Armagh Here I Come!

I’ve already announced this on social media but, in case you missed it, or if you wanted further explanation of what it all means: I have been awarded a full bursary to the John Hewitt International Summer School this year.

This summer school – based in Armagh, Northern Ireland – runs all of next week and is an intensive programme of events for writers.

There are talks, workshops, theatre shows, showcases, panels, exhibitions, and more (see table, below). I’m about as excited as I am intimidated.

The list of people taking part is impressive and, here’s the best part, I’m getting it all for free! This is made possible via the bursary scheme, which offers the opportunity to people who wouldn’t be able to avail of such events and teaching otherwise, and is funded in part by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. My particular bursary sponsor is the Community Relations Council.

For my set of three creative writing workshops, I’ve picked studying fiction under Bernie McGill, though I’m sure I’ll glean lots of things about poetry from other parts of the schedule, too. Oh, to be spoilt for choice! Already I have my reading material for the week picked out, though I’m not sure where I’ll find time to read the book of poems by the man himself.  Continue reading

Writing Update – May 2018

I’ve been fairly quiet on social media recently, partly because I needed to recharge my batteries in that respect (it was all getting a bit much, you know?), but also: I’ve been really concentrating on my writing.

On that count, I have some updates:

The two pieces of flash fiction I said had been accepted in my March update have now both come out – one micro piece in issue two of the Bangor Literary Journal, and a brand new short story in issue nine of Corncrake Magazine.

I finished and won CampNaNoWriMo, writing 20,000 words during the month of April.

But, most importantly, I have finished my novel!!! (Yes, those extra exclamation marks are necessary. Didn’t you hear what I said?) I don’t mean I’ve finished the first draft – oh, no. We’re way past that! – I’ve sent the whole thing out to my beta readers and finished a round of edits.

I had a meeting with a writing mentor on Friday who looked over my pitch and first 10,000 words and she was so positive about it, encouraging me to not delay in sending it out.

So, that’s exactly what I’m doing.

My novel will be in the inbox of an agent come morning!

March Events

I’ve said elsewhere that March is set to be a busy month for me. It got off to a slower start than intended, with my first lot of appointments called off or postponed because of the storm at the weekend, but things are back in full swing now. Here’s the up to date list of what’s happening:

This Thursday (the 8th of March) is International Women’s Day and, as such, Women Aloud NI are gathering again across the country for a series of readings. There are two in Belfast, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. I’ll be reading at the evening event – 7 to 9pm – at Easons bookstore, Donegall Place. It’s a free event, and you don’t need to be a woman to attend.

Then, on Saturday, the Women Aloud crew are heading to Dublin, where we’ll be engaging in a readathon at the Irish Writers’ Centre alongside writers from the south. Because there will be so many of us, it unfortunately has to be a closed event – no other people will be able to fit in the building! But, afterwards (at 3.30pm), we’ll be gathering in Parnell Square where there will be a public mass reading (as in, we will all read en masse). It’s really a sight to behold.

Later in the month, on March 22nd, there’s a poetry showcase in at Waterstones Belfast followed by an open-mic session where anyone can come and read. I’m one of the eight poets being showcased (the rest are in the image, above). Kick off is at 6.30pm.

I hope to see you there!

December Update: News, Events, and 2018 Plans

I’m sure I’m not alone in having a lot happening at the moment – December seems to be an ultra crazy month for most people. But, aside from Christmas, there are three biggish things in my life right now, and I’m here to tell you about them.

New Job

Starting in January, I will be teaching a class! With actual students!!

The class is Social Media for Creatives: How to Build & Maintain an Online Platform for you & your work, and the initial run will be two hours a week for ten weeks but, if it goes well, I might get to run the class again.

Women Aloud NI 2018

Women Aloud have just announced their programme for International Women’s Day 2018, and I’m taking part. As well as reading at events in Belfast and Dublin, I’ve been put in charge of coordinating this year’s cross-border in-train recital.

Novel Update

The novel I rewrote during NaNoWriMo last month now has a new title, and I have two sequels planned as well.

