New Covers!

Posted by l_smith21 on August 25, 2014 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

As it's the bank holiday and all, it seems as good a time as any to unleash some new covers on you!

Lucy in Love has a brand new cover and now looks like this! 

As much as I liked the old one, I am super happy with this one as I think it gives more of an idea of what the story is about! 

There is also a new cover for Book of Secrets. 
The original cover was the one I made years ago when I first had the idea for the story using Microsoft Paint (I know) so, it was about time it got an upgrade!

News done! Now, as you were! 

On Reviews and collaborations

Posted by l_smith21 on November 3, 2013 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)


It's been a while, I am very sorry about that but you know, life is sort of busy at the moment!
I've been working on a couple of collaborations of late, the first is for a children's series which includes myself, an artist and a producer and the second, a story about a detective agency with my writer pal, Chris Loveder, the second of which is this year's NaNoWrimo entry. 
Collaborating is a funny business, it's not something I've ever done before and it's been a real learning curve. 
I'm used to working alone, I think it's because I'm rather antisocial, like Tony Stark, I don't play well with others. However, unlike Tony Stark, my ventures into working with people didn't end with a huge alien attack on New York. 
The children's stories were particularly hard, especially when you're given a brief and you have to stick to it, trying to be creative while you're telling someone elses story was probably the most difficult thing I've ever done, it was so restrictive. I felt like I couldn't possibly add anything to the characters or come up with any canon of my own, just in case I upset the people who's stories I was putting words to. I found it to be really restrictive and it's not something that I think I can do again, or at least if I do, I'd want a bit more input into the whole, coming up with ideas thing. 
The detective collab with Chris is much easier, because we're working together. We both have full control of the story and we're writing it together with lots of communication and I think that's the way that collabs are supposed to go, with an equal amount of input.
It's certainly going much faster than the writing of the kids series did! 

So, that's where I've been lately, 
It's meant that I haven't had chance to write about all the awesome reviews I've been getting about Harley's Angels and Lucy in Love recently! I never really know how to accept praise, it feels weird but in a good way to read all these lovely things that are being said about things that I've written. So, I just wanted to make a quick note to say thank you and to ramble about the things I've been up to. Look out for Funky Jack Bonkins' Nocturnal Detective Agency coming soon. 

Being a reviewer is awesome when...

Posted by l_smith21 on June 20, 2013 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Stuff like this happens!

I love it when authors actually read my reviews and then post them themselves! It makes my heart go weee! Like super weee! Because, I don't actually review things because I expect people to read the reviews, I do it because I like reading books and then flailing about them afterwards, but the fact that people like the things that I write about their books is kind of an added bonus! You should check out the confessions series because it's well good.

It's gone to print!

Posted by l_smith21 on June 8, 2013 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (0)


Harley's Angels has gone to print! It's actually being printed as we speak! This means that in a few short weeks you guys will get to read it! Hopefully you'll be buying it from one of the many shops that I'll list when it's confirmed, but like, if you want to read it for free, then going into your local library and requesting it would be ace!

You can have a look at the cover and a number of prequels over on goodreads, they're all up now so go and check it out!

In other news, the Midsomer Norton and Radstock Journal (which I write for and stuff) is now using social media, so please go and follow their twitter and their facebook please and thank you. 

Thoughts on being a writer

Posted by l_smith21 on December 2, 2012 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)

I've written things for as long as  I can remember, I think pretty much since I learnt how to physically write letters I've been writing stories. I was always scribbling ideas and plot lines in the margins of school exercise books and smudging pencil everywhere, I was always in trouble when out for meals because I would come up with an idea or someone would say something and I'd have to scrawl it on a napkin and come back to it later. When I worked as a waitress and again as a shop girl, I was constantly jotting down my experiences on whatever was at hand, reciepts, serviettes, anything really. 
An entire half of my wardrobe is full of incomplete manuscripts and short stories hastily stapled together, full note books of stories and characters that I've finished and chucked aside. There is a pile that is almost bigger than I am, of notebooks with varying degrees of novels beside my bed. Most of them are half thought of ideas that will probably never see the light of day. Some, I might come back to and finish, but others will probably just continue to gather dust. 

About two years ago, I was alerted to a web page called Jottify, it's like a social network for writers, kind of like movella and wattpad and so I started transferring things that I'd written over to it, just as a storage kind of thing and I would read through them and stare at the titles and never click the publish button. Because I was too scared. Writing has always been my thing, and it's like, if I publish it for the world to see and people don't think I'm any good, or they don't like what I've done, then writing won't be my thing anymore. I won't know who I am. Because if that's not my thing, and it's not something that I'm good at, then who am I? 

