Monday, 5 October 2009

October 2009 update

My interview for the radio station has never been broadcast - or if it has, they haven't told me! As it's not local, I can only hear it online, so I do hope they warn me when/if it's coming on. Lots of non-fiction projects on the go, with recent acceptances on nursery rhymes, children's books and child safety, and lots more commissioned to write for publication over the next couple of months. Writers News are planning to use a piece I wrote about choosing a writing alias, probably in either Dec or Jan issue, EYE will be using a piece about involving dads in kids' education in their Dec issue, and another couple of People's Friend fiction stories should be in the magazine very soon now. My novel has still not found a home, and I will be closing the monthly Writers' Forum column down after the December instalment, but I have had lots of encouraging feedback from readers and shared many of their own writing stories too, so it's been a really enjoyable experience, I've learned a lot, and it can all only help me to write a better novel next time. I am compering a poetry cafe night in West Drayton Library this week to celebrate National Poetry Day, so that should be fun - if anyone turns up!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

August/September 2009 update

Today I did my first ever radio interview! It was for a writing programme called Write On, broadcast in the Portsmouth area on Express FM 93.7 every Tuesday evening. The interview was all done over a phone line and recorded, to be broadcast at a later date, probably straight after their summer break. I quite enjoyed it and was able to fill a whole hour talking about my writing and choosing all the music tracks they played. I have also got very into a weekly online story writing competition called Write Invite, run by the same guy, Rob Richardson. It costs £3 to have a go every Saturday at 5.30pm when a choice of 3 themes is announced on their website and you have just 30 minutes to write and submit a story. It's very challenging but certainly makes you just get on and write, no excuses. I did make the shortlist last week, so I'm getting there. Every entrant (except the shortlisted 3) gets to vote for the winner. Winner each week takes £40. The search for a home for my novel seems to be getting nowhere, but I have sold more article ideas, so I am working on 3 commissions at the moment, on the nation's favourite nursery rhymes, children's sight and hearing problems, and books about child safety, all to appear over the next couple of months in nursery mags, plus my monthly column in Child Care has been extended for a further 6 months up to June 2010. The People's Friend specially asked for a story from a child's point of view so I have rattled one off and submitted it with high hopes of a yes! And one of my earlier accepted stories is due out next week in the PF Autumn Special. Oh, yes, and I came runner up in the June txtlit competition for an ultra short fairy story that fits the space of a text message, so I have tried again for the July competition on a ghost theme, choosing a ghost spider as my main character - hoping that's different enough to stand out from the crowd. Result due any day. And look out for my article in September's issue of Writing Magazine about how I took part in the judging of the Poetic Republic poetry competition. I have got a nice 2 page spread with photo, and my bio on the editor's page at the front, so that almost makes up for not winning the competition!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

July 2009 update

As I write this, I am awaiting a visit from a Daily Mail photographer! A letter I wrote to them is to be their 'lead letter' (with photo of me at work) on Monday 6 July: all about the importance of sharing books with young children, which is one of my main passions! No news on the sale of my novel (YET!), although sadly the rejections are piling up, but life goes on and I continue to write just about everything else - fiction, poems and features. Although I didn't make it to the finals of the Poetic Republic poetry competition, I have done the next best thing and written about it - article accepted for publication in Writing Magazine, September issue. Still several magazine short stories out there too - some bought and paid for and just waiting to appear, others awaiting editors' decisions. And my monthly columns in Child Care and Writers' Forum are still going strong and bringing in the regular money. I am reading a book called 'We can't all be astronauts' in bed at nights now, all about a failed novelist coming to terms with the fact that he may not be destined for publication and great things after all - I know how he feels, and let's be honest - it's a great dream but for most of us it never actually comes true, no matter how hard we try/wish for it. So, for now, having my pic in the Daily Mail for millions to see is as famous as I'm gonna get - this month anyway! I just wish I could make up my mind what to wear when the photographer arrives.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

June 2009 update

Spent an enjoyable day at the Society of Women Writers and Journalists' Summer Festival on Thursday. Nice lunch, lots of friendly writers to talk to, and to cap it all I got a highly commended in their novel competition for the opening of a new novel I have been working on. Meanwhile, I have been busily sending my number one novel - Losing Lucy - off to an assortment of agents, publishers and competitions over the last few weeks. A few rejections have already come back, but I remain hopeful! Follow my progress in my regular column in Writers' Forum magazine. I am still writing my non-fiction for the pre-school market, but the short fiction is certainly taking a back seat lately - a shame because I love doing it when I have the time and ideas. I also have a piece in the June issue of LINK, the magazine of the NAWG, all about the ups and downs of a week in my writing life. Just re-read it when the mag arrived on the mat and realised that I DO actually do something writing-related every day, just as I always planned to! I have been really enjoying being part of the judging process in the Poetic Republic poetry competition - where the entrants read and judge each other! Many will by now have been eliminated, but it's all still anonymous and secret, so who knows if my own poem is still in? Round 3 where only the best few will remain is coming up this month, with a winner due to be announced in July. Great fun reading random entries, warts and all, and a real eye-opener! I am hoping to write and sell an article about the whole project as soon as it is over. TIP: Never miss an opportunity to write about whatever of interest may happen to you - I don't!

