Editing, Author Newsletter, and Cherished Childhood Books

Image Credit:-

All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated.

Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing.

And, here in the UK, spring is finally on its way! Have been delighted to see plenty of crocuses already out when walking Lady.

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Facebook – General

Hope you have had a good Tuesday. Saw first lot of blossom out earlier when I was walking the dog. It did nothing for Lady, she is far more interested in sticks and/or squirrels, but it did cheer me up. (Lady was cheered up when she saw a Persian blue cat. Looked lovely. Lady is always curious about cats, wants to play with them, but can never understand why they don’t return the feeling).

Right, writing wise, I’m planning ahead for a couple of my CFT posts. Talking about Musical Connections this week is a real joy as I can share some of my favourite pieces and how I came to discover them. More on Friday. I plan to be writing a couple of useful posts for the two weeks after that which will be of interest, I hope, to newish writers. More nearer the time.

Am also looking forward to sharing more details about the international writing summit soon.

Prep work for my WI talk is going well and am loving getting that ready. Just hope they enjoy it too though I should add it is a good sign when a writer enjoys their work. Why? Well, you are your own first audience to a certain extent and if you don’t like what you’re doing, why should anyone else? BUT it does pay to put some distance in time between what you write and when you evaluate it, otherwise you won’t judge it objectively enough.

You’ll either think this is the best thing since Shakespeare or it’s total rubbish, whatever made me think I could write etc. Neither is true.

What will be true is you’ve got something with promise that needs a darned good edit or two before you submit it anywhere. Now where did I put my red pen?!

Thrilled to bits to send out my first author newsletter today. All went well (much to my relief). If you want to know more do see (the landing page of) my website – I plan to keep the newsletters to monthly only.

I’m using Mailchimp and am discovering new things about it which I know I’m going to find useful. The writing journey is one where you learn all the time and that is a good thing. It is how you make progress after all.

Am busy preparing for a talk I’ll be giving via Zoom next month and that is a lot of fun. Learning how to present material in an entertaining way and thinking about audience needs again is keeping me on my toes but it is all part of the writing life. You need to engage readers with your stories so seeking to engage with a talk is merely an extension to that.

I’m going to be talking about Musical Connections in my Chandler’s Ford Today post this week and look forward to sharing that on Friday.

And I’m starting work on a third flash fiction collection too. I hope to have it ready for submission by the end of the year but know it will almost certainly take me that long!

I’ll be editing my non-fiction project fairly soon and hope to be submitting proposals for that during the summer. Normally with non-fiction you would prepare the proposal first but I wanted to prove to myself that I could write the book so I have got a first draft down. Not sorry about that but am always ready for changes! It is what the editing process is for after all.

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Hope your weekend has been a good one. Mine has been quiet but relaxing and lovely. Do you have any days of the week when you know your writing is going to be “down”?

My bad day here is Monday and I know it is because I am busy doing various things, so by the time I get to my desk, I’m pretty tired. So I focus on getting “little” writing tasks done and it is good to tick those off my list for the week. As the week goes on I have more time to write so can use those sessions for longer “creative sprints” – and I do.

So another reason to be glad when Monday is behind me I guess!

It has taken me ages to learn how to use my writing sessions In the most productive way I can but it’s a good thing to be able to do. Overall, you will get more done. Even if you don’t plan out your stories or what have you, planning how best to use your writing time is a good idea.

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NOT a lifelike representation of my writing desk. This one is far tidier!

And she doesn’t look like she’s had a hectic Monday either! Pixabay image


It is lovely to be enjoying some almost spring-like weather in my part of the world right now. It is semi-official as Lady enjoyed her first roll on the grass, upside down, “pedalling” her back legs for all she was worth and having a high old time of it, earlier this afternoon. It is the simple pleasures….! (Oh and before you ask she wasn’t rolling in fox poo or the like as dogs, bless them, are wont to do. I am lucky with Lady there. She doesn’t do it! I know, I know, famous last words and all that!).

