Calling All Goddesses

Happy New Year!

I haven’t been a very regular blogger in recent months. This is because I find it uses the same muscle as writing fiction – or at least a very similar one – and I have been absorbed in my writing. But I don’t want to give up on blogging, so I won’t. Amongst other things, I’ve been working on a short prequel to my novel The Goddess Workshop, called Calling All Goddesses. Calling All Goddesses tells the story of how my four female characters – Janet, Estelle, Reenie and Kate – ended up on a course promising women ‘A Garden of Earthly Delights.’

When I wrote The Goddess Workshop, I must have written at least three different beginnings until I decided that the right place to start was on Day One of the workshop where the four women meet each other for the first time, as well as their inspiring workshop leader Jade. But those other beginnings were always in the back of my mind; I was very fond of them because I felt they revealed the characters with all their insecurities and foibles. So, I’m really glad I’ve found a use for them in Calling All Goddesses!

Calling All Goddess no shabby font

Click here to download the story from Amazon.

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The Teatime Author Interview…with Margaret K Johnson

While I’m busy with my new novel, I’m sharing an interview with me on the wonderful A Woman’s Wisdom Blog. I hope enjoy it!

The Teatime Author Interview…with Margaret K Johnson.

What are literary characters doing this Christmas?

With Christmas fast approaching, I’ve been thinking about the characters in my novels The Goddess Workshop and The Dare Club and how they’d be spending Christmas. My characters become very real to me, and live on in my mind like friends. It’s getting quite crowded in there now, but hey, that’s good. We can have a party! In fact, what a great idea. What if the characters from the two books met in real life? Wow, that sounds like a whole new novel!

Anyway, of course the way my characters would spend Christmas would be very different at the start of the novel to the end of the novel. The Goddess Workshop is about what happens when 4 very different women – Reenie, Kate, Janet and Estelle – meet on a course described as “A Woman’s Garden of Earthly Delights.” They arrive at their local church hall to find that a giant illustration from the Kama Sutra has replaced the usual portrait of the Queen. Click here to see the full blurb for the book on Amazon.

Reenie’s house would be heaving with family, the table groaning with delicious fare, all prepared by Reenie. On the surface, everyone would be having a jolly old time, but in reality they’re all very carefully not mentioning the person missing from the table. But everyone’s thinking about him, and that means there’s something fake about all the smiles and the jokes.Image

Kate would be attempting to sleep all day, but it’s doubtful whether her cat or her best friend Geoff will let her do that. She just wants the whole season of flipping good will to be over, but by the end of the day Geoff will have her smiling, even if he does have to ply her with large quantities of Christmas spirit to achieve it.Image

Janet would be doing her very best to make Christmas perfect, with expensive table decorations and Christmas crackers. But festive cooking stresses her out, and something is bound to go wrong. Her husband Ray, will turn up from having drinks at the golf club just in time for the meal to be served up and he’ll turn his nose up at the dry turkey and burnt potatoes. Their grown up daughter will be sulky and uncommunicative because she’s just split up from her boyfriend, and Janet will be left feeling that none of her efforts have been worthwhile. Image

Estelle will spend the day alone – she’s had lots of invitations, but turned them all down. Usually she goes on holiday somewhere exclusive at this time of year, but somehow she didn’t get round to booking anything this time. She’s going to do her company accounts because business has been booming and she just hasn’t had time to sit down and do it. And later, she’s going to have an expensive ready-prepared meal. And she’s definitely not going to mope about being on her own or consider that she’s actually got a lot in common with Kate. Estelle can’t stand Kate. In fact, she can’t understand why she keeps meeting up with any of the other women. Perhaps she shouldn’t go back to the classes in the New Year…

How will their Christmases be by the end of the novel? Well, you’ll have to read the book and make your own judgements on that! But needless to say, they’ll be very different indeed.

And what about my characters from The Dare Club? I think they’d be doing some new challenges. I’ll have to give that some thought.

Margaret XX

www.margaretkjohnson.co.uk

 

The Goddess Workshop is available on Amazon.com for the greatly reduced price of $0.99 for a limited time only – from 4th December – 11th December.

