Beginner Tips for Bookstagram -Features, Followers, and What to Post

Featured

A lot of writers have had agents suggesting that they create an author account to market their work and some have been apprehensive. More accounts to keep on top of? More algorithms and rules to follow? Or could it be where your real audience is? Instagram is a great platform for sharing pictures and connecting with an audience in more than a limited character tweet, more than the random algorithm timelines of Facebook, and with much less time and effort than making YouTube videos. But like any social media you choose to put your valuable time into, it takes effort and willingness to ‘make it work’. Learning a new social media is like learning a new language – what are the features, what works and what doesn’t, how does it differ from other platforms? And having one that is an extension of your writing or business is different to having a personal account. Here are some tips and break downs to getting started on Bookstagram and see whether it’s an effort you are willing to make.

 

What is Bookstagram?

Bookstagram is the name given to Instagram accounts that center mainly around books and writing. These can be accounts from readers, reviewers, bloggers, writers and even people who are just great at taking pictures. These accounts are linked through hashstags and can be entirely based on one subject or whatever takes the persons fancy. My account is a mixture of my writing, reading, blogging, and some personal stuff – mainly pictures of dogs.

 

Why have an author/writing account

Bookstagram is for anyone who loves books, funnily enough. If you are a reader you’ll find places to discuss books and get recommendations, if you are a writer you’ll find all the readers, reviewers, and beta-readers you can handle. Instagram is a great way to get your book out there and in people’s minds. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve bought from seeing them reviewed or even just being read on Instagram posts. Covers do sell books and if you can get that cover in someone’s head – the right someone – they will buy it. Not being a published author (yet!) I use my own account to share my books reviews and blog posts, pictures of my latest reads, snaps of book launches and events I go to, and parts of my own writing process – anything book or writing related.

 

What makes Instagram different?

If you are familiar with Facebook already, you are off to a good start. The ‘story’ option on Facebook was actually taken from Instagram when they bought the app, but it’s far more popular on Instagram. Other than that, the main aim of Instagram is the sharing of pictures. There are some features of the app that confused me at first but don’t have to be the huge obstacles they seem.

IMG_20190605_184301.jpg

-No Links- You may have noticed that you can’t post links on Instagram. This is because they want to do everything they can to keep you on the app as long as possible. Similarly on Facebook if you put a link in a post, that post will reach significantly less followers and explains why so many people write posts about something they want to link to and  add (LINK IN COMMENTS BELOW) If they didn’t do this, no one would see it in the first place. On Instagram you can’t even add links to comments, you can however, have links in your profile description eg. (LINK IN BIO)

-Caption Formatting- It took me a while to stop being annoyed at the run on lines of Instagram post captions. It wasn’t until someone suggested first writing the comments in my notes app and then copying it over to Instagram. This ensures your post makes sense and doesn’t hurt to read. And on the subject of captions, it seems to be that longer is better. It seems counter productive as we all hate endless Facebook posts, but with a well written long caption people seem more likely to interact.

-Reposting- It confused me in the beginning that you couldn’t share from other people’s accounts, but it turns out you can! You just need another app. The one I use is called ‘Repost‘ and the instructions are simple. It’s an easy way to take part in sharing competitions and follow loops as well, linking back to the original poster. Slightly more complicated than other sites, but not impossible to get the hang of.

 

How to gain followers?

Just like any other platform, followers is something you either care about or you don’t. There’s plenty of tips out there about cheating algorithms and whatnot to get more followers, but I’ve found that these are mostly just incredibly time consuming and fruitless – you don’t want any followers, you want followers that will stay. You can also ignore all the emails telling you if you pay someone twenty quid they can get you ‘real’ followers, it’s not going to work and you will lose your money. Gaining followers is all about attracting the right people, and you do that by putting out the face you want people to see and following accounts that closely resemble yours or use the same hashtags as your account.

But, for those who do want to gain some traction with followers, interaction and regular posting is the best way to go. I’ve had my Instagram for just over a year now and I’m currently at 550 followers. It’s not the thousands I could have had if I spent more time on it, but I’m pretty happy with the ones I do have. If you make your account a business one, you get access to ‘Insights’ that can tell you when, where, and who are liking your posts. I’m sure this will interest some people, but I tend not to look at them too much these days. The golden rules are follow back accounts you like, always reply to comments, and support and share other writers and readers in your circle.

 

What to post?

Post whatever is authentically you. Of course there’s always some sense of performance online but it’s up to you how much performance goes into your profile.

IMG_20190605_184123IMG_20190605_184058IMG_20190605_184021

It may seem like a great idea to post about your book and get it out there, but people follow authors for more than just ads, in fact ads will actually put a lot of followers off, even if they are fans of your work. You need to decide in your description what you want your page to be and for the most part, stick to that. If you want to present as more than an author, pick one or two things in your description and give regular updates on those things. There’s some debate on whether posting on too many separate subjects can make your profile look messy and put followers off, while others say that accounts who post identical pictures with the same filter on each one become too repetitive. Nothing should ever be identical in my opinion, but being too scattered and all over the place can also be a mistake. Curating the right image for you is something that may take a little time at the beginning, but is worth some thought. And no matter how private you want to make it, one or two pictures that include your face help followers to connect better with who they are following.

 

Pictures

Instagram is, for better or worse, about great pictures and aesthetic. You don’t need to be a photographer or have fancy equipment – any smart phone will do – but there are also plenty of apps outside of Instagram’s own filters that can help if you need it. Canva is a great app to create promotional material for all social media sites and can give you a professional look with no editing skills needed. With some research you can also find plenty of apps that help with personalized filters as well if you want to create your own unique aesthetic.

A major fail for pictures is blurriness, nothing hurts the eyes more, its worse than bad composition or terrible lighting even. Always make sure that whatever you take a picture of, make sure it is in focus.

tina callaghan dark wood dark water YA horror signed book skulls crucifix

 

At the end of the day it is up to you how you choose to market your book, blog, or writing. It may seem like a good idea to set up something on every platform but with this you run the risk of spending so much time on social media, you never get any actual work done. Authenticity is what ‘sells’ the most and nothing is more obvious and off putting than someone who clearly dislikes or doesn’t enjoy what they are doing. For some people it’s better to have no online presence at all rather than a negative one. If you don’t like it, don’t do it.

