Books make wonderful gifts. Image via Pixabay.

AWKWARD QUESTIONS AND WRITING GOALS

Again many apologies for the no-show last night.  The bug that got me last week decided to put in a repeat appearance much to my annoyance!  Still, hopefully all gone now.

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

Awkward Questions can be fun to ask of yourself and your characters. In the case of the latter having someone ask them the questions that they didn’t want to be asked can be a great way of raising tension and guarantees conflict!  But the questions must be significant enough to have a real impact, the kind of impact that will turn your story on its head.  It also pays to ask yourself as a writer from time to time things like why am I writing this, is my meaning as clear as I think it is and so on.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Writing Goals discusses why I review my writing performance in the post-Christmas run-up to the New Year.  I also set some goals, some I know I won’t achieve in 12 months but I want to be well on my way to doing so in that time frame, which is the point of setting these!  Others I will achieve.  Other things happen that are unexpected bonuses.  But writing goals down is, I’ve found, a good way to ensure I’m in with a reasonable chance of achieving said goals.  I don’t really know why writing them down makes a difference.  All I know is it does and that’s enough for me.

CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY

My post this week shares the news of local YA author, Richard Hardie, whose books, Leap of Faith and Trouble with Swords, are being stocked by local independent bookshop, P&G Wells of Winchester.  It’s a real pleasure to promote a local writer and a local bookshop!

FACEBOOK PAGE

I discuss my upcoming Chandler’s Ford Today post and share a link to Southampton Writers’ Circle’s You Tube channel as they have kindly shared the Baubles trailer on this.  Thanks, everyone, and hopefully see you again in 2017.

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you-really-do-enter-another-world-when-reading-image-via-pixabay

You really do enter another world when you read.  Image via Pixabay

 

 

 

 

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Escape with a good book - and Roald Dahl's were amongst the best. Image via Pixabay

FAMOUS LAST WORDS

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I love writing posts like tonight’s Famous Last Words one.  I share five suggestions as to what could be your famous last words if you were foolish enough to utter these while visiting a magical world.  For example What Dragon?  I can’t see…  well you can see what could go horribly wrong there.  Can you add suggestions?

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Tonight’s post is Be Open to Possibilities and is based on a marketing tip I shared at the recent Bridge House Publishing/Cafelit joint book launch.  I became a flash fiction writer by accident but am so glad I ended up on this particular writing road.  I discuss our characters being open to possibilities in our stories as well.

FACEBOOK PAGE

I share a link to Gill James’s A Publisher’s Perspective where she shares more of the marketing tips gathered at the London launch. I also share how I look at marketing.

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My Chandler's Ford Today post for this week looks at where I am at currently on my writing journey, Image via Pixabay.

My Chandler’s Ford Today post for this week looks at where I am at currently on my writing journey, Image via Pixabay.

 

One way through to the magical world but is it all sunshine and flowers? I doubt it! Image via Pixabay

WHAT HAPPENED AFTERWARDS?

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

What Happened Afterwards discusses what happened to certain characters after The End had been written?  I find a really good story does make you wonder what would happen to characters after the official ending.  See what you think!

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Christmas Customs discusses what customs are followed at this time of year in your fictional world.  Does everyone join in with these customs?  What happens to those who don’t conform?  I ask a series of questions connected with customs which should inspire some story ideas.

FACEBOOK PAGE

I discuss the joys of writing, reading and books in tonight’s FB post.  I also share one of the things I love about Christmas Day.

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Images from the magical world... Image via Pixabay

Images from the magical world… Image via Pixabay

 

The wonderful world of stories... Image via Pixabay.

GREAT FAIRYTALE SALES PEOPLE

A mixed bag tonight – a humorous piece for Fairytales with Bite and a thoughtful reflection on the value of end of  year reviews for This World and Others.  I am also delighted to recommend, via my Facebook page, one of the most moving flash fiction collections I’ve ever read – the Great War by Dawn Knox (who is also a contributor to Baubles, this year’s anthology from Bridge House Publishing).

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

There have been some great (generally) unseen sales people behind some of the classic fairytales.  I suggest some of them in Great Fairytale Sales People.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

One thing I do just after Christmas is to give myself an end of year review in terms of where I am at with my writing and where I would like to be.  In End of  Year Reviews, I discuss this further and share what I think are the advantages of doing this.

FACEBOOK PAGE

I was delighted to meet Dawn Knox, a fellow contributor to Baubles, at the recent Bridge House Publishing/Cafelit book launch in London.  I was even more delighted to come across her book, The Great War, which is a flash fiction collection of 100 stories, each one 100 words long.  The stories are character led (the best ones I think always are) and here are the stories of the boy who deliberately lied about his age to sign up and is about to go to Flanders, the soldiers in the trenches, the mother with her baby who doesn’t know if she’ll see her husband again amongst many others.  Very moving and if, like me, you love flash fiction and history, I’d highly recommend reading this book.

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How do your characters handle matters when forced to change direction and take a path they had not expected or wanted? Image via Pixabay.

