Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Pam Fudge at Writing Buddies' Sixth Birthday Meeting - 10 April 2015

Fifteen Buddies came to the Central Library at Southampton for the meeting immediately after Easter, our sixth birthday.

Good News

Jacqueline Pye received an honourable mention in a flash fiction competition run by Micro Bookings.

Janet Turner has published another book on Amazon Kindle: Off the Rails

Josephine has done no writing but a great deal of thinking, putting her ideas, on scraps of paper, into order.

Barbara Dynes has just sold another two articles, on relationships, to women's magazines, in addition to her regular column in Writers' Forum.

Patricia, whose first language is French, has written her first English-language article, for the new Writing Buddies magazine, Scribblers' Script.  She hoped it was good enough!  She also has an idea for the next edition.

Richard Hardie has been concentrating on getting his books into schools and libraries.  He has managed to get his books with the three suppliers who supply most of the schools in the UK and is working with the county school library service to encourage them to order his books from these suppliers.  'It is starting to pay dividends!' he says.

Ken Brady has two books out on Kindle, both offered on free promotion for two days.  He has given away sixty four copies.  He has learnt from his mistake and now realises that he should have given away the first book and sold the second.

New Writing Buddy Laura has written her first book, set in Nigeria, which she plans to publish via Kindle.

Penny had an article on Southampton's ghosts on the Spooky Isles website.  She had also been contacted by a company that lets holiday cottages, Hideaways, to help with a piece about Winchester for their holiday guide for the area.


Could men write for women's magazines?  Bill commented that he thought that men would not be eligible to write for women's magazines.  It was pointed out that they were a paying market and should be open to both sexes.  Men would be accepted only if they submitted!  Simon Whaley recently blogged about this.

Agent Open to Submissions

Samar Hammam has opened Rocking Chair Books Literary Agency,  which concentrates on adult fiction, literary fiction, graphic novels and general non-fiction for publication around the world. She is looking for writers to represent.  See guidelines on her website.

SO:To Speak, Southampton's Festival of Words 

23 October - 1 November 2015 Twitter: @SOToSpeak15

The Writing Buddies will be corporate partners at the festival and will run a competition in conjunction with the festival organisers.  Watch this space!

The Scribblers' Script

Deadline for the first edition of the new Writing Buddies magazine is today.

Next deadline: 10 July
Theme: Summer

Discussion: The merits of The London Book Fair, Winchester Writers' Festival,  Festival of Writing, York

Each was deemed to be well worth going to, although trekking to York from Southampton was acknowledged as a long way.  At the London Book Fair, authors can gain an idea of what publishers are interested in publishing, as well as sitting in on workshops and talks. Each of the other two events were aimed at helping writers with the craft of writing and with the task of obtaining representation/publication.

Have a Go: Short Story

15 minutes to write a story incorporating the follow:
'He was afraid his anxiety to know the truth would set a guard on her tongue.' (Louisa Elliott by Ann Victoria Roberts).

This is becoming a popular section of the afternoon with everyone joining in and some of the resulting work read out.

Guest Speaker: Pam Fudge, Novelist

Pam, from Poole in Dorset, gave us an overview of how she got started as a writer and the inspiration behind her novels.

She started writing in 1983, with early success in competitions and on radio.  Since them, she has written ten romances, published by Robert Hale.  Pam was a tutor at adult education classes teaching Writing for Pleasure and Profit and also tutored for the Writers News home study courses.  She currently tutors writing for Write For.

The next meeting will be Friday 1 May 2015.  Everyone is welcome.

Ann Victoria Roberts at Writing Buddies - 6 March 2015

Twenty three Writing Buddies came to this meeting, which was tinged with sadness as we said farewell to Karl, who has been taking notes for us for the last eighteen months.  We wish him well as he moves on to pastures new.

Good News

James Williams' new play, Who Killed Hercule Poirot? will be produced by The Dalian Players in July.

James Marsh has completed his first gangster book, and is on to the fourth chapter of his second book. He has been accepted by the Society of Authors

Bill has had a piece selected by a magazine for the blind. The piece was called Tea Break Brother, which he read out. 

Janet Turner has her first novella entitled Legacy Of Guilt out on Kindle. 

Lisa mentioned a publishing opportunity through Headline, for writers who are not published, or self published.  Click the submissions link.

Jacqueline mentioned ALCS (Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society), which looks after the rights of writers and ensures fair distribution of payments from the various uses of writers' work. It costs £36 PA, or free if you are a member of the Society of Authors.

Forthcoming Events

SO:To Speak, Southampton's Festival of Words, (Twitter@SOToSpeak15) runs from 23rd October to 1st November 2015, with a day for writers on 30th October. 

Scribbers' Script Update

Advertising: £3 for 50 words.

Deadline: 10 April 2015

Exercise: Write a Covering Letter

Write a cover letter to an agent or publisher:

               Remember it would be opened first, so it is to introduce yourself. 
               Do your research by finding out who you are sending it to, and address it personally to them, i.e. Dear Mrs. Robinson, not just the editor.
               Give your name, and authority to write on the subject, outlining your professional qualifications and experience in the field. 
               Focus on any good previous material you have produced, articles in trade journals, published material. 
               Really sell yourself, think why would they WANT to read my material, talk about target audience, why it could be commercially viable. 
               Remember to conclude courteously.

