Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Writing goals for 2018

As I mentioned in my last post, my writing goals for this year have slightly changed. I shall tell you why below.

My main goal last year was to get short stories accepted by women's magazines such as Woman's Weekly or The People's Friend. Well, that never came to anything and I realise why now. The stories I wrote weren't suited for them. I liked writing the stories but I now realise that they weren't the ones I enjoyed writing the most. The one I enjoyed doing the most was the one that did get accepted and published by the overseas magazine eg it had the sense of a ghost in it. So, one of my goals this year is to try to get another story accepted by this magazine.  I also want to get a story accepted by Spirit & Destiny magazine, who publish stories about magical realism topics such as angels and crystals. Just my cup of tea.

So my main aim this year is to write the genre that I enjoy working on, and that is magical realism. I have been writing Book 3 of my Secrets of Singleton series, which has made me realise this is what I like doing. So I want to write Book 4 this year, and continue next year.

I am continuing writing and publishing my Rainbow School series this year. I want to publish Book 3 (Susie) and Book 4 (Qessa) this year.

Also, as I had a few successes again last year with fillers being published in magazines, I am going to work on more of these this year. I have already sent a few off already to magazines and papers. Because of these successes, I have begun work again on the ebook about writing fillers, to include different markets and what they award for them.

One other creative thing I have begun this year is to write poetry. Now that I am not writing stories for womags, it frees up my mind for poems. I have already sent a few to magazines that publish them, which are womags. So I might end up being published in a womag, after all. 

So, they are my main writing goals this year. I shall blog when I get any successes with these. Watch this space....

Saturday, 30 December 2017

2017 goals and how they went

I can't believe it's been two months since I wrote here. Probably because come November things went awry at home again when my mum had another bad fall and ended up with sciatica. Anyway, I am back to talk about how my writing goals went this year.

I published the last of my Geraldine's Gems ebooks called 'Birds Flock Together'. It is available on all digital platforms.

I published Charlie in print. It is available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Charlie-Captivating-Cap-Rainbow-School/dp/1548727415/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1514640587&sr=8-1&keywords=Charlie+and+the+captivating+cap

I did hope to publish Susie but I got feedback from an editor in May which I had to work on, and at that time I was writing Qessa's story.

I wrote Qessa and Alistair's stories.

My other main goal was to have a short story accepted and published by a women's magazine. I did, by You (SA). It is based in South Africa so I haven't got to see it in print.

I did have a couple of letters published in magazines, which made up for it, esp the last one which gave me a prize of a natural beauty set worth £120.

Next year's goals will be slightly different. I will explain why next week.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Creating characters to care about

Last Saturday I went to the last SCBWI Masterclass of the year (the only one I had managed to get to this year). It was on how to create characters to care about with Piers Torday of 'Last Wild' trilogy fame. (Confession – sorry to say that I hadn't heard of him before then. But now I know what he has written, want to buy the books).

He told us how he got writing his books. He wrote 'The Last Wild' 17 times. What inspired him.

We then had to write out our homework from our favourite children's book. Then wrote another exercise based on that. This gave me an idea how to start a children's animal series I have in mind. Shall have to write or type that out for a reminder.

I can't remember if Piers said this himself or he told us it was another author, but he said, (and I agree), you can't write if you don't read.

When you write you should get the child to visualise the characters.

Then we had another exercise based on classic children's characters. This gave me yet another idea for another animal series.

You should read widely and deeply. Read 10 books on the topic. Piers read 10 books about wolves for his trilogy. He quoted Jacqueline Wilson with 'Write with one eye on the market'.

Then it was another exercise about child inspiration or what frightened you as a child. I wrote something that might turn into a series of Asper fiction for children. We shall see.

Think about your character – their function, originality, voice and choices.

Another exercise based on your homework, which leads to a bit more homework.

Story – think motivation.


I enjoyed the day despite coughing my way through it, esp at the end when I got a tickle. Aargh. I also enjoyed the sweet potato fries I had, but couldn't eat them all as there were too many.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Diversity in writing Part 2

I am back writing about diversity in writing. Diversity is also about the authors who write the books. It is this that is the hot topic between authors because although BAME authors might get on the list for winning top awards, they might not win it in the end.

When I came to draft this post, I could only think of a few BAME authors who write for adults and children. As I write for children, I shall start with the few I have thought of.

Malorie Blackman, Patrice Lawrence, Catherine Johnson, Candy Gourlay, Chitra Soundar, Sarwat Chadda, Bali Rai.