 

 

Choosing Not to Write – Why *Stressful* Procrastination Can Kill Your Writing

Procrastination

Most people have issues with procrastination in one or more areas of their life, some (me) more than others. And in the year of our Lord 2019 there is an unlimited supply of things to distract ourselves with, each one designed to keep our attention at all costs. So, for writers and artists of all kinds, how can we avoid procrastination and get our work done? Especially since more and more of us are doing it after our usual 9-5 jobs, right when your brain is telling you that you need to relax and take a break. What if we chose to procrastinate and feed our creative minds, rather than passively accepting it and punishing ourselves for it?

nanowrimo notebooks
I have so many notebooks I really wish I could read my own handwriting.

First, let me tell you a little story. I’ve been writing a novel for, oh, I don’t know, a million years now, and last year just before Christmas I finished my first full draft. I won’t go into exactly how I did this, though I will say I was working a very slow job at the time and was able to write at least a few hundred words every single day at work. My family are from the middle of nowhere Donegal – no internet, no phone service – and I always go up for Christmas so I figured I would get a whole lot of writing done. This time, that did not happen. My sister got internet for the first time ever and seemed to have unlimited movies on her television, so I literally watched 9 hours of movies a day, and I loved it. I don’t think I wrote or edited a single word while I was there, and I made a conscious decision not to write. I’d spent the previous few months hammering out a word count and felt like I needed a break and deserved one.

When I came back to Dublin I was focused more on my burlesque dancing and performing, getting back into singing, and supporting other artists, so editing a second draft fell by the wayside for a while. I’m sure we’ve all heard the tip that you should put your draft away for a while before coming back to it and I definitely did that and did so much better coming back with a fresh mind to edit it for querying. I’m doing that at the moment, but my time spent resting my writing mind taught me so much about how I had been sending my time previously, how much I guilted myself and punished myself for going to the cinema or taking a night off to see a friend. I realised that I’d gone back to my Leaving Cert. days where just sitting down to watch the Simpsons when I knew I should be studying gave me heart palpitation – and I didn’t really give a rats ass about the LC. Procrastination is often, though not always, a sign of underlying anxiety, something I do struggle with, a fear of failing so you don’t even start or leave everything to the last minute. But these days there’s so much more than that, so much more to distract us it’s almost impossible to stay focused on the things we really care about and thus end up feeling like we are failing, even though everything around us is designed to grab and keep our attention. We are living in a world designed to make us passive. 

 

img_20190121_213314

 

Why We Can’t Relax Anymore

We are all constantly on our phones, there’s no two ways about it. Even if you profess to hate social media like a lot of the people I follow on Twitter seem to think, you’re still on there, scrolling and like, comparing and judging, and it just isn’t healthy. Most of what we see also isn’t realistic. Think about it, if you follow loads of people but they only post when they’ve done something cool or a product to sell it looks like everyone is constantly doing more than you are and we all think like that! We can’t relax because we can see how much other people are doing with the same time and resources and we feel like we’re wasting our lives because we aren’t building businesses, or ‘brands’, or volunteering, or travelling. To sit and do nothing but scroll is to sit and do nothing but stress. Here’s an article from Moodpath that delves deeper into this.

And even when we aren’t on social media, we are all accessible, ALL the time. Anyone else have family who look their collective shit if you don’t answer the phone immediately? I’ve been trying for a long time to figure out how we made plans and kept them before mobiles and I honestly can’t remember. We are never actually alone anymore, and as an introvert, that sucks.

Our fear of missing out leads us to constantly pick up that phone, even when we don’t want to, even when it makes us feel bad, EVEN when we have a project that we are passionate about and want to finish – it’s so hard to stay focused. Eve calling it a project feels somewhat wrong when you’re motivation is coming from the heart, it’s so mechanical. I feel like this is also the reason why I can’t read like I used to. Even in college I could finish books no problem, but since I started using smart phones, I find it very hard to make it through a single chapter even without checking Twitter, which is insane! I even procrastinate procrastinating by watching a movie, then ignoring it and scrolling through Instagram. We can’t relax because there’s always more content to consume, always more to catch up on, ALWAYS more ‘hustling’ to do. No wonder we’re tired all the time.

IMG_1535.JPG

 

The Weight of Guilt

Do you ever sit down to watch a movie or tv show and feel guilty? Does scrolling through your list on Netflix make you feel like you are a failure? You are not the only one.

I have only recently been talking to friends about how we used to LOVE getting to the weekend because you got to just do nothing at all. Absolutely nothing. Can you remember the last time you did that and it wasn’t linked to depression? I feel like these days the only time I do nothing is when I am so overwhelmed I just can’t, instead of purposefully doing nothing and enjoying the freedom of not having a to-do list, not having a schedule, and not feeling like I’ve failed when I don’t get things done. These days, weekends are for doing the things you can’t do during the week, or for some of us, to work on what we really want to do outside of the job we need to pay the bills. For me, Saturdays are for running errands and cleaning things, Sundays are for classes I’ve scheduled, updating social medias and this blog. Every spare minute of every week day is for writing, including lunch at work. I have to schedule in time TO DO NOTHING like it’s a real chore or something, and isn’t that weird?

IMG_1818.JPG

Our Self Worth is Tied to Productivity

I believe, and there seem to be some studies that show that people in general these days, are more anxious than previous generations. Obviously there are different types of stress and anxiety, there are different things that make our lives easier and possibly make them worse, but our constant access to everyone around us and to so many types of ‘product’, ie videos, podcasts, photography, music, books, art etc. that other people are making, it shows us that we can do those things to. This can inspire, but it can also crush your soul. Yeah you could have all that too, but you aren’t doing anything to get it. I could have written multiple books and worked hard to get them published by now, but I haven’t. I’ve wasted my time right?

No, just because you aren’t constantly being ‘productive’ it doesn’t mean you are failing. Everything you do when it comes to art is a choice, most of the time there is no one pushing us, no hearts to break if you don’t pant that picture or finish that story, we have put the pressure on ourselves and that is why it’s hard to get things done, because we are the ‘Boss’. Artists of all kinds these days are struggling to keep up with the constant demand for new content and few spend the time that they should creating something that is whole and finished. It takes so much time to write a book, or create a show, or an album, but we demand more stuff, more often. Binge culture is feeding into this and the pressure to get something out as quickly as possible is killing so much creativity.

Blindboy Boatclub from the Irish comedy duo ‘The Rubber Bandits’, has a podcast about art and mental health, and in it he points out that we need conscious relaxation to take in other people’s art in order for your sub-conscious to later create its own art. We are all filters of the world around us and the art and experiences that we consume and have. If we never watched movies, read books, listened to music, put blinkers on and only wrote our own stuff, we would never get the fuel for further art. Eventually our inspiration would run out and we would again feel like failures.

