Monday, 20 December 2010

Writing Buddies Book Sale 20th December - Cancelled

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Writing Buddies Book Sale has been cancelled.

The Writing Buddies apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Writing Buddies authors look forward to meeting their readers in the near future and, in the meantime, wish everyone a very happy Christmas.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Writing Buddies' Book Sale - 20th December 2010

The countdown has begun! There are only 7 days to go to the first ever Writing Buddies book sale.

If you are looking for a personalised gift this Christmas, you need look no further than Goblets, Above Bar, Southampton, between noon and 4pm, on Monday 20th December. The Writing Buddies will be there for a one-off sale of their work.

Authors planning to be there are:

Tessa Warburg - the leading authority on knitting with many books on the subject to her credit; a noted novelist, the first two books in the Dohlen trilogy are out now, and a non-fiction author.

Catherine King - the author of five novels, the latest, The Orphan Child, is just published.

J Goodman - his book of poetry, Poetic Imagery, is now available.

Mo Foster - the author of the novel A Blues for Shindig, Mo is also a noted blogger.

Penny Legg - the founder of Writing Buddies will be there with her two non-fiction titles, Folklore of Hampshire and Southampton Then and Now. She will also be taking advance orders for her new book, out in the New Year, Haunted Southampton.

James Marsh - will be there taking advance orders for his book, Growing Up in Wartime Britain: Someone Else's Trousers, which is due for publication in May 2011.

So, if you fancy coming along and meeting the authors, buying signed copies of their work, learning more about Writing Buddies, we will be happy to welcome you!

Writing Buddies Book Sale - Monday 20th December, Noon - 4pm
Goblets Pub, Above Bar, Southampton.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Writing Buddies, 3 December 2010

Southampton Writing Buddies met at The Art House, Southampton on Friday December 3rd. This was in the midst of the snow and ice, but even so several members managed to make it, and there was plenty to discuss.

John has been writing more poetry. He was recently filmed reading his work in the Guildhall Square, and the film maker planned to put the piece on YouTube. On December 13th he will be reading more of his work at the Nuffield Theatre Studio at an event introduced by top poet John Hegley. There is also an event called ‘Archers Bizarre’ at the Bargate Shopping Centre on December 16th, 5-7pm, where (Buddy) John will be reading. He also continues to write drama reviews for the Daily Echo.

Mo has returned from Berlin, where she sold a good quantity of her book, A Blues for Shindig. There were two readings of her work, one in a gallery, and one in an open studio, both of which went well. She was about to be mentioned on radio and TV networks in the USA.

Elizabeth continues with work on her novel; she has spent time adjusting character names.

Jimmy is now working on chapter 21 of Java’s Revenge, with at least one further chapter to come; a grand fight is apparently imminent. He has had some computer problems which he has resolved, at least for now. His autobiography is due out in the spring, and the cover is currently being designed.

Jacqueline has had an article accepted by HowTo Books for their website, and has been entering writing competitions. Her article on Memoirs of a WAAF has finally been accepted by The People’s Friend, who plan to publish it in one of their ‘specials’. She has completed another script for the Eastleigh Talking News, and has finished the first draft of her children’s detective novel. She is considering writing a ‘till-side stocking filler’ book for next Christmas.

Penny has finished preparing her book, Winchester, History You Can See. At the New Forest Book Fair she was in the minority as a writer among second-hand booksellers. Penny has been asked to do talks on her work researching, writing, and putting books together at both the central and Woolston libraries. She recently gave a talk for the Diplomatic Services Families Association, on folklore and ‘things that go bump in the night’. There have been book signings at Waterstone’s and WHSmith, and she has been interviewing for her book Voices of Southampton.

Various discussions followed. It seems The History Press are still looking for someone to write a book about the history of Eastleigh, and would welcome any book proposals. At the moment, New Forest Book Fairs are not attracting many people, so it was agreed to postpone the proposed table at the January fair, at which members’ books and our anthology Wordfall were to be on sale. The front cover of Wordfall is now decided, and will feature a picture of the Bargate. Some advertising space has been sold, too.

The group debated whether it was worth spending a large sum for a critique of a novel. The feeling was that a critique was usually helpful, provided that the author is ready for any possible heavy criticism, but that it was not necessary to spend a huge sum. We discussed how to post an event on Facebook, and whether writers should spend much time revising the opening chapter of a book until a complete first draft was finished – the consensus was not. The London Book Fair in April is expected to be a very useful event; many international publishers attend, and there are author talks and free workshops.

Post written by Jacqueline Pye.

The Writing Buddies will be meeting again at The Art House, Above Bar, Southampton on Friday December 17th from 2pm. All writers, published or not, are very welcome.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Writing Buddies, 19th November 2010

The Writing Buddies met at the Art House Cafe in Southampton on Friday 19th November, 2010.

JACQUI has one more assignment to write for the Writer's Bureau Course she is studying. She is finding the feedback from her tutor very helpful and wants to concentrate on novel writing rather than short stories from now on.

GLEN has finished her last script for EXPRESS FM and has sent it off and received good feedback. She brought a book to the meeting, 'This Island City' - a collection of poems by Portsmouth writers. This was looked at with interest.

TESSA is working on the third novel in her trilogy, 'Ladybird Soar'. She is also working on her wild flowers book but hasn't had much interest from publishers so is considering self-publishing.

JOSEPHINE has nearly finished her latest textbook. She is thinking about re-starting her course with the Writer's Bureau and has ideas for further books and articles, particularly on embroidery as this is something she enjoys doing.

ANNE was welcomed as a new member. She is a student with the Writer's Bureau and has finished the non fiction assignments. She has had articles published in 'Yours' magazine and 'Nursery World.' She is now studying the fiction part of the course and is considering writing stories for 11-14 year olds. She also has an idea for a book on a walk from Romsey to Lymington that could be done over 5 days.

WENDY has written 4 books this year and brought one of them, 'Haunted Worthing' for the group to browse through. Another book, 'The Story of Pembrokshire' is due out on 1st December. 'Shipwrecks of Sussex' is now finished but 5,000 words over. Wendy intends to spend next year writing fiction for a change.

JIMMY continues to work on 'Java's Revenge'. He's writing Chapter 20 and the book is shaping up to be longer than the other 2 books in the trilogy. His book, 'Someone Else's Trousers' is almost ready to go to the publishers and the proofs should be delivered shortly.

ELIZABETH is working hard plotting and planning her novel. She needs to do some research for it but she's very pleased with progress so far.

CATHERINE has written 35,000 words for the NaNoWriMo challenge. She hopes to have the first draft of her novel written by January. She has prepared a column for 'Stylist' magazine and submitted some ideas to 'Slimming World.' The SWWJ (Society of Women Writers and Journalists) has just accepted Catherine as a probationary member.

MO is off to Berlin where an actor will record her work to accompany some art work. She's been contacted by a producer in America but she's not hopeful that it will come to anything. Mo is also planning a new novel.

JOHN is busy writing poetry and has some followers on 'Twitter and 'Facebook.' He told the group of two new literary magazines to look out for - 'Five Dials' and 'Shortlist Press.' Both of these could be good markets for short stories. John did a 750 word review for a Ben Willis book on 'Twitter' and got a free copy for his efforts. He'd like to write more reviews.

LISA recently attended a crime writers discussion group at the Portsmouth Book Festival. She has booked her place on the Harper Collins Authonomy Workshop in December. Lisa is also busy working on the sequel to her book.

