Wednesday, 29 February 2012

A day of firsts AND story sales

I went to Heydays this morning when I should have stayed home. I really wasn’t in the mood. I snapped at the man on the desk when he pointed out that my membership only had a week left to run.
For the past few days, all I seem to have been doing is moving furniture. The good news is that John is sleeping at his place for the first time tonight, the bad news is that I feel very down. Luckily there’s more good news – the first daffodils from a £1 bag I got from Lidl’s are out, the first frog spawn of the year has been laid in the small pond, and I have two more story sales to The people’s Friend.
It’s ten past eight. My publisher has just emailed the amended pdf of the  book and the cover/blurb which I need to approve so he can hit the print button but I really can’t face going through it now. I need a cup of tea, and a slump in front of the TV with my wasgij (that’s a strange jigsaw where the solution is NOT the picture on the box).

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Tuesday 28th February 2012

The tour of Leeds Town Hall yesterday was worth every penny. Glorious from the OTT Victorian architecure to the fascinating cells and courts. Afterwards I grabbed a quick meal then went straight to the Writers Circle ideas evening.
I wish I hadn’t bothered. Lots of talk, lots of moaning, little decided, and no chance to make the suggestions I wanted – eg. So something different at the Monday meetings, every now and then.
They’re finding it hard to get people to do committee jobs. I couldn’t help comparing the situation to that at Swanwick where you have to go to Swanwick 4 times before you can stand for the committee and then you face stiff competition from all the other people who also want to get involved.
My publisher sent the pdf of the whole cover today plus the text. I think he’s done a great job. The biggest surprise was the number of quirky illustrations inside the book which give it a real lift.
Lifewise, I’m still weepy. John is taking his time getting all his stuff out of the way so the house is still a mess. He has Virgin coming tomorrow afternoon and is round the house now setting up the computer desk and so on, but everywhere I look there are still lots of things that are his including umpteen large heavy tool boxes. I have nod idea where he’s going to put them, but as they say, it’s not my problem. I’ve let him carry on using the garage and the loft, in exchange for help walking the dogs who come to stay, but knowing John, he’ll want more. Thanks to everyone who has been in touch, or sent good wishes. I really appreciate it.
Now for an advertisement. Some people from my Writers Club have started a weekend for writers/reader/ anyone interested in books.  It’s called the OTLEY WORD FEAST and runs from 9–10 March in Leeds. See  There are loads of great events including Iby Knill talking about her experiences in the second world war. Her book, THE WOMAN WITHOUT A NUMBER         was featured in the BBCs programme, My Story. She’s well worth a listen. Please, if you have any contacts in this area (Leeds/Yorkshire), could you let them know about the weekend?

Sunday, 26 February 2012

feeling emotional

An emotional day.
I knew it would be hard, and it is being hard.
John has taken possession of his new abode and seems keen to get settled in. The big furniture is going tomorrow morning, then I’ll have space here to try and get back on some kind of order.
His place has potential,  but it’s a bit grubby (the recycling bin as well as the ordinary one was overflowing with rubbish) and not very big. Still, I’m sure he’ll be fine. He has a nice garden. The  one at the front is well fenced in and very private plus the house seems to be in quiet, peaceful area which is good.
I have shed some tears today, not that I’m going to miss him because I won’t, it’s just that I don’t have enough friends yet to stop me from feeling too alone.
I’m not in the mood to do much this evening, thanks to the remains of the cough. That said, there are a couple of things I do need to do before I close down whether or not I'll manage them is another thing entirely. 

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Long weekend, long month, long time waiting

This is proving to be a tiring weekend. I’m finding it hard to believe that tomorrow, John collects the key to his new home. Right now, my house is a mess, but I’m exhausted after all the hard work we did yesterday and really don’t feel  like doing much else.
Today’s character workshop was a bit disappointing but I’m glad I made the effort.
The next couple of days are going to be hard on may levels. The one thing I’m fairly sure of is that I won’t get much work done. I have the freebie book to finish and will earmark some time for that tomorrow. No strength left to continue today so will go and laugh at Harry Hill. He always makes me smile.

replyimng to Vikki

Vikki asked when the new book is actually out. 
I wish I knew for sure. It’s scheduled for mid to late March and I have a launch pencilled in (in Leeds) for the 31st. Anyone who wants to can pre order from my web site – Any orders pvia my web site receive a bonus eBook about short story competitions.
Sorry to be so vague. This is the first time I’ve been involved in a full scale launch.