 

Coming Back After a Break

When I came back from my intentional break, did I have anxiety about writing? Of course I did! I freaked out for a bit, thought maybe I’d forgotten how to do it, had fallen out of whatever semblance of a routine I’d made for myself, but I definitely don’t regret taking that break. I watched all the movies I’d been missing because I felt like I wasn’t allowed to do anything but write for so long. I had basically been punishing myself, and though this worked sometimes, more often than not it just wreaked havoc on my mental health and made me feel like a failure no matter what.

And you know what’s really irritating? Constantly complaining that you aren’t writing, or you haven’t written enough. Your friends and family will get real tired of that, real quick, even if they don’t want to admit it.

If you are going to procrastinate and watch Youtube videos or listen to podcasts, or hel make bracelets out of coke can tabs (yes I do this), do it on purpose. Do it consciously. Focus on the things that you are using to distract yourself. Get rid of the stress, get rid of the pressure to get back to writing. Now, when I sit down to watch movies or read books I’ve bought, I focus solely on that one thing, put my own book aside and know that I will get back to it. I know that what I take from the experience of that other piece of art will feed back into mine, maybe even plug up a few plot holes, or teach me how to set a scene better.

 

Do you have a problem with procrastination? Do you feel guilty or anxious when you aren’t writing? Let me know down below. 

 

‘A Penny for Your Thoughts’ by Matt Hayward and Robert Ford – Review

Disclaimer – I was given a free copy of this book, not in exchange for an honest review, but I’m doing it anyway. 

IMG_20190403_151505
All photos provided by Robert Ford.

Excerpt-

‘After kicking aside a pair of underwear large enough to fit a hippo with glandular problems, that’s when I spotted the tree. The jagged trunk still smoked from lightning, and as the wind changed direction, sour air attacked my nostrils. I pressed my sleeve to my face as I jogged on over. The lone pine sat by the water’s edge, shredded by the gods. A still-flaming branch sizzled on the riverbank. But strangest of all was the crater of blackened earth by the roots. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say a tiny meteor had struck. Roots jutted from the scorched soil like tentacles, and I peeked below at the thing buried in the dirt. Rainwater rolled down the filthy glass. A jar.

My first thought turned to drugs. Could someone have buried paraphernalia for a pickup? Would that attract lightning?

Then (as stupid as it sounds) I thought: silver. Did we have a millionaire Lowback hillbilly hiding treasures outside of town? Parole officer be damned – my hands itched to find out.

I scanned the woods for hikers before hunkering down and pawing at the muck. The dirt came free in globs, gathering beneath my nails, but I soon shimmied my hands around the glass and pulled. The object popped free and I went bassakwards as the thing shot through the air, thumped the soggy ground and rolled as I scrambled to my feet and my treasure barreled toward the tributary.

“Motherfuck!”

I bolted and snatched the jar just as it started down the bank to the catfish. Then I caught my breath.

I took inventory of the woods and once more. Only the sparrows and catfish knew my whereabouts, and the hissing rain cloaked my labored breathing. I hobbled to the shelter of a canopy, squatting back-against-bark as I rolled that cold jar about my open palms.

A seamed glass cookie jar – the very thing Pop used as a swear pot when I was growing up. Sometimes I think he cussed just to give me pocket money, the kinda man he was. “Fuck, fuck, shit, cock, fuck, and there’s your candy. Go on up to the store and grab me some tobacco while you’re at it. Like magic.”

“Like magic,” I mumbled, and popped the lid before peering inside.

I expected a rank smell, maybe from a dead animal some psychotic child had shoved inside, but all I found was paper. Lots of paper. My brow creased. I wiped my hand on my jeans before slipping in two fingers and snatching a piece. Then I pulled a tiny, ripped scroll free and found myself surprised at the weight. Someone had shredded a notebook page before rolling the sections into tight little scrolls. The years only strengthened that fold, and once I unraveled a piece, I placed it on my knee and held it open. There lay a single penny taped next to handwriting..

“The fuck is goin’ on here?”

 


 

‘A Penny For Your Thoughts’ is available to pre-order at the links below and will be released on 1st June 2019 for your reading pleasure. 

 

Synopsis

Joe, a recovering addict fresh out of jail, finds a jar of penny buried beneath a tree, each old and wrapped in the wish of a young child. At first they amuse him, but he soon realises that the wishes he reads come true – no matter what they are. As he and his friends, new and old, try to figure out how to use the wishes to their advantage they find that everything has a price – and it’s never just a penny.

IMG_20190403_151458.jpg

‘A Penny For Your Thoughts’ is a novel that explores addiction, debt, greed, and secrets that refused to stay buried. It pulls the reader into a fantasy that we’ve all explored at some point – what would you wish for? Except, this novel also forces us to consider the downside – the cost of the wish. Everything has a price, it all just depends on whether we’re willing to pay it or not, and when the wish is really good, we don’t even ask what that price is. Joe and his friends go through all of these and bring the reader with them, funny, gruesome, haunting and all the while steadily increasing in dread.

Joe as a protagonist brings this story to life. Joe has a past, he isn’t necessarily a bad guy, but he isn’t a ‘good guy’ either. He isn’t the hero of this his story or any story really. His drug addiction serves as a mirror for our own addiction to our wants, our own selfishness, and our need for instant gratification at no cost – and as we all no, nothing is ever really free.

As this is the first co-authored novel that I have ever read, I was a little apprehensive about it, imagining that two writers together, particularly if I was to write with someone else, would find it challenging to merge their styles. But Ford and Hayward manage to do just that and form a cohesive narrative. At no point do I remember being pulled out thinking that I’d switched to something that felt like a different writer, a different story, a different protagonist.

I have one pet peeve about this novel that’s irrelevant to most people but I’m going to share it anyway! It’s completely only a thing that would get under my skin, and only recently as I’ve learned that this is a thing – the currency in prisons (American prisons at least) is no longer cigarettes, but ramen instant noodles. As I’ve heard in many documentaries (‘Brooklyn 99’ and ‘To Make A Murderer’) and various forms of journalism, smokes are largely banned and instead, as it’s easy to cook and something everyone and use, ramen noodles are now the currency that prisoners use to barter and stash away. We can all be glad that less people are smoking I guess.

