Tuesday 29 September 2015

Interview with Womagwriter Patsy Collins

Today my guest is Patsy Collins! I know it's a bit weird to be my own guest but heck, I'm a writer! At least I'm not talking to myself as you've kindly supplied a good selection of questions.

Penny asked, "Are you an Owl or a Lark? Which is your best time for writing?"

Neither! I need a lot of sleep. 

Generally the morning is my most productive writing time but I can, and do, write at any time of the day.

Sue Blackburn asked, "Are you a disciplined writer in that you have a strict routine?"

Yes and no, Sue. I try to be disciplined and work on my writing for a reasonable time each day, but my routine is flexible. Usually I have several projects on the go at different stages, so if I don't feel like writing one story, I edit another instead.

I travel quite a bit with photogrpher my photographer husband
in our campervan, and although I still write away from home, I'm more likely to get distracted. 

Fay Knowles asked, "What's your secret to getting your short stories published so frequently?"

Dogged determination and persistence, Fay. I get plenty of rejections, but I don't let them discourage me. Instead I try to write what the editors are looking for and do my best to look at things differently and come up with unusual ideas. Sometimes though it's very difficult to know why one story sells and others don't.
Wendy asked a really excellent question. ''Do you have a lovely new book featuring a hunky fireman coming out anytime soon and if so where can I get it?'" 

Funny you should ask that, Wendy as actually I do! (oddly several other people made similar enquiries ... almost as though someone put them up to it.) 

Firestarter is a romantic comedy. If it's half as much fun to read as it was to write, people are going to enjoy it a lot.  Firestarter isn't officially due out until November 5th but for once I'm not leaving the promotion stuff until it's too late. (Offers to host me on blogs and the like most welcome).

You can order Firestarter here. My local book shop will be stocking it and it'll be available from some libraries. 

Julie Day asked, "What started you writing short stories for womags? and 
which magazine was your first one in?"

I took creative writing classes and my tutor (author June Hampson) suggested I submit to womags, Julie. I'm very glad she did. My first acceptance was from The Weekly News, but The Lady actually published me first.

Julie also wondered, "Do you reward yourself with each success?"

Yes! That's very important. A sale gets the biggest celebration and I'll treat myself to something nice to eat or drink, but I think we should congratulate ourself on every achievement along the way.

Thank you for all the questions! I had lots more, so this interview is to be continued ....

Thursday 24 September 2015

Discover your inner editor

If you fancy learning how to edit your own work, take a look at Red Pen on the ScrivenerVirgin website. This is an updated version of the RedPen group I joined ten years ago and to which I still belong. I now make fewer mistakes and, thanks to my friend Anne Rainbow and her three tasks system, I get more worked published than would otherwise have been the case.  
Red Pen is free to join and members receive regular newsletters with help, advice and editing tasks. If you join up now, you'll be invited to take part in a free editing webinar on Tuesday 29 September. 
For those wanting to invest in further Red Pen Training, a private Facebook group offers additional information and the chance for mutual mentoring with fellow RedPenners. There is a programme of online tutorials and ‘Proof of the Pudding’ editing workshops. In the first of these POP workshops, Anne will take you through the steps involved in turning one of my earliest first drafts into a story which was published by Candis magazine in 2007.

Later, Anne will be offering the option of a paid-for upgrade for those who'd like individual help with a particular piece of writing.

If you have any questions put them in the comments and Anne will do her best to explain

Saturday 19 September 2015

Over to you!

I was wondering who I could pick on  select to interview next and I decided on that Patsy Collins woman. The only trouble is she refuses to talk to me. She thinks you'll all think she's even odder than she really is if she does.

So can you think up some questions for her? I'll pick out the ones I like and are easiest to answer I think will be most informative. Feel free to include one something like 'do you have a lovely new book featuring a hunky fireman coming out anytime soon and if so where can I get it?'

Tuesday 15 September 2015

Woman's Weekly

I've just heard from Woman's Weekly (via Jo Styles) that they have a bit of a backlog of submissions at the moment. This is due to people being away, all the workshops they're now doing and Live! which has just finished for this year. They hope to catch up soon.

Friday 4 September 2015

Interview with womagwriter Della Galton

My guest today is Della Galton. I don't think she actually needs an introduction, so I'll get straight to it...

1. When I first started writing short stories, two names appeared in every magazine I looked at - yours and Teresa Ashby's. How long have you been writing womag stories and how did you get started?

I joined an evening class called Writing for Profit and Pleasure in 1987. I was inspired by a young woman – Tina Wade – who stood up in that class and announced she’d just sold her 27th short story that year. I wanted to be her! She was writing for a teenage magazine (now gone) called Loving. I studied them carefully, and a few months later they accepted a short story from me. It was the most thrilling moment of my life! (I don’t get out much!)

2. After so many acceptances do you still celebrate after a 'yes' and if so how?

If it’s a big one – say a novel – then yes. I buy myself something I can keep, an item of jewellery is good. Or something writing related. I bought my iPad, for example. Is that writing related? I do love it though.

3. You teach writing. Do you think that's made a difference to how you write?

Yes, because teaching is a learning experience. Always be both student and teacher – that’s my motto. I still attend other people’s writing courses as well as teaching my own. I think I always will.

4. Despite writing loads of short stories and non fiction you've found time for novels. Care to tell us a little about your latest release?

The Morning After TheLife Before is the sequel to my last novel, Ice and a Slice. It has the same central character, SJ, who is a very flawed, but I’m told, very lovable character with a teeny weeny drink problem.

5. I'm guessing you must be very disciplined about your writing and stick to a rigid timetable in order to get everything done?

Just work all hours – that’s another of my mottos. Mornings are my best time. I usually write before I do anything else – admin, blogs, social media, teaching etc. Once the writing is done, then I’ll do whatever else I need to do. But writing is my priority.

6. I've heard that some writers use real people and situations in stories to work off frustrations or put something right. Do you ever do that?

Yep, frequently. I can’t give you an example. I might get sued!

7. The right writing snacks are very important - what's your fuel of choice?

Coffee. Oh and Nutella Sandwiches, or if I’m feeling virtuous I stir Nutella through a 0% fat yoghurt. You can get quite a lot in if you use a big spoon! 

8. What has been your happiest or proudest writing moment so far?

Actually, this recently changed. Last month I gave a talk to 200 people at Swanwick Writers’ conference. At the end of my talk the chairman asked for questions and a lady stood up at the back. She said, “My name’s XXX and I’m an alcoholic. I want to tell you that your novel Ice and a Slice saved my life. I read it last year, and I could relate to the main character so much. It motivated me to seek help for my own drinking problem. Now I have been sober for 8 months. Thank you so much.”

I cried. Right there on stage. In fact, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. What a courageous lady. Her comments completely blew me away.

You know yourself how much blood sweat and tears go into writing. When you get feedback like that, it makes every single moment worthwhile.

9. Can you pass on a tip for other womag writers?
Write from the heart. Write the story you really want to write. Don’t follow convention. I think that readers – and editors – recognise authenticity.

Thank you so much for having me.

Coincidentally, Della and I both have novels on promotion this week. You can get Della's Ice and a Slice and my A Year and a Day for 99p each.