Friday, 9 December 2011

Writing Buddies 25 November 2011

After the excitement of the launch of the Writing Buddies' first anthology, it was a little disappointing to find only six buddies at the meeting immediately afterwards. Still, small is beautiful, so the group chatted rather than went into detail about what they had been up to.
The anthology launch was discussed and lessons learnt from it were noted. It was decided that there had to be changes to the way any future competition was be run, as the fees charged did not cover the costs of producing the resulting anthology.
The next Writing Buddies meeting will be on 9 December. This will be the final one before the Christmas break. The group will restart on Friday 13 January 2012.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Writing Buddies Launch Anthology!

The Writing Buddies' Anthology was launched at Waterstones Above Bar in the presence of The Mayor and Mayoress of Southampton on Saturday 19 November.
A goodly sprinkle of Writing Buddies turned up to support the event, which was voted both great fun and a success.
To order copies of the book, click here. Wordfall_Cover-152x261.jpg

Writing Buddies, 11 November 2011

The Southampton Writing Buddies met at The Art House Café on 11 November to discuss writing matters. Jimmy chaired in Penny's absence.

Karen has started writing about the childhood games she and her sister played and which she hopes can be turned into a series.

Jan has been looking at her nursing stories and writes whenever possible.

Veronica has been focusing on peace matters and showed the group The Christmas Truce by Carol Ann Duffy.

Ray Dumper joined the group for the first time and explained that for some years he has been writing his memoirs. He has reached the stage where he needs help and advice to move forward.

Tessa has been reading e books and recommends Smash Words for any writer thinking of publishing an e book. Tessa has also been working on her current novel.

Jacqueline has been editing her children's novel and will submit to a publisher by the end of November/early December. She has submitted a poem to 'What the Dickens' on the theme of snow, been blogging on the psychology of writing, and sent a pitch to Writer's Forum magazine. Jacqueline is unsure at the moment what to do with her Uncle Frank's war diaries (WW1). She is currently enjoying reading Tessa's first book of her trilogy, The Dohlen Inheritance, and showed the group a copy of the Waterside Herald newspaper which featured the launch of Pam Whittington's poetry book.

Elizabeth has taken a break from fiction writing and written a poem and started two more.

Pam has been busy organising the badges for the Wordfall writers at the launch on Saturday 19 November at Waterstones, Above Bar. She has sent Wordfall off to Society of Women Writers & Editor's magazine The Woman Writer. Pam is very occupied at present reading through a manuscript for a friend. Her poetry book Sunshine and Showers Poetry and Prose has been published and she was pleased to inform the group that her book launch was very successful.

Lisa recently attended a Harper Collins book launch for Miranda Dickinson's It Started with a Kiss. She is continuing to go back and proof read her novel Death in the City and is putting the polishing touches to the 6th chapter of her fantasy horror. She will try John Jarrold Literary Agent for publication.

Glen has not had much contact with The History Press but she is expecting to be proof reading soon. She sold six or seven copies of her framed poem and Romsey Tourist office have taken a quantity to sell.

Jimmy gave a talk at Bitterne Library and was asked if he would be willing to give another in the new year, as listeners outnumbered seats. He is having a little trouble obtaining the coat of arms for Southampton for his book A Miscellany of Southampton. He has been reading through his 'Sundance' series of books and unfortunately lost some edited work but realises the importance of backing up work. Jimmy is continuing to record his published book for The Talking Echo and has completed four chapters so far.

Mo received a large unexpected bill from her internet supplier and found that someone had been downloading vast quantities of material via her router. Mo advised that her publisher is stopping supplying Amazon with her books.

Open discussion mainly focussed on Ray's request for advice. He mentioned that he had read Jimmy's book and had in fact met Jimmy's late father. Ray has been writing for 18 years but he doesn't read books regularly and lacks confidence. In his book he is aiming to emphasise the changes since the 1950's, which is when he grew up. Pam recommended that he join a writers group who will read and give constructive comment on his work. Lisa advised that Brockenhurst College run a Memoir Writing Course, which could be helpful. It was generally agreed that Ray needs to find someone, or a group of writers, who will read his work and give an opinion and that this may involve a financial outlay. Ray had to leave the group early but expressed his thanks for the advice given.

Jacqueline informed the group about The Giving Machine where a vast amount of shops, including Amazon, give to charities. Jacqueline also mentioned that Janice, a Buddy member, was recording a Poetry Corner for The Talking Echo.

Notes by Elizabeth Streatfield.

