Saturday, 31 December 2016

DECEMBER 31ST 2016 It's been a strange year......

As 2016 draws to a close, I have decided to stop posting on Facebook, other than in any groups I belong to.  The time has come to seek new friends, friends i can touch and actually talk to, have a cup of tea, a glass of wine, or go for a walk with.
I find it hard to be myself on Facebook. To me, it feels false, offering comfort to people I have never met or oohing and aaahing over babies and pets I will never actually see. I would rather meet up with people, or tlak on the phone. Make a real connection rather than a virtual one. From now on, I would like to try to be honest in the way I live my life as I can possibly be.
I am not working today. Instead, I am clearing the decks, tidying up and making my first ever lemon posset. Tonight, I will dine on my favourite roast lamb with roast potatoes and parsnips, continue fighting off this annoying winter cold, watch Going Postal, a brilliant adaptation of the Terry Pratchett novel, then see the New Year in with Robbie Williams. With any luck, I can sing along with him, providing he chooses the right songs.
I hope we all have a happy New Year and that our wishes and dreams all start to come true. May you find love and happiness and above all, peace. HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone.  

Wednesday, 28 December 2016


When I started blogging again, I wanted it t be honest. I could talk  about my writing life and leave it at that but I wanted to show that even if you are on your own, have suffered from depression for decade and have no family or partner, you can still write successfully. Writing can be such an escape, I was hoping to share that with other people. I am now having second thoughts. I had a truly dire Christmas. I was sad lonely and desperately miserable. But I didn't want to say that. I know my Christmas wasn't the worst in the world, not even in the top billion, but it was the worst Christmas for me.
I don't want to argue with other people. I can't get into yes, but at least that didn't happen to you, or at least you're well. I am therefore calling a halt. From now on I will only talk about writing. My private life, except on a surface level, will not be involved. Just remember though, when you read abut my future successes and all the good thigns that happen to me, that there are other layers you don't know about. It can be tempting to envy other people's lives but we never know what anyone else's life is really like unless we are living it.
Today I finished working on part one of my new serial and added some more plot lines to parts two and three. I have now sent it off to The People's Friend to see whether they like it. 
As it can be tempting to spend all my time writing stories. Ideas come so easily to me. I need to find another way to work so that I can spend time on longer works and more books for writers.  I have tired all kinds of schedules and timetables with no success.
For the rest of the year, I have forbidden myself from writing any more womag stories, thereby forcing myself to give something else a go.  I COULD start work on the novels but, and even as I type this, it feels like an excuse, I would rather wait until I have moved. At the moment, that still feels like a lifetime away.
I have been working on a follow up to my ideas book for ages. Maybe I can finish that... It's worth a try....Meanwhile, if there's anything about writing that you'd like me to talk about on this blog, do let me know.
I never did get that fifty second sale. Not much chance now so I'll have to be happy with fifty one. If I can sell that many stories next year, I'll be delighted. 
See you in 2017! 

Tuesday, 27 December 2016


I really didn’t enjoy Christmas. I had no presents save one I gave myself. Nobody knocked at the door and nobody phoned. There were no guests at the dinner table either. The problem is,  I don’t have any family and the people I know hereabouts are busy with their own families which is exactly the  way it should be.
Please don’t feel sorry for me. I was warm and comfortable and had plenty of excellent food including a beautifully cooked turkey crown. (I'm actually not a bad cook!)
I passed the time watching way too much Christmassy telly and beating my lodger at Trivial Pursuit.
I watched the Christmas day service from Bristol Cathedral and imagined what my Christmas might be like next year. The idea is that once I’ve moved back to Devon, to make much more of an effort to get out and about and meet people. Top of the list is to find somewhere to sing, even if that means joining a church choir.  I have found that hard to do in Leeds as it’s that bit too big to get around easily by public transport. I don’t drive which doesn’t help. Exeter is so much more compact.
I forced myself to take two days off from writing. I also took a break from working through my new self help book – Self Parenting by John Pollard. Working through this book is helping me on so many levels. I finally think I may have found something that really helps me to learn how to love myself. Having spent my life, not even liking myself, that, to me is HUGE. 
In case you're wondering, and why wouldn't you be - the photo was taken at this year's Swanwick. It's definitely NOT  me and my lodger having a party! 
Today, I have been working on a serial, aimed at The People’s Friend. I have just finished part one. It had to be expanded from 3300 words to 5500 to suit that market which means I have written more than two thousand words today which is good. Even better is that I’ve enjoyed every moment.
I’m not sure how often I will be doing these blog posts so in case it’s a while – HAPPY NEW YEAR and a big big thank you to everyone who has read my posts or left any comments. I appreciate that so much. 

Tuesday, 20 December 2016


I have been asked how I managed to sell my first story to the People's Friend having been rejected by them for TEN YEARS.
The point was I didn't really believe I could write for them.  I am not a 'typical' PF reader. I have no family so have no experience of grandchildren, family Christmases etc etc.
I used to target them for a while, then give up for months then have another go. I might have given up completely but at the time I was giving talks to various groups about writing stories for magazines.The audiences were  mainly older people, and the magazine that most of them had read was the People's Friend. I felt like a fraud as I had never been published by them.  Basically I made up my mind to crack the market.
Over a month or so, I bought the weeklies and specials and saved them up. Then I spent a weekend doing nothing but readi8ng and studying the stories.
As I read, I thought about the emotions the stories evoked and how they made me feel. Then I pictured a typical reader in my head. Warning! This amounts to stereotyping which can be dangerous. The fact is that the readers of PF are very varied in age, interests, outlook; everything really but that wasn't helping me to target them. What I had to do was make up a pretend reader so that I could write my stories for her. Once I got to know this imaginary person, and what she wanted from stories, I was able to write fiction SHE would want to read, rather than stories I might like to read.  .
It must have worked because they bought the next story I sent to them.
If you're finding it hard to break into this market, why not give this a go? Don't wrote for you. Write fo your ideal, made up, imaginary reader and see if that works for you. If it does, do let me know.

