Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Technology rules, K.O.

Today I went to Heydays for the first time in over a month. Couldn’t face the creative writing session, so I went to play reading instead. Luckily for me they were reading Blithe Spirit which is one of Noel Coward’s best plays. After that, I had a quick look round the market, buying a new purse and a Christmas card for my lodger. Then it was back home via a couple of shops, trying to find out about e readers. I need one that I can download my own books on to which means I need to be able to download from Kindle, but can I figure out which does what? It’s all gobbledygook. I found one called the Kobo Vox Colour e Reader but nowhere does it say it works with Kindle, it also mentions having to have a contract with Kobo. I’m dazed and confused. I could just get a kindle, but if I can find something that also plays music, accesses apps, and has Wi fi, then I’d obviously prefer that, not having a lap top, a smart phone or a tablet. It’s all very confusing.
I’ve just been amending/approving my first 2 writers guides so that I can get them sold on Amazon. They probably won’t appear until 2012, but better late than never.
The contract from the publisher hasn’t arrived. I chased him and he said he’d been busy, but quite honestly, I won’t really be happy until I see it and KNOW what’s going on. Who’d be a writer????

Monday, 28 November 2011

Wrong size envelopes!!!!

After matching up envelopes and scripts, I found an extra 12 stories that needed critiques that hadn’t been marked with a C. I’ve just finished doing those. Now to stuff envelopes. Unfortunately, many people sent tiny envelopes which means that once I’ve folded the story and the crit, the envelope will be too fat for small letter postage. In case anyone isn’t aware, if an envelope is thicker than 6mm, it has to go as a large letter. Of course I could send the small envelopes, but the writer would probably have to pay extra postage, AND go to the post office to collect their work. I’ll just have to use bigger envelopes and pass the cost on to NAWG. It’s not going to much fun, more fiddly and annoying but it’s all part of being involved in competitions.
I’ve been asked to play in the quiz team tonight. Unless Jack comes out of hospital and wants to go to the pub and watch, I’ll have to get a cab to Garforth. I’d much rather not bother but if I don’t turn up, the team will have to play with one man short.
ALmost forgot, rejections from The People's friend came in the post.

Sunday, 27 November 2011


Last night, I was wrotign out the crits and matching them up with their envelopes, only I ran into a problem. I had more envelopes than stories.
I phoned the woman who was doign the admin and it turns out that she made a few mistakes and missed marking up som,e of the stories with C for crit.
I find I have another 12 critiques to do for the competition so that's what I'm going to do for the rest fo the day.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Working at half speed

Until this virus gives up and goes away, I’ve been taking it easier than usual, working part instead of full time. Today I uploaded my first two writing guides to Lulu with ISBNs so that, once they’re approved, Amazon will sell them. I will only make pennies on each copy sold, but I won’t have to do anything, as they market, and pack and post.
After that, I went to the Christmas Fair at the local church where I found some jigsaws and other bits and pieces, plus I bought a ticket for the jazz Rock concert on Friday week.
Then I put some things up for sale on Ebay as it’s free listing weekend. I found an amazing web site where you can download classical music for free, so I’m selling some of the music I bought as I shall never be able to play most of it and I’ve got the pieces I DO want for free.
Tonight, I get my Strictly fix. I’ve been a massive fan since series one and for me, this is one of the best, as any of the remaining dancers could win. I really wouldn’t like to choose who’s going to come out on top. Jack, my crossword teacher and tame proof reader, phoned to say he should be out of hospital on Monday and that I don’t need to go and visit him as he has plenty of visitors. I said I’d go if he had any gaps, but I’m glad there’s no need as I’d hate to give him my virus. If he comes out on Monday he’s already talking about going to the quiz that night. As I want to welcome him back, that will mean missing the writers club but that’s no big deal.

