Planning a Book Launch

 

Chrystal Heart will be my fifth published book, but the first time I’ve actually had a proper launch. For various reasons, it’s just never happened.

But this will be my first published novel and I’m determined to launch it proper.

So – where to hold a launch? It’s got to be somewhere suitably booky. A bookshop, perhaps? So why not the biggest chain of booksellers in the UK? It’s taken some arranging, but I have reached agreement with the largest branch of Waterstones in Wales – in The Hayes, Cardiff. It’ll be on Wednesday 13th March, starting at 18:30 – after the store has closed. Drinks and nibbles will be provided and I look forward to seeing you all there! Free tickets will be available through Waterstones sometime early in 2013.

Chrystal Heart is about a Victorian lady who’s still alive in the 21st Century due to some enhancements she was given after being attacked in 1851. And she’s got an interesting approach to modern technology, since the archaic aetheric devices she’s been using for more than a century work just as well. Her companion Sam (Samantha) is a modern girl, who always thought Steampunk was a bit of fun. She never used to take it seriously. But now…

And there will be quite a few of us in Steampunk attire on the night. If you’re coming along, feel free to join in.

What is This “Steampunk”?

Steampunk is a rapidly-growing genre which combines science fiction with nostalgia for a past that never was. Set in worlds where history diverged from our own during the Victorian era (the Steam Age), it usually includes some original gadgets and semi-feasible engineering or scientific principles.

Steampunk culture is beginning to invade the mainstream media. As well as books in the genre, clockwork robots spar with Dr Who. Steam engines, airships and Victorian characters appear in films from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen via The Golden Compass to the Aardman Pirates! extravaganza. Certain classic novels are now regarded as beginning the Steampunk oeuvre, such as Jules Verne’s fantastic tales and H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine – which features an imagined technology based in a 19th Century framework.

If you’re thinking about putting together your first Steampunk outfit, think Victorian meets sci-fi and apply your own interpretation. Engineers, Lords and Ladies may rub shoulders with Explorers, Pirates and Mad Scientists at a Steampunk meet. Ladies of loose morals could strike up a conversation with a Vampire Hunter and a Priest in period costume. Have a look online for inspiration and let your imagination run wild. (Not compulsory, by the way. You can turn up to the launch in jeans and a t-shirt and no-one will mind!)

What Happens at a Book Launch?

Well, it varies. I’m afraid I’ll be doing most of the talking. I’ll be reading an extract from the new book, answering questions and then signing copies of the book. There will be drinks and nibbles for all and hopefully we’ll have lots of fun. There will also be a few little details that I’m not talking about in advance. Though I may drop a few hints on here.  😉

So, if you’re free on March 13th and fancy coming along to Cardiff and sharing an hour with the author of a new Steampunk novel, watch this blog for more info.

 

Review: The Hunger Games DVD

I loved this book when it came out, although the sequels weren’t as good. So I was looking forward to the film, but didn’t get chance to see it at the cinema.

The best bits of the film are the elements from the book – the basic premise, the characters and the plot. Special effects are nicely unobtrusive, serving to advance the story rather than take over. For once, the plot has been trimmed sensitively to fit the film, although a lot of the nuances would be hard to understand if you hadn’t read the book or at least heard more about the setting beforehand.

The violence from the book had been sanitised to make it more acceptable to a squeamish 21st-Century audience. There wasn’t enough dirt and squalor in District 12 for my mind, either.

Casting was largely good. Katniss looks too old, which I’d expected as it would be hard to find a sixteen year-old who could carry this part. Haymitch looks too young – although Woody Harrelson is the right age group and plays him fairly well. (Too trim and I wasn’t convinced by his alcoholism.) Donald Sutherland is perfect as President Snow and I look forward to seeing more of him in the next two films.

Overall, a good film.

Personal Score: 4 stars