Sunday, 25 September 2016

An Exciting Time for Wendy's Writing Now!

A few days ago was the start of Autumn. Having been a teacher in my previous life, I've always thought of the Autumn term as being a time of change. It's the same now that I'm a writer. I consider September to be a fresh start without the distraction of holidays (yes, I know I've had one or two), grandkiddy duties and feeling guilty about being inside writing when the weather is nice. Like other writers, I definitely get less done in the summer.

It's not only my magazine writing that's suffered during the summer, I've not been blogging as consistently as in the past. Neither have I been keeping up with social media as I should. 

Now that Autumn is here, I need to try to get back to writing consistently, settle down to a routine and not allow my mind to wander to other things. I also need to get writing buddy, Tracy, to give me a stern talking to!

I've realised that, in order to kick start my writing, I need to devote more of my time to writing projects. I love blogging but it can be time consuming so, for the months of October and November, I am handing my blog over to some wonderful guests. You are certainly in for a treat! Some of the authors will be known to many of you but I also have some lesser known writers who I am very excited to feature. To give you a taster, next week's guest has the most amazing pets (I won't spoil it for you now but I can promise you some interesting photos).

When I posted that I was opening up these two months to guest spots, I was so inundated with requests that I had to turn people down (I'm so sorry if you were one of them). From the comments left, it seems that Wendy's Writing Now is seen as a great platform for guest authors and for that I feel humbled (but also sad that I can't accommodate everyone). Someone said they'd been wanting to join the 'hall of fame' at the side of my blog for a long while but, up until now, had been to shy to ask. I feel very honoured.

You won't have got rid of me entirely though. I shall be popping in during these two months with my own news - it just won't be every week.

In the meantime, here is my latest story in The People's Friend Magazine. Its called, The Anniversary Dinner and was written for a friend of mine.

Monday, 19 September 2016

A Sleepy Island, a Boat and a Cavorting Couple!

Lots of pictures and not many words in this post today as we've been away again - this time to the Greek island of Ithaca (or Ithaka). It was an island we hadn't been to before and, as usual, we were smitten.

The island is small and you reach it by ferry from Kefalonia. With only one crossing each afternoon, and a flight that had been delayed by half an hour, our drive to the other side of the island to catch the ferry was an interesting experience! Luckily we just manage to get there in time.

This year, instead of using a travel firm, we decided to go it alone and try airbnb. We certainly weren't disappointed as for the same price as a package, we ended up with a three bedroom house with plunge pool and a view to die for! This was the view from our extremely large veranda.

Ithaca is an island you only go to if you want total rest and relaxation. It's a beautiful but sleepy place with only a handful of towns: Vathy, the capital, the little beach resort of Frikes and the exquisite harbour town of Kioni where we stayed - a popular place with the boating set. Late each day the flotillas would moor up in the harbour and it was immensely entertaining, at the end of an evening, to watch the well dressed couples take off their smart shoes and clamber aboard their (rather precarious looking) rubber dinghies to get back to their yachts. 

The beaches were pretty pebbled coves (only two on the island had sunbeds and sunshades) and the water was crystal clear. Being September, the season was beginning to wind down and we had most beaches almost to ourselves... except for this one! I've never shared a beach with a goat before.

As you can see, we hired a little boat and came across this beautiful Robinson Crusoe beach. It was so romantic with just a shipwrecked old boat on it. A young couple who swam out from their yacht a few hours later obviously thought so too. When they started stripping off their clothes, we though it was time to make our presence clear before things got awkward!

While we were away, I took the opportunity of doing some reading. I deliberately turned my back on the psychological thrillers I've been reading recently as they've all become a bit samey. Instead, I took a trip down memory lane and read a Rosamund Pilcher. It was an enjoyable beach read with beautiful Cornish scenery but rather dated. The other book I read was Elizabeth is Missing. This has gone into my top 10 best reads - what a great book.

I'm home now and ready for an Autumn of writing but I have to say that in my mind, I'm already planning next year's Greek holiday!

Monday, 5 September 2016

Holidays as Inspiration for Your Stories

This has been a good week for magazine stories. I have two in The People's Friend Weekly (very unusual as they don't often feature a writer more than once unless it's in the Special) and one in Take a Break Fiction Feast.

It was as I was reading them again that it occurred to me that all three had been written following a holiday. Two from this year and one a while ago.

My first story in The Friend is called 'Welcome to Paradise' and I'll tell you a little about how this one came about. In May this year, my husband and I went on a fantastic holiday to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. For the second part of the holiday, we stayed in the beautiful village of Positano.

When we arrived at the beach around the headland, we were greeted by a young man from the local bar. 'Welcome to Paradise!' he said. We thought that was rather lovely and it amused us when we heard him say the same thing to everyone. If a group of pretty girls came down to the beach, he was extra attentive. I just knew I had to write a story about him as soon as I got back. I sent the story along with the photo above to my editor who bought it. This is the lovely illustration that they put with it - rather arty don't you think!

My second story in The People's Friend is called 'A Walk on the Fells'. The original title was The Coffin Stone which was much more interesting I think - maybe they didn't like the word 'coffin'. I wrote it after I came back form The Lake District in April. It is absolutely one of my favourite places in England to holiday and I have written (and have had published) a story every time I've come home from a visit. This is my fourth Lake District story for The Friend and I've had one published in Fiction Feast too.

Fiction editor, Shirley Blair, asked if I would tell the readers the inspiration behind my story and here it is. Have any of you ever walked the 'coffin route?'

My final story this week is called 'Don't Rock the Boat' - originally titled, 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' (never be precious about your titles). It was one of my first stories and was written after my first canal boat holiday in 2012. It didn't sell then so I put it away in a drawer, revamped it and resent it four years later. I've had three more canal boat holidays since then.

I'm off to the Greek island of Ithaka soon... I feel another Greek story coming on!