Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Going into Steven King mode

'There's something living in there,' says the LSO (Long Suffering One). And I immediately go into Steven King mode. What is it? A ghost, a living corpse, an alien?
Being just the two of us over Christmas we can do what we want so we decided to knock down a wall in the bedroom with the idea of creating more space, using the eaves, in which to fit a small en-suite. We removed a fitted wardrobe and then knocked a hole in the wall. Excitedly, we shone the torch through the hole. I'm a writer - there could have been treasure from past residents, a portal to another time or universe...
No. There was nothing exciting. There was this.
The sliver of wood piercing the structure is a piece we knocked out. It lodged itself in but hopefully didn't awaken anything sleeping in the nest. If it does then we're in deep doo-doo as it's Christmas and the council pest control officer won't be working until next year. Meanwhile we are stuck with a giant nest. Want to rehome some wasps, anyone?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Let's get controversial


Happy Mithras everyone. And no, I'm not drunk or slurring my words.

Mithras was the son of god, born to a virgin on December 25th, died and rose again, had twelve devoted followers… Sound familiar? Mithras was alive about a millennia before Jesus.

I first met Mithras when reading a Merrily Watkins mystery by one of my all-time favourite authors, Phil Rickman. This one was called The Secrets of Pain. I love books that make you think and go and research some new thing you’ve encountered.
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, December 02, 2013

December Giggle Blog


We bumped into a friend who runs a café. He’d been shopping and showed us the end of a hosepipe, the spray bit. He’d bought it at a large store. ‘It was only 20p,’ he told us.

‘At that price you could buy a couple of dozen and give them away with your Full English,’ said the LSO (Long Suffering One).

Our friend thought for a moment and then said, ‘No, it would be too much hassle. I’d need to put all the breakfasts up by 20p.’

Saturday, November 30, 2013

From typewriter to e-book and out soon

Back in 1989 I wrote Racing Start on a manual typewriter. It was published by Blackie in 1991.

Last year I was asked several times to sign copies of the book when I was at cycle races. It made me think about updating it and getting it out there again.

It's out soon, with this new cover and as an e-book.

Here's the blurb -

Joe Astley is thirteen, undersized and useless at football. His father, an ex-professional footballer, would like Joe to follow in his footsteps but Joe wants to become a racing cyclist. He needs to prove to his dad that he is good at cycling and, at the same time, defeat the school bully.

Joe’s life turns around when he meets Sid, coach to the local cycling club. With a little help and a lot of determination Joe sets out to achieve his dreams but it’s not easy with the school bully as his biggest rival.
This novel is as fast-paced as the racing, and packed with insights into starting out in the cycling world.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A step back in techno-time


 I have just realised why my thumbnail has a dent in the tip. It’s from texting. Who came up with this silly idea and can you add to my list of why texting is stupid?

1.      The beep, beep, beep as letters are added drives me mad.

2.      It’s only one step away from Morse Code. Before we could speak to people via a telephone we used dot dot dot dash etc. Now we can speak but we text instead. Where’s the sense in that?

3.      People do it when driving. I nearly dragged a woman out of her car when I saw driving and texting with a small child sitting in the front passenger seat. The lights changed to red, she nearly missed that and the red light gave me the opportunity to leap out and give her a lecture. I managed to restrain myself.

4.      People text when crossing busy roads. I’ve avoided several texters recently. When I was in a hospital waiting room a young man, with broken nose and two black eyes, was texting next to me. When he was called he stood up, still on his phone, and walked into a pillar. The nurse later told me his first injuries had been caused when he was texting and walked into a wall. Some people never learn.

5.      Texting hurts my thumb. Repetitive strain injury is a real threat but I don’t text enough for that. Perhaps I should say it’s damaging my thumbnail. I’m a bit vain about my hands.

6.      Text speak can be misunderstood. Example. ‘Sorry yr dog died. LOL’ Could be Laughing Out Loud.

7.      And what about predicted text? Who wants a machine that thinks for you? Not me. My brother gave me a phone because no-one could work out how to switch off predicted text. I thought I’d managed it and began a text to thank him for the phone. I wanted Hi Phil. I got Hi Pig.
 
