Welcome, Glynis Scrivens

visiting CanberraIt’s a pleasure to welcome, Glynis on to my blog today, all the way from Australia. You’ve come a long way, Glynis, so take a seat, and I’ll pour the tea while you have a chat about your writing.

1. Do you remember the first short story you sold to a women’s magazine? Which one was it, and what was it about?

My first sale was to Australia’s Woman’s Day magazine. The story was called “A Red Rose”, a romantic twist. The setting is a wedding. When the bride walks down the aisle, she has to force herself to keep her eyes on the groom. She’s actually in love with the best man, her ex, and hadn’t known he’d be here. Then the director says, “Cut”. Between scenes being filmed, she and her ex sort things out.

2. Are there many markets in Australia for short stories, and how do they differ from U.K. ones?

That’s Life and Fast Fiction are our major magazine markets. They seem similar to Fiction Feast, but with fiction editors changing quite frequently, there’s always a chance to offer previously rejected stories. Take 5 Fiction Feast is a newcomer but essentially uses stories from the UK Fiction Feast, sourced directly. We also have magazines such as Cosmos which publish sci-fi. And a growing number of literary magazines such as Wet Ink and Positive Words. There are other magazines which use stories but have no dedicated fiction editor and approach writers rather than being open to general submissions. Family Circle is an example.

3. I enjoyed your story in Iain Patterson’s Quintessentially Quirky tales book. I may even start sewing dolls of certain people as well, but put them in the garden instead. How did the story in his collection come about? They’re all good stories in there by the way.

I was tired and irritable from lack of sleep when I wrote that story. We’d driven down into northern New South Wales and were staying in a small cottage on a farm. As soon as I went to bed, there was a huge storm. Windows rattled, the wind howled outside, and I ended up with only a few hours sleep. Probably nearly as disgruntled as my character, Connie.

I’d brought a beret I was knitting…

And I felt angry. A bus had hit the new Peugeot a friend had lent us, causing quite a bit of damage along one side. The powers that be denied there’d even been a bus in the street at the time, despite the fact we’d both seen it. My husband had actually been in the car at the time it was hit, and I’d written down the number.

So I needed somewhere to put my anger – and by coincidence one of Connie’s victims may have had the same name as one of those concerned…

4. Above my desk there’s a poster with the article in Writers’ Forum. There’s you, me, Della and Teresa. That was really exciting for me to be with three special writers. We spoke about e-publishing there. Is this something you’ll be doing more of as short story markets seem to be shrinking?

To be honest I can’t see me doing much of this. With short story markets shrinking, and fewer opportunities to resell stories to several magazines, my focus has started to shift to non-fiction. I’ve always enjoyed writing articles. It’s nice to have a certain sale when you write something that’s been commissioned. So in my spare time, I’m reading books like Simon Whaley’s The Complete Article Writer and Deborah Durbin’s So You Want To Be A Freelance Writer?

Having said that, I want to put together some books of my published stories, mainly for family and friends. I might as well put out eBook versions of them. My daughter’s come up with a wonderful cover for me too. I’m aiming to have the first one ready before Christmas.

5. Looking forward to reading Edit is a four letter word. Can you tell us about the new book? What or who inspired you to write it, and what will be next?

I suppose once the title popped into my head one night – as it did! – I wanted to use it. So my antennae were alert when there was something on the Compass Books Facebook page about wanting an editing book for writers. It was more coincidental timing than inspiration really.

Once I got the go-ahead, I kept the younger generation of my family in mind. We’re a family full of creatives – drawing, painting, dancing, music, woodworking, photography. Some already have unfinished manuscripts sitting in drawers.

I’m hoping my experiences might be of help. And I’ve tried to include as many other writers as was feasible. Editing is an individual thing and we each have to find our own way.
There are no plans for a next book. But if the right idea and opportunity come along again it’s something I’d enjoy doing.

Edit is a Four-Letter Word - cover imageBuy the book here

To pay a visit to Glynis’s website, click on this link

Thank you, Glynis for taking time to pop in today, and good luck with the new book. It’s on my list already.

Posted in Author Interview, Book Launch, Latest News, Lovely people | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Glam gran says, ‘Who’s Hettie?’

