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Guest Post: Wendy Clarke - Chasing Dreams

Today it's my pleasure to welcome Wendy Clarke, to share her Chasing Dreams story   It might surprise you to know that I never used to have a writing dream to chase… yes really! I was not one of the lucky people born with a pen in their hand, and despite loving creative writing at school, a career as an author had never been on my radar. You see, I didn’t become a writer until my fifties and before that I was a teacher, a wife, a mother. Writing was something I taught, not something I did. A book was to be read not written. Yet, something happened to change this… to allow the writing bug to call to me and let me chase it wherever it chose to lead me. This is my story. It was ten years ago when my life changed and I remember it as though it was yesterday. I had just been told that the small primary school, where I taught English, was closing and all the staff were to be made redundant. I felt numb but it didn’t really sink in until the following week when, instead of going int
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Chasing Dreams Part 5 – Taking Chances

My love of writing song lyrics wasn’t the only secret I’d been keeping. I had notebooks filled with ideas for new characters and plots, partially started short stories and even an entire draft of a novel. Around the same time that I entered the UK Songwriting Contest, I also entered a short story contest. When the results were announced I found I had to keep reading them just to convince myself that I hadn't imagined it and that my name really was listed as the winner. Reaching the semi-finals of the UK Songwriting Contest gave me hope that my lyrics had potential, winning the short story contest inspired me to be brave and do something I’d only ever dreamed about. I signed up for a creative writing class.   Now I know in theory attending a course shouldn’t be something that requires courage. I’ve attended many courses over the years, however they were always work related. Well, apart from my brief attempt to learn Spanish, which is probably best forgotten, just like my Spani

Guest Blog: M W Arnold - A Wing And A Prayer

Today I'm delighted to welcome friend and author M W Arnold to the blog. I’d never dreamt about becoming an author. Certainly, I’d had many dreams, most of which never came true, but I’d certainly never considered even writing a book. Back when I was in the Royal Air Force, I went all over the world and read plenty of books during my travels, mostly Star Trek and fantasy, but predominantly, Terry Pratchett. I can still not get enough of this much missed man and author and even now, picking up one of his books will be enough to put a smile on my face. The most I’d ever put to paper was when I was writing a report at work, or filling out a travel claim. I suppose various ideas for stories did pop into my head, but obviously nothing which was enough to ignite a spark of creativity. Nothing much changed, even when I left the RAF and took the plunge into civvie-street, though Mr Pratchett was always there to comfort me. Then, I think it was around 2013, I read a book which I was asked t

Chasing Dreams: Part 4 – Stories and Lyrics

Writing song lyrics is a lot like writing a short story, though admittedly a very short story.  They can have everything a short story should have: characters, conflicts and plots. Plus a repetitive chorus to give weight to a particular point and stick in the listener’s memory to be recalled at random intervals. Of course not all lyrics are like this. Some musicians see them as an afterthought, something that is inferior to the melody, harmony and rhythm.   Some songs lyrics can seem perfectly sensible as you sing along with your radio on the dull drive to work, but if you’ve ever seen those lyrics written down, without the aid of music, you might see them in a less flattering light. For me though, songs with a story are the most powerful.   My favourite is Lonestar’s ‘My Front Porch Looking In’. This song has amazing imagery, both in terms of the scenery and the family that are described. I might not have a front porch on which to sit, but this song always makes me think about my

Guest Post: Elaine Roberts - Dreams

T oday I'm thrilled to welcome author Elaine Roberts to the blog to share her writing journey. Do you have a dream?  For many years mine was always about wanting to be a published writer, but I didn’t think things like that happened to people like me. Then when I was in my fifties my son found a writing course and then a class for me, and then it began to feel like it was possible. I was encouraged to write short stories, which I didn’t want to do, but it was a good lesson in writing to a word count. When a magazine wanted to pay me for a short story I couldn’t believe it, someone actually wanted to pay for something I had written. To say I was over the moon is a massive understatement; I danced, clapped and cheered around my front room. I began writing contemporary stories, and I have several unpublished ones on my laptop but I decided to try writing a historical novel, and The Foyles Bookshop Girls series was born. Now I’m proud to say my fifth World War One novel, Big Dreams for

Chasing Dreams: Part 3 – What If?

If you’ve read my biography you may have noticed that music teacher doesn’t actually feature in there.  Given my struggles with my music A level, my parents encouraged me to have a backup plan just in case my musical aspirations didn’t work out (again).  With that in mind I went to University to study business administration.  From there the move into accountancy seemed a natural progression. Somehow along the way my backup plan became my reality. Looking back I can’t say I have any regrets.  Fortunately, I like the career that I inadvertently ended up in, but then if I hadn't I’d like to think I’d have been more resistant. Despite my change of direction though, I continued to write. Music no longer featured in my career aspirations but it still lingered in my dreams.   I had notebooks filled with song lyrics. A random line, a verse or chorus, or even whole songs were locked away within their pages. Their existence however was known only to me. By this point I’d already failed at

Guest Post: Jack Steele - Chasing Dreams

I'm thrilled to invite author and friend Jack Steele to the guest blog this week: I had the idea of a crime fiction novel in my head for a number of years, but full-time employment and to be honest, a large dose of procrastination let the years drift by. After divorce, my life revolved around raising my two teenage children, so my dreams went on hold. I was extremely lucky to find a job closer to home which was a huge drop in salary, but it afforded me quality time to spend with my son and daughter. When my adult children left home to start lives of their own, I met Sue and a few years later we were married. We enjoyed holidays together and I began to read again which ignited the desire to write my own story. The crime fiction novels I read were either so descriptive that they lacked pace   or so many characters that I became confused with who was actually in the library with the lead piping. I realised that I had to write a novel based on my own preferences. To gain confidence