I fancied trying to keep within a 500 word limit. It’s late in the day and this is a bit of a riff but anyhow…
On the hard shoulder she gave me the cold shoulder as we sat anxious and rattled. I’d had bangers and mash in the motorway diner, she’d had a platter of chips. It hadn’t been my idea to drive the guts out of the old banger. She wouldn’t even tell me where we were going. ‘Out,’ she said. ‘Out. That’s it, stop the questions.’ Now she had a chip on her shoulder. I hadn’t checked the oil. And now I was in the deep fat fryer. It wasn’t a typical kind of breakdown. Or maybe it was. One of those where you think everything’s okay and suddenly it happens. Now we were waiting for roadside assistance. We’d rolled to a stop right beside one of those motorway phones and now we were going to find out the truth. Did they really connect to anyone? Was there really life on Mars?
I might as well tell you her name. Well maybe not. What if my current wife finds this? Look what I wanted to say was that I didn’t care really. No, I don’t mean I didn’t care. I mean we were stranded with only a Mars bar and at that moment I knew that there wasn’t anyone in the world I’d rather be stranded with and there never would be. And being stranded, stuck there was the best thing that could have happened and although I wished I hadn’t eaten so many sausages earlier and the Articulated lorries were too close, much too close, I’d really hoped that there’d be no-one on the other end of that phone and that the batteries would be dead on our mobiles and that we would have to sit there on the cold, I mean hard shoulder together for a long, long time. But the assistance came in record time and after they towed us to the nearest town, she broke down and ended it. I never found out where we’d been going.
I launched Housewife with a Half-Life as an ebook on May 8th and I’m delighted now to be able to announce the paperback launch of the book. The online launch of the paperback will be on the 12th of June. I’ll be building up to it with video excerpts and posts about the process of writing the book and using CreateSpace. On launch week there’ll be a blog tour where I’ll be guest posting and answering questions about my writing life and Housewife with a Half-Life itself. Some of you were very kind and mentioned my ebook launch on release day. If anyone is interested in a more indepth post or a review copy of the book please contact me at alison at brierwell dot com, comment here or tweet me @alisonwells.
In exciting news I would also like to announce that there will be an indeed 3-D launch of Housewife with a Half-Life. Hughes and Hughes in Dundrum have very kindly offered to host the real-life launch of the book in their shop on the evening of 7pm Friday22nd June (more details to follow) . If you are in the Dublin area it would mean so much to me if you were able to pop along to the launch. There will be a reading and refreshments and general merriment and a chance for a summer meet-up/tweet-up for the writing community.
If you think you might be interested in reviewing or asking me questions on your blog, here’s a little more information.
Housewife with a Half-Life is a rollercoaster adventure through inner and outer space as Susan Strong travels round alternate worlds with her Fairly God Father, Fairly Dave to find the pieces of herself that are left around alternate universes. She must save us all from Universal Devastation but not without making the dinner first. A light, funny but heartwarming read, it will appeal to women, family men, geek mums, Dr. Who fans and anyone who cares about this big and beautiful universe.
I’m happy to send gift Kindle copies to reviewers (or other electronic formats) for your sites. If desired I can make a paperback available also. Any reviews or shout outs in the next few weeks would be really appreciated. If you are interested in reviewing my book as a reviewer, leave a comment here, email email@example.com or tweet me @alisonwells.
I know that some of you kindly expressed the wish to have a copy of the paperback in your hands. It will be wonderful if you can join me on the 12th for the celebration of the three dimensional version of the book.
Thanks for all your support for Housewife with a Half-Life so far and I look forward to continuing to spread the word about the book across the universe!
Following on the publication of the popular children’s book New Beginnings, mother of three and writer Rebecca Emin is launching her next book for 10 to 14 year olds ‘When Dreams Come True, today and details of where to find out about the book and the launch are below.
