About Me

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Hi, welcome to my blog, I am a writer of short stories, children's and YA novels . An acceptance from People's Friend finally made me a published writer! Yeah, happy days! I have since had stories published in The Weekly News and The Last Laugh anthology. My main love is writing children's/YA novels...I'm now enduring a fruitless search for an agent... I also draw and paint, I like to draw animals (usually my adorable crazy cats!)Occasionally famous people and motorcycles.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

I'm sure Christmas didn't used to be like this.

Is it all a fantastical illsusion, this memory I have of happy Christmases gone by? Happy days sledging, eating tangerines ( do they even exist anymore? All I ever get are clementines which are too small and hard to peel) by the fireside. I even remember Christmas shopping as being a fun experience, I remember dragging my mum around the shops buying gifts for all my friends. Although, it's possible I was having fun and she was merely putting on a brave face and struggling on regardless.
Now when I mention Christmas, it's always followed by the word 'stressful'. Grrrgh. And I've got a bad cold. Boo.
I'm fed up with all the adverts on TV, you know, the 'what a great gift idea, only £499' sort of thing. I mean, when did £499 become an acceptable amount to spend on a gift???
That just isn't the point of Christmas is it?
Maybe it was always like this and I was too happy in my own world to notice. Well, I'm not going outside now until Tuesday, or Wednesday next week. I'm staying in with my laptop, my Harry Potter Dvds and my old favourite pc game, Thief. Good times. Sniffle.... oh and my tissues.
I still love Christmas day, presents around the tree and Christmas dinner and oodles of chocolate.
Hope you all have a lovely Christmas!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

writing frenzy

Being a bit rubbish with my posts and keeping up with everyone's news. Sorry!
The reason being (well partly) I had one of those really good dreams on Mon night, you know, when you wake up thinking - Wow, that was good. Must write that down. Quick.
You'd think finding a pen and paper in the home of a person claiming to be a writer would be a doddle. Apparently not. Dispensed with idea of jotting down and headed straight for the laptop. When I say 'straight for' it was actually about an hour later after the morning rush, everyone was chatting on to me as usual, but my head was elsewhere. Didn't want to forget the main features of the dream story.
Anyway, when I was reunited with the laptop, I wrote 20 pages. Phew! I have since been trying to do a proper plan and sort out the plot, stage by stage. I think I have the whole story, except (this is a YA novel) the main character is in love with a ghost ( as happens a lot these days) and I'm trying to think of a satisfactory ending that isn't too morbid, (Can't spend the rest of your life(or death) with a ghost-boy, unless you're a ghost-girl)or the same as other supernatural tales.
So, that's where I've been all week. I'm still there, I've managed to so some Christmas shopping today, I don't know how as I'm in a complete daze, I must be on auto pilot. Still managed to eat into next week's food budget by getting carried away buying gifts in Primark.
Still, I haven't felt this excited about a story for a long while, so I'm happy! Beans on toast for tea all next week though, hehe.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

mixed up posts

I was mighty confused when I checked my blog today and found that my post about Talli's novel had moved, why oh why blogger, why must you confuse me so??

Ok, I figured it out. I prepared the post early so I wouldn't forget (I forget a lot lately) but then when I posted, it had the date I created it, no the published date, Sigh. I still get confused with blogger, even though it really isn't that difficult!
Anyway, congratulations to Talli, apparently her e book made the top 25 on Amazon uk. That's an amazing achievement! Yay!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Last Spike Competition

I'm a bit late with the reminder as the competition ends today. Spikethecat's last competition (at least for a while) is for stories of up to 2500 words on the theme 'somone has to die' for an anthology of the same name. Entry fee is £4, additional fee for an optional critique.
I know it's a bit late to write a new masterpiece but if you have something written already, there's just time to email it in!
I'm going to have a go, seeing as it's the last one, although I didn't come anywhere in the last 'adventures in time and space' competition. It was my first attempt at the genre so I wasn't too surprised! Hehe.
Have a great day everyone and best of luck to anyone who enters!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Best of luck to Talli with her novel, The Hating Game

Wishing Talli every success with her debut novel, 'The Hating Game'

Help Talli Roland's debut novel THE HATING GAME hit the Kindle bestseller list at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk by spreading the word today. Even a few sales in a short period of time on Amazon helps push the book up the rankings, making it more visible to other readers.



No Kindle? Download a free app at Amazon for Mac, iPhone, PC, Android and more.

Coming soon in paperback. Keep up with the latest at www.talliroland.com.


When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £2000,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Glad to see Dobby again

Sorry for my absence. I don't where the time goes! I had to tell myself to do some blogging, I'm going to catch up with everyone's news in a mo!