Hello to all my lovely followers, new ones and older ones.

I read a great book yesterday, this one – Short story secrets – turning words into money. That sounded good to me, and the e-book is great as well. So thanks Hettie for all the great tips, and I’m going to be writing this afternoon, when I’ve finished blogging.

Hettie is the pen name of a writer who has had over 200 stories published in women’s magazines, and she is an older lady, who is definitely glam; I know that from her beauty tips in the next book. They could have come directly from my Grandma’s scrap-book, and they’re fab. One little clue tells me who Hetty might be, but that person isn’t as old as the lady I’m thinking of… We once had ‘Where’s Wally?’ Now I’m working on ‘Who’s Hettie?’ My spell checker wants to call her Hattie, but I do prefer Hettie. Maybe I’ll be Bessie Baintree from now on, and write naughty stories.

In complete contrast, another book I’ve got on kindle is this one An ugly way to go is full of short stories with laugh out loud moments. Great to read when you stop for coffee, which in my case is quite often. If you like quirky stories, and I do, this is for you. I haven’t reviewed it yet as I’m still reading those funnies.

This book has over 300 reviews and can’t wait to read it soon. I’m guessing St. Eves in South West England is based on St. Ives.

A cover of a book makes a difference, I tend to go for either colourful ones, or classical ones, how about you?

Now Glam Gran’s tip of the week is, drink water. If you don’t like it plain, then add some squash, or a slice of lemon. A glass of water in the morning, and mid-day, and again later on will keep your skin glowing and send oxygen to all parts of the body, which is always good.

green teaI’ve found a new green tea with lemon, it’s lovely, and takes away the bitterness that sometimes comes with green tea. Still losing the weight, but it’s more about stabilising at the mo, and not putting any back on.

Until next week, when Glynis Scrivens will be here, bysie bye…….

Posted in comedy writing, Glam gran's blog, Latest News | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments

Here it is…

coverThe new cover of my latest e-publication. Don’t you just love it? I know I do, and it’s exactly how I wanted it to be.

A collection of 9 stories set in my favourite made up village in mid-Norfolk.

So far, it’s available on Amazon.com and soon will be on the .uk one as well. Here…

Nine stories in all, ending with The Wedding… It’s taken a while, so at last I can get on with something else now. Like the serial for People’s Friend magazine, and a story for the Alfie dog competiton.

Coming next week, interview with Glynis Scrivens and all about her latest book, which I need to get. Edit is a four letter word.

Posted in A Redington Tale, Author Interview, Betty's big Meringue, Book Launch, Classical stories, comedy writing, Competitions, crime writing, e - story launch, finished the book, Latest News, Midnight on Colley Hill, Murder at Brook House Farm, Murder on the Market, Romantic Writing, situation comedy, The New Arrivals, The Redington Millions | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Stories for summer

My latest story to be published on Alfie dog short story website is called ‘Sowing Seeds.’ Its about Walter, and how he tries to avoid the woman next door. She means well, but won’t leave him in peace to get on with his gardening. The story has been published before, but now it’s added to my growing collection on there.

A couple of photo’s to go with the story…

Digital imagephoto_9864_20091114[1]

If you’ve got children at home who’re a bit bored by now, tell them to settle down and listen to the story of Alex. He has a metal detector, and a dog. Together they get up to lots of fun during their stay in a cottage near Exmoor.

Summer Holidays

book cover summer holidays

The summer holiday story is suitable for 7 – 8 year olds, hope you and they enjoy reading it – it’s fiction, and part comedy part fairy tale, told in the voice of Alex. So what are you waiting for? Get yourself off to Exmoor and join in the fun.

Tales from Paradise PatchHere’s one for younger children. A collection of stories set in Grandma’s back garden. There are five stories in all, and they’re suitable for 4 – 7 year olds. It’s not as quiet as you might think on Grandma’s back yard.

Growing up in the 70’s is a collection of 4 stories, and mine’s one of them that won a competition to be published with black coffey. They wanted funny stories set in the 70’s. The reviews aren’t brilliant on there, but I think the reviewers were a bit harsh. And isn’t that cover funky?

cover art

Now I’ve got a brand spanking new cover for my Redington collection, which will be published soon. I’ll wait until the whole thing is finished before revealing the smashing art work.

