October giggle blog.

At work the other day, it came to the time of cleaning the canteen in a factory where we have to enter a code to get through the door. Most places have codes now, and it’s a task in itself to remember them all.

On this particular morning, I marched up to the door, hoover in hand and hose wrapped round my neck, confident I’d remembered the order of numbers. Plonking Henry down, I said to my friend from Sunderland; “I know this code,” tapped it in, then added, “The door is really stiff.” Another time, I had the right code, and couldn’t open it, and a chap had told me it was stiff, and you have to give it a really good shove.

So I leaned back, and threw all my weight behind it and shoved. Now somebody must have oiled the door, because I shot through it like Peter Sellers and Kato in one of the Pink Panther films, and almost fell up the stairs that are a good ten feet on from the door. Good job nobody was on the other side, and I wish they’d let you know when they oil the doors.

Peter Sellers charging through a door….

I fancied eating a gingerbread man, so after looking in my recipe books, (I’m old fashioned like that) I googled a recipe, and found a good one on the bbc website. It made 16, though the recipe said 20. Mine were slightly thicker than they should have been, but I won’t hold that against them, I made them that way. So a few days later, I had a dream that I was in one of the places we clean, another factory, different from the above, and a giant gingerbread man came walking out of the gents toilets. He said to me, “Do you think it’s right, what you’re doing?” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “You’re eating all of my friends.” I said, “Well, I fancied one.” Then he plodded off into the factory. It wasn’t easy eating all the rest after that.

gingermenLittle gingerbread chaps, tasty and soft.

Do you want to join the growing list of gigglers? All you have to do is post at the beginning of each month, something that’s made you laugh lately. If nothing has, then you’re not looking hard enough.

Here are the other lovely gigglers, and welcome Jacqueline King to the giggle list.

Lynne Hackles, and on Lynne’s blog you get a giggle from Sue Blackburn.

Teresa Ashby, who always has something to make us giggle.

A lady who joined the gigglers from Teresa’s blog is also a giggler. I need to find her and add her link here.

Jacqueline King. Who gave me the idea for giggle blog, as she said I made her giggle.

Mrs Teapot on the busy teapot blog. Hope the kettle’s on.

 

Coming soon, Author interview with writing treasure, Lynne Hackles.

 

Scarecrow Weekend.

It’s been a weekend of scarecrows in our local village. Here’s some pictures of the wide variety there were. Some would make great book covers wouldn’t they? And some were very real, like the lady in blue in the church. I was having a conversation with someone sitting down, and I thought, ‘blimey, this woman’s getting a bit close’ she was a scarecrow of course.

The wedding party in the church won. I only popped in for a cup of tea, and ended up with a lovely cushion, and cakes, and a book on the history of the church.

One day, years ago, me and our son, while out walking dogs, came across a hidden grave-yard. Turns out that two hundred years ago, the church was there, where the old stones were.

Speaking of hidden grave-yards, I’m working on my next Redington tale, which will be a Halloween story. ‘Midnight on Colley Hill, or it might be, Midnight on Colley Heath, as Norfolk is flat…… Haven’t a clue how it’s going to go yet, but I have my quote at the beginning, so that’s a start.

scarecrowscarecrwo scarebinscarfamilybillyscar

Imagine if you were visiting the village on a dark night, could be scary. They were bad enough in the bright light of day. Good fun though.

The wedding party won the prize. humptypilotdad's armydracula

The Ghost of Windmill Walk.

windmillMy latest story in the Redington collection is published this week on Creative Frontiers.

Hope you enjoy the story if you read it, and thanks to my writing buddies for their help as well.

The accumulator competition is ending at the end of this month, so be quick and good luck if you’re having a go. Scroll down

the page, and follow instructions for part 3 of the Riggins story.

Speaking of competitions, the Alfie dog short story one is closing soon as well, with a fab prize, so good luck if you’re

trying that one as well.

Happy Equinox, now excuse me, hot cakes are out of the oven, and a cup of tea waiting as well.

ghostWatch out for the ghost of the windmill…

RNA Award Ceremony.

On Saturday, we went to Leighton Buzzard so that I could attend the Award Ceremony. Here’s the list for the new talent section.

Jan in a hatTo celebrate me getting on to the shortlist of 11, here’s my writing buddy Jan, modeling her stylish hat, in support for Hats off to Love… Click on the picture to go to Jan’s blog.

