Story Sunday – Submissions Open

Stop all the clocks! We’re having ‘A Moment In Time’

Momennt in Time Header
After something of a lull at WU Towers we’re delighted to be open for submissions once more for our first 2018 Story Sunday event on Sunday April 29th with the theme of A Moment in Time when around ten writers will be invited to take to the Southbank stage in Bedminster and enthral us with their talent.

Submissions Open Now

Any genre is acceptable, a historical tale or an imagining of the future, or maybe just a moment, crystallised in words. As ever we love to be shocked, stunned, terrified or delighted in any way.
Please check our submissions page for full instructions on how to send us your finely-wrought words.

All welcome on the night

Our promise to writers is a friendly audience – to our audience a night to remember for a mere £5 entry.
Sunday April 29th
7 – 9 pm
Southbank Club, Dean Lane, Bedminster,  Bristol BS3 1DB
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Readers at our Night of Crime. This time it could be you!

 

Next stop: a book launch in Glastonbury

ninatorAs soon as we’re over the #lovehangover event, we’ll be heading off for a very important book launch. Established crime writer and our erstwhile member Nina Milton is launching the third in her Shamanic Mystery Series Beneath the Tor in the centre of Glastonbury on Saturday Feb 27th. Do join us if you can.

Beneath the Tor, published by Midnight Ink (Llewellyn Worldwide), features young Somerset shaman, Sabbie Dare, who enlists the help of the spirit world to fight the dark side of humanity.

All the Shaman Mysteries are set in the beautiful, but sometimes eerie landscape of the Somerset Levels, but Beneath the Tor opens on Midsummer Eve at the top of Glastonbury Tor, where beautiful Alys Hollingberry dies suddenly after dancing the night away. The book has its own cast of Glastonbury characters and examines many of the myths and legends of this mystical town.

IMG_0031The launch will take place at

The Avalon Rooms
at the Glastonbury Experience  (2-4 High Street BA6 9DY)
2pm on Saturday 27th February

All Nina Milton’s books will be available at a special launch price.

Ronald Hutton, professor of history at Bristol University, and author of Pagan Britain will give a talk on shamanism today, and Nina Milton will give readings of her work and sign copies of her books.

Complimentary refreshments will be served and blues guitarist Arthur Billington will provide acoustic music. All book lovers are invited, and admission is free.

Born in Bristol, Nina has been writing since she could hold a pen, and holds an MA in creative writing from Bath Spa. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Nina Milton
Nina with her first Sabbie Dare novel

She began her writing career when she was awarded the Wells Festival of Literature Short Story Prize. She returned to the prize-giving in 2015 to talk about what can happen after winning. Milton Nina Milton is also a Druid with shamanic training. “Druidry takes me close to the earth and into the deep recesses of my mind. Shamanic techniques help me in my life – in fact  they changed my life.”

If you’re a reader or writer, Nina will be happy to chat to you at the Launch Event; “I love talking about my passion, writing,” she says. “Talking about it makes a break from the actual writing!”

Here are some reviews of her books:

Embark on Nina Milton…and you won’t stop reading…

Naomi Lewis, Sunday Observer

Nina Milton has created a unique fictional world in her Shaman Mystery Series, featuring Sabbie Dare as a young shaman. With Beneath the Tor  she passed the ultimate test of a writer, that of causing me to put off useful jobs which I really should have been doing, in order to see what happens next. She has become a mistress of plot-weaving, and above all, she pulls off the trick of setting the totally fantastic amid the totally everyday and making the two fit together with pace and excitement…

Ronald Hutton, author of Pagan Britain and The Triumph of the Moon.

This third mystery of the series hits the ground running. I read the book straight through with only some sleep in between. It’s not necessary to have read the first two to read this one. Wonderful mix of modern grit and ancient magic…

Chesapeake Reader Amazon.com review, December 2, 2015

Sabbie Dare is the most compelling protagonist I’ve met this year, and Milton’s tale is riveting…the visceral suspense Milton creates is commendable, not to mention terrifying. I like pairing her work with Elly Griffiths’s atmospheric English mysteries

…Library Journal

Milton puts an intriguing New Age spin on the traditional English mystery

…Publisher’s Weekly

Nina’s Backlist

In the Moors, 2013
Unraveled Visions, 2014
Beneath the Tor 2016

Milton’s books for older children, Sweet’n’Sour (HarperCollins) and Tough Luck (Bristol Publishers ThornBerry) were both set in Bristol.

She has a long track record as a short story writer, winning the Wells Literary Festival Short Story Prize among others.

And some of Nina’s most recent short stories can of course be read in our own Unchained Anthology.

Contact:

email kitchentablewriters@live.com and learn more about her writing at http://kitchentablewriters.blogspot.com

 

 

Need help with writing? Join us at Southbank, Bedminster

We’ve spent most of the last year toiling away at our writing desks, but with September and that new term feeling upon us we’ve decided it’s time to get out and about again. Our aim is to meet more writers, help more writers, and, yes, find new audiences for our work.

First of all we’re delighted to announce a new partnership with the management of Southbank Club in Bedminster who are keen to have creative arts activities alongside language and exercise classes.

