Friday, 30 November 2012

Christmas day sorted

About last night at the theatre. I went to see The Wind in the Willows and left at half time. Why? Because I found the entire show creepy. To me it had all these strange and unsettling undertones. It was all probably just in my head, but uncomfortable all the same. I didn’t evens top for my usual interval ice cream.
This morning, while out with Raffy, I called into the local Good Neighbours to see the woman in charge of the Christmas day lunch/do. I’m now officially volunteered and wil be spending Dec 25th helping out, running the quiz, organising the CDs, and washing up. Brill! And no I’m not being good or charitable or selfless. I don’t want to spend the day at home, alone.
I’d like to thank Lynne and Rae for their spot on comments. I know how true they are. I guess I feel much like somebody who’s been let out of jail after 50 years. Right now, I don't quite know what happiness or freedom is as everything's so different. I'm definitely working on it though.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Dog walks, a dodgy knee and judging stories

I am officially worn out. Every now and then, my knee decides to play up. It’s more annoying than anything but this time, I have a dog to walk. Raffy’s also managed to kick his toy under the sideboard three times in ten minutes which meant crawling about on my hands and knees, trying to poke it back out with a long handled duster (which Raffy thinks is another great game and my knees, they don’t think much of it at all).
I’m off to see The Wind in the Willows at WYP tonight so at least I’ll get a sit down. 
I can leave dogs for several hours, once they’re settled in and providing the owner’s happy about that which Raffy's is. he'll curl up in his bed and go to sleep. 
I sent the list of NAWG short story comp winners off today. I don’t know when the results will actually come out as I assume they have paperwork to sort out at he other end. I found it quite hard, choosing a winner. Sometimes an entry shines out straightaway but this time the whole process was slower.  I think I’ve  chosen the right one….
The fact is, if I read them all again in a month’s time, the result might be completely different. Judging is, and has to be, a subjective art.
I typed up another new story earlier. I think it has potential, but right now I’m not sure whether it needs another aspect to the plot or whether it’s OK as it is.
I have another story ready and waiting, in other words, drafted in pen and paper. It’s a ghost story, but I can’t decide whether to write it up for the club competition or for Fiction Feast. I guess the answer is – do both. It will have to be tomorrow though, between walking Raffy and getting my hair cut, oh, and I want a quick look round town too. Looks like the weekend’s going to be a working one, again.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Money can't buy me love

I don’t know what to say today. I thought that having money in the bank and being able to choose what I want to do for the first time in decades would make me feel happy but so far it hasn’t quite worked.
I have lots to do which is good but I can’t work all day and when I’ve had enough…..
The plan is that when I move, to get to know everyone in the street (relatively easy as it’s a small cul de sac). With any luck, one or two of them  will be friendly and at home during the day as what I would love is to have somebody nearby that I can drop in on from time to time when the blues threaten to swamp me. I don’t care how old or young they are. So long as they speak English and can make tea!
The time of year doesn’t help. Christmas is not the best  time to be on your own. I’m stockpiling plenty of TV shows so that I can fall back on the one eyed god if need be.
Writing tip. I know they’re dreadful sometimes, but Xmas specials and seasonal films are often worth watching just for the ideas they give us for NEXT year’s Christmas stories.
Raffy has just arrived, he’s a young border terrier, so I have company for a while. I also have a reason to go out for a walk twice a day. I’ll have to see if that perks me up.
Tonight I plan to read the long list for the NAWG competition again, then the first paragraphs of all the other entries to make sure I didn’t miss one that was good. With any luck the winner will shine out at me. I hope so anyway.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Ticking along

Today I’m feeling a bit lost, lonely if you like. I really don’t fancy another year, ten years or longer during which I spend so much time on my own, so it’s get a dog, a job, or find a (part time) man.
Getting a dog would be easy, just go to a rescue centre, sorted. Getting a job, I already have three but they’re all based at home. The trouble there is two fold. One, I’d find it hard to find anyone willing to employ me as I’m over fifty. Two, I’m not sure I want a regular job with al that entails.
My third option is even trickier. I haven’t met a single (both meanings of the word) under eighty who’s remotely interested in somebody like me. They say that you have to learn to love yourself before you can expect anyone else to love you. I’ve made good progress with that, having gone from ‘I hat myself and everything about me, to ‘actually, I’m OK’.
To be honest what I miss the most is the simplest thing of all – somebody to talk to. One day, some scientist will invent a robot that can make decent conversation. When they do, I’l be first in the queue to buy one.
Now back to the real world.

