Tick Tock Music Angus and Dundee

I’m really looking forward to going along to Tick Tock Music Angus and Dundee’s first Carnoustie class on Thursday!

Run by Abbey Craig and Barry Smale, the interactive music and drama class for children under 5, brings popular songs and rhymes to life, through puppets and role play.

I’ll be reviewing the taster session for Culture for Kicks, but if any of you fancy coming along, here are the details:

Tick Tock Taster Session, Carnoustie
Thursday 21st of June at 11.30
Panbride Church Hall
10 Arbroath Road, Carnoustie

Further information and details of the Broughty Ferry class, can be found here:
http://www.ticktockmusic.co.uk/find-your-nearest-tick-tock/angus-and-dundee/
and on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ticktockangusanddundee/

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Divine Invention by Linden Forster

Earlier this month, author Linden Forster released his debut novel, Divine Invention.

Here Linden tells us what inspired him to write the first novel in his The Hero’s Arc series.

Why bother writing a book? There are so many books out there for people to read. More books being written now than ever before. Stories being written that you couldn’t write half as well. But, none of the legions of writers out there could write your stories as well as you either (or so I like to believe). So I think most writers write, because they have something that only they can say or a story only they can tell.

I started writing because I wanted to make people laugh. That was the beginning. When I started, the story was almost an afterthought. I just needed a world with some events and some characters to play with. I wanted to pull and bend concepts and reality in a way that meant it needed to be set in another world. So I knew I wanted to write fantasy. I just needed a place to start, and sitting at the back of a classroom I was thinking about how things get their names (specifically how the first boat got its name) and I noticed if you took half of float and the b from buoyancy you could make boat. So in my world, when the world’s first boat gets invented it took the other letters to make its name (but I dropped the ‘u’ because I preferred how floyancy looked on the page).

I don’t think it is a huge surprise that I chose an island community to be the origin of the world’s first boat. Writers love islands.  It is a simple solution for creating an isolated set of characters and rules that the writer can get to grips with, and then when the characters need to leave, all you have to d o is give them a floyancy. I didn’t consider that when I first started writing though, I just thought it logical that the peoples who invented the boat should be from an island. I also didn’t realise that the island I was writing about was a metaphor for our planet. The invention of the boat is a necessity for them as with overpopulation they have all but exhausted their natural resources.

Although the first boat has only recently been invented, the rest of the world’s technologies are in a more advanced state. Forges exist, castles too and reading and writing are common. That’s because no one had ever needed a boat before. I found myself writing about a world where it is more commonplace for the pressures on human advancement to be related to what is needed rather than what is wanted. I think in the real world, we are guilty of losing sight of that.

On the surface, Divine Invention is a light-hearted story, but beneath it all, I do feel that I’m writing about real issues, real people and real humanity, and that’s why I write.

Divine Invention is available to buy on Amazon now.

The Start of Something Wonderful – Blog Tour

Today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the wonderful new novel The Start of Something Wonderful by Jane Lambert. 

Here’s the blurb…

It’s never too late to follow your dreams…
Forty-year-old air stewardess, Emily Forsyth, thought she had everything a woman could wish for: a glamorous, jet-set lifestyle, a designer wardrobe and a dishy pilot boyfriend. Until he breaks up with her.

Catapulted into a mid-life crisis she wishes she’d had earlier, she decides to turn her life upside-down, quitting her job and instead beginning to chase her long-held dreams of becoming an actress!

Leaving the skies behind her, Emily heads for the bright lights of London’s West End but is it too late to reach for the stars?

My thoughts on the book…

I was given this book to review during a bleak and dreary winter in Scotland and it was exactly what the doctor ordered. Full of humour and charm, this book is a really lovely and uplifting read, perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and Sophie Kinsella. The story is beautifully told and I loved how we experience the highs and the lows as Emily follows her not-always-glamourous-path to becoming actress.

As a huge fan of La La Land, this book seemed particularly well timed to me and was a very welcomed distraction from the cold and wintery weather we were (still are) experiencing. There’s something about acting, that really fascinates me and it was fantastic to get under Emily’s skin and live through this gutsy and exciting transition in her life at the beginning of her forties.

The fact that The Start of Something Wonderful is inspired by the author Jane’s, real life career change from air hostess to actress (starring in productions such as Gary Barlow’s West End hit, Calendar Girls – no less) added some real warmth and heart to this book and made this story all the more endearing.

Whether you’re looking for a book to get your through this cold snap or a holiday read, The Start of Something Wonderful will not disappoint!

The Start of Something Wonderful by Jane Lambert is published by HarperCollins and is available to buy now.

 

Beauty and the Beast at the Webster Theatre, Arbroath

Every year my family and I make a point of going to see the pantomime at the Webster Memorial Theatre in Arbroath. Filled with fun and frolics, it’s the perfect way to get the festive season started! After all Christmas just wouldn’t feel like Christmas without shouting “he’s behind you” to the pantomime dame and “Oh no she didn’t” to the dastardly villain.