New Talent Award Shortlist
An Infamous Seduction by Glenda Cooper

Country Strife by Debbie Fuller-White

Fancy Cakes and Skinny Lattes by Melanie Griffiths

For One Last Time by Louise Hall

The Gossamer Trail by Brenda Hawkey

Who Does He Think He Is? by Emily Kerr

Hats Off To Love by Susan Jones

Meeting Halfway by Mairibeth MacMillan

The Perfect Blend by Catherine Meadows

True Colours by Caroline Rayner

Maggie’s Child by Glynis Smy

It was lovely to meet the others on the shortlist. Brenda had traveled all the way from Cornwall, and I thought we’d had quite a journey. Her story sounded interesting, and so did lots of others, like Louise’s One Last TIme, and Glynis’s Maggie’s Child. Then I met Debbie Fuller White, who told me about Country Strife.

Congratulations to Caroline Rayner who won with True Colours. She told me it’s a story about second chances, because everyone deserves a second chance. Look forward to reading that.

The children dancing before and in between the awards were a real treat, and some brought a tear to the eye. I especially liked the lad dancing to ‘why do fools fall in love’ and the little girl singing ‘where is love’ from Oliver Twist, and dressed in rags.

Click on Samantha’s photo to go to her website.

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I met Samantha Tonge, who was also shortlisted for her e-book, and two lovely Irish ladies, Carmel Harrington who won last years e-book category, she was presenting an award; and Louise Hall who was on the same shortlist as me. The editors from Carina are lovely as well. They won their section.

Sophie, in the middle of the two lovely Irish ladies, Carmel and Louise, won the blogger award for reviewedthebook blog.

shortlisted pals

So now I’m busy getting the novel finished, edited, polished and up to scratch to send in… also I’m working on The Ghost of Windmill Walk for Creative Frontiers.

Right after the award ceremony, we had a visit to Wales to visit Alan’s mum. She was her usual welcoming self, and more about that on my giggle blog in a week or so…

Even though I didn’t win, (in some ways I’m glad as I’d have been a nervous wreck going up on the stage) I know now that the story of Denise will be published one day. She is waiting for me to get fingers on keyboard, and put the whole thing together…..

One thing that stayed in my mind from the weekend, is that the lady who won, Caroline, had a lovely smile and she turned to me and said, ‘what lovely friendly people romantic novelists are.’ She is truly smashing, and looking forward to reading her story.

Welcome, Keith Havers.

It’s time for the September People’s Friend Author interview, and I’m pleased to welcome Keith Havers on to my blog this month.

Keith Havers.                              Digital imageWP_20140909_16_34_34_Pro

 

He’s the first male author to feature on here since I began doing this back in the springtime. And, hot off the press, I hear that he has recently had an email from People’s Friend editor Shirley Blair accepting another story, so that’s good timing for the interview.

This was the first story I read, and enjoyed with your name on…granny at bus stop
S/  I read about the lady at the bus stop story, and enjoyed it. There was no idea of the twist coming. What gave you the idea for this story?
K/ I can’t remember exactly where the original idea came from but it started out as a very different story. My first attempt had the old lady as a slightly confused individual who absent-mindedly collected various items from the people she spoke to at the bus stop. I think it was a scarf from the young woman, the business man’s mobile phone and the little girl’s doll. Although the main character was acting in all innocence, the idea of a befuddled old lady didn’t go down very well at The People’s Friend. Editor Shirley Blair liked the writing though and suggested I give it another try. So I changed it to the old lady recruiting people to help out in the village.
S/  Was that your first People’s Friend submission, and how long had you been sending them stories before your first acceptance?
K/ It certainly wasn’t my first submission. On looking through my records I see that I tried twice in 2008 followed by another three attempts in 2011 before achieving success in March 2012. I think I was having trouble hitting the right tone for People’s Friend so I was concentrating on other markets.
S/  I know you write for several other magazines, how does writing for People’s Friend differ from say, Yours or Woman’s Weekly?
K/ The Friend stories have to be upbeat and have a happy ending. You need a conflict, of course, in order to create a story but you have to tread a fine line. Yours magazine are very clear on the sort of thing they like. They’re not very far removed from People’s Friend in that they like nostalgia stories and those that involve relationships across the generations. I’ve had a few successes with them with ‘grandson’ stories similar to The Rainbow Baby.
Take A Break are very different. Their stories can be edgier and themes can include romance, the paranormal and even murder.
With their readership split between the sexes, The Weekly News also accepts a wide range of stories.
I’ve submitted to Woman’s Weekly several times with no success so I’ve obviously not figured out their exact requirements yet.