Jimmy concluded the meeting by reminding everyone that the launch of Wordfall is at Waterstones, Above Bar branch on Saturday 19 November 5.30 – 6.30pm. Also, the recording of The Writing Buddies interview with Katie Martin of Radio Solent is being aired from 14 - 18th November.

The next meeting will be on Friday 25 November at 2.00pm.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Writing Buddies, Friday 14 October 2011

The Southampton Writing Buddies met at The Art House Café on 14 October for a lively

chat and update on members' writing achievements.

Jan has not done very much writing lately but continues to collect information for future use.

Karen has been busy illustrating and blogging. She and her sister have an idea to put their childhood games into a book, aimed at the teenage market. The group encouraged her to do this.

Tessa is learning how to programme for E books and finding it to be a tedious process. Tessa feels that Smash Words see is the best way to go as she has found using Kindle involves more work. Tessa reported that her latest book Ladybird Fly is doing well and she proposes to publish it as an E book.

Alan showed the group a letter he had published in the Echo (Your Views) about th

e cenotaph and also a framed poem he wrote 15 years ago.

Veronica informed the group about Forward Poetry of Peterborough see where you will find poetry competitions to enter. Veronica has an entry in the anthology.

Glen has not heard from The History Press but is expecting to receive proofs of Voices of Eastleigh to read and return by the end of October. The book will be published in February. Glen has finished her Poppy poem and has framed copies of it, which she showed to the group. She will donate 10% of the profits from the sale of them to the British Legion. Penny suggested that veteran day events would be a good way of selling them.

Mo advised the group that the launch for Christine Donovan's Jump Derry went well at Writers in Southampton. Mo is at present interviewing actors to perform her character, Shindig, from her book A Blues for Shindig.

Elizabeth is continuing, albeit slowly, with her Writers Bureau course.

Jimmy now has the contract from The History Press for his Pocket Miscellany of Southampton and this is due out mid 2013. He is giving thought to the publication of the first of his Jayden the Goldfish books. His talk at Woolston Library went very well and his next one will be at Bitterne Library on Saturday 5 November at 2.15pm.

Catherine has finished her first draft of her philosophical memoir. This has been planned for years and the book portrays an inner journey. Penny suggested Richard Dawkins’ publishers as possibly being interested in Catherine’s work. See

John informed the group about Apples and Snakes who are running ten workshops helping children see

Penny was pleased to announce that the group's anthology Wordfall will be out on FRIDAY 11 NOVEMBER 2011 and the book's launch will take place at Waterstones, Above Bar branch. On 20 October Penny will be on Radio Solent talking about her ghost book. The British Legion has informed Penny that they will not support her forthcoming book Under the Queen's Colours, which was going to raise money for the Poppy Appeal. She has approached other service charities and these are more than happy to work with her.

Penny advised that Pam Whittington launches her poetry book on 25 October 2011 in Hythe. Glen is considering the Age Concern room in Eastleigh for the launch of her book. General discussion took place as to the different ways of advertising forthcoming book launches.

The next meeting will be on Friday 28 October at 2.00pm. Everyone welcome!

Blog post by Elizabeth Streatfield.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Writing Buddies, 16 September 2011

The Southampton Writing Buddies met at The Art House Café on 16 September with Jacqueline chairing the meeting in the absence of Penny.

Tessa showed everyone the Echo article about Andrew Jones, author of Inktastic, which was published by her company, The Thorn Press. Ann Roberts' book, The Master's Tale, also published by Tessa's publishing company, is being launched on 20 September. Ann will be on Radio Solent on 23 September, in the afternoon, to talk about her book. Ladybird Fly, Tessa's third book of her trilogy, is now published and she has started a new novel about a Thai girl who marries an Englishman. The book will show the differences in cultures.

Jimmy has completed his questionnaire for The History Press regarding a Miscellany of Southampton. Both Penny and Jimmy had been offered the opportunity to write a book about 1950s childhood and The History Press have confirmed that they are happy for Penny and Jimmy to write it jointly. Jimmy is busily editing his Jayden the Goldfish books, which he hopes to self publish through Lulu. Jimmy is giving talks at Woolston Library on Friday 7 October and Bitterne Library on Saturday 5 November.

Elizabeth is continuing with her Writers Bureau course and feels it has opened her eyes to writing non fiction, as there are so many publications on the market with opportunities for placing work.

Jan has been out and about and gathering ideas for future writing.

Catherine is having a little break from intense writing but has been keeping herself busy with a 75 word exercise: see Catherine has submitted a short story to Writers Forum and will get feedback on her work. She is entering the Harry Bowling prize: see Catherine is also involved in the staff newsletter for employees at West Quay shopping centre.

