Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Competition Time

Quite by chance the other day, I came upon a list of recently established Literary Agents on the internet.  I almost immediately found two that sounded promising and on Sunday - after cross-referencing them in the 2014 W&AYB -  I emailed the obligatory synopsis and opening chapters of The Book to them, so fingers crossed.    And last Saturday, of course, saw the latest AYW session take place at Ashburton Library.  All five children from the first session turned up, as did two new members, so I was absolutely over the moon!  If two new members turn up every session for the next four sessions, the numbers will be almost up to where they were last year before we lost our venue.  And word is definitely getting out there.  One of the youngsters that turned up last Saturday just came via word-of-mouth!  Which - as any writer knows - is the most effective marketing tool there is!  And it's free.

Having got the submissions off to the two agencies, I have now decided to concentrate on entering a couple of competitions.  My latest Writing Magazine is absolutely chocablock full of competitions to enter so I will round up a couple of the most tantalising (and challenging) ones over the next day or two and get cracking on them.  I desperately want an iPad and winning one may be my only chance of getting it at this point in time.  I like Writing Competitions though, it must be said.  They give you a deadline to work to and guidelines of what they want.  The more you enter, the more confident you get.  It is kind of like a practice-run to being a fully-fledged writer where you have briefs and commissions flying at you left right and centre (and believe me I  know.  I am actually lucky enough to have actually been there for a year or so back in the mid 80s when I had so much work coming in I was actually able to give up the Day Job for a while just to accommodate it all.  And I was getting paid!  I think that was probably the happiest working year of my entire life and  I'd quite like the chance to go back there).

I did quite well in competitions around that time.  I won one and was a runner up in two, and all three pieces were published.  It is always nice when something like that happens.

Don't forget to tweet me @Jilly66408011 or comment just to let me know you are still in the land of the living (she says hopefully).  And I would love to hear from any other writers who keep a blog ...

Thursday, 13 March 2014


Amazing Young Writer Session last Saturday!  I had five youngsters turn up to the first session of the new era - four complete newbies and one "old boy" (who is only actually 9) who belonged to the original group almost from its first day back in 2012.  If you want a complete update go to http://addiscombeyoungwriters.blogspot.co.uk where my ecstatic ramblings take up a very long opening paragraph!  Suffice it to say I came home afterwards breathing a huge sigh of relief.  And it doesn't stop there.  I have already had three enquiries about the next session!  So the snowball effect starts here!

I am feeling really fired up!  Even though I have withdrawn The Book from The Publisher mentioned last Post (don't ask - long story.  Well ok ask then - it would be nice to get some  sort of response on here!) but I have already got another iron in the fire so all is not lost.  The fact is I truly believe in The Book - possibly more than I have ever believed in anything else I have ever written.  And I know that I will know when the right agent/publisher/editor has come along - rather like you instinctively know when you have found the right new home or job!  It has taken me three years and a growing file of positive feedback to get to this point with this book so another year is not going to hurt if that is what it takes.  I have faith.

As for everything else - well - Steve and I took four of our six grandchildren to Toys R Us a couple of weeks ago so that the two youngest could pick their birthday presents.  Admittedly this particular branch of Toys R Us is HUGE - but before we'd even got ten yards inside the door they were all telling us what they wanted (the older two had pocket money to spend) just from the first shelf of display.  Eventually we managed to persuade them to take a look at the other how-ever-many-thousand-square-footage of shop there was that they hadn't even spotted beyond those first two or three displays and, surprisingly - less than an hour and a half later we left with two huge bagfuls of toys plus four very contented children so all was well that ended well.  And Steve and I have also seen a couple of good shows lately too.  If  "Fame - The Musical" comes within a hundred miles of you anytime soon, you have just got  to go and see it!  It is kinda scary that I can actually remember the original TV series because it was ... well... shall we just say quite some time ago.  And finally if you like reading biographies I urge you to grab a copy of Simon Pegg's Nerd Do Well.

That's it for this post.  Catch up again soon.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014


...till the first session of the brand new Young Writers group.  Despite the fact press releases have gone out, posters and flyers have been distributed, letters have been sent to all previous members and information packs have been sent out to the six most local schools, I am still wondering if anyone will actually turn up! And, as well as all that, there have been the blog entries, tweets, the library have also contacted local schools...it has been a marketing merry-go-round!   I keep saying to myself, okay, if no-one turns up, I will let go graciously and move on.  If three or four turn up - well, that could be the start of the snowball effect.  If too many  turn up ... uhm ... Anyway, all will be revealed in time as Laurence Olivier said in Time - the musical many many moons ago!  And don't worry - whatever happens on Saturday - I will let all my silent and shy readers know.

Had some kind of good news this morning re The Book.  I think the publisher I sent it to a month or so ago is seriously considering taking it.  But don't get too excited just yet.  When I know it is all for real and going ahead, I will let you know - boy will I!!!!  In the meantime, watch this space.

Good news re: The Study.  It is about eighty-five per cent done now.  The Stephen Kings are all in a neat row on two shelves.  The J K Rowlings and Sue Townsends take up another whole shelf as do the classics (sorry - am a sucker for the golden oldies - Dickens, J M Barrie, well, you get the picture; I have very eclectic taste).  It is all the others I need to get into some kind of order.  But the stationery cupboard is full.  My Society of Authors membership certificate is in a frame and so is my letter from Prince Charles about Yucketypoo  (yes you read that right), plus numerous inspirational slogans dotted about; my laminated copy of W H Davies' Leisure (my most  favourite poem ever).  Two whole shelves of my own published work, one and a half shelves where all my diaries and journals are lined up (I started keeping a diary in when I was fifteen), black box files lined up like soldiers on parade Yucketypoo one, two and three, the entire series of Boot and Sock stories once broadcast on local radio, and unpublished titles such as The Tutstwaddle Ghosts and Molly The Magnificent Machine.  My entire writing life is in this one room.  No wonder I needed to move out of the pocket handkerchief!  But I love it and would not change any of it!

So that is where I am right now.  In a good place - which is always a good place to be!