Happy New Reading Year to you all!
So, the thing is, writers need readers because as the wonderful JK Rowling said - 'No story lives unless someone wants to listen.'
We need you to read our books and we love it when you to enjoy them. We love it even more if tell us that you have enjoyed it and write a review so that other people might also enjoy our work. We can sell some more books and spend more of our lives sitting at a desk writing the next one!
Just a thought as this brave new decade begins.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Tell your own story?
Document your family history?
Write about a family member?
Create a blog about your life for family and friends?
Write an autobiography?
Write about your ancestors?
Write about other family members?
An incident in your past?
A world event which has changed your life?
Or a personal journey to fulfilment?
Make 2020 the year you
WRITE YOUR LIFE
Finally - Here it is!
UNLOCK THE BLOCK
The first of many courses on our Online School
- Create fluency in your writing
- Overhaul your writing practice to put creativity at the centre
- Easily access your innate creativity and let it flow
- Use your own life experiences as a source for ideas
- Generate a constant stream of ideas, so that you no longer fear that blank page or getting stuck
- Deepen your ideas
Whether you are writing your life story, fiction or poetry, for pleasure, or publication, then this book will focus your innate creativity so that you can become the writer you want to be. We will look at how you can apply three simple tools which we all use every day in many aspects of our lives to:
Create fluency in your writing
Overhaul your writing practice to put creativity at the centre
Easily access your innate creativity and let it flow
Use your own life experiences as a source for ideas
Generate a constant stream of ideas, so that you no longer fear that blank page or getting stuck
Deepen your ideas
That’s it. It is that simple. And quite a lot of fun.
I have completed the final edits on Ruby Sixpence Whistles up a Storm - she was shortlisted for the First Chapter Award at Retreat West earlier this year and should be available by Christmas.
And I have begun the first draft of my new RomCom - Divas, Dogs and Dreamers - which I hope to have out early next year.
The rest of my time has been spent devising online courses, based on the Kick-Start programme and writing a book to accompany it.
I have spent a couple of days updating my other book covers. As you know, Once Upon a Blue Moon was shortlisted for the Selfies Award earlier this year, so I have added the sticker!
And I have designed a lovely new cover for The Art Forger's Daughter, which fits better with The Traveller and The Rose, as my two 20th Century Historicals.
Both new covers will be live on Amazon in the next couple of days.
Wrabfest is a local village festival. It is a huge affair, offering foodstalls, a beer tent, and two stages with acoustic and electric bands throughout the afternoon and evening. There’s something for everyone!
Including an extensive children's area which is where we are, in a rather big tent!
We have brought with us all of our favourite story building games which I have developed and honed over the last few years to encourage the simple art of sharing stories.
Children love stories. And they love games.
Their enthusiasm and imagination is a delight and refreshes the jaded parts of a tired writer!
Situated in the Brooklands area of Jaywick Sands (listed in the Indices of Multiple Deprivation as the 1st most deprived area in England,) the overall aim of the project is to promote the benefits of community gardening by working with the community to provide facilities for recreation and education. The garden also helps to educate the public in horticulture, garden crafts and the protection and improvement of the natural environmental by encouraging reduction, re-use and recycling. It also provides training for local people, especially those with learning difficulties, and mental health issues, providing skills and raising their self-esteem. The garden also provides a resource for local schools and colleges where students can learn about gardening, conservation and the natural environment.
I have brought The Big Write - prompts and conversation - to encourage people to express their thoughts about this wonderful place and to create a collective poem, line by line, from the visitors, volunteers and supporters.
And the sun is shining!
Junior Ambassadors is now in its third year and growing!
7 schools, 250 children, 32 workshops and a final presentation to come this term.
This fantastic project, managed by Tendring District Council, focusses on Cultural Awareness.
The children have a visit from the Chinese Cultural Society, Colchester Action for Refugees, an African drummer and storyteller and a Bollywood dancer.
‘If a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood.’ Peter Handke
My job is to follow up these artists and ambassadors and create stories poems and letters based on these themes. When I work with children, my intention is to spark their imagination and to develop the innate creativity, which we are all born with. I like to share my love of stories with children and use the creative techniques, which I practice as an Author. The workshops are designed to give the children skills and techniques to kick-start a love of creative writing, of reading and of telling stories.
