Category Archives: People’s Friend

Hello from blogland

It’s been a while since I blogged, and it’s time I popped in to say hello to everyone.

In response to Hazel Williams who wants to know if the cat café series in People’s Friend will be published in book form, I’m not sure, but hope so as I enjoy the stories as well. If anyone knows the answer to that, Suzanne, or Pat, could you pop in and let Hazel know. Otherwise, Hazel, you could drop a line to the People’s Friend magazine, and they’ll tell you.

I’m having a relaxing day today, and working on the latest novel set in WW1 – finished chapter 4 and on to number 5 now, up to 8,000 words so far and will finish on 10,000 words for today.

As you would imagine, Edith and Rupert will have a mention in there seeing as I’ve studied them both in detail for articles that appeared in The Great War magazine.

The Angel and The Poet for sale here..

 

My collection of stories set in Norfolk are here on Amazon.

During the daytime I’m usually creating mugs and tee shirts for personalised gifts. This week I’ve got some pink ones to do for a work conference. Not forgetting the Wolves key rings for the team from the Midlands who are roaring their way up the Premier league.

Have a great week, and hope someone knows the answer to Hazel’s question.

 

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Welcome, Amanda Brittany

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It’s a pleasure to welcome Amanda Brittany on to my blog today.
Hello, Amanda, thanks for agreeing to be my blog guest for January. I always enjoy your stories so it’s a real pleasure to chat to you about your writing.

It’s lovely to be here, Susan. Thank you for inviting me.

Q1/ Do you remember the first story that was accepted by People’s Friend, and how many submissions did you send them before they said, ‘Yes.’

A/ I sold my first story to The Friend in May 2012. It was called ‘Holly’s Harvest’ and I drew on memories of being a Brownie when I was a little girl. I’d only sent in three stories prior to that. But don’t be fooled. I’ve had lots of rejections from them since, and lots of rejections from other magazines too.

Q2/ I really enjoyed your recent serial, the one set in Weymouth. The newlyweds from the fifties were great sleuths. Is this an idea you’ve had for a while, and will there be more from the couple?

Mystery of room 4

A/ I absolutely love cosy crime, so I think the story was drawn from years of enjoying those kinds of books. I knew The Friend was looking for longer reads, particular murder mysteries, so gave it a go. Yes, I think I might be tempted to write more with the couple, as I enjoyed writing those characters, and felt they had more stories to tell. Although writing a murder mystery was very challenging.

Q3/ You write lovely period stories with great characters. Have you ever been tempted to elaborate on a short story for a novel length story?

A/ I have written a few stories that I’ve been tempted to expand, but have never done so. The novels I’ve written recently: Shadow Sisters (written with Karen Clarke) and Phototime, weren’t originally short stories.

Q4/ I’ve read your stories in several of the Annuals. How far in advance do you submit these to editors?

A/ Holly’s Harvest appeared in the 2014 Annual. So you don’t really submit for the annual, as such. The Friend’s editors buy your story, and then decide if they will use it for the annual.

Q5/ How does your writing day go? Is there a set routine you follow, or is it something you get down to when you feel in the mood?

A/ I write better in the mornings. On good days, I will write a story or a chapter of my novel. Frustratingly, there are a lot of bad days, where ideas won’t come, or I’m getting in a muddle with the plot, or I finish a story and decide it’s awful. But I refuse to let those days beat me, and find reading magazines or novels really helps. Or just taking myself out and about, doing something different, or listening to people. I’ve written many short stories that have been triggered by a single sentence I’ve overheard. On days when the writing doesn’t flow, I will edit or rewrite old stories, so I feel I’m being sort-of productive. It’s SO easy to procrastinate.

Q6/ / what advice would you give to writers who submit stories and keep getting rejections? Apart from stop doing it)

A/ Ooh, NEVER EVER stop doing it! I read somewhere that the only writers who don’t succeed are those who give up trying. And never forget when those horrid envelopes drop on your mat, that the most prolific writers get rejections too.
There are ways of upping your chances of success, although I’m sure they are all pretty obvious really:-

Read the magazines you hope to sell to (or the style of novel you are writing)
Attend magazine writing workshops.
Find a fabulous writing buddy, or writing group. It doesn’t matter how good your writing is, another pair of eyes is so helpful. Sometimes we are too close to our own writing to spot the the most most obvious errors. Did you see what I did there?
Read books on writing for women’s magazines, and books on writing generally.
Follow helpful blogs on writing.
Don’t be afraid of constructive criticism. (Develop a thick skin!)
Keep up to date with magazine requirements.
Attending a writing course really helped me, but I don’t think everyone needs one.
Write from the heart, and really get to know your characters.
And obviously – Never give up!

