Friday, 6 December 2013

Nelson Mandela. Requiescat In Pace. My thought for this crisp sunshiny day is this: The world needs humble leaders. Step forward and make yourselves known all those who can prove they are. Yup. Thought so. No queue.  

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Two posts in as many days, but Christmas is coming, it's a bright, crisp day and my friend and translator Bettina Obrecht  has just sent me a tidy pile of her books for children. So here I am. No, I don't read or speak German, but my aim is to try, so that I can read these stories. It's a sign, I reckon. Besides, the pics look good. So haul out the German dictionary, work out what the words mean and  piece together the plots. Sounds easy.  Hmm. My cousins are great linguists. So what happened to this side of the family? We came from the same root, yet languages were never our thing. A smattering is all. A very light smattering. OK. That's probably overestimating things. Nearer zilch in the lingo stakes. Hey ho. Obviously our talents lie elsewhere. Anybody find them, let me know. Auf wiedersehen.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Spent the weekend in Islay, writing. Fab. Sunshine. Mild breezes, splendid sunsets and the Port Charlotte Hotel, which didn't seem to mind me sitting in corners writing. Lots done. Thank goodness.
Synopsis for part 2 off to Ellen. Fingers crossed. Now to finish a long short story and earn some money while I wait! Ah the life of a writer. Oh and the new CD is out. Links. That's the name. And it's the Celia Bryce Band, if you want to have a look at our facebook site and have a listen, of course.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

This is the exciting time.  This, right now! I have notes from Ellen, my editor. They're going to help me flesh out the bones of the plot for novel number two. It's amazing how much you need to write before the real story emerges. For me anyway. I'm sure people who've been writing novels forever can just do it. Maybe not. But I haven't been writing novels forever.  Most of my research has gone into the current draft which is all well and good, if I want you to read my research findings. I don't. You wouldn't see the wood for the trees, the bones for the fat. The real story's buried underneath it all. So let the trimming begin. Let the real characters emerge.  And when it's done, then you can read it. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Busy, busy, busy. New character in book two (suggested by my editor and what a good suggestion, it's given me wings) seems to be taking over the world. Must rein her back. Down girl! Writing like mad. People are voting for me left right and centre, and hopefully putting some nice comments about Anthem for Jackson Dawes into the mix too. From January it gets lively. The books start to be booted out. One by one. Week by week. Heck. I'll keep you posted, all you people out there in the great unknown. Off to a school in Sunderland tomorrow. Writing workshop. Been back a week or so from holiday and it's like a mirage, like it never happened. How is that? Answers on a postcard. Must get down to sorting out the last leg of my new website. Dean, who's constructing it for me is a very patient person. Let's hear it for Dean. Like I said. Busy, busy, busy.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

OK, so this is how it goes. You can vote for me and my book! Anyone in the world! Just find this: Click on the Read it Or Else category and click on Vote. You can even leave a comment! It's all happening from Oct 7th.  Thanks folks.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Well as you may have seen from my tweets today, I'm pleased to say that Anthem for Jackson Dawes has been doing OK in the awards stakes. I have to thank so many people and have done in my tweets, but really, if New Writing North hadn't encouraged me with an award over ten years ago, then my book wouldn't be on the long list for the UKLA award for 2014 ( selected by teachers) and on the short list for the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards for 2014 (selected by the good people of Coventry, though if you want to vote that my book stays in rather than out then perhaps you can vote for me even if you don't live there. Not sure. Check it out.) But without the editing advice I've had along the way, from Cornerstones Literary Consultancy and James Catchpole, my agent, and finally from Emma Matthewson, who was part of the Bloomsbury team which took it up, then the book wouldn't have come this far. So a huge thanks to all. Now, I know they're just lists at the moment, this is me tethering myself to the ground again, but it's fab to be on them, and hopefully Anthem for Jackson Dawes will shuffle up the rankings and not be languishing, like Sunderland AFC is at the moment. Meanwhile, soon to speak to my editor about book two. Title will be revealed when we're all happy with it. Heading for a re-draft, I know, but read it through over the past couple of days and have identified some sluggish areas still. Thought I'd got rid of them. But I'm sure Ellen will have flagged up those areas, and probably some more, for attention. Believe it or not, this is the bit I really enjoy: trying to get it as right as possible; having another set of eyes to find the good bits and the not so good bits. And this is where I can get the language sounding the way I want it. Suppose it's not just the story, it's the way it's told, that I'm interested in, and hope you will be too when it comes out next year.  Also out next year will be the French and Dutch versions of Anthem for Jackson Dawes. I'll be interested to see what titles they'll use and just to see the words on the page. Been away researching book three, in case you're wondering about the huge gaps in this blog. I've been living by the sea, listening to its roar, examining sea weed and shells and lots more. With no computer and very little film watching, it's been nice. Read SO many books. Yes, that's research too. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Even if it doesn't look like hard work. Well, that's it for now folks. Hoping you'll wish me luck! Fingers crossed and everything!

