Diary of a Writer – March Prompt

Holidays will come again.

Meantime the DH and I are trawling through his digital photograph collection and are scratching the surface of the ?k (he’s reluctant to state a number) taken in India. The one above is from a trip to the US, but the rucksack goes everywhere.

How is this a prompt?

Bengal, Rajasthan and the return visit to Agra and Delhi were so full of interest, it’s difficult to know where to start. and I haven’t.

However, the magazines are currently looking for their summer and autumn stories featuring exotic places, so there may be an opportunity.

Will it be one of the truly fabulous palaces, the museum housing silver howdas, the museum of turbans? Or will it be one of the stories collected along the way? The sponsored tuk-tuk rally, for example?

Mirror work

This picture is  of a member of a dancing act whose memorable performance was quite different to anything I’ve seen in the UK. India is also a great place to visit puppet theatres.

All in all, that one month has huge potential for story telling and now, when we can’t go anywhere as vibrant, colourful and different, might be the time to start remembering.

Anne

Diary of a Writer – Coping Mechanisms 2

A Quality Product

Morning regular readers. You’ve seen this photo before but it’s very much the time of year. Despite Brexit, marmalade oranges were available, if not in the quantity I wanted. One bag turned into enough of the preserve for three months and another frozen for later on. My neighbour has made two batches. For me it was a good escape into something ‘real’ while awaiting the ed’s decision on the most recent serial instalment.

My decision to avoid shopping in this phase of the pandemic is frustrating and inhibiting. How anyone required to shield coped, I cannot imagine. Congratulations on your perseverance.

While I had laid in a few things, like cards for known upcoming birthdays, I’ve been caught out by others. I only wear a particular type of slipper and I buy it in John Lewis. Currently closed, they will deliver, but is a new pair of slippers an essential item? The current ones haven’t actually fallen apart.

However, this blog is supposed to be about coping and not falling apart. Quite hard that      ( ed).

Indeed.

  1. Have gone back to doing the Scotsman cryptic crossword as well as the codeword.
  2. There’s now outside building work on the other side. Men at work to watch.
  3. I am enjoying Mansefield Park. It has demonstrated to me how empty the lives of upper-middle-class people were and how very dependant they were on each other for society. Even the young men of the family had little to occupy them besides, hunting, shooting and gambling.
  4. Very good lectures in the past week from Royal Botanic Garden and Royal Lyceum Theatre.
  5. Put in my entry for the ‘name the van’ comp being run by Lochinver Pies. Also, am included in order for some of said pies. Yippee!
  6. Did some serious researching and thinking around how the serial will end.

Okay, enough. How is your life ticking over? What are you cooking/eating/buyingonline/reading?

Anne

 

 

 

Diary of a Writer – January Prompting – 2021

There have been several positives in 2020 but it’s difficult to claim any that outweigh the horrors of Covid-19. Therefore, I won’t try.

Some of you followed my Lockdown Diary. It was the day by day record of how things were chez Anne. I think it showed the loving attention of family, friends and colleagues that helped with the sheer pressure of the constraints we all lived under. I remain grateful for that loving attention.

Here’s the roundup of the rest…

1.) Yes, it is a bath-mat as the January prompt. It is a bath-mat with no added mould. I expect you’re all better housekeepers than me and knew that rolling the mat and standing it on its end drains it best. Triumph of 2020 – haven’t had to replace the bath-mat. Thanks to visiting retired doctors H & M who left the shower mat in this position and triggered the practice.

Why a prompt? – well, just shows old, elderly, dogs can pick up new tricks.

2.) I have lost weight. Thanks to another doctor and his wife, Michael Moseley and Clare Bailey, I took onboard the belief that being lighter would help me if I caught Covid-19. No fancy diets just two tracks for the train of mental belief to circulate on. One from my daughter – “If you don’t want to eat it, don’t buy it.” One from a friend (also a retired doctor) “A little starving, really.”

Why a prompt? – It’s restored a lot of my wardrobe and a certain amount of self-belief.

3.) A note in a friend’s Christmas card telling me that A Debt for Rosalie now sits on his shelves beside his copies of Scott and Shakespeare.

Why a prompt? – positive affirmation is good for all writers.

4.) Lots of little things and they mostly appeared in the Lockdown Diary. Horrible as it was, 2020 saw me publish two Pocket Novels, re-read a friend’s letters from the early 70s, re-read piles of Georgette Heyer, finish lots of knitting projects and complete some new ones.

What were your own 2020 achievements? Did you also come to view your prioities in a different light?