PENNY has done some book signings for 'Southampton Then and Now' and the launch will be held on 28th November at 'The Old Farmhouse' in Southampton. She attended a function at 'Waterstones' for local authors recently but not many visitors came into the store on the evening it was held. She asked the group if anyone had any experiences they could share for her next book, 'Voices of Southampton.'

There followed a general discussion. Anne is keen to pursue her idea for the walking book and is looking for a suitable publisher. Penny suggested she should contact Simon Whalley, who has written several books on walking. She also advised Anne to have some idea of the length of the book.

Catherine asked if anyone had joined 'The Romantic Novelists Association'. A new novelist scheme is starting in January with limited places available. Penny said it was a well respected organisation and Wendy said she had joined in 1992 and had always been pleased with the help she had been given.

The Writing Buddies blog has been noticed by 'Wikipedia' for their 'Wiki' blogs. Penny received this news by email recently. The Writing Buddies Anthology book (due out in January) has been mentioned in the Southern Evening Echo.

Post written by Jacqueline Field.

The next meeting will be held at 2 pm on Friday December 3rd at the Art House, Above Bar, Southampton. All writers, aspiring or published, are welcome.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Writing Buddies, 22 October 2010

Many thanks to Jacqueline Pye for writing up this edition of the blog.

The Southampton Writing Buddies met at The Art House on October 22nd to swap news, and to discuss individual and group writing issues.

Jimmy continues with his Sundance series of novels. He has an imminent deadline for his autobiography, Growing Up In Southampton: Someone Else’s Trousers; it’s nearly ready but he is having to do more work on the photos.

Elizabeth was pleased with the feedback on her anthology entries. She has spotted a common thread, and is taking this on board to revise her work. She was congratulated by the group on announcing that the magazine Hampshire View has just accepted one of her stories.

Jacqui has just had a blog published in Woman’s Own; she happened to see the magazine while on holiday abroad, and was surprised and pleased to see her piece included. She is making progress on her Writers’ Bureau course for novel and short story writing.

Christine H has begun a writing course with Barbara Large in Eastleigh, which she thinks will be very useful.

Tessa is working on publishing the Buddies’ anthology, Wordfall, through her Thorn Press. She now has an ISBN number for it and a publication date of January 4th. Meanwhile she continues with the third book in her trilogy – Ladybird Soar – and her wildflowers book.

Mo is going to Berlin where an actor will record her work to accompany some art works.

Richard is a new member. He is interested in poetry and children’s books, and has written and filmed a comedy sketch. He has had a piece about Vaughan Williams published, but currently he’s keen to get started on a natural history book about marine life.

Sylvie is still working on her sci-fi book, as well as the publicity for the Portsmouth Chorus choir event. Since last time, she has entered the ‘Spooky Hallowe’en’ 50-word competition, and has provided a short story for the Southampton Area Talking Echo magazine.

Christine (a different one) is working on a new poem. She has entered poetry competitions before, and may enter this piece when it’s ready. She still has an academic article on hold, too.

Joe is another new member. He has been writing for years, including dark horror, fantasy, short stories and novels, but feels unsure about whether his work is worth submitting. The group felt he should be really encouraged that Random House expressed an interest, and urged him to follow this up. It was suggested that, if still unsure, he might try some of his work on writing sites on the internet.

Catherine has added a further 4,000 words to her romance novel. Slimming World magazine has published her letter in the current issue, and she has had interest in her social network project from the publishers of the Bluffers Guides. She is entering a non-fiction piece in the current competition from How-To-Books, and has been improving this blog site, including working on expanding the Shelfari element (see right).

Siobhan was welcomed back to the group. She has a wide interest in writing, from blogs to novels.

Josephine has nearly finished her text book. She is working on the subject of staff management advice for people who find themselves with responsibility for others but no formal authority. The group mentioned work by Karen Brady and also mumsnet as a possible outlet, and felt there was a market for this type of advice.

Jacqueline is ready to deliver another news script to the Talking Echo, and is planning an article on random decisions, while awaiting the outcome of two earlier pitches. She has nearly 50 articles on suite101 now, and revenue is creeping up. She mentioned a useful paperback, 50 Ways to Make Google Love Your Website.

John has written a new poem, which he read at a Candle Club open mic session at Talking Heads. He is now putting Buddies tags on Amazon, and has sent round info on this via the Yahoo Group. He also explained how this works. His poetry book has started to sell on Amazon, and he mentioned the Nielsen booklist where all new books will appear if they find out about them.

Group discussions included how to approach a publisher and make use of contacts, ensuring all members knew how to get to this blog and join the Yahoo Group, and burning CDs. Catherine reminded those of us with published (or about-to-be) books that the cover can be featured on our blog bookshelf via Shelfari. She suggested passing on to her not only the cover but any reviews available. All members can put in reviews of books already on the shelf, and this helps not only people who are seeking a review, but also the author and the general Google profile of the blog site.

The next meeting is on November 5th, 2-4pm at The Art House, Southampton. All writers, published or not, are very welcome.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Nik Morton at Writing Buddies!

It was good to see twenty people at the Southampton Writing Buddies meeting at The Art House on September 24th. We were very pleased to welcome author Nik Morton with his wife Jen who is also a writer; they had come over from their home in Spain. Nik had kindly judged the fiction entries for our recent anthology competition, and was able to give us all some advice about writing fiction and making our work as good as it can be. He also presented certificates to successful writers who had been unable to attend last time’s awards meeting.

Elizabeth is about to start further work on her novel, including decisions about the names of the characters. It’s a romance with a touch of mystery, with the plot covering about a century.

Sylvie is still working on her sci-fi children’s book, but is having to give time to the publicity for her choir’s forthcoming anniversary event.

Glen continues to write for Express FM’s soap Conway Street, broadcast three times a week from Portsmouth. She has received very positive feedback for the episodes which she writes alone. She was featured in a paragraph in September Writing Magazine, as a winner of a number of writing competitions.

Pam was glad to be back at the Buddies’ meeting after a break, and had been surprised to learn that she had won several awards in the anthology competition. The awards have inspired her to keep up her writing.

Nik had begun his serious writing by taking a course. The first of his 11 published books so far came out in 2007 – but he assured us that some were based on work honed over the years rather than in just the last three. His range includes westerns as well as other novels.

Mo has provided the first few pages of her graphic novel to her illustrator. She remains unsure whether the new man at the publishers will honour her contract to publish her latest book. She has been busy with her blog.

Christine attended a self-publishing workshop set up by publisher Antony Rowe and led by Barbara Large. It seems that the process is expensive, and the author must have edited the text to be absolutely ready to print. (Other members reported knowing of publishers who appear to be less expensive.) Christine is considering this route to publishing her book on bringing up young people in their teens.

Richard was welcomed as a new member. He has been writing since his teens, including short stories and poetry, and has one novel currently finished and one nearly done. He also produces cartoons which are published regularly, but would like to concentrate on novels.

Barbara competed for the recent Scroll Award at Southampton Writers’ Circle. She continues writing her daily diary and also writes in her local church magazine.

Tony first wrote for his school magazine. He has had short stories published since then, and was very pleased to have won the latest Scroll Award from Southampton Writers’ Circle.

Chris was another new member. He has written a sci-fi novel and is looking for a publisher. The group suggested some possible contacts who produce books in this genre.

Jimmy reports good progress with editing the length of his novel Growing Up In Southampton, Someone Else’s Trousers. It is now down to the length the publishers require. He is working on the website for his fantasy novel and his Sundance Gang fiction, and is hoping to take them to the next London Book Fair.

Tessa is working on Ladybird Soar, the third novel of her trilogy, as well as her non-fiction book for children, Forget-Me-Not. She is discussing with Penny the publication of our anthology through her Thorn Press.

