Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Don't Feel Rejected!

Well, my guest post in Womagwriter's blog this week has certainly caused a bit of a stir as it coincided with rather a large spring clean of stories from a couple of the major magazines.

As everyone is aware, this is part and parcel of what we do - we take the rough with the smooth, take it on the chin, have a stiff upper lip - or do we?

The nice thing is that this has encouraged other writers to talk about their experience of rejections and this results in us feeling less alone! Thank you Helen Yendall at Blog About Writing for mentioning my post and keeping the discussion going.

It is easy for us to feel rejected (and dejected when that dreaded envelope drops through the door or the mail box pings on the computer) but spare a thought for the poor fiction editors who are inundated with literally hundreds of stories each week. Sometimes we have to remember that they have a difficult job to do as well. There was a plea this week from Jill Finlay of The Weekly News on Womagwriter's blog, which can be read here, asking for no new submissions for two months as she had such a back log and is the only reader.

For everyone in the reject club this week, Simon Whaley at Simon Says!  talks about an article by Glynis Scrivens in this month's Writers Forum magazine called 'Turning a No into a Yes'. In it she talks about how other writers have turned rejections into acceptances - I'm off to buy it now!

Finally many thanks to those lovely people who have commented on or re posted my guest post, including Linda Lewis and to cheer you all up you must... I said MUST watch this youtube clip. It will bring a smile to your face and then you can get back to writing another story!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Guest Post at Womagwriter's Blog

Just to let you know I am delighted to be guest posting over at Womagwriter's Blog today. Do pop over and join me. This week I celebrate the anniversary of writing my first magazine story and I am talking about my roller coaster journey since then.

Meanwhile, the roller coaster ride continues!

Having been ecstatic with my three sales last week, I was brought back down to earth with a bump three days later with five - YES FIVE- rejections all in one day. Two were by email and three plopped through my letterbox.

Mind you, it's not in my nature to dwell on adversity for too long so I decided to put a positive spin on it. After much scratching of my head (as I'm useless at maths) I realised that 3:5 acceptance to rejection ratio meant it was still a 37.5% success rate this week. If the rejections had come last week it would have been 100% failure!

I daren't work out the yearly percentage as the results would be too scary!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Dancing to the Berkley Square Band

I haven't put up a post about dancing for a while so I thought I would tell you about Valentine's night.
My husband took me to the  Valentine Ball at the Corn Exchange in Brighton. It was a magical evening. The ten piece Berkley Square Society Band played all night and we danced our way around the room to their wonderful music. It was like being transported back in time to the wartime era. The men were dressed in black tie and the women in beautiful dresses.
Two years ago when we went there, we had only been learning ballroom a short while and found it hard to cope with the number of dancers on the dance floor - if someone stopped in front of us we'd stop dead unable to continue. This time round, and being more experienced dancers, my husband proved to be a dab hand at avoidance tactics!
What was especially nice was how happy everyone looked. There was a mix of abilities and also of ages - if this is what Strictly Come Dancing has done for ballroom then it can only be a good thing.
I was very excited to hear that the Berkley Square Band are the resident band at the tea dances in the Palm Court at the Waldorf Hotel in London so guess where I shall be going for my birthday in April!
Another bonus of the evening was an Argentine Tango display. We have been learning this for a few months now so it was great to see it properly done.
My good new this week is two sales to Fiction Feast and one to The People's Friend - a big thanks to both magazines.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Thanks for my Blog Award!


A big thank you to Catherine Lumb for nominating me for the Libester's Blog Award.

The Liebster award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. As a new blogger, I fall into that category - so thanks Cat!

What is a Liebster? The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome - so a perfect award on Valentine's Day!

The rules for the Liebster are to thank the person who nominated you, answer the 11 questions they have asked you, nominate 11 other people and ask them 11 questions in return. .

These are the questions Cat asked me, along with my answers.

1. What’s your most significant childhood memory?
Watching mussels open and close their shells and move around the bowl in a restaurant in France.
2. What is the one thing you want to do most before you die?

Have no regrets


3. Do you have a favourite magazine?
As I write stories for three of them - I couldn't possibly say!

4. What do you think is the best thing about having children?

Watching them grow up to be adults you can be proud of

5. What’s the worst thing about having children?

Worrying about them - even when they have grown up to be adults you can be proud of!

6. What do you do in order to relax?

Where do I start: read, pilates, walk, dance, sing ...

7. Is there someone you really hate – and why?

I don't hate people although I might hate their actions or attitudes (I particularly dislike unfairness). Dislike is a nicer word but actually there are few people I actively dislike.

8. If you could live anywhere else, where would this be?

There is nowhere I would rather live than my lovely little town in West Sussex but I love the Lake District so maybe that would be my second choice.