 

The Dare Club is available now. Four very different people challenge each other to do scary things to try to forget about their troubles. But will it work?

Bit-part baby in sex-change drama

Those of you who follow this blog will know that my new novel The Dare Club was published earlier this week. Yay! Whoop whoop! Hurrah! OK, sorry about that. I’ll calm down now.

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Click on the image to buy from Amazon

Everything went very smoothly… until a bit-part baby almost scuppered my target of publishing it on Monday. The said baby obviously objected to having such a small part in the book – it makes a great deal of noise before casually kicking a leftover piece of croissant off a plate.

To try to ensure it was remembered, the baby had the temerity to change its sex! I know! Fortunately, no messy operations were involved, as I expect you’ll be relieved to hear – after all, the sex change took place in a café, and nobody wants to be put off their food.

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Anyway, all’s well now. Grace has been brought under control and renamed George. Alas, he still makes a noise, and Emma, my character still loses her croissant, but I can’t help that. It’s part of the story – order a spare croissant next time, Emma! The amazing thing is that as well as myself, 2 beta readers, a proofreader, a reviewer and my cat all read drafts of the book. And none of them spotted spot Grace trying to grab a bigger slot for herself. I guess you can look and look at something until you can’t see it anymore. Either that or you can be so caught up in the story that nothing can drag you out of it. Yes, that sounds good. Let’s go with that.

Have you ever noticed anything that’s slipped through an editor’s net in a book that you’ve read? Do comment and let me know.

Oh, and before I go, just to let you know that the Kindle version of my previous novel – The Goddess Workshop – is on offer until 11pm on Sunday 1 December for 99p. Grab yourself a bargain!

www.margaretkjohnson.co.uk

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Join The Dare Club!

Drum roll please ….Today’s the day! The Dare Club is published!

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For this book I have scared myself stupid swinging through the trees high up in the forest canopy at Go Ape.

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I have also done something I never imagined I would do in my wildest dreams – I actually went up on stage and performed stand-up comedy! I know, I said the same thing too – “I could never do that!” But I did, and there’s a YouTube clip to prove it!

Watch me performing at Up The Creek in Greenwich here.

So join Aleysha, Nick, Colette and Emma as they attempt to scare themselves into forgetting about their problems. Will it go smoothly? Of course not! But they’ll have a lot of fun trying!

And as a special bonus to celebrate the launch of The Dare club, my novel The Goddess Workshop is available for 1 week only for the bargain price of 99p! That’s until 11pm on Sunday 1 December.

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What have daring things have you done? I’d love to know!

Margaret X

www.margaretkjohnson.co.uk

 

Fiction Trailer Film Festival – Entries welcome!

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Hi all

A few weeks ago I made a short, fun trailer for my novel The Goddess Workshop using www.animoto.com. It was easy to use and free! It was also a lot of fun to do. My son made one too about a trip to a farm park in the recent half-term holidays – that’s how easy it was.

Anyway, here’s the link to my trailer: The Goddess Workshop Trailer

I thought it would be fun if others shared their own short trailers on this blog so we can all see them. Like a mini film festival! Just paste a link in the comments section.

Or if you haven’t made one yet, why not have a go? There’s no prize – it’s just for fun. Oh, and maybe a little self-promotion. 😉

I look forward to seeing all your trailers!

www.margaretk.johnson.co.uk

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Available as an Ebook and in paperback from Amazon.

My Stand-up Comedy Challenge Achieved!! Yay!

I did it! Last Tuesday night I went to London and performed my 3-minute stand-up comedy routine at Up the Creek in Greenwich in front of an audience of around 200 people! I’ve been waiting to tell you about it until I had the footage, and now I can reveal all!

Those of you who have been reading my blog regularly know that I set myself this challenge as part of the research for The Dare Club – the novel I’m writing about a group of newly divorced and separated people who set themselves challenges as part of their recovery process. My character Colette is going to have a go at stand-up comedy, so I had to do it. I don’t feel the need to try out all my characters’ dares – after all I have got an imagination. But I really felt I needed to experience the terror of this particular one.

