Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Shopping as an Aspie

When I usually go shopping, I don't think about myself as an Aspie and how everything affects me. I just get on with where I want to go and what I want to get, then go home. But last time I went shopping, I took  note of all the things around me that could affect me as an Aspie. Here is what I thought.

On the bus going there, if I'm with my mum I will chat to her so I try to tune in to what she is saying and tune out others talking; but this can be hard when other people have v loud voices and shout to each other, and little ones crying. If I am on my own I usually look out the window and tune out other people talking around me.

Inside the shopping centre I noted all the lights and the music. The lights were quite bright and could really affect someone, esp a child, with a sensory challenge to lights. The music was quite loud in places, with different music coming from different shops at various levels. Can be a hard challenge to a child with major challenges with noise. I don't mind communicating with shop staff because I have to, but I try not to speak as much as I want to. One thing I don't like is having to go back and check something with staff in a shop eg being charged wrongly. I hate this as I feel that everyone is looking at me, and I hate confrontations.

So, here are my tips for shopping as an Aspie:

1. Write a list of what you want to buy
2. Put that list in order of the shops you need to go to
3. Try to tune out other people's chat on the bus
4. At the shopping centre, try to tune out the constant chatter and music
5. Concentrate on just what you want and where you are going.
6. If you get flustered, and have an Aspie card, and feel you might have a meltdown, then show it to people. Don't be afraid to do that.

So that is how I felt shopping as an Aspie and my tips for a good shop. If you have any more tips, please let me know.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

What is your brand?

Following my previous posts about the issue I have had (my book has now been taken off Amazon completely), I thought I'd write about what is a brand, or what I have learnt is a brand.

A brand is...You. It is not a name, a logo or your voice. It is you. So, learning this, I have decided not to brand my children's books now, but keep myself as an Aspie children's author as my brand along with what I write. So my brand is me writing magical realism and ghosts. When someone mentioned this to me on Facebook, it got me thinking. Yes, they are right. I started thinking about other authors and their brands, and came up with two that I often read who have a definite brand: Nora Roberts writing under her own name, and Jacqueline Wilson. Their style of writing, and esp with Jacqueline Wilson, the book covers are definite brands. So I am going to learn from those two about how to work on my brand as myself. I want my book covers to reflect me and what I write as my brand.

So, question for you; what is your brand like? Can you describe it, like I have for me? Go on... tell me.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Title and branding - A cautionary tale

I was going to post about shopping as an Aspie but something cropped up yesterday that made me feel I should warn others about. It is about titles and branding for book series. As some of you know, I have branded my new fiction series about children with Asperger's Syndrome a certain name. I did do lots of research on names back in May when I was thinking about it all. One name I really liked but had been used by someone else, so I message them on Facebook to ask if they owned the rights to it. I never heard back...until yesterday. Because I hadn't heard all this time, of course, I went ahead and used the name. The message I got yesterday was that the name was the name of the company founded by the woman who runs it and she had the rights to it, and the only other person who could use it with authorisation was a specialist publisher I know about. Anyone else couldn't use it, and if they did, they could end up being sued by the company. This gave me great worry and anxiety with my own Asperger's. I thought, oh no, I am going to get in to great trouble here and panicked. I had to come up with alternative names for my brand.

I came up with a couple of titles this morning, but when I Googled both, they were already taken by magazines and companies, so they were a no go as well. I got a few suggestions from others on a FB post I put up last night, but most of them are too similar to the first one I had. One suggestion, by my designer, Rachel Lawston, was to drop the idea of a brand. And this is what I now plan to do. Someone else I know said that if I do drop the brand idea, then my books would reach a wider audience. So, it is a good idea. I want my books to find as many readers as possible. I have deleted the brand name on the blurb for Billy, and will ask Rachel to delete it from the cover, too. For those books I already have ordered, I am going to blank out the name. The same with the postcards I have which were made from the cover. I might relaunch it again in the new year, we shall see.

So, the motto here is: if you are thinking of giving a series a brand name, like I did, do a thorough research. If it looks like it has been taken, even by a magazine, forget the idea. You will be thankful in the future. I did want to give all my books a brand but it might seem it is best not to. You will see from this post that I haven't actually put the title of the brand I had, that is because I have emailed the company concerned to say that I won't use the term anywhere again.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Me, Asperger's and Fireworks

Tis the season... to hear fireworks leading up to Bonfire night. Yes, we get them early here in SE London, and I know others have too. I know that lots of Aspies have sensory challenges with noise, and fireworks can be part of that as they are v loud, some of them. For me, most fireworks don't bother me as they aren't that loud. But there are a few that make me jump (and my mum too) because they are either v loud, sound as though they are just outside, or there is a silence for a few minutes before a loud one goes bang. It is those bangers that make me jump now and then. There was one last year that was so loud and so near, that it set off our sensor alarm on the house.

So if you are an Aspie and don't like fireworks because it is too much noise for you, I have a few tips:

1. Wear headphones.
2. Wear headphones listening to music
3. If you have headphones attached to your TV, then listen to the TV with those.
4. If you don't, then if you can bear it, turn up the TV.

I hope you get some help from this post.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Me, Asperger's and Trust Games

When I was a child I hated playing games where you had to trust someone eg leap frog. You had to trust the person you had to leap over not to move. I never could, which is why I wouldn't play it. The other game I hated, and esp in swimming, was when you fell back, trusting others to catch you. I never trusted the others to catch me properly, fearing that that I'd fall to the ground and hurt myself. I refused to do it. I also steered away from people when it was my birthday, afraid they would want to give me birthday bumps. No fear.

Trust games I call them, also happened in gym lessons, when you had to do handstands and get your team/partner to hold you up. I could never trust that person/people to do it, always scared that they'd drop me. I hated it and refused to go upside down. It made me go dizzy anyway, so never did them.

So, did you have problems with trusting other people like I did when you were a child? Esp if you have Asperger's like me. Be interested to know if it's an Aspie thing or normal. Let me know.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Why libraries are good places for Aspies

As an Aspie who visits their local community library often, I have found it is a good place to go for my sensory challenges. You have to plan what day you go though, or you might find you go there on a day where there is lots happening, so more noise. Like I did last Saturday for my book launch; there were 2 other events happening the same day, so there was more noise than normal. I usually my client on a Monday, and it is quieter then. People come and go and use computers, but it is quieter so I can hear what my client is telling me.

I also think the bigger library the less noise you will get. There will be more space to move around, so other people won't disturb you with noise. The lights aren't too bad either.

So, libraries are good places for Aspies to go, esp if you are a writer like me, and want to meet up with others to talk.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Book launch for Billy and the Sparkling Socks

So, on Saturday I had my book launch for Billy, along with my writing coachee, John Caritas (his pen name) who I had helped write and publish his first picture book. How did it go? Quite well, I believe. I got there early so I could set up my table. I put my book, my hand-made leaflets about Asperger's and poster about its price on the table. John had a smaller table. It started at 11am. A few people came in, had a look then went on to the arts stall at the back of the library. There was a group of ladies knitting there too. The lady behind the cafĂ© bought copies of John's book, then asked me to hold 2 of mine for her because she didn't have the money. I said I would and took the names of the children they were for. Short while later another lady came up to us. She gave us the name of an organisation who deal with children's books about equality and diversity and thought that mine would be ideal for them. I took the details down in my notepad (I have just emailed them via their website). Later on another lady came along and was v interested in what I was doing about raising awareness of Asperger's with my book. She said that she had just started running an organisation at the library helping young people with special needs and felt that I would be ideal for giving a talk. She took both of my leaflets and a postcard and my details, I took hers, and she took John's. We shall wait and see if anything happens about that one. My friend, Samantha Yagis (Hi, Sam) came in at the start. She bought a copy of each of our books and stayed all the time I was there, chatting to us. In the afternoon, just as the knitting ladies were about to leave, I thought, let's see who has grandchildren. One of the ladies came up to my table. She had older grandchildren, so I gave her postcards promoting my other books. One of the other ladies was interested and she bought a book which I duly signed.

