Thursday, 28 September 2017

The Launch of: Stories for Homes 2.

The second Stories for Homes anthology is available from today as an e-book and can be ordered here.

Following the success of the first anthology, writers were invited to donate a story for its follow up volume. I'm delighted that one of my stories is among the 55 selected from 256 that were submitted for the current edition.

With a given theme of home, writers could interpret this how they wished and as result the stories are a rich mixture; sad; funny; hard-hitting; and cosy. To put it more coherently, I quote Emma Darwin: "A cornucopia of witty, tragic, elegant, raw, heart-warming and terrifying stories that take the idea of Home, play with it as only truly talented writers can, and all to help those who have no home at all." 

The hard work (lots and lots of it) behind the scenes was (and still is) co-ordinated by Debi Alper and Sally Swingewood  ably assisted by Rachel Dunlop and Jacquleine Ward who have all done a tremendous job.

All the proceeds from this and the previous anthology go to the charity Shelter.   

We know how important this charity is but I've taken some quotations from their website:
  • 150 families are made homeless in Britain every day. 
  • With so many families becoming homeless the number of calls to our helpline from people in need of emergency accommodation has risen by 7,244 in the past year alone. That’s a rise of 10%.
  • More than four million families are one missed pay cheque away from losing their home. We need to be there to answer their call, but to do that we need your support.
So please do buy a copy, or two or three, of the anthology. There are stories by some really excellent authors, ones whose company I am very proud to be in, so this won't simply be a good deed for the day, you'll enjoy it too. I'll also be waiting for the print version, coming soon, because I really want this on my bookshelf, except of course, when I'm reading it. I'm thinking Christmas presents too!

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Forget Bournemouth, How About Samarkand?

The Ladies of Samarkand


I love travelling and I love writing so it's fortunate when the two are combined! I wrote this little piece and submitted it to a travel competition for Senior Travel Expert's website and was declared joint winner. You can read it here

I found the competition on Patsy Collins' very useful blog: Words about writing and writing about words.  I suggest you read it!


In Samarkand there were many stunning mosques, madrassahs, mausoleums and museums but for me it was the people, like the ladies above, who made the place. They took photos of us too.


I've posted some photos from some other places mentioned in my piece

Stonetown, Zanzibar
 In Stonetown I found a cafe, overlooking the sea, perfect for writing, although I didn't actually write there. I did have some great coffee though which is quite a writerly activity.


The taught us their songs too.
The school in The Gambia, where we taught the children the song, 
soon erupted into chaos as they decided to teach us one of their songs. 
It was a little more energetic than we bargained for! 
Order was eventually restored.

Khiva, Uzbekistan.

The rooftops of Khiva are a beautiful site and well worth the climb up a tower to see them. The minaret featured really is leaning a bit. Some intrepid travellers climbed up that too, but I preferred to avoid achey knees and spent the time looking at an exhibition of photos by Uzbekistan's first professional photographer which provided a fascinating account of this country.
Yummy?

A delicious selection of fried insects and arachnids in Cambodia!  They are becoming quite popular in expensive 'designer' restaurants now in Europe. One of my travelling companions ate a whole tarantula. I managed only a leg and got furry bits stuck in my teeth. We lived to tell the tale.


The Road to Mandalay.


The road to Mandalay was long and winding. Unexpected festivals blocked the way with traffic jams comprising buses, bullock carts and motorbikes but who cared, we just joined in.



PS: I'm aware the font changed. No matter how many time I tried to adjust, it wouldn't work.