Monday, 22 October 2012

Writing Buddies - It's Good to Talk

Southampton Writing Buddies met again at The Art House on October 5th. We were a small group this time but with plenty to discuss.

John was due to see and review a performance of Great Expectations. He has now completed sixteen blog posts, keeping up his plan to blog every week. The previous two posts had been the two halves of a new poem. A4E have accepted his business plan involving his blog; he showed the group his poem manuscript together with the syllable counts to show how they were constructed. 

Jacqueline will have two stories in the next e-anthology by Inkslinger Books; it's called Temporal Tales and each entry involves time-slips. She has a short story in the latest edition of What the Dickens internet magazine. A piece of flash fiction submitted for an anthology was accepted but there is no payment and contributors are asked to order copies of the book at £8. The group agreed that this sounded like something of a scam.

Josephine joined Hampshire Writers' Society; they have talks by well-known writers. A recent guest was P D James, who gave a really excellent talk. Josephine is looking for a publisher for her book about meetings, and is thinking about Manchester University. She is still working on her staff management book, and is considering a book or an article on being an executor. The group felt this would be a really useful book, and Josephine has the experience.

Ray's memoir is nearly completed. He employed someone to advise, and hopes to self-publish it fairly soon. As a title he is considering 'From War to an Iron Fighter'. He has now begun to write some poetry, too.

Jimmy's book Not a Guide to Southampton will be out in January. He is working with Penny on a 1950s childhood book which will be published in May. He is planning to publish his Sundance Gang novels and the Far End of the Tunnel trilogy, and is still working on a book about teenagers. He has had a good deal of positive feedback about his first book Growing Up in Wartime Southampton, Some Else's Trousers.

Penny's latest book for The History PressEastleigh Then and Now is out in hardback; the Echo have requested a review copy and Radio Solent's presenter Katie Martin is interested in the book too. Penny is book-signing in Waterstone's in Eastleigh on Saturday November 24th. She recently gave talks in Southampton area about hauntings.

There was then a lengthy discussion about how to turn a manuscript into a book or an ebook, either through a publisher or self-publishing. Lulu and Amazon were mentioned, and some local printers who will produce print runs on demand, usually with a minimum number ordered. These included George Mann books (Malthouse Close, Winchester), The Sholing Press, and Hobbs in Totton who made a really good job of publishing poetry with photographs for one of our members.

We also touched on how to look for commissioned writing work and - in hope - get paid for it. Writing for no payment can be very good to get known and enrich the CV,while obtaining payment is elusive; even the major publishing houses are drawing their horns in and sometimes asking for advances to be returned if a book is late or doesn't get completed.

Writing Buddies will meet again on Friday November 2nd at 2pm at The Art House, Above Bar, Southampton. Everyone with an interest in writing, whether published or not, is very welcome to join us.

Post by Jacqueline Pye.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Writing Buddies, Friday 7 September 2012

Writing Buddies Meet Again

Writing Buddies' recent meeting was on Friday 7th September at The Art House in Southampton. As always, we talked about the work we'd been doing since last time and then discussed matters of general interest.

Tessa is setting her latest book up as an ebook for Amazon and noted how crowded the site has become. This led to a discussion, detailed below, on Ryan Deiss and how to sell in an overcrowded market.

Mo has spent a good week writing a screenplay for a Hollywood producer. He has finally paid her for her work, which is great, and she is enjoying it and feels motivated.

Janet continues to write every day, and she has been working on some art to accompany her writing.

New member John has written some stories for children but he is uncertain how and where to place them, though he has been working with an illustrator and he showed us some of her work. This was discussed in more detail later.

Jacqueline had a piece of flash fiction in issue 5 of What the Dickens internet magazine and has submitted for the next issue. Her story appeared in Tortured Hearts Vol 3 ebook by Inkslingers and will have two stories in their next anthology. Her article based on a WW1 diary is accepted by The Great War magazine, and she has pitched to CBBC an idea for a children's drama.