The picture shows me dressed as a man for the opening scene of the Barnbow Canaries, the play I was delighted to be a part of in the summer..

Now for a bit abut me and where I am at the moment.
I am in a muddle. Still waiting for definite news about my move, although things DO appear to be happening at last.
As some of you may know, I have issues. Depression, low self esteem, lack of slef belief being just a few of them. I am now trying a new therapy using a book I just happened to find in the recycling centre. It's called SELF PARENTING and it's by John Pollard. I started working through it four days ago and it's already having an affect. The basic idea is a simple one. That we 'parent' ourselves in the same way that our parents parented us. It's helped me to see that although I can love more or less everybody and have enormous patience with people, I don't treat myself that way. I spent my life not even liking myself and being harsh and critical when I failed to get things right. Using the book, I am learning how to treat myself with kindness and love.
I won't kid you that it's easy. It isn't. I am all over the place right now thanks to the emotional shaking up I am giving msyelf but I really do think it's working. I will keep you posted.
Oen side effect is that I am not even trying to write stories at the moment. I am giving msyelf tiem and sapce to heal because if I can acheive that, I can achieve so much more too.
Watch this space.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Moving, or maybe not....NEW FEEDBACK SERVICE LAUNCHED.

Hit a stumbling block.
The people I'm buying from in Exeter can't move until the first week of February, which I can live with. Just.
The trouble is, my buyer doesn't want to wait and has threatened to pull out. He seems serious too. Oh well, the joys of moving...

To my surprise, a copy of My Weekly has just arrived with another of my Christmas stories inside. I'd forgotten about that one so that makes FIVE festive sales this year. Not bad at all.

To celebrate, I'm launching my own feedback service to help other people get those sales.
For £10 paid via Paypal I will look at a rejected story and offer you my thoughts on why it didn't get accepted.  If I can offer advice as to how to improve it, I will.
Or maybe you want to send a story to a magazine but don't quite dare. Why not let me see it first? Then I can tell you what its strengths and weaknesses are.

To take advantage of this service, you MUST say which magazine the story was written for. 

Payment can be made via Paypal to my email address

Monday, 12 December 2016

Moving, I hope....

A quick update on my move. My purchaser is champing at the bit, keen to confirm everything for January 9th whilst I am waiting to hear from the Exeter end. I have just called my wonderful estate agent (Your Move, Crossgates, ask for Sandra) who is going to chase everything for me. I have had nothing. No contract, no property information form. I even wrote a letter and have had no response to that. It would be easy to panic and worry but I have finally figured out that worrying is useless. What will happen, wil happen, whether I worry or not. If things do go pear shaped, I will just find another house to buy.
Of course, I may not be actively worrying but the situation is always in the forefront of my mind which doies not help when it comes to being creative. I have only finished one new story so  far this month, way behind my target, so I will put moving out of my head and crack on.
Don’t forget to check out my post on Patsy Collins womagwriter blog where I reveal the secrets to my success regarding Christmas stories.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Catching Up

It's been a while since I blogged..... Sadly I'm still single....
On the home front, a lot has happened.

I moved, again, this time to a lovely big airy light filled hose in a quiet cul de sac. I did it up the way I wanted, fixed everything that needed fixing and was still unhappy.
A short holiday to Devon, where I lived from 1994 to 2009 helped me to see that I need to leave Leeds. I need to go back to a place I thought I'd left for good.   A place with history. I was living in Exeter when my husband died in 1997. It was also where my mother lived and in case you don't; know, she was a HORRIBLE woman. Happily tiem has healed enough of the pain so that I can return to a place where I feel more comfortable.
It's an odd thing, that sense of belonging to a place. That lightness you feel when you go somewhere that suits you. I feel that way in various places including Edinburgh and in Scarborough but it's to Exeter that I want to return. .
Nothing definite yet, but if things work out, I hoe to be moving back there in January. It will mean another unsettled period when I don't write as much. My short story sales will take a dip but as I was bale to prove this year, I can catch up.
The first half of 2016 didn't bring many sales. . I spent several months staying in other people's houses after selling my previous house in October 2015. After moving here in January this year, I spent a lot of time working on the house and garden but in the end I managed to catch up. At the moment, I have sold fifty one stories this year which is amazing. . It would be great to get to fifty two - one a week, but you can't have everything. 
I have also found a new epublisher who has produced new versions of my writers guides, two of which are new. I am especially proud of HOW TO WRITE STORIES WITH TWIST ENDINGS but I don't want this to be a market place.
If you want to buy my books, you can check out my author page on Amazon. They're all listed there. Here's where I want to show you that for me at least, writing really is easy.

I hope to post every week but with a move coming up soon, that might not work out. Much depends on how quickly I get set up once I'm in Devon. .....
Meanwhile if you want to ask any questions, message me on twitter -  @writingiseasy