May 27th, 2016
Last week I promised that we would be announcing the winners of our Flash Fiction Competition soon… and here they are:
1st Prize (£300 and a course of her choice) – Alyson Hilbourne with ‘Searching’.
2nd Prize (£200 and a course of her choice) – Gail Armson with ‘Heaven and Earth’.
3rd Prize (£100 and a course of her choice) – Maxine Sinclair with ‘Blind Date’.
You can view them all on our website and I’m sure you’ll agree that they all pack a great punch in a small number of words. Both Gail and Maxine are students of the Writers Bureau, which just goes to show that our methods really do work! Read the rest of this entry »
May 20th, 2016
Last week I mentioned that we’d soon be able to announce the winners of our Flash Fiction Competition. We had well over 500 entries and it’s been quite easy to whittle these down to a shortlist. But when we got that shortlist – and this year there were 25 stories on it - it became very difficult to choose the actual winners as the quality of all of them was so good.
I find it hard to enjoy the brevity that goes with a flash fiction story that is only 50 or 100 words – there’s just not enough ‘depth’ for me. But give a good writer 500 words to play with and they can create a piece that really resonates with the reader. We’ve more or less made our decision now and we should be announcing it next week – so watch this space, and I feel sure you’ll agree with me. Read the rest of this entry »
May 13th, 2016
I’m rather tired of all the hoo-hah about sats exams. They were interviewing some children on BBC’s One Show last Monday and the majority of them didn’t seem half as ‘stressed’ or up-tight about the issue as their parents and teachers. Plus, when they asked parents, grandparents and children to sit a mock exam the children romped into the lead.
But the most interesting part was the fact that the person conducting the report for the BBC only achieved 43% (the average for the children was 74%)but when the studio guest, German comedian Henning When, took the test his mark was 73%. Does this show that the Germans are ahead of us in the league tables? Or does it just go to prove that having to learn a foreign language (in his case English) helps you to get to grips with grammar? Read the rest of this entry »
May 6th, 2016
This week is something of a miscellany because there are a few things I want to mention. First, I can’t say I was really surprised when I heard that the two-month old newspaper, New Day, from the Trinity Mirror group was closing down.
I’m a hybrid when it comes to getting my news fix. I pick up what I want online, still enjoy sitting down and watching bulletins on TV and then I buy a big, bulky, satisfying newspaper on Sunday and thoroughly enjoy it. I love the supplements, the in-depth features and the fact that the coverage it gives is still truly international. There’s a postal strike in Venezuela that’s been going on for the last month? Wow, how could I live without that snippet! Read the rest of this entry »
April 29th, 2016
If you’ve been reading my blog posts for a while you may already be familiar with my views on 50 Shades of Grey. I found the first book not particularly well written, not particularly interesting and not particularly erotic – and soon decided that life was too short to read the sequels or watch the film. So why, you might ask, have I now downloaded the latest heavily publicised erotic thriller Maestra, by L S Hilton. The truth is, I couldn’t resist the hype in the Guardian and The Sunday Times.
I’m now half way through and so far I can report that it goes along at a cracking pace with a reasonably interesting plot. It’s well written and isn’t all about sex – but where it does crop up I suspect the terms used to describe it would certainly make Anastasia Steele’s ‘Inner Goddess’ blush. The main negative: I’m finding the constant lists of what the ‘heroine’, Judith, buys and the designer name-dropping incredibly irritating. At the end of the day, it’s a glorified sex-and-shopping novel and I suspect I won’t be panting to read the proposed sequel. Read the rest of this entry »