Monday, July 31, 2006

Not Dead, but in Hiding

I know it's been a long time since my last confession, folks, but hold onto your kidney bowls, pictures are coming soon of a lovely trip to the woods. Bears and all.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Blog-o-mania out of control!

In case people have been wondering why I so rarely update my Raw Light writing blog these days, I'm afraid it's not good news. I have over-stretched myself - every bit as painful as it sounds - and now have more time-consuming blogs to maintain than is healthy for my mental state. To prove this, here is a selection of the various online journals and resources I administer:

POETS ON FIRE daily listings

My Ancient Greek OU course blog

An irregular blog in memory of my mother, the popular novelist Charlotte Lamb

My local CE parish site, which I maintain for the church

To add to the above, I also have two other blogs under different pseudonyms, which I wish to keep anonymous for all sorts of dreadful and scandalous reasons, and I run a fun but infrequent blog for one of my four year old twin sons, who likes to make up his own poems and post them on the net, plus, of course, my Raw Light blog which you are currently reading.

I also run the POETS ON FIRE forum, which can't be left to run wild and needs daily attention, rather like a dog.


Is it any surprise I'm exhausted!?!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

It's All Happening!

Boudicca & Co.

Yes, it's official, I now have my own author page at Salt Publishing and the new cover of my second collection Boudicca & Co. has finally been revealed to the public in all its Titian glory. Drum roll, please!

It really is a fun, sexy cover for a poetry book, everything I could have hoped for and more, and I'm very pleased with it indeed. The book itself is not due out for a few months yet, but there's some biog. and an interesting description of the book available online now, plus an extract and a recent photograph of me - which is unusual enough to merit a visit to the site, I think, since I usually try to hide behind pictures taken in my twenties!

Anyway, it's real, it's happening, and I'm very excited to be launching my second poetry collection with Salt.

Here's where you can find out more about Boudicca & Co. which is due out 1st November 2006.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

"If you love your books, let them go" - The New York Times on the new global phenomenon of BookCrossing

This is Summersault, a cafe in the heart of Rugby, a market town in Warwickshire, whose chief claim to fame is that the game of rugby was invented there. I live within ten miles of Rugby, so visit the town frequently.

When we first moved to the area about three years ago, I checked out Rugby and was enchanted by this charming cafe with its outside tables, lavish flower displays and the arts & crafts materials and jewellery for sale inside the restaurant. It runs to three floors, with a lovely atrium-style top floor for those long winter afternoons, heavily planted with greenery and glowing with light. It's always marvellous to find a good place to write and it helps if the food - and especially the coffee - is excellent too.

But in recent months, Summersault has become even more special in my eyes. For it has joined a rapidly growing worldwide 'sociology experiment', as Book Magazine has dubbed it, and become an Official BookCrossing Zone.

Okay, you may be asking, what is BookCrossing? Well, basically it's about passing on your used books to other people for free. But anonymously, to complete strangers, instead of to friends and family. The three 'R's of BookCrossing are

Read it!
Register it!
Release it!

This is how the system works. You read a book, you visit and register that book, giving it a unique number which is attached either on the cover or on the inside cover, using your own book labels or one specially downloaded from the website, then you just release the book ... leave it on a park bench, on a cafe table, at a bus stop, in a church. When it's found, the person who takes it home with them will hopefully read the label, visit the bookcrossing site, and notify them that the book has been found. Then they read it, and release it again. Simple as that.

Naturally, it's NOT as simple as that. Many books are released into the wild, as it's called, and never heard of again. Very depressing for the releaser. But many are registered on the site as having been found, and are then passed on again, all over the world. Pretty neat idea!

To facilitate book exchanges, some places have been designated as BookCrossing Zones. And to come full circle, Summersault Cafe in Rugby is just such a place.

As you can see from this photo, the books are kept in a small bookcase near the door, with a sign explaining the process and letting people know that these particular books are FREE and can be taken home. You go in, browse the books, take one home, register it, read it, take it back and pass it on again.

I've just picked up a cookery book there today, a Dan Brown novel for one of my teenage daughters, and a couple of younger reader books for the kids. On the BookCrossing site you can find out if there's an Official BookCrossing Zone near you or who's registered on the scheme in your area, when the last books were released there and exactly where. This scheme is global, of course, so your books can travel anywhere and you will be notified by email when someone finds them, even if they end up in Peru! It's an amazing network of leads and book stories for you to follow and the BookCrossing worldwide discussion forum makes fascinating reading ...

Here's a link to the Bookcrossing site. Why not join them and register one of your books today, then release it ...

n. the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.

(added to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary in August 2004)