Where will your writing take you? Forward into the future or backwards in time? Image via Pixabay.

Well, what IS your story? Image via Pixabay.

WRITING TO A DEADLINE – THE ADVANTAGES

I usually use the title of my Fairytales with Bite piece for the title for this but not for this one.  I hope Writing to a Deadline – the Advantages gives some useful advice on why it is a really good idea to get into the habit of doing this.

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

More Fairytale Classified Adverts follows on from yesterday’s post with fun suggestions of what could be in the magical world’s advert columns.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Writing to a Deadline – The Advantages gives 5 reasons and details as to why I think imposing a deadline on yourself if necessary is a good idea.  To name one reason here I have found it helps me write much more than I used to do because I plan out what I write (to ensure I meet the deadline).  Because I write more, I have more material to submit to competitions and so on.  See what you think anyway.

FACEBOOK PAGE

I share links to Alfie Dog where my recent short story, The Delivery, is now on site.  At 39p a download, it is a cheap way of trying out different authors’ works though it will come as no surprise when I say I’ve linked to my author page here!!

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Shakespeare had his quill, modern writers have their laptops.  Image via Pixabay.

Shakespeare had his quill, modern writers have their laptops. Image via Pixabay.

 

 

I write fairytales with bite as flash fiction and short stories in particular. Image via Pixabay.

FAIRYTALE CLASSIFIED ADVERTS

It has been a very busy but productive week.  From going to the Bridge House/Cafelit joint book launch last Saturday to having another story, The Delivery, appearing on Alfie Dog on Monday to tonight’s labour of love which is my Chandler’s Ford Today post, it has been a good week.  (And that was despite me coming down with a bug on Wednesday night!).

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

Fairytale Classified Adverts shares a few examples of how I imagine these could look like.  Hope you like them.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Musical Imagery ties in with my CFT post this week but for this page, I focus on what music means to your characters, what are their important songs and so on.

ALFIE DOG

I share the link with my author page here.  I now have 5 stories on Alfie Dog.  The latest, put up on Monday, is The Delivery and tells the tale of a former favoured servant of the Dark Lord who has fallen out with the boss and is now facing the consequences.  I loved writing this.  Alfie Dog charges a small fee per download and there are a wide variety of authors and genres to choose from, including yours truly.  If you love your short stories, you should check this site out (and I would say that if I wasn’t on it, honestly!  In fairness, I did check it for a long time before I submitted work here.  And naturally it took time for me to get my work to a good enough standard to be accepted so it means a lot to me to be on here.  I’m sure everyone else on here would feel similarly).

BRIDGE HOUSE PUBLISHING BLOG SPOT

Bridge House have set up Facebook page for Baubles, this year’s anthology.  On their blog spot, they are putting up for the 24 days from the beginning of December to Christmas Eve, extracts from the 24 stories in Baubles.  I was on day 7.

And last but definitely not least:-

CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY

I loved writing the classical music greats article a little while ago but found there were so many pieces I had to leave out.  Most of these were film scores so waste not, want not – another post was born!  Tonight’s What’s Your Favourite Film Theme? My Top Ten continues my habit of having titles that tell you all you need to know (!) and I hope generates a good response as the classical music piece did.  There were a good few replies with clips of favourite classical music and I hope for a similar contribution to tonight’s post.  Contributions of your favourite film music would be very welcome!

Tonight's CFT post.  Image by Pixabay.  Editing on Pic Monkey.

Tonight’s CFT post. Image by Pixabay. Editing on Pic Monkey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books really are the gatekeepers BUT they can also be investigators as Westminster Bones clearly is. Image via Pixabay.

HELPING OUT

Apologies for the no-show last night.  An annoying bug caused technical problems – not with the computer but with me!!!  Technically I couldn’t have wielded a pen last night yet alone focused on a screen.  Still back to normal now…  (or what passes for normal in these parts anyway).

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

Helping Out is the title of my story in the Bridge House Publishing anthology Baubles.  They are sharing 24 extracts/author interviews from the 24 writers in the book for the period 1st December to 24th December.  A book-like Advent Calendar (minus the chocolate, though!).  Naturally, Murphy’s Law intervened and my slot came up yesterday and I missed it!  Still, I’ve found the link and share it on my web page here.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

In Author Interviews, I share what I like about these.  My Bridge House spot included an interview section and I link to that (and my story) in This World.  It was huge fun being interviewed and I loved writing the story.  I hope that shows through.  (Generally, I think you can tell when a writer really enjoyed their work).

CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY

My next post (hopefully due to appear tomorrow night) will be my Top 10 Film Themes.  More details when up on site.

FACEBOOK PAGE

Again I discuss my story, Helping Out, and share the links with the Bridge House blog spot.

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Love the cover for this. Image supplied by Bridge House Publishing.

Love the cover for this. Image supplied by Bridge House Publishing.

 

 

 

One of the best ways to escape is with a good book. Image via Pixabay.

THE MAGIC OF WRITING

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

The Magic of Writing shares what I love about writing and writing get-togethers such as the Bridge House Publishing/Cafelit joint book launch I went to last weekend.  It was huge fun meeting up again with some I met from last year and others who were new to me.

