Rebecca Ann Smith

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Writer, mother, feminist, shower-singer, swimmer, copy-writer, plate-spinner.

First novel BABY X out early 2016, published by Mother’s Milk Books.

Copy of Copy of What I've learned
To be clear: the point of this post is not to compare traditional publishing with self-publishing and declare one better than the other. Traditional publishing covers a range of types of experience anyway, from Big Five to small press. Likewise, self-publishing encompasses a wide and varied landscape which includes everything from independently putting out an ebook out via Amazon all the way through to ‘selective’ self-publishing, where the author works with a professional ...
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Baby X is launched this Saturday, 25 June, at the Lowdham Book Festival. The last few weeks have been manically busy. When something has been this long in the making, how can everything feel this last minute? And why is it only on the final read-through I notice so many embarrassing errors? One of the challenges of being published by a small press is the lack of resources to throw at publicity and promotion, so it’s all hands on deck to publicise the launch. There’ve been press ...
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I’m getting very excited about the imminent publication of my first novel, Baby X. In the interest of getting you excited too, here’s the first chapter.   Chapter one Alex, Now, Sussex It’s midmorning when we turn off the motorway, taking the road which leads to the sea. Still raining: January rain, shot through with sleet. It’s been raining all night, raining since yesterday evening. Raining since – Enough of that. I don’t have the time to think about what I’ve ...
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Follow my blog with Bloglovin First up, a confession: I’m a total grammar nerd. I love semi colons; I get super-irritated when I see one misused. I revel in the difference between the past perfect and the past progressive. I know what a relative clause is, and I know how to punctuate one. So sue me. Grammar, as they say, is the difference between knowing your shit and knowing you’re shit. You’d think a grammar nerd like me would be delighted by the additional emphasis on ...
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Follow my blog with Bloglovin I’ve recently joined Kamsin Kaneko‘s Artist’s Way Facebook group, although I’m not doing planning on doing the whole course. I’ve done it a couple of times before, and although it was an amazing experience, I don’t want to commit to the whole shebang again at the moment. My motivation for joining Kamsin was to make myself to commit to something quite specific – a media deprivation week. In week 4 of the Artist’s ...
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Follow my blog with Bloglovin Last weekend I drove up to Nottingham to attend an event held at Nottingham Writers’ Studio, to celebrate the launch of The Forgotten and the Fantastical 2, the second book of fairy-tales to be published by Mother’s Milk Books. As well as an opportunity to meet Teika Bellamy, the founder of Mother’s Milk Books (and also my editor on Baby X) who, after many long telephone calls and email exchanges, I felt I already knew, it was a chance to get ...
Emily Organ
I’m very excited to interview Emily Organ, who talks here about researching historical fiction, the importance of pacing, and the inspiration behind her strong female characters. Emily’s other books, The Last Day and The Outsider, were downloaded over 46,000 times last year with both books hitting number 1 in the UK free download charts. Her third novel, Runaway Girl, is published today. Me: I’m loving Runaway Girl – it reminds me of historical mysteries by writers such as CJ ...
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Photo: Taiyo FUJII I haven’t written a blog post for the last couple of weeks – I’ve had my head down responding to line edits on the manuscript of Baby X. Overall it’s been an affirming process – I like it when my editor says ‘Alex wouldn’t say that’: it encourages me that the character’s voices are real enough for her to hear when I slip up. I’m discovering that I use a lot of commas, more than are strictly necessary. It turns out that ...
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1. This week I read an article by David Cain on How to Become a Luckier Person Overnight. We’ve been hearing for a while now that consciously practising gratitude makes us not only nicer but happier too, and David suggests a radical approach – can we be grateful even for our misfortunes? And if we can, what does this mean for our happiness, and even our luck? I’ve been thinking about his approach this week, wondering about applying it to my own thinking. At times, ...
This week I’m really excited to share a guest post from super-creative and multi-talented tea-blender, lampshade designer and sing-songwriter Hannah Dixon. Hannah has been working on a project which is a departure from her usual song-writing genre, and shares her inspiration and process below. The track – which you can listen to below – is awesome: I’ve always loved Hannah’s voice (Kate Bush, anyone?) Plus, any synth track using seal samples is alright by ...
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Image: Megan Doherty Carlock On top of all the usual resolutions about being more present, less judgemental, and meditating every day, here are some resolutions for my writing life in 2016.   1. Work through the teetering pile of books beside my bed, books people gave me or told me I absolutely must read in 2015 and I never managed to, plus those I got super-excited about reading, but didn’t. Oh, plus the twenty or so books I got for Christmas and for my birthday… At the ...