Christine contributed to the newly published second edition of Child & Adolescent Mental Health, Theory & Practice. She has entered the Book Guild's short story competition, and is currently editing another author's book about Emma Hamilton.

Rowan has an idea for a novella. He has found The Writers' & Artists' Guide to How to Write very useful.

John G continues with performance poetry, and is also involved in online reviewing.

Penny's book Eastleigh Then and Now is due out at any time and there are some advance orders already. She is writing a book, with Jimmy, about childhood in Southampton, and has just signed a contract for a 2013 sequel to Under the Queen's Colours which will be about women. She is planning book signings at Waterstone's in Eastleigh.

The discussion included how to judge the age group for a children's story, the language constraints, whether the relevant children would be interested in the particular subject matter, and the importance of appropriate illustrations. Younger children may prefer 'funky' pictures which should be strong on shape and colour but not necessary detail.

Tessa mentioned an internet course run by American Ryan Deiss on how to sell ebooks in an overcrowded market. He charges $250 and the course is hard work, but he promises a refund if the fee is not recouped in ebook sales. Still on the subject of marketing, John G mentioned The Masquerade Crew's blog where various sources of advice are being gathered.

Two possible speakers were mentioned, and these will be considered for future meetings.

Writing Buddies will be meeting again on October 5th, the next 'first Friday of the month', 2pm at The Art House Cafe, Above Bar, Southampton. Anyone with an interest in writing will be very welcome.

Notes by Jacqueline Pye.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Writing Buddies Latest News!

Writing Buddies moved to a new, monthly meeting format recently and this has proved to be successful.  Buddies have more time to write between gatherings and consequently have more to say when they all get together.

One casualty though has been the minuting of meetings.  The group's founder, Penny Legg, attends most of the group's meetings but does not have the time in her schedule to write up the notes taken at the time.  She has been very grateful to Jacqueline Pye and Elizabeth Streatfield, who have between them taken on the role of keeping the world up to date with the writing lives of the Buddies.  However, both of these writers have found coming to the meetings every month difficult recently and the blog has suffered as a result.  Penny has had to have a rethink about the blog as a consequence.

From now onwards, the blog will continue to try to give a flavour of what each Writing Buddy has been up to but will also give information on local festivals, events and such like, too.  Thus, when there is no scribe to write up the meeting, there will be no notes but there may be other information, relevant to all writers locally and further afield.  Penny hopes that readers of this blog will like the change.  If not, perhaps they would like to volunteer to come along and write the notes for this blog themselves!

The next meeting of Writing Buddies is on Friday 7 September at the Art House Cafe, Above Bar, Southampton, starting at 2pm.  Everyone is welcome.

The Guildford Book Festival is coming up shortly.  If you have not sampled its delights, here is a peep at what is on offer:

Guildford Book Festival 

Hello again from Guildford Book Festival!

We have some exciting news... We've been hard at work over the last few months building a fabulous programme of events. 

The eagerly awaited Festival brochures will soon be appearing on doorsteps, in libraries, at Festival venues and in shops around the town and beyond! The brochure will also be available to download or you can view events online .
The line-up includes, among others, writer and comedian Sandi Toksvig, bestselling authorKate Mosse, ex-ITN newscaster John Suchet, actor and comedy writer Ben Miller, BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz, ethnobotanist James Wong and writer, navigator and explorer Tristan Gooley.

Festival Exclusive

As loyal fans of the Festival, you are the first to know that Box Offices open this Friday at 10am. For full programme details or to book tickets log on to our website . Alternatively, call  The Electric Theatre on 01483 444789 or the  Tourist Information Centre on 01483 444334.

Special Ticket Offers

Linked Events: Block out an afternoon or evening and take in some great double bills. You can save money too! Just look out for the red + symbol in the brochure.

