Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Writing Buddies in April 2014

21 Writing Buddies came together at the Mercure Dolphin Hotel this month.

Good News

James, reminded us about his new publishing company, Aloejimmy Publishing, which has just published its first two book:  Jayden The Naughty Goldfish, and Davie Collins and The Sundance Gang, The Great Kon-Tiki Challenge, copies of which were passed around. Two more books are expected soon.
Eileen, who is also a member of the Bevois Mount History Group, has had pictures of her grandmother (from Victorian times), entered on to their website and Facebook Page.

Jacqueline won a prize in a Writer's News Competition and gave a reading at Portswood Library. She has been invited to be a judge at the Southampton Writers' Circle Competition, and she has also won a seat at a literary Lunch in London.

Penny has been finishing her book on military wives. She has also been giving talks: at Portswood Library, Southampton Sight, and Rownham and Nursling History Society. She also introduced us to Calvin Smith, attending his first Writing Buddies meeting, of the Friends of Portswood Library Group (more later). 
Emma and Sue have an Arts Exhibition at Harbour Lights cinema, Ocean Village, Southampton from 1st to 28th  May, all invited to attend. Emma also has stands at Hobbycraft, the last one was on Tuesday 8th April.
Josephine reminded us of her publication The Voice. Issues one and two are already out, with the third issue out shortly. She is involved with the Wessex Writers' Newsletter, where she has interviews and book reviews. The editors Robin and Barbara Dynes, who are working hard on promoting this to both writers and readers.
It was suggested that Writing Buddies should do a podcast, which is being looked into, after having 63 'likes' on the Facebook page.


Calvin (Friends of Portswood Library) created the group to promote education through writing. Penny, James and Jacqueline all voiced their support, especially for talks and arts exhibitions. 

Tom, a former postman, was at the meeting to make contacts, in order to make a proper attempt at getting published. His genre is sci-fi and fantasy.

Sherrie is a retired university lecturer. She is right at the beginning of her writing journey, specialising in novels and short stories.

Sue said she had lots of false starts, but the others re-assured her that they had also been in the same situation, and gave her some encouragement.

5th Anniversary Exhibition

Consultation with library manager Richard Ashman has resulted in exhibition space at the Central Library being secured and advertising the event has begun. The exhibition will be opened by The Right Worshipful The Mayor, Councillor Ivan White and Mrs Mary White at 2 o'clock on 12th May 2014. Copies of the Writing Buddies' anthology Wordfall, produced for the first anniversary will also be sourced. The flyer competition resulted in Jacqueline winning and a number the winning entry have been produced and are ready for distribution. Eleven members have selected pieces to be included in the exhibition. 

Other discussion points

Tessa is still looking for an illustrator, and she exchanged e-mail addresses with Emma.

Jane asked if any having experience of pod-casting could talk to her.

Calvin advised the group of  World Book Night on 23rd April. The aim was to facilitate the donation of books  via a stall in Portswood library and to raise money for local good causes. He said he also wanted to promote reading and writing and the local libraries.

The London Book Fayre was discussed. Jimmy said chaos and confusion reigned when he visited.  Tessa found it too exhausting and Penny added that there was a lot going on, with frenetic book activity and there was a lot of useful information to be picked up.  Publishers and agents were present,  companies gave instructive talks and merchandise was available. The event runs from Tuesday 8th April through to the 10th April at Earls Court.

The Winchester Writer's Festival was highlighted, on 20th June 2014, and described as being more author based and local. They are now accepting registrations for their 12 different competitions, and it could be a useful experience. 

Jacqueline mentioned that it is useful to join the ALCS (Authors Licensing and Collecting Society) which is free to join (just fill in a form) and they will collect royalties for anything of yours which was published, copied, used etc,  - they take a fee and send you the rest.

PLR (Public Lending Rights) was also highlighted as being a source to collect royalties for anything that went into a public library. 

Guest speakerWriting articles for magazines – by Jacqueline Pye

Her advice was:
  • Pick a subject you have knowledge of (hobby or interest), and it should take less than a day (a few hours) to produce, but don't do it for nothing (unless you need the experience, for your writing CV). 
  • You can use bullet points, but do so sparingly.
  • 'Beef up' your experience, Eg. “I've been keeping cats for years”, “I have had numerous articles published in newspapers” or “I am an experienced writer on this subject”.
  • Be cagey about asking for a fee, use phases like “offered at your usual rates”.
  • Once completed have it analytically proofread      
Jacqueline gave out a handout of more information.

It was noted that Richard Ashman (Library Manager) has recently completed training as a proofreader and is now looking for clients.  Please contact Writing Buddies for contact details.

The next meeting will be the Writing Buddies' fifth anniversary.  At that meeting there will be a collection for the Mayor's charity, Southampton Women's Aid.

The next meeting will be at 2 p.m on Friday 2nd May 2014, at the Mercure Dolphin Hotel.  Everyone is welcome.  

The Writing Buddies' March 2014 Meeting

The regular monthly meeting of the group was held at the usual venue, The Mercure Dolphin Hotel in Southampton, on Friday 7th March 2014, 21 were in attendance.

A ‘get well soon’ card for James (Jimmy) Marsh was passed around for signing.

Good News
Ray, James and Penny hosted a stand at the Arts and Crafts Market, in West Quay on 1st March. They reported good footfall and a lot of interest. The next of these will be on 7th June.

Margot mentioned that the Hampshire Poet is allocated every two years. It has a good pedigree with Sean Aquilina and Brian Evans-Jones serving in the past. This year it has been awarded to Joan McGavin who has a very good writing C.V.  It was noted as a shame though that Southampton-based writers are not eligible to apply for the position, as Southampton is a unitary authority.