Posted in Art., Classical stories, comedy writing, e - story launch, E-stories for children, In the garden, Latest News | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Say it with flowers

Digital imageRupert and Edith When I go out in the mornings with my cleaning job in the blue van, we pass the island of flowers every day. Which reminds me it’s a hundred years this year that Edith Cavell, the Vicar’s daughter from Swaderton in Norfolk, and Rupert Brooke – Warwickshire soldier and poet, were killed. They were both in Norfolk when they heard news of the war breaking out. Rupert was in Cley-Next-the-Sea, and Edith was at home in Swardeton. As far as I know, they didn’t meet each other, but to me they’re similar. Both serving their country, and having a sense of humour quite unique. If you wanted to know more about the life of each of them, you will find it here, in The Angel and the Poet. The articles were originally published in The Great War magazine, but I felt that they belonged together, so self-published them here. ———————————— One of Rupert Brooke’s poems – written when he was abroad, and dreaming of home Old vicarage, Granchester Just now the lilac is in bloom, All before my little room; And in my flower-beds, I think, Smile the carnation and the pink; And down the borders, well I know, The poppy and the pansy blow . . . Oh! there the chestnuts, summer through, Beside the river make for you A tunnel of green gloom, and sleep Deeply above; and green and deep The stream mysterious glides beneath, Green as a dream and deep as death. — Oh, damn! I know it! and I know How the May fields all golden show, And when the day is young and sweet, Gild gloriously the bare feet That run to bathe . . . `Du lieber Gott!’   To read more of the poem, click here

Digital image

soldier in greenery

Posted in Latest News, Lovely gardens, Lovely people, Poetry., Romantic Writing, Something Special, Todays news, Update | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Welcome, Joanne Fox

DSCF2493DSCF2476

It’s a pleasure to welcome fellow blogger, Joanne Fox on to my blog today.
Joanne, I always enjoy your stories, which I’ve read in People’s Friend and the other magazines as well, glad you could pop over and tell us more about your writing.