Eileen was another new member. She is currently working on a novel, and attends a writing group run by Della Galton.

Monica enjoys writing stories for fun, and has submitted a children’s story for a competition. She is working on a course with the Writers’ Bureau, and writes articles on her personal health issues for a magazine. She was pleased to gain an award for a non-fiction article on this topic in the anthology competition.

John showed the group his newly published booklet of poems and associated art works, and it was mcuh admired. It is on offer to members at a reduced price. He was pleased to have already sold copies to Blackwell’s book shop.

Jen, our visitor, has written short stories and has now finished the novel which she began some time ago. It is set in Spain, and at a little over 200,000 words it needs a suitable publisher.

Catherine has sent off a proposal to How-To Books, for a work provisionally called A Writers’ Guide to Social Media. She has entered the Daily Mail competition for the first 150 words of a novel, submitted a short story to Hampshire View, and completed the first draft of a story for a Writers’ News competition.

Jacqueline was about to finish her latest script for the Eastleigh Talking News. She reported that the Talking Echo magazine will be looking for original short stories, 500-800 words, and upbeat poems. More details will follow. She is back producing articles for suite101 now that they have changed some of their terms.

Penny is fighting with her computer after updating her operating system, but is discussing with Tessa the publication of the anthology. The title has been chosen – it will be Wordfall. Penny continues with her editing job in London. She learned that she had gained a certificate in the recent Scroll Awards at Southampton Writers’ Circle, and Tony presented it during the meeting.

Other areas of discussion included computer troubles, the website which is similar to authonomy, query letters, Portsmouth BookFest (Oct 25 to Nov 13), and learning computer skills for those who use only longhand. The magazines Freelance Market News, Writers’ News, Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum were discussed and compared. We also reminded ourselves that, “If you write, you are a writer.”

The next meeting is on Friday 8th October at the Art House Cafe, Above Bar, Southampton at 2pm. Everyone is welcome.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

The First Anniversary Writing Buddies Anthology Competition - The Results!

Winners all! With Simon Whaley, who presented the certificates.

Excitement was high at the Art House Cafe, Southampton, on Friday 10th September. It was results day and there was a larger than average group of Writing Buddies present, all agog to know who had won what!

Non-fiction judge Simon Whaley attended and presented the prizes, as well as finding
himself press-ganged into giving a drum roll on a handy set of bongos found lying about at the venue! The Writing Buddies had not known that Simon was so talented!

There was an uncharacteristically quick zip around the table to introduce each Buddy, during which newcomer Roger Colman, a non-fiction writer and the author of a history of the 7th Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment during WW1, was welcomed.

The Competition was run to celebrate the first birthday of the founding of Writing Buddies and all those who won or were placed will go forward and be published in an anthology of work, to be published in time for Christmas.

The results were:

Non- Fiction 1500 word article, judged by Simon Whaley:

First - Glen Jayson - The Taboo "F" Plan
Second - Monica Rees - Living with an Invisible Disease
Third - Wendy Hughes - Literary Cats
Highly Commended - Jacqueline Pye - Dora Carrington - Painter, Bohemian and Object of Desire

Non-Fiction 300 words filler, judged by Simon Whaley:

First - Jacqueline Pye - Let's Hear it for Lymph
Second - Catherine Miller - Can the Hashtag Bring the Writing Community Closer Together?
Third - James Marsh - The Wonder of a Belt

Fiction - 1500 word short story, judged by Nik Morton:

First - Wendy Hughes - Bringer of Dreams
Second - Pam Whittington - The Birthday Treat
Joint Third - Christine Hooper - Michael and Mrs Cartwright
Joint Third - Pam Whittington - See you on Sunday, then

Honorable Mentions:
Elizabeth Streatfield - Hooked
Elizabeth Streatfield - A New Hope
Fiona Vandersluys - Wrong Footing
James Marsh - The Haunted Hut
Wendy Hughes - An Electrifying Experience

Flash Fiction - 100 words, judged by Nik Morton:

First - Catherine Miller - Keisha
Second - Catherine Miller - Guines Fowl
Third - Pam Whittington - Life after Dust

Poetry - Non-Rhyming, judged by Doris Corti

First - Jacqueline Pye - The Parade
Second - Pam Whittington - Time's Dawn

Poetry - Rhyming, judged by Doris Corti

First - Mo Foster - Jargon
Joint Second - Glen Jayson - Afternoon Flickers
John Goodman - Robots and Fairies Our This Week’s Theme

Drama - 10 minute one-act play, judged by Valerie Dunmore:

First - Catherine Miller - Permanent Ink
Second - Jacqueline Pye - Now Wash Your Hands
Third - Elizabeth Streatfield - Enlightenment

At the end of the meeting the Writing Buddies presented Simon with an interesting-looking silver parcel and Penny Legg, who organised the event and will edit and bring the book to fruition, was presented with a bouquet of flowers and the thanks of all the Writing Buddies.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Southampton Writing Buddies met at The Art House on Friday 27th August.

Thanks to Jacqueline Pye for writing these notes on the last meeting:

Elizabeth is just finishing a story to submit to Hampshire View; after that she will be revamping other short stories and submitting them. Longer term, time will be devoted to her novel.

Jacqui now has a blog – – an interesting read. She has entered a complaints competition, and is having a letter published in Freelance Market News, available on subscription from the Writers’ Bureau - topical information, letters, market info etc. The group agreed this looked useful. Jacqui was complimented on her latest assignment returned from the Bureau.

Mo attended a poetry open mic session at the Nuffield, which went well. Her Hollywood director contact is asking her to write some scenes for a production. She has broken with her publisher, since her second book was accepted but when he took over he rescinded the contract. She is pursuing the legality of this.

Tessa has the second book in her Dohlen Inheritance trilogy out – Hobgoblin Gold – and is working on the third. She plans to write a natural world book for adults and children, and is discussing with her illustrator.

Lisa has joined the authonomy website, and had some useful feedback on her work as well as winning a book through the site. She has entered a sci-fi novel for the Terry Pratchett competition (details on – for a debut novel, deadline Dec 31st).

Jacqueline has stopped writing for suite101, but is left with a useful bank of original work. She now has a basic website – – and is ready to submit a second feature to Best of British magazine if the fee for the already published piece is acceptable, otherwise it will head elsewhere.

Silvie is working on a story set partly on earth, partly in space. She is managing publicity for Portsmouth Chorus choir, especially as it is their 80th anniversary this year.

Catherine now has 10,000 words of her novel completed. ‘How To’ books are putting articles on their site, and she has written for it on using Twitter. She distributed some very helpful information about it to the group, and is considering writing a book on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Jimmy’s book, Growing Up in Southampton: Someone Else’s Trousers, is due to be published in May 2011. Chapter 13 of Java’s Revenge is in progress - “The war is about to start,” he says. His website – – includes information about his Sundance Gang novels as well as a link to his blog.

Glen is enjoying writing for Conway Street, the radio soap at express fm, and attends script meetings. She has been co-writing, but finds it easier to work solo. She has decided to self publish a book of short stories and articles, and is reading up on self publishing.

Barbara is still working on the programme for next season for Southampton Writers’ Circle.

Penny is working through computer problems. She has had book signings for Folklore of Southampton in Southampton, Lymington and Portsmouth, and will be at Chapter 1 books in Hythe on the 3rd September from 2pm to give a talk on compiling the book, and to sign copies. Her next book, Southampton Then and Now, will be published in October. Publication of Haunted Southampton is in hand.