Oh yes, how could I forget. One of the male volunteers there mentioned that he was setting up an internet radio from the library again in the new year. We became interested in having an interview for it. So, another promo opportunity. I think next time I see John at the end of the month we might have our interviews recorded. Exciting times.

So, all in all, even though I only sold a few copies of Billy, I felt it was quite a success, making contacts and leads for raising awareness of Asperger's.

So, my motto is for you authors: make the most of your library.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Me & Asperger's - the Masterclass venue

I am now going to post about what the venue was like for me as an Aspie. The pub called the Theodore Bullfrog is v near Charing Cross train station, but you couldn't hear the trains. It is down a side road, so you can't hear the traffic. But the room is above the working pub, so when it gets busy you can hear the customers downstairs, even with the doors shut. The room is quite big with room to walk around in and talk to others you know if you want to. The lighting is OK, it's not that dark. The only real noise you get is the clattering of the cooking in the kitchen which is upstairs too off the function room. So the staff often come in and out, through the room where you are. So, this might put some people off. I was OK with it as I have been there before so knew what to expect.

As I have said, it is v near the train station - just a couple of minutes walk down the road. Travelling isn't that bad, it being in a central location. That time of day (mid-morning and late afternoon), there weren't too many other passengers on the trains, so that wasn't bad either.

All in all. The location and venue of the talk is OK for me as an Aspie. The only gripe I had was the choice of food for me who is intolerant to dairy and gluten. All I could have and ordered was a bowl of cherry tomatoes and roasted peppers, which was OK and healthy. I took my own sandwiches and snacks.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

How to write funny for children

Last Saturday I went to Charing Cross to learn how to write funny books for children by Mo O'Hara. This was a SCBWI Masterclass. I learnt lots. I am only going to give you the main points I learnt as we were told we can't give out all the details. So here they are.

Keep asking questions. Keep saying yes. Eg if your character wants to run and win the marathon, they will do anything to get there.
Make your readers recognise your character in what they do.

1. No swearing
2. Can't talk about things that children won't understand. You have to look into children's world to see what's funny to them. Eg what makes sense to adults but children can think ludicrous.
3. Has to be the kid's pov, literally. Can be looking up to someone and seeing their nose.
3. Don't write mean comedy. Eg at someone's expense. Being fair is important to children. Don't put children down. Have justice and kind humour.

I got an idea how to write funny scenes in a series about asperkids I have in mind.

Writing funny has three main components: who, where (plot) and when (timing)

We were given exercises then to so.

Other components are: incongruity (someone out of their usual zone), status. So when you are writing, ask yourself: What is the status of my character? Do I have much variety in status?

We were given more exercises to do, which were fun. One of these gave me an idea for a possible series of picture books.

In series fiction the character only learns a bit, but in stand-alone they learn a lot.

Make it tough for the character. Think of worst thing that can happen and make it happen.

First draft - ask, is this character funny? Have I put them in a setting that's funny? If potential, make funnier.
Have a checklist for when you do your second draft. This should include: character who has fears, objectives and status, setting, confined space, comic potential and conflict potential.
Next edit should be the punch edit. Make more funnier. Think rule of 3: Punchline is at the third time.
Recurring theme/gag. Elude to it to get a big laugh.
In dialogue, have repetition. Emphasis - strong, silence - for pausing.
Don't overuse asides. Only put in what the character would really do. Read it out. Use surprise.

I learnt a lot. But there was one thing I did come away with, and that was I do enjoy writing for children more than adults now. So, thanks, Mo. Great workshop.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Me & Asperger's - the RNA talk venue

I am now posting about what the venue was like as an Aspie. The journey wasn't too bad - there wasn't too many people on the train and tube when I went (different story coming home). I found the venue easily as I'd been there once before. Usually when I have been somewhere once and know I am going again, I remember the route. The talk was at the Sir John Balcombe pub in Marylebone. There is the pub upstairs with the function room downstairs. There was music going on in the pub but it wasn't too loud and you couldn't hear it from down below. There wasn't any music downstairs. It had twinkling lights on, so if you don't like lights then it wasn't for you. It was fine for me. No noise, low lights. The seats were spread about, so people talking didn't get too much for me.

All in all, except the travelling by bus, train and tube, the venue was OK for me as an Aspie. I will go there again.

Monday, 12 September 2016

How to stay in control of your story by Jean Fullerton

On Saturday I went to Marylebone to the RNA SE chapter meeting to listen to a talk by Jean Fullerton about how to stay control of your story esp romances. Here are the main points I wrote down:

1. It is about structure. You have to have a structure to your story.
2. You need an inciting moment
3. Then rising action
4. A turning point and black moment (doesn't have to be the main character's)
5. Lastly, falling action leading to the resolution

If you get stuck (usually about either Chapter 5 or 8), try going back to the start of the story and read it.

Ask what your main character's motivation/goal is.

If you want to include back story, drip feed it in, not do an info dump.

If you write in a certain genre or time period, readers will expect the rest of your books to be like that. Don't disappointment them.

It had been my first time to a chapter meeting this year, and I enjoyed it. Esp as I met a friend of mine there and we chatted as we walked back to the tube station. Might go again next time.

Next post will be about what the venue was like for an Aspie (me).

Monday, 5 September 2016

Me and Asperger's - Tone of voice

One of the challenges that people with Asperger's have is social communication, and that can mean their voice can sound rude or abrupt without intention. This happened to me last week at the local newsagent when I got the paper. I went in there, picked up the paper and went to pay for it behind another woman. I saw another older woman there who was choosing crisps. I also saw food on the counter which I thought belonged to the other woman in front of me. The older woman went to move in front of me and I said to her, I'm in the queue. I have just the paper and the exact money. The other woman turned round and accused me of being rude. She paid for her goods and left. I tried to explain by saying I have Asperger's but it was too late. The other woman let me pay for the paper. I apologised to her and she said I didn't need to. I left and went home. It upset me so much that it went round and round my head to the point I was in tears. When my mum came home, I asked her what she would have done, but she realised about the food on the counter and said that people do that there, buy some things, go and find more then pay later. Later on she said that if she had been with me she would have said a few choice words to that woman. Wanting to get it off my chest, I also mentioned it to a Facebook group of women with Asperger's to see what their reactions were. They all agreed that the first woman was rude not me. One comment I got, from the founder of the group, was that at times like that, she felt she needed to wear a T-shirt that said, 'I have Asperger's what is your reason for poor social skills.'. LOL. This gave me an idea. This all gave me peace of mind about the situation. It still upsets me to think about it, but I have decided a couple of things:

1. Not to try to get in that situation again.
2. Made me determined to raise awareness of Asperger's even more, esp about me.
3. I might buy a card that tells others that I am on the autism spectrum and what it means.