  • Suzy/ Do you remember the first story you ever had accepted in a woman’s magazine? Which magazine was it, and what was the story about?
  • Jo/ Hi Suzy and thanks for inviting me to be your guest today.
    The first women’s magazine to publish me was Woman’s Weekly early in 2006. The story was called ‘The Thought That Counts’. It was about a widower who was worried about introducing his new lady-friend to his sister.
  • How this story came to be accepted was, I had entered it for the Frome Festival Short Story Competition the previous year. It didn’t win anything, but was among a batch of stories forwarded by the organisers to Woman’s Weekly for consideration. I was then extremely lucky to receive a phone call from the magazine, saying they wanted to buy it.
  • In 2007 I entered the competition again – and won! Frome was very good to me, and I definitely recommend putting it onto your writing calendar for next year. Even if you don’t win, you may still get yourself noticed.
  • Suzy/ I know from following your blog, that you sometimes have a writing break, and lovely sewing you’ve been doing as well. What was it that got you back writing again?
  • Jo/ It’s not unusual for me to take a break from writing every few months. Mostly, after two or three weeks of not writing, I feel a sort of tension building up in my head. I think that if I don’t start writing again, I might actually kill someone!
  • I did have a longer break this winter – the longest in many years. It wasn’t planned, but I was really enjoying doing more hands-on creative things. I have the mixed blessing of a day job, so if I stop writing it doesn’t necessarily spell financial ruin. Quite naturally I reached a point where I wanted to be writing once more, and I came back to it refreshed.
  • Writing demands a lot of concentration, and also some digging around in your own life for experiences that you can draw on. Although the ideal may be to write every day, sometimes events knock you off balance, or you just feel mentally tired. I think it’s good to take a break. Try new things. Clear your head. If the writing is in you, you will always return to it.
  • Suzy/ Do you plan your story before you start, or do characters form, and then you let it develop as you write?
  • Jo/ My initial starting point is most often a setting or situation that I want to write about. As I let it roll round in my mind, characters appear, and they really lead the story.
    If I find a story isn’t working, usually it’s because I don’t know the characters well enough. What’s driving them? Why do they feel the way they do?
  • At this point I need to go back and rethink. I might do something like a storyboard, cutting out pictures from magazines that relate to my setting or characters. This helps me to clarify things in my mind.
  • It might be more logical to do the storyboard first, but I do better by getting the momentum going with some writing. I love that first buzz of a new idea. It’s like rocket fuel!
  • Suzy/ How long normally would it take you from the first idea, to when the story is ready to submit?
  • Jo/ If it’s a very short story, say less than 1,000 words, I can often scribble a sketchy first draft in a day. Then it will be at least a week before I send it out, to allow for general improvements, tightening up and tidying.
  • At the other extreme, there have been rough ideas or first drafts sitting in my drawer for years. Suddenly I will reminded of one of them. Perhaps something happens to provide the missing link, or I see a new angle, or maybe I decide to tell the story from a different point of view. Though the story might have been a decade in the making, it’s quite quick to finish it off once I pick it up again.
  • Occasionally I write stories set in the 40s/50s/60s. I enjoy these, and would like to write more historical fiction, but the research required adds on a lot of time. Perhaps this is something I’ll do more of in the future.
  • Suzy/ Harvey must be a great inspiration for your stories. Have you any golden retriever stories in the pipeline? The mirror one on your blog is hilarious.
  • Jo/ Harvey had a starring role in one of my People’s Friend Christmas stories a couple of years ago, and the illustrator did a fabulous job. It’s always exciting to open a magazine, and see how your story appears on the page. With this one, as soon as I saw it, I said, “It’s Harvey!”
  • A good thing about dogs is, they make you go out and walk in all weathers. When you’re walking you’re also observing, and chatting to other dog-walkers. I often find ideas that way, so it’s likely that Retrievers and Labradors will continue nosing into my stories.
  • Suzy/ When you’re in a writing mood, how does it fit into your day? Are you an early morning writer, or late night one, or whenever?
  • Jo/ Unfortunately I am neither a lark nor an owl, as I need plenty of sleep! What works best for me is doing some writing first thing. That’s about 7a.m. in my case. If it’s a work day I may only manage twenty minutes or half an hour.
  • As long as I’ve done some morning writing, even if it’s been a short spell, I can always carry on with it later in the day. However, if for some reason I’ve missed doing any morning writing, it feels incredibly hard to make myself sit down and start. All sorts of mundane tasks take on urgent importance, and I easily can fritter away time.
  • Now I am in writing mode again, I’m trying to be disciplined about that morning writing. It seems the key thing for me. Apart from adding a few words to my current story, it also feels good preparation for whatever else that day brings.
  • Thank you, Suzy. It’s been fun, except for the trials of taking a decent photo of myself in the rain!
  • You look stunning, and so does your garden.
Posted in Author Interview, Todays news | Tagged , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Alfie dog competition

Are you all having a go at the Alfie dog writing competition? Read all about it here. I’m planning my entry and the prizes are amazing so if you’re a writer of short stories, you’d have to be mad not to try it. And, the entry fee is downloading 5 different author stories.

If you wanted to download any of mine that are on there, here’s the link showing you where to find them. Great news is that another story of mine, Seeds of Friendship, will be published on Wednesday 5th August.

Today, we’ve been in the garden, cutting the hedge, so it looks all neat and lovely for a while. Sweet peas are growing and a sun-flower has appeared like magic amongst them. I’ll get a pic when they’re flowering. Pink geraniums are blooming lovely, and our patch of scented pinks make the air smell divine when you pop out to have a relax with cup of coffee.

A few stories have gone out, and one back from take a break fiction feast. It’s a story I like, even though it was written when we had a theme going on in our online writing group. That makes it special, as it wasn’t going to be written otherwise. Now it’s gone off somewhere else. Reading some good books as well, and short stories.

No news on the novel yet, but no news is good news they say. So fingers are still crossed, and toes as well.

Sue in garden

Relaxing while dreaming up my Alfie dog story.

Great author interview coming soon. The lovely Joanne Fox has agreed to be my guest later on this month. So glad she’s back blogging in time to pop over and talk about her writing.

Posted in Acceptances, Author Interview, Garden News, In the garden, Latest News | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments