As If By Magic..

February 25th, 2016
by E J Mack

IMG_2888The paperback has arrived at Amazon! £9.99

Click here to buy

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I Love The Smell of Print In The Morning

February 24th, 2016
by E J Mack

IMG_2888A quick stock update:

A few people have asked me lately where you can get hold of paperbacks of ‘Paper Boats’ now that it’s out.

Unfortunately for all you Amazon addicts it’ll be at least 6 weeks before this format appears on their worldwide sites, so in the meantime here’s a handy link that will put the book in an online cart for you.  It’s ready for you to simply checkout – no searching and, more importantly, no account required.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Delighted to report that feedback has so far been excellent, so much so that if it really takes off a sequel could very well be in the pipeline….happy reading!

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Drum Roll please….

February 12th, 2016
by E J Mack

IMG_2490 copy“Totally engrossing.”

“A novel to really get lost in.”

It’s out.  ‘Paper Boats’ has finally hit the press and is now available to download for Kindle via Amazon and, for all you paper addicts, through Lulu.com It will eventually be possible to order paperbacks from Amazon as well but it takes a few weeks to process – my apologies for this.  Whilst I know the majority of people have Amazon accounts I choose to use Lulu for printing because I find publishing with them to be a better experience when it comes to choice of product and ease of formatting, plus their delivery turnaround is excellent – I can normally get hold of stock in just two days.  So if you can bear to open yet another online account, join Lulu and you can have a paperback in your hands in a couple of days, at a much better price and with the knowledge that I will see at least some profit, however tiny (and tiny it is!).

I’ll leave it at that for now.  It was a late night last night, waiting for midnight to come around so I could get paperbacks on virtual shelves first thing today.  This is the life of an indie publisher – you have all the control but also all the responsibility.  Plus there’s the small matter of my son’s birthday today, which is exactly why I chose February 12th as publishing day.  A good luck charm and hopefully reason for a double celebration!

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Sneak Peek

February 5th, 2016
by E J Mack

Print Cover copyWith just a week to go until publication I thought I’d whet your appetites by sharing the opening paragraphs of ‘Paper Boats’.  The first few reviews have started to trickle in on Goodreads with comments such as, “best by far”, “more books please!” and “a wealth of story that I loved”, with 4 star ratings across the board so we’re off to a great start.

Don’t forget you can pre-order the Kindle download here.  Paperbacks will be available from 12th February via www.lulu.com but in the meantime…

 

PAPER BOATS by EJ Mack

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”

Rabindranath Tagore

1.

Rebecca sat on the mildewed bench, her warm breath pluming in front of her, and watched the ducks. It was late November and the air was dank, earthy and smelled of decay. The piles of sodden leaves decomposing on the ground and the squelch of mud underfoot spoke of a world headed into the mire, apparently intent on dragging her along with it – if her current mood was anything to go by. Rebecca bit into her sandwich. A small wind picked up and as she shivered she wondered yet again how the ducks could bear to have their underbellies in such freezing, fetid waters. They seemed so at ease on the surface, not a feather out of place, whilst hidden down below, all that frenetic paddling. There had to be benefits to remaining semi-submerged otherwise surely they would get out? It occurred to her they had much in common, Rebecca and those birds.

Across the pond, a boy she had not seen before was crouched on the bank, attempting to launch a paper boat. He was no more than eight – nine at the most – his small hands reaching out to the water as far as they dare whilst his father held on to the back of his coat, just in case. When the boat was finally afloat, the boy stood proudly on the muddy bank, stick in hand, ready to poke the vessel should it make a bid for shore. It was clear there was only one place the boat was going and that was down.

Rebecca took another bite from her sandwich and returned her gaze to the water. A few glimmers of weak light glanced off its surface, making her squint and reminding her of the summer that had just passed. It would be a long time before she would feel the full strength of the sun’s rays on her face again and she wondered whether anything would have changed by then. She wasn’t sure she could bear another winter full of discontent and flaccid sandwiches yet, despite her malaise, as she peeled the two slices of bread apart to reveal the yellowing lettuce and smear of coronation chicken, she smiled to herself. They called themselves a ‘delicatessen’ and ‘purveyor of fine foods’ but Rosa’s was really nothing more than a village café run by the dumpy but unflappable Rosalind White, a 56 year old ex-dinner lady from Ealing, and her husband, Terry, who seemed to do little more than read the Racing Post and drink endless cups of tea. It was time to start bringing in sandwiches from home.