Yes, Harry Potter, I went to see the new film at weekend, I thought it was terrific!
I was disappointed in the last few films which completely skipped the all important house-elf scenes. Now, all is well and Dobby was back for film 7.
Lots of people say 'do you prefer the films or the books?'
Well I actually love both, I see them as two different things, I think it's been great to watch the films and see the characters grow up in their magical universe. There have been scenes (like Dobby ones) that I was looking forward to seeing on the big screen,to see if it was like I'd imagined in my head, only to find it had been missed out altogether!
For those of you who love HP as much as me, I really wanted to see the first 'scene' in 'Goblet of Fire' when the Weasleys came to the Dursley's to collect Harry. I thought that was hilarious and would have made a funny scene, but no it wasn't made :(
The books have so much more detail in them, I sometimes think the films wouldn't make sense to me if I hadn't already read the books.
I could go on and on...

but I don't want to spoil anything for anyone who's about to go see it!
Anyone been to see it?

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Children's Poem

I've just heard that my children's poem, 'Fairy Dreams' will be in the 'happily ever after' anthology by Forward Press.
Forward Press is considered a 'vanity publisher' I have been told, and that I'd be forced to buy copies.
However, as this poem was entered in a competition, entrants are not expected to purchase copies in order to be published at all, so I didn't see the harm in that, and there was the chance of having a collection of stories published for the winner. Which, I know isn't the same as 'mainstream publication' but I think it's always nice to see your work in print.
As a runner up in the Spikethecat comp, I wasn't actually paid, but it was still fabulous to receive the book, which I mentioned earlier. I think. A few times. hehe.
So, I'm looking forward to seeing 'Fairy Dreams', yay!

Anyone else had experience of Forward Press? :)

Nothing whatsoever to do with publishing or fairies, but Millie rarely poses for a photo, so I thought I'd make the most of it. She's so superior, always looks unimpressed with us! 'Just feed me, fools!'

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Happy Face

Thank you all for your kind comments! I am happy to say I have finished my whinging (for now) and have started on that re-write.

While searching for a 'happy' image for the post I came accross 'Theridian grallator' a tiny spider from Hawaii

(apologies to anyone with spider phobias) But isn't it strange?

So do you see a happy face, or just a shudder-worthy spidi?

Sunday, 17 October 2010

In need of inspiration

Yes. I am. It's been over two weeks since I wrote anything new. That was a competition entry for 'Time and Space' which is something I've never tried before, a bit of space travel and such. So perhaps I've just been all out of ideas. That's not really true, I have lots of ideas but I'm a bit downhearted. I've had a story back from a magazine, that I've re written six times! I still don't feel able to give up on it, but I'm not quite sure where to go with it.

I'm wondering whether to try something different (different for me). I am just reading 'Relics of the dead' by Ariana Franklin. A historical novel set in 1176, which I'm thoroughly enjoying. It turns out this is the 3rd story about the character, anatomist, Adeila Aguilar, so I think I'll have to read the previous two.

Anyway, I have to admire the amount of research that goes into a historical novel, where facts and fiction are intertwined so wonderfully. At the same time, feeling a little envious of the writer's ability. I have written a young adult book in which the main character has come from the early thirteenth century and has to get back there. My novel, I now feel, fails miserably in any historical accuracy, I tried to get around this by making it a fantasy reality, but I'm not happy. I know what needs to be done. Some research!
Which leads me back to my first sentence.
I know. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, woman, and get on with it!

Thank you all for your comments on my favourite books, It's good to know some of us share similar tastes. I happened to come across a copy of 'First term at Malory Towers' by Enid Blyton, at a charity shop. I had to buy it for nostalgia's sake! That wasn't on my list, but I loved those books!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

My Top Ten

Thanks to Madeleine for the Ten Favourite Novels Blogfest!

After a great deal of deliberation and an unreasonable amount of time trying to figure out how to put ten images together on blogger, (I do make things difficult for myself for no reason), here are the ten:

They are all books which have inspired, have been memorable and ones I could read again and again.
Well, I can see from my list, it is apparent that I don't read many adult novels. I do love children's books, I read The Faraway Tree when I was six, I then had to read everything in the local library by Enid Blyton, icluding all the Famous Fives and I have to admit it was her books which inspired my imagination in the first place. Who couldn't love the idea of an enchanted wood?
More childish inspiration from The Little Vampire books and Paddington Bear.
I have put 'Flowers in the attic' on my list as it is one of those books I will always remember, such a sad story, an emotional rollercoaster, I read the whole series as a teen. Perhaps that's why I don't tend to read many books for adults, as these were so heart wrenching, haunting I might add. I can't take that on a regular basis! (This is one book I don't read over and over as it's effect has been lasting)
Harry Potter is amazing,I know it needs no introduction, but I love that JK Rowling has created such an enchanting yet totally believable magical world that runs alongside our own 'muggle' existence. Brilliant!
'10 reasons not to fall in love' was a book that I got into slowly, however it's a modern romance and now a favourite as I love the setting of Hebden Bridge.
I have read 'Weirdstone of Brisingamen' time and time again, it's hard going at times with lots of strange words, but a magical tale of Alderly Edge.
'Born In' A romance trilogy I read recently, I love it because it's set in idyllic Ireland and it's just so sensuous!
Finally, 'The Hunger Games' especially this first one which is my favourite, it is a really well written YA novel, which inspires me to write something utterly compelling. (If only)

Honestly that took me about three hours to post, what is wrong with me? (It's ok, you don't have to answer that :) ) I finally realised that I'd accidentally deleted a bit of html code on the publisher! Anyway, all done now!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Story Titles... and an apostrophe problem

The strange pics are realted to the oddness of some of my story titles, sometimes the title comes to me straight away, other times, I change the title over and over and it still doesn't seem right.