Those of you who follow me on Patreon will be able to see the details I have already released there but, for everyone else, I have added a specific page here on my website where you can keep up to date with how things are going. (Spoiler alert: they’re going well so far. I am so excited!)

Breakdown

For all my talk about this being a new era in which I’m going to really believe in myself and promote my work better, I was a little worried after my previous blog post that I was maybe asking too much or coming across as arrogant asking for people to support me at all.

There’s a delicate balance to be made between blowing your own horn to let people know you’re doing a cool thing and taking that horn and bashing people over the head with it, making a big noise in their ears at the same time.

Out of fear of being counterproductive and turning people away from the things I want to tell them about, and with a big dose of impostor syndrome, I try to err on the side of caution.

I’d rather be too quiet than not loud enough. Even so, I’ve gotten some feedback and, apparently, I’ve done little more than whisper to myself so far. That’s maybe a bit too much towards the other extreme, not being productive at all.

So, here’s the plan. Today, right now, I am going to explicitly break down what it is I’m asking for, how people can help, what people will get in return, and what I’ll do with the funding. Then, at the end of this week, I will be putting up a further blog post about my novel so people can get an even better idea of what they’ll be helping me to create if indeed they choose to help.

Here we go…  Continue reading

A Leap of Faith

In my previous blog post, I said that I’d been turned down for funding by the Arts Council. Since then, I requested feedback on my application and, what they essentially said was, I’ve got a good history of artistic practice and made contributions to the local arts community but I didn’t really sell my current project.

Not believing in myself has been a problem in the past, and it’s something I’m actively trying to overcome. There are a lot of opportunities that I haven’t taken advantage of, thinking I’m not good enough or established enough yet. I tell myself I’ll go after them later, when I’ve got some publication, award, or official recognition.

I know being “established” and “successful” are subjective goals at best, whereas trying to gain specific certifications can be arbitrary. Well, no more. I’m done minimizing all the hard work I’ve done so far and no longer standing in my own way.

One of the things I’ve been wanting to do for a long time but not felt worthy of yet is setting up a Patreon account – a place where people can support me for as little as $1 per month.

I’m not expecting anyone to donate, and I won’t be offended if people don’t want to give me their money, but the option is now there for if you do wish to help. I figure, there’s no harm putting myself out there. If it doesn’t take off, no harm no foul.

Click here to read more.

Breaking News: Double Book Launch!

Belfast Writers’ Group have been going from strength to strength since we reformed in September. After stalling for nearly two years, we are finally launching a new short story anthology AND re-releasing the first anthology with new, bonus content.

I have a story in the second edition of Ghosts in the Glass, a story in Creatures and Curiosities, and another story in ‘creatures’ that I helped write with my husband. It’s his first publication, so we’re really excited.

The official launch for both books is on Friday 27th of October at Malone Lodge Hotel Belfast, between 7 and 9.30pm.

Please come along for some readings and free tea and coffee. Facebook event here.

Happy National Poetry Day!

Things are still fairly hectic for me (this entire year so far has been insane) so I’m not making it out to a National Poetry Day event. But I did want to take this opportunity to say that the micropoetry collection I talked about releasing at the start of the year is still in the works. Because of all the madness that is life, I’ve pushed back the release date several times. Currently, I’m aiming for a November launch. But who knows – anything can happen during NaNo. As long as you know, dear readers, that I haven’t forgotten and I am getting there, albeit slowly.

New Book Editions for 2017

I’ve been working on a new set of covers for my back catalog of poetry and short story books, which you can see below.

In addition, I’ve quietly relaunched the poems from my youth, am in the process of bringing out a new book of micropoetry I wrote towards the end of last year, while starting work on a second micropoetry collection that I plan to spend all of this year compiling.

Once proof copies have been received and approved, I will be updating links here on ellierosemckee.com.

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Book Giveaways!

Four Season Summer - Free Today!

Four Season Summer, the first half of my ‘novelette in two parts’, is free on Kindle today – Saturday 13th August. Meanwhile, part two – Season’s End – is available for only 99 cents (99p in the UK).

But that’s not all! Starting Monday, I’m running a Goodreads Giveaway. So, between 15th and 22nd, there’s a chance for three lucky people to win a signed paperback copy of The Love Poems.