Monthly Archives: July 2018

Payback by M.A.Griffen – Blog Tour Guest Post

BLACK BOOKS

by M. A. Griffin

I can’t tell you how excited I was when I first saw the cover to my new novel, PAYBACK.

I’d known the cover had been causing them a few problems. The design team knew what they were after but couldn’t quite get it to work. The wonderfully talented Helen Crawford-White was given the gig, and the publication date was put back as she laboured away; April became May became July.

Then the cover arrived, a pdf attached to an email. I was blown away. It was black, with cool, reflective gold foil lettering. And – I suspect I’m alone in this – I’d always wanted a black book. I have a thing about black books.

Here’s why. To me, black books are holiday books. I guess this goes back to the horror-obsession I had during my teenage years in the late 1980s. As my family’s summer break loomed each year, I’d pack black books about monsters. I remember James Herbert’s The Rats and The Fog, Guy Smith’s The Crabs, Steven King’s stuff and Peter Benchley’s The Deep (which might’ve been more like dark blue.)

It’s worth mentioning that PAYBACK – a heist novel about a gang of anti-capitalist teenage thieves – has little relationship to my summer reading all those years ago. PAYBACK is a thrilling series of robberies, an exploration of direct action and its consequences, a story following powerful and idealistic young activists as they target corrupt organisations and redistribute wealth to the needy. It’s Robin Hood meets The 39 Steps. Nothing like King or Herbert.

Other than, of course, in the colour of its cover.

Black books do special things when you take them to a sunny beach or pool, and this is why I love them:

1. They absorb heat and nearly burn your fingers when you pick them up.

2. The glue that binds them melts faster than other books and the pages begin to separate.

3. Sand attaches itself to the tacky glue between the pages in fine lines. The book almost crunches as you leaf through it.

4. The covers often curl as they dry so your summer read assumes the shape of that elongated ‘m’ we use to indicate distant birds in childhood pictures.

5. Splashed swimming pool water gathers in beads on black covers. Each becomes a super-heated pinprick before it evaporates.

So there you go, folks – five very good reasons to pack PAYBACK in your suitcase this summer!

Cover design by Helen Crawford-White  studiohelen.co.uk

PAYBACK by M. A. Griffin out now in paperback (£7.99, Chicken House)

#Payback

Follow M.A. Griffin on twitter @fletchermoss and find out more at http://www.chickenhousebooks.com

Do check out the other stops on the tour.

Thanks to Laura Smythe and Chicken House for the copy which I’m really looking forward to reading and burning my hands on in this heatwave.

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#YALC2018 #BeaCraftivist Activity Guidelines

IMPORTANT NOTE: IF YOU WANT TO TAKE PART IN THIS ACTIVITY IT WOULD REALLY HELP IF YOU HAD YOUR OWN NEEDLE (with large eye) AND SCISSORS (nail scissors) with you or back at your accommodation. I will not have enough of these to issue. Also feel free to bring your own thread.

We all know that book people are passionate people but, that at times, passion and fighting injustice can be draining. That is where Craftivism comes in. I found Sarah Corbett and her Craftivist Collective https://craftivist-collective.com/our-story/ through Unbound https://unbound.com and was intrigued by the concept of gentle/quiet activism.

The Pitch

What does reading mean to you? Want to save our libraries? Love crafting?

With a tv adaptation depicting Ray Bradbury’s Book Burning dystopia Fahrenheit 451 out this year and the failure of our government to protect our libraries or to properly fund school libraries the time for us to craft/write/speak up is now.

Come and take part in a craftivist event at YALC to create a wall of quiet activism. On Friday/Saturday come and collect your Craftivist pack and spend the evening reflecting on your love of books. Bring your completed crafts to create a wall of book love that will be shared on blogs, social media and with MPs. And, if I can find somewhere that accepts it it will be moved to be displayed at a library/bookshop after the event.

Kirsty Stanley is an Occupational Therapist, writer and book blogger at Books, Occupation… Magic! She can be found most places online @kirstyes. Along with her friends she turns 40 this year and is organising this to celebrate the importance of books and reading to personal development. With amazing YA literature being released today we need to ensure teens can get their hands on it.

Here are some links on underfunding of our libraries:

https://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2017/oct/19/uk-national-public-library-system-community

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-42095945

Collect your pack (Fri or Sat)

I have around 350 packs available and I’ll put half out on Friday and half on Saturday. Come over to the Craftivist wall to collect your pack (I might not be there so just help yourselves – on a first come first served basis) and then over the course of the day or evening create your own “Craftivist book” to come back to hang on our wall of quiet activism by 11am Sunday. As soon as it’s ready feel free to add it straight to the wall. You might inspire others with your words.