Josephine has submitted another story 'My Little Brother' to This England,  which they are holding for further consideration.  It may appear in the future.

Jacqueline has been selected to do a short reading of her work, Millie the Detective, at Portswood Library on 15th April, in recognition of National Book Day. They will also display her photo and a narrative of about a hundred words. She is donating one of her books as a prize in a competition she is judging for the Southampton Writers Circle.

Janet has had a poem selected for an anthology by Forward Poetry.

Lisa explained that Mills and Boon had asked her to re-submit a full revised manuscript of her previously sent work. This she had already done so the request did not give her confidence in them.  However, tired of waiting for them, she has now self published the book, One Stolen Kiss, under the pen name of Lauren Boutain and made it available on Kindle. She has sold 2,500 copies (1,700 in the UK) in the first fortnight.

New Attendees
Richard is a writer published by Crooked Cat and  has been nominated for a Peoples Book Prize (instigated by Sir Frederick Forsyth), which is open to books for children, that have sold less than 2,000 copies and the winner is voted for by the readers. The winner will be invited to do a television interview. 

Michaela has published two women’s fiction books through Crooked Cat publishing.

Sarah is trying to write a book based on her grandmother and her sister (who were born in 1911 and 1913 respectively), who have related some  faith strengthening experiences.   

Stuart curtailed his writing of The Angel Was Betrayed due to an injury but is resuming work on it now.

Rachel raised a discussion point. She intends to write (magazine) articles and a blog, before graduating to writing a book about Romsey, but she does know how to go about it. Any tips?

Answers included:
  • ·      Read anything that’s been written on the subject
  • ·      Trace sources of knowledge such as local history societies, the Romsey News, archives, old copies of the Advertiser, The National Archives, The Churchill Archives Centre.
  • ·      Try to locate a copy of A Complete History of the Lives and Robberies of the Most Notorious Highwaymen, Footpads, Shoplifts and Cheats of both sexes, Wherein their Most Secret and Barbarous Murders, Unparalleled Robberies, Notorious Thefts, and Unheard-of Cheats are set in a true Light and exposed to Public View, for the Common Benefit of Mankind (Routledge, 1926) by Captain A. Smith.  Romsey was known for its highwaymen and this book notes most of them.
  • ·      The History Press and Amberley Publishing are both local history publishing specialists, along with Amazon for online publishing, would be worth a submitting the manuscript to for consideration or to self publish.

Tessa, is looking for an illustrator for a book on wild flowers. She is looking for someone who can draw them as a cartoon, so they can be used in a humorous way, but still get a point across. Writing Buddy Karen was suggested as was looking at the work of up and coming cartoonists who illustrate work on Twitter.

Writing Buddies Fifth Anniversary Celebration
Writing Buddies started on the 9th May 2009, at the old Borders Bookshop on West Quay.  The historic Dolphin Hotel is the fourth venue for the group, following one meeting at the Central Library and a lengthy stint at The Art House Cafe.

The Fifth Anniversary Exhibition will be between 12th – 17th May 2014, at the Central Library, Southampton.

All Writing Buddies were urged to submit exhibits.   The Right Worshipful, the Mayor and Mayoress of Southampton (Councillor Ivan White and Mrs. Mary White) are to conduct the grand opening at 2.00 pm on 12th May 2014, with a toast to Writing Buddies’ success and the exhibition.

Penny is running a competition (prize – a bottle of wine + the prestige), for someone to produce an eye-catching poster, to adorn one side of the triangular pillar outside the Civic Centre. She is trying to get some media coverage, but prior to that we need to think about designing and producing flyers, bills or anything else to advertise the event.

Patricia Soares has volunteered to help sort out the exhibits and set up on the launch day, with help from other Writing Buddies.  All Writing Buddies and the general public are, of course, invited to attend the exhibition.  Writing Buddy friend, Simon Whaley, will also come down for the opening from his home in Shropshire.

The Writing Buddies were reminded about the group on Facebook:

A flyer about the 34th Winchester Writers' Festival was made available.

Guest Speaker
Margot Tilbury then took centre stage to do a short presentation with readings about something that is very close to her heart, Southampton Sight, which is a registered charity for the visually impaired.

Margot grew up on a farm in the West Country during the 1960s and her father started writing poetry. From this he published a book of poetry, Reflections, and followed that up in 1977 with Further Reflections, which he dedicated to Margot's older sister (Jackie) who was suffering from MS. After this came a book of quotes, One Hundred Aphorisms.

Margot spent most of her working life as a librarian in Hampshire libraries. Her favourite genre was children’s books, with particular favourites being A Very Hungry Caterpillar and Peace At Last.  She read poetry in primary schools, and it was through this that she met authors Mike Roden, Katie Ford and Jill Murphy who later helped her in forming Southampton Sight.  She read the group a piece, which began, 'I led a blind man across the street', which she said made her think more about setting up a support group.

Her own creeping hearing loss made her realize what it was like to lose a sense and she decided to raise the profile of those experiencing dual sensory loss. She enlisted the help of Mr. John Beer, who re-branded the logo of Southampton Sight. Dual sensory loss could be likened to bereavement, where you suffer a loss and grieve it, she stated.
The group set up a writing saloon, working with sight loss. They call themselves 'The Saloonisters.’ They read and critique their work and produce a quarterly newsletter in a variety of formats, which is also recorded by the Southampton Talking Echo.  

Next month Jacqueline Pye will present an item on Writing Magazine Articles.

The next meeting will be Friday 4th April, 2 pm, at the Mercure Dolphin Hotel. Everyone is welcome!