OK. It’s useful. The recipient of a text can pick it up at their convenience. If you’re busy you can ignore a text and save it for later. But how about a service where you could chose between phoning someone or simply leaving them a short voice message? Instead of Create Text we could have Create Voice Message and save all that bloody beeping and thumbnail damaging.

Rant over.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Authors for the Philippines

 

http://authorsforphilippines.wordpress.com/   Go visit and make a donation or a bid.
 

You can put in a bid on all three of my books on this site. There are many other writing related goodies too. Take a look, make a bid and make a difference. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Monday, November 11, 2013

Great War survivors


My Uncle Tom (on the right) has been dead for many years now. When he was in his early nineties he was taken into hospital.
‘We can’t find any record of you having been in hospital before,’ said the consultant.
Uncle Tom thought for a moment and replied, ‘Last time was in 1918 when I got gassed.’

He wasn't my real uncle. He was my grandfather's best friend. Grandad is on the left. He joined up and went to fight in the Great War when the Bantams were formed. Soldiers under five feet two inches. Previous to that, small men weren't eligible for the forces.

They look barely out of school here, proud in their uniforms. Thankfully, though Tom was gassed and Grandad was wounded, they both survived.

 

 

Monday, November 04, 2013

November Giggle Blog


Last week I had to have an ECG. The nurse said I should go behind the screen and take off my sweater. ‘And are you wearing tights?’ she asked, looking at my legs. (Judge for yourselves.) I was so tempted to say no.

I was even more tempted to tell her I was of mixed race – white at the top and black at the bottom.
Don't you think nurses should be more observant?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A handy hint from Handy Hints


I thought I’d give you a handy hint from my new book, Handy Hints for Writers. There’s an exercise to do too but, as it’s the weekend, it’s an enjoyable one. Try it and let me know how you goofed.
Goof around
Bless Russell Grant, my favourite astrologer. Imagine my joy at being told that Aquarians needed a day off. ‘Go, goof around,’ he said. While I am doing this a brilliant idea will come to me, according to Mr Grant. This is what can happen when you distract your conscious mind. By doing that your creative mind is allowed freedom.
Ideas always arrive when you least expect them. You’re gardening and don’t have pen and paper. You’re in the middle of the weekly shop. Your conscious mind is not thinking about writing, but your creative one is beavering away, doing its own thing.
Stop thinking about the glitch in your plot and it may well take care of itself.
Take time to goof around.

EXERCISE – give yourself permission
Go and do something completely different. Take a day off and visit a new place. Go see a friend. Goof around.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fat Girls become thinner? Guest blog


Sue Watson is my guest blogger today. She should be celebrating as her second novel is out now. But I want to ask Sue about her first which had the wonderful title of Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes.

Can you tell us a little bit about Fat Girls…?

Yes, it’s a novel about weight, motherhood, friendship telly and cake – all the stuff that fills my life! Whilst working as a TV producer I’d often jot down funny, overheard dialogue. I’d make notes and compose whole chapters in my head, but it wasn’t until I left the BBC that I began to put notes and dialogue together.
Sitting, with a blank page, at my kitchen table it really hit me how tough this was going to be. However, as difficult as it was to write a novel from scratch, it was the easy bit compared to getting published. The feeling of rejection, heartbreak and sheer exhaustion that goes with finding a publisher was the hardest part. Eventually I did find a publisher and today my second book comes out – can’t believe I’ve done it again.

Wasn’t there originally a problem with that first title?
Yes it just came to me one day, funnily enough while I was eating cakes with some curvy friends. But I did a straw poll and no-one liked the word ‘Fat’, my agent said it wouldn’t sell books and my curvy friends said they would feel self-conscious holding a book with fat written on - like a label! I desperately wanted to keep the fat but it was changed, for a while, to Telly Tarts and Fairy Cakes. My husband came up with that title - he works in TV too and said radio staff often refer to people who work in TV as ‘Telly Tarts’. However, later in the tortuous process of finding a publisher, I decided to claim my original title and wear the word fat (literally in my case) with pride. I thought it would stand out and as it sells so well on e-book, I guess those beach beauties don’t have to wear the word ‘Fat’ across their tummies now as they read it on their kindles!