I drafted another story first thing but haven’t done anything with it yet. I’m waiting for the right ending to come to me. It’s a ghost story. I don’t write many of those and it feels a bit out of my comfort zone but having gone to a workshop at the weekend and the writers club holding a ghost story competition, I need to at least try.
Just now, a couple knocked asking to look at the house. He’s living a few doors down with his family. They have to see the mortgage people so I’m not sure they know what they can afford to pay. I’ll have to wait and see if they come back to me. I have to say it would be lovely to make a private sale as the estate agent hasn’t been brilliant.
I’m now wondering how much longer to keep working. I find it hard, working in the dark evenings. I have no idea why. I’ve hooked up a net curtain so that I feel less exposed. Maybe that will help, or maybe I just hate artificial light.
Tomorrow morning I’m hoping to get to Heydays (West Yorkshire Playhouse) to see what they have on offer for next term. After that, I may nip to the German market, or I may stay at Heydays for a class, who knows. I was meant to be going to east Leeds writers tomorrow afternoon but Raffy the border terrier  is arriving later than I thought and I need to be here for him. At least then I’ll have him to talk to.

Monday, 26 November 2012

It's raining, it's pouring

I’ve now finished the bulk of the critiques, just a few left to do from the stories that reached the long list. I’m feeling too tired to read the stories again tonight, so will wait until Wednesday evening. Why then? Raffy the terrier is coming to stay so I can sit with him while I read them which will help to settle him in for his holiday.
I’ve decided that living on my own is OK but….. I do miss having somebody to talk to. At least when there are dogs here, I can talk to them and not feel quite so barmy as when I talk to myself. 
Winter is difficult. In the summertime, I can go outside, potter in the garden, or wander round the shops, but when it’s cold grey wet dark and miserable, that’s not quite as appealing.
I’ve just finished working on another new story aimed at Woman’s Weekly. It needed a final tweak or two before I was happy with it which is why it’s taken me so long to finish it. As often happens, what I thought was the first line turned out not to be as I swapped it for one from the next paragraph.
My biggest problem was finding a title. Other magazines like Fiction Feast and The People’s Friend like to make up their own titles(often much worse than mine I might add) but WW usually keep the title the author chooses which is why I had to come up with something. In the end I went with A Lion Chasing Zebra which has the benefit of not revealing ANYTHING about the story.  
Now to maybe think about tackling a Writers Bureau assignment before calling it a day.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Busy day yesterday

Yesterday was long and busy. I went into town at ten and spent 45 minutes with a singing group to say what they were about, then went off to Leeds Writers ghost workshop where I stayed until 3.30. There was only a 30 minute break for lunch so I didn’t have time to look round the German market once I’d queued to get something to eat (a rather  tasty rye bun with hot ham and onions).
 After the workshop, most people headed to the pub. I then had to decide whether to join them as a ghost walk had been arranged to start at five. In the end I decided to stay as I don’t get much opportunity to socialise with people from the group as I seldom bother going to manuscript evenings. I learned that quite a few other people have been complaining how deadly dull those meetings can be so maybe, just maybe, something will be  done to change that (one day!)
By the time five o’clock came round it was raining. It was still raining two hours later when the walk finished by which time I was cold, very tired, and hungry (note to self, having a cloth bag is NOT ideal in the rain).  It was so busy in town, we couldn’t find anywhere to have a meal. In the end I bought a ready meal from M and S and had it when I got home.Walking int he rai probably WASN'T a good idea as I sitll ahve a head cold.
I had a couple of ideas for ghost stories at the workshop, at least one of which I need to work on as there’s an associated competition for a ghost story.
Today I’m back working my way through the critiques for the NAWG competition.
Right now there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. The problem is I can only do so many at a time, otherwise I start to feel jaded, so I have to keep taking breaks!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Still hard at work