Friday, 24 February 2012

The last weekend with John as my lodger

Louis, my favourite Labrador, went home this morning –  just trotted off without a backward glance. Mind you he does the same thing when he arrives. He’s such a happy, well–adjusted dog, I don’t think he cares who he’s with, so long as they love him.
Once he was safely out of the way it was time to start the removal process. John is taking a lot of my things with him when he leaves to save having to buy new. He’s hired a man and a van to move the large lumps on Monday, so today was spent bringing things downstairs, putting furniture into or removing it from, the garage, taking up large rugs, putting different ones down etc. It was very hard work especially as neither of us has got over the cold bug yet. Getting a lot of the heavy stuff done today means he’ll have time to get his strength back before Monday.
I have a workshop on building characters to go to tomorrow. I really don’t feel up to it, so I’ll see how I am when I wake up (at least with the dog gone I might get some uninterrupted sleep). I may go and leave early.
Right now I want to curl up in front of the TV with a large glass of something nice but before I can do that, I need to make sure my bedroom is more or less straight after all the furniture shifting.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

message from Byker Books

Good Afternoon,

Just a bit of info about some new stuff from the tiny little upstart Northern publisher with a bite bigger than it's bark (that's us by the way!Open-mouth smile

We're pleased to announce that we've recently published another couple of very different tomes on the Amazon Kindle :-

'Tales From The Longcroft' - Darren Sant 

Darren has created an excellent series of gritty urban tales (as evidenced by the five star reviews he's getting!) set in and around the fictional Longcroft Estate. Featuring the kind of flawed, blurred and, occasionally, downright sinister characters that inhabit today's Britain his work is a masterpiece of crime fiction and social realism combined. All we can say is just enjoy reading this first volume of three stories, look forward to the next one and, most of all, be glad you don't live there!

Why Short Stories Get Rejected - Linda Lewis

Did you resolve to get into print this year? Thought about writing for ages but never quite got around to doing it? Well we can help you change all that!Byker Books are delighted to announce that Linda Lewis – the Queen of ‘Womag’ fiction – has been signed to produce exclusive, Kindle only, writers guides. These much sought after books will give those writers who are serious about getting into print invaluable advice on the reality of getting published in todays climate. They will also follow the Byker ethos of being available to all pockets and as such will be priced at just 99p each. This continues our mission to expose and promote new and unknown authors whilst providing the reading and writing public with quality material at an affordable price. Again - these claims are borne out by the five star reviews that the series is garnering across the board.

At only 99p each these titles couldn't be better value for money so check them out as soon as you can.

Right then, the hard sell's over - time to give you something. We've interviewed Radgepacket stalwart Ian Ayris and you can see what he had to say for himself ahead of the publication of his debut novel 'Abide With Me' HERE. Also, he kindly donated a signed copy of the book for you to win in our competition HERE.

Right then, nearly the weekend, so keep on keeping on.



Byker Books
Industrial Strength Fiction

it's a no from NAWG

I feel a bit better today, thanks goodness. Just as well because NAWG finally came back to me about the book. For years (literally), I’ve been trying to get them to let me write a book for them i.e. publish under their banner. I’d tried various different pitches for several different books, but was always being told, sorry, no. Maybe later. This time I thought they might actually go for it, seeing as I helped them with the competition last year, but it’s another no.
Shame in some ways as it would have been a fun book to write. It was going to be aimed at writers groups, new, old, and starting up, and would have been filled with fun exercises, guidelines, helpful hints and so on. Never mind. At least I can take that off my list of things to do.
My soon to be ex–lodger has the same bug as me, but, as he’s a man with nothing to do but think of himself, he has it cubed. He’s hardly moved for two days. Louis goes home tomorrow morning. After that, we’re meant to be moving furniture, taking the sofa apart and so on. That’s not going to happen if he’s comatose.
Right, time to put a better mood back on. Tonight HOUSE starts again so I can drool over Hugh Laurie. If that isn’t good news, I don’t know what is.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Walking the dog