Emma writes poetry and has been trying to start a blog.

Karen is continuing with her 30 day writing challenge and is thinking of having a go at NaNoWriMo. She is also contemplating blogging.

Pat has been short listed for the Maskers Theatre: see with a play. She has also written 80,000 words of her novel but feels she can write more.

Lottie, joining the group for the first time, has been writing on and off for four years. She recently completed a fantasy novel for teenagers, sent it to an editor and received good feedback. She feels she has more to write so it could turn into a trilogy. Lottie requested help with writing a synopsis.

Mo has a new actress playing her character, Shindig, from her book A Blues for Shindig, as the original one has gone to the USA. Mo has been blogging and entering a life writing competition.

Lisa's first chapter of her romance novel for the Mills and Boon competition is now completed:see The deadline is 10 October, when entries are then filtered by a voting system. There are six categories to choose from and Lisa has opted for 'warm and cosy.'

Jacqueline has pitched an article on How to Keep Your Brain Active, to Woman's Weekly magazine. Hampshire View magazine has accepted a short story and this will be published in the March 2012 edition. Regarding her children’s book, Jacqueline requested that Lisa, with all her expertise in this field, give a presentation at a future Writing Buddies meeting about self publishing.

Vijay has been writing a few flash fiction stories but as yet has not submitted them anywhere. He is still planning NaNoWriMo but feeling unsure where to take it.

General discussion covered the merits of blogging and Emma expressed her need for help in this area. Informative websites are or Literary Agents and magazine editors do look at blogs, so it is well worth blogging. For a hit counter go to The Society of Authors are having a Tweetathon on Radio 4, over a period of five weeks. The idea is to make a story out of five tweets. Ian Rankin has started the Tweetathon with an opening line: see For anyone interested in screenwriting then BBC Talent is asking for 30 minute scripts (minimum) for a drama course. Deadline for submissions is 1 November see and go to Writers Room.

The next meeting will be on Friday 30 September at 2.00pm.

Post by Elizabeth Streatfield.

Writing Buddies, 2 September 2011

The Southampton Writing Buddies met at The Art House Café on 2 September. New faces were present along with regular members to discuss writing matters.

Josephine has finished her last but one book and has ideas coming quickly for the one she is working on at the moment. A local radio station in the New Forest has been asking for volunteers and when Josephine mentioned her text books they showed great interest. They said that they could fit a business section into their programme. The radio station is on 96.9 FM

Lyn came to the last meeting and gained a few ideas. She looked at the suggestions of Suite 101 and Motion on Line for practicing her writing and liked Suite 101. Lyn is working on ideas for newspapers and has started the first assignment of her Writers Bureau journalism course.

Tony had two local history books, published years ago. He uses Authorhouse to publish his books,, who, he says, do deliver, although they are a little on the slow side. However, they do put things right quickly and are reasonably priced. Tony has given up with The History Press as they quoted him £10,000 to publish his book on the American Civil War.

Elizabeth is continuing with her Writers Bureau course. She received an email from Sainsbury's magazine, regarding a letter she sent for the 'News and Views' page confirming that it would be published in the November edition.

Jimmy brought his book, Growing up in Wartime Southampton: Someone Else's Trousers to the meeting, together with flyers that his publishers, The History Press, have issued for his talk at Woolston Library on Friday 7 October, 12 – 2.00pm. Tickets are available now (contact: He contacted The History Press to accept the commission to write Miscellany of Southampton. He has also been approached about writing a book about 1950s childhood.

Catherine (Miller) is a member of The Romantic Novelists' Association under the New Writers Scheme, where she submits work and receives feedback. Catherine is now in the scheme until her book is published. Although Catherine believed she was more a chick lit writer, she has been informed that she is a woman's fiction writer. She has been published in Prima magazine twice this year. The magazine pays £25 per comment. Prima can be followed on Facebook and will give an indication as to what they are looking for.

Catherine, joining the group for the first time, explained that she was brought up in Zimbabwe and has written 260 pages so far of her memories and reflections of her life there. When she has finished the book she would like to pass it to people for their comments. It was suggested that, as family and friends can often be too 'kind', it be given to friends to ask them to pass to people they know, but are not known to Catherine, for a more critical opinion.

Christine will be performing at the Big Oak Literary & Arts Festival in Derry, Ireland which takes place from 9th - 11th September 2011. She will be one of several featured authors and at the moment is unsure what is expected from her. The street in which the festival is being held was the setting for her book, Jump Derry.

