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The Beauty Of Books…

August 24th, 2018

First, thanks to Roz for last week’s post. I’ve just started reading her book, ‘The Devil’s Dice’,  and I’m thoroughly enjoying it!

Talking about reading, I’ve had a bad back for the last couple of weeks, so I haven’t been as active as usual; so that  means I’ve had much more time to read. And have I used that time! Of the books I’ve read there are three that really stand out.

The first is ‘The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star’ by Vaseem Khan. It’s part of a series about a private investigator in Mumbai and his sidekick – a baby elephant called Ganesha. It does for India what the Number One Ladies Detective Agency did for Botswana. It’s not high literature, but it’s well written, heart-warming and makes you care about the characters. And it doesn’t shy away from the problems faced by the less well-off citizens of the country. I’ll certainly be dipping into the series again. Read the rest of this entry »




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Winner of Student Only Short Story Competition

August 15th, 2018

Liz GouldsTwice a year we run a student only competition. This time we asked students for a 300-word short story. We had a stack of entries to go through and after much deliberation we made our choice. So congratulations to Liz Goulds for her wonderful story:

The Spice of Life Read the rest of this entry »




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Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

May 25th, 2018

“Sometimes you just have to put your money where your mouth is.” This is what best-selling writer Jo Jo Moyles said in her interview with the Guardian when she was talking about the funding she is providing for Quick Reads. For those of you who don’t know, Quick Reads publishes a series of short, simple books that might appeal to the one in six adults in the UK with reading difficulties. The scheme, established in 2006, is designed to encourage reading and hopefully give slow readers more confidence and help them to move on to full-length books.

I think it’s a brilliant scheme, but there have been funding difficulties and the threat of closure has been hanging over it. When she heard this, the author offered to provide resources to keep it going for three years, providing a lifeline which would give it the opportunity to work on finding additional funding. When you can read fluently, you tend to take it for granted. Nothing beats the pleasure of a good book;  it’s easy to find information when you need it and understanding and filling in forms isn’t a serious problems. But, if your reading isn’t fluent then you’re missing out on so much and life is far less smooth. So, Quick Reads can now start commissioning new books again and I wish them well! This is definitely one organisation that deserves a helping hand. Read the rest of this entry »




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What’s YOUR Motivation?

May 18th, 2018

First, thanks to Vicki for last week’s post. I think she’s right when she says that nearly everyone who has had a burning desire to write probably remembers the motivation that first prompted them to pursue their dream.

But for some people, it’s maintaining that motivation when things don’t seem to be going right that’s a problem. Your cherished novel has been rejected…and rejected…and rejected. That fascinating article about your trip to the saffron fields of Morocco just doesn’t seem to be catching the eye of a travel editor. Your carefully crafted short story hasn’t been short-listed in yet another competition.  At some point, any writer can start to feel that perhaps they just haven’t got what it takes. Read the rest of this entry »




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Getting Your Writing Ready to Self-Publish

May 4th, 2018

First, thanks to Jackie for last week’s blog. Self-publishing is turning out to be the preferred option for many writers these days and over the next couple of months we’ll be looking at others who have made this choice, not because they couldn’t get a mainstream publisher, but because they preferred the freedom and control it offers.

But if you are going to publish your own work then you need to employ a first-class proofreader/copy-editor or be very confident that you have the skills needed to do the work properly yourself. There’s nothing puts people off more than buying a book (whether online or a print copy) and finding it full of typos, stilted sentences and inconsistencies. I borrowed a book recently from the library (produced by a reputable publisher). There were lots of typos and someone who had read it before me had marked each one lightly in pencil. I don’t condone defacing books but I could understand the irritation that had prompted the previous reader to action. Read the rest of this entry »




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