Monthly Archives: April 2016

Two whole weeks off!

My Writing Life

Yes, it’s now two full weeks since I last put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Lots of reasons: a holiday, a computer problem, the time of year, the lovely spring weather, etc. I’ll leave it to readers to sift through the above list and decide which are reasons, and which are excuses.

Anyway last Friday, a week past yesterday, I was in Donegal. Apart from the holiday, the other reason for going there was to attend a book launch. My friend, a fellow writer, Yvonne Boyle, belongs to the Dunfanaghy Writers’ Circle. The Circle has existed for more than 15 years or so and is convened by Alf McCreary, an award winning professional journalist and writer from Belfast. The members meet once a year at Arnold’s Hotel in Dunfanaghy to write, and over the last couple of years an anthology has emerged from their collective creative work. Last Friday 15th April was the launch of the anthology, entitled Cobalt Blue. The evening, which was very enjoyable, included a splendid dinner and readings from the book as well as a chance to buy copies. Given that the group only meet once a year it is remarkable what they manage to achieve. The title Cobalt Blue is that of one of Yvonne’s poems and the book is beautifully presented and designed. It is a mixture of poetry and short stories.

 Reading Week(s)

No writing this last couple of weeks, but reading yes. I have been reading The Gathering Tide by Karen Lloyd, a member of Brewery Poets, and have a couple more chapters to go. It is an account of walks and observations around Morecambe bay, as Karen comes from Ulverston. I am loving it, partly because of my long standing love affair with the Bay, ever since I came to live here thirty five years ago. I have also got nearly half way through Writing Children’ Fiction the Writers’ and Artists’ Companion by Yvonne Coppard and Linda Newbury. I am finding it very useful as my own children’s book progresses through its second draft.  Otherwise lots of enjoyable holiday reading….

Hare in the Headlights

Lots this week and all self inflicted! H in H takes the form of ‘a terrifying list of things to do for my writing when I can drag myself in from the allotment.’ Well, at least I’ve made the list. Now I had better go and do some of the things on it, especially as it looks like rain…

Oh, to be in England now that April’s there!


Oh indeed, it is very tempting this lovely spring day to abandon my, somewhat recalcitrant, computer to its own devices and charge off into the garden, the allotment and beyond! Robert Browning was right, not my favourite of his poems,  it is glorious, but I have my writing life to lead, and it’s quite busy just now.

My writing life

Last Saturday I took my children’s book on an outing to London. I went to a half day session organised by Writers and Artists, called How to Hook an Agent. As I am now almost half way through the second draft, the session was very helpful and encouraging. It was also very intense with four very enthusiastic and professional agents telling us how they like to receive submissions. There was also a one to one session with one of them at which we could pitch our book.

I was exhausted afterwards, but have come home with a clear strategy for the next stage and feeling quite encouraged. At present two people in my writing group are reading the draft as it emerges and this is very helpful too.

The said writing group is getting a a fairly random succession of my poems at present and I’m waiting to hear back about some I sent off to a magazine.

Reading week

I’m off on holiday next week and, as well as some recreational i-books, I’m taking my Helena Nelson how to get your poetry published and a book I picked up at the event described above about writing for children called Writing Children’s Fiction. So plenty of homework.

Hare in the Headlights

My holiday will include a book launch, not mine, but a H-in-H moment for those concerned no doubt. More of that when I get back.

a short one this time. Enjoy Spring!