Prize winner at Lincoln Book Festival 2020

Prize winner at Lincoln Book Festival 2020

Since lockdown began I’ve been focussing on my novel Governor’s Man, and neglecting my usual short story writing. Then along came the Lincoln Book Festival 2020 flash fiction competition. The challenge was to write a complete 50-word story about the Lincoln Imp. Those of you who’ve visited Lincoln will know of the little gargoyle who sits perched on top of Lincoln Cathedral, staring down at passers by. Locals regard him as malign; he’s been blamed for all sorts of mishaps over the centuries, from housefires and miscarriages to sour milk.

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Life in the Time of Coronavirus #9: more on writing my historical novel

Life in the Time of Coronavirus #9: more on writing my historical novel

3 May, 2020

This weekend we’re all waiting to hear from the Government how and when the lockdown will be eased. So, as I’m still in limbo with nothing fresh to add – apart from how long my fringe has grown this week – I’ll share a bit more about the writing of my historical novel, Governors Man.

It’s a sideways step, via a short story. Bear with me.

Very soon after my visit to Taunton Museum (as related in my blog of 26 April), I found myself standing on a bumpy muddy slope, looking north to the Shapwick nature reserve. The main fold of the Somerset Polden Hills was behind and above me. Under my feet were the remains of a Roman villa burned down in AD 224. As I stood there the image of a young girl sprang complete into my mind: adolescent, dark-haired, a bit on the thin side, horse-mad, bursting with energy. Let me introduce you to Aurelia Aureliana. Continue reading “Life in the Time of Coronavirus #9: more on writing my historical novel”

Fear and Fables…horror at Christmas

Back in the autumn, the bijou but lovely team at Stormy Island Publishing kindly accepted my flash story Mirror at Midnight for their upcoming Halloween anthology. Then fate intervened, via toddler’s orange juice poured into the editor’s laptop, and Halloween went by uncelebrated (by me). Continue reading “Fear and Fables…horror at Christmas”

Swan song for Swanwick70

Swan song for Swanwick70

If you’re dead or live on Mars, you may not have heard of the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School. Being neither a Martian, nor moribund (last time I looked), I was already aware that Swanwick is the oldest independent writing school in the world. But it’s taken me several years to take the plunge as a delegate.  I assumed it would be packed full of published authors, all knowing each other.  I pictured myself sitting forlorn in a corner, ignored by the great and good, and then slinking away to my room, knowing myself to be right at the muddy bottom of the literary food chain.

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The other side of the hill

The other side of the hill

This blog is usually about my writing, or other authors I love. In case you’re steeling yourself for the crushing disappointment of not hearing about my latest publication, relax.  There will be links to my new anthology at the end.

We writers tend to live in a fantasy world of our own creation much of the time. But at times in any writer’s life,  reality doesn’t just intrude: it bangs open the door, shouts loudly to attract attention, and continues to be demanding and exhausting for as long as it can get away with. A bit like a teenager.

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