Welcome one and all to the Blue Door books blog. Blue Door is a small imprint which publishes 12 books a year. We publish first-time authors of literary commercial fiction and several non-fiction titles. Our blog is a great space in which to tell you about forthcoming Blue Door titles, share opinions on book news and talk about great fiction in general.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Pimp that Hog

What springs to mind when I say the word “hog”? With the exception of vegetarians, most people will undoubtedly respond with the word “roast” and why not, they’re ruddy delicious. All that looks set to change this summer however with the publication of D.J. Connell’s rollicking summer read Julian Corkle is a Filthy Liar. The novel charts the rise of Julian and his quest for small-town Tassie fame. Not many people have heard of “the Hog”, fewer still have sported it but pretty soon this hair-phenomenon will be up there with “the Rachel,” “the Pob,” and, dare I say it, “the Jedward.” So what does it look like? Think retro prom, think the cast of Hairspray, think Amy Winehouse. Styled. How do you make it? You will need the following:


It sounds a little gross but hair stylist to the stars Sam Howard recommends purchasing fake hair and a hair net. This is going to form the basis of the hog. Start by clipping side sections and the centre top section of hair out of the way (you will need these bits later). Once this hair has been secured, take the remaining centre section of hair (leaving the very underneath sections free) and form a bun on the top of your head. Pin into place and then fix your hair net (full of fake hair) onto the bun. Remember, the higher the better. You will need a lot of hairpins to grip this gravity-defying structure into place.

Then, take sections of remaining hair and back-comb using a lot of hairspray. Tease the sections of hair over the top of the net, smoothing the ends down and working all of the remaining hair into place. Make sure that the entire hair net has been covered with hair.


It really is as easy as that. If you don’t believe me, watch this:

video

So now that you have seen how it’s done, why not try your own version of the hog and upload to the Julian Corkle Facebook page. Let the pimping commence!

Friday, 25 June 2010

The Digital Book Launch

Blue Door has been getting all technical with the digital launch of Meg Gardiner's fantastic new thriller, The Liar's Lullaby. The author widget allows readers to connect with Meg through video content whilst at the same time previewing sections of the text before buying. The Liar’s Lullaby widget comprises video clips of Meg introducing some of her favourite passages from the book which can also be read on-screen and recommended to friends. A new video and passage will be released every day for five days with the all content available from the end of June.

The Liar’s Lullaby is the second Jo Beckett novel published by Blue Door and features Tasia McFarland, a washed-up pop star desperate to reach the top of the charts. When a concert stunt goes badly wrong and Tasia falls to her death above thousands of adoring fans, Jo Beckett is called in to determine whether her death was accidental, suicide or murder. The plot thickens when it is discovered that Tasia was the ex-wife of the President of the United States and was the victim of an online hate campaign. A recording of Tasia’s song, “The Liar’s Lullaby,” will also be available on the widget. Already tipped by Stephen King as “the next suspense superstar,” we are predicting a bright future for Meg and the Jo Beckett series.

The Liar’s Lullaby is out now in trade paperback.

Click on Meg Gardiner to see and share the widget!
Meg Gardiner

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Super Thursdays are for life, not just for Christmas

Blue Door is proud to announce its very own Super Thursday. Yes, that’s right, today we release not one, not two but three fantastic novels. First up is Rachel Trezise’s wonderful Sixteen Shades of Crazy. Tipped as the Valleys’ answer to Trainspotting, here’s Rachel giving us an insight into why she decided to dissect the morals and mores of life in ex-mining towns:
video Already popular on the literary festival circuit you can catch Rachel this summer at Hay, Latitude and Green Man. You can also catch up with all of her news at her website www.racheltrezise.com. Recognised by the Orange Futures list (amongst the likes of Zadie Smith and Sarah Waters) we are very proud to be publishing her first novel.