Friday, 13 September 2013

Just sent my idea off for book number three. Idle  hands? Me? Never. Waiting to hear about book two but no point in twiddling thumbs. Lots happening on the music front. New album out very soon, watch this space and keep checking in to  The Celia Bryce Band Face Book Page.  I suppose, though, you're wondering about my ceiling. It fell down, if you remember, a while back. So the house was scaffolded, the leak fixed,the ceiling made good. Scaffolding came down. Because after a couple of months it begins to look untidy, birds begin to nest in it and burglars plot. But no rain to check that the leak really is fixed. But what if...? We had that wonderful summer. Not a drop of rain. Not real rain. Not rain that seeps in and wrecks things from the inside, so you don't notice for years and years. Until the ceiling falls down. But last week we had some. Last week our fixed leak was put to the water test and passed! Now we can paint fixed ceiling in the knowledge that nothing will be ruined. By the time we do that, it'll be a year since it all fell in on me. Rather like writing books, these things take time.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Antipodean visitation means lots of cuddles and catching up. Also quite a lot of food and stabs at exercise Aussi style though I reckon our coastline is slightly cooler than Bondi even in their winter. Still lovely though. Book three ideas like satellites at the moment, but at least I can see them without a telescope, so that's all right. Waiting for feedback on book two. Still writing short stories. Love them. And Sophie continues to grace my camera and my beating heart.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Author's? Oh Lord.  Give me strength. Way up there with strawberry's and carrot's.
Mea culpa. Slip of the eats shoots and leaves. Or whatever it is. Spell check!  Who needs enemies with friend''''s like you?
Lovely time with Bettina Obrecht who translated Anthem for Jackson Dawes into German, (Heller als ein Stern is the German title) and who delivered the book direct to my door! How nice was that! Great to spend time talking books and writing with one of Germany's better known children's author's. Check her out. Also good music chat with Werner, who was recording the Unthanks for German radio, and blueberry talk with Felix, twelve year old computer whizz and Harry Potter fan.  I can feel a cross-cultural writing, music and blueberry thing happening. Fab.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

So farewell to Wimbledon and slobbing around watching and pretending to work, trying to do my accounts and being a pillar of all that is good. Murray won, as the whole world knows, which is great. As for me and work, well, it still feels as if there's a ceiling down somewhere. Though when you look and see it's been repaired, that excuse is all used up.  Yet my turrets and towers (see very early posts if you don't know what I mean) which collapsed under the rubble and now lie in the middle of the floor, are still there, like leaning things in foreign places. Now and then I move the dust around, trying to decide what to keep and what to throw out, such is the opportunity a collapsing house affords. But I'm there with Jaqueline Wilson. Don't want to throw out any books. Never mind. Writing a short story. Oh, I like those. No. Stop it. Accounts. Accounts. Accounts. And I will not be put off by The Ashes. Or the cycling. Or the athletics. Or anything remotely to do with sport. Promise. Bye for now. Must dash.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Could have sworn I posted something on here just last week, but then I could have sworn lots of things only to find that they didn't exist, they didn't happen and they didn't appear. Heck again. Never mind. Draft one of book two has gone off and I await sentence. My mind is swimming. Must write something short to get it back on dry land. Meanwhile, singing is definitely the thing to do. Nice night in Rothbury Roots Club the other evening. Ramon Goose is the business. Look him up. 

