Allison Symes's books on Goodreads
From Light to Dark and Back Again
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11th October 2019
My CFT post this week is Part 2 of my series What Books Mean To Me. Under the spotlight this week are Patricia M Osborne and fellow Swanwick Writers' Summer School friend, Jennifer C Wilson. For the local writer contingent, I also talk to Anne Wan and Richard Hardie. Many thanks to everyone for their magnificent contributions this week and last. There is also more to come next week.
For my Goodreads blog this week I look at Hearing Stories. I look at audio books and their benefits from reading and writing viewpoints.
4th October 2019
It's an absolute pleasure to share Part 1 of my latest series for Chandler's Ford Today called What Books Mean To Me. A big thank you to my fabulous guest authors for taking part, especially as I asked them which ONE book they would have to save above all others in the event of a disaster. Come on, which author would only ever save ONE book?! Still at the end of the three part series I do get to answer that question myself.
The series also explores what reading means to us as readers and as writers. I'm very much looking forward to sharing the remaining two parts of this series. And if the series gives you some ideas for presents for the book lovers in your life, even better! See it as a shopping list!
My featured authors include YA writers, children's fiction writers, Scottish crime authors, flash fiction writers (not just me!), paranormal fiction, writers of women's commercial fiction, and fantasy. Several of my guests wear more than one writing hat (do check them all out!) and some write short stories and flash fiction as well as novels. (Do check them out too!). I hope you have as much joy in this series as I did in putting it together.
My Goodreads blog this week looks at Book Tokens and Gift Vouchers. I don't know if these were a particularly British thing or not but I always loved receiving book tokens as a child as I had all the excitement of choosing a new book to keep to look forward to! A big thank you to National Book Tokens (UK) for retweeting my post about this earlier in the week! (If outside the UK and you have your own version of these things, do comment. I'd love to know what your equivalents are/were here).
Last but definitely not least, it's time for my monthly spot on the Association of Christian Writers' More than Writers blog spot. Do check out the new look. I think it looks fab. I take as the topic Flash In The Pan where I share why I think all writers should try writing flash fiction.
A busy week this week, as always, but I do love writing series for CFT. It is always great fun to have guests taking part. Thank you, all.
27th September 2019
My CFT post this week is called Put Three Words Together And... In this, I look at how it only takes three words to make an impact on readers. I also share some positive and negative groups of three words, where the meaning of the words taken together goes far beyond the meaning of the individual ones. Never underestimate the power of words!
Many thanks to all who have commented on this already. Good discussion going, thanks all.
I must admit I was surprised, when drafting this week's CFT post, to find it only takes three words to make an impact on readers. (I had always thought it was a little more than that based on Ernest Hemingway's For Sale: One Pair Baby Shoes). Still I guess it goes to show how you CAN pare things right back when you want to!
Happy writing, editing, re-reading, editing again etc!
My Goodreads blog this time asks Why Are Your Favourite Books Your Favourites? I list several reasons for why my favourite books come into that category. Well, there wasn't just going to be one!
Publication News: As mentioned last week, my short story Three Wishes is now up on Cafelit. I hope you enjoy it and do check out Cafelit generally. There is a lovely range of authors, stories, styles etc on there. It is a privilege and pleasure to write for Cafelit.
20th September 2019
My CFT post this week looks at The Power of Language. I look at the Power of Language and discuss rhetoric, the role of swearing, putting words INTO the language, and how flash fiction has affected how I use language. I also feel we should celebrate language, its richness and its origins. English of course notably borrows, sorry steals, from other languages and is the richer for it.
My Goodreads post this week looks at Books into Films, a favourite topic. I share my favourite here and also some of those books I would love to see made into films, as the potential for great adaptations is there with each one I've picked.
Publication News: My short story, Three Wishes, will be up on Cafelit next Monday. I will share the link here next week but meantime here is the link to my author page here. I would also urge you to have a good visit around the site as a whole. There is a wonderful mixture of stories, styles, and writers here. Also here is the link to my Amazon Author Central page.
13th September 2019
My CFT post this week looks at Rules That Need to Exist. I take in everything from taking the calories out of chocolate to Indicator Awareness Programmes for those who need them. We can all think of some who do! I also make a serious plea for cyclists and drivers to treat each other with more respect - there would be fewer accidents. Do drop by the CFT comments page with the rules you'd bring in - and why. Lighthearted ones would be particularly welcome. (Well given the news is so grim, why not?!).
My Goodreads blog this time looks at Choosing What To Read Next. Well, how do you do this? It's easy enough when you're reading a series but what if you've finished that or you always read stand-alone books? What would be your criteria for deciding this? I share a few thoughts here on what I do.
6th September 2019
My CFT post this week is called Is It a Good Idea to Have Favourites? This was an interesting one to write as I looked at both sides of the argument here.Prior to writing this, I'd considered favourites as just something you have, whether it is for food, books or what have you, but, of course, the big danger with having favourites at all is that can make you unwilling to accept or try anything new.
From a writing viewpoint, that is definitely not a good thing. I wouldn't be a flash fiction writer had I taken that view.
Anyway, see what you think and, as ever, comments are welcome over on the CFT page.
My Goodreads blog this time looks at the To Be Read pile. Mine hasn't quite got to the stage where it needs scaffolding to support it but I wouldn't rule out the possibility! (And as for the one on my Kindle...!). I look at the positives and negatives of having a TBR pile.
30th August 2019
Almost into autumn (fall). Talking of which, my CFT post this week is As One Season Ends. I look at how getting older has helped me as a writer. I prefer to use the term mature, though I appreciate that may put you in mind of a fine wine or a good cheese! I am proud to say though my "wine/cheese" still has plenty of life in it and I'm well ahead of my Best Before Date.
One thing I love about writing is it is not the privilege of one age bracket only. Debut writers have had successes when young or old and I find that tremendously encouraging. I hope you do too.
My Goodreads blog this week looks at Reading for Inspiration. I ask if you specifically read for inspiration and share my thoughts on that here.
It was my (monthly) turn on the Association of Christian Writers' More than Writers blog spot during the week. This time I looked at Appreciating Writing, both your own work and that of other authors and how the latter can really help you improve what you do. I also discuss "just" writing for entertainment.
23rd August 2019
The first week back after a wonderful week at the Swanwick Writers' Summer School is always tough as you adjust back to reality and things like cleaning, paying bills, shopping once again! Glad to say though it has been a busy but productive week.
My CFT post shares some of what I love about Swanwick and I look at why developing as a writer is so important. I also discuss the importance of feeding your mind but the great thing with that is it can be done via fabulous things like reading and interacting with other writers!
My Goodreads post looks at Reading Time this week.
Publication News: My story, The Delivery, is now up on Cafelit. It looks at what can happen when you fall foul of the old boss... and not just any old boss! Hope you enjoy.
16th August 2019
I've got back today from a splendid week at the Swanwick Writers' Summer School, the highlight of my writing year. I get to spend time with writer friends old and new and learn so much from the courses and workshops. Add to that, being looked after very well and just being able to be a writer 24/7, well, what is there not to like about that?
It is important to make space to engage with other writers and I discuss this further in my CFT post this week, which is called Making Space Part 2. I look at making space for your writing, ensuring your writing space is comfortable and good for your back and share thoughts and tips I hope will be useful.
My Goodreads blog this week is an acrostic one on Books, Glorious Books. Hope you enjoy.
Publication News: My Life is What You Make It is now up on Cafelit. Hope you enjoy that too.
9th August 2019
I start a two-part series on Chandler's Ford Today this week called Making Space. This week I look at it from the viewpoint of cityscapes. decluttering (and what I think about that when it comes to books!), and making space for packing/going away (as I am about to go to the Swanwick Writers' Summer School once again). Quite a mix! The topic was inspired by a recent visit to the Sky Gardens in London. I also discuss why making space is important for all of us. I also share my favourite quote about packing/going away. Next week I'll look at the topic from a writer's viewpoint and share some tips I've found useful. Hope you enjoy.
For my Goodreads blog this time, I look at Books You Can't Finish. I'm glad to say this doesn't happen that often (though sometimes I mean to read a book and get sidetracked, usually by another book (!). but I do get there eventually. You should see my TBR pile - and it's just as bad on the Kindle. I hope to catch up on some reading while I'm away at Swanwick). I also discuss why this is a challenge to me as a writer.
Publication News: I will have another story, Life is What You Make It, up on Cafelit next week (12th August). I look forward to sharing the link next time specifically for that story but meanwhile please find the link to my author page there. I have been revisiting some stories I once had published elsewhere. The publisher concerned is no longer taking short fiction so all rights have returned to me and I am now sending these tales out into the world once again. Hope you enjoy.
2nd August 2019
A very busy but enjoyable week and I have publication news too.
My CFT post this week is a review of The Chameleon Theatre Group's latest production, They Came From Mars and Landed Outside the Farndale Avenue Church Hall in time for the Townswomen's Coffee Morning.
Now that is the longest title of any play I've reviewed. I don't think it's going to be beaten any time soon. But it does tie in with my CFT post last week about Titles. This one clearly indicates the show is a spoof!
It was a great one too. I had lots of fun spotting the gags and references and know I didn't get them all. I'd have needed another visit to the show for that. Hope you enjoy the post. I loved writing it.
My monthly spot on the Association of Christian Writers' blog, More than Writers, came up during the week. I wrote on Summertime and the Writing is Easy... (or not as the case may be and yes, with apologies to George Gerswhin for mangling his title!). I look at whether or not it is easier to write during the summer months and share some words of encouragement.
My Goodreads blog this time discusses What a Good Book Can Lead To... where has your reading led you?!
Publication News: Am delighted my short story, Stolen, was published by Cafelit this week. This is the closest I think I may get to an autobiographical story. I could be Sarah in this one. Hope you enjoy. (Am also pleased to say Stolen has already received a significant number of reads so naturally am hoping for some more as a result of this link going up!!).
26th July 2019
My CFT post this week is titled Titles! I will be reviewing next week The Chameleon Theatre Group's latest production, They Came from Mars and Landed Outside the Farndale Avenue Church Hall in Time for the Townswomen's Coffee Morning, and this glorious title shows one role of such things. It screams at you it's a spoof (and therefore also sets the mood). I look at the role of titles, how I change my use of them when writing flash fiction (and why I do this), and share some thoughts as to good sources of title ideas. (This also doubles up as great sources of theme ideas too). Hope you enjoy.
My Goodreads blog is I'm "Just" Reading and I ask if you ever guilty when you take time out to enjoy a good book. Logically you shouldn't. Writers need to read widely to feed and nurture our own imaginations. After all, what made you decide to write? Were you inspired by a wonderful story? In my case, I wanted to see if I could write stories and quickly became hooked but the drive behind that was my own love of story, fuelled by years and years of reading long before I took up the pen/laptop! It was what I read that made me decide I wanted to write fantasy and fairytales. I love reading crime but it was not a genre I felt called to write. (I still don't!). But how do you know what you want to write unless you do read first?
Publication News: Am looking forward to sharing news of a story that holds a special place in my heart next week. Will explain more then!
19th July 2019
My CFT post this week is on the theme of Murphy's Law ("where anything can go wrong, it will), and list some of these that specifically affect writers. Hope you enjoy. I love writing all of my CFT posts but ones like these have an added element of fun to them!
My Goodreads blog this week is on Storytelling. I look at the oral storytelling in particular. Audio books could be considered a continuation of this. I love being read aloud to whether it is via an audio book or being at an Open Prose Mic night. (Flash fiction works particularly well here).
12th July 2019
My CFT post this week looks at Summer Reports. I remember taking home my old school reports and having to get my parents to sign a slip saying they had actually read it! I can also reveal I left school and then they closed it! Sound wonderful, doesn't it? The point of reports is to show where you are now and a good one (regardless of actual academic or other achievement) should spur you on and encourage you. I discuss this in the post and give a report on my writing to date this year. It has been a good year but I very much hope to achieve more before the year end! Reports are not for resting on your laurels but for saying this is where you are now, so what next? Hope you enjoy the post.
My Goodreads blog looks at Settings in Books. Often a setting can be treated as if it was a character in its own right. Do you think settings matter? Which are your favourites?
As ever, comments are welcome over on the Chandler's Ford Today page and my Goodreads Author Blog spot.
5th July 2019
My CFT post this week Controlling the Weather discusses why it isn't a good idea to do so, even if we somehow found a way of managing it. I also look at why "it was a dark and stormy night" has gone down as one of the all time writing cliches (probably only beaten by "and it was only a dream" - argh!). I also share a flash fiction story which is shorter than Edward Bulwer-Lytton's famous (or infamous?) opening line! Hope you enjoy.
My Goodreads blog this time looks at Changing Books. How have your tastes changed in reading over time? What books stay with you? Which would you never read again?
Publication News: Am delighted to say my story, What Goes Around, will be published by Bridge House Publishing in their Nativity anthology which will be out later this year. This will mean, along with Dignity and Injustice and The Art Critic, due to appear in The Best of Cafelit 8 in December, I will have three stories in two books by the end of the year. (And of course I am still thrilled to bits about my The Professional being in Transforming Being the ebook compilation of the winning entries to the Waterloo Arts Festival Writing Competition last month).
Other News: I have now set up Amazon Author Central pages where you can find details of the anthologies I've had work in, as well as for From Light to Dark and Back Again. I share the links below for the US and UK pages (though I am glad to say there are pages for France, Germany, and Japan too).
28th June 2019
Plenty going on this week. Firstly, my CFT post is on Moments that Matter this week and I look at this topic from a writing, historical, and personal perspective. Now there's an interesting mix! Moments that matter in UK history for example, include George Buck finding a copy of Titulus Regius, which Henry VII had ordered destroyed. Buck's discovery of that document led to him reassessing Richard III. No surprise really that didn't happen until after the Tudors had gone but it was a moment that mattered! I also discuss why we should treasure moments that matter to us but also use them to spur us on. Hope you enjoy.
My Goodreads blog asks What Do You Look for in a Story? and I share my thoughts on that topic. It's one of those which is difficult to keep short!
I've been busy on the "administration" of my writing life too. I now have an Amazon Author Central page for the US, UK, France, Germany, and Japan. I've worked on adding material to the US and UK ones in particularly and am pleased to share the links to both below.
A big thanks to my better half, Adrian, for taking the updated pics of the anthologies my work has appeared in (and From Light to Dark and Back Again too of course).
21st June 2019
My CFT post this week is about Writing Legacies. I look back at the Winchester Writers' Festival and reflect on the wonderful writing legacy left by the late Barbara Large, MBE. I take the subject from her own legacy to the legacy she gave hundreds (possibly thousands) of writers she encouraged over the decades.
I also ask what legacy we should leave as writers, regardless of what we write in terms of genre. Link up tomorrow. This is one of those posts that is a privilege to write but then it was a huge privilege to know Barbara. The writing world needs more like her...
It was also lovely to meet up with friend and Scottish crime writer, Val Penny, at the Winchester Writers' Festival last weekend too.
My Goodreads blog this time is about Planning Your Reading. I plan out when I'm going to read magazines, novels, short stories etc as well as planning out what I actually read. I also look at if it is better to read one thing through or to read a selection of different materials and finish them at different rates.
14th June 2019
A very exciting week thanks to taking part in the Waterloo Arts Festival last Saturday but more on that shortly.
My CFT post this week is Reading Aloud Allowed. I look at why reading out loud is such a good idea for writers but also why it is beneficial for readers too. I look at performance prose, take a look back at the Waterloo Arts Festival, and sing the praises of audio books too. The latter are great for all sorts of reasons, not least of which is they are a means of getting stories to people who won't necessarily go to the printed word first, if at all.
My Goodreads blog this week is Ingesting Stories - yes, ingesting! I look at how and why ingesting stories happens and why it is a very good thing.
I adored taking part in the Waterloo Arts Festival. As mentioned last week, my story The Professional, was one of the 15 winners of their writing competition. I'm glad to say the winners' stories have been compiled into an ebook Transforming Being which is now out on Amazon. It is always thrilling to know you're going to be published and I'm also looking forward to two of my flash fiction stories being in The Best of Cafelit 8 later in the year. Naturally I plan to share the link when available!
It was so good to meet up with writer friends at the Festival, some of whom I only get to see at the annual Bridge House Publishing event in December. All of the stories and extracts were of a high quality and it is such a treat being read to, which is what inspired the CFT post.
I'm off to the Winchester Writers' Festival tomorrow where I'll be learning lots and meeting up with old friends there. I'm also working on my Amazon Author Central page at the moment and hope to share the link to that when I've got that up together. I would like to thank pal Paula Readman for putting me on to that. I've shared my links on Amazon for From Light to Dark and Back Again for a long time but hadn't realised about the Author Central page. This is what writer friends do. You share information which helps each other. It is one of the loveliest aspects to the business too.
7th June 2019
I look Behind the Scenes for my CFT post this week. I look at the topic from a volunteering viewpoint where so much wonderful work is done, often unseen. Time for some plaudits and encouragement I think!
I also discuss this theme from a writing viewpoint. It is easy to be discouraged when all the hard work you pour into your writing doesn't seem to be getting you anywhere, but the truth is that it is the behind the scenes work which helps you develop as a writer. You learn from your mistakes for one thing. The writing community is fantastically supportive - we have all been there! - and good online groups can do so much to help you avoid mistakes which can be avoided, avoid the scammers out there and so on. The process of learning and developing is an ongoing one and it doesn't really stop. You want to keep on improving what you do but that striving is what fuels your creativity so keep going!
My Goodreads blog this time looks at Mixing Up What You Read in terms of genre, how you read, what you read (books, magazines, short stories etc). It is good to have a healthy reading "diet"!
P.S. Publication News. Am delighted to say my story The Professional was one of the 16 winning stories in the Waterloo Arts Festival Writing competition. I will be at the Festival tomorrow and will be reading from my story. Very much looking forward to that and meeting up with my fellow contributors here! There is an ebook called Transforming Beings which is now out. The great thing is we all had to write to the same word count as well as the theme, yet there is so much variety in the tales here. Do check it out!
31st May 2019
A busy week. My CFT post this week is What Do You Look For in a Good Book? I do love self-explanatory titles! I share what I think makes for a good book and name three of my favourites. I look at what elements they have in common and given these are The Lord of the Rings, Pride and Prejudice, and Men At Arms by the much missed Terry Pratchett, it may come as a surprise to think there are any elements in common! Have a read, see what you think, and comments, as ever, are welcomed on the CFT page. A big thank you also to Paula Readman for sharing the CFT blog on her Facebook page, For Writers Only, Who Write Without Fear of Rejection.
My Goodreads blog is all about Story Collections and why I love them.
My monthly slot on More than Writers, the Association of Christian Writers blog spot, is also out and this time I talk about Steps and Contrasts. I share some thoughts on how to get through those difficult patches in writing when it seems such an effort. Hope you find it helpful.
Glad to see more reviews in for From Light to Dark and Back Again. Reviews are so helpful to a writer. Please consider reviewing favourite books in the usual places online. The great news is a review doesn't have to be long. One line saying why you liked a book still "counts".
