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 , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Welcome, Joanne Fox

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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

Glam gran’s blog

new pic

I’ve had my hair done, so you have to get a picture don’t you? Let’s face it, it won’t stay like it for long.

Hello to all my lovely followers, hope you’re enjoying the sunshine. Had a new hairdo, so I asked Alan to take a pictue of it. I was sitting on our garden table. Next week I might book a facial to freshen the skin a bit, with all the sunblocker I’m using these days.

The cleaning job starts early in the morning, and surprising how hot the sun is; especially as we’re outdoors a lot between jobs.  I put factor 50 sun block on face neck and arms, then spf 25 clarins bb foundation to keep the face protected. It isn’t cheap, but the one I’m using I bought almost a year ago, you only need a tiny dot, so well worth it.

Our work is all finished by mid – morning. Then I come home for coffee and to catch up with reading or writing or gardening. Oh, and trips to the hairdressers now and again.

petunias

Purple vein petunias

pink ger

Shocking pink geraniums, I must get a lippy in that colour

pots

These pink and purple petunias will fill out in a few weeks.

So, if you haven’t had chance to read the wedding story, there’s still time. It’s here.

I’m still losing weight, and drinking the green smothies, they’re smashing. Must order some more of my magical weight loss products from here. If you order over £35 worth, you get free delivery. Now I’ve lost a stone and a half, and only half a stone then I’ll be into the normal weight range for my height. As I’m 5′ 2″ you can’t afford to be too chunky otherwise you look horrible. And as all glam Gran’s know, that would never do.

On Saturdays, our treat is home-made fish and chips, so it’s not a diet that deprives you of anything you like. Until next time, stay fabulous and keep cool.

Digital imageNo thanks, Mr Doughnut, I’m having fish and chips.

Posted in A Redington Tale, Betty's big Meringue, comedy writing, Garden News, Glam gran's blog, In the garden, Latest News | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

It’s wedding week

If you’re a follower of my stories set in the fictional village of Redington, in the middle of North Norfolk, then tune in to Creative Frontiers all this week to read the serial,

Betty’s big Meringue

It’s all about the build up to the wedding, and whether they will actually get to tie the knot.

To warn you, it’s a long one, and comes in lots of parts.

Hope you enjoy the story if you read it.

Please log in to Creative Frontiers and leave a comment. Also, editor Martin West is

always on the lookout for stories and articles for the site. Details are on there.

Now I’m off to find the biggest hat I can, and a blue flowery dress and some high heels.

They’re quite a flamboyant lot over there, so don’t want to look like an old frump for Betty.

Betty's big meringue

 

 

Posted in A Redington Tale, Betty's big Meringue, comedy writing, Latest News, Lovely people, Romantic Writing, situation comedy, Something Special, Todays news | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Mark Twain

The first time I was introduced to Mark Twain, it was in double English. The book we were given to read was ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ one of the best stories I’ve ever read.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0007420110/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

I used to look forward to those lessons when we took turns in the class to read a page or two from the story of Tom and Huck. They seemed to have so much freedom to roam around, getting into all kinds of trouble and having fun. How life should be.

Lots of information about him here. Mark Twain quotes…

For character and setting the scene, any of his writing is well worth reading. What’s your favourite classic?

By the way – Betty and Raymond’s wedding is August 4th, Norah and Arnold made a mistake on the invitations.

Posted in Classical stories | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Wedding bells will soon be ringing

Wedding bells

Bells will be ringing out in Redington

Arnold and Norah Bartlett

cordially request the presence

of friends and family

to the wedding of

their niece Betty

to Raymond

June 30th

I’m working on the latest Redington story. This one’s called, Betty’s big meringue, and builds up to the day she and Raymond say I do. It’s making me titter to myself, and I know that sounds a bit indulgent, but they say, (whoever they are) that you have to write what you want to read. This is my kind of reading. Betty is actually larger than that, and he’s a fireman, Raymond is a postman, but he looks like a postie to me, so it’s the picture I’m using from clip art.

Betty's big meringue

Betty and Raymond

Uncle Arnold is giving Betty away, and Ivy is Chief Bridesmaid. There are some new characters in this story, and I hope you’ll be able to tune in next week on Creative Frontiers to see what goes on.

Posted in A Redington Tale, comedy writing, Latest News, Romantic Writing, situation comedy, Something Special, Todays news, Update, What I'm writing, writing sit-com | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments