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……..

 

Murder on the Market

market picture

 

My latest Redington serial is published here. Creative Frontiers.

If you’re new to my Redington village stories, you can find links to the first three on my website.

There’s also some Billy Fury music on there for those who like a bit of nostalgia.

Redington is in mid Norfolk and is one of those villages where everyone knows what’s going on and who’s who.

The first three are, The Redington Millions, The New Arrivals, and Murder at Brook House Farm.

My next one will be a ghostly tale, as the last two are murders, and I don’t want it to become a village

of horrors. The Ghost of Windmill Walk is next, then Midnight on Colley Hill will be a Halloween tale.

Hope you enjoy the story if you read it.

 

 

5 reasons to get a cleaning job.

If you like to spend time writing, but want a day job to keep the finances ticking over, get a cleaning job.

skunk

1. Most cleaning jobs are early morning, so you’re up and out, then you have the rest of the day to yourself. Or, they’re evening jobs, so you’ll have the mornings free.

2. You have to be reasonably fit, and your job will make sure you keep moving. Important when you get older to be able to move around before sitting down at your desk to write.

3. It’s not like you’ll be stuck at a desk all day. And you get to meet a variety of people, which can only help with the story writing.

4. Mostly, you should be able to get a job, as we all need cleaners, whether it’s in the home or workplace. Not everyone wants to do this kind of job, so that makes it that less people apply.

5. You might be lucky like me and have a great employer with a good sense of humour and who appreciates you.

So what are you waiting for, go and get that job…….

Coming soon, Murder on the Market.

market picturePublished on Creative Frontiers.

Welcome, Samantha Tonge.

Digital image4d63252a5b54e0538456e6c551e5f1e4_400x400

 

Hello Samantha,

thank you for popping in to tell us about your story writing for People’s Friend. Glad you agreed to this interview, and look forward to learning more about you and your writing.

 
Thank you very much for having me!

 
Sue/ Can you remember the first story you sold to People’s Friend?

 
Sam/ Yes, I think it was a Christmas one I called Good Times, about a mother reflecting on how times change. For the first time she wasn’t hosting Christmas Day and found it difficult.

 
Sue/ Did you send in many stories before getting an acceptance?

 
Sam/ Not too many – but then I had spent years writing novels beforehand, to hone my skills. Also, I belonged to an online writing group with other magazine writers, who were so helpful at giving me a few pointers. Then, somehow I just clicked with the People’s Friend and really enjoy writing for them.

 
Sue/ You’ve written more than one story lately about Goth teenagers in love. Do you have one in your family?

 
Sam/ Very perceptive! Not a Goth, as such, but one of my teenagers loves wearing black and used to sometimes look similar to the Goth style. I went through a similar stage myself, at university! My father used to despair of the lack of colour in my wardrobe (he is a very colourful golfer.)

 
Sue/ I’ve read more than one of your stories in People’s Friend about Grandchild/Grandparent relationships. Did these have to be altered at all for publication, or were they accepted exactly how you submitted them?

 
Sam/ They were mostly accepted as I submitted them. I love writing about that kind of relationship, across the generations – I think both age-groups can learn something from the other.

 
Sue/ Your cowboy stories are lovely, with great atmosphere and descriptions. How do you know the details are correct when writing about the 1800’s?

 
Sam/ Thank you! Well, I do Google an awful lot! And I had already done some research for a cowboy novel I thought I might write, at one stage.

 

Sue/ I noticed you’d written a children’s story in an issue some time ago as well. Is this something you’d like to do more of, or was it a ‘one off?’

 
Sam/ It’s a matter of time now, what with the novels – but I do LOVE writing for children, it is huge fun and lovely to think of youngsters enjoying the story at bedtime.

 
Sue/ I can’t let you go without asking about the new book release. Without giving too much away, can you tell us anything else besides that it’s set in Paris?

 

Sam/ It is the standalone sequel to my debut, Doubting Abbey. Lord Edward has just proposed to fun-loving Gemma, but she is not sure whether to settle down. Their trip to the City of Love unexpectedly complicates matters, as do her new friendships with a mysterious spy called Joe and a very appealing rockstar, Blade!

 
Thanks Samantha for popping in and for giving us a bit more insight to your writing.

 

For tips on writing for The People’s Friend, why not visit this page on my website? http://samanthatonge.co.uk/page7.php
The most important piece of advice I can give is not to stereotype The People’s Friend as a magazine for inactive, old people. I’ve sold stories about characters of all ages, and the older ones go speed-dating, go-karting, use the internet and have mobile phones…

You can find out more from the links below.

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaTongeAuthor

Twitter, https://twitter.com/SamTongeWriter

Website, http://samanthatonge.co.uk/

Amazon UKhttp://www.amazon.co.uk/Paris-Love-Samantha-Tonge-ebook/dp/B00KYU49XK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1407231231&sr=8-3&keywords=from+paris+with+love

Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Paris-Love-Samantha-Tonge-ebook/dp/B00KYU49XK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1407231287&sr=8-3&keywords=from+paris+with+love

 

 

 

August Giggle Blog.

montyKEEP OFF THE GRASS

My friend Annabella has been dog and house sitting, with strict instructions to make sure the dog, Monty doesn’t go on the grass. As you see from the picture, she followed the rules to the letter. Also, he was to have no chocolate cake… That’s a plastic one, so it’s alright. She had a bit of a panic when she was putting the bins out and Monty followed her to the front garden. Luckily he didn’t want to run away, seemed he’s happy where he is.

Annabella had another bit of a panic when she was back at work, and colleagues asked to see her holiday snaps. She was about to pass her phone over with pics. on it when she realised, Monty’s owner was one of the eager people waiting to see the pictures, and Monty was top of the list with his choccie cake on the grass. So a bit of quick deleting was in order. Good job she’d already emailed him to me….

DID I GIVE A FLYING FORK, OR NOT?

Digital imageNow here’s me, relaxing in the garden doing my thing. I was reading my new kindle at the time, when a voice from above shouts, “Can you chuck us a fork up please?” He leans out to show me that he remembered the sharp knife for cutting up his sausage and bacon, but forgot the fork.

“Of course,” I reply. Off to the kitchen cupboard I go, get the fork, and aim for the window.

“Nice and gently, underarm.”

I hurl it up, then… clang, it drops. Trying again, I aim, like, one, two, three.

“Nice and gently, underarm,” he repeats.

So hurling the fork, aiming for his hand, it twists and twirls, then sails jauntily over the six foot hedge and onto next door’s (my old maths teacher) back yard. Good job they were inside. I blame the postman. Fancy eating pot noodle on the job, then dropping the fork outside someone’s back door; things aren’t what they used to be are they?

Here’s a chap that will make you smile; if he doesn’t then Simon Cowell’s face will.

One extra adult giggle.

Out on my cleaning job, the hoover was halfway up some stairs and cables everywhere. As a chap went bleary eyed into the canteen, I shouted. “Watch you don’t trip.”

“I could do with a trip.” Was his reply. I don’t think he had Blackpool or Skeggie in mind.

 

In case you missed it, you can catch up with my latest Redington Serial here.

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People’s Friend interview with Samantha Tonge coming soon.