Indulge in a double helping of Prue Leith and Rachel Allen onPrue LeithThursday 18 October, the opening day of the Festival or how about a historical double bill featuring Lindsey Davis and Simon Scarrow on Sunday 21 October.

Following on from the success of last year's 'Britain's Defenders - An Afternoon at War', Clare Mulley and Nicolas Rankin and Derek Niemann present an afternoon of engrosing wartime stories on Thursday 25 October. A double bill not to be missed.

Finally, crime fans will not be disappointed - also on Thursday 25 October spend an evening in the company of thrilling crime writers Nicci French and Tania Carver in Double Acts and Sophie Hannah and R J Ellory in The Dark Side.

Reading Group Offers: If you belong to a reading group, there are some great savings to be made on a whole host of fiction events including Frances Osborne, Ann Cleeves and Peter James, Salley Vickers and David Nobbs! Look out for the green R symbol in the brochure and find out how to register here.

A Feast of Fiction: Kick start your week with day devoted to fiction and a line up of fabulous novelists on Monday 22 October. A chance to catch Jenny Eclair, Kathy Lette, Kay Burley, Kathryn Flett, Dorothy Koomson and Judy Finnigan. Find out about the all day special deal at box offices.

We hope you'll agree there are lots of good reasons to join us. See you soon! 
The Festival Team

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Guildford Book Festival Funded By

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Thursday, 12 July 2012

Writing Buddies, 6 July 2012

Plenty to Report

Southampton Writing Buddies met again at The Art House, Southampton on Friday July 6th, the first meeting on our new monthly schedule of first Fridays. Here's what members reported about their writing-related news since last time.

Mo has been filmed in Notting Hill Gate, speaking about the 1959 Notting Hill riots. Her novel, A Blues for Shindig, is set in London in that decade - she wasn't part of the riots herself! She is also shortly to have one of her short plays filmed by a team who have won a Toronto film prize. The Oldie magazine has produced an annual-type book to celebrate their twentieth anniversary, and included in it is one of Mo's articles printed in the magazine previously. She showed us a copy, and told us about the forthcoming celebration dinner to which she's been invited.

Jacqueline has registered with Ether Books (mobile quick reads); her first submitted short story is now on the site, and she has also sent two biographies. One of her stories is about to appear in the ebook Tortured Hearts Vol 3, and she has just heard that her WAAF memoirs piece was in The People's Friend last September! She has had a letter in the Daily Echo, and has started pitching her WW1 diary article to military magazines.

Catherine has completed her novel rewrite following suggestions by the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers Scheme. She has had a 75-word piece published on paragraph planet and has entered a short story competition. She and her fellow NWS writers have a blog, The Romaniacs, and they are featured in current writing magazines.

Josephine has received, from the Society of Women Writers & Journalists' (SWWJ) a novel for review for their magazine The Woman Writer. Her list of likes and hates is building nicely and she hopes to publish them as a small gift book next year. Her book about managing meetings should be completed by the end of this month, and she is considering some articles related to it. She is also planning her next book, which will be on staff management. Park Radio, with whom Josephine is associated, is only online now, but they are looking for contributions and local reporters in the New Forest. 

Patricia went to the Writers' Conference at Winchester. An agent was very impressed by her book, but wanted an elevator pitch for which she was not ready. She has now sent her book to the agent with a pitch and has found two other possible agents. She has been writing and submitting flash fiction.

Jimmy has read and returned the proofs of Not a Guide to Southampton. He has just started writing a 1950s childhood book in collaboration with Penny. His preschool book had language which needed adjusting so he is now working it for the 3-5 age group and hopes to publish in August. He is considering a follow-up to his book Growing Up in Wartime Southampton, and is working on two of his other novels.

Karen feels that her novel in progress needs to be more detailed, and she plans to start songwriting again.

John is keeping up his Friday blog posting. He has been attending the poetry group Moving Voices at The Art House, too. He mentioned that the Gumtree site is looking for real life stories.

