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Spring Inspiration

February 22nd, 2019

First, thanks to Cheryl for last week’s blog. It just goes to show how rewarding perseverance can be but there are times when you really do have to try, try, and try again if you want to achieve your goal, whether it’s finishing your novel or seeing it into print!

Incidentally, if you are interested in self-publishing, then you might want to consider attending the 7th Self-Publishing Conference at Leicester University on Saturday, 27th April.  The organisers say that it’s: “…the perfect day for authors thinking about, or already involved in, self-publishing their work. Whether you are going it alone or using a self-publishing company, this conference offers multiple sessions on a wide variety of topics.” And at £70 including a delegate’s pack, morning coffee, buffet lunch, afternoon tea, a drinks reception and a choice from more than 16 sessions on different aspects of the business it sounds really good value for money. Read the rest of this entry »




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Limerick Competition Open For Entries

April 20th, 2018

First, thanks to Claire for last week’s blog. For me, it demonstrates two things. First, that writing isn’t an easy option. You really have to work at it if you hope to succeed. And second, if you feel you’re working on something good, you should follow your own path and not just go with the flow.

We’ve been hearing for ages that novels should be a minimum of 70,000 words, or they are hard to market, and that novellas and collections of short stories don’t sell unless they are written by someone famous. But Claire’s experience disproves this – they will sell if you persevere and find the right way to get your message to the reading public.

While we’re on the subject of novellas, I’ve just read that ‘Nightflyers’, by George RR Martin is being turned into a ten-part TV series to debut on Syfy (and Netflix) later this year. I’m a great fan of Game of Thrones and can’t wait for the final series to be ready. But I have to admit that since production outran the actual writing of the novels episodes do seem more run-of-the-mill and less riveting. Read the rest of this entry »




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Show Don’t Tell

October 7th, 2016

the-japanese-lover-blogYesterday was National Poetry Day – if you took part in any way I hope you enjoyed yourself. To mark the event we’ve been offering £25 off our Art of Writing Poetry course and this offer will be available until 16th October.  So if you fancy brushing up your poetry skills, now’s the time to do it.

I live in Rochdale, near Manchester. It doesn’t often get good press. Some parts come very high on the list of most deprived areas in the UK, there was the grooming scandal involving young girls and who could miss the allegations against Cyril Smith the former Liberal MP.

But it’s a town that’s set amidst beautiful  Pennine countryside,  it has some truly outstanding Victorian buildings and it’s really trying to put all that behind it and move on.  One of the many ways it’s doing this is by holding an annual literary festival later in the month. Read the rest of this entry »




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Literary Summer Breaks

July 7th, 2016

buxton-blogMost people are familiar with the Costa Book Awards but since 2012 they’ve also been doing a Short Story Award.

In order to choose the winner, the public votes for six shortlisted stories that have been chosen by the five judges. You can download and listen to, or read, all the shortlisted stories at the appropriate time. I’m quite looking forward to this stage, as the shortlisted entries are invariably of a high standard and you can learn a lot from the way they are crafted. It also gives you a clue as to what the public enjoys and you might want to take this into account when you’re putting together your own entries for future competitions. Read the rest of this entry »




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Living the Literary Lifestyle

August 10th, 2015

life-in-squares-blogFirst, thanks to Vincent for last Friday’s blog. It’s always good to see how authors from different countries approach their writing – but I suspect the sentiments he expressed are pretty universal!

Have you been watching the BBC drama Life in Squares? I must admit that I saw the first episode and then started to find it rather tedious. That’s possibly because when forced to read and analyse copious amounts of Virginia Woolf’s work for my degree I found it something of a chore. ‘Stream of consciousness’, and the Bloomsbury set in general, aren’t really my cup of tea. Read the rest of this entry »




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