I love this very busy project. The children invariably surprise us all!
George the Bookworm
The theme this term is HOMES. And George the Bookworm is back, this time in a caravan! He will challenge the children to write stories and poems in the cardboard books, to add to the cardboard city which Nicola will create with the children. And on Father's Day, they will all build cardboard dens!
I enjoy working with the children and staff at this amazingly creative school.
Reading short stories this month ready for judging the short story competition.
Some amazing stories with a range of subjects issues and styles. So hard to choose even the shortlist. Fortunately I will be working with other judges to help choose the winner.
Pen to Print is based at Barking and Dagenham Library. They do a ton of work to build a network of expertise and support for aspiring writers in Barking and Dagenham and sharing this with a wider national and international community.
The short story competition is one of the many things they do.
Find them here: Pen to Print
So I partnered with Jenni Meredith of Snowball Arts Community Cooperative, and The Community Rail Partnership, and we took Year 5 from a local Harwich School on a journey, on their local train line, to Write Between the Lines?
My aim on this project was to encourage the children to observe the world; to look, listen and use all of their senses to experience the journey and then write about it in a story or poem.
At Manningtree Station, we played games, which uncovered the key ingredients of ‘story’, and on the homeward journey we wrote a poem.
To add to the experience and to provide more stimuli for their creativity and curiosity, the children had an opportunity to explore the Railway Museum at Harwich Town Station.
JK Rowling famously said that ‘no story lives unless someone wants to listen.’
In order to value the children’s work and to provide a public audience for it, the children’s writing will be made into posters for the platform at Dovercourt station, where it will make a positive contribution to station users and the local community.
Curious and creative children grow into active adults who engage with the world around them and participate in their local communities. In some small way, we can all support that objective.
Myself, my partner Gerald Hornsby and our colleague Ellie Holmes will be present at the Essex Author Day. This is a chance for Essex people to meet authors in person, and chat to them about their writing and their books. We shall be taking this opportunity to launch TheNovelMakers, our joint venture, with a one-hour presentation.
Find us here: TheNovelMakers
and my colleagues here: Ellie Holmes - Gerald Hornsby
“No story lives unless someone wants to listen.” J.K Rowling
And it gets me thinking about the transaction a writer makes with their reader; a bond of trust. The reader gives their time and commitment to the book and the writer must deliver, and preferably exceed, the reader’s expectations. (The Rumour does!)
As a writer, we must not underestimate what the reader bring to the book. A reader brings their own understanding of the genre, and an interpretation of our words through their life experience. They are expert at reading between the lines, and it is in the spaces between our words where the reader interprets our intention. It is in these spaces where we win their hearts and loyalty, or lose them.
To be a writer, we need to be readers first and to write the books we love to read; to understand the subtleties and codes of our chosen genre and deliver these with originality, conviction and insight and not to shortchange the expectation of the reader.
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others:
read a lot and write a lot.”
On the theme of JOURNEYS
With Anita Belli
Sunday 3rd March 2019
11.00 - 3.00
Drop in: no booking required
Love telling tales and making up stories? Ever written a poem, short story or a song? Using games and creative prompts, find exciting new ways to kick start your writing whether you are 8 or 80. Add a line to a collective poem, play story-building games and have a go at a word sprint. We all have a story in us. What’s yours? Suitable for ages 4+
Join us for the opening weekend of Essex Book Festival for a whole day of family friendly activity at The Redoubt in Harwich
When Hollie bumps into Rory on Camden High Street on a wet day in February, it seems that her long held secret is about to be uncovered.
They were partners, years ago, until Rory took off to find his brilliant career. Hollie found herself stranded in the world of single parenthood with her son Tom, and as a waitress at The Blue Moon Café, she is struggling to make ends meet.
When Rory reappears in her life, perched as he is on the edge of success, Hollie realises just how far she has let her own potential slip. And how dangerous it would be to admit her secret after all this time.
But when a TV company turns up to make a documentary about The Blue Moon Café in Camden Market, all hell breaks loose, and Hollie’s secret unravels in a very public way.
With the help of the film crew and the lively clientele from The Blue Moon Café, the solution unfolds on screen where sparks fly between Hollie and Rory. And where Rory and Tom together build a bridge directly into Hollie's heart.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.
