Monday, 29 November 2010

Writelinkers Magazine Christmas 2010

The Christmas 2010 Writelinkers Magazine has just been released. It is a feast of stories, poems and non-fiction with the theme of Christmas and nostalgia.

I'm delighted to say that two of my flash stories have been included in this magazine, along with a brand new piece of non-fiction, which is actually the first piece of non-fiction that I have written for submission.

Please do take a look, it is online and free to view. Be warned, it will make you feel very festive!!!

While I am mentioning Writelink, do visit their flash fiction competition page as well. Tinsel Tales is open to all and they are looking for flash fiction of up to 250 words on a seasonal theme.




Thursday, 25 November 2010

Short Story: Benjamin Smithers

Mr Weaver is out. I sigh with pleasure as I watch his house. He must have been gone for a while. Maybe he’s even due to be home soon. That would be perfection. I slip my card through his door, then hurry back to the van and go on my way. Thick black fumes splutter out of the exhaust as I floor the accelerator to make the onward journey more entertaining.

In the next village a baby squeals, unsettled. I can remember that pitch from when my wife held our babies in her arms, cooing and pacing to lull them to sleep. I wait and watch as the sounds diminish. I can imagine Bethany Morris gently putting her little one down in his cot now. I expect she will settle down for a rest when her baby sleeps. A small smile tries to contort my lips when I see her blinds being closed upstairs. I’ll give her ten minutes.

As I get out of my van and walk towards the door, my finger tingles. The excitement mounts as I reach up and press the doorbell. I hold it that tiny bit longer than is strictly necessary. A high pitched squeal sounds inside, and I smile to myself again. My work is done. The door opens and I say, “Delivery for Ms Morris.”
A dishevelled, bleary-eyed face looks at me as she signs the delivery slip.

“Have a great day,” I say cheerily as I stride back down the path to the sound of the baby's screams.

My special training has paid off. It takes skill to know when people are out or resting. I settle back into the driver's seat and make another mark on my tally chart.

Benjamin Smithers Always Delivers shines on the outside of my van as I speed along the road towards my next victim.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

A Year of Blogging

Once upon a time there was a girl who loved writing stories.

She always said that one day she would write a book, like her hero Enid Blyton.

The girl grew older, passing through school and university, and eventually finding a job.

When the girl became a woman and was into the second half of her twenties, she bought a copy of a big red book to inspire her and told her colleagues she was going to write a novel.

When she was in her early thirties she gave the book to charity and turned her hand to parenting.

It was only when she was thirty-eight that the woman realised it was time to take action. All the years of saying she would write a book one day. What would happen if that day never came? She didn't want have regrets. So, not for the first time, she opened a file and typed the word 'Novel'. But this time she saw it through.

The girl was always a bit nervous and lacking in confidence but the woman was even more so. Someone who seemed to know a lot about writing, suggested she set up a blog. She Googled 'blog', and wondered why anyone would want to read anything that she would have to say. And what would she say, more to the point? But she could tell the friendly stranger knew what she was talking about. So she set one up.

The End

Only it wasn't, was it?

I can't believe it has only been a year since I set this blog up, but when I did I had a real struggle with the idea of referring to myself as a writer. My first couple of posts on here show my nerves but I read them now and feel like a totally different person wrote them.

A lot can happen in a year but by far the best far of it for me has been getting to know so many wonderful people through blogging, Twitter and Facebook so thank you all from the bottom of my heart, and especially thank you for visiting my blog on it's first birthday.

Thank you also to my friend and Editor Sarah Franklin, who suggested that I set this blog up in the first place. We really *will* have to have that coffee one day!

x x x

Monday, 22 November 2010

Storyville: Women Writers Festival

Yesterday I had a day out in Brighton for Storyville: Women Writers Festival. In all honesty I went for one event, which was New Voices and that was because Caroline Smailes was on the panel.

