Posts Tagged ‘dream’

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStarting out as a writer is a big step, and we all have our own individual needs and experiences. So here’s my story about learning how to write in physical isolation within a fairly remote region of Australia, and hence why the internet became a vital component of my own personal transformation.
I have always been a voracious reader, but had never considered writing anything myself. Being rather lazy in many ways, I much preferred reading the fruit of everybody else’s efforts while remaining cosily tucked up in bed with a mug of coffee or a glass of wine, along with a nice view out the window.
However, when I decided to start a career in law, an utterly compelling desire to write fiction became embedded in my brain. This, I guess, was the natural result of spending too many onerous hours slaving over legal essays where just about every sentence had to be accompanied by a substantiating footnote in conjunction with highly irritating formatting requirements. In the end, I decided that once I had earned my little piece of paper, I was going to take six months off to solely write fiction.
But just how does an aspiring fiction writer begin to write? I have to confess that I had absolutely no idea.
In an attempt to find out, I joined my local writer’s group. However, attending “local” writers meeting equated to a three hour round trip in the dry season, and five hours or more in the wet, when the roads become blocked by rising creeks and fallen trees.
So in the alternative, I began to explore what was on offer on the internet. Among other things, I tried attending virtual writing group meetings on Second Life in a beguiling and sometimes naked avatar form.
misty_mountain_range_500Next, I submitted a few short stories to the website, ABC Pool. This was an experimental platform that connected our national broadcaster with local communities across Australia. Here, contributors not only gained feed back on their work from media professionals, as well as the other contributors, they were also provided with the opportunity to have work published at the national level.

In no time at all, I had two of my works broadcast on national radio, and my happy new career was successfully launched. Though remaining true to form, I always prefer to write on my laptop while remaining cosily tucked up in bed with a nice view along with a mug of coffee or a glass of wine. Though red or white is fine. I really don’t mind.

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Elke Nagy lives in Far North Queensland, Australia, and currently works as freelance writer and visual artist. Three of her short stories have been recently published by Ether Books, and today she is busily engaged in writing up her first novel  — a sensual, yet malevolent murder mystery set in the tropical rainforest of her home environs.

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Why did I sign up with December House? After all, I’ve self-published books before, and enjoyed the freedom and control that offers. But when they expressed an interest in my manuscript I jumped at the chance to work with them.

There were several reasons. One comes down to genre. See, I didn’t really know what type of book Engn is. I just naively sat down and wrote a book I wanted to write, without a thought for category or marketing niche. About half-way through the first draft a fellow-writer asked what sort of book it was. I have to admit the question threw me. You’re supposed to know stuff like that when you’re a writer, right? I probably muttered something about Gormenghast with steam engines and left it at that. But it was a problem. Engn is an alternative-world book, but there’s no magic. It’s perhaps steampunk – or maybe clockpunk – but not really SF because, frankly, some of the technology I use might not actually work. At least not in our universe. It’s an adventure story and the hero, Finn, is a teenager for most of the story. So, yes, YA Fantasy. More or less.

But I knew that difficulty with categorization would be a problem for some publishers. Was Engn just too odd? A few agents and publishers rejected it explaining they couldn’t see how it could be marketed, where it fitted. Fortunately, December House saw it for the book it was.

Logo-smallMarketing is not my strong suit, so that’s another reason I wanted to sign up with a publisher. December House are switched on; they understand the modern publishing industry and how to use the internet. They get how digital publishing works, and I’m not always convinced other publishers do. Twitter, Wattpad, LibraryThing, Goodreads – they’re all over them. I’ve come across some agents who don’t even have a web site. Incredible but true.

Two other parts of the experience have convinced me I made the right choice for this book. The first was the editing process, which was a joy. A lot of work, mind, but very rewarding. Engn emerged from it a much stronger book. The second was the cover. Cover design is such a skill, and how to create a compelling cover for a novel like Engn? Frankly I had no idea. Fortunately December House did. They sent me 6 or 8 mock-ups to choose from. It was one of those moments in life when something leaps out at you and you know it’s right and perfect. So it was with one of those covers. Fortunately it was their favourite too. And so there it is. A cover that thrills me every time I look at it.

Engn is a YA Fantasy novel, published by the UK publisher December House. It’s available in all eBook formats from July 15th.