And so first off (drumroll!)  we’re delighted to announce the  Monday Writing Club which will meet fortnightly from Sept 21st (1st and 3rd Monday of each month) from 12 – 1.30  at Southbank (Dean Lane, BS3 1DB) with each session led by a member of the Unchained Writers Collective .

South Bank Bar
Cosy venue for our autumn workshops and story-reading events

So who is it for?

  • Maybe you have an idea I’d like to write about but haven’t quite got round to it
  • Or you might have made a start on something but need moral support, feedback or just the company of other tortured souls
  • Or maybe you’ve got a finished piece of work (WOOP!) but would like some advice on the mad mad world of publishing (believe us, it is!)

radiogroup

If any of these apply do come along and join us. The cost is a only £4 per session with a hot drink provided (BYO lunch)

You can pay on the day, or if you’d like to reserve a place (or have any questions) please use our contact form. 

And did we mention story readings? Watch this space!

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Coming soon – a new shamanic mystery from Nina Milton

Nina MiltonIt seems no time since we were at the launch of Nina Milton’s In the Moors, her gripping thriller featuring shamanic sleuth Sabbie Dare. I’m delighted to say Nina is back to tell us about her follow-up, Unraveled Visions, and has news of a special offer!

 

 

Unraveled Visions coverHi Nina, is this a return for my favourite heroine of last year, Sabbie Dare?

Yes. So many people have said they have fallen in love with her! As the book opens, she’s still pining over Reynard Buckley (*sighs* – ed) and living in Bridgwater with her hens (of course!) The book opens on the evening of the Bridgwater Carnival. After the carnival floats have finished, there is always the traditional ‘squibbing’; a firework display with a difference. Sabbie is there with a girlfriend, and what she witness takes her into trouble and danger (nothing’s changed there, then!)

 

The cover and title feel ‘stronger’ (and sexier?) than In the Moors – your choice or the publisher?

Midnight Ink made these decisions, but I think they’ve done me proud. I was also happy with their treatment of In the Moors.

 Anything else you can tell us about the new book?

Here’s the back cover;

The day after shamanic counselor Sabbie Dare receives a palm reading at a street carnival, she learns that a police detective has been killed and the gypsy fortuneteller has gone missing. Sabbie’s newest client—a scared woman with an angry husband—has also disappeared. Despite warnings from Detective Inspector Rey Buckley to stay away from the investigations, Sabbie can’t ignore the messages of danger she’s received through her shamanic journeys. But as close as she comes to the answers, Sabbie discovers there are people who want to keep the truth buried forever.

And a tiny snippet from the start of the book…

The two detectives had arrived as the body was trundling on a gurney over to the white tent where the pathologist waited like an adjudicator at some macabre contest. The woman was found stripped of any clothing and the technician had thrown a green sheet over her poor mutilated and rotting body for that short journey, but the gurney jerked as its wheels stuck to the walkway, which was so burning hot it was melting the policemen’s thick soles, and the woman’s head slid to the edge, her heavy locks falling free, as if she’d just unpinned them. Despite the river weed and silt, her hair was still glorious; as black as a nighttime lake, not tampered by bleach or dye. 

Detective Sergeant Gary Abbott had stepped forward, his hand outstretched, and touched the woman’s hair, crying out like a distressed relative. “Take care with her, for God’s sake!”

UNRAVELLED VISIONS   by Nina Milton from Midnight Ink

 Intriguing! Any events coming up?

If you’d like to hear me talk about my writing in the West Country, in October I’ll be speaking at the WELLS LITERARY FESTIVAL.

I’ll be there to give a talk in the Bishop’s Palace on the afternoon of Sunday 12th of October, when the winners of the Wells Short Story, Novel Writing and Poetry Competition Prizes are presented with their prizes. As a past winner of the short story prize, I hope to offer hope to writers who are just setting out.

The festival is packed with amazing names, so why not come for the day and enjoy the buzzing literary atmosphere?

Sounds like a great idea, Nina, and I’m sure a number of BWW members will be hoping for a catch-up while you are back in the West Country.

Meanwhile here’s the other bit of exciting news for Sabbie Dare fans…you can pre-order your copy of Unravelled Visions ahead of the publication date for only £8.05p. (And you can have the book delivered free if the order is over £10). U.K. publication is due mid-October. This is a great opportunity to have the 2nd book in your hands on the day, ready for winter reading. Just go to;

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Unraveled-Visions-Shaman-Mystery-Milton/dp/0738740055/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396516117&sr=1-4&keywords=nina+milton

For those who have yet to meet the inimitable Sabbie, Here are some reader comments on In the Moors. Could be a great time to do a deal on both titles!

In the MoorsOver the last 2 years have found it so hard to get a good book. I read yours in less than two days…A compelling read, beautifully written; memorable…

Janette Davies, from Ireland

And Celtic Writer Mara Freeman (Kindling the Celtic Spirit, Grail Alchemy)  wrote to give her thoughts on the first in the series…

A real page-turner, In the Moors cost me several hours of sleep because it was so un-put-downable! An engaging heroine, a landscape at once so real and so menacing, and an intriguing mystery had me enthralled into the wee hours!

