It’s been another winning month for me! Since my last post just three weeks ago, I have been lucky enough to see my work published in four national magazines (see photo).
My short story Motherly Love in the People’s Friend Special number 101 (in the shops now) tells of two soon-to-be grandmas who don’t seem able to agree on anything, right down to the sex of the baby! Obviously one of them is going to be proved wrong, but which one? And once the baby arrives, does it really matter anyway? With a lovely illustration by Mandy Murray, this story is very close to home for me as I await the birth of my first granddaughter, due in March.
Bigger, which appears in Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special (March issue) is another story that came, at least partially, out of my own experience. It follows the very different but intertwined lives of twin sisters Susan and Linda, from childhood to their sixtieth birthday party. Growing up in the same time period myself (1950s and 60s) and having twin daughters of my own (one of whom has always loved to dance, just as Linda does) helped to make so much of this story very easy to write!
A Good Judge of Character is my first story to appear in Ireland’s Own magazine (13 Feb issue). And I can honestly say that, in this case, the overbearing and snobby mother who tries to rule her daughter’s life and control her choice of boyfriend is in no way based on me! Just a small line drawing for this one, but I am very pleased to have found my way into a magazine I had not written for before and to reach a brand new audience for my fiction.
Putting fiction aside, I also have two separate articles in February’s Practical Pre-School magazine – one about playing snakes and ladders and the other exploring some creative ways for children to use plastic drink bottles to make music, play games, and in art projects. This magazine is sold on subscription only and is read by nursery staff, childminders and nannies all over the UK, giving them lots of information and ideas to help them in their work with the under-fives.
My new novel is coming along nicely, having just passed the 20,000 word mark, even though I still have nothing to report on the progress of the finished one which is still doing the rounds of literary agents looking for a publishing deal. I have also returned to poetry, with two free-verse poems I feel particularly proud of now entered for competitions, in the hope of a prize. I am nothing if not versatile when it comes to my writing!
Now, over to my other love: cryptic crosswords. After 50-odd years of enjoying the daily challenge of cracking them, I have now finally compiled one of my own - which will, I hope, be appearing in the next issue of The Woman Writer, the members’ magazine of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists (SWWJ), whose Council I have recently joined. And that brings me to a very important announcement… the winner of my crossword competition, launched here on the blog last month.
I was a little disappointed by the low number of entries, but nevertheless I am very happy to announce that the winner is… Wendy Clarke.
Wendy wins a personalised crossword compiled specially for her husband's upcoming fiftieth birthday, and I will be in touch with her soon to get a few ‘clues’ about him to make sure the finished puzzle really is all about him!