You know what they say about silver linings?
Today I’m feeling pretty rough – hacking cough, aching bones, and other boring symptoms, well my soon to be ex–lodger, who normally walks big dogs for me, has caught my bug and taken to his bed, or rather, hasn’t dragged himself out of bed all day. That meant I had to take Louis out for his walks. Louis is a love, a darling, I love him to bits, but he’s as strong as a herd of buffalo. When he wants to say hello to another dog, it’s very hard to hold him back. Last time I walked him I had to hang on to a lamp post to stop myself being dragged across the street when he spotted an Alsatian so it was with some trepidation that we set off. It was cold, wet and winy. I was coughing like a broken down train  but I managed it. That might not sound big to anyone else but it is for me. I’ve been rather worried that once John has moved out he won’t be as good at turning up for dog walking as he could be (the deal is he gets to store things in my garage in return for dog walking and occasional grass mowing). In short, I was wondering whether I would have to give up the job, something I really don’t’ want to do. The dogs give me so much pleasure. Now I know that even if he falls in love and moves to Timbuktu, I can cope. If I can do it when I’m ill, and manage not to be pulel doff my feet when he meets TWO dogs he wanted to play with, then I can manage without John. That is VERY good to know.
I’ve been getting on with the competition guide today and despite the bug, making good progress. The web site is starting to look good too and will be done by the time my book comes out. If you have time to check the site over, I’d love to hear any comments


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Cover done

Another unsatisfactory day thanks to being below par. That said, managed after a few more tweaks, to get the cover sorted for the book.  It’s going to sell at £12. My publisher suggested wants me to sell it at full price via my web site, offering an extra something to make up for the price not being discounted as it doubtless will be on Amazon. The idea I’ve come up with is an eBook (nothing fancy, just a pdf I can send to people by email) about entering short story competitions. If anyone can think of an alternative bit of added value that I can offer, please let me know.
This afternoon, a woman from The Dog House came to see me. She looks after dogs on a bigger scale and was looking to expand. As she would pay me slightly more than I get now, doing it myself, I’m definitely interested. That said, I don’t want to do too much as some dogs make it difficult to work when they stay here – need lots of attention and so on. I will have to see what she offers me. Tonight I should have been going to a Chinese dinner shuffle with Spice, but had to cancel due to this bug. John’s gone by himself which means I’m on my own (with Louis of course). It’s a shame I don’t feel well enough to take advantage of that fact.
I’m going to miss Heydays tomorrow too. I’m hoping if I manage to get some sleep tonight, I might start to feel better. If so, I might be able to get some work done.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Feeling rough, and, I admit, a bit sorry for myself.

Less than a week to go before John moves out and I’ve come down with a stinking cold. I hate it when that happens. I feel I should be able to keep working but it’s very hard. All I managed to do today was write three fillers!
I was mean to be going out tonight and have had to call that off, plus I was mean to be going to a dinner shuffle tomorrow, which again I’ve had to cancel.
I felt so rough I went back to bed this afternoon. Louis came with me, and having him there was oddly comforting. He really is the most lovely dog.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Funny old day

I feel rough as anything due to lack of sleep, and an annoying cough and cold.
John went to pick up the bed he bought on eBay this morning which bring sit home that next weekend, he’ll be moving out. Even thinking about it gives me a pain round my chest, even though I know it’s for the best.
I spent a few hours working on the words to go on my revamped web site, then put forward four more ideas for weekend writing courses, then finished by filling in an application form for the show POINTLESS. I also managed to squeeze in a walk round Temple Newsam with Louis the Labrador as it was such a bright day. I’m thinking that’s enough for today as I really do feel grotty. I’m waiting to see if the leader of my quiz team calls to ask me to play tomorrow night. Fingers crossed he doesn’t then I can stay home and drink Lemsip!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Writers groups in Leeds

L has asked if I know of any writers groups in Leeds.
There are quite a few, depending on what you’re after. If you’re semi or retired, the U3A have writing groups amongst there activities. If you’re in the Crossgates (LS15) area, Good Neighbours run a  group on Thursday mornings. There’s also a writing group based in Seacroft library (which I go to) who meet on the 3rd Weds afternoon each month.
The central library in the city centre hosts another group who meet on the 3rd Thursday afternoon. Then there’s Leeds Writers Circle, one of the oldest and biggest around. They meet Monday evenings, mostly fortnightly, and also hold workshops on Saturdays every now and then (I’m running one on short stories in May). If any of those are of interest and you’d like more info, just leave another comment.