Friday, 25 November 2011


Please let this stupid cold and cough GO so that I can see whether my self–therapy sessions have worked! It’s hard to judge how you feel when you’ve been bunged up with a virus for weeks and weeks and weeks.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Getting back to work, still coughing though

Today, apart from a break to go to crossword class (which is fun without Jack in charge but not the same) was spent working on the update to the book about my life.
I hope to have it done by the end of the month so that I can try to find a publisher. Anyone with any ideas of who to approach, please get in touch. The themes include abuse, therapy and dementia. I could publish it by myself, and will if I can't find another way, but I think it deserves a wider audience.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Tomorrow is another day

Today will, I hope, turn out to be the day that my life changed its path. I’ve just finished a course of self–therapy which has been very hard but is already making a difference.
Today I also finished correcting the errors in my book about my mother. I now have to upload the new version to Lulu. I’d like to apologise to those people who bought the original, uncorrected version but I wasn’t able to face proof–reading it until now.
The contract from my potential publisher hasn’t arrived yet which is disappointing. I can’t help wondering if I should try to find an agent, but it feels a bit late in the day for that now.
I have the same dilemma with the book about Mum. Now that I have finished the therapy, there’s a whole new second section that I have to write in order to finish it off.
Any advice, gratefully received.
Tonight, to celebrate all kinds of things – books on Amazon, finishing the corrections, reaching the end of the therapy and so on, I bought a bottle of champagne, not the very good stuff, that can wait for the book launch(es) but it will do for now.

Monday, 21 November 2011

A proper writer AT LAST

Today I discovered that my book on writing fillers (prompted by the wonderful reception my workshop on the subject at Swanwick received) is now on sale on Amazon for £5, listed as writing guide no. 3 by Linda Lewis. I’d been expecting some kind of notification! That means I can go ahead and get my other books out there (giving them an ISBN etc). It will have to wait though as I want to get the corrections done on my autobiography so that I can market that more than I have been doing. I’m also working on a second part to it which will cover the do it yourself therapy I’ve been going through.
I feel like a ‘proper’ author now that I have a page on Amazon with several books listed. Overall, I’m feeling far more positive than I have in years which is odd as I haven’t written any fiction for weeks.
I still have this virus, hanging on like grim death. Cough or no cough, I have to go to the writers club tonight as it’s the judging of the story competition. I doubt I will have won a prize. Club competitions tend to favour more literary writing. I need to go to see if I really am feeling better, plus I want to get hold of a copy of the club’s anthology as I haven’t seen it yet.
I’m back using my Nintendo Wii so that I get some exercise. It’s one of the things that quickly goes by the board when I’m depressed so using it again is another positive sign that I’m on the mend.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The publisher said 'Wow'!

I sent the book to the publisher and he’s already come back to say that he likes it and wants to go ahead. Now I have to see what he offers in the contract he’s sending to me.
I thought I’d feel more excited about this, but I don’t. I guess I‘ve been waiting for good things to happen for so long, it’s hard to get very enthusiastic.
I’ve finished working on the NAWG short story competition so I can send the shortlisted stories to the committee tomorrow. I’m glad I don’t have to choose the winner. Often there’s one story that stands out, tight from the start but that didn’t happen this time, so I’m glad the committee have to choose instead.
Now I need to think about the next Club competition. It has to be a memoir so that means having another dig into my past. I could not bother to enter, but there’s a £50 prize on offer.
I’ve gone back to using my Wii this week. I like to do half an hour at least a day as it does get me moving about, but lately I haven’t felt like bothering. Weird when you think about it as I really enjoy playing, especially the bowling and the tennis.
Iv’e just called the hospital to see how Jack, my cryptic crossword guru, is doing. I’d go and see him but he has tons of visitors and I’ve still got this annoying cough and cold. He’s had the op OK but he now has a temperature which is a worry. He’s such a nice man I don’t’ want him to suffer any more than he has to.
Tomorrow, at the writers club, it’s the judging of the short story competition. Last year I came nowhere, which, as I’m by far the most published member of the group, didn’t do anything for my self esteem. I’m hoping that this time, I can be more upbeat, whether I win a prize or not. It’s time to see whether the pills and the do it yourself therapy, are working.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Proof reading - not my favourite job