24th May 2019
I look at Maps in Fiction and History in my latest CFT post. I discuss maps -v- sat navs but also the use of maps in children's fiction and fantasy in particular. Well, you can hardly imagine Treasure Island without the map, can you? I would also be a bit surprised if you had never read a book which either has a map in it or where a map is part of the plot. Anyway, hope you enjoy.
Two Goodreads blogs this time to make up for the fact I wasn't able to share them while I was away. The first is on Reading and Travelling (something I've not always been able to do) and the second asks What Do You Love Most in a Story? For me, it's the middle section. See the post for why!
19th May 2019
Sorry this is a couple of days late but easier to do this from my PC than on a mobile app, unfortunately. Here is a round up of my blogs and story news this past week.
I look at What I Value Most in my Chandler's Ford Today post this week. See http://chandlersfordtoday.co.uk/what-you-value-most/#more-59475
A huge thank you to Patricia M Osborne for putting my 100-words story Views on her blog. See https://patriciamosbornewriter.wordpress.com/2019/05/17/challenge-write-a-story-in-less-than-one-hundred-words-2/
It's also lovely to give a shout out to Paula Readman and her For Writers Only, who write without Fear of Rejection Facebook group for also putting the word out about Views earlier. As a certain supermarket would say, "every little bit helps".
The generally mutual support within the writing community is the thing I love most about it.
10th May 2019
My latest CFT post reviews the Fryern Funtasia held on Bank Holiday Monday (UK). I like events like this as there is a link to the medieval fairs though what our ancestors would have made of inflatable slides, train rides and the like makes the mind boggle. I think they'd have appreciated the Hog Roast though!
My Goodreads blog looks at the Dangers of Reading! I promise it's not all about avoiding dropping heavy books on your foot!
Publication News: This week has to be amongst my best writing weeks. Two of my flash fiction stories, The Art Critic and Dignity and Injustice, were voted on and will be appearing in The Best of Cafelit 8. This will be out in December.
Then I heard my story The Professional was a winning entry to the Waterloo Festival Writing Competition. The story, along with 15 others, will appear in an ebook later in the summer. This tale comes in at just under 1000 words so right on the flash fiction limit.
Will share links etc when I know more about when the book and ebook will be released. Naturally I'm thrilled to bits. I just wish I had more weeks like this!!
3rd May 2019
I see we're into May already. Hmm... Still plenty going on this week.
My latest CFT post is Review: Spring Trio of Plays - Chameleon Theatre Group and it was a wonderful evening out. The three plays staged werer Effie's Burning, Ghost of a Chance, and In For The Half. All were excellent. There was some powerful storytelling and great performances. I've found going to productions like this has made me more appreciative of good dialogue (and going to plays, as well as reading them in script form, can be a great way of sharpening up how you write dialogue and not just for scripts. All forms of writing benefit from that). Do see my post for more as I also ask if theatre can make you think.
My Goodreads blog for this week is Fads and Fancies where I look at how I tend to read in cycles (as opposed to on them! I'd never keep my balance!). I'm not sure why this is, I just know that my reading is what it is, but I do mix it up!
Last but not least, it is time once again for my monthly slot on the Association of Christian Writers' More than Writers blog spot. This month I blog on the topic of Prioritising. Something we all need to do to make the most of our writing time but not as always as easy to do as it may seem.
26th April 2019
My CFT post this week is called Plays - The Joys and Challenges. This looks at playwriting, its links with flash fiction and the oral storytelling tradition, and why reading books of scripts (often TV series publish these) is a good idea if you would like to get into this genre.
I look ahead a little to my review next week when I will be reviewing The Chameleon Theatre Group's latest production, Spring Trio of Plays. Playwriting has its specific challenges. How do you convey information without having a character talk all the time? How can your set convey enough information for the audience to be able to fill in gaps (and for radio the set has to be made of things the audience can hear so they can work out where they are!).
My Goodreads blog this week looks at Beautiful Books. I discuss this in terms of both book covers but also lovely book bindings. A beautiful book is a joy to look at as well as to read.
On the submissions front, I have sent out more flash fiction stories this week and continue to make good progress on my novel and some non-fiction ideas I'm working on.
19th April 2019 (Good Friday)
My CFT post is Story Analysis - Why Bother? which is something I suspect every English Literature student has thought at some point! I look at how story analysis is useful to writers and how I do this with flash fiction. It can be done! Hope you enjoy.
My Goodreads blog is Playing with Genre where I look at the joys of the crossover. That's usually thought of in terms of novels but I see no reason why it can't apply to short stories too.
12th April 2019
My CFT post this week looks at The Highs and Lows of the Writing Life, something all writers can identify with, I think! I share my thoughts on the importance of reviews and supporting author events as well as showing that the writer's journey is never on a continuous upwards line! It twists and turns, is bumpy, and goes up and down but it is the same for most of us!
My Goodreads blog this week looks at Encouraging Books. What do I mean by that? I take them to be books that encourage me to read deeper into a person or subject. For example, Josephine Tey's fictional The Daughter of Time encouraged me to read more about Richard III.
5th April 2019
My CFT post this week is Experimenting with Words and Form. I look at why playing with words (including things like crosswords and playing Scrabble) is a good thing for writers to do. I also look at why mixing up what you do writing wise including experimenting with form is also a good thing. I share some favourite new words. Do share any you might have in the CFT comments box.
I look at Titles in my Goodreads blog this time. I look at this with a writer's and reader's hat on (though not at the same time!).
Have a good week. Pleased to say I've got another competition entry off and have selected a couple of others to have a crack at!
29th March 2019
My CFT post this week is all about Signs of Spring, the ones I love and some I loathe. Much as I love spring, I think autumn (aka fall) is probably my favourite.
My monthly spot on the Association of Christian Writers' More than Writers blog spot is all about When Writing Is Difficult. I share some thoughts and tips and hope they prove useful.
Last but not least, my Goodreads blog this week looks at Books to Dip Into, which is a favourite form of reading for me and I suspect many of us.
Have a good week!
22nd March 2019 - my birthday
Firstly, a very big thanks to all who left lovely birthday messages on my FB page. Much appreciated.
Secondly, an apology. The gremlins have got to the CFT site tonight so I can't share this week's post. I've written about what I think are mankind's Top 10 Achievements. The site should be up and running again I hope tomorrow but, due to other commitments, I'm likely to share this here next week so you can look forward to a double bill!
Meanwhile, I am delighted to share the link to If It's Too Good to be True, my latest Cafelit story, which was published online last weekend. Hope you enjoy it.
And last but not least, I can share my Goodreads blog, The Role of Books/Stories. Comments as ever welcome on my Goodreads page.
15th March 2019
There are some CFT posts you really don't want to write but know are coming and you write them as a way of expressing apprecation for a life well lived.
My tribute to Barbara Large, MBE, who founded the Winchester Writers' Festival and Hampshire Writers' Society, comes into that category.
I cannot think of anyone else who has done so much to support and encourage so many writers in our area. Barbara will be much missed.
On another note entirely, my Goodreads blog this week asks When Do You Read? When not writing, authors need to be reading (it feeds the mind and kickstarts your own imagination are just two excellent reasons to do so!). And I know Barbara would heartily have agreed with that sentiment.
8th March 2019
My CFT post this week looks at some of my favourite character types and why it matters to get them right. I also look at the character -v- plot debate and why realistic portrayal of characters is so important. I'm glad to say this post has already generated a great Q&A session between another regular CFT contributor and myself so do pop over and take a look!
My Goodreads blog this week is Saturday Night is Alright for Reading (yes, there is a nod to the old Elton John hit, Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting though I much prefer a good night in with a decent book!). I look at why the decline in good TV viewing on Saturday nights might be a good thing. Get the books out instead!
Also looking forward to going to the Association of Christian Writers (UK) Writers' Day in Bath tomorrow, Saturday 9th March. It's always lovely meeting other writers and I've never been to one of these Days yet without learning something useful.
Also due to have another story on Cafelit on 16th March. More details nearer the time.
29th Feb...er....1st March 2019
It's odd, isn't it, that January seems to last forever and poor old February whizzes by but there you go. Definitely got the short change when the days of the months were being allocated!
My latest CFT post shares my thoughts on Adaptations. I discuss remakes, share my favourite adaptations but ask if they can stop good new work from coming through. I look at what makes a good adaptation (and what makes for a bad one!). Comments welcome in the CFT box.
My Goodreads blog this time looks at Short Stories and Flash Fiction and why I'm glad they've made a resurgence. It isn't just because I write them, honestly!
22nd February 2019
I finally get around to discussing the weather in this week's CFT post. I look at The Weather and Its Uses in Fiction and share my view on using weather in stories and how it can be done realistically. Hope you enjoy!
My Goodreads blog is Hooks into Books this week and discusses what draws you into buying a book, whether it's a paperback or on Kindle. Is it the blurb or the cover?
PUBLICATION NEWS: Am pleased to say Cafelit published my flash fiction piece, Dangerous Words, last week. Hope you enjoy and do check out the other wonderful wealth of stories on there!
My author page here is http://cafelitcreativecafe.blogspot.com/search/label/Allison%20Symes and there will be another story on Cafelit from me next month.
15th February 2019
My latest CFT post is about Reading Journeys. I look at my own reading journey and how what I read and how I read at all has changed over the years. The Kindle has made a huge impact on me (not least of all on my suitcase when I go away as it is now considerably lighter! I have been known to take a small suitcase just containing books on holiday with me!).
I don't remember what was the book I first read by myself but it is likely to be a picture book. Writers for adults owe a huge debt to those who write for youngsters, given many readers (and I think MOST) come from a background where they've always read/been read to so turning to a book to read for pleasure is a natural thing to do. It is so important to create and nuture that spark to wish to read in the first place.
I link back to my CFT post from last week in a way with my Goodreads blog this week. I don't waste a good title! I "pinch" my Picture Books and Other Hooks from CFT last week for the title of my Goodreads blog and again look at my favourite books from years back. Many of these are still favourites now.
Two new stories are coming up on Cafelit soon. One will be up on 16th February and another on 16th March. I'm also pleased to say two of my Cafelit stories are being voted on for consideration for the Best of Cafelit 8 due out later this year. Will share links and further news as and when I have it.
8th February 2019
My latest CFT post is an interview with local children's writer, Anne Wan. For her latest book, Manners Fit for the Queen, she teams up with local illustrator, Sally Goodden.
The interview looks at the colloborative process needed to produce a picture book and why picture books matter.
For most of us, one of our first introductions to the wonderful world of stories would have been through a picture book. I still love a well illustrated book. (The maps in the Lord of the Rings are fab!).
Pleased to say I'll be having further stories appearing on Cafelit later this month and in March. Will share links later.
My latest Goodreads blog looks at Series or Singles? Do you prefer the stand-alone novel or the series? Comments as ever welcome on my Goodreads page.
1st February 2019
I don't know why January seems to last forever, but it does! Still on to February which will speed by...!
My CFT post is a review of the Chameleons' recent panto production of Ali Baba and The Forty Thieves.
The show was wonderful and this particular post was great fun to write. I've written it in a different format to the way I usually write reviews and think this worked well on a fun topic. Loved writing it. Hope you enjoy reading it. It gives a good flavour! (Oh and the dame's hair really does have to be seen to be believed but that's the way it's meant to be with panto - oh yes it is!).
My Goodreads blog this week looks at why Delving Into Your Past is a good idea for your reading "menu". See what you think. Comments welcome on my Goodreads page.
Last but not least, my monthly post for the Association of Christian Writers (UK based) blog, More than Writers, was on the theme of Impact this time. I write on the 29th of each month for this and it means I get every three Februarys off!! Hope you enjoy the post.
25th January 2019
My latest CFT post The Story of Stories - Ali Baba is effectively a two parter in that I discuss in this one how I discovered the story of Ali Baba and next week's post will be a review of that as a panto recently performed by The Chameleons. I also look at why I think oral storytelling won't die out and discuss some of my favourite character types in this post and why fairytales definitely are NOT twee. So lots to get your teeth into then!
My Goodreads blog this week Going Away looks at what to pack for a trip away in terms of books/what you are specifically going to read on your Kindle while away.
17th January 2019
It's been great fun being Bridge House Publishing's author of the week (which ends tomorrow). Congratulations to Jim Bates who has a signed copy of From Light to Dark and Back Again currently winging its way to him.
Yes, am a night early this week, due to commitments else where over the next few days, but there is still time to take advantage of the book offers as part of the author of the week promotion. Do see the post below for details of how to contact my lovely editor to take advantage of these.
And now on to writing....
My CFT post this week, Three Wishes, was great fun to write and I ask what would YOU do if your fairy godmother turned up and granted you the customary three wishes? Naturally, there are ground rules but see my post and have fun picking your three wishes. Comments as ever welcome on my CFT page.
My Goodreads blog for this week looks at Good Books and what my criteria are for this. I've touched on this topic before but it's an evergreen one. What defines a good book for you? Comments as ever welcome on my Goodreads page.
11th January 2019
A very busy week this time but enjoyable nonetheless! My CFT post this week looks at Tried and Tested Writing Tips. Tried and tested by me, that is - all of the tips shared here I use regularly and many of them on a daily basis. Hope they serve you well too.
My latest Goodreads blog is all about Story Idea Spotting. I look at the great game of spotting the influences the writers I read have clearly had. Great fun!
PUBLICATION NEWS/BOOK OFFERS
And for this week, I'm Bridge House Publishing/Cafelit/Chapeltown Books author of the week. I've had the great pleasure of being published by BHP/CB in various anthologies as well as with From Light To Dark and Back Again. These form the basis of the package below.
BOOK PACKAGE: There are SIX, count them SIX, publications where I have work on offer for £4.00, all as mobi-files. This includes To Be...To Become (the Waterloo Festival competition, anthology), Baubles (BH anthology), The Best of Cafelit 4, 5 AND 6 and From Light to Dark and Back Again, my first flash fiction collection. Offer ends next Friday, 18th January 2019.
And for those of you who would like print paperbacks there's an offer for you too.
PAPERBACK OFFER: My first published story was A Helping Hand in Bridge House Publishing's Alternative Renditions. That isn't available on Kindle BUT is in paperback and that along with From Light to Dark and Back Again is on offer at a mere £7.00 for the two! Again offer ends next Friday, 18th January 2019.
FREE BOOKS! BUT YOU HAVE TO BE QUICK. UK ONLY, I'M AFRAID DUE TO POSTAL COSTS.
I'm giving away one signed copy of:-
From Light to Dark and Back Again AND
Alternative Renditions OR
One of the Best of Cafelit books I'm in.
First come, first served, naturally. Also one book per customer. Again this offer ends on 18th January 2019 but I am hoping to have got two books off to two lucky people long before that!
If you're interested email my lovely editor, Gill James, at firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact details. Also let her know which of the books you would like and Gill and I will take things from there. I'm looking forward to getting some books off in the post next week!
So two lucky people can be in for a free read! What are you waiting for? Gill is waiting to hear from you!
All of the above books are available on Amazon and the Look Inside feature is available on most. The only one of my books not in Kindle is Alternative Renditions, that is only in paperback (but it still has one of my favourite covers!).
And if you would like to try some of my work out first, head over to Cafelit at http://cafelitcreativecafe.blogspot.com/…/l…/Allison%20Symes
Do check out the other wonderful stories here. You're in for a great read, I promise.
4th January 2019
I hope you had a lovely Christmas break. Happy New Year! I took a few days off and that was lovely but it is great to be buzzing to write again.
My first CFT post of the year looks at Winter Traditions. I share some of mine and look at why having any at all is a good idea. I also share some of my "traditional TV" viewing (UK based) and why I won't sing changed words to certain carols! I also share some humorous versions of carols which were always sung with great gusto when I was growing up (and are well known in the UK). What winter traditions do you have and why?
My first Goodreads blog is appropriately And a Happy New Year following on from last time's post. I share a few of my writing plans for the next 12 months.
21st December 2018
My latest CFT post is the last one before Christmas and, appropriately, I look at Christmas Stories. I include the Nativity, Hogfather, and A Christmas Carol amongst others. I also discuss the role of books and stories and share some of my Christmas related Cafelit tales. Hope you enjoy!
My latest Goodreads blog looks at my Christmas Wish List. What would be on your list?!
Very pleased to say my first non-fiction piece appeared in Christian Writer this week. This is the quarterly journal of the Association of Christian Writers (UK) and I talked about the telling details which can make a huge difference to stories and articles.
14th December 2018
My latest CFT post is an alliterative one! Celebrations, Crackers, Chapeltown and Cafelit is a look back at my publisher's annual celebration event held in London on 1st December. It was great to meet friends, old and new, there. I also share some thoughts in this post on the value of reading work out loud and also of being read to - it can be great hearing a story's rhythm for yourself and then applying that to your own work.
My current Goodreads blog looks at a problem many of us have - Finding the Time to Read! I am specificially planning reading time during the Christmas break to catch up on a bit of my To Be Read pile.
7th December 2018
So we are finally in the last month of the year! Where have the last 12 months gone?
My CFT post this week is about a very special cookbook written by Barbara Large MBE. Barbara founded the Winchester Writers' Festival (as it is now known) and has done so much to support and encourage writers over the years. Her book is raisng funds for the Nick Jonas Ward at the Royal County Hospital, Winchester. The book is being published via Anne Wan's imprint, North Oak Press, and Anne is someone I've interviewed for CFT before with regard to her own children's series.
As for the interview tonight, Barbara shares the joys and challenges of writing this book. She even shares a very delicious recipe.
I forgot to add the link for my Goodreads blog last week (I was far too excited about my publication news!) so there are two now to make up for it!
This week's post is Being Read To and last week's was Impact of Writing. Both are topics dear to me!
In other news, as they say, I was at the Bridge House celebration event on 1st December. A good time was had by all and I plan to write about this for CFT next week so will share more details then.
30th November 2018
A busy week! My CFT post is a review of A Christmas Carol as staged by the MDG Players in the Dovetail Centre recently. A great production and one where the audience joined in! For more details see the post.
My monthly slot on More than Writers, the Association of Christian Writers' blog page, was published yesterday. This month I talked about Achieving Goals.
I have had two stories on Cafelit over the past few days. Consistency is one for Anne Boleyn fans and was published on 24th November. Moving On was published on 27th November. Very different in tone and style but I hope you enjoy them both.
Am also looking forward to the Bridge House Publishing/Chapeltown Books annual celebration event in London tomorrow. Will be great to meet up with my fellow authors and meet some that, to date, I've only met online. A good time will be had by all!
23rd November 2018
My latest CFT post is called The Light Fantastic and looks at light and dark from the perspectives of vision (including photography), mood, and fiction. Light and dark are crucial to fiction. See what you think. Hope you enjoy the post.
My latest Goodreads blog is called Mixing It Up and I look at mixing things up in terms of word counts read, as well as genres. Intersperse your novels with short stories and flash ficiton. It makes for a more varied writing "diet".
