March 26, 2013

Jim Carrey says self-publishing is cool!

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective actor Jim Carrey will self-publish a “metaphysical children’s book” entitled How Roland Rolls.
During an interview with HitFix, Carrey explained: “I’m going to self-publish, because that’s just the world right now and I think it’s cool.” He also promised that the book will be “beautifully-illustrated,” telling the story of a little wave named Roland.
The star plans to release the book in September. Carrey apparently wrote the book in part for his grandson.

March 25, 2013

And the prize for oddest title goes to…

Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop – a practical guide on how to clear your home and garden of goblins and banish them forever – has been named the weirdest book title of the year. Reginald Bakeley's tongue-in-cheek manual beat a shortlist that included How Tea Cosies Changed the World, and How to Sharpen Pencils, to win the Diagram prize for the oddest book title of the year.

The book joins former winners of the Diagram – given out annually by the Bookseller magazine – including Highlights in the History of Concrete, Bombproof Your Horse and last year's top title, Cooking with Poo. The first ever winner of the prize, in 1978, was Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice.

Philip Stone, the Diagram prize's administrator, said, "the kind of niche, offbeat publications that often appear on the Diagram prize shortlist might not make their writers or publishers rich beyond their wildest dreams, but the fact that writers still passionately write such works and publishers are still willing to invest in them is a marvellous thing that deserves to be celebrated."

March 22, 2013

Honey at RHS Wisley

On Saturday 23 March, author Elizabeth Gowing, will be talking at the RHS Gardens in Wisley about her books, Travels in Blood and Honey; becoming a beekeeper in Kosovo, and The Little Book of Honey.

Ever wondered what honey made from the nectar of avocado flowers or ivy would taste like? Wanted to make your own honey ice-cream? The Little Book of Honey
takes you around the world and back to your own kitchen, with the flavours of honey from thistle, viper's bugloss and coriander, amongst many others. It offers recipes for breads, cakes, puddings, drinks and dressings, all drenched, drizzled or delicately flavoured with nature's most versatile sweetener.  The Little Book of Honey is the perfect indulgence for the bee-friendly gardener, the gourmet, the sweet of tooth, those looking for inspiration in eating local, and anyone happy to make life an extended honeymoon. It is also a feast for the eyes and for the stomach - a beautifully illustrated book, with woodcut-style illustrations throughout.

Travels in Blood and Honey; becoming a beekeeper in Kosovo was described by The Times as, “A sheer delight; a beguiling, bittersweet story of a lively love affair with a traditional world, as ancient as apiculture.”

At RHS Wisley, Elizabeth will be reading extracts from the books and also sharing some favourite honeys in a tasting session. Details are also on the Wisley website.

If you know a group who'd be interested in having Elizabeth as a speaker, do get in touch with her here. She has previously given talks at schools and universities, museums and bookshops, women's groups, foodie events and book groups, and at a jazz club and a lifeboat station!

James Herbert - Master of Horror

Best-selling horror author, James Herbert, has died this week, aged 69. Jeremy Trevathan, his editor for 10 years, described him as, "one of the keystone authors in a genre that had its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s".

Herbert's first novel, The Rats, depicted London overrun by mutant flesh-eating rodents, and sold 100 000 copies within two weeks of being published in 1974. Since then, he has published 23 novels in more than 30 languages, selling 54 million copies worldwide. His latest book, Ash, was published last week. He was awarded an OBE by the Queen in 2010, the same year he was made Grand Master of Horror by the World of Horror Convention.

Herbert has been described as one of the giants of popular fiction in the 20th Century, and it is a testament to his writing that his books continued to be huge bestsellers right up until his death. His novels were also considered classics of the genre within his lifetime.

Herbert started his first novel, The Rats, at the age of 28 and completed it within 10 months. He submitted the manuscript to six publishers, three of whom replied. Of those, two rejected the novel outright, and one accepted it. The Rats was one of four Herbert novels made into films, along with The Survivor, Fluke and Haunted.

March 20, 2013

Book Signing Blues!

When Cathi, my publisher, asked me if I could do a book signing session, I got completely the wrong idea. In fact, the idea that I got was clearly well above my station. You see, I thought of the book signings that I had attended in the past, and imagined myself behind a desk in a busy bookstore. I would be surrounded by crowds of admirers, all jostling for a signed copy of my book to treasure, or wanting to capture a photo of me beside them, smiling demurely, with which they might then impress their friends.