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If you know me well you’ll know one of my all time favourite things in the world is radio. I’ve long been a fan of broadcast, but in the last few years I’ve been getting into podcasts, those little gems of talk-based programming you can download onto your phone (or whatever device you use to interact with the world) then listen while running, or on the way to work, of fiddling about with images on Flickr. I love the intimacy of radio, the feeling of it being piped directly ...
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Image: courtesy of Jessica Shirley A couple of years ago I wrote the first draft of a novel called He, She, It.  It’s a dark book, touching on dangerous and complicated themes, but looking back at it now, I realise I didn’t quite have the courage to let it be dark or dangerous enough. For example, there’s one scene where my fifteen-year old protagonist encounters a predatory adult in a position of power.  Anna escapes unharmed, and tells her Mum, who acts impeccably: she ...
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This week I was very lucky to be invited to take part in an experiment led by Generate, road-testing a model of creativity with a group of people working in a range of artforms: writers, visual artists, and dramatists, all at different stages in their creative projects. Generate Coaching Partnership is made up of professional coaches Emma Haughton and Lisa Westbury who work with teams and organisations in the creative and social sectors to realise their vision and potential. Drawing on ...
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A few weeks ago a letter came to the house, addressed to my kids. It was in a plain envelope, with the address typed onto the front.  Local postmark. Inside, it read: ‘base 4757 17 september 2037 dear dexter and euan i almost cant beleeve this is going to work. but its worth a shot. theres a masheen here. its big and brown with a metal keybord and lether straps. we arent allowed to use it. the grown ups have there own plans for it. maybe there worried were going to brake it. i type into ...
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Last Thursday I was very privileged to join children’s authors Charlotte Raby, Sheila Rance, and Helen Baugh at the Loud Literature event as part of this year’s Hurst Festival. Earlier this summer, a group of local children attended a creative writing workshop at The Mint House led by Belle Amatt, who was also our compere for the evening. Having had time to finish and edit over the summer, the children read their stories and poems aloud in front of an audience, and the authors ...
I’ve tackled what I *hope* is the last set of structural edits to Baby X, that is, changes to the mechanics of the story, rather than the writing itself. I’ll only know for sure once my editor has taken a look. But before I hand in the manuscript, I’ve made myself do what I’ve been meaning to do for ages: read the whole dang thing aloud. I know it’s the right thing.  If I’m going to let this book leave the nest, I want it to be in the best shape possible. ...
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Photo: Hawkexpress When I was 8 years old, I used to take my pocket money to this cutesy craft shop in town that sold erasers in the shape of adorable Japanese cartoon animals, metallic unicorn stickers dispensed via a roll, and plastic wallets of miniature coloured pencils.  Man, I loved that shop. While some kids worshipped at the altar of Sugar (a religion I’ve dabbled in over the years), my true calling was always Stationery. Along with a couple of friends I created a secret ...
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Photo: Tony Webster Even when criticism comes from someone you trust and respect, someone who has your best interests as a writer at heart, and who’s guided you well in the past, it’s hard not to have an immediate, emotional reaction. You’ve worked hard on creating something, and now it’s been trashed and trampled.  The dismay and ‘Oh God, what now?!’ is reminiscent of discovering a burglary. Of course, the critic is not a criminal. She’s doing her ...
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1.  The nice people at the tables in The Hub give you free stuff.  Salsa, jewellery, memory sticks, wine, children’s books. Shed-loads of pens. All you have to do is ask nicely. 2. According to someone in the know, the word ‘vart’ is a portmanteau term combining the words ‘vagina’ and ‘fart’.  Use it wisely.  Although I love learning new words, I still personally prefer the term ‘queef’. (Which just goes to show how refined and ...
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The basics My name is Rebecca Ann Smith and my blog is part of my website www.rebeccaannsmith.co.uk My Twitter ID is @beckysmithhurst and I’m on Facebook too of course. I’m not going to describe myself, but I look at bit like this: Except when a bit of software doesn’t do what I it to, or I read something online which enrages me, and then I look like this: Is this your first blogging conference? Yes – I’m very new to blogging.  My publisher persuaded me to set ...
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I was intrigued by Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments as posted recently by the Writers’ Circle.  What I like most about these commandments is that they are so personal – Miller knows his own weaknesses. I also like that as well as hard graft Miller instructs himself to enjoy periods of partying.  It’s important to ‘Keep human!’ and ‘drink if you want to’ – well, I say ‘Yay!’ to that. So, inspired by Miller, I’ve produced ...
Something very weird happened in the run up to this year’s prestigious Hugo awards, voted for by science fiction fans.  In the culmination of a long campaign against what they see as the takeover of the awards by liberals, progressives and feminists, a right-leaning group calling themselves the Sad Puppies, led by author Brad Torgersen, successfully lobbied for an approved slate of books to receive nominations. Although the Sad Puppies actions are legal within the rules of the ...
