Friday, 15 January 2016

Happy New Year!

2016 has arrived, and got me thinking about resolutions.  I'm pants at keeping them, so have decided to just go for one:

                                                 TO GET SIGNED BY AN AGENT

It's quite a hard one.  But I'm already working with one, and have been for the last year or so, in an editorial capacity. 
I've had some insights into my writing, namely that I avoid editing and write lots of new stuff, which is great; but I'd like to get something properly finished. 

I entered lots of fabulous writing competitions in November and December last year, so they are soon to be judged.

If you write flash or short stories, or are fighting a novel I think you must get onto Twitter if you aren't already.  It is amazing for linking up with other people in your position, and finding cool free writing competitions to enter.

A great one is Ad Hoc Fiction, which runs weekly and gives you a prompt word.  That word must be in the story, and you have up to 150 words.  It's free and exciting, give it a go.  Find it at
Reading the pieces that the other fabulous writers submit is crucial.  The standard is so high!

Other writing advice for January is keep reading!  REVIVAL is one of my Christmas presents, I'm saving it as I catch up on my Talk Time reading for my next telephone book group.  The one for next session is by Joyce Dennys and it is very funny.  Henrietta's War (1985) is a series of letters written in the 1940s, full of village life in wartime. Am loving it.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Writing every day

It's Friday again.  The week flies when you squeeze in as much writing and competition entering as possible.
I've discovered Ad Hoc on Twitter - a great 150 word flash contest with a cash prize.  Always worth a go.
Today's Flash Friday entry:

Harvest Time
My belly took its time growing big. Quickly I knew somethin’ was up, when I felt all spacey and super tired. That old nine months is everlasting eternity, at the same time as being over in a flash.
I dreamed of it. In there, all safe and hugged by my body. A bean growin’ at the speed of light, until it was wedged into me, leavin’ me all breathless and full to the brim.
Ma said to cherish the feelin’s as I weren’t never gonna have the baby to hold. A deal was struck with a Priest, of all folk. He was in the next town over, and his wife was just about dyin’ to have a baby of her very own. September was gonna be my harvest time.
A Priest gotta be a good man. You’d better believe it. No man of God is going to be mean to a little baby. That’s what Ma tells me over and over, and slaps my face if I keep up the caterwaulin’.
She don’t know it was a Priest did for me. I ain’t tellin’ her, neither.

I decided to try and write in an accent, and from a very young teen POV.  Poor kid, I wanted her tough but likeable.  I wanted to have her protect her mother's feelings about religion at the end, even though her 'Ma' has been domineering and unsupportive of her predicament. 
I recently heard that I've been shortlisted for a MASH writing contest, a short story which had to include the words Taxes, Vinegar and Carpenter.  Hilarious to get those disparate terms in smoothly.  Very challenging. 
I'm looking forward to October/November, when the anthology with my short story in is due out.  Original Writing seem a lovely bunch of folks.  It'll be my first time in print for years, bar a poem I got into an anthology ages ago.
Castlecroft Writers had a fabulous 6th meeting with ten attendees.  We're a right old bunch of cuckoos.  We ended on a game of consequences, kind of a random plot generator.  Very funny to read out the bananas combinations of one person's character going through another's event in a third's setting, and then a fourth person's consequence. 
Keep writing, keep trying, keep open and enter as many writing comps as you can! More tries = more chance that a pair of eyes zipping over your words will like them.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Today's Flash Friday entry

Setting: a beautiful forest


The Glen of Light
Alice wandered, singing.  The woods were deep and quiet, wet underfoot.  The sun never quite pierced through the thick green canopy, allowing the things that flourished in dark and damp to grow unchecked.  She crushed toadstools and dripping lichen, and centipedes and woodlice skittered across her toes.  Bulbous spiders dropped low to reach their feet out to her hair, which sparkled with dew.

With every tread that carried her further from the glen, her singing quietened a touch.  Mother would be pleased, but why did her own heart quail?  Unconsciously, she slowed, and began to waver.  Maybe go back… and just peep into the soft grasses…

No!  She bit her lip to galvanize her spirit.  One spider reached her, and walked along the tiny path of her parting.  She scratched at it, the egg-filled body splitting under her fingers and smearing her hair with gluey innards.

The sight of a cluster of sweating yellow toadstools brought her to a sudden halt.  Why was everything rotten here? Why was it suppurating and foul?  She chewed a finger, thinking hard.

The forest was telling her to stop, to reconsider.  Her heart beat faster.  Resolutely, she turned around and faced the past, looking back through the trees.  To that place where destiny had been so forcefully changed.

She sang again.  ‘What’s done must be undone.’  Her feet set out, this time moving her back along to a different outcome.  It was terrifying, but to her heart it felt the right choice.

Gasping back a sob, Alice began to stumble, to run along the slimy forest floor.  The path was tricky, and confusing.  Would she ever find the glen again?

With a final twist and turn, there it was.  The only sunny spot, filled with a rioting rainbow of wildflowers.  Her eyes cast about, panic tightening her chest, when she spotted it.  The bassinette was still there, a tiny pink hand reaching up toward a blue butterfly.

There's something about this.  Quite magical. I wanted her to be a little unhinged, but brave.  Cutting for the word count was tough as the description of the forest was really fun.  Maybe I'll extend this into a short story.  I like Alice a lot!
We had our 5th meeting of Castlecroft Writers yesterday, in the pub of course.  I expect that's the real reason why we have such a large loyal membership.  We used Emma's story cubes, and they really do inspire some great fiction. 
What I love is that when a diverse group of writers comes together, lots of things start to happen.  Confidence grows, and we inspire each other to try new stuff.  One of our poets is a quiet, unassuming fellow, but has been inspired recently to read his work in a pub - a huge deal for him.  Reading out to our group helped him see that he could.
follow him at @SilenceHappens
The other thing I love is that from one starting point - for example, our 75 word warm-up was on 'The Death of Summer;' ten totally different stories grow like tendrils from a mad plant, all in our own special directions.  Mind blown.
Thanks Castlecroft Writers, for being you, for being brave and coming to a group, and for sharing your passion of words.  Good luck to you all with your own writing. 
The world needs to hear YOUR voice.  Grab a pad, a laptop, a small child...and write on it.  You'll surprise yourself, I promise.

Blog article-wise, I have done some more pieces for Jimmy Trims...a collection of chat up lines which was very funny to research, and a history of hairstyles.  Am enjoying writing some very different things.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Keep on keepin' on

New article on hangovers written by moi for Jimmy Trims!  

also been blogging for the fab @_IdentityStudio  about Colour.

Won a short story competition for Original Writing too; being published in an anthology in October.

Keep writing, people! 

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

A fabulous writing competition : screenplay writing

I just entered a competition to re-write the end of my favourite film!  How could I resist... but I will keep my entry secret until after judging.

The competition is here :

and linked to :

If you have always burned to end a film in a more satisfying way...have a go!

Sunday, 12 July 2015

So much stuff

It's been insane!

We made the paper with Castlecroft Writers and our event in September.

I wrote a guest blog post about Twitter for @_IdentityStudio a superb graphic design company in the West Midlands.

My paragraph 'Monkey Tails' is today's featured flash on @ParagraphPlanet

Early drafts of my 2nd YA novel are almost complete.

I'm loving this writing life.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

FIRST stranger comment

so got my first comment from a stranger on the travel article:

A fun and imaginative piece about ‘Castlecroft'; the place will be heaving now! A good, perky read.

Massive YES!  *perky*  Awesome.