And now we have Younger, Thinner, Blonder to look forward to reading. Another great title.  What is this one about?
It’s another romantic comedy in a similar vein to Fat Girls but with a totally different heroine. This time I wanted a challenge. I wanted to write about someone who was totally opposite to me and Stella my first heroine. So my new heroine, TV celebrity Tanya Travis is very slim and obsessively tidy. We meet Tanya just as her perfect celebrity life is beginning to fall apart at the seams. She’s constantly reading stories about her own life, her boyfriend’s apparent cheating, and the public are only nice when she agrees to say cheese into their cameras. Everything she does is up for scrutiny. Within seconds it’s online, tweeted and Facebooked. But when Tanya tells a white lie to Hello – things really start to go rapidly downhill. And with her career, relationship and designer kitchen at stake, Tanya may have to agree to star in reality show, ‘Celebrity Spa Trek,’ with all the other has-been Z-listers.

I’ve heard many authors say that their second book was more difficult to write than the first. Did you find this?
Agony. You go through a stage (I did) where you wonder if you can ever really write again. They say everyone’s got a book in them, but you torture yourself wondering if that was it – just one book? However, once I forced myself to sit down, stop procrastinating with cake and face those writing demons, I suddenly knew exactly where it was going. I loved writing Younger, Thinner, Blonder, and I’m now grieving for the characters I’ve spent the last eighteen months with. It’s like saying goodbye to a group of lovely friends. I miss them.

Does your new title, actually do either of them, reflect you or your desires?
That’s a very good question. I wrote Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes because I love cake but struggle with a weight problem – I also like alliteration. While writing Fat Girls... I put on two stone through no fault of my own (honest!). I selflessly sampled those fairy cakes with no thought for myself, only my readers. Every day was a new ordeal as a fresh batch of warm cakes were produced from the oven for me to test... and you can never get the waft of warm vanilla from  your clothes you know. Finally, after all the sweat and tears and tasting, I had a complete collection of recipes to share in the book. And, as a result of this deep and relentless research I’m still wearing the coffee cakes and chocolate chilli cha chas around my middle.

I thought that perhaps writing a book with a younger, thinner and blonder title might help me lose the weight and look younger - it didn’t!  I’m still struggling with my weight and on the wrong side of forty I reckon it may have been more accurate for the title to be, ‘Older, Fatter, Darker.’




 

 

 

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Trumpet Blowing


I've asked permission from Susan Blackburn before adding her comments to my blog. This is what she emailed me -
 
'Just had to write and say Handy Hints for Writers is just great and sooooooo full of your usual warmth, wit and humour.
And, of course, choc a bloc with - er - fantastic handy hints for writers.
Fabulous. Congratulations on a real winner - I'm inspired already. Getting going is the worst thing isn't it and I was inspired to finally start my short story that's been mulling around in the old brainbox for a while and I just couldn't get going!! Now all done, put away to go back to tomorrow again for some more editing. (I love that bit!!!)'

 

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

99p is almost giving it away


 
 
On Saturday 19th October I am giving a talk at Malvern Library. It’s free to come in but there will be books for sale afterwards. The talk is about my writing life and, I hope, will be funny and informative. It starts at 2pm and will last about an hour.

My friend, Betty (Elizabeth Moulder who writes for Woman’s Weekly, amongst other magazines) phoned this morning. ‘Would you like me to introduce you?’ she asked, ‘because you know how rubbish you are at blowing your own trumpet.’
She’s right. I don’t like the pushing sales side of writing. I’ll happily do talks and workshops but then forget to give my own books a plug. The LSO sometimes steps in and tells everyone they will be on sale and I’ll sign them.

 My publishers tell me that I need to promote Handy Hints For Writers as it can be bought for 99p now on Kindle. So, here I am doing my bit and telling you. I’ve also guest blogged on www.teresaashby.blogspot.co.uk  and www.womagwriter.blogspot.co.uk

(The guest posts are completely different and, according to the comments, amusing. Some of the comments make me sound positively angelic.) Maybe I'll venture on to Facebook, one of my least favourite places and let everyone there know.

Consider trumpet blown.

Amazing really, how I'm uncomfortable selling myself when I was once awarded the title of Salesperson of The Month. Mind you, it was when we had our own cycle shop and it was my son and husband who gave me the award. Why did I get it? I sold a bicycle pump to someone who didn’t own a bicycle.


