Posted in Announcements, Blog, Magazines & Ezines, News, Poetry, Submissions, Writing Journal, Writing Notebook, Writing Stuff

Shout Out To Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine

I’m pleased to announce that my poem ‘Conversations With Dead people’ is published in the April Issue of Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine.

You can download a FREE PDF of the magazine from Lulu here.

My poem is on page 23.

I’m really pleased this poem has been published. I wrote the first draft many years ago. The poem is about grief and how it can make you think crazy things.

The poem has gone through multiple versions since my original draft.

The title is taken from an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I am being serious. Shh, don’t tell anyone.

Posted in Blog, Novel, Submissions, Writing Journal, Writing Notebook, Writing Stuff

Another Boot In The Face

Image result for crying because life is unfairI spent most of yesterday crying, until a large bubble of snot formed in my nostril.

I wanted to be a child again and not a 35-year-old woman. As a child, I could have thrown myself on the floor and had a proper tantrum, bawling, kicking, red-in-the-face, the whole enchilada. It’s really not appropriate for a woman of my age to engage in such behaviour. Since I was at work my colleagues may not have appreciated such an exhibition. Or maybe they would have?

The reason for my wobbly? My first novel, completed two years ago has been rejected again. The novel is a lesbian love story so I submitted it to an LGBT publisher. I did get some feedback which makes a pleasant change. I usually just get a boiler plate ta but naw email.

At first the feedback puzzled me:

Though it showed promise, I keenly felt Nat’s lack of autonomy. Nat’s narrative is so dependent on her love interests that she herself is lost. She is the protagonist and so must be the driving force behind the story even when battered by external problems. It might be worth it to explore third person instead–perhaps an objective perspective would suit the narrative better.

The novel is my baby and I got really upset. I love it and I just want someone to want it, hold it, kiss it, nourish it and love it as much as I do.

I didn’t actually cry all day I had a blubber for ten minutes and glared angrily and muttered under my breath for the rest of the day.

I took a step back and a few deep breaths and let the old cogs in my brain work. Sometimes they get a little rusty.

I took out the manuscript of my novel (well, opened the word document) and had a look through it and I finally had a light-bulb moment.

Image result for LIGHTBULB MOMENT

The narrative is in the first person.

I realised I’ve fallen into the first person narrative curse. This can happen when the narrative becomes rather one-sided. Sometimes this works and I’ve read some great first person novels. I’ve also read some when it doesn’t work because the narrator comes across as selfish or indulgent or overly isolated.

Unfortunately, this has happened with my novel.

There are no sub-plots, just the narrator recounting what’s happened and the impact it has no her. The other characters are just background props.

The good thing is that I was able to take this feedback and realise what was missing from the novel.

The bad thing is it’s going to take a lot of work to make it publishable.

In short, I need to do the following:

  • Change the narrative point of view
  • Introduce sub-plots for the main character
  • Include the point of view of other character’s involved in the life of my main character

Some random ideas kicking about inside my head:

  • Third person viewpoint
  • Multiple first person viewpoints
  • Introduce some back story of the woman who kills herself, her motivations etc. and also some stuff that was happening in her life when they were teenage lovers
  • Introduce some back story of the main character’s love interests
  • I also need to change the title as The Other Side of Me probably won’t fit

I won’t be doing this for a while as I’m plotting my new crime novel, Into The Darkest Places. I want to focus on this and writing the first draft.

I really will sob and have a tantrum if I start working on The Other Side Of Me just now. I will return to this after the first draft of Into The Darkest Places is done. That won’t be for 4-6 months.

I will make some notes about what I want to revisit.

Every day is a learning curve.

Posted in Blog, Fiction, Short Story, Submissions, Writing Journal, Writing Notebook, Writing Stuff

Shout Out To Flash Fiction Magazine

I’d like to offer a massive thanks to Flash Fiction Magazine who have accepted my story, A Chance To Put The Boot In for publication.

The story will feature on the 13th September at 9 AM Pacific Time.

To read the story, visit this page.

I’d like to personally thank the editor, Mark D. Anderson for his suggestions to improve the story.

It means a lot to me that A Chance To Put The Boot In will be published. This is a wrath story from my sequence of seventy stories inspired by the seven deadly sins. It is the first story from this sequence to be published. The story is written in the first person and the character is a man – a first for me as well. So I’m really chuffed about this.

Posted in Blog, Poetry, Submissions, Writing Journal, Writing Notebook, Writing Stuff

Fade To Black, How It Sounds At The End & A Vintage Thunderbird

I submitted three poems to a poetry magazine who currently have a call for submissions for their next issue.

The poems are:

  1. Fade To Black
  2. How It Sounds At The End
  3. A Vintage Thunderbird

These poems are stand-alone. They aren’t linked to each other and don’t use the same subject matter.

In Fade to Black, a woman meets someone in a bar and falls intensely for her from the first moment she sees her.

In How It Sounds At The End, a woman recalls the tell tale signs her lover was seeing someone else.

A Vintage Thunderbird compares a beat up old used car going cheap for a woman’s heart that has been misused and broken many times.

