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...

Advice for authors

I was very happy to contribute to Debbie Emmitt’s blog, which you can read here. https://www.debbie-emmitt.com/how-authors-of-books-set-in-france-overcome-challenges-in-their-words/?fbclid=IwAR2rcZVveVaQF4dVGp1hjRHtvGIKvpX-wA5YhRKL6EhKYsyPhaf6QwN6QO8

The advice referred to the research I did when writing my long novel ‘Shadows of the Past’ and is reproduced below:

 

                   

‘Shadows of the Past’ and, even more so, its prequel ‘Foreshadowing’, have a large autobiographical element to them and were a real labour of love to write.

 

9 February, 2024 Make the first comment on this story

Swanwick Writers Summer School Diamond Jubilee

This is going to be a very special year for ‘Swanwick’ and I’m very pleased to be running one of the short two-part courses again.

I’ve been going to ‘Swanwick’ regularly since 2006. Booking is now open, so why not think about joining me this year?

3 February, 2024 Make the first comment on this story

A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY READERS!

Despite the wishful photo of Maggie the Viking above, created by a wonderful Facebook app, 2024 is definitely going to be a time to look forward rather than back. Long cherished plans include bringing out a new book,  essentially a memoir about a glorious summer spent ‘riding the Dog*’ across the USA.  Scary moments such as being mobbed on the New York subway and chased out of a brothel in El Paso were amply compensated for by the camaraderie experienced along the way and the warm hospitality offered by many different American families and individuals. 

*The Dog in question being the wonderful Greyhound Bus Line

WATCH THIS SPACE!

 

 

3 January, 2024 Make the first comment on this story

A story for Christmas

 

By a very happy coincidence. this came out yesterday on my birthday and it can also be found in today’s issue of Love Sunday (Sunday People).

Originally written as a story for children, a few tweaks made it appropriate for all ages. Who hasn’t dreamed of an unexpected windfall when money is tight? That it was very well deserved in this case is, I think, a bonus. Honesty was definitely the best policy for struggling young mum Daisy and even the villain of the piece came good in the end.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

24 December, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Christmas celebrations with Ripon writers!

I was privileged to celebrate with two different groups this week. The photo above (thank you, Nicky) is from Write On! Ripon’s Christmas meal at the Claro Lounge, which was very enjoyable. The conversation flowed as freely as the drinks and the wearing of cracker sourced hats was purely optional.

The following evening, I was at Ripon Writers’ Group’s pre-Christmas event, which featured less food and alcohol – although members did bring contributions to a small festive buffet – but also boasted a quiz, seasonal readings including a short play by our newest member and a Secret Santa.

Good fun all round and I’m very happy to have so many friends who ‘get’ why I write.

19 December, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Time to relax!

Writing is hard work. Relaxing in the company of like minded friends is always a joy.

 

Last night saw the celebration of Write-On! Ripon’s second anniversary at Portofino Ristorante on Kirkgate.

Not everyone was able to make it, but those of us who did certainly enjoyed it. The food was good, the wine flowed and so did the conversation. 

27 October, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Ripon Poetry Festival 2023

 

What a weekend! Actually it began for me on Thursday evening, when the two Ripon writing groups that I belong to co-hosted the open mic event to launch this year’s festival.

    

  

 

The downstairs area of the Claro Lounge, where Write-On! Ripon meets on Tuesday afternoons, has never seen as many poetry lovers crammed into its many nooks and crannies. We even had to bring in chairs from the garden, so it was lucky that the afternoon had been a dry one. There were sad poems, happy poems, funny poems, angry poems – some using traditional forms and others the most free of free verse. Definitely something for everyone. 

 

    

The same could be said of Saturday evening, when the launch of the 2023 anthology was held in the Ripon Arts Hub. Everyone who had had a poem chosen for inclusion was invited to read and I was delighted to meet up with a friend from the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School. Penny Blackburn had travelled from Newcastle to take part in various activities throughout the day and we just managed (courtesy of my son Richard) to have a photo taken of the pair of us before she set off home.

 

24 September, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Back to school!

 
What an interesting evening I had yesterday, invited to view my contribution to Lawnswood School’s ‘alumni’ wall. For non-Leeds friends, I should explain that the current co-educational school was created many years ago to replace two grammar schools, Lawnswood High for girls and Leeds Modern for boys. Apart from Old Mods John Craven and Alan Bennett, I think I’m the oldest contributor so far, but the wall will continue to evolve.
 
 
(In anticipation of people who remember their Latin grammar pointing out that I’m an ‘alumna’ rather than an ‘alumnus’, I know, but I thought it would be churlish to point it out.)
 

              

21 September, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Research recognised

Having done a lot of research for my latest writing project, I was very pleased when Val Penny decided to feature it on her blog. You can read it here. What a Summer That Was! (Writing Research) by Maggie Cobbett (valpenny.com)

31 August, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Swanwick 2023

How quickly  the time goes by at the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School, even more so this year with the programme spread over a shorter period than usual. The magic was still there, though, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Some building work was going on at the main house, but the grounds of The Hayes were as well kept as ever. Despite a gloomy forecast, we had mostly fine weather and plenty of opportunity to sit outside with our drinks at different times of day.

As well as brushing up on several aspects of writing with tutors who are experts in their fields, I wore my purple lanyard with pride and – as an ambassador – did my best to make new Swanwickers feel welcome and help them to settle in. Fellow Ripon Writers’ Group member Susan was amongst them and soon felt at home.

Having won second prize (£100 off this year’s Swanwick fees) in the Val Penny/SpellBound books short story competition, I was very pleased to meet the SpellBound team of Sumaira Wilson and Nicola East before their course on digital publishing. The ladies had kind words to say about my writing and also encouraged me to submit my next project directly to them. 

In the evenings, I enjoyed talks by Birmingham poet Roy McFarlane and romantic novelist Sue Moorcroft, who was accompanied by her agent Juliet Pickering. In addition, I took part in both the poetry and prose open mics, co-hosting the latter with Jen and making sure that no one ran over time. Harsh, perhaps, but it’s the only fair way with so many Swanwickers keen to read their work.

The fancy dress evening is always a good opportunity to pull out the stops. The theme was fairy tales this year and I found a willing partner. If you look closely at Liz’s hand, you’ll see that her Granny Wolf mask is at the ready.

As ever, there was a weird and wonderful set of characters wandering around the bar, with some costumes showing a remarkable amount of ingenuity. Was Cinderella about to ask the genie for a ball gown or inspiration for her writing, I wonder.

I knew that basket would come in handy one day. Bought in 2006 for a production by Ripon Amateur Operatic Society of ‘Fidler on the Roof’ – I was one of the mamas – it’s never actually been used for shopping but came into its own that evening.

All too soon we were packing to go home, but not before enjoying PRINKS (pre-dinner drinks) on the lawn and the farewell evening with its awards and prize draws. The die-hards gathered in the bar or around the fire pit for a sing song, but I felt my comfortable bed calling me. I’m such a light weight these days!

 

 

 

 

11 August, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Check Out My eBooks
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The 20th century has just dawned when David is apprenticed to a Yorkshire coal miner. But what of the younger brothers and sister he has been forced to leave behind in their London workhouse? Will he ever see them again?
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