I’m working so hard at the moment, my head is spinning. Mind you I do have a cold so that might be the reason.
Although I really enjoy writing critiques because it gives me the chance to encourage entrants (often it’s only something minor that prevents them from being amongst the prizes) it’s hard work, stuck in front of the screen for hours on end. That’s why I’m getting stuck into the job. Once it’s done, I can get back to being creative. It’s great to have so many things to do (and even better that I want to do them)
My next job, probably on Sunday will be to read the  short listed entries again. Last time I read them, I gave each one a mark out of twenty so I’ll do the same this time and see if anything changes. If the same stories come out on top, then I’ll know I’ve reached a decision.
Tomorrow there are several things going on. All of which I’d like to do even though I don’t feel up to going out.
Number one is the ghost story workshop; at Leeds Writers. I’m down to run part of it, but which part, when, and how long for, nobody has told me. I’ve also been invited to a singing day> I can’t sing at the moment thanks to this bug but it would be a great chance ot meet some of the people from the choir (I’m hoping to join in February). Plus as I’m in town, I want to look round the German market. In the evening, there’s also a ghost walk. That’s OK as I haven’t had to book and can turn up or no, but how the rest of the day will pan out, I have no idea. Much depends on how I feel when I wake up tomorrow morning.
I also had a chat with Anni who I met at the NAWG festival. She’s trying to arrange for me to go to Scotland and run a couple of workshops probably in May. I hope she manages to get the funding as I’d love to meet up with her again.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Working through a pile of critiques

I had to miss crossword class today because I’m under the weather. I don’t want to pass on my germs to anyone. I’m working through the critiques for the NAWG story competition plus doing some Writers Bureau work. Even though I’m off colour, I can still manage to do those as I don’t have to be very creative.
I now have a short list of seven stories for the competition. My plan is to read them again at the weekend and see which of them still impresses me. I know which one I favour at the moment,  but that could easily change and I want to make sure I get it right, especially as it’s all up to me this year.
Other than that, I had some paperwork to deal with regarding my late mother’s house – final bills, meter readings and so on. I’m now deliberating whether to get rid of everything that reminds me of that time (apart from the paperwork I have to keep, just in case). I’m leaning towards a clean sweep but as always, I’m finding it hard to actually make a decision.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Too busy to write stories

I have a story in My Weekly (dated 20/11) with Stella Whitelaw and Teresa Ashby. It’s great to be among friends, even if just in a magazine.
I’ve been using Linda Lewis with My Weekly, Womans Weekly, Yours and PF all along. Catherine Howard was for the mags that dropped fiction (Chat and so on) plus Take a Break. This goes back to when I thought the two sets of mags needed a different writing. I only use it for Fiction Feast now.
Ever since that amazing day last Friday, I've been feeling just a bit under the weather. I think it's tied into deciding what to do, where to live, John, etc. Being able to do what I want for the first time in my life is proving difficult. I’m definitely NOT complaining though.
Yesterday, I met my friend Marg at Leeds station and we went for  a meal before going on to the Writers Circle for the short story adjudication. I hadn’t noticed that the pub was offering half priced meals so when the bill came, that made for a very pleasant surprise.
I came nowhere in the competition which isn’t surprising as my entry was a full on soppy romance and the judge, a man, wasn’t keen on that kind of thing. It just goes to show how fr out of it I’ve been as I would normally take more care about which story I entered, especially when there’s prize money at stake. This time, I just picked one of my old stories, more or less at random. The good news is that Marg won.  She won last year too It’s funny how  ladies keep winning Leeds Writers Circle competitions (and taking second place too) when most of the people running the club are men……..
I’m busy judging the NAWG story competition, then I’ll be busy writing 75 critiques! It’s frustrating now that I’m enjoying writing fiction again I don’t have time to do it, but I’ll get there. I have a book to write too. It’s the next one of my writers’ guides. It will only take me a week to write, it's just finding that week!
It’s miserable out – grey and wet, but at least it’s mild. Tonight is a Spice dinner shuffle. There aren’t that many people going which is a shame, but at least the menu looks good.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Third time lucky????