Next up is something completely different. Meg Gardiner’s thrillers have been praised by Stephen King, Jeffery Deaver and Tess Gerritsen which is a pretty impressive roll call of fans. Her Evan Delaney series of novels was a hit with adults and teens alike and was regularly in the top ten of teen thrillers on Amazon.com. Her new super sleuth, Jo Beckett, is a forensic psychiatrist, investigating a person’s life to discover why they died. The Memory Collector (released early May) tells the story of Ian Kanan, a passenger on board a flight to San Francisco, who has been restrained by crew members for his erratic behaviour. Jo is immediately called in when it is established that Kanan has no memory of who he is or where he has been. Convinced that he holds the key to a potential terrorist plot (and may have been exposed to a deadly biological agent himself), Jo must race against time to unravel a series of clues and save her beloved city. Meg’s next Jo Beckett thriller, The Liar’s Lullaby will be released in June so watch out for some guest blogging on the site soon.

Last but by no means least is Warren Fitzgerald’s The Go-Away Bird. Perfect for fans of Chris Cleave’s The Other Hand, this is a heart-wrenching story of how friendship can develop in the most unlikely of places between the most unlikely of people. Fourteen-year-old Clementine arrives in London from war-torn Rwanda, having witnessed horrendous cruelty and unimaginable loss during the 1994 genocides. Lonely, grieving and displaced in a daunting new city, she flees her abusive uncle and befriends Ashley, a middle-aged, loner for whom teaching singing is the only escape from his London life. The story that unfolds is deeply moving and at times sad but throughout is a positive and uplifting tale of how two utter strangers can collide, bond and ultimately save each other. Here’s Warren telling us about the novel:
video

Friday, 16 April 2010

Volcanic ash you say?



With the pesky Icelandic ash cloud threatening to disrupt the start of LIBF next week, volcanic activity has become a rather unlikely talking point with volcanologists thrust into the spotlight like never before (even in the Daily Mail).

So with volcanoes even being a Twitter trending topic, I thought I’d take the chance to write about an engrossing new novel by prize-winning Australian author Andrew McGahan. Wonders of a Godless World, McGahan’s fifth novel, tells the story of a young orphan girl living in a decaying mental institution on a torpid tropical island (complete with ash-spewing volcano). The girl cannot speak or understand the speech of others and lives an isolated existence, until that is, a stranger arrives at the hospital, lost in an inexplicable coma. Although he never speaks, the orphan becomes convinced that she can hear the foreigner speaking in her head: he is cursed, he claims with immortality. And so begins a journey of discovery that will take them right around the world and far beyond it. Questioning ideas of reality and madness, this is a book quite unlike anything I have ever read and will certainly provoke debate amongst readers as to the identity of the mysterious stranger.

The Australian press have heaped praise upon McGahan calling Wonders an “impressively sustained feat of imagination,” rising to “invigorating heights.” Published by Allen & Unwin in 2009, Blue Door are proud to be publishing this tumultuous tale in June. Why not whet your appetite until then with the trailer

Monday, 22 March 2010

Ghosts and Gastronomy


Well, it’s been a while since our last post (and for that Blue Door is truly sorry). We’ve been busy bees however not least with the paperback publication of our launch titles, Jon Stock’s Dead Spy Running and Anne Berry’s The Hungry Ghosts.

Sumptuous posters adorned the London tube network this week advertising The Hungry Ghosts, a haunting debut novel which has already won the Amazon Rising Stars Award and is a Waterstone’s Book Circle choice. So what better way to celebrate than to go on an Anne Berry gastronomic tube crawl spotting all of her posters along the way? If you find yourself at a loose end I can definitely recommend every single one of the establishments below.

What you will need:
An empty stomach
A copy of The Hungry Ghosts (available from all major retailers now)
Fairly loose-fitting clothes

10am
Start the day at Bread Etcetera on Clapham High Street. Perfect for whiling away a Saturday morning, you’ll only have time to take in a quick breakfast today. Might I recommend the boiled egg with their gorgeous sourdough bread.

Jump on to the tube and catch the Anne Berry poster by the escalators – truly a poster of beauty!

11am
Make your way up to Waterloo on the Northern Line and head to paradise for cake aficionados everywhere, Konditor and Cook www.konditorandcook.com I have sampled many a fine cake, tart and slab here. But let’s remember that we’re pacing ourselves for the day – if you have one thing go for the orange lavender slab cake.