And we all got the chance to practice our networking skills with the speed dating exercise.  You get to chat to a writer or reader for three minutes and ask them for marketing tips (if speaking to a writer) or discuss books in general (if speaking to a reader).  Once the three minutes are up, you then talk to someone else.

The only thing I dislike about this is you inevitably stop half way through an excellent conversation and there isn’t always time to get back to it at the bar again later. However, it does get you mixing and talking and you inevitably learn something really useful.

(Baubles – the Bridge House anthology for this year – and The Best of Cafelit 5 are available in print and on Kindle and via Amazon, as well as from the publishers directly.  I have a short story, Helping Out, in Baubles and a flash fiction piece, Telling the Time, in Cafelit 5).

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Writing Books shares some non-fiction how-to-write books I wouldn’t be without.  I deliberately kept this to a short list. Can you add to my list?  I wouldn’t dare list the fiction books I’d hate to part with as I’d be writing that list till Doomsday!

FACEBOOK PAGE

I discuss the joys of swimming tonight.  I always thought I would end up working out stories as I swam but it hasn’t worked out like that.  I’m more likely to do that when doing the ironing!

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One of my favourite book images. They really are magical. Transportation into other worlds and around this one in a few hundred pages. Brilliant! Image via Pixabay.

One of my favourite book images. They really are magical. Transportation into other worlds and around this one in a few hundred pages. Brilliant! Image via Pixabay.

 

 

 

 

 

The world of the imagination should play a role in your stories. I can't imagine any world without some form of the arts. Image via Pixabay.

FAIRYTALES IN A FLASH

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

Fairytales in a Flash shares my love of flash fiction and fairytales.  One lovely thing about flash is it is very flexible when it comes to genre.  In my upcoming book, From Light to Dark and Back Again (Chapeltown Books), I have stories which are borderline horror, others are crime tales, while the majority are fairytales with bite.  So have fun with the form – I have (and am now working on another flash fiction collection so intend to keep on having fun with it!).

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

What Not to Say to a Writer is one of those posts that could attract lots of additional points to the ones I’ve made (feel free!).  I’ve listed the “where do you get your ideas?” and the “I’d write if I had more time” line but what can you come up with here?  For novelists, I’d add in something like “you’ve written one novel – is that all?”.  For all writers, why are there misunderstandings about how long it can take to produce a good story (and a good novel takes even longer)?  Has film and TV made everyone expect stories instantly?  (False premise if so, it takes ages to produce something that’s ready for broadcast).

FACEBOOK PAGE

Today (5th December) was my 29th wedding anniversary.  Had a lovely day out with better half and the dog.  None of us can believe where the time has gone!  (Okay Mabel has only been with  us for 4 years out of that 29 but she can’t believe where that time has gone!).  Managed to catch up with some reading tonight as well which was great.  And I put in a plug for flash fiction again – I won’t bother to pretend I’m not biased.  I am!

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Do your characters know in which direction they're going? (Border collie is optional!). Image via Pixabay.

Mabel. Image taken by me.

 

Says it all really. Image via Pixabay.

THE DELIVERY

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

The Delivery shares news of my latest short story to appear on Alfie Dog (Fiction).  The link takes you to my Writer’s Notes page, where there is a brief interview with me and a list of the stories I have on Alfie Dog.  The Delivery is about a favoured servant of the Dark Lord, who has fallen out of favour.  Not a good place to be…

I also talk about how vital it is writers do deliver on their stories, whether it is getting them in for a competition or what have you.  If your story is humorous, is it still funny when you review it just prior to sending it off?  Likewise if it is horror, is the tale scary?  This is where having a writing buddy (ideally one who writes in a format/genre different to your own) can be invaluable.  Equally if you’re entering a competition and they offer feedback, then seriously consider going for this.  I’ve always found this kind of feedback helpful.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Guest Blogging talks about some of the advantages of doing this.  This came about as my recent Story Structure post on This World and Others has been shared with my blessing by Valerie Penny on her marvellous book review site.  Valerie’s site reviews some prestigous books and gives good writing advice so I am flattered she wanted to share this post.  I met Valerie at Swanwick earlier this year. Indeed she took pity on a lost looking soul (me!) arriving at Derby Railway Station and looking around wildly for where the Swanwick coach might be parked up!

FACEBOOK PAGE

It has been a busy writing day as the two notes above show.  My post on FB tonight again shares the news and the links.  Am very pleased with Valerie’s sharing of my post and the new story on Alfie Dog.

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I thought I would share my feature image from this week’s Chandler’s Ford Today post as I think I can safely say, with all the positive things that have happened recently, I’ve travelled a few more miles up the writing road this week!  (Important thing is never to end up in a cul-de-sac though!).

My Chandler's Ford Today post for this week looks at where I am at currently on my writing journey, Image via Pixabay.

My Chandler’s Ford Today post for this week looks at where I am at currently on my writing journey, Image via Pixabay.