Happy New Year

Anne

A Debt for Rosalie

Christmas at Maldington

CHRISTMAS AT MALDINGTON

Christmas at Maldington

Genni Kilpatrick is disillusioned with the celebrity circuit and when someone dies on a game show she is hosting, escapes her normal life for the peace of Maldington House. Will directing a live panto help her re-balance? Does local businessman, Paddy Delford, have anything to do with a growing attraction for the area?

Available from today for two weeks in big supermarkets and newsagents or by post from DC Thomson’s shop.

0800 904 7260 (UK) or  + 44 (0) 1382 575 322 (overseas) 8am-6pm, Mon- Fri

Take your seat…

Anne

 

Diary of a Writer – December Prompt

Stella's Christmas Wish: The Perfect Christmas Treat by [Kate Blackadder]

Six days before Christmas, Stella must rush home to Scotland when her grandmother is taken to hospital. As she reconnects with her past, old flames are rekindled, and as Christmas fast approaches, Stella begins to wonder if her most heartfelt wish can come true?

I was reading Anne Stormont’s Put It in Writing post this morning and was impressed by her admission that, although a usually ‘later’ Christmas celebrant, she was planning on putting up her tree early and had been reading Christmas novels.

We know – the year is not normal. However, it did make me wonder why Christmas themed stories are enduringly popular and why people can and do read them at anytime of the year.

I wonder whether the Christmas bubble is one more ring of protection from the outside world? Is it a place to escape to where everything is, if not perfect, at least populated by characters who are trying to be nice, and good, or even just civil to one another?

Of course, books and stories about and for Christmas are written far in advance to make publishing deadlines. Once out there, however, they’re available for us to dip back into. Like Capital Writer, Kate Blackadder’s moving story about Stella.

Capital Writers produced a coffee-break collection of Christmas themed stories:

Capital Christmas Stories is a collection of festive Christmas Tales by the little writing group I’m a member of in Edinburgh. It’s available here

There’s also our spooky collection of which three are ghost stories and that’s a genre always popular at Christmas, too.

That’s all for now – Woops!

Here’s a Christmas one I wrote earlier.

CHRISTMAS AT MALDINGTON

Genni escapes for some much needed recovery after a death on her television show. She meets Paddy and directs a pantomime. Love of live theatre rekindled, will she return to the brighter lights of London?

Publication is 10th December and as always available from newsagents, supermarkets and online or by phone from the DC Thomson shop.

That is it for now,

Anne

 

Diary of a Writer -November?

With the help of the knitters of Mayfield Salisbury Parish church, the above box of blanket squares is now on its way to The Sunday Sock. It was on that blog that I discovered the OCS (Operation Christmas Sock) blanket square pattern. The national charity, Crisis, accepts socks for distribution to clients. Because of their different arrangements this year, blankets are also being distributed. Because a blanket is large, the Sunday Sock Blogger was looking for others to knit a few squares. The knitters of Mayfield Salisbury did not disappoint. Thank you all.

Knitting has always been one of my passions.The passion flower was photographed on a recent meander around Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden. What an asset the Garden is.

I should say writing, or story-telling, has also and is one of my passions, but what with one thing and another…

Still working on that serial. Still cudgeling the brains for a prompt or theme or even the glimour of an idea for the next pocket novel. Or even a short story.

 

One I wrote earlier is The Cemetery House and its in Dark Stories by Capital Writers.

Lockdown Lore – October rolls through

 

Going Nowhere Slow: Autumn into Winter

In those halcyon days when one could meet friends in a properly organised local restaurant, Black Ivy, for an evening meal, conversation turned to other local writers. One of my friends asked whether I was aware of David Muir’s series of diary-type books about our local area – and everything else under the sun.

 

I wasn’t – but I am now. Going Nowhere Slow – Autumn into Wonter is on my coffee table.

Muir is a retired science teacher and regular contributor to the New Scientist. He’s also had some imposed time taking life slowly after knee surgery and perhaps out of that comes these books.

As they are a retirement project and teachers do often retire at the end of the summer term, the first book is valid now. Therefore, I’m bringing it to your notice while you might still find the mushrooms, or are they toadstools, growing in your own back green. What purpose a review when it’s time to move onto vol 2 Winter into Spring?

Going Nowhere Slow: Winter into Spring

This sort of book fills the Non-fiction slot I referred to in this month’s Round Robin admirably. It has sound science, it’s conversational in style, the writer doesn’t take himself too seriously while not falling into the overly chummy/silly brigade. I’m reading the diary entries as October rolls through – Lockdown needs this type of light in our growing darkness.