It’s been an odd day.
For some unaccountable reason I had a very bad night. That couple with having to be up at 6.30 am in case Argos delivered my freezer early (it came at 7.30) has left me feeling very  under the weather. Of course, tonight’s the short story adjudication at Leeds Writers Circle plus I’m meeting Marg at the station beforehand for food and a chat. If I wasn’t meeting her, I’d definitely be staying in!
Having decided NOT to move and to think instead of buying a cheaper property I can rent out, I went to view a bungalow yesterday. It turned out to be pretty much perfect. Position wise, it simply could NOT be better. And so, I made an offer this morning and the seller accepted it.
I know, I must be crazy, but my thinking went like this – if my house doesn’t sell I can always rent the bungalow out until my house DOES sell (I can’t rent out the house I’m living in because the garden’s way too big and I’d still feel responsible for it). I’ll have to wait and see where I am when contracts are about to be exchanged on the bungalow. If my house has attracted a buyer, great. If not, at least I have a plan B.
Not feeling good has meant I haven’t finished reading the competition entries yet. I wouldn’t want my grogginess to mean I miss a good story. Instead,  after making a trip to the estate agent to prove I had the means to buy the bungalow, I did some Writers Bureau marking.
I also met a terrier. Her owner wants me to take care of her for a week in January while they go skiing. The dog was quite frisky and likes to bark, but as she’s small, and it’s only for a week, I think we’ll get along OK.
Now to force myself to think about getting ready to go out.

Friday, 16 November 2012


Good news.
The sale of Mum’s house has completed. 
I feel more relieved than jubilant. I might get more excited once I see the money in the bank!
A meal at the pub & a DVD this evening, that’s the plan.
I spent the morning in my dressing gown, moving furniture about. By the time John showed up (he’s still tinkering with his cars), I’d moved it all. I have bruises and aches and pains but also a nice satisfied feeling knowing that I did it all by myself. I’ll ache like mad tomorrow but as I only plan to read competition stories, that doesn’t matter too much.
It’s been a bit like actually moving – shifting lots of furniture, working up a sweat, waiting for the call from the solicitor to say the sale’s completed. Now I’ve showered and dressed, it feels as though I’m making an actual new start, even though I’m still in the same place.
I’m still in a mess though. Piles of books all over the place which I haven’t put back on the shelves, and all kinds of other bits and pieces where they shouldn’t be.
I still have the fridge freezer in here too. A new freezer’s coming on Monday which will go upstairs, then John can take this one away.
I’m meeting a friend at 2 for coffee. I’ve had it planned for a couple of weeks before I knew today would be the day. I hope she’s in the mood for cream cakes!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Computer niggles