So I will be blogging more about Asperger's, writing more about it inc in short stories, and mention it a lot at my new book's launch in a few week's time along with hand-made cards and leaflets about ASD, and I will be posting on FB and Twitter about it too, sharing posts. I also am thinking of other merchandise to sell to raise awareness.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Turning a negative into a positive

Over the last weekend I finally published my new children's fiction book 'Billy and the Sparkling Socks' to Createspace. There were a few problems I had to sort out in the process, from discovering they don't accept 2-page spreads to cover problems, but I got there. But when I looked at what it would now look like according to their fixed PDF version, it didn't come out as I really wanted. How? I have small illustrations at the start and end of each chapter, and a few of the end ones appeared on separate pages. I tried to fix it by working it out but soon realised that it had to be like that. I wasn't happy with that as it wasn't ideal looking to me. But then I got thinking...the extra blank pages and space would be ideal for children if they wanted to draw their own socks or rainbows in the book, although the book is mainly for reading not drawing in. It has given me an idea for the rest of the series.

Cover reveal, I hope. Here is a link to the cover for Billy on Createspace. (Hope it works).


I really like it, and I hope children do too.

It is the first in a number of series of children's books about children with Asperger's and autism who find magic that teaches them how to be more confident and communicative.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Me and reading

Reading has been one of my favourite hobbies since I was a child at primary school. I remember being part of a reading group at school. We sat round a table in a separate room, reading our books, usually Janet and John. I can picture it now. I think it must have been in the library because I can visualise books on movable shelves at the side of the room. We would read out loud, and much to my parents' shock this carried on into home. lol. I had to read in another room when I did read. Thankfully, it didn't last and I soon read books silently to myself. I read Mr Men, Noddy, to Secret Seven and Famous Five, to horsey adventure books. Later on I went to the library and remember reading Catherine Cookson and Lena Kennedy.

I still read a lot, but both adult and children's fiction because I now write mainly for children. I also read women's magazines because I want to write stories for them, too. Oh, and yes, I do read silently still. The only time I would read aloud is when I read my stories for consistency, and then I have to be on my own.

So, do you remember reading at school? What did you read?

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Me, Asperger's and parks

I remember when I was little and used to go to the park with my family. I only went on certain play apparatus. I hated going on the roundabout because I feared that I would get off at the wrong time and fall and hurt myself. I never could judge when to get off. It also made me dizzy. I hated going on slides, too, cos of the heights, and again falling and hurting myself. The one thing I didn't mind was the swings, but I didn't want to go too high because of the height and the fear of falling. We used to have a swing in the garden. First it was a normal swing but later on it became a tyre, which was fun. It all went old and rusty, and we got rid of it years ago. There was one thing I do remember I liked in parks, which you don't see nowadays, do you remember the drinking taps? You either pressed or pushed on a button or lever and the water would spurt out, and you would have to put your mouth under it to catch the water. I liked that. Probably against hygiene rules now, though.

So, when you were little and visited parks, were there apparatus that you avoided? Why? Be interested to know.

These memories will appear in a memoir I plan to write later on sometime.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Writing goals - the latest

So, how are my writing goals going.

If I remember last time, I said that I wasn't going to write pocket novels anymore, and that is still the case. I am sticking to writing magical realism for adults, and my children's books as well as short stories for women's magazines (womags).

I have finished the third book in the new children's series of books called 'The Rainbow School'. The first one, Billy, is still with my illustrator to do the cover and internal chapter headings. I hope to publish it this month so I can order copies in time for its book launch on 1 October.

Later this week I shall start planning and writing the final story in my adult magical realism series 'Geraldine's Gems'. I've already visualised some scenes so have an idea what happens in it and how it will end. I hope to get that all done and published by end of November, esp for Xmas.

Short stories - they are still a work in progress. My latest efforts need more thought and effort put into them, esp how the characters move from scene to scene or stage directions as they have been called. I have put them aside for now and have been working on another story intended for Woman's Weekly. It is the story I wrote the start and end to at the last workshop with WW I went to about writing stories with a twist so this is a warm twist in the tale.

Once I have finished that one, I am going to rewrite a story that WW rejected last year, turning it into a twist story, then will be a story for Take a Break's Fiction Feast. After that we shall see. I won't be having 5 published this year, which was my goal, realistically I will now aim for just one. I have one story still with TaBFF, so we shall see.

So, they are my goals for now. Hope yours are going as well as mine.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Me, Asperger's and Library Events

Last Saturday I took part in the local community library's grand sale. I was hoping to sell a book or two of mine. I set up a table in the library, next to an older woman who was selling her hand-made jewellery. I got chatting to her about selling. Then came along a younger woman who started talking to me about her writing and asked me to have a read of what she had written. I agreed. Seeing her with the main librarian I know, I realised she had been the lady that had already been mentioned to me. In a break, I read what she had written, and said she had good ideas (she writes fantasy for teens) and needed to write more for me to have a good read of it. I have since decided I do like what she has written, it will be fun to help her write it and want to be her coach. It being a warm day, I later decided to join the jewellery lady outside, which is by a park. We got chatting again outside, and I also chatted to the lady opposite me who was selling home-made natural salts.

So, how did this affect my Asperger's? Well, I think it helped me. I got talking to others whom I hadn't met before, because we were all selling things and trying to get customers. It helped me get out of the house and meet people. Inside the library wasn't too bad, although when children came in it did get a bit noisy but outside where it's more open and bigger was better.

I did sell books - the main librarian returned from a break at her house, and bought a copy of each of my paperback for the library.

I will probably take part in their Xmas fayre in December, if they still have one.

Me, Asperger's and Library Events

Last Saturday I took part in the local community library's grand sale. I was hoping to sell a book or two of mine. I set up a table in the library, next to an older woman who was selling her hand-made jewellery. I got chatting to her about selling. Then came along a younger woman who started talking to me about her writing and asked me to have a read of what she had written. I agreed. Seeing her with the main librarian I know, I realised she had been the lady that had already been mentioned to me. In a break, I read what she had written, and said she had good ideas (she writes fantasy for teens) and needed to write more for me to have a good read of it. I have since decided I do like what she has written, it will be fun to help her write it and want to be her coach. It being a warm day, I later decided to join the jewellery lady outside, which is by a park. We got chatting again outside, and I also chatted to the lady opposite me who was selling home-made natural salts.

So, how did this affect my Asperger's? Well, I think it helped me. I got talking to others whom I hadn't met before, because we were all selling things and trying to get customers. It helped me get out of the house and meet people. Inside the library wasn't too bad, although when children came in it did get a bit noisy but outside where it's more open and bigger was better.

I did sell books - the main librarian returned from a break at her house, and bought a copy of each of my paperback for the library.

I will probably take part in their Xmas fayre in December, if they still have one.

Me, Asperger's and Library Events

Last Saturday I took part in the local community library's grand sale. I was hoping to sell a book or two of mine. I set up a table in the library, next to an older woman who was selling her hand-made jewellery. I got chatting to her about selling. Then came along a younger woman who started talking to me about her writing and asked me to have a read of what she had written. I agreed. Seeing her with the main librarian I know, I realised she had been the lady that had already been mentioned to me. In a break, I read what she had written, and said she had good ideas (she writes fantasy for teens) and needed to write more for me to have a good read of it. I have since decided I do like what she has written, it will be fun to help her write it and want to be her coach. It being a warm day, I later decided to join the jewellery lady outside, which is by a park. We got chatting again outside, and I also chatted to the lady opposite me who was selling home-made natural salts.

So, how did this affect my Asperger's? Well, I think it helped me. I got talking to others whom I hadn't met before, because we were all selling things and trying to get customers. It helped me get out of the house and meet people. Inside the library wasn't too bad, although when children came in it did get a bit noisy but outside where it's more open and bigger was better.