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Engn Cover 528 x 800

December House says:

A stand-out novel from established writer of sci-fi and fantasy shorts Simon Kewin. In Engn he has created a truly immersive universe, from the idyllic valley where the novel begins to the mythology, mechanisms and vastness of ENGN. As you follow Finn’s dramatic journey of struggle, determination and discovery you can’t fail to imagine you are there with him.

The Blurb:

Finn’s childhood in the valley is idyllic, but across the plains lies a threat. Engn is an ever-growing steam-powered fortress, that needs a never-ending supply of workers. Generation after generation have been taken away, escorted into its depths by the mysterious and terrifying Ironclads, never to return.

The Masters of Engn first take Finn’s sister, then his best friend, Connor. He thinks he, at least, is safe – until the day the ironclads come to haul him away too.

Yet all is not lost, Finn has a plan. In the peace of the valley he and Connor made a pact. A promise to join the mythical Wreckers and end Engn’s tyranny.

But now on his own, lost and thwarted in the vastness of Engn, Finn begins to have doubts. Is Connor really working to destroy Engn?Or has he become part of the machine?

Reviews:

“I was completely enthralled by this book. Simon Kewin’s writing is vivid. The premise of the book reminded me slightly of The Hunger Games…”

“Engn is a mashup between two of the hottest trends in young adult fiction right now: dystopian worlds and steampunk.”

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Blog Tour Dates and Locations:

DateBloggerFeatured on… Post Topic Monday 15th Mary Pax

 Engn as a metaphor – Tuesday 16th Sophia C

 Mash-up nature of Engn – Wednesday 17th Sue Howe (you are here, dear)

Where ideas came from and how they developed – Thursday 18thRhonda Parrish

 Words Friday – 19th Stephanie Loree Niteblade Interview published.

Genre Saturday – 20thDaphne

Engn Universe – How SK conceived Engn fortress – Sunday 21stDaniela Castro

Engn Characters – Monday 22ndJeff Chapman

 Interview Tuesday – 23rdDonna Hosie

 Publishing process  – Wednesday 24th Ellie Garratt

Speculative Fiction Writer’ spot - TBC

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Simon writes fantasy, SF, mainstream and some stories that can’t make their minds up. He lives in England with Alison and their daughters Eleanor and Rose. Find him and links to his books here.

Once again I have had the pleasure of being one of the selecting editors for the FlashFlood journal. If anything, the standard of submissions was slightly higher this time and the variety of topics and ‘voices’ seemed more diverse. I laughed out loud a couple of times, which is always a good sign, and one very short piece made my eyes water so much I had to stop and find a tissue! I had a great time reading and discussing them with my colleagues – many thanks to everyone who submitted. We may go quarterly from now on, so I’m looking forward to the next outing.

Please drop by and have a read – some stories are just a few sentences long. My story, Fashion Victim, will go live at around 6.45pm. I hope you enjoy it!

A huge thank you to Sue for inviting me onto her blog today… I don’t think she realised that when I’m enthusiastic about something, I can ramble for hours!

So Sue’s asked me to convince her of the merits of creative writing courses, classes and workshops. I’m hoping that by the time she reads this she’ll be enrolling on everything she comes across.

My first experience of ‘creative writing’ was a baptism of fire. I decided (through madness or stupidity, I still don’t know which) to accompany a friend to a course at our local Adult Education centre. I hadn’t written any fiction since leaving school, although I had been journal writing for several years. That was exactly 2 years ago this month, and it was one of the best decisions of my life! I’ll be honest; the course itself was a little boring. I found myself nodding off in several sessions! But somehow, through all the yawning something clicked. Something happened to me during that short course, and it’s been driving me on ever since.

I realised that writing is just like any other subject. To be a good writer you have to learn how. I devoured books, writing magazines and completed Nanowrimo (twice!) all in my quest to be a better writer. But I needed instruction. I needed someone to tell me where I was going wrong. So I enrolled on the NEC’s Home Study Writing course. That was great, but I felt very isolated. Seeing the advert for Swanwick in The Writing Magazine, and my friend agreeing to come with me, came at exactly the right moment, as I was beginning to realise that I would need more than just my passion to achieve my dream.

Since that first trip to Swanwick, a truly life changing experience, I have studied with The Write Place, attended many workshops, been to Caerleon, attended Swanwick for a second year and completed an online Pocket Novel Course. I’ve had critiques on my work by respected authors, joined a writing group, and set up a writing group. My life has been enriched by every single experience, and my writing improved tenfold. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’ve learnt in the last 2 years, it’s been a roller coaster, one that I’m not sick of, just yet. I’ve met some fantastic writers, inspiring tutors, and made some great friends.