Friday, 24 April 2009

April/May 2009 update

All my fiction seems to be disappearing down a big black hole! The stories that have been bought still haven't appeared in the magazines, and the ones I am waiting responses on are taking forever to reply. Still, at least the non-fiction is doing well. Two more in Nursery World, as well as my regular monthly page in Child Care. As for the novel, I am now into waiting mode - submissions sent off to agents and the long wait for replies. Went to a How to Get Published masterclass at Earls Court which was interesting, but depressing - getting on 400 wannabe authors all hoping to find the magic answers that will get them to the top! Not that I will let the competition put me off. The Writers Forum monthly column is going well, and I have had lots of reader responses from all round the world! I hadn't realised I had followers in Australia, but I have! If only I can get the book published there is scope for international sales!! I have an idea bubbling away for the next novel, but it's complicated and I have to work out the intricacies of the plot in my head (which is a long slow cogitative process) before I decide if it works and I am going to give up another year to write it. I'm waiting for the moment when I just feel I have to do it and nothing can stop me - that's when I will start. So, it's all just waiting... waiting... waiting at the moment, like waiting for a bus. I expect three will come along at once any minute now! Happy writing.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

March 2009 update

Well, my writing is really taking off! I was in the enviable position at the end of February of seeing five publications with my work in them, all on display in W H Smiths at the same time! And there have been a couple more in print since then.
I have had a short story published about a little boy becoming a big brother and one taking a different view of Valentines Day (Peoples Friend and The Weekly News respectively), and articles about creating a nursery newsletter, encouraging very young children to get interested in poetry, teaching children about road safety, and choosing childrens books to help them learn how to look after pets... plus my usual Writers' Forum column following the progress of my novel-writing attempts - the March issue covered whether to use a prologue in fiction, and April's is all about writing the perfect synopsis, with lots of advice and tips from other writers and people in the know.
I even had a silly limerick included on the 'Peterborough Page' in the Daily Mail poking fun at RyanAir's plans to charge a pound to use their in-flight loos. I have had lots more work accepted too -including a piece on choosing kids' books to help them understand and celebrate racial and cultural differences, and a three-page feature article about the practical problems faced by young left-handed children. Researching the history of how kids were forced to switch hands in the past was an eye-opener, and interviewing a family and photographing their left-handed three year old was a delight!
I have tried to keep up my poetry interests too, when time permits, and have entered a charity competition being run by, with all judging to be done by the entrants themselves - I like the idea of that.
My main focus now has to be sorting out my unpublished novel. I have had a very good critique back from the Hilary Johnson Advisory Service (highly recommended if you can afford the £300 fee) and I need to make some important decisions about what to do with my manuscript next. I will be visiting the 'How to get Published' masterclass at Earls Court on 18th April, which I hope may help. Keep reading the Writers' Forum monthly column 'Book Deal or Bust' if you want to know what happens next!
Best wishes and happy writing

Thursday, 22 January 2009

January/February update 2009

My new monthly column about useful books for children has launched in Child Care magazine, nicely illustrated, and I feel really pleased with it. January looked at books dealing with a new baby in the family and February about growing up. Children's behaviour issues and choosing a pet are still to come in March and April. And my 'Book Deal or Bust' project in Writers' Forum magazine is attracting lots of comment and interaction with readers through the blog which you can read and comment on - In the February issue I have laid down the challenge and how I intend to go about improving my book and finding myself a publishing deal. March will take a look at the all-important opening and April tackles the synopsis. I am hoping other would-be novelists will write along with me and share their experiences, some of which I hope to use in the column. Fiction is still being pushed into the back seat, but I do have a couple of stories due to appear soon in The People's Friend, following one in the 17 January issue - funny how the illustrations never look like the character who lives in my head. Never mind! And a local poetry competition has returned my entry and my fee due to a general lack of interest - not enough entries to cover the prize money, so the whole thing has been cancelled. A shame there aren't more poets supporting the smaller comps, or maybe the organisers just didn't advertise it well enough or in the right places! Now that particular poem will have to seek a new home. Keep on writing, everyone - there's always a market out there somewhere. You just have to keep looking!