Outside The Box: Women Writing Women

 

Seven authors, all with impeccable writing credentials, present their anthology called OUTSIDE THE BOX: Women Writing Women. 

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We’ve each proved our worth with awards, fellowships, teaching posts and commercial success. We’ve all self-published to keep our hard-earned independence and our artistic identity. Now we’re teaming up for an ebook collection of our full-length fiction featuring a diverse collection of unlikely heroines. There’s no one genre.  Each novel is a character-led page-turner.

We want to prove that fine, original writers are creating work of value and quality. And we want to entertain you.

The anthology will be available for 90 days from February 21, 2015.

The Books Are:

BLUE MERCY by Orna Ross

The Book: Mercy stands accused of killing her elderly and tyrannical father. Now, at the end of her life, she needs Star, the daughter she fought to protect, to know what really happened that fateful night in 1989. 

The author: Orna Ross writes novels, poems and the Go Creative! book series. The Bookseller calls her “one of the 100 most influential people in publishing” for her work with The Alliance of Independent Authors.

CRAZY FOR TRYING by Joni Rodgers

The Book: A regional bestseller short-listed for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award. In the 1970s, a troubled young woman heads west to create a new identity and shake off the burden of her mother’s radical past, but love and loneliness take her life in an unexpected direction.  

The author: Joni Rogers hit the New York Times bestseller list with her cancer memoir Bald in the Land of Big Hair.  She is also ghost-writer of numerous other bestsellers and founder of the League of Extraordinary Authors. Joni lives in Houston, Texas.

MY MEMORIES OF A FUTURE LIFE by Roz Morris

The Book: In this work of literary fiction, a brilliant pianist’s career is ended by injury. She turns to a mysterious healer and faces the possibility that her life is someone else’s past incarnation. 

The author:  Roz Morris earned her spurs as a ghost-writer, selling more than four million books writing the novels of other people.  She is a writers’ mentor and a radio show host, and she teaches writing masterclasses for The Guardian newspaper. 

THE CENTAURESS by Kathleen Jones

The Book: Bereaved biographer Alex Forbes goes to war-ravaged Croatia to research the life of a celebrity artist and finds herself at the centre of a family conflict after she uncovers a mutilated photograph, stolen letters and a story of indeterminate gender, passion and betrayal. 

The author: Kathleen Jones lives in Italy and is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow.  She is best known for her award-winning biographies, and has also written extensively for the BBC.

AN UNCHOREOGRAPHED LIFE by Jane Davis

The Book: Alison gave up the chance to be a prima ballerina when she became pregnant and turned to prostitution to provide for her child, but the tempting hope of a better life may come at a terrible price.

The author: Jane Davis won the Daily Mail Award for her first novel, which secured her a publishing contract. She has now gone on to self-publish four other novels and isn’t afraid to tackle the trickiest of subjects. 

ONE NIGHT AT THE JACARANDA by Carol Cooper

The Book:  Diagnosed with cancer, Sanjay has no time to waste. Laure is a successful lawyer, Harriet is a struggling freelance writer, and Karen is a single mother of four. Before they can find a soul-mate, they each need to confront who they really are.

The author: Carol Cooper is a London-based journalist and award-winning non-fiction author.  Her debut novel was a finalist in the Indie Excellence Awards 2014. In her spare time she’s a doctor.

WHITE LADY by Jessica Bell

The book: Sonia, unfaithful wife of a Melbourne drug lord, yearns for sharp objects and blood. But now that she’s rehabilitating herself as a “normal” mother and maths teacher, it’s time to stop dreaming about slicing people’s throats. Easier said than done. 

The author: Jessica Bell is an Australian novelist, poet, singer/ songwriter /guitarist who lives in Athens, Greece. She is Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and author of the bestselling Writing in a Nutshell series. 

OUTSIDE THE BOX: Women Writing Women (February 20, 2015 for 90 days) £7.99/$9.99 from Amazon, Nook, iBooks, Kobo and more. 

More information on www.womenwritewomen.com.

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Thoughts from Orna Ross: 

OrnaThe mother-daughter relationship is one of the most fascinating, complex and under-explored relationships in fiction. There are, it is true, a lot of novels about daughters rebelling against a strict and difficult mother but that is only one side of what is, always, a double-barrelled story. What comes between Mercy and Star is a man. Actually, two men. The women are so focussed on Martin, the father, and Zach, the lover, that they fail to see each other.  It was my hope, in writing their story, that it might help us all to look more closely at our own mothers and daughters.