Guest Speaker - Ann Victoria Roberts: My Life As A Writer

               Best selling author of Louisa Elliott and Liam's Story.
               Ann was traditionally published, but now self publishes.
               She writes up to 14 hours a day when she is coming to a deadline.

In 1995, and overcoming her fear of being hacked, she bought her first laptop, and soon realised how much easier it was than using a typewriter, and how she could do research at the click of a button. All she needed now was inspiration.  

By chance, whilst cleaning out an attic she came upon a battered old box with a skull and crossbones on the front. Inside was a collection of old photographs and a World War 1 novel. They were some of her mother's mementos. Along with that was a manilla envelope containing the diary  of a soldier. Inside, in tiny, scribbly writing, was mention of the Battle of the Somme in 1916. She realised what a precious item this diary was. The soldier was killed in 1917, but the diary survived.  Research on the writer led to her first book, Louisa Elliott, set in the 1890s. This book, and its sequel, Liam's Story were the subject of a six figure bidding war, which was won by Farago Press. 

For a housewife from a council house in the West Riding of Yorkshire, the whole experience was surreal. She appeared in The Sun, page three, next to a topless model, with the caption 'Mum makes millions from first book.'  She disputes the sum mentioned. She was interviewed on the radio by Derek Jamieson, and the irony was that the term, 'like winning the lottery' was used - actually writing the books was, in itself, a gamble. Family responsibilities keep her feet firmly on the ground. 

Ann's writing tips:
              Be Aware - writing is hard work, particularly when deadlines are looming. 
               Authors have to do a lot themselves, so there are positives and negatives to consider when weighing up whether to stay with a traditional publisher or to self publish.
               Observe, use your eyes to look carefully before you are creative, and research  facts. 
               Successful writing is usually lifted from life, because it contains essential truth. 
               Be prepared to learn something new. 
               History is about people, so nothing is new, but the facts can be interpreted in a new, different way. So we can take a fresh look at something, by viewing it from a different angle. 
         Be passionate about what you write, it's often not what the readers expect. 

The next meeting is on Friday 10 April - note change of date due to Easter. 




A New Beginning - February 2015

Our first meeting in our new venue at the Central Library was well attended, with 24 Writing Buddies coming along at the new 2.30 start time. We have met here before in our six-year history and it felt good to be back.

The list of events for the year:

06/03/15  Ann Victoria Roberts, author, guest speaker.
10/04/15  Pam Fudge, author, guest speaker.
01/05/15  Brittany Poulin, IPR Licence, guest speaker.
12/06/15  Claire Fuller, author, guest speaker.  Note change of date.
03/07/15  Tracey Gorman, author, guest speaker.
07/08/15  Janine Pullford, novelist/journalist/publisher, guest speaker. 
04/09/15  Ian Bayley, Publisher, Sabrestorm Publishing, guest speaker.
02/10/15  To be decided
06/11/15  Elizabeth Burnett, Editor, Hampshire Life, guest speaker.
04/12/15  Merry Christmas!

New Year, New Start

The Writing Buddies will now be a membership group. The membership fee is £15 per year. There will be a £2 attendance fee.  For those who cannot commit to attending regularly throughout the year, there will be the option of attending up to three meetings a year at £5 per meeting. The first meeting will be free to all newbies. The fees will finance events, guest speakers, community events and personal liability insurance, which now means all members will have insurance to cover them at market stalls, launches and community events. This resolves a problem which persisted throughout last year. 

Jacqueline remains as Treasurer, Patricia becomes Membership Secretary and Christine will act as Assistant Treasurer. Penny gave personal thanks to all those for agreeing to these roles.

Good News

Margot attended workshops in New Milton on writing and selling features and short stories.

Josephine writes for The Voice, which is a free monthly newsletter from Wessex Writers. Robin Dynes is the editor.  To join the mailing list for this magazine, email: Robin  Dynes 

Richard continues to struggle to get any movement from the 'powers that be' on his attempts to resolve issues over his comic/horror crossover work.   

Penny showed a draft front cover of her new book, Military Wives, from World War One to Afghanistan

Several Writing Buddies were featured in Writers' Forum magazine this month: Simon Whaley, Barbara Dynes and Pam Whittington.

Exercise: Press Release

As part of the changes to the meetings for this year, there is now a 15 minute exercise each month.  This month, the group was challenged to write a Press Release on their latest book.

The aim was to produce an eye catching title, and to give information on, i) who (the author is, and his credentials), ii) what (the subject specifically is), iii) where (locality of the subject),  iv) when (a brief history of the subject or the time period covered e.g. from WWI to Afghanistan), v) why (reasons for the book), vi) how (it was achieved), and  highlight who the book would appeal to (target audience).  The words 'Press Release' should be used!

New Writing Buddies Magazine

The Writing Buddies will launch a new online magazine this year.

Name: The Scribblers' Script
Frequency: three editions per year.
Themes: Spring (1 May), Summer (7 August) and Winter (6 November).
Content: Diary; Top Tips for Writers; New Writers Corner; Editor's Column; competitions,Poets Corner, Reviews, Quiz (with prizes), journalism features, profiles of group members; fiction, community tie-in.

The next meeting will be on Friday 6 March.