Thursday, 8 October 2015

Festival season is here again.

So, the littlest child is settled at school and I have begun a wondrous new regime of doing only writing-related work, Monday-Friday, 9-3pm. Well, I still have to walk the dog and have done a bit of clearing out of the house and we have the usual hospital appointments and other domestic stuff to fit in but still, I'm writing more than I have for a while, which is great. The novel is coming along well, 23,000 words and counting.

Aside from writing, I'm re-establishing my coaching practice, so if you know anyone who needs some help staying on track with their creative work, or someone who needs to find a new path, please send them my way. I also finally have a website which is a bit of a work in progress but it feels good to pull all of my work together in one place and the blog will be moving there soon. You can view my website at

My regular writing group is going swimmingly. We meet at the Mugen Tea Rooms on Scotland Street on Wednesdays, from 11am-1pm and exercise our writing muscles as well as giving feedback and sharing our tips for surviving the writers' journey which can be tough and lonely at times without the company of fellow writers. New members are always welcome and it's just a fiver per session.

And now I'm gearing up for the usual busyness of the Off the Shelf festival which has already kicked off. I'm involved in a few things this year. First up is the DIY Publishing event which I'm chairing next week on Tuesday 13th October, also at the  Mugen Tea Rooms. The event will launch the Sheffield Authors Network which I've recently become a part of and will feature local authors and publishers talking about alternatives to mainstream publishing. It should be a really interesting evening and a good complement to the Road to Publication event that I'm also involved in. Here I'll be reading from my work and talking about the turbulent journey to getting published, alongside the other members of Hallam Writers who have all had interesting experiences with agents, publishers and literary prizes. If you want to find out more about the reality of the writer's life, it's a good event to attend.

Always a highlight for me, the Novel Slam is taking place again at Bank Street on Tuesday 27th October. We have the usual panel of X-factor style judges, namely local authors: Gavin Extence, Stacey Sampson, Bryony Doran and Daniel Blythe and the wonderful Iain Broome as our compere. I'm thinking I might take part with my new novel though I haven't quite decided yet. It's a fabulous opportunity to hone your pitching skills, to get fantastic feedback and also this year we have a reading by Joanna Swainson (literary agent) as one of the prizes. An event not to be missed if you're an aspiring novelist.

Finally, I'm getting to don my wings as Fairy Tale and looking forward to working alongside my good friend, Madame Zuccini on Tuesday 27th October in the market on the moor. We'll be helping children to make vegetable superheroes and to write about their characters which will be a wonderful antidote to all this serious adult writing stuff.

Of course, there are hundreds of other events and I'll be doing my best to get to something. Have a look at the online brochure for inspiration.