The day started at The London Theatre with a 1-1 with Harry Denford, the comedian who delivers the course. Feeling nervous, I ran through my material, and Harry suggested I cut some things and change others. I wasn’t entirely sure I agreed with everything he said, but hey, I’m the rookie – he’s been doing this for 20years or more, so I took his advice. Then we ran through it again, focussing on how to perform it so that the audience was involved rather than just being recited to. The session finished with him telling me that the other comedians were meeting in a noodle bar near Up the Creek at 5.45pm. “Look for a group of people who don’t look as if they should be together,” he advised me. “All sorts of people do this course.”

I went to Greenwich to look at the outside of the venue. It seemed surreal that later on I would be performing inside! But I didn’t feel tempted to flee to the nearest station to get the hell out of there. It had been far too difficult arranging childcare etc for that! Besides, I wanted to see what I was capable of.

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I killed the rest of the afternoon by alternately taking in the sights of Greenwich and practising my act in toilet cubicles. Close to the Cutty Sark, I spotted a man walking round talking to himself. “I bet he’s one of the comedians,” I thought, and sure enough, when I approached a group of people in the noodle bar at 5.45, there he was.

I made myself eat something and exchanged nervous chatter. Then all too soon it was time to go. I loved the inside of the comedy club, but all those empty seats were daunting. The other comedians had invited between 20-40 guests each! Mad! I’d invited 1, my mate Sharon, who I met when I went on holiday to Cuba. She had promised to film me doing my act.

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Harry told us all to have a go on stage, to practise going on and off and looking at the ‘audience’. The lights were so bright, you couldn’t see anything! How the heck was I supposed to choose someone to deliver my punch lines to? Then we went upstairs to a room dominated by a picture based on Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, but with the faces of 1980s comedians replacing the usual cast. Julian Clary looked particularly fetching.

The Comedy Last Supper painting

The Comedy Last Supper painting

After a long wait and lots more angst and practise, Harry announced the running order. I was to go 4th, after a guy who looked like a younger Colin Firth. I was happy with 4th – not 1st, but not having to wait too long. Good.

Then it was time to go downstairs.

The place was packed out – not a spare seat! Sharon was at the front with her video camera. It was real – it was actually going to happen!

The chairs for the performers were arranged around the back of the club. It was a bit like one of those hairdressers where you don’t need an appointment and you keep moving round until it’s you turn. But when I got to the last seat, I couldn’t sit down. I was too pumped up with adrenalin. Just before the MC announced my name, I did a few jumps and arms wings, limbering up. I expect I looked like a prat, but that was the least of my concerns at that moment.

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Then it was time. And amazingly, a feeling of calm settled over me as I went up the steps to the stage. We’d been told to take the mic out of the stand and to put the stand behind us. I did so – it took an age. But then I looked out at the invisible audience, said ‘hello’ and dived in.

Ok, it wasn’t perfect.

I didn’t have the mic quite in the right place to begin with so I started off a bit quiet.

I forgot to include one of my jokes, which meant the one that preceded it didn’t work quite so well.

Because I’d made some cuts, my routine was slightly short.

But I loved it! People laughed and it felt amazing. I didn’t want it to end. And when total strangers congratulated me at the bar later, I just felt so proud of myself. All the next day, I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt transformed. Who’d have thought that I, who’d once been so painfully shy I couldn’t speak up in front of people at all, could actually go up on stage and entertain a large crowd of people?

I whole-heartedly recommend the experience to everyone.

If you’d like to see my performance, you can view it on YouTube by clicking here. But be warned, it contains swearing, lies and smut, so give it a miss if these are likely to offend you!

Would I do it again? You bet your life I would! In fact, I need to seek out opportunities to make it happen.

And Colette? How is she going to get on? Well, she’s going to have a mixed experience. She’s got a particular reason for wanting to do this challenge, and because of that, she’s going to choose to ignore some of her tutor’s advice. So it could all go horribly wrong for her… Well, it’s fiction, isn’t it? I can’t give my characters a completely easy ride.

Watch this space!

The Dare Club will be out later in 2013. It is the follow up book to The Goddess Workshop, which is available on Amazon now.

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Available for Kindle and in paperback from http://www.amazon.co.uk

 

Coming later in 2013!

Coming later in 2013!

http://www.margaretkjohnson.co.uk

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