60 days – Catching the whirlwind!

Two months ago today a seismic shift in my life occurred, when I went from being an unpublished author to crossing that magical benchmark into being a published author. A quietly strange and profound experience…

The birth of my debut novel, White Mountain – Book 1 of The Darkling Chronicles, the first of my epic fantasy trilogy, was born on 30th September 2012, amidst a rush of frenzied excitement and anxiety.

As with all new authors, and perhaps the grand stalwarts of our chosen genres, a thousand and one questions whizz through your head. Will it be well received? Will it sink without a trace? Will people like it…hell, will they love it? Am I up for the challenge? There is so much to learn, where do I start? Will the book sell? Will I be able to get publicity for it? How do I get the book noticed? Where and how do I get reviews? What happens if the book takes off? What happens if it doesn’t? etc.

So…what has happened in the intervening 60 days?

A whirlwind to be sure…

After the publication of my book, to date, I have had seven interviews including by the highly prestigious national organisation & charity, Readathon UK, supported by literary giants such as Roald Dahl, Michael Morpurgo, Michael Rosen, Anthony Horowitz, Julia Donaldson etc. http://www.readathon.org/blog/2012/11/author-teacher-joins-forces-with-readathon/ Great company to in, eh?   I’ve been in five local papers including photo feature pieces and a listing in The Cotswold Life Magazine no less, and have had an amazingly successful book launch event which completely sold out!   Then I have been on a whirlwind and very successful Waterstones book signing tour, selling my novel in high numbers, and am even booked up for author signing events at libraries and schools. In short, every weekend has been booked from September up to Christmas! And now…my first reviews have begun to filter in, and what amazing reviews they are! I couldn’t have hoped for better!

All in all…60 days of madness, mayhem and a monumental time indeed. Wow!

Yes, even an unknown indie author from a small independent publishing house CAN make an impact in the gargantuan world of books and publishing. If I can do it, juggling an extremely busy full-time job, working long hours which severely curb the amount of time I can spend on promotion etc, then YOU can do it too!

Be brave, be cheeky, ask questions, be proactive, do your homework…remember if you don’t ask you don’t get, the worst you can be told is ‘NO’, so what have you got to lose? 😀

Good luck to you all!!!  xxx

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Readathon UK – My seventh interview in the company of giants!

Nobody tells you, when you embark on this journey, how mesmeric it can be.

Exhausting, yes, hard work, always, painful with little or no obvious gain, sometimes, but also truly magical and inspiring and…well…life-changing! 😀

I often find that at profound moments in my life I am quite incapable of forming words, let alone coherent sentences. Emotions take over.  That guttural chord within us that lets us know in unequivocal terms, that we are in the middle of something special, a moment to cherish, to define our lives in a certain time and place.

Isn’t that what life is, after all? A series of connected and interconnected moments, and out of that messy melee, one or two fleeting moments suddenly catch fire and flare like stars against the grey. So in moments like these, I find myself through garbled speech and stuttering syllables, uttering inferences like “awesome” “cool” “wow” “amazing” like I’m an awestruck teenager!

Well, another one of those moments happened only a few weeks ago when I was approached by the lovely Debbie Young (http://youngbyname.wordpress.com/) of Readathon UK. In simple terms, Readathon UK is a national charity and reading scheme that gets children to read for pleasure, sparking a passion that can last a lifetime, whilst helping seriously ill children in hospital. What could be a better or more noble endeavour? – books, reading, inspiring young minds and helping sick children?

I admit, to my shame, that I had never heard of Readathon UK before, a fact I find astounding not only due to the close proximity of Readathon’s UK headquarters (only a mile from the school I have taught in for the last eleven years and close to where I used to live!) but due to the long glittering line of literary giants associated with it!

Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake, Michael Morpurgo, Michael Rosen, Julia Donaldson, Anthony Horowitz etc etc…then…ahem…ME?!!!! How bizarre and wonderful?

Check out my interview on Readathon UK’s wonderful website http://www.readathon.org/blog/2012/11/author-teacher-joins-forces-with-readathon/

“When we discovered via our local high street bookseller,The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, that a teacher at one of the schools closest to our office had just published her first book, we had to meet her!

And so it was that Sophie E Tallis, author of fantasy novel White Mountain, came to visit us during the half term break, fitting us in between a whirlwind tour of local bookshops, where she is in demand for book-signing events.

Sophie is delighted to be associated with Readathon, being an avid reader who has just installed the twelfth bookcase in her home!”

*****

“It’s great if you can read but the question is: do you read? If you do the world is yours. This is what Readathon is all about.” Michael Rosen, Children’s Laureate 2007-2009

Authors, poets and illustrators love Readathon because it encourages children to enjoy reading for pleasure which brings them many joys and advantages that last a lifetime.

Readathon’s first ever Honorary Chairman was the legendary Roald Dahl, which is one the reasons we now raise money for the charity founded in his memory: Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity.

After the sad death of Roald Dahl in 1990, this role was taken up by his long-time collaborator Quentin Blake, who the following year was named Children’s Laureate.