Having known Rebecca for quite some time online and having read her adult work, particularly her many short stories that have been included in a wide variety of anthologies, and having children of my own I was interested in reading Rebecca’s work for children. Her outstanding strength in my view is of being able to hone in on the issues that children and early teens are struggling with as they grow up. Rebecca manages to explore these issues sensitively while at the same time writing a story that grips and engages to the last moments. My children of both genders have enjoyed her stories. When Dreams Come True in particular has all the ingredients of a mystery as her independent and likeable character Charlie tries to uncover her family’s secrets as well as facing up to the common challenges of the early teen. A lovely read for this age group.
Along the long pavement on the straight road she imagined being run down by a wayward driver mounting the kerb, her body crushed, the car ricocheting over her bones. Her feet became manic on the path, slapping the cruel concrete over and over. At the high voltage sub station the grid of the mesh gate zinged. She imagined her fingers sizzling, her body dancing with electric; that mad scientist hair before she slumped.
Around the ring road, strangers walking too close. She felt disliked by ivy, she passed quickly but felt their liquid tendrils round the slim lines of her throat. She had trouble breathing. Planes in the sky had that falling note, clouds rallied like the fists of boxers, rain spat, buses roared warnings from Hades.
She might eat her own fingers, her nails nibbled away in ancient times, long gone, she might unravel her clothes, picking away at loose threads, she might rub holes in her trouser legs, in her own legs, she might erase herself. Yes.
Round and round the ring road.
Chewing on her lip.
Stabbing the cruel concrete with her toes.
On the back of her slim neck, on her head, firing, raining down, stones of ice. The heavens were out to get her. In Asia a hailstone killed a man.
The ice rain obliterated the view, all hail, all falling down. The long pavement grey with a kind of mourning. Dark rumbles from above, light daggers through the clouds stabbed at her. This constant raining of pain. Her heart galloped, leapt into her mouth.
And her heart saw out, this strange beautiful land washed clean. She held a hailstone in her bitten fingers, watched it melt. And the top of her head was cold and renewed. Liquid slid down her warm cheeks.
She lay in the abandoned road. Her arms out in the way of making snow angels. And the cars didn’t come and mow her down and above her the clouds parted and on the walls the ivy shone.
Many movements have taken on the concept of slow, the most prominent being the Slow Food movement. The idea of slow is to take more time, to deliberate more, to savour, to give depths to moments of endeavour and enjoyment. This idea has much in common with the concept of mindfulness, an attentive awareness of experiences in the present moment, a concept that is rooted in the Buddhist tradition and a technique that is being used more and more in alleviating mental health issues.
In many ways mindfulness and the concept of slow is the opposite of panic and the manic. James Gleick’s book Faster explores the science and issues around our perception of time and it’s lack. I’m of an age and background where I once lived a slow life (sometimes too slow!) and am now embracing the fast technologies and communication methods of this technological era. My children don’t know any different, sometimes I need to help them be bored.
How does this relate to writing? Well I must admit I’m writing this as a backlash to a rather frenetic week following the online launch of my book. I’ve become aware of some of the realities of what’s going on in the self-publishing world but also in the traditional publishing arena as well. There seems to be this push in certain quarters in order to make a ‘success’ of self-publishing to suggest that we need to be churning out several books a year. Similarly I read of a high profile thriller writer who is a marketing entity with co-authors who write many of the books. Perhaps I shouldn’t jump the other way. It’s one way of doing things and many people get pleasure from these series of books. My other experience of fast was that of KDP Select free days where self-published writers vye, giving their book away for free to get into the top rankings on Amazon in order to gain visibility and sales. It all seems a bit manic and crazy although it has been successful for some.