Had a lovely couple of Zoom sessions with writing chums from Swanwick Writers’ Summer School and the Association of Christian Writers last night. Great start to a weekend and a real tonic. Many thanks, all!

Just a quick reminder to say I’m launching my author newsletter on Monday, 1st March. When you sign up to my email list, you receive a welcome email and in that is a link to a free giveaway containing free stories and thoughts on flash fiction amongst other things. See the landing page for more.

Am currently drafting a flash piece which is making me laugh so that’s a good sign. The story is meant to be funny! It’s not such a good sign when the piece is meant to be serious…!

Am looking forward to sharing more about the writing summit very soon too.

Have a fab weekend!

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Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Many thanks for the great response to my story video, Discovery, yesterday. (Video link below). I plan to chat a little bit about producing story videos and book trailers in a future Chandler’s Ford Today post. Will share more details nearer the time of that.

Writing stretches you in so many ways and it is good for you! I never envisaged writing flash fiction when I started out, I discovered the form thanks to a happy CafeLit accident. As for book trailers etc., they really weren’t about when I began writing seriously. (I’ve run the gauntlet of using manual typewriters to 486s and the modern laptop so I’ve been about for a while and trust me so much has changed! But generally all to the good. I can’t imagine my life without flash fiction now for one thing!).

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Pleased to share my new story video, Discovery, which I created via Book Brush and then uploaded to Youtube.This is probably the nearest I’ll get to a dystopian story. Hope you enjoy!

 

Do you find it easy to come up with ideas for stories of any length? I use a variety of methods to keep this aspect of things fresh to me and to encourage me to think in new ways when coming up with new characters and situations. From random generators to flicking through books of proverbs, ideas will start to form.

What you read/have read has an influence too and this is the key reason why everyone encourages writers to read, read, read, and then read some more. But bear in mind this reading can take many forms. What matters is taking in the stories. So I read books, I read on the Kindle, I listen to audio books, I read short stories, I read flash, I read novels, I read non-fiction and occasionally some poetry. So the wider you read, the deeper the pool you can fish from for ideas. Besides which it’s fun!

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Well, that’s February almost done and dusted. I like February as the early spring flowers are emerging and give us a hint of what is to come when spring is with us fully.

A good flash fiction story shows you what you need to know for a character in a moment but there should still be hints as to what the character is capable of outside of the story limits. For example, in my story Why Stop Now from From Light to Dark and Back Again, the character there is probably the creepiest one I’ve written. But you see through the narrative how that creepiness has built up.

Flash does have depths to it, despite its word count limit. I will often re-read flash tales to pick up on the hidden depths and in truly great pieces, I find plenty of those. And yes it is a challenge to me to make sure I do the same but that’s no bad thing. Writing should keep us on our toes. I want to find better ways of showing my characters, better ways of coming up with stories and so on. The writing journey is not a static one after all!

 

Goodreads Author Blog – Cherished Childhood Books

I owe my late mother a huge debt. She encouraged my love of books and stories from an early age and she was thrilled to see my first story in print, A Helping Hand, in Bridge House Publishing’s Alternative Renditions anthology way back in 2009. Sadly, Mum didn’t get to see either of my two flash fiction collections (From Light to Dark and Back Again and Tripping the Flash Fantastic) though my Dad did see the first one.

But thinking about them, and in particular, Mum, led me to recall some of my cherished childhood books. To name a few:-

Black Beauty
Heidi
The Famous Five – I had most of the set (close to about 20 books or so).
The Reader’s Digest Collection of Classic Fairytales – a huge two volume set beautifully illustrated too.

And then there were various Ladybird books as well. And I used to collect the old I-Spy books which were themed on topics and you scored points for everything you observed on that topic when out on walks etc.

The best gift that comes from having an early love of reading?

Well it’s a gift that doesn’t leave you and you keep on reading. What you read changes of course according to age and taste but there is a reading journey as well as a writing one. What matters is to ensure you thoroughly enjoy your reading journey (and if you have one the writing one as well).

 

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