All great things must come to an end…

With the closure of Oh, Henry‘s debut blog tour, organised by the fabulous Sarah at @BOTBSPub, the giveaway (created by the equally fabulous @CazVinBooks) has also, sadly, come to an end.

My gratitude goes to the amazing bloggers who shared their wonderful reviews for the first in my #dogdetective series, Oh, Henry. I’m delighted with how everyone enjoyed my tome, and how kind they were.

Many thanks also to everyone who entered the giveaway. It was lovely to see so many entries.

The two winners of the top prize,  a signed copy of Oh, Henry AND a unique story, especially written for them, and the other prizes (signed paperbacks / free eBooks) will be announced this coming week – so hold your breath for just a little longer…

We hope you enjoy your weekend!

Loose Muse – monthly poetry events at London and Winchester

From the lovely Agnes Meadows…

LOOSE MUSE – London’s Premiere Women’s Writers Night will be on September 12th – the second Wednesday of each month – upstairs @ The Sun Pub, 21 Drury Lane (on the corner of Betterton Street), London WC2B 5RH – 8.00 p.m. – doors open from 7.30 pm.  £6.00/£5.00 concessions.

Features this month are:

Ellen Zaks is a poet and artist, who makes a welcome return to Loose Muse, flying in from her home in Marbella, Spain.  She will reading from her first novel, ‘For Eva’ – a powerful, supernatural roman – also set in Marbella, where the protagonist is haunted by visions, dreams and a meddlesome spirit all from 16th Century Spain.  Ellen will also be reading some of her poetry, which has been published in various poetry magazines.

Vrouwkje Tuinman is a Dutch writer and journalist, making a welcome return to Loose Muse.  She has published four novels and five poetry collections, and she performs regularly at festivals and literary events in the Netherlands and abroad. She is also a music journalist, and will be focusing on this aspect of her writing at LM plus touching on the several projects she’s currently working on.

+ Loose Muse Winchester – Monday 10th September @ the Discovery Centre, Jewry Street, Winchester, Hants SO23 8SB – 7.30-9.30 p.m. £6.00 at the door.  Featured this month is poet Jessica Mookherjee reading from her latest collection ‘Flood’, plus Ramona Herdman reading from her much-praised pamphlet ‘Bottle’. Ably hosted by Sue Wrinch.

And there will also be the usual Open Mic sessions at both at Loose Muse London and Winchester for you to share your work. So come share the passion, share the joy!

Agnes Meadows

Host & Coordinator – Loose Muse Women’s Writers Night(s)

E:   M: 07789-901-667 –

Story a Day May 2018 – Day 1: Seen from the Outside

Most years I do a story a day courtesy of and will be this year but I won’t be publishing the stories here as I want to send them off somewhere and blogging online counts as published which most outlets won’t accept but will let you know each day how I got on the previous day… so you know I’m doing the challenge with me. Do leave a comment below to let me know how you do.. Today’s prompt is…

Write a story about someone who leaves the house for work, and on the way has some kind of accident. This is the main character. The accident can be anything from spilling coffee on an interview suit to getting hit by a car. The story is written in three parts of approximately 300 words.

Read more (including how the three parts work) via May 01 – Seen from the Outside, Guest Prompt from Tadzio Koelb.


Are you doing NaNoWriMo?

Hello. I’m doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – see again this year and am a tad behind…

Day 1: 814 done, 853 behind.

Day 2: 1,455 done, 1,065 behind.

but the weekend’s coming up and I try not to do any work work at the weekends. I’m not going anywhere other than popping into one of our local bookshops (one of my stockists!) so no excuse to have no only caught up but be storming ahead, ready for work work again on Monday… lots of lovely client editing to do.

So, are you doing NaNoWriMo? Are you, unlike me, starting something new, or, like me, continuing a work in progress. In my case, I started it back in April 2014 and had only done 22,324 words since then, much to my frustration. Which is why I need NaNoWriMo… and I need it ever month. I should be able to find time to write 1,667 words ever day… shouldn’t I?

Let me know how you’re getting on.

So excited to be going to #ChipLitFest (then my writing!)

Half an hour and I’ll be off to Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire for the day. Why? Because every April they run a long-weekend (Thurs to Sun0 literary festival. I’m only doing two events this year: Ian Rankin (hosted by Mark Billingham) at midday then the evening quiz (hosted by Mark, always a hoot!) so time in between to do some work and soak up the atmosphere. And meet up with fellow writer, blogger, and friend, Jane Wenham-Jones.