I couldn’t post on the blog yesterday because the computer was playing up. It took AGES to do anything. Word kept freezing up. I really do need to buy a new computer but it feels like so much hassle.
I spent yesterday writing up the notes from last weekend’s short story course. I’d rather people didn’t have to make loads of notes while they’re there as then they can concentrate on the tasks and get the most out of the weekend.
Last night was another quiz at Spice. As always it was great fun, even though my team came fifth out of nine (questions we didn’t get included where is the Kentucky Derby held, and what three words did Obama tweet when he was re–elected). As the quiz went on longer than usual, I splashed out on a taxi home rather than have to loiter round the train station for 45 minutes.
This morning, I’m back working on a short story. It’s giving me a few problems as the idea came from a short article. The story includes quite a few facts. As they came first, I’m having to put the emotional layers in later which is not the way I like to work. The first draft felt very contrived but draft four which I’m on now, is much better. It’s a balance between spending too long on it which might mean it becomes over–worked, or sending it off too soon and having it rejected because it feels too contrived. Obviously I also have to keep it to the right word count too which as it feels like a Woman’s Weekly story, means around 1000 words.
Right now I could murder something to eat. I’ve been a bit lax with my fast days and my weight has stayed the same for the past three weeks. It’s time to make another effort so that I can reach my target before Christmas. For anyone interested in this kind of thing, I want to lose another five pounds. On fast days, I am meant to limit myself to a maximum of 600 calories so that on other days I can eat as much as I like. The past few times I’ve had a ‘fast’ day, I’ve gone over my limit due to various feeble excuses like feeling stressed about houses not being sold and so on.
At the moment, I have no immediate plans to move. I’ve decided that once the money from the sale of Mum’s house comes through (tomorrow!), I’m going to start looking for a smaller house or rather one with a smaller garden. If I can find one at the right price, I can then move into it, and then get rid of this one,  at an auction if necessary. So it looks like I’m going to be here for Christmas. I had thought about going away but I now realise (it takes a while for me to figure things out sometimes!) that I need a period of calm and quiet to consolidate my recovery.
This afternoon, after crosswords, I MAY move my desk so that it’s facing the window. It’s about time as I don't like sitting facing the wall. 
Tomorrow, providing the money comes through on time, will be a day of low–key celebration. I had planned to crack open a bottle of champagne but I've now decided I want to be sober to enjoy the day and relish the sense of relief that I'm sure I will be feeling. I’ll probably end up having a meal down the local pub! Anything to avoid the washing up.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A little bit of lots of different things

First thing this morning, I went through the box of paperwork regarding my mother, searching for any written evidence to show that she needed nursing as opposed to simply residential care. 
I’d meant to do it last night, but as contracts were exchanged on the sale of the Exeter house yesterday I didn’t want to spoil the day.
As always, looking back through the files was upsetting but it had to be done. I’m trying to claim back some or all of the care home fees under a no win no fee arrangement with a firm of solicitors who specialise in that area. As I paid more than £23,000 in fees after she died, the incentive to try this is quite high, to say the least.
I sorted through everything and ended up with some paperwork that I needed to get copied.
I had an appointment with my solicitor at 10.30. In order to complete the sale, I had to swear an affidavit regarding the service road that backs on to the Exeter house. That done, I called into Good Neighbours where I bought another brick (they’re building an extension so are selling ‘bricks’ for £20 each)  and got the photocopying done.
Back home to find that while I was out, the last batch of competition entries had been returned to the depot as I wasn’t in to receive them.  They’re being re–delivered on Saturday so I’ll probably spend the weekend with my judge’s hat on.
I then bought a new freezer from Argos. As plans to move are currently on hold (nobody’s shown any interest in buying my  house) I want to change things round in the room I work in so that it’s more of an office. Currently, it has a fridge freezer in it, and I’m working facing the wall. I’m hoping that by putting a freezer upstairs, I can then move the desk in front of the window and that will make me feel more comfortable. It’s hard to explain, so I won’t even try. All I will say is that I haven’t really felt at home in this room and I need to try and sort that out.
I tackled a couple of email assignments from the Writers Bureau, did a review for  Julia Douglas’s book  – Nashville Cinderella – as the author had sent me a copy, then took a break and had a session on the Wii machine. I haven’t used the Wii fit for months and really want to get back into it as it’s a great way to increase my fitness, especially in the weeks when I don’t have any dogs to walk.
It’s coming up to eight now, so I’m going to finish another email assignment then call it a day.
It’s important to try to get some kind of balance into my life. Working too long and too hard is actually counter–productive, at least for me it is.
Right now I’m relishing the repeats of Life on Universal channel. It’s one of my all time favourite TV programmes and I adore every part of it. IMO Damian Lewis has never been better. If you’ve never seen it, give it a go. It’s brilliant.

Monday, 12 November 2012

It's happening!

Contracts on my late Mother’s house in Exeter were finally exchanged late this morning,  ready for completion on Friday (which is when the corks will be popping).