 

Monday, September 30, 2013

October giggle blog


We were at our daughter’s wedding and, as we had to travel a long way, were booked into the hotel where it was taking place. Three year old Amelia and her mum and dad (our gift-son, Andy and partner, Emma) were using our room to get changed in. (It was a huge room.) Amelia had posed for several photos. She was wearing a gorgeous new dress. ‘Take one of me now,’ she kept saying as she struck a pose like a supermodel. And then she’d look at the camera and say, ‘Cheeeeese’.

Next she announced she was going to hide and got inside the wardrobe. ‘Take a picture of me now,’ she said from behind closed doors. A moment later we heard her say, ‘Cheeeeese’.

The LSO obliged and took a photo as requested. And here it is.
 

 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Who will dream for the technology generation?


I’d like to share a brilliant post about this. 
Pop over for a thoughtful and thought-provoking post.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ageist Coffee


Warning – This is A Grumpy Old Girl Moan.      

I was in the shopping centre the other day when I saw two young men handing out free coupons for coffee in the about-to-open Café (can’t say the name in case they sue me). Several times they walked straight past me so I followed them and noticed they ignored everyone over 45/50. This company obviously only wants young customers.

This week, if I win the lottery, I plan to open a café next door to the one mentioned above. I shall call it The Old Farts’ Retreat and ban anyone under the age of 50. And, if I don’t win the lottery I shall have to make do with standing outside Café Thingy and farting loudly.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Win a free place - send in your first page


Sounds like a bargain to me. And we all have the first page of a novel though don't go wasting this opportunity. So, if you're only ever going to write that first page, don't enter and give someone else a chance.
 
THE SPACE TO WRITE FICTION COMPETITION – CLOSING DATE FRIDAY OCTOBER 18th.

Submit the first page of your novel (you don’t need to have written the whole book!) and win a free place on the Space to Write residential writing course November 29th-2nd December, based in Kimmeridge, Dorset. For more details go to www.spacetowrite.co.uk

A fully inclusive three-night weekend course costs from £295 per person, but we are offering a free place to the winner of this year’s competition.

HOW TO ENTER

Please email info@spacetowrite.co.uk with the first page, or up to 400 words, of your novel (you don’t need to have written any more than that), and a brief paragraph outlining what your book would be about, by 18th October 2013 for a place on the Retreat weekend of November 29th. We will notify the winner by email by November 1st.

Please note that any submissions received after the closing date will not be considered. The judge’s decision is final. It will not be possible to exchange retreat dates. By entering, you are allowing Space to Write to contact you with details of other retreats and offers, if you do not wish to receive further information from Space to Write please say so on your email entry. We will not share your email information with any third parties. If you are the winner of the competition you are agreeing for your name to be used for publicity purposes.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Look before you leap. Edit before you speak.


Writers can put words on paper and then rearrange them, cut them and delete them until they’re happy with what they’ve got.
Have you ever wished you could do that in real life? Edit what you’ve just said?
Take this occasion-
I walk into a computer store wanting a new wire thingy that plugs into the laptop one end whilst the other end is split into two, one to connect a normal keyboard and the other to connect a mouse to my laptop. Any idea what these things are called? No, neither have I. So what do I do? I do not sort out the words in my head. I do not edit anything. I simply open my mouth and let out a first draft, saying to the nice man behind the counter…
‘Have you got any dangly bits?’

Here endeth my Giggle blog for September.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

And The Winners Are

The LSO used his new hat. I lifted it in the air and he stretched and dipped in to pull out the names of three winners. Yes, being unbelievably generous as I always am, I decided that due to the number of entries I couldn't have just one winner.
Roll of drums.... And those winners are -
Tracey Fells
Janice Johnston
Wendy's Writing

If you all contact me with your addresses I'll put your books in the post. You can contact me via my website - lynnehackles.com
Congratulations. I hope you enjoy my book. If you do, please tell everyone. If you don't, you know what to do. Zip those lips!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Win a Book about writing


undefinedWant to win a copy of my latest book filled with hints and tips about writing?
All you need to do is leave a comment. You can just say hello and I'll get the LSO to draw a name from his hat - he always wears one - a week from now.
Sorry, I can only post within the UK.