9. Is there a particular job that you wish you could excel at?

Yes! I would love to be a mathematician - as it is I am the numbers equivalent of a dyslexic. I'm sure there is a proper word for that but I can't be bothered to look it up.

10. Are you a cat or dog person?

Someone please close Bonnie's ears. I have always been a cat person but gained my stepdog when I married three years ago. She is a lovely dog (mostly) but I'm afraid cats rule!

11. How would you define love?
Love is a fan club with only two fans


Thank you to my lovely husband and creater of Wendy's StoryTimeline for my Valentine surprise when I went down to feed Bon and Bobs this morning.

Now here are my questions for my nominees:
1. What's been your biggest disappointment in life?
2. If you could describe your personality in one word, what would it be?
3. Do you dream?
4. If you could go back in time to a different century which would it be?
5. What is the nicest thing anyone has done for you?
6. Are you techno or technophobe?
7. When was the last time you laughed until you cried?
8. What was the first record you ever bought?
9. If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
10. Have you ever met anyone famous?
11. What did you really think of Fifty Shades of Grey!
My nominees are:

Tracy Fells at The Literary Pig
Frances Garrood
Julie Phillips at Julie's Quest
Kate Jackson
Jenny Roman
Joanne Fox
Jean bull

I know there are not eleven but most of the blogs I follow have over 200 followers and so are not eligible.

Monday, 11 February 2013

I've Only Gone and Done it Again!

Sometimes I really do worry about my ability to see things. I don't mean in everyday life - I mean in my own stories.
This isn't the first time that I've done this very stupid thing - I referred to it in my post 'Proofreeding Your Story' a while back.
So what is it I've done? Well. I've managed once again to send off a story with not one, but TWO characters who change their name halfway through! This was after I had read it through many times and my husband had also proofread it (no, I'm not blaming him!)
I am just lucky that the very lovely People's Friend liked it enough to kindly point this out and ask for a re-write. I would not have been surprised if they had just thrown it straight in the bin or in the rejection pile. I think this shows three things.
1. I am a hopeless proofreader
2. I don't learn form my mistakes
3.The People's Friend are a lovely to work for
If you find any typos or other mistakes in my posts, you now know why!
Please make me feel better by saying I am not the only one to have done something so annoyingly silly.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

SOS To All Dog Lovers

This is Rosie - fellow writer Della Galton's dog. She is in desperate need of your help. Please follow this link to her blog so that Della can tell you about it herself.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The Writing on the Wall - Read My Story in Fiction Feast

I knew, as soon as I started stripping the wallpaper in my dining room, that there was a story to tell.

We had been having major building work done in our downstairs rooms - the kitchen and dining room knocked into one and a conservatory added. Living out of boxes and with a houseful of builders, plumbers, carpenters and plasterers for several months had not been a bed of roses but now we were about to embark on the part I had been looking forward to - decorating and making the living space our own.

When I had first moved in, I had simply painted over the existing wallpaper but now, with pieces ripped where walls had been moved or doors added, it was time to strip the whole lot back and start again.

What I found, was that the wallpaper had been added to an original paper dating from when the house was first built (early 60s). Stripping two lots of paper (plus backing paper) was not as easy as I had thought and the job was slow and relentless.

As I was beginning to die of boredom, I noticed a colour change on the wall under the paper - it was the beginning of some writing. Intrigued, I concentrated on this area until each letter and then word was uncovered.

I guess you are wondering what it said. Well, what had been written by an unknown hand on the bare plaster in 1961 was 'This room has potential Kevin'. I have no idea who wrote it or why - or who Kevin was but the seed of a story had been sown.

My story 'Remember' is in this week's Take a Break Fiction Feast. The words uncovered on my heroine's wall are different to mine but there is always a little part of me or my life in my stories. Let me know if you enjoy it.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Never Too Old to Build a Bear

Firstly, a big thank you to Becca Pugilisi from The Bookshelf Muse for her excellent guest post on 'Show Not Tell' - a subject we can never be complacent about.

Anyone who is visiting my blog today must be prepared not to read anything remotely related to writing - you might, though, find out a little bit more about me.

Now that the excitement has died down I have been doing very important things ... in fact, I have been 'Building a Bear' in Brighton with my little granddaughter. It was supposed to be a treat for her birthday but I think I enjoyed it as much as she did!

First, you choose your bear. As you can see this is not easy when you have to give them all the cuddle test.

Once you have chosen your bear, just fill it with fluff - oh and don't forget to put in his red satin heart!

Now for the outfit and we all know how hard that is, don't we ladies. A pink tutu - what else!
 Finally, choose your accessories carefully - you know it makes sense!