This is my second weekend where I only concentrate on my own writing. I have a couple of month-end deadlines so today will be an extended work (with pleasure) day but fortunately Monday is a bank holiday so my weekend will be a late one: Sunday and Monday. Last weekend saw me get my 78,000-word comic crime novel off to an agent. I have a dark serial killer two-parter to work on. I have over 100,000 words already so lots of words to add but I feel good about it so I’m looking forward to pulling it apart to put back together again. I have plenty of other projects in the pipeline so I plan for a productive rest of the year. It’s just a shame I didn’t plan ‘me-only weekends’ before now.

What are you doing that’s writing related this weekend?

Winchester & London poetry events – 9 & 11 Jan

From Agnes Meadows

Hi gang,

As I prepare this, I’m looking out of my window at a pale pink and turquoise winter’s sky and hoping that 2017 will not be quite as difficult as the last year, and that we all enjoy a more gracious and joyful new year.  And we’re certainly starting off the Loose Muse calendar with some excellent poetry by two outstanding writers to get us into the mood to make this year a better, brighter one.

LOOSE MUSE – London’s Premiere Women’s Writers Night will be on January 11th the second Wednesday of each month – Upstairs @  The Sun Pub, 21 Drury Lane (on the corner of Betterton Street),  London WC2B 5RH – 8.00 p.m. – doors open from 7.30 pm.  £6.00/£5.00 concessions.  Features this month will be:

Claire Dyer is featuring at Loose Muse for the first time.  Her poetry collections, Interference Effects and Eleven Rooms are published by Two Rivers Press. Her novels are published by Quercus. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London, teaches creative writing at Bracknell & Wokingham College and runs Fresh Eyes, a critiquing and editorial service. Her website is
Angela Brodie is a poet/writer and performer who grew up in a seafaring family in Hull, and was a linguist and teacher in Russia and the UK, before training as a psychologist and in theatre arts.  She co-founded ‘Beyond Words’ a supportive event for both new readers and established poets.  She also organises spoken word and music events for the Crystal Palace Festival.  Tonight she will be performing her series of poems Salt Music’, the story of the heart of the fishing industry in Hull, with especially composed musical accompaniment by

Steve Halliwell who was a founder member of Hulltruck, and is a composer, and multi-instrumentalist with extensive theatre and rock experience, before becoming an English teacher.  He founded LiTTLe MACHiNE setting famous poems to music, and has collaborated with Carol Ann Duffy and Roger McGough.

Plus….Loose Muse Winchester’ – Monday 9th January @ the Discovery Centre, Jewry Street, Winchester, Hants SO23 8SB – 7.30-9.30 p.m. – £6.00 on the door.  Featuring award-winning Bloodaxe poet Helen Ivory, and writer of psychological novels Amanda Jennings, both reading fromn their work. Hosted as always by Sue Wrinch.

Plus there will the usual open mic to share your work at both these events.

So come share the passion, share the joy!

Agnes Meadows

Host & Coordinator – Loose Muse Women’s Writers Night(s)

E:   M: 07789-901-667 –

The Greenacre Writers Finchley Literary Festival starts this Friday

The Finchley Literary Festival starts this Friday! Below are the details…

Nearly all the events are FREE.

Friday kicks off at North Finchley Library, 11-12.30pm with a memoir course which can be paid for online. More details on the Greenacre Writers Blog.

Then there are talks about ‘Anatomy of a Soldier’ from Harry Parker and ‘The Good Mother’ from A.L. Bird at Church End Library, N3 1TR

Friday evening 7pm at Trinity Church Centre, N12 7NN, there is a Sci-Fi book launch with Allen Ashley who will be interviewed by expert Sandra Underman.

Saturday morning opens at Trinity Church Centre, N12 7NN

11am A Trio of excellent writers, Booker nominee – Yvvette Edwards, 2016 Betty Trask shortlist – Irenosen Okojie and 2016 British Fantasy Shortlist – Catriona Ward. They will be sharing their writing and publishing experiences.

11.15am There is Dragon’s Pen which is now fully booked. Good luck to those budding writers who have been brave enough to face the wrath of the fire-breathing she-dragons.

1.30-5.30pm Saturday afternoon sees the exciting announcement of the winners of the festival short story competition by London Short Story winner, Judge Joanna Campbell, who will then talk about her own short story success and latest novel.

This is followed by the very interesting and dramatic Orphans in Fiction with author Antonia Honeywell, and Doctoral Researcher Rosie Canning.