Lime Jelly was 'What was your name again?' originally,
The Last Pair was 'Last chance' and The red Shoes was always 'The red shoes'

Do you think the title of the story is important enough to attract a reader or put them right off? I'm also stuck with the title of my story because I can't decide where to put the apostrophe....


'The dog is in charge.' Ok. So to abbreviate 'dog is' ...I can't put dog's can I?, because that just implies belonging to said dog.
'Dogs' is wrong because that's just plural, Dogs' is wrong too isn't it? Grrrgh. Should I just stick with 'The dog is in charge'
When I first typed it, I put 'dog's ', but now I'm sooo confused! :(

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Unwanted Gifts

Aww, it's a hard life.

This naughty little girl brought me a bird the other day. Luckily, she dropped it, when I went to inspect the poor thing, it was still breathing. So I shut Misch indoors and put poor little bird on the shed roof, hoping she might recover. She was breathing very, very fast and I think she was in schock. I spoke softly to her, hoping she knew I meant no harm. Then I went away, checking up on her ten minutes later to find her sat upright, she'd turned around, breathing slower, so was obviously feeling better. As I got closer, she suddenly took off. I cheered as she flew away and she chirped. I like to think she was saying, 'thanks, I'm ok now!'

I don't know anything about birds, but I have just looked her up and I'm pretty sure she was a female greenfinch. I found the website here, Great for identifying birds.

I hadn't thought much about birds, but now I'm quite interested to know which ones are coming in the garden, instead of assuming they're all sparrows. It never fails to amaze me, the vast wealth of info there is out there in cyberspace.

Anyway, naughty girl is forgiven, seeing as she didn't hurt it. Funnily enough, my story about the cats has just arrived, in 'The Last Laugh' which is very exciting. The story mention's Mischa's (named Calamity in the story) various gifts to me, alive and dead.
I love it, here's a picture. I'm so thrilled to be in an actual book!

Yay!! (Dances about with book in arms)
I am now in a submitting frenzy, I don't want this to be a one-off. I've had two rejections this week, but not to worry...

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Berry interesting

So here is a pic of the unidentified berries, hopefully you are all more knowledgable than I am when it comes to nature! I have wild blackberries in the garden, I only knew that they were edible when my mum came to visist and just picked them and ate them! Just like that!
Apparently she and her sisters picked them all the time when they were kids and their mother made jam. So, really I'd like to know what these are and if they're edible!

Thank you!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Finally a bit more sun!

It has rained constantly for weeks and my little apple tree was looking rather sorry for itself. Several small dodgy looking apples had dropped on the ground. I made some apple puree with them though, it was actually really nice! (The five spoons of sugar may have helped)

I'm rubbish at gardening, the slugs have destroyed my petunias :(

At least the sun is out today, I might be inspired to write something sunny. Last week I finished a story where somebody drowned in the end. Hmm perhaps all that rain was getting to me?

I took this photo last week of this little bee, he was busy going from clover to clover and it was quite fascinating to watch him, I though he was quite cute!
Co-incidently last night's Countryfile on BBC had an article about bees. They are in serious decline and landowners are being encouraged to grow wildflowers such as clover to attract the bees. They are pretty essential in our lives as they account for seventy five percent of pollination! I then felt incredibly guiilty as I've just mowed the lawn! No more clover. So sorry, bees! Please come back!

How do you feel about bees? Any tips on encouraging them into the garden?

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

What to do?

Sorry I've not been here much, I'd love to say I've been busy writing away in a feverish frenzy, or sunning myself on a glamorous holiday.

(I wish!) Alas no, I've been decorating -yawn. Painting walls, glossing the doors, wall papering. Finally almost done, just the ceiling on the landing to paint.

I haven't written anything new for two weeks! I did send a story to a competition, it's one of the first short stories I wrote, back in 2002 ish, but I haven't been able to place it anywhere, I'm very fond of it though, so haven't given up on it yet.

Anyway I have just been thinking about how reliant I've become on my mobile phone. The other day, I had a short errand to run in the car, did that, then on the way back, I decided to pop in the supermarket for some chocolate (as I do frequently). I thought I'd call home, see if anyone wanted anything and...no!!! The bag was empty (not totally empty obviously, there were till receipts, bits of tissues, sweet wrappers and my lipgloss, but no phone! I must confess to an immediate panic. Had I dropped it? Left it in the car? Had somone sneakily taken it from my bag? Of course not, idiot, you left it on the sofa! I replied to myself.