 

S/  Does your Grandson know he’s an inspiration for your writing, I loved the knitting story, and what does he think of his Grandad, the storyteller?
K/ Finlay is eight years old and he’s well aware of his influence. In fact I used his real name in one of my stories that appeared in Yours magazine. He’s pretty blasé about it though. He’s more interested in playing football with me.
S/  Do you have a set time for People’s Friend writing, and a target number for submissions; or do you write when you feel the mood?
K/ I have a part-time ‘proper’ job which means I can be called out at a day’s notice so I’m never sure when I’m going to have time for writing. I try to maintain a situation where I have several submissions to various magazines out there. However, since I have now accumulated the grand total of five successes with People’s Friend I’m thinking of concentrating a little more of my time in that direction.
S/  How does it feel to be a male People’s Friend writer in a world that is quite strongly female dominated; (not with dominating females, I hasten to add) And have you ever been tempted to write under a female pen-name?
K/ While The Friend readership may be predominantly female the stories can be about men. Also, many of my stories would work just as well with either a male or a female protagonist so I don’t really have a problem. I have found the womag community very helpful and the fact that I am a man doesn’t appear to matter.

 

I attended a workshop at Nottingham Writers’ Club where I am a member. The tutor was Bead Roberts, a name which I’m sure will be familiar to many of your readers. I asked her about using a pseudonym and she had no hesitation in advising me to use my real name. Soon after that workshop I had my first acceptance and I keep Bead regularly informed of all my successes.
It was quite a struggle to get accepted for People’s Friend but once I had made the breakthrough I found Shirley Blair to be extremely helpful. If your submission is good but not quite acceptable she will e-mail you and let you know where you’ve gone wrong. She allowed me to have three attempts at one of my submissions before it was accepted. In fact, she made a special point of congratulating me that The Rainbow Baby was the first time I got through at the first attempt. None of the other magazines have done this.
I think that the one strength I do have is perseverance. If I had been less determined I would have given up a long time ago. So my advice for those still struggling is to keep sending in those submissions.
Take a look at Keith’s Blog here – Dream it, then do it

You can find him on Twitter here @KeithHavers
Thanks Keith for agreeing to this, and since I put these questions together, I notice from the People’s Friend blog, that Shirley Blair is asking for more male writers. So, hope to see a lot more of your stories in our favourite story magazine Keith, and maybe I should be Steven instead of Susan…

My novel…

Some of you who follow my blog may know that I’m working on a novel… Hats off to Love. A romance, set in the 1970’s.

Well, I’m proud to tell you that I’m on the shortlist of the RNA, new talent awards. Have a look here. I entered the competition a while ago, and had the email the other day.

I recognise some names, like Samantha Tonge who was a guest on my blog recently, and Sue Moorcroft of course. Also, Liz Fenwick and Linda Mitchelmore. Also, Debbie Fuller White who is in the same category as me.

So now I’m polishing up my first three chapters and synopsis to take with me to the event, where the shortlisted people are invited to an exclusive reception prior to the awards. Sounds good doesn’t it, and I’m glad I’m able to go, even though we were due to go away on that weekend, but we can go a day later.

canalI’m putting this picture in, as a canal features in the story.

Also, I’m working on another Redington story for Creative Frontiers… It’s a ghost one, but the ghost is taking it’s time to appear in the story. I’m sure it, he/she will manifest soon…..

Digital imageHere’s me and my love, to inspire the romantic writing, and you can never have enough flowers can you>? So here’s some red roses.

Digital image

Digital imageAnd a hat…. I was the only one at the wedding in a hat, but someone has to wear one don’t they? Even if our youngest son told me I looked like the person who’d turned up with the take-away…. cheeky isn’t he?

September Giggle blog.

So we’re in to September and time for a giggle….. erm…… that wasn’t funny, no, nor that, and that wasn’t brilliant either. Hang on, things aren’t that bad…………

I work with a lady from Sunderland why aye man I do, yeah sure hinny, away man, yer naw, I’m canny and all I am on a Tuesday morning, and she always makes me laugh. She loves her bleach, and air freshener, and when she jokingly asked a chap if he was making us a cup of tea, he ended up doing us one each, so that was canny, why eye…..

Everything’s champion, doll, yes it is, bright and shiny, quicky dooo daah, if we’re running late, which we never are, of course.

Thing is, I find doo dah, coming into my speech, and why eye man is easy to pick up…. And, she’s not a Geordie, she’s from Sunderland. Completely different.

 

blue vanI start off driving, and then she takes over after that. One day last week, we were bombing along the road, full blast ahead, and changing gear, she rammed the van into reverse…. only for a nano second, that made me smile.

Boys alive, have a look at this for accents…. La plue de la tente avec petit pois sil vous plais.

 

Until next time……..