Thursday, 30 May 2013

The Article - Publication

Found out today that The Article is likely to appear in Writing Magazine's September issue - available from August.  Just need to get the photo sorted so the camera is coming to the AYW session with me on Sunday.

Ordered some more business cards last night.  My last lot became null and void when The Hacker got into my previous email and corrupted it because nobody can access that one anymore.  Very pleased with the new design - quite striking.  What's more I found I could order a pad to tie in with them, a pen - I could have even ordered a t-shirt if I wanted to - all with the new image on.  Regret not getting the t-shirt now. Might have to go back and order one.  Never considered myself a brand before - but I am suddenly finding that if I want to improve my profile, I have to be a brand.  It has come as the same kind of shock I felt when I found out I'd somehow become akin to a commodity to my publisher.  That was weird.

Hope to set up a website soon - someone has offered me one free for a month so it might be worth a try.  I'd ask you what you think - but you never seem to reply for some reason or post a comment - even though I know this blog is being read quite a bit now. Please get in touch.  I don't bite you know!  All us writers have to stick together and support each other.  I sold two of my books today by the way and was asked to sign them.  That felt good too.

Come on Mr and Mrs Secretive - give Jilly a call.  Or at least just say hi in the comment box.  Who knows what kind of amazing creative power we could come up with working together!  First one to reply will get a free Reading and Evaluation for their latest story.  Now I can't say fairer than that can I?  And I speak as an experienced professional Creative Writing tutor.

Good writing!!!!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Write An Excerpt ...

Just thought I would add a new post tonight - even though it is already almost 11pm and I should be heading off to bed.  Got some good news earlier this evening - the Editor is pleased with the redrafted Article, so that bodes well.  Just trying to sort out an accompanying photograph then hopefully I will find out when it is likely to be published. 

The Book ??!!?? (What shall I do...?)

The Epic?  Going GREAT GUNS - estimnate I am at almost 7000 words now and still srcibbling madly.  Only been writing it for a fortnight so guess that isn't too bad.  I am finding I get most done at Caffe Nero's in Sutton - so love working in those places - and also during Lunch at the Day Job.  Got a little tip by the way for any aspring writers passing through.  You know how sometimes, short excerpts of books already published sometimes appear in writing magazines?  Or you catch a page of something in a Kindle advert?  Well next time you are feeling Blocked (as in Writers Block, not a blocked nose), then find a pen and some paper and write a short excerpt straight out of your head.  Believe it or not, several months before The Epic came into being, I actually did this when I heard a couple of my yet-to-be-invented characters chatting in my head one day.  Furthermore, even though it took me several months to actually get started, I am convinced that Excerpt is what actually set the Creative Wheels in motion.  I don't even know if that short piece will actually make it into The Epic.  But the two characters certainly have, so it is a good exercise.

Better go.  Keep yawning and getting up before 6 tomorrow.  Good Writing, Each!!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Moving On ...

Okay - so when I started this blog, I was writing about The Article.  Then I started writing about The Book.  Now I am going to talk about The Epic. Yes - you read that right. The Epic.

I have never been able to write really long stuff.  The longest book I ever wrote was around 75,000 words and that was a Sci-Fi nearly published in the 1990s.  Or was it the 1980s?  Either way it spent around eighteen months with the publisher - who was then bought out by another publisher just at the wrong time.  To coign the very phrase they finally used when rejecting it - "This came within a hair's breadth of being published'. I kid you not.  In fact somewhere in my archives I have still got that letter.  I think I kept it because I marvelled at their sheer gall!  Then - a few years later - I wrote another fairly hefty tome (hefty for me anyway) that ran to around 70,000 words.  This was not sci-fi.  Inspired by one of the best books ever ever ever written ("The World According To Garp" by John Irving), I decided that I too wanted to write a book about real people.   And I did.  It crossed all the boundaries and dug deep into the human psyche and I tackled some topics in that novel that I had hitherto (fine word) never attempted before.  And it remains to this day probably my best ever piece of work.  But I never even tried to find a publisher for it because it would have completely and utterly destroyed me if it had been rejected just once.  No.  My plan with that book was to wait until I was more established as a 'serious' writer and then just launch it on the world and retire on the proceeds it would be bound to generate.  I do not consider myself an unserious writer by any means.  And I know I have achieved so much more than I ever expected to - and so much more than many people can even imagine.  But actually in the wake of Yucketypoo it felt almost blasphemous to do anything with The Novel.  So I didn't.