Ok, so no big deal, I bought the usual bits and bobs that are normally requested of me and hurried back to the car. I hurried because I realisse they'd be wondering where was, as I hadn't said I would be off shopping. Then on the way home I found myself thinking, 'what if the car breaks down?'
Honestly. I felt alone without the little pocket sized assistant. Then I thought, 'Get a grip, woman! How did we ever manage before?'

Well that's true. When I was young I'd set off to school with a 'bye' to mum and that was that, they had to assume I'd safely walk the half mile to school, safely remain at school all day, safely walk home from school and be safely home at 4 o clock. Now though, when anyone leaves the house, what do I say?
"Have you got your phone?"

Ah, the mobile phone. They were quite a rarity back in the day, huge brick weight things, that cost a fortune to buy, not to mention to actually use! Then along came Pay-as-you-go and gradually we all have a phone, camera, diary, calculator, gaming console, mp3 and moble internet in something so small you can pop it in your jeans pocket. But what if it runs out of battery or ahem, gets left on the sofa at home. What do you do in an emergency? Do many of us actually know the numbers we have stored in out phones? (I do now, but I didn't the other day)

So, my recommended emergency measures :
1.Memerising the most important numbers in your phone, so that you can use a phone box should your battery be flat.

2.Carrying a charger in your car (this only works if you have got the phone with you)

3. If you haven't got the phone, you could hope and pray that a public phone box exists somewhere in the vicinity. (There's only one near where I live, there used to be four. BT know they aren't needed. Why? Because we all have mobile phones. Grrrgh!)

4.If you're lucky enough to break down near a shopping area, you could just purchase a new phone for about twenty quid! Then again, if the shops are nearby and open, chances are you can ask to use a phone anyway. Save your twenty quid, you can go shopping while you wait for help to arrive!

5.If all else fails and there is no phone around, you may have to risk asking a passer by for help, also hoping and praying that said passer-by is not one of those people with psycopathic tendancies, that the mobile phone is meant to protect us from...How exactly? I suppose you could throw it at an assailant and run for it (that might have been better when they weighed as much as a brick)

Yes, I know, no help whatsoever.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Think Happy Thoughts

The majority of my bookshelves are full of books that I loved as a child. Enid Blyton of course, lots of those, my favourites were The Magic Faraway Tree and Binkle and Flip. I used to have a whole load of Famous Fives but they must have been given away, I can't remember.

Anyway, I was looking for something to read, having skipped through 'Friday nights' by Joanna Trollope (I couldn't really get into it, it just isn't my thing) and decided on The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This is a lovely book, here is a quote which I feel sums up the feel of the book.

'To let a sad thought or a bad one enter your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body, If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live.'

In case anyone hadn't read it, the book is about how a sickly child grows healthy and happy whilst tending an abandoned garden. It is set in Yorkshire and the accents are very prevelant on the page!

I noticed the story was first published in 1911, it's nearly a hundred years old! It is also interesting to see how story writing styles have changed over the years. This book has long sentances, often very long paragraphs and descriptive scenes, but after all this time I still find it thoroughly charming! It's a feel good book.

So, happy thoughts everyone, you'll feel better for it!

Anyone else have childhood favourites that are still thoroughly readable now we're grown up (ish)?

Monday, 12 July 2010

I had a bad week for the dreaded R's.
I have waited a year, that's a long time to be patient, to hear from a certain children's magazine about a story I sent in, only to receive a from rejection this week. I know magazines are inundated, but a year is a long time and it's difficult not to take the long wait as a good sign, isn't it?
Also another two from WW, never mind.

I have been spending many an hour looking for places to send these stories. There's a few competitions I could have a go at. To be honest the entry fees always put me off, I understand the need for them of course, but don't always have a spare fiver. I'm planning on entering Spikethecat's Someone has to die, Volume 4, but that's running until end Nov, so plenty of time for that.

A bit nearer to deadline is Cooldog Publications, short story comp, 3000 word limit, £3 entry fee, by 31 July. Top three prizes, £100, £50 and £25, Top six go in their E Mag.

I also came accross Cazart, monthly comp ending 26th each month, £3 entry. Prizes are awarded dependant on number of entries though, so no definite figure. Winning stories published on their home page. 400 word Flash Fiction, or 400-3000 short stories.

Another thing my typing is dreadful! The number of times I've written 'stroy' instead of 'story' is quite unbelievable!

On a totally different subject, did anyone have one of these back in the good old 80's?

Strawberry Shortcake! How cute is she? I know she's had a revamp, there's a newer version around for the new kids, but I love these older ones. Got this one from ebay a couple of years ago for nostalgic reasons. Hehe, I know, I'm too old for dollies but who cares?

Friday, 2 July 2010


There aren't that many books that I have that give me the 'can't put it down' syndrome, but I have just read 'The Hunger Games' by Suzanne Collins, loved it! As luck would have it when I asked for it at the library, the lady said ' you may as well have the next one as well' so I did. So having raced through part one, I jumped straight into the second book 'Catching Fire' which I finished yesterday, I am now anxiously awaiting the last of the trilogy. Brilliant story. Here's a quick bit of what it's all about in case you haven't read it.

