Category Archives: knitting.

Pocket Novels

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I’m a pocket novelist for My Weekly, and proud to say another one will be published soon. It’s set in the Caribbean, will let you know as soon as it’s here.

Great to see family members today, Ann and Sophie called, then our Son and his dog bounded in, and lovely to see them all.

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Knitting is another pastime that I find helps with relaxing, not that I need an excuse to sit down and watch something funny on t.v. Rising Damp is on, and for me good comedy doesn’t date. Same as Larry Grayson who was on the night before. He was a local celebrity in our area, coming from local town of Nuneaton.

My day job is now making badges and key rings, also putting words on tee shirts. Can’t wait to put book covers on key rings, and more news on that coming soon. Have a great week, however you’re spending it.

 

 

 

Glam Gran’s giggle blog

Glam gran I’m not smiling, and that’s not because I’m feeling grumpy, it’s because I’m showing off the make up range Younique, that daughter Ann sells. The lipstick is ladylike, and you don’t have to be ladylike to wear it. The brows are the palest colour and it’s a pencil and then fibres that stay on all day.

She’s really brave and posts up videos and demo’s every day. It’s lovely make up but not cheap, so I get something every couple of months and now I’m waiting for a bronzer.

That picture was one of about twenty that went from bad to worse. Then a family member appeared and I asked him to take a pic. We had one with the light off, one with it on. In the window, in the garden. Then I thought maybe I’d be better sitting on a bag of chippings. He said no, because I’m up here and if you’re down there I’ve got to get down there. Then because of the sun my eyes go all squinty and make me look as if I can’t open them. So to have a photo that looks anywhere human is good. The end product was too much laughter and not anything I can put on here.

The back of the jumper is finished and now I’ve started on the front.

And at last I’ve finished editing the last chapter of the re-write. I’m sending it off tomorrow so please cross fingers toes and everything else that my lovely editor likes it. Now I can get on with another story for the same editor.

My ghost story is on Alfie dog. It’s a Christmas one, to get you in the mood. Well, if you’re writing a Christmas story, you’d need to be thinking about it now, so think of it as a prompt.

Fisherman’s rest story.

Hope to have more news on the rewriting soon. And in the meantime, I’m still going to get the original story published. It’s set in the 1970’s, and completely different to the re-written one, but there’s so much work gone into it, I’ll keep trying to find a publisher. Obviously they’ll have different titles.

Have a great week.

I won a prize

bag of woolI won this lovely bag of wool. Summerlite cotton double knitting. Tons of it, so I’m knitting a new summer jumper for myself.

All we had to do on the Simply knitting link is say what’s on our needles at the moment. It was the tea cosy, made from left over bits. I’m thrilled as I’d been thinking of buying some wool, but not sure what colour or type. Now I’ve got it all to hand and it’s really special to knit with.

On the writing front, I’m on the last chapter of a rewrite of Hats off to Love. The lovely editor I’m working with wanted the story set in the present day rather than in the 70’s. So now it’s almost complete and crossing fingers that it’s good enough and she likes it. Also I have another story accepted on the Alfie dog website. That’s out around the end of May.

More news on that soon. Have a great week, whatever you’re doing.

A crafty weekend

Hello, friendly bloggers, hope your weekend is going well. I’m catching up with writing and doing some knitting – making a tea cosy from some scraps of wool. Reason being, I’ve just finished reading this book.

It’s one my sister, lent to our mom, and she lent it to me. We all like knitting, so it’s been passed around like all good books should be.

If you like knitting, then I’m sure you’ll end up picking up some needles and making something. I’ve made up the pattern, but I’m sure it will end up resembling a tea cosy.

knitting bookTea cosy

It’s got pale pink in there as well. When it’s finished I’ll add three colours of pom poms on top. It’ll be rather jolly to pop on the tea-pot don’t you think? I’m on chapter 9 of the rewrite, which I will have more news on later.

Today, Alan creosoted our front gate and two posts either side of it that had gone wobbly. Now they’re brand spanking new. I cleaned the windows in the greenhouse and sterilised it ready for putting plants and salad vegetables in. So far there are three scented geraniums, an orchid that may or may not pick up and a pink geranium that’s survived the winter and bushing out once more.

I have a story published on Kishboo magazine site. Snowdrops

If you read and like my story could you vote for it please? Good luck to my writing pals who also have stories and poems on there. A real coincidence is that I wrote the Snowdrops story a few years ago, and there’s a Hetty in it. One of the main characters in the knit off book is Hettie as well. It’s not even a name you hear much is it?

 

Have a great week. What crafts are you doing?

 

Knitting and a tea party

Sophie 1st BirthdaySophie & taidSophie's birthdaySophie in pink

We’re quite a family of knitters, so when a little girl is having a birthday, she ended up with a peach cardigan from great-grandma, and a pink one from Gran, and a knitted mouse from Aunty. She looks quite happy with things and likes tuna sandwiches and salad, and cake of course.

And it’s always good to make time for a tea party, even if we had frothy coffee instead.