John is still writing amateur dramatic reviews for the Echo. He has thoughts about resuming his play and novel. He is presently assisting Penny typing up her tapes.

Jacqueline is still awaiting a reply from Nosy Crow. She is editing her children’s book, which she now thinks could be a series. She was not short listed for her Humble Boy entry, which was apparently judged by the amount of laughter each entry received. Penny's introduction of the recordings made by Writing Buddies' members for The Talking Echo is to go out on memory stick together, with Mo's two-part story. Half an hour of Writing Buddies work (approx. 3 stories) will be sent out every four weeks. Chris Litton thanked the Writing Buddies for their efforts and they will await feed back from the listeners. Jacqueline's submission to People's Friend has still not been published, although she has been paid. Jacqueline had a letter printed in the Echo and she is also pitching ideas for self marking quizzes.

Alan brought in his story The Adventures of Sniggles, as he needs advice on what to do with it. He was extremely impressed by Karen's art work.

Mo praised Christine’s book, Jump Derry, and mentioned that Christine will be at the next meeting of Writers in Southampton on Thursday 6 October, which will be held at the Richmond Inn, Portswood, (opposite Waitrose).

Alex, new to the group, has been blogging for four years and has had two pieces of work published. Alex has entered a 60 minute play for the Bruntwood Prize for playwriting. It is a send up of cookery programmes. The closing date was in June and the results will be announced in October 2011.

Karen is applying herself to a 30 day writing challenge and everyday she writes a piece based on one word.

Jan is progressing with her writing about growing up in a mining community.

Penny, new to the group, attends a writing course run by Penny Legg at Age UK. She had a blog published in Woman's Own magazine.

Penny (Legg) is running a new class at Age UK and is launching a new magazine titled, Life to the Full. She is still interviewing for her Diamond Jubilee book, Under the Queen's Colours, the deadline of which is 1 December 2011.

Richard is still editing the U3A magazine for his area but will soon be giving it up.

General discussion ranged from how to cut and paste, to the practicalities of running a twitter account from a mobile phone. Christine was concerned about what she should talk about at the Literary Festival and Penny (Legg) suggested that she focused on a particular aspect of her novel. The merits of blogging were also discussed and it was thought to be a very good tool to get your name known. You Tube is also another way of advertising your work.

The next meeting will be on Friday 16 September at 2.00pm.

Post by Elizabeth Streatfield.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Writing Buddies, 19 August 2011

The Southampton Writing Buddies met at The Art House Café on 19 August. Although a smaller group than usual, due to the holiday season, the discussion on writing matters was as varied as ever.

Tessa proudly showed the group the cover of Ann Roberts' book about the Titanic. Her company, The Thorn Press, is publishing the book, The Masters Tale. It will be released for sale on 20 September 2011 and the book explains how the disaster happened. Tessa's own book, Ladybird Fly is due for release and she is thinking about where to hold her book launch.

Karen attended the last meeting and found it to be beneficial. She is, at the moment, thinking about two stories which are half written. One is about her grandmother's life and someone at university has inspired her for the other. Karen has done some very clever illustrations for Alan's story about a mouse which he talked about at the last meeting.

Jan has written about 400 words about growing up in a mining community. She has checked at the library and found an organisation interested in stories from the 50s and 60s so she will decide what to do with her writing. She was congratulated on taking her first steps into writing.

Elizabeth is continuing with The Writers Bureau Course, more slowly than anticipated as she is finding trawling through magazines to be a time consuming experience. She has also sent a letter, via email, to Sainsbury's magazine.

Jimmy mentioned that the Echo are still ignoring him and Tessa kindly said that she will write to them on Jimmy's behalf. Following his email to Best of British magazine they have confirmed that they wish to do a review of his book, Growing up in Wartime Southampton: Someone Else's Trousers. He has now written three stories about Jayden the Naughty Goldfish and received an email from The History Press asking him if he is interested in writing a Miscellany of Southampton. He has accepted and is also continuing to edit his other books.

Debs called into the Art House Café for a cup of coffee and saw the Writing Buddies advert. A friend is putting together a play about Deb's life. Debs has been keeping a journal for some years. She transcribes dreams and is a Life Coach by profession, being paid by a charity to do this.

Lyn has edited charity newsletters in the past and started a journalism course with The Writers Bureau two years ago. However, she needs to get motivated into a writing routine as she feels that she is now ready to start.

Mo has sent the first three chapters of her latest book to two potential publishers. Her new book, her third, is about two women who fall in love. Mo is also writing with a friend and feels she needs to focus more on Southampton instead of London.