In a dark and not too distant future, Katniss Everdeen takes the place of her little sister who has been selected to participate in The Hunger Games. A sinister game where children are forced to compete against each other, a fight to the death, in a huge arena, the games are televised for the enjoyment of the Capitol's residents. There can only be one winner.

Main reason for reading was trying to figure where exactly my novel fits in age-group wise. It doesn't fit with the 7-11 junior fiction really as it's rather dark, but having read 'hunger games' I don't think it's quite dark enough for a teen novel. Not that teen novels have to be dark and sinister, but I'm going to weave some more darkness into it, it has sinister elements to it, so there is the oppurtunity to thread that feeling throughout the book. I'm inspired!

If anyone could recommend any great YA books, I'd love to hear about them, especially sci-fi or fantasy. Thank you!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

None the wiser

I am congratulating myself on managing to add a photo at the side etc. This is a simple task yet has baffled me since I started blogging. Eeh. Oh well, I hope you like the piccy of Mischa on the back seat.

On another subject, I emailed Fast Fiction magazine as they've had two stories of mine for a while now and I wasn't sure about whether to consider them rejected. I got an email back straight away (which is always nice) saying, a definate 'no' to story one, but that story 2 had not yet been written off, which of course was good news for me. However, it was also mentioned that six months should be considered the cut-off point. Well as story 2 has been there for seven months, this is obviously a rather loose cut off point. So yes, I'm really none the wiser!

I entered a flash fiction comp at Spikethecat, the winners were announced last week, Congratulations to them! Then, I just had a look at the artwork for the Flash Fiction stories and lo and behold, my story seems to have been selected for the anthology!
I know I've mentioned the writers website before, but really I think Spikethecat is great for giving new writers a chance at publication. It is generally detective stories, murder stories and sci fi, so if that's your cup of tea and you haven't already had a look, I'd recommend it.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

This is the life

Here I am, beautiful summer's evening. Laptop on blanket in garden, me also on said blanket. Writing away. Lovely chilled orange juice beside me. I have also eaten a 'feast' ice cream, yum!
OK Laptop battery went flat. So that was that.

That was yesterday eve, it is now Friday afternoon, no sun in sight. You really have to make the most of it don't you, blink and it's gone!

Anyway, I'm in a very happy mood because I got an acceptance from The Weekly News!!
Yay, the first time after many, many attempts. I was so chuffed to read it, I was expecting the usual thank you but I'm afraid it's not really for us type thing...
But no, it was a YES. Happy, Happy.

I also went to the library to stock up on some junior fiction , but everything I went to get wasn't available so I came away with just one, at least it will get my undivided attention, so I'm off for a good read.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Attempt No. 2

Thank you all for your kind words about the dreaded submission dither!
Anyway I finally did it on Friday, but got an email from Ms. Agent straight back, saying sorry it wasn't for them, although it had some 'nice' points. She spoke of the increasingly competitive market and the need for her to feel a high level of conviction about a story.
Oh well, at least she got back to me quickly, I suppose they know exactly what they want and my story just wasn't 'it'. Not this time anyway. Well, not to be disheartened I am about to send elsewhere.
I was of course disheartened, especially after reading a very cyncial (or realistic) post elsewhere about the chances of having a debut children's novel published. They were miniscule. Well ok, I know it's hard, highlu unlikely even and incredibly competitive, but some people make it, and you have to at least try your best don't you?
So, an email sub is flying out to 2nd Ms.Lovely Agent. Fingers crossed :)

Friday, 4 June 2010

submission fears

I have spent the best part of the week writing, then tweaking, then tweaking some more an email query to an agent. This query contains a brief synopsis and the first five pages of the novel as their guidelines advise.
I have now got to the point where I'm thinking 'Yes, this is it, going off my query letter, this sounds like a great book. How could Ms. Wonderful Agent refuse?'
But, what if the agent doesn't think so. This will be about the fifth attempt with this novel, 2nd time to an agent, although it has been rewritten extensively and is much better(I hope). But, I'm suddenly really nervous about pressing 'send'.
So, my email is still in 'drafts' and will remain there until I find some courage from somewhere. I just keep thinking if it's turned down again, I'll run out of places to send it and I don't want that to happen. Boo, Boo hoo hoo. :(

In case you're wondering, this is a chocolate fondant sponge, which is going to cheer me up when I eat one...in a minute.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Lovely Cover Art

This is the cover art for the anthology 'The Last Laugh' from Spikethecat, which will have my story in! It's based on the winning story, I can't wait to read all the stories and see the book. The e book will be available soon, I'm so excited! :)

I've also just read the excellent 'How to write a synopsis' by Cindy Davis, over at Minxes of Romance and am determined to re write the synopsis of the children's novel and get on with sending it somewhere else.

Have a great weekend everyone, best be off, little tabby is really misbehaving today, must be something in the air! x

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Happy Sunshine!