Am delighted to say my 75-word story called Doubting the Obvious was published by Paragraph Planet on 21st November. Hope to share more publication news next week.
DOUBTING THE OBVIOUS Jemma knew monsters existed, the monsters knew they existed, so why did everyone else scoff at the idea and end up eaten by the things? They weren’t getting her that way. Jemma was prepared. She had her dart gun. She had a fire roaring in the forest clearing. Everyone knew monsters were attracted to the warmth. It meant food. An hour later one monster discovered that was true. Jemma was barbecuing him.
by Allison Symes. Published on Paragraph Planet on 21st November 2018.
16th November 2018
My latest CFT post looks at time management and time travel. I want to be better at one of them, I'll leave you to guess which one! If time travel were to become possible, when and where would you go? What would you do when there? Comments are always welcome on the CFT page. See the link.
I look at Remembering in my latest Goodreads blog as I prepared this just ahead of Remembrance Sunday/Armistice Day/Veteran's Day. I discuss the importance of history and our debt to those who wrote things down at the time. Also the impact of the war poets such as Sassoon and Owen should not be underestimated.
9th November 2018
My latest CFT post touches on a timely but always topical theme. The Importance of Memories.
It's timely of course as we get ready for Remembrance Sunday/Armistice Day but I also look at memories from the point of view of how they can be used in fiction writing. I also look at the impact of dementia and I think that awful disease proves beyond all doubt that when we don't (or can't) remember, we do lose something of ourselves.
My latest Goodreads blog looks at Seasonal Reading.
Is your reading affected by the time of year? I must admit I save Terry Pratchett's Hogfather for Christmas time and his Reaper Man for harvest time but my reading is dictated by my mood. Do I fancy reading something funny or a gripping thriller? Comments as ever are welcome at Goodreads. I'm also open to questions about writing on the Goodreads page too but you do need to be part of Goodreads first.
2nd November 2018
November already! My CFT post this week is a review of the recent production by The Chameleon Theatre Company - Blackadder Goes Forth.
The play condenses the iconic final series of Blackadder and was wonderfully done. It also makes a very fitting tribute to those who sacrificed so much in World War One. Many thanks to Stuart Wineberg and the Chameleons for their kind permission to use the fabulous photos in this post.
My latest Goodreads blog is called Music and Stories - I like self explanatory titles!
My monthly post for the Association of Christian Writers' blog, More than Writers, also appeared this week. I talk about Keeping It Simple and how it is definitely not stupid!
I also have a new story out on Cafelit called Jack of All Trades. Hope you enjoy!
26th October 2018
One thing I love about writing my Chandler's Ford Today posts is when a topic gives me great opportunities to share some good music clips (from Youtube generally). The topic of books is a great one for this.
So, as well as enjoying further insights from my panel (Jennifer C Wilson, Val Penny, Anne Wan, Wendy H Jones and Richard Hardie) in the final part of my mini series The Joys and Challenges of Writing Series Novels, I hope you enjoy the soundtrack too!
My latest Goodreads blog is called After the End, What Next? and sums up the topic beautifully. Comments welcome over at Goodreads!
News coming up this week: I'll have another flash fiction story up on Cafelit very soon (and again in November). Also I look forward to sharing my ACW More than Writers blog for this month too.
19th October 2018
My CFT post this week is Part 2 in my mini series The Joys and Challenges of Writing Series Novels. Once again, thanks to my marvellous panellists - Jennifer C Wilson, Val Penny, Anne Wan, Wendy H Jones, and Richard Hardie - for sharing their thoughts. Amongst tonight's topics is the crucial one of how to ensure each book in a series works as a stand alone book. You cannot know at what point a reader will discover your series. It is quite likely they won't start at Book 1! I discovered the joys of Terry Pratchett's Discworld with Mort, which was well into the series!
My latest Goodreads blog is Images and Stories and I list some images which conjure up instant stories! Hope you enjoy.
12th October 2018
Another very busy week! My CFT post this week is part 1 of a new mini-series called The Joys and Challenges of Writing Series Novels. Many thanks to my wonderful panel for taking part in this - Jennifer C Wilson, Val Penny, Anne Wan, Wendy H Jones, and Richard Hardie. Between them they cover the genres of children's fiction/YA, crime, historical, ghost and timeslip! Some really great insights are in this post with more to come over the next couple of weeks. Hope you enjoy.
My latest Goodreads blog is called Classic -v- Contemporary. Which do you prefer and why? As ever comments are welcome over at Goodreads.
A huge thank you to the Hampshire Writers' Society for making me so welcome as their guest speaker last Tuesday. Many thanks to all for their likes and positive feedback on my speech via my Facebook pages. Much appreciated. Also appreciated is their very kind permission to use the photo of me taken by them at the meeting. See above. (Am I chuffed about this? You bet!).
5th October 2018
Lots going on this week. Firstly my CFT post this week is called Fantastical -v- Reality Writing. I look at how fantasy writing and reality writing (including non fiction) feed off and into each other. You can have the most fantastical setting imaginable but unless there is something about that world and the characters readers can identify with, you will switch people off. There has to be a system of government, ways of your characters getting food etc that will make sense to your reader. I call this background structure. It has to be there, generally fairly discreetly, but without it your story falls apart.
Secondly, my latest Goodreads blog is called The TBR Pile. My To Be Read pile is huge, as I imagine it is with most writers. There are magazines as well as books in there!
Thirdly, my monthly blog for the Association of Christian Writers' blog, More than Writers, appeared just after my last news post here. I talk about Writing Likes and Dislikes here.
Last but most definitely not least, I am going to be a guest speaker at the Hampshire Writers' Society next Tuesday, 9th October. I will be talking about flash fiction and why I think every writer should try it. Looking forward to this. (Nervous and excited about it all at the same time! Hope to report on this next week via my Facebook page).
28th September 2018
The theme this week is playing with language. My CFT post is called Playing with Words and pays tribute to the late Denis Norden, whose dry wit and skills with writing the most amazing tall tales and puns I always admired. I also discuss puns and how the ability to play with words like this is something to be relished.
My Goodreads blog this week also looks at Playing with Language and here I share what I think the test of a good story really is.
21st September 2018
Busy week. Firstly my latest CFT post looks at Favourite Views. I discuss views, literal and metaphorical, and discuss how to develop "the writer's eye".
My latest Goodreads blog looks at Opening Lines. I discuss what an opening line needs to do and share a couple of classical favourites to show just what a "punch" they make, which is what we need to do with our own writing.
I'm delighted to say I have three new stories on Cafelit:-
The Balcony Seen,
Leaving Home, and
Dignity and Injustice.
I share the links here Hope you enjoy them!
14th September 2018
My latest CFT post looks at Writing Tips. I share some of those which I've found useful over the years and, in most cases, still find helpful. Hope you find them helpful too.
My latest Goodreads blog asks do you read the book first or watch the film?
Well...! I must admit I have done both in my time and a great book adaptation can do wonders for the book itself. The Lord of the Rings springs to mind here - the films would have encouraged people to go back to the original novels. I'm sure you can think of many other examples here.
7th September 2018
Hard to believe we're into September already. My CFT post this week looks at The Best and the Worst decisions I've made in writing and I hope it will prove to be useful. I share some thoughts on where to go to get good advice but also hope the post shows that a faulty step on the writing journey doesn't have to bring the whole thing to a grinding halt! Comments, as ever, are welcome via the CFT comments box.
My latest Goodreads blog looks at Favourite Moments in stories. So much depends on the strength of the characters. What do you think?
I'm glad to report I'll be taking part in crime writer Val Penny's online book launch for her Hunter's Revenge, the second book in her Edinburgh Crime series. The launch is on Sunday 8th September - it starts at midday and I'll be "on" from 3.30 pm for about half an hour. Many thanks to VAl for the invite to take part - online launches are great fun!
See https://www.facebook.com/events/1708253519296563/ for further details.
31st August 2018
Plenty going on this week!
My latest CFT post is an alliterative one! As Autumn Approaches is a reflective look at the season, I share some thoughts about how the season is for writers.
I also discuss the importance of taking time out to look back, as my church has recently done for its 200th anniversary, but equally how vital it is to move on from periods of reflection, given what stays static dies eventually.
It is also time for my monthly blog on the Association of Christian Writers' More Than Writers blog page. This time I talk about The Highs and Lows, something every writer can identify with!
My latest Goodreads blog asks Where Do You Turn First? in regard to having a limited time to read so do you go for a paperback, a hardback, or your Kindle?
Am currently reworking a novel I wrote some time ago. Loving falling in love with the characters all over again!
24th August 2018
My CFT post this week is The Benefits of a Good Writing Conference and is self explanatory and totally influenced by my week at the Swanwick Writers' Summer School!! Having said that, I look at how a good conference can help boost your confidence amongst other thoughts shared here. Many thanks to Geoff Parkes for kind permission to use the images of me reading at the Prose Open Mic night slot at Swanwick and the group photos celebrating the 70th anniversary of the school. It is the longest running residential writing school in the world. Also thanks to Cheryl Holland for using my phone to take the image of several of my writer friends and I having a laugh on the lawns at Swanwick. Happy times!
My latest Goodreads blog is called What Do I Want from a Story? and covers any type of story in any genre. See what you think. Can you add to my list? Comments welcome in the Goodreads box.
17th August 2018
Well, I swear the Swanwick Writers' Summer School week is the fastest period of seven days in the entire year! You get there with all those wonderful courses and conversations to look forward to but before you know it, you're heading home again. As you can gather that from that, I had a fabulous time and it is fantastic meeting up face to face with writer friends I keep in contact with by social media for the rest of the year.
But back to earth again!
My CFT post is a lighthearted one this week and is called Books That Should Have Been Written. Comments/contributions welcome in the CFT comments box!
My latest Goodreads blog is called Coming Back to Earth and suggests a cure for those back to routine blues that hit everyone whether they have come back from a superb conference or a holiday etc.
10th August 2018
My latest CFT post is Getting Away From It All. Appropriate as I am about to swan off to Swanwick Writers' Summer School for a week of marvellous courses and catching up with writer friends and making new ones! A fab time is had by all!
In my CFT post, I share some thoughts on the importance of relaxing and how just writing something for the sheer fun of it can be a marvellous way to unwind for writers. The great thing too is you can always work the piece up "properly" later on and submit it but to just write something for fun is wonderful. Possibly something we don't do enough of? I've found doing this useful (a) to take a break from my main writing work and (b) to remind myself during tough patches just what it is I really love about writing - the creativity of it. I think you can lose sight of that at times.
By something that is definitely not a coincidence, my latest Goodreads blog is also called Getting Away From it All and I talk about holiday reading.
3rd August 2018 (August already? Really?)
Just sometimes my CFT posts blend into each other beautifully without me planning it! Last week's post, Judgement Day, talked about reviews and critiques. This week's one, A Bunch of Amateurs, is my review of this wonderfully funny play written by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman and recently performed by The Chameleon Theatre Group. A good time was had by all!
Ben Williams, who also writes reviews for Chandler's Ford Today but from the younger generation's viewpoint, and I were delighted to see snippets of our reviews from the Chameleons' last performance, April Trio of Plays, were in their programme for Amateurs. The word spreads! As ever, many thanks to Lionel Elliott and the Chameleons for the splendid pictures.
My latest Goodreads blog is called Heatwaves and Reading and I discuss whether the weather can affect what you read. It is unusual for the UK to have a sustained period of very hot weather, as we are at the moment. There's a reason why we're a "green and pleasant land" - it rains!
27th July 2018
My latest CFT post is called Judgement Day, but I'm not referring to the blood moon due tonight! I talk about judgement for writers in terms of reviews and critiques. I share hints and tips as to what to expect from a critique you may have asked for (many writing competitions offer feedback like this now for an additional fee) and also on writing reviews yourself.
This post will feed in beautifully to my one for next week when I will be reviewing a local theatre production! Talking of which, many thanks to the Chameleon Theatre Group for quoting some of my most recent reviews in their programme (and also those of Ben Williams, who also reviews for CFT but takes a different approach to me). Another lovely way of having our names in print!
My latest Goodreads blog asks How Influential are Book Titles for You? I also share some of my favourites. Do send yours in via my Goodreads blog spot page. Link above.
I've also set up an author page on Book Bub. You need to join them to access any of the author pages, including mine, but this is free and they do send you details of books you may be interested in (once you have let them know what you are interested in, of course!). Many thanks to Wendy H Jones for flagging this up. Naturally I've been able to post a From Light to Dark and Back Again link on this new page.
20th July 2018
Plenty to share tonight. Firstly, my CFT post Out and About - Summer 2018 is a reflective one on some lovely areas local to me where I've really enjoyed walking my young collie. We have a beautiful wildflower meadow in our area and I hope you enjoy the pics.
Secondly, I was delighted to be a guest on Val Penny's Book Review website. I talk about my writing here - both the flash fiction and my CFT posts. All are a joy to write.
Many congratulations to Lynden Wade who won a copy of my From Light to Dark and Back Again as part of the raffle run by Elizabeth Hopkinson during her Tiny Tales launch. Elizabeth, like me, loves flash fiction and fairytales - what impeccable taste!
Last but not least, my latest Goodreads Author Programme blog is all about Helpful Book Reviews, something we could all do with!
13th July 2018
I look back at the recent Hursley Park Book Fair in my CFT post this week. I share thoughts, pics and suggest one great way for non-writing friends and family to support the writers in their life is to pop into any events your writer is at to show some moral support. Trust me, it is appreciated! The Fair went well and this report gives a good run down on what it was like to take part. Many thanks again to Glenn Salter aka Simon Fairfax for the hard work behind this.
My latest Goodreads Author Programme blog is What Makes a Character Work for You? Comments very welcome on Goodreads.
6th July 2018
My latest CFT post is Part 2 of my Why I Blog article. It has been fascinating to read the different takes writer friends of mine have taken on this topic. Do see what you think and comments, as ever, are welcome in the CFT comments box.
I will be reviewing the Hursley Park Book Fair next week.
My latest Goodreads post is about Book Accessories. Comments welcome in the Goodreads comments box. I am also open to taking questions about flash fiction on my author page here so do send them in!
29th June 2018
Had a wonderful time at the Hursley Park Book Fair last weekend. Chatted to many, sold some copies of From Light to Dark and Back Again, and gave a talk on flash fiction to a small but appreciative audience. I will be writing a review of this for Chandler's Ford Today in a couple of weeks time.
Meanwhile, tonight's CFT post is Part 1 of a 2 part series calledWhy I Blog. Many thanks to my guest writers for taking part in this - and there will be more insights next week too. Comments are, as ever, welcome in the CFT comments box.
It is also time for my latest Goodreads blog - and tonight's one is called What Does Reading Do For You? Comments are welcome via Goodreads.
And last, but definitely not least, it is time for my monthly blog on More Than Writers, the blog spot for the Association of Christian Writers. This month I ask Should We Resemble Our Characters? Food for thought there, I think!
As a kind of PS, and an afterthought to my going to the Book Fair, I would say non-writers wishing to support their writer friends can do so in two ways:-
1. Pop into your writer's friends book event and say hello. (Many thanks to friends who've done this for me, it really is appreciated).
2. Read and review our books. The great thing is reviews don't have to be long but they must be honest. Say what worked for you, what didn't etc.
22nd June 2018
My latest CFT post is a reminder one about the Hursley Park Book Fair taking place this weekend - 23rd and 24th June.
It will be the biggest event I've taken part in to date - 50 authors are taking part.
I'm also looking forward to giving a talk on flash fiction - what it is, why I love writing it, and the joys of it from a reader's viewpoint. Looking forward to meeting other authors and listening in to some of their talks too.
15th June 2018
Am preparing this a little in advance as I am about to take a short break but next week's CFT post is prepared and scheduled to go out on the 15th. It will be all about the Hursley Park Book Fair which is on 23rd and 24th June. About 40 authors, some of whom I've interviewed for CFT, are taking part and it is the biggest book event to date I've been involved in. As well as hopefully selling From Light to Dark and Back Again, I will be giving a talk on flash fiction and its joys from both a writer's and reader's viewpoint. I'm setting the link to take you to CFT's blog page.
As ever with these things, the most recent article is at the top so if you click on this on the 15th, it should take you straight to the post. The event itself is free and there's good parking. A whole wealth of genres is represented. The Saturday features adult fiction, Sunday is more for children, but there should be something for everyone here and I, of course, am waving the banner for flash fiction.
8th June 2018
My CFT post this week discusses why you should not underestimate how long it takes to get a book "out there" in terms of both writing it and then marketing it. Marketing gobbles up so much time but it is vital. Richard Hardie, YA author of Leap of Faith and Trouble With Swords, shares an update on his group, Authors Reach. If anyone doubted the amount of hard work needed to promote books, do have a look at this. I may be an eye opener!
My latest flash fiction story, Time for a Change, is now up on Cafelit. If you like dragon stories, you'll like this one. Hope you like it.
1st June 2018
Hard to believe we're at the halfway point in the year already! My CFT post this week looks at online writing. I ask whether it will kill off print publishing (eventually) and share a summary of what I think are the major changes in writing over the centuries. Comments are welcome in the CFT comments box.
Event and Publication News
I am delighted to say my flash story, Progressing, is one of the winner in the Waterloo Arts Festival Writing Competition. The Festival has been going for some time but the writing competition is new and I hope will end up being ongoing! I am only sorry I can't be at the special event being held in June but am pleased that some of my writing friends from Bridge House Publishing and Cafelit are also in the anthology and will be attending. I hope everyone has a wonderful time.
I am going to be at another inaugural event in June though, which will be the Hursley Park Book Fair. About 40 authors are taking part in this covering a wide range of genres and it will be the biggest event I've taken part in to date. I will be giving a short talk on flash fiction here too! Parking is free, the event itself is free, and I will be posting more about this on CFT a little nearer the time. Am glad to say the banners for the event are up in Hursley itself now and look great!
25th May 2018
I finally made it to the last few items in my 101 Things to Put into Room 101 series. Amongst the final pieces to go into the vault of doom are fake sincerity, debt, and all the calories in a 99 icecream. (For non-UK readers, this is vanilla icecream in a cone with a chocolate flake added to it - a huge summer favourite here).
I'm also pleased to share the link to my page on Scriggler, which is US based. I haven't posted anything here for a while due to writing commitments elsewhere, life getting in the way etc, but I am pleased to be back on this. I share a new story, Night Fright, on here and I am thrilled to bits that my take on the Wizard of Oz story, Not the Way to Go, has proved a hit.
18th May 2018
My Chandler's Ford Today post for this week is the penultimate one in my 101 Things to Put into Room 101 series. I have had no trouble finding 101 things, which probably says more about me but never mind! Included in tonight's list are ripped jeans, "easy" to open packets, and the ability to lose scissors. The latter is a real pain when trying to deal with said "easy open" packets!
In other news, I am glad to announce I am one of the winning writers whose story will be appearing in the Waterloo Festival anthology being produced by Bridge House Publishing. Will post more news on this later.