The anthology competition judges have now given their verdicts; in addition to the top three in each category, there may be some entries ‘highly commended’ too, and the judges have kindly provided feedback for the writers. Results will be announced at the next meeting. The funds from the competition, which now include an anonymous donation, should be sufficient to allow the anthology to go ahead – Penny will be checking this.

Other matters discussed include contracts, methods of filing ideas, sponsorship for the anthology, members’ writing environments, office chairs, and the thorny problem of changing duvet covers (for some reason). Amazon’s cut was also discussed; their initial claim is 60%, but this can usually be negotiated down, possibly to 35% or so. New Writing South was mentioned; it is related to the Arts Council, and has published a booklet, ‘Word Up’ which looked interesting. They offer creative writing courses, and Fay Weldon is a patron. Website is

The next meeting is at 2pm on Friday September 10th – competition results day – at The Art House, Above Bar, Southampton. All writers, aspiring or published, are welcome.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Writing Buddies, 13 August 2010

Another busy Writing Buddies meeting was held at The Art House Cafe, Above Bar, Southampton on Friday 13 August, which saw eleven Buddies around the table for coffee and chat.

Catherine has been busy working on her entry for an Arthritis Care competition, working on her blog and writing for the six word Arvon story competition. She was pleased to announce that she had completed the set number of small projects she set herself and has now started working on romantic fiction.

Mo has had a lesson on how to tweet on Twitter. She has fallen out with her publisher and has started writing her autobiography.

Barbara is still writing her diary. She has written everyday for forty years. She is busy working on the programme for the Southampton Writers Circle for the coming year. She has booked Wendy Hughes to do an article writing workshop. Local author, Nicky Slade, will judge the Scroll Award competition this year.

Sylvie has written all twelve chapters of her children's sci-fi novel and is now editing it. She says she was 'inspired' by coming to the last Writing Buddies meeting!

Tessa's second book in the 'Dohlen' trilogy, Hobgoblin Gold, has just been published and is out now. Her illustrator, Andrew Jones, has several pieces of his work on display at The Art House Cafe.

Jacqueline is on assignment five of The Writers Bureau fiction course. She received a mixed reaction from her tutor to her fourth assignment, which was to write a People's Friend short story. Jacqueline has re-written her piece and has now submitted it.

Glen, with her Writing Buddies Anthology Competition Secretary head on, reported that there had been 7 flash fiction entries, 11 non-fiction articles, 4 non-fiction fillers, 5 plays, 5 poems and 20 short stories.

Glen has been busy working at Express FM in Portsmouth, where she has been involved with writing a soap - Conway Street. She found it an interesting assignment as she was paired with another writer - writing with a partner is new to her - and had to write for other people's characters, which she found challenging.

Eileen is celebrating the publication of her crime novel, Miss McGuire is Missing. She was looking forward to joining other writers at Selsey on 20 August, as part of the Selsey Writing Festival there. She is on the fifth draft of her second novel and half way through her third novel. She was interviewed in Writers' News this month and won a Moleskine notebook from Writers' Forum for her work. She has been invited to judge a short story competition and give a talk in Lee-on-Solent. She will be book signing in Waterstones in Fareham on 11 September and her book launch party will be in Gosport on 9 October.

Bridget joined the Writing Buddies for the first time and was warmly welcomed. Bridget is a poet who has been with the Southampton Writers' Circle for 17 years. She says she has been 'lucky' to be widely published in magazines and, in particular, in South, where she is listed as the Poet of the Year. 18 of her poems are to be showcased by this publication. Bridget tutors on poetry for workshops and also gives public readings of her work.

Jimmy has had a second article accepted by Best of British magazine. He is happy with his website and is pleased to see that his forthcoming book, Growing Up in Wartime Southampton: Someone Else's Trousers is now on both Amazon and WH Smith online for pre-order.

John is busy making corrections to the proofs of his poetry collection, Poetic Imagery, to be published shortly. This will be published using a local printer - George Man Publications. John has been looking at a website giving advice about rejections and found Query Fail useful. He also looked at the Publetariat site, which is useful for general freelance writing tips - including the value of having an agent.

Penny has been dealing with the complete crash of her computer system. As this was just before the manuscript for her book, Haunted Southampton, had to be at the publisher, she was not best pleased. Folklore of Hampshire seems to be well received by the public.

Carol Blake's book, From Pitch to Publication was discussed and was generally felt to be very useful.

There was a general discussion about backing up data on computers and the value of doing so.

The phone-in on Radio 2 on the Jeremy Vine show about self-publishing was discussed and it was noted that the increasing popularity of self-publishing reflects the difficulties of interesting a mainstream publisher nowadays.

The next meeting of Writing Buddies is at 2pm on Friday 27 August at The Art House cafe, Southampton. Everyone is welcome.


As you can see from the blog post below, there are a few problems with the layout of it.

Apologies, but all efforts at sorting it out have proved fruitless.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Writing Buddies, 30th July 2010

Southampton Writing Buddies met on July 30th at The Art House in Southampton's Above Bar Street. This was a really busy meeting, constituting the deadline for submissions for our anthology competition. There were a number of very welcome last-minute entries on the day.

Richard continues to work on his poetry. He recently entered a competition in a local news magazine; his poem was highly commended, and he received a certificate which we all admired.

Jimmy now has his website up and running - - which gives information about his writing career and current writing activities, as well as some good links. Best of British magazine, which published one of his articles earlier this year, has accepted his latest feature on a long-gone butcher's shop in Southampton. His book Growing Up In Wartime Southampton: Someone Else’s Trousers is due out in May next year. Java's Revenge, the latest novel in his sci-fi series, is not in Chapter X.

Rob was visiting from Spain. He is a successful writer, photographer and editor, and is involved in managing the Torrevieja writers’ circle. He belongs to Writers Abroad, an online site for ex-pats ( ). He mentioned that Writers Abroad plans to compile an anthology of stories for November; entry is for current or past ex-pats, and work must feature something about ex-pats in up to 2500 words. There is more information on the Writers Abroad site. Rob’s blog can be found at, and his website at

Stu writes horror mystery short stories; this is so far a hobby, but the group encouraged him to consider trying to get them published.

Catherine was welcomed as a new member. She has written fiction since age three! She was an editorial assistant for, among others, the Tesco magazine, and was involved in a current book by John Simpson in which she is credited. She has recently finished her first novel, and is now working on a historical romance aimed at Mils & Boon. She also writes short stories.

Tony is back writing again after a prolonged absence. He writes mainly poetry and for children, and had recently performed two of his poems in an open mic session in Petersfield.

Glen has been busy logging the entries for the anthology competition. She has been accepted as a writer for the ongoing ‘soap’ on Portsmouth’s radio station Express FM. She has also been interviewed by e-mail for a writing magazine’s feature on people who have won writing competitions.

Josephine writes non-fiction, and has nearly completed her book on managing meetings. She is one of the many members who have submitted entries for the anthology.

Mo is considering putting on a one-woman show at Edinburgh – this would be her own work read by an actor. The format worked well at a recent show in London. She has also written a piece for
The Woman Writer, the magazine of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists.

Jacqui continues with her Writers’ Bureau course; she is nearly at the end of the short story modules, and will then move on to the novel writing component. She has submitted a short travel piece to The Daily Telegraph online, and has started work on a novel.

Jacqueline was just finishing a script for the Eastleigh Talking News, and her feature on early teddy bear postcards was published in the August edition of Best of British magazine. She has also had some business cards printed, and was up to 33 articles on

Sylvie is another new member of the group. She is writing a sci-fi adventure book aimed at children aged 9-12 - she has been keen on writing since childhood. She has submitted short stories to magazines; although not published, they attracted individual advice, which the group thought a very encouraging outcome. She had a letter published in Writers’ Forum earlier this year, and has been asked to write the publicity for a choir to which she belongs.

