Monday, 28 February 2011

Going to take it easy

I’m going to have to mark today as half a day off.
I went to York this morning to see a Givens counsellor. I’ve struggled with low self esteem and lack of confidence for decades and tried all kinds of treatments and therapies with varying degrees of success. Two years ago I saw a hypnotherapist (Steve Bowkett who also writes book and often teaches at writers holidays/festivals). After two sessions with him, I tested the result by applying for the Weakest Link. My courage held and I went on the show but I was still finding it difficult to talk to new people. So now I’ve tried Givens. They use a rewind technique. It’s like putting the bad or negative parts of your life on film so that you can rewind and fast forward, back and forth to the point where the memories lose their impact. It seems to work. Since I first saw Debbie, I’ve applied to go another quiz show (just for fun), got to grips with Lulu ( , been on Radio Leeds and have got a few dates in my diary to go and talk to various groups,, plus I’m running workshops at both Swanwick and the NAWG festival.
This morning’s session was the second and hopefully the last I will need. The problem is, it’s left me feeling a bit drained so I need to go easy on myself for the rest of the day. I’m going out tonight – reading the questions for a quiz team. I had thought I was playing, but now I’m glad I can just sit there.
I’ve been giving writing lessons by email to two people who entered my last writing competition so I’m going to sort one of those out then circulate a few rejected stories then try to relax, ready for a full day’s work tomorrow.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Busy doing anything but actual writing

I seem to have spent the day pushing a fat elephant up a hill.
First, I decided to reformat a book that I’ve been putting together at Lulu  then spent quite a lot of time looking at postage costs and how many I’d need to buy etc etc to make it worth my while. I’ve never had any books of my own to sell so have no idea how popular they will be. (I’ve sold 8 copies of Diamonds and Pearls so far which is good, considering I haven’t done any talks yet.)
After watching the Gadget Show last night, I then spent hours on Istock photo, working through their gumph and information, then had to take their exam, passed at the third attempt then spent another wad of time choosing which 3 photos to upload. Now I have to wait and see if they take them. I used to take a lot of photos, back in the old, pre digital days. Back then, I used to write abuot tropical fish and took photos to accompany my articles. I still have hundreds of photos with an agency (FLPA) who send me a small cheque every now and then.
Now it’s quarter past five and I’m running out of steam. Oh well, tomorrow’s another day. Having spent this week on various books, it’s time to switch back to fiction next week. 
I think I’m looking forward to it!

Women's group

First meeting of women’s writing group at Leeds Writers yesterday afternoon. I was worried how it would g-  -haven’t exactly been made welcome by the Club as some members look down on womag writers from a great height, but I needn’t have worried There were seven in the group and the day was a great success. Lots of useful feedback and constructive advice. I felt my thoughts and opinions were valued which, I have to say, felt good.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Book launch

I’ve just been invited to the launch party of Radgepacket, Volume 5, in Newcastle on 19th March. I can’t go because I’ll be taking care of two dogs, and I can’t leave them alone for too long. It’s a shame as the other writers all sound a bit mad, which is the way I like it. To find out more about the book, visit the Byker Books website.

I haven't got the date of the Diamonds and Pearls launch yet. I hope it doesn't clash with anything!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Thats Life Fast Fiction

Great way to start the day – a sale to the Australian magazine, That’s Life. I used to do quire well with them a year or so ago, but then the editor changed! The story I’ve just sold was rejected by Take a Break and Woman’s Weekly. Normally my next target would be Yours, My Weekly or The Weekly News, but I decided to try Oz first. I’m glad I did. As it’s first rights, they pay more than the UK markets. For submission details see

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Fiction Feast and Heydays

Wednesdays are my day off. I go to the West Yorkshure Playhouse Heydays group - a mix of courses available to the over 55s (just made it!). Thanks to the 35, yes 35, calls from Mum yesterday I became ill with the stress so had to come home at lunch time. Got home to a hot debate among the Diamonds and Pearls contributors ( about late payments at Fiction Feast and how payments haven't gone up much for years, if at all.
I sold my first story to TAB in 1998 for £400 and I STILL get the same now. Sadly, if we make a fuss, we risk having another market  close its doors. I get paid a lot less for my WW stories than other writers because I don't sell as many to them. Is that fair? Maybe not, but I'm not going to complain. I make a living doing this. I can't afford to upset people. Apparently there's a move to change things, start sending in invoices and so on because payments sometimes come through late. My feeling is that Norah McGrath does the best she can and I for one don't want to make her life more difficult.

