Tag Archives: Caroline Smailes

Guess what? I’ve been published!!

In a real book that you can buy and everything!  How exciting is that?

As you can tell, I’m rather stoked by this. It’s all of six months since I decided to really start taking this writing malarkey seriously, and so far I’ve submitted a grand total of one story to be published. This makes my success rate 100%, which is rather unusual in writing circles. Don’t worry, I’m not under any illusions whatsoever about maintaining this rate, but I might as well enjoy it while I can, right?

100 RPM

The book is a collection of flash fiction, all inspired by music, and it’s called 100 RPM. It’s the brainchild of Caroline Smailes, and features one hundred stories (all 100 words long) inspired by music. Intrigued? I was, which was why I submitted a (somewhat gruesome) story. My contribution was inspired by DOA by the Foo Fighters, which was chosen because (a) they’re one of the only bands I listen to who are known worldwide, and (b) it’s one of those songs that just sticks in my mind whether I want it to or not, so it seemed a logical choice.

All proceeds from the book go to the UK charity One in Four, which raises money to help victims of sexual violence. On top of that, the book is CHEAP – but only for the first week of release. It came out on Thursday so you’ve got till this Thursday to get it at the discounted price, which is 99p (UK) or $1.55 (US). After that the price will rise (though not by a huge amount), which means more cash per book to One in Four, but possibly less sales because it’s dearer.

So, please go out and buy the book. This isn’t to line my pockets because I make absolutely nothing from it (I bought the book myself, even though as a contributing author I could have had a free copy), but to help out a very worthy charity – and read some great stories in the meantime! If you could leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads (or both) that would be awesome too, as we’d like as many people to find out about this as possible. Other ways you could help are tweeting using the hashtag #100RPM or liking the Facebook page.

Besides, you’re curious as to whether I can actually write, aren’t you? :)

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For more information about 100 RPM, please check out Caroline Smailes’ blog entry from last week.

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99 Reasons Why – the ending (or, well, one of them)

99 Reasons Why cover

99 Reasons Why, by Caroline Smailes

You may or may not be aware of the recently released book 99 Reasons Why, by Caroline Smailes. It came out on Monday and has eleven possible endings, depending on how you want to read it.  Nine of these endings are available in the ebook (available from Amazon and itunes): the Kindle version has a series of questions you answer that determine which ending is best for you, whereas the iPad version has a spinning wheel to work out which one to use. Ending #10 has been handwritten by Caroline, and will be auctioned off for charity, while ending #11 has been made available to the blogosphere where people like me can share it with the world.

I hope you find this possible ending interesting enough to want to read the whole book. I certainly did!

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99: the reason why I was only worth ninety-nine quid

It’s been six days since the little girl in the pink coat went missing and me Uncle Phil’s in me bedroom.

We’ve been watching the little girl in the pink coat’s mam on the news. She was appealing to the public for witnesses.

‘Didn’t realise she had a mam,’ I says, looking at me telly.

‘Everyone’s got a mam, pet,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

‘She sold her story to The Sun,’ I says, looking at me telly.

‘Got a few quid,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

I nod.

‘She wanted nowt to do with that bairn before all this,’ me Uncle Phil says, looking at me telly.

‘Do you know where she is?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.

‘Belle?’ me Uncle Phil asks me.

I nod.

‘She’s safe,’ me Uncle Phil says to me. ‘Your mam’s keeping an eye on her.’

‘Can I be her mam?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.

‘No, pet, you’re a filthy whore,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

I nod.

‘Can you make Andy Douglas come back, Uncle Phil?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.

Me Uncle Phil shakes his head.

‘I love him,’ I tell me Uncle Phil.

‘Andy Douglas is your brother, pet. You didn’t seriously think Princess Di was your mam, did you?’ me Uncle Phil asks me.

I nod.

‘You’re a cradle snatcher just like your mam,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

I nod.

‘Your mam miscarried when she found out I’d been banging Betty Douglas. Betty was expecting you,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

I don’t speak.

‘When you was born, your mam went mad and I ended up buying you from Betty Douglas for ninety-nine quid,’ me Uncle Phil says.

‘Ninety-nine quid?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.

‘I paid a hundred but got a quid change for some chips for your mam and dad’s tea,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

‘You bought me?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.

I’m a little bit sick in me mouth.

‘It was the right thing to do,’ me Uncle Phil says to me. ‘I got Betty Douglas pregnant straight away with Andy.’

‘I’m pregnant,’ I says to me Uncle Phil. ‘I’m pregnant with me brother’s baby,’ I says, and then I throws up on me purple carpet.

‘You’re a filthy whore,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

‘What am I going to do?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.

‘You’re going to have the baby,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

‘Have me brother’s baby?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.

‘Then I’m giving it to Betty Douglas to bring up,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

‘You what?’ I says to me Uncle Phil.

‘It’s the right thing to do,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

‘I can’t—’ I says to me Uncle Phil.

‘It’s either that or I’ll make you disappear,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

I don’t speak.

I’m thinking, they’re all a bunch of nutters.

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Soundtrack to your life

First things first. You may have noticed that I’m posting a couple of days early this week. This isn’t because I’m trying to get in early, but because I’ve decided to start posting twice a week – that is, on Mondays and Fridays. (Or Sundays and Thursdays for those in the US.) The reason for this is that I’ve got a lot of featured posts coming up – book reviews, the ending of a story, guest posts and the like – and I didn’t want my own posts to be edged out as a result.  Therefore, I’ll be alternating: on Mondays I’ll do one of my own posts, and on Fridays I’ll do a featured one. For example, this Friday I’ll be posting one of the eleven endings of Caroline Smailes99 Reasons Why, which is released today; next Friday it will be a review of Linked, by Hope Welsh.

Today, though, I want to talk about music, and how it complements the creative process. Most writers I know like to write to music, and some take this so seriously that they have a different playlist set up for each different type of scene – one for tension, one for romance, one for action, that sort of thing. They have separate folders on their iPods just for this purpose and find the right one for where they want their creativity to be that day.

Me, I don’t even have an iPod, and worse than that, I don’t know how to use one. (Yes, I know. Luddite.) My writing time, I’m ashamed to say, is set not to the most inspiring music I own, but to Brahms’ Lullaby coming through the baby monitor. Playing music too loudly would mean that I wouldn’t hear when the baby has woken up, and thus it’s a luxury I’ve learned to do without. I got a CD for Christmas that I’ve managed to listen to a grand total of once, and even that was in two sittings.

I was thinking about music this morning, though, as my son belted out his version of a song by a punk rock band that he’s heard on the car stereo, which is one of the few times I get to listen to music I enjoy. He’s heard the song twice, I believe, but he likes what he calls the “bouncy music”. Clearly, that music inspires him. And I got to thinking about what sort of music inspires me.

Here I must say that just because I don’t listen to music when I write doesn’t mean that I’m not inspired by it. On another website, under another name, I posted a whole bunch of short stories which were all inspired by a single song. Later in that collection is another one which was borne from a solitary line of lyrics.

Now, I won’t name these songs because (a) most people reading this blog won’t have heard of them anyway, and (b) there are all sorts of copyright issues in publishing song lyrics, as I learned here. I will say, though, that even though I don’t listen to it as often as I would like, music affects me in the same way it affects other writers. So now I want to know if you’re one of them. What sort of music inspires you to write? Do you have set playlists, or just take what comes next on shuffle? And most of all, do you recommend I start trying to get some music playing (over the baby monitor) when I’m trying to be creative? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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