Elizabeth started a book a few months ago, and plans to start working with it again. She has decided to start submitting short stories to magazines; even though the market has shrunk, there are still openings worth aiming for.

John has started writing his diary again after a gap. He has found a suitable printer for the booklet of his poems exhibited in the recent art/poetry exhibition at Goblets, and he hopes it will be ready by the end of August.

Christine was pleased to learn that the story she submitted to the Southampton Area Talking Echo was recorded for their magazine and sent out during July. She has submitted a story for a competition on Write Space ( ). She has written a book on young people’s mental health and is looking at publish-on-demand for it. She co-wrote a published book on mental health and has been working on a rewrite for a second edition; a mainstream publisher has shown interest in her contribution.

Barbara continues to write her diary. She had prepared an entry for the anthology competition.

Penny attended a book signing in Portsmouth for her new book
Folklore of Southampton, and has other signings planned. At Portsmouth she met a pagan priest who is very knowledgeable about folklore in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, which was interesting as her publisher The History Press are discussing the idea Folklore of the Isle of Wight. She was looking forward to the launch party for her book two days after the meeting. Waterstone’s are stocking it, as is Milestones museum in Basingstoke. She has just seen the cover for her next book, Southampton Then and Now, due out in October.

As these proceedings were longer than usual, there was little time for discussion. However, we did cover the ethics and method of researching details of a serious crime, the Writers’ Bureau ongoing writing competition for students, and the availability of various archives and dictionaries through the library’s website. The route is then click ‘online resources’ for the list.

The next meeting of Southampton Writing Buddies will be on August 13th at The Art House.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Writing Buddies, 2nd July 2010

Southampton Writing Buddies met again on July 2nd at The Art House. Numbers were down, due to the tennis as well as car, guest and employment issues, but there was plenty to discuss.

Jacqueline now has 28 articles published on but still awaits her fortune. She completed their challenge to publish 20 in the month of June. She’s also working on a script for the talking news, and is pitching a feature on sleep issues to magazines. Entries for the Buddies’ anthology competition are taking shape.

Elizabeth has submitted a flash fiction entry to the Bridport Prize competition. She feels that the content could be expanded and used in another context and is making plans for it. She is also preparing her entries for the anthology competition.

Jimmy continues to work on his fantasy novel, the plot of which is taking unexpected turns. The first 10,000 words of the novel are destined to appear on the website authonomy which showcases writers’ fiction. He is working on his feature on an old butcher’s shop for Best of British magazine, and is considering a feature about the neighbouring pub, which has remained unchanged since his youth. He also is preparing his entries for the anthology. His memoirs still need reducing in length by the November deadline.

Penny has started her new part-time job in London working on and editing magazines for the Diplomatic Services Families Association. She continues with her next book Haunted Southampton, and meanwhile she is very pleased to have Folklore of Southampton now published by The History Press and available in local bookshops and from Amazon. There is to be a launch party to celebrate, and the Buddies heartily congratulated her on this. With her level of output she may need to make a regular date for launch parties ... There is to be an interview about the book posted on an online community magazine for Hedge End, and Penny’s writing buddy, Rob Innis, who lives in Spain, will be at the book launch on August 1st.

Lengthy discussions included publishing in general, taking high resolution photographs, Indian food, Bangladesh, reminiscences of Southampton, the dififculty in placing magazine features, publishing recipes, underwater photography, and travel – all with a writing slant of course.

The Writing Buddies will meet again on Friday July 16th at The Art House, Southampton from 2pm. All are welcome

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Writing Buddies, 4th June

Southampton Writing Buddies met at the Art House in Above Bar on Friday June 4th, and it seems that the Buddies have been busy.

Glen continues with her novel; as an exercise she has tried writing the last part before the rest is finished. She found this interesting, as did the other Buddies – none of us had tried this before.

Christine continues to have a brain busy with loads of writing ideas which need organising. She has, however, now finished editing her novel, and is currently typing it all.

Jimmy was disappointed with the version of his Sundance novels produced by some time ago and so has withdrawn them. He is now working on the second of his cyber novels; he will use a slightly altered name for these. He has completed his autobiography.

Patricia has recently written a short story in English, and has started a novel in French, her first language. She has also begun collecting an archive of her family’s favourite recipes for a possible cookery book. As part of her work she has been writing up tours around local park involving maths content for children.

Jacqueline continues to contribute to and has eight articles published. She has submitted a feature to Saga magazine; they invited submission but stressed their features are mainly written in-house. The Southampton Area Talking News (for blind and partially sighted people), for which she is an editor, are looking for short original stories to include on their magazine tapes, and a note was circulated to Buddies. Four had so far replied offering stories, and she will get back to them as soon as SATE lets her know how they would like them submitted.

Barbara was welcomed to the group as a new member. She writes poetry and short stories, but has not submitted them as yet and is considering self-publishing. She currently attends a creative writing workshop, and also assists in running a children’s creative writing group.

Mo was contacted by a Hollywood director who had seen her work, to discuss involvement in a film, possibly as an adviser on 1950s style. However, she was then asked for some details including date of birth, and contact suddenly ceased – she thinks this might be an ageist problem, and it was agreed that if so, it should be pursued. The Society of Women Writers & Journalists are expected to include the topic in the next issue of the magazine. Mo has also been blogging and has a website established – . She is sending a story for a BBC competition. In early July in London, there will be an art exhibition at which an actor will be reading some of Mo’s work.

Tessa has been away, but she has sent a novel to various agents. One said there was no space in their list currently, but invited her to be their writer of the month. She is still enjoying her Kindle e-reader, finding it easy to use. She mentioned a self publishing organisation called Quercas Publishing who are apparently able to offer a free service, and this is to be pursued as a possible route to publication of the Buddies forthcoming anthology. Tessa has, like Mo, found that giving her date of birth in relation to her work has resulted in interest or offers being withdrawn.

Penny had previously written for the Diplomatic Service Families Association's magazine, Carousel, and she has been delighted to be offered a post working as staff on this magazine and editing its sister, the information magazine, The Bulletin – the group enthusiastically congratulated her on this, and thought it was an example of Penny being able to stretch the working week at will! She will also contribute to their web presence. She is still working on her book Haunted Southampton, and her folklore book is due out in a couple of weeks. She has had a commission, too, to write a piece for Writers’ Forum on setting up a writing group.

There was then general discussion about various issues, including ageism in publishing. Penny had just attended a SWWJ event – she had gained a place in a recent competition and received her prize. At the meeting there was an excellent talk by Sheila Crowley, an agent with publishers Curtis Brown. She mentioned that some agents are starting to boycott arms of publishers who strike too poor a deal for authors. She told the audience that a website is a must for writers, and that Twitter and Facebook have huge marketing potential. Digital publishing is on the rise, especially with non-fiction, and e-book royalties are generally much higher than for printed work. Crime and thriller books are doing well just now. When submitting manuscripts, the advice is to find the name of the person to whom they are aimed; if the work is addressed just to the firm, it is likely to end up in the slush pile. The Buddies discussed this further, and most are already doing this.

This was a productive and motivating session, and the Buddies look forward to the next meeting on Friday June 18th at 2pm at the Art House. Everyone, as always, is welcome.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Happy Birthday, Writing Buddies

The Writing Buddies celebrated their first birthday with a huge cake, a glass of wine and a lot of laughter. It was good to see so many of the Writing Buddies all together for the anniversary.

