Isle of Wight idyll

Posted: April 9th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: courses | No Comments »

First, let me say, what a pleasure it was to meet you all. I came away with a head full of stories and longing to hear more about men who keep dolls and great aunts in India, Jamaican crime fiction and incarcerated refugees overcoming adversity. I thought some of the free writing was superb – fully formed stories, some of them, and slices of deeply felt emotion, others. Thank you.


Here is the link to the Raymond Carver short storyCathedral

Editorial services
I know several writers who have used the following consultancies for editorial services and mentoring. I know one or two of the mentors personally and they are superb!

  1. The Literary Consultancy
  2. Cornerstones

Independent (and professional) proofreaders are harder to find (and costly). But the Society of Proofreaders and Editors is a good place to start. There are a number of links if you google “freelance, literary, proofreaders”.  But the consultancies (under editorial services, above) also offer proofreading services.


Writer and workshop leader, Fiona Joseph, got back to me and said she’d converted her book to e-book herself! However Amazon do a fine job  (though you can’t choose the pricing structure). Fiona may be releasing an online course on e-books and marketing later this year – so I’ll keep you posted.

However Fiona did say that she uses an excellent print on demand company that she would highly recommend.

Thank you again and I look forward to seeing some of you in the summer. Happy writing!

Beautiful Bath

Posted: March 5th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: courses, diary, writing | Tags: , , | No Comments »
2013-03-05 15.56.07

Holbourne Museum

Today I was at The Holbourne Museum giving a talk about Online Writing at the Bath Literature Festival. The museum is a beautiful venue and I spent an hour and half with the good writers and bloggers of the South West discussing social media, online profiles and getting your work noticed. As promised I have uploaded the slides as a pdf  (5mb)… online-writing

I also mentioned various platforms that students, teachers and writers can use when creating online projects. Here’s a list:

  1. Googlemaps. Here’s an example of how Penguin Books commissioned authors to use Googlemaps  to tell a story
  2. Storify – aggregate social media projects into a coherent narrative
  3. Xtranormal – create characters and get them to speak the dialogue you write for them
  4. Google story builder – simple fun text-based character builder
  5. Memoryminer – this costs to use but you can use the trial version initially
  6. Storybird – aimed more at children’s writing
  7. And here’s a list of free sites to inspire younger writers

Thanks to everyone at the festival for a wonderful day.

Exact editions – From Fact to Fiction

Posted: January 8th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: writing | No Comments »

Here’s an article I wrote several years ago for Mslexia. It’s appeared online so I guess it’s OK to link to it here. The article discusses the pros and cons of using ‘real life’ experiences in fiction.

Sci-Fi Now – top five books of 2012

Posted: December 19th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: review, The Game is Altered, writing | Tags: , , | No Comments »

sfn75_coverWow – I’m delighted to report that The Game is Altered is runner-up in Sci-Fi Now 2012 Book of the Year.

I’m in illustrious company, too. Topping the  list of five best novels is Empire State by Adam Christopher. Next comes The Game is Altered, followed by Red Country – Joe Abercrombie (3), The Great North Road – Peter F. Hamilton (4), and Intrusion – Ken MacLeod (5).

This is what they said:

The Game Is Altered is a beautiful, energetically written collection of fiercely contemporary ideas, neatly packaged like an MTV indent into a post-cyberpunk soap opera of a boy looking for love and escape in a vast, immersive MMO.

Sums it up I guess. Anyway, a welcome fillip after a quiet year. Thank you Sc-Fi Now.

Story time

Posted: November 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: short stories, writing | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

In other news I’ve had a story published in the autumn edition of Under the Radar. The story is called The Donkey and has nothing whatsoever to do with Christmas.

Issue 10 features: 
Poems by Liz Berry, Geraldine Clarkson, Bob Cooper, Jude Cowan Montague, Dill Darling, Carrie Etter, Mark Goodwin, Sonia Hendy-Isaac, Nigel Hutchinson, Sarah Jackson, Sarah James, Crystal Jeans, Emma Lee, Melissa Lee-Houghton, Matt Merritt, Fiona Moore, DA Prince, Jonathan Taylor, Alana Tomlin, Christian Ward and Charles Wilkinson.

Short Stories by Helen Cross, Mez Packer 🙂, John McGhee and Hilaire.

You can subscribe or buy a single copy here. Follow Nine Arches Press (publisher) on Twitter.

Workshops 2013

Posted: November 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: courses, diary, events, writing | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

It’s been a busy autumn of engagements but now I’ve got my head down and I’m totally consumed, writing the new novel. However, thought I should post a few dates for next week (!) and next year.

On December 1st  2012 I’ll be in Birmingham delivering a workshop thanks to Kate Cooper, creative force behind The New Optimists. If you’re aged between 18 and 30 and live in Birmingham and you’d like to attend this facilitated workshop on 1st December, co-hosted with the Birmingham Leadership Foundation, then sign up here. It’s free.

We’ll be making ‘narrativium’, multi-media stories from the future, all based on on info from regional scientists, people who have useful info and perspectives on what it takes to feed a city. You’ll be joining lively young Brummies, including a theatre guy, a musician and composer, a film-maker, a novelist and on-line author  . . . to list just a few.

