Friday, 2 August 2013

Writing Buddies March Onwards and Upwards

Southampton Writing Buddies met at the Mercure Dolphin Hotel on July 5th, with a good attendance.

We began with Good News, whatever members wanted to mention.

Jimmy is editing his first Sundance Gang novel which will then be published as an ebook along with his first preschool childlren's book. He is also working on the manuscript for a book about 1940s childhood. 

Janet was pleased to say that she has had a poem accepted for an anthology to be published by Forward Poetry.

Eileen reported sales of her ebook about a serial killer, Blood on God's Carpet. It's available also in paperback.

Lisa's book Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum is free until the end of July via Smashwords. May need code SW100.

Tessa is hoping for more reviews of her book Spellbinder - it has four 5-star reviews so far. A copy was available for Buddies to look over.

Penny reported on the recent launch of her and Jimmy's book A 1950s Southampton Childhood which involved a large number of people travelling in 1950s red buses to Victoria Country Park for a picnic then back to the Dolphin for a reception. The book is available as paperback or on kindle, or from Penny or Jimmy. They gave a talk together about the book at Bitterne library. 

Penny also mentioned that Jim Brown's book Southampton's Lucky Jim will be published by Mayfield Books in September - it's a memoir of his time in the local police force. She also reported back about Ray's recent very successful launch of Vol 1 of his memoir, From War to an Iron Fighter; the room was crowded and over 100 books were sold.

As well as the Southampton Childhood book, Penny has recently published Bloody British History: Southampton. Waterstone's currently has a large display of her books, which reminded her that her latest is the tenth that she's published. Not only that - she is currently working on three further books.

Jacqueline showed the latest printed issue of The Great War magazine which includes her article based on a family WW1 diary. She has been reading winning flash fiction pieces recently, and entered a flash fiction contest run by international site Writers' Carnival. Her piece was placed fourth with honourable mention. She also had a piece of flash fiction chosen to be featured on the online flashflood journal on National Flash Fiction Day.

Silma reminded the group about an online magazine for music and other arts, parkCulture published by Cultura Press; she has written an article for them and is working on another. The Christmas edition may be published in print. 

We then discussed points of interest. It's noted that many writers have uncertain confidence in their work, and praise from friends or family is pleasing but cannot be considered objective. Novellas were mentioned, as some publishers are beginning to accept this shorter form of the novel. An example is Harper(Collins) Impulse, inviting submissions of any length from short reads to sagas. It was agreed that writers need a significant internet presence with website and blog; potential publishers expect a digital presence so that they can easily check history and so on. 

One member mentioned a writing competition with a £25 fee; while the group thought this was very high, if the fee includes a sufficiently detailed critique then it can be worth while. Press releases were also discussed; members thought the information should be sent out to the appropriate magazines or press with details of the item, offers of pictures, and an accompanying letter with contact details and links to the writer's sites.

The next meeting will be at the Mercure Dolphin Hotel, High Street, Southampton on Friday August 2nd, 2pm to approx 4pm. Anyone with an interest in writing will be very welcome; although the blog mentions a good number of writing successes, many members have not yet published and may be just starting out, so wherever you are with your writing, do join us!

Blog notes by Jacqueline Pye.

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