1pm
After all that you’ll probably need a rest so take a gentle stroll down to London Bridge and get a refreshing cuppa at Borough Market from my favourite tea guru Rob Green www.ceylon1.com
Make your way onto the tube (spotting yet another poster of course) and travel up to King’s Cross. If you don’t already have a copy of The Hungry Ghosts pick one up at WHSmith’s – it’s their read of the week. Then if you haven’t sampled it before, head to the British Library – it’s the perfect place to dip in to Anne Berry’s world. You can even adopt a book whilst you’re there.

3pm
After all that reading, you’ll probably be quite hungry. Jump on the Piccadilly line and head for Holborn. Bea’s of Bloomsbury (www.beasofbloomsbury.com) is the perfect place for afternoon tea and at £13, is a snip (booking essential). A pot of Chinese tea and a bea-utifully scented cupcake is the perfect accompaniment to your reading and you can admire the skills of the pastry chefs in the open kitchen area. I cannot recommend this little gem enough.


5pm
A day of luxurious treats requires equally luxurious wine. Hop on the Central line and make your way over to Holland Park to Royal-favourite Julie’s, http://www.juliesrestaurant.com passing the lovely Daunt Books store on your way (they have supported Anne from the very beginning).

Every wine on Julie’s list is a delight so you will be spoilt for choice.

7pm
The dinner hour is fast-approaching and since the book is firmly rooted in the Orient, why not indulge in a Chinese feast. Anne’s evocative descriptions of food are enough to make anyone salivate and you will not be disappointed by Memories of China in Victoria. Take the Circle line (and perhaps a comedy photo next to Anne’s poster) and head to Ken Lo’s fantastic restaurant www.memories-of-china.co.uk/ This is a restaurant worth saving for!

9pm
After a day of true indulgence there’s only time for one more stop. Jump on the Victoria line, give the posters a final wave and head to Chimes in Pimlico (www.chimes-of-pimlico.co.uk) for a glass of silver birch wine (or if you're feeling brave, their walnut liqueur) to round off the day.

And after all that, the only thing I can recommend is a book at bedtime - if you haven't reached the end of The Hungry Ghosts now is your chance. You won't be disappointed!

Monday, 30 November 2009

Guardian Books support Mots d'heures!

To listen to Publisher Patrick Janson-Smith reading some fine examples from Mots d'heures, log on to The Guardian website
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/nov/13/jack-and-jill

Friday, 20 November 2009

Pourquoi les homophones?


Ask anyone to define “homophone” and chances are they will a) look at you as if you have fallen out of a tree, and, b) be unable to give you an answer. Linguistic terms are generally consigned to the area of the brain housing other nuggets of redundant school knowledge such as the complete noble gases, a conjugation of être and the Fibonacci sequence. We all know that we should remember such facts (if only for vital pub quiz answers) but most of us never do. The homophone is however rather useful and I intend to explain why. Shakespeare would never have arisen to the dizzy heights of fame had he not known how to wield a homophone or two. A virtuoso of the sixteenth century pun, he paved the way for this linguistic conceit to make its way into every corner of modern literature. The oft-ignored part of the Cobbler in Julius Caesar gives us the best example, ‘I am but as you would say a cobbler…a mender of bad soles.’ Little did the Cobbler know how many thousands of students would ponder this very phrase, dutifully recording its dual meaning. Years later, the very same people emblazon on-trend phrases such as “Give peas a chance” on T-Shirts and walls, unsure as to “the exact term” for such hilarity but confident in its linguistic prowess.

Now that we have got our heads around the homophone in English, imagine what happens when you translate into French…poetry. Cynics amongst you may think it cannot be done but in 1967 a little book named Mots d’heures: gousses, rames was published to the glee of dinner party guests across the land. Luis d’Antin van Rooten transformed forty well-known English nursery rhymes into French poetry all thanks to the humble homophone. The trick of the poems was to read phonetically in the manner of Molière, and slowly but surely the English rhyme would emerge. Here’s an example:

Lille beau pipe
Ocelot serre chypre
En douzaine aux verres tuf indemne
Livre de melons un dé huile qu’aux mômes
Eau à guigne d’air telle baie indemne.

Imagine the excitement when Blue Door decided to re-publish this forgotten classic much to the cheer of van Rooten devotees. Published in time for Christmas, this collection of j’aime se will have your sides splitting quicker than you can say ‘Vive les homophones!’