Diary of a Writer – July Prompt

Diary of a Writer and already the year has reached July. The Scottish schools are now on holiday and the suburban area I live in will be quiet-ish for the next two weeks as many folk just pack up and go immediately for their break.

I say quiet-ish as someone is digging up the road. Has its benefits of course because traffic is scared off by four-way controls.

What’s happening in this writer’s household and brain to act as a prompt? So, regular visitors will have seen this picture already.

He left us safely, but it is still raining and last night there was thunder and lightening, too. Joys of a heatwave.

I feel the young roe deer has to be this month’s prompt although there are loads of competing images in the recent press.

Her Majesty reviewing the Guard as she attends the Ceremony of the Keys at the start of Royal Week in Scotland. Themes abound from that, not least the loyalty of a life lived for duty, but also what is the proud mum or young wife/husband in the invited audience feeling as their soldier parades for the first or last time? That handshake between two world leaders? Have we had to put on a polite face against our personal feelings? The heatwave itself – they don’t usually last too long in Scotland so difficult to know when to submit a story.

JULY FIRST

In other writing areas, I’ve been approached to write a post for my friend Anne Stormont‘s online book festival. It begins today and will run through July and August and my contribution is scheduled for August 21st. Anne’s idea is to have articles and interviews online to reach folk who might find it hard for many reasons to get to such festivals in person. Her opening post is here. First up is the wonderfully dark Scottish crime writer Helen Forbes.

Why not sign up to Anne’s blog so you don’t miss out on any of the fabulous participants she’s lined up?

NEW DEPARTURE – ARTICLE WRITING

The People’s Friend approached me to write an article about the pioneering women known as The Edinburgh Seven. It appears in the next weekly edition, dated 6th July and will be in the shops on Wednesday. I’ve got my subscription copy. For those of you who don’t know, The Edinburgh Seven were the first women to matriculate in any British university. Was it straightforward? Read the article…

Oh, and July is the month of the Romantic Novelists’ Association‘s conference. I’m off to Lancaster again and am deeply into difficult decisions like which dresses to take for the gala dinner, what colour should my nails be and how do you pack a plastic wine-glass with any hope of it arriving intact? 1-2-1s Ah, yes, the business side. Okay, I’m saying nothing, but will hope to have news.

How is your own writer’s diary shaping up?

Anne

 

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Diary of a Writer – Storytelling for a Good Cause

Diary of a Writer for June is a wee departure from the usual. Why?

Well as regular visitors know, I’m a member of a group called Capital Writers and from time to time we produce an e-book of stories to showcase our writing. The latest story collection is out tomorrow and will be launched in the afternoon at an event to raise funds for the wonderful CrossReach perinatal service. But it’s not digital.

CrossReach is the social resonsibility arm of the Church of Scotland. It does sterling work among the elderly, the addicted and those suffering after the birth of a baby. It does loads of other stuff, too. It is partly funded by donations and the support of individual churches.

This year it marks 150 years since its creation in 1869. Seeing a pattern here? People’s Friend, CrossReach, Sainsbury’s, The Edinburgh Seven (women in medicine).

So Self, Jane, kate and Jennifer have produced this lovely little booklet:

Jane and I will be reading from our work at 3.30 in Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church, entry through the halls’ door on West mayfield. come a little earlier to have coffee and cake or to hear poet and former Edinburgh Makar, Christine de Luca.

Booklet is unpriced and we’re looking for donations to help fund CrossReach’s work.

Anne

Capital Christmas Stories

Capital Stories

 

Speaking Engagements – Capital Writers

CAPITAL WRITERS have two speaking engagements this week.

MONDAY 27th May

First up is tonight at the invitation of The Corstorphine Community Festival. We’re in Corstorphine Library between 6.30 – 8.30 for a meet the author session with librarian Shirley and Cosy Crime local writer, Cecilia Peartree.

SATURDAY 1st June

If you can’t catch us there, and even if you can, come along on Saturday afternoon to a fun storytelling event in Mayfield Salisbury church, 18 West Mayfield, EH9 from 2.30-4,30

Coffee, tea and cake is promised as well as the launch of our Capital CrossReach Stories pamphlet. We’ve each written a story to mark the 150th anniversary of this remarkable organisation and for a small donation to CrossReach, you can secure a copy to carry off.