Earlier this year, I found myself on a work placement which was every kind of dull, and to pass the time, I went back over some of those things on my jottify profile, edited them and read through them and during that time, I started to feel like maybe I should start showing people things that I've written creatively. I've been writing articles and emails and all sorts of dull things like that for people for years, and they have always come back to me for more, so the actual piecing together of sentences must be a thing I was good at. And so, with that in mind, I took the plunge, I published a full length, completed novel to my jottify called Lucy in Love. And I sat and watched and waited for people's opinions. I found it in the most read of the day, I found it in the most liked of the day, I found that people I knew from school and from around had it on their e readers and were reading and enjoying. People I didn't even know would be interested in reading it sought me out to tell me how much they liked it. 
The whole thing was kind of a revelation to be honest. 

Recently, I went back to my jottify profile to begin the arduous task of saving my SVFM challenge contribution ( a novel in six weeks) to there so that I can link people to it once the challenge is over, and I found that I had a new reader of Lucy in Love and that new reader had left me some comments that made my heart go wee. Like, super wee. 

Things like this make me not scared to show people what I've written, it makes me realise that even if I doubt myself sometimes, that that isn't automatically true for everyone else. 
The last videoCharlie Mcdonnell posted to his YouTube was about being scared that people wouldn't like the things you have created, and I can identify with that, because I'm scared all the time that I'll get negative comments, that people won't like what I do, that I'll lose my identifyer because of it. 
I certainly felt that way whilst writing my latest novel for the six week challenge. 
I still don't think it's the best thing that I have written, I still don't think that people will necessarily enjoy it but I guess, what I'm trying to say is that I won't know that for certain until I put it out there and what other people think may surprise me. 

The six week challenge ends on December 13th and I will make sure that the new novel is up and ready for reading/ downloading that day. Hopefully it'll be good and people will enjoy it.
I hope. 

Blogging about nothing.

Posted by l_smith21 on December 1, 2012 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

I wish I blogged more.
Like, about things. 
Instead of just posting fangirlsish nonsense on tumblr. 
But I have no idea what I'd blog about. 

I'm a winner!!

Posted by l_smith21 on November 29, 2012 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

I did it!
I managed to complete NaNoWriMo this year by getting to 50,000 words in thirty days! This means that the majority of my SVFM challenge is almost done and ready for the public to read.
I am a little disappointed by this though, so the victory is a little bitter sweet. When I wrote the sequel for Maxine, I finished it within six days and the final word count was 44,000. With this in mind, I should have very easily reached my NaNoWriMo target within a week, it really shouldn't have taken me this long to get to 50,000 words. 
But, you know, I got there, and that's the main thing. 
My issue now is this: this novel is very nearly finished and it is no where near long enough for my liking., It feels too short to me. Lucy in Love is getting on for a 90k word count and that's not a particularly long book, this currently stands at 55k and I feel like it should be longer to qualify as a proper supernatural novel.

I guess we'll see where we're at in two weeks when the SVFM challenge officially ends. Hopefully by that time I'll at least have something that's readable!

My SVFM challenge update

Posted by l_smith21 on November 15, 2012 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

I'm really not doing that well with this challenge.
Initially I was rather cocky and was like, yeah, I'll do that, challenge accepted, I am so capable of writing a novel in six weeks, and just to be extra blase about it I'm going to combine it with NaNoWriMo. Only now I am nearly two weeks in and I've hit a bit of a wall. 
Here's whats going down:

Words: 24,503 (which is almost half what I need to NaNoWriMo so that's good)
Chapters: 17

I have only just revealed what is going on with the story because I spent so long giving all these characters a background which I'm really not sure is completely needed. I turned one character into Robert Sheehan which I think is a major stumbling block and, although I know exactly how the thing is going to end that ending is still a long way off at present and I can't seem to keep up a good flow. It's really quite annoying because I know that I can do this but I just seem to have lost my mojo a little bit and it's irritating me. 

But, let's focus on some good bits. 
I have managed to get in all my usual references that I like dropping into things that I write in the hope that it will attract other nerds like myself, and, the thing I am most proud of - THERE ARE NO CHARACTERS CALLED BLAINE!! 
I tend to find, whatever I write, that there always seems to be a character called Blaine, people who have read Lucy in Love and the Sequel for Maxine will have noticed that the one that Lucy is in love with is called Blaine. People who may have had a sneaky peak in various notebooks that I carry around with me will know that The Book of Secrets, First Time for Everything and A Rose by Any Other Name (all unfinished) all also contain characters called Blaine, so I think this is a big deal that should be celebrated. In fact, I'm gonna go crack out some M and Ms because I am that excited about this development. And then I will write stuff. 
I promise. 

Leah's first Lock In.