Penny has been very busy promoting and selling her book, Under the Queen's Colours, locally, in London, and to people from abroad. The launch at Netley went well. There has been much interest at Australia House in London; she has enough further material to consider an Australia/New Zealand book on the same topic, and there is interest from a publisher for this. She may also consider a book of women's experiences in the forces.

In the discussions, it was mentioned that Amberley Press is planning a series of photo/picture-based books comparing past with present, and is thinking of Eastleigh as a suitable topic area. The History Press continues to look for new writers, and they have just set up a historic fiction section. Penny suggested invited one of their staff back to talk with us, and the group thought this a good idea. We also discussed why and how tags should be used, blogging generally, and internet hacking problems. 

Writing Buddies will meet next on Friday August 3rd, 2pm at The Art House, Above Bar, Southampton - and as ever, anyone with an interest in writing will be very welcome.

Blog notes by Jacqueline Pye.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Writing Buddies - 1 June 2012

Writing Buddies met at The Art House on June 1st, 2012

** Please note change of frequency of meetings - see end of this blog.

The meeting was quite well attended, and as usual, members have been very productive.

Josephine attended a non-fiction workshop run by another member, Wendy Hughes. Josephine is still working on her book about people's loves and pet hates, and remains open to suggestions. She has been working with Park Radio; they are shortly to close down because of funding problems although they may maintain an online presence. She is reviewing some academic articles, and her book on managing meetings is close to completion.

Silma has now published her book 31 12 on Amazon; it's the story of a boy who finds access to an alternative world through his mobile phone. Silma now has a blog, and has joined LinkedIn, and she reports some recent success in having articles published.

Rowan has been enjoying producing some free writing, based on random words and phrases.

Jimmy has edited his Jayden the Goldfish story and awaits a decision as to whether it is ready for publishing. Jimmy has been advised to adjust the title, and this remains under discussion. He has nearly completed Not a Guide to Southampton for The History Press, and is reviewing the third book in his trilogy The End of the Tunnel.

New member Jean has primarily been a poet, but she is currently planning a short story.

Another new member, Phil, has written some short stories, too.

Jacqueline has entered a children's poem for a Writers' News competition and a piece of flash fiction for consideration for an anthology. She has heard that a short story written during a recent online course has been accepted for Volume 3 of the ebook series Tortured Hearts. She has also posted Jubilee-related recipes on her food blog.

Karen has been planning the structure and content of her novel. She is working with Jimmy on the artwork for his Jayden book.

Janet has been looking at her diary, and is now working on expressing its content in poetry form.

Penny's latest book, Under the Queen's Colours, is published, and she has been to signing events. It is available on Amazon's website and also Waterstone's. She has been a guest on Radio Solent's Alex Dyke's show, and went to Australia House to discuss her book and sold all the copies she had with her. Her hardback Eastleigh Then and Now will be published in September, and work is in progress on Bloody British History: Southampton. She has a ghost book being published by The Thorn Press in October.

John has entered a formal scheme to register as a professional writer, and has been working with advisers on how this could develop.

In the discussion part of the meeting, topics included blogging and how to attract readers, how to set up a twitter account, whether a profit can be made with performance poetry, and the value of taking online writing courses.

** Although Writing Buddies is a successful and lively group, for logistical reasons it has been decided to alter the frequency of meetings. We will now be meeting on the first Friday of every month, so the next date is Friday July 6th, 2012.

