Friday, 6 December 2013

An Autumn Meeting - Writing Buddies 1 November 2013

14 Writing Buddies were gathered for the afternoon's get together at the Mercure Dolphin Hotel. 

New Writing Buddies discovered our group discovered in various ways, including the new Writing Buddies page on Facebook:  We're still looking for a long term administrator for this important means of Buddies exchanging information, sharing and promoting and, for those who administrate it, gaining valuable experience.

SHABNEEZE, who started writing as a school project in Mauritius, (from which she relocated to Southampton just three weeks prior to our meeting!) found Buddies thanks to Penny's invaluable blog: . Shabneeze's writing project was born as part of a project at Dr Maurice CurĂ© High School, and it involves working on 10 stories, with illustrations by Shabneeze herself, and her mother.  Shabneeze feels nervous about completing this first writing project, and would appreciate support, tips and advice from Buddies.

DEBORAH has recently self published her first book - Mouse and the Dragon Crystal, published in July, available here: and here:  The Print-on-Demand edition was produced by, a company Debbie found via the Writers and Artists Yearbook. She found the cover artist on Twitter. Setting up a Kindle edition was costly. Debbie has hit a "brick wall" as to how to market further.  Responses to this focussed on social media, with discussion of the advantages, pitfalls and demands on writing time of such an approach.

JILL inherited her father's work and correspondence, and now hopes to edit this and trace the people who wrote to him during the 2nd World War years, as youngsters and teens; fascinating material! As individuals and a group, the Buddies will no doubt have many suggestions and more to help Jill with this quest.

LINDA has travelled, written poetry, humorous articles and life writing.  Now she is considering her future career as a writer and poet. Perhaps she will venture into the world of spoken word artistry!

A warm welcome to these new Buddies, and please let us know if any of their contact details and linked pages have been left out or recorded erroneously!

JAMES MARSH chaired the meeting. His next book, A 1940's Childhood - From Bomb-sites to Children's Hour is scheduled for publication in May, with illustrations including photos sourced via Kent's War and Peace Archives. He is still on the look out for photos featuring

LISA received warm congratulations, as she has completed her latest manuscript (at 2am!) ready for further consideration by Harper Collins' Commissioning Editor, who may accept it or pass it to their Harlequin or Carina Presses, the latter being an ebook platform. Now she's waiting for a phone call to discuss the next stage, or rejection by email, which HC can at least be relied upon to furnish with good feedback. In the latter case Lisa, whose skills we know and admire, is ready to publish herself!

JIM (whose The Illustrated History of Southampton's Suburbs is still available) told us about his outside broadcast with Radio Solent, relating the fascinating information that the Great Train Robbers first thought of having a go at the gold stored regularly in Southampton by the Bank of England at that time. One sight of Jim and they no doubt decided that a train would be easier to "turn over"! The branch of Waterstones located in Above Bar Street should not feel "railroaded" into accepting ten copies of Jim's latest book - Southampton's Lucky Jim   - for Sale or Return, but grateful for the opportunity!
Many thought Waterstones had given up on local authors altogether, but Jim's success shows that it's always worth trying locally.

MARKET STANDS: Only recently explored by the group, with appearances by Writing Buddies themed stalls at several local markets, have achieved sales and good publicity for the group already. There was only one real wash out (apologies have already been received from those who organised but did not adequately equip a day in Winchester) and James and Penny enjoyed a really good day at St Mark's Church Hall in Archers Road. 

Future chances to represent the Buddies as a whole and sell the work of those involved include
NOV 17TH (Sunday) LYNDHURST - Penny, Jacqueline, Eileen and James will be venturing to this and would love it if any Buddies showed up on the day to support their effort.  This market will appear next on December 15th, and the group look forward to meeting local readers there once again.
DEC 6  LEE ON SOLENT No word back from the organisers of this event yet, but keep a look out!
DEC 16, 17, 19, 20 and 21 MARLANDS SHOPPING CENTRE Plenty of chances to meet the public here, and this has been a lucky venue for our group so far, so please contact Penny if you'd like one of the places still available on Dec 16 and/or 17.

EGG HEADS Yes, it's the BBC TV quiz show we're talking about here. James is a great fan and would love to lead a Writing Buddies team to victory over the brainy panel, whose defeat could mean a big cash prize! James knows the panel's weak spots, so the chances look good. Penny, James and Lisa are in our team already, with two more needed plus one reserve.

CREAM TEA CELEBRATION This is for the Buddies to exchange seasons greetings and enjoy a friendly teatime treat together (non dairy alternatives will be available on the day) 13th December, 2pm in the Mercure Dolphin. Tickets for this event are £5.95 per person. 

Notes by JP Goodman