Filler items/reader’s letters

There was a time when you could always find a magazine that published filler items. I started off writing a letter to Woman’s Realm. We had some giant thistles in the garden. I sprayed them gold and silver and used them as Christmas decorations. That gave me my first cheque for my writing £5. It was the start of having lots of little snappy bits of news published in a whole range of magazines.

I’m on a mission to see if we can still get these fillers accepted and are there any magazines that bother to pay writers’ for them anymore? Maybe with Twitter and Facebook, they have a ready harvest of fillers for free.

What do you think? Do you miss the fillers, or the steady flow of income they used to provide? Or have I forgotten about them. Hobby magazines are full of bits and pieces, I’ll let you know how I go on.

A card I made for a friend, the one on the right:) before I got my score and cut board. They’re a bit more level now.

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A story for the weekend

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This is the story that won Eddie Walsh’s final Emerald competition. Theme: – Nobody will ever know. I came first from 65 entries, so I was thrilled as you can imagine. It’s been a while ago, but it’s a story I’m proud of and thought you might like to read it.
When the cheque for £65.00 arrived it was a real treat especially as it came on my birthday as well. Eddie, told me that he read so many stories with bodies under the patio, that it was good to read something different. So, remember, when entering any competition, write about the most way out thing you can. It will get you noticed, if nothing else.

It’s a shame about Cliff and Binky, I think they would have had some good adventures as the house-sitters with Herbert, and even done a bit of sleuthing. I’m now going to work on a series of stories with the two of them.

They met at university in the sixties. Cliff was a vegetarian, that’s why Binkie was always with him. He loved animals, and did a lot for animal welfare, so it was a sad ending for him. Hope you enjoy the story, I wrote it while on holiday in Brixham. So, I think we should have another holiday so that I can write another winning story:

One of my summer projects is to publish a collection of my short stories to keep them all together and so that I can have a clean up with my files and get rid of lots of folders that are gathering dust but ones I don’t like to part with. Title will be The House-Sitters and other stories.

 

 

The House-Sitters

“Hey Cliff, I’ve let the canary out of the cage for a bit of a fly around the conservatory.”

“I wish you’d said, then I could have shut the Jack Russell out.” A flash of white fur dived onto the back of the rattan settee, and in one gulp, swallowed a mouthful of yellow feathers. Herbert and Cliff watched in horror as Binkie coughed and spluttered before smacking his lips in appreciation.

“My God Herbert, I can’t believe that. He’s eaten the canary!”

“We’ll have to cover this up Cliff. Nobody will ever know. We’ll say we left a window open, then the bird flew out.” Herbert bit on his lower lip as if to convince himself it could pass for the reason the cage was empty of canary.
“Blasted dog.”

Cliff turned, “I’ll go and feed Monty his rats. When the instructions said, three of them, did it mean daily or weekly do you think?” Herbert frowned, then ruffled his thick mop of white hair.

“Not sure, I threw him one in yesterday. I haven’t much idea on the diet of a python.”

“Me neither. We haven’t had one of those before have we?” Cliff made his way to the shed where a cage of live rats with pink piercing eyes darted with fear, or maybe anger, Cliff wasn’t sure. He made a grab for one of them by its tail. Binkie gnashed his teeth, trying to grab the wriggling rat from Cliff’s grasp.

“Blast you Binkie.” He tried kicking the dog to one side. “You’ve caused enough trouble for today. Move away.” Cliff opened the door to the spare room where Monty the enormous python languished across the top of a dusty bookcase. Hurling the screeching rat across the room towards the snake, Binkie flew like chalk dust onto the big grey rodent. Cliff just happened to see the rat clasped in the jaws of the dog when an even swifter move was made by the snake. For a few seconds he froze in time; to see Binkie’s head, body, then legs disappearing down the jaws of Monty.

“Herbert, come quick!” Cliff grasped Binkie’s back legs and tugged as hard as he could on the only remaining part of the dog that hung out of those elongated poisonous, fang sucking lips that opened even wider to pull in dog, hands, arms then head of Cliff.