I’ve spent hours today, going through the book, checking it, and doing all the corrections I found when I was proof reading. It’s a job I really don’t enjoy, but it has to be done. I’ve sent the whole book to the publisher as an attachment. Now it’s time to wait and see what happens.
I took a break and spent half an hour playing my keyboard. I’m really really bad but I have some headphones now so I will be able to play when my lodger is at home, rather than having to wait for him to go out.
I was hoping to get the remaining critiques done today but it’s already gone five. I’ve still got this daft virus which isn’t helping my energy levels but if I want to get anywhere, I need to try and work, even when I really don’t feel like it.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Thursday without Jack

I’ve spent most of today proof reading the book I’ve been working on. That’s done now so all that’s left is to go through it again and make all the corrections. Then it will be time to send it off to the publisher. I hope he likes it.
Last night, I sorted out my final twelve for the NAWG competition which I will send to the committee once I’ve done the critiques for the long listed stories.
I went to my crossword class this afternoon. It was strange without Jack, the man who normally runs the group. He’s in hospital having had an operation. I’ve been wishing him well and it seems to have worked as he’s already called to say he’s through the op and on the mend.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Tuesday 15th November

Tuesday 15th November
I had an appointment with the doctor at 9.20 but when I got there it had been arranged at the other surgery. I’d called the wrong number. On the piece of paper the doctor gave to me were the numbers of both surgeries, I just called the one on the right without even thinking. I felt really fed up. I’m still not well and dragging myself out didn’t help my mood, especially as I was due to go into town later to see Relate. I made another appointment to go back to the doctor at 3.40 and headed home. I was in a grumpy mood and almost managed to talk myself out of going to see Julia, then I remembered the workshop on Saturday and how starting out with negative thoughts could set me up for a disappointing day, so I decided to go and try to make the most of it.
I’m glad I did.
The session was really helpful. On the way home I had to go and collect the shoes I’d ordered, then I went back to Crossgates going straight to the doctor. He gave me two months worth of anti depressants to see me through to 2012. He was concerned that I still had the cough and other symptoms but I told him I definitely did think I was on the mend so it would be best to leave it a bit longer.
By the time I got home, I felt exhausted so I just slumped into a chair and finished a jigsaw then watched TV. I didn't even turn on the computer.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Working hard

It’s been really hard work these past few days as I’ve been doing the critiques for the stories that didn’t make the long list in the NAWG competition. There were 83 of them. The competition attracted 249 entries which was really great. It’s always a bit of a worry the first time you try something new and I was every aware how much NAWG needed the competition to be a success.
I find critiques difficult to do as I’m very aware how hard it can be to accept criticism. I just hope everybody feels the extra £3 they paid was worth it.
I need to get back to the book as soon as possible. I’d hoped to have it ready by now but this b*****d virus ruined that idea. I still have a fearsome cough but I’m sleeping better now so I’ve decided to risk going out and about again. Tonight I’m going out with my quiz team. I have no idea whether I’ll be reading the questions, answering them, or simply offering support, but it will be a nice change to get out of an evening.
Yesterday I discovered that there are web sites where you can download classical music for free so I have taken full advantage. Now all I need is for my lodger to go out so I can have a practice.
Tomorrow morning I have to go into town to see the woman at Relate so the book may have to wait a while longer.