The current Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson is also an ardent supporter. She says “Inspiring children to read is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. I’d recommend Readathon to any school or group.”

“Apart from developing the creative powers of the imagination, reading as a teenager helps you to come to a sense of who you are, to define your own identity.” Sir Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate 1999-2009 & Chair of Selection Panel for Children’s Laureate 2009-11

“Books open up the windows of the mind while habitual television can brick them up. The more books children read the better. Reading is like jogging for the brain. Get your feet up, kids, and get reading! Good luck to Readathon.” Spike Milligan

“I didn’t discover the joys of reading until late in life because I am dyslexic. I feel I missed so much because of this, so I’m naturally whole-heartedly behind Readathon. It is a wonderful way of encouraging children to read.” Susan Hampshire

“I wish somebody had sponsored me for the hours I spent reading when I as a lad… It is such a good idea to sponsor children reading… The point about Readathon is that it is both an enjoyable and beneficial sponsorship for those taking part – no hardship, no sore feet, no wet clothes, just lots of lovely books, knowledge gained painlessly and unconsciously and enjoyment all the way.” Frank Delaney

“At the heart of every child, new-born, is a unique genius and personality. What we should be doing is to allow the spark of that genius to catch fire, burn brightly and shine.” Michael Morpurgo, children’s author, Children’s Laureate 2003-5

Readathon proudly supports both CLIC Sargent and Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity.

CLIC Sargent: Every day 10 children and young people in the UK are told they have cancer.  CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, providing care and support for them and their families from diagnosis, during treatment and beyond. We think they’re amazing. You can find out more here.

Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity: This charity was set up by Roald Dahl’s widow in 1990. It specialises in helping children with serious neurological or blood conditions, providing children’s nurses, equipment, carers and toys, working with hospitals and care organisations or directly with patients. This charity is as marvellous as the children it helps. You can find out more here.

Please do check out Readathon Uk’s website and perhaps even get involved yourself! :  http://www.readathon.org/

A HUGE thank you to Debbie Young and Readathon UK for showing such interest in a local author and inviting me to part of the magic! 😀 xxx

UPDATE!!!

A wonderful post about the interview on Debbie Young’s other website: http://offtheshelfbookpromotions.wordpress.com/

Techno-idiot gets another award – One Lovely Blog Award!

Okay… *hangs head in shame* nearly two months ago, 24th September in fact, I was nominated by my good friend, fellow fantasy writer and dragon lover, Lindsey J Parsons, for the One Lovely Blog Award.

I was utterly thrilled at the time and thanked Lindsey, intending of course to pay the compliment on as soon as I could. Then, only a few days later my debut novel was published and all hell broke loose…well actually, a glorious, manic, wondrous, bewildering, overwhelming and amazing rollercoaster from which I am only now catching my breath!

But I would love to say a MASSIVE thank you to the lovely Lindsey J Parsons, for very kindly nominating me for this award. Lindsey Parsons is an extraordinary writer, a real visionary with a gift for characterisation, plot and that magical something that makes you fall in love with a story, and I’m very proud to call her my friend. If you haven’t already, please check out her wonderful blog: http://lindseyjparsons.wordpress.com AND please check out her astonishing debut novel, Vortex, available on Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.com in paperback, hardback and ebook:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vortex-Vol-1-Return-Effra/dp/0957283806/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1352656297&sr=8-2

Product Details

Here are the rules:

Include the blog award logo in your post.

Thank the person who nominated you.

Provide 7 random facts about yourself.

Nominate 7 other blogs and let them know you have done so.

*****

So,  7 random facts!

1. I am absolutely and irrationally PETRIFIED of spiders!!!!! Snakes don’t bother me, neither do sharks, heights (though I get a bit wobbly in the knees), mice, the dark, jellyfish etc. But let me come across an eight legged freak of nature walking on the ceiling (ready to drop on my head), dangling from a web or scuttling across the floor at a startlingly demonic pace and I FREAK OUT!!! Ughhhhh! What makes matters worse, is that I seem to be incredibly attractive to the horrible little blighter’s. Seriously, if there is a spider in a room or a seven mile radius, it WILL head straight for me – it’s even been noticed by others that I’m like cat-nip for the nasty things….ughhhh!

2. My beautiful gorgeous white wolves, Korrun and Tolly (Tollam), are named after characters in my debut novel, White Mountain – Book 1 of The Darkling Chronicles…oh, and my last house, Fendellin, was named after a hidden kingdom in the book! 😀

3. I have a profoundly deep connection to nature and natural landscapes that I can’t quite explain and which often brings me to tears (daft I know), but I’m never happier than when I’m ‘lost in a landscape’…preferably with no humans around, just silence and water and birdsong…ahhhh!

4. Despite my sensible exterior and very sensible job, I am completely immature and I LOVE the fact that I’ve never grown up and lost that childlike innocence and sense of wonder. I love showing my kids cool lightsabre moves, high-kicking in class, discussing Star Wars etc, I love go-karting, I love watching fantasy and sci-fi films and am obsessed by Marvel and DC comics and films! Really…I want to be a Buffy the Vampire Slayer or a comic book superhero!

