Thursday, 30 August 2012

Feed Your Reader Giveaway - Winner Chosen

Thanks to everyone who signed up to win a copy of one of my ebooks in the Feed Your Reader giveaway. The winner is Deborah R. She has been contacted by email and she chose a copy of Alison Wonderland.

The winner of the $200 ereader was Beth G and she has also been notified.

I'm sorry if you didn't win but there will be more giveaways, including Amazon Gift Cards and a chance to win a signed copy of The Miracle Inspector so please check back here or join my Facebook page for details.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

All She Wants

Tonight I'm going to the book launch for Jonathan Harvey's first novel, All She Wants.

Here's the description:

There are some things in life you can always rely on. Living in the shadow of your ‘perfect’ brother Joey, getting the flu over Christmas, and your Mother showing you up in the supermarket. Then there are some things you really don’t count on happening: a good dose of fame, getting completely trashed at an awards ceremony, and catching your fella doing something unmentionable on your wedding day. This is my story, it’s dead tragic. You have been warned... Jodie Xx

Jonathan is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter and a very funny, clever man, so I'm looking forward to reading the book.


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Author Quotes

Here are some author quotes from Inside the Writers' Studio. It includes one from me.

The quotes are taken from the PaperRats video I contributed to about a week ago. If you haven't seen it, you can watch it below.




Saturday, 25 August 2012

Brixton Blog: Interview with Helen Smith

There's a lovely write-up on the Brixton Blog today from Barney Evison, who interviewed me about my books. He has read them all and had some interesting things to say about them. Brixton is the area of south London where I have lived for the last twenty years.

"Helen Smith’s first two novels are set in Brixton and draw on her experience of living in the area. Although at points hilarious, her books touch on themes of loss, loneliness and madness in modern London. The plots are surreal, hovering between crime fiction and magic realism, and are narrated with a laconic and often dark sense of humour. Her characters are eccentric, diverse and memorable, but ultimately believable."

Thanks to Barney for the interview. You can read the rest of it here.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Alison Wonderland in Kindle Daily Deal in US

Alison Wonderland was published for the first time in the US just over a year ago and got to number one in the Kindle Store. It was one of the 25 most popular books in the Kindle Daily Deal in the US over the last year - and all 25 of those books are on offer again today.

Alison Wonderland is a quirky literary comedy about a woman who joins an all-female detective agency in London.

If you haven't bought it yet, grab it now!

To celebrate, all my other ebooks are supercheap today.








Being Light is about a man who flies away on a freak gust of wind while installing a bouncy castle in Brockwell Park, London. When he doesn't come home, his wife hires a private detective to find him. Some of the characters from Alison Wonderland appear in Being Light but it's a standalone story and can be read without reading that book.

The Miracle Inspector is a dystopian novel set in London in the near future. England has been partitioned and a young married couple, Lucas and Angela, decide to escape to Cornwall - with disastrous consequences.

Three Sisters and Showstoppers are novella-length murder mysteries set in present day London. They feature twenty-six-year old amateur sleuth Emily Castles and her side-kick, philosophy professor Dr. Muriel.

Don't have an ereader? Sign up here for the chance to win one worth $200 from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

The Miracle Inspector at bookoxygen

An extract of The Miracle Inspector is featured over at bookoxygen today, a new site from Elsbeth Lindner. It has a mission to help correct the imbalance in book journalism which sees some sixty percent of literary coverage written by men and devoted to male writers.

Check out the Bank Holiday Fiction Fest over at bookoxygen this weekend. Monday is a public holiday here in the UK and bookoxygen are celebrating with fiction extracts and book giveaways. Check out the site for more details and for a chance to win a signed paperback copy of The Miracle Inspector which can be sent anywhere in the world.


Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Miracle Inspector: Refreshingly Original

There's a great review for The Miracle Inspector over at Layered Pages.

"A refreshingly original piece of literature, The Miracle Inspector will spur you to think in new ways. Helen Smith has created a world where women are so marginalized in futuristic London that they cannot leave their homes without full body coverings. Although the setting is in the future, the story is not set so far in the future as to be unbelievable or unrecognizable which only serves to further invest the reader in the journey."

You can read the rest of the review here.