11th May 2018
I review the Fryern Funtasia held on Bank Holiday Monday for my Chandler's Ford Today post this week. I don't why it is but we either have heavy rain or baking heat for this annual event. Having said that, it was good fun and it was lovely catching up with regulars on the stands.
4th May 2018
I review three different plays staged in one show by The Chameleon Theatre Group for Chandler's Ford Today this week. There was a play set against the beginning of World War One, a surreal play, and finally a mystery. Sounds a strange combination I know but it worked and the plays were all well written and excellently performed.
My latest Goodreads Blog is called One Book to Rule Them All? and discusses a good "reading diet". I seldom miss the chance to get a good Tolkein reference in! See what you think and comments are always welcome. Also do send in questions via Goodreads as I tend to keep my Ask the Author spot open.
27th April 2018
My latest Chandler's Ford Today is a review of Five Go Mad for Shakespeare, which was staged by the MDG and Romsey Players last Thursday, at the Dovetail Centre in Chandler's Ford. I never thought I would review a show which combined Enid Blyton's Famous Five and the Bard of Avon but there you go...
Also my latest Goodreads blog asks about what childhood book had the most impact on you. Comments welcome (and on my Goodreads page especially).
20th April 2018
A busy night on the blogging front! Firstly, my Chandler's Ford Today post is Part 5 of my series on 101 Things to Put into Room 101. Amongst other things consigned to the vault of doom this time are cooking chocolate, zips that break too easily, roundabouts that are too small for purpose, and fake news. A nice mixed bag there!
Secondly, I blog roughly once a week to every ten days on my Goodreads page. My latest one there is called Ten Favourite Things about Reading. Hope you enjoy!
13th April 2018
This week's Chandler's Ford Today post sees fellow Chapeltown Books author, Mandy Huggins, and I discussing networking tips. Hope you find this useful!
6th April 2018
My Chandler's Ford Today post this week consigns, amongst other things, rats, overpriced clothing for those of us with heigh issues (in either direction), and people who dislike fake flowers into the vault of doom known as Room 101. In Part 4 of my series, I reach No. 60! Comments very welcome in the Chandler's Ford Today comment box.
30th March 2018
My Chandler's Ford Today post this week shows me resuming my 101 Things to Put into Room 101 series. Do you agree with my choices? Comments are welcome in the CFT box.
My monthly blog on the Association of Christian Writers' blog spot, More than Writers, talks about Real Writing = Real Characters.
Last but definitely not least, I'm glad to report I have a new piece of flash fiction on Cafelit called The Art Critic. Hope you enjoy it! (And do check out the other fabulous stories by a whole host of writers here).
23rd March 2018
Part 2 of my interview with Gail Aldwin is my Chandler's Ford Today post for this week. We discuss, amongst other topics, writing tips, character creation and Gail's thoughts on "real" books and ebooks. Comments are always welcome on the Chandler's Ford Today comments section (which can be found at the end of the post.
16th March 2018
Tonight's Chandler's Ford Today post is Part 1 of my interview with fellow Chapeltown Books author, Gail Aldwin. Find out about her round the world bus journey and how that has inspired her flash fiction. An unusual story to tell and am glad to share it here.
In other news, as they say, I've submitted my second flash fiction collection and am waiting to hear back on that. I've recently submitted a standard length short story and hope to submit another soon. Nice to get back to that format too.
Had a wonderful time at the Association of Christian Writers' Day in Derby last weekend. The topic of journalism was fascinating and I was on the Q&A panel at the end (with my focus being on writing for an online community magazine, which is what Chandler's Ford Today is all about).
Thursday 8th March 2018
I'm a night early this week as I'm off to an Association of Christian Writers' Day at Derby (UK) tomorrow. I've taken a brief break from my Room 101 series for Chandler's Ford Today this week as I came to a topic which deserves a vault of doom all to itself - the frustrations of publishing! I'll resume the Room 101 series in a couple of weeks as tonight's post leads into a fab two-part interview with fellow Chapeltown Books writer, Gail Aldwin. It is funny but I've yet to interview a writer whose route to publication was (a) simple or (b) easy! Nature of the publishing beast I suspect.
2nd March 2018
I continue my new mini-series this week with Part 2 of 101 Things to Put into Room 101. Amongst other things consigned to eternal doom, I put in stilettos, confusing signs, and bad grammar. What would you put in? There will be 6 to 7 parts to this series but I will be taking breaks from it now and again for a great author interview coming up in the next couple of weeks or so. Also, you don't want all my (mainly humorous) moans all in one go week after week anyway! Having said that, this series is huge fun to write and I'm enjoying it immensely. Hope you like reading it - and comments are always welcome via the Chandler's Ford Today comments box. You don't have to be in or near the area to comment.
In other news, as they say, I did set up a Goodreads Author Programme blog and I post to this roughly once a week to ten days. Topics covered so far are What I like in a Book Review, Book Recommendations and Short Stories Pack a Punch (and they really do!).
23rd February 2018
My latest Chandler's Ford Today post is the first part in a new mini-series by me called 101 Things to Put into Room 101. I cover 15 items in this post. See what you think - do you agree? What would you put into the dreaded vault of doom? Funny answers particularly appreciated!
The post was great fun to write and I'm looking forward to writing the rest of the series.
In other news, as they say, I've finally sent my second flash fiction collection off to Chapeltown Books. Now to wait and see!
16th February 2018
My latest Chandler's Ford Today post is Writing Sayings - Truth or Nonsense? I share my thoughts on some well-known sayings relating to writing, including "write what you know" and "never judge a book by its cover". I also suggest a couple of new sayings that could be added to the canon of writing "proverbs". Comments would be very welcome in the CFT comments box (and you don't need to be in the area to respond).
9th February 2018
Part 2 of my interview with crime writer, Val Penny, is my Chandler's Ford Today post for this week.
Also a big thanks to fellow Chapeltown Books author, Gail Aldwin, for sharing the news about books by Alyson Faye and my own From Light to Dark and Back Again. Much appreciated.
2nd February 2018
This week's Chandler's Ford Today post is Part 1 of a great interview with crime writer, Val Penny. Her new book, Hunter's Chase, is now out in paperback and ebook and is the first in her Edinburgh Crime series. We talk about what drove her to crime (!) and why she thinks crime fiction is so popular. More next week...
26th January 2018
My latest Chandler's Ford Today post looks at why creativity is good for you and how it benefits science as well as the arts.
18th January 2018
Am a night early this week with my Chandler's Ford Today post. I look at how non-fiction can inspire some wonderful fiction in my post called Facts and Fiction. I share why a working knowledge of history and how things work can be really useful to story tellers and that fiction, given it is rooted in truths (truth of what people are like and so on), willl always be stronger when backed by non-fiction.
12th January 2018
A busy night tonight. Firstly, my Chandler's Ford Today post this week looks at music and moods and how I now avoid having my mood changed when writing. (It does depend on what I listen to!). I share some of my favourite pieces too and why I used Saint Saens Danse Macabre as the music for the book trailer for From Light to Dark and Back Again.
Secondly, I was interviewed a little while ago by fellow Chapeltown author, Aly Rhodes (aka Alyson Faye). Her Chapeltown book, Badlands, is due fairly soon (though is available now on Kindle). Her interview with me is now up on her blog and many thanks to her for hosting me. (It's always nice when the boot is on the other foot!).
5th January 2018
Happy New Year! I hope you had a lovely Christmas. My first Chandler's Ford Today post of the year is another in my Hidden Hampshire series. I take a look at a lovely, local woodland walk and share details of some of the wildlife seen there. Well, I say seen. With a dog, you are more likely to HEAR wildlife (running away!) rather than see them but the walk is beautiful all the same. Good way to walk of some of the old Christmas dinner etc!
29th December 2017
Busy night tonight and a good way to wrap up for 2017! Firstly my monthly blog for Association of Christian Writers' blog site, More than Writers, is now up on site. I look at what starts Christmas for me and why the story of Herod rings so true. People preparing to keep their position by committing murder etc - well it is not a new phenomenon, unfortunately.
Secondly, my weekly Chandler's Ford Today post is now up. I look at personal reviews and share how they can be useful for writers in generating characters. Non-fiction writers can use personal reviews too.
22nd December 2017
My Chandler's Ford Today post this week looks back at my writing year and I also share some recently published stories of mine from Cafelit. All have a Christmas theme. I hope you enjoy them. Do have a wonderful Christmas. I also share below a post from my Facebook page for From Light to Dark and Back Again. A little Christmas scene I think...
In the middle of the Christmas rush
There was an old man carving a brush
He was clearly an expert in wood
He could make any timber look good
Right by the old High Street church he was
He so wanted to be there because
The God he loved was a carpenter
A worker should be at the centre
Of the scene, as the shepherds had been
There long before the wise men were seen.
The man liked a God who worked with His hands
In the tableau He was in swaddling bands.
Allison Symes - 22nd December 2017
15th December 2017
My Chandler's Ford Today post this week is part 2 of my interview with paranormal historical fiction writer, Jennifer C Wilson.
She shares her thoughts on the joys and woes of writing ghost stories and crossing genres. She discusses the research she carries out and reveals what it was like to go to Richard III's funeral. How many historical fiction writers can claim to have gone to the funeral of their subject several centuries later?!
Many thanks, Jennifer, for sharing your insights. Good luck with the next in the Kindred Spirits series too.
In other news, as they say, don't forget you can put questions to me over flash fiction writing, blogging etc, via the Goodreads Author Programme. Would love to hear from you.
8th December 2017
My Chandler's Ford Today post this week is Part 1 (out of 2) of my interview with paranormal historical fiction writer, Jennifer C Wilson. She creates a world where the heroes are ghosts and Richard III gets a MUCH better write up than he ever had from Shakespeare!
Jennifer also shares her three top tips for writers, what her trigger for writing was, and names her own favourite historical fiction writers. More next Friday when, amongst other topics, she shares the joys and woes of crossing genres and how being able to go to Richard III's funeral influenced her writing. Just how many historical fiction writers get to go to the funeral of their leading star is debatable but there can't be that many!
Many thanks, Jennifer, for your time and for sharing some great insights. Looking forward to sharing Part 2 next week but in the meantime here's the link to Part 1.
1st December 2017
My current CFT post takes a look back at the 10-year anniversary celebrations held at Winchester's Discovery Centre last weekend. A group of local authors, including me, took part in this. The Centre is one of the loveliest buildings I've visited. Got to chat to people, sell a few copies of From Light to Dark and Back Again, and am always pleased to see people take postcards about the book. (Great advertising, which also doubles up as a very handy bookmark!). Also got to read a couple of stories from the book out. One lady kindly said how nice it was to be read to - how often as adults do we have this joy? I suppose only if we listen to audiobooks regularly but there is something special about being read to specifically. Hope to read from the book again tomorrow at the Bridge House/Cafelit/Chapeltown Books/Red Telephone celebration event in London tomorrow. Will be great to meet up with fellow BH, Cafelit and Chapeltown authors again.
24th November 2017
My latest CFT post looks at pivotal moments in British history and is the start of a new occasional series from me. I start by looking at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, which really did change everything. Its relevance to Hampshire, my county, is stunning. Our county symbol is the Tudor Rose. Had Richard III not been defeated, we would have a very different symbol! I also look at how events such as this are often not as commemorated as perhaps they should be. I also look ahead to an interview with friend and fellow writer, Jennifer C Wilson, who, like me, is a white rose Ricardian and who writes about Richard in her paranormal historical fiction. Her interview will come up in December.
Meantime, I'm off to the Winchester Discovery Centre tomorrow from 10 am to 4 pm as they celebrate their tenth anniversary. There are a wide range of activities throughout the day, including a local authors spot. I will be giving a short talk and readings at 11.45 am but will have a book stand there all day so if you are in the area, do pop in. If you would like to know more about flash fiction and/or writing for the small press and online magazines, do come over and chat.
17th November 2017
My Chandler's Ford Today post this week looks at local communities and writers helping each other. What are the benefits to each other? I talk about sponsorship, how having events (often sponsored) raises awareness there is a writer community within the larger community, and share news of another event I will be involved in soon, with other local authors. Next week (25th) I'll be taking part in Winchester Discovery Centre's 10th anniversary celebrations, along with my fellow writers, and there will be readings and presentations. Should be fun. Hope to post more on this later. This week's CFT post came about as a result of our local Book Fair (which went well), the closure of local businesses (including a branch of a major bank), and other businesses moving in leading to a lot of changes in my area (though some of these changes are positive, including one (gift) shop stocking books, including mine. We lost our independent book shop a while ago and things like this development are a way of keeping books available in the area).
In other news, another step on the writer's journey for me! I'm a character in a book, Winter Writerland, (with my blessing I hasten to add!). I met Beatrice Fishback at Swanwick Writers' Summer School this year and, along with Jennifer C Wilson, Fiona Park, Val Penny, and me, the five of us came up with ideas for a cosy mystery, which Beatrice has now written up as a novella. It is currently in e-book form only but a paperback is planned. Am very glad to share the link. Can't tell you if I'm the murderer or not (as at the moment even I don't know and I wouldn't say if I did! No plot spoilers here thank you!) but I never thought I'd write that sentence in a blog post. The writing life can take you down some very interesting avenues at times!
10th November 2017
Saturday 28th October was a busy but creative day. Not only was there the Book Fair in the morning, I went to The Chameleon Theatre Group's staging of Murdered to Death by Peter Gordon in the evening. My review is this week's Chandler's Ford Today post. It was a highly enjoyable play, very well performed, and in my post I also talk about what I look for in a good spoof.
Glad to say local gift shop MIBI are now stocking From Light to Dark and Back Again and Trouble With Swords and Leap of Faith by friend and fellow writer, Richard Hardie. I hope to write a CFT post soon about local communities supporting their writers and vice versa.
My latest blog is up on the Goodreads Author Programme page too. Do send in questions via the Q&A spot.
3rd November 2017
Glad to report last weekend's Book Fair went very well. There was a wide variety of authors and genres represented, including me. My report on it forms my post for this week's Chandler's Ford Today blog and has plenty of pictures (via slideshows) which should give a "flavour" of the event. I very much hope this is the first of many such Book Fairs. Chandler's Ford lost its independent bookship some time ago and a Fair like this can plug the gap a little bit. It also means we can offer a wide range of books written by local authors to local people, which is lovely.
On a personal note, I am glad to say my family has found another border collie to rescue. We bring home the lovely Lady tomorrow (Saturday 4th November). It is funny how things have worked out. There was about a month's gap between losing our first dog, Gracie, and adopting Mabel. It will be about a month again between losing Mabel and adopting Lady.
27th October 2017
Another book event this week! My Chandler's Ford Today post is a quick reminder about the Book Fair taking place on 28th October 2017 betweeen 10 am and 12 noon. A wide range of authors and genres will be representeed, including me. Do drop in if you can. Would be glad to answer questions about flash fiction, local creative writing classes and so on.
20th October 2017
Book events can sometimes be like buses - none for ages, then two on top of each other! My Chandler's Ford Today post this week shares a report on how YA fantasy author, Richard Hardie's book signing event at Eastleigh Library went last weekend. The event was part of the local Cub/Brownie Uniform Day and the nationwide Love Your Library Week. I share my thoughts on how libraries and writers need each other and Richard reports on what he feels libraries can do. Support your local library!
13th October 2017
My latest Chandler's Ford Today post looks at the importance of book launches to authors and shares Anne Wan's report on her recent event at Waterstones in Southampton. Anne writes the Secrets of the Snow Globe series for children and I interviewed her for CFT a little while ago about the joys and woes of writing children's fiction. I had hoped to get to Anne's launch but sadly couldn't in the end so in some ways this is an odd post given I am sharing a report on something I couldn't get to but from what I read from Anne, my reaction was to wish I REALLY had been able to go after all, which is one sign of a good launch! You also can't beat the dedication of Anne's illustrator either but see the post for more on that!
In further news, as they say, I am, now on the Goodreads Author Programme and will be blogging there once a week or so. There is also an author's Q&A slot and I love those so if there is anything you would like to know about flash fiction, blogging, writing etc, please send your questions in there.
6th October 2017
Not a good week as sadly I had to have my lovely border collie, Mabel (aged 13), put to sleep. I mention her in my latest Chandler's Ford Today post which talks about the changing seasons and my love of autumn. I do love the US term of "fall" for autumn - it's to the point! I go on to discuss my appreciation of the changing colours, cosy nights in reading and so on. What are your favourite seasons and why? Do write in to the CFT comments box.
One thing I forgot to share recently is an interview Gill James conducted with me as part of her Blog . I share the link below.
29th September 2017
A busy night for blogging! My monthly post for the Association of Christian Wrtiers is on their More Than Writers blog page tonight. I look at the changing seasons and talk about how I feel I need to accept the grim, horrible times of life are not avoidable and how I should handle those as a Christian. My weekly Chandler's Ford Today post looks at why writers should "put themselves out there" and flags up a local Book Fair for the end of October. I've also been accepted on to the Goodreads Author Programme and have had lots of fun answering the questions they set you to get you started. I would welcome questions put to me (I love author Q&As!) so please do visit my page here). See https://www.goodreads.com/author/3236649.Allison_Symes/questions
22nd September 2017
My latest Chandler's Ford Today post is a general overview of the recent Hiltingbury Extravaganza. I share a little about what it was like to be behind one of the stalls this time (the local writers' one, what else?!) and take a peek at some of the other popular events and attractions that were on offer. It is the first time the event has held a writers' stand and it was lovely all of us behind this all sold copies of our books. We surprised a few people who hadn't known there were so many local writers banding together to support each other. Clearly a word that needed to be spread then! It was a good fun event and I hope we can hold a writers' stall there again in the future.
15th September 2017
Part 2 of my Chandler's Ford Today interview with Gill James looks at what Gill feels are the joys and woes of writing historical fiction. She also shares some useful advice for writers new to the genre. We also discuss censorship, including the self-imposed variety. Many thanks to Gill for sharing a wealth of wonderful information. I hope to write other "writing in other genres" posts for CFT later in the year, including on crime and ghost stories, so more details when I have them. Also, I will be at the Hiltingbury Extravaganza on Sunday, one of a team of local authors on the book stall, so if you can pop along, we would be glad to see you.
8th September 2017
I discuss historical fiction with Gill James for this week's Chandler's Ford Today post. Her book, The House on Schellberg Street, is a series of round robin letters sent betweeen young German girl friends during the rise to power of Hitler and throughout World War Two. The letters are based on factual ones. Amonst other topics, Gill and I discuss why invent historical stories when history itself is full of real ones. Part 2 next week will see Gill offering wonderful advice to writers new to the historical fiction genre.
1st September 2017
My latest Chandler's Ford Today post is a reminder one about the children's poetry competition Chandler's Ford Authors are running in conjunction with Hampshire Libraries and the Hiltingbury Extravaganza 2017. (This year that will be on 17th September). The theme is Where I Live and the age ranges are 8 to 11 and 12 to 15. The post gives more details on how to enter. Good luck to all who do!