 

About the Authors:

Matt Hayward

Matt Hayward is an Irish horror writer and musician from Wicklow with numerous publications under his belt and a Bram Stoker Award nomination. You can find my review of his short story collection ‘Brain Dead Blues’ here. He is currently working on another co-authored novel with Brian Smith and can be found on Twitter @MattHaywardIRE or at his website sundancecrow.com

 

Robert Ford

Robert Ford is an American author with myriad publications under his belt such as his novel ‘The Compound‘ and his short story collection ‘The God Beneath My Garden‘. He also has several screenplays floating around Hollywood that you may see in time. Ford can be found on Twitter @bobford

 

 

Links to Pre-order and review (ALWAYS REVIEW!)

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Goodreads

 

How do you feel about wish fulfillment stories? What would you use your wishes for if you found a mysterious jar of pennies buried beneath a tree? Are we all too addicted to instant gratification? Let me know down below!

 

If you have a horror/dark fiction/sci-fi/thriller novel, short story, or collection you would like me to review, please get in contact! And don’t forget to follow for more reviews and musings on writing. 

‘Siphon’ by A. A. Medina – Review

“The cadence of the story was beautifully choreographed and flowed like a well-orchestrated horror symphony. This was original, a bit peculiar and out of the ordinary with a very strange and dark sense of humor thrown in to make it all that more eerie and fascinating.” – William Bitner Jr.

IMG_1467

 

Extract

Control is something I’ve never had.

I didn’t choose my profession – Francis did. He said the only men he respected were men with titles, and his grandson sure as hell had to have one. I had the choice of military or medical school. For eighteen year old scrawny, scared , and awkward Gary, it was an easy decision.

I didn’t choose to live where I live – Francis did. My parents owned a quaint little house on about fifty acres of land about an hour outside of Claybrook City.

Being the next of kin, I own the house. Francis hated that house and refused to live there. I rent out this shitty townhouse, in shitty downtown, to take care of his shitty ass… Well, figuratively shitty.

I examined the bathroom. My clothes were scattered across the floor. Feces, blood, and vomit smeared along the scuffed tile and dusty baseboards. Shower-water, and what smelled like piss, pooled up at the foot of the tub and around the base of the toilet.

I couldn’t even control myself. ‘

 

Dr. Gary Phillips, the resident hematopathologist at Claybrook Medical Center, is a lonely man struggling with the duress of an all work and no play lifestyle. Burdened with the an unhealthy infatuation with his co-worker, a burning disdain for his boss, and an abusive relationship with his grandfather, Gary just can’t catch a break.

That is, until a workplace accident ushers in a bizarre, but empowering experience that evokes a new sense of self , forcing repressed memories to surface while encouraging him to pursue his fantasies with unconventional methods.

 

IMG_1471

 

‘Siphon’ is the story of disturbed and delusional man who holds no power or control in any aspect of his life, and suddenly finds the strength to act, to take what he wants, when a new urge takes a hold of him – the urge to drink blood. Him being a hematopathologist is convenient in that respect but as repressed memories begin to surface, it may be that he was destined to find his calling in blood.

If you are looking for sympathetic characters to really feel for you won’t find it with this book. Dr. Phillips is a thoroughly unlikable character and it took a few chapters to realise that he was supposed to be. If you can go into ‘Siphon’ knowing that you aren’t supposed to like him however, the story is much more palatable. Probably the wrong word to use there really, but here we are. What would today be described as an ‘incel’, a morose and secluded man who feels no power in his subordinate job supervised by a much younger man, no courage to ask out his attractive co-worker, and no fortitude to stand up to his grandfather, the man who raised him and who calls the shots in both their lives – it is not unkind to describe Dr. Phillips as pathetic, but rather apt, and this explains the stranger events of the short novel.

At times it can be an uncomfortable read, but that is the point of horror, to make us uncomfortable. Like Hitchcock’s Rear Window, ‘Siphon’ plays on all of our voyeuristic tendencies and though your stomach may turn at the events and even just the thoughts of the protagonist in this book, you do keep reading, and you keep looking through his eyes. You might briefly wonder how his young work colleague could tolerate him for a second, how even a sex worker self medicating on drugs can see past the atmosphere of weirdness that surrounds him, but again maybe they don’t. Maybe the smiles he sees are plastic, the acceptance he feels a product of the fear they feel around them. It seems almost inevitable that they are but as we only see things from his perspective, we can only take the story as it is.

 

IMG_1479

 

Being as disturbed and unhinged as Dr. Phillips is, he presents as a classic unreliable narrator. You may believe that he sees the people around him as he claims to, but can you believe the supernatural elements or are these just another part of his fantasies? Is there really an entity pushing him to drink blood or is that simply a scapegoat for his own actions, an excuse to act out his darkest fantasies? Even his claims to the women he has slept with, clearly meaning to sound unfortunate yet involving scenarios that are unlikely given his personality and general hygiene, could hardly be considered embarrassing when the only two experiences he has could be taken directly from a porno script – teenage friend’s older sister and college threesome? Woe is me. Dr Phillips does not come across as a man you can take at his word. This unreliable narrator side to the novel did have me thinking of Patrick Bateman from American Psycho on more than one occasion, but with a much more submissive energy to it.

The horror of ‘Siphon’ is Medina’s refusal to shy away from the gruesome details of Phillips life. From vomit and feces, to menstrual blood and rotting corpses, if you have a thing for bodily fluids then this novel will peak your interests. You are with him every step of the way, probably wincing, almost definitely not eating, and truly horrified that there are people like him out there, and we are the unsuspecting victims he feels entitled to. Anyone who thinks that referring to a woman’s eyes as ‘mossy ponds’ and thinks it’s romantic must be messed up.

 

Overall, if you have a strong stomach and search for the darker side of horror, if there is such a thing, ‘Siphon’ might just be the book you are looking for. But if you need a happy ending, or someone to route for, I’d be a little worried if you found that in Dr. Gary Phillips, just saying.

 

About the Author –

medina

A. A. Medina is a writer and reader of strange things who believes in the power of stories to inject mystery, joy, and even fear into our every day lives. Living in Arizona with his wife Samantha, their fat cats and a dog, he also co-runs the fiction magazine Aphotic Realm. Follow him here on Twitter

 

 

Links to ‘Siphon’ (ALWAYS LEAVE REVIEWS!):

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Goodreads

 

What do you think about the unreliable narrator trope? Do you avoid books that have unlikable characters? Let me know down below!

 

If you have a horror/dark fiction/sci-fi/thriller novel, short story, or collection you would like me to review, please get in contact! And don’t forget to follow for more reviews and musings on writing. 

