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This month we have expert advice from Simon Whaley on how to connect with other writers using conferences. Ten Top Tips covers how to create a sense of place in your writing, student successes are as pleasing as ever. Inspiration does its job and Useful Websites covers the tricky world of online profiles.

Hello Lovely Readers,

It’s April! Did you get caught out by an April fools? I think it helped that this year it was a bank holiday for most. If you do have any great tales to tell, let me know so we can all have a good laugh.

Did you enjoy Easter and are you suitably sick of chocolate yet? I am. I don’t eat much to begin with, so a couple of eggs are close to an overdose amount for me. Easter weekend also marked the move into British summertime. Come on, how many of you forgot and turned up an hour late to work on Tuesday? I’m glad of the lighter nights but, honestly, the weather is not very Spring like here in the UK. There’s lots of sun, but we’re still shivering.

Anyway, enough of that and on to business! Simon Whaley provides the expert advice for us again this month. His article shows you how to avoid getting lonely by reconnecting with the ‘real world’ at writers’ conferences. For more on the downside of being a full-time freelance writer see the weekly mini-blog – Writers and Depression – Part 1 and Part 2.

How much do you think about the setting of your novel? Not much, I bet. To be fair, a lot of writers neglect this area, preferring to concentrate on the characters and the plot, but this is a mistake. The setting creates the mood of the book and is vital for creating the right atmosphere – read Ten Top Tips to find out more.

Student Successes are great – they always are. There are lots and lots of you having publication success and self-publishing e-books too. There are a couple of people in the forum giving details of the books they currently have available on Amazon, why not have a look?

Useful Websites looks at what you put online about yourself and how to deal with it when you want things removed. I am sure we’ve all posted things online that we wish we hadn’t. This is fine when it’s just your mates seeing it. But, when you want to launch yourself as a professional, you need to be sure that when people Google your name it doesn’t list a plethora of pictures and facebook posts of you falling over drunk or half naked! Not that I am suggesting that you parade around drunk and half-naked – I am just being extreme to make a point. So, I’ve linked to a couple of very interesting articles, including some cautionary tales that’ll show you what can happen to your online profile and what you can do to change it.

Like the conferences I mentioned earlier, workshops are another great way to get out and about when you are a writer. And, if you are around the Bath area in May, you could pop along to the Writer Know Thyself workshop at the New Oriel Hall on the 18th. The workshop is being run by Mimi Thebo, an American author with ten books under her belt, and the price is £45.

And finally, keep your eyes open for the Course of the Week (COTW) on Twitter and Facebook for a £25 reduction on selected course fees.

Enjoy and, until next month, keep writing!

Shelley

P.S. The annual Short Story Competition is now accepting entries – you could win £500!