Pam Whittington, Penny's partner in crime when setting up the group, and Jimmy Marsh, who has attended virtually every meeting, brought a blush to Penny's face by telling the tale of how the group was set up and the strides it has made since. Penny replied by thanking them and all the Writing Buddies for the support they have given, which has made the group such a success.

The Writing Buddies welcomed several guests, including Pat Alderman and John Pye, who were made welcome.

Glen was pleased to announce that she has been accepted to the Society of Women Writers & Journalists. She is busy working on a jingle for the Blue Sky Choir and is attending a writing workshop at Chawton House.

Dee has been busy writing her 21st novel. This is about the blitz. As she put it: 'I was evacuated, I describe it first hand.'

John, former science writer for the Yorkshire Post, attended as a guest and the Writing Buddies were pleased to meet him. We hope he will come again to future meetings.

Jacqueline has submitted and been published by Suite 101. She has found getting the style required difficult. The Writing Buddies discussed Suite 101, which offers regular publication but the rate of pay is low until you have built up a large body of work.

Rich had nothing to report but was happy to be at the party.

Mo has two readings at Waterstones in London on 4th July.

Pam is relaxed about her writing at present. She is concentrating on her local history work on Marchwood. She has had a poem shortlisted and another will be published in an anthology.

Christine has written 150 words for The Guardian and has entered the Write Space competition on the theme, 'The Lie'. She will attend Winchester Writers Conference and is looking forward to the publication of the second edition of her book on child and adolescent mental health, to be published by Hodder Headline in June.

Wendy travelled up from West Sussex and reported that she has finished her book, Haunted Worthing and is busy updating her book, Story of Gower, which was first published in 1992. She is now working on a book of shipwrecks on the south coast.

Pat is an editor and writer and the Writing Buddies were very pleased to welcome her to the meeting. She sub-edits The Woman Writer magazine for the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. She worked for many years for national magazines and is now much in demand for her proofreading and copy editing skills. She championed membership of the Society of Editors and Proofreaders. Pat has just finished working on a 'Teach Yourself Anglo Saxon' book, which interested her very much as she has studied the subject in the past. In the meantime, she is looking forward to hearing the outcome of a proposal for her book of Buddhist stories, which a Hong Kong publisher has shown interest in.

Elizabeth is busy working on stories to submit to Write Space.

Silma is working on short stories and a poem. Her children's book is under consideration with a publisher, who is looking to fill their 2011 list. She is writing a short story for teenagers.

Jimmy and Penny had been out taking photographs in the New Forest for Jimmy's Sundance Gang website, which will shortly be up and running. Jimmy is now up to chapter 19 of his sci-fi novel and is busy looking for names for some of the demons he has invented for the book!

Peter has a week booked at the Edinburgh Festival, 23-30 August, for his poetry. He has experimented with Microsoft Powerpoint to make displays and presentations and hopes to trial these at his local community centre soon.

John has reviewed a play for the Daily Echo. He is also intending writing for the Writing Buddies anthology. John asked several questions about the Writing Buddies competition and this led to discussion of the competition entry requirements, as not all the Writing Buddies had understood the rules and did not want to accidently find themselves disqualified!

Barbara has decided to edit all her unpublished stories and to submit them with her application for probationary membership of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists.

Penny is still working on her latest book, Haunted Southampton. She had been on a ghost investigation of Romsey's Plaza theatre. This was great fun and resulted in a lot of material for the book, some of which she intends to use for an article about the theatre.

As much of the meeting was taken up with cake cutting, wine drinking and photo taking, there was not as much discussion as is usual for a Writing Buddies meeting! Subjects which were discussed were how to get into proofreading and copy editing and how the Writing Buddies meetings were inspirational as shared experience was useful to learn from.

The next meeting of Writing Buddies is on Friday 4 June at The Art House, at 2pm. Everyone is very welcome.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Writing Buddies, 7th May

Southampton Writing Buddies met at the Art House in Southampton on May 7th. The meeting was, if anything, more lively and information-packed than ever.

Jimmy doesn’t let the grass grow under his feet. His book subtitled Someone Else’s Trousers is due out next May, and he is now well advanced with his sci-fi fantasy book and is working on the synopsis for it. He has also been asked to run a workshop for Southampton Writers’ Circle on writing a synopsis. He has learned that his recent feature about the Vindi Boys in Best of British magazine has generated a lot of interest in the Vindicatrix Association.

Tessa has heard from Legend Press that they are interested in her trilogy The Dohlen Inheritance, and she is currently writing the blurb for the second book. She mentioned a useful website on how to publish e-books – (both his novels are now available as e-books).

Catherine continues to write book reviews for WHSmith on the internet after they contacted her via Twitter. She has just had an article published in a national magazine, and has submitted some flash fiction entries for the Bridport prize. She has also begun the second draft of her one-act play, and posts huge numbers of tweets.

New member Jacqui was welcomed to the group. She has enrolled with the Writers’ Bureau, and is studying fiction. She is still considering which path to take with her writing; she has submitted some short stories to women’s magazines but recognises the narrowness of the market. She had a travel article accepted by a magazine, but much later the editor changed her mind about it. The group talked about the fact that the work was initially accepted, which is a breakthrough and meant that Jacqui can clearly write publishable articles.

Christine has been asked for a second edition of her book on child mental health, and the publishers want to convert it to an e-book. She attended the London Book Fair and discussed print-on-demand for her book on bringing up teenagers. Tessa suggested chipmunka. Christine has begun a book on marital therapy; she has also sent two stories to Writers’ Forum for critiques, and both were highly commended.

Eileen joined the group for the first time. Her first novel (crime) is coming out in July, and the second is ready; Robert Hale publishers want to see the second and third books. She was originally a playwright, and submitted a script for the Orange Prize competition; from the critique she received, she decided to turn it into the novel.

Jacqueline was just completing her latest script for the Eastleigh Talking Echo. She had submitted an article to suite101 and was advised that the content was suitable but alterations to picture captions were needed.

Mo has problems with her publisher; her latest book seems not to be publicly available, and there is ongoing discussion about editing it. She feels that her writing has been slow recently but she is now keen to return to serious work.

Penny is currently working on a book, Haunted Southampton, and has been inundated with contacts via Facebook, both national and international. She has the proofs of Folklore of Hampshire, which is out in July, and is working on a book about Winchester. She has successfully joined suite101 as an author, and had already had two articles published.

There followed general discussion about Twitter, Facebook, blogging, and suite101. There are still places on the Ashtara Writers’ Pamper Day on June 26th – time 9.30-4, £35, which the group felt was good value. The newly opened Writing Buddies Anthology Competition for entries of fiction and non-fiction, poetry and one-act plays was discussed.

The next meeting, on Friday May 21st at 2pm at the Art House, marks the first birthday of the Writing Buddies. To celebrate, there’ll be wine and cake! New members welcome, too, of course.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Writing Buddies - 23 April 2010

The latest meeting of the Writing Buddies saw 11 writers at The Art House Cafe in Southampton on Friday 23rd April.

Glen, fresh from a break on the Isle of Wight, had been to a New Forest Writers meeting, where she was tasked to write a piece on the subject of 'the lady'. She is now looking for a market for the resulting piece. Glen has also applied for membership of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists.

Elizabeth has had to reschedule her trip to Spain, due to the volcanic ash in the atmosphere. She is making the best of it and is busy working on a short story, that has grown from the original 1000 words and will now be much longer.