Feeling the fear

Today is the 18th of February. On the 26th, John, my lodger (and once upon a time, long long ago, husband) is moving out. I can hardly explain how scary this is for me. I tried living on my own once before and sank down into such a deep depression, I really didn’t want to live. It was so bad, I suggested John move in as my lodger. I’ve been stuck with him ever since. It has NOT been a happy relationship. We married too soon after my third husband died and it was a mistake from day one. Once the initial physical attraction subsided, there was nothing left, but would I give up? Oh, no, I hung on in there like the proverbial bull dog, thinking that if I tried hard enough, if I did all I could to help him, our relationship would improve. Of course that never happened because the only person you can change is yourself. Exactly the same thing happened to me regarding my mother. I did all I could, put up with all kinds of bad treatment, and kept going back for more. Ending that cycle hurt so badly, it was like a bereavement, and now, with John, I have to go through the same agonies all over again at a time when I’m still recovering and when I don’t have a support group in place, but I HAVE to do it. I have to feel the fear and do it anyway, to quote Susan Jeffers amazing book. Once April’s here, I am sure I will feel so much better meanwhile I just have to get on with it, and stay strong.
For the past week, I’ve been running round in circles, feeling very very stressed, tired and anxious, finding simple tasks difficult, losing important pieces of paper, forgetting things etc etc. It took me until yesterday to realise that it’s all tied up with this massive change that’s about to happen in my life. So, it’s time to calm down, take a step back and be kind to myself.
I think I’ll go give Louis a big hug!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Panic setting in

As the days count down, I’m starting to panic about my lodger moving out.
Some days, he’s the only person I speak to.
I’m also finding it hard to cope with al the non–creative stuff that I’ve been doing lately. It seems never ending. I want to get back to putting words down on paper. I THINK I’ve got some idea about the web site now so will be able to get something sent off fairly soon. The question I had was this, was it better to revamp the current site, or launch a new one. I THINK I’ve decided to adapt the old one, then gradually develop a second one for things like on line courses, feedback, writing tips and so on.
I forced myself to go the Writers Club last night and was pleased to discover that I’d taken second prize (£30 and a mug) in the memoir competition. As it was the first time I’d entered that kind of comp, the judge’s comments were encouraging  Another reason why I’m keen to get back to the book!
Tonight, is another Spice night and again I’m wishing I hadn’t put my name down because I feel so shattered (Louis is a lovely lovely dog but he did get me up at 3.30 a.m., 5.30 a.m. and 7.30 a.m.). It’s a wine tasting, something I’ve never tried before so I’ll just have to make the effort.
Why is it so much harder to go out of an evening in February?????

Thursday, 16 February 2012


I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever find time to do any actual writing ever again! Today was swallowed up by sorting through photos to find the right ones for the new web site, then transferring them  all on to the same disc. Next I have to work on a biography and an ‘about the author’  page for the book, together with a list of al the mags I’ve been published in, and the details of my other books. I’ve manage dot give Louis a few hugs. He settles in so quickly. I don’t think he cares whose house he’s in so long as there’s food.
Again, I’ve run out of time. It’s the judging of the memoir competition at my writers circle tonight (they normally meet on Mondays but tonight is the only day the judge is free) . I should go as I’ve entered although it’s unlikely that I’ll win anything as my memoir is a bit dark. Shame it’s cold dark and threatening to rain, but I really should try and make an effort. Oh well, in that case, I guess I’d better sign off….

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Sorting out paperwork for Swanwick

I had two creative writing classes to go to today – one at Heydays, the other at East Leeds, Writers Group. At both, I’m just one of the group, and definitely NOT in charge. Both were very good and I came away with some useful work, although whether I can do anything with them is another question.
In between these I completed various forms for Swanwick – course outline, biography, booking form and so on, so at least that’s out of the way. I ha dplanned to work on the new web site, but it was making me far too stressed. What to put in, where to put it, how many words. I’m going to put it away until Friday and work on it over the weekend when I have no interruptions.
Louis arrives bright and early tomorrow. He’s a chocolate Labrador, and the only dog (so far) who sleeps on my bed so I have a week of broken nights to look forward to, but as I am very very fond on him, I’ll just have to put up with it. His owners are going to the Red Sea and Petra on a cruise!
It’s seven o’clock so I’m going to have a quick sieve through some photos and see if I can find the ones I want for the web site.
If you knew how much of a muddle I was in….
Quick plug for Swanwick, IMO the best writers summer school money can buy. 
oBookings being taken now.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

