Sunday, 2 August 2015

Newsletter July 2015

We spent a couple of weeks in Lanzarote and we were without the internet for much of that time. We were supposed to have free WiFi and we did – it’s just that it was rarely connected to the net and when it was, it wasn’t really strong enough to upload and download.  Even the email gave up after a short while. This was all actually rather liberating. One can live without being online all the time – for a short while at least.
As usual, whilst on holiday I did a lot of reading and some writing. I also acquired lots of ideas for new stories.
We visited the house and library of José Saramago. I envied him the house and the library and his daily routine. He would write in his study or in the library, then swim in his pool, finally sitting for a while on his special chair in the garden, looking down to the sea. I want that house. I want that life-style.
The study
The library

People would often call at the house and because the intercom to the door didn’t work properly, he’d invite them into his kitchen where he would make them Portuguese coffee. We were offered this too and were able to sit on his beautiful terrace to enjoy it and the view.
I’ve not yet read any of his work but I intend to soon. It’s just my type of thing and not too dissimilar from my shorts about the near future.
He went on to be a Nobel Prize winner. Hmm. Thinks.

The terrace


Books and short stories  

I’ve now completed the sixth edit Girl in a Smart Uniform and am about to start the seventh, where I’ll look at the conflict and tension balance. Yes, there must be tension but I must also allow my readers to relax a little sometimes. The novel is coming along. I’m toying with putting all of the bits about her older brother in one section, as a flash back. I’m not sure, though. I may run this past my critique group and eventual beta readers.       
My second chapter for my non-fiction book proposal is now finished. I’m about to start a third on war in children’s literature. I’m quite looking forward to getting my teeth into this. I’ll be including some classics and looking at the latest offerings.  
I’m continuing to write short stories and flash fiction. I’m not really getting them out there enough but I am a little. I keep a “traffic light” spread sheet of where I’ve submitted.  Green means it’s been accepted. Amber means it can be submitted. Red means it’s out somewhere and we’re waiting. I’m quite pleased to report that half of my works are green and the rest are half red and half amber. Obviously, we really want all green but at least it’s mainly older works (perhaps ones that won’t ever make it?) that are amber. One shouldn’t really have any ambers.  Everything should either be accepted or awaiting approval, so green or amber. I do reedit in between rejections, so I guess there’s always hope.
I’m rather intrigued that I’m getting a lot of visits to my Spooking Facebook page. I wonder why. Will it lead to more sales?        

Bridge House

We’re now into editing the stories for the Snowflakes anthology. All of the EDIT 1’s have gone out and handful of people have returned them. I’ve already four stories in FINAL, so I’m feeling quite pleased.
Don’t forget we’re already planning the celebration in London. Note for your diary: 5 December. Those writers in the anthology will be given first refusal on tickets. The CafeLit4 people will follow, then other Bridge House and CafeLit writers and finally anyone. We’re hoping to get between 50 and 100 people there.  


Remember, we’re always open to submissions. Find out how here.


Creative Café

We’re always looking for new cafés. I’ve now added some resources for café owners.

School Visits

I’m actually calling a halt to these for the moment, for reasons that I won’t go into here. I’m hoping to work with schools in a different way shortly. All will become apparent in a few months’ time.
The one exception is The House on Schellberg Street project. I’m still offering visits on this for a donation towards the project. I’ve devised a whole interactive workshop for this. It would be a real asset for any school teaching the Holocaust at Key Stage 3. Even if a school can’t afford a donation, I’d be happy to run the project.
Here’s some further news about the Schellberg project.
Query for a school visit via the contact form on the web site.


The Red Telephone

I’ve just finished the edits on Kathy Dunn’s The Demon Magician.
There will be a new call for submissions once this has gone to print which shouldn’t be too long now.

I’d like to remind you of our new enterprise -  something between a mentoring system and an online course. Though publication is not guaranteed, we will at least look at your full book if you’ve attended one of the courses. We’re offering it for free to a few people at first. We’ll refine as we go along based on feedback from our clients. We’ll then continue to offer it at a discount for a while before going to full price when we’re completely happy with it. We’re not sure what full price will be. Again, we’ll be guided by our current clients. Find out more here.      

Looking Forward

At the end of this month I’ve booked on to a writing retreat with colleagues Judy Kendall and Ursula Hurley, Ursula’s mum and my good friend and business partner Debz Hobbs-Wyatt. We’re looking forward to being pampered.   
I’ve now booked for the NAWE conference in November, where I’ll be delivering a session on Build a Book in An Hour and a Quarter. This is based on the school workshop that I do on Build a Book in a Day. The emphasis here though will be on kick-starting inspiration for adult writers, coupled with a knowledge that the work will get out there.
Then the following week I’m off the SCBWI –BI conference in Winchester. This will be a little like going home. I did my MA in Writing for Children there. At this conference I’ll just sit back and listen though I shall be looking for copy for Network News in Words and Pictures.         
There’s another conference in November as well. Three weekends running ….! Gulp. Booking hotels and trains is actually quite stressful at times but I’m more and more reluctant to drive these days. I find train journeys good for getting work done.
SCBWI North West has plenty of activity, too.
Who said being a writer meant being lonely?

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