Sophie & Gran

And seeing as it was a lovely day, but a bit cold, we went for a swingalong in our local park.

Christmas Wishes

It’s that time of the year when we assess all that’s gone on and if it was a good year. We welcomed our first grandchild into the world this year, that was exciting, and looking forward to spending time with family most of all.

So happy to be all together this Christmas, and looking forward to relaxing and chatting and in general having a good time.decoration

I have a really special pressie for Alan, and he hasn’t a clue what it is. So I’m hoping to keep it secret until Christmas Day which will be a major feat for me. And, no, it’s not a puppy after the last disaster…

The cardigan is finished and turned out alright. It should fit for a week or so, then I’ll make a bigger version. Love those deep pockets, useful for holding chocolate santa’s and pennies.

Sophie's cardigan

Work for me finishes on Wednesday night, when I’ll hang up my dishcloth and feather duster and shake off the mucky boots from the building site and go, ‘Phew!’ They kindly invited me to a fry up in the pub with the 120 builders from the site; I declined as I have other morning plans. Kind of them to ask me though.

I’m happy to be able to hold my Redington book in my hand, after all the writing of the stories, it’s done, and has a review already as well. I’m going to get on with another over the holidays, and some stories as well. Priority for me is time with family though, that’s most precious.

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Happy Christmas to all my lovely followers, and Best Wishes for 2016…

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Blog update

 

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Popping in to update the blog as I’ve been quiet on here lately. Busy reading, and doing other things like knitting something small for someone special. A People’s Friend pattern looked good, so having a go at that.

This is what I’m attempting and done the back so far.

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What I’ve been reading lately, is Dishing the Dirt, M.C. Beaton, In like Flynn, Rhys Bowen and also catching up with several weeks of People’s Friend and Fiction feast, My Weekly and Woman’s weekly fiction magazines.

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It takes a while to catch up with the latest magazines, but being as I’ve had a mother of a sore throat and cough, it’s a good reason to curl up on the settee and read all those lovely stories.

The day job is going well, and now there’s less mud and more concrete and tarmac areas, so makes my job a lot easier and the people are really friendly which makes it a great place to go to.

On my kindle I’ve got tons of great reads… firestarter, almost finished, Highland Lass looking forward to reading, Gold Digger, Teresa Ashby great stories, and must write a review soon, This one’s worth reading as well, The Little Kiosk by the Sea, Jennifer Bohnet. Set in Dartmouth. Tons more as well.

When the weather gets cold and nights are dark, it always makes me want to read Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier, and Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte two of my all time favourite reads. And there’s quite a good one tucked in there between them, more on that one in the next post.

Bookshelf

Now with so much reading and knitting and eating as we have a smashing dinner lined up from the chef who is so gorgeous that I may just go and jump on him before doing any more of the above, my weekend is wrapped up to perfection.

Look out for a giveaway on the blog soon, and that doesn’t happen very often as everytime I go to give a book away I change my mind.

 

 

 

Catching up.

Jan in a hatcanal It’s been a bit busy round here lately, doing up furniture, and re-inventing my writing space. I’m going to have a proper desk, and then I’m sure the writing will start to flow from the pen. At the moment, I write anywhere, although I’ve been knitting more lately for the new arrival, who is beautiful. We’ve painted a brown bookcase cream, and a table is cream with a blue top. Will post photos later, when I’m up and running. Did you read my latest serial on Creative Frontiers? Hope you enjoy the change to West Africa, from being in rural Norfolk. Enjoy the sunshine, and talk again soon. That’s blog buddy Jan in her hat, and the canal in Warwickshire, to remind me to get on with Hats off to Love.

Happy New Year.

Happy new year to all my favourite followers, you know who you are. Yes, you.. and you and you of course. I’ve been a bit quiet lately, and thanks to those who noticed. One thing and another has kept me busy, and now I’m getting back to the writing. I’ve had a lovely diary from Alan, who knows how much I like jotting down little details that I find at a later date. I can tell you what the weather was like on this day in 2010, if you needed to know.

I found an old diary, and was about to de-clutter and throw it away, but there were such great ideas in there for stories, that I kept it. It’s time to clear out some of my old books though. Now I have a kindle, and my latest download is the one from Teresa, with the blue stockings on the front. It’s a great read, and I’m half way through it and if you want to read some classic Teresa’s go for it, you won’t be dissapointed.

Also, Suzanne Ross Jones has a story in this weeks People’s Friend that started off the week just right.

The giggle blog will be at the end of the month, as nothing is making me split my sides at the moment. Our daughter has moved in, and will be having our first grandchild in the near future. She’s busy finding out how sterelisers work, and how prams are assembled. skunkgarden in JuneI’m looking forward to getting back in the garden, though it doesn’t look like that at the moment. My early morning cleaning job started back up today, and now I’m in the library, catching up with my blog.

Also, I’m busy knitting and going to read some of those books that don’t go into the charity shop box.

Until next time, when I still have that interview with Sheila Crosby to come later in January.

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.

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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…