I don’t want to be naïve but on a personal level I want to write books that are layered and well thought out. I want to develop trust with my readers and offer them quality and an enduring experience when they read my books. I am short of time like everyone. I have a young family and constant interruptions of the kind of slow musings that are necessary to make original connections and find new ways of saying old things. But I want to try. I want to stop and make time for research. I want to let books simmer over years until I’ve found the right way of saying something. This balanced with the knowledge that sometimes you need to start writing to find a way into a piece and this tempered with the reality that you need to write regularly just to practise and to give yourself the clay to work with. It’s all about that balance. If feeling panicked and under pressure, particularly when you see the achievements of others, that is just the time to stop and wait and find out what you really want to write, not what you should write. By forcing and pushing we can end up hating our writing and the book we are working on. It’s our mind’s way of telling us that we need more time to dwell and deliberate. Maybe it means we wait before we send off our manuscripts and we can look one more time on the finished product with clarity and this is particularly important when self-publishing. Not just anything will do. Even if we hire an editor we may not get the same heavy level of editor involvement in our product, we need to go slowly to get it right.
This is the first of a series I’ll write about slow. And in doing so I’ll also celebrate the fast, the quick connections, the times when we can find fast answers when we need them, check in with other writers on Twitter for a quick motivation fix. But I want to find a way to get the panic out of writing in this publishing landscape that is new and challenging. I want to find ways that quality can prevail and ways that the writer can stay sane as they pursue the endeavour they love.
Well I’ve spoken before about National Flash Fiction Day and now it’s here! Congratulations to director Calum Kerr for the initiative and to all those involved in the mass of events in the UK and those in Dublin. It’s a lively celebration of a wonderful form! Here’s an interview I did with Calum.
To celebrate National Flash Fiction Day, I’m making my space comedy fiction Housewife with a Half-Life Kindle version FREE on both Amazon US and Amazon UK for one day only (May 16th) . There are some other great books on offer for the free day including the amazing Jawbreakers collection of flash fictions itself. Get yourself some free stuff, see here.
I’ll be reading tonight May 16 at the Big Smoke Writing Factory (Inter) National flash fiction event in the Back Loft (La Catedral Studios, 7-11 Augustine Street, Dublin 8 from 7-9pm. If in Dublin come along.
If you can’t make it, here I am on a video, yes! reading my piece from the National Flash Fiction Day anthology Jawbreakers. The story is called Elsewhere.
Just to let you know I’m doing a special Smashwords promotion in honor of U.S. Mother’s Day. If you or a loved one is a quirky, fun-loving mother with an interest in things space, then you can purchase Housewife with a Half-Life on Smashwords until Monday with a 25% discount. All you have to do is enter the purchase code CW65Y before you click buy. You don’t have to have an e-reader as it’s available on Smashwords in many formats that you can read on PC etc. With entropy hoovers and sock worlds, a kindly spaceman who arrives to warn Susan Strong about her disintegration and women saving the universe before dinner time, mothers will find much to identify with in this light and heartwarming read.
Look at what I received in the post, yesterday – the paperback proof of Housewife with a Half-Life!
This will soon be available mainly through Amazon and some selected book stores!
I want to thank you all so much for your help and support, blogposts etc on the day of the ebook launch of my book and I hope those of you who kindly downloaded it will enjoy reading. I must say, the joy of finally having something of my work out in the public eye is both joyful and daunting but ultimately a positive thing and I’ve looking forward to making the paperback available shortly.
Launch Day treasure hunt:
The winner of the launch day treasure hunt is Paul Carroll, please forward your address details to firstname.lastname@example.org Paul to receive your signed paperback. Congrats! Paul successfully and quickly answer the 8 colour and number questions in the quiz.
If you are a book blogger and would like to receive a review copy of Housewife with a Half-Life contact me at the above email. If you’ve read the book and enjoyed it, please consider jotting down a short comment on Amazon, it really makes a difference in spreading the word about the book. I’m also going to do a blog tour in June for the launch of the paperback and have signed up to several super blogs already. If you’d like a guest post or an interview with me about my book, writing with four kids, creativity, pen names or anything else, I’d love to do something with you. Best wishes everyone and thanks again for the wealth of kindnesses!
