Hello, and thank you for visiting my site. I hope that you'll return often and always find something of interest about my world and what inspires me to pick up a pen. (This is a figure of speech, unfortunately. My handwriting is terrible!) Here's what I've been up to recently...
All ready to set off for my favourite week of the year. The Writers’ Summer School 2022 begins at 3.30 this afternoon.
13 August, 2022
I’ve often written about my work as a very small cog in the wheel of different productions, but now I’ve brought many of my memories together. Covid 19 put a stop to my participation early in 2020 and, after much soul searching, by the time the studios reopened and started to get back to normal, I’d decided to call it a day. Twenty years isn’t a bad run and there is plenty that I’ll miss, particularly the people I met along the way. Those who became friends, though, will remain part of my life and I’ll look forward to keeping in touch.
The back cover sums up the essence of the job, supporting artists or SAs being the unsung heroes of television and film productions. It’s hard work sometimes, but a lot of fun is to be had and, for a writer, the experience is invaluable. Why not give it a go? Available from Amazon as a download or paperback, the book will tell you how I got started and some of the pros and cons of having an ‘extra’ life.
9 August, 2022
It was a real pleasure yesterday evening to join a session hosted by Harrogate Writers’ Circle. Tutor Della Galton, top right and long known to me from Swanwick (Writers’ Summer School), thoroughly deserves her reputation as the ‘Queen of Short Story Writing’ and was as entertaining and informative as ever. With other Swanwickers also on screen, it was the closest I’ve been to a proper meet up for far too long. Thank you, HWC, for sending me the invitation.
The two hours passed swiftly and, although the evening was a hot one, I managed to complete the writing exercise Della set us. It was amazing what the others came up with in such a short time (six minutes) and their ‘opening paragraphs’ were many and various. Mine, I confess, was somewhat tongue in cheek, but it gave everyone a laugh.
23 June, 2022
It gave me enormous pleasure to speak to Ripon Writers’ Group, currently approaching its 40th anniversary, on the subject of writing ‘fillers’. Having been a member for around half that time, I didn’t even consider charging a fee for the presentation, but it feels now as though my wheels are back in motion.
The little handbook has always been my best seller and earned squillions for readers who’ve followed its advice. The market changes, but the principles remain pretty much the same.
22 June, 2022
It’s always sad to lose a friend and particularly shocking when that friend appears to be in the prime of life and is then suddenly gone.
I first met the multi-talented Helen Sant when we were co-contributors to York Tales (2004), a collection inspired by the Canterbury Tales. In the photo above, Helen is the glamorous figure on the front row and her contribution was ‘The Story-Teller’s Tale’. On re-reading it just now, I’m more convinced than ever that ‘Eve’ is a thinly disguised version of Helen herself. Not only was she a great story-teller, though, but also a poet, novelist, actor, playwright, performance artist, stand up comedian and expert guide to York’s spookier places.
Helen’s departure has left a big hole in the literary scene of the city, but her memory is sure to linger on and, who knows, maybe not only her memory.
15 June, 2022
Our open mic sessions at the Curzon have become a regular feature of Ripon’s cultural calendar and here I am again in its ‘cavern of creativity’. It’s a joy to gather so many writers under one roof and hear an eclectic mix of poetry and prose. Anyone unused to performing in public can expect a very supportive audience and the proximity of the bar is another bonus!
On this occasion, I chose to read three poems and a piece of flash fiction from my ‘Anyone For Murder?’ collection.
With the Platinum Jubilee and Ripon Theatre Festival both taking place in June, we’ve decided that Write-On-Ripon! Unleashed 4 will take place on Thursday, 7th July. Posters will be appearing shortly.
30 May, 2022
The Giant’s Causeway has an irresistible pull for me when I visit Northern Ireland and so it was inevitable that one day I’d set a story there. Once my work has been accepted, I have no say in how it’s illustrated, but Tracy Fennell has done me proud this time. Lucy, who didn’t watch her step, and Connor, who came to the rescue, look exactly as I’d seen them in my mind’s eye.
4 May, 2022
Well, reviewing ‘Oliver’, actually. It’s always a relief to see a piece only lightly edited when it appears in the press and makes sitting up into the early hours to meet the deadline very well worthwhile.
In this case, I was particularly happy to volunteer my services and very much enjoyed attending the dress rehearsal in order to get the review written in time to help with marketing the show. It’s been 16 years since I trod the boards with RAOS (as one of the mamas in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’) and almost as long since I helped out backstage as a chaperone, but I have very fond memories of the people I worked with at that time and the fun we had. Quite a few of them are in the current show and it was good to see them again.
21 April, 2022
The Stray Ferret isn’t, as some people believe on first sight, an animal charity. It’s an excellent media outlet for local news – local being Harrogate (hence the Stray) and district. With Ripon situated only eleven miles from Harrogate, we get a good amount of exposure and our local correspondent, Tim Flanagan, has done me proud this time.
19 April, 2022
Tulips from Amsterdam? Well, not exactly, but the Delft vase they’re standing in was bought over 50 years ago for my mother. She loved it and so do I, as it’s very much associated with my memories of happy times spent in the Netherlands.
By coincidence, my latest published story also features flowers. Inspired by news stories of individuals and groups taking it upon themselves to beautify neglected areas, I wrote about two doughty retired gentlemen’s transformation of a derelict ginnel/alley/snicket (or whatever you call it in your part of the world) for the benefit of their community.
Baffled by the accompanying illustration? Well, so was I, but that is none of my doing. Once a story is sold, how it is presented is up to the editorial team.
17 April, 2022