The Miracle Inspector is currently available as an ebook via The Kindle Store in the US and the UK.

You can pre-order the print book online from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Barnes & Noble, Blackwells, The Book Depository, Foyles, W H Smith, Waterstones or from your local independent bookshop (mine include Clapham Books, Herne Hill Books and The Bookseller Crow and they will all stock it). The Miracle Inspector will also be available in W H Smith stores at airports and train stations so please look out for it if you're travelling in the UK.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Feed Your Reader Giveaway

This is an ebook giveaway hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Books: A True Story.

I'm giving away an an ebook copy of one of my books to a follower of this blog. There's also an opportunity for followers of my Facebook page to win an ereader worth $200 (it can be a Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet or another ereader of your choice, though you have to live in the US to get one of those, otherwise it will be a gift card from Amazon or B&N worth $200). See here or scroll down for details.

Alison Wonderland is a quirky literary comedy about a woman who joins an all-female detective agency in London.

Being Light is about a man who flies away on a freak gust of wind while installing a bouncy castle in Brockwell Park, London. When he doesn't come home, his wife hires a private detective to find him. Some of the characters from Alison Wonderland appear in Being Light but it's a standalone story and can be read without reading that book.

The Miracle Inspector is a dystopian novel set in London in the near future. England has been partitioned and a young married couple, Lucas and Angela, decide to escape to Cornwall - with disastrous consequences.

Three Sisters and Showstoppers are novella-length murder mysteries set in present day London. They feature twenty-six-year old amateur sleuth Emily Castles and her side-kick, philosophy professor Dr. Muriel.



This giveaway is now closed. It was hosted by I am a Reader not a Writer and Books: A True Story.

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Charles Dickens and Me. Or, Is One Sale Enough?

My new blog post at the New Wave Authors site is about book promotion. I mention Charles Dickens, Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh. I also mention Bulwer-Lytton.

It's entitled Charles Dickens and Me. Or, Is One Sale Enough?
You can read the post here.


What is a virtual book tour?

It's less than two weeks until The Miracle Inspector comes out in paperback on 4th September. I'm doing lots of promotional events and will soon be posting details of my virtual book tour. If you don't know how a virtual book tour operates, check back here in the coming weeks for details. But, in essence, I will be writing guest posts and answering questions on several influential book blogs in the UK and the US in September and October to draw attention to the publication of my book.

If you have a book blog you can sign up here to review the book and take part in the tour. I love this book, I'm really proud of it. I want the world to know about it! Thank you to everyone who has already read an advance print copy or an ebook and reviewed it. If you don't have a book blog but you'd like a copy of the book so you can review it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, etc. email me here.

I'm also doing some 'real life' events in London and (I hope) New York. I post details of these events here on my events page as they're booked. But this is what's definitely coming up:

Brixton Book Jam at the Lambeth Country Show, London, 15 and 16 September 2012
I took part in the inaugural Book Jam in July this year, along with Alex Wheatle, Adam Mars-Jones and other local writers. The Lambeth Country Show is just as it sounds - there are sheep, there are tents where prizes are awarded to jam, cakes and vegetable sculptures. It's like Midsomer Murders! I'll be doing something bookish, and I'll also secretly be researching for my third full-length Emily Castles murder mystery which will take place at the Lambeth Country Show.

Literary Death Match, London, 19 September 2012.
Last year I read from Alison Wonderland at Literary Death Match and I won! It was very exciting. Four writers compete for the honour of a medal in this anarchic, entertaining live literature show. They're judged on performance, literary merit and intangibles. I'll be returning on 19th September to judge literary merit.

26 Treasures at the V&A Museum of Childhood, London, October 2012
This is unrelated to my book promotion but as the exhibition opens in the middle of all the other promotional activity, I thought I'd mention it here. Together with former Children's Poet Laureate Michael Rosen and twenty-four other writers, I have written a poem in response to an exhibit that will be on display at the V&A Museum of Childhood in London until January 2013. More details soon.

LondonIsYours, Twitter, 14-21 October
I'll be taking over the LondonIsYours Twitter account for a week, broadcasting live and direct to the world from Brixton. Each week a different Londoner curates the account. This week it's author Jonathan Kemp, so please follow him for enlightening, amusing, literate updates.

