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Showing posts from 2015

Happy In Between Christmas and New Year

Okay, so this isn't exactly a Christmasy image, but we are betwixt and between now, and one of the over-riding images of Christmas this year for me was settling down on Christmas Eve with my boys and watching the Snow Chic documentary.  It was a fascinating insight into the life of penguins without being too highbrow.  My youngest son adores penguins, so this made it even more enjoyable. The other image of Christmas for me was my 14 year old son sitting on the end of my bed on Christmas morning, opening the presents from his stocking.  My mind kept floating back to when they were little and although he showed as much enthusiasm as in years gone by, there was rather a lot less room left in the bed for us.  Its nice that he still has that youthful exuberance though, I wonder if it will still be there next year, or whether I will have to drag him out of bed! I hope you have all had a lovely Christmas and have survived the food, the drink, the excess and the water!  My hea

Where's There's Hope

The House at the End of Hope Street - Menna Van Praag A friend of mine bought me this book because she knew I had been feeling down recently and she thought it would cheer me up.  And she was right. This is a wonderful book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The House at the End of Hope Street is a mystical sanctuary for women. It can only be seen by people at times when they need it.  The main occupant of the house is an elderly lady called Peggy who has inherited the house from a long line of women who have magical powers. On the walls of the house are portraits of past residents – women like Virginia Woolf, Dorothy Parker, Agatha Christie and many more.  The women were all residents in the house at a time when they were experiencing difficulties in their lives. The house helped them solve their problems and their portraits have the ability to talk to the current residents to help them solve their problems. Three women are the current residents – they a

Suffragette

Last week I went to see Suffragette at the cinema.I don't often get a chance to go to the cinema but I was determined to watch this film on a large screen. I do love history particularly women's social history, so I thought I was pretty well versed on the suffrage movement.   But nothing prepared me for this film which I have to say was absolutely brilliant. The characters' story arcs really brought the plight of women in the early 19th century to life.   One of the things that came across to me in the film is that social status made no difference to the fact that women were treated as the property of their husbands, fathers and even brothers. Women simply had no control over their own lives. One of the main characters, Maud, is brought into the movement almost by accident but life events cause her to become heavily involved with her fellow Suffragettes.  She literally fights for her life as she believes that women have a right to be counted and not,

All Change

I haven't blogged here recently because life has been more than a little hectic.   First of all I handed my notice in at the horrible job. I've been wanting to leave for ages but didn't want to leave until I had another job to go to. In the end the atmosphere had become so toxic that I felt physically sick each day before I had to go in and near to tears most of the time that I was there.  Eventually I decided that life was just too short. It saddens me that an organisation whose aim is to empower women made me feel so belittled and diminished.  From the moment I handed in my notice until the day I left the trustees didn't even have the courtesy to speak to me or even respond to work related emails. After nearly two years of dedicated hard work I found their attitude positively insulting.  I can only take heart that their behaviour reflects badly only on them.  I know I behaved with professionalism and dignity until the end.  I am just so pleased that I don&#

Woman's Weekly

This morning two fat envelopes appeared on my doormat, and recognising the labels, I knew without opening them that they were rejections. The sad thing was that they were both from Woman's Weekly. It doesn't matter how hard I study the magazines and scrutinise the guidelines, I've never managed to get it right for this magazine, even when I think I've written the perfect story from them.  What's even more frustrating is receiving a standard rejection telling me to read their guidelines.  Sometimes I wish I had a bit of mystic ability and could interpret a crystal ball. Never mind, you have to take it on the chin and my stories will be reassessed and sent somewhere else.  You never know, one man's meat is another man's poison or so they say. So now its back to the drawing board to create the perfect story for Woman's Weekly, because now its personal and I'm determined to crack this market one day, even if that day is a long way in the future.

I'm In Prima Magazine!

I was absolutely delighted last week to see my story appear in Prima Magazine.  It’s been my first success for a while, so it was almost as exciting as seeing my first ever story in print.  My experience with the team from Prima has been fantastic. Firstly I received a telehphone call to say that my story had been accepted, followed by quite a lengthy conversation about me and my writing habits.  This was a bit weird and made me feel like a “proper writer”.   Right from the beginning I was told what edition the story would be in and when it would come out in the shops, and have also had correspondence regarding updates on payment.  All in all a lovely and efficient team. I was also really impressed by the illustration which accompanies the story which shows that the illustrator has really read the story and tried to include as many details of the story as possible. Prima ask for 800 words and pay £100 - not bad.  This was the first time I had submitted to Prima so

