Wednesday, 27 February 2013


I had an email today from a magazine editor who had asked for some non fiction ideas which I duly provided. Well the ideas didn't blow them away but they have asked to see some writing samples. I have now provided them and I'll wait another 2 months for a reply. I don't mean that to sound the way that I realise it does because this particular editor always takes that length of time so I'll not be looking out for a reply any time soon.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Second nudge?

Two weeks ago I nudged the editor that had had a couple of my stories for 9 months. You may remember that I was uncomfortable doing it. I read today that Jill Finlay has had to put a stop to submissions for a couple of months and reading womags post you can appreciate the amount of work that an editor has to do. I haven't heard anything back from my nudging yet but I guess I can forgive them for that. Just out of interest how long do you give it before you give a second nudge?

Sunday, 24 February 2013

More of me

This is what I hinted at last week.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Sorry for the dullness.

Apologies for my previous post which was dull, dull and then a bit duller. However in its own way it served a purpose because it has prompted me into action, well only in a manner of speaking anyway. There will be more procrastination involved first but then there will be some action - I promise but more of that next week. There will also be writing in that notebook (the one that I don't want to write in because its so pretty) because I have come up with the perfect thing for it - the thing that I must have been waiting for. But like I said, more of that later.
On a different note, hasn't it been a lovely day, maybe spring really is on the way.

A new level.

I have realised that I am not alone with feeling awkward about (metaphorically) nudging editors that haven't got back to you and I have a feeling that I am not alone with this one either.
A am such a procrastinator. I believe I may have taken it to another level.
Any tips on getting beyond it?

Friday, 15 February 2013


Heard on the grapevine (well Facebook) yesterday that an editor is up to date with the stories that they have received for which I am sure they were doing a happy dance. However, I sent them a story back in the first half of 2012 that I still haven't heard about  so I have had to email them and ask about it. Why do I always feel like a pest when I do that. Not that I have done it very often but when I have, I 've always felt like I'm being a nuisance.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

My thoughts on friends

Giving a friend your work to read is a tricky one. Like everyone has said, and I am with them on this one, how can you tell a friend if their stuff is bad? You can't, well not without possibly ruining a beautiful friendship.
The good thing about JW (maybe I'll ask her if I can use her name) is that she is like a sister to me. We are much closer to each other than we are to our own sisters but even so I never ask her to be objective about my writing. I often ask her if she has enjoyed something and to be honest it wouldn't be the first time that she said "No," but always in a nice way. Its the same when she sends me a copy of some new artwork that she's created. About 90% of the time I look at something she sends me and think "What the ...?" and I'll say something along the lines of it not being my cup of tea but then every now and then she'll send me something that I think is brilliant and I tell her so.
Anyway, I don't think that I made myself clear in my last post. All that JW is doing is interpreting the editor's email for me - to read between the lines if you will. Its part of her job just in a different field so it's a bit like asking an estate agent to tell you what a house spec really means. As for RS, I never and I mean NEVER give her anything to read because she is too sweet to be objective about anything that any of her friends do and that is part of the reason that we love her. She was just commenting during a conversation that we had.
Its a bit like my day job. I am a "friend" to the paid staff that I work directly with on a daily basis but not really friends with if that makes sense. I have to keep that distance because I have to manage them and it would be really hard to tell a friend that something they had done was totally wrong
To my way of thinking friends are friends and professionals are professionals and they should both be treated as such.
The good thing for me is that JW and RS are two of the few people that know that I write so its not usually a problem.

Monday, 11 February 2013


I asked my very good friend JW what she thought I should do about the editorial service dilemma. I have known JW for 30 odd years and although she is more of an artist ( well a very successful one) than a writer in her job commissioning artwork she is pretty savvy about things.
Anyway, like me she was initially sceptical but she asked if she could see the 300 words that I sent as well as the whole email reply so that she can judge better. I'm waiting for the verdict. She also asked if I knew anyone personally that could do it and I said that I didn't. At least I don't think I do. Anyone an editor on the quiet?
Another friend RS who does write but just for fun not publication asked me if I had considered that the sample might actually be almost flawless grammatically and create the atmosphere that the editor described. After all, wasn't that what I was going for. Oddly enough no I hadn't but that might be because I know I'm not William Shakespeare. Lovely R said I should think about it.

