Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Guest blog post: Greg McQueen

Greg McQueen is the brains, brawn and energy behind the extraordinary venture which is the 100 stories for Haiti anthology. I still shake my head in disbelief that it went from concept to compiled in under 2 weeks, with another week for editing and formatting. The book is available now to preorder from the Bridge House Publishing website, and is due to be launched on March 4th.

Greg, welcome to the Womagwriter blog!

Welcome to the second stop on my blog-until-you-drop tour leading up to the publication of 100 Stories for Haiti.

If you missed yesterday's stop, head on over to publishingperspectives.com to catch up. I want to thank Ed and Hannah from Publishing Perspectives for agreeing to be part of the tour. I also want to thank Kath for today's stop.

If you read the article on Publishing Perspectives, you'll have an overall idea of how 100 Stories for Haiti came to be. I plan to go into a little more detail on various bits of the process during this blog tour, but, right now, I am keen to share with you an extract from one of the stories.

It's a story by Mo Fanning, author of the award-winning romantic comedy, The Armchair Bride.


About Time

By Mo Fanning

Cake. She has to have cake. For an entire week, Anna managed to walk past the window of Truly Scrumptious, averting her eyes.

Last night, she had two bowls of cabbage soup and a bifidus yoghurt. Then later, infused with Zen-like smugness, she ran a hot bath and lit candles. Surrounded by expensive foam, she congratulated herself on a week of self-control.

At 3 am, she woke, went downstairs, and poured a whole bag of oven chips onto a baking tray.


'Morning Anna,' Glenda said, looking up from arranging eclairs on a tray. 'Haven't seen you all week. Have you been away? Anywhere nice?'

She shook her head. Words were the least of her concerns. She wanted one of the blueberry muffins piled up behind the glass.

'We've got some lovely carrot cake. Baked it myself.' Glenda wiped her hands and placed the eclairs on the counter within reach. Anna could smell the bitter dark chocolate topping.

'I'll take a plain scone,' she forced herself to say.

Glenda's face said it all. 'Just a scone?'

'Just a scone.'

'But you'll have clotted cream and jam? Strawberry jam.'

'I'm on a diet,' Anna said.

Glenda's face changed. 'You? On a diet?' She didn't add 'you don't need to lose weight'. Her face said 'about time.'

'I'm trying to slim down for my holiday.'

'Well, each to their own.' Glenda put the single miserable-looking scone into a brown-paper bag. 'As long as you're doing it for you, not for some bloke.'

'As if.'

Anna managed a smile.


Later that morning, Anna sees him across the room. He's leaning over Lesley Fowler's desk. Skinny Lesley. She's doing that giggly thing she does when there's a good-looking bloke within flirting distance. He looks up, smiles at Anna and does a goofy wave. She does the same back. He mimes drinking. She nods. So they've made a date.

Except it isn't a date. Ben is her best friend.

'Lunch orders.'

Anna looks up to find Lesley smiling. 'I've got some leftovers,' she lies.

'Suit yourself. I'm going to Bert's.'

Anna pictures apple pie. Oozing pastry, dusted with cinnamon. Bert's do the best pie in town. Everyone knows it.

'Get me a salad,' she says.

'Just a salad?'

'Plain green, no dressing.'

'Are you on a diet?'

'Sort of. Not really. Well, a bit. Just watching my carb intake.'

There's that look again. 'About time.'


At five, Anna switches off her computer, shrugs on her jacket and goes to find Ben. Together they head for the next door pub. He orders bitter. She has lager. Pints. They find a table in the corner and collapse into soft leather armchairs.

'I'm thinking of asking Lesley out,' Ben says.


'Am I batting out of my league?'

Out of his league? Is Ben mad? He's tall, slim with matinee idol looks.

'You're probably too good for her,' she says, taking a slug of her drink.

'What makes you say that?'

'Lesley's a nice person,' Anna lies, 'and I really like her.' She'll go to hell for adding one untruth to another.


'But nothing. Ask her out. You two look good together.'


100 Stories for Haiti has stories from authors with books to their names and stories from authors never published. We set out to produce a book that anyone can pick up and enjoy, and that's exactly what we've done -- it's what I love about the book!

You can find out more about Mo on his website, mofanning.com. If you'd like to read the end of Mo's story, 100 Stories for Haiti comes out as an ebook and paperback, March 4th, 2010.

You can pre-order your copy of the paperback on 100storiesforhaiti.org. It costs £11.99 plus P&P. Money from the book goes to the British Red Cross and the Haiti Earthquake and Distaster Recovery appeals.

Thanks again, Kath, for letting me post on your blog. You're very welcome, Greg!

Tomorrow, I'll write a little bit about how we chose the stories for the book. That'll be on John Booth's blog, Cornfield Meet - johnbooth.wordpress.com

Thanks Greg. You can follow the rest of Greg's blog tour by checking out the links here. And don't forget to click the Buy the Book link to buy the book!


Old Kitty said...

Hi Greg and hi womagwriter!

Fabulous extract!! I was scrolling and clicking on links just to get to what happened next. Brilliant!

I've just gotten an email from a nice woman at Bridgehouse publishing to say my copies are on their way.

I can't wait to find out what happens next in this fabulous story by Mo Fanning!

Take care!!


HelenMHunt said...

Fantastic post and a great effort by all involved.

Joanne Fox said...

Hi Greg, good to see you on here. Look forward to receiving my copy when it comes out.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

What a great extract, Greg. Look forward to reading the ending!

Teresa Ashby said...

Great post, Greg - and a great extract.
Can't wait to get the book in my hands!