Monday, 28 October 2013

It's Nano time again

I wasn't going to take part in NaNoWrimo this year. Although I found the crazy challenge of writing a novel in 30 days exciting and even enjoyable last year, this time I felt that I didn't have another novel in me.

I am so glad that has changed and it was all due to me attending the Wrekin Writers workshop which was part of the Wellington literary festival.

Kate Long, bestselling author of 'The Bad Mother's Handbook', ran an excellent work shop on creating characters at speed which I found so useful but it was the warm up exercise that got me inspired and gave me the thirst to keep on writing without stopping. The exercise was simply to start with the line ' I remember' and when I started writing, my pen didn't leave the page. It was a great feeling as I scribbled down everything 'I could remember' and the words just seemed to flow out of me.

I chose a personal topic that has been a part of my life since I was a child and so I was able to write without even thinking about it, I loved the feeling of putting pen to paper and not even questioning what I was writing down - because it was real.

During the break I talked to Bryan Vaughan, a very successful Nano participant and very talented writer. His enthusiasm got to me while we were talking but again, I still didn't have the desire to enter.

But then a few days later something happened to change my mind when inspiration struck.  I love those days when something literally does pop into your head. I got that feeling the moment I woke up. An idea came to me and so I had the urge to enter NanoWrimo again and write another story.  The difference with this one is it will be a true story.  The story of 'Chad' my beatufiul horse that has been a friend to me since I was aged 14.  We have grown up together and shared a lifetime of experiences, most of them wonderful and some of them dreadful.  He has seen me go from a horse mad teenager with plaits to a horse mad middle aged woman with a bob and I have seen a true gentleman grow old while still having a passion for chocolate and polo mints.   

I have never until now thought about 'true life' stories so this is very different for me, I am not a famous person and Chad is only a part of my own familiy life, to me that doesn't matter. It may not be a best selling novel but I do know that I can certainly write 50,000 words over 30 days about it.

So here goes, roll on the 1st November, I can't wait to start.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Be Aware

I always think it's amazing when a single event can lead to a complete change of path or the way you think.

This has definitely happened for me over the last few months when I started my one year Bardic course with the British Druid Order.  You can read more about my journey if you wish on my other blog The Pagan Apprentice but this post is about how it has opened up so many opportunities that have turned into writing successes.

I mentioned the World Drum in my previous post and now my article has been published in Kindred Spirit magazine too. This article came about because of my involvement with the British Druid order who invited me to an event then allowed me to interview their founder and chief ,Greywolf on how he felt about the World drum coming to Great Britain.  It was a wonderful experience to interview and talk to someone and I gained so much inspiration from our chat.

Since I have started the course I have learnt and been encouraged to be aware of everything around me at all times.  This is so important with writing of any kind and it has helped me find inspiration every single day just because I am aware of what is around me, particular in nature and the earth. 

When I wake up I am aware of what sounds I can hear and on my drive to work I see all sorts of things that sometimes I may have let go and forgotten about.  During my day at work I listen, I see, I smell, I feel and I take it all in then scribble it down in my trusty notebook ready for a time I may need to use it.

Life is busy and it is hard to be like this all the time but I am trying to make it part of my daily routine so that when I want to write about a wind swept hill or a a forest dappled with sunshine, I can, even though I may not be near one at the time.  It is about ceasing every opportunity you are in and being aware of everything going on in it so that you can put that into your writing.

The picture in this post was taken by Elaine Gregory when we were up on the top of the snow covered Titterstone Clee hill in April.  I met the world drum and some wonderful people and I do believe that every moment I was there, I have kept in my memory as I was so inspired by it all.  This was one of my life events that has motivated me into a different path and trying out all sorts of writing outside of my comfort zone.

So, be aware. Aware of everything you do and see, try something different, a new hobby or perhaps visit a place you have never been to, you never know where it may lead.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

A very special edition

I have been writing for my local parish magazine for some time now and was thrilled to see my article on the World Drum in this months issue.  I was lucky enough to see this amazing creation when it came to South Shropshire and actually got to play it on top of the Titterstone Clee.  The whole experience has left me full of inspiration and at the moment I can't stop writing about one thing or another. It's as though it has given me something, a constant beat of motivation that won't leave me and now I have so many projects going on at the same time.