Pocket novels

I was just going topost details of these but see womagwriter got there first. Like I said, heres is one of the best web sites.
In case you missed it, this is a copy of an email I received from My Weekly.

Dear Liinda,
I hope you are well.
I am writing to let you know some exciting news about My Weekly Pocket Novels!
My Weekly Pocket Novels are going up in size to 50,000 words and 130 pages!
And there is going to be a rise in the fee we pay you, the writer, up to £300 for First Cheap Paperback Rights.
The novels will now be on the shelves for two weeks, which gives more opportunity to sell more of each novel - and gives us lots more scope to indulge the readers in even more exciting romantic dramas, adventures and intrigue.
These changes will take effect from issue dated May 26, so please do put on your Pocket Novel hat, and send in your next story.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Kind regards
Maggie Seed

I'm not sure that's goign to tempt me, but you never know. 

The house is now a dog free zone for a week. Just time to get the fencing put up before the next two dogs arrive.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011


I’ve just uploaded a book to Lulu. From idea to finish, it took me a day and a half – it’s a collection of twist ending stories. It’s called TWISTING THE NIGHT AWAY and it’s available as an e book or as a hard copy. I’ve ordered one to see how it looks. I can’t wait! Because I mainly write short stories and haven’t managed to get a novel published yet, I don’t always see myself as a ‘real writer.’ I’m hoping that having some books to show to people will help me get over that.

Tuesday, Feb 22nd. TWO SALES!

Strange day so far. Started with two sales to Fiction Feast which is great, then mum started calling, over and over and over again. Always the same thing. Can she come and stay? I say yes, and we go through it all, how to get here, and so on, then five minutes later, she calls again -  doesn’t remember even having called.
Rocky, the Labrador, probably thinks I’m mad, sitting in teh hall, saying the same thing over and over. I bet he’ll be glad when he goes home. 
Meanwhile, Mike, who lives a few doors down is taking a chainsaw to fifty feet of hawthorn hedge for me so that I can replace it with something less lethal. If I had a pound for every thorn I’ve extracted from my feet, hands, shoes etc I could go on a round the world cruise, twice.
On the writing front, I’ve just agreed to run a short workshop at the NAWG Festival in September where I’ll be looking at Take A Break and Fiction Feast and how to improve your chances of selling to them. If you’re going, and would like me to look at a story intended for that market, why not bring it along?

Monday, 21 February 2011

The problem with Mum

Mum called last night. She’s been quiet for a few days now but yesterday it was back to normal. Asking if she could come and stay with me in Leeds. I always say yes but I know it will never happen. Five minutes after talking about it, she’s completely forgotten every single word. Even if she did manage to get as far as the station, she wouldn’t know where she was going. If I went down to Devon to bring her back here, she’d have forgotten I was coming.  Added to that, I can’t face her carer. He hates me and won’t even speak to me. If I turned up, he’d probably walk out. That’s one of my problems; I can’t stand confrontations. They make me physically ill.
It’s an impossible situation. My biggest fear is that if anything happened to either of them, would anyone let me know? 
The postman has just brought me a huge pile of rejections from Take a Break. Happy Mondays, eh???  Rocky  is alseep so I can't even get a hug.


Rocky the labrador took a while to settle down and has gone off his dry food. Far more interested in my roasted vegetables, especially the carrots.
I put him in the conservatory to sleep. There’s a nice comfortable wicker sofa, just the right size for a dog, but after two minutes he was barking. In the end, he went to sleep on the sofa in the living room. This morning, he’s still turning up his nose at his food but was happy enough to share my bacon sandwich.
Now to see how much work I can get done with him around.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Link to one of the best bogs about writing

Here's where I find out all kinds of info about markets, competitions and so on.

Sunday, 20th February Dog arriving.

At any minute now, a dog will be arriving. I recently joined a pet sitting agency where dogs come to say with me while their owners are away. The first day is always difficult as the dog(s) settle in. This one’s name is Rocky and he’s a 3 and a  half year old chocolate Labrador. He’s only staying for two nights so by the time he gets comfortable, he’ll be going home again.