Sunday, 29 July 2012

Guest Spot: Bobbie Coelho, writer of beautiful poetry

Welcome Poet, Bobbie Coelho to my Guest Blogspot

Finding the Light
You are born in the dark of the morning
And you think it’s your destiny light
As you age, you realise it’s a false one
Artificial, easily switched out
In older age, the day breaks
And you blink at the glint of the morn
The pieces of your life fit together
That is the day you are born          (from Bobbie's beautiful book of the same name)
 Tell us about yourself, Bobbie, and how you came to write your book Finding The Light I have always liked poetry, but somebody said she thought I was a true visionary poet, so I started to write.My first poem was written at school, though.I had just read the diary of Anne Frank and it affected me very much.We had to write about a cowboy, so I did, but although he was in a bad position, he had a vision of Anne and he realised he wasn’t so bad.My first poem as an adult was “Island Girl” and I just kept on writing.I think it has saved me from the bitterness I prayed not to become.  
Your poems are very poignant, are they based on your own experiences? Some are, like “Island Girl” and “Freak”, but not all of them, most have a story behind them, though.  For instance, “White Flowers” is about the Beslan School siege and “Premature” was written after seeing a programme about it premature babies.  I want to write poems that make people think.  
Which is your favourite poem and what does it mean to you? If you mean my poems, I would have to say it would be “What is a Soldier to Me?”  They do a wonderful job and protect us, they are the best.  I feel a great thrill that the blood which won the battles of Crecy and Agincourt is still flowing through our soldiers today. “Freak” I like because it was the first time I felt really different.  When people stare and point it is heartbreaking.  English people do not ask, do they?  They just point and stare.  It doesn’t bother me so much now. but still feel I should make a badge which stays “Don’t Stare, Please Ask!” White Flowers is very emotional:  it is about the Beslan School siege and it affected me more than you would ever know.  
Are there any famous poems that you really love and do you have a favourite poet? I have many “favourites”, but I really love “Miracle on St David’s Day” by Gillian Clarke.  I would encourage everyone to read it.  In my opinion it is a masterpiece.  I also love “Not Waving but Drowning”, which reminds me of my life and “Crossing the Bar“ by Tennyson, “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou and “Invictus” by  Henley. I would have to say that Gillian  Clarke is my favourite, she is brilliant.     

   I know you have a debilitating condition Bobbie, how do  you find it affects your writing? Does it inspire you to know that you have overcome an illness to write such a beautiful menagerie of poetry?I have Parkinson’s, which has taught me that life is so short, love is the most important thing in life, but most people don’t realise this.  I also wanted to raise awareness of Parkinson’s which I am proud to say I have done.  Do you like to read novels and if so, what are some of your favourites and why? I love Neville Shute, but he is old fashioned, his most famous book is “A Town Like Alice”.  I love his writing because it shows the good that people do.  When I read “Requiem for a Wren”, I realised that for some, the Second World War was the happiest time of their lives – I had never considered that before.“To Kill a Mockingbird”,  Harper Leebrilliant for many reasons – everyone should read it.“Road of Bones”, Fergal Keane  - just brilliant.  About Kohima “Pride and Prejudice”, Jane Austin  – brilliant observation “Notes from a Small Island “,Bill Bryson – an American who understands the British Psyche “The Vanishing Act of Esme Lomax” by Maggie O’Farrell, made me angry. So many more, I could write all night!    
  If you could be with anyone famous, in the past or present, who would that be and why?Richard III!!! I want to know the truth about the princes in the tower!! 
  Do you have any more plans to write more poetry or a novel perhaps?I don’t have any immediate plans to publish, but I will always write poetry.
  Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years time? Hopefully  with better medication for my condition.  I have been very lucky in that I have achieved the ambition I always wanted – to love and be loved.

Here is one of my favourite poems inspired by this picture

*This picture is a famous one from WW2, showing the
invasion of the Sudetenland, and shows a woman saluting with
one hand and a handkerchief in other, crying.
The Woman in the Picture*
The picture came from the past
Washed with disturbing emotion
From the largest tidal wave
Changing the world forever
As if the very film
Which captured the image
Was laced with the sorrow she felt
What happened to that woman?
Does anybody know?
The world saw it happening
Stood by and did nothing
The world is so tiny, really
There’s no such thing as
“A land far away of which we
know nothing”
She’s my sister and my mother
My father and my brother
Affecting us all, good or bad
We must stick together
The woman in the picture
Has haunted me for years

When I look at her face

I am always reminded

What a broken heart looks like

How potently I see it

And how passionately

it speaks to me.

