with plenty of ideas to improve and was a success for all those involved.

For the competition part, we has Jo Gatford, Sarah Lewis, Chloe Seager and Laura West judging our best entries and after a tough judging process, these were out winners.

CONGRATULATIONS again guys!

OVERALL WINNERS

1st Place – MILTON HITS THE HEADLINES by Emma Dykes (6 points)

2nd Place (JOINT) – ACCIDENTALLY CURSED by Loretta Chefchaouni (4 points)

TOTALITY by Caroline Murphy (4 points)

4th Place (JOINT) – TROGLODYTE by Lydia Massiah (3 points)

DEMELZA CLOCK & THE SPECTRE DETECTORS by Holly Rivers (3 points)

6th Place – WEIRDOS OF LONDON by Ellie Lock (2 points)

7th Place (JOINT) – HOPE RUNS FREE by Martha Taylor McKiever (1 point)

DRAGON LIES by Hannah Samson (1 point)

#PeerPitch 2018

We returned to the original (and perhaps best) format of #Peerpitch for the first of 2018 and we have record number participate both in the Twitter ‘Peer’ feedback and in the contest itself. 177 entries in total.

A longlist of 34 were chosen, then a shortlist of 10, all of whom went onto the final judges of 4 literary agents.

OVERALL WINNERS

1st place – I KNOW WHEN YOU’RE GOING TO DIE by Michael J Bowler (6 points)

2nd place –  ALL THE UNFORTUNATE DREAMERS by Audra Atoche (4 points) / FORTY DAYS by Kojishi Dae (4 points)

4th place – KONADAI by Elisa Stryker (3 points) / THE FAR SIDE OF THE GALAXY by Glen Deakin (3 points)

6th place – SENECA FALLS by Ralph Browning (2 points)

7th place – DANCE, DANCE, DIE! by Loretta Chefchaouni (1 point) / DANIEL STRANGE & THE PRIME MINISTER’S P.L.O.P. by Jenny Pearson (1 point)

A final thanks to our judges – Sharon Belcastro, Yasmin Standen, Chloe Seager and Laura West, the lovely literary agents, who have all helped us judge.

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