                                         Diane Perry (first left) with members of the British Druid Order on Titterstone Clee

 This feels strange for me as usually I have to stick to one thing but I can't at the moment, my head is bursting with ideas that I want to get down while they are still fresh in my mind and it is paying off as I have already submitted a few articles and several letters as well as completing the first draft of a children's book. 

This edition of West of the Clee is very special for another reason too, as apparently a pair of Red Kites have been spotted in  Stoke St Milborough which is just across the way from where I live. I saw one about ten miles away from my home the other week but this is incredible.  It feels like my novel 'Red Kite' is actually coming true.  After all these years of writing about red kites on the clee they are actually coming to the area for real.

I don't get paid for any of the work in this magazine but that doesn't matter, to see my work in such a lovely little publication is payment enough for me. 

Sunday, 31 March 2013

What's the question?

Thanks to Julie Phillips who invited me to take part in this question and answer blog. I believe this originally came from Jane Wenham-Jones and then Lynne Hackles so I feel very privileged to be part of the blog question chain.  I like this sort of thing as it gets people to know a little bit more about me.  It's a nice way of finding out little bits of information that may not normally be published in a blog post. 

Q. Where were you born and where do you live at the moment?

I was born in Madeley, Shropshire. I loved it as a child. We had an old ruined court house, miles of woods and fields to play in and wonderful community spirit on the crescent where I lived.  I now live near to Ludlow on the edge of a small village, it's quite remote, we don't even have a phone box but that's how I love it.

Q. Have you always lived and worked in Britain or are you based elsewhere at present?

I have always lived and worked in Shropshire, I am a true Shropshire lass.

Q. Which is your favourite part of Britain?

Around the Lizzard in Cornwall is my favourite but I am drawn to all the Celtic areas of Britain.

Q. Have you ‘highlighted’ or ‘showcased’ any particular part of Britain in your books? For example, a town or city; a county, a monument or some well-known place or event?

My book 'Red Kite' is set around the South Shropshire hills, mainly the Titterstone Clee which is almost in my back garden! I loved doing the research for it as every time I walked up there, I could walk the footsteps of my main character, this made him very real to me.  

Q. There is an illusion – or myth if you wish – about British people that I would like you to discuss. Many see the ‘Brits’ as ‘stiff upper lip’. Is that correct?

Maybe during the war this was the case but I don’t believe it is today. Some people get on with it no matter what but others - well!!

Q. Tell us about one of your recent books

I have just self published my book ‘Red Kite’ It’s a teenage book about a boy who trying to cope with the death of his brother and is bullied at school. His only joy is that of birdwatching but he is prevented from even enjoying that.
I want to show that there is still a lot of young people who are really into nature and conservation.   

Q. What are you currently working on?

I am writing a series of younger children’s books in the 5-7 age group and also a non-fiction book for the same age about dinosaurs.  When I have those done I am hoping to write some more magazine articles.

Q. How do you spend your leisure time?

I have two horses and four chickens so they take up quite a bit of time. I love spending time out in the garden too. I am fascinated in the Pagan way of life and am studying Wicca at the moment. I love golf and am having lessons.  It was something my Dad was very good at.  I just got the urge to learn one day.  I have also just taken up playing the Ukulele but I am not very good.  When I am not doing any of those things I love writing!

Q. Do you write for a local audience or a global audience?

I hope to reach a global audience with my books but my magazine articles are usually focused on a local audience.

Q. Can you provide links to your work?

I have two other blogs and my page on Amazon

Friday, 22 March 2013

Lots of Red Kites

I took my first delivery of several copies of 'Red Kite' today.  It may be a small box but it's the start of my stocking up of copies in the hope that one day I will sell them all. It's expensive to order  large numbers so I will probably just order a few each month and build my supplies that way.

Until now, I was only ordering one at a time. That's the scary thing with self publishing, I had to make sure it was right before sending it out into the world.  It was only me making the decisions and I had no one else to blame if it wasn't right.  The first few attempts were terrible as there was so much to think about.  Each time I received my solitary copy, it came back looking odd with the spine too thin, then the next time it looked like a telephone directory as I kept on changing the layout which altered the thickness of the book.  Then I forgot to put the ISBN number on so that was another copy wasted really.

