Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Southend Libraries Book Festival 2012 marks the bicentenary celebration of the birth of Charles Dickens. His legacy still makes an impact in film, radio and theatre today. We are delighted therefore to bring Simon Callow to launch this year's festival with his talk 'Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World.' This wonderful event brings to Southend one of our best loved actors and a tribute to the great Victorian writer. Please note: Please contact us to check ticket availability for Simon Callow, Gold Pass Tickets and Silver Pass Tickets. Simon Callow Friday 2nd March 7.30-9.30pm His career spans a wealth of film, theatre and writing but for most of us he remains one of our favourite actors, appearing in Four Weddings and a Funeral, A Room with a View and many others. His talk 'Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World' launches this year's festival and will be hugely popular so book early to reserve your place. Individual tickets £10 or book as part of a gold or silver pass. Please contact us to check ticket availability Andrew Miller and Kevin Howarth (narrator) Thursday 8th March 7.30-9.30pm Shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize, Snowdrops documents a life of crime, corruption and moral decline in modern Russia. Andrew's debut novel was written while he was the Moscow Correspondent for the Economist but he emphasises it is not an autobiographical account. The novel comes to life in the expert hands of actor and narrator Kevin Howarth making this a truly memorable evening. Individual tickets £5 or book as part of a gold or silver pass Ruth Dugdall Wednesday 14th March, 7.30-9.30pm Award winning author Ruth Dugdall brings a fantastic novel in 'The Sacrificial Man.' A psychological thriller, the book weaves a tale that is both surprising and disturbing. Winning the Debut Dagger Award in 2005 set Ruth on the path to success as a writer but she remains keen to help others in the field and regularly runs workshops to help bring new talent to life. She is an inspiration and a wonderful speaker. Individual tickets £5 or book as part of a gold or silver pass Vicky Kelly/Abbie Norbury and Relaxation/Rejuvenation Workshop with www.blossomdays.co.uk Saturday 24th March 11-1pm We are delighted to bring this local author and life coach for this wonderful workshop designed to help you get what you really want out of life. The session begins with a look at wellbeing and how to prevent stress and illness. As most people juggle too much the workshop will teach you techniques to unwind and help you find your point of control. To finish the morning you will learn gentle and restorative yoga poses which help quiet the mind and relax the body. They are designed for everyone and you need no prior experience. This workshop is a must if you simply want to relax and enjoy life more, no matter what demands you have to deal with. Check out the website on www.blossomdays.co.uk. Tickets £5 or book as part of a gold pass Robert Goddard Friday 30th March 7.30-9.30pm His books regularly hit the Sunday Times Bestseller Lists, he is a master writer enthralling all with his plots and characters, his latest book Fault Line appears on the 29th March but perhaps most of all he is one of the most entertaining authors you can wish to hear - a great finale to our festival this year. Tickets £7 or book as part of a gold or silver pass Gold Pass Ticket - entrance to all events £26 Silver Pass Ticket - entrance to events but not the Workshop £22 All tickets include refreshments. To Book online please use the online form, phone 01702 215011 or visit the central library. All events take place at Southend Central Library, Victoria Avenue, Southend on Sea, SS2 6EX

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

My love affair with Amazon

Like all affairs, it is not always easy. Amazon is a fickle lover - one day I am rising the ranks, flushed with the excitement of seeing my sales increase and Amazon feeds me sweet statistics, telling me sales of Sacrificial Man are up 2000% (with my stunted maths knowledge I didn't even know that was possible...) Other days I will log on, blissfully ignorant of the horror that waits in the form of a scathing review. I see the star ranking first, and sometimes log off, refusing to scroll lower and read the damning reviews. Once I did this and, after restraining myself for three and a quarter hours, burst out during a family walk, "I got a shit review on Amazon." Hubbie, one step ahead as always, nodded sagely. "Yes. I saw." So, at the stroke of twelve on New Year's Eve I released my Chinese lantern into the air and resolved: I will NOT look at Amazon. I will beat this obsession. The book is the point. I worked hard, and I'm pleased with the end result. Let that be enough. Oh, fool, that I was.... Today a friend e-mailed me to ask if I knew my books are currently 99p on the spurned site? Then I saw this on my publisher's site: The Woman Before Me - 25 in the Amazon Kindle Chart Coming into the office this morning it was fantastic to see that The Woman Before Me by Ruth Dugdall is currently number 25 in the Amazon Kindle chart. The book is currently being promoted by Amazon for 99p. It is fantastic to see this brilliant book doing so well... even beating Stieg Larsson, P.D. James and Martina Cole in the rankings. If you haven't read it yet, make sure you pick up a copy and let us know what you think So, back I go, to the arms of Amazon. Still scared to scroll down too far, doing it with one eye half-closed horror-film style. My resolution broken, and it's only January 3rd.