What went on in Liverpool

I finished going through the pdf of the book, typed up a list of all the things I wanted changed and sent it off. I’ll give the publisher a day or so then call him to see what he made of my cover design!
A copy of Irelands Own with one of my stories arrived this morning. That means I can send him another one. He only lets me send him a new story when he’s used one of the ones he has in stock because he gets so many submissions.
Right, that trip to Liverpool. I could write this – the coach was an hour late, the driver insisted on playing unfunny tapes, when I got to Liverpool it was freezing. My room was next to a lift shaft so I didn’t get any sleep the first night. I had to change rooms but the new one was far too hot, so I still didn’t get much sleep, the food was dull, plus we had to eat dinner at 5.30 and get up at 7.30 for breakfast, even on the Sunday! I didn’t think much of the Beatles experience and it was too cold to go on a river cruise, plus the coach left at half one on the Sunday, earlier than I’d expected.
All the above is true, but thankfully it was the new me who went on the trip – a new me who didn’t expect things to be perfect.
These are just some of the highlights.
Playing a giant piano like the one in the film BIG, pavement art, the amazing variety of artwork at the Walker Gallery, the John Moore prize winners (modern art), sculpture on the roadside, plenty to eat and free wine to wash it down with, a quick tour of both cathedrals, a tour of the Tate where I was delighted to find a Dali I hadn’t seen before, Matisse art books and some very peculiar modern art, then on to the Slavery Museum where I listened to the blues. On Sunday, a quick visit to the glorious World Museum with its aquarium and Bug House (right up my street) and a wonderful Natural history section to rival anything I’ve seen before, plus floors of other stuff including Mummies. All the above, apart from the Beatles experience, were free to enter. I had the best time, and will definitely be going back. I only had time to do a quick sample of each place so next time, I can linger. Only one real problem, I went for a break, and came back absolutely worn out and exhausted!

Monday, 13 February 2012

technology's great, when it works.

I have a headache I’ve spent the whole day reading the pdf file of my new book, making a list of any changes or corrections I wanted made. I thought if I converted the file to Word, I could make the amendments myself, change it back to pdf and email it back to the publisher. Unfortunately, it took an hour to convert the document then when it finally finished, it had changed so many things – layout, letters hanging off line and so on, it was a complete waste of time, so now I have to type a list of all the changes and let the publisher do them. Why does it all have to be so complicated? The good news is I’ve reached the end of the book so all I have to do (!) is type the list. I'd been hoping to type up some notes about the weekend. I had such a great time in Liverpool that I don’t want to forget anything. I guess it will have to wait a bit longer because once I’ve done the work on the book, I then have some lessons to catch up on for my on line pupils, then I need to get the new web site sorted, THEN I need to work on my course outline for Swanwick…. The worst part of all this is, nothing I’m doing right now is in the slightest bit creative. I was meant to be going to a Spice New Members Evening tonight but the weather, my weariness from walking far too many miles over the weekend, plus this headache from staring at words on a screen for hours on end, have conspired to make me stay home. I don’t think I’ll be going to Salsa tomorrow either.... That said, it's great to be busy!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Worn out!

I’ve only just arrived home from a weekend away in Leeds. I am so tired, I can hardly type. What an AMAZING CITY. I LOVED it and will definitely be going back.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

off to Liverpool

I have trouble taking time off. I can waste time, watching TV, or playing daft games on the computer, but that’s not what I mean. When I go away, I usually take work with me – notepads to plan ideas, magazines for market research. I’m always thinking about the next story. Tomorrow I’m going to Liverpool for the first time, a treat I’ve been promising myself for 2 and a half years. I’d like to go as a tourist – with no hidden agenda or plans but I’m already thinking about a story set on the ferry that crosses the Mersey, or a nostalgia piece based round the Beatles. That’s the problem with writers, we don’t get any time off, except when we’re asleep. Of course, today my publisher decides to send me the pdf file of the book for me to check, just when I’m going away. He also wants a photo which is a big problem. Cameras, especially still cameras (for some reason TV’s not so bad) hate me and I have NO photos taken in the last two years that I would want anyone else to see. When I got married, last time around, I asked the photographer to take five times as many photos as usual to make sure he ended up with some decent ones. I might just have to try that again. Not get married, I mean try a professional photographer. Any takers? I’m in Leeds if you like a challenge. I’ve been thinking lately about how nice it would be to meet a decent man and find myself part of a family. People say that if the right man is to come along, it’s going to be when you’re not expecting it. The trouble is I’m always expecting it. I can’t help myself, every place I go, every scenario conjures up a romantic story – I could meet him there, bump into him on the ferry on Saturday, sit next to him on the coach, etc etc etc. These days, as I’m finally learning to like myself a tiny bit, the idea that somebody could like me back and not be put off by my age, my physical condition, my lack of great riches, that somebody might see the real me, and not care what I look like, has started to feel like a possibility for the first time in my entire life. It’s the 9th of February. On and around the 26th, John will be leaving. Maybe just maybe once there is a space in my life, friends maybe even lovers (one at a time), will come along to fill the gap. See, I’m off , dreaming again. Oh well, maybe I should start a self–help group for incurable romantics. I won’t be blogging over the weekend as I don’t possess the necessary equipment i.e. no smart phone, iPad, or laptop, so it’s farewell until Monday.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Designing a book cover