Ali B has also reviewed In the Moors on Amazon  and gives it an unqualified 5 stars.

Great to have you back, Nina!

 

 

 

A View from the Far Side of NaNoWriMo

Sally post-nanoLast month Sally Hare was anticipating having another bash at Nanowrimo. We’re glad to see she lived to tell the tale. Well done Sally!  

It’s been two weeks since the end of National Novel Writing Month; the aches in my arms have just about been Zumba-ed away and my eyes no longer look like last week’s party balloons. (Sally are you sure about that?) 

I’m happy to say that I did manage to write 50,000 words, passing the finish line on 27th November. (WOOP!) Despite my assertions earlier in the challenge that I’d keep going until the end of the month regardless, I stopped at a mighty 50,001 (the NaNo website obviously has a kinder word-check: it awarded me 50,069). The cava was promptly cracked.

It’s been an ‘interesting journey’, to say the least. I have slaughtered and merged characters, christened the novel after someone I subsequently abandoned by the kerbside in week three, renamed just about everyone, and realised that one of the three stories I was telling had no place in the narrative at all (but invented a whole new one in a bit of an eureka moment). Keeping up the demanding pace left no time to edit; I had to roll with the ongoing twists and turns of the plot and just keep writing through exasperation, despair and occasional elation.

So, what am I left with? Well, re-reading Louise’s post about ‘tending plots both literary and green’, I would have to say a steaming great pile of manure. However, I’m hopeful that it might, just perhaps, turn out to be the kind of fertile compost from which delicious rhubarb will sprout.

Yes, it turns out there was only one storyline which had anything like its own momentum, one appeared out of nowhere but I have no idea how to put meat on its bones, and one is so boring even I didn’t want to write it.

nanowrimo winnerBut … these are problems to work on. Rather than wandering around trying to come up with a ‘big idea’, I have loads of little ideas to ponder when doing the shopping, digging the allotment, writing more sensible things. At the moment I’m letting it all rot down a bit in my mind (and bulk-buying boxed toiletries and novelty jumpers), but come the New Year I’ll get my literary wellies back on and get grappling. Was it worthwhile? I’ll tell you when I see what’s grown in the spring  … 😉

A time to reap, a time to sow, a time to NaNoWriMo?

Sally Hare

Sally Hare gives her advice on what – and what not – to expect if you’re brave enough to take up the Nanowrimo challenge.  

Remember, remember, the first of November …

I wonder if you, like me, feel a certain restlessness at this time each year? As late summer warmth turns to autumnal bluster, the annual question nags. To NaNoWriMo, or not to NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month – the 50,000-word writing sprint – is certainly one way to avoid facing up to Christmas. At a steady 1,667 words per day it’s certainly not for the hesitant. But is it really worth giving up your life, and possibly your sanity, for a whole month?

Success in my first year I attribute to the fact that I was already working on a novel: I had characters, a vague plot and an even vaguer idea of where it was going. By the end of November I had a complete first draft. The second year I wasn’t so lucky regarding an initial idea – instead I decided to write 50,000 words and hope that, somewhere in the process, a narrative would develop. Two weeks and 12,000 words of choppy, unfocussed prose later, I chose common-sense over bloody-mindedness and gave up. Last year, finding myself in a similar creative space, I didn’t even start.

fastest writer in the world
Could you be the fastest writer in the world?

That’s not to say my enthusiasm for NaNoWriMo has cooled. But let’s not be under any illusions: if you manage to stay the course, by 1st December you’ll have 50,000 words of little literary merit whatsoever under your belt. Publishers will not be beating a path to your door. Yet. That’s not the point. What you will also have is a first draft to work from over the coming months. And that’s a fantastic treasure. Especially if, like me, you’re the sort of writer who writes ten words then re-edits them for an hour rather than moving the narrative on. Or the sort of writer who, wrangling a precious hour or day to work, finds it incredibly hard to get back into your current project, totting up endless games of Freecell while trying to regain your creative mojo. Then manages it ten minutes before the kids are due home. Having a rough template of where you’re going makes it so much easier to get back into and move along, even if you didn’t make it all the way to the magical 50,000. Plus, having spent a month totally immersed in grit-toothed word production mode, you’ll be less likely to fall into the time-wasting traps in the first place.

No plot no problemIf you are considering NaNoWriMo, I recommend the companion book to the challenge, No Plot? No Problem! by its founder, Chris Baty. It’s an easy read, full of infectious enthusiasm for dumping quality for quantity – from handy hints to keeping going (make a cheque out to an organisation you despise, then give it to a friend: ask them to post it to said organisation if you give up: p.55), to week-by-week support for the various stages of the progress (delight, despair, determination, celebration). There’s also a lot of support on the website http://nanowrimo.org/ where you can track your progress, network with other participants, and find local groups (these groups often stage mass writing sessions, if the wallpaper’s starting to close in).

This year, I’m fortunate enough to have started a new project, so I think I’m ready for the marathon again (brag to everyone that you’re doing it, then fear of public humiliation will keep you going: p. 53). For those considering it, good luck! We will recognise each other on the December streets by our other-worldly stares and panicked Christmas shopping.