George Orwell (aka Eric Blair) has contributed so much to literature and has an accolade few other writers have (though whether he would welcome it is another thing). While it is not unknown for writers to have their sayings go into popular culture over centuries (think Shakespeare especially), how many have their phrases go on to become the titles for TV programmes? Orwell achieves that with Big Brother and Room 101. [Read more…] about 101 Things to Put into Room 101
Sayings are strange things at times. Okay, the one about not casting a clout before May is out does make sense. We live in Britain. The weather is changeable!
However, there are others that are open to question and some relate to writing.
Following on from Part 1 of my interview with the lovely Val Penny last week, here comes Part 2! I first met Val at the Swanwick Summer Writers’ School in 2016. I’m delighted to say since then Val has come south and discovered the joys of the Winchester Writers’ Festival, but more on that a little later. [Read more…] about Val Penny – Her Writing Journey Part 2 – Allison Symes
Val saw one lost looking author (me!) wondering which way to turn out of Derby Railway Station to find the coach to go to Swanwick and promptly took me under her wing! [Read more…] about Hunting Out a Career in Crime Fiction – Allison Symes interviews Val Penny
It doesn’t matter what your “artistic bent” is but creativity is good for physical and mental health. There is, of course, the joy of creating something that has not existed before (whether it is a story, a new garden plot, a piece of music, a cake or a painting or what have you), and there is the enjoyment of getting to that finishing point.
Better still is the joy of going on to create another piece of work and going through the whole process again. Then comes the satisfaction of watching your work improve as you gain more experience. [Read more…] about Creativity is Good for You
Fiction is a strange beast. Fiction writers make up new worlds (see science fiction and fantasy) or write alternative histories to those produced by our own. (Many a thriller, including Robert Harris’s Fatherland is based on the “what if we’d lost WW2?” theme).
We make up characters and those of us who write fantasy, as I do, bring in magical elements but what do all of these things have in common? There is at least a grain of truth behind each and every one of them. Readers pick up on that.
I never used to write with music on in the background as I found it was influencing what I wrote! Trust me, it is difficult to write a death scene with some lovey-dovey ballad coming out of the radio. Talk about killing the mood… (Likewise, you try writing a love scene to, say, Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell. Just doesn’t seem right somehow).
One of the nice aspects to living in Chandler’s Ford is it is easy to leave it! There’s the motorway network, being close enough to the local airport, the various main roads, the rail network, buses etc but the reason you might want to go is the fact we have on our doorstep a variety of local walks, which are ideal for anyone keen on walking, whether they have a dog or not.
One walk I take regularly with my better half and Lady, our new collie cross, is up at Jermyns Lane, Ampfield. (Pococks Roses and Hillier’s Arboretum are both on this road, which is just off the Straight Mile). It’s a 10 to 15 minutes run in the car but you do get right out into the countryside.
Another year has almost gone and it is the time when many of us review how we spent our 12 months. As mentioned last week, I reassess my writing aims and set down what I think I would like to achieve in the next year. [Read more…] about End of Year Reviews – Are They Useful?
Image Credits: All images, unless otherwise stated, were taken by Allison Symes
Towards the end of each year, I make a note in my new writing diary as to what I’d like to achieve in the next twelve months. I also review what I’d written for the current year and tick off achievements. Many things are long-term goals so carry over. I’m always going to want to have short stories and flash fiction “out there” no matter what the year is! [Read more…] about My 2017 Writing Journey
Last week’s post was part 1 of my interview with Jennifer C Wilson, author of the Kindred Spirits series and also of The Last Plantagenet? She writes paranormal historical fiction. It’s not often the heroes of a story are the ghosts but Jennifer specialises in this and the books make for a great read. I met Jennifer at Swanwick in 2016. [Read more…] about Stepping Back in Time: Part 2 of Jennifer C Wilson Interview
I first met Jennifer C. Wilson in 2016 at the first Swanwick Writers’ Summer School for us both. We became friends and this year we had the great joy of “racing” each other to Swanwick’s Book Room to put our books out for sale! [Read more…] about Ghosts, History and What Might Have Been: Introducing Jennifer C Wilson
Image Credit: Unless otherwise stated, all images were taken by Allison Symes.
A group of regional writers took part in the Winchester Discovery Centre’s 10th anniversary celebrations on Saturday 25th November. [Read more…] about Winchester Discovery Centre – 10th Anniversary Celebrations
I don’t know how much the arts contribute in terms of income but it must be billions. The same can be said for history. Our tourism industry depends on it and we have a significant historical heritage in our part of the world.
The Bargate in Southampton (think Sir Bevis of Hampton as well as the Roman walls), the remains of Henry V’s ship The Grace Dieu in the River Hamble, Portsmouth Naval Dockyard, Winchester Cathedral (and Salisbury Cathedral with one of the few original copies of the Magna Carta, a quick train ride away from our railway station too. I highly recommend the run if you haven’t done it. The Chandler’s Ford to Salisbury line goes through some lovely country. Seeing the Magna Carta for yourself is something special too I think.). [Read more…] about Pivotal History Moments – Bosworth 1485
On the face of it, times have not been good recently at Fryern. Grovers the Butchers has closed as has our branch of the Nat West. I’m always sorry to see an independent firm go, some history goes with them I feel, but, to my mind, the bank branch closure is a stupid decision. It’s not as if the bank wasn’t busy! [Read more…] about Keeping it Local – Community and Writers
I had the great joy of going to see Murdered to Death by Peter Gordon as performed by The Chameleon Theatre Group on Saturday 28th October. What with the Book Fair in the morning, it was a busy day but a hugely enjoyable one and the show rounded things off beautifully.
How can you tell if something is a spoof? I always look for tautology in the title! It is done for exaggeration (a great comic technique). I can’t think of any other genre where the “To Death” bit would be added. It certainly wouldn’t be in crime fiction, where murder generally is taken very seriously! [Read more…] about Murdered To Death – The Chameleon Theatre Company – Review Part 2
The first Chandler’s Ford Book Fair was on Saturday, 28th October 2017 between 10 am and 12 noon at the Age Concern Centre in Brownhill Road. I hope it will be the beginning of many Book Fairs here.
Many of us miss The Arcade Bookshop which had been our lovely independent book store for decades. Those behind the Fair hoped it would provide a place for local people to browse and buy books with the bonus they were written by regional writers (and many of them local to Chandler’s Ford specifically). [Read more…] about How was the Book Fair for You?
This is just a quick reminder about the Chandler’s Ford Book Fair happening this coming Saturday, 28th October at the Age Concern Centre in Brownhill Road. The Fair will be open from 10 am to 12 noon and there will be a wide range of authors and genres represented. [Read more…] about REMINDER: Book Fair – 28th October 2017
Image Credit: Unless otherwise stated, all images were taken by Allison Symes
Book events can be like buses. None for ages, then two at once! This week’s post is about Richard Hardie’s book signing and reading event at Eastleigh Library last Saturday, 14th October. I was able to get to this event and was promptly enrolled into Richard’s Temporal Detective Agency as a result but more on that later. [Read more…] about Book Signing Report: Richard Hardie and Eastleigh Library
Image Credit: All images kindly supplied by Anne Wan.
This is a slightly strange post from me as I’d hoped to go to Anne Wan’s recent book launch in Southampton but was, unfortunately, able to do so in the end.
However, I share my thoughts below on what a book launch means to an author and the work involved behind the scenes. I then hand over to Anne for her report on her special night.
[Read more…] about Book Launch Report: Anne Wan at Waterstones, West Quay