Independence Day

Nicola has been published by the BIG publishing houses several times. She won the Betty Trask Award for a first novel with her Nottingham based gritty and eloquent The Killing Jar. She’s now going down the independent publishing route with what it bound to be a well written, edgy and intelligent trilogy of tales. Available on kindle from 17 July.

nicola monaghan

Back in May, I wrote a little here about my first foray into Independent Publishing, or what would have been called self-publishing until recent years. I’ve set up my own imprint, which I’ve called  Blue Morpho Press (in honour of the wonderful butterfly MORPH who is a featurTroll-Finale of The Killing Jar, my first novel) but I am the only employee/director/general dogsbody of this new, exciting and vibrant publishing house.

Over the course of the last year, I’ve been more and more convinced by indie/self publishing as a viable route for my writing. I’ve attended workshops, spoken to writers working in all sorts of ways, heard convincing arguments on both sides of this ‘fence’. The more I hear, the more convinced I am that for the books I want to write, at least some kind of hybrid model is likely to work best for me.

This July, my first…

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Radio Exposure – Karen Attwood

KarenI’m delighted to welcome Karen Attwood –  classy cupcake baker, pâtissière, and Radio Nottingham contributor – as my first guest blogger. Karen and I sing with the East of England Singers (EOES), who she keeps sweet with her tasty goodies.

Next week, I am talking to another Women’s Institute group about setting up a cake business. A bit scary, given the history of their expertise in this matter! I will need to be well groomed and expressive, funny and serious. Being only 5 feet tall, I usually wear a loud colour, do my hair nicely and liberally gesticulate at public speaking engagements to make up for my lack of presence!

None of this matters in the wonderful medium of radio. An article about my new cake business was spotted by BBC Radio Nottingham more than 3 years ago and since then, I have been asked to contribute quite a few times on specific subjects, reviewing the news, being a ‘Loose Lady’ and even judging a cake competition (great radio item!)

In the studio, during my short exposure to the medium, I have witnessed impassioned pleas, confessions of very bad behavior and extreme political views. In live, chatty shows there is always a sound gap to fill, often with an unexpected subject to peruse – which in my experience sometimes skims the surface of true expression rather than prepared views. I always think well rehearsed speeches are exposed as false and insincere on live radio!

There’s something really enjoyable about contributing from inside an enclosed environment. The usual egotistical hang ups about what I look like go out of the window. I can simply be myself and chat as with friends.

As I bake and create in my kitchen the radio is my regular companion. It is fantastic to hear that the new technologies making it more accessible mean it is growing in popularity again. Such a change from the increasingly manufactured and glossy (and entirely false?) popular TV shows.

Karen AttwoodMfE cake
Classy Cupcakes & Posh Patisserie

And here’s the cake Karen made for the 30th anniversary celebrations of Music for Everyone, which includes EOES.

If you’d like to contribute a radio related guest blog, do get in touch. Helena

Messiah for Nottinghamshire

In a few hours time, hundreds of singers and instrumentalists will gather at Nottingham’s Albert Hall – a modest building, comparatively speaking – to sing and play Handel’s Messiah. It’s one the of most powerful meetings of text (The King James Bible, The Book of Common Prayer version of the Psalms) and music.

I’m playing / singing all the right notes—but not necessarily in the right order.

Eric Morecombe would have fitted in well with this event. There’ll be singers and players who have never taken part in such a concert, or even attended one. Some of the singers can’t read music, some have done very little singing, but it will all come together. Seasoned singers will have performed the Messiah many times, and a smaller choir, the East of England Singers (of which I’m a member)  are taking on the trickier choruses i.e. the ones with more notes in a bar than some choruses contain in their entirety, such is the intricacy and delicacy of baroque music.

I’ve learned so much that’s invaluable to poetry making through music’s rhythm, phrasing, harmony and discord, and the ways in which these scribbles on a page generate deep immersion and intense emotion .

There’ll be a professional orchestra supporting the amateurs and accompanying the professional soloists. I’m looking forward to hearing the soprano, alto, tenor and bass soloists who might never have performed with a choir and orchestra of this size, enthusiasm and mixed experience. It will be fun, it will have highlights, it will terrify then inspire some of the performers. It will bring people together, generate friendships, and be a strong message saying: music is for everyone. Which is why the organization undertaking this project is called, as you’d expect, Music for Everyone.

We’ll angelakaysmlbe led and conducted by the inimitable, and super-enthusiastic director, Angela Kay, who will no doubt come up with further additions to her extensive repertoire of analogies: In those fast sections with lots of notes imagine you’re in a swimming pool, don’t panic, just reach for the side, for the note at the end of the run.

Angela is a truly extraordinary women, her contribution to the music of Notts and the East Midlands is immense. She will have us laughing, we’ll feel anything is possible, there’ll be no shouting (other than to make herself heard) or barking, and it will be an extraordinary day.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Tickets are still available: 7.30pm kick off