200 supporters qive away as Damon L Wakes reaches 50% of his croud funding

Ten Little Astronauts, the Christie-inspired sci-fi murder mystery by Damon L. Wakes, is approaching 200 supporters on Unbound. To celebrate, he’ll be sending a signed paperback copy of Unearthly Sleuths to one of those first 200 at random

Unearthly Sleuths is an anthology of speculative detective fiction by JayHenge Publishing. It includes two stories by Damon himself—lighthearted steampunk “The Card” and the significantly more sinister “Noise on The Wire”—as well as many more by a wide variety of other authors.

Unearthly sleuths an out of this world anthology

Unearthly sleuths an out of this world anthology

You’ll have to be quick if you want to be in with a chance of winning this book, though: 196 of those 200 places are already taken, meaning that there are just four still up for grabs! To put in a pledge for yourself, simply follow this link. As well as a chance of winning Unearthly Sleuths, you’ll get your very own copy of Ten Little Astronauts, have your name recorded in the back of every edition of the book. If the book reaches its funding target by Christmas, it’ll be distributed into bookshops through Penguin Random House, and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you were one of the people who helped make it all happen.

Poetika are calling for poetry submissions for 2 different poetry festivals.

Salisbury Fringe Festival and Salisbury Literary Festival are both calling for poetry submissions.

 Poetika at the Salisbury Fringe: Call for Dramatic Poetry (closing date 30/9/2017)

Salisbury Fringe – the established festival of cutting-edge drama by local writers performed in a variety of informal venues during the first weekend in October. Poetika’s mission at the Fringe is to bring poetry to the drama. Poetika are seeking works of ‘dramatic poetry’ for the event, where they will be performed by professional actors.

Submissions close on  Saturday 30th September. E to email your pieces (5 mins max) to drama@poetika.org.uk .

To find out more about the Salisbury Fringe follow this link http://salisburyfringe.co.uk/

City of Poems’ (Salisbury Literary Festival ): Call for Poems about Salisbury (closing date 30/9/2017)

New this year- The Salisbury Literary Festival is  taking place over the last weekend of October it will be a feast of readings, talks and workshops, celebrating the best in literature by writers with a local connection and some from further afield.

Poetika has an event – City of Poems – as part of the festival, where in addition to presenting some of the best known poems written about the city, Poetika will be reading a selection of works specially written for the Festival by local people. Send Poetika Salisbury poems (max 5 mins) to be read at the event. Poetika is also creating a pamphlet of chosen poetry which will be on sale at the event and at other venues in town (all sale proceeds going to Poetika’s adopted charity, Childrens Chance).

You have until midnight on Saturday 30th September to email your pieces (5 mins max) to city@poetika.org.uk.

More about the Salisbury Literary Festival here: http://salisburyliteraryfestival.co.uk/

 

Andover 1st Rock music festival

Andover Rocks is an innovative music event which is being held on April 1st 2017 to raise much-needed funds for The Junction and music intervention in Adult mental health. The event consists of a whole day and evening of music and music related workshops being held across 5 venues around the town. The aim is to provide something musical for everyone from well-known acts such as The Torn off Strips and Jon Walsh through to more alternative events like the Gong Bath, Drum Running, Gospel Choir and Poetry. In addition String brokers are providing free 20-minute guitar lessons

Not only are you going to get brilliant music all day, you will get to see poetry from Dan Hooks, Syd Meats, Damian O’Vitch, Cat Randle and Just Us!

The Venues are:

  • The Methodist church
  • The Rock House
  • The White Hart
  • The Time Ring
  • The Hayward Suite (Wolversdene Club)Poetry from 5.30-7.30

Tickets – Tickets are £10 per adult, £2.50 a child, 5 and under’s are free, please note this is a roaming ticket and will get you access to all venues. Tickets are available from Stringbrokers, The White Hart, The Rock House, The Wolversdene Club, The Methodist Church, The Junction and MBE.

April 1st Andover Rocks

 

 

How 10 Little Astronauts went from a MA with distinction to a book

Big Up Words are going to publish a series of blogs where writers talk about their publishing journeys. Damon L. Wake’s book 10 Little Astronauts is going to be published by Unbound.