Penny has appeared on the Katie Martin show on Radio Solent for five consecutive days. Each day a different one of her books was featured with the book she is currently writing, Under the Queen's Colours, being featured every day. She was able to get a plug in for Writing Buddies. Listeners contacted the show with their stories. BBC radio want Penny to broadcast on location. She interviewed a service man she met in Weymouth for her diamond jubilee book, Under the Queen's Colours.

It has now been agreed that Tessa will typeset the Writing Buddies Anthology Wordfall. Penny's book Voices of Southampton will be launched at Waterstones, Above Bar branch on Saturday 20 August.

During general discussion, self publishing was debated and it was generally agreed that this is changing fast. Penny mentioned that Writing Buddy member Lisa Scullard has very successfully self published on Kindle. Tessa explained that every writer needs an editor but you have to believe in yourself. If you do go down the route of self publishing then you have to be aware that you must approach book shops yourself to get them to stock your book.

Lyn has many interests and the How To articles might be a solution for her. Suite 101 was mentioned as there are masses of articles on all subjects and this may be another idea for Lyn, to practice her writing. Caution is needed, however, with advertisements asking for payment. Lyn mentioned that she has an opportunity to write for an on line newspaper for no fee. Penny suggested that if no fee is offered then she should make sure she has a link to her website or blog. Motion on Line is also a good way of practising article writing.

Penny mentioned to the group that Josephine still requires more Pet Hates for her book.

The next meeting will be on Friday 2 September at 2.00pm.

Blog post by Elizabeth Streatfield.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Writing Buddies, 22 July 2011

The Southampton Writing Buddies met at The Art House Café on 22 July and welcomed Chris Litton from the Southampton Are Talking Echo, who was joining the group to talk about the organisation.

To give time to our guest the Writing Buddies gave a brief account of their writing experiences since the last meeting:

Vijay writes fantasy and has started plotting for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in which he will write 50,000 words in a month. See The Writing Buddies will give him every encouragement and support.

Rhiannon is finding that her writing is very fluent at the moment and she is considering starting NaNoWriMo as well.

Janice is continuing with her poetry.

Tessa showed the group the cover of her third book of her trilogy which is titled Ladybird Fly and is due out in August.

Ann has completed the non fiction part of her Writers Bureau course. She has had success in getting four pieces of work published.

Christine Donovan joined Writing Buddies for the first time She has self published her book Jump Derry and is writing more novels.

Jacqueline has had major problems with her computer and lost most of her work. She is, however, soldiering on and has been pitching to Woman magazine and Yours magazine. Her sleep article will be published in the August edition of Yours.

Glen is more or less on target for the deadline, in about five weeks time, of her book Voices of Eastleigh. She is working on the photographs now and getting good feedback from friends who have seen her work.

Christine has edited the latest version of her book Child and Adolescent Mental Health and the publishers are interested in reprinting shortly. She is now on her second assignment with The Writers Bureau.

Lisa is trying to wean herself from writing about zombies and has started to write a romantic novel. She reported that 150 copies of her books have sold on Amazon.

Josephine thanked the Writing Buddies for their response to her request for pet hates. She is considering either putting these into sections or using them in one bigger book. She is considering writing an article on presentation for Writers' Forum magazine.

Pat is writing for Humble Boy and continuing with her poetry.

Jimmy is currently editing all his books. He announced that his book Growing up in Wartime Southampton: Someone Else's Trousers is selling well and he has had some wonderful feedback from local people who have read it. His interview with Andy Dyke on Radio Solent was very successful.

Elizabeth is continuing with the third assignment for The Writers Bureau.

Janet has a degree in Fine Art taken at Solent University and she undertook a creative writing course some years ago and is hoping to blend the two together.

Mo advised that she sold seven books at the reading at Shoreditch. She will try rewriting a script. Sanctum will sell her book as part of the ticket price but Mo will have to watch she gets paid.

Penny enjoyed the Buckingham Palace garden party and her husband, Joe, chatted with Prince Philip. She received a phone call from Radio Solent who want her to record over a period of five days. This will be looking at one of her published works each day and there would be a general chat with presenter, Katie Martin. It will be an opportunity to raise the profile of Writing Buddies and plug books. The Diamond Jubilee book is coming on. In July 2012 a military event will take place at The Kings Theatre, Southsea and they have invited Penny to be their an guest author, with Under the Queen's Colours.