Wow it's hot!!
I have made it through two exceptionally hot (compared to he dreariness us brits are used to) days, without burning my milky white skin! Factor 40! I've been good, coming in out of the sun at midday and such, wearing a hat to avoid the usual headache.
I've been painting in the garden, with my cats trying their best to knock over my brush water. It's been so lovely. sigh.
I have written a short story also and have subbed it by email today, so I'm feeling pretty good about a productive day so far.
I hope you're all enjoying the weather, whatever you're up to, and be careful not to burn!
Just off to make tea now, I really don't want to put the oven on! Arrgh!

Saturday, 8 May 2010


I decided to put drawings and talk of said drawings on another blog,
doodle days, if any one is remotely interested in such things. This is in the hope of keeping focused on each hobby seperately. I say 'hobby' but it's more than that, but it doesn't earn a living and it's not full time so that's what they are at the mo.
I have just put my pic of Jack Sparrow on as I can't find my kitten drawings! Not to worry, I'm sure I've got them saved somewhere, otherwise I'll have to scan them all in again :) Haha, keeps me busy!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

And Another...

Rejection, that is. Not to worry. This one was from Woman's Day, the Australian magazine which admittedly I haven't researched so didn't expect much. That's an important rule isn't it? Research your market! I know, I know. Ok, will consider myself told off.
However, I've just sent off another story to WW to keep up the numbers!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

ask the author -great endings

For anyone who is unfamiliar with Spikethecat, Richard Hallows has a regular post 'ask the author'. Sue Moorcroft, Sharon Bolton and Adrian Magson give some insight into their writing. Latest post here
Also, there is a flash fiction comp at the moment, 200 words, £1 entry fee, winning entries to go in an e book, there are also several books to win, more details here
I once had a 60 word story in Chat magazine, they don't do them anymore, but that was thrilling at the time, unfortunately I never actually saw it as I missed the copy by the time I was informed my contribution had gone in! I've kept the letter though for my very thin portfolio. I have a very fat folder also, filled with rejection letters, just so I can read the many different ways I have been told 'No thanks'.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Scary Stuff

Having a children's novel published has been my goal for (ahem) many years. However, when I imagine this dream becoming a reality, I always skirt around the changes it would probably mean to my life. A lot of published authors talk of promoting their work, interviews, talks in schools, newspaper interviews, social networking and book signings. I must admit it all seems a bit frightening, which has made me question whether I'm putting a hundred percent into my writing efforts? Am I afraid of what might happen? I'd like to think that if I ever get that wonderful letter/email/phone call that starts the dream rolling, then I'd take it all in my stride. I hope so, anyway. As a writer, I just want to see my book on the shelves!
Anyone else have the same fears? When I started writing as a teenager, I naively thought that I'd just post off the MS, sit back and wait for the cheques to roll in. Haha. HaHa. Ha.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Spring Cleaning

I seem to have had a lapse in writing efforts, both blogging and short story wise. I've not got around to doing the re writes I was talking about. Well, I've done one actually, but I'm still not happy with it, so that's not going anywhere yet.
I could do with a creative episode, just lately I'm too easily distracted.
I'm in a spring clean mood at the moment, but am very frustrated because I haven't yet bought the paint etc to revamp. I've just had to make do with cleaning stuff. I'm a bit fed up to be honest. I've had a bit of a clear out, but somehow seem to have more clutter than when I started!
Although, it has been nice to see a bit of sunshine lately, I even wore my sandals today! It wasn't a great idea, my legs were freezing, it isn't summer yet is it?
I could do with a spring clean in my head, I think.

Sunday, 28 March 2010


I am about to re-write 2 stories for People's Friend, which have come back to me (very promptly again-1 week). I have a good feeling about one story, which was one of those which just seemed to flow, obviously it's not flowing in the right direction as yet, but I don't want to give up on it. Having said that, I do get that sinking feeling when I get a reply such as '..the storyline was too weak to sustain the reader's interest...' It's hard not to feel a bit down, but I suppose they know exactly what they're after, whereas I'm just going for a best guess, based on the other published stories in the mag. I'm just not getting it quite right. I need to keep the overall feel, whilst adding a bit more intrigue if possible... I hope that's the case anyway and if I keep trying I'll manage another hit with them. The other story had more of a comment, saying that the ending was lovely, but the beginning was a bit down-beat. In this case, that's really helpful to me, just perk up the beginning!
I think I might give Woman's Weekly a go again, I've got a story that's had some nice comments from various mags, but it's a bit unusual, I wonder if WW might go for it? I've never had anything more than a standard reply from them, but I know their stories vary a lot, so it might be worth a try?

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Thanks to the cats

I've managed to re write a third attempt for a PF story, which came back as having too predictable an outcome. I suppose I'd have to agree, so I'm posting it off again tomorrow, I hope it's an improvement.

However, something has just cheered me up immensely, I just mooched over to Spikethecat only to find the results are out already for the comp, they weren't due until 31 March, and although I didn't win, I'm one of ten selected for publication in the book! I'm so pleased. Thanks to my cats who were the inspiration for the story!