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Heck. Writing book two is taking its toll on my calendar. I've given it a sound shake (the calendar that is, not the book but believe you me I've wanted to) flipped over a few pages, but still, it won't be May. June already, and here to stay. Resorted to chocolate drops. It's the only way. Lord, now I'm rhymin. Am I regressin? This time next year will I be back on mushin? And then a tiny embryonic flutterin? Stop. I want to get off. Maybe writing book two is just taking its toll. Heck.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

May and Coffee Shops

Already it's May and feels like January with colour, rather than heat, but there you go. It's weather. What would we talk about otherwise? The new coffee shop I suppose. Shaking up the old coffee shop. My coffee shop. I won't even look in its window, though the paint job's nice, I suppose. I'd cross the road until I passed it, except it's on the same side, as my fave shop, just a few doors down, so that would be a pointless protest and not one that anybody would notice necessarily. Not that I'm protesting. But hey we could do with a good butcher a good fruit and veg shop, not another cafe. Loyalties will be shaken at the root, I can see it happening. But my coffee shop has seen me through lean years of writing. Actually it's still seeing me through them. The name has changed over time but nothing else. I like my coffee shop. It's very pink. And we need colour in this weather. And my roots are strong.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

So I was doing this book gig, that's what I call them, which in schools is a bit about me and my writing, but mostly it's about seeing what the pupils are writing and doing a workshop with them. That's the bit I love. However, rather like cutting the ribbon in a bookshop in Gosforth, which was a first, I've never walked into a place where Anthem for Jackson Dawes is displayed on a board the size of a large human, or on glossy bookmarks, or autograph notelets. The librarian who organised it deserves a medal. And the writing produced by the pupils was truly inspiring, as was their enthusiasm and commitment. Cramlington Learning Village. Top marks. 

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Been in a few shops over the last months, mainly Waterstones: - Newcastle, Glasgow,  Morpeth, Hexham, off to Durham and Sunderland soon. Which is all lovely. Never opened one before but that's happening soon. A week Friday to be exact. St Oswald's Hospice Book Shop. Fab to be asked. Please support the cause. Meanwhile I'm thinking about book number three. Two ideas bubbling away. Maybe once the ribbon's cut I'll know which way to go. If anyone out there's read Anthem for Jackson Dawes, I hope the experience was OK for you, thanks for taking the time. Out in Australia, America and soon to be in Europe with different titles, different covers. Whoa. I need to lie down.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Said goodbye to all that on Friday night, at the Porthole. Said hello to all that in the van coming home. Music, songs, song writing. Moving from one thing to another. Not that I'm a flighty sort. It's been a few years -and the rest as you'll know-of singing other people's songs. Now it's my turn. So there. Read the saddest thing the other day. The story of the Unknown Warrior. Saddest and most heart peeling of all stories. Read it. Puts all into perspective. Forget Fridays and goodbye-ing to this and hello-ing to that. Life. We need to embrace it and put away, better still, destroy the weapons.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

writing environments

Bad weather disrupts play. So ceiling still in pieces. Scaffolding like some weired cobweb spun against the back wall. Just waiting for the spider to do some damage. What better environment to write in? But today we had sunshine. And who minds spiders, really? Better still, I got draft two finished. Who needs a freezing garret?

Monday, 18 March 2013


Three new scenes to add to novel. One to go. Must rewrite current one. Too sugary for words. Yuk.
Meanwhile reminding myself of WW2, Victorians, Romans and Egyptians. School gigs this week. Couple next week to be confirmed through Waterstones. The machinery of publicising Anthem grinds on. Just another cog in the wheel. But there is a wheel. So no complaints. And who needs sleep? Seriously over rated in my estimation. ZZzzzzzz

Monday, 11 March 2013

The luxury of reading doesn't come often enough.