Time Travel

Those of you who are regulars to my blog post will know that I love novels which are written with a dual timeline. So here are a few I have read recently: A Week In Paris - Rachel Hore I'm a big fan on Rachel Hore so was delighted to download this one onto my Kindle. As the name indicates this is set in Paris.  The timelines are 1961 and in the run up and during World War II. In 1961 Faye is visiting Paris as a violinist in a concert tour.  Fay’s mother, Kitty is in a home and Fay is at first reluctant to leave her mother, if only for a week, but is assured that her mother is well enough for her to leave her. Another reason for her to visit Paris is that she has found an ancient rucksack with an address in Paris in a trunk in her mother’s home. Intrigued Fay decides to investigate and this introduces the timeline of a young woman living in Paris in the run up to war and in a country which is being overrun by the enemy. If I’m honest I’d say that I

Life On The Cobbles

One of my guilty passions is – Coronation Street.  I was brought up on Corrie, and the opening soundtrack to each episode evokes such a sense of pleasure, I fear that I have turned into one of Pavlov’s dogs.  OK, as it’s a soap, I have to admit that it can be a bit far-fetched – I mean, just how unlucky can some characters be?  But it also brings some massive issues into the forefront of people’s minds – ie how men can be the victims of domestic abuse (Tyrone), euthanasia (Hayley), depression (Steve), alcoholism (probably several characters here – I mean, how can you drink in the pub at lunchtime and then go back to the factory and sew knickers or mend cars in Kevin’s garage?) and one of the current storylines of an adult being abused by her teenage step-son. As the mother on one teenage son and one soon to be teenage son, this is particularly scary. But sometimes the smaller stories can also resonate.  The developing relationship between Roy and Cathy is one that spring

Cringe!

You may have noticed that I've been having a play around with the look of my blog recently as I thought it needed a bit of sprucing up.  Still not sure if I'm happy with it but I think it's better than it was. I also decided to add a photo of myself, cringe, but the photo has come out rather large and - pun alert - a bit in your face. Does anyone know how I can make this smaller? I hate photos of myself at the best of times and this one is far too much.

Read, Read, Read

Advice given to aspiring writers is to read, read, read and for most writers that is not as problem as a love of writing tends to follow on from an initial love of reading. I've been reading quite a bit over the summer, and although its too late for recommending summer reading, the nights are drawing in and so what better excuse that to sit by a fire with a good book. So here are a couple of books I have read recently starting with some thriller / suspense novels. This is a book which I first heard about on the Richard and Judy book club and was intrigued enough to download it onto my Kindle.  The story centers on Yvonne; a geneticist in her early 50’s who is asked to give evidence at a parliamentary Select Committee in the House of Commons.  There she meets a man who is about to have a dramatic impact upon her life.  The novel starts with a prologue where Yvonne is standing in the dock at the Old Bailey as an accessory to murder and the novel charts the path

Back To School

Well the end of the summer holidays is nigh and I for one will breathe a sigh of relief, despite the fact that cold winter days and dark nights are imminent.  But I’m coming to the end of two weeks off work, and I’m certainly not looking forward to going back.  Event through is only part-time, recently my job has become unbearable and I’m desperately looking for something else so that I can finally move on.  I’ve got a few days left before I go back though, so I’m trying not to think of it and enjoy the time left with my boys.  We haven’t been away this holiday but during my time off I’ve been trying to organise my life and my house, before the start of the new academic year. As well as decluttering my house, I’m trying to declutter my hard drive – a necessary evil – and I’ve been revamping and editing stories which have been lying dormant.  Some of them are first drafts and some which need new life breathing into them.  Since my acceptance, I have sent out four more s

Success!!

Over a month since my last post - I'm ashamed!   But we are now half way through the summer holidays which is always a period of juggling!   I've been trying to fit in  the odd bursts of writing whenever I get a few spare minutes - usually in Sainsbury's cafe when I'm between taxi journeys - not the cheapest way to write. I've also been looking for a new job, but despite getting the interviews the job always seems to be just out of my grasp. But after a long period of rejection, I'm delighted to say that today I received a phonecall from a lovely lady at Prima magazine, to tell me that they are going to publish a story I sent them recently.  It really made my day and gave me a real boost when I needed it most.  Thank you Prima! They accept 800 word stories, so the wordcount is pretty tight, but with the ever decreasing outlets for Womag stories, its definitely worth a try. Now I'm going to have a very large glass of wine to celebrate!

7th July 2005 - A Fictional Tribute

I'm so glad that so may tributes were made today, for all those who were affected by the London bombings.  I'd like to add mine for what it's worth. I hope you enjoy reading. I clatter down the steps to the tube in my impossibly high black Nicole Farhi shoes.  They’re not the kind of footwear any girl should be running in but today I need every ounce of confidence I can muster and these certainly give me that.  I just wish I wasn’t so late.  Not when I’m about to meet my new boss who, rumour has it, eats recruitment consultants like me as a light snack before he even contemplates breakfast. Apparently he’s a stickler for punctuality.  I look at my watch – eight thirty five, I’m going to be really pushing it to get to the office before nine.   Let’s just hope the trains are running smoothly. To my dismay the foyer of the station looks like Selfridges on the first day of the January sales. My tube pass in hand and with the skill of a seasoned commuter, I make a conce