So, having put on my best “I am an author” ensemble, I arrived at the publishers armed with spare pens, witty chicken anecdotes and full of excitement. But no, that was not quite what Cathi had in mind. My excitement was short lived. I was handed a box of my books and returned home to sign them at my humble kitchen table. They were intended for the customers who had already pre-ordered the book!

Although I didn’t have a crowd of adoring fans at my door when I returned, I did have a small welcome party of cats and chickens who were reluctant to form an orderly queue. I managed to squeeze past them all and set up my signing station at the kitchen table, but as soon as I opened the door to greet the postman, the cats (Polly and Toby) and some of the chickens (Hetty and Blossom) took the opportunity to dash past me and get in on the action.

I was quite flattered at first. Well, at least they seemed more excited about the book signing than the postman! The cats, as it turned out, were actually only interested in their food bowl, and the chickens? Well, there was a digestive biscuit on the table when I went to answer the door that was gone when I got back...

You can always rely on animals to keep your feet firmly on the ground!

- Sue Doherty, author of Talking Chickens

March 15, 2013

X Factor for books

Seven years after its launch, Literary Death Match is still pulling in bumper crowds. Rupert Hawksley, from The Telegraph, got a ringside seat.

One boxing ring, four prize fighters, a rowdy, lager swilling crowd and … a whole lot of books. Welcome to Literary Death Match, a lively reading event that pits four authors against each other in a knockout competition. Each has exactly seven minutes to impress a panel of judges by reading an extract from their latest work with points awarded for "Literary Merit", "Performance" and the cryptic "Intangibles".

When Adrian Todd Zuniga launched the project in 2006, it caused a stir among critics who applauded his anarchic efforts to modernise the way in which we approach literature. The evenings began to take on a Bacchanalian nature, which attracted a young, avant-garde crowd. It wasn’t long before the likes of Moby and comedian Peter Serafinowicz were on board passing judgement on the brightest young authors.

Literary Death Match

March 14, 2013

The New Kindle Fire HD 8.9"

Jeff Bezos holds up the new Kindle Fire HD 7" and Kindle Fire HD 8.9"

Amazon today announced that Kindle Fire HD 8.9" - the large-screen version of its best-selling tablet - is now available in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Japan.

Kindle Fire HD 8.9" is the highest-resolution, largest-display Kindle Fire. Brought out to compete directly with Apple’s iPad, this new, larger tablet is designed for entertainment: web, apps, movies, games, books and magazines. Features include:
  • Large 8.9" display has the highest resolution of any Kindle Fire (1920x1200, 254 ppi).
  • Custom Dolby audio and dual stereo speakers for crisper sound.
  • Over 23 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, books, and audiobooks.
  • Popular apps and games.
  • Ultra-fast web browsing and streaming with built-in dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi.
  • Front-facing HD camera for taking photos or making video calls.
  • Exceptional battery life - Kindle Fire HD 8.9" gets 10 hours of battery life.
  • Easy-to-use e-mail, calendar, and contacts for work or home, including Gmail, Hotmail, Exchange, and more.
  • New Amazon-exclusive features like X-Ray for Movies, X-Ray for Textbooks, Immersion Reading, Whispersync for Voice and Whispersync for Games.
  • Kindle FreeTime, a free, personalized tablet experience just for kids and exclusively available on Kindle Fire. Parents can set daily screen limits and give access to appropriate content for each child.
  • "Buy Once, Enjoy Everywhere" so customers can use their Amazon content on any of their devices.

March 06, 2013

Kindle Bug Fix

News for those of you who read ebooks using the Kindle App on an Apple device. Kindle version 3.6.2 has just gone live on the Apple App Store. This new release should fix the disastrous account deregistering glitch.

Hopefully you hadn’t had a chance to hit the Update button on the Kindle version 3.6.1 for iOS yet. It carried a nasty bug that deleted the entire book library on your Kindle. Of course, all Amazon ebook purchases are always still safely available in the Amazon cloud and can be downloaded again.

March 04, 2013

Terry Pratchett's daughter speaks out

Rhianna Pratchett was in a taxi in a North London traffic jam when her father phoned to tell her that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. She recalls her shock and disbelief in an interview with Amanda Cable.


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