Bobbie's book can be found here on Amazon and at SilverWoods books


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

How I became a published author

Hi everyone! Been a bit too busy to update for the last week. Well now you are talking to a published author and I have to say, it feels really great! Since I recieved my first consignment of books from the printers last Tuesday, its been nonstop, I've been such a regular at my little post office that now they know exactly what I'm doing when I appear in there. I've even sent books off to really kind people in the US, Canada, Australia and Germany who have kindly paid the £10 postage to buy a signed copy. I feel really blessed. This is what I've always wanted to do (even when I didnt remember that it was something I wanted to do) all my life. Ive also been delivering them myself in person and have nearly run out of books! I  know that some people are buying through the books on line so I think I'm doing well for the first week. I've been going around with such a big smile on my face that my cheeks ache! Anyway here are a few questions that you might be wanting to ask about my book.
So, who am I published with?  SilverWood books . They are an assisted publishing company and they offer a range fo services with plenty of advice and support for anyone thinking about publishing their work. The Team there are friendly and helpful   Yes, you do pay for the service, but its worth it. It really felt like I was being valued and my concerns and wishes for my book were listened to on every level. I cant thank them enough for the work they've done for me and if anyone is  looking for someone to help them publish their book and are willing to pay for it, I would definitely recommend them.

What is assisted publishing?Elena Ransley gives a good description of the definition of assisted publishing and the difference between the different types of publishing. I dont agree on one point however, becasue as far asI am concerned, I am not self published, I wrote the book, edited and proofread it, obtained my own designer for my images and the lovely people at SilverWoods copy edited and set it for printing. I would rather refer to myself as Indie published because I am not with a main stream publishing company and am free to go wither I desire if I wanted to, not that I would because why would I want to if I am getting a great service from them?

Did I submit to an agent or a mainstream publisher? No, I didnt. I considered it and bought the Writers' and Artists Year Book, however after searching through what looked like a complete nightmare, trying to sort out the chaff from the wheat, I decided that this was going to be a very stressful process and that was something I could really do without. Plus I really couldnt be doing with all that 'suffering for one's art' thing, sending off your hard work to publisher and agent after publisher and agent only to have them rejected if they bothered to reply at all.

Why did I choose to go Assisted Publishing? I found out about SilverWood Books through another well-established writer who had decided to publish with them. When I mentioned to them that I was thinking of self-publishing and asked her what she thought of ****.com, she advised me that if I wanted to do it properly and professionally, try SW books. Because I did want to do it properly and professionally, I approached Helen Hart, the director, and haven't looked back since, although it took me awhile to gather the finances. It was a hard decision because I had always been led to believe that successful authors didnt pay the publishing company, they paid you and I once read an article that you should never pay anything to an agent or a publisher! I've since found out that the world of books is changing. The thing I liked about Assisted Publishing, I get pretty much complete control over my book. Helen and the team  'suggest' things but it was up to me, if I wanted to take their advice, I could but if I didnt, it was okay. I was never pressured into anything. I also had my own artist for the cover images, their Design Team did the rest. Whats more they were very open to my ideas and that's often something you dont always get with mainstream where they tell you what they want taken out of your book, changed or put it. Also, I have been quite out off by some of the historical front covers I've seen with parts of heads missing and a totally inauthentic person dressed in the wrong time period for your book. Maybe that is the re-enactor coming out in me, but it can put me off a book when I see that.

So, for anyone thinking about publishing and is fed up with lack of interest from the big publishing houses and agents, please think carefully about self publishing and how you self publish. There are plenty of self publishing sites out there with templates etc but no proof readers or editors and I've seen some doozies! If you want to get published, look for a company like SilverWoods who offer everything a mainstream publisher would, professionalism, except with SilverWoods, you get a say in what goes in and on your book!

Sons of the Wolf is available here at SilverWood Books and on Amazon, Waterstones and The Book Depository. Soon available on Kindle

Sunday, 8 July 2012

The Week That Was

Gosh, so much happened last week. Firstly I sent back my approval form for printing and then waited with baited breath to recieve the jacket proof of my novel Sons of the Wolf and secondly I was looking forward with intrepidness to my return to work after being off for some time due to illnesss. I went back to work on Thursday which was surprisingly a lot better than I thought it was going to be. I do love nursing and I had been off for so long I had almost forgotten just how much. Everyone was really supportive too which was really good.
Friday I kept checking my emails for the last jacket proof and finally it came and I was so desperate to show all my colleagues at work because I was so proud, but the computer couldnt download it for some reason. Anyway,I managed to see it when I got home in all its glory and apart form needing one little word removing, it was all in order and I was completely chuffed.
This week it will be going to press, bar anything major going wrong and I will be a published author! I've come a long way since I sorted my life out 11 years ago. Things hadn't been going too well and I'd made a hash of things but now, how different my life is. I still have some mountains to climb and some demons to put to rest but things are looking up at last..... :)