25th August 2017
Back from a short break at the wonderful Swanwick Writers' Summer School and pleased tonight's Chandler's Ford Today post is on one of my favourite aspects of writing - humour in fiction, which is, I think, the toughest of all to get right but so rewarding when you do. I share some classic UK clips (TV and radio) which I feel show some truly brilliant comic writing. I also think I've found my all time favourite feature image for this post. See what you think!
11th August 2017
Glad to share news of my latest Chandler's Ford Today post which is all about a children's poetry competition being organised by my local wriitng group, Chandler's Ford Authors, in association with Hampshire Libraries and the Hiltingbury Extravaganza. There are two age categories - 8 to 11 and 12 to 15 and there are prizes. More details in the post but we all hope it will encourage a lot of creativity on the theme of Where I Live.
4th August 2017
My latest Chandler's Ford Today post looks at collecting books. This post came about as a result of my clearing out my late mother's collection and discovering some very nice surprises. I also discuss what is Charles Dickens' worst book and whether there really are only 7 basic plots.
28th July 2017
Tonight's Chandler's Ford Today post looks at writer co-operatives and introduces a new one, which I'm pleased to be part of - the Chandler's Ford Writers' Hub. Later in the year, we hope to run a poetry competition as well as take part in events. Alll good stuff!
21st July 2017
My latest Chandler's Ford Today post is called Revisiting Medieval Hampshire in 2017. I went to a Medieval Weekend run by the Road to Agincourt Project at River Hamble Country Park. The picture above is taken from the one I went to last year. I talked to some of the villagers who explained what their roles were and I learned about the history of pub games and what different arrows were used for amongst other things. The post is an overview vof a fun event I hope they repeat again next year.
14th July 2017
My latest Chandler's Ford Today post is called Why have book signings? Report from the Station. It looks at my first book signing (ever!) held last week at our local railway station and why such events are important. Not just for the author either!
7th July 2017
Apologies for the break (due to a much needed break, some pun intended!). I will put up the link to Part 2 of the Anne Wan interview another time but two bits of news for tonight.
Firstly I'll be holding my book signing for From Light to Dark and Back Again tomorrow (8th July) at Chandler's Ford Railway Station from 9.30 am to 12 noon or thereabouts. If you want to find out more about flash fiction and you are passing by, do drop in. Would love to chat. There will also be giveaways and I hope to read some of my 100 words stories.Many thanks to the Three Rivers Rail Community Partnership for their support.
Secondly, I'll be back at this year's Medieval Weekend in Bursledon over next weekend (15th and 16th July) and tonight's Chandler's Ford Today post is all about that. The Road to Agincourt Project, who are behind the weekend, are launching a Virtual Museum this year. Am looking forward to finding out more about that.
16th June 2017
My latest Chandler's Ford Today post is Part 1 of an interview with Anne Wan, children's author (Adventures of the Snow Globe: Vanishing Voices.). Part 2 follows next Friday and will include Anne's love and loathing of editing. I seriously doubt if there would be any writer who would disagree! I look forward to sharing that post next week but in the meantime, this section gives a very good idea of the hard work needed to write and publish a book.
11th June 2017
Sorry about the brief break but this has been due to a family bereavement. Glad to report I'm getting back into my regular writing slots. My latest Chandler's Ford Today post is all about one-liners and how I use them to generate story ideas. See http://chandlersfordtoday.co.uk/one-liners-by-allison-symes for more.
19th May 2017
Tonight's post for Chandler's Ford Today is one I've wanted to write up for a while. I look at the importance of children's fiction for all writers.
See the post at http://chandlersfordtoday.co.uk/why-childrens-fiction-matters-by-allison-symes/
12th May 2017
My latest Chandler's Ford Today post should resonate with all writers with books "out there", as I focus on the art of the book review. I share my thoughts on why honest reviews are vital and really do help writers, and also share some wonderfully acerbic comments from the very truthful Mark Twain! (These are highly entertaining but you would not want to be on the receiving end!).
6th May 2017
Day later than usual this week! My new Chandler's Ford Today post reviews A Comedy Trio by The Chameleon Theatre Group. Three short plays, a mixture of farce and a a countryhouse murder spoof were great fun to watch and it is the first review I've written where I've reviewed three things in one evening!
28th April 2017
My Chandler's Ford Today post for this week explores great themes. When I write stories, I take two approaches to theme. Sometimes I deliberately write to one. Other times I focus on the character and follow what they do/say and the consequences and then the theme emerges from that. I look at themes in stories and music here and, without having planned this, a lot of my musical tastes are included in this post. Everyone from Dave Edmunds to Maria Callas, in fact! Great stories in their music. Hope you enjoy.
21st April 2017
Firstly, my latest Chandler's Ford Today post is based on a writing exercise I was set at last year's Swanwick Summer Writers' School. Advice to My 20 Year Old Self sets out what I would tell my younger self if I could - the first thing was to lighten up! What would YOU tell your younger self? Comments are very welcome in the CFT comments box.
Secondly, I am pleased to say there is now a Facebook page for From Light to Dark and Back Again. Naturally I will post interview, launch news etc etc here. I will also put up posts that related to the book in some way. For example, tonight, I have posted a piece about reviews and a separate post on what part of a story I like writing most. The book trailer is also available to see here.
14th April 2017 - Good Friday
My Chandler's Ford Today post tonight is Cyberlaunch Lessons and takes a look back at what I learned from the recent cyberlaunch of From Light to Dark and Back Again. I really hope this will be useful to other writers thinking of having their own launches. Also glad to report the Kindle version of my book is currently available for 99p!
7th April 2017
My latest Chandler's Ford Today post is on a perfect topic for a fiction writer to blog about - a Storytelling Festival! The Festival is from 10th to 22nd April and includes creative writing workshops, a special screen showing of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox and the Story Shuffle app, which I wrote about a while ago, now being available for the public to try at 10 local libraries. More details in the post. Hope everyone who goes has a lot of fun with this.
31st March 2017
My main Chandler's Ford Today post this week is part 2 of my interview with Martin Kyrle. His book, Jottings from the Trans-Siberian Railway, is a fascinating insight into a part of the world most of us only know by name. It is also very funny. I can also guarantee you will think twice before complaining about the cost of toilet paper when you read Kyrle's Law on the Public Bog!
30th March 2017
Two bonus posts for this week. One is my Association of Christian Writers' piece for the month called Telling It How It Is. I share my love of the Psalms for their honesty and passion. If ever there was a book where writes poured out their souls, this is it!
The other post is a bonus Chandler's Ford Today one and is called What is a Cyber Launch? This is for those new to the idea and came out of a discussion I had at a new local writing group.
I will share my main post - the rest of the interview with Martin Kyrle - tomorrow, hopefully.
24th March 2017
My latest Chandler's Ford Today post is part 1 of my interview with Martin Kyrle, former Liberal Democrat councillor and now published author. His book Jottings from the Trans-Siberian Railway describes a fantastic journey taken by him with friend and photographer, Michael Roberts, across Russia, Mongolia and into China.
One thing I love about non-fiction writing is how it is increasingly using storytelling techniques to entertain (as well as give you the facts and figures of whatever subject you are reading about). Martin's book is a very good example of this and would appeal to lovers of travel books, railways and funny stories!
Martin and I discuss the book and I give a summary of the contents. The photos in the book are stunning. The book is written as a travel diary and is very easy to read. It sheds light on a part of the world which is still wilderness (especially Mongolia).
Martin also shares why he wrote the book. The second part of the interview next week will include a summary of Kyrle's Laws (including the wonderfully named Law of the Public Bog!) and what Martin would have done differently had he known then what he knows now.
17th March 2017
Two items of news tonight.
Firstly, my Chandler's Ford Today post this week reviews the first in a planned series of graphic novels called Blood and Valour.
This retells the stories of Southampton's legendary hero, Sir Bevis of Hampton. Henry V was known to read the stories on tapestries (the first comic book, anyone?!).
Secondly, I am delighted to announce BOOK NEWS in that the cyber launch of From Light to Dark and Back Again will be held on Saturday 1st April 2017 between 10 am and 6 pm (UK time - but all welcome).
I will share more news as and when I have it.
10th March 2017
Apologies - I forgot to post news of last week's Chandler's Ford Today post. I looked at the joy of radio for that and shared some of my favourite radio comedies.
Tonight's post looks at the joy of interviews. I share some of the questions put to me by fellow scribe, Jacci Gooding, and what I liked about those questions. Hope you find it of interest. Jacci's questions really made me think about why I do certain things as a writer and look back at how far I've come so far on my writing journey.
Sorry for the links as shown above but there appears to be an issue with linking to websites on here tonight. It wants to light up and link the whole paragraph! This seems to be a work around until I can get to the bottom of this.
24th February 2017
My Chandler's Ford Today post this week is about the publication of From Light to Dark and Back Again and what this means for me now as a writer. I have had various "firsts" on the way to this very special first.
My route to publication has been a series of steps, some small, some very significant like this one, and others where I learned a lot and, as a result, helped me make progress in writing overall. I am thinking of my regular blog posts for CFT in particular as that has given me a love for writing non-fiction and very good practice in writing to a deadline!
I share my thoughts on how vital it is to accept that you are in for the long haul when it comes to getting work out there, what I love about writers' generosity with one another when it comes to sharing news of books out and so on, and I confirm that persistence really does pay off.
17th February 2017
Tonight's post for Chandler's Ford Today is called Vital History and sums up exactly why I think it is.
11th February 2017 - BOOK NEWS
Delighted to say From Light to Dark and Back Again is now available on Kindle. There will be a cyber launch at some point and I will post more about that later. In the meantime, the Amazon link is https://www.amazon.co.uk/Light-Dark-Back-Again-ebook/dp/B06VT92429/
10th February 2017
My Chandler's Ford Today post this week shares news of a Jane Austen Festival in Southampton in June, which is being co-ordinated by the Sarah Siddons Fan Club. I must admit I didn't know much about Sarah until I wrote this post but just as Jane was an early pioneer in women's novel writing, Sarah was one of the first women to make her name as an actress. There are various events being held to mark the 200th anniversary of Jane's tragically early death (I always wonder just how much else would she have written had she a normal lifespan).
3rd February 2017
Many thanks to those who have sent me congratulations on my FB page over my book. Much appreciated.
My Chandler's Ford Today post is a review of a locallly produced pantomime - Robin Hood. The Chameleon Theatre Company put on a wonderful show. I share not just what I liked about that, but also what I like about the classic tale of Robin Hood, which is one of my favourites.
1st February 2017 - BOOK NEWS
Am delighted to share the book cover image for my flash fiction debut collection, From Light to Dark and Back Again. Absolutely love this. Chapeltown Books are bringing out a series of single author collections and I'm honoured to be the first. More news as and when I have it. I hope to share extracts at a later date.
20th and 27th January 2017 and Book News
I forgot to put a Chandler's Ford Today link up for last Friday, 20th January, but will do it now. My post then (which is not time dependent in any way) is all about Classic Books and what makes a book qualify for that status. I also list my Top 10.
Book News - I chose the book cover for my flash fiction collection, From Light to Dark and Back Again (Chapeltown Books), this week. Both options were wonderful (I had sent in ideas earlier but it came down to two images being viable for this). In the end, the choice was a clear cut one and I am looking forward to sharing the image at a later date.
27th January 2017
My Chandler's Ford Today post is a kind of follow-on from last week. Classic Books focused on fiction. Tonight's post Fiction -v- Non-Fiction? No Contest! celebrates non-fiction. I talk about why it is vital for all fiction writers to read non-fiction widely and share some of the books that have inspired themes for stories. I include the Bible (I found out in the last year or so thanks to an article I read that a UK soap scripwritier was inspired here - I suspect by the story of Samson and Delilah!), historical, science, and reference books. Besides which reading non-fiction is great for feeding the mind anyway and ideas can really spark from that.
13th January 2017
I seem to be on a history theme at the moment with my Chandler's Ford Today posts. Last week I looked at local steam trains. This week I'm going further back in time to the medieval legend of Sir Bevis of Hampton, Southampton's "mascot" figure. Tonight's post Introducing Guy Stauber - Marvel at Sir Bevis Comic looks at Blood and Valour's latest news. Blood and Valour (part of the Road to Agincourt Project) is the graphic novel/comic book (due out in the spring) about Sir Bevis and is written by Matt Beames and illustrated by Marcus Pullen. Guy Stauber, who has worked for Marvel, Disney and DC Comics, is producing cover work and other images for this. The post shares some of Guy's stunning work for this project. Anyone who is fan of adventure tales (as well as graphic novels of course) should serious consider checking out Blood and Valour when it is out in the spring. And I'm not aware of any other character whose stories have been on tapestries and then gone on to be produced as a graphic novel! (Can't even think of anything for St. George!).
6th January 2017 - HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I talk about the Watercress Line in this week's Chandler's Ford Today post. This wonderful steam railway runs between Alresford and Alton via some lovely Hampshire countryside and trains run for most of the year. Going on this train has been a family tradition for years, though one of the signs at Alresford makes me laugh. It is so politically incorrect! See the post and spot the picture. Let's just say I wouldn't buy the product concerned!
30th December 2016
My last Chandler's Ford Today post for the year is a lighthearted one (I think it's needed given this year has been a rotten one in many ways although ironically it was also my best writing year). Seasonal Limericks and Flash Fiction I hope brings at least a smile or two.
For my fellow Association of Christian Writers (UK) members, my blog post, Making an Impression, went up on the More than Writers blog yesterday. I look at "flash moments" and the impact these can have and also look at the role of the innkeeper in the Nativity. His was, if you like, a brief walk on part, but so crucial so maybe we shouldn't worry about our "legacy" and focus on having a positive impact, as much as humanly possible anyway.
Last but not least, may I wish you a Happy New Year.
23rd December 2016
What I Like (and Dislike) about Christmas is my Chandler's Ford Today post this week (and my annual reflection on Christmas). Hope you enjoy. Hope you also have as wonderful a Christmas as possible.
16th December 2016
This week's Chandler's Ford Today post is an interview with local YA author, Richard Hardie (Leap of Faith and Trouble With Swords), who shares the latest publication news. The lovely thing with this post is not only do I help share news of the work of a local author, I get to promote the independent bookshop supporting him (the fantastic P&G Wells of Winchester).
9th December 2016
Well, what a week! On Saturday, I went to the Bridge House Publishing/Cafelit joint book launch in London to celebrate the launch of Baubles (Bridge House's annual anthology for this year) and The Best of Cafelit 5. My story, Helping Out, is in Baubles and Telling the Time, a flash fiction piece, is in Cafelit 5. Great to meet up with Bridge House and Cafelit people. Had a wonderful time sharing marketing tips, catching up with what other writers are doing and so on. Bridge House have set up a Baubles Facebook page and on their blog spot are sharing for the 24 days from the beginning of December to Christmas Eve snippets of the stories from the 24 writers in this anthology. I was on day 7.
On Monday, my story The Delivery appeared on Alfie Dog. The link takes you to my author page here and I now have 5 stories on Alfie Dog. The Delivery shares the tale of a former favoured servant of the Dark Lord who has fallen out with the boss and is now facing the consequences.
And tonight's Chandler's Ford Today post, What's Your Favourite Film Theme? My Top Ten, not only tells you at once what the post is about (!), but is a follow up to my classical music piece a few weeks ago. The latter has been one of my favourite CFT posts this year and it generated wonderful comments (and shared YouTube clips). I very hope tonight's post does the same - contributions are very welcome!
2nd December 2016
My Chandler's Ford Today post tonight is The Writer's Journey and shares my publishing and writing news since I went to the Swanwick Writers' Summer School back in August. This period has been the most productive I've know with my writing to date and I very much hope to build on it for 2017.
25th November 2016
Tonight's Chandler's Ford Today post shares news of a local author book launch. Jottings from the Trans-Siberian Railway by Martin Kyrle and Michael Roberts is being launched at The Brooks, Winchester on Saturday 3rd December. The book is for armchair travellers and railway fans.
I'm only sorry I can't go but it is for the best of reasons. I'll be at the Bridge House Publishing/Cafelit joint book launch for Baubles and The Best of Cafelit 5 respectively. I've got stories in both and it will be lovely to catch up with everyone again.
In other news, I've just sent back the proof for my flash fiction collection. I'm very happy with how it is looking!
18th November 2016
It has been a wonderful writing week. Firstly, I judged the Greensleeves short story competition, which is run annually by the Southampton Writers' Circle. This came about as a result of meeting one of the SWC stalwarts at the Swanwick Writers' Summer School this year. We got chatting and exchanging writing advice and so on and, basically, this led to my doing this. The stories were all very good and worthy of publication after some final editing work. I was made so welcome by the SWC and the critiques I prepared went down well. They are planning to invite me back! I am not the world's most natural "networker" so to have something positive like this come from networking I did is special for me.
Secondly, I am delighted to announce my short story, The Delivery, will be on Alfie Dog Limited early in December. Will post more details and the link nearer to publication date.
And last but by no means least, my Chandler's Ford Today post this week shares news of events going on at my local library. There will be a Books of 2016 discussion event and ebook surgeries. I hope all who go to these are both entertained and find the events useful.
11th November 2016
I review Arthur Miller's play, All My Sons, as recently staged by the Chameleon Theatre Group as this week's Chandler's Ford Today post. Both the play and performances were excellent. It felt as if I was watching a real live event and the writing is so powerful. I also share in the post a little about the history of the play and its links with McCarthyism. And given it is set in 1947 with the impact of the war still red raw on families who lost loved ones, this play also shows the devastating effects of grief (and the inability to come to terms with it). So glad I went to see this.
On another note, Bridge House Publishing have now set up a Facebook page for their annual anthology, Baubles, which will have my story, Helping Out, in it. This is also the first book where I've been involved with a book trailer and I think it looks great. I share the links to both the Facebook page and the video below.
4th November 2016
My Top 10 Classical Music Greats is my Chandler's Ford Today post and one I've been looking forward to writing for a while. Hope you enjoy the post, the musical clips and I would welcome comments as to what would be in your Top 10. My difficulty with a post like this was limiting my selection to just 10 musical works! And I didn't even include Beethoven, Mozart or Bach! So who did I include? Have a look at the post and see what you think.
28th October 2016
I had the great joy of meeting up with and interviewing Barbara Large, who founded the Winchester Writers' Festival as it is now known. Part 2 of that interview is up on site and, as ever, Barbara kindly shares a wealth of advice for writers of all backgrounds.
23rd October 2016
Just to say I've posted an update to my recent Chandler's Ford Today post about the Story Shuffle Project. This is an app where local school children will be wriitng stories about a local legend, Sir Bevis of Hampton, having their work digitised and put into this app. They then are given a special code to unlock these stories but have to activate this at their local library. Once unlocked, they can not only access their own story but many, many others as well. From a writer's viewpoint, what is there not to like about this? Creative writing and encouraging children to use their local library! Hope everyone who takes part in this project has a lot of fun with this.
