A Second Life

City of Discoveries

Re-running on the People’s Friend website is my anniversary serial set in Dundee and Australia. Jennet Marshall is the subject of unwanted attention from the foreman, Fleming. However, an unsuspected champion is on her side.

And – on to the next?

Hold it!

Are there persistent ideas easing their way into your brain? Is there one in particular that will not back off no matter how hard you push back on the door?

The idea for another historical serial to present to my editor for consideration has been fermenting since I attended an online talk as a guest last summer. I asked to be allowed a ticket because the subject matter resonated, because I have read and appreciated other work of the speaker and because – well, isn’t all our writing out of our own experience and the talk was closely related to mine?

I don’t want to give too much away because things are still very tentative and much reading up is still to be done. However, I did want to make a writerly comment.

I went along to my writers’. group the other night – Edinburgh Writers’ Club – where the excellent Claire Wingfield was leading a workshop on mentoring. Principally, she was helping us to see what out project was and what was blocking it.

I can’t speak for the others, but I quickly realised that I was blocking my progress and there were practical things I could do to overcome that blockage. Firstly, I exchanged e-mails with a club member who had offered some help. Secondly, I went back to Google and typed in a diffferent search term. Bingo!

Finding the answer to a question which has troubled me all the way through nurturing this idea, has released the block. I now have my heroine, her love interest, her detractors and her purpose in life. Scenes are popping up in my mind. Ancillary questions ditto. What a difference a cleared path makes to the thought processes.

I hope you’ve all had a similarly enlightening week.

Anne

Courting the Countess

Diary of a Writer February Prompt

RBGE

Coming up for Valentine’s Day and do I have a romantic notion in my head? No.

On the other hand, I did take this photograph of a passion flower in the RBGE last year and I post it here for you to gaze upon and think around.

Much of my recent reading has been for the Book Group, Jackie Kay’s Trumpet which I thought was a beautifully crafted work about love and bereavement. Or has been non-fiction – Peter Ross’s Tomb with a View which I found to be a well-researched and well-written book about not only cemeteries, but some of the folk buried in them. Recommended by Joanne in her Portobella Book Blog. An excellent blog where I have discovered many titles in the past.

Currently, I have Georgette Heyer’s The Quiet Gentleman in hand and am looking forward to moving onto Cecilia Peartree’s The Case of the Late Capybara. Cecilia is a fellow Capital Writer and cozy crime writer extraordinaire.

It is also the case that I went to the online launch last Sunday of Rosemary Gemmells

Dark Delusion and have that treat to look forward to.

So, what have I been writing? A short story of 3,000 words was completed on Sunday afternoon. I don’t do New Year Resolution’s but I saw a fellow writer was going to try a short story a month, so I opened a file called January story. Hmn! Won’t say too much in case I jinx it…

How is your own writing going? Got a Valentine short you’d like to share?

Courting the Countess

Anne

Diary of a Writer – January 2022 Prompt

At a summer event

So few of us attended any sizeable events in 2021, I thought I’d offer a wee reminder of what it’s like.

The colour, the months of planning. The moment when the shoe does pinch, but the grass is soft. They are all in this shot. So, if writing’s your thing, there’s something here for your imagination to get to work on.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, Dear Readers. May 2022 be kinder to us all.

Inlay Taj Mahal

Anne

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.