Monday, 21 November 2016

Happy #RobinMuttReleaseDay! ROBIN MUTT THE HAUNTED CLOWN: 13 TALES OF DEATH is out now!

Hello!

Just a quick note today to say that Robin Mutt: The Haunted Clown (13 Tales of Death) is now published and available internationally in paperback and ebook!

To find out more about my first collection of short stories, please visit my previous blogpost here. You can also visit the links below to head straight to the collection on Amazon!


Find Robin Mutt online:

Amazon UK (ebook)

Amazon UK (paperback)

Amazon US (ebook)

Amazon US (paperback)

The titles of the short stories:
The Batshit
Isadora
Memento Mori
Of Rat Hearts and Thunderstorms
The Fasting Girl
Hide Not Skeleton Love
Young
Business as Usual
Underwater
Robin Mutt: The Haunted Clown
The Girl in the Well
Organs Suckled to Inorganic Demise
Nation Alien

BLURB
Carpe diem, seize the day! Life is to be enjoyed. But with every life also comes a death. Is it possible to enjoy death too?

This collection of thirteen short stories explores dying, death, and the dead – occasionally sensibly, but mostly playfully.

The cover was designed by Creative Covers: http://www.ccovers.co.uk

You can find information about my other works on Amazon UK.

Amy x


Saturday, 5 November 2016

Introducing... ROBIN MUTT: THE HAUNTED CLOWN (13 TALES OF DEATH)!

So, unlike my previous works, my next book is not actually a novel. It's a collection of thirteen short stories.

And it's called...

Robin Mutt: The Haunted Clown (13 Tales of Death)



The collection will be released on 21st November 2016. It's available for pre-order on eBook now for £2.99 from Amazon UK, and is similarly priced on international Amazon websites. The paperback will also be available for £4.99 from Amazon UK, and, again, for a similar price on other Amazon sites.

BLURB
Carpe diem, seize the day! Life is to be enjoyed. But with every life also comes a death. Is it possible to enjoy death too?

This collection of thirteen short stories explores dying, death, and the dead – occasionally sensibly, but mostly playfully.


Find Robin Mutt online:

Amazon UK (ebook): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Robin-Mutt-Haunted-Clown-Tales-ebook/dp/B01M286HJE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477314605&sr=8-1&keywords=robin+mutt

Amazon UK (paperback): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Robin-Mutt-Haunted-Clown-Tales/dp/1539308944/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1477314605&sr=8-3&keywords=robin+mutt

Amazon US (ebook): https://www.amazon.com/Robin-Mutt-Haunted-Clown-Tales-ebook/dp/B01M286HJE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477314601&sr=8-1&keywords=robin+mutt

Amazon US (paperback): https://www.amazon.com/Robin-Mutt-Haunted-Clown-Tales/dp/1539308944/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1477314601&sr=8-3&keywords=robin+mutt

The titles of the short stories (watch this space for further descriptions and teasers!):
The Batshit
Isadora
Memento Mori
Of Rat Hearts and Thunderstorms
The Fasting Girl
Hide Not Skeleton Love
Young
Business as Usual
Underwater
Robin Mutt: The Haunted Clown
The Girl in the Well
Organs Suckled to Inorganic Demise
Nation Alien

You can also find out more about the collection in the video below:


The cover was designed by Creative Covers: http://www.ccovers.co.uk

You can find information about my other works on Amazon UK at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amy-McLean/e/B00LM2Y9EI/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1477315145&sr=1-1

My author page on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7244575.Amy_McLean

Amy x


Thursday, 8 September 2016

Why I Chose to Self-Publish My Novels #SelfPublishSeries

Having just uploaded my first #SelfPublishSeries video over on my YouTube channel, now is probably a good time to share it with you here too!

After receiving quite a few prompts to discuss my experiences with self-publish in a video, or series of videos, I decided to launch the #SelfPublishSeries hashtag to promote what I believe to be the benefits of self-publishing.

Now I'm not saying that I will never again return to the more traditional approaches to publishing my works. As explained in the video below, my second novel Celestial Land and Sea was published through Open Books, and it was a fantastic learning experience for me. However, for a number of reasons, I decided to return to self-publishing. Check out the video below to find out more, and do feel free to share your views!



Amy x


Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Uncovering Helena Bonham Carter's elusive role in THE EARLY LIFE OF BEATRIX POTTER

I was happily convinced that I had seen every film in which Helena Bonham Carter had been cast. Considering she's had over eighty roles to her name, I was quite proud of that achievement! However, while flicking through Instagram recently, I happened upon a still of Bonham Carter from a docudrama that I'd not only never seen, but one that I had not until that point even heard of.