I should hear the outcome in Mid-December.

Posted in Blog, Poetry, poetry collection, Submissions, Writing Journal, Writing Notebook, Writing Stuff

The Girl With Sad Eyes & Other Poems

A while ago I realised I’d written a lot of poems about bullying, mainly inspired by experiences of being bullied in school.

I decided to compile these in a collection. I gave the collection the title The Girl With The Sad Eyes & Other Poems.

Some of the poems touch on sexuality and the fact that some of the bullying stems from the fact the bullies believe the girl is a lesbian.

I submitted a selection of poems to a magazine.

Posted in Blog, Poetry, poetry collection, Submissions, Writing Journal, Writing Notebook, Writing Stuff

My Heart Laid Bare

Some time age I compiled a collection of poems with the title My Heart Laid Bare.

The poems within are autobiographical and all deal with my experiences of accepting I was gay, coming out and include poems about my first serious relationship and breaking up.

The collection is split into sections that focus on a particular event in my life during the period the poems were written.

For example, the first section is called Past Lives and the poems focus on my adolescence such as being bullied and a teenage crush I had on my best friend.

I submitted six poems from the collection, taken from different sections to an ezine.

Posted in Blog, Poetry, Submissions, Writing Journal, Writing Notebook, Writing Stuff

The Muses & Me

I’m fascinated by Greek Mythology. One thing that fascinates me is the muses.

A while ago I decided to use the nine muses as inspiration for a sequence of poems. The working title, which stuck was The Muses & Me.

The poems in the sequence are short, the longest being 12 lines.

I decided to use the muses description as opposed to actual names for the title of the poems. I also included the instruments associated with each muse in the poem, for example, Calliope has her writing tablet.

For example,the poem about Calliope was given the title, The Fair Voiced and so on and so forth.

Each poem deals with an encounter the narrator has at important stages in their life with the muses. For example, Calliope, the muse of epic poetry inspires the narrator to write epic poems about a doomed love affair.

I submitted the sequence to a poetry magazine.

NB: The poems were rejected at 9.30am, in record time. Oh well, screen wipe new scene. 

Posted in Anthologies, Poetry, Submissions

6 Poems Accepted For Love Anthology UPDATED

download (6)Six of my poems have been chosen to be published in the upcoming anthology, LOVE  – A Collection of Poetry and Prose on Loving and Being in Love published by Collections of Poetry & Prose.

The poems are:

  1. Naked
  2. Midnight Stroll By The Canal
  3. After Love
  4. Sparkage
  5. The Trouble With Love
  6. Is This Love?

The first draft of these poems were written at different times over the past few years.

Is This Love? is autobiographical and based on my relationship with an ex.

I’m really chuffed about this. I’ve had a few rejections recently which put me in a downer but this news has perked me right up.

To buy a copy:

  • ISBN 978-1532701726 for large format paperback (£9.99 or £13.99)
  • ASIN: B01HWDINB0 for a Kindle version (£3.99 or $5.99)
Posted in Blog, Competitions, Creative Non-Fiction, Inspiration, Poetry, Submissions, Writing Stuff

A Smart Writer Uses Their Own Experiences


I wrote a new poem called The Last Summer for the Writing Magazine Holiday Poetry competition.

The poem is narrated by a woman reflecting on the last summer of her childhood. The summer ends on a dark note when her father has her dog put down for biting someone. The poem tackles childhood, growing up and loss of innocence.

The poem is autobiographical. When I was a kid my parents took me to a fishing village in Fife called Anstruther every summer. We stayed in an old army barrack that had been converted to a basic holiday cottage. It was cheap but it was all we could afford. I loved those summers so much. Even now, we regularly return to the village at least once a year. It shocks me how different it is. When I was a kid I thought the village was magical and would never change.

A lot of my writing, especially my poetry is inspired by my own experiences. I don’t write non-fiction so the trick is turning your own experiences into fiction and making it interesting for someone else.

My first, unpublished novel, The Other Side Of Me has a large section which deals with two teenage girls who fall in love. This is based on my relationship with a girl who was my best friend when I was 13. In real life we never did much more than kiss until circumstances forced us apart. In the book the girls are lovers and a lot more happens. The book would be boring if the girls just kissed and nothing else happened. The trick is to elaborate the truth to make it a great story.

There is a well known phrase among writers that you should write what you know. This is often misinterpreted as writing only about your own experiences and own knowledge. That’s bullshit for a start. If writers only wrote about their own lives and own general knowledge the world would be full of boring books. George R R Martin’s amazing series A Song of Ice and Fire wouldn’t exist and neither would the hugely successful TV series Game of Thrones. Nobody would have heard of Harry Potter. Imagine being part of such a dull, fucked up world?

I always interpret write what you know as writing what you can learn such as researching Victorian London if you want to write a historical novel set in the era. I also think of it as writing within the limits of your own imagination.

A smart writer should us their own experiences as source material. We’ve all come across interesting people or people who have hurt us in some way. There’s nothing sweeter than getting your revenge through writing. Our experiences are unique and can spark off really good ideas.