Friday, July 26, 2013

A cake you can turn the pages on

This is a cake my daughter, Leanne, made me to celebrate my new book coming out. She's cleverly (I wouldn't have the patience) iced words from my book on to the cake. If you want to read more, you can't turn the pages on the cake but you can buy the real thing. And here it is -

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

In memory of a friend





 An email friend, Anita Smith, died earlier this year. She wrote for women's magazines using the name Anita Haynes.
I never met Anita but always read her stories. Now her husband has put together a collection of them. All money will go to charity. So, if you're thinking of buying a collection of short stories, try this one. It's a good read for anyone and an especially good lesson in how to write short stories for women's magazines for all you wannabes out there.


 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Writer receives royal approval


All curtsey to Julia Douglas who has received a certificate from HSH Princess Stephanie of Monaco, Honorary President of the Federation Mondiale du Cirque, for participating in World Circus Day, on April 20 when Julia gave away free downloads of her romance novel The Showman’s Girl. (I would have put pictures of the book and certificate but blogger won't let me.)

 The Showman’s Girl follows the adventures of Emily, who runs away with the circus in the 1930s.

If you missed the free download, you can still buy it from iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/the-showmans-girl/id639618472?mt=11) for just 49p!

Or borrow the Linford edition paperback from your local library for free.

The fourth World Circus Day was celebrated with special events by participants in a whopping 47 countries from Afghanistan to Vietnam and Peru to Japan. World Circus Day 5 will be celebrated on April 19, 2014. But if you can’t wait until then to indulge in some circus slapstick, International Clown Week begins this August 1st!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Should writers be paid?


Click on the link to read a brilliantly funny, and sadly true, article about writers being paid. The author is Guy Walters.

 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Flying Scotsman e-article Free Free Free


From the 12th - 14th July Glynis Scrivens's e-book will be free to download.
You can read all about it two posts down from this one.
 
Readers who leave a review on Amazon can enter a competition to win a mint set of four stamps issued to commemorate this tour. A winner will be drawn on 16 October, the day Flying Scotsman arrived in Sydney.

Do tell all those steam fans. Everyone knows at least one. 

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Missionaries and Unicorns


First my Giggle Blog-

I was having lunch with friends and somehow we'd got on to the subject of religion, specifically how to politely get rid of the 'missionaries' who knock on doors hoping to convert people.

'I tell them I couldn't possibly belong to any religion which didn't embrace vegetarianism,' I said. 'But one intrepid missionary told me that before the flood we were all veggies. Afterwards there were no crops so God told Noah they could eat meat.' I explained how this statement had bothered me because if only two of each animal went on the ark then which species did they eat?

'Oh, no!' wailed Liz. 'That's why there are no unicorns. Noah and his lot ate them!'

 

And now a congratulations-
 

I made this cake for the LSO who is now officially a Chief Commissaire for British Cycling. If you watch any cycling you'll see that the commissaires are referees who keep everyone in order and make sure no rules are broken.

 

Monday, July 01, 2013

Steam Railways. Flying Scotsman.


Many years ago I had a weekend job, working in the restaurant, at the Severn Valley Railway, Bewdley. People used to come from all over the world to watch the steam trains. Some even recorded them going chuff-chuff-chuff. If you know any of these fanatics do let them know about my sister's e-book and the competition she's running to win the featured set of stamps.
 

I asked Glynis Scrivens about her e-book. Here's what she says-

"2013 marks the 25th anniversary of the Tour Down Under by Flying Scotsman. It was invited over to participate in steam train festivals organised as part of Australia's bicentennial celebrations. To mark the occasion of the anniversary, I've published an article about the tour of Australia, based on interviews with the driver, David Rollins. David describes problems encountered on Australian tracks, collisions with cars, and most importantly, the day when Flying Scotsman entered the Guinness Book of Records for nonstop steam.
  
Readers who leave a review on Amazon can enter a competition to win a mint set of four stamps issued to commemorate this tour. A winner will be drawn on 16 October, the day Flying Scotsman arrived in Sydney."

 

Do visit Amazon to buy the book, or loan it. And do tell all those steam fans. Everyone knows at least one. (Hi, Barry!)
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flying-Scotsman-Down-Under-ebook/dp/B00DPRCYG8

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Falling in love again...


'Falling in love again.' Remember what the next line is?
'I never wanted to…' But sometimes you can't help yourself.