Blog notes from Jacqueline Pye

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Writing Buddies 4 May 2012

Southampton Writing Buddies met at The Art House. Attendance was a little down on the usual level, as a number of Buddies had other commitments that day. Jimmy chaired the meeting in Penny's absence.
Filming is about to start on Mo’s short story, which is exciting.
Janet continues with her nursing-based stories; she has about five on the go at the moment.
Karen is forging ahead with her novel, but she has been struck with inspiration for a new story and a new direction for her writing. The group looks forward to hearing more about this.
Tessa has downloaded a programme called Kinstant for conversion purposes, and has published her novel Spellbinderfor kindle. Her Knitted Quilts and Flounces is now available. She is also working on a mystery novel, and suggested two possible titles to the group who showed a clear preference for one of them.
Jacob is working on the text for a game-based site, as well as developing his own board game.
Paul is looking for people who would read and comment on his pieces of short fiction. He is not yet sure how to categorise them in a single genre. He has had work published on Ether books.
Jacqueline has had two of her tweets published in the June edition of Cook Vegetarian magazine, and a book review printed in Self Publishing magazine. She is working on a short story for a competition, and planning how to publish her children’s ebook.
Jimmy’s preschool stories are nearly ready but still need adjustments to language. He is nearing completion with Not a Guide to Southampton, commissioned by The History Press. He has nearly the full quota of photographs, and has agreed a larger word count with the publisher. Councillor Royston Smith has agreed to write the foreword. Jimmy is also considering ways of publishing his Sundance Gang and fantasy novels.
Discussion topics included copyright issues for photographs, setting up and maintaining blogs and web sites, formatting and publishing ebooks, pricing and returns for ebooks, and Amazon’s Creative Space for self-publishing books.
The next meeting will be on Friday May 18th at 2pm, as usual at The Art House, Above Bar, Southampton. Anyone interested in aspects of writing will be very welcome.

Blog notes by Jacqueline Pye

Monday, 26 March 2012

Writing Buddies at The Art House in Southampton, March 23rd, 2012.

Janet is still working with her nursing memoirs. She is pleased to have a digital print, Impact, as part of Southampton library's Titanic exhibition.

Ray is happy with the progress of his memoirs of the 1950s and 1960s; he has been working with a proofreader who thinks the work will sell but has suggested a reduction in the length of the text to make it more commercial.

Rowan has just written 1,100 words of a short story, though he is concerned about the plotting aspect and this was later discussed in the group.

Tessa now has one of her books published with SelfSelfSelf, though she insisted on seeing the draft and proofreading and correcting it, as well as ensuring that she is listed as the publisher. Tessa is bringing out a facsimile of an earlier work; she has just received the proofs and is pleased with how printer Lightning Source is producing it. Her book The Girl from the Land of Smiles is nearly ready, and should be out in the summer; she is checking that the Thai way with English is being faithfully represented.

Jimmy is still working on the language level in his Jayden the Naughty Goldfish books. His local guide is now to be called Not a Guide to Southampton, and he is negotiating about changes the publishers have requested in number of words and photographs. Jimmy is still seeking an agent for his Sundance Gang novels, and he is considering ebook publishing for the three Far End of the Tunnel books.

Veronica flagged up a local project, the co-op make-a-book club, and mentioned (from The Guardian) that The Gentle Author is running a course on blogging for a £300 fee.

Jacqueline was pleased to report that she won a runner-up prize in the limerick competition in Freelance Market News, and a hardback non-fiction book via Twitter for a rhyme about child workers in the industrial age. She has completed the short story course and submitted a 75-word flash fiction to paragraph planet (internet flash fiction site, one piece published daily).

Discussions involved how a blog can be useful, and looking at plotting in short stories. A book was suggested: Plot Versus Character: A Balanced Approach to Writing Good Fiction. We considered a procedure for finished memoirs, and some members thought a professional edit would be worth while although it can be expensive. Then the options include an agent, a publisher, self-publishing (perhaps print-on-demand) or an ebook. It was thought a good idea to write different genres under different names, and one member is already doing this.

*** The meeting which would be due on April 6th (Good Friday) is cancelled, so the Writing Buddies will next meet at The Art House, Above Bar, Southampton at 2pm on Friday April 20th. As ever, anyone with an interest in writing will be very welcome.

Notes by Jacqueline Pye.