Jacqueline is still awaiting feedback from her query about a sleep article which she has pitched to three magazines. She is also working on the outline of an article about improving memory. In January she sent a hard copy story to Weekly News and, as she had heard nothing, decided to call the magazine. She was told that a 'typed story' will take at least six months to receive a reply. It is a quicker by email. Jacqueline has also won a prize for her limerick sent to the Hedgehog Preservation Society. She wonders if she is now a 'Hedgehog Laureate'!

Tessa, also suffering from the volcanic ash as she should have been in America, has uploaded her novel to Authonomy and has found the whole thing 'depressing'. There are thousands of entries and she is convinced there are too many for hers to be found. She thinks it a 'mutual appreciation society' as you have to spend a long time reading other people's work. Tessa has launched her own website and one for The Thorn Press.

Kate has posted her Twitter list of 50 publishers as promised. She is now writing book reviews on behalf of WH Smith, who send her the books to review. Kate is also working on the rough draft of a new One Act Play, which is a new departure for her as she is used to working to word counts in short stories, rather than timings. She told the group about the TV channel, Alibi, which is running a competition for the first line of a crime short story. The winning line will be written into a book by crime writing duo Nicci French. Kate is busy blogging and is awaiting her article to be printed in Pick Me Up magazine.

Peter has had one of his poems accepted by Forward Press. It will be published with his bio. Peter has a week-long 50 minute slot at the Edinburgh Festival to present his poetry. He is now thinking about how best to present his work and the Writing Buddies suggested various options to consider, including how he could incorporate powerpoint and video into his show. In the meantime he has copyright issues with the photographs he is using for his booklet. The Writing Buddies suggested that he track down the copyright holders of the photos for permission to use the shots. The merits of Flickr were also discussed.

Jimmy has signed a contract with The History Press for Someone Else's Trousers. He has to edit it by ten thousand words and sort out the photographs, whose copyright lies with the Southampton City Archives. He has contacted Keith Hamilton at the Daily Echo and wishes to publicise the fact that he would like former residents of Belgrave Road and former pupils of Portswood School to attend the book launch next year. He is about to launch his blog and website. He has joined Twitter and Facebook. He is busy organising the first of his Sundance Gang books ready to send to Legend Press and The Far End of the Tunnel for Authonomy.

The Writing Buddies welcomed Siobhan to the meeting. Siobhan writes fiction and blogs. She is one of Mo's former pupils. It was good to meet her.

Christine says, 'She has lots going on in her mind!' Since her last Writing Buddies meeting she has decided to make her book fiction and is thinking about her characters. She has also ideas for a sequel to the first book and another book, which will appeal to both the US and UK markets. It was noticeable that her confidence has grown a lot in the short time since she was last at Writing Buddies. She is now thinking of a blog and website.

Mo loves blogging! She has also joined Facebook but is less enamoured with it. She has been offered the opportunity of reading her work at a London art show, 'Art and Publicity'. She is looking forward to the re-launch of her book, A Blues for Shindig, by Exclusively Independent. Mo has recently been offered readings at Houseman's and other radical bookshops in London.

Penny delivered her latest book, Southampton Then and Now, to the publisher just before Easter. She attended the York Festival of Writing , where she was part of a contingent of SWWJ Ambassadors talking to delegates about the Society, and she also co-presented a workshop, 'Writing Groups To Get You Published' with Silja Swaby and Jay Cole. Penny was at the London Book Fair, where she spoke to several publishers about ideas she has for future books.

Discussion around the table covered the question of confidence and women's reticence, which was seen as a drawback to a writer. You have to believe in yourself and your work. It was also felt that some educated writers were too analytical of their work, which held them back.

Writing routines and the point at which excitement takes over was also discussed. Many at the table found activities such as walking, swimming and gardening helped them to overcome problems in their work, giving them time to think their work through.

Peter commented that it was difficult to set up book signings for his self published booklet of poetry. Mo mentioned that it was easy to get book readings in Berlin when she was there recently.

The value of local writing events was discussed and it was hoped that the Poole Lit Up! event would be held again this year.

As Writing Buddies is about to celebrate its first birthday the group would like to publish an anthology of work by group members. A Writing Buddies competition was discussed at length and terms were agreed. The top three writers in each category would be published in the anthology. Penny would edit it and design/lay it out to keeps costs down. Quotes to print and publish it were to be sought. As the competition would only be open to members of Writing Buddies, it would only be a viable proposition if enough members took part. It is hoped that the book would be ready just before Christmas.

The visit to Ashtara for the Writers' Pamper Day is looming - Saturday 26th June 2010. The programme is as follows:

09.30 Meet and greet with tea/coffee
10.00 Talk with Andrew Hobbs on inspirational writing
10.30 - 12.00 10 minute taster sessions - with a medium or Tarot card or Angel card reading
30 minute Holistic Therapies - choose from Indian head massage, Crystal mini facial massage, feet treat, moisturising hand massage or Crystal Back massage
12.00 - 13.00 Lunch - bring your own or finger buffet for £6
13.00 - 15.00 10 minute taster sessions - with a medium or Tarot card or Angel card reading
30 minute Holistic Therapies - choose from Indian head massage, Crystal mini facial massage, feet treat, moisturising hand massage or Crystal Back massage
15.00 - 16.00 Interactive talk with Barbara Saph on EFT

The cost is £35. Contact the Ashtara Centre, near Beaulieu in the New Forest, to make a booking.

The idea of this day, open to both sexes, is to allow writers to have a day where they are free of their normal worries and can relax, whilst trying out therapies which may help to inspire. The day will give space to think and to meet other writers to chat. There is a pretty garden, which will be open to participants. It promises to be a day writers will not forget!

Writing Buddies would like to wish The Art House Cafe a very happy birthday!

The next meeting will be on Friday 7th May, at 2pm. Everyone welcome!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Writing Buddies - 9th April

In Penny’s absence, Jacqueline has written these notes.

The Writing Buddies met once again at The Art House on Friday April 9th, with, as usual, a wide ranging discussion and some interesting writing activity to report.

Tessa is publishing the second book of her trilogy in June. She is currently working on establishing her website - - “justhost” seems a good basis and is reasonably priced, although some of the information and directions use American terms and need decoding. She is still thinking of exploring the possible audio-book route in Hamburg.

We welcomed Catherine on her first visit. She produced a good amount of writing while at university, and wants to increase her output. One of her short stories was published in Hampshire View, and a short piece for a competition was also published elsewhere. Another work has been accepted by Pick Me Up weekly magazine, and Catherine is currently converting one of her short stories into a one-act play. She has a blog – – it is really interesting and informative and well worth a look (my comment, not hers!). She is a keen Twitterer (as Catherine Miller), and reports that the main publishing houses are on Twitter and not only do they give an idea of what they’re up to, but they apparently scan writers’ tweets as well. She is set on converting all the buddies to Twitter!

Nathan was also welcomed to the group for the first time. He has written poetry and sci-fi short stories, as well as features on specific interests such as snowboarding, and he mentioned enjoying writing parodies of films among other things. He has a wide range of interests which might inspire further work.

Elizabeth is returning to Spain soon for a short time, and plans to work on short stories she is currently rewriting.

Jimmy has had his autobiography accepted by The History Press for publication in May next year, subject to a reduction in length and resubmission by November. It now has a working title “Growing Up in Wartime Southampton – Someone Else’s Trousers”. Legend Press want to see his Sundance novels, too. He is now on Facebook as James Marsh.

Glen has been sorting out a huge amount of written material from over the years, and is amazed by the quantity. Some she may discard but other work may be useful.