When we bought our motorhome we had a list of requirements. It had to be four berth, diesel, right hand drive and have manual gears. We ended up with a two berth, petrol, left hand drive and automatic. But as soon as we saw it we fell in love and the list went out of the window.

A few weeks ago we sold our house. We had a list of requirements for our new ideal home. It read - no stairs, built in a flat area (not that easy in Malvern), close to shops, no work to do. When we saw St Peter’s Road we fell in love even though it’s on the hills, has two storeys, we need a car to get to the shops and every inch needs decorating. At first we fought against it and made an offer on an immaculate bungalow but St Peter’s Road had hugged us when we first went through the door and we couldn’t resist. We are now looking forward to moving in and redesigning the whole place.

The lesson I've learned is going with my heart and not my head works for me in every part of my life.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Improve your creativity


 
 
Juggling can improve creativity by uniting the left and right sides of the brain. Interesting. But the following is interesting and useful. Juggling burns 280 calories an hour. Perhaps I'll pass that one on to Jane Wenham-Jones for her soon to be enlarged book on Fighting The Flab.

 Scriptwriter and tutor, Steve Wetton, when delivering a workshop once showed a class how to juggle. It looked easy. He then threw the batons, or whatever they are called, to me and said he'd told me how to do it, so do it. I was useless. The lesson was that writing scripts was like juggling - we'd need to do a lot of practising and it would be trial and error before we became competent.

Where's all this leading? Well, Saturday June 15 is World Juggling Day and Doug McPherson will be posting 15 Facts about Juggling (June 13th) and  How To Juggle in 5 Easy Steps (June 15) on his Circus Mania blog, www.circusmania.blogspot.com .

The picture shows a very young Gerry Cottle showing how it's done. Looks a bit of a naughty pose to me.

 

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Giggle blog

It's a little late and it's not really funny but one day I'll look back and laugh about it.
This is me a few hours post-op'.
 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Here a snip, there a snip


I shall be quiet for a week or so now. A little operation is imminent.
My eyelids have drooped dramatically this year and my optician suggested I consider an eyelift. Then two ladies at book club mentioned they’d had eye lifts on the NHS so I asked my doctor and he said yes and it all went through very quickly. I did tell the doctor that my mouth wouldn’t match once my eyes were done and he laughed and said the NHS weren’t going to fall for that. This op' is not cosmetic! That’s what he thinks.

The consultant said I was lucky there were no wrinkles in my forehead. Wrinkles would have meant him cutting across my forehead, along the hairline, and yanking everything up. (Yanking is not the medical term he used.)  Apparently this procedure only affects the eyes and there was I thinking that it might mean goodbye to baggy knees.
Next week I shall be impersonating Jackie Onassis  i.e. wearing very large sunglasses, while the bruising heals and then all will be revealed and before, during and after photos and story sent off to a magazine.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A blog and a book


A couple of treats for you today. When you stop writing and take a rest you could visit the new Julia Douglas blog at www.juliadouglasromance.blogspot.com

And, if you feel like escaping to Spain, Kate Lord brown has a new short story up on Kindle. It
was her German editor's idea, and is being published there next month as a prequel to 'Perfume Garden'. Kate thought,  if it was up in English for free for a couple of days,  it would be a way to say thank you to everyone who has supported her books:

US http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=kate+lord+brown+the+last+rose+of+summer

Friday, May 17, 2013

To sign or not to sign


Most of you have more than likely seen or heard about the new DC Thompson contract which is asking for a lot more rights for no extra payment. If you believe this contract is unfair to writers then please join our silent, peaceful protest. From now until the end of July we will not be signing the contract or sending any fiction stories to My Weekly, The Weekly News or People’s Friend.

