Friday, 31 August 2012

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops.... THE SEQUEL!

Hurray! I'm now allowed to tell you all that I'm writing a sequel to 'Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops' called... *drum roll* 'More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops.' Oh yes! It will be published near year, and will include quotes such as these...

Customer (holding up a book): What’s this? The Secret Garden? Well, it’s not so secret now, is it, since they bloody well wrote a book about it!


Customer: I had such a crush on Captain Hook when I was younger. Do you think this means I have unresolved issues?


Customer: Pride and Prejudice was published a long time ago, right?
Bookseller: Yep. 
Customer: I thought so. Colin Firth’s looking really good for his age, then.  

The lovely Brothers McLeod will be illustrating the book again, which I'm very happy about indeed.

Booksellers - I'll be calling on you soon for quotes to go into a 'Weird Things Customers Say in Other Bookshops,' section, and we'd also love to hear from librarians, too. I've had so much fun chatting to booksellers all over the world about 'Weird Things...' and their own encounters, and I'm thrilled that there's going to be a sequel. 

Thank you, all of you, for supporting this blog, and buying the first 'Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops' book; I couldn't have done this without you. x

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

poetry collection up for grabs

The lovely Scott Pack is giving away a copy of my poetry collection 'The Hungry Ghost Festival' over here, if you'd like the chance to win a copy. This is what he says about the collection:

Each poem contains at least one image, at least one line, that makes you pause, makes you think, makes you want to go off and write something yourself. Jen finds the true poetry in the ordinary, she doesn't force it out or force it upon you, she just shows you the stuff you never noticed and points out how beautiful it is when you look at it differently.

If you don't win a copy, and you'd like to buy one then you can purchase a copy over here or over here. If you live outside the UK, just click the drop down menu to select another shipping option. x

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

“Trust me, I'm telling you stories.” - Jeanette Winterson

Good morning, all! I hope you are well! I've been a busy bee; lots of writing things going on. I've just finished writing a radio play; my novel's word count is slowly growing; I've been asked to write an article on one of my favourite childhood books, and I'm also playing around with some short stories and poetry. [& one more thing, which I'll be able to tell you about very soon...]

I'm currently training someone at the bookshop to run it on weekends so I can spend more time at my desk, writing, which is fantastic. As much as I love the bookshop, being there seven days a week is not ideal, or practical. So, hurray for more writing time!

In other news, forgive me for linking the 'A' word but these reviews are hilarious.

And one more thing... I woke up this morning and found a witch AND a lion sitting in my wardrobe, drinking tea. When I asked them what they were doing, they shouted: 'Narnia business!' and slammed the door in my face. 

Happy Tuesday. x

Friday, 24 August 2012

cloth balloons

Today you can find me over here, talking to the lovely A. J. Ashworth.

I hope you're all well! For those of you in the US and Canada - official release date for Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores is 13th September. So, not long to go!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” - Philip Pullman

Tonight you can find me in the garden, finishing my re-read of Pullman's Northern Lights. It makes my heart happy. It also makes me want a daemon. Badly. I might try and shock our tortoise into changing shape. But, then, I suppose I'm all grown up now. Oh dear. And if I did have a tortoise for a daemon, what would that say about my soul? Hmm.

I hear Emily Berry's first full-length collection, 'Dear Boy,' is going to be published by Faber early next year. This makes me happy. I very much enjoyed her pamphlet 'Stingray Fevers.' While we're taking 'Berry's, here, I also recommend collections by Liz Berry and Lauren Berry. Clearly there's something poetic in that surname. Emily Berry's got two cracking new poems in the new issue of The Rialto [#75], too.

I've been in something of a writing rut recently. Mainly because I haven't been reading [work and other things have been getting in the way]. I find if I'm not doing one, then I'm not doing the other, either. Obviously when I do both it's not quite at the same time. I haven't mastered that yet. However, I think I'm pulling myself out of it. This is by means of rereading; it's like comfort eating. In the past week I've been revisiting poems by Andrew Philip, Margaret Atwood and Kate Kilalea, falling back in love with the work of Ryan Van Winkle, Sharon Olds and Terry-Ann Thaxton. Also prose by Marya Hornbacher and Susanna Kaysen.