21st October 2016
I am delighted to share the news that Part 1 of my interview with Barbara Large, MBE (founder of Winchester Writers' Festival as it is now known) is on site at Chandler's Ford Today. Part 2 follows next week and in both segments Barbara, as ever, generously shares wonderful writing advice.
On a personal note, I am pleased to say I have returned the edits on my flash fiction collection to my publisher, Chapeltown Books. And I am working my way through a wonderful series of interview questions put to me by friend and fellow writer, Jacci Gooding. Don't know yet when that will appear but will post when I do know.
But back on topic, I first met Barbara many years ago at Winchester and her support and encouragement for writers from all backgrounds and genres is amazing. It was a real pleasure and delight to meet up with her again and I hope something of that shows through the interviews too.
14th October 2016
Tonight's Chandler's Ford Today post uniquely combines three of my favourite topics - creative writing, history, and encouraging the use of local libraries. The Story Shuffle Project, which is linked to The Berry Theatre in Hedge End and Eastleigh Borough Council, is encouraging local school children to write their own versions of the Sir Bevis of Hampton legend. Sir Bevis is Southampton's legendary hero. Think James Bond on tapestries! Once the stories are written, they will be put into a digital app, which the children can access at their local libraries using a special code. I would have loved this when I was that age. I always loved codes and historical stories. I hope all taking part have a lot of fun with this project.
7th October 2016
The Best of Cafelit 5 is now out in print and electronically. My flash fiction piece, Telling the Time, is in there and there is a great mix of very short stories like mine and longer works in there. I know I'm biased but I highly recommend it. Publisher is Chapeltown Books who will be publishing my flash fiction collection. More news on that when I have it.
For this week's Chandler's Ford Today post, I discuss good writing conferences and share some thoughts as to what I have learned from Winchester Writers' Festival, which I've been attending for many years, and Swanwick Summer Writers' School. The latter I went to for the first time this year and loved it. The latter was the first residential conference I'd attended since the Isle of Wight ones I used to go to many years ago. These were run by Felicity Fair Thompson, whom I've interviewed for CFT in the past.
30th September 2016
Tonight's Chandler's Ford Today post is another in my Away Day Series and is about Bath. Jane Austen lived here for a while but my focus is on the Roman Baths, always worth a visit.
23rd September 2016
I start a new occasional series with Chandler's Ford Today this evening and have called it Impossible Interviews. My "guest" tonight is Richard III. Maligned or a monster? What do you think? (I hope to interview other historical figures across a wide range of backgrounds in due course).
16th September 2016
I don't usually write technical pieces but tonight's Chandler's Ford Today post shares why I use Scrivener writing software. I hope this post will be of especial use to writers considering using this program, but there are links to websites of some of my favourite authors, whose writing technology was the quill and the typewriter!
10th September 2016
The second half of my Chandler's Ford Today post is up tonight and is called A Peek Into My Writing World. This post shares why I have artificial roses on my writing desk, tells you what I have on said desk that I call "Old Faithful" because it keeps going no matter what (just like me!) and has a quick look around at my working area. I may as well confess now I definitely don't have a clear desk policy... but I strongly suspect most of you don't have either!
9th September 2016
My current Chandler's Ford Today post is actually the first part of a two parter focusing on flash fiction. In tonight's post I explore what flash fiction is and share an example of one of my flash stories. Tomorrow's post will talk about my book publication news and reveal why I have roses on my writing desk (amongst other things!).
3rd September 2016
My current Chandler's Ford Today post is a reminder about the wonderful Barbara Large's creative writing classes in the area. Barbara is the founder of what is now known as the Winchester Writers' Festival and she has helped and encourraged so many writers over the years. A normal length (for me) post should appear next Friday, all being well, and I hope to give more details nearer the time. My first post for the Association of Christiaan Writers website (More than Writers) did appear (on 29th August) and was called Appreciating the Small Successes. I will be blogging for them monthly from now on, with my posts to appear on the 29th of each month.
EXTRA SPECIAL NEWS
I am delighted to be able to say my first flash fiction collection is going to be published by an independent publisher, who has published my short stories before in anthologies. They also plan to take my short story collection (stories of a standard length for competitions) and for that to come out in 2017. I will also be blogging for More than Writers, the Association of Christian Writers' blog, with my first piece due to appear sometime next week. So it is all go here but in a very good way!
26th August 2016
Part 2 of my Medieval Weekend review is now up on Chandler's Ford Today. I look at the roles of the fletcher, the taverner and the basketmaker amongst others. The weekend was huge fun and attracted over 2,000 visitors, which I thought was good for an entirely new event.
21st August 2016
I've set up a Word Press blog tonight called Allison Symes: Collected Works and I intend to use this to (a) share my writing news and (b) link my Facebook posts, website items and Chandler's Ford Today articles. The idea is to share excerpts with links back to the original site(s) so people can easily get back to those items that particularly caught their eye. Hope you enjoy!
19th August 2016
My mini-series on articles relating to the Road to Agincourt Project continues with tonight's Chandler's Ford Today post. Would You Like a Medieval Life? is part 1 of a two-parter with the rest appearing next Friday. It is a review of a recently held Medieval Weekend and looks at a typical village and the people who would've lived there.
13th August 2016
My Chandler's Ford Today post for this week, which actually appeared yesterday, is Part 1 of my review of a recent Medieval Weekend held at Manor Farm, Bursledon. This weekend was put on by the Road to Agincourt Project. This post looks at the Great Ships Trail, a newly launched walk to the River Hamble where the wreck of The Grace Dieu, Henry V's ship, can be spotted. On a personal note, I returned from the renowned Swanwick Summer School for writers yesterday and have spent the time since then catching up with "real life". Now it's back to the usual writing routine but I return having learned loads and, best of all, having made new writing friends (most of whom are on social media).
5th August 2016
I review Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet for tonight's Chandler's Ford Today post. This production was put on by the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company and streamed nationwide thanks to National Theatre Live. Great performances and the message of the play about love being stronger than hatred and death is as relevant as ever.
29th July 2016
My new Chandler's Ford Today post is Barbara Large: New Writing Classes in Chandler's Ford. Barbara founded the hugely successful Winchester Writing Conference (as it was known then) which is now known as the Winchester Writiers' Festival. I me her there many years ago and she has been a huge encouragement to hundreds of writers like me over the years. I hope the new classes do well.
22nd July 2016
The Poetic Life: Sharing the Muse is the second half of my Chandler's Ford Today interview with successful local poet, Sandra Gordon. Sandra shares some wonderful hints and tips for aspiring poets (though much of the advice applies equally well to prose fiction writers). We discuss the importance of reading, editing and the usefulness of writing festivals/conferences amongst other topics. Hope you enjoy it.
18th July 2016
Am delighted to be able to anounce that my short story, Helping Out, will be in the Bridge House Publishing anthology for this year. This will be called Baubles. And I've been accepted to write a guest blog post, I hope to share more details later. I was told today my very brief story Telling the Time, will be appearing in The Best of Cafelit 5. Am thrilled to have two acceptances like this. See http://cafelit.co.uk/best%20of%20cafelit%202015.html
15th July 2016
Tonight's Chandler's Ford Today post is Part 1 of my interview with local poet, Sandra Gordon. She has recently performed her poetry at the New Forest Folk Festival and is about to have some of her work published in the prestigious magazine, The North. As part of my series looking at the writing life, I thought it would be good to look at writing from the viewpoint of a poet. In tonight's post, Sandra shares her thoughts about the role of poetry and names some of her own favourite poets. Part 2 will follow next week where Sandra will share useful hints and tips for aspiring poets.
10th July 2016
Am delighted at the British Wimbledon successes this weekend. Well done to Andy Murray and all who did so well here. On a personal note, I'm very pleased to say my short story, Helping Out, will be in the Bridge House Publishing anthology, Baubles, later this year. More news when I know more but a great way to end a really nice weekend!
8th July 2016
Want to Become a Heritage Guide? is my latest Chandler's Ford Today post and ties in with my recent Agincourt posts. Have been very pleased the Road to Agincourt website have linked to these posts with great presentation and credits. Nice to have a bit of external publicity for Chandler's Ford Today and for me! The Road to Agincourt project is a two year programme to commemorate the Battle (the 600th anniversary was in 2015) and Hampshire's local links. There will be a medieval weekend at the end of this month which will launch a new walk taking people down to the River Hamble, where The Grace Dieu, one of Henry V's ships, was found relatively recently. Should be interesting to see the archaeologists at work and a re-enactment of how life was then. Am so grateful I live in current times though! For one thing I celebrated a landmark birthday earlier this year and I doubt I would have reached it 600 odd years ago. Life expectancy was not great. So yes I love history, I love reading it, writing about it but I am not convinced I would want to live it!
1st July 2016
My new Chandler's Ford Today post is another in my Away Day series (from my local station) and looks at the lovely city of Salisbury. Great place to visit. I particularly like Salisbury Cathedral and always feel a real sense of my country's history when I look at the Magna Carta given the cathedral houses one of the few original copies. Definitely worth a visit.
26th June 2016
Just back from a short, refreshing break. Two posts appeared on Chandler's Ford Today while I was away and were the two parts of my interview with writing friend, Jacci Gooding, who I met at the Winchester Writers' Festival a couple of years back. Jacci will be launching her short story collection, A Collection of Unsettling Short Stories, in October and the first part of the interview called Adventures in Self Publishing looks at her taking the self publishing route with this book. There is also some good advice for anyone also thinking of taking the self publishing route. The second part of the interview looks at Jacci's life as a writer. Many thanks also to Jacci for a good mention on her website.
10th June 2016
My Away Days from Chandlers' Ford Station: York is part one of a mini series of away days from my local station. At York I visited the National Railway Museum, which is a fascinating place to go to as it contains everything from a working model of Stephenson's Rocket to the Harry Potter platform sign and so much in between. I love trains, history and stories and the Museum has so much of all of these.
3rd June 2016
My latest Chandler's Ford Today interview is with Kate Day, CEO of Chocolate Muffin Publishing, who enable young and old alike to write and illustrate their own stories and publish them. I was particularly interested in their work with dementia patients and love the idea of creative writing being taken to people who might not have otherwise experienced the joy of being creative like this. So my article takes a look behind the scenes. My post is at http://chandlersfordtoday.co.uk/chocolate-muffin-publishing-and-kate-day/
27th May 2016
I go back in time again for my latest Chandler's Ford Today post. In the King's Footsteps on the Great Ship Trail shares news of a Free Medieval Weekend coming up in Hampshire at the end of July. A woodland trail taking walkers down to the River Hamble where Henry V's ship The Grace Dieu was found relatively recently will be launched at this event. There will be historical re-enactments, medieval cooking and so on. I take a brief look at what life would have been like then as well.
20th May 2016
My latest post on Chandler's Ford Today continues my mini-series on scams. How to Spot a Real Writing Competition shares advice and tips on what to look for in genuine contests and warns about what to avoid. A lot of the advice also applies to non-writing competitions too. If in doubt, check it out!
13th May 2016
My post on Chandler's Ford Today for tonight is Fun Day - Fryern Funtasia 2016, which reviews one of the local shows. Despite the dodgy weather on the Bank Holiday Monday (in the UK), the show was good fun. It was a great chance to catch up with old friends, watch the entertainment and discover news of a concert that will be raising funds for St. Anne's Hospital in Tanzania where they are looking to provide new toilet blocks and flushing toilets. I very much hope the concert is a huge success. I find it hard to imagine life without decent sanitation and hope for a day when this lack in so many countries around the world becomes history.
6th May 2016
Glad to say tonight's Chandler's Ford Today post is on a much lighter theme than recent posts of mine. I review The Pocket Dream (written by Elly Brewer and Sandi Toksvig) which tells the story of a cast struggling to put on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Local group, The Chameleon Theatre Group, did a wonderful job in staging this and they and the play were a joy to watch. I also share something of the history of the Bard's original. Great night out and the post was a joy to write too.
29th April 2016
World Book Night 2016 and the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare is my latest Chandler's Ford Today post. Admittedly not the snappiest title I've come up with but it is a very accurate description! The post also looks at a local WBN celebration at a wonderful independent book shop at Lee-on-Solent with the Authors Reach group, who include Richard Hardie of the Temporal Detective Agency fame. My post on CFT last week was a joint one on email scams. It is nice to write about something which is more more positive!
25th April 2016
Scam Alerts is the first Chandler's Ford Today post I've written jointly with someone else. Many thanks to Richard Hardie, Authors Reach stalwart, YA author and fellow CFT blogger, for sharing an excellent piece about email scams. I've added some more good general advice and found an absolute gem of a You Tube clip where a phone scammer definitely got the wrong number! Oh and you should hear who this scammer claimed to be too!
22nd April 2016
Phone Scams is my latest Chandler's Ford Today post. It is one of those sad but necessary posts and I do hope the advice in it stops others falling victim to the greedy thieves who feel is is all right to con people.
15th April 2016
My new Chandler's Ford Today post is called Watching the Detectives and shares my thoughts about J.B. Priestley's play, An Inspector Calls. I also name some of my favourite fictional detectives and there are some clips of old theme tunes, which I hope bring back some memories.
8th April 2016
It may be a little late (just over 600 years late in fact!) but my current Chandler's Ford Today post is called History: News From Agincourt. News from the Road to Agincourt Project, which was set up to commemorate the battle of Agincourt over two years, includes details of a new woodland walk, a medieval festival and an interactive map which is on fabric and can be worn as a scarf. I like the sound of the latter. For Doctor Who fans, can you imagine what size of map could be put on to the Fourth Doctor's neckwear?!
1st April 2016
The second half of my 50 Things I like About Chandler's Ford is up on the website now. I include a very good local chip shop (almost typed that as ship chop - now there's a Spoonerism for you!) and the nice avenues of oak trees in the area.
25th March 2016
My latest post on Chandler's Ford Today is called 50 Things I like about the Chandler's Ford area (Part 1). Part 2 follows next week. I wanted to write a post tying in with my 50th birthday earlier this week and set myself the challenge to find 50 things to like! (Would be easier I think if I lived in a big city!). Having said that, ideas did flow and I am pleased to celebrate in this post our fantastic local library and the wide range of wildlife in our area (especially bird life).
18th March 2016
My latest Chandler's Ford Today post is called Writing as Therapy: Introducing Chocolate Muffin Publishing. It discusses creative writing as therapy, shares links with groups working in this field and introduces a company that enables people with learning difficulties, dementia and children of all ages and abilities to write their own stories, illustrate them and produce them as books. The five weeks course ends with a book signing event so people can celebrate their achievement. I love the whole idea behind this and have long believed in the value of the arts, believing them to be truly good for the soul.
12th March 2016
Really enjoyed Getting Your Book Into Print, the Writers' Day in the lovely city of Bath, run by the Association of Christian Writers. The last one of their days I went to was about setting up and running a website! This seems an apt place to mention that! I learned a lot today and met many lovely people and it was nice to visit Bath again. One of my favourite authors, Jane Austen, also lived there for a while.
11th March 2016
Thanks to local venue, Thornden Hall, putting on National Theatre Live productions regularly, I'm getting to see more plays! My latest Chandler's Ford Today post is called As You Like It...And I Did! and reviews the play and shares some of the history behind it.
4th March 2016
One of the great joys of blogging for Chandler's Ford Today is getting to discover stories I hadn't known. My current post is called Producing a Legend: Sir Bevis of Hampton. Sir Bevis was a hugely popular legend in medieval times and Henry V was known to read Sir Bevis's stories depicted in tapestries! Emerging towns in this era often chose "mascots" and Southampton chose Sir Bevis. A new play and comic book is being produced on Sir Bevis specifically to target younger people into discovering more about him and the period of history in which he was most popular. My post reveals more about this and discusses how comic books can be a great way of getting reluctant readers into literature in general. Hope you like the post.
27th February 2016
Unusually I have a second Chandler's Ford Today post to share this week. Sadly it came about as a result of a friend of mine falling foul of a card scam and I was asked to write a warning piece. The post shares other useful information about some of the cons that go on. The post is called Beware of Thieves Using the "Distraction Technique" in Chandler's Ford but the information is borderless (as sadly is the crime).
26th/27th February 2016
National Theatre Live in Chandler's Ford and Eastleigh Areas is my latest Chandler's Ford Today post. While I highlight some local shows, I also discuss the joys of National Theatre Live, which I think is a wonderful idea. Hope you like the post.
23rd February 2016
One of my darker short stories, Pressing the Flesh, is now up on Cafelit. Hopefully more of my stories, light and dark in tone, will appear on Cafelit during the year.
19th February 2016
I explore the revamp of a much loved local swimming pool, the benefits of swimming (for mind and body) and how swimming helps my writing in my latest Chandler's Ford Today post called Revamping Fleming Park. Fancy Swimming Alongside a Local Fiction Writer? The nice thing is I am in illustrous company too. Swimming (and writing the post) is huge fun!
12th February 2016
My new post on Chandler's Ford Today is How Have Your Reading Habits changed? The post discusses the Kindle, traditional publishing, celebrates reading no matter what the genre or whether it is fiction or non-fiction. The post also shares some thoughts on how to encourage relucant readers.
5th February 2016
Winter - Ugliness and Beauty is my new Chandler's Ford Today post and looks at the bad and good points of what probably is most people's most disliked season. Good points include book reading, hot chocolate consumption and the beauty of the trees, even with their leaves off. Bad points include the weather and pot holes. But beauty really is in the eyes of the beholder and this post shares some of my thoughts about what I like about nature at this time of year.
4th February 2016
Pleased to say first acceptance of the year is now under my belt. Scriggler.com now have on site my short story, Three Wishes. Hope you enjoy! Now to crack on with the next story... Have got a nice list of markets and competitions to work my way through.
29th January 2016
I talk about writing platforms, the history of writing and why writing can be dangerous for your health in my latest Chandler's Ford Today post, Writing, Blogging, Social Media...What's Your Favourite Form of Writing?
22nd January 2016
The Magic of Words, my latest Chandler's Ford Today post, is my reflection on David Bowie and Alan Rickman. Now there were people who could work magic with words...
16th January 2016
My latest post for Chandler's Ford Today was a real joy to write and is called The Joy of Libraries. It looks at what libraries can still do for us plus takes a brief tour of the history of libraries. Hampshire County Council has not long had a Draft Strategy Review seeking people's views over the library service and I hope many in my area took part in this.
9th January 2016
My new post, Shakespeare Inspirations: Hamlet at Thornden Hall, went up on Chandler's Ford Today yesterday. It is a review of Hamlet from a writing perspective and I really enjoyed writing it. Good to be back in the swing of things again.
24th December 2015
My new post, Christmas Stories, Limericks and Traditions, is now up on Chandler's Ford Today. I've written some 100 words stories for this and some limericks for the season. Have a wonderful Christmas.