So why is The Early Life of Beatrix Potter, originally broadcast on BBC 2 in 1991, no longer available for public consumption? With little information about the drama out there (it's not even connected to Bonham Carter's IMDb page, hence my previous ignorance about its existence!), I went in search of more. 

Although I was able to locate a little information on the British Film Institute (BFI) website, I still wasn't satisfied. That's when I decided to get in touch with Mike Healey, the film's writer-director, who was kind enough to answer my many questions about the drama and the disappearance of art. Here's what he had to say:


How was the casting of the character of Beatrix Potter? Did you have anybody in mind while you were writing the script?

It was written with Helena in mind. We met for the first time at the Savoy in London. I had, earlier that day, been holding auditions for a child to play the younger Beatrix but Helena convinced me over tea and scones that she could play both roles. In the finished film she ages from 10 to 30 - a quite remarkable achievement.


Did production run smoothly? Are there any interesting stories from during filming that you're able to share?

Helena was always a joy to work with and the six-week shoot was enormous fun. We filmed entirely on location in Scotland, in many of the parts of Comrie and the Borders that Beatrix herself knew in the 1890s.

Apart from the mouse that Helena may have squashed to death, we had an enormous Belgian hare to play the part of Benjamin Bunny. Helena walked it around Comrie on the end of a lead.

Helena walked Benjamin around Comrie
After filming, none of us had the heart to return it to the labs in Glasgow, so for the next two years it lived with me at my cottage in the Lake District. When six tiny, chocolate brown bunnies appeared one morning on my lawn I changed its name from Benjamin to Benjamina!

What was the reception for the Early Life of Beatrix Potter like after its initial broadcast on BBC 2?

It achieved critical acclaim and was rapidly repeated on BBC 1. The following year (1992) it won gold at the New York TV Festival.

Its subject matter was unusual in that it concentrated on Beatrix’s early interest in mycology. She teamed up with the local ‘postie’ in Comrie and eventually produced a scientific paper that was read by her uncle on her behalf at the Linnean Society in London.


We had fun filming sequences in which John Millais, a close friend of Beatrix’s father Rupert, taught her to paint. Indeed, it’s Beatrix’s early watercolours of assorted mushrooms that predate her far more famous illustrations for her children’s books.

In my research I came across a pressed flower inside a book that Beatrix herself must have placed there! Magic!

What makes this drama so moving is Helena’s sensitive portrayal of a young, Victorian woman seeking independence through scientific discovery and learning to paint in the process.

Despite the fact that it is, as you've mentioned, an award-winning drama, why do you think it has become obsolete?

I fear that this is not an uncommon fate for regional drama. I previously produced a series for BBC Manchester called Sense of Place, commissioning new plays from writers such as Beryl Bainbridge, Alan Bleasdale (his first ever TV drama), Alan Garner (The Owl Service etc.) and the wonderful Shelagh Delaney whom I found alone and forgotten in a bedsit in Bayswater.

This series (12 x 30 minute dramas) won a Royal Television Society award for 'best regional drama' yet not one of these TV plays has ever been shown again or made available online or in DVD format. That is a disservice to me and those wonderful writers and talented casts I was lucky enough to employ.

While it's unfortunate, we expect films produced at the beginning of the twentieth century to slip away from public consumption. Considering so much work, time, and money is dedicated to creating films, do you think it's ever really acceptable that anything produced over the last few decades should disappear?

There is no excuse for the loss of such archive material. 

Even if shot on 16mm film it is so easy now to convert to digital formats for archival purposes and further distribution. I once produced a series of 52 profiles of great sportsmen and women for Mark McCormack’s ‘Transworld Sport’ (IMG) – including a remarkable interview with O.J Simpson a year or two before the alleged murder of his wife. This series – called Sportatraits - was shown in 60 territories, with global viewing figures of a staggering 600 million! 

When I later asked for copies of my original footage (some 80 hours of taped interviews) I was told that most had been wiped for re-use!

That's quite shocking! Are there any films that you remember enjoying that seem to have fallen off the radar now?

I made a film for BBC Scotland called The True Story of Whiskey Galore, which won several prizes – one of which was a small, wire-frame statue. This film has never been re-shown but one night a drunk staggered into the reception area at BBC Glasgow, threw a brick at the glass case and made off with the BBC silver – Baftas et al. The only thing he left was my little statue, now broken in two.

I leave it to the reader to draw their own conclusions from this sad tale of neglect and vandalism!