‘A Step Away’ By G Randy Kasten – Review

Disclaimer – I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

Three friends, Brianna, Sean, and Robert, happen across a body buried in their neighborhood. Because a police investigation might reveal that the trio is connected to a stolen motor, and that Sean’s mother was having a relationship with a neighbor, the three friends decide they must solve the apparent murder before contacting authorities. In the process, they sneak into a house, befriend a vigilant neighbor with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and develop a friendship with a kind, older man. Brianna becomes convinced that clues point to Sean’s father and realizes their detective work is doing more harm than good. She makes tough choices that affect families and friendships.a step away cover

Book Extract:


Right below the pipe, a human hand and wrist poked out from the dirt, its flesh partly rotted away. The fingers pointed at us.

I let out a panicked yell identical to Robert’s but stood frozen. A hot, prickly feeling crawled up my back as Sean shouted to Robert. “You okay, Robber?” When Robert murmured a response, Sean scrambled down to the creek. “Cover it up!” he demanded as he went, pointing at me. “Cover it back up!”

“We can’t just…” I started.

“Cover it up!” Sean was bending over, one hand on Robert’s shoulder. “Just do it!” I shoveled dirt and leaves at the void, breathing as little as possible and only glancing occasionally at the rotted appendage sticking out at me. Each scoop of crumbly soil slid back down, so finally I started stomping on it to get it to stay, right on top of the hand. I felt as if I was pressing down on something evil. Trying to keep it back. After a minute, Sean stood next to me working with Robert’s abandoned shovel. With his head turned away from the hole, he didn’t help much. Robert sat where he was, letting out little wails every now and then. It wasn’t a sound like the pain of a sprained ankle or something. It was more like the desperate moans of someone who’d forgotten how to talk.

Once we managed to get the hand covered, we scrambled down the bank, grabbed Robert by his arms, then half carried him and the tools back to the workshop we’d taken over from Sean’s dad. After breathing the rotten stench of the creek, I barely noticed Robert’s smell and couldn’t get that image of the decaying hand out of my mind. We set Robert down in one of the beaten-up old armchairs we’d dragged in there, then sank down ourselves, panting. The hot prickly feeling was still crawling all over me. Sean and I looked at each other for a few seconds, then away. Robert stared at the floor. I’d never seen a real skeleton — or a dead body – before. The tuna sandwich I’d eaten an hour earlier seemed to be on a climb back up. I imagined the scene once we called the sheriff; Sean’s parents would arrive home to a flock of cop cars in the driveway. Maybe there’d be a coroner’s van. They’d love driving into that mess.

Then things went from bad to worse. Sean leaned forward and pointed one finger at me and one at Robert. “We can’t tell anyone about this.” Robert peered out from under the layer of the coarse black hair fallen in front of his eyes.

“But Sean, somebody buried a body.”

“We know that, Robert,” Sean snapped. His nasty scowl reminded me of his father. “But nobody else is going to know that.”

“Why not?” that high voice again.

“That body where it is, it’s not by accident.” Sean turned to me, “Brianna, you know why we can’t tell anyone.” Like he was pleading with me. “You know.”A Step Away


 

‘A Step Away’ is a YA Thriller about a group of friends finding a body in their neighbourhood and the unraveling threads of deception, family ties, and the disillusion of youth.

 

Following the thoughtful Brianna, you’re pulled onto an average street in an average town – there just happens to be a body slowly rotting by the creek with no clues as to who buried it or why. The trio face obstacles with their closed off families – Brianna struggling to connect with her selfish and greedy father, Robert still struggling with the tragic of his dad whichwis connected to Brianna’s father and his mother’s new boyfriend, and Sean is burdened with the knowledge of his mother’s affair and the need to protect her secrets. But did she have something to do with the dead body in the dirt? Or was it the man she cheated with?

‘A Step Away’ has mystery, plenty of depth, and the camaraderie you want from kids. I was expecting much more darkness to the story as we are dealing with a dead body here, but the darkness is kept at bay by the hijinks the kids get up to in order to bargain their way through the strange question they’ve set for themselves. Other than the body clawing at the back of their minds every few chapters, this would be much more of your average coming of age story. Brianna realising that her father is not the inspiring man she wanted him to be, and Sean struggling with his family’s secrets and silence, there’s a lot more underneath that isn’t explored that could have added much more colour to the plot.

But that’s coming at it from an adult point of view, from a teenager’s perspective I think ‘A Step Away‘ is a great YA Thriller with the right mix of darkness, mystery and adolescent hangups. Brianna is a the perfect character to have the point of view from as she’s the only girl in the group and sees things that the boys don’t. I have a theory that she may even have a ‘not so strictly’ heterosexual angle there as well, and if that is the case it’s a nod without being explicit which in this case is fine as the kids romantic interests are not central to the plot.

Kasten does a great job of writing adolescent kids and the anxieties and contradictory confidence they have. Sean is an apt example of the pushy friend everyone had who always got their way. And poor Robert is the submissive friend who just wants to avoid their bullying brother.  A solid YA novel that explores what it’s like to share a dark secret with your friends and put the morals you’ve been taught on the back burner.

 

One to put on the shelf, and I’d imagine a teen coming back to read this one, peeling back a layer each time.

 

 

About the Author:

author-photo

After some childhood acting and living in England for a year, I graduated from Reed College, then attended law school. As a litigator in California and Washington State for thirty years, I learned a great deal about what people really want, and also how humor helps in tough situations. Writing remains my main interest. I am the author of Just Trust Me: Finding the Truth in the World of Spin (Quest Books, 2011), a book about discerning truth from appearances. My young adult novel, A Step Away, will be published by Black Rose in 2019. I have also written a couple of short plays, which were performed at a local theatre in Marin County, CA. The Ribbons Agency is a nearly completed satirical book about the arduous task of securing a literary agent. On a more serious note, I am working on a non fiction book that presents a unique, logical reason to believe that greater international peace is inevitable. A resident of San Francisco’s east bay for most of my life, I have lived along Hood Canal (a fjord and part of Puget Sound) in Washington State for the past three years. I’m still adapting to the weather, though it keeps me inside and productive most of the year. When not writing, I’m enjoying the outdoors or playing improvisational piano. G. Kasten

 

Links to ‘A Step Away’ (ALWAYS LEAVE REVIEWS!):

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Goodreads

 

 

Review organized by: R&R Book Tours

r&r button

rr-book-tour-logofinal.png

 

What do you think of YA Thriller? Do you think there should be more dark fiction out there aimed at teens? Let me know down below!

If you have a horror/dark fiction/sci-fi/thriller novel, short story, or collection you would like me to review, please get in contact! And don’t forget to follow for more reviews and musings on writing. 

Love YA Blog Tour!

