Thursday, 10 November 2011

I've Won a prize!!

Yes, folks I've won a prize. I'm the runner up in a Writer's News Short Story Competition. My entry was called 'WarBaby' and when I was in Spain I got an email from the editor to congratulate me on winning second prize. Now, I've read a few winning entries for this comoetiton (a monthly one) in the past and I can say that the standard is high so I was over the moon to get second prize. It is a real confidence booster. Needless to say, since then I have been busy entering some more compeitions. I have just finished a short story for another 'Writer's News' comp where the subject is a workaholic. I am quite pleased with how this story is shaping up so far and can't wait to send it off when I am fully satisfied with it.

What else? The novel is finished and printed off. I decided, after reading lots of articles on editing, that it would be best to edit a hard copy. The mss fits snugly into a green box file.

After reading a blog called 'Magazine Madness' I have decided to follow Helen Yedall's advice and start penning letters to magazines. I've only sent one so far but I have only just discovered this encouraging website.

What else? Oh yes, I'm learning to ballroom dance. Perhaps there are articles awaiting from this new hobby?

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Writing Competitions

I've now submitted a short story to 'Writing' magazine. I am working through the list I made last week of suitable competions and they all have one thing in common - there is no entry fee! I will only enter if they are free otherwise I could end up being seriously out of pocket if I don't win anything.

I'm working on my next entry at the moment and this one is going very well. I'm happy with the story and the characters so far. It's nowhere near ready to submit but I'll keep working at it.

Monday, 5 September 2011

I'm Back!!

Yes, folks. I'm back on my blog. I can't believe it's been such a long time since I wrote anything. So where have I been? Well, to some pretty interesting places actually. I've been to Holland, Germany, Austria, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria. This was all in the space of three weeks on a wonderful river cruise with a company called Noble Caledonia on boat called the Johann Strauss. My trip has given me lots of ideas for travel articles and travel related competitions.

What else has happened in my long absence? Finally the NOVEL is finished!! The first draft is completed after months of hard work and I am about to embark on the first rewrite.

Anything else? Two long visits to our house in Spain and a trip to Toledo and Madrid.

Where am I going with my writing at the moment? Firstly the manuscript needs serous attention. I've made a list of plenty of competitions to enter and posted off my first entry this morning. I've also started to simplify my writing life by sorting through cuttings files and my ideas bank to get rid of anything that no longer applies.

I've also taken out a subscription to 'Writing Magazine' and this is the best thing I have done to help me with my writing since finishing the Writer's Bureau Course. There is so much good advice in this magazine and I can't wait for the next issue to drop on the doormat. I am going to buy a couple of box files tomorrow to keep back issues in for future reference. For anyone out there who isn't familiar with this gem of a publication then check it out at WH Smith or go on-line.

Thursday, 13 January 2011


I have now written 50,000 words towards THE NOVEL. I am very pleased with progress and have been able to devote several days on the trot to uninterrpted writing. I have also done the first edit of the first 40,000 words and made several changes. It's quite easy to have continuity errors if you are not careful and I spotted several that I was able to rectify.

I am off to Spain for a month and I don't expect the weather to be up to much so I am aiming to continue with the first draft and hopefully, by the time I come home I will be almost finished.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Resolutions - What Resolutions?

Do I make resolutions at New Year? Mmm, good question. I used to make a whole list, writing them down in a pretty notebook. I don't make them anymore. I think it's because I always set myself goals throughout the year. For example, I set a goal to finish my Writer's Bureau Course by the end of 2010 and to have my last assignment sent off. This was achieved. I said I would have the first draft of the NOVEL written by the end of the year. This wasn't achieved but I did manage around 30,000 words - not much, really but a good start.

I think it's better to have continuous goals to work towards rather than make a long list on New Year's Eve to see most of them broken by the end of January. You have to be realistic too. It's pointless saying you will shed two stone by February when you know that would be nigh on impossible unless you starved yourself. It's daft to say you'll finish your book, edited as well, by Easter when you haven't even started it. Unless you want to spend 24/7 at the computer, you aint gonna get it done!

My current goals (that have nothing to do with it being a new year) are to have the first draft of my book completed by Easter. I think this is very reasonable because Easter is later this year so that gives me a few extra weeks and so far I have now written 43,000 words to date.

My other goals are ongoing personal ones that I am giving 6 months to achieve or be well on the road to achieving.

I will keep you posted on progress.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

It's That Time Again

I've had a Christmas and New Year break from everything! I've had a happy two weeks of over indulging, socialising and just generally getting away from the bump and grind of daily routine. It's now 4th January and today is the first day I am now 'back to normal.' That means back to writing for a start. I last used this computer on 23rd December when I added to THE NOVEL. I was going to start again yesterday but I was still busy getting organised after Christmas. I've spent the New Year getting the decorations down, putting away my christmas presents and generally having a good sort out and tidy up. A sort of new year spring clean if you like. Today it's back to business and I'm really hoping that this year will see me doing some serious writing.

I'm also planning at least three trips to Spain (two are already booked), a river cruise holiday in August and some theatre excursions.

What else? You'll just have to keep reading to find out!

Friday, 17 December 2010


I've just come back from five days in Marrakech. Hmm, not quite what I expected, to be honest. We stayed in the Kasbah (sounds exotic but wasn't) and the streets were crowded and narrow, full of shops selling everything from soap powder to live chickens. There were motor cycles everywhere and it was difficult to walk through the streets without running the risk of being mown down.

The accommodation was very nice. We stayed in a Riad, which is the name for the many courtyard hotels you find in the old parts of the city. It was strange when we first arrived. The streets were too narrow for the taxi to negotiate so we had to get out and pull our cases the rest of the way until we arrived at a smart door that was the entrance to the Riad. Honestly, you wouldn't know it was there unless you spotted the tiny gold plaque on the wall.

Our room was comfortable and nicely furnished. We had a large bathroom and a balcony to sit on. The Riad became our retreat from the noise, dirt, crowds and general mayhem of the city. We ate in one night and the cook made a couple of tagines for us to try.

Our saving grace was a trip to the coastal resort of Essaoira, a three hour drive away but well worth it. We had a pleasant wander through the streets and stopped for a seafood lunch.

The shopping in Marrakech is good. I particularly love the coloured lanterns you can buy nearly everywhere and the silver jewellery. If it wasn't for the paltry luggage allowance of EasyJet, I would have bought much more.

However, the experience has given me a few writing ideas to develop now I'm back home.