Your creative contributions aren't just to film either, are they? You're also a novelist and artist. Do you think there's the same concern about works from other art forms becoming elusive? What's the emotional impact here for the creator who pours their soul into their work? 

As a professional painter I am concerned at the durability of digital art and how best to protect original works from commercial and creative exploitation using digital ‘theft'.

New digital formats also allow relatively untrained artists to manipulate images creatively – hence, perhaps, the resurgence in Surrealism in recent years – yet this renders original works vulnerable. Art should not be an exclusive domain yet new technologies blur the formal distinctions between great art and, well, the rest!

  

Are you able to offer an insight into what you're working on at the moment?

I have just published a stage play called The Angel Maker – a true story about a remote village in Hungary in which the women murdered over forty of their menfolk. This is still looking for its first stage production.

I have also been working with Francois Ivernel (producer of films such as Slumdog Millionaire, The King’s Speech etc) on a feature film based on Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798. This, in part, is based on my novel (as yet unpublished). The heart of the film is Napoleon’s infatuation with a young (married) woman from Carcassonne, smuggled into Egypt by her husband and disguised as a cavalry officer. It is called Napoleon’s Little Cleopatra. My third draft has just been deemed too expensive (£20 million is Montebello’s estimate!) so I guess its back to the drawing board.

Meanwhile, I am writing another stage play about a Jacobean woman called Anne Gunter who, when possessed by the devil, vomited pins. 

Great fun! Watch this space.



 ---
I'll certainly keep an eye out for those! 
Many thanks to Mike Healey for shedding some light on the mysteries of The Early Life of Beatrix Potter, and for his personal views on the issues surrounding the disappearances of certain artworks. 
You can find out more about Mike Healey's work on his website and via his LinkedIn profile
Perhaps we will be able to enjoy The Early Life of Beatrix Potter someday soon. Until then, I shall leave you with a few more images kindly sent to me by the drama's creator for us to enjoy!
Amy x
Helena Bonham Carter as Beatrix Potter in The Early Life of Beatrix Potter
Could this be the moment the mouse was "squashed to death"?
Mike Healey's crime trilogy is available to purchase online

Sunday, 27 March 2016

My First Visit to Dublin - Easter 2016

Having vlogged my recent - and first - visit to Dublin for the hundred-year anniversary of the 1916 Easter Uprising, I thought I'd drop a few photos here that I took along the way. I think I nearly killed my camera, having kept it in my hand throughout the entire day (and what a long day it was!), but I've narrowed down a few favourites to share with you!

Trinity College Dublin

The very pretty Molly Malone! 

Bullet holes visible on the pillars of the GPO 

A rather dapper looking James Joyce! 

Standing near the front of the march through Dublin's streets 

A rather awkward-looking selfie... but I'm outside the Abbey Theatre! Yes, the very place where Maud Gonne first brought Cathleen ní Houlihan to life! 

Parnell 

And finally, another awkward selfie. But look at how pretty my souvenir t-shirt is! 

Dublin was beautiful; I'll definitely be back!*

Amy x

*And my first stop will be Glasnevin Cemetery to pay Maud Gonne a visit!

You can find my Dublin vlogs on my channel here.

Hunting for Literary Blue Plaques in London!

Something I'm fascinated by is the concept of the blue plaque - and this may only have a weeny bit to do with the fact that my hero Lord Byron has the very first blue plaque (Holles Street, on a John Lewis building!). London is covered in them, and despite the fact they depressingly add to the price of properties, I get rather excited when I see any. Here's a selection of some I've dug up recently.

Okay, so our first one isn't actually literary, but it is for a wonderful woman: Dame Millicent Fawcett. This can be found at 2 Gower Street, WC1E, where she lived and died.



 Can you read that? Mary Shelley's plaque at 24 Chester Square, SW1, is considerably higher up the building that I would have liked it to be, but it's just about legible! She lived here from 1846 to 1851.


Just around the corner at 2 Chester Square is Matthew Arnold. 



Having recently found a passion for Vita Sackville-West, this one was quite a treat. She live with her husband at 182 Ebury Street, Belgravia, SW1. And yes, it's a brown plaque!


This last one is undoubtedly my favourite - not least of all because I hadn't expected to find two plaques there! Both George Bernard Shaw and Virginia Woolf lived at 29 Fitzroy Square, Fitzrovia, W1T, albeit almost two decades apart.


Here's a closer look at Virginia Woolf's:


Have you seen any blue plaques recently? Although they're situated all over the country, I find that London is a particular hotspot for them - which goes without saying given the wonderful names that have resided there over the centuries! - and it's always a treat to go a-plaque hunting! It's such a wonderful way to pass an afternoon.