I did sell books - the main librarian returned from a break at her house, and bought a copy of each of my paperback for the library.

I will probably take part in their Xmas fayre in December, if they still have one.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Wrtiing a story with a twist at Woman's Weekly

On Friday 8 July I went to London Bridge to a Woman's Weekly workshop on how to write a story with a twist ending. I went because I had no idea how to write one or where to get ideas for one.

The two presenters were Fiction Editor, Gaynor Davies, and author, Della Galton.

Della said that twist endings mustn't be predictable or contrived eg character winning the lottery, or having an aunt giving them an inheritance.

She gave us a list of dos and don'ts for these stories. One do is that the story has to build up to the twist.

We had an exercise in the morning, to write an outline for a story. I thought of a story I had in mind to write for another magazine. So I wrote a twist outline for that. I also got an idea for another twist story which I wrote down and will probably write another time. Once time was up, we were asked to read them out loud. My heart went fast at this and for one moment I thought I was going to faint, but I was OK in the end and read out my outline, which was said was good.

Della then read a story in the WW Summer Special (which I later bought and read), which gave me the idea for the twist ending of my story.

You can write an outline for a story which has lots of possible endings. The character and conflict of the story has to be at the start.

We were given a list of types of 'Twists'.

We were given another exercise to write the ending of our story then read it out. I offered to read mine first, to get it out of the way. Was told it was good. During the day, Gaynor told me I am learning. Praise indeed.

I really enjoyed this workshop. It gave me another idea for a twist story for a story that I have already written. I did ask if I could resubmit a story with another ending, and Gaynor said yes, as long as it's not too regonisable. So that is what I plan to do.

I am working on a story for WW now, not a twist one, a normal one, but I plan to rewrite this and send it to another magazine as a twist, which I have worked out.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Me, Asperger's and travelling

The other day I posted on Facebook that I went to Bromley on my own. I got comments saying I was a good daughter because it was mainly to get ice cream for my mum. I am now posting to let people know how it was a big deal for me. I have been to Bromley before, but never on my own, it has always been with my mum. Mum said to me that when I go shopping with her I have always followed her like I have since I was a child. So true, I do do that. Mum hasn't been well this past month with possibly a UTI that knocked her energy and she was getting low on her dairy-free ice cream. The only place we can get it is in Waitrose at Bromley. First of all I said I didn't really want to go on my own, but got thinking that I have already been to Croydon, Charing X and Holborn on my own, so I could do Bromley if I knew where the bus ended up going. Once I set my mind to do a thing, it is part of that day's routine. Mum told me where the bus went and I made a mental note of this when I was on the bus. So, I went to Bromley, which involved getting 2 buses there, and 2 back. A lot of social energy used up. I got there, only to find they had one tub of ice cream, which I got.

So, I felt proud of myself, and Mum did too. I now feel that as I have done this once, I can do it again if I have to.

Mum is still unwell this week, so my brother is taking me shopping today.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

My series 'The Rainbow School'

Work is coming along very nicely with my series 'The Rainbow School' the first in my new brand brand Asperkids. I have finished the first draft of the third book, and started the second draft where I have been adding scenes that I forgot to put in the first time around. Meanwhile, I have met with an illustrator, Rachel Lawston, to discuss about covers for the series. She has come up with great ideas, which I shall post now.

1. I had sketched the cover to Billy with just Billy on the front, but Rachel suggested to have a couple of his friends with him as well but in the background. Shows that he can make friends.

2. She wasn't keen on the title of 'Boring Billy and the Strange Socks' because she wants me to make the whole thing strike positive to readers, esp for Asperkids readers. So, I have now changed it to 'Billy and the Sparkling Socks'.

3. She has also suggested to have the covers in bold colours, and the colours of a rainbow. I like this idea and will go with it. I have researched other books with magical realism in for 7+ and they are all in different colours.

4. After this research, I have decided I want stars all over the front like other books. I had sketched a black hole to represent the other world the characters go in, but don't want that now.

5. Having changed the title of Billy, I have changed the title of both Charlie and Susie - Charlie was going to be Clumsy Charlie and the Crooked Cap, but is now Charlie and the Captivating Cap, and Susie was going to be Slow Susie and the Jagged Jumper, and is now Susie and the Jumbling Jumper. Both reflecting positivity for the reader, and also intriguing them at the same time, I hope.

6. The other thing that Rachel suggested is to have a paragraph at the back of the book stating what the books are about and who they are for. She wrote something, which I put to my editor, who changed it a bit. You will have to see what it is when they come out later this year.

I am meeting Rachel again tomorrow to see what ideas she has come up with, as I have already sent her the ms. We shall see what happens next...

Monday, 20 June 2016

Me, Asperger's and noise

One of the things that does affect me and my Asperger's is noise. Though, what noise it is has changed since I was a child and how it has changed.

When I was a child I hated going through the local subway under the train station. I think I feared the trains would fall down on me. I would stand one end, wait for a train to go over, then dash to the other end. I had to get used to it as it was the main way to get to the station if I had to go to hospital, and later to work. I did get used to it.

Another thing I hated when I was a child, and still do, is a balloon bursting. The bang makes me jump, so if you have a balloon and are with me, please don't burst that balloon. I won't like it, and I won't like you.

It seemed to be sudden noises I didn't like when I was a child, but now as an adult with Asperger's, noise comes to me as a sensory overload. I can't take too much loud noise in a small space eg loud voices in a small room. It makes my head go fuzzy, I can't take any more, and have to go into a quiet room, usually my bedroom upstairs. I think this must have been why when I went to a writers' party, after a while I would go to sit down away from the rest of the authors chatting. If I can get away from the noise, either to another area, another room or outside, then I will. It helps my head to calm down, and therefore, me to calm down, too, because I get upset if I have to leave a room when there are other people there.

So, that is how noise has affected me in the past, and affects me now. If you have Asperger's, how does noise affect you? The same? Let me know.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Me and reading

They say it can be good for a writer if you read, well, I certainly do that. I have read for as long as I remember. Certainly when I was at primary school. I remember reading in a room, sitting round a table, reading I think it was Janet and John books. We read out loud, which I continued doing at home, much to my parents' annoyance. lol. The books I read as a child were: Mr Men, Noddy, then as I got older, to Secret Seven, Famous Five, Nancy Drew and the school based books such as St Claire's. I also remembering reading horsey adventure books.

As an adult, I remember going to the library down the road (now a voluntary centre) and taking out books by Lena Kennedy and Catherine Cookson. There was a period years ago when I bought and read lots of sagas. I also bought books by authors I knew. I wanted to write romantic suspense so bought Romantic Intrigue books by Mills & Boon; that was for a couple of years. Most recently, I did buy My Weekly pocket novels because I thought I could write for them, but I can't, so stopped buying them.

Then I began writing for children, so I bought those types of books, too. Mostly magical realism and fantasy books.

So, what do I read now? I still read both adult and children's fiction, but my tastes have changed, esp for adult reading. I now buy only books that I know the author's works and like eg Nora Roberts, Christina Jones, both write romance with magical realism in. I don't tend to buy books by authors I know, unless it is something I am interested in for my writing. Children's reading, I have been buying a lot recently esp magical realism ones, which I write myself. I am a fan of Linda Chapman's books, and also now like Holly Webb and Lily Small (I think might be a group of authors). I have also bought a few YA books by Teri Terry, which I love cos I find it interesting about what others think the future could be like for children; something I have in mind to write about myself sometime later.