Sunday, 13 November 2011


Saturday 12th November
I spent the day at a workshop called THE POWER OF ATTRACTION. It was touch and go whether I went as I still had a bad cough, but in the end I decided to get a taxi there as that would at least save a long walk in the cold.
The workshop was meant to focus on two books, THE SECRET and THE POWER OF ATTRACTION but the Secret was hardly referred to. The workshop was about positive thinking, how our beliefs get in our way, and the power of language. I didn’t’ get much out of it mainly because when I tried to speak in anything more than a whisper, I started coughing, but what did strike me was how negative many of the people were. I would have thought that, for one day at least, they could have tried to embrace ethos of the workshop.
I went with my lodger, John and was very annoyed when everybody thought he was years younger than he actually is, and that I was older. I know I don’t look well, but….. What I’d really like to do is find a decent hairdresser who can advise me on what hairstyle would suit me best. I have no idea whether I should go short or long, fringe or not, pulled back, or over the ears. I’ve never taken much interest before.
As it was a bright day, we walked back to the train station via the German Christmas market. I love the market. It’s a riot of colours and smells. I bought 3 beeswax candles, two of which I’ll light on Christmas Day. The third, an angel, I will keep.
I decided not to even try and do any work and have the whole day away from the computer for a change. This morning, it was back to working on the critiques for the NAWG short story competition. They seem to be taking ages to do although the pile is going down. I’d rather get them out of the way before tackling anything else.
I had a blip with Facebook on Friday. I couldn’t access my pages. It seems to be OK now.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Friday morning

I don’t seem to be getting far today. I sent two stories to Oz, but then Facebook threw a wobbly. All my friends, photos, groups, posts, gone, like I’m back to square one. I tried to bring everything back but nothing worked. I really can’t face having to build it up again so I might just have to leave it for now. It’s bad timing but what can you do. I have such a lot to do at the moment with the judging and crits for the NAWG competition, plus I need to get the book done so that I can send it to the publisher.
At least I'm not still in bed, which is an improvement.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Kindle launch

I’ve just sent this press release to Writers Forum who said they will publish it, and my local paper who I’m waiting to hear from. I still feel like death only just warmed up so all this excitement is going way over my head. I don’t even own a Kindle.
‘Newcastle based Byker Books are delighted to announce that Linda Lewis – the Queen of 'Womag' fiction – has been signed to produce exclusive Kindle collections of short stories around various themes including Crime and Love. A series of writers’ guides will also be published, aimed at anyone who would like to be published in the competitive world of Women’s Magazines. The books will follow the Byker Books ethos of being available to all pockets and will be priced at just 99p each. Their mission is to expose and promote new authors whilst providing the reading public with quality material at an affordable price.
The first collection, simply called 'Crime' will be available from the Amazon Kindle store from Saturday 12th November 2011.
Linda, who writes the Short Story Success column each month in Writers Forum. She met the publisher at the National Association of Writers Groups Festival back in 2010. ‘That prompted me to submit a story to their 5th Radgepacket short story collection which was accepted. We met again at NAWG in 2011 and this venture is the result. Calling me the Queen of Womag was definitely their idea. There are many writers who deserve that title more than me.’
For all enquiries please contact or visit Linda can be contacted via her web site '

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

fed up feeling bad

I didn’t get up until after 12. The cough is deeper now but I’m hoping that change means I’m reaching the end of this bug. My head isn't aching so much nor is my thorat so fingers crossed.
it's such a struggle - keep tying to work or give in to being ill.
I’ve decided I'm definitely not going anywhere until I feel better which means missing the Spice quiz tonight. I can’t risk making this worse so it’s batten down the hatches time and fingers crossed I’m all right for Saturday.
I’ve read all the competition entries now and have made a long list. Now it’s time to start writing the critiques, then I can go back to the long list and read them again before deciding on the short list.
My new found friend, Rae, told me today that I have a story in the latest Fiction Feast. I've been so down, I hadn't even noticed!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

thanks for all the messages

A big thank you to everyone who sent me messages and tips to try to get rid of this virus/lurge or whatever it is.
I spent the morning in bed having coughed most of the night and have only just forced myself to get up, however, I’m feeling this might not have been such a good idea.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Trying to keep working but feeling dire

I feel a lot worse today. I felt so rough, I took a load of competition entries back to bed and read them there. My head’s bunged up and aching and I’m full of cold. The worse thing is the cough. I’m wondering if my body’s falling apart to try and stop me carrying on with the therapy, but I have no intention of letting that happen.