Hebert entered the room just in time to see his friend being swallowed alive with one last gulp. With that final suck, Monty had feasted on canary in dog, with rat in jaw, followed by one slightly tough, though tasty all the same, human being.
As he shivered uncontrollably, Herbert could see the shape of Cliff lying inside the snake. Slowly closing the door on the horrific scene, he whispered to himself.

“Nobody will ever know.” The Peterson’s were due back in the morning. Herbert needed to act fast. They never left true contact details, always best to give false ones. He picked up the phone and booked a flight. “Thank you, first class travel to South Africa will be perfect.”

selective focus photography of puppy lying on green grass

Photo by Osmar Vasques on Pexels.com

Getting on with the writing

Today I added to the story – or novel as it’s aiming to be. After finishing chapter 5 (yay) the word count is just over 11,000. Now for a writer, this is nothing, but for me who’s got a bit stuck lately, this is monumental. This is me getting back into it, and I have a few more characters now as well. 

Are you writing and got stuck? How’s it going, and what helps you get back in the story? I knit when not writing, and making a throw over blanket for Sophie. flowers

Remember, we have to love the characters and their journey ourselves because if we don’t how can we expect anyone else to care about them?

The bizzie lizzies are to remind you that spring isn’t far away.

Now off to read through the first 5 chapters and add some action and spice to keep it going through chapter 6.

Every time I pass another 10,000 words I’ll blog about it and soon there might be a story for you to enjoy. The two pound coin is to remind us of the industrial revolution and the beginning of the twentieth century an era during which my story is set. 

two pound coinbook fairy

The writing fairy says, “It’s okay to have some thinking time, then when you get back to it, the words will flow and you’ll have a masterpiece on your hands.

Books for charity

Have you ever given work away for free? Some people do, some don’t, but if you are in favour of a charity and want to support them with gifting a story to an anthology, then for me that’s alright. Speaking of which, here’s a book full of short stories that can be read during coffee or tea breaks.

One of my stories is in there also some other well known writers, like that Travelling writer, Patsy Collins, also Bea Charles, Fran Tracey,

 

Paws for thoughtYou can buy the book here…

Any money raised from this book sold goes to the RSPCA Halifax, Huddersfield and District Branch. The RSPCA do such a great job and need all the help they can get so I’m proud to sponsor the animals in some small way. Well done to Sharon and Keith for putting this collection together. It’s on my kindle and will be reading it tonight.

I also have two articles put together in the same book. The Angel and the Poet. All money raised from this book over the weekend will go to the Royal British Legion for the centenary of the end of WW1.

Rupert Brooke, Rugby poet and scholar and Edith Cavell, nurse and patriot are two of our English hero’s who gave everything for their country. It’s a booklet I’m really proud of as it took ages to research and gives a real insight to the lives of two unique people.

Hope you have a peaceful weekend and how fortunate are we that so many gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom? My grandad fought in WW1 and was burned and gassed in the trenches. Luckily for our family he returned home and formed a thriving plant and shrub nursery, also building a bungalow for himself and another one next door where I spent my early childhood. We have so much to feel grateful for, and it’s him and my grandma I’ll be thinking of during the coming days.

Until next time, byzie bye.

 

RNA Profile

I now have a profile on the Romantic Novelists Association profile pages. If you want to have a look, it’s here.  

Thank you to John Jackson for all his hard work in updating everyone’s profiles, and hope you see some other names you recognise from your favourite writers.

Hope the writing is going well with you all, or whatever else you may be doing. I’m busy reading up on WW1 and WW2, as well as having a lovely chicken dinner. We’ve got our four legged friend for company as well.

Sly in waterHe likes to have a paddle whenever he can. Have a great week, talk soon.

 

RNA Conference in Leeds

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Me with Carol and Linda after lunch

Had a great time on Saturday in Leeds meeting up with other romantic writers. Glad to meet Jan again as well. Such fun to find my Robinson Crusoe pocket novel in the goody bags, and on the table in the reception area. Now I’ve got lots of plans to get on with the writing, and an article to write on one of the talks I went in to. Such lovely weather we’re having, makes you want to keep drinking something cool.

