My First Book – Published!

It’s happening! The books are arriving the publishers’ tomorrow, my author page is live… It’s official – I’m a poet! A poet with her own book of poetry. Her own book of bones.
Here it is, in all its glory:

Bove Ovation

I’ve been noticing it popping up here, there, and everywhere online for pre-order; Waterstones, Amazon, Foyles, WHSmith… But it’s seeing it officially listed on the Valley Press website that made me squeeeeeee. Seeing my author page with my grinning face looking back at me. It’s real. My first book.
Like so many people I’d always hoped to see something that was MINE in print, even if it was just the once. Years ago this seemed like such a distant prospect, I doubted it would ever happen. But here we are – I’ve done it! And I’m determined to do more. I feel like I’ve started to discover the world I want to write about. I’m still on a journey but hey – aren’t we all? But for now, I’m going to revel in these here bones.
You can read more and order Bone Ovation through the Valley Press website.

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Spoken Word Poetry – Reading at Events and on YouTube…

As the publication date for Bone Ovation approaches, I’m slowly becoming involved with literary events and (heaven forfend!) doing some actual spoken word poetry. This is something I really enjoy as an audience member but I’ve always put off as a performer. Seconds after considering the possibility I’d hear that little voice inside whispering ‘Why would they want to listen to you?’, ‘But where’s the drama?’, ‘Wouldn’t you be dull dull dull?’ Well – I’ve told that listen voice to shut the hell up and I’m already booked for two events!

Spoken Word Poetry

I’m no rapper. When I listen to spoken word, the readers frequently have this rhythmic bouncing in their sentences, their voice lilts towards just the right points and it’s mesmerising. There’s nothing natural about that bounce and sing-song melody, it’s a skill, learnt and practised. I don’t think it’s my style, but then again, much of that spoken word scene is portraying a different message to me. I don’t have to read like that, I can read like me. And isn’t that so much better than a semi-satisfactory imitation of someone else?

Valley Press have put me forward to read at Ilkley Literature Festival in October (I’ll blog about it a little bit more nearer the time!), and I’ll be reading at the Launch of the second issue of Lungs in Newcastle in the weeks before that. I’m actually quite excited, though that’s probably because right now it’s all a distant prospect. VP is putting me forward for one or two other things too, and I was asked to film or record myself reading. So I picked a couple of poems, wrote them in my notebook with special intonation annotations (I’ll write a blog post about this in the future too!), propped up my Samsung on the bookshelf and gave it a go. For a first attempt, they didn’t go too badly.

You can watch me read two poems from Bone Ovation over here on YouTube:

The Girl Who Fell in Love With the Mountain

Your Bones and My Bones are Chicken Bones

Plenty more practising to go, but I think I’ve turned a corner in terms of my own personal fears. Yessssssssssssss.

Bone Ovation

Here it is… The big news. The showstopper. The little thing I teased a few weeks ago when I talked about shoving large amounts of cake in my face (it was my birthday too around that time – hence the over-interest in cake!) The big kahuna.

My poetry collection ‘Bone Ovation’ is going to be published! By the undisputed fabulousness that is Valley Press!

Bones

I still can’t quite believe it. They had at least 650 professional quality manuscripts to consider and out of the few they’ve chosen – I’m one. I had hoped so much that this would come together but everyday had half expected the ‘lovely no’ email. The further on down the path I got I feared it all the more. But there it is – it’s going to be published. It’s real! I met with Jamie McGarry to discuss the chapbook a couple of weeks ago in York and enjoyed a literary lunch surrounded by my pages of poetry and my enthusiasm – made tangible. What a feeling. We discussed release dates, covers, the length, and also comments from his reader group which I lapped up like honey. I’ve never before heard feedback that wasn’t meant for my ears and it felt wonderful, genuine, true.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks doing a few edits here and there, researching cover ideas, and filling in lots of official looking information for VP. Last Thursday I even went and had some professional photographs taken of me – thank goodness my friend is a photographer, as that made the whole thing a lot less cringe-y. Big thanks to Sean Elliott Photography though! It was about time I had some nice pictures – I’ve been fobbing everyone off with Facebook photos thus far. I’m definitely going to make these last as long as possible – unless I suddenly become thin and glamorous, whereby I will ask Sean if he’ll snap pictures of my mush yet again.

ANYWAY – I couldn’t be more pleased! VP was the first publisher I sent ‘Bone Ovation’ to, and I’d thought at the time the least likely publisher to accept it. Their current author list is intimidating enough as it is when you list their accolades, awards, and previous publications. It must be a good fit for us both, though somehow I feel like I’m the one better off. 🙂 The little collection is currently set to be released on October 5th 2017, so I’ll keep you all up to date with how everything is progressing and a few sneak peeks here and there.

But for now, I’m going to keep glowing, any enjoy this moment! I’m going to work so hard to make this the first of many. Yes. Yes I am!