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You are currently viewing archive for October 2011
Posted By Michelle Birbeck

It’s giveaway time!

A little while ago I mentioned that I wanted to host a giveaway once my first story Consequences was out. I also mentioned that I wanted to do one when I reached 2000 followers on twitter. Well, it just so happens that these two have coincided with each other nicely.

So here’s the deal. I have a signed copy of Consequences to give away to one lucky person. The competition is open to everyone, worldwide. And here’s what you have to do:

You have four options for entering:

1: Follow me on twitter and tweet: Tweet this for a chance to win a signed copy of Consequences by @michellebirbeck see for details!

2: like me on facebook and tag me on your wall with: Repost this for a chance to win a signed copy of Consequences by @michellebirbeck see for details! (Make sure you tag me in the post or I won't get the notification about it!)

3: add Consequences to your Goodreads to read list.

4: comment on this blog (please remember to check back when the winner is announced).

The giveaway will be open from today (28/10/11) through until the 14th November. After the 14th, everyone who entered will be put into a hat and one of you will be drawn out.

It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, anyone can enter, but you can only enter once for each one of the ways above. So, once on twitter, once on facebook, once on Goodreads, and once on the blog, for a grand total of four chances each.

Finally, the winner will be announced on the 15th of November. I’ll put up a blog post with details of what happens next.

Good luck!


Consequences Giveaway

Posted By Michelle Birbeck

It’s been a long day today. However, it had been a fantastic day, also. I’ve spent the whole day running around, taking pictures, putting models in their places, and then taking more pictures.

If you’ve been following my twitter or facebook, then you’ll know that I have been building up to making my book trailer for The Last Keeper. I toyed with the idea of paying someone to make it for me, but money constraints made that impossible. However, I didn’t want to just take pictures from the internet and use those, so I got some of my wonderful friends together and we did things a little differently.

The advantages of taking the pictures myself are that I got exactly what I wanted from each shot. I got to adjust the models, change the lighting, and change the angles of the shots. It means less time altering the pictures so that they are right for me, and as opposed to using royalty free sights, the pictures are automatically copyrighted to me.

Of course, half the fun of the day has been getting dressed up, doing make up, and playing with props. The other half of the fun has been crawling around on the floor, actually taking the pictures.

There is a lot of work still to go. I need to do a little work on some of the shots, and I need to pick which ones I want to use, and then actually put them all together. It might take me a while to sort them all out, but once I get there, I am hoping to have a very pretty book trailer for the book.

In the meantime, there will be other videos posted to my youtube page, including an interview with me, and interviews with my wonderful volunteers.

Also, here's one of the silly pictures we did.
The Last Keeper Book Trailer Filming

Posted By Michelle Birbeck
It’s not exactly a secret these days that the big chain book shops are disappearing. Here in the UK we pretty much have only two; Waterstones, and WH Smiths. For me, my closest book shop is WH Smiths. Unfortunately that means I have access to a single aisle of books and a very limited selection. If it’s not popular then it’s not on the shelves. If I want anything else, I have to order it in and wait up to a week to get it. We don’t have a Waterstones in my town, and the nearest one now is a £7 bus journey or a bus and train journey (that is if there is still a Waterstones in Middlesbrough, which I’m not sure of).

However, there is something I have been thinking about recently. With all these big chain book shops closing down, surely there is a gap in the market. Not everyone wants to go buying books off the internet. There’s postage to pay and a chance the book will be lost in the post or damaged. And with the holidays coming up, it is a lot easier to go into a shop and buy the things we want. At least then we know we have them and don’t have to watch the post every day.

So here’s my question. What if the closing of the chain book shops isn’t a bad thing? What if their closing is actually able to open up the route to independent book shops filled with everything and anything?

The nature of small businesses is that they adapt or die. There’s no real middle ground where they can stay the same and hope to keep their business. So it seems reasonable, to me at least, that maybe small, independently owned bookshops are the way forward. Shops that are willing and a lot more able to adapt as the book market does.

Of course, not everyone is going to be able to bulk buy all the latest and greatest from the big publishing houses. But maybe they don’t need to. Sure, having a few of them in is a wise idea, but there are so many small press publishing houses out there who charge by far less than the big guys in some cases, that stocking a book shop suddenly isn’t so hard.

There’s then the issue of ebooks. I blogged about that a little while ago, and how it is so unbelievably easy to stock ebooks in an actual shop.

So with the ever increasing decline of the big names in book shops, maybe now is the time to go and open a book shop, contact the local small presses, and fill the gap the big guys are leaving behind.

And if anyone happens to be in Hartlepool and want to do this, please, please do so!

Posted By Michelle Birbeck
I’ve been gone from blogging for a while, and recently that has been because of historical research.

To me, historical research is like a dirty word. I hate it. There are periods of time that I don’t mind, and some that I rather like, but there are others I would rather never go anywhere near.

The clothes, the technology, or lack thereof, how people acted and spoke, and even what they did for fun. It all boils down to stuff that I don’t know, don’t understand, and would rather not know. I understand the importance of knowing it, especially where a historical novel is concerned, but I don’t understand how people enjoy finding this sort of information.

I have been very fortunate, in that the time period I was recently researching isn’t too far in the past and I have relatives who are still with us who were alive then. It made my life a lot easier to be able to pick up the phone, explain what I was doing, and then grill them with a thousand questions. A lot easier than searching for books and internet sites, and then checking that the information I got was correct.

However, a friend of mine, as well as my editor, seem a little determined to turn me into a history buff. Personally, I don’t think it will ever happen.

Except where the Romans are concerned, or the Egyptians, and even the Greeks. I even like the medieval times and anything to do with corsets.

One of my favourite aspects of history has to be the written word. Not just books, though; dictionaries. That might sound a little strange. But recently I decided that I wanted a dictionary for every year I can get hold of. Why? So I can see when the words changed.

Minion is one of those words. I looked it up in the 1980 dictionary I have, and the 1969 one I have borrowed, and found that the meaning has changed, as meanings often do, but I really want to know when it changed. Which dictionary between 1980 and 2000 changed the meaning from ‘favourite child’ to our current definition.

So although I may not ever be a complete history buff, there might still be hope for me.