So, my reading habits have changed over the years. Has yours?

Monday, 6 June 2016

Boring Billy - the inspiration

I thought as a way of promoting my new children's series The Rainbow School it would be good to post about the inspiration behind the stories. In Boring Billy, Billy likes literacy and making up stories but he can't tell them so they sound exciting enough. The inspiration behind this one is me, when I was at primary school. I loved English, as it was called back then, and I liked making up stories. I remember in secondary school that I used to get high marks for my writing in English, and the highest mark you could get was an A+. If you got three then you got a star.

I remember in one English lesson at primary school we had to write a story. Can't remember if it had to be on a theme or not. I wrote a true story about how I was coming down the stairs at home, heard a noise and thought it was a ghost or something scary. So I went faster, ending slipping down the stairs on my back, hurting myself. Turned out the noise was a pigeon. LOL. Wasn't funny at the time, but can laugh about it now. Anyway, my teacher liked my story enough to want me to read it out to the class. I said no, being shy with Asperger's (not that I knew it was that at the time). My teacher read it out herself in the end.

So, my liking for writing stories is what inspired me to write Billy and his love of literacy and making up stories. Because of his strange school socks taking him to a magical world where he sees himself as a confident storyteller, Billy turns into a great and funny storyteller himself, making his class laugh as he acts out his stories.

What inspiration is there behind your books?

Monday, 30 May 2016

What I am working on this week

I thought I'd post what I am working on this week. I have just had back the final edits for my mermaid story 'The Emerald Quest'. There were a couple of minor changes to work on, which I have now done. I have finalised the front and back pages, adding a link to a reader mailing list I have now set up. So, all I have to do now is to put it all together into one document, and format it into an ebook, ready to publish later this week. Oh yes, and I have to save the covers from my email account to my Word folder for the book. So, it is nearly all systems go for that book.

Meantime, I have begun working on a short story for Woman's Weekly that I started a short while ago. I want to finish that and get feedback on that. The other story I have put aside for now to think about it more.

Also, I am writing Susie's story, which I am having fun with. Am learning lots as I research the lessons that Year 6 do now, as I want to write lessons that do happen and can help Susie get more confident in the story.

If you want to be one of the first to know when I have a new ebook out or one coming out in print, then why not sign up to my newsletter at http://eepurl.com/b3zDYv. You will get a free short story called 'Billy, Literacy and News Presenters', which is the prequel to the first book in my next series called The Rainbow School.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Me, Asperger's and primary school

Following on from my last post about a workshop on group dynamics, I thought I would write about what the group I was in at primary school was like. I told the interview group in the workshop this, and I think I might include this in a memoir as part of my Asperkids series of books. Here goes:

At primary school I was very quiet. I went round with two other girls, whom I shall called J and K. One was white, the other black. The white girl I felt was the leader of the two. When I was with them, they wanted me to do things with them, their way, and it included some not nice things. Wanting to be friends with them I went along and did them. When I was on my own, I used to either be on my own and do other things such as dance or play recorder, or play with the younger children. Looking back now, I don't think they liked me doing things on my own without them, so they made me stop going do barn dancing, which I liked, and stopped me playing recorder, which again I liked and was good at. (I remember playing the theme tune to Match of the Day).

I only saw the white girl only once or twice after we left primary school as she went to another secondary school as me, but the black girl went to the same secondary school but was in another group.

The above incidences I still remember all these years later, and I will put them in my children's series 'The Rainbow School' as things to happen to the main characters but something good will come out of it for them.

So, there you have one group dynamic I belonged to. Because of my Asperger's, I just tagged along with others, wanting to be friends with them.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Finding your inner child workshop with Melvin Burgess

I can't believe it was 2 weekends ago that I went to the retreat. One of the talks I went to by Melvin Burgess was 'Finding your inner child'. Here is what we did:

We talked about group dynamics and the different types there are. There are the ones with a leader, a star, a sidekick, a topper (who's top at everything), the one with a leader who likes to be in competition, the star who wants to be in all the groups, one that has a third wheel (that was what I was in), dropkick group with no friends by default and go together (another I belonged to).

Then we had to write down about a group you belonged to, write the characters, their appearances and group dynamics. This made me think about a group of girls I went around with at secondary school. There were 3 girls (2 Asian and 1 white) belonging to one tutor group, and a group of 2 (Asian and 1 white) in another group. The latter white girl was slightly on the edge of the group, and there was me - the invisible wheel. We had to write in the pov of the leader and what you thought they had thought about you at the time. Interesting exercise.

We had to write a couple of incidences at school.

The last exercise was a group of 3 exercise. We had to interview each other and get a story about their childhood days. One member of mine talked about moving schools so found it hard to get on until later years, the other talked about coaching younger ones. Both these stories I made a note of for my Rainbow School characters and what they could do in the books. I talked about my primary school days and how I felt about that being shy and quiet with my Asperger's, which I didn't know it was back then.

All in all, I found it a very useful and interesting workshop. So, thank you, Melvin.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Writing retreat - Writing and thinking

Last weekend just gone I went to a writing retreat in W Sussex. It was the annual SCBWI retreat. I always find it v productive and I did this time, as well as a lot of thinking about what I want to write for children. Over the weekend I wrote the first three chapters of the third in the Rainbow School series, which is Susie's story, and a short story for a competition and the prequel to Susie. I don't know how many words I wrote as I didn't count them, but I reckon it must be at least 3-4000. That was what I wrote. So what thinking did I do? Well, it was all about my fiction for children and the books about children with Asperger's. I mentioned what I was writing to my new friend, Anna (Hi, Anna) who I met at Waterloo station to go to the retreat and she suggested putting all this fiction under a brand. It got me thinking. Then over the weekend, I talked to a few people about what I was currently writing and planning and got loads of encouragement, and someone said that it was a good idea to help children learn about Asperger's and cope with their own diagnosis. This made me realise that what I am doing can be really good, both for children and me. I started thinking about all the other books I have planned, and thought, yes I can make the children autistic by remembering my own childhood and use those memories. As well as buying books about Asperger's for children and families and biographies (have planned to buy Chris Packham's book). So, I have decided that is what I am going to do, starting with the Rainbow School series. I will have one big name called The Asperkids books, which I will put on my website, and under that have the title of each series. I am looking forward to doing this, and maybe do talks about it, too.

The other encouragement I got was from YA author Melvin Burgess. I had a one-to-one with him and he had read the first two chapters of Billy, and he said he really liked Billy, felt for him and enjoyed the story. He gave me a suggestion to put at the end of the story which I will do.

So, watch this space...

Monday, 2 May 2016

Change in my writing goals

If you have been reading my recent FB posts, you will see that my writing goals have changed over the last week. One of my new year goals was to write pocket novels for My Weekly, and I have now decided that this isn't what I really want to do and what I can't really write, after all. Here is why:

Earlier this year I finished the pocket novel I had been writing and had sent a partial of to the RNA's New writing scheme for feedback. I sent it to my editor, who I know is v honest and truthful about my writing. It came back last week via email with lots of comments in the email itself. I've not read the actual edits yet. What the email said was that the ms was too flimsy and not good enough for a pocket novel, which I knew deep down myself. I emailed my editor to ask this of her, and she replied, yes, it's not good enough, but don't waste it. It made me realise that I can't write proper romance, only magical realism with a hint of romance. So, that writing goal has been deleted from my plans. I am going to continue writing the Geraldine's Gems and Singleton stories which are all magical realism with a touch of romance in, as I feel I can write those and I enjoy writing them. Just writing those last few words has also made me realise that I didn't really enjoy writing the romantic part of the pocket novel but I did enjoy writing the mystery bit.