Thursday, 11 March 2010


Inspiration comes from so many different sources, my favourite is a fabulous vivid dream, many a time I wake up and frantically scribble down a brilliant plot, like a movie I have just watched in my sleep, sometimes it's still dark so I scrawl in pencil on whatever's to hand. In the morning I have to decipher my scrawl, which is great fun in itself. I love those dreams! I've not actually had one of those for a few weeks, but I have notes about two that haven't quite turned into stories yet, but i will have a go when I get chance. Anyone else get those?
However, my cats have inspired a recent story, the one I entered in a comp, not sure if it's any good, but I enjoyed the writing, it was meant to be funny but I've not entirely sure I've nailed humour, writing wise. I admire anyone who can write humour, it's not easy is it?

Thursday, 4 March 2010

I was just looking for an older post and wondered where it had vanished to. Then realised it is now March, so it's under a February list. Honestly! (sigh)It's March, where is the year going?

This is a nice sunny picture taken last March in Torquay, so I can remember what a sunny day looks like.

I'm regretting sending off my novel to a publisher last Nov as I really need to change
a few things, especially the last chapter. I don't suppose it matters because they only have the first three chapters. I just feel very amateurish, but I am, so I suppose that's ok. I've been meaning to do it since Jan and haven't touched it, too busy with short story submissions, I'm on a bit of a roll there, so I have to just go with it!

Thursday, 25 February 2010

and another one

Another story back from PF. It took just 8 days. 8 days!!!
I am amazed. I wish all magazines were that quick.
This rejection said the story relied a shade too heavily on its plot. I will have another go, as I was advised a good while ago by Womagwriter..
Any feedback from magazine editors is a good thing, it's worth editing and re submitting. So, I will add that to my to do list.
Am also going to enter The Last Laugh competition at spikethecat
I'm feeling brave...Will submit today. Or tomorrow. Maybe just another check over...

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Giving up chocolate

Hmm, that was the plan. Four days, it was going well, said I didn't miss it. Then I got a thumping headache that lasted for two whole days. Withdrawal. So for medical reasons have just eaten 5 werthers chocolates, the new ones, mmmm. Headache gone. Oh dear, perhaps I shall wean myself off slowly this time.

Friday, 19 February 2010

A nice surprise

I received my complimentary copy of the People's Friend this morning, with my story in!
Yeah! I'm so pleased, it looks really nice with the drawing they've added. I didn't know how long it would be until publication, so I'm really happy, it's only been about three months since acceptance.
There are also a few names I recognise sharing the pages, which is great, I wouldn't have known them if it wasn't for the blogging!
Thanks again to everyone for your encouragment! x

Monday, 15 February 2010


On a completely different subject, this is a drawing of one of my kitties, she's a crazy lady. She's busy chasing something invisible around my living room!

speedy rejections.

The rejections are just bouncing off me these days, another back from People's Friend! This time it was back in ten days. Wow, they're getting fast. It must have been really bad.
No, I don't really take it to heart, it simply means that it wasn't right for them, but someone else might like it.
On the subject of speedy respomses, I have just asked The Lady about the wherabouts of a story I sent Jan last year and got a nice email apologising for the delay, but they have had a lot of upheavel lately and it has been taking over a year for a decision to be made.
It was nice of her to reply so quickly, t's just that, when you wait so long to hear about a story, you can't help but take that lengthy wait as a good sign, and then when it is eventually rejected, it is really hard not to feel deflated.( A story with another magazine I had high hopes for came back after eight months with a standard no thanks)

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Spikethecat competitions

Just wanted to mention this website. spikethecat It is aimed at helping new writers, there are regular competitions for a £3 fee.
To be honest, I was always put off by entry fees, but now understand that they are a necessary way of raising a prize fund. So once in a while, it doesn't hurt too much.
The winning writer receives £100 and a free copy of the anthology, which is available in e-book or printed book. I mention it as I noticed the last competition had very few entries. It would be a shame if Spikethecat couldn't continue because of a lack of entries.
There is also a blog on there to keep everyone updated.
I entered the last comp and will definately have another go.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

100 stories for Haiti anthology

The successful stories have been announced. 100 stories for haiti is a charity anthology, quite a few names I recognise on the list, and such a good idea for charity fund raising. Hope it does really well!
Well done to all those whose stories were chosen!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Give competitions a go!

I've only ever entered four competitions.
One I heard nothing about.
Another was a writers forum one, which came with a very helpful critique from Sue Moorcroft, which was great.
One was for childrens writers academy and didn't come anywhere, but did get a letter asking if I was interested in their writing course as my entry was in the top 300 of 2000. Wasn't really sure whether to take heart in that as the cynic in me suspects that they merely want to sell their course. Which is fair enough. I can't afford a writing course, so merely filed the letter away with my huge file full of rejection letter etc.
I also entered a poem in Animal Antics Comp last year. Didn't win , but my poem has been selected to go in the Crazy for Creatures anthology, which is due out this month I believe. So that feels good, can't wait to see that!
Anyway, I just decided to enter a Spike-the-cat comp found on Sally's Competition Calendar, which I recommend checking out, a brilliant list with lots of info and entry due by dates.
Might as well have a try. Got to be in it to win it as my Mum would say.