Chris Litton from Southampton Talking Echo gave some background of the charity. It has been running for 37 years as a registered charity providing local information for the blind and sight impaired. There are currently 80 volunteers who record information. This used to be recorded onto an audio cassette but a memory stick is now used. The listener is sent a green wallet which encloses the memory stick and this is then plugged into the supplied play back speaker (a computer is not required). Articles covered are gardening, cookery and local history and once a month other information is included. The listener receives the memory stick every fortnight and this is almost three hours of recording and is a free service. The organisation produces news letters to generate income.

Chris is hoping, as a way of increasing the variety to the listener, that authors from Writing Buddies would be willing to record their own work, but, readers can be available if that is the authors' preference. The stories required should take 15-20 minutes recording time (1500 – 2000 words) on any theme. Submissions can be fiction, non fiction or poetry and there may also be the possibility of serialisation of longer pieces of work. Chris advised that a typical listener is female between ages 60 – 90 but they do have some younger listeners.

Jacqueline, who is a volunteer herself, is willing to co-ordinate. There are sufficient readers at the moment but editors and sound engineers are being sought - see Writing Buddies would, of course be mentioned on the recording. Chris demonstrated how the machinery worked and confirmed to those not familiar with recording machines that, should the reader make a mistake, it is only necessary to pause for a moment and then continue. The continuity will then be taken care of and when they edit, the reader will have a copy to listen to. 'Book at bedtime' is a theory they may pursue.

The Writing Buddies expressed their interest and thanked Chris for his very informative presentation.

Further general discussion took place and Janet advised the group that she used to be a nurse in the 1970s. She would like to write about her nursing experiences. The art degree she has is in book binding and she informed the group about Red Hot Press who are artistic printers and run book binding courses, and also

Ann wondered if she should ask for a particular rate when pitching to a publication. The general practice is not to do that but instead, check current rates before pitching. The NUJ offer guidance to freelance rates.

Penny reminded the group that The Art House window display must be cleared today.

The next meeting will be on Friday 5 August at 2.00pm.

Notes by Elizabeth Streatfield.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Writing Buddies Friday 8 July 2011

The Southampton Writing Buddies met at The Art House Café on 8 July to discuss writing matters and welcomed Penny back after her much earned break.

Elizabeth continues with her Writers Bureau course and is about to start the third assignment.

Jan met Barry Cunningham of Chicken House Publishing at the Winchester Writers Conference and he is reading her book, which is aimed at 8 – 12 year old children. She does not like the title of her book so is considering changing it. Jan expects a response from Barry within 6 – 8 weeks.

Jacqueline entered the Inktastic competition - she didn't win, but enjoyed entering. She has entered a competition in Freelance Market News which calls for a story of no more than 140 characters. She more or less has the plot for her Humble Boy entry and has sent two submissions to Nosy Crow, children's book publishers. Jacqueline has approached Waterstones at West Quay regarding a small self published gift book suitable for Christmas. She was informed that if the book has a good cover Waterstones could, in theory, sell about 100 copies. To help keep her abreast of her writing activities Jacqueline uses a white board on which she has two columns showing the competitions she has entered and her other projects.

Tessa reported that the Inktastic competition has now been judged and the winner picked. There was a disappointingly low number of entries. Tessa is working out a contract with a London Agent who wants 10% on gross sales. Tessa has rewritten the contract and sent it back. The more normal commission rate is 7 -7½% on net sales. She has been working on various projects and the last book of her trilogy should go to print by the end of July.

Mo emailed all Writing Buddies on 10 July regarding a reading of her book, A Blues for Shindig, which will take place at the Vegas Gallery, Shoreditch, London on 14 July.

Rhiannon is re-working a novel she started 15 years ago and has written 12,000 words so far. She is currently aiming at freelance work and has been blogging. She saw two magazines on the internet requesting submissions and is now thinking about what she could submit to them.

Jimmy has sent three chapters of the first book of his trilogy to Legend Press. He is actively promoting his published book, Growing up in Wartime Southampton: Other People's Trousers and has a signing booked for 21 August at Asda, Totton. He has finally secured an answer from the Echo and they will be in contact with regard to reviewing his book. Andy Dyke, a presenter on Radio Solent, will be interviewing Jimmy on 14 July. The blog on his website is now up and running.

Penny has signed three more contracts with The History Press.

· Eastleigh Then and Now – Penny has recently taken photos of the railway works.

· Bloody Southampton – Penny already has plenty of material for this book.

· Under the Queen's Colours – this will be a commemorative book for the Queen's Jubilee. It will be published in May 2012 and has to be finished by the end of December 2011 to be ready for the publishing date. Donations will go to the Poppy Appeal.