I am continuing writing short stories for womags as I enjoy writing those. My main writing goal now is to be known as an indie children's author, esp about hope and Asperger's.

So, that is the change in my writing goals. The mss I still have upstairs in the cupboards I am keeping and will read them at a later time to see if they can be either made into children's books or serials for womags. So, not wasted.

My motto now is: write what you enjoy doing and what you know you can do.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

My writing goals - an update

So, how are you getting on with your writing goals? I think I am coming along well with mine. Here is my progress so far:

Have almost finished the last mermaid story. Have printed it out and reading it out loud to find any errors. Have found a few already. Once I have done that, I shall email it to my editor.

Have finished the pocket novel and my editor is hopefully editing it for me now. Once I get that back, shall read any comments and suggestions for the first 3 chapters, do those and then email it off with a synopsis to the editor of My Weekly Pocket Novels.

Have begun reading and editing the first two books in the Asperkids series called 'The Rainbow School'. Am sticking with that title because someone suggested it corresponds with the autism spectrum, and a week later I saw a rainbow showing as the spectrum in a magazine. Have edited the first one which is about Billy, and have sent off the first two chapters of it for an author to comment on at the retreat. Started editing the second one about Charlie fainting, today. Have plotted out the third one about Susie and her heart problem, to work on at the retreat. All these books are loosely based on my primary school memories as a child with Asperger's and other health problems.

Still writing short stories for womags. Have two still with Take a Break's Fiction Feast, and one with Woman's Weekly which was rejected by TaBFF. Have been rewriting another for WW, from comments I got on the story blog, which were v helpful and it now reads like a story not a set of thoughts.

My client's picture book is finished and with the illustrator to work on again. Should hopefully be ready to publish for end of May. He is excited and so am I.

So, that is how I am getting on. Am v excited about publishing my Asperkids series as they are close to my heart.

Next post will be about having Asperger's, a way to promote my new series before I have published them.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Me, Asperger's and birthday parties (or not)

I thought I'd start posting about how Asperger's Syndrome has affected me over the years. There are two reasons: 1. There has been a drama series on BBC1 about a family with an autistic boy called The a word and the first episode made me think of a post to blog about, and 2) I have started working on my Asperkids series called The Rainbow School, so these posts can be the start of promoting it.

In the first episode of The a Word, the family have a birthday party for their boy, Joe who is now 5. He hated being the centre of attention and laid on the floor. When I was that age, I didn't have any birthday parties. For two reasons, 1. I was too shy because of my Asperger's, and 2 because of my Asperger's I found it difficult to make friends of my own (one of the social impairments of AS). I also didn't go to any parties myself, again because of the reasons above.

It was only later on in life, when I was an adult and went to work, that I really started celebrating my birthday with others. I did have a party for my 18th, but I didn't mingle with my guests. I made myself in charge of the music in a corner and wanted to stay there the rest of the time.

So, there you have what I was like with birthday parties when I was younger.

If you have ASD, did you have birthday parties? If so, what were you like at them?

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

My Writing Diary - so far

So what have I been writing and how far have I got? Here is my writing news:

I have now emailed the pocket novel to my editor to edit for me. The plan is that when I get it back, if there are changes to make in the first three chapters, I will do those first then email those with the synopsis to the My Weekly Pocket Novel editor. Then I will start on the rest of the ms.

The quirky short story went out to Take a Break's Fiction Feast. Meanwhile, I got a rejection for the story I sent them in December. This has now gone to another magazine.

I have finished the ghost story for the Writing Magazine short story competition. Seems I might have sent it to them for another competition a few years ago, but I am still going to send it and see what happens. It is all printed out, ready to fill in the form and cheque to put with it.

I have finally got round to writing the story I started at the Women's Weekly workshop last month. It is now over 600 words, so getting near to the count of 1000, which is what I want it to be.

I have finished the current draft of the mermaid story and am now highlighting verbs. Lots of smiling going on. Lol. I shall go through those and either change or cut them out. Then I shall highlight all repeated words such as 'and'. Then the final edit will be to read through it.

I have also emailed the first 2 chapters and synopsis to the organiser of the SCBWI retreat, for the one to one with Melvin Burgess. Yes, he of 'Junk' fame. Can't wait for that, as those books are close to my heart.

In my author client world, I met my client yesterday and he has given me a few changes, inc the title of the book to do, which I will work on tomorrow. I shall then post them to him to check, he will do that and post back to me, so I can email them to the illustrator.

So, that is what has been happening in my writing world. I mainly have 2 of my own projects on the go, and my author client's.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Writing mermaid stories

I know this is the second post this week, but I had to tell you about what I am writing these days. I am an indie children's author and my current wip is the third and final mermaid story in a trilogy. This is Aliona's story about coming of age, finding out about herself and finding her soul mate. I can't remember who mentioned it to me (might be my editor), but someone said to me that I need to let the reader know that it is in a sea world. I have made sure of that in this ebook, as there are fish, anemones, sea horses and there will be sea turtles. I am loving writing this book because I have made the sea creatures talk, and the other main reason I like writing mermaid stories is to mention one of the things that I am passionate about - helping to protect sealife. This is why I changed the metadata on the other mermaid stories to be about 'environment'. I believe I have mentioned plastics and other rubbish such as nets that go into the sea and harm the creatures. There will be a drastic scene at the end of this story called 'The Ring Quest', which gives Aliona the career she decides she wants...

So, if you love mermaids and the environment, then my mermaid 'quest' stories are for you. They are for children aged 9-12 years-old, and available on all digital platforms.

The first story is about Delta, and is called 'The Quest'. And is available here http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Quest-Julie-Day-ebook/dp/B009YTW5EC?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Woman's Weekly Workshop

Yesterday I went to London Bridge, to the Woman's Weekly Workshop on writing a short story. I've been to a couple of them before, but now I am v serious about writing for womags, I wanted to go again and listen properly. As I had been before, I didn't know if Gaynor Davies the Fiction Editor of WW would recognise me. She did and said hello to me. I was chuffed. She co-presented the workshop with Della Galton. We had a theme to go on for the writing exercises, which as Freedom. I remembered something a friend told me in December about being free at last so used that as the main point for a story. We wrote the beginning,  then had to read our first sentence out. We filled in Della's character development sheet, which gave me an idea about the main character and how to end the story. We also wrote the last sentence of the story, which we were all congratulated on, esp me personally by Gaynor when I said goodbye. Before that, we were given handouts about the common ways that stories are rejected eg predictability and solutions to them. We also got the guidelines.
I really enjoyed the day despite being tired and my head doing a spin during the day from thinking.
I shall write the whole story when I have completed the ghost story for a competition. I already have an idea how it will pan out, I jotted notes down during the day.

I can't wait to go to the next one in April which will be on serial writing.

Monday, 14 March 2016

My Writing Diary - update

So, here is where I am with my writing to date:

My writing came to a halt last weekend when my mum was admitted to hospital after a heart scare. She is back home now and getting better each day. She even went local shopping with me this morning.

Pocket Novel is now complete, but I have yet to start reading through it to check it is OK. Will get to this once I have a day free with 3 time slots available.

Quirky short story is complete and I put it on the story blog for comments today. I hope to get it out to Take a Break's Fiction Feast by the end of this week.