Two more rejections

If I was lolling about under the impression that I had People's Friend requirements sussed, I was very wrong. Two more rejections from them this week. The first story was one I had nice comments about twice previously and was with them for 2 months,but it seems it just isn't for them, the second back to me in just a week. Clearly that was a definate no. I thought it was so heart warming as well. That just goes to why show researching your target magazine is so essential, heart warming in itself just isnt enough, they are looking for a certain feel to a story, very gentle, but not 'too weak' as my last one was described as. Ouch.
Try, try, try again...

Friday, 22 January 2010

choosing a book by its cover.

I have finally read my mother's day gift. It was '10 reasons not to fall in love' by Linda Green. My daughter admitted she picked it up because it had a pretty cover...OK.
I didn't think it was my cup of tea and I couldn't really get into it as it began with the main character, Jo, starting back at work, having been left on her own with her baby son on his first birthday. To make matters worse her ex was now her boss.
I thought it might be rather bitter, however at chapter 5 I was suddenly engrossed. I think the reason being that this chapter had a flashback to childhood of Jo's new boyfriend, who was thoroughly lovely. It was unusual and I really liked that style.
I also think possibly I prefer reading observations from a child's point of view.
It was actually much deeper than I expected and the boyfrend's back story was quite heart wrenching. It wasn't the 'fluffy' read I was expecting.
So, you really can't judge a book by its cover. I think someone may have said that before... : )

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Finding Time

I really need more time in the day.
I've done some writing this evening and I subbed another story this morning, so was feeling quite pleased, but when will I ever get around to reading the four books on my bedside table?
Reading the current published books in the genre you are aiming to write for is essential, I have three young adult books to read and a 'chic lit' that I got for Mother's Day. March! That's last year!
So if anyone finds some time lying around could you sent it to me? Thank you.

Friday, 8 January 2010

getting organised

I've just made a list of writing tasks to complete.

1 Finish childrens sci fi adventure novel, this is finished but needs a serious re draft.

2 Finish girly supernatural story, this has been half finished for at least 6 years. I was reading through my rejection letters and found one for this. From 2004. First of all, What was I thinking, sending off a half finished story to a publisher???
Secondly, took pleasure in reading the handwritten note which said 'this story is an ingenious idea, so sorry we don't have room for it in our lists.'
At the time, I didn't realise how encouraged I should have been by this. I just thought 'that's a no then'. But, looking with fresh, slighly more experienced eyes, I'm thinking. Ingenious?? Why on earth didn't I finish this and try again?? What an idiot!

3. Finish my first attempt at a pocket novel, one-third complete. Thank you, Sally for the advice there.

4. Re-write children's fantasy novel, which again is complete, but, basically, pretty rubbish. The central character is actually sixteen and in the end falls deeply in love with her soul mate from the fourteenth century, as you do, so I'm wondering if targeting it for childrens/teens is the best plan?
So, a re think there.

5. Re write younger children's story which is okay, but not good. You know when something is just not right? I first began it 20 years ago. Wow! that makes me seem old! I think it's a bit too 'Enid Blyton', because she was my favourite writer as a child. Have to move with the times...

6. Another one, young kids book, same again really, although this ones's not finsihed at all.

7. Try and write something really really good for Take a Break which Norah can't refuse!!

8. Find a home for short story which has had good responses but not an acceptence as yet.

The list goes on.....
So basically I need to sit down and finish a task, but I always wander and remember another thing I wanted to do...

So, I must FOCUS!
Maybe noe I've written my list on here, I'll get on with it. Hmm.

Good luck to anyone with similar to-do lists. Let me know how it's going! x

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Friendly Writers

I must just say, that since I starting following other blogs, I have been struck by the friendly and helpful writers out there, both published and nearly published. Sharing information, good news and bad, it's what encouraged me not to give up, and encouraged me to have a go at blogging also.
So thank you everyone, you know who you are! x

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year, everyone!!
Instead of starting the year in hope that I might finally have a story accepted, I find myself hoping that my first acceptance won't be the last!
I know, that's so negative.
So, I have sent another story to Peoples Friend, one which has already been to them twice. I have also just re written a story that I entered into a competition last year. It didn't come anywhere, so I thought I'd give it a re-vamp and try to make it more suitable for PF. I will post that on Monday.
Although my childrens novel is 'finished' ( I thought it was complete about a year ago) its not finished at all, it has some very woolly chapters and I realised that I have a lot of work to do!
It is definately true that when you go back and take a fresh look at your work, there are always improvements that can be made. In my case, rather a lot of improvements!
I still love my novel and think eventually it will be a good read. To be honest, right now I'd be happy to just complete it so that I myself can print it out and read it and know it's finished. What a happy day that will be.