On my to-read pile for the next week or so I have new books: The Lighthouse - Alison Moore, The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Through The Window and Disappeared - Jonas JonassonLizard - Banana Yoshimoto, the new issue of The London Magazine and Swimming Home - Deborah Levy. The new Jeanette Winterson book is out next week - I'm very excited about that. I've also got poetry collections up to my eyeballs. Not reading hasn't stopped me from buying. I was saying on Twitter the other day that there's a saying: when we buy books we naively think that we're buying the time to read them. I think I've bought myself about 300 years of reading time.

So, with reading, and getting my brain in gear, I've slowly started writing some more poetry. And also writing my novel. It's dystopian; that's all you're getting from me at the moment. If anyone has tips as to how to deal with 'the writing fear' [ie 'How do I approach this?' 'Oh my goodness there's so much to do', and self-doubt etc] then please do share your wisdom. My wisdom, so far, seems to be eating lots of cheese. I'm sure this can't be healthy.

I suppose I must turn again to the quote at the top of this blog: 'When we read, we start at the beginning and continue until we reach the end. When we write, we start in the middle and fight our way out.'

I'd better start sharpening my sword... x

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

where I'm going to be in September...

I've got a couple of events lined up for next month, if any of you are near these and would like to attend...

Saturday 8th September 3pm

I'll be signing books at Nomad Books in Fulham, south London, between 3-5pm. There will be copies of 'Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops,' and of 'The Hungry Ghost Festival,' and I'll be chatting about both to those who stop by.

Sunday 9th September 4pm

I'm doing an event called 'From Blog to Book' as part of the Hampstead and Highgate Literary Festival. The event's hosted by Rhiannon Edwards and I'll also be chatting alongside Mark Forsyth. I'll be talking about how this blog became a book, amongst other things. Books will be on sale after the event. If you'd like to buy a ticket you can do so over here.

Thursday 28th September 4pm

I am very excited to be taking part in the Wigtown Book Festival. Wigtown is a small town in Scotland, which has over twenty bookshops. It really sounds like a place after my own heart. I'll be talking about all things 'Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops' on the Thursday, and tickets are available over here. There's a host of other wonderful events going on, so check out the rest of the programme, too!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

up here, we're fierce friends with the sea...

I'm doing a talk on poetry for the RNIB next week, so have been recording some audio files of poetry. I thought I'd share one here.

Springtime Catch from The Hungry Ghost Festival.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Friday, 3 August 2012

tears in the fence #55

'She burnt pigs at the stake but couldn't eat them. Their skin twisted in at corners 
where she'd palmed them into pizza dough..' 
              - Jen Campbell [They Call Her The Butcher]

Tears in the Fence #55, the summer 2012 issue, is now out. It's got two poems in from me as well as poetry from Melissa Lee-Houghton, Helen Moore, Hannah Silva, Michael Grant, Sheila E. Murphy, Rupert M. Loydell and many others. Plus some short stories, too. More information is available over on their website

...and the winner is

Thanks to all who entered 'The Hungry Ghost Festival' prize draw! There were so many entries that I used a random number generator instead of pulling a name out of a hat. So, the winner is....

Helen Vivienne Fletcher!

For those who didn't win, you can buy a copy of 'The Hungry Ghost Festival' from The Rialto, or signed copies are available from me over here. If you would like to buy a signed copy using a method other than Paypal then simply drop me an email.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The Hungry Ghost Festival - giveaway

I'm in a good mood today. So, here's the chance to win a copy of my poetry collection 'The Hungry Ghost Festival.'

All you have to do is reply to this post with a 'pick me!' (or something similar) by the end of Thursday 2nd August. I'll pick a winner out of a hat, and will post to anywhere in the world.

So, yes. There we go :) x

Edited to add: winner announced over here