Join me here and on my and on my facebook launch event page. If on twitter, retweet the links for Housewife with a Half-Life launch using the #HWHL tag to be entered in the draw for a book and a trip around alternate universes (well maybe not the last one! )
Shortlist for 42 Meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything Flash Fiction Contest
Don Kearns: Demeaning of Life
Dandeliongirl: Tattooed Across his Skin
Neil Shirley: Connections
Steve Green: Untitled
Quiet Riot Girl: Untitled
Juliet Boyd: Life Form
Jazzygal: The Meaning of Life…
Stephen Jeffrey: Ants on the Patio
M@rcell@: Meduca: A Cuntslerroman
StellaKateT: Tea Wars
The winners will be announced later this evening between 8 and 9pm GMT. Well done to the shortlistees. To read, see here.
WINNERS OF THE 42 FLASH FICTION COMPETITION
Well done to everyone, it was a very, very close call. But my judges and I have decided on the following winners. Can the three winners please all email me at email@example.com Congratulations!
First Place: Neil Shurley (That Neil Guy)
I ducked into the empty donut shop.
“Two double chocolates,” I said, slipping off my wet coat. “And two coffees. Black.”
From behind the counter, she smiled.
“Two?” she asked. “Who’s the second one for?”
I slid onto my favorite stool.
Juliet Boyd: LIFE FORM
He lifted the rock and peered underneath.
“There’s no life here,” he said between gasps of piped oxygen.
He let it fall. The screams caused the ground to quiver, but he didn’t hear. Or feel.
He continued his search with clouded perception.
Medusa: A Cuntslerroman
I am a jellyfish. I am. I am not. Like a universe. Becoming. Unbecoming. Am. Not.
Rise. Plankton shimmer. Reflections ripple. Reach for surface—shock.
Sink. Dark deepens. Bodies glow. Constellations form, drift, dissolve.
Tide pulls. Tentacles billow. Dive up begins again.
Fun Virtual Treasure Hunt Extended until tomorrow!
We’ve had the flash fiction competition (shortlist and winners to be announced later). Now for those who need an even greater challenge! Since it’s May 8 we have 8 clues. The answers can be found across the Housewife with a Half-Life related listings on Amazon, Smashwords, abwells.com and on my blog. You’ll need to travel round these universes to find all the clues. In the novel the spaceman Fairly Dave is one of the ‘Higher Powers’ and we often talk about the beauty of Maths (or Math). Two of the answers are a colour but six are numbers. When you find all the numbers I want you to list them in your email but also add them up. So your short answer will be colour, colour, number total. Entries should be sent to the special competition email firstname.lastname@example.orgUpdate: I’m going to let this run until May 9th ends in all parallel universes, time zones and will announce the winner (if there is one!) May 10th here on the blog! Here are the questions! Good luck. Prize is a signed copy of the paperback or an e-book copy if you prefer.
1: What is the book cover colour?
2:What number of words was the flash fiction completion?
3:How many pages long is the book?
4: How old were the Canadian students who launched a Lego man into near space?
5: How many seconds did it take for Susan to haul Fairly Dave out of the bathroom?
6: How many grams (gm) is the LG bendy e-paper going to be?
7:What is the last number in the ASIN code for Housewife with a Half-Life?
8: Which colour is my Star Wars t-shirt?
Thanks so much for the support and help I’ve had with my launch. I’ll also announce a twitter winner tomorrow for the retweets on my book links. It’s a testament to the great connection and mutual endeavour online that so many have rallied round to support Housewife with a Half-Life. If you’ve bought it today and like it, it would be fantastic if you added a short review to the site you bought it from. Once again, I’m very grateful and hope you’ve enjoyed the activities today.
It’s all very quiet here today isn’t it? Nothing much happening….
Don’t leave me this way tomorrow folks…
Join me for giveaways, flash fiction shortlist and competition results, and fun virtual treasure hunt comp here and on facebook. If on twitter, retweet the links for Housewife with a Half-Life launch using the #HWHL tag to be entered in the draw for a book.
Now I’m going to have a nose into the outside world to check it still exists. See you here tomorrow!