Diary of a Writer – those between the BIG ideas days

So, having started the most recent novel idea something like four times, I may just have to concede it’s flawed and work on another. Not everything in one’s brain is going to win a trophy.

In the meantime, I’m clearing stacks of paper, research material and ephemera in quantities, rather large quantities, from the study. My tidy-minded husband may feel moved to award a trophy for these efforts. On the other hand, he may just appear with a further roll of bin bags.

In the, other meantime, I’m writing short stories. Wonderfully satisfying to craft a complete something.

Courting the Countess has possibly come to a library near you. If not, it’s available on amazon here.

Having bought it some time ago, I’m just starting to read Helen Forbes’ second Joe Galbraith novel, Madness Lies.

Why have I waited so long? (Research for City of Discoveries, ed.)

Okay, folks. Hope your own ideas are flourishing and not languishing.

ANNE

Diary of a Writer – March

City of Discoveries

 

 

 

 

 

 

With 2nd March on the cover, The People’s Friend serial I spent so much of last year researching and writing reaches its 8th and final instalment. When my subscription copy came in last Saturday, I greedily raced through the closing scenes and yet again shed a tear over one of my characters. But don’t panic, folks, nobody dies.

Don’t know whether any of you take The Weekly News, but I had my first short story for it, Trouble in Store, published in the 23rd February edition. A mere 1200 words, it was incredibly satisfying to write.

This month is devoted to an adjudication for the Scottish Association of Writers. I’ve made excellent progress partly due to being confined by an horrendous cold. Will be sending the results in this weekend and have done all the critiques. Next up is planning for the workshop I’m offering at the conference. The written word crafted to be spoken is my favourite type of writing.

Looking ahead, I’ve been asked to speak at an event marking the 150th anniversary of the Church of Scotland’s social care body. Now known as CrossReach, it provides many services for the ill and vulnerable.

1869 was some year!

Currently re-reading The Unknown Ajax by Georgette Heyer and loving it all over again. what are you reading?

Capital Stories 99p

 

 

Diary of a Writer – A Second Life – Courting the Countess

Atmospheric Cover

Ta Ra! Delighted to reveal Linford Romance Library’s atmospheric cover for their large print edition of Courting the Countess, published today. Complete and unabriged, it makes a comfortable handful – they sent me some some author’s copies.

You can get it from your library and discover how Melissa fares in Regency Edinburgh.

 

 

 

 

From the cover:

When Melissa Neville, widowed Countess of Pateley, suffers life-threatening injuries in a fire, no one expects her to survive long. However, despite her disfigurement, would-be suitors have been a constant intrusion, all of them hoping to get their hands on her fortune before she expires. Then one night, in the privacy of her bath, she is abducted without explanation by Colonel Harry Gunn and his steward Zed, who specialise in medicine and seem to want to help her. What is their real motive – and can Melissa hope to love again?

It is of course still available from Endeavour media for your kindle here.

The range of books available in large print is testimony to the ageing population and the market responding to their needs. My late mum loved to read and enjoyed many books across a wide spectrum of interests. We were always appreciative of the library editions.

I’m really busy at the moment reading the entries for the Scottish Association of Writers’ women’s short story competition. I won the competition last year – I may just have mentioned that in passing previously – and it’s such a privilege to have been handed this task.

If I had a pic of me in a green eye-shade, I’d post it. I haven’t. How about this one created by my friend, Miranda?

Anne

Honoured in the New Year – City of Discoveries

Warmest congratulations to the team at The People’s Friend as it reaches its 150th anniversary – a noteworthy moment.

The Ladies – Mandy Dixon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennet, Hetty, Carrie, Elspeth, William, Thomas, John, Harold, Phemie, Mr Souter and Drew Fleming were people I spent a lot of time with last year. They are the central characters in the Anniversary Serial I wrote for The People’s Friend magazine to mark its 150th year of publication.