By the way, talking of darkness, a new anthology of Hallowe’en shivers is coming from Capital Writers – live, or dead, on 31st, for your kindle.

For regular diary readers – he won the scrabble last night. I was left with three ‘i’s and the ‘z’. Honestly – where does one go with that? Am re-reading Cousin Kate – that’s scary enough. What a brilliant writer Heyer was.

Anne

 

Diary of a Writer – Out of Lockdown – really?

Colour Mine Autumn

Are we out of Lockdown – no, not really. Avoiding shopping, buses, eating out and friends, relatives and neighbours is becoming all too familiar. Three cheers for Zoom, the telephone and knitting. DH and I couldn’t get slots for the Botanics at the weekend as they had all gone. While that is very good news for the Botanics, it’s a bit disappointing for us. We contented ourselves with a walk up to the local cemetery where the size and variety of trees in their autumn colours is good. Also collected some free cooking apples from a kind gardener – who’d posted both a notice and a bag of carrier bags. Thank you.

And the knitting? Nearly finished a child’s cardigan and making good progress with a sweater. Also doing some charity knitting. Crisis at Christmas will be operating differently this year as dormitory accommodation won’t do. Consequently the people who knit for them on a regular, year by year basis have been asked for blankets as well as socks. A younger relative has blogged about this and I’ve downloaded the details. Several of my friends are stepping up and we should manage a 20 square blanket in time.

CAPITAL WRITERS

                                                      Jane riddell

Kate B at Penrith

Jennifer Young

These lovely ladies are my partners in Capital Writers. Together we’ve published

Capital Collection

Separately, there are many more titles. But, drumroll, there’s another joint effort planned for Hallowe’en. Darker, grittier and altogether appropriate for sparklers and baked potatoes…

Call back for details.

Anne

 

Diary of a Writer – October Prompt

Place is a strong prompt and motivator for my writing. Houses in particular spark my imagination.

I’ve said before that I don’t see people walking through walls – but hey, it’s a Hallowe’en story I’m in need of inspiration for. Who might have walked through the walls above or even entered by the doors?

Capital Collection by [Kate Blackadder, Jane Riddell, Anne Stenhouse, Jennifer Young]

If you’ve enjoyed Capital Writers’ short stories before, then look out for our upcoming collection for Hallowe’en. Details to follow.

That apart, I’m working on a serial set in mid-nineteenth century Edinburgh. 1869 was a year like no other. From the People’s Friend to Sainsbury’s the world changed.

Anne

Courting the Countess Kindle Edition

Diary of a Writer – September Prompt

The power of the sea is awesome but, as this picture tells us, can take time. How many years would it need for the waves to carve this bridge from the bank?

I’ve been on a holiday. First vsit for me to the islands of Tiree and Coll in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides. Tiree week blessed by wonderful weather, Coll more mixed, but “We weren’t kept in…”

The depth of this wall indicates that Tiree’s weather isn’t always benign. However, the modernised thatched cottage was a delight and very comfy. A lot of reading was done, but not so much writing – I was on hols. However, the endless beaches, the history implicit in the surviving thatched cottages, the opportunity for skullduggery in the excellent bird hides (we saw a male hen harrier) and the more modern story-lines underpinned by paddle-boarding expeditions, whale-watching boats and arriving in a small plane were rich fodder indeed.

Coll is more undulating and has ‘Big Hooses’ – called castles in fact. As I’ve said before, place haunts my subconscious. I really enjoyed walking among the castles and their outbuildings – some of the most extensive I’ve encountered and much of the complex now turned into holiday accommodation. The castles are both still privately occupied so tours weren’t an option. Sigh!

New Breachacha Castle, Coll

Boswell and Johnson were entertained in this one, though, so I might be able to learn a little about the interior from them.

Our actual berth on Coll was in the newly extended Isle of Coll Inn where we were blissfully content in a re-furbished room and so well-fed. Excellent local seafood and fish formed the mainstay of the menus and as I enjoy both, but don’t really cook seafood, that was also a delight.

Many of us will by now have taken tentative steps back to pre-Covid normality. I feel priviliged to have made this trip and mentally both rested and stimulated by it. I hope all of you will find the confidence to start going out again. Scary, I know. We did find the hotel very safety conscious, the ferry operators likewise and there was the wonderful Mhor 84 to break the journey where social distancing was also much in evidence.

Anne