A morning's work

I'm having a week off from the day job (well apart from tomorrow when I have to attend a meeting - okay so I don't have to but its Health and Safety and if you don't go you have to attend a mop up sometimes quite a distance away with people you don't know so I figured that I may as well get it over with) and the first good thing about that is waking up naturally. Okay so I know I only slept until 6.41 but when you're alarm normally wakes you at 6.15 that's a lie in.
Anyway at 10.30 I am going to see the lovely Stephen who (thanks to his magic fingers) will turn me into a new woman. I am at this moment like a sheep that needs shearing but after an hour or so in the chair with gunk on my head to perk up the colour (not to mention cover the grey) and half an hour's snipping away I will be a new me. I always say that I am going to go to the hairdressers more often because people say I look years younger after a visit (cheers - thanks for that) but its a logistical thing, namely that I almost always have a Thursday off work and so does Steve. Anyway that's what I'm doing this morning.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Jacqui Bennet

The above mentioned worked closely with the Writers Bureau which is a course that I did and is probably the reason that her name stuck with me. has anyone ever  used her critique service and if so can you recommend her? If you can't I'd be interested in hearing that too.

First 300 words

When I asked for suggestions for editorial services the other day, Frances came up with the name of one that I had heard of so I thought I'd look into them. However - and this is probably something to do with my age - by the time I got to looking them up I'd changed them to a completely different agency that I have also heard of. By that time it was too late though because I had already sent a 300 word sample to Jacqui Bennett, not Hilary Johnson as Frances had suggested. It's an easy mistake to make - not.
Anyway I am getting to the crux of the post. I have heard back from Doug who was the poor bloke unlucky enough to get my sample and after the explanation of what his marks and squiggles meant, and saying that it was almost "flawless" grammatically (should be considering I've only gone over it a million times) this is what he said:

"It’s not clear to me at this stage whether this is fiction or non-fiction, but whichever it is, you’ve set up the framework of your story extremely well, with a tremendous amount of mystery and panicky apprehension accompanying the narrator’s sudden blindness. Strangely, there’s almost a breathless excitement in the air as his or her anxiety creases. This sort of writing, early on, has the potential to involve your readers, and so they are more likely to keep turning the pages."

So I should be pleased, you think? No I am sceptical. I mean I know (as do you all because I've told you often enough) that I love BTL but here's someone else telling me that the first 300 words at least aren't bad and I can't help thinking - really?
So now I'm thinking is Doug telling the truth and maybe there is potential in my book (there is massive potential in my head but this is the real world) or is he just saying that because he wants me to buy the full service?
I will just clarify though that I in no way mean to impugn Doug's professional integrity, it is just me returning to type i.e. a cynic. 

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Suggestions please

I will at some point be getting a professional to cast their eye (well both of them hopefully) over BTL. Can anyone recommend one?

A proper moody mare.

It's been an odd sort of day, one that has been thoroughly miserable for no particular reason. It's just the way that I have felt.
I have been known to have the odd "dark" time in the past but I usually shake it off after an hour or so - sometimes it just lasts a few minutes but today it has gone on all day. Hopefully I will wake up in a different mood tomorrow.
I was going to submit a short story to WN but then I remembered that there are at least 3 outstanding stories with Jill at the moment anyway one of them from months ago so I figure she has a backlog and so I decided to give it a miss. It probably wouldn't have stood a chance anyway because I'd be sending bad karma with it.
Then I realised that I had 4 anonymous comments from robots so I had to change my settings which isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things but just an annoyance that my mood blew out of all proportions.
Anyway here's to a better day tomorrow and thank you for listening (well reading).
BTW where does the full stop go in that last sentence? Is it inside or outside the brackets? I've always been a bit hazy on that one.