Rebecca tore off a chunk and absentmindedly threw it to the ducks. Before it had even hit the ground she knew she had made a huge mistake. Within seconds what had previously been a bleak yet bucolic scene exploded into a riot of squawks and flapping wings as the birds fought over her measly offering. She had not anticipated just how hungry the beleaguered birds might be so in an attempt to sate their voracious appetites she quickly tore off another chunk, hurling it amongst them. But it only provoked the birds further and before long, ducks were mounting the banks of the pond and beating a path for the bench, honking greedily at her. Rebecca jumped to her feet and started backing away, alarmed at the speed of their approach, and started tearing off pieces as fast as she could, tossing them into their snapping beaks as she went. In the back of her mind she knew there was something not right about feeding chicken to ducks but Rebecca had no time for a morality check now.

With birds massing around her ankles and pecking at her clothes, Rebecca panicked and let out a little cry, dropping what was left of her sandwich onto the ground. It was gone in seconds, torn to pieces by the unassailable throng. So, with nothing more to offer, Rebecca decided now might be the time to make a break for it. Turning her back, she scanned the village green for the fastest route to the road. At that very moment a flurry of wings went up behind her. Rebecca cowered at the sound, her eyes shut tight, and waited for the inevitable onslaught of wings and beaks. But instead all she heard was shouting. Snapping her eyes open, Rebecca turned and was relieved to see the birds scattering in all directions. Beyond them, the man from the other side of the pond was running towards her, flapping one hand above his head whilst he dragged his son along with the other.

“Get out of here!” he yelled.
She stalled, at once both confused and mortified. Was he shouting at her?

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Lines Are Now Closed

February 3rd, 2016
by E J Mack

IMG_2786The Goodreads Giveaway has now ended and the winners have been notified.  Congratulations to all five – I really hope you enjoy the book and that it inspires you to broadcast your thoughts about it via ratings and/or reviews in due course.

There were 292 entries in all, which is pretty good for a competition that was restricted to GB only and lasted just a week.  In the past I have opened my giveaways up to the US and Canada as well and seen entry figures as high as 1,782 which is fantastic but on this occasion I wanted not only to target my home audience but also ensure I could get copies to the winners prior to general release.  I do hope Goodreads members outside of the UK didn’t feel too left out…

So now it’s time to get five more copies of ‘Paper Boats’ out into the world which is really quite a thrill for me.  I can’t wait for publication day next Friday, 12th February – don’t forget, you can pre-order the Kindle version here. (For territories outside of the UK please substitute .co.uk with your own country’s domain extension.)

Right, time I went to the post office…

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Roll Up, Roll Up!

January 26th, 2016
by E J Mack

“Trapped in a suffocating marriage by a domineering husband and the ongoing fight to save her younger brother from self-destruction, Rebecca Croft’s determination to do the right thing appears unassailable. But when her carefully balanced existence is resolutely rocked by the arrival of a stranger from out of town, the opportunity to escape proves too hard to resist. By the time she discovers this meeting was no chance encounter, Rebecca is in too deep and quite likely in danger.  

‘Paper Boats’ is the story of one woman’s internal battle of loyalty and responsibility versus dreams and self-fulfilment. If only someone had warned her dreams often come at a price.”

In anticipation of the forthcoming release of ‘Paper Boats’ on 12th February, five copies of the paperback proof are up for grabs via Goodreads to UK residents only. Books will be signed and posted prior to publication date. Giveaway is only open for a week so don’t hang about – enter now for the chance to get your hands on a copy before everyone else!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Paper Boats by E.J. Mack

Paper Boats

by E.J. Mack

Giveaway ends February 02, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

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Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea

January 19th, 2016
by E J Mack

IMG_2490 copyI am delighted to announce that my third novel, ‘Paper Boats’ will be published on Friday 12th February 2016 in paperback and on Kindle.  (The ebook is available for pre-order here. ) 

“Trapped in a suffocating marriage by a domineering husband and the ongoing fight to save her younger brother from self-destruction, Rebecca Croft’s determination to do the right thing appears unassailable. But when her carefully balanced existence is resolutely rocked by the arrival of a stranger from out of town, the opportunity to escape proves too hard to resist. By the time she discovers this meeting was no chance encounter, Rebecca is in too deep and quite likely in danger.  

‘Paper Boats’ is the story of one woman’s internal battle of loyalty and responsibility versus dreams and self-fulfilment. If only someone had warned her dreams often come at a price.”

***********************************

It’s ‘publish and be damned’ time once again and it’s certainly taken a damned long time too.  When I look back over the numerous drafts it’s hard to believe I outlined this story back in September 2012 – what on earth have I been doing all this time?  A lot of rewrites for one, coupled with a fair bit of waiting to be honest.  A number of requests from publishers and agents for the full manuscript have kept me on tenterhooks for months but I feel the time has come to take matters into my own hands.  I’m itching to move on and start something fresh and in order to do that I need to set this one free first.  All I can hope is that it will be as well received as the previous two – for me that is more than enough.  Thankfully financial gain has never been a driving force, instead writing is a compulsion that simply has to be purged. So for as long as I have stories in my head I will keep on writing them down, a prospect that never ceases to excite me.   That said, I still can’t help but fondly think of this book as my very own ‘difficult third album’ – it’s time to see what everyone else thinks.