I think there’s a moment in any academic project when you question everything you’ve done so far. For me, that moment came when I was sitting in a café with someone on the same Creative Writing MA as me at the University of Winchester. She picked up my work, read a bit, and said “Huh. So you’re handing in Agatha Christie fanfiction in space?” That was the moment I realised that I was taking a massive, massive gamble with my entire course. It was the moment I considered binning the whole thing and starting again, and it was the moment I decided to press on regardless. Partly that was because I was confident that the setting did work with the story, partly because I didn’t have time to come up with anything else.

 

Fortunately, in the end, it all went pretty well. As strange as it felt to submit a mash-up between And Then There Were None and Alien as a serious academic project, the novella was awarded a Distinction and, shortly afterwards, accepted for publication. But more on that later.

The thing about space is that it works extraordinarily well as a setting for a mystery thriller. In space, no one can hear you scream. In zero gravity, no one can hear your footsteps either. The truly colossal distances involved in travelling between stars—far enough that an S.O.S sent at the speed of light will still take years to be heard—guarantee that nobody is coming to help. The hostility of the environment itself means that the characters must work together to survive, even as paranoia threatens to drive them apart and a large part of the inspiration behind Ten Little Astronauts.

 

I’d thoroughly enjoyed ‘And Then There Were None’ but found it took a long time to get started. There’s a lot of scene-setting—several whole chapters—dedicated to explaining how the various characters came together and why they can’t escape after it becomes apparent that one of them is a serial killer. The tension only reaches its peak after a whole series of murders has whittled the cast down to just three or four.

By shifting the setting of my novella to interstellar space, I managed to move the discovery of the first murder to the very first page. Having been woken from suspended animation, chosen from a crew of thousands to respond to, a fire on board the ship, none of the ten astronauts knows any of the others. However, having discovered the body of an eleventh person at the scene of the incident—an incident that has also disabled the ship’s computer—they know that one of their numbers is an imposter who intends to kill them all. With no life support, and the masses of frozen crewmembers causing the air temperature to plummet, the ten astronauts have to split up to repair the damage despite knowing that anyone, in any group, could be the murderer.

 

Having sunk an enormous amount of time and effort into Ten Little Astronauts for my course, and since it had been well-received academically, I decided to submit it to Scott Pack—an editor at Unbound—as part of a one-to-one meeting at the Winchester Writers’ Festival this summer. He passed on my manuscript, and within a couple of weeks, I got an email back saying that they had decided to launch the book!

Unbound are a crowdfunding publisher—pre-orders from readers are what fund the initial run of first editions, with trade paperbacks distributed to bookshops by Penguin Random House after that—and they set me up with a video for the book. They let me pick the location, and since I’d done a good chunk of my research for it on board HMS Alliance at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, I got in touch with the museum staff to see if they’d be happy for us to film on board. Visiting the submarine while writing had helped me pin down the atmosphere of the spacecraft in the book, so I was thrilled when they agreed to let us shoot the video itself inside.

Damon L Wakes

HMS Alliance background to Damon’s Unbound video.

 

Since the crowdfunding campaign started, I’ve been doing everything I can to get the word out about the book. I’m hardly a big-name author, so the biggest challenge by far is letting people know it exists. Unbound recommended offering attractive rewards for supporters of the book, and because I’ve been making and selling chainmail jewellery for a few years now, I’ve been offering one reward option that includes a necklace. The necklace is made of anodised aluminium—the same material as the International Space Station—which I think helps keep it relevant to the sci-fi story even though the technique is a thousand years old! I take the necklaces themselves to craft fairs, which makes for a natural conversation-starter when it comes to the book.

Damon's speci

 

If you’d like to read some of Ten Little Astronauts now, you can find a sample over on Unbound’s website. And if it sounds like a book you’d enjoy, please consider putting in a pledge: as well as getting a copy for yourself, your name will appear in the back of every edition to show that you were one of the great people who helped make it happen.

1 killer
10 suspects,
10,000,000,000,000 miles from help
Support Ten Little Astronauts on Unbound today!

 

What is National Novel Writing Month?

Nanowrimo sheildNational Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. 

On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.

It doesn’t matter if you finish and it doesn’t matter if you’ve never written before. Beth Hanson has founded Hampshire Scribblers to help you reach your goal.

On October 17th at Andover Library between 2 and 3.30 Beth and our chair Cat Randle will be holding a workshop on how to get ready to write your 50K words. Practical advice, fun games and demonstrations on how to register. All for free.

So come along and find out what its all about….