It was all very scary at first. You’re in a room with all these people and you’re thinking, oh no, they’re all better than me, they’re all proper writers, I’m not. But the great thing is, you don’t have to share your work. There have been plenty of times where I’ve gone completely blank. Most recently at Swanwick, when I did an Erotica class with Della Galton. One of the exercises was to come up with a title for an Erotic story. Could I come up with one? Nope! I watched everyone scribbling away in their notebooks, whilst my pen just hovered over mine. Of course, I didn’t offer to share my non-existent title, and by the time I’d got back to my room I’d come up with six!

But there are other times, when you hear people read out their work and you think, wow, mine isn’t so bad after all. When you take that first step, to share something you’ve just written, read it out aloud to the class, your chest is pounding and your mouth is dry. You wonder, “What the hell am I doing here?”And then, after you’ve read it, someone says “Oooo, I want to know more, what happens?” or “That was really good, I liked it.” Well, at that moment, your confidence soars and they have to peel you down from the ceiling.

If you’re the shy type (as I am) I would definitely recommend attending a couple of work shops or classes before you throw yourself in at the deep end and attend a residential school. The residential schools are brilliant, from a social aspect, but they can also be a little overwhelming for an introverted newbie. I would never have attended one on my own, without at least knowing one person there. At Swanwick they have a white badge scheme, so everyone knows its your first time. This is very useful, because, although you’re singled out as being new, it alerts others (some who have been attending for 20+ years!) to the fact that you may be on your own. As a Swanwick Steward last year I tried to talk to every ‘white badger’ I came across, because, I knew what it felt like.

So, that’s all well and good, I guess you’re saying, but what about putting all this knowledge to good use? Where’s the novel? Am I actually any closer to becoming the publishedauthor I dream about? Well, I feel that I’ve spent the last 2 years experimenting, not really knowing which direction I should go in. I came away from Swanwick this year more focused, discovering, for example, that I’m not a short story writer. My voice has started to develop and so has my style (blogging has really helped with that…I can highly recommend it!). But there is still so much I need to learn and in the words of Albert Einstein, “I am neither especially clever nor especially gifted. I am only very very curious.”

As I sit at my desk, typing this, surrounded by piles of notebooks, folders, cats and study guides I can’t help but smile, and remember my conversation with Simon Hall, after we’d both attended Roz Southey’s “Show Not Tell” workshop in Swanwick. I jokingly commented on his attendance, saying something along the lines of “Well, you don’t need a workshop for show and tell.” He laughed and replied “You’d be surprised, I often need reminding, and there’s always something you can learn.”

So I guess I’m not alone in my quest to learn, my need to be better. My confidence increases with every course, class and workshop. And in 10 years’ time, I’ll still be learning, but hopefully, by then, I’ll have at least a couple of best sellers to my name. Oh, and if you’re thinking of coming to Swanwick next year, do, I’ll be the one with the bright yellow badge saying “STEWARD” and rescuing ‘white badgers’ when they lock themselves out of their rooms.

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Vikki Thompson lives in Kent with her husband, 3 adult children (who refuse to leave home) and 2 cats. She blogs, (or should that be rambles?) daily at The View Outside and spends her time fantasising about being the next EL James but isn’t too keen on having to write Erotica to achieve that, unless Robert Downey Jnr is available for research. Next month she starts another course, with The Faber Academy and is hoping that SJ Watson won’t be too upset when she becomes the next Faber success story (tongue firmly in cheek!).

I’m a disabled grandmother, with tangerine hair,
and I shoot outlaws!

Well, now I’ve got your attention, this is my story.

I have been writing since I first picked up a pen. I don’t have blood in my veins, I have ink! But it has to be black, I can’t write in blue. I was encouraged in my reading and writing by my Dad and Paternal Grandad. Mum was only ever really interested in her animals, and seemed to see reading and writing as a complete waste of time! In later years, a rather strange ‘coincidence’ made her change her mind!

Since then, I have had a variety of poems and short articles printed in various papers, anthologies, and magazines. Some were paid but not many. The very first one I saw in print was in our local paper, when I was about 11 or 12 years old. My poem was a long one about the Vietnam War, the paper did a 2 page spread on the war, and put my poem on the same page. I still have the very ragged cutting!