More news to come….

 

 

 

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Not long now…

November 4th, 2015
by E J Mack

In anticipation of my forthcoming new release (details tba shortly) and for ONE WEEK ONLY, five signed copies of my previous novel, ‘A Silent Shore’ are up for grabs.

Goodreads reviewers have said:
“This book was splendid and will tug at your heart strings. Get it , Read it , Love it!”
“I ended up reading this within one late night, unable to put the book down to sleep”
“If you like stories about secrets, about deceit and betrayal, about family rivalries, about hedonism and lust and love and the damage that can be caused by the careless use of power and sex, strongly written with genuinely touching moments, then this might be right up your street.”

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Silent Shore by E.J. Mack

A Silent Shore

by E.J. Mack

Giveaway ends November 12, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

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I Ain’t No Madam…

March 23rd, 2015
by E J Mack

1810d8f2bc2f14be720de6c006cc11f7I made a grand declaration recently:

“Age is irrelevant.”

I was aware it was a sweeping statement, which is why I rather liked it. Of course age is relevant – when you abide by the rules that is. At sixteen you can have sex, at eighteen cast your vote, at twenty-one you’ve won the right to hire a car. (Is it me or do these milestones get less and less exciting the older we become?)  But honestly, what is age, other than a number?  A countdown to one’s eventual demise, which, let’s be honest can strike at any time, young or old, or even just ‘in-between’.

The subject, or should I say ‘concept’, of age has never been more pertinent for me than of late, and not because I’m struggling with the speed at which life seems to be slipping by, but more because in the last year or so my misspent youth has suddenly caught up with me – pretty much the whole damn cast and crew of it. People whom I last saw in some dodgy pub twenty years ago are back in my consciousness and on my facebook feed and I have to say, it’s wonderful. We may all look a little different (and thank God for that) but essentially we’re still the same people who ran amok together all those years ago. As adults we have not really changed at all; the connection, the association, the affection and the general attitude to life, are all still intact. If I’m honest, it’s felt a little bit like going home.

So the concept of age has been in my thoughts a lot of late, and it would seem in the minds of many others too. Only recently I read an article by Mariella Frostrop in The Guardian trying to describe her own struggle with reaching fifty; an experience which she describes as “traumatic”. A day or two later I happened to see an episode of Futurama dealing with the subject of ageing (or rather ‘de-ageing’ for want of a better word). On top of all this a friend of mine aged himself prematurely via a smartphone app and posted the results on Facebook. Of course I just had to have a go too, but I’ll save you the trauma of that visual treat.

Then just a few days later I found myself in the back of a somewhat garrulous taxi driver’s black cab and we got talking about past musical influences. He described to me how he still goes to Northern Soul nights with friends he’s had since his teens (he’s now in his 50s) much to the horror of his children who think it’s time he ‘grew up’. We both agreed how lucky we are to live in an age where age no longer seems to matter to anyone over about twenty-five and certainly not to our generation at any rate. It is quite acceptable nowadays for people to be great friends with those twenty years younger or older (I am lucky enough to have both) and for dads to go gigging with their sons. We are no longer ‘invisible’.   Even BBC Radio 6, who are at the coal front of new music – admittedly with a somewhat older demographic than, say, Radio 1 – have a slot on their breakfast show called ‘Middle-aged Shout Outs.” We are the butt of our own jokes, as if we can’t quite believe that it’s us who are meant to now represent the slippers and cocoa brigade.  Sure we knit and sew, we garden, we fish – I’ve even caught myself listening to folk music of late – but somehow we tell ourselves this is all very ironically postmodern, rather than a sign of us slipping slowly into our dotage.

As fifty becomes the new thirty and forty the new twenty, it seems to me that age, and its increasingly devil-may-care attitude, is now something to aspire to rather than to dread. It is more likely these days to be a catalyst for cracking a joke, rather than a cause for concern. Instead of feeling marginalised, I for one feel part of an amazing club where the fast laughs (more often than not at our own expense) go whizzing over the heads of our kids and the film stars, rock gods and television presenters age right alongside us, if a little more slowly. I don’t doubt there still remains an achingly cool club solely for the young to which I am no longer welcome, but I have no problem with that.  In fact it seems to me that more and more of them are trying to sneak a way into ours, and who can blame them. After all, our parties still have the potential to be just as wild as ever (if perhaps a little shorter) and you are free to leave your social anxieties at the door because nobody gives a damn what you look like anymore.