And - here I am - some twenty-five years on and The Novel (as opposed to The Sci-Fi which never saw the light of day again), is still tucked away in the filing cabinet.  I'd like to think it will not rot there forever.  In between I have written stories, articles and features anything from 50 words (mini saga published around ten years ago) to 35,000 words (kid's book - never published) with most of my published work being less than 3000 words.  And yet.   A good few months ago I was struck by a What If moment.  I went away with that resonating in the creative ethers of my brain and wrote a few notes - which I promptly lost. But The Idea just would not go away.  It kept gnawing away at me, even as I continued to struggle with what to do with The Book.   Gnawing and niggling, growing and gaining momentum.  It haunted my dreams, occupied every waking moment, took me off into the place my darling husband refers to as  Jilly's Space, which is almost trance-like as more and more possibilities occur to me.  And suddenly, on Tuesday last week, I actually started writing.  One week on I am almost 4000 words in and still scribbling madly.

At this stage I have no idea where it will end up.  The thing that I am so excited about, however,  is the fact that I am writing again - actually writing.  Yes - I know I have been blogging pretty regularly for a year or so and I still keep a journal which I write most days.  I have been really busy with the Young Writers, helping them to publish their work.  And of course The Article found a home with a publisher (who still has not come back to me to confirm anything yet even though it is weeks since I redrafted and emailed it).  And - you've guessed it - I am still procrastinating over The Book.  But I am Writing.  And it is only when I Write that I feel truly Whole. 

My hope is that other people feel that completeness when they write - because it seems wrong not to share it.  There is no other feeling on earth that even comes close to that euphoria, creating and writing and living with those characters wherever and whatever they may be.  It is as close to real magic as it is possible to get and I am privelaged to have that gift.  I have no doubt at all that I will mention The Epic from time to time so watch this space.  And maybe my meanderings will inspire you to take up your pen as well?

In the meantime though, just what should I do about The Book...?  Answers on a postcard please!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Back Again

Well there you go - a list of published work as promised.  I hope it goes some way to telling you a bit more about my writing history.  You can always skip it if you want, I won't be offended. 

Thought I would add a quick post tonight to go with the list just to say hi and keep my toe in the door.  I hope you have had a busy and productive week.  I am still awaiting the final decision on the new draft of The Article - I sent a quick email to the editor today, so fingers crossed.  I will keep you in the picture.

Had a good session with the Young Writers on Sunday.  We are just finishing a thorough dissection of The Short Story by looking at story types.  We will go back to poetry next session.  I gave out a whole bunch of Certificates of Achievement.  It warms my heart to see the pride on their faces when they receive these - and so they should feel proud, they work really hard at developing their craft and they deserve all the accolaides they can get!

I am still umming and ahhing about The Book. Keep agent hunting? Self-Publish?  Kindle it?  All I know is that it is worthy of publication somehow or other and by George it will get there by wriitng hook or publishing crook.  I have written some absolute tosh in my time.  One of the worst things I ever had published was a children's poem that appeared in an anthology.  I won't tell you which one but suffice it to say it is the only piece of my work I have ever disliked - especially when it did get published.  It was complete drivel.  I don't know how it got to that point!  I also have loads of unpublished tosh.  Editors aren't the only ones with a slush pile, believe me.  But by the same token I pratically do always know when I have produced something good - one of my best poems ever ever ever won an award in a competition, and my favourite haiku ever was published in a magazine.  That is why I know The Book is worthy of all the effort I can put into it.  Just like I knew with Yucketypoo (ooh look - I'm a poet and I don't know it)!

I cannot keep procrastinating over this book.  I have got to get something done - not least because (big drum-roll) - I have now started a new book.

Will I never learn ...?



Children’s column ‘Eddie the Editor’ in The South London Guardian featuring stories including ‘Gilly The Guardian Girl‘ (a series that ran for four weeks), ‘The Incredible Story Of The Boy In The Tree‘, ‘The Case Of The Howling Ghost‘, ‘Christina‘s Christmas Treat‘ and a two-part story ‘The One Inch Boy Crash Lands‘, also a number of poems, features and book reviews as well as running Junior Reporter competitions.

Trebor Bassett
- ‘Jelly Baby Rainbow’, ‘The Jellyland Express’, ‘The Circus Comes To Town’, ‘Wibble Wobble William’, ‘Baby Brilliant’s Clever idea’, ‘Baby Bigheart Goes Flying’, ‘A New Friend For Baby Bonny’, ‘The Great Jelly Balloon Race’, ‘How Baby Boofuls Won The Bouncing Contest’, ‘The Jolly Jelly Band On Parade’ and ‘A Picnic At Milkshake Lake’.

William Levine - ‘’Yabba Dabba Doo’ and ‘Fireman Sam’ (under license)

Beaver Annual 1985 - ‘Touch Of Gold’, ‘Riddle Me Ree’ and ‘Inside A Snail Shell’.