Literary Cabaret, Bloomsbury Festival, London, 20 October 2012
I'll be hosting this popular event (last year it sold out, with more than 250 people crowded into the St Pancras Hotel to hear us) at Senate House. We'll have an entertaining mix of songs from Kate Arneil, and readings from Suzy Joinson, Karen McLeod and Craig Taylor. I'll be giving the audience a preview of my first full-length Emily Castles mystery, Invitation to Die, which is set in Bloomsbury.

Polari, Royal Festival Hall, London, December 2012
I'm thrilled to be reading again at the always-brilliant, always sold-out Polari, a literary salon held in the gorgeous surroundings of a top floor room at the Royal Festival Hall, hosted by writer Paul Burston. The next one, 24th September, features Jonathan Harvey, Penny Arcade, Jesse Blackadder, Adam Lowe and Adrian Dalton.
"Paul Burston's achievement in consistently bringing together writers and performers who will stimulate and inspire is remarkable." Patrick Gale.
"Always fun, always thought-provoking: a guaranteed good night out." Sarah Waters

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

How to find cheap ebooks

People sometimes find my blog with the search term 'How to find cheap ebooks'. I can't resist buying books when they're on offer and since I've had my Kindle I have bought many more than I will ever read. And still I keep buying... In case you have the same compulsion, here's a list of sites that help you find the bargains. [UPDATED April 2014]

Cheap books for your Kindle
[If you're looking for my offers and giveaways go here.]

Sign up for Amazon's Kindle Daily Deal (UK) several new deals every day
Sign up for Amazon's Kindle Dail Deal (US) several new deals every day

Ereader News Today (US) Useful info, including free and bargain ebooks
Daily CheapReads US Recommends cheap & free ebooks
Daily CheapReads UK Recommends cheap & free ebooks
BookBub (US) Sign up for a newsletter with offers in the genres that interest you
The FrugalEreader (US) Recommended bargain books
Indie Book Bargains (UK) Sign up for a daily newsletter listing free and bargain UK books
Kindle User Forum (UK) Browse free UK ebooks here.
DailyFreeBooks (US) Free books in the US
EreaderIQ US Use their pricewatch to track ebooks so you can buy them when the price drops
EreaderIQ UK Use their pricewatch to track ebooks so you can buy them when the price drops
EreaderIQ Canada Use their pricewatch to track ebooks

Are you a member of Amazon Prime? You can borrow selected Kindle books (including mine) for FREE... as well as getting free delivery on paperbacks + free streaming of TV/films and other benefits. Sign up for a FREE trial of Amazon Prime in the US here or the UK here.

If you're in the US, Kindle Matchbook allows you to buy Kindle editions of print books you bought from Amazon.com. My books are enrolled. Look here to see which other books are in the program.
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More information about my books here

Sign up here for Helen Smith's Book News.




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Let me know if there are any other sites you use and I'll add them to the list.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Writing Advice for Real Writers

I have been a fan of the PaperRats for a while. The PaperRats are RJ Keller and Kristen Tsetsi, two writers who collaborate on writing-related videos even though they live in different parts of America (and even though, for the first few episodes of Inside the Writers' Studio at least, they had never met).

I'm delighted to make a guest appearance in their latest production: Writing Advice for Real Writers. Have you ever wondered about the secrets involved in being a truly great writer? Take a look at the video below.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Corrie Goes to Kenya - on ITVplayer

If you didn't see part one of the documentary, Corrie Goes to Kenya, it's on itvPlayer. Lauren's dad, Damon, made several trips to Kenya to volunteer for SAFE after he saw a short documentary film about their work.

SAFE is a Kenyan NGO and UK charity that uses street theatre and community programmes to educate, inspire and deliver social change. They work on HIV/AIDS, violence, female circumcision, safe water and the environment, and Damon went over there to write plays for their community theatre.

He returned earlier this year with four actors from Coronation Street (Sue Cleaver, Ben Price, Ryan Thomas and Brooke Vincent) to work with the Kenyan actors in SAFE to put on a play about the dangers of HIV. Part one of the documentary was shown on ITV on 17th August. The second part will be on ITV on 24th August at 9pm.