There are so many new books coming out this year, and it is looking to be a great year for the Young Adult genre in particular! In this post we’ll take a look at four of the hottest YA books coming out or already available to buy.

love ya gif

YA BB Banner

There will be exclusive excerpts and wonderful prizes to win, so be sure to read on! As an added bonus, all four books will be available to book reviewers in exchange for honest reviews. Contact Shannon @ R&R Book Tours to find out how you can get your hands on a review copy.

 

the gemini connection coverThe Gemini Connection by Teri Polen Publication Date: June 7th, 2018 Genre: YA Science Fiction/ Dystopian Teen twin brothers Evan and Simon Resnik are fiercely loyal to each other and share an unusual bond—they experience each other’s emotions as their own and can sense where the other is. On their dying planet of Tage, scientists work tirelessly on its survival. Like the twins’ parents, Simon is a science prodigy, recruited at a young age to work with the brilliant creator of Scientific Innovations. To the bitter disappointment of their parents, Evan shows no aptitude or interest in science. As a Mindbender, he travels into the minds of scientists to locate buried memories, connect ideas and concepts, and battle recurring nightmares. When Simon mysteriously disappears, Evan is plunged into a world of loss and unbearable guilt. For the first time, he can’t ‘feel’ Simon—it’s like he no longer exists. Evan blames himself. No one knows that he ignored his brother’s pleas for help on the night he went missing. A year later, Simon is still gone. Evan lost his twin, but Tage might have lost its last hope of survival when it’s discovered that Simon’s unfinished project could be its salvation. Evan is determined to find him—somewhere—and bring Simon home. Their unusual connection might be more extraordinary than they know, and the key to locating Simon.

Add to Goodreads

 

Excerpt:

flipping pages gif

Ugly. That was the first word that came to mind. Deadly was next. The twisted creation was courtesy of a new client, a scientist. The nightmare had been tormenting him for the past couple of weeks. The monster stood roughly fifteen feet tall, walked on two legs, and stretched two muscled arms in front of it, but its elongated head was a grotesque combination of goat and demon. Treacherous horns protruded from either side of its skull, torso, and upper thighs, making it difficult for anyone to get close to the beast. Not that we especially wanted to, but it was part of a Bender’s job requirement to eradicate nightmares. So, we took up battle positions—Syd to its right, me to its left—crouched in anticipation of this formidable creature’s attack. “I’ll go high, you go low,” I called to Syd. Besides a hideous appearance, the goat thing screeched like a deranged bird, and we strained to hear each other, even with the com units. “Got it, Evan.” She unsheathed a ten-inch dagger from her utility belt, the silver blade glinting in the eerie cast of yellow-green light in this nightmare-scape. Being somewhat vertically-challenged (she hated it when I said short), Syd might not look intimidating, but give the girl a knife and she was absolutely lethal. The creature’s leg tendons would be sliced to ribbons in seconds. Syd dived to the creature’s right, spinning and coming up behind it, as she avoided an angry kick to her head. She carved into its left limb, and it let out an ear-piercing shriek. I withdrew an iron mallet from my own belt and catapulted myself off the wall, soaring over the goat-demon and landing a blow to the left side of its skull. Its head jerked in my direction when I came down on its other side. The sharpened tip of the horn caught the left side of my rib cage, and a warm flow of blood seeped through my shirt. Wouldn’t be the first time I’d walked away from a nightmare with a permanent scar. Syd scrambled around its legs, careful not to be trampled. Her dagger was a silver blur as she slashed the gray-haired appendages, the goat-demon staggering in its efforts to avoid her blade. The ground was wet—possibly blood. But with dream or nightmare creations, you couldn’t be sure. Because this thing’s creator was a scientist, they tended to more detail-oriented. Odds leaned in the blood direction. The light around us took on a red hue. Did the ambient illumination correlate to the creature’s anger level? If yellow-green meant annoyed, did red mean take no prisoners? -The Gemini Connection

Available Now!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Black Rose Writing

 

About the Author:

author photo

Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium. She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat. Her first novel, Sarah, a YA horror/thriller, was a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Visit her online at www.teripolen.com

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest | BookBub

 

 

For your chance to win either a signed copy (U.S.) or digital (International), click on this link – a Rafflecopter giveaway

dear janeDear Jane by Marina DelVecchio

Publication Date: January 3rd, 2019

Genre: YA/ Coming of Age

Kit Kat is a fifteen-year-old adoptee who writes letters to her favorite literary character, Jane Eyre, as a means of surviving a violent childhood in Greece and a harrowing adoption in New York that requires her to silence her memories and her voice. In writing letters to Jane, Kit Kat discovers a connection to literature that saves her life. Dear Jane is about family, love, forgiveness, and the power of a good book.

Add to Goodreads

 

Excerpt:

flipping pages gif

For the next two weeks that I was in possession of your story, it was as if someone had seen me, claimed me. I had a sister, a mother, an aunt, a place in which I was loved and understood and cared for. I was connected to something solid and real, for even if the story wasn’t real, a real woman had written it, had understood the pain that comes with being rejected and lonely; the angst that comes with being a girl severed from her roots and family. -Dear Jane

Available on Amazon

 

About the Author:

marina pic author

Marina DelVecchio is a college professor of literature and women’s studies and lives in North Carolina with her family. Her work can be found online at Ms. Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Tishman Review, Her Circle Ezine, and The New Agenda.

Marina DelVecchio | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

 

giveaway gif

For your chance to win either a signed copy (U.S.) or digital (International), click on this link – a Rafflecopter giveaway Version 3Till It Stops Beating (The Maddie Chronicles #4) by Hannah R. Goodman Publication Date: July 5th, 2018 Genre: YA Contemporary Seventeen-year-old Maddie Hickman has always coped with anxiety by immersing herself into the latest self-help book. Then her grandmother is diagnosed with cancer, and she spirals so far downward that she almost risks losing everything she holds dear. From applying to college to solving the mystery of why she detests jelly doughnuts to writing a novel for her senior project and reconnecting with an old flame (or two), the ever-mounting stress leads to an unexpected road trip where she is forced to listen to her wildly beating heart. It is only in the back of a convertible with pop music blasting, that she discovers what she needs in order to really live. If your heart has ever hurt from beating widely, whether from anxiety or love, this book is the one to read.