Thanks for sharing your writing life with us, Amanda, and good luck with the books.

To follow Amanda and her writing, click on the links below.

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/Mandymand

FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/amandatimoney2

BLOG SPOT: http://www.writingallsorts.blogspot.com

The Holt Bookshop

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Proud to say that Redington is now available to buy in a Norfolk Book Shop.

If you live anywhere near Holt in North Norfolk, you can pop in and have a browse. Independent bookshops are a rare find, and I’m so happy that my characters have found their way onto the shelves in there. Hope they behave themselves.

My Mum is on Chapter 5 – The Ghost of Windmill Walk, and she tells me she’s enjoying the stories.

Another delivery of books is due soon, so then I hope to add to the list of independent bookshops to stock my little gem.

 

 

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…

Polar bear

O Christmas Tree

Now I know it’s coming closer, we’ve got our tree up.

TreeMr Polar bear is keeping an eye on the chocs under the tree and he brought a supply of glacier mints with him as well.

Christmas music to get you in the festive mood while you make mince pies.

What’s your favourite Christmas song? I love traditional ones like Little Donkey, and A Winter’s Tale

Speaking of a winter’s tale, I’m off to edit a story. And great news that Shirley Blair’s blog has news that we’ll be getting news from our People’s Friend entries.

Glad I didn’t have a burning desire to submit somewhere else. I am going to complete the story though as it’s something I’ve grown attached to, only yesterday I was thinking about the characters.

And just incase you wanted a sunny summer picture to compensate for the grey days, here’s one.

??????????????????????Me and Alan sipping champagne on our wedding day.

Polar bear

A Giveaway

Sue's bookIf you’re looking for something different as a stocking filler, then how about a free copy of Redington signed by the author – me – to give to someone special. Or you could keep it yourself to slot onto the bookshelf and read when you want something to cheer you up.

BookshelfThere’s my little gem in-between Wuthering Heights and Rebecca.

All you need to do is pop a comment in the box, and then a week from now, my lovely hubby will draw a name from the hat. I couldn’t discriminate between everyone as all my followers are smashing and I know the winner will be someone who will appreciate the book. Let’s face it I didn’t think at one point it would ever see light of day.

Redington books

If you want to read a kindle copy, or buy the book it’s available on the link below.

Buy Redington here.

Now I’m working on a plan to get my real book into the real wide world. Please have a think of leaving a review if you download the kindle version or if you buy the book. Especially if it’s going to be a good one.

Just come back from work, and now off to relax a bit…

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Happiness is…

Hello to all my lovely followers, I’ve neglected the blog a bit lately, as we’ve been away on a break, and also relaxing and doing things.

We had a break in Torbay, so that gave us change to catch up with family, and get a pic of the pirate on the boat.

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Torre Abbey gardens are looking fab, and Sophie Hannah was signing the latest Poirot book, so that was a treat, and a brilliant book.

Torre Abbey Gardens

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poirotme and grouWe heard that there will be a writer in residence at Greenway next year. I haven’t had the phone call yet, but maybe I was out.

Here’s the Belgian detective or Peter Suchet dressed as Poirot visiting Greenway for a photo shoot. The book is full of pictures from his visit. I mangaged to get a place of a writing workshop held at the Imperial Hotel, and met some lovely writers, while the chaps had a game of golf. Then we met up for food later on.

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It’s scarecrow festival in a nearby village, and a lovely day for walking round and spotting the scares. Alan was more interested in the E type Jag that was parked on the corner.

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Now I must get on with the writing for a couple of competitions closing soon. At last I finished and posted my People’s Friend Serial one, and I have to send the full version of my romantic novel somewhere, but that’s top secret at the moment, mustn’t jinx things.

Until next time, keep doing things that make you happy~~~~

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…