Please note that this action isn’t trying to convince writers not to sign the contract, whether they sign or not is up to them, this is just about sending a message to DC Thompson that writers deserve better. The more writers that take this stand hopefully the more impact it will have.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Giggle Blog


Susan Jane Jones http://susanjanejones.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/all-aboard-the-giggle-jerker/#comment-1750 began a giggle blog last month and is posting a giggle at the beginning of each month. Now others, including me, are joining her. We all need to laugh, or at least smile.
Here's my giggle.
My friend, Babs (name has been changed to protect the gullible), asked me to help her perform a miracle with a new hair product she'd bought via a shopping channel. 'It's hair string,' she told me. 'You put a bit on your hands, rub them together until the stuff gets sort of stringy and then you sort of push it up under your hair. It's supposed to make it look thicker, add volume…'
She sat in front of her dressing table mirror and I stood behind her while she read out the instructions and I obeyed them. We weren't expecting such a transformation. The stuff actually worked. As I tweaked at her hair it sprang outwards, filling out, lifting up,  looking gorgeous.
'Gosh,' said Babs. 'I look like Dolly Parton.I hope it washes out. Oh, and I'd better not lean against any walls in case I get stuck to them.'
Both feeling very clever we went downstairs for a cup of tea. As we sat chatting I watched Bab's hair slowly flop until it was flat to her skull.
I left soon after, before she looked in the mirror. I didn't have the heart to tell her she'd gone from fully blown to wilted in the length of time it took to demolish a cup of Tetley's.

 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Short story news


www.alfiedog.com  is now carrying over 900 short stories for 240+ authors around the world and is bringing out short story collections as well now, including one launching tomorrow for Sarah England. Well worth taking a look.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A taste of things to come...


The team at John Hunt Publishing isn't psychic. I chose my own cover so that's why it features all my favourite colours. There was another one that I liked - it had butterflies on it - but I'm glad it's this one now.

Some of you may remember that the National Association of Writing Groups published a little book of mine ages ago called The Handy Little Book For Writers. Handy Hints for Writers is a larger, more expanded, wiser version. Wiser because I've learned a lot more since the NAWG one was published.

This one, Handy Hints, has a launch date of 30th August when, no doubt, you'll be hearing lots more about it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

We apologise for the technical hitch...


Many of us will know the frustration of technical problems and Julia Douglas has had her fair share lately. It was due to technical problems that publication of The Showman's Girl was delayed. I posted about this earlier. Now, to compensate for any inconvenience to anyone who couldn't find it over the weekend, it's going to be free on iTunes for a full month.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Re-run of my television appearance

I've just heard, from a friend who was on Deal Or No Deal with me, that my show will be on Challenge Channel on Sky TV tomorrow, Wednesday 17th. If you want to catch it you'll have to make an early start. There are two shows, one of which will be mine, starting at 6am but they are on again on Challenge + 1 an hour later, obviously.
Challenge is also on Freeview. I may be up early tomorrow. I'll consider it a refresher course as I'm giving a talk on my experiences at the Dream Factory to a local WI group on Thursday evening.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Roll up! Roll up! It's free!


April 20 is World Circus Day. To celebrate, my fragrant friend is giving away a free download of The Showman's Girl by Julia Douglas. This is happening between April 13 and April 23 on the iBookstore and Amazon.

The Showman's Girl is a romance about a girl who runs away with the circus in the 1930s.

HANG ON! HANG ON! It's still free but due to a technical hitch won't be live until World Circus Day. Sorry, you'll have to wait until Saturday.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Bigger! Bluer! Better?

Yes, it's bigger than my white rabbit.
Yes, it's bluer. And it's fun.
That's my daughter standing in front of the ten foot hippo she found.
No, it's not better.
My rabbit was made of stone, or at least concrete and we had a sensible chat. I bet this hippo is just full of hot air.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Easter bunny

Today I saw a six foot tall Easter bunny. If I'd told you any other day you'd believe me, wouldn't you? But this is April Fools' Day so you'll need this photo as proof.

We were exploring a country lane near Twyning, Worcestershire, and there he was leaning on the fence, waiting for someone to chat to. I obliged. He said it was cold for the time of year and had I seen Alice? And then he turned his head to look for her.

 
I reckon this counts as a Giggle blog as devised by Susan Jane Jones. (susanjanejones.wordpress.com) My new friend certainly made me smile.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Derbyshire will be lovely by then


Are you writing a novel? Do you fancy a weekend away?
Yes? Yes?
Simon Hall is running a weekend course at the start of May in Derbyshire, called Novel Writing from Planning to Publication.  Learn more about Simon at - www.thetvdetective.com

For more details of the course - http://www.malagaworkshops.co.uk/id10.html
Simon's new book – The Shadows of Justice – is published May 1st