21st December 2015
The good news is rolling in thick and fast at the moment and I'm relishing every moment of it! My 100 words short story, Telling the Time, is now up on the Cafelit site as part of their Advent Calendar. I love the pictures of the dancing mice that come with it but see the story for the relevance! http://cafelit.co.uk/adventdaytwentyandtwenty-onedoubledoor2015.html
20th December 2015
2015 has been a good writing year for me. With Stories in Green Ink compiled by Anna Trowbridge which has two of my stories in it, I have now been published in three print anthologies this year. (The others being Limerick Nation and The Best of Cafelit 4). I've given the link to the paperback version of Stories in Green Ink though it is out on Kindle too.
18th December 2015
I look back at my writing year on tonight's post for Chandler's Ford Today. I also discuss the joys of the small press, what makes up writing success and share how things went at the recent Bridge House/Cafelit joint book launch in London.
11th December 2015
Part 2 of my interview with Richard Hardie is now up on Chandler's Ford Today. Richard also shares useful writing tips in this post. His Temporal Detective Agency series for YA (Leap of Faith and Trouble with Swords) has been accepted in libraries and Richard has carried out a number of book signings, including on board an Isle of Wight ferry, in recent months. He is now part of an authors' co-operative (for marketing and publicity) called Authors Reach. I think co-operatives like this will become increasingly common especially with the rise in self publishing.
4th December 2015
My new post, Further Adventures of a Fantasy Author, is now up Chandler's Ford Today. It's good to be back posting again. This is part 1 of an interview I conducted with Richard Hardie whose Temporal Detective Agency series for YA is taking off. One of my earliest posts for CFT was an interview with him, which led on to our tribute to the late, great and much missed Terry Pratchett. This post is an update on Richard's progress as a writer and Part 2, due to appear next Friday, shares his tips for fellow writers. Facebook appears to have crashed tonight so will be sharing on Twitter only for the moment.
29th November 2015
Pleased to say my short story, Out of Time, is now up on Scriggler.com. Hope you like it. Due to losing my mother (not unexpectedly), I have had a short break from Chandler's Ford Today but hope to have my next post up later this week. It will be a catch up interview on a local author whose YA adults are taking off well. More details I hope later in the week.
7th November 2015
My theme of history continues with my current Chandler's Ford Today post, Hampshire Historical Connections. This is a general overview of some of the great historical places in Southern Hampshire and I hope to look in depth at the stories behind some of them in future posts. I think this is one reason I love history - it really is full of stories.
30th October 2015
Two of my great loves are history and wildlife and my latest Chandler's Ford Today post is about both. Hidden Hampshire: The Monarch's Way is about the route King Charles II took out of the country after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester and the wonderful scenery and wildlife that can be found around this great section of the walk. The whole way is 615 miles so naturally I can only report on a short section of it (!) but the part that is nearest to me is some of the nicest countryside in the area.
24th October 2015
My new post, From Writer to Dancer: Felicity Fair Thompson, is now up on the Chandler's Ford Today website. This concludes a series of articles on Felicity. My previous ones had looked at her life as a small publisher and her historical novel, The Kid On Slapton Beach. The new post covers Felicity's favourite moments as a writer and shares useful hints and advice for other writers.
15th October 2015
David Suchet is fantastic as Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest. See my new post on the Chandler's Ford Today website - The Importance of Being Earnest at Thornden Hall. I should add Oscar Wilde's original definitely did not have "at Thornden Hall" added to it! Having said that, Thornden Hall is a local venue which stages all manner of shows and productions and deserves to be better known as an entertainment value. I'm off to see Hamlet there later (lead being played by Benedict Cumberbatch). My post reviews Wilde's play, gives a brief biography of him and reviews the venue! No doubt I shall be earnest at the Hall later. Can you imagine a greater contrast in mood in two plays than that shown by Earnest and Hamlet! I can't!
9th October 2015
My new post, High Jinks at the Hiltingbury Extravaganza, is now up on the Chandler's Ford Today website. Despite the show running for some time, this year was the first time I attended. It is also the first time I've been able to claim legitimately I was researching when I was gossiping with some of the people on the stands there!
8th October 2015
Had a wonderful evening out at Thornden Hall watching The Importance of Being Earnest. Great wit and humour. My next post for Chandler's Ford Today is due to appear tomorrow evening and is a review of the local Extravaganza, our local show. This was huge fun and I hope it generates more support for Thornden Hall (and for the local Scouts who are busy fundraising so they can rebuild their HQ).
24th September 2015
My new post, Hiltingbury Extravaganza: Talking Maths, is now up on the Chandler's Ford Today website and I'd like to thank Andrew Kuttner for his time and fascinating insights into the running of a highly successful and well known local Maths support group. The Extravaganza, which took place last weekend, has been a long running feature in Chandler's Ford and I found it a great contrast to have the usual icecream vans, hot dog stalls, rides and slides and then educational stands such as Andrew's all at this show. (I didn't dare take my border collie to the dog show at the Extravaganza. She'd have wanted to round up the other dogs and would probably have walked off, appropriately, with the Best Asbo rosette!).
18th September 2015
My latest post, Station Walks Review, is now up on the Chandler's Ford Today website and should appeal to train fans and walkers (I adore train travel and am looking forward to another trip to Cardiff and the Doctor Who Experience soon). Glad to report have made more connections on Linkedin and Twitter recently. Also have had further good response to my Scriggler poem. I do hope to submit more work to them a little later on in the year but right now it's time to resume work on getting an extract of my novel, The Trouble with Mother, ready for submission to a publisher who has an open window slot right now.
9th September 2015
Am delighted to say Not the Way to Go was tweeted about by Scriggler and others have retweeted that so many thanks, everybody. Am happy (massive understatement!) about this given this has the potential to be my biggest audience for anything I've written so far. What with the acceptance of The Magic Flute for the The Best of Cafelit 4, I think I can commit to saying that this has been a good writing week for me!
6th September 2015
Thrilled that my short story, The Magic Flute, will form part of Cafelit's annual anthology to be called The Best of Cafelit 4. This will be out in December and launched in London, along with Snowflakes, the latest Bridge House Publishing anthology. I hope to go to the launch especially since I really enjoyed the Bridge House Authors' Reunion last year. Yesterday I submitted my poem, Not the Way To Go (my take on the Wizard of Oz story) to Scriggler, an Amercian based online writing magazine. It is the first time I've submitted work internationally. Have also had some good comments in on my latest Chandler's Ford Today post, Always Annoyed in August (Are Exams Easier?). It has been a productive weekend!
4th September 2015
Just to say my new post on Chandler's Ford Today is called Always Annoyed in August (Are Exams Easier?). Yes, I do have a soft spot for alliteration! This piece is a defence of hardworking students everywhere and to give some ideas as to where to go for help, especially in my local area, for those who need help with their grades. Incidentally the general advice will hold true everywhere given there will be groups of the type I talk about elsewhere. I should add that having seen the GCSE English Language and Literature papers in the last couple of years, I think standards have improved. I liked the books on the Literature paper (and finally got to read for myself Of Mice and Men so that went down well with me). (Oh and I know that Oliver Twist and Beowulf was studied at the latter end of junior school in our area though not at the same time! I liked that given I never read Dickens until I was an adult).
30th August 2015
It has been a busy couple of days for my posts on Chandler's Ford Today. I've managed three posts in three days! The first was part 1 of the final section of my interview with Gill James of Bridge House Publishing, who gave me my first publishing credit via the anthology, Alternative Renditions. This post focussed on Gill's life as a creative writing lecturer and Gill also shared very useful know how and writing tips. This post went up on Friday 28th August. The second post, up on Saturday 29th August, focussed on writer networking. When I let Gill know this post was going live, it almost led to one of my best typos as the piece so nearly became Tip Tops rather than Top Tips! The third post, live tonight on Sunday 30th August, shares details of local author Richard Hardie's book signing and talk sessions coming up at our lovely library in Chandler's Ford, which was recently one of a few to be awarded Grade 2 Listed Building status. Further details of that are in the link to another article of mine listing very good reasons to love books.
14th August 2015
The last in my summer series for Chandler's Ford Today, My Top Ten Terry Pratchett Characters, is now up on site. It was huge fun to write. Hope you enjoy it and the links. I'll be back to fortnightly blogging (so the next one should be on 28th August).
7th August 2015
My Top Ten Reasons to Love Books is now up on the Chandler's Ford Today website. I link to a Radio 4 Extra programme about Allen Lane, Penguin and paperback founder, which was presented by Michael Morpurgo of War Horse fame. I also discuss book fomats a little and manage to plug our library which has just beeen awarded Grade 2 Listed Building status.
2nd August 2015
Pleased Janet Williams, Chandler's Ford Today's lovely editor, has credited Mike Sedgwick and I with co-editing a recent local history series by Mike Napier on the site. This is a 8 piece series called Growing Up in Chandler's Ford. From my viewpoint, I loved this as I had sneak previews of great posts and got to use the editing skills I've developed on my work on something outside of that. All good experience anyway!
31st July 2015
My new post, My Favourite Fairytales, is now on the Chandler's Ford Today site. This was huge fun to write. I also share my short story, Job Satisfaction, which first appeared on Shortbread Short Stories some time ago. Hope you enjoy.
30th July 2015
Have spent time tonight putting in a link from my Facebook Author page to my other website, www.fairytaleswithbite.com, but there does seem to only be room to link to one site, which is why I've not added this one. Have added social media links into the buttons at the top of the page. Should have done that before My next post, My Favourite Fairytales, will be on Chandler's Ford Today shortly. (Due to go live at midnight!). Will share link tomorrow hopefully.
26th July 2015
My new post, My Desert Island Books, is now up on Chandler's Ford Today. Have shared some of my favourite stories and, as you can imagine, this post was a sheer joy to write. Big problem with it? Keeping the word count down given I could go on at some length on this theme!
23rd July 2015
A short post called The Writer's Process is up on the Chandler's Ford Today website tonight. Details of this writer's talk (due to be held at Fareham on Saturday, 25th July) were passed to me by Felicity Fair Thompson and I'm only sorry I can't go as it sounds really interesting.
My next scheduled post is up on the site tomorrow and is called My Desert Island Books. I'll put up a link once it goes live. I share my love of stories and name some of my favourites. This post was a real labour of love to write!
19th July 2015
Just returned from a wonderful NE Scotland break. Fantastic scenery and very good weather. Glad to be back to writing (though I did work on my short story collection whilst away). Will have a new article on Chandler's Ford Today later this week.
10th July 2015
Many thanks to all who've posted nice comments on my St. George's Day Parade article on Chandlers Ford Today. The post looks at the legend of St. George and the local legend that is Lyn Darbyshire!
9th July 2015
My next post on Chandlers Ford Today is on site from tomorrow and is called Memories of Chandler's Ford St. George's Day Parade: Lyn Darbyshire. The post looks at the history of St. George and I talk to Lyn Darbyshire, our former (Scouting) District Commissioner who organized our local parades for many years. One thing I love writing for CFT is researching various things that come up as a result of what I'm writing about. I feel like I'm learning lots!
6th July 2015
My new post will be on Chandlers Ford Today on Friday. It looks at the legend of St. George, some of the history and a behind the scenes at the local St. George's Day Parade. I suspect St. George must hold some kind of record though. I was surprised at just how many countries, cities and causes for which he is the patron saint!
26th June 2015
My new article, Inspired by Slapton Beach: Felicity Fair Thompson, is now up on Chandlers Ford Today. I really loved writing this as it combines two of my favourite things - history and talking to other writers. Slapton Beach reveals a slice of World War 2 history that is still not widely known and the piece looks into this. Felicity then discusses with me the joys and pitfalls of writing historical fiction. Hope you enjoy the item.
20th June 2015
Thoroughly enjoyed my second day at the Winchester Writers' Festival. Topics today included whether to self publish or not, fantasy writing, short stories and how to get the best out of Twitter. (The latter had a wonderfully funny segment on 10 Things Not to Tweet. I've received most of them!). Have prepared a list of things to do as a result of the Festival and am pleased to say have carried out first one tonight. My Twitter profile now has a proper picture of yours truly on it so the egg symbol accompanying my tweets has finally gone. I've also updated my biography. Think it looks better. Had not realised the egg symbol on tweets can be treated like spam so appreciate the info from Emily Benet. Already looking forward to next year's Festival!
20th June 2015Thoroughly enjoyed my second day at the Winchester Writers' Festival. Topics today included whether to self publish or not, fantasy writing, short stories and how to get the best out of Twitter. (The latter had a wonderfully funny segment on 10 Things Not to Tweet. I've received most of them!). Have prepared a list of things to do as a result of the Festival and am pleased to say have carried out first one tonight. My Twitter profile now has a proper picture of yours truly on it so the egg symbol accompanying my tweets has finally gone. I've also updated my biography. Think it looks better. Had not realised the egg symbol on tweets can be treated like spam so appreciate the info from Emily Benet. Already looking forward to next year's Festival!
19th June 2015
Had a great first day at the Winchester Writers' Festival. The Masters Course I attended was Going Public: Promotion and Performance. Learned a lot from the different exercises. One of these was to read from a piece of text you brought in so I took Just Desserts (available on Alfie Dog, never miss a change to plug!) and the lady I partnered with for the exercises was kind enough to say she liked it. I sometimes think it is easier to read an extract and show people your writing rather than try to explain what it is! I do need to get my pitch down to two well rehearsed lines and I am a bit cross with myself that I forgot to mention my strapline for The Trouble With Mother. This is "When evil wizards and dragons are slain, Eileen and Jenny are left with each other, both aware mothers shouldn't have a past, yet alone one like Eileen's." I found the prepare a Press Release exercise especially useful and I now have a clearer idea of where I should be going on that. Assuming I go ahead with self publishing either TTWM or my short story collection, this is going to be really useful.
13th June 2015
Am really appreciative of a lovely comment in response to What's Your Story? Gill James on the Chandlers Ford Today website. Appreciation of the efforts behind fiction is a rare and highly valued thing!
12th June 2015
The article, What's Your Story? Gill James is now up on the Chandlers Ford Today website. It was huge fun interviewing Gill and I think this shows through in the piece. Hope people find the tips and thoughts helpful.
11th June 2015
Pleased to say my last article In the Gang Show was tweeted by Eastleigh History and a link now appears on their page to the article. Thank you! My next post, What's Your Story? Gill James, should be on the Chandlers Ford Today website as from tomorrow (probably in the evening). This post looks at Gill's life as an author. Gill and I also share writing tips and thoughts. Hope it goes down well.
29th May 2015
My article In The Gang Show: Lyn Darbyshire is up on the Chandlers Ford Today website and I'm pleased to say has already attracted comments. One of the nicest things about the website is the way it encourages people to write in with their memories. Also there are plenty of video and audio clips with this article, which I was delighted to find and I think enhances the article. The one thing that shone through my interview with Lyn and then through the further research I carried out was the sheer enthusiasm of all involved with The Gang Show. It's just a pity that quality can't be bottled for people to draw on when enthuasism is harder to conjure up!
28th May 2015
My next article on Chandlers Ford Today is up tomorrow and will be called In The Gang Show: Lyn Darbyshire. Lyn is a former Scouting District Commissioner and well known in the area and her memories of the local Gang Show are fascinating. I enjoyed interviewing her and she was very helpful. I also carried out further research into the Gang Show, some of which is at the end of this article. Hope you enjoy it!
15th May 2015
The interview with Felicity Fair Thompson is on the Chandlers Ford Today website. The article takes a brief look at Felicity's wide ranging career but focuses mainly on why she started her own printing business, Wight Diamond Press. It was huge fun to interview Felicity (by email) and I hope this comes across in the article itself.
14th May 2015
Part 1 of my interview with Felicity Fair Thompson, writer friend and small publisher, from the Isle of Wight is due on the Chandlers Ford Today website tomorrow. Felicity has had a wide career in the arts - everything from ballet dancing to creative writing teaching with plenty in between and her insights into life as a small publisher are fascinating. It was at the Isle of Wight Writers' Conference that Felicity used to run I met Gill James of Bridge House Publishing. It is funny where things lead at times...!
8th May 2015
I sent a quick, mini blog post to Chandlers Ford Today yesterday, late, advertising the Alfie Dog Fiction short story writing competition. Am glad to say that mini post is now up on the CFT site and would like to express thanks to CFT's editor for her encouraging support of (local) authors and celebrating reading and writing in general.
4th May 2015
Conducted my first face-to-face interview too. It was huge fun to do and the interviewee was lovely. As well as making a smashing cup of tea (which will always go down well, literally, with me), she has very kindly lent to me photos and newspaper articles which will illustrate wonderfully the 3 articles that should come out of this interview. Am looking forward to going through the material and to saying more about this nearer the time the article(s) appear.
2nd May 2015
The first part of my interview with Gill James of Bridge House Publishing went up on the Chandlers Ford Today website on 1st May 2015. I had a great deal of sympathy with small publishers before interviewing Gill. I have even more now! I like to think of interviews like this as celebrating writing and reading and also helping writers see the other side of the publication fence. I believe if you can see how things look from the publisher's viewpoint, it should help improve your own writing and increase your chances of acceptance. Being able to see where a publisher is coming from has got to help!
Alfie Dog Fiction have just announced their Short Story competition. The first prize is £200 and publication of the winning author's short story collection. There will also be editorial support and the book will be published in ebook and paperback formats. See more details on the website at Alfie Dog Fiction.
30th April 2015
My next article on Chandlers Ford Today is due on site tomorrow and features Gill James, of Bridge House Publishing, talking about her life as a small publisher. Doing the interview was huge fun and Gill's replies to my questions are a fascinating insight into a very busy creative writing life. Future posts in May and June will also look at Gill's life as a creative writing lecturer and as an author. This article is going to be the start of a mini series, firstly for the articles relating to Gill herself and, secondly, for future articles featuring another writer/small publisher friend. I hope to give more details on those nearer the time of publication on site but in the meantime I hope you enjoy reading the interview with Gill.
26th April 2015
Have drafted next article for Chandlers Ford Today but for the first time I've added in the images, thanks to the excellent tuition from Janet Williams, the site's editor, a little while ago. CFT is hosted by Word Press and I've also been getting to grips with WP's coding system. So although this article has taken longer than usual to put on site in draft form, I think, and hope, the majority of the work has been done. I will need Janet's condintinuing help with technical aspects of imaging especially but this isn't a problem thankfully. More details on the actual article will appear a little later in the week.
24th April 2015
Have booked my place at the Winchester Writers' Festival. Have also submitted my competition entries. Used the online system for the first time and found this easy to use. I'm going to a Masters Course on the Friday (19th June) as well as attending the usual all-day talks on the Saturday. It should be huge fun and I anticipate learning a lot.
18th April 2015
I've finally learned how to produce hyperlinks to other sites from my websites in a better way. I had been copying and pasting the complete URL and then pressing the external link button, which does work, but URLs are not exactly easy to read. Exploring the Weebly external link function more closely, I've realised I can just put in a description of the link I want which is easier to read and takes up less room. My thanks go to Janet Williams, the editor of the Chandlers Ford Today website, for putting me on to this. One of the things I am really appreciating about blogging for CFT is that I am learning a lot of other skills which will be useful for my websites and other works.
