Monday, September 29, 2014

Welcome to my new blog

I hope all my friends and anyone who might like to follow my journey to continued publication have arrived here safely.

For those of you who haven't a clue who I am, this brief introduction may be useful. (Please feel free to skip it.)  My previous blog (The Elephant in The Writing Room) can be found here. I will keep it on-line for a while in case anyone might want to look back at my struggles, joys and woes, both personal and writing-related. But it may well disappear before too long.

My writing journey has been a steep learning curve and any success has been hard won. I began writing around the time when I turned 40 and chose to join an adult education course run by the local authority. It was called Writing For Pleasure and Profit. I was lost for words when I read that was how the inestimable Della Galton began. You can read her interview for The People's Friend here. Many thanks to Kath McGurl aka womag writer who brought it my attention.

Unlike Della, I was very naive. I hadn't got a clue that 'ordinary' people like me could write fiction for magazines. When I was heard others in the class listing their successes, I was astounded and decided to have a go. But, being an ignorant twerp, I immediately sent five stories to "Bella." magazine and actually believed I would get a big cheque in return. Honestly! That was how stupid I was. Needless to say, they were returned pdq with a standard rejection slip.

And so began the arduous climb of writing loads and learning, understanding the business and, more importantly, the skill not to mention the art. The way slow (basically because I am not a confident writer, am easily discouraged by put-downs and need encouragement - but not flattery.) Over the years, I have come across sharks and false friends but have also managed to notch up a few wins and places in decent short story competitions. I was so lucky at that time to get to know the lovely Jo Derrick, who has helped me more than she will ever know, has never let me down. Thank you, Jo, from the bottom of my heart. I love you.

Then I won a short story competition in which the first prize was the publication of my novella 'Chasing Angels.' Thank you Brian Lister and your wonderful Biscuit Publications - alas no more.

(One day I would like to revamp it as a full-length novel - if I ever get the chance.) I was fortunate when Myrmidon Books published my novel, Hope Against Hope. a few years after that  I am still very proud of it although I feel I could write it so much better now although I look back on the whole experience with mixed feelings.

Alas, shortly after that, the wheels fell off.  A fractured hip heralded several years of ill-health (three strokes and repeated infections) plus a ghastly year of a total inability to write - and a "why the heck do I bother?" feeling. Then my husband of over 40 years became very ill (through an illness he contracted when he was a teenager) and underwent major heart surgery earlier this year. It was a bad time. However, he is now fully recovered and I am back to writing again. Hooray! Oh, but it's been tough.

For instance, a novel (The Lark Ascending) that was submitted to several publishers before the centenary of the Great War was rejected (but with several nice letters of rejection) but now the moment had gone and it languishes unpublished. I was then encouraged by my agent to change tack and have now almost finished a novel set in the 14th century. I am quite confident about it (yet well aware of how a writer's hopes can be crushed by repeated rejections, bad luck and the vagaries of the market - not to mention poor writing.)

So, now seems the right time for a blog re-vamp although nothing much will change. So...please continue along (or join) this rocky road with me. I need all the friends I can get.


As you've probably realised, my blog has been dormant for far too long - well, it's been a long winter.  Although this blog has b...