I love Caroline's style of writing and am also an avid follower of the Bubblecow blog so I was really excited to be invited to tag along with Caroline, our mutual friend D.J.Kirkby as well as Clare Christian and Alex Brown before the event. We met up in the coffee shop next to the Brighton museum and Dome, and spent a good few hours having a chat about all manner of things from writing to publishing to families and even more random subjects. I enjoyed it so much; the time seemed to fly by.

The panel itself was meant to include three authors, but one of them didn't turn up, so it was Caroline and Anjali Joseph who both did a reading from their books and told us all about their writing and lives. I found the event fascinating and particularly loved hearing about Caroline's connection with Malta, and seeing her own copy of Like Bees to Honey with it's beautiful hand-crafted cover. Anjali Joseph described her novel Saraswati Park which sounded very interesting and is now on my 'to read' list.

After the panel, I had to say my goodbyes (and a quick hello to another writer I had met previously) and dash off back to the real world of families and houses. The cold water tank in our attic was leaking and my husband was replacing it as well as being on childcare duty. But that's another story...



You can follow the lovely people I spent Sunday with on Twitter:
@Caroline_S @djkirkby @clare166
 @alexbrownbooks  @anjalij

Saturday, 13 November 2010

'Shambelurkling and Other Stories' Published Today

'Shambelurkling and Other Stories' is an anthology of short stories and poems for children between 8 and 12 years of age, which has been compiled and edited by Marit Meredith (The Pages Magazine).

The book is now for sale via Lulu.com as a paperback or download. Whichever format you chose, the National Autism Society will receive £1.06 per copy sold.

I have two brand new stories included in this book and it is a pleasure to be included along with some of my online writing friends: Rachel Carter, Emma Kerry, Mandy K James, Cindy Schuerr, Ruchira Mandal, Trevor Belshaw, Jonathan Pinnock, Sharon Birch and Maureen Vincent-Northam as well as many other wonderful writers.

I hope you will agree that the cover is gorgeous. At just £3.99 a copy, the book will make an ideal Christmas present.




Saturday, 6 November 2010

Determination

I sit and write this, despite my migraine, despite the sound of building work in the kitchen and despite three children being in the house.

I sit and write because I know I can. I know I have to. I have it inside me and I have to get it out.

What's more... I know I will post this post, I will tweet the link on Twitter, and there will be someone who understands. I love the friendship, companionship and support that comes from the writing community.

If it wasn't for the support of others; Twitter users, blogging friends and Facebook friends, I would not be here now writing this, and calling myself a writer.

Out here in the real world I think my writing is seen as a bit of a hobby. A bit of a waste of time. Something that *adds* to my stress. Something that I *bore* people about. All of these things have been said or implied. The truth is, it calms me. I love it. I feel passionate about it and I take great delight from writing things down that resemble fiction.

I think the respect will come from certain quarters only when I start to make money from my writing.

Along with the fact that writing is not just a hobby to me, it is a *part* of me, only serves to make me more determined, more passionate, and more likely, in my opinion, to succeed.

I have been sitting on book one. It's there, it really is. All I need to do is finish off my synopsis and letter and address the email. That's it. Why haven't I? I'm scared... that is all. Scared of rejection. Scared that these people who don't 'get it' could be right.

Yet every week I write stories and people say they like them. I've even had some published. I have a contract for goodness sake. I am in a fighting mood as I write this. People out here in my real world don't realise that being negative about something makes me determined to prove them wrong.

I'm taking part in NaNoWriMo again. Oh yes I am. The people I mention have no idea. They think I am taking a break from my writing. Well I am doing it and I am loving it. I am *ahead of schedule*.

I am also determined now that before the end of November, book one will be out there looking for a new home.

I am *so* going to do this.

My six year old looked up at me on Thursday when I had a copy of '50 Stories for Pakistan' in my hand. He said 'Are you a published writer now, mummy?'
When I said, 'yes' he looked so proud of me. He gave me a big hug and said 'well done'. This is the thing that has meant the most to me out of everything I have ever done with my writing.

I am glad that my first book is a children's book. I know who I am going to dedicate it to.


If anyone has read this, thank you. It's one of those get-it-out-and-set-it-free kind of posts.
It's basically, just me...

Thank you.

x x x x