Meantime, I have printed out a ghost story that I wrote a few years ago for an anthology, but was rejected. I have started editing it to revise for a paranormal short story competition by Writing Magazine. The deadline is mid-May so I have plenty of time.

I have also started writing the third and final Mermaid ebook for 9-12s. I am enjoying this one because I have been adding talking sea creatures.

I have also now got a cover for the POD version of The Railway Angel and hope to publish that at the weekend.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Writing diary - what's happening

So, I forgot to post about my writing diary on Monday. I had other things on my mind, mainly closing the sale of my car. I had to get the new owner who had paid me the week before to complete a form so I could send it off to the DVLA. He had been ill. I finally got it all sorted on Wednesday.

Anyway, to the writing. I have finished the pocket novel. I managed to reach 49,919 words, which is near enough to 50k for me. I have revised the synopsis and will type the rest of that up later today. I am going to read through it bit by bit to make sure it all makes sense still, and add more words if I think it needs it.

The quirky short story is finished. I revised it again following comments on the story blog and from Fran Tracey. It is currently with Fran to read through. Meanwhile, I am going to add a bit to the 'wand' story.

And, I have started writing the third and final mermaid ebook. This is Aliona's story and is called 'The Ring Quest'. I am adding more sea life to the story this time, with fish and other creatures. I might even have the hero at the end be attacked by something. We shall see. Nothing too scary, as it's for 9-12 year olds.

I haven't had much to do for my author client as he is working on the third story, which he started to rewrite himself. Will be emailing my editor with the second book, while waiting for illustrations for the first.

I have been emailing my lists with writing ideas and styles along with exercises to go with them. If you want inspiration for a story, either children's or adults, then why not sign up to my newsletter at http://eepurl.com/bwuQav

Oh yes, had a letter in the Daily Mirror the other day. No reword except seeing my name in black and white.

I have decided to enter more writing competitions this year. We shall see how we go.

So, there you have what I have been working on the last 2 weeks. Happy writing.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Writing short stories for womags - My journey so far

As well as wanting to be known as an indie children's author, I want to become a short story womag (women's magazine) writer. It is not as easy as some might think. For the last year I have bought the magazines and read the stories, but have only slightly taken in what they are really about and what the magazines like to publish. I continued this way until a couple of months ago when I posted one of my stories on the Strictly blog for comments. Boy, did I get comments or what. A couple of the writers, who have been successful at womag writing, said that I should take the time out to study the stories properly. So, that is what I started doing, one magazine at a time. I have started with Take a Break's Fiction Feast as that is the magazine that most of my stories I have been writing seem to go to eg quirky or spooky, stories that TaBFF publish a lot of. The only magazine that publish those sort of stories. I have been writing the studies in a nice pink book. I will study more later today. I have already sent 2 stories to this magazine; one in December and one last week.

Other things I have found out about writing short stories for womags, the main character has to relate to the reader, and the story has to flow. More linear. I tried one with flashbacks, but now thinking about it, it did take the reader away from the story a bit. It is now more linear, going from day to day.

The next magazine I will study I think will be Yours. They have one story in the magazine every issue, which is fortnightly. I do know they are stories that have families in, esp grandparents and nostalgia. I usually study stories written by regulars (writers who have had more than 1 published) first then the rest of the stories.

Will be back in a couple of weeks to let you know how I am getting on.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Writing diary - Weeks 5-6

So, what have I been writing these last two weeks, and how far have I got.

The pocket novel - I have been adding scenes throughout the novel where the heroine chats to her work colleague about her romance. Also the hero thinking about his past. Word count is now 49,306, so not far now to reach the 50K that My Weekly want for a pocket novel. I still have to revise the synopsis, but now that I know what is added to the story, I know what to add in that.

Short stories - I finished the edits of the Xmas short story according to the first lots of comments I got on the story blog. Put it on the blog again. I got more positive feedback this time, saying it read better. I still have a few things to add, mainly putting more of the senses in for the ghost, which I will do once I've finished revising the story I'm now working on. I am now revising the quirky short story I wrote in November. I put it on the blog and got lots of comments to make me think. One womag writer, Fran Tracey (Hiya, Fran) messaged me her notes on the story inc bullet points ones for me to read and think about. I have been editing the story according to those, and feel more confident about this story now and where it goes.

I have also started writing fillers or letters to magazines again. I emailed a letter to Healthy yesterday, so shall see what happens about that. Have another one in mind to send to another health magazine, which I might jot down later today.

I have also been updating my writing website www.julieaday.co.uk, as I am rebranding myself as a children's author.

And lastly, I have been emailing my lists about plot and what it isn't, along with exercises. This goes with the writing exercise ebook I have been working on for the last few months.

Next post will be something else about writing. Don't know what yet. Need to think about that one. Maybe about writing short stories for the womag market.

Monday, 8 February 2016

My writing priorities have changed

Over the last month or so my writing priorities have changed. How? Well, I had wanted to write both adult and children's fiction, but I now want to mainly concentrate on writing for children. I still am going to write short stories for womags; that is my second priority, but as for adult fiction? I will continue and complete the 2 ebook series' I have been writing ie Geraldine's Gems and Singleton. I will also write pocket novels, but probably only once a year. I will write them in between the children's books I have planned, and they are many. So, how has it changed for me? I have been helping a new author edit and write his own picture books for children, and have been enjoying it immensely, coming up with ideas for him to work on. Helping him has made me realise that I enjoy writing for children more than adults. He has found this too. I think we both find writing for children much easier than writing adult fiction.

So, here is my current writing plan.

1. Finish the pocket novel I am revising. Near the end. It is now 48K. 2K to go. When I finish that, I shall send it to my editor.
2. Whilst that it being edited, I shall start plotting the third and final mermaid story. I am looking forward to that.
3. When I have written and published that, I shall start reading and revising 'Boring Billy'. Get that edited and publish it myself.
4. Then I shall write and publish the last of Geraldine's Gems.
5. Back to writing for children. Read through Charlie, get it edited and published.
6. During the retreat in May I plan to start writing the next Asperkids ebook which will be about Susie who has a heart problem but can work wonders with her fingers and making tapestries. (Based on me).

I think that is enough for getting on with for now, don't you? Now that I want to specialise in writing for children, that is where my niche lays and I want to help new children's authors feel the way I do about writing that genre. So, my author service has changed too.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Writing diary - Week 4

I wasn't going to write this until next week but fellow womag writer, Jackie Sayle, wanted to know where it is. Here it is, a bit later than planned. I'm starting it from Sunday 24 January (where did that month go?)

Sunday - Worked on the pocket novel. It is now 45,680 words. Getting there.
Also worked on the Xmas story, and it went up to 1515 words. Was told that that is an awkward word count to have for womags so thought I'd cut it to 1200.

Monday - I booked and paid a deposit for the SCBWI writing retreat this year. Can't wait. I get so much writing done during that weekend. Plan to write short stories, start another children's ebook and maybe do some colouring and drawing.

Tuesday - Worked on Xmas story. Cut it down to 1298 words. Put it on the short story blog for comments.
Worked on pocket novel, word count up to 46,078. Feel like I can reach that 50K now.

Wednesday - Author client work day today. Read my client's picture book no 2. Words are simple enough for 5-7s. Emailed lists about plot and what it isn't, with exercise. If you wish to get these ideas and inspiration why not sign up to my newsletter at http://eepurl.com/bwuQav

Thursday - Must have worked on pocket novel and story but it's blank in my planner. I think that was the day I got to read the comments on my Xmas story and they were frank and honest. I am grateful for them, as a couple of them gave me ideas straight away on how to improve the story. It is now a ghost story not a magical one. Had been reading how to write ghost stories by Kathleen McGurl who used to write womag stories. Got an idea from that, too. Reading and analysing more Take a Break's Fiction Feast mag now. Feel that is the first mag I want to get accepted by, even if they are the one mag that keeps all copyright of your story.