Basically we will be recreating the YALC wall of books with our own.

If you are only attending YALC on Sunday or you simply want to get stuck in beforehand in case I run out of packs feel free to create your own “Craftivist book” out of materials you have at home and share it on the wall by 11am Sunday.

Craftivist Book Activity Guidelines

Each pack will contain a foam mobile phone case, a material insert, a length of wool, a heart hanger and sticky Velcro hook.

Additionally decide if you want to write or sew your message, and if the latter collect some thread from the box too. If you are writing use the Sharpies provided to write your message but please leave them at the wall for others to use.

Here is my step by step example as one idea. Feel free to tweak or to use your own embellishments.

Step one find the cut thread on one side of your mobile phone case. Unpick it down one side and along the bottom so it opens like a book (leave one side threaded) and leave your unpicked thread attached to use later.

Decide which is going to be the front cover of your book. I think the white side might be easier because you can write on it.

Title your “book” and add your name as the author of your message.

Next is the most important part – decide what your message is going to be. Why are books and/or libraries important to you?

Depending on how much time you have you can either write or sew your message. You can see I did both, and I used my writing as a guideline – no way could my brain work out freehand sewing 🤯. I also chose to share a quote that I love about libraries but do share your own stories and words too.

Then I used the unpicked thread to sew the pages into the book finishing at the top where I then threaded the excess through the wooden heart and tied it off into a knot too big to slide back through the hole.

Add your sticky Velcro hook to the back of the heart which will enable you to stick your message to the book wall.

Finally bind your book and your message with the wool. Take a picture and share. Use the hashtags #beacraftivist and #yalc2018 in your posts. Also feel free to come back here and leave a message in the comments about how you found taking part in the activity and what went through your head whilst creating your Craftivist book. Sarah terms these Crafterthoughts.

Book Wall Display

By 11am Sunday I’m hoping everyone will have shared their books so do come back to take a look at everyone else’s messages, take photos and tweet them out – especially to your local MP. You can find out who that is here – https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

I would dearly love for this display to live on beyond YALC so if you are happy for that to happen just leave your book on the wall.

IF YOU ARE A LONDON LIBRARY OR BOOKSTORE WHO WOULD BE HAPPY TO DISPLAY THIS AFTER YALC PLEASE CONTACT ME HERE. THANK YOU.

Thanks to Dorset Scrapstore for letting me purchase the mobile phone cases and fabric for £7!!! – I cleaned them out of the former. I thought the adaption of mobile phone cases into books was kind of ironic.

Find your local scrapstore here.

https://www.scrapstoresuk.org/scrapstore-locations/scrapstores-directory

If this activity has got you quietly fired up do consider picking up a copy of How to be a Craftivist by Sarah Corbett from your local friendly bookstore or, better yet, if you still have one, ask your library to stock a copy.

Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues (Written by Erik Burnham, art by Nacho Arranz, Colors by Esther Sanz) – Book Review

Synopsis

Once upon a time, a troop of has-been actors that starred on an old sci-fi show Galaxy Quest, were enlisted by an alien race to save them from an intergalactic tyrant. Despite being way out of their depth, the cast somehow manage to save the aliens and have enjoyed a career resurgence sic de returning from their unlikely adventure. But all that is about to be interrupted by Qint, an alien with a very surprising ax to grind against Jason Nesmith and the crew of the NSEA Protector!

What I Thought

Galaxy Quest is one of the funniest films ever and I was so excited to spot this in the comic store.

The artwork is good, internally the characters don’t quite look like they do in the films but that didn’t bother me too much. There was a little role call of their images (with their backstory) at the beginning. The front cover artwork is nearer to the film actors but is by a different illustrator.

The story ties in with the film. By using the Omega 13 and rolling back time the crew caused a problem for another alien race who are now out for revenge.

The plot is really that simple. There’s some fighting. Some use of original GQ scripts in the process of trying to avert disaster. I felt it all got resolved a little quickly and easily (this bind up is of 4 issues). There was also not enough Laliari.

I found that the comedy fell flat without the actor’s delivery. Then film really had the perfect cast.

For me this was a one read story… although the cliffhanger story it left on sounds like it could be fun.

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