On March 5th, 2013 I’ll be at Bath Literature Festival delivering a workshop called ‘Writing Online’ from 4.30 – 6pm at the Holburne Museum. It’s for age 13+ and costs £10

Here’s the blurb

Learn everything you need to know about how to get people reading your writing. Mez Packer, author of The Game is Altered, will explore with you the ins and outs of blogging, interactive storytelling and how to use social media to develop your work and get it noticed.

In April (5th-7th) 2013 I’ll be on the Isle of Wight with the Skyros team delivering a weekend of creative writing at The Grange. It’ll be my first time on the island and I’m looking forward to a bit of spring sightseeing and meeting the Skyros ‘home team’.

In July 6th-19th, 2013 I’ll be back on the wonderful island of Skyros – again with Skyros Holidays, delivering a full two-week creative writing  course entitled Aspects of Novel Writing. This will be my third year and I can’t wait for some serious sun, sea and scribbling.

That’s it. I’m determined not to accept any more invitations until the novel is written. But knowing me I probably will.


Transmedia project update

Posted: September 14th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: authors, diary, events, exhibition, web 2.0 | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Reliable Witness has been gathering steam online so I thought I’d aggregate some of the bits and pieces I’ve been doing to promote the project acros the web.

I’ve recorded a Podcast on the excellent Transmedia Storyteller site and made a great new contact – the site’s founder Robert Pratten.

You can have a gander at the images on Flickr of the creative team in full flow.  And there’s even a tumblr site with images of the installation build.

Finally here’s an interview I did with the good people at The Information Daily :

Are you a Reliable Witness?

Posted: September 3rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: events, exhibition, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

I’m getting excited about Reliable Witness, a project I’ve been working on all summer. Along with another midlands-based writer, Rochi Rampal, I’ve been writing the scenarios and interactive scripts for a bold transmedia storytelling piece commissioned by the Birmingham Book Festival. Come and see the installation – 4th-13th October – Unit 10, Pavilions Shopping Centre, Birmingham, 10am-4pm daily. It’s going to be amazing! There will also be an initial performance piece at ArtsFest in Birmingham, September 8, Centenary Square. I’m not sure of the time yet but it’ll be in the afternoon.

Here’s some of the website blurb.

Meet Darren and Amy – a young couple in love finding their feet in their relationship.
As their trusted friend you’ve been there for them, giving advice and a sympathetic ear for years. You’ve relaxed in their company, shared jokes and have been known to crash out and stare at the TV together now and again. You’ve seen them through a few ups and downs. So far, your involvement in their relationship has been passive, easy. Your loyalty has been neither divided nor tested. That’s about to change.

Darren and Amy’s story is moving quickly. Are you watching?
Reliable Witness is the Birmingham Book Festival’s first ever commissioned interactive storytelling experience. Follow the characters on social media, become a spectator or participant in their life together. Meet and see them in the offline world. Look out for The Birmingham Book Festival team live at Artsfest on the afternoon of Saturday 8th September, previewing this literature event with a difference.

You can follow the initial story on Twitter hashtag #reliablewitness or visit the capture website – Reliable Witness.  You can also make friends with all the characters on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

Darren Connor – @Iamdarrenconnor
Amy Bauer – @amyamybauer
Fiona OSullivan – @Fi_OSullivan
Clare Drummond – @claredrummond2
Nadine Fletcher – @fletcher_nadine

The interactivity is being produced by the expert geeky people at The Adhere Creative, project managed by the fabulously efficient women at Red Lantern Project Management Ltd, overseen by some serious digital enthusiasts at Birmingham Book Festival and funded by Arts Council England.

On the Edge…

Posted: August 3rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: authors, courses, writing | No Comments »

This autumn I’ll be On the Edge of the Warwick Words – Festival of Literature and Spoken Word. There’s a discussion on ‘How to Get Published‘ (Tuesday October 2nd at 7.30pm, Leamington Waterstones) with fellow Tindal Street Press author Alan Beard and senior editor, Luke Brown.

I’ll also be delivering a 3 hour workshop on ‘How to Write Contemporary Fiction‘ at a local hostelry;) There are 15 places available for the workshop and the cost is £22.50. Details below.


Wednesday 3 October
Sozzled Sausage, Regent Street, Leamington Spa
10.00am – 1.00pm

This workshop led by award winning author, Mez Packer, is aimed at giving participants a clear understanding of the technical and creative aspects of writing contemporary fiction. Along with exercises to get you going (drawing on experience, memory and place) the workshop will focus on plot, character and voice as well as other elements that drive a narrative forward and keep the reader wanting more. Using examples we won’t forget prose-style and dialogue either. Finally, there will be opportunities for sharing work and receiving feedback on the day.

Tickets: £22.50
There are only 15 places available for this workshop. Please book in advance.

Knowle women are number one

Posted: June 30th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: diary, events, Women | No Comments »

Thank you to the marvellous women of Knowle for welcoming me with such enthusiasm at the library yesterday. As promised (if a day later than I said) here is a list of five of my number ones:

  1. Gilead – Marilyn Robinson
  2. Sacred Hunger – Barry Unsworth
  3. Disgrace – JM Coetzee
  4. Silence – Shusaku Endo
  5. The Hours – Michael Cunningham

This is not a TOP FIVE I hasten to add – just five novels, off the top of my head, that I gave five stars when I read them.

Thanks again for a very enjoyable afternoon – and I’d love to put one of the pictures here that some of you were taking. If you leave your email address in the comments I’ll get in touch. Mxx