Penny is collaborating with Martin Baum on a new book, which they will consider self publishing. On 19 July Penny will be attending the Queen's Garden Party and she will be at Winchester Cathedral on 15/16 July promoting her book, Winchester: History You Can See. She has been invited to the Society of Authors lunch on 14 July.

General discussion followed. Jacqueline will send another email about the stories required by the Talking Echo. It has been suggested that the writer's record them and Jacqueline advised that this could either be done at her home, or in a quiet room in the Central Library. Penny mentioned that The History Press are now publishing historical fiction whereas previously they only published non fiction. Members were reminded that the items displayed in the Art House Café window will shortly need to be removed.

The next meeting will be on Friday 22 July at 2.00pm, when the Writing Buddies will welcome Chris Litton, from the Eastleigh Talking Pages.

Post written by Elizabeth Streatfield.

Writing Buddy Mo Foster at Vegas Gallery, London

Mo Foster, one of the Writing Buddies, has an exciting night ahead of her:

Vegas Gallery
is this summer embarking on a new era and are proud to present: Storytelling/Chapter One, the first performance event curated by Alexander Vega.

Storytelling is a contravention to the recognized exhibitions at the gallery, aiming to showcase and promote artistic expression in the field of live art, performance, writing and video.

In Chapter One we will visit the darkest alley ways of 1950’s Soho, with writer Mo Foster. Become aroused by the alluring Femme Fatale from the avant-garde music duo, Bother. Then before you wake up, artist J.D.A Winslow will confront you in his interactive performance piece: "I'd Like To Shake You By The Hand"

For our first evening we are pleased to present writer and journalist Mo Foster. Living between Southampton and London, her provocative plays, ‘menopausal punk’ poems and the novel ‘A Blues for Shindig’ have been critically acclaimed. The latter follows the life and loves of a louche London girl in the seedy blues clubs of 1950s Soho. When people speak about the fifties as a dull monochrome time, they were perhaps in the wrong place. And certainly hadn’t met Shindig. She doesn’t go out of her way to find trouble, but it finds her… and gets a welcome. Louche Soho of 1956 is just the place for Shindig. A strange brew of dissolute characters, surround and engulf her. She adapts, but can she survive the turmoil that she’s created? And somehow we do care about this oddly endearing, infuriating bird on a wire. She wanted the blues and she got them!
To read her story this evening, we have invited the London based actress and singer Rebecca Whitbread. She trained at The Guildhall and has since worked in theatre and film. She is currently working on a one woman musical show to take to the US at the end of the summer. She also sings in two bands: the 1940s duo, 'The Bluebirds of London' and a post rock/punk band, 'Motherhood'). She produces and acts within a film production collective, making short films. She also works with various writers and poets to bring their work to the stage.

Bother is the brainchild of Adam Perchard and Ian Godden, and is a chaotic fusion of performance art and pop with a flair for the ridiculous. Born in 2008, amid despairing games of 'Exquisite Corpse' played in country pubs and gin-fuelled jams in Ian's mother's garage on their home island of Jersey, Bother's distinctive blend of film, music, satire, fashion and performance has since become a familiar presence at the Branchage International Film Festival and in the streets of East London. In 'The Dreary Mademoiselle’, Bother is blending candy-pop camp with eighteenth-century fall from grace narratives like Defoe's Roxana and de Laclos's Les Liaisons Dangereuses, 'The Dreary Mademoiselle' is a joyfully anachronistic fusion of wanton Enlightenment sexuality and MTV raunch. Watch as the shameless, proto-feminist mademoiselle, swept along on a sea of eighties montage, masquerade, melodrama and bubble-bath, sleeps her way to the top and then completely loses her head...

Coming all the way from Edinburgh, artist J.D.A. Winslow will be enacting a performance piece throughout the evening. "I'd Like To Shake You By The Hand" is based around the concept of a conversation being more life-affirming than most works of art and certainly more life-affirming than his own art. By blurring the boundaries between existence and art it emphases on the idea that mundanity is necessary. The piece celebrates quotidian and how the simplest pleasures are often only a hello away.

So it is our pleasure to invite you to the first night of storytelling at Vegas.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Writing Buddies, 24 June 2011

The Southampton Writing Buddies met at The Art House Café on 24 June to discuss writing matters. In the absence of Penny Legg the meeting was chaired ably by Jimmy Marsh.

Eileen informed the group that her book, Miss McGuire is Missing, is now available in large print. Her second novel, Blackmail for Beginners, will be out soon. She was very pleased to inform everyone that the Canadian Publishing Company, Harlequin, have made her an offer on the paperback rights.