Amy x






ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (2016) Trailer Reaction!

After being asked to do some trailer reaction videos, I thought the release of the upcoming Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016) film would be a perfect place to start. As a huge fan (worshipper, admirer, etc) of both HBC and Tim Burton alike, it was quite a struggle to refrain from watching any of the clips...

But I managed...

And here's the result...


That was a lot of fun; thanks to everybody who recommended I give it a go! Look out for my next one, which I'm currently editing... Can you guess what it is?

Amy x



Monday, 29 February 2016

HALLOW on the Underground!

Copies of Hallow Be Thy Name are currently making their way around the Underground today! Have you found a copy?

Make sure to check out Books on the Underground here for more about what they do!
(Photo via https://twitter.com/BooksUndergrnd/status/704378379995385862/photo/1)

(Image via https://twitter.com/BooksUndergrnd/status/704310096763944961)



Amy x




Sunday, 14 February 2016

12 INCHES OF JOHNNY DEPP (Sweeney Todd Hot Toys figure)

I've had this little beauty for almost two years. However, until recently, the poor thing has remained stuffed inside his packaging. Having taken him down from the shelf, I thought now would be the perfect time to share him with you.

This video at the end of this post contains a more thorough look at the Hot Toys Sweeney Todd collectible figure, but I've included some photos below of him in action. Yes, I am satisfied with just how much he looks like Johnny Depp, and, yes, he is tremendous fun to play with!*

Sweeney Todd is one of my two favourite films, so this really is something a little bit exciting. I only wish there was a Mrs Lovett too; I dare say I'd never be able to stop touching her! If you're a fan of the Tim Burton firm, or the musical in general (or you just want to fondle a 1/6th scale Johnny Depp), then this is definitely something worth investing in. He's poseable, lots of fun, and - I am sure you will agree - absolutely beautiful!











Amy x




*Being a grown up goes out of the window when it comes to movie merchandise. Especially Burton movie merchandise...

Monday, 1 February 2016

My third novel HALLOW BE THY NAME is out now!

Yes! The time has finally arrived! Hallow Be Thy Name is now published!

You can find out more about the novel in the video below. I'll also leave the blurb and some links at the bottom too. Thank you to everybody who has shown interest in Hallow; I can't wait to write the rest of the series and see where Lucy's story takes us! But for now, I shall leave you with this:


BLURB
It has been two years since Lucy Hallow first saw the spirit of her deceased nephew, and, having come to terms with her role as Spiritual Messenger, it is time for her to step up to the next level. Assisted by her spirit guide Naiche, the son of a Chiricahua Apache Chief, and clairvoyant Audrey Maurice, she must open up her gift to help others. During the spiritual evenings held at Hallow House, Lucy's coffee shop in Hampstead, she meets Jennifer Healy, a young woman who has recently lost her fiancé in a road accident. 

When Lucy is introduced to a Victorian spirit named Serafina DuPont, she realises that there is a strong connection between the two lives. To discover this link, however, she must closely observe the stories that unfold around her, as not everybody is as innocent as they seem. 

Tales from 1890 and the present day become one in this journey of mysticism, betrayal, and the dead.

HALLOW BE THY NAME contains knowledge and insight from various historical figures. All spiritual input is provided by an authentic Spiritual Messenger.


FIND HALLOW
-UK Amazon (paperback): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hallow-Thy-Name-Amy-McLean/dp/1517436397/ 

- UK Amazon (eBook): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hallow-Be-Thy-Name-ebook/dp/B01AQT37U4

- US Amazon (paperback): http://www.amazon.com/Hallow-Thy-Name-Amy-McLean/dp/1517436397/

- US Amazon (eBook): http://www.amazon.com/Hallow-Thy-Name-Amy-McLean-ebook/dp/B01AQT37U4/

HALLOW on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28162622-hallow-be-thy-name




Amy x


Sunday, 24 January 2016

Byron and Annabella sculpted at Seaham...

To mark Byron's 228th birthday on Friday (22nd January 2016), a sculpture by David Gross was unveiled outside Byron Place in Seaham (more here). Naturally, I had to go and check out this sculpture for myself...

I think the easiest thing for me to say here is this: it's interesting.

Well, at the very least, Iam fascinating by the fact that the artist has chosen to sculpt them facing away from each other. This is such an apt representation of their brief marriage; I applaud it entirely for that.

Check out the pictures below to see what you think of it for yourself!










Amy x