Buy Now from Amazon UK:
This is my interview on the RNA Blog:
We are delighted to introduce you to the seventeen authors contending for the coveted Joan Hessayon Award in 2018. Before the winner is announced at the RNA’s Summer Party in Oxford in May, you can find out more about each of the authors here.
Welcome to the RNA blog, Anita, and congratulations on being one of the contenders for this year’s award. How long have you been writing? Is this your first published piece?
I have been writing since I was at primary school, but I got the writing bug seriously at Film School, much later in life. I began by writing screenplays, one of which was nominated for a major award at the Academy of Motion Pictures, whilst I was still a student. I turned that film script into a novel and self-published it as The Art Forger’s Daughter in 2014.
How many years were you a member of the NWS and did you submit a manuscript each year?
I was a member many years ago and submitted RomCom manuscripts about 4 or 5 times. Then I stepped back and reassessed my writing goals. I took a career break, cleared the decks and wrote The Art Forger’s Daughter, in a genre which suits me better; Women’s 20th Century Historical Fiction. I like to write about how the past ripples through our lives, with unexpected consequences; and the impact it has on those who come later.
What came first, agent or publisher?
I don’t have an agent, so it is publisher first.
How did you find your publisher?
Recommendation from an RNA member. I was pleased that Endeavour offered me a POD contract as well as e-publishing.
Do you have a contract for one book or more?
One book at the moment, but I plan to offer them more! I am writing the sequel to The Traveller and The Rose, and I have a back catalogue which I am reworking and enjoying enormously.
When was your book published?
4th December 2017.
The Traveller and The Rose is set in a period of history in which ordinary people are caught up in extraordinary events. This is a story of love, passion and betrayal in the Spanish Civil War, which also became known as ‘The Armed Rehearsal for WWII.’ It is a story where characters are driven by high stakes to risk everything for love:
In the tranquil Andalucían village of Santa Carmen, deep divisions are exposed by the arrival of a young English stranger, Kit Brown. He falls in love with Rosa Saragossa, and as Spain tears itself apart in civil war, few will escape unscathed. They must risk their lives to save those they love. When Kit is imprisoned, Rosa will never give up seeking the truth. In this war, however, the shocking truth is hard to find.
What are you currently working on?
The sequel to The Traveller and The Rose. The Ties That Bind picks up the two families, separated by the war. When bodies are found tied together in the excavation of The New Spain, under General Franco, four strangers seek a truth which they will only find in the hearts of their former enemies. And one shadow comes back to haunt them all.
What piece of advice would you give current members of the NWS?
NEVER GIVE UP! It has taken me ages to get here, over 20 years, but the only way is to keep writing. Write something every day. Develop a daily writing habit.
The best thing about this challenge is that I re-established my daily writing habit and now start each day with Morning Pages.
100 days is just enough time to create a new habit, or break an old one.
I finished a novel, and have put it away to 'rest' whilst I get on with planning a new idea....
It has inspired a sequel; working title; 'The Ties That Bind.’
Two families hunt for a legacy
buried under the betrayals of a forgotten war.
Four strangers, each seeking a truth which they will only find
in the hearts of their enemies.
One shadow comes back to haunt them all.
I have signed up for the 100k in 100days, challenge, which means I must write 1,000 words per day, everyday, for 100 days, the idea being, that at the end of that time, you have 100,000 words which is a novel! Great idea and I am, so far ahead of the curve. I have written everyday this month and one of my promises to myself is that I will get back into the habit of daily writing, something I always suggest to my workshop participants.
Meanwhile I continue to juggle the workshop programme. We are back in the Primary School this term with more magic to add to the publication of the children's work later this year.
Harwich Writer's Group thrives in its new home at The Harwich Guildhall, and Kickstart Your Writing in Covent Garden, with Spread The Word, launched earlier in the month with a group of wonderful writers.
I find that working children and writing groups refreshes the imagination, inspires the creative flow and energises a tired mind!
Tomorrow I am off to the British Council Literature Roadshow and will take the opportunity whilst in London to do some location research
Writer and Creative Writing Tutor
How much do you want to know about me?
I am a compulsive writer and I want to share some of my writing with you as well as thoughts and ideas about writing and some useful techniques. Welcome and please leave a message.