CHILDREN’S COMPETITION STORY

I posted in April that I had won the Bournemouth Hospital Radio Bedside Children’s story competition with my story Secret Visitor.

It has now been published in their annual publication. Click the link to read my story: HRB Winner 2017 . I apologise you have to read it sideways – I haven’t yet worked out how to turn it round.

I love the little illustrations that have been added to bring the story to life.

 

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WOMEN’S MAGAZINES – AN UPDATE

Since my last post on the difficulties of writing fiction for women’s magazines, there’s been a development.

Going on the People’s Friend writing workshop must have helped, because a story I submitted afterwards has been accepted for publication. At last I will have something to show for my efforts.

My story, which I called The Bet, is set on a golf course and is due to be published in November. I can’t wait to witness it in print and to see how they illustrate it. Will they keep my title or will they call it something else? It’s so exciting!

I guess the moral to this, and the note to self should be: to never give up.

Writing for women’s magazines

I’m a little tardy in posting about this, as I have been on holiday in between, but in May I attended a People’s Friend fiction workshop accompanied by my writing friend Maryanne.

I have tried sending my stories to women’s magazines on and off over the last few years. It has been gutting to receive each story back a few weeks later with a compliments slip or letter saying “we have read your story with interest but no thank you,” or words to that effect.

I’ve had advice from other, more successful women’s fiction writers, attended workshops and had help from my fellow writers at the writing group I belong to, but still publication in this genre has evaded me. Almost at the point of giving up, I saw Tracy Baines mentioned the People’s Friend workshop on her facebook page. And, it was being held not too far from where I live.

I have to say this was a brilliant day, and money well spent. It was being run by Fiction Editor Shirley Blair and one of their most successful writers called Alison. The advice was good – what to do and what not to do; how to present your stories; market research about the readers; focusing on what the reader wants; what is taboo and what is not taboo; building your character profiles and more. There were also practical sessions where we had a chance to do exercises and then read out our work.

So, I’m really inspired to have another go. The only thing stopping me now is the day job of writing non-fiction and editing, which has suddenly got busy. So there may be a bit of a delay, but I’m more hopeful. I’m not greedy, just seeing one of my stories printed in the People’s Friend would make me happy. My fingers are crossed!

A little story success

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The life of a fiction writer has many ups and downs. Fear of failure, too many rejection slips, apathy by family members towards your creative output, and more can bring you down.

However, just once in a while there is a little success to keep you striving. On Saturday I heard I had won the Bournemouth Hospital Radio Bedside Children’s Short Story competition at an event at the radio station. Along with three others, a recording of my story was read over the airwaves and the winner was to be announced at the end. It’s an annual event and I was shortlisted last year so had visited the same studio.

This year I wasn’t feeling at all confident about my entry Secret Visitor, which is about a little girl who goes to stay in a big old house with her aunt and uncle and sees a ghostly cat. When I was announced as winner I was shocked and rendered speechless. I had to pour myself another glass of red wine. Luckily I wasn’t driving! (My thanks to Geoff.)

Two of my fellow members of the Writers’ Study group in West Moors, Dorset were also shortlisted – Maryanne Pike, and Vivienne Arkell, who couldn’t be with us as she is doing an epic Land’s End to John O’Groats (LEJOG) walk. It made it extra special to be among friends. So, in the pic you can see three of the four finalists. As well as Maryanne (left) and myself (centre) is Caroline Hall who attends another Dorset writing group.

I will try to remember this little success when I get my next rejection slip!

Magic in the Attic

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Goodness, is it so long since I last posted in my fiction word blog? Wow!

Maybe there hasn’t been anything really exciting to write about, but this week there certainly is. I have just published my first children’s book for kindle on Amazon. It is called Magic in the Attic, and I am embarrassed to say I have been writing it for 18 years. Not constantly you understand. For many years it was in a cupboard; then last year I got it out, dusted it off and started working on it again. Then things got busy with the day job so the printed-out manuscript sat on top of the filing cabinet looking at me accusingly and in my head I could hear it say “When are you going to finish me?”

One of my copywriting projects got put back, so it was the ideal opportunity to use that time. However, I didn’t know if I would manage the technicalities of putting the children’s novel onto kindle. After a timely and excellent article in Writing Magazine, I had the help I needed. So on Tuesday I uploaded my book and the technology worked.

The book is aimed at 7-9 year olds and written as a traditional fairy book. I like to think it is fun and amusing, and I did try it out on two children, who enjoyed it.

So here it is. I’m very proud to say my daughter Fran did the cover illustration. Here’s the link in case anyone is interested in reading it: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/254-6932614-3165065?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Magic+in+the+Attic+by+Carol+Waterkeyn

I would encourage anyone else who has a book lurking in a drawer to do the same and finally publish it. It’s a great feeling to send it out in the world!

Results

Following on from last month, I saw the new doctor with my weird symptoms, had blood tests and yes, as usual the test results all came back clear. I knew that would happen. Meanwhile, I’m still having moments of shakiness but at least certain possible causes have been ruled out.

On the subject of results, I’ve had a few of another variety over the last few weeks. Firstly, I have resurrected my manuscript of a children’s novel that I have been writing over the last 15-20 years. I have dusted it off and, am hoping to finally publish it electronically. Watch this space for further details.

I also got third place in my writing group’s end-of-term writing competition last month. It was judged by the lovely Tracy Baines. I received some excellent feedback from Tracy, which inspired me to enter the same story for an open short story competition.

More feedback came from a magazine I sent a story to. The Mudeford Magazine published my story called Fish Supper a couple of months ago and one reader contacted the magazine to say how much he had enjoyed reading it and even knew the two characters written about. This is amazing as they were totally fictitious! However, as a writer it is encouraging to receive such positive comments.6040671408_69807a2433_z

Photo: creativecommons.org

Doctor dilemmas

My lovely doctor from the last 22 years has finally retired after a period of sickness (his own). This has meant we have not had a consistent doctor for the last 6 months. Prior to the situation we now find ourselves in, our doctor has been amazing in treating family members for serious illnesses.

I must be honest – I tend to keep away from the medical profession unless I really have a pressing worry. I think I inherited this trait from my grandmother who avoided doctors at all costs. She lived to nearly 103, mind you. So, when eventually I am forced to go, I have tests and usually they can find nothing wrong with me. The symptoms suddenly disappear when I am about to go to the surgery. Does this happen to anyone else?

Anyway, we have had to find a new surgery and a new doctor. I have an appointment today as I have been experiencing weird symptoms, including having a voracious appetite. My best guess from reading on the internet (which is not wholly advisable) is that I have a thyroid problem or diabetes (both run in the family). But, you can bet that as soon as I walk through the doctor’s door, by some miracle I will be cured.

Wish me luck 🙂

 

Joyous June

I love June, don’t you? The sunny days, the light evenings, thoughts of holidays, and the garden blooming all bring joy to my heart.

Talking of gardens, I was lucky to get an invitation to the Buckingham Palace Garden Party this month. It was thanks to my mother and the Not Forgotten Organisation. It was such a happy occasion and a beautiful sunny day. It was an honour to be among such amazing people. There were many veterans from the Second World War, the Falklands conflict, Iraq, Afghanistan and more plus a few celebrities. It’s something I will remember for ever. I’ve attached a pic.

This month, one of my short stories appears in the Mudeford Magazine. Here’s the link in case you would like a read. It’s on page 32.

http://issuu.com/themudefordmag/docs/june16_the_mudeford_mag/33?e=19687014/36112571

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Have a great summer and I hope everything blossoms for you …