Add to Goodreads Available on Amazon

 

Excerpt:

flipping pages gif

“I need to be with Bubbie. I want to be there every day. When she is sick or tired. When she needs help.” I take breath. “I will stay and take care of Bubbie and go to school in January.” “I don’t like this idea,” Mom says. Dad sips his coffee instead of gulps. “I don’t know if the deferment is a good idea or not,” he says. “But staying in California for that long? I think it’s sweet to want to stay and care of Bubbie, but what else will you be doing?” He looks at my mom. Then Mom explodes. “Stan, she is not deferring.” Finally, she looks at me. “You are not deferring. I’m calling Emerson tomorrow to straighten this out.” This is so ridiculous. When are they going to get it? I stand up. “You know what? This is crazy. I’ve been losing sleep and getting all panicky again over this for the past few weeks and for what? For what reason? Fear of disappointing you? And now here I am full-blown disappointing you both and I did not fall apart or die. I am still here. And so are you guys.” I think of Susan’s opening lines to her speech. Welcome to the last day of childhood. “I’m an adult now, Mom. You guys have to let me make my decisions, without trying to guilt me into doing what you want.” And with that, I walk my adult self out of the living room, and they don’t follow. -Till It Stops Beating

 

About the Author:

author pic

Often referred to as “the teenage whisperer”, Hannah R. Goodman’s twenty-year career working with teenagers includes the titles teacher, tutor, coach, and, more recently, mental health counselor. Hannah has written essays about mental health for various online publications. Her work has appeared on MindBodyGreen, OC87 Recovery Diaries, Zencare.co, and The Mighty. Though she has previously earned the title author with her first three books, those were all were self-published. This time around, publisher Black Rose Writing released her novel Till It Stops Beating in July, 2018. Literary Titan’s review praised Till It Stops Beating for “tackling a difficult issue like anxiety and making a story that was funny and sweet without making light of the issue.” Hannah is a member of ARIA (Association of Rhode Island Authors) as well as a graduate of Pine Manor College’s Solstice Program in Creative Writing where she earned an MFA in Writing For Young People. She resides in Bristol, RI with her husband, two daughters, and black and white cat named Zoe.

Hannah R Goodman | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

LinkedIn | Amazon | Email | Goodreads | BookBub

 

giveaway gif

For your chance to win either a signed copy (U.S.) or digital (International), click on this link – a Rafflecopter giveaway a step away coverA Step Away by G. Randy Kasten Publication Date: February 7th, 2019 Genre: YA Thriller Three friends, Brianna, Sean, and Robert, happen across a body buried in their neighborhood. Because a police investigation might reveal that the trio is connected to a stolen motor, and that Sean’s mother was having a relationship with a neighbor, the three friends decide they must solve the apparent murder before contacting authorities. In the process, they sneak into a house, befriend a vigilant neighbor with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and develop a friendship with a kind, older man. Brianna becomes convinced that clues point to Sean’s father and realizes their detective work is doing more harm than good. She makes tough choices that affect families and friendships.

Add to Goodreads Available on Amazon

 

Excerpt:

flipping pages gif

Right below the pipe, a human hand and wrist poked out from the dirt, its flesh partly rotted away. The fingers pointed at us.

I let out a panicked yell identical to Robert’s but stood frozen. A hot, prickly feeling crawled up my back as Sean as shouted to Robert. “You okay, Robber?” When Robert murmured a response, Sean scrambled down to the creek. “Cover it up!” he demanded as he went, pointing at me. “Cover it back up!” “We can’t just…” I started. “Cover it up!” Sean was bending over, one hand on Robert’s shoulder. “Just do it!” I shoveled dirt and leaves at the void, breathing as little as possible and only glancing occasionally at the rotted appendage sticking out at me. Each scoop of crumbly soil slid back down, so finally I started stomping on it to get it to stay, right on top of the hand. I felt as if I was pressing down on something evil. Trying to keep it back. After a minute, Sean stood next to me working with Robert’s abandoned shovel. With his head turned away from the hole, he didn’t help much. Robert sat where he was, letting out little wails every now and then. It wasn’t a sound like the pain of a sprained ankle or something. It was more like the desperate moans of someone who’d forgotten how to talk. Once we managed to get the hand covered, we scrambled down the bank, grabbed Robert by his arms, then half carried him and the tools back to the workshop we’d taken over from Sean’s dad. After breathing the rotten stench of the creek, I barely noticed Robert’s smell and couldn’t get that image of the decaying hand out of my mind. We set Robert down in one of the beaten-up old armchairs we’d dragged in there, then sank down ourselves, panting. The hot prickly feeling was still crawling all over me. Sean and I looked at each other for a few seconds, then away. Robert stared at the floor. I’d never seen a real skeleton — or a dead body – before. The tuna sandwich I’d eaten an hour earlier seemed to be on a climb back up. I imagined the scene once we called the sheriff; Sean’s parents would arrive home to a flock of cop cars in the driveway. Maybe there’d be a coroner’s van. They’d love driving into that mess. Then things went from bad to worse. Sean leaned forward and pointed one finger at me and one at Robert. “We can’t tell anyone about this.” Robert peered out from under the layer of the coarse black hair fallen in front of his eyes. “But Sean, somebody buried a body.” “We know that, Robert,” Sean snapped. His nasty scowl reminded me of his father. “But nobody else is going to know that.” “Why not?” that high voice again. “That body where it is, it’s not by accident.” Sean turned to me, “Brianna, you know why we can’t tell anyone.” Like he was pleading with me. “You know.” -A Step Away

 

About the Author:

author-photo

After some childhood acting and living in England for a year, I graduated from Reed College, then attended law school. As a litigator in California and Washington State for thirty years, I learned a great deal about what people really want, and also how humor helps in tough situations. Writing remains my main interest. I am the author of Just Trust Me: Finding the Truth in the World of Spin (Quest Books, 2011), a book about discerning truth from appearances. My young adult novel, A Step Away, will be published by Black Rose in 2019. I have also written a couple of short plays, which were performed at a local theatre in Marin County, CA. The Ribbons Agency is a nearly completed satirical book about the arduous task of securing a literary agent. On a more serious note, I am working on a non fiction book that presents a unique, logical reason to believe that greater international peace is inevitable. A resident of San Francisco’s east bay for most of my life, I have lived along Hood Canal (a fjord and part of Puget Sound) in Washington State for the past three years. I’m still adapting to the weather, though it keeps me inside and productive most of the year. When not writing, I’m enjoying the outdoors or playing improvisational piano. G. Kasten

giveaway gif

For your chance to win either a signed copy (U.S.) or digital (International), click on this link! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for celebrating with us this week and best of luck on the giveaways! Book Blitz Organized By:

 

r&rbutto200x200

R&R Book Tours

Check out the tour schedules for some more reviews and insights!