The moment I saw that, something deep within me started restlessly moving. One day I was going to be a published author with a hardback novel to my name, I just knew it. Poetry is good for the soul and I used it mainly for its cathartic nature. Every time I received a rejection letter for another short story, or even for a novel, I resorted to poetry.

They say ‘write about what you know’ don’t they? Well, for years I totally ignored that, and wrote what I thought would sell. If only I’d written about what I knew, I might have been published much earlier.

I went to College as a ‘mature student,’ and achieved A levels in, Arts and Crafts, Art History, and Photography. They led to an Honours Degree in Cultural Studies, level 2 Counselling Certificate and a teaching Certificate. Then, I decided I enjoyed the whole College scene and, with a little nudging from various people, especially husband Chris, I went on to achieve my Masters in Writing Studies (a combination of Eng. Lit and Creative Writing). I loved it. And again, one of the things I learned was, ‘write about what you know’. But still I wrote what I wanted to and sent out poems, articles, stories, and even novels, all of which came right back to me. I started calling them ‘frisbees’ as, every time I received one, I’d spin it across the room in disgust!

I then started teaching Arts and Crafts and Life Skills, to people with special learning needs, and Creative Writing, in both evening classes, and Open College classes, for the local FE College. I also led workshops for the local library on a regular basis for a while. I was in my element! I still love gabbing on about the wonder of writing, to anyone who will stand still long enough to listen!

As a child, we had lived on farms (where I ran wild in the fields, riding the beautiful Jersey cows, and herding geese) and in pet shops (with fierce ferrets, grumpy gerbils, savage skinks, and pesky piranhas) and in poodle parlours. So, chances were very strong, that I would be an animal person when I ‘grew up’ — and I am.

After Chris and I married (we met in a field, of course!) we moved to Kent, where we renovated an old farm cottage, long before ‘doing up’ was fashionable, turning the land around us into a smallholding with animals and poultry, as well as crops, I also used the tons of wild, free food that surrounded us.

As well as the two Westerns (published this year by Robert Hale), I am now working on my autobiography, stuffed full to bursting with stories of my animals and of our lives on our tiny smallholding, where I had the chance to keep ponies of my own, at last. It will probably run into 3 books, as there are so many stories, some of which are funny, some tragic, but almost always concerning animals.

I know a fair bit about horses. I had been riding since I was 3 and have spent all my spare time with horses, for around the last 20 years. I know a fair bit about Native Americans and have had a passion for their culture since I was young. For me, even as a pre-teen, I felt they knew how to live with the Earth, and make use of all the free resources which surrounded them. They knew how to be at one with Nature. I wanted to be an Indian. I grew up watching lots of cowboy series, and movies, Laramie, Bonanza, Stagecoach, Lone Ranger, Champion the Wonder Horse, and so on — you get the picture. So, cowboys, Indians, horses, where do you think this is going?

And then… stay with me, it really does have some bearing on the whole picture, honestly! My husband Chris had grown up with no knowledge of his real father; his mother married when he was 7 and never told him about the man who had sired him. He had often mentioned to me that he wished he knew who his real father was, and where he was from. His mother had died without revealing her secret, but left some old sepia photographs of men in uniform in the back of a drawer. No-one in the family knew who they were but, for some obscure reason, they were collected by Chris’s sister and put in a box, along with their Mum’s other papers. How grateful we are that she didn’t just throw them away.

Knowing how much it meant to him, for his 65th birthday I bought Chris a DNA test, to try and settle it once and for all, thinking this might be the last chance we would have, as his father would then be quite old, or even deceased. The results were posted on the Ancestry web site. A mere couple of weeks later, another result came up on the site, which bore a remarkable similarity to Chris’s. We sent e-mails back and forth, and then I thought I would ask if we could send the old photos, on the off-chance someone might recognise them.

The photos were e-mailed to California and, the next day, the reply came, beginning with the words, ‘We have a Match’! One of the men had been recognised by two family members separately. He was their uncle! So Chris and Stuart are cousins. Unfortunately, his father had died some years previously, so Chris never did get to meet or talk to him, but we are in constant touch with the ‘new’ relatives. Thank goodness his sister had kept those photos. Now he keeps a picture of his real father, and grandparents, beside his bed. He wanted to take the name of his real father, so we added it to the name which he grew up with, and now we are double barrelled!

