Life is starting to look different. In-person events have started again. At the start of the pandemic, I knew that it was not till it was over that I would be able to really examine everything it has put us through. And since it is not over, I’m still in that limbo. I suspect we all are.
And yet it is a welcome change to be able to meet with writer friends again and share our work. That has been what I missed the most.
There have been a couple of launches for Alternative Ulster Noir edited by Simon Maltman. The first one was in Bending Sound, a cracking record shop in Bangor. It supported War Child and children affected by the war in Ukraine. A great cause and a fun night.
There was music from The Fuzz Tones: a new band comprising of Simon, Gerard Brennan, and Gareth Watson. They played some songs that inspired the anthology, and it was just wonderful to get out in that capacity again.
This Thursday evening was the launch in Bangor Library, with more of the contributors joining. A discussion and a few acoustic songs. I chat to James Murphy regularly as I review crime TV on his Crime Scene radio show (Belfast247, Tuesday evenings 7-8 pm), but I hadn’t seen him in so long. It was fabulous to meet ‘Producer Heather’ as she is now known. Although the book’s themes are dark enough, it was a family-friendly event made special by all the kids getting together.
Buy Alternative Ulster Noir here
Today is Mother’s Day, so this blog post has been prepped a couple of days early. I can’t help thinking back to Mother’s Day in 2020 when life was changing for everyone. I was due to have a launch for The Sleeping Season on 27th March that year and it didn’t work out.
It is here I need to give a shout-out to the book bloggers who did not flounder like I did. They picked up the slack and said, ‘Let me read/review/promote your book’ like complete legends. I am indebted to this incredible community of the friendliest booklovers you could meet. Or not meet. The fact that strangers on the internet can be so warm and helpful is something I deeply appreciate and will never take for granted.
Two years on and I am working on Sloane four and thinking back to when the series first came out into the world, in the hardest of times to bring out a book.
While some of life stays on Zoom – and I am grateful for this, on behalf of people who live remotely, are carers or have a disability that stops them travelling to events – I will echo what I have been saying for a while, that I hope some online events remain and that festivals will take on a hybrid approach.
These are some of the issues I discussed at a recent event with the Society of Young Publishers Ireland as we talked about the publishing world and how we got into it. A fascinating talk. Thank you to Jess and Cassia for inviting me along. The video will be up on YouTube soon.
Publishing is a complicated business. I am learning a lot. First as a journal founder, then a co-editor and anthology co-publisher, and now as the head of Friday Press. I get asked about the books all the time, and while print-on-demand is ideal for new publishers in so many ways, I appreciate that many of you do not want to use a specific publisher beginning with A.
So, the Friday Press website has had an overhaul. Anyone from anywhere can buy books directly from the publisher (and pre-order Souls Wax Fair). There are PayPal links, which can throw people sometimes. Potential readers often tell me that they don’t have a PayPal account, and just to say, you don’t need one.
There are many payment options. And for anyone still struggling, email me to arrange a painless bank transfer. Hopefully this makes the buying process as easy as possible for my readers.
I’ll sign off by saying thank you for your support in what has been an incredibly difficult time for writers and publishers alike. Onward and upward!