Rhiannon joined the Writing Buddies for the first time and hails from Fareham. She has been writing all her life and has had two short stories and one poem published. She was short listed for the Ashmore Award. She is currently working on a novel she conceived 15 years ago when she was in Sheffield.

Mo is in talks with a potential new collaborator and has a reading at an art gallery within the next month.

Jacqueline has finished the short story she was working on and sent it to Take a Break (Fiction Feast) magazine. She has entered a flash fiction competition (500 words), which closes at the end of June. Jacqueline went to the Inktastic launch, organised by Tessa Warburg the owner of the publishing company The Thorn Press, and bought a book. There is a competition in the book for a story constructed around one of the pictures contained it, the prize being the original picture. Jacqueline also has plans to start on Humble Boy and is writing non fiction articles.

Veronica showed the group a book containing photographs, which are currently on display in The Art House Café.

Lisa has been in talks with a representative from Rebellion publishing who she met at The London Book Fair. She is trying to challenge herself away from the zombie theme and would like to write more romance. Lisa feels she does not want to be involved concerning production of her novels unless she is being paid and she might possibly sell the rights.

Suneda has finished university and this is her last visit to the group. She will now start writing her book – a ghost story.

Tessa reported that the Inktastic book launch went well. Unfortunately, the interview Tessa had set up with the Echo did not take place as the author changed his address. Tessa has finished her third book, Ladybird Soar. She is preparing the contract for Ann Robert’s book, The Master's Tale, which is due for publication on 20th September 2011.

Elizabeth has finished her second assignment for The Writers Bureau.

Laurel is still submitting her stories to competitions and she has entered 2 poems, 1 short story and 1 flash fiction for the Bridport Prize.

John advised that Apples and Snakes are offering a free seminar for poets. He has written two more reviews for the Echo and reminded the group about the email he sent to members about the Bush Green Theatre.

Jimmy has 13 books still to be published and is working on them with a view to sending them to a publisher. His published book, Growing Up in Wartime Southampton: Other People's Trousers is now on sale at Tesco's at Bursledon.

Ivor joined the group towards the end of the meeting. He is not a great fan of typeset and prefers to write in longhand. On his way to the meeting he found himself writing down his observations, viewed from the bus.

Various topics were discussed including being consistent with your writing and the need for many proof reading sessions. John was keen to learn the proper way to lay out a script and Jacqueline mentioned that even Ian Rankin has had to do re-writes due to mistakes in his writing.

The next meeting will be on Friday 8 July at 2.00pm.

Post by Elizabeth Streatfield.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Writing Buddies, 10 June 2011

The Southampton Writing Buddies met at The Art House Café on 10 June to discuss writing matters. The meeting was ably chaired by Jacqueline in the absence of Penny.

Tessa received a telephone call from Caradoc King, who is a top agent from A.P. Watt, Literary Agency, asking her if she would like to publish Ann Robert’s book about the Titanic. Tessa will start as soon as possible. She will need a proof reader and received some offers of help from Writing Buddies.

Janice had felt encouraged by her first visit to Writing Buddies and has been gathering together all her poems into a little book.

Mo was disappointed that, after her meetings with the American Director, despite his interest, she still has no contract or fee. She has gone back to writing her third novel and is considering writing a play. Mo recently attended a SWWJ meeting and found it very worthwhile going.

Elizabeth is still working on her second assignment for The Writers Bureau and has nearly completed a short story which she will consider entering into a competition.

Jimmy has been contacted by The History Press who are arranging signings of his book, Growing up in Wartime Southampton: Someone Else's Trousers, in Asda and Tesco. His blog, on his website, will be up and running in a few days. His third book of his trilogy is beginning to take shape and he is also editing previous work.

Jacqueline is working on a children’s novel. She has sent back the first free one of the books she is reviewing, (not as previously reported on 27 May) and found it interesting to see what mistakes other writers make. She is brushing up on three stories for schoolchildren and has written a short story which she is considering sending to Take a Break magazine. Jacqueline won a Toblerone chocolate bar on Twitter and has received two tweets from the author, Ian Rankin. She has not heard from Yours magazine so assumes that her article has been accepted.

John has sent some of his poems to Isaac Sigley who is putting together an event in Southsea. John continues to write reviews for the Echo and was pleased to inform the group that 86 copies of his book have been sold, 84 at the full price, in less than one year.

Vijay is writing flash fiction – mostly fantasy, but as yet he has not submitted his stories anywhere.

General discussion followed on various topics ranging from using google to ascertain a particular song's copyright, suggestions for Tessa's search for a 'shout line' and how to ration time for writing.

The next meeting will be on Friday 24 June at 2.00pm.