John had his poetry/artwork exhibition extended at Goblets. He showed the group the basis of a booklet made up of the pictures and his own poetry, and hopes to get a print run with a view to sales. He mentioned as a free downloadable program for printing of pictures and text. He may look for a sponsor to advertise in the booklet, and the group discussed this. Tessa mentioned that Lulu self publishing can offer work produced in different sizes. John has also written a play for the artists’ group to perform.

Jacqueline is just completing her latest script for Eastleigh Talking News. She has managed to terminate her webhost contract with early, as she kept getting messages that her browser wouldn’t support their system despite having followed instructions. She is maintaining just her blog with a link to her writing CV for now. She has an outline for a sleep-related feature and is pitching it to health magazines; the group suggested one or two other possible homes for it.

We discussed outlets for poetry; Apples and Snakes have open readings ar venues such as Soul Cellar and the Nuffield Theatre – contact is – and Moving Voices runs at the Art House once a month. For novellists, the site invites authors to post up the first 10,000 words of a novel, and the Yeovil Literary competition for novels, poetry and short stories was mentioned. We also discussed the online ‘employers’ suite101, the problem of practical issues getting in the way of writing plans, unusual spooky incidents, computer crashes, domain parking, and the wide variety of Peter Lovesey’s work.

Finally, although members often have plenty to report, we very much welcome new writers, published or not, to our meetings and discussions. Our next meeting will be at the Art House on Friday April 23rd (auspicious as Shakespeare’s birthday!) at 2 pm.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Writing Buddies - 26th March

Two guests joined us for the last meeting of Writing Buddies, on Friday 26th March. They were Mari Nicholson and June Elford, both having come across from the Isle of Wight for our meeting. They were warmly welcomed.

It was, once again, a lively meeting with attendance into double figures.

The Writing Buddies also welcomed new member, Christine, who is undecided about the direction for her latest work. This was discussed at length and advice given.

John gave feedback about his poetry show at nearby Goblets gallery. He had learnt a lot from this, his first such venture in collaboration with local artists.

Tom had finally sent off his first assignment to the Writers Bureau and was now waiting to hear news of his tutor allocation.

Jimmy was still waiting to hear if The History Press are interested in publishing his memoirs.

Penny was deeply involved with finishing her book, Southampton Then and Now, which had to be with the publisher the following week.

The discussion around the table was about the state of the market for freelancers today (generally difficult), the benefits of writing for Suite 101 as Mari does, naming characters and how important it is to get it right, and writing circles and their benefits.

The next meeting is on Friday 9th April at 2pm. Everyone is welcome.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

The Writing Buddies at The Art House

Thanks to Jacquline Pye for these notes:

The Writing Buddies met once again at the Art House, on March 12th; it continues to be a good venue for us.

Richard attended an open mic event at the Art House recently and read some of his work; he was happy with the audience reaction.

Mo is currently writing publicity material for a group of artists in London. Her book “A Blues for Shindig”, about Soho in the 50s, is being brought out again by Exceptionally Independent Publishers. (N.B. Amazon’s UK website stocks this; at the time of writing they had just one copy in stock but were expecting more – the book had top rating by all reviewers.)

Glen continues to write the newsletter for Hamwic Speakers. She recently read one of her poems at a party, and found it was well-received.

Elizabeth received the critique for her story from WriteSpace. It has been very helpful, and as a result she is rewriting the story with a new slant.

Jacqueline has pitched a feature idea to a newspaper’s weekend magazine, and has just finished her latest script for the Eastleigh Talking Echo. She received the critique for her story from Writers’ Forum, which pointed out some details of the plot that needed explaining. She plans to rework the story and submit elsewhere.

Jimmy has sent off his autobiography and awaits a response. Legend Press has invited him to send the first instalment of his novel. He is also working on a short story to be entered in a competition, and the group discussed some of the detail he had included. He is currently struggling with computer problems which he hopes to resolve very soon.

Penny has been taking more photographs for her forthcoming book “Southampton Then and Now” - the publisher’s deadline is close. She has a contract on the way for another book for the History Press; this means she expects to have three books published next year – the group chided her for slacking! She has just been appointed as the official photographer at the Swanage Armed Forces Weekend in June.

Lewis joined the group for the first time. He has been writing for some years, including both poetry and short stories.

In the general discussion, Peter Lovesey’s recent talk at Southampton Writers’ Circle was discussed as being very enjoyable and informative. Many of the group had heard him speak at various venues. The issue of choosing names for characters in fiction threw up a number of ideas, though Jimmy would take the prize for the most inventive names.

Jimmy had thought of a feature idea on his way to the meeting; the group had some fun with this, and possible markets were debated.

A new bimonthly literary magazine was mentioned, Platinum Page, available only on subscription. It does not currently pay authors, but hopes to in the future. Poems and stories may be submitted. It has a mention in the April issue of Writers’ News, and there’s a blog -

The next meeting of Writing Buddies is on Friday 26th March at the Art House. Everyone is welcome.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Our latest meeting

When the Writing Buddies met on 26th February we were a merry bunch. All of us had a lot to say, which is great, and we had been working hard, which is even better.

Pam has been working on her research in Marchwood for Waterside Heritage.

Jacqueline has had an article on postcards accepted for 'possible publication' by Best of British magazine, has pitched to Saga on how to get to sleep at night - ways that work, and is busy working on the Eastleigh Talking Echo.

Christine is working on a story possibly destined for The Lady and a book on why marriages don't work. Her book Child and Adolescent Mental Health has sold out of its second edition.

John is involved in an exhibition of art based on his poetry between 17th and 30th March (see previous post) and has spent a lot of time working to get everything sorted out for a smooth running exhibition. He is actively looking at marketing, which takes up a lot of time.

Silma is revamping stories she wrote for Writers' Magazine competitions and is also working on a children's book. The article accepted by Woman and Home some time ago has still not been published and so she is considering looking at it from a different angle to make it more publishable.

Tom was welcomed to the group. He is currently working on the Writers' Bureau Comprehensive Course and has been writing for most of his life. He has lots of ideas and is very enthusiastic. It was good to see him at the meeting.

Peter is happy with his website and blog and now has 2 followers. He has been doing open mic sessions in Petersfield, Portsmouth and Swindon but would like to find venues for his longer poems. He is producing a booklet of his poetry, The Nails of My Grave and brought along a draft copy for the Writing Buddies to look at.

Glen has been writing short stories and attended a blogging workshop. She has lots of projects to get on with but needs motivation.

Penny had given a talk, on how much fun you can have writing articles, to the Southampton Writers Circle; had run a blogging workshop; was working on her book, Southampton Then and Now and had been kept busy by the Writers' Bureau with a flurry of new students who were eager to pursue New Year Resolutions to write.

The discussion around the table touched on the Winchester Writers Conference and how difficult it was to gain appointments with the experts of your choice. It was commented how long it took to get refunds if you were unable to see who you wanted to see. The 'cliquey' nature of the event was also mentioned and the general consensus of opinion was that the organisers should look at their speakers carefully. The lack of parking and the fact that it was considered to be too big and had outgrown its format were also discussed.

Swanwick and Earnley both won praise for their services to writers, in particular the fact that top named writers attended and it was possible to talk to them.

Different ways to market or publicise work were discussed. Various options were offered around the table, including local radio, small community publications and printing poems and selling them as gifts (as one of the Writing Buddies has done successfully in the past).

Peter marked National Poetry Day by attending an open mic session where Simon Armitage read his work.

In all it was a lively meeting at The Art House, whose staff, as usual, welcomed the Writing Buddies warmly.

The next meeting is Friday 12th March at 2pm. Everyone is welcome.