This year’s production is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast written by local playwright JJ Christine. The show stars a host of wonderful actors from Chris O’Mara as the Beast & Prince, Claudia Todd as Bell, Simon Donaldson as Gastoff, Susan Coyle as Evil Mother & Mrs P, Arron Usher as Aunt Jolly,  and Charles ‘Chuck’ Denton as La Poo, all of whom do a terrific job of entertaining and engaging the family audience.

As always this panto adds it’s own special twist to the well known tale, making it a riveting watch. In this version, Bell and the Beast both love to dance, Gastoff has an mother issues and La Poo is an expert body popper! Who knew!

We absolutely loved the show and my two girls aged 5 and 8, were absolutely glued throughout. As always the Webster Memorial Theatre’s panto production was pitched absolutely perfectly for the family audience. With loads of laugh out load moments, bucketsful of high jinx, plenty of baddies to boo and a brilliant soundtrack to sing along to – this panto really does have it all!

Beauty and the Beast is the perfect family pantomime for Christmas and is not to be missed!

Beauty and the Beast is on at the Webster Memorial Theatre until the 24th of December. For further information about the production and to buy tickets, please visit: http://www.webstertheatre.co.uk/whatson.htm


*Disclaimer: I was very kindly provided with tickets to this performance in exchange for this fair and honest review.

Preview: This is it! Scotland’s literary talent in the spotlight at cabaret event

Can’t wait to attend this Literature Alliance Event tomorrow!

Best-selling author Louise Welsh and award-winning poet William Letford are set to headline an inaugural literary cabaret taking place this month, which shines a light on the nation’s literary scene in 2017.

                                      Author, Louise Welsh

The fast-paced, 90-minute show – called This Is It! – will highlight the year’s literary happenings across five strands – publishing, book festivals, school and public libraries, writers, and the international perspective.

Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs will open this first public event from Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) – the nation’s largest network of literature and languages organisations – on Wednesday 23 November from 7pm at Central Hall, Edinburgh.

Speakers include, respectively, Canongate Books’ Publishing Director Francis Bickmore, Adrian Turpin, Artistic Director of Wigtown Book Festival, and Pamela Tulloch, Chief Executive of Scottish Libraries Information Council.

Poet William Letford, who hails from Stirling, will cover writer development and perform a reading of his poem This Is It from which the event takes its name.

                Poet, William Letford

Closing the show will be Glasgow-based author, Louise Welsh, who will speak about Scotland’s books and literature on the international stage as well as the importance of literary exchange between nations.

In addition, attendees will be able to browse and buy books from Scotland’s writers and publishers courtesy of Blackwell’s Bookshop, Edinburgh while librarians from South Lanarkshire’s digital library programme ‘ACTIVEe’ will be on hand to demonstrate 3D printers which are now available in all of Scotland’s public libraries.

Peggy Hughes, Chair of LAS said: “With over 40 book festivals a year, ambitious new publishing houses such as 404ink emerging, stalwarts such as Birlinn celebrating 25 years, another Man Booker shortlisting for Ali Smith, Muriel Spark’s centenary on the horizon, not to mention the many, many Scottish books and authors that are going into the world every day and taking our stories and voices with them, it seemed high time that we took a moment to celebrate the wealth of our literature sector and shout about its cultural and social value.”
“At a time when Scotland’s Culture Strategy is being developed, it’s vital that we champion our sector and all the talented people working within and for it. Our literary cabaret is a chance for everyone with an interest in Scotland’s literature and book community to gather together and say, ‘This is it, this is a snapshot of what’s been happening this year’. It’s about carving out a space to celebrate the wonderful success, highlight the exciting potential and address the challenges. That’s why we’re so delighted that Fiona Hyslop is officially opening the event and giving this rich and vibrant sector the recognition it deserves.”

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Scotland’s distinguished literary culture is a notable part of our national identity. It also attracts visitors to Scotland and raises our cultural profile around the world. “I am pleased that the Literature Alliance Scotland is extending its reach beyond its membership of key individuals and agencies which promote writers and publishers to engage with the public.

“We are doing all we can to support the literary sector to ensure this rich legacy is maintained and strengthened in future years. We do this through for example our support for Creative Scotland, literacy, libraries, festivals, Book Week Scotland, the First Minister’s Reading Challenge and the post of Makar.”

Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages & Publishing, Creative Scotland, said: “We have a unique, distinctive and rich cultural asset in literature that not only makes an enormous impact to people’s lives in Scotland but also enhances our reputation internationally. From poets to storytellers, screenwriters and playwrights the quantity and quality of writing being published here is truly inspiring. This is It! and Literature Alliance Scotland creates an important opportunity to bring together authors, publishers, libraries, festivals and literary organisations, and champion the work being done to make literature more visible to a greater number of people. We look forward to continuing this work with Scottish Government, partner agencies and individuals to create the best conditions to support a thriving literature and publishing sector in Scotland and internationally.”

Tickets for This Is It! are £7 /£6 – https://this-is-it-literary-cabaret-2017.eventbrite.com/