Finally, I got my act together and was satisfied with the result so took the plunge of ordering a few more copies which arrived today. 

Now the hard work starts of marketing it which to me is even harder than writing it but I have a few plans, some may be crazy but I am going to give it my best shot.    

Monday, 11 February 2013

It's not always about the money

I've had a really good start to my writing year with quite a few letters published in various magazines.  My most recent is Spirit and Destiny magazine which I will receive £25 for my trouble.  It took me fifteen minutes to write and email and so was thrilled to see it published in the lastest edition.

It's not always about the money though.  Of course it's nice to get cash but it's exciting and interesting to receive gifts for publication too.  I had a letter published in Horse magazine recently and was thrilled to receive a voucher for horse feed which will come in very handy for my two ponies!

I'ts good to widen your options and write for as many magazines but if they give prizes instead of cash, the gift you receive may not always be relevant and although you can give it away, it's great to get some sort of payment that is relevent as this one was with me. 

I also had a letter or mini-story published in TAB Fate and  Fortune magazine and received some fun decision dice as a prize for that which again is something I am interested in.  

I would highly reccomend sending letters in to magazines, especially if it's something you are interested in.

Have a go, you never know what you may receive. 

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

One sentence a day

I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I have set myself a new challenge for 2013.   As well as writing more articles and a non-fiction book, I wanted to do something a bit different.

I was given this beautiful little diary for Christmas with just enough space to write one sentence on each day of the week.  With that in mind I thought if I could do this every day for a whole year, I will actually end up with a short story of around 2000 words by next December 31st if on average my sentences are around 8 - 10 words.  I love challenges like this because I have no idea where it will take me.  My moods and thoughts will be different every day so it will be interesting to see what I have at the end of it.

I found this when I was doing the Nanowrimo challenge which is the other end of the scale in that you have to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  My story took a complete change in the final stages and I had no idea why, it just happened.

I quite like the idea of slowly does it and this certainly won't hinder my other writing projects or give me writers cramp.

So here I go.  I have no idea what to write but when I open it up onto the first day of a new year, I am determined to put an entry in and keep going for the whole year.

Inspirational Blog Awards

I would like to thank Julie Phillips for this inspiring award.  What a lovely way to start the new year.

So now to follow the tradition I will give you seven facts as to why I started to write.

1. My mother is also a writer and she had a huge old typewriter when I was a child.  I wanted to learn to type so I started out by making up little stories and typing them out.

2. In my school holidays I worked through some exercises that Mom had for a journalism course.  I loved the challenge of each assignment and learning new techniques.

3. When I was 14, I was lucky to buy my beautiful horse Chad who is still with me today.  He inspired me to write about horses.  I passed my stable management course and loved jotting down factual things and stories about horses.  My first publication was in Horse and Pony magazine.  I had a letter published and this encouraged me to write more.

4. I also had a fascination about ghosts.  I loved writing ghost stories and completed a small handwritten book full of my own work.

5.In the early 1980's my Mom was getting regular articles published.  She was part of the very early Wrekin Writers and I got very interested in what she was doing.

6. In 1999 I joined Wrekin Writers.  I entered a poem in the members only competition and I got a commended .  This really inspired me and I have been a member ever since. Being part of the group has been so wonderful and I got encouragement from fellow members and bloggers.  I started writing articles and short stories and was published in several magazines and then I was introduced to the world of blogging which has been a great experience in writing something on a regular basis.

7. In March 2007 my book 'One Hundred Ways For A Chicken To Train Its Human' was published by Hodder and Stoughton.  I have to thank Simon Whaley - author of One Hundred Ways For A Dog To Train Its Human' plus many other books.  He suggested that I try writing the chicken one which is what I did and I am thrilled to say it is still selling today.  This gave me confidence to try other things and now I have self published my first novel on Kindle.  

So there you have it.  I have loved writing from an early age and been inspired in many ways by many people and many animals.

 I shall now pass this award on to three more fellow bloggers who are all very different but very inspiring and entertaining.   Mermaids drownMuch Malarky Manor and klahanie.