Such a lush weekend. Just read. And read. And read. Somebody else's book, not mine. Such a release and a relief. Eva Ibbotson is fab. Period. Waiting to hear about (my) book number two, first draft wnet off to Bloomsbury last week, which is why I've had the luxury of reading someone else's, time to breathe. Need to fit in a short story for WW sometime soon though. They've been good to me and continue being good. A few 'book' gigs to keep me in the driving seat, local schools, colleges and Waterstones. Wouldn't mind a couple of independent books stores inviting me in. And I have a book shop to open, official guest and all. Time, date to be confirmed, but what a nice thing to be asked to do!  Mustn't forget the lippy. 

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Just had a fab afternoon at Whitley Bay library with pupils from two local schools. Prattled on as I do but it all seemed to go down OK. Sold some books, always a plus, and tried to say thank you via Twitter but I mustn't be human cos I can't get into my own site. Seriously not impressed. But thank you to all those who supported me, turned up and bought Anthem. May the book ever be with us. Next book gig Jarrow library end of March but quite a few schools to squeeze in between. Good fun. Must keep writing book two!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Anthem for Jackson Dawes Book Launch

I think it may be time for me to say...can I get my people to talk to your people?...  after last night's glittering affair in Waterstone's Newcastle. I wore my button earrings and they do glitter in certain light. So I'm not exaggerating. Not really. Anyway, thanks to all who came along to the launch of my book, you Literature Lovers, Book Buyers and Lord I have a big family  sorry, Story Seekers came to squeeze into the cafe to support me and Niel Bushnell whose book Sorrowline looks fab, incidentally. The youngest to receive a signed book from me was sixteen months old, so obviously she has a little way to go yet, and a keen eight year old in hot pursuit. Lots sold to grown men who have nieces and daughters and lots to grown women.  So altogether, fab. And now the world. Well Glasgow. Very soon. So if I'm going to say can I get my people to talk to your people?...  who do I say it to please? Anyone out there? Share my glory? OK. Putting my coat on now. Switching off the lights. Glitter gone.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Books and shelves

My house is like a museum, as those who saw the Journal article (thank you David Whetstone) will agree. I have shelves full of books rather than kindles. I mean how can you have a shelf full of kindles? One e-reader of any description is usually enough. So it would be a lonely looking set of shelves. So my books are staying. No I haven't read them all. Don't be silly. Book are for filling empty spaces, piling into towers and turrets, which, as you may remember, is the sum total of my desk, see blog from way, way back, towers turrets and probably still a bit of dust from the ceiling. And no it's not fixed yet. Have you seen the snow we've had! And there's an order to these things. Dry weather first. Gutters next. Ceiling after that. Anyway back to books. I like look of them. Sorry but I do. I like the colours and the smell of them. I like that I can choose any one that I want and browse through it, find a page or a passage from some long ago read story and remind myself. Sorry, but I haven't been able to do that with my kindle. Yes of course I have one. No way am I trawling a dozen novel about in a suitcase when I go travelling, but at home, give me books. And I saw a fab photo yesterday. Books on a shelf in Waterstones. Four copies. Not one. Anthem for Jackson Dawes. Squeezed in between books by Melvin Burgess and Kevin Brooks. I can live with that. Being a dinosaur.

Friday, 11 January 2013

new year new book

Anthem's flying off the shelves, apparently. Which isn't so hard when they don't stock more than one or two at a time. Never mind, keep ordering it folks, keep wandering into the bookshops and the libraries. Don't let them go the way of all Jessops.  My ceiling fell down, did I tell you? Not all, just in the bay window where the computer and printer used to be. Bits of it are still hanging like suncharred skin (while the rest very cleverly and accurately landed inside my printer). Don't want to pick it or pull it, the ceiling tha is. The rest might come down too. Waiting for the damp to dry, waiting for the leaky gutter to be permanently rather than temporarily fixed. Waiting. Waiting. And up against the chimney wall with my desk now. In front of me a map of the world and Sophie's feet, permanently tiny, bound in paint and pressed into a tile. Fab. That girl's going places, once she learns not to chew everything in sight. Enough doting. Back to work. Happy New Year.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

And here it is

Just a little blog today. Book's out. To those who take the plunge, enjoy.