After I drafted this post, I put a message on Facebook about this and got a few more names of children's authors in the Minor Ethnicity, and they are Jewish authors. Here they are: Keren David, Miriam Halahmy, Hilary Freeman, Judith Kerr, Meg Rosoff. It was raised that in traditional publishing authors might not be allowed by their publishers to write about Jewish events. Only a couple have recently.

For adults I could only think of Mike Gayle and Zadie Smith. If you can name more BAME authors who write for adults, let me know.

Next post will be another diversity post. Diversity is not just about BAME authors, there are disabled authors too, like me.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

An Aspie and her anxiety

My anxiety about going out has come back. I believe it is because after I had the kidney infection, I stayed indoors for over a week, with the only outside space I went to being the garden. I can go over the road to get the paper OK. But when I go shopping locally, I've felt my stomach flip with anxiety either before I go or within half an hour of being out. This causes an IBS flare up.

On Friday, I went shopping with my mum. I was fine before we went, so I thought that I would be OK. But, no, just as the bus got to the centre, I felt my stomach flip. I tried to put my anxiety into words; why did I feel anxious? I've been here before and I was OK. (Something I read to do in the current issue of Top Sante). It worked for a while but after walking round shops for half an hour, I had to stop. Luckily the centre has public toilets where I went. I was fine after that. It is so frustrating to me me and my mum as I feel that it spoils the shopping trip for us. I might have to sit for longer before I go out, or try the talking out my anxiety more. I hope to get back to normality soon.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

An Aspie in hospital

Two weeks ago it was my turn to be admitted to A&E. I suddenly got terrific pain in my left side, with a fever, feeling faint and being sick. It was a kidney stone passing down my kidney to my bladder that caused the pain (found that out last Friday) and a kidney infection. It was my first time in hospital knowing I have Asperger's. Here is how I coped or not.

In A&E I didn't think it was as noisy as I expected it to be. There was lots of people and light. From there I was taken to Urgent Care. I was in pain still and hot. There was a lot of people waiting. A couple of times I came over faint. When I was finally seen in triage, I was taken to Majors in A&E. And put into a cubicle. Comfort at last. And privacy as the staff closed the curtain. This helped shut out noise and lights. I saw staff go to and fro outside. I was mainly focussing on myself. Trying to feel comfortable with a dull pain, trying not to be sick and having to cope with nurses trying to get blood out of my right arm. Having been sick a lot, my blood had dried up and was too thick. I had to be put on a drip to get more fluids in. That was my left arm.

Then in the early hours of the next morning (just after 1.30am) I was wheeled into Clinical Decision Unit. What a difference! Even though it was early morning, it was darker and quieter, and I could only see one other patient there. I liked this, even though I was still not right and had a drip connected to me. The quiet calmed me down.

A couple of hours later I went for a CT scan to find out what was happening. I hated this as the corridors were dark then bright. Had to shut my eyes most of the time. The scan wasn't too bad.

My mum finally left about 6am as there wasn't any transport before that to get home.  A few hours later I went home in a hospital cab in one of their nighties and a blanket over me. Not very warm but was so pleased to get home.

Thankfully I am slowly on the mend now, and am back on my feet. I am taking painkillers to keep pain under control. I finished the course of antibiotics last week and was told that I don't need any more. I am limiting any foods with calcium and oxalates in as they are the two things that mostly form kidney stones. So nut products are limited as well as celery and berries.

Monday, 21 August 2017

More writing news

Following on from a previous post about what I want to write, there has been things happening in the womag land. Remember I said that I wasn't going to write for Woman's Weekly anymore? Well, it has transpired that there has been restructuring going on (rings a bell for me) and the whole fiction team have now left and replaced with one person, who people believe is a freelancer. They are not taking any new submissions at the moment, only stories from their regular contributors, until they are on top of things. I know this has upset a lot of people. I feel sorry for all involved; the fiction team and the contributors who had built up a relationship with them. I had met the fiction editor a few times when I had gone to workshops, and she was so nice. This now means that there is one less magazine out there that takes fiction.

So, what am I doing about it? I am finding other markets. I had already heard of one magazine based in South Africa that took new writers, so have sent a story to them and am waiting to hear if they will publish it as the editor has said she wants to keep it for possible use. Sounded promising. Am working on another story for that magazine. Have discovered a couple of other markets and will submit a story to one and an article to another; the latter takes stories and non-fiction about animals. My kind of magazine. Also, have decided to enter another story competition. I know which story I want to work on for that, one I have already written but needs a bit of an edit.

I will be working mainly on my children's books first, with the odd story now and then when I have the time.

So, when things like this happen, it is good to have a Plan B. Find other markets to send to. Other ways to make money.