You can donate by texting 'CGTK12 £3' to 70070 or online here. SAFE Kenya are on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Interrogating Helen Smith

I took part in a Q&A over at Joo's book reviews about my books and my writing.

Questions include: How much of you is in your characters? Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be? Or be with ?

You can read my answer to that, and the rest of the interview here.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

World Book Night: Want to be on the Editorial Committee?


Applications to be on the editorial committee for World Book Night 2013 will close at midnight this Sunday 19 August.

To apply email 2013@worldbooknight.org with:

Your name and contact phone number
What book you gave away in 2012
Your top 10 books you most love to read, give and share for 2013
An impassioned argument in 100 words or less on why one of them should be chosen

You must be available to travel to central London for the afternoon of Wednesday 5 September when the titles will be chosen.

If you'd like to nominate your favourite books for the World Book Night 2013 top 100, register or login to the WBN site and click on 'Nominate Books' under the 'books' tab to vote for your favourites before 31st August.

You can see the constantly updating top 100 books that have been nominated so far here.

The Miracle Inspector: heart-breaking dystopian fiction

There's a great review for The Miracle Inspector over at The Momus Report.

"The pleasures of this book are the means Smith employs to dance around our expectations and its extrapolations from contemporary nanny state idiocies or government infringements on constitutional rights. Lucas and Angela are also both, in their respective ways, incredibly vulnerable. Their lives are reduced to extended acts of mummery, like kids dressed in their parents clothing. This is affecting and heart-breaking fare, with a sly wit."

You can read the rest of the review here.

The Miracle Inspector is currently available as an ebook via The Kindle Store in the US and the UK.

You can pre-order the print book online from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Barnes & Noble, Blackwells, The Book Depository, Foyles, W H Smith, Waterstones or from your local independent bookshop (mine include Clapham Books, Herne Hill Books and The Bookseller Crow and they will all stock it). The Miracle Inspector will also be available in W H Smith stores at airports and train stations so please look out for it if you're travelling in the UK.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Miracle Inspector: Scarily believable dystopian novel

There's a great review for The Miracle Inspector over at Between the Pages.

"I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Dystopia is one of my favourite genres, and fans of such books as Nineteen Eighty-Four and The Handmaid’s Tale, would almost certainly enjoy this novel. I found it scarily believable; a world that was all too easy to imagine, where fear of paedophilia and terrorism has curtailed people’s freedom to an extreme level.

The writing is very ‘clean’ – no words are wasted here – and it flows beautifully. The different subplots tie together nicely and despite the subject, there is genuine humour here as well."

You can read the rest of the review here.

The Miracle Inspector is currently available as an ebook via The Kindle Store in the US and the UK.

You can pre-order the print book online from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Barnes & Noble, Blackwells, The Book Depository, Foyles, W H Smith, Waterstones or from your local independent bookshop (mine include Clapham Books, Herne Hill Books and The Bookseller Crow and they will all stock it). The Miracle Inspector will also be available in W H Smith stores at airports and train stations so please look out for it if you're travelling in the UK.

Strummer of Love

The Strummer of Love festival is taking place in the Blackdown Hills area of Somerset, near Taunton, this weekend: 17-19 August.

It's ten years since Joe Strummer's death and this festival will celebrate his life - he would have been sixty years old on 21st August 2012. Proceeds from the festival will go to Strummerville, a charity his friends and family have set up to help young musicians.

There are interviews with his daughters, Jazz and Lola, in the Guardian here and an article by Jazz in The Telegraph here.

Lola will be playing with her band, Dark Moon, at the festival. Jazz has set up the Handmade Hangout tent, with various craft activities and a pop-up stage. My daughter Lauren is helping her set that up.

More details about tickets, line-up and location here. There are lots of opportunites to get involved, for example with Julien Temple's DIY film and Jazz's craft tent. Check out the website for details.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Corrie Goes to Kenya - 9pm Friday 17th

Corrie Goes to Kenya is on ITV at 9pm, Friday 17th.