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So I’ve handed in the rewrite of Baby X to my publisher, and it’s too early to expect comments back yet.   I’m thinking about what to do next. I’ve got two other ‘completed’ manuscripts I want to get out there, a middle-grade novel called Seal Skin and a YA novel called He, She, It. By ‘completed’ I mean that in each case I got to the end of a first draft, then I went back to the beginning and edited (draft 2).  Then I got a ...
On 14 August 2014 the Daily Mail ran an article with the headline ‘Would YOU grow your child in an artificial womb OUTSIDE of a human body?’ in response to claims by futurist Zoltan Istvan that an artificial uterus would be available by 2034. Given that I was up to my elbows in rewriting a thriller about the possible consequences of this technology, I was delighted the issue was back in the news. Feminists are divided about the implications of ‘ectogenesis’, with some commentators ...
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It’s three weeks now since I handed in the revised manuscript of Baby X (!), so in search of some creative distraction, I’ve been writing a fairy-tale about a Changeling, and looking over some old short stories I wrote a while back… Here’s a tiny one.   Ice climbing   I’m at the park, perched on one of the old railway sleepers that forms the boundary of the sandpit.  My son, eleven months old, is upright in the sand, digging.  His back is ...
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Welcome to ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical’ Carnival This post was written especially for inclusion in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical’ carnival, hosted by Mother’s Milk Books, to celebrate the launch of their latest collection of fairy tales for an adult audience: The Forgotten and the Fantastical. Today our participants share their thoughts on the theme ‘Fairy tales’. Please read to the end of the post for a full list of carnival participants. *** I’m loving The ...
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Friends and family members have been asking me how it’s going with the rewrite.  Which is sweet of you.  I’m grateful for your interest, sincerely I am. Only, what mostly happens is I look shifty, and say ‘Erm, you know.’  And look at the floor.  Then I make something up, something I think sounds like a reasonable response. The thing is, when I first set up this site I promised (myself mostly) I’d blog about rewriting and publishing a novel.  So in the ...
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I can’t tell you how long I’ve been obsessed with the Norse myth of the Death of Baldur (if you don’t know the story, here’s the bare bones).  Something about it definitely presses my buttons… This poem is about an early part of the story – the magical oath Baldur’s mother Frigg makes with the world that nothing can harm him. I’ve got a vague plan to write a (YA?) novel, a modern retelling of the Baldur myth; it would be a modern retelling ...
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So delighted to have a contribution from a guest blogger – the very wonderful nutritionist and writer Belle Amatt.  Find out more about Belle here. “I am familiar with self-distraction, very familiar. It is 10.28 am. My plan was to start writing this at 9.15. In the meantime I have made coffee with meticulous measuring of the grains, sweeping away of the powdery remains. I have put out damp washing, uncharacteristically pegging the socks into pairs, lining up PJ bottoms with PJ ...
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1. Sometimes you’ll improve quickly. Don’t be fooled by this into thinking your some sort of genius and headed for the Olympics (or the Booker shortlist). 2. Sometimes you’ll improve so slowly it appears you’re not improving at all. Don’t be fooled by this into thinking you should throw in the towel. 3. Swimming, like long hours hunched over a keyboard, will sometimes necessitate the services of a good chiropractor, or sports massage therapist.  Where would I be ...
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This erm – poem?- is a result of a collaboration between Dexter and me.  Euan wrote his own poem (image above).   Mum: Have you got something yum in your tum? Boy:  Have you got a plum up your bum? Mum: Have you got a flea on your knee? Boy: Have you got some bread in your head? Mum:  Have you got some soot on your foot? Boy:  Have you got some beef in your teef? Mum:  Have you got some borax in your thorax? Boy:  Have you got a snack on your back? Mum: Have you got a ...
Photo by Allen, Roadsidepictures, https://www.flickr.com/photos/roadsidepictures/
Ah, radio, nothing to beat it.  Entertaining like telly, only less vacuous and more intimate.   Improving like reading, only easier, and you can manipulate graphics, check twitter, do admin, fold laundry, peel vegetables – whatever – at the same time as having all the lovely stories poured into your brain. Here are some of my favourite podcasts, in no particular order.  Links in the titles. 1. Shortcuts with Josie Long There’s something about this podcast that feels ...
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My first published novel, BABY X, will be released into the world by small press Mother’s Milk Books in 2016. Baby X is a psychological thriller about medical ethics and a fairy-tale about modern motherhood. Mother’s Milk Books are on a mission to publish high-quality, beautiful books for adults and children that normalize breastfeeding and empower parents.   The team at Mother’s Milk were intrigued to learn that breastfeeding features prominently in the plot of Baby ...

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