One writing exercise that came out of my trip to Swanwick Writers’ Summer School last year was to write to my 20-year-old self with advice based on knowing now what I didn’t know back then. This was fun, really made me think and I thought at the time this could make a good CFT post because I can throw it open for you to join in. What would you tell your 20-year-old self? I am only talking in general terms for this but my list is below. [Read more…] about Advice to My 20 Year Old Self – Allison Symes
I loved the cyber launch for From Light To Dark and Back Again held at the beginning of the month. Thanks again to Chapeltown Books and Cafelit for hosting the event. I was co-host. This post looks at how I prepared for the event and what I learned from it. I hope it will be of use to other writers. The images used in the post were those I used during the launch itself.
I’m delighted to report there will be a Storytelling Festival between 10th and 22nd April 2017. The Festival will be marking the first year of the Write Now development programme at The Berry Theatre, designed to encourage writers. [Read more…] about The Storytelling Festival – Allison Symes
My post last week was the first part of my interview with Martin Kryle, former local Liberal Democrat councillor and published author. His book Jottings from the Trans-Siberian Railway, edited by Barbara Large , is now out.
Reviews are crucial for all writers and one for this book reads:- [Read more…] about Jottings from the Trans-Siberian Railway – Part 2: Martin Kyrle interview
A cyber launch is basically a Facebook online party celebrating the publication of your book and promoting it. There are usually quizzes with prizes, giveaways, special offers and so on. The only requirement is to be logged on to Facebook at the time of the event. [Read more…] about What is a Cyber Launch? by Allison Symes
Martin Kyrle, one of the authors of Jottings from the Trans-Siberian Railway, is best known locally as a former Liberal Democrat Councillor. He served on the Chandler’s Ford committee for 50 years. He wrote his new book based on notes he kept as he travelled and long term friend, Michael Roberts, took the photographs. [Read more…] about The Trans-Siberian Railway: Martin Kyrle and Michael Roberts
The joy of reading includes the discovery of genres new to you, leading to a wealth of new stories to enjoy. I have just finished reading my first graphic novel – Blood and Valour by Matt Beames (story), Marcus Pullen (art) and Guy Stauber (covers).
[Read more…] about Blood and Valour: Comic Book Review – Allison Symes
I love interviewing authors and reading interviews in publications like Writing Magazine. There is always something to learn from how other writers work.
One interesting comment about my recent joy of radio post came from Chippy when he discussed Desert Island Discs and felt it was a good show because it wasn’t just about people plugging things. The best interviews are those that encourage the interviewee to reveal more about what motivates them. [Read more…] about The Joy of Interviews by Allison Symes
I love radio. I rarely watch TV these days. It has to be something special to make me turn the box on and that’s usually a Doctor Who!
(And yes I am sorry Peter Capaldi is going – I’ve liked an older Doctor being in charge of the Tardis. That’s nothing against David Tennant, Matt Smith of Christopher Ecclestone, all of whom were great, but for a Time Lord meant to be over 900 years old, having an older actor playing the role fits). [Read more…] about The Wonderful World of Radio by Allison Symes
I am thrilled to announce my debut flash fiction collection, From Light to Dark and Back Again, has now been published by Chapeltown Books. It is available in paperback and in Kindle format via Amazon and, of course, directly from me but more on that later.
The stories range from 100 words tales to 500 words to 750 and there are one or two which just creep in as flash fiction, being just under the 1000 words limit. This is generally recognized as the cutting off point between flash and standard short story lengths. [Read more…] about Published – My Debut Flash Fiction Collection
Henry Ford came up with what, for me, is one of the most annoying and untrue statements of all time when he claimed that “history is bunk”. Err… definitely not.
(And while I know he was focusing on what mattered to him, the there and then as he had obvious reasons for wanting to focus on the progress his cars were making, I still think this statement is rubbish, as recalling history should never mean not making progress. I really can’t fathom his reasoning here.). History is far too important to just be dismissed. [Read more…] about Vital History by Allison Symes
JANE AUSTEN FESTIVAL AND THE SARAH SIDDONS FAN CLUB
One of my favourite authors is going to have a Festival in Southampton in 2017 thanks to the Sarah Siddons Fan Club winning a Heritage Lottery Grant to co-ordinate such an event. [Read more…] about In the Footsteps of Jane Austen and Sarah Siddons by Allison Symes
I went to see the Chameleons’ production of the pantomime, Robin Hood, on Thursday January 26th. The production was excellent and the pantomime had all the key ingredients you’d expect.
Humour, topical jokes (at the expense of D.J. Trump Esq), songs (sung with gusto and great enjoyment) and a wonderful story. There was the “oh no we won’t” moment from the audience and the usual dressing up of women as men (though not the other way round as well here). Robin was actually a man in this production! (And played by the excellent Paul Jones who got into the traditional thigh slapping with considerable enthusiasm). [Read more…] about Robin Hood and the Chameleons – Review by Allison Symes
My post last week was all about Classic Books but the problem with this topic is it will be inevitably biased towards fiction. Tonight’s post will redress the balance.
I look at why reading non-fiction widely is vital for fiction writers (as well as being a great thing to do given it widens your reading “diet” and general knowledge). [Read more…] about Fiction -v- Non-Fiction? No Contest!
Name a classic book from any genre, any period, any author. I’m willing to bet certain names and stories cropped up in your thoughts immediately. If there was an all-time list, entries would include Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen, Bronte, and Hardy. I’d be surprised if many, if not all of these authors, were not on your bookshelves somewhere. [Read more…] about What Makes a Classic Book
One of the great joys of writing for Chandler’s Ford Today (and in reading it too) continues to be the wide variety of topics it covers. It’s only due to CFT that I found out about the Road to Agincourt Project and, due to my love of history, started writing about it.
I’ve particularly liked The Story Shuffle Project and the Sir Bevis of Hampton posts as the first is a phenomenally good idea to get kids involved in creative writing and a local legend. The second post was, of course, all about that local legend. [Read more…] about Introducing Guy Stauber – Marvel at Sir Bevis Comic
One of my favourite post-Christmas traditions is to ride on the Watercress Line between Alresford and Alton just after the end of the Santa specials and before New Year.
My family used the Santa specials years ago when my son was younger and the present given was always a good one. The downside is these Santa trains are very popular and booking early is a must (not a downside from the Watercress Line’s viewpoint of course) but now my son is older, we can avoid all that! The post-Christmas trains are also busy but not to the same extent and booking is generally not necessary. [Read more…] about Review the Watercress Line
I thought I’d finish for this year with some light-hearted seasonal limericks and flash fiction pieces. Hope you enjoy them.
I also hope you had plenty of books (in print or electronically) for Christmas and you are happily working your way through them! [Read more…] about Seasonal Limericks and Flash Fiction
I love Christmas, most of it anyway. I would love to see more goodwill being shown by the Christmas shopping crowds as we all try to buy presents and so on but that’s another story.
Being a Christian, the Christmas story and services have special resonance of course, though I know all would welcome the idea of goodwill to all men being practised by ourselves at all times of year (despite mankind failing on this count miserably so often, just look at the news for the proof, but the goodwill idea is a sound one and we shouldn’t give up on it. I don’t think it’s been given a long enough trial period!). [Read more…] about What I Like (and Dislike) about Christmas
Christmas is, for authors and publishers, the most important time of the year for selling books and is a major lifeline for our bookshops.
With so few independent bookshops around now, it is nice to be able to share news of one that is not only continuing to do well but is also stocking local author Richard Hardie’s Young Adult novels, Leap of Faith and Trouble With Swords.
[Read more…] about Local Author News: Richard Hardie