What’s coming up in winter! Part 1

We’ve got a fun year coming for Big Up Words. We’ll need you to come and play of course. First thing is

National Novel Writing Month

Nanowrimo sheild

Some of you may have heard of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) but for those of you that haven’t, here’s the low down. NaNoWriMo is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing! Writers begin on November 1st and work towards the incredible goal of writing a 50,000 word novel by 11.59pm on November 30th.

The Hampshire Scriber’s writing sessions are all on Saturdays in Andover Library from 14:00 – 15:30 and each has a unique theme:

  • October 17thPlanning or Pantsing what will I write about?
  • October 24th – How to attend the Night of Writing Dangerously
  • October 31st – Official NaNoWriMo Kick Off Party! (Halloween themed!)
  • November 7th – Blanket Fort Building
  • November 14th – Steampunk/Fantasy themed afternoon
  • November 21st – #Writefit
  • November 28th – Teddy Bear Picnic
  • December 5th – Thank God We Made It (TGWMI) Party! (Crowns and stars theme!)

All ages are welcome! Beth Hanson is now Hamshire’s ML. Our job is to prove we’ve got enough keen novelist to create Hampshire as its own part of the Nanowrimo verse. So Big Up Words will be helping Beth run fun FREE workshops in Andover library over from October 17th until December 5th. We’ll also be fundraising, our goal is £1,500 via sponsored writers and business sponsorship.

How can you help? Grab a sponsor and write a novel, help us fund raise or come along and help us help the novelist reach their goals.

See you all in October!

 

Summer fundraising Burbage fete

It’s the time of the year where we pack up the Travelling Bookstall and go out to the villages. Saturday 18th at Burbage Village Hall, SN8 3 AJ

Gavin Ketchen, editor of Burbage News, invited us along to a Saturday Market. All month the good folk of Burbage have been donating money from their activities as part of the ‘Burbage Super Month’. The aim is to raise £1000 for Prospect Hospice.

We said “Yes!” and teamed up with local Burbage author Barbara Townsend, and will be selling her wonderful books, ‘The Savernake Big Belly Oak’, ‘The Oaks of Savernake and the Lengendary Ghosts’, and ‘Harriet’ for a discounted price of £6.00, on the day. She is donating £2.00 of every book sold to the hospice. It will be nice to have another children’s book next to Ken Towells The Adventures of Anthony Ant.

We’ll also be having our popular book tomola. People like taking a punt on finding a book they’ve never read before. If you are thinking of going to Malborough Jazz festival, pop in, have a cuppa at the vintage tea room and say hi to us at our stall.

All the fun to be had at Burbage this summer.

All the fun to be had at Burbage this summer.

 

 

Andover Poetry Cafe has moved!

Yes the last ever poetry cafe will be at The Snug at The Lunar Hare, SP10 3AN.

We decided  to move because our poetry community doesn’t need another poetry cafe. What we need are poetry workshops, critique sessions and a support group.

Alan and Helen at The Lunar Hare have a background in theatre. They understand the arts at the grass roots level needs support to thrive. Everyone one had to have started somewhere. As long as support them with tea, coffee and cake then they are happy to have us use The Snug.

The Snug 2

What this means for Big Up Words is a little less fundraising and it will allow us to ask groups like Test Valley Arts foundation to bring up people like Dave Hubble and Matt West, who run excellent writing workshops. Plus Jonathon Jester of Yo Yo Goblin has offered us a workshop on how to perform in our Time Ring.

So our move makes sense…join us next Saturday for a intimate session of wonderful afternoon poetry.

On the third day of Christmas-3 awesome volunteers

Yep, looking through the book pictures I suddenly realised that we need to big up all the amazing help we get. They tend to come in 3’s and we are pleased to see them and the poetry cafe got off the ground because of them. Here are 3 of them, we love you and can’t live without you.

Diane and Elwyn help us fundraise

Diane and Elwyn help us fundraise

Kayleigh helping with tea and tickets at Duncan's Dreams.

Kayleigh helping with tea and tickets at Duncan’s Dreams.

Discount Weekend Andover Guildhall

Yes, we are going to start our Christmas promotion by adopting this American tradition. We are going to be at the Andover Guildhall today from 9-2 at Mencap Andover Christmas fair. We have poetry books discounted from £5.00 down £3.00 and “Anthony Ant, stories to read your Grandchildren is also down from £5.00 to £3.00. We have an amazing Tombola and we will gift wrap your presents for you. Or come ans see what books we have for the person in your life that’s read everything. Pop down and say hi.