Friday - Worked on pocket novel and finished that draft. Hurrah. Now comes to 47,111 words. Still have a few thousand to go, so have decided to create scenes where the heroine chats to her work colleage about her new boyfriend and the romance.

Saturday - Worked on another writing exercise for the ebook I plan to publish later this year. These ones were for children's authors and I enjoyed writing them, that I have now decided to focus on writing for children as my main area of writing from this year. That will be the next post on here.

So that is my writing week just gone. Next time I will post about my diary in a couple of weeks as I plan to do it fortnightly from now on.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Writing diary - Week 3

Here is how I am going.

Saturday - Author biz content day. I was going to go to the first RNA London meeting of the year, but had so much going on during the week I chose not to go. So I worked on content instead. I continued working on m client's picture book stories. I also wrote and typed up more exercises for the writing exercise ebook I am planning to publish, hopefully, later this year. I also had time later in the day to work on the pocket novel. Word count is now 45,219.

Sunday - Worked on the pocket novel and short story.

Monday - Was due to meet author client but he postponed the day before due to snow. So in the morning I had to take something to the hospital then went on to shopping. Had time to work on the pocket novel - word count is now 45,248. Finished editing the short story.

Tuesday - Had first blood test of the week this morning. Getting used to needles now. Typed up new Xmas story. Word count is 494 words.

Wednesday - Author biz day. Worked on finishing my client's picture ebooks, inc adding activities that children can do that are related to the stories. Wrote up in a pad the list of the ebooks that will be in the series. Also, emailed my lists with newsletter about tenses with an exercise. Later on I worked on the pocket novel as getting so near to the end of it. Word count is now 45,487.

Thursday - Had second blood test of the week. (This one for the hospital and my IBS). Worked on pocket novel, Wrote more of the Xmas story now called 'The Magic Wand'. I also emailed a letter to Writing Magazine about retreats.

Friday (today) - No blood tests! Hurrah. Finished a new chapter I started writing for the pocket novel. This concludes the sub plot in it. Wrote more of the Xmas story. Later I shall type up more of the PN.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Writing diary - Week 2

Starting Saturday

Saturday - This is a business day when I work on content. So I typed up and wrote more exercises for the writing exercise book I have been working on.

I blogged on my biz blog about view points.

I also worked on the pocket novel. Word count now 44,124

Sunday - Finished writing the Xmas story.

I typed up more of 'Checkmate' the pocket novel. Word count now 44,891.

Typed up rest of Xmas story. Word count is 2220.

Monday - Only worked in the morning because I had a hospital appointment in the afternoon.

Wrote more of the Pocket Novel.

Added scene to Xmas story. Also wrote out a character description sheet for it, which helped me realise something about the story.

Tuesday - Wrote some more of the pocket novel. Getting near the end.

Edited Xmas story. It's now 1982 words.

Wednesday - Not a lot of work done today as I had a dental appointment which took all morning. Had a large filling done. Tired me out. Only managed to analyse a story from Take a Break's Fiction Feast mag. Have been doing this all week to work out what they like publishing, the format, sentence length etc.

Thursday - Typed up more of Checkmate. Word count going down as I have been deleting scenes as well as adding. Today it finally reached over 45K; it's now 45,267.

Edited story. Now 1985 words. Now that I have worked out what makes a womag short story, I feel I am more confident in writing them. I write and type them up, then I write out a character description sheet and change and add things to make it good.

Friday (today) - Typed up another chapter of Checkmate. Word count gone down to 45,187.
Just edited and added lots to another womag story I wrote during November's NaNoWriMo. But also deleted the ending, so it's now fewer words than it started out as at 783. I wrote out a character description sheet first, which helped me find out what I needed to add, and still do.

That's my writing life for this week.

Friday, 8 January 2016

My writing diary - Week 1

I have been reading an ebook by Monica Leonelle where she has written a blog diary about her writing life and how much she writes during the day. So, I thought I might start one, too, beginning with this week. I know the week hasn't finished yet.

I write in 30 minute blocks because that is all my brain can take with writing in one go.

Day 1 - Sunday
Typed up changes to story called 'Alarm Bells'. This story is now on hold while I think about it some more, as I am not used to writing romance.

Typed up more of the pocket novel called 'Checkmate' and printed off another couple of chapters. Word count at time to typing was 44484, but after revising it had up to 44625.

Day 2 - Monday
Cleaning first thing.
I put 'Alarm Bells' on the story blog, and it was the comments I got on that that made me decide to put it aside for now.
Started writing first Xmas story. This is aimed at the People's Friend. 395 words.
Revised more 'Checkmate' and because I deleted a scene, it has now gone down to 44146.

Day 3 - Tuesday
Wrote more of the Xmas story. Typed that up later in the day. Word count now 514.
Wrote more of 'Checkmate;

Day 4 - Wednesday (business/author day)
I emailed my lists about points of view with an exercise.
I read my author client's second picture book story and added another scene.
I read his first story and matched up the illustrations with where I asked for them.
Later, I had time to work on the Xmas story. Word count is now 899

Day 5 - Thursday
Wrote more of the Xmas story.
Put on another short story to the story blog.
Typed up Xmas story additions. Word count is now 1458.

Day 6 - Friday (today)
Wrote more of the Xmas story.
Emailed an article to editor of an emagazine.
Listened to two podcasts of 1st module to a course.
Wrote some more of the story.
If I have time later, I might write more as it's near the end of it.
Read comments for the second story I put on the story blog, and now have a lot of thinking to do.

Friday, 1 January 2016

2016 Writing goals

So, here is my main writing goals for this new year. Where did 2015 go?

1. To finish the pocket novel I have been rewriting since last October, get it professionally edited, then send it to the editor of My Weekly Pocket Novels. I feel I am on my way with this one, as I am adding a lot to the plot still and getting near the ideal word count of 50K.

2. Continue writing short stories aimed at the women's magazines. Get at least 5 accepted for publication. This one runs over from last year. I have 4 stories out there already; two with The Weekly News, 1 with Woman's Weekly, and 1 with Take a Break's Fiction Feast. I am currently rewriting another aimed for People's Friend, and have another nearly finished for Yours. I am happier about writing these as I found a blog esp for womag writers to put their stories on there for feedback. I have learnt to go with what I have been told by these writers as most of them have been successful with their stories. The one I'm revising now is from their comments about it on the blog.

3. Finish 'Geraldine's Gem's' series. Have one more ebook to write and publish, which I plan to do soon.

4. Possibly start publishing my Asperkids series of ebooks. Want to give the first one 'Billy' a few tweaks before getting it edited. Have ideas on what I want to do with this.

5. Finish 'Mermaid' trilogy. Plan to do this as well later this year.

6. Start publishing my children's ebooks that aren't in print, into print, starting with 'Railway Angel'. This was decided last year when my client told me that his granddaughter likes my books and wanted more of them. So, I will do.

7. Might publish the 'Angels' series as a box set at a cheap price.

8. Starting next week, I am going to record in my new diary planner what I write and type each day, then blog about it all the following week. A public record you could say.

I have a special diary planner to write all these down.

So, what are you writing goals for 2016? Let me know and maybe we can be accountable to each other. Good luck.