Sunday, 6 November 2011


I’ve been working my way through the competition entries, taking out any that may go into the short list. It’s going to be quite a long job.
Unbelievably, my virus is back with a vengeance and I feel dire again. It’s as though my body wants me to stay inside and out of everyone’s way while I work things out. The way I feel at the moment, it might just get its way.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

November 5th

Another batch of competition entries arrived this morning (7.30 as usual), and there are still a few more to come. I’m very happy that so many people entered and that NAWG will make some much needed profit. At the same time, I can’t help wondering why I volunteered to judge to shortlist when it’s going to take me AGES. Apart from reading stories, I sent my column to Writers Forum today and two books to Byker books ( which they’re going to put on Kindle.
Tonight, it’s round to a neighbour’s for a drink as it’s her birthday. Christine is the lady with the greyhounds. She and Paul lost one a few weeks ago and they’ve just found a replacement. He’s called Paddy and he’s six. Going round there means I’ll have to record Strictly and watch it later. I’m hopelessly addicted to the show and have been since year one.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Feeling more productive

Quite a productive day all round.
I’m making the spare bedroom into a den/hideaway. The furniture’s been moved and the bed stood on end. I’ve painted a shelf and filled some holes. Next week I’ll look for a comfy chair. I already have a do not disturb sign for the door.
My novel THE MAGIC OF FISHKEEPING arrived from the (German) publisher today, and it’s for sale on Amazon. Sadly the price is ridiculously high so nobody will want to buy it but there’s an ebook version coming soon so with any luck that will sell. Whatever happens, I’m glad to have put the book to bed at last.
My first Kindle book, launched with the help of Byker Books, goes on sale on the eleventh of this month which is exciting. They want to publish more of my collections, and the writers guides so I’m going to give it a try and see what happens.
It was so mild this afternoon, I ventured out into the garden and cut down the beans and peas and did a bit of tidying up. I didn’t do too much as I still have a stubborn cough, but I felt I’d achieved something. Found some sweet peas to pick too as well as some seeds to dry ready for next year.
Tonight, I’m going to read some more competition entries from the NAWG competition. I’ve been very happy with the standard of the stories, that means I have to be think hard about which ones to shortlist. I’m so glad it’s been a success.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Thursday 3rd November

I’m reading Lollipop Shoes by Joanna Harris at the moment. It took a while to pull me in as I had difficulty telling the voices apart. It’s written from three different first person viewpoints.
I managed to get to my crossword class today but the short walk felt like an uphill struggle as I’m still under par. I feel as though I have a tight band round my chest as if I could be on the verge of a panic attack. I’ve decided to stay in again tonight; the last thing I want to do is get worse again.
My non fiction book has now been proofread so I have to go through it again making any changes that are needed. My tame proof reader is down with a heavy cold so I’m going to proof read my next collection of crime stories myself. I figure if I use a ruler under each line that will slow me down and help me to spot any errors. That’s the theory anyway.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

November starts

Tuesday 1st November.
I printed off the book I’ve been working on and gave it my lodger to read through and check, then went to see Julia at Relate and we talked about all kinds of things. I told her that I’d written to the care home saying I wouldn’t be in touch again. I told her how change felt scary, how I’d been lonely, miserable and afraid for so long it felt normal to me, and the thought of being happy and successful was terrifying because it was so unknown. By the time I left Relate I felt tired and rained, but I made myself go to the shoe shop. I have never had decent shoes. Now, with my wide feet, I’ve gone for larger sizes to give me the width, so finding out about this shop that did wide fittings seemed like something I had to do, for me. I found two pairs, both more expensive than any shoes I’d ever bought. One with good solid soles for walking and a plain, simple pair for evenings out. I wasn’t sure size five would fit, but with the extra width, they did.
Getting home felt like an uphill climb of several miles. My chest was hurting as though I was on the edge of a panic attack, and I felt utterly worn out. By the time I got home, all I wanted to do was collapse into a chair, so that’s exactly what I did.