I've set up this blog so that all my friends, relations and colleagues in the world of writing can keep up to speed with what I'm doing - from now on, I'll never have to say sorry for not keeping in touch.

Or anyway, that's the plan.

So do please link up with me on Facebook and Twitter - https://www.facebook.com/margaret.james.5268 and https://twitter.com/majanovelist

You can find my novels as digital downloads on Apple iTunes, Kobo, Kindle and Nook, and most are available as print paperbacks, too.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The West Country now has its very own Novel Prize

Anyone who ever dared to think the UK's West Country (Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Avon) is a cultural desert will now have to think again because as of now we have the Exeter Novel Prize.

This was launched last night at Exeter Central Library in front of a gratifyingly large audience who had braved the wind and rain of a horrible evening to come and find out what it's all about. We rewarded them with cakes! Here's a shot of the organisers and a member of the audience, the novelist Laura James whose debut novel will be published soon. Left to right - Margaret James, Cathie Hartigan, Laura James and Sophie Duffy.

The organisers - Sophie Duffy, Cathie Hartigan and I - explained that this brand new prize is open to yet-to-be-published and published (but currently unagented and uncontracted) writers.  You have to be over 18, to write in English, and your work must be for adults or young adults - readers of 12 or over.  This year, we are not considering stories for children.

The final judge will be Broo Doherty from the London literary agency Wade and Doherty.  The first prize is £500, generously sponsored by Exeter Writers, and five runners-up will each receive £50. The prizes will be paid via Paypal, so currency conversions won't be a problem. There'll be no sterling cheques to cash abroad at vast expense! Entry is open to writers anywhere in the world.

The full terms and conditions are on this link: www.creativewritingmatters.co.uk. This is what our local MP, the Right Honourable Ben Bradshaw, former Labour Secretary of State for Media, Culture and Sport, has to say: The Exeter Novel Prize is a great addition to the cultural life of our city and I look forward to it becoming a regular fixture on the arts calendar. Good luck to all entrants and I look forward to hearing about the shortlist and the winning novel.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Novel Event for Everyone

If you live in or near Exeter and would like to become a successful first time novelist, or to kick-start your career all over again, please come and join the Creative Writing Matters team for a free event which will launch the brand new Exeter Novel Prize.

When - Thursday 27 June at 7 pm

Where - Exeter Central Library

What - the Exeter Novel Prize is open to entries from published (but at present unagented and uncontracted) and yet-to-be published novelists. Entry to the event is free.

More details - at www.creativewritingmatters.co.uk.

Please come along and join in the discussion. Our theme for the evening will be: how to be a winner, and -

There will be cakes!

Monday, June 10, 2013

More fun in the sun...

I'm hugely delighted to be a featured author in the forthcoming anthology Sunloungers, which is a collection of fabulous beach reads by authors writing for the women's fiction market.

Here's what our editor Harriet had to say about our stories:

"What is so completely brilliant about this collection is the variety the reader 
gets to experience: heartbreak and heartache, laughter and a feelgood buzz, 
sweet romance and blossoming friendships, mystery and intrigue. There truly is 
something for everyone, crafted with love and care from an extremely talented 
group of women."

I couldn't have put it better myself, so I won't even try!

Here is the link to anthology website - http://www.va-va-vacation.com/sunlounger-chick-lit-stories. The book itself will be available to download on 1 July and we're all looking forward to finding out what readers think of it. We're going to take you places!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Some fun in the sun...

My friend Cathie Hartigan and I just had a fun weekend in London, and - what's more - the sun actually shone on us.  Hurray, it's summer! Well - maybe...

On Saturday, we arrived at the New Cavendish Club near Marble Arch and got poshed up to go to Foyle's Gallery (yes, that Foyles, in the Charing Cross Road) for the launch of the new Words with Jam anthology in which Cathie has a story The Scent of Lemons. Cathie's story was the second prize winner among the longer stories. Here's a photograph of the writers who attended the launch.  Cathie is second on the left...

...and here's the anthology, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle and as a paperback.  I love the surrealist cover - it's a lot of fun!  The link to buy is below. I made sure I got my print copy signed by as many of these stars as I could catch.

This morning, we headed out to the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace (like you do) to see an exhibition of Tudor and Stuart paintings and other artefacts depicting royal clothing. It was a wonderful collection, including clothes, pictures, armour, a terracotta image of a child who could have been Henry VIII, a lace collar belonging to Charles I, a pair of fetching green stockings belonging to William III, and a painting of Charles II as Prince of Wales in full armour as commander of one of the Royalist armies during the Civil War.  Charles was 12 - what were they thinking? Child soldiers are sadly nothing new.

Anyway, just to prove the sun shone, I'll conclude with a snap of moi standing in front of my new house. I'm about to exchange contracts. Do you like? I love the gold scrollery on the gates, but I think some of that flock wallpaper they apparently have inside might have to go...