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 …

 

Wordy weekend

It’s been quite an exciting weekend. I was looking forward to, but with some trepidation, the Bournemouth Hospital Radio Bedside Children’s Story finals night. I had prepared some notes, in case I needed them, for any potential questions being asked over the air. Luckily I didn’t need them.

I was one of four finalists with my story Lost and Found. Our tales had been recorded by four different readers, and it was such a pleasure to hear the stories over the radio. We were also introduced to the listeners by presenter Helen Johns. Then the nail-biting moment came. Who would win?

In the end, a wonderfully imaginative Zombies story won. The prize offered was to have the winning story published in the HRB magazine but we all received  CDs of the recording. We were assured our stories would be featured from time to time on the radio, too. It was a fun evening and one I won’t forget.

Another exciting moment came when I opened the mail and found a cheque from a magazine publisher. I realised it was for an article I had written for Yours magazine in January. It was great to track down the magazine and see my piece in print. It’s the first consumer magazine piece I have sold. I have written loads for the trade press, charity press, local media, websites and more over the years. This was just a one-pager but it meant a lot.

Pictured: Head judge Sandy Neville, winner Tania, Della Galton, David Kendrick, Marianne Ashurst, Carol Waterkeyn. Photo: courtesy of Bournemouth Hospital Radio Bedside

Excited to be shortlisted

I have been shortlisted for Bournemouth’s Hospital Radio Bedside Children’s story competition. What’s even more exciting is that two people I know – writers Marianne, and David – have also been shortlisted as finalists. I’m not sure who the other finalist is at this point.

Towards the end of April we will be at a function at the Hospital Radio Bedside studio. Our shortlisted stories will be read out over the radio while we sip a glass of something (needed for Dutch courage) and then each of us will be interviewed over the airwaves. Finally, the judges will make their decision and the winner will be announced.

My story is about an unusual friendship that develops between two children who have each come up against obstacles in their lives. Wish me luck!

MOTHER’S DAY STORY

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A very short story for Mother’s Day

 Helen was feeling a bit blue. It was the first Mother’s Day she had spent on her own. Peter had got up at the crack of dawn to play golf at the club and both April and Jenni were sleeping over at a mate’s house after a Saturday night slumber party. There wasn’t even a card or a cup of tea to commemorate the day. They’d obviously forgotten.

‘Oh well,’ she sighed, ‘suppose I’ll have to make my own cup of tea and toast this morning.’ At least the dog was pleased to see her and wagged his tail.

‘Good job you love me, Buster!’ She knelt down on the wood laminate and stroked his head. He put a blond paw on her knee as if he sympathised. Then she got up, switched on the kettle, pulled up the blind and gazed out into the back garden. The cherry tree was in blossom and the narcissi flower heads trembled in the breeze.

Helen shared her toast with Buster then let him out into the sun-dappled garden while she ran herself a deep bath. She threw in some rose-scented crystals that the girls had bought her at Christmas. The house was beautifully peaceful. She found an orchestral CD, put it on and enjoyed the serenity and relaxation while soaking among the floral steam of the bathroom and the beautiful joyful music. Maybe it wasn’t so bad spending Mother’s Day by yourself, after all.

She thought about the girls’ own noisy music and arguments, the every morning clamour for the single bathroom, and Peter’s booming voice telling them all to hurry up as he wanted to shave.

She smiled to herself, and then laughed out loud. This was the best Mother’s Day present ever!

© Carol Waterkeyn  Image: Free Pixels. previously published on http://www.totally4women.com