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Welcome - The International Writers Magazine - June 2010

Welcome to Hackwriters - June

June 25th:
Heatwave in England: England still limps along in World Cup and with Italy out they may stand a chance! I'm off to Winchester Writers Conference. See you there if you are going.
It will a bit hot inside those halls but a good time will be had by all, I am sure.

Had a good walk along the Thames with a friend and fellow writer last Wednesday. A sunny evening stroll from Waterloo to Tower Bridge and back with dinner thrown in. Can there be a nicer way to spend an evening than discussing books and travel in such surroundings. It appears I am not yet tired of London, Dr Johnson. (Although Fish Restaurant in Borough Market was pretty poor to be honest. Still gave us something to complain about. George, the said writer is back from Argentina and is full of praise for the people and food there.)

June 13th: Finally an exciting Grand Prix. Montreal always provides thrills and it was great to see Hamilton win. The battle between Button and Ham might go to the wire this season should be fun to watch. Good to see Alonso battling too. Schumacher perhaps should not have returned to racing, we can see once again how bad tempered he is on track and a danger to other drivers I think.

*Thanks for all the submissions for the June issue. I will now file new material for July. (We will be taking our summer break in August this year in Canada naturally).

Was at the launch of the 2010 Winchester Writers Conference last Wednesday. Run by Barabara Large at Winchester University College it is one of the key events in the writers life in the UK. Making contacts, learning new skills and making new friends. I'll be speaking there, but more importantly so will many agents, publishers and other authors - such as Sir Terry Pratchett. Should be fascinating to hear him speak. If you are trying to sell a novel and struggling, this is an event you should go to. Look forward to being there this June 26th.

May for me ended with a flurry of marking.  Only a fellow teacher could understand how hard it is to plough through hundreds of manuscripts (all completely different in the case of creative writing) and find positive things to say and try to find constructive ways to say something isn’t quite working.  The sad thing is that once students are out in the real world the ‘market’ doesn’t have to make compromises.  There is only one correct way and if you don’t get it the way they want it, you don’t get paid.  In writing there are few second chances either.  That said I got an email from a student who graduated last year to say the BBC are interested in a script he and a friend wrote, so that is very encouraging.  Certainly looking at TV right now, it needs all the good scripts it can get.

I am currently finishing an edit on a book and trying to think about a new story.  Sometimes it’s good to let an idea percolate I guess, although I note that good ideas always come to you at the precise moment you can’t do anything about them.  During marking for instance.  Now I am finished I am struggling to remember the exact excitement of the initial idea.  Worse, there is science involved and I’ll probably be breaking a few scientific laws if my characters succeed to make their device work.

This is how my brain works. Always thinking about the next book, whether one wants to or not.  I think it must be the same for composers and artists.  Nothing is ever really switched off.  This is what I have tried and no doubt completely failed to convey to my students over the years.  Never go for the grade, go for the idea, nurture it, and polish it.  Students who obsess over grades never really get the best out of a story.  In the end it is how much of your soul that is in the writing and worth remembering that there are no grades after school.  Just yes, no or maybes.

Right now Kit, our former publisher is in America, learning new skills near Dartmouth in New Hampshire.   She took a decision to change her life, by any means necessary and I hope it works for her.  This recession has been a lesson for all of us.  Careers one thought you had forever have vanished, just as all the technology is changing too and what was once secure is turning out to be a dead end.  She goes to America to find a new direction as I face up to changes here.  Over 130 of my colleagues, including myself, have been made redundant at our University.  Not all teaching staff, but quite a few are and with them leaving out goes whole lifetimes of experience.  How many of these people will work again?  Six thousand staff are being expunged from Universities and Colleges across the UK.  That is a lot of accumulated experience going to waste.

 I am fortunate that I am a writer.  Irrespective of finding a living, writers are used to being broke, used to struggling and it will be no different.  Writers write.  I can get on with my new book and contribute to another teaching programme in a small way elsewhere.  I see it as liberation. Work is often overrated.  Getting a salary is critical, of course, but after the hell of the last month of intensive marking I realise that that kind of pressure I wont miss and I suspect I won't be alone in that. 

Meanwhile – there is editing to be done. Hopefully I will see some of you at the Winchesters Writer's Conference at the end of June. Winchester Writers Conference June 25/26th
Meanwhile have a great Month.  Here’s hoping that BP will eventually stop the leak, that South Africa will have a successful and prosperous World Cup and you, dear reader, have a great summer.  Sample the writings from Hackwriters from all over the world. Someone is always writing something, going somewhere with somebody…

© Sam North June 5th 2010
Editor –

You probably need cheering up now. As of 28 May 2010 , worldwide more than 214 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including at least 18114 deaths (WHO figures). WHO have said the threat is now reduced, but it remains to be seen what changes will occur and how long it will remain at this low level. Download my book Another Place to Die if you want to be ready for when the next flu pandemic really does take off in the future. They have announced that this variant of Swine Flu is resistant to Tamiflu, who is to say this vaccine they are now giving us will work on the next variant? For most it is mild, for some it is a very painful assault on the respiritory system indeed. *Many thanks to those who have ordered my book recently. It is selling pretty well now. (Over 2550 copies sold to date - not too shabby for a book only available on-line. Thanks too to those who spread the word on it. I really appreciate that. Often being a writer, especially for one whose books are only mostly available on-line it is very isolating, but now I know it is selling every month it really feels as though the two years writing it were worth it.

If you want to help Hackwriters keep going, buy my children's novel Mean Tide. A young adult ghost story set in Greenwhich, London.
All receipts go into the magazine.
Mean Tide by Sam North
'Extraordinary novel about a child's psychic awakening'

Lulu Press - ISBN: 978-1-4092-0354-4
Review: 'An engaging, unusual and completely engrossing read'
- Beverly Birch author of 'Rift'

His father has disappeared, his mother is sick. Oliver, recovering from chemo, is sent to live with his psychic Grandma by the river in Greenwich. Oliver quickly discovers he is living with a world of strange people. When he finds a dog with its throat cut on the riverside, everything changes. Oliver wants to find the people who did this terrible thing. (Young Adult Mystery)

The Curse of the Nibelung - A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
by Sam North

ISBN: 13: 978-1-4116-3748-1
302 pages - Lulu Press USA
'Chocolate will never be the same again' - Sunday Express
Buy from your favourite on-line retailer

Amazon UK
Amazon USA
Barnes and Noble
& Waterstones
Book also available from The Nineveh Gallery, 11 The Pallant Havant, PO9 1BE. UK 

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