Back from Weetwood Hall

I came back from Weetwood Hall yesterday afternoon, completely exhausted.
I was teaching a short story course and it was full on from 3pm Friday to Sunday lunchtime.
I’d been, to put it mildly, a bit nervous. I’ve run workshops and classes before, but never for a whole weekend,  and never on my own. It was quite a responsibility knowing that people had paid good money to hear what I had to say.
As it turned out, it was a good course, maybe even better than good (but you’d have to ask the people who went along about that!). They were such a lovely bunch of people of varying levels of experience, talent and confidence but they were all willing to work hard and take part and that’s the crucial thing.
The accommodation was very good, the food too, although a couple of people did find it a bit rich. There was an awful lot of it too, but I’m not complaining about that.
I’m down for another course in March at the same venue where I’ll be looking at ideas, not only how to come up with them, but also what to do with them once you have them (for details contact Lois via
As soon as I’d unpacked, I turned into a couch potato, catching up on Strictly and other must–see TV. I also checked emails  and found that I’d sold a story to Fiction Feast which is always cause for celebration.
No word about Exeter though. I called the estate agent this morning and he confirmed that contracts have not been exchanged. I asked him to get on to the buyer and find out what’s going on as I really need this to come to an end. I really hate being tied to Exeter and wil be so relived once the house is finally sold and no longer my repsonsibility. I’m also not happy that the house is standing empty with winter approaching.
Another fifty entries for the NAWG comp arrived in the post plus a bag from the Writers Bureau with three assignments for me to mark. I have a total, so far, of 82 entries that need feedback so it looks like I’m going to be rather busy for a while.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

THe weekend's on its way.

Having sorted out everything for the weekend’s course, I’ve been working on more new stories. They’re taking shape slowly. I’m hoping if I can get them both typed, my subconscious can work on them over the weekend so that they’re ready to be beaten into shape next week.
I’m hoping to come back from the weekend with some more stories to work on. I’ve set quite a few writing exercises so I might as well work on them too.
Yesterday, I sent my first new story to Fiction Feast since February. I also worked on two old stories to send to The People’s Friend.
I also moved the sofa from the conservatory to the living room which means I can watch
I haven’t seen much of John this week. He bought another car which broke down the next day. He can’t use the old one as it’s in bits on my drive.
As the weekend approaches, I’m feeling a bit stressed, to put it mildly. My courses and workshops have always gone down well but I still fret about them. I like to know that I’m giving good value for money and sometimes that makes me try too hard. I can’t squeeze everything into one weekend so there’s no point trying. There, that’s told me. Now all I have to do is take notice.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Almost ready for the weekend

I’ve been working on the course all day. It’s almost done now, just the last session to think about. I’ll leave that til tomorrow. Tonight I’m going to the WI! OK, it’s not exciting but I really need to meet some more people. I’m getting fed up with long dark evenings watch TV and it’s only November. As expected, the couple who came to see the house on Saturday aren’t interested – the garden put them off. 
Zero interest on either. I know I'm no raving beauty, but.....

Monday, 5 November 2012

What to leave out,that's the problem.

I’ve been working on this weekend’s short story course and getting into a tizzy.
 It’s always so hard to decide what to leave out! I’ve covered every inch of surface space with paper. I think it’s probably best to stop for now and come back to it tomorrow.
I had a call from the estate agent in Exeter who says contracts should be exchanged this week with completion next week. I’m going to wait before putting the champagne on ice!
I’m starting to wonder if NOT moving might be a good idea as the market seems to be rather flat. Also, a TO LET sign has gone up in the house next to the one I was hoping to buy. I’ve lived in rented property myself, and know plenty of other people who rent property (I wouldn’t mind living next to any of them) but it still feels a bit dodgy, especially as I have no idea what kind of landlord the owner will be. I also wonder whether that would affect the value of the house next door, i.e. mine!
As I can’t do anything until Exeter completes, that gives me some time to think.
I’m expecting a man to call any minute. He left a survey with me, and a monitor to track my movements over the last ten days. I had to take the monitor with me. I haven’t been out much so I’m not sure what it will be able to tell them.
I ALWAYS do surveys when somebody comes to the door.. A – I like the company, B – I like to think that they would let me in if it was ME calling on them. It must be a horrible job, especially when the weather’s dodgy.
Once he’s gone, I might just tinker with my cat story. At least then I’ll feel I’ve done something positive.

