Friday, 28 September 2012

New People's Friend Guidelines

Why has my azalea started to bloom?

As I look out of my kitchen window at my rather sad looking rain and windswept autumn garden, a flash of yellow catches my eye. It is my azalea deciding that it is spring. Isn't nature a strange creature!

I am writing today with some useful information about The People's Friend that I read about in the fantastic Womagwriter's blog. The magazine will be given a new look and more pages have been added - hence more stories (seven in fact - one for every day of the week).

They have also changed their story length guidelines: stories should now be 1,200 for shorter stories 2,000 - 3,000 for longer stories.

The new guidelines for The People's Friend can be found here.

I really like writing for this magazine and am hoping that with more pages I may be lucky enough to make more sales - we'll see.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

A Piece of My Writing

This is a piece of writing I did in my writing class that is very different in style to my magazine stories. It is a description of a foster child's bedroom and was runner up in a flash fiction competition. The illustration is by my niece, Hannah.

Eyes Wide Open
However much they are tugged, the curtains, with their sailing boats making endless voyages across the billowing seas of cloth, spring apart where the tracks do not quite meet in the middle. A street light casts its crazy neon spell across the duvet. Only hands pressed hard against eye balls can shut out the light.

Pick, pick. A finger finds its way through the much washed fabric of the cover to delve deeply into the yielding guts of the duvet. After two days, its boy smell is encouraging. It offers soft comfort that Blankie can no longer give. Cramped between the wall and bed, Blankie has been discarded - a laundry fresh betrayal.

Damp pyjamas, still warm, hide beneath the privacy of the turned mattress. Alongside lies a holdall, its zippered grin revealing two small pairs of socks and pants, a grey sweater and a much washed t-shirt, ‘Welcome to the Jurassic coast’ still visible above the spiral of an ammonite. Inside its soft folds lurk treasures of other places – other lives: a plastic stegosaurus, a photograph - its myriad of creases aging the smiling face of young woman; a ring, its solitaire eye unblinking in the dark.

Books, carefully chosen, wait to be opened on the shelf. A shelf too high for a small boy to reach except on tiptoe- made in another time for another boy. ‘Welcome!’ says the card balanced on top of ‘Harry Potter’ – but no one is listening.

Shadows shift – phantoms of a childish memory. In this room, the fetid air is not fuggy with sweet smoke and the menace of stale whispered conversation. There is only clean emptiness and always the silence. In a corner, the solitary bed with its cocoon of duvet at last offers sleep.

Eyes wide open. As morning sun creeps tentatively around the edges of the curtain and diffuses through that stubborn chink, boats bob. Muffled morning sounds creep under the door – a voice singing discordantly to Madonna, a dog’s impatient bark. A dog!

The carpet is soft under a small boy’s feet, worn lino a fading memory. Hands reach for ‘Harry Potter’. The card floats down……. ‘Welcome!'

It is picked up and wrapped in the soft folds of the ammonite.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Two Authors Writing as One


Nothing to do with my post. This is one of the beautiful bouquets that arrive every month - last year's Christmas present from my mother.

I am fascinated by the idea of two people writing a book together as one author, as in the novel ‘The Hypnotist’ by Lars Keppler (which my husband is reading) – in which a Stockholm family is brutally murdered. The investigators of the case decide to hypnotise the family's teenage son, who is critically ill, in the hopes of leading him to provide clues as to the identity of the murderer.

I recently found out that Lars Keppler is a pseudonym for the husband-and-wife writing team of Alexander Ahndoril and Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril.

It's fascinating to hear how they work. Apparently, they sit side by side at a desk with two computers. Each writes a scene and then after about twenty minutes they email each other their writing which they then add to and edit. This happens over and over again until they forget who’s written what.

A fascinating interview with them can be watched on the  Richard and Judy Reading Groups for Everyone site.
I asked my husband if he could imagine writing a book with me this way and his reply was:
'No, because you would edit and cut everything I wrote, whereas I wouldn't dare change anything you'd written.'
How well he knows me!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Sold Three Stories

Very excited to find out today that Norah at Fiction Feast wants to buy three of my stories - this is turning out to be a very good month!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Beautiful Kalami

View of Kalami taken from road to Kouloura

'The White House' Laurence Durrell's home - now a taverna

Was it only last week I was eating this?

Corfu Town 'Old Fort'-  thought this lighthouse would make a great story setting

Just Back from Holiday

Returned from a wonderful holiday in Corfu last night to find a large hole in our front garden and a note through the front door telling us that the gas had been disconnected due to a leak. After washing in a basin of water and washing my hair with a jug I am not feeling quite so chilled!

The good news is, I returned to an email from The People's Friend to say that I've had a story accepted. This was my big aim as they are very specific in what they are looking for and it is hard to get the tone just right (see post 'Resubmissions').

So, all in all, a good return to England (despite the lack of hot water).

Friday, 7 September 2012

I can't write! It is too lovely outside. I hope it will be easier in the winter...otherwise I will be doomed to failure.