Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Writing Buddies, 9 December 2011

Southampton Writing Buddies met at The Art House, Southampton on December 9th. There were a good number of us, and Penny treated us to wine and mince pies.

Josephine is now involved with Park Radio's weekly "Working Lives" programme - with her business background she is the ideal person to research for them. The Chartered Management Institute is starting a quarterly newsletter, and Josephine is writing a Q-A column for them. She is also currently working on a book on staff management, and hopes that Hodders might take it up, as they have published her work previously.

Jacqueline is working with a relative's WW1 diary from the front, matching it to facts about surrounding action and aiming for an article, possibly for military history magazines. She has feedback from children about her novel, which has now been submitted to a publisher. The new internet magazine What the Dickens included her poem about snow.

Tessa is busy producing Ann Victoria Roberts' book The Master's Tale, published by Tessa's own company The Thorn Press, as an ebook. There have been problems with the vagaries of the programme, now sorted. Tessa continues writing her next novel, The Girl from the Land of Smiles.

New member Shirley was welcomed to the group. She writes short stories and novels, and is 75,000 words into a sci-fi novel and looking for an agent. She has had many stories published, and has been very successful in competitions, including a top ten place out of nearly 1,000 entries for The Glass Woman Prize. Her website is

Ray continues work on writing his memoirs, which start just after the end of WW2. He is currently 1,500 words into the project, and he discussed various aspects of it with the group.

Mo has been enjoying the work of punk poet Attila The Stockbroker. One of her short plays is to be filmed, and her publisher is aiming to go for print-on-demand for her novel A Blues for Shindig and may make it available on Kindle.

Catherine has replanned her novel following feedback from the RNA's New Writers scheme. She has a helpful writing partner who is also on the scheme, and has revised 6 chapters (17,000 words) so far. She is still entering writing competitions.

Jimmy has been book-signing at an authors' meeting at Waterstone's, and has further dates at October Books in Portswood and ASDA Chandlers Ford. He is writing the third in his trilogy of fantasy novels, and is working on a pocket miscellany of Southampton commissioned by The History Press. His book for preschool children, Jayden the Naughty Goldfish, is nearly ready.

Jan graduated recently in Fine Arts at Solent University. She is working on future plans for her writing.

Karen has also graduated in Fine Arts. She illustrates children's books including preschool, and is working on stories for teenagers, the first of which is well on its way.

Alan continues with his children's stories featuring Sniggles the travelling mouse. He is currently on the second of these.

Penny has completed her latest book, Under the Queen's Colours, by the deadline. During the week after the meeting she was due at the Centre for the Third Age, Cranbury Terrace, for the launch of their new magazine Life to the Full. Her book Folklore of Southampton has been mentioned in a video 'Wessex Boy' by folk singer Frank Turner.

During the following discussion, the need for writers to manage (and fund) their own publicity was discussed. Many thought this inappropriate - we just want to write - but it was agreed that in the current climate writers have to accept it. There are people who will take on the marketing, but it can be expensive. Building up a readership by maintaining an active blog was recommended. The possibility of a stand at West Quay in the run-up to Christmas was discussed, but the cost is thought too high. One member is considering volunteering at a library (otherwise to close), and wondered about offering borrowers a short writing course. This was thought a good idea, and there were offers of talks by other members.

The next meeting will be at The Art House, Southampton on Friday January 13h 2012 from 2pm. Anyone interested in writing is very welcome.

Post by Jacqueline Pye.

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