And from Roz Morris:

RozI was always fascinated by tales of regression to past lives. I thought, what if instead of going to the past, someone went to a future life? Who would do that? Why? What would they find? 

Another long-time interest was the world of the classical musician. Musical scores are exacting and dictatorial – you play a note for perhaps a sixth of a second and not only that, there are instructions for how to feel – espressivo, amoroso. It’s as if you don’t play a piece of classical music; you channel the spirit of the composer. 

I became fascinated by a character who routinely opened her entire soul to the most emotional communications of classical composers. And I thought, what if she couldn’t do it any more? And then, what if I threw her together with someone who could trap the part of her that responded so completely to music?

Excerpt from Blue Mercy by Orna Ross 

WWW_Memes_OrnaTea, I thought. I couldn’t face food but a cup of tea might help. I went down to the kitchen and turned on the kettle and that’s when I spied the hammer, sitting under the corner table since I’d nailed a sprig of holly over the kitchen door a week before, my feeble effort at Christmas cheer. Its two curled fingers, the side used for prising out nails, seemed to twitch, to beckon me across.

I picked it up, tapped its flat head against my palm, felt the weight of what I was about to do. Pulling my mind shut — no more thoughts allowed — I went to the room my father called “the parlour”.  Stripped of his ornaments and furnishings, but still his. It would take a lot more than a quick clear out for it to be purged. The fireplace was black-empty and cold. I remembered him standing there in front of it, in 1982, after I’d brought my daughter home from America to see him: the sarcastic expression, the bitter words: “Well, well, well, look what the cat brought in!”

I let the hammer swing, hard and fast, into the TV screen. Smash. Shards of glass went spiking through the air. Smash again. The glass cabinet this time. I regretted that Star and I had cleared the glasses and ornaments from the shelves a few hours earlier; I would have loved to unleash myself on them.

Thump. I brought the hammer down on the little side table but it only made a dent. I threw it aside, running out of the room, through the kitchen, out the back door. It was now dry outside and not cold, not for December. The security light came on, spotlighting weeds that cracked through the gravel, tough survivors.

Jerking open the bolt on the shed, I grazed my knuckles. I sucked on the pain, my tongue moving across bone and blood as I hurried on, hurrying, hurrying with a wild throbbing hurry that kept thought at bay. In the corner of the shed, I found what I was looking for: the sledgehammer. Its heavy head pulled me down as I ran back inside, leaving the shed door swinging.

I smashed the coffee table and the sideboard. I smashed the fiddly occasional table that always wobbled, making us fearful for the lamp. I smashed the lamp. I turned my back on the piano — that I couldn’t destroy — and when I came to the bureau too, I hesitated. My father’s most precious piece of furniture: bought in Paris, his only relic of his time in France. All through my childhood, I’d watched him sitting at this desk to write, or do what he called “the books”, the accounts that measured his income against his expenses, the largest of which — as he never failed to remind — was me. Tea: one shilling and six. Butter: two shillings. Eggs: one and eight. Sausages…

Smash.

Excerpt from My Memories of a Future Life by Roz Morris

So, another month of resting. What if it isn’t? What if it’s two, or three? What if this pain never goes away? What if I am another incurable?

What good am I if I can’t play? It’s what makes me feel like me. It’s my – it’s not my gift. I wasn’t born gifted. It’s how I’ve cheated with the unsatisfactory clay I’m made from.

When I started at Chet’s, there was a particular moment that made me feel at home there. Someone told a fellow pianist they thought her trippy runs and airy arpeggios were a gift. Nobody gave it to me, she snarled, I worked bloody hard for it.

I haven’t seen her for a good eight years. I wonder what she’s doing now. Please tell me that all these people who vanished from my radar did it because music carried them to a new place, like Karli. It didn’t abandon them.

A creaking sound.

I sit up, alert. Is it Jerry?

I hold my breath, listening for his footfall on the stairs. I’ll join him; this night is too bleak to endure alone. I’ll take the duvet down and we’ll burrow into the sofa, top to tail, red socks and all. It will be like old times, before he talked to the message boards instead of me. We shouldn’t have let that slip.

But the only sound is a far-off train, scouring through the wet night air. Jerry must still be asleep.

What did he say in King’s Road? He was going to take Tim with him to the hypnotist tonight. I wasn’t his first choice of companion; I was second.

Or who knows, maybe I wasn’t even that far up the list. I can’t think of anybody for whom I’d be first choice of friend.

When love went wrong, when Karli was taken away, I turned to that intimate communion with ivory, iron, ebony and wire.

Take the piano out of my life and what is left?

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