Sunday, 4 November 2012


 I didn’t turn the computer on yesterday (I can tweet using my iPod). The dogs left at ten which gave me two hours to clean up. It’s amazing how many hairs they manage to shed and where they get to not to mention the paw prints on the laminate flooring.  
The couple seemed to like the house but they found the garden daunting. They want to start gardening and if they buy my house it would be like jumping into the deep end.
The man didn’t seem keen on my hedges (neither am I). I have somebody else coming at 1.30 today.
Exeter still hasn’t completed which is starting to annoy me. I so want to cut that link.
After the viewing yesterday I started reading the NAWG short story competition entries. I’ve already found a few good ones so that’s promising although nothing’s actually jumped out at me yet. Sometimes a story takes a second read to grow on me.
This morning, I’m preparing feedback on stories sent to me by the people who have signed up for next weekend’s course at Weetwood Hall in Leeds. My plan is to give them written feedback when they arrive so that any queries can be dealt with during the course.
Now for an advertisement. I hate doing this, but my books won’t sell themselves, so as they say on Miranda, bear with, bear with.
For any friend who’s into writing, why not buy my Writers Treasury of Ideas? It will help them to come up with all the plots they wil ever need. It’s also great for groups as ther are exercises and themes to work to.
For all your other friends, especially those difficult ones you have no idea what to buy, how about HOW TO MAKE £10 IN TEN MINUTES. It’s all about producing readers’ letter, silly anecdotes and so on that magazines will either pay for or give prizes. You don’t need to be able to write as magazines often change things round. Anyone can do it. Just think how pleased your favourite uncle, least favourite cousin, best friend or work colleague will be when the present you gave them wins them a cheque for £25 or a case of wine.
Both books are available from my web site ( or on Kindle.
Right, that’s out of the way.
Now I’d better get back to work.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Dogs, houses and Valentine's stories

Last night, when I went to bed, I had to let the dogs into the garden. It was chucking it down. Woody would not go out. In the end I had to pick him up and put him outside the door where he did what he had to do, looking so forlorn it was comical. Snoopy on the other hand, just bounded out into the rain and came back dripping.
They could hardly be more different. Woody, the tiny dachshund has a bark like a big dog, and Snoopy the Labrador doesn’t bark at all. Woody’s not scared of anything, and will have a go at other dogs if he can get hear them. Snoopy is scared of the vacuum cleaner. 
They're devoted to ech other too which is odd seeing as Woody will any other dog he meets. 
There’s not much happening on the buying and selling front. I have another viewing for this house on Sunday, so that’s this weekend. It’s not as many as I’d hoped but I only need one.
Writing–wise, I’ve been editing a Valentine’s story. I would have liked to have let it stew a bit longer but February’s getting a bit too close, so I worked on it today. I couldn’t decide between two endings so in the end I wrote them both and sent them to Woman’s Weekly.  I’ve also had what I think is a great idea for a Fiction Feast story but I probably won’t have time to write it until after Weetwood Hall (I’m teaching a short story course. There’s another one scheduled for March, about ways to come up with ideas. Get in touch for details).
Back to the dogs. Their owner was meant to call when they got back but I haven’t heard. I just tried to call them but ther was no reply and the machine was fill of messages. It looks like Woody and Snoopy may still be here when the first couple come to view the house.
I  hope they like dogs!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Morning writing

I decided to try an experiment today – not turning ht computer on until after I’d done some  writing. This morning, I sat on the sofa in the conservatory, both dogs by my side and managed to draft two stories. One is based around Valentine’s Day and the other about April 1st.
As it’s November already, I’m going to type up the Valentine one soon so I can send it off fairly sharpish. That’s if Woody will let me type. He does everything he can to stop me,  including walking on the keyboard.
As Woody and Snoopy leave on Saturday, I’m going to make the most of it so I won’t be able to do too much work but it does seem that I’m back in the groove  ( at last).  I might even start entering Writers News comps again. Daft not to really, as they’re free to enter. Who knows, I might even try a poem….