5. I know I’ve said this before…but I LOVE Marmite! A very British phenomenon, but I grew up with it and still adore it! 😛

6. I love Italy, the country, the people, the culture, the language, the food…everything about it!

7. If I were ever to emigrate, I’d definitely live in New Zealand. I spent four months travelling around that wondrous country, falling in love with every inch of it and letting the road take me where it wanted…a truly magical place! If you’re lucky enough to go…IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!!!!

*****

Now to nominate 7 other great bloggers for this lovely award…tricky to pick only 7!

Right, well I’ve got to mention the lovely Lindsey Parsons who so kindly nominated me and I’d also like to mention her list of wonderful bloggers too: Will Macmillan Jones http://willmacmillanjones.wordpress.com/  Kay Kauffman http://suddenlytheyalldied.com/  Katrina Jack http://kateannejack.wordpress.com/  and Lisa Wiedmeier http://lisawiedmeier.blogspot.co.uk/ .

Now for my 7 nominations (in no order)

Ryan Holmes (Griffin’s Quill) http://griffinsquill.com/

Tricia Drammeh http://theclaimingwords.com/

Ashen Venema http://courseofmirrors.wordpress.com/

Morgen Bailey http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/

Debbie Young http://youngbyname.me/

Andrea Baker http://www.andreabakerauthor.com/

That Fantasy Blog http://thatfantasyblog.com/

I know it’s bending the rules, but I would also like to mention Mandy Ward’s great blog (Welcome To Wherever) http://welcometowherever.wordpress.com/ and Fantasy in Motion http://fantasyinmotion.wordpress.com/

Again HUGE thanks to Lindsey J Parsons for her very kind nomination, thanks honey! 😀 xx

Breath

64

The meerest breeze upon brushed cheek,

The silence between moments, lingering in the air,

The sound of breathing, the murmur of breath,

The stillness of life within,

The rush of blood to the head.

The likeness of being…

alive.

Sophie E Tallis © 2012

White Mountain, Tolkien and my first 5 star reviews!

Firstly, I have recently received my very first reviews! *heart flutters* *gulps*

Three 5* star reviews AND a wonderful review from Tricia Drammeh, a fellow fantasy writer, interviewer and author extraordinaire who was given an advance copy of my book in return for an honest review…wow, what a review! HUGE thanks to Tricia. xx

To the other three unknown reviewers, I’d love to say a massive thanks to you all. I’d be thrilled to think that at least one of you were perhaps one of the lovely customers who I have chatted to at signings…I guess I’m just sentimental! 😛

BooksFantasyEpicLast 90 daysPaperback › English

Amazon…ummm.

Now, I know these figures change daily, so perhaps it’s just the excited newbie in me that takes such pleasure in these things, while other more seasoned authors take the ups and downs of Amazon rankings in their stride…but…I’m SO excited!!!!

This strange world keeps getting stranger…

Currently page 2 and No.21 out of 482 results, above Robert Jordan’s very latest book, the lovely Mark Lawrence, Tolkien’s Two Towers and a host of other fantastically wonderful writers!

WOW!

Tolkien’s The Hobbit was the first fantasy book I ever read and ignited a life-long love of the genre as well as a fascination for dragons.

Although I know my novel, White Mountain, is a truly great book – an epic fantasy adventure for both children and adults alike full of dark magic, ecological themes, fire wolves, dragons, love, loss, friendship and betrayal, I would never dare to compare it to any of Tolkien’s tomes, but WOW!!!!

I’m sure this is just an aberration…but how bizarre?!

Think I’ll be floating my way to bed tonight! 😀 xx

21.

Post-weekend Poetry 047: Insincere by Sophie E Tallis

Post-weekend Poetry 047: Insincere by Sophie E Tallis.

Morgen Bailey has very kindly showcased one of my peotry pieces, ‘Insincere’, on her hugely successful website/blog http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/! Yay!!!

A MASSIVE shout out and thank you to the erudite and simply astonishing Morgen Bailey, writer, interviewer and inspiration! 😀

Insincere

People thought I was being ‘Stevie Smith’, very angst and prone to drama.

If you’re old you’re ‘clinically depressed’…understandable really…all those wrinkles staring back, more years behind than in front, a slow decay of time and body.

If you’re ‘middle-aged’ you’re simply in a rut. “Snap out of it!” they say, you’re not the self-obsessed youth you used to be, no time for such indulgences.

If you’re young you just can’t win. The loudest voice in the room but nobody’s listening.

Insincerity drips off the young who have a predisposition for blue…My youth has flown away now, my student days a haze – melancholic writings to paraphrase.

But then as now, my blue is simply a part of me, not showy, not angst…quite healthy now actually.

No longer just wearing black, colour creeps and leaves its residue, a hue to match my mood.

So no, I’m not waving or drowning, not making a statement, not needing help, quite happy, contented, as much as I can be, not full of old rage and hated resentments. Moving on, moved on… nasty neighbours but nice place, like the view…not insincere, not pretentious…simply blue.

Sophie E Tallis © 2003