Shakespeare: the Naked Truth by Sue Barnard

Fellow Crooked Cat, Sue Barnard, gives us a timely reminder of Shakespeare’s importance to all writers – and speakers – of English…

This coming Saturday (23 April 2016) commemorates the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare.  Many people believe that he was England’s greatest ever poet and playwright.  Whether or not this is true is a matter of personal opinion, but in any case he’s definitely up there with the front runners.

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One thing which cannot be disputed is how much Shakespeare has contributed to the English language. A surprisingly large number of words and phrases in common use today were first penned by the Bard himself.  If you’re on a wild goose chase and find yourself neither here nor there, feeling faint-hearted (having not slept one wink), waiting with bated breath for the naked truth, and all of a sudden find yourself saying “Good riddance” as those who have eaten you out of house and home whilst playing “Knock, knock, who’s there?” vanish into thin air – you are quoting Shakespeare. The world is [your] oyster, but for goodness sake, don’t wear your heart on your sleeve and end up looking a sorry sight in a fool’s paradise.  Truth will out, and it’s a foregone conclusion that you can still have too much of a good thing.

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The Bard of Avon has certainly inspired much of my own writing.  One of my first successes as a poet was winning a limerick competition, in which I summed up the plot of Macbeth in five lines:

          On the strength of a witches’ conjection

          a regicide’s planned to perfection,

          but revenge is prepared

          by a tree-moving laird

          who’d been born by Caesarean section.

One of my long-term projects is to produce a limerick for each of the plays.  That’s still very much a work in progress, but in the meantime, two of Shakespeare’s other plays – Romeo & Juliet and Julius Caesar – formed the basis of two of my novels.

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The Ghostly Father takes a new look at Romeo & Juliet, and asks the question “What might have happened if the events of the story had taken a different turn?”  If, like me, you love the original story but hate the ending, here is your chance to read an alternative version – one with a few new twists and a whole new outcome.

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The Unkindest Cut of All is a murder mystery set in a theatre, during an amateur dramatic society’s performance of Julius Caesar.  What really happened to the actor playing the title role, during the final performance on the infamous Ides of March?

Shakespeare-themed celebrations will be taking place all through the anniversary weekend.  My humble contribution to these celebrations is to offer a special discount on the ebooks of these Shakespeare-inspired titles.  For a few days only, they will cost you just 99p each.  That’s two books for less than the price of a regular cup of arty-farty coffee.  And if you usually prefer to spend a little more and go for a large coffee, then why not splash out another 99p and treat yourself to my other novel, Nice Girls Don’t, which is also reduced?  This book isn’t directly Shakespeare-themed, but the Bard does get a couple of mentions.

Just click on the book titles above to be taken to your local Amazon links. And you’ll still come away with change from £3.

Happy reading!

About the Author:

Sue Barnard author picSue Barnard was born in North Wales but has spent most of her life in and around Manchester. After graduating from Durham University, where she studied French and Italian, Sue got married then had a variety of office jobs before becoming a full-time parent. If she had her way, the phrase “non-working mother” would be banned from the English language.

Since then she has had a series of part-time jobs, including some work as a freelance copywriter. In parallel with this she took several courses in Creative Writing. Her writing achievements include winning the Writing Magazine New Subscribers Poetry Competition for 2013. She is also very interested in Family History. Her own background is stranger than fiction; she’d write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.

Sue has a mind which is sufficiently warped as to be capable of compiling questions for BBC Radio 4’s fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as “professionally weird.” The label has stuck.

Sue joined the editorial team of Crooked Cat Publishing in 2013. Her first novel, The Ghostly Father (a new take on the traditional story of Romeo & Juliet) was officially released on St Valentine’s Day 2014.  This was followed in July 2014 by her second novel, a romantic mystery entitled Nice Girls Don’t.  Her third novel, The Unkindest Cut of All (a murder mystery set in a theatre), was released in June 2015.

Sue now lives in Cheshire with her extremely patient husband and a large collection of unfinished scribblings.  You can find her on Facebook, Twitter (@SusanB2011), or follow her blog here.

 

PICA launched at The London Book Fair

 

LBF6On Tuesday 12th April 2016, Accent Press launched their YA novels at The London Book Fair – including my own YA fantasy, PICA.

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The London Book Fair – held at Olympia – is  an incredibly overwhelming experience. I wandered around for two hours and didn’t see it all. But I was lucky enough to hear author Peter James talk about research and plotting over at Author HQ.

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Accent Press had their own stall showing their fantastic array of titles with beautiful covers.

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At 4pm, AccentYA was officially launched with an annoncement, plus drinks and nibbles. It was a great opportunity to meet the Accent team, fellow authors, plus sellers and others in the book trade.

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Some were lucky enough to take away a bag of goodies.

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We were all well looked after by the incredibly friendly Accent Team, and treated to a delicious meal in Notting Hill. It was an exciting and fascinating day.

Thank you Accent Press.

To get connected with Accent Press and AccentYA:

https://www.accentpress.co.uk/

http://accentya.com/

‘Thou Shalt Not’ – Anthology Launch

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My short story ‘Dionysus’ appears in this new anthology from Tickety-Boo Press, edited by Alex Davis.

There are ten stories – one for each of the ten commandments. My story corresponds to the first commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me…”

The Greek god, Dionysus, has always fascinated me, since seeing the Greek tragedy ‘The Bacchae’ by Euripides. Dionysus is an arrogant and angry god, demanding people worship him. Those that do are still punished. He gives his followers wine and offers them a life of sensual pleasure.

I’ve often thought that if Dionysus came to our modern world then he would be a rock star or a drug dealer. I have nothing against rock music – in fact I’m a fan of rock and heavy metal. But today, rock and pop stars, actors and other celebrities often come unstuck due to their hedonistic lifestyle. My story doesn’t moralise (neither did Euripides). Readers are free to respond to it however they wish. A parent won’t feel the same way about the celebrity their own child worships. The cult of celebrity is with us whether we like it or not. What are you going to do about it?

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Blurb

The Ten Commandments were laid down in the earliest days of mankind, a guiding set of principles for our everyday lives. For centuries these tenets have shaped our morality, our laws, our societies. But what happens when these commandments are tested – and even broken?

Step inside for ten tales exploring the dark consequences of stepping outside these most ancient and sacred of rules…

Featuring stories from Jeff Gardiner, Amanda Bigler, Clare Littleford, Stuart Young, Laura Mauro, Danuta Reah, Pat Kelleher, Mark West, Jasper Kent and Jacey Bedford.

Purchase Links

http://shop.ticketyboopress.co.uk/index.php?id_product=104&controller=product

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Thou-Shalt-Not-Alex-Davis-ebook/dp/B01DRBA4YK/

Jeff Gardiner – you are what you read

I discuss books that have influenced me on Anna Legat’s blog.

I’m very excited to welcome to my blog Jeff Gardiner – an author, editor and a teacher – talking about the books that ignited his imagination, sharpened his pencil and set him on a journey into writing.

730I’ve always been an avid reader – reading with a torch under the bedcovers, making me tired the next day at school. The two biggest influences on me as a youngster were quite different: Enid Blyton and Superman comics.

The first books that really changed me were both series by Enid Blyton – The Magic Faraway Tree, The Adventures of the Wishing Chair. Wonderful feats of imagination that allowed the heroes to travel just about anywhere and have the most incredible adventures. Meanwhile my uncle passed on his DC comics about the Man of Steel and I particularly relished the comics about the Legion of Superheroes (of which Superman was an occasional…

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