Lauren's dad, Damon, has been volunteering for the charity SAFE out in Kenya. He writes for Coronation Street so he took four of the cast members - Sue Cleaver (Eileen Grimshaw), Ryan Thomas (Jason Grimshaw), Brooke Vincent (Sophie Webster) and Ben Price (Nick Tilsley) - out there earlier this year to work with some of the Kenyan team, and executive-produced a two-part documentary, Corrie Goes to Kenya, about their experiences. The first part will be shown on Friday.

Read Sue Cleaver's story in The Mirror here and Ryan Thomas's here. More photos here. Trailer here. Writers' Guild articles about Damon's involvement with the project here and here.

I'm very proud of Damon and really looking forward to seeing the show.

Olympic Knitted Characters

Missing the Olympics?

Check out these photos of knitted Olympic characters in a garden in Mary Haggerty's garden in Walthamstow, made by Mrs Haggerty's daughter and showcased on the BBC.

If that doesn't work for you, here are some pictures of Mo Farah running away from things.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Animal Crackers - A Cartoon and Comic Bestiary

My friend Harry Harrison is the political cartoonist for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. He's also the illustrator of many, many children's books.

He has a picture in an exhibition called Animal Crackers at The Cartoon Museum in Little Russell Street, London, which runs from 25th July until 21st October 2012. The Cartoon Museum is near The British Museum in Bloomsbury. For details of opening times, location and prices, check out the 'visit here' tab at http://www.cartoonmuseum.org

If you can't get to The Cartoon Museum, or if you can and you want to check out more of Harry's work, you can see his illustrations online here. They're amazing - he's very talented.


Sunday, 5 August 2012

The Miracle Inspector: Book Club Pick

There's a wonderful review for The Miracle Inspector over at Bookfabulous where it has been chosen as a book club read.

This is a very interesting thought-provoking book. A fantastic book club pick. I enjoyed its directness and the power it gives to the reader's imagination to fill in the gaps rendering it a work of horror at times. Although laced with humour this is far from a humorous read. Dark and disturbing where at times survival alone is a miracle in disguise!

Please visit Bookfabulous to read the rest of the review.

The Miracle Inspector is currently available as an ebook via The Kindle Store in the US and the UK.

You can pre-order the print book online from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Barnes & Noble, Blackwells, The Book Depository, Foyles, W H Smith, Waterstones or from your local independent bookshop (mine include Clapham Books, Herne Hill Books and The Bookseller Crow and they will all stock it). The Miracle Inspector will also be available in W H Smith stores at airports and train stations so please look out for it if you're travelling in the UK.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

The Miracle Inspector: scary, entertaining, beautiful

The print edition of The Miracle Inspector will be published on 4th September.

A couple of great reviews have come in this week:

From The Opinionated Geeks
The depression and the darkness of the way lives are lived is handled incredibly well and the partitioned London is very easy to believe, and sometimes you find yourself convincing yourself that it is just a book, which is a compliment to how well written and realistic the world is made to come across. The book's subject matter, character portrayals, and views on the psychological effects of people trapped in a life, makes for an excellent read. Helen Smith both scares with the reality, and entertains with the tale.
Please visit The Opinionated Geeks to read the rest of the review.

From The New Podler Review of Books
The writing is beautiful, as Smith has shown in Alison Wonderland and Being Light. Other reviewers have characterized this book as a comedy, but I see no way out of its pessimism. Fear is our worst enemy. How do we wage war upon it without waging war upon ourselves?
Please visit The New Podler Review of Books to read the rest of the review.

The Miracle Inspector is dystopian fiction. It is currently available as an ebook via The Kindle Store in the US and the UK. You can pre-order the print book online from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Barnes & Noble, Blackwells, The Book Depository, Foyles, W H Smith, Waterstones or from your local independent bookshop (mine include Clapham Books, Herne Hill Books and The Bookseller Crow and they will all stock it). The Miracle Inspector will also be available in W H Smith stores at airports and train stations so please look out for it if you're travelling in the UK.

New Wave Authors

Check out these articles on the New Wave Authors site:

Deborah Reed runs into a celebrity crush

R J Keller asks if writers should have muzzles

Craig Lancaster ponders the categorisation of fiction

Rob Kroese showcases a new site that matches reviewers to books that need reviews

Stant Litore takes issue with the idea that ebooks are not real books