110626 It’s All Go!

Well, what a week. I am well and truly cream crackered but happily so. I have participated as much as possible in the inaugural Literary Festival, reading out my own satirical piece as well as someone else’s where I played the Queen (as One does) as part of the Worcester Writers’ Circle Lampoon evening at Drummonds last Wednesday, read my short story “Whistler’s Mother” as part of the Sinister Shorts evening at the University on Friday, as well as run a Picture Book workshop with children’s book author Karen King in the very beautiful St Swithun’s Church ( I have lived in Worcester for twenty three years and am ashamed to say this was the first time I had stepped inside this beautiful interior).

As well as “performing” I have also enjoyed hearing Tony Judge talk about the writing of his first novel Sirocco Express in an interview with Peter Spalton, attended a mesmerising book binding workshop where I hand stitched two small booklets under the expert eye of Angela Sutton, heard about the writing of the play “Elgar and Alice” about Elgar’s life by Peter Sutton at the Swan Theatre, and nearly, I repeat nearly, heard William Cash talk about his book about Graham Greene’s affair which inspired “The End of the Affair” (unfortunately we turned up not realising he had cancelled. Gggrrr, William Cash, gggrrrr!)

This afternoon I am off for cake and bubbly to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of Worcester Writers’ Circle and shall no doubt read a few of my haiku, and tonight I am off to read more haiku at Malvern Theatre as a member of Malvern Writers’ Circle. Today and tomorrow are the last two days to catch our Literary Portraits exhibition here at our Battenhall studios. Oh! and I’ve got toothache. It’s all go!

So what now? Well, I have started writing a non fiction book about life drawing so watch this space and I’ll keep you informed. If and when it’s published you’ll be the first to know and I’ll encourage you to buy a half a dozen copies to keep the bare wolf from this door.


110608 small is beautiful

The inaugural Worcestershire Arts Trail went really well; Paul and I met some lovely people and the four days went very quickly. I am sure that by next year there will be even more participants and even more people coming round. By next year we intend to have more drawings, prints and cards available. It felt good to be able to recommend other artist studios in the vicinity for interested parties to discover.

We then spent a magical few days on the coast in mid Wales catching up with the Museum of Modern Art in Macchynleth and sunbathing amongst the dunes in Aberdovey. The weather was kind and the wild natural beauty of the area delightful after being studio bound for the previous few days. Although we were camping we managed to find the nearest 4* hotel at lunch time and treat ourselves to the most delicious three course lunches you can imagine. This turned it into more of a glamping experience but goodness me, having left the kids behind who can blame us! Sadly however this week I now have to diet trying to lose all the extra pounds I put on. Ah well. It seemed a good idea at the time but boy! does sea air make you ravenous.

Now the inaugural Worcestershire Literary Festival is nearly upon us and we are busy framing paintings for the literary portrait exhibition we are holding here in our studios at 74 Battenhall Avenue. I am also going to be involved reading at Worcester Writers’ Circle events during the festival and being on the door selling tickets for some of the events, as well as running a picture book workshop with Karen King. But well done, Lisa Ventura, for organising it and getting it off the ground. Its good to have a cultural event going on in the city and I hope everyone tries to support it. There are so many interviews, workshops, book signings, readings taking place there is surely something for everybody. Small is beautiful this year but I am sure that by next year, just like the Arts Trail, it will have grown. Check out: http://www.worcslitfest.com for all the up to date details.

writing tips 10915

I am rejigging my picture book, Lost In Venice. It isn’t easy because I feel I am at the coal face and can no longer see it so clearly. But I’ll keep pressing on because I can see a whole series developing and mentally I am already rejecting the mail bag of invitations to Literary Festivals and book shop signings. Double bookings are so tedious.

To help myself I have started doing online research into Picture Books and have come across various blogs and websites that offer good advice and tips. I have printed off so many snippets that my expensive new cartridges are now blinking low at me again. GGgrrrr! Why are they £30 a pop and only last five minutes?

I recently arrived at a writers’ conference and was nervously sorting out my name tag thinking how I didn’t know anyone and dare I sidle over to the coffee machine on my own when I found myself very generously lending a pen to the woman next to me; we got talking, as you do when you’re screaming I don’t know anyone inside, and I asked her what sort of writing she did. BINGO! I’d struck gold! She said she was a childrens’ author who’d written over 100 books. Dearly wishing to have even one minor tome published I thought, stick close this woman – she knows a lot more than you do; then further wicked thoughts like: useful contact, fame and fortune, it’s who you know, gold digger etc. sprang to mind. So I got out my glue gun, did as it says on the tin, and stuck close to her practically sitting right on top of her as we went through. She was lovely and I really liked her Brummy accent which reminded me of my roots and the accent I’d tried to stave off. But, hey, now that John Bishop has made regional accents de rigeur I may start cultivating the Brummy one again. Well, if it worked for her……..The fact that she then proceeded to place a colourful business card straight into my hungry paw without being asked also made her a friend for life. Nice to meet you Karen King.

So afterwards I looked up her website and started clicking on the tips and links, and links of links, and links of links of links and BINGO! stumbled across the one below which I now share with you. I thought it was funny and useful, especially for anyone as hungry to write a Picture Book as I am.


Unfortunately I can’t now find the bit on it about Picture Books; it is in there some where so if you stumble across it, send me the link. Please.