Cousin Stuart and his partner came to England from California last year, and visited with us for two days. For Chris to be able to shake hands with his real, blood family at last was quite an emotional moment. But for me at least, the very best part of the story is, they are the Great Great Grandsons of a Chippewa chief. Their ancestral home is in Wisconsin, a densely forested area, right at the edge of the Great Lakes. So, from being crazy about Indians for so long, I am now actually married to one!

Now Chris will be an Elder of the tribe, and has been bestowed with a Native name ‘Waa-Bani-Noo-Din’, which means ‘The Wind That comes from the East’, as our voices are sent to them over the airwaves from the East of them. As his wife, I have also been bestowed with a Chippewa name – ‘Nii-Gaan-O-Se-Kwe’, meaning ‘Woman Who Leads’. I love it, and am so proud to have it.

Then, in 2010, our lives changed quite drastically. In June I had a heart attack. I was in hospital for a week, and told to take it easy for a year after I got home. Then, in the August, just to prove he could do better than me, Chris had a stroke. He was in hospital for a month and now has to use a wheelchair, cannot use his right hand (and he’s right handed) and has difficulty communicating. He had another, smaller stroke in October last year, which affected his swallowing. So I never did get my restful year and am left with angina and arthritis. I hide from the world in my writing. With that, it doesn’t matter what goes on around me, I am in another place and, when I can have a good day on my writing with no interruptions, I have a sense of a job well done.

My writing then took a very strange and different turn and I began at long last to write what I actually knew about; horses and Indians, and cowboys. A little while after all the DNA story had been sorted, I had a dream, possibly started by Chris’s family story, or there might be another, spookier reason – read on. The dream gave me a title and almost the whole plot for a Western novel.

I had never even thought of writing in that particular genre, which, given my childhood interests, is probably a bit strange. I wrote the book, which took me about 6 months. I did have to do some research, but most of it was deeply embedded in my brain from my childhood. I sent it to Robert Hale, the only publisher of Westerns in the UK. I didn’t expect too much as they receive hundreds of manuscripts a week and only publish a few. One report has actually said, that I had two Western manuscripts hidden under my bed when Chris found his ancestors. That is definitely not true, I did have manuscripts under the bed, but Romances, not Westerns!

Within a couple of weeks, my book was accepted, contract signed, advance paid, and I was well on the way to becoming a ‘real’ author at last. When I told my Mother, she asked me what kind of book I’d actually written and, when I told her, she was stunned. Her father, my Maternal Grandad Harold, had only ever read Westerns. There were never any other kind of books in the house! He had died long before I was old enough to notice what he was reading.

Was it Grandad Harold who had given me that dream? I like to think so. Since then, my second book has been accepted, number 3 is with Hale now, and I am working on three others. And, I don’t care how strange you think I am, I really do believe that it is Grandad Harold who is guiding my pen, as he used to write a lot himself. I write the Westerns straight into the computer, which I have never done with any of my other work but, once I get started on one, my brain goes so fast that my fingers just seem to fly.

Now, after all these years, and all those horrible, depressing, rejections, I can say that I am a published author, with 2 hardback novels to my name so far. And it really does pay to write about what you know. Lesson learned, at long last. But I am still writing my Romances too. Just as a point of interest, there are only four women Western writers published by Hale, all in the UK, and all writing under male names!

Our local paper came to do an article on me this week. I think the photographer had the contrast on his camera wrong — the hair is auburn, but in the paper it shows up as tangerine! Still, I suppose it stops the eye and makes people want to read about the mad tangerine headed witch!

The latest article of mine, which is not about Westerns, will be appearing in a magazine called ‘Doll’s House and Miniature Scene’ in August. It’s about a Tudor, wood-framed, doll’s house, which Chris was building from the ground up, using real wooden joints, real stone flag floors, and so on. Then he had the stroke so, now he cannot complete it, we are hoping that someone will read the article, take the house, and love it to completion for us.

I have set up my own website where I am placing anecdotes from my life, excerpts from my books, and other works. Please, do take a look, and leave me a message or feel free to contact me if there is anything you think I might be able to help you with. You can reach me on Facebook too, at JillMcD-C Author, or on Twitter, @JillMcD-C. If you would like me to come and talk to your group, or lead a workshop, and you are in my general area, please do contact me.

Thank you for reading, folks!