Lindsay Bamfield will be interviewing the extremely knowledgeable author, Sunny Singh, who will talk about all things writing.

Our final Saturday event takes us to India for the adventures of Inspector Chopra and his assistant, the capable baby elephant. Beware of elephants in Finchley! These wonderful characters will be joined by their creator, author Vaseem Khan.

There will be refreshments available at Trinity Church Centre during the festival.

Sunday 11am, we head to Waterstones Finchley, to meet the inspiring Katharine Norbury whose memoir ‘The Fish Ladder’, has been published to critical acclaim. Observer Rising Star 2015,Telegraph Best Book Of The Year 2015, Longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2015, and Longlisted for the Wainwright Prize 2016.

Adopted as a baby, life changing events send Katharine on an unforgettable journey from sea to the source of various rivers. Fans of ‘H is for Hawk’ will especially enjoy this event.

This event is followed by a walk with lunch and afternoon tea stops and wonderful Finchley in Fiction literary readings. Meet Waterstones Finchley 12midday.

Sunday evening 6.00pm is the amazing Poetry Palooza at Finchley’s literary cafe, Cafe Buzz. Come and hear some wonderful poetry and music.

Do RSVP and we look forward to meeting you at the festival.

See more here.

All good wishes,
Rosie Canning
FLF Coordinator
Greenacre Writers
Twitter: @GreenacreWriter


‘Those Rosy Hours of Mazandaran’ book talk by Marion Grace Woolley

Marion & Morgen smallHello. On Thursday night I went to a talk by former local author Marion Grace Woolley at Northampton Writers Group, at the Quaker Meeting House, Northampton, England. Marion is very active on Facebook and Twitter and having self-published a short story collection, published novels with Green Sunset Books and Netherworld Books but most recently has landed a deal (and even an advance!) with publishers Ghostwoods Books.

Although various topics were covered, Marion primarily talked about her latest novel, a historical fantasy, Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran.

Those Rosy HoursShe initially talked about the cover (you can read about how the cover came together here) and said that the top picture was taken from ‘To the End’ by Babak Fatholahi (the original of which you can see here) and the bottom was a masked conjurer which was inspired by Gaston Leroux’s La Fantome de l’Opera (Phantom of the Opera, which started as a serialisation as many novels did in the late nineteenth / early twentieth century). Within the novel is a reference to ‘rosy hours at Mazandaran’.

This inspired Marion to investigate the author, the life he lead and Mazandaran itself (an administrative area of Iran). Marion was delighted to not only learn that it was a real place but one of her many trips overseas, she actually flew over it, albeit overnight so she didn’t get to see anything.

wifeThe Rosy Hours at Mazandaran starts in Sari, Northern Iran, which used to be the capital of Iran before it officially moved to Tehran. Marion then gave us a whistle-stop tour Leroux’s history and talked about the story of the Phantom, Eric. Learning more about the, Naser al-Din Shan Qajar, Iranian shah’s life, wives, dominant mother (Malek Jahan Khaom) and quirks was really interesting (especially seeing photos of how the shah’s wives beauty routine… and yes, our lady on the right is one of his wives!). One of the members of the writers group commented about the moustaches and no one could understand why (and how) the women would grow them.

Threatening the shah was Siyyid Ali Muhammad Shirazi, nicknamed The Bab who was appalled at the shah’s opulent lifestyle while his people struggled with day-to-day living. The Bab grew a following (Babism, the Bahai Faith) and the shah didn’t like what was happening so had him executed which then escalated, leading to the deaths of 20,000 Babis.

Marion then read an extract from her novel, set around the Irani New Year, which takes place around the spring equinox.

When asked, Marion talked about how she got published and how pleased she is with her ‘fair trade’ publishers, Ghostwood Books. One thing Marion said that I didn’t know was that the Amazon charts are based on hour-by-hour (or thereabouts) sales rather than weekly, monthly etc. I said it was probably why there were so many authors who claimed to be bestsellers (perhaps in their genre). Marion then mentioned how pleased she was with the audiobook version of Those Rosy Hours and said that it had helped her pronounce some of the trickier words!

veilsalomeAs with many authors, Marion said that the best fiction isn’t real but could be real so the reader can research the real events if they wish. She said how hard it was being a non-Iranian non-Muslim author so had to do a lot of research as to how women lived in that era. At this point of the presentation, Marion shows us slides of the different types of women’s attire from the burka to an Aladdