Sunday, 31 August 2014

Sample the Shuttered Room on Google Books

The shuttered Room is a dark psychological thriller centred upon the abduction of a tycoon's daughter, Jess. But little do her thugs realise her little secret. In an escape attempt, Jess cuts a hole in the floor, gaining access only to her abductors secret lives as she spies upon them from above.

In a bid to escape, she starts to play little mind games with them.

If only they knew what she was up to, what would they do to her?

Friday, 29 August 2014

Excruciating Moments in a Writing Career: The Tramp that Kept Laughing in my Book Talk

Every writer may have moments he/she would rather forget: a gaff during an author talk, noticing bowl had been spelled bowel only after the book has been published. Yes, I have noticed this confusion in a few books – trad published as well. Well I did a book talk the other day – an event greatly anticipated as always. Little did I know what was in store.

Book Talk Agonizing Moments

I had prepared a book reading for the author event from my novel, Falling Awake, a story that relates on how a mother, mired in debt, performs routines for a client. The woman’s twelve-year-old son, after overhearing the word ‘voyeurism’, misconstrues the word to mean an audience watching a show, like the X-Factor. His mother does not correct him on the definition, too embarrassed.

He also assumes his mother’s evening performances is for a glitzy show. In this vein, he makes her a cat mask to wear. His mother is bewildered at how this project could cheer him up in the face of his father’s desertion and losing their home. She doesn’t tell him the seedy truth, instead fostering his fantasy and letting him make her the cat mask.

Classic Author Talk Moment

The excerpt of my book described a climactic moment when the mother’s client appears unexpectedly in her garden. Her son is there with her cat mask providing the setup for an excruciating moment mired with misunderstandings.

Great, I thought, this is an ideal material for keeping an audience interested and alert! How can it fail? Only trouble was, my book talk took place at a city library, meaning I could not know who would turn up.

The audience during my author event included an 80 year old lady with memory loss, and a tramp who would explode with laughter for no apparent reason. The woman was very intelligent and well-read, but had trouble communicating. She also (perhaps because of her age) nodded off a few times. The tramp laughed at comments that had no comic value, and otherwise stared into space.

What Not to Do During an Author Talk

Only after the event had finished, did I realize that I had talked about voyeurism to a tramp and an eighty-year-old lady. Had that really happened? The lesson from this is that a writer must never make assumptions about the reading profile of an author talk. In future, I will prepare several excerpts and choose the one most suitable for the audience that happens to arrive. What a steep learning curve!

My York Festival of Writing Experience: Invaluable for Every Writer

An important even for writers, the York Festival of Writing is a great way of meeting publishers, agents and other writers. I have booked a place on Sunday. But what is this important writing event and what does it entail?

Details about the York Festival of Writing

My Visit to the York Festival of Writing
This writing festival in Yorkshire lasts from Friday 12 September until Sunday 14 September at York University. You can stay on campus for two nights for the whole package, one night, or just come on Sunday, as I have.

Competitions at the York Festival

There are loads of events great for writers hoping to improve on writing skills or looking for an agent. There are also competitions, being, Friday Night Live, which is a competition looking for the best 500 word excerpt from a literary work. The judges will shortlist entrants down to 7 by the 8 September. The winner will read out his/her 500 word extract after a gala, filled with big-name publishers and agents.

You can also enter a competition looking for the best opening chapter of a novel. This must not exceed 3000 words. The winner will be notified on Saturday night.

One to One Book Doctor or Literary Agent

As well as meeting other writers, agents and book publishers, the package includes a one to one feedback with a literary agent who knows the publishing industry inside out. Alternatively, the writer may decide to have a one to one with a book doctor, providing an invaluable evaluation on your novel.

Each applicant can choose two one-to-ones, which might be two book doctors, two agents, or one of each. Big publishing agents include Watson Little, Conville and Walsh and AM Heath. Exposure to these big names has resulted in some writers winning representation from a literary agent or even to get nominated for the Richard & Judy Summer Read.

Workshops for Writers at the York Festival

The weekend is jammed packed filled with workshops, which you must book before visiting the York Festival. These include all sorts of vital subject matter relating to writing, publishing and book marketing. Included in the writer’s workshops are creativity, self-publishing, the art of writing thrillers and much more.

You can also enroll on mini courses (Friday only) which informs on writing issues: submitting your novel, editing your novel and pitching your novel.

Charles J Harwood Visit to the York Festival of Writing

I have booked my visit for Sunday September 14 and hope to meet other writers and literary agents that will offer valuable advice that may enhance any writing career. Writers of any genre can visit: thrillers, screenwriters, children’s authors and non-fiction writers.

How to Enter the York Festival

You must include within your pack, a short bio, including a synopsis on the novels you wish to discuss on the day. The first 3000 word excerpt from your work is enough for any literary agent to make a judgment on whether you are ready for the publishing industry or issues need fixing. Entries are now closed, but I am looking forward to visiting York and mingling with other writers on the day.

Inappropriate Three Short Stories by Charles J Harwood

My short story trilogy, Inappropriate, delves into irrational feelings between two people, bringing unexpected consequences. Inappropriate aims to leave a lasting impression upon the reader’s mind, even after finishing the story. Each tale has contrasting in narrative and deals with very different emotional situations. Here is a short rundown of what this emotional anthology is about.

Inappropriate by Charles J Harwood

Buy from Amazon
The first story, Deadline follows the life of mature student Andrea, who finds herself emotionally isolated whilst watching films. She cries at Robocop and Total Recall, yet doesn’t shed a tear at Titanic. This cannot bode well for her theatre studies, as her thesis is late and she could fail her course. In the dead-end town of Colby, she cannot afford to get too hopeful, and believes her best chances lies with cerulean-eyed Kieran, the ideal boyfriend. But her tutor Mr. Linton is insistent upon her completing her thesis to the best of her ability. But does something else lurk behind his insistence?

Story of an Ex Convict doing Community Service

My second short story Outside relates on Deke, an ex-jailbird doing community service outside the home of single mother, Elaine and her son Fin. Deke’s delinquency is borne from a troubled upbringing and he soon realizes he is trapped in a life he doesn’t want. People look upon him with suspicion and anger. He always feels on the outside looking in. That is until he is commissioned to clear rubbish from the fields backing Elaine’s house. Beneath her cool exterior, she has a vulnerability and goodwill that resounds with Deke. He sees the life he could have had and obsession starts to lurk. He stalks her life with unforeseen consequences.

Story of Suspected Infidelity – is She Faithful?

My final short story, Nice, tells of Durante, the director of a government sector that funds businesses that benefit the community. He has had a string of failed relationships but his current girlfriend, Kate seems different. Should he lose her, he would be truly heartbroken. His suspicions are aroused when an in-law keeps calling her. In the face of this glamorous admirer, Durante feels dull. Does Kate see him in the same way? Does she think he is too ‘nice’ for passion; will she opt for her funny, good looking admirer?

Stories about Human Relationships

Inappropriate is my second short story trilogy after Blood and Water. Each story is between 2,500 words to 5000 words, providing more than enough distraction for spare moments in the day, but will have a lasting impression. A must read about feelings running high between two people, with unexpected consequences.

Inappropriate: 3 Short Stories by Charles J Harwood is available exclusively on Kindle at the moment.