And also many thanks to the fiction team for inviting me in. My editor, Alan Spink sent a query e-mail in March. It was a total surprise filling me with excitement and dread in equal measure: what an honour to be asked: what a responsibility to carry. Of course, I need not have worried as the editorial support for which the magazine is known among its writers was there for me throughout. Alan in the forefront, but fiction ed, Shirley Blair adding her Dundonian voice and Magazine ed, Angela Gilchrist pointing things out when the three of us might have let our enthusiasm outstrip our writerly antennae. (Really? Ed)

1869 is a year rich in happenings if you want to write something for a woman’s magazine. My first synopsis was liked and commended, but rejected on fairly straightforward grounds. It wasn’t set in Dundee.

Cue a huge learning curve helped along by the work of Judith Flanders, Lynne Wilson and Norman Watson. The serial is not history or documentary, but it is informed by the histories written by these people about life in London, Edinburgh and Dundee for the poorer class of person.

The serial, CITY OF DISCOVERIES, is fiction and I hope you’ll join us over the eight weeks and read the stories of my lovely characters. I’m looking forward to having them arrive in my life again every week.

Anne

HAPPY NEW YEAR – Diary of a Writer

Charles Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having just returned from a delightful walk in the grounds of Dalkeith Palace, I was thinking about my Bella. Her story opens in an inn situated on Dalkeith’s High Street. Within hours, she’s travelling along Charles Street to her aunt’s house in the then fashionable George Square.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While Edinburgh remains the city of my heart, I do have some news I’m holding tight about another one. You’ll have to check back to find out what it is, but then that’s what writers do, isn’t it? Tease a little.

Other things coming up in January include the adjudication of the Scottish Association of Writers’ Women’s Short Story competition. I’ll be delivering my decision at their annual conference, the 50th, in March, but the hard work starts this month.

Together with Kate Blackadder, Jane Riddell and Jennifer Young, I produced Capital Writers’ Christmas Stories. Four short stories on the themes we might associate with Christmas.

To complete a trio of great books for your kindle, Capital Writer, Jennifer Young is offering Blank Space at 99p for a limited time.

CAPITAL CHRISTMAS STORIES

BELLA’S BETROTHAL

BLANK SPACE

i look forward to bringing you up-to-date on my exciting, if embargoed news, really soon. Happy New Year, lovely readers, ANNE

Diary of a Writer – October Prompt

 

Lace Doily – Crete

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October Prompt ~ Lace Doily ~ Have I ever made anything as intricate and beautiful as a lace doily? That would be a ‘No’.

On the other hand, my life often enough takes on the complexity of such work and October is looking to be no less so than several other months this year and last. The value of the prompt is in reminding me of the possibility of arriving at such a beautiful conclusion.

So, what issues are hanging on my Bobbins?

Firstly, I need to get on with a lot of writing admin. The tax return for last year, record keeping and train tickets to the RNA winter party (going without responsibility for the first time in a long time. Thanks, Sue).

Writing – Who thought it would be a nice idea to enter the Mslexia Novella competition, being unpublished in that length? Okay, that was me and the fee and entry uploaded without incident. Isn’t it great that technology has at last arrived at an understanding of the actual needs of some users? Never say never, so it needs to be finished while the idea is still hot.

The project I’m engaged on with DC Thomson. Nearly there, just waiting for a few clearances.

A workshop for the Scottish Association of Writers. To be delivered in March, but advertised before then.

Real Life – Church stuff, Christmas stuff, Strictly has started, people stuff……………………. So lucky to have them all around.

What’s on your Bobbins?

Anne

 

 

The Show Must Go On

THE SHOW MUST GO ON is my second serial for People’s Friend and starts its four week run in the magazine this morning. Cover date is 18th August and readers who buy the magazine on subscription would get it last Saturday.

Talented Friend regular, Sailesh Thakrar is the illustrator and hasn’t he done a marvellous job?

Sailesh’s opening illustration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Show Must Go On started life as Behind the Scenes. It’s my observation that most playwrights who write something about the theatre call it Behind the Scenes, so I’d no problem with the team’s choice.

Anne