Posted by l_smith21 on October 25, 2012 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

I did mention, probably a lot, that I was taking over from Benj on Somer Valley FM's Lock In show, this was partly because Benj told me to, partly because Nick asked me to and mostly because I wanted to. I love the show that I do, but ever since I first guested on an evening show (Brutha Voodoo's I believe) I always wanted to have the freedom that they have, to be able to be a bit more care free and a bit more weird, kind of like I am in real life I suppose. So, after Nick said he wanted to continue doing the Lock In and to find a replacement for Benj I was thinking about it, and in a round about way, I ended up being the one that got the job and through out all the promoting, the meetings, the jingle recordings and the days leading up to my first appearance as Lock In co presenter rather than guest I was really super excited about the whole thing. Up until the moment when I walked into the station to prepare the show that night. 
I arrived, feeling fairly confident about the whole thing, I'd found a pound outside and used it to buy a bottle of my very favourite beverage, so you know, it was a good start to the evening. I got there and found a note from Stegg the co presenter:

So, I made myself a playlist safe in the knowledge that some of the secret features would in fact remain a secret as they were supposed to be, but as I was adding my three song choices to my list for the Lock off I got really scared.
Because like, I'm never going to be Benj. I'm never going to be able to bring to the show what he did and for that moment, that really scared me. The size of the shoes I was going to try and fill, the expectations that I had mostly imagined, but I suspect were sort of there from the general audience. I was a bit scared to say the least. 
The Lock In is an interactive comedy show, Nick and Benj were an amazing team, they did make people laugh and they made people want to join in and send in guesses to their features and generally comment on stuff. The Lock In was a popular show for the other presenters to guest on because its so much fun. And now I was half responsible for how much fun people would be having. Me. ME. I was some what in charge of actually entertaining people which I've not had to do on the radio before. Drive Time was about playing people songs and keeping them informed of stuff, Leah Looks Back is about bigging up other people's shows. I can be unintentionally entertaining for a few moments whilst doing that but for a whole two hours? I didn't know if I could do it, I didn't know if it would work, Nick and Benj had a great rapport with each other and lots of things that they did on the Lock In wouldn't be replicable, it just wouldn't be right for me to do it and I got a bit terrified about it not being as funny, or as special, or as amazing as it was before. I was worried people wouldn't contact us and I was worried that Nick and I just wouldn't gel the way he and Benj had. But I couldn't do much about any of that because it really was a quick Bevvie and we were suddenly on air and actually doing the Lock In. 
And it was amazing. 
Well, for me it was anyway. I can't guarantee that it was enjoyable for everyone at home, but the new features worked, the jokes worked, the lack of Benj and the added me seemed to work, it was all a bit awesome. And it got especially awesome after this: 

Having voiced my slight fear of not being able to fill the white Converse shoes that Benj constantly wears on air, I was met with this. And I think it was what I needed, I wasn't sat there trying to be Benj, but I was really aware of how unBenj like I am, and that was worrying me, it hadn't actually occured to me to just own that and get on with it. 
So I was as me as I could be, and it worked, it worked with me being me and not being Benj and I stopped being scared about a third of the way in and started really enjoying myself and getting excited about how this show can evolve and grow and how much everyone on the twitter and the texts were enjoying the new features and the general atmosphere of the thing. 

So, if you listened to the Lock In, thanks very much, I'll try to be as well good as I possibly can, and long may it continue. 
And as an added little thing, the moral to the story is always be yourself. Unless you can be Spider Man. Then be Spider Man. Because he's awesome and his hair defys gravity. 

The Book Thief

Posted by l_smith21 on July 3, 2012 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

One of the many occupations I wish I had but really just moonlight as, is an actor. And as such I, like many actors (wannabe or otherwise), am signed to an agency. Because of this I get sent an awful lot of casting calls, most of them are completely pointless, I’m over 18 why are you sending me kids calls or I’m not a man, stop sending me audition details for awesome films that I am biologically unable to attend.

The ultimate one was a casting call for the Hobbit that wanted males and females of all ages under 5”5 to appear as hobbits in Shire background scenes and the like. I ticked every box, except for the must be local to New Zealand box. That one stung a bit. But, I think you get the idea, I get sent a lot of really useless casting calls.

You might be wondering what that has to do with The Book Thief.

Well, you won’t be left in the dark much longer.

The Book Thief is being adapted into a film, the reason I know this? I got sent a casting call for it.

I only started reading The Book Thief recently, its been on my to read list among about 8 other books for far too long and I finally got around to starting it and its quickly becoming one of my favourites. And now that I’m nearing the end I’m thinking about that casting call and really really wishing that I hadn’t just dismissed it.

The reason I did that isn’t because I’m over run with other jobs, man, I wish that were the case. I discounted it on the grounds that it was an open call for girls aged 9-14 with blonde hair and brown eyes. And well, I’m 23 (though I could probably pass for 16), have black hair and blue eyes. So, naturally, I skimmed it and decided it wasn’t worth even sending an application.

Now that I’m reading it though I’ve found myself in the situation where I really wish I’d just sent in something and begged to have been considered as anything, an extra, death itself, you know, any teeny tiny part just so that I could say, oh yeah, I was involved in the film adaptation of this awesome book.

Mostly, I just kind of want to add it to the list of other film adaptations that I got rejected from.

But on the other hand, this could be a “Golden Compass” situation, where I watch the film and think to myself, dear God, I’m so glad they told me I wasn’t what they were looking for.


Either way, I’m a bit sad that Leisel can’t be a bit older… And not so fair haired.