I make plans, and then something happens. My publisher sent an email with various ideas for the book cover and asked me to ring him. After talking to him, I went right off the idea I’d had and fell for his instead. That meant I had to spend HOURS trawling through hundreds of images on the internet. Now I have to figure out what to do with them. I’m going to take the ones I like away with me to Liverpool and have a ponder then. A day or so ago, I put together an outline for a weekend residential short story course and I’m very happy to say that it’s going ahead. It will be in Leeds, the weekend starting 9th November so if you know anyone who might want details, do let me know as I’d love it to be a big success. I’m off out again .tonight to another Spice event. This time it’s a quiz with the theme of food and drink. I HAD planned to do a quick swot this afternoon, but didn’t have time. It’s at a new venue which is, conveniently, in Call Lane so I’ll get to check out the location for the salsa class on Valentine’s Day. Now to get ready……

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

CBT, lunch, a quiz, + planning a short story course

I was up early this morning to go and see Rachael, the lady who’s been helping me, using CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). I thought that would be the last session, but she wants me to go back at the end of March so we can produce a relapse pack – ideas, resources and so on for use if I start to feel depressed, or drift backwards. We spent most of today’s session working on one of my problem areas – the difference between showing off or boasting, and self promotion. With the book coming out at the end of March, I need to talk to people, make connections, do what I can to help market it – that means promoting myself so that people will want to read what I have written. I was brought up thinking that whatever I did was not good enough. My parents were never proud of anything I did. Somewhere along the line I learned that talking about your achievements was bad. I learned this lesson so well that I have NEVER put one of photos into a frame, let alone displayed it on a wall, even though my work was good enough to be accept by a top photographic agency (FLPA). I have never put any of my paintings up either. I was so scared of looking boastful or showing off. This attitude makes putting a web site together extremely hard which is why I asked for Rachael’s help. I had to go out again at lunch time as Good Neighbours puts on a thank you lunch for all its volunteers. There was an excellent hot and cold buffet which I took rather too much advantage of. Right now, I’ve stopped weighing myself as I know I will be putting on weight while I wait for John to move out. I also know I can shift it once he’s gone. Nobody came to the quiz/mind games group, so I toured the charity shops before coming home. I found a decent CD called Electric Dreams with tracks from Soft Cell and The Eurythmics, and so on. I’m bidding on a music system on eBay as John will be taking the small one with him when he goes and I want a replacement for my new den. In between my two outings, I wrote a silly little story, just for fun more than anything, which I’ve just sent to Oz as it’s the type of think they might go for. I also put together an outline for a proposed short story course to be run over a weekend in Leeds, hopefully in November if the woman organising it approves it. It’s such a big topic, but hopefully she will go ahead with the idea. Once I get over the nerves, I very much enjoy teaching and talking to groups and would really like to build up that area of my work so fingers crossed. Now for a challenge. At the lunch, this little quiz was handed round. The answers are all parts of the body. For example, the clue might be ‘a young cow’ to which the answer would be calf. 1. With lids 2. With caps 3. Some people bite them 4. Two established measures (2 answers) 5. A small flat fish 6. a lot of shellfish 7. Places of worship 8. Lofty trees 9. weapons of war 10. a large wooden box 11. weather cocks 12. Impudence 13. refuse 14. a head of corn 15. sticky substance 16. students. I will post the answers in a day or two. It’s just gone seven and I’m feeling bushed so I’m going to turn off and slump in front of the TV until it’s time for bed (after I’ve washed up that is). I knew I’d forget something – I’ve also herd from the library. I’m going to talk to a new writers group based at Leeds Central Library in March.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Start of a busy week