Schedule

Monday Jan. 28th
Reads & Reelshttp://readsandreels.com
Gloria McNeelyhttps://gloriamcneelywriter.com/blog/
The Writer’s Alleyhttps://www.jacobrundle.com
Go By the Bookhttp://gobythebookblog.wordpress.com
YA/NA Book Divashttp://www.yabookdivas.com/
Just 4 My Bookshttp://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com
Tuesday Jan. 29th
Devouring Bookshttps://devouringbooks2017.wordpress.com/
Didi Oviatthttps://didioviatt.wordpress.com
Breakeven Bookshttps://breakevenbooks.com
Tsarina Presshttps://www.tsarinapress.com
The Hufflepuff Nerdettehttps://thehufflepuffnerdette.wordpress.com/
Wednesday Jan. 30th
Jessica Rachowhttp://jessicarachow.wordpress.com
Misty’s Book Spacehttp://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com
Touch My Spine Book Reviewshttps://touchmyspinebookreviews.com/
Thursday Jan. 31st
From Belgium With Book Lovehttps://frombelgiumwithbooklove.com/
Life at 17https://lifeat17.wordpress.com
Friday Feb. 1st
Eclectic Reviewshttps://eclecticreview.com/
Dash Fan Book Reviewshttps://dashfan81.blogspot.com/

My Young Writer Delegate Experience

*Disclaimer* I was a YWD, and before and after I volunteered at the IWC so obviously I am slightly biased, but I still think this can only be a positive experience. I wasn’t asked to write this by anyone, I just had a positive experience and think you should go for it too!

The thing about being an artist and particularly a writer is that you have to take a lot of chances. It’s never a straight path to get to where you want to go and you have to seize opportunities when they crop up, if they ever do – at least that what I told myself when I signed up to be a Young Writer Delegate for the Irish Writers Centre. I was convinced I wouldn’t get it but I thought going through the process of submitting would give me practice so I did it anyway. I’d never been published anywhere, had a BA in English but no Masters, didn’t have a polished novel or short story to my name, and had never been to a literary festival. But it was a new initiative I figured I had nothing to lose. As it turned out, I had quite a lot to gain though.

cuirt-opening-night-meyrick-6-700x441
Myself, Jack, Rachel, and Supriya. Is it obvious that I’m the horror writer?

So, some basic questions that probably need an answer first:

21951107_10155677860574194_4986493929429478931_o_760x570_acf_cropped
19 Parnell Square aka the Irish Writers Centre decorated for Culture Night.

What is The Irish Writers Centre? In short, the IWC is a place that offers resources and opportunities to writers in Ireland and Northern Ireland. They are a registered charity and get funding for a lot of their schemes, including the Young Writer Delegate scheme. They offer classes and seminars, rooms to rent for book launches, memberships and space for those members to write in a beautiful Victorian building in the center of Dublin.

img_20190121_213229
They spelled my name right and everything.

What is Cúirt? Cúirt is one of the oldest and most recognised literature festivals in Europe, annually held in Galway. Stocked full of writing, reading, music, literature, poetry, and plays, there’s something for everyone. Each year they have a diverse list of writers and artists participating and there’s always a chance to meet the best contemporary writers of the day.

30605144_1853005891658591_3427502469075173376_n
Our first time meeting Alan – we wanted to seem cool.

What are the Young Writer Delegates? The YWD programme was set up last year in an effort to champion young emerging writers and bring more of an interest to younger artists both for literature in Ireland and to the IWC as well. Offering a unique opportunity to take part in multiple festivals accompanied by a professional writer as their mentor, participants are offered a free festival pass, insider industry knowledge, and a chance to see what professional writers do when they aren’t actually writing. After the festivals, they have a connection to the professionals they met and hopefully a new relationship with the Irish Writers Centre.

My experience…

db3liohw4ayec_e
A very nonchalant snap of us, Alan, and Valerie Bistany, Director of the IWC and mastermind behind the YWD scheme.

The week for us basically consisted of going to as many events as possible, as a group, and as individuals. Our mentor was Alan McMonagle, writer of many things but notably his 2017 novel ‘Ithaca’. Alan would introduce us to anyone we thought could give us insight, he got us a spot talking on a radio show, and even at an open mic in the Róisín Dubh to read our work. That was my first time reading it out loud and boy did I learn a lot about editing from those five minutes. In the evenings there are social events to mingle with not just writers but also readers and people from the publishing industry. The only qualm you could really have is the stimulation to write and then not having much time to.

Being completely inexperienced as I was with festivals and professional writer life in general I was blown away by the experience. For anyone who is unsure what being a writer entails or has doubts about their abilities, going to something like Cúirt makes everything a lot more tangible. You can see writers like Sally Rooney and Sebastian Barry, speak to them even, and get a sense of how they got to where they are. It makes it all seem possible and for me, it definitely spurred me on to finish my novel manuscript which is currently being looked over by a publisher. I can’t say it wouldn’t be finished right now if it weren’t for the motivation I got just being in that atmosphere. And just to point out, the other YWD participants we’re all published in some way and had masters from Trinity but it was still a worthwhile experience for them.

Writing can often be, and indeed is sold as, a lonely art form but it doesn’t always have to be. The difference between locking myself in a room and forcing myself to write around everything else and everyone else in my life, in comparison to just hanging around other bookish people and really getting an urge to write, is staggering. Being in the right environment and connecting with other writers can make all the difference.

IMG_20190121_213251.jpg

And since Cúirt 2018, I’ve been determined to return as a published writer. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m still determined and battling chronic procrastination. We’ve been invited to book launches and events, and even to meet the second round of YWD mentored by ‘Red Dirt’ author E. M. Reapy at the Dublin Book Festival a few months ago. And we even got our faces in the IWC brochure. Sure, it’s something to put on your writing CV but it’s also shaping up to be a small community of emerging writers sharing a great experience.

dl9y1txxsamji7l
I consider myself an A-lister now.

 

There’s still time to sign up for a potential free ticket to an historic week long literary festival. If you are between 18-26 and writing in Ireland, this is an opportunity not to be missed. At the very least it’s an excuse to be in Galway for a week, and I dare you not to feel the inspiration to write with views like this.

As a side note, if I can swing it this year, I’ll be back at the festival myself on my own time. I’m like a junkie for artistic atmosphere these days.

You can find more information here on the Irish Writers Centre website, and take a look at the Cúirt website here. And you can check out the Young Writer Delegate Instagram page to see what previous participants got up to here.

img_20190121_213314

Do you plan on submitting for the YWDs this year? Have you submitted before? If I can answer any questions down below, I’d be happy to.