Maybe I am just a sad old fool to think all of this; just another middle-aged madam desperately trying to hold onto her youth like so many before her (stop laughing in the back there, kids) but I’ll leave you with this little anecdote, which I think sums us Generation Xers up perfectly:

Chatting to my great friend about her younger brother’s forthcoming fortieth birthday party, I asked if her parents were going, to which she replied in all seriousness,

“Yes, but they’ll be the only adults there.”

😀

 

 

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Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost…

February 3rd, 2015
by E J Mack

369d5e6a1fe59610ac9d963540f9db09So another year has passed in the blink of an eye but at least I have something to show for it. Whilst the film I sold last year is sadly now languishing in ‘production hell’ (almost a necessary evil on this career path so I’m told), I have in the meantime finished a third and final draft of my new novel. I say ‘new’ – it’s taken a good two years to get to this stage but I’m hoping that allowing it time to breathe has meant my writing has matured and that this draft will secure me an agent and publisher. As much as I enjoy the freedom of self-publishing I can’t help but think the traditional route might suit me better in the long run so it’s time to peddle my wares I guess.

Now that I have a little more time on my hands, my mind has of course wandered back to the wider world and specifically to the actual business of being a writer in this day and age. With news that ‘A Casual Vacancy’ has been adapted for TV and is coming to our screens here in the UK on 15th February, I got to thinking about how quickly books seem to be mutating recently. It seems only yesterday that J K Rowling’s novel was first published (Paperback: July 2013) and I can’t help but wonder whether the public really need or want this kind of turnaround or whether big business is simply cashing in whilst the titles are still fresh in our collective memory? Other recent adaptations that spring to mind are ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn – published June 2012 and already in cinemas by the end of last year – and ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ by S J Watson – published in the Spring of 2011 and on the big screen by 2014. Obviously there are countless others, but these are the ones that are foremost in my mind.

Surely literature should be granted the opportunity to linger on our book-shelves a little longer, to marinate in the sub-conscious and be deliberated over with our peers, rather being instantly reborn as a movie? It makes me question whether this in turn, for some of the wider population, might render the book itself obsolete? After all, why labour over three hundred pages when you can visually download it into your brain in around ninety minutes. The temptation is often too hard to resist. In a moment of weakness and in our current mood of instant gratification, how many of us now regret giving in and watching the movie before we’ve even had a chance to read the book and thereby create its world in our own imagination? What a pity to have our protagonist played by some major league actor rather than by a unique individual we ourselves have created.

Then of course there is the question of whether this demand for adaptations is altering the way some authors approach their writing. Are they simply writing stories that they know will make great movies? Where is the incentive to challenge themselves as authors and perhaps write some deeply reflective literature if the words ‘film rights’ are forever floating about on the periphery?

In considering this I was taken back to my own tentative first steps towards a writing career many years ago. Film was my medium of choice then and I longed to see my imaginings up on the big screen – the thought of writing an actual book in those days seemed too laborious an endeavor. However in time I discovered that writing a screenplay was neither as easy nor as fast a process as I had imagined. Just because there are fewer words on the page doesn’t make it any simpler, quite the opposite in fact. And then I also got to thinking about how perhaps there might be more money to be made from writing a novel and then selling the film rights to someone better experienced (not that money has ever been a motivation of mine of course…). As I said, this was a long, long time ago and I was very naïve.

The proverbial nail in the coffin of my first dabblings in screenwriting came whilst watching ‘The Player’, (written by Michael Tolkin and directed by Robert Altman) and in particular the scene where the wildly gesticulating screenwriter, played by Richard E Grant, pitches an idea for a movie. I was mortified – there was no way I could ever have the confidence to do that. I would have to find someone else to do it for me, i.e. an agent. There was nothing else for it – I would write books instead and leave the film world to the professionals.

Twenty years later and I’m delighted to now be confident working in both mediums and finally at peace with the fact that I love both equally. The liberty to delve into the minutiae of my imagination via languid prose is wonderfully cathartic, but equally the direct and instant power of pure visuals and dialogue that film demands, and the suggestion and intrigue that this can conjure up in its audience, is an irresistible form of expression. My achievements so far may be small but I consider it a luxury to be comfortable enough to venture into both worlds, accepting now that I am incapable of making that final decision to be faithful to one or the other. I can even manage the odd pitch here and there when my nerves can stand it.

So perhaps I can answer my own question – does the opportunity of a film adaptation and the extra monetary value affect my own fiction? Not at all, but maybe that’s because in my head all books play out as films– just very detailed, week-long ones. Question is, were I to adapt my own, would my editing abilities be up to the job?

 

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