I have been asked about running a weekend course aimed at short story writers so I need to put together an outline that’s so good, the organiser takes my arm off. I have lots of ideas, but I was wondering if anyone who reads this blog could help me. What would you want to see on a course? Are there any questions you want answered? What kind of exercises have worked for you in the past? Were there any that didn’t? In short, any feedback, hints, tips are very welcome. My email address is or you can leave comments here. Many thanks. It’s the start of a crowded week (at least as far as I’m concerned!). I’m out tonight, tomorrow I have to go see Rachael, attend the Good Neighbours Volunteers Lunch, then run the mind games/quiz group, Wednesday is Heydays, Thursday I have my crossword class, then Friday I’m off to Liverpool for the weekend. In the old days, this kind of activity would have sent me into a blind panic, and I would probably have cancelled a couple of things. Now I still feel a bit wobbly, but I know, if I stay calm, and think clearly, I can handle it. Just, please, make the snow go away!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

A Short Story Day

Today, was a dedicated short story day, so I sat down to write something for my one of my Facebook groups monthly competition, theme The Race (short stories of 250, 700 or 1000 words). I drafted two stories which I’ll work on tomorrow. I don’t think either of them are suitable for a magazine which is a shame. I also drafted one for my Heydays homework. We had to write a short monologue from the viewpoint of one of Carol Ann Duffy’s World’s Wives. There were lots to choose from, I ended up picking Mrs Lazarus. My idea is that she is not quite so happy at having her husband raised from the dead as you might expect. What happens in the original poem, I have no idea. I also rewrote a story for Fiction Feast, and found my February sub for My Weekly which needed lengthening to fit their rigid word count requirements. I also started rewriting a second story, also for FF which I should get done tomorrow. The other thing I did was wash the covers from the sofa and chair I bought on eBay. Boy did they need it too. It started snowing at lunchtime. Everything is buried under a thick white layer. I hate snow. I thought we’d got away without having any this winter. Seems I was wrong. I just hope it’s gone by Friday as I don’t fancy Liverpool on ice.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Lost some days along the way

It’s Friday and I’ve just realised I haven’t blogged for days. Worry not, I’m still here. I’ve been having a bit of a crisis of confidence. All kinds of things have been going wrong – couldn’t unzip files, worry about John moving out, my only best friend about to up sticks and move to Australia, being asked to come up with a lesson plan for a whole weekend of teaching, that my blog simply went out of my head. I also panicked when I discovered that my publisher was waiting for me to come up with a launch date for the new book, while I was waiting for him to tell me the book was ready. That’s now sorted and I have a provisional launch date of 31st March, more details when I have them. I am now back on track, in no small way that’s down to the book I’m currently reading. It’s called FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY. I first read it 20 years ago but wasn’t in the right place to take it all in. Now I am, If you haven’t read it, and feel that your worries and fears are holding you back, get hold of a copy and read it. I bought mine for about £2 on eBay. I have an awful lot to do at the moment and most of it has nothing to do with actual writing. I’ve been finding that distressful, but it has to be done, so I’m going to stop complaining and get on with it. This afternoon, I’m going to Dewsbury to collect a sofa and chair that I’ve bought from eBay. I’m giving my lodger my old sofa and chair a) because he it will help him and b) because the furniture I have is too big for the room and makes it look full and heavy. The new sofa is smaller and lighter so I’ll be able to move it by myself. It’s cheap too, so that if it isn’t right for me, I can sell it again and buy something else. It will make a change to have a sofa and chair that actually match! I went to the U3A book group in town yesterday where we discussed THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY. Opinions were very mixed which was good to know. I’ll probably go to the next meeting as they’re going to discuss Dickens and his attitude to women, after that, I’ll have to see. I’m aware that although I’m working hard, right now I’m not getting enough done, so I may need to sacrifice one of my daytime activities or cut back (I might go to crossword class every other week) I’ll have to see how I get on today. The first thing on my agenda is my column for Writers Forum where I think I’ll be talking about redrafting stories and resubmitting them (if anyone has any questions or things they’d like me to cover in the column, please DO get in touch by email . Then I have to work on an outline of the sessions for the proposed weekend short story writing course (probably in Leeds in November) run by the lovely and very capable Lois of Swanwick bookroom fame. ,