If someone had told me that one day I’d be writing for a living and running a very successful writing school I’d have laughed in their face. It had taken redundancy and then the death of my father for me to realise I had to do something about my dream of being a writer. Up until then I had scribbled short stories for my own enjoyment and written copy for my breed club magazine. I wasn’t even sure I had it in me to be a published writer and was frightened that my dream would fail. It was a very nervous me that ventured into an adult education class in 1998 after first checking that I wouldn’t have to stand up and read my work out loud. Within one term I was eager to learn more, I was devouring writing magazines, sending off submissions and entering competitions. I even started to send articles to magazines and was petrified when they sold. Surely before too long someone would find out what a fraud I really was?

Like many adult education courses our creative writing classes ceased due to low numbers and budget cuts. Determined not to give up on my writing and go back to full time work I kept writing and attended workshops and a local writing group. I fitted in the odd temporary job to top up the coffers. In 2002 I heard about a writing competition being run by BBC Radio Kent. They gave the first line of a story and we had to complete it. I won the April heat and went on to become the overall winner of the year long competition which was judged live on the radio by a panel of well known people in the media world. I won a mug and my story was broadcast, but that one win opened so many doors for me.

The following year I met a course manager at the very same adult education centre where I had been a student. We chatted about my successes and after an interview I was offered a contract to teach creative writing at three of their centres – I was being paid to teach my favourite subject and the first class was to be in the room where I had once been a very nervous student. I wouldn’t say it was easy being a tutor, especially as many of my students were retired teachers. It felt very intimidating. Gradually I became comfortable in my role as I found that my students had the very same dream that had started me on the path to be a writer. Thinking back to those first classes I realise now that I couldn’t have been that bad a tutor as many of those students are now good friends with whom I have shared the odd bottle of merlot at writing retreats and workshops. I also took the opportunity to study for a teaching qualification and learned so much about the world of education.

I began to realise that although I loved to teach my favourite subject and to motivate my students, the adult education service did not support creative writing students. I became sick of the form filling and having to drum up enough attendees so that classes would go ahead the following term. I began to feel like a salesman rather than an educator. The final straw was a new management team arriving who were not interested in the successes of the people who attended our courses but only counted the ‘bums on seats.’ I’m not ashamed to say that after one particularly annoying meeting where my manager ignored the list of competitions my students had won I picked up my briefcase and walked out. I felt awful as not only had I walked away from a well paid job but I had left many students without a tutor. What happened next still brings a lump to my throat. My students all left the adult education service and demanded that I start my own classes. It was a great idea but how to start and where?

It used to be easy to rent a church hall and run a workshop, I’d done it often with our writing group but to my dismay I found that most halls in our area were used for day nurseries and the evenings fully booked for many other activities. I tentatively approached The Mick Jagger Centre in Dartford. Attached to a boys grammar school the thriving arts centre had made a name for itself off the back of ex student Sir Mick and his group, The Rolling Stones. The man himself kept in touch with the centre and had funded many music ventures for young people. Already a haven for most forms of music and dance, would the centre be interested in renting rooms to a writing school? It was important that we were a school rather than a writing group as the idea was to be able to teach all forms of writing and also provide workshops with authors, speaker events, trips and competitions; many things we were not allowed to do within the confines of the adult education service. Thankfully the MJC welcomed us with open arms and classes have gone from strength to strength. With colleague and writer, Francesca Burgess we have been delighted with students being placed and winning competitions, selling stories to magazines as well as features in national newspapers. Some now work as writers whilst others just enjoy creating and enjoying the written word. We are close to seeing the first novel being picked up and already we have non-fiction books commissioned.

I feel privileged to have played a part in so many peoples’ writing lives and helped them on their way to publication. It has been hectic at times; after all I am still writing and still have goals to achieve myself. I am a working writer as well as a tutor so life is busy but it is also very rewarding.

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Apart from running The Write Place creative writing school Elaine is a freelance journalist and author. She has a weekly column in canine publication, Our Dogs and has written three non-fiction books for dog owners. Her knowledge of the pedigree dog show world sees her broadcasting on radio about such subjects as micro chipping, dangerous dogs and picking up after our pets – her life is nothing if not glamorous!

Elaine has also written for over forty publications on topics as diverse as self building and nasty neighbours to organic apple juice production and how to set up a catering business. She was a finalist in the 2012 Harry Bowling competition as well as BBC Radio short story writer of the year in 2003.

Books available on Amazon:

A New Puppy in the Family

Showing Your Dog, A Beginner’s Guide

Canine Cuisine

Diamonds and Pearls (a collection of short stories)

…and Elaine’s Dog Blog