My main links are:-
Chandlers Ford Today
Alfie Dog Fiction
Winchester Writers' Festival
Bridge House Publishing
17th April 2015
My thanks, as ever, go to the editor of Chandlers Ford Today for helping me make the current article, No Books = No Movies?, look really good with clips, captions, audio and pictures. For the first time I embedded some clips on this one, thanks to the excellent tuition from my editor yesterday. For the next article, which I'm beginning to draft, I am going to try to use HTML code for the first time and see how I do. One of the nicest things about writing for CFT is I am learning lots of new skills.
16th April 2015
My next article, No Books = No Movies?, is due on the Chandlers Ford Today website tomorrow. Spent time today with the site's lovely editor and learned lots about embedding images, HTML coding and embedding YouTube clips. I was also spoilt rotten with tea and chocolate so am looking forward to meeting my editor again before too long! Hope you like the article.
14th April 2015
My short story, Just Desserts, is now on the Alfie Dog Fiction site and tells the story of Snow White from the embittered stepmother's viewpoint. Huge fun to write. I've updated my Linkedin profile to bring in my links to Alfie Dog, Chandlers Ford Today, the Society of Authors and the Association of Christian Writers.
11th April 2015
My latest news on the Society of Authors and Alfie Dog Fiction is now on the Chandlers Ford Today website under Local Author News. My thanks go to the CFT site's editor, Janet Williams, for the plug. The link is http://chandlersfordtoday.co.uk/local-author-news-allison-symes/
8th April 2015
Pleased to say my latest story, Life is What You Make It, is now up on The Alfie Dog Fiction site. The link is http://alfiedog.com/fiction/stories/allison-symes/
7th April 2015
I'm very pleased to say I've been upgraded to Full Member status by the Society of Authors today so it is official - I am a writer! Have updated my writer's profile on their website. Will need to update my writing CV but I will be so pleased to have to do that!
5th April 2015 (Easter Sunday)
Gill James tweeted details of a 140 character micro story tonight which was to be submitted by email and if it did well would be performed by a professional actor and the whole thing circulated online. Thinking I had nothing to lose, I found an old piece I prepared as an example of a very short story, did a little bit of editing to ensure the character count was correct and submitted it. It took about 10 minutes in all. This is the quickest submission I ever made and is likely to remain so! The piece I chose I've called A Long Day and features Eileen and Jenny, just as the latter is beginning to get used to being a fairy godmother's daughter.
4th April 2015
There have been good responses to the Doctor Who Experience article. CFT's lovely editor has added some wonderful clips to the comments as well. Pleased with new look to website, as is CFT's editor who liked my creating the external link away from my Home page. This has been done as my work for CFT is separate from my fiction work so I thought it appropriate to arrange things like this. Hope the responses to the article keep coming in - there have been other nominees for Best Doctor, episode and so on.
3rd April 2015 (Good Friday)
The Doctor Who Experience is now up on the Chandlers Ford Today website and my thanks, as ever, go its wonderful editor for helping me with the getty images and links. I did embed one of the actual getty images myself thanks to her excellent email tutorial! For the first time most of the pictures were supplied by me. It's amazing what you can do with a mobile phone these days. Have amended my other website, Fairytales with Bite, to show an external link to the Chandlers Ford Today site page which shows all of my blogs. Will be amending this website once I've finished writing this! It makes sense to me to have one link to cover all the articles.
2nd April 2015
My review of the Doctor Who Experience should be up on the Chandlers Ford Today website tomorrow. Talk about a labour of love! Am continuing to work on items that I hope will become competition entries for this year's Winchester Writers' Festival.
27th March 2015
The guest post is up on Alfie Dog Fiction. Gill James, of Bridge House Publishing, has kindly written a few words about it and shared on Facebook. Have been in contact with another author friend from years ago and I may well be interviewing her for Chandlers Ford Today. Am really enjoying the feeling my writing is beginning to get somewhere though I am very aware that for all writers it is a very long road to travel. The main thing is to enjoy the journey though and right now I really am doing so. I have always enjoyed writing but, as I say, beginning to see pieces appear more regularly, well that is a very good feeling. I only wish I could bottle it so I could savour it on those days when rejections are all that seem to come in via post, or much more likely these days, email.
26th March 2015
Alfie Dog Fiction are due to publish my guest blog spot later today. Hope to put up a link to it later. Also hope they issue more writers' questions soon. Really enjoy answering these. They make me think about what I'm doing as a writer and that can be no bad thing.
23rd March 2015
Am delighted to announce Alfie Dog Fiction is due to publish a guest blog spot from me on Thursday 26th March. They regularly throw open questions to writers to make us think about what we're doing and why and to have a chance to speak out on projects we are working on. I love answering these Q&A sessions.
Also pleased to say Alfie Dog are publishing two stories of mine in April. Life is What You Make It has been significantly amended by me with a much stronger opening so I'm really pleased this has now been accepted. It's always good when you get the reward for working and reworking your items until they are strong enough to be published. Just Desserts tells the Snow White story from the stepmother's view point. Let's just say she's not happy....! If you get to read them, I hope you enjoy them. I loved writing them (and then amending them to get them up to standard).
23rd March 2015 -Am delighted to announce Alfie Dog Fiction is due to publish a guest blog spot from me on Thursday 26th March. They regularly throw open questions to writers to make us think about what we're doing and why and to have a chance to speak out on projects we are working on. I love answering these Q&A sessions. Also pleased to say Alfie Dog are publishing two stories of mine in April. Life is What You Make It has been significantly amended by me with a much stronger opening so I'm really pleased this has now been accepted. It's always good when you get the reward for working and reworking your items until they are strong enough to be published. Just Desserts tells the Snow White story from the stepmother's view point. Let's just say she's not happy....! If you get to read them, I hope you enjoy them. I loved writing them (and then amending them to get them up to standard).
22nd March 2015 -
Many thanks to family, friends and FB friends for their kind birthday wishes. Richard Hardie has informed me that the article paying tribute to Terry Pratchett is now on the Discworld Monthly online magazine with the relevant link. Richard also informed me that sales of The Shambelurklers Return is picking up sales which I can confirm as someone I know has also confirmed purchasing it and will recommend it to others in the autistic groups she's involved with.
20th March 2015 - later...
Have heard directly and via Richard Hardie that sales of The Shambelurklers Return are beginning to pick up. Hope this continues and raises more money for the very worthy National Autistic Society. Nice bit of news for the weekend. Am beginning to prepare two further Q&A interviews for the Chandlers Ford Today website for appearance, hopefully, over next month or two. Really enjoying the blogging. Beginning to feel my writing is getting somewhere - and I love that!
20th March 2015 -
The interview with Richard Hardie is now up on the Chandlers Ford Today website. I love the way its wonderful editor puts in suitable links and pictures, sometimes audio and video clips, to help bring articles to life. Hope you enjoy it.
17th March 2015 -My next Chandlers Ford Today article is an interview with local author, Richard Hardie, and this is due to appear on Friday. As part of that discussion, we talked about favourite authors and we felt, given recent news, the section where we discuss our mutual admiration for Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels would make a simple tribute to the funniest writer this country has produced since Wodehouse. The link to the article is:-7th March 2015
Have had some lovely responses to my Jane Austen article. Really appreciate those. Also appreciate the additional link Janet put in to one of her comments on this. Fans of a certain actor will like it too! The next article will be a Q&A with a local (to me) author who is doing well and has some good news to share. I have always loved writer interviews (especially when conducted by other writers. I think the general understanding of what another writer is trying to achieve shines through the text). It turns out I like conducting them too! More on the Q&A nearer the time but think it should look good as pictures already supplied by my interviewee and I hope there may be some others to add. Janet has given me details of sites where you can use images for free or for free with a credit and I hope to investigate these soon.
6th March 2015
Janet, as ever, has done a wonderful job in getting my article, Jane Austen: An Appreciation, ready for the Chandlers Ford Today website. The article was huge fun to do and I very much admire Janet's way of thinking with images. Jane Austen has lots of links given she lived in Southampton, Bath and Winchester and all are easy to get to from where I live.
5th March 2015
My new article, an appreciation of Jane Austen, should be up on the Chandlers Ford Today website from tomorrow evening. Wonderful writer and there are lots of local links to her. My article looks at how Pride and Prejudice is one of my life changing books. Have conducted my first Q&A with another local writer, who has some good news about their latest books. I'm looking forward to receiving his A to my Q! I love Q&A interviews and it was a great joy to conduct one myself. I'm hoping this will form the next article for the 20th March slot. Am, as ever, grateful to the site's wonderful editor for all of her hard work. She really does hold the site together and polishes articles so that mere text becomes a great interactive experience. I'm learning a lot (which is never a bad thing for any writer).
28th February 2015
Am putting finishes touches to next article for the Chandlers Ford Today website. Hope to upload it on to the Word Press site (the editor gave me the details of how to do this) so images and so on can be put on. I've already got next article idea lined up. I will be doing a Q&A session with another writer. It should be fun to do and I'll give more details nearer the time.
20th February 2015
New post is up on the Chandlers Ford Today website. It is about what living in Chandlers Ford has done for me both as a dog owner and as a writer. I am, as ever, grateful to the site's editor for putting the finishing touches to the article in terms of image selection, audio clips etc. I'm learning a lot from writing for this site in that I am thinking more visually and putting suggestions forward for images and clips, something I would not normally do as of course I'm usually writing straight prose that doesn't call for it. I hope that roughly every other post will be directly book related and hope to start drafting next article later this weekend.
19th February 2015
New post due to be go up Chandlers Ford Today website. I hope to write a mixture of articles to do with my writing, books, local links and so on. E'm enjoying what I'm writing and hope I continue to learn a lot about blogging and how to think visually.
6th FebrIuary 2015
New post is on Chandlers Ford Today website. The link is http://chandlersfordtoday.co.uk/allison-symes-book-review-the-daughter-of-time-by-josephine-tey/ and I must say I'm really pleased with the splendid job the editor, Janet Williams, has done to make this post attractive on the eye and ear. Hope you enjoy!
5th February 2015 -
My next post should be appearing on the Chandlers Ford Today website tomorrow (probably in the evening). It will be about how one novel changed my mind about the identity of a murderer. I hope to write posts on a variety of topics and plan to write a mini series about which books have influenced me the most/still continue to influence me. Am thoroughly enjoying writing the posts.
31st January 2015 -Gill James, in her Gill's News newsletter, has put up a link to my review of The Best of Cafe Lit 3. Looks really good. Iron Press were pleased with my mention of Limerick Nation in Writing Magazine. (There was a mention of them separately in the same issue). Iron Press will be launching the book at a festival in June at Cullercoats but it is a bit far for me to go from Hampshire so have selected their option of having another poet read my limerick (if chosen) given I can't get there. I've suggested to them that I could put out some flyers at the Winchester Writers' Festival in June (they are very good at encouraging authors to put out flyers, bookmarks etc on their Bookfair tables) and Iron Press will try and send me something to put out later in the year.
27th January 2015 -
Iron Press have invited me to the launch of Limerick Nation in June. Sadly Cullercoats is just too far away for me to go this but I have confimed I would be happy if another poet reads my contribution out. Am thrilled to be asked though. I hope later in the year after the event there might be links I can put on this site.
26th January 2015 -
Finalized the review of The Best of Cafe Lit 3 and emailed it off to the editor. She loved it and an abbreviated version of the review is now on Amazon. The book has a wonderful collection of 100 word pieces and standard length magazine stories and I can't recommend it highly enough. The stories suit every mood and one short piece in particular turned the mood of the story and made me physically shudder in its last six words! This is only the second review of anything I've done and am glad it went down well. All those years of reading book blurbs and reviews paid off! It was also interesting looking at the book, not from the viewpoint of the author who wants to get work in there, but from those judging what should go in and I hope I can take what I learned here and use it to improve my own stories.
23rd January 2015 -
New post about travel/days out from local railway station/changing attitudes to travel and why I haven't flown despite living near an airport now up on the Chandlers Ford Today website. Am working on next post which will, to quote Monty Python, be completely different. Am enjoying writing the posts. All good writing practice I think. Very pleased a near neighbour has had her poem published in Writers' Forum. The next best thing to being published yourself is when a friend is published.
22nd January 2015 -Marit Meredith, editor of The Shambelurklers Return, has kindly put a photo of my piece in Writing Magazine about that book (and my limerick in Limerick Nation) up on Facebook. Nice to see friends and neighbours liking said piece, thank you all! Another article from me is due to appear on the Chandlers Ford website tomorrow and after that I plan to be blogging every other Friday on that site on life in Chandlers Ford, writing etc.
19th January 2015
First of a regular series (fortnightly) of posts will hopefully appear on Chandlers Ford Today online on Friday. Really thrilled about this. Should be god writing practice and it builds up a web presence.
9th January 2015
Richard Hardie has sent me a copy of a photo of our local W.H. Smiths as they now have a shelf for his books, Leap of Faith and The Trouble With Swords, and alongside them copies of The Shambelurklers Return. There is also a nice notice saying the latter is raising money for the National Autistic Society. Hope they all do well!
8th January 2015
Writing Magazine has published in their Members' News section my piece about Limerick Nation and The Shambelurklers Return along with a photo of yours truly. Hope the publicity helps sales of Shambelurklers.
4th January 2015
The Chandlers Ford Today website has a new blog post on called 6 Things about Chandlers Ford. Item 5 is about books and writing in generally. Pleased to report The Shambelurklers Return is not only mentioned but there is a nice publicity shot of it on display in our local W.H. Smiths with an accompanying poster. Alongside it are Richard Hardie's books, Leap of Faith and Trouble With Swords, both of which I highly recommend. His poem is in Shambelurklers alongside my short story, Out of Time. Every little bit of publicity helps!
Christmas Eve 2014 -
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all! Hope you enjoy whatever books and stories you may receive as presents. I hope to back on line in a couple of days. Am looking forward to my planned project for 2015, my short story collection.
20th December 2014 -
Glad to say two humorous Christmas limericks of mine are due to appear on the Chandlers Ford Today website on Christmas Eve. Hope you enjoy them. I loved writing them!
18th December 2014 -
Glad to say Christian Writer, the quarterly magazine of the Association of Christian Writers, has published my small piece plugging Limerick Nation by Iron Press (which has my Hampshire limerick in it) and Out of Time, my story in The Shamblelurklers Return, the book raising money for the National Autistic Society.
7th December 2014 -
My article, What Christmas Means to Me, is now up on the Chandlers Ford Today website. I've put on a separate direct link to it from here. I'm absolutely thrilled with the wonderful work the editor of this site has carried out in terms of enhancing my article with You Tube clips. It makes the article interactive and I've learned so much since starting to work with this editor. (Not least of which is learning how to put up direct links on my websites!).
6th December 2014 -Many thanks to Gill James and Debz Hobbs-Wyatt for organizing the Bridge House Authors Celebration in London today. A great time was had by all and it is always great to get together with fellow writers. Given the event was held near Charing Cross/Trafalgar Square even got to do a bit of "tourist" sightseeing on the way to and from the do. Reminded I must go and visit the National Portrait Gallery. Back to the do. I didn't take part in the readings but loved the stories and poems I heard. I can't recall the last time I was "read to". Everyone who did read "performed" their stories/poems and it was one highlight of the afternoon for me. Hope we can get together again like that, folks, hint hint!
(Was particularly nice to meet Debz for first time given A Day Out was put on the Cafe Lit website yesterday). Have put a direct link to the story on this site and on my Fairytales with Bite site.
5th December 2014
My 100 words short story, A Day Out, is up on the Cafe Lit website. Really pleased as these are a challenge to write (but huge fun!). If you like monstrous ducks, this short story is for you!
2nd December 2014
My fantasy dinner party guest list is now up on the Alfie Dog website under their Bites section. It was huge fun inventing who I'd invite and why. I love a wide range of books and music so authors and musicians make it on to my list. I've put up a separate link so you can go directly to the page.
25th November 2014
Have updated one external link. You can now go straight to Part 2 of my interview by Janet Williams on the Chandlers Ford Today website. (You can go straight to the first part via my other website, Fairytales with Bite, but of course you can go to and forth both parts of the interview from either website now).
23rd November 2014
My review (first ever!) of Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense is now up on the Chandlers Ford Today website. Am delighted with how editor put on pictures of Wodehouse, a trailer for the show and subheadings, which all make the article look more attractive and easier to read. The only pity is the show is only here in the South for a few days as it is touring the UK. I very much hope the show will be back. I'd happily go and see it again. And it makes a great introduction to the works of Wodehouse.
19th November 2014
Chandlers Ford Today has updated its home page. It now has a rolling picture gallery and one of my author with her books shots is included in it. Links to my interviews are included in the menu listing of articles to read. Feel very flattered.
16th November 2014
Part 2 of my interview with Janet Williams of Chandlers Ford Today is up on site today. Am really pleased at huge picture of the book cover of The Shamblelurkers Return. Every little bit (of publicity) helps.
15th November 2014
Part 1 of my interview with Janet Williams of Chandlers Ford Today is up on site today. It was huge fun to do. Love the presentation of the interview with pictures, You Tube clips etc to break up the text. There's also a very nice session on Remembrance services on this site too.
14th November 2014
A Q&A for Chandlers Ford Today (online magazine) has been accepted by them but will be split into two pieces. One half will deal with my background and local links, the other with me as writer. The nice thing is that this is the first "proper" interview done this way by them and my first proper interview at all! Hope to put up external link once everything's set up.
My answers to Writers on Writing set by Rosemary Kind of Alfie Dog Fiction are now up on their website at http://alfiedog.com/writers-on-writing-allison-symes/
Christian Writer, magazine of the Association of Christian Writers, will be publishing a short piece from me in their Members' Page regarding Limerick Nation and Shambelurklers Return.
Received first royalty statement from Alfie Dog. Whoever bought Giving It A Rest, thank you! Hope this is not my last statement!
Got my play, The Moon's Advocate, out for the BBC Writer's Prize competition. Their email submission process is a doddle to operate. Hope play does okay. Am quite pleased with how I developed the characters in this and I think the play is stronger for it.
Writers' News will be publishing a short piece publicizing Limerick Nation and The Shamblelurklers Return. Don't know yet when it will appear but hopefully it will be before Christmas.
The Shambelurklers Return - now out and available from Lulu.
ISBN = 978-1-326-00283-1 and all proceeds go to the National Autistic Society.
IRON PRESS - www.ironpress.co.uk
Iron Press have just published Limerick Nation which "limericks" the country. I cover Hampshire! Copies available from the Iron Press website. Iron Press have been supporting new writing since 1973 and are supported by the Arts Council.
I have added external links to sites/publishers where I have had work produced on line or via anthology. These are Alfie Dog, Bridge House Publishing, cafelit, Iron Press and Shortbread Short Stories.
Shambelurking Returns - my short story, Out of Time, is in there. All proceeds from this anthology go to the National Autistic Society.