Crystal - The Magazine For Writers - ‘The Girl Who Cried’ ‘Mrs Sparrow’s Christmas Scarf’ and ‘Helena’s New Coat’

Self Published - ‘Presents - A Collection Of Children’s Poetry’ (three editions 1999, 2002 and 2003) ‘Touch Of Gold - and other poems’ (2003) ‘Rivers of Thought - observations in haiku’ (2003) and ‘Nature’s Magic’ (2004)

- ‘Reading’s Cool’ in Lyrical Laboratory, ‘The Snoggleford’s Nose’ in Take A Peek’ , ‘Grandma’s Spider’ in Man On The Moon and ‘Night Vs Day’ in A Bedtime Poem For Every Day Of The Year

Books - ‘Yucketypoo - The Monster That Grew And Grew’ (Lollypop Publishing 2007) and ‘Yucketypoo Slimes Again) (Lollypop Publishing 2009)

Local Radio
- The Boot And Sock Series - ‘A Christmas Surprise’, ‘Spring Fever’, ‘The Tuppenny Mystery’, ‘Bluey’s Awful Monster’, ‘No Sign of Theprincess’, ‘A Christmas Chorus’, ‘Clover’s Christmas Cheer’ and ‘Sam Loses His Way’

Current Projects
- ‘Yucketypoo’s Big Beach Clean-Up’ and ‘My Writer’


Other Work
Articles, reviews and features in The South London Guardian, The Croydon Advertiser, My Weekly, Crystal -The Magazine for Writers, Diecast Collector, Writer’s News, Fate & Horoscope Magazine, Animal Ways, The Unexplained, Tesco Times, Reach Magazine, Linkway Magazine

Crystal The Magazine For Writers, Writer’s Forum, Linkway Magazine, Reach Magazine, The South London Guardian, Harrietsham Parish News, Candle & Keyboard, Breathe Magazine, The Ugly Tree, Daily Mail
and the following anthologies: Poems For Cat Lovers , A Few Precious Thoughts, Serendipity, Poetic Spirit, Life’s Footsteps, As We Look Upon This World, Every Kind Of Love, A Passion For Poetry, From This Moment, Friendship Is A Gift, Rhyme And Reason, Poems For Mum, Moonlit Thoughts, In the Name Of Fame, The Image Of Faith, Expressions, Poetry Now, Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing, Tributes To Dad, Capital Poetry, Life’s A Game, Images In Time, As We Look Upon This World, Valentine’s Verse, To Smile Away The Hour, It’s A Mini Adventure ,Under Your Spell , Life’s Footsteps and England

Children’s Books
“Yucketypoo The Monster That Grew And Grew” Lollypop Publishing 2007

“Yucketypoo Slimes Again” Lollypop Publishing 2009

Other Achievements
Running children’s Creative Writing Workshops and Creative Writing Courses for adults, runner-up in The David Thomas Charitable Trust Writing Awards 2003, runner-up in Writer’s Forum poetry competitions (twice) 2003, being interviewed on local radio, local TV and also in local papers, being invited to do talks at local schools and writing groups, getting The Maple Diploma in Professional Proofreading and Editing in 2005, book-signings. Founding of Addiscombe Young Writers 2012 and publication of their book Word Magic.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Let's Hear It For Writing Magazine!

I was chuffed to get the re-drafted Article written and emailed over to the editor after last week's euphoria at having it accepted.  No-one can tell me I am not dedicated to my craft.  This week, I am starting another crack at the Agents.  I have approached one who has asked for some samples of The Book even though their books are currently full.  Perhaps the fact the Young Writers' group has been so successful added some credence to my first approach - that, plus the list of Published Works I attached.  And yes - I haven't forgotten my promise to you that I would upload that for you and I will do that next time.  I had planned to do it tonight but I had stacks of Young Writer work to go through and comment on - and all of a sudden, it was 10.30.  Another evening gone. 

Have you ever grabbed a copy of Writing Magazine?  Please, please do as it is probably one of the best magazine for writers on the market at the moment.  I bought the June copy from W H Smiths today and it is crammed full of advice for writers of all ages and experience, from beginners to the established.  They publish a FREE newsletter too which you can sign up to on  In fact I will add that link to the profile in a second (if I can fathom out how) because believe me, everyone can benefit from it.  They don't just have how-to articles and competitions.  In the June issue there is a particularly nice tribute to James Herbert - one of my favourite writers who died, as you perhaps know, in March this year.

Anyway - high and buzzing as I am, time is marching on and I still have a quick update to add to the Young Writers' blog.  Keep writing.  And keep in touch.