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Showing posts from September, 2016

Book Review: The Cherry Tree Cafe by Heidi Swain

Rating: About the Author: Although passionate about writing from an early age, Heidi Swain gained a degree in Literature, flirted briefly with a newspaper career, married and had two children before she plucked up the courage to join a creative writing class and take her literary ambitions seriously. A lover of Galaxy bars, vintage paraphernalia and the off bottle of fizz, she now writes contemporary fiction and enjoys the company of a whole host of feisty female characters. She joined the RNA New Writers’ Scheme in 2014 and is now a full member. The manuscript she submitted for critique, The Chery Tree Café, is her debut novel published by Simon and Schuster in July 2015. She lives in Norfolk with her wonderful husband, son and daughter and a mischievous cat called Storm. Links Twitter: Blog: Facebook: Book Summary: They say you can

The People's Friend Writing Workshop

A few weeks ago I noted that my writing seemed to be taking me on a tour of England. I couldn't help wondering where it would take me next.  It turns out the answer was York, to The People’s Friend Writing Workshop. My grandmother got me started reading The People’s Friend years ago. Money was tight so the magazine was passed between my Grandmother, Aunt and Mum before eventually making its way to me.  Often by that point it would be a few pages short where someone had ripped out an interesting recipe to try later, or a knitting pattern that was added to their ever growing collections. I didn’t mind the somewhat well-read state of the magazine, all that interested me were the stories. Though I did learn to check that the entire story had survived before I started reading… These days it’s just Mum and I reading the magazine and sometimes I even get to read it first. Oh the thrill of reading a magazine that is fully intact before someone has stolen their favourite parts

Guest Post: Mark West - A Web Presence

This week I'm delighted to welcome author Mark West to the blog. I started publishing in 1999 and managed to catch the tail end of the small press zine world - those ‘for love’ magazines and periodicals so beloved of genre, homemade and often stapled though some were perfect bound. Moving into the noughties, as the Internet slowly grew in usage, those physical mags became webzines. It was a brave new world out there and, Luddite that I am, I resisted for a while - I didn’t want my story to appear online, I wanted it to be in an edition I could put on my ego shelf (I often still feel the same way as we careen towards the ‘20s!). But aside from markets, the Internet promised much more - a web presence. I think most of those early adopter websites have long since disappeared (thankfully) but I’m convinced that if you could find any now, they’d be full of rotating skull gifs, dripping blood gifs, screams (whoever thought a website that screamed at you whenever you clicked on i

Historical Novel Society Conference 2016

One of the things I love about books is their ability to transport me somewhere else. I can leave behind my own surroundings and lose myself in another time and place. What I didn’t anticipate when I started writing however was that books not only have the power to lead me on adventures to unknown destinations in my imagination, but they also do so in the real world too. My naïve assumption that writing is a solitary pursuit has been proved wrong so many times this year as I found myself drawn into the sociable side of being a writer. What has surprised me the most though is how writing has lead me to journey across the country. Each summer when I was a child my parents would load up Dad’s Peugeot 205 with camping gear and we would head off on holiday. The long drives were passed fairly amicably with endless games of ‘I Spy’ and the inevitable repeated question; ‘Are we there yet?’ Until eventually Dad pulled into the campsite. Mum and I weren’t particularly what you cou