Great to meet up with my pocket novel editor, Maggie Swinburne and join the lecture on writing pocket novels. Really interesting, and learned a lot. All of the talks were excellent, and lots of people must have worked hard to put it all together.

bagI had the bag, as well as the tee shirt, well they say it’s all about promotion, nothing like having your book on your front.

Sue and Linda
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Sue conference

Did I mention I have a pocket novel out? Yes I did, alright then, off to write the next one. Have a great week and thanks Jan Jones and the RNA for a great event at the weekend. Thanks, John for taking the photos of us.

Her Own Robinson Crusoe

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This is what I’m off to read in the garden under the umbrella of course. It’s still hot here in Warwickshire, but before long I’ll be taking the plane journey with Serena off to the Caribbean. Better get a cool drink to go with it. It’s in the shops today.

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Sophie had good news today as well, she got her first swimming certificate. Well done, little swimmer and  hope it’s the first of many.

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She looks as proud as Grandma with her books doesn’t she? Well done, Sophie.

 

 

 

Setting the scene

Following on from a recent holiday, I’m now starting on a story set somewhere warm. Let’s face it, we’re in the middle of a heat-wave so you don’t need to go far really, but I want a lovely blue ocean, and sandy beaches where music plays on into the evening.

Air show 2018Suzy Brixham

There will be plenty of music in the story, like the lovely Caro Emerald song below.

Can you tell this blog post is to get me back on track with the writing? Had such a lovely relaxing day, it was like being on holiday all over again. Have a great week, whatever you may be doing. And don’t forget to look out for this in the shops on Thursday. I might have mentioned it already, but you know how we have to shout about these things.

Pocket novel 4

 

More promoting

I’m getting into this promoting lark now. So I’ve been working on my website as it’s been neglected for a while. No excuses not as I have more news to tell you, and I think there might be an option to sign up to a newsletter on the front page of the website. Still working it out, so if you sign up and hear nothing, fear not, it’s just me working it out.

Following on from last post, there’s been a review in prices of the Writers’ key rings. Talking to the boss it turns out that I got the prices wrong, not the only thing this week, but that’s another story. Details will be on a Facebook page where you can see the more generous offer. Now I’m busy making up key rings with my own book covers and watch out for some fab giveaways on here very soon.

It’s football fever around here and well done to England with that great win over Panama earlier, but not sure Panama knew the rules. Did you see all that dancing and hugging going on?

Her Own Robinson Crusoe will be in the shops on 12th July, but I’m sure I’ll be reminding you before then as I’m so excited and can’t wait to see it on the shelves in Asda. The cover is really lovely and just how I imagine the heroine Serena to look.

Have a great week and enjoy the lasting sunshine but don’t forget the hats and sun cream.

 

Promoting your books

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Promoting your books is essential if you want to sell them, and of course we do. Thanks to my Australian readers who have bought Redington on kindle lately by the way.

What better way to advertise than having a key ring attached to the zip on your bag, or to give as gifts when readers enter competitions on your blog or website.

I’m busy making key rings and fridge magnets, and as well as having family photos, vintage black and white pictures and pets in the picture, writer’s book covers came to mind.

Looking at those pictures really does make you want to read the book doesn’t it? And do you recognise any of the names and titles on there?

Prices for key rings and fridge magnets are £5.00 each

5 or more items = £20.00

10 or more items = £30.00 then £3.00 each thereafter.

Postage will be added depending on the amount ordered.

Tote bags and mugs to follow.

Find me on Facebook here, where you can contact me via private message with details of anything you might want. Please allow a week for the order to be processed.

https://www.facebook.com/suzydoodling

I’ve been making up hanging baskets today as well. Along with preparing for the Romantic Novelist’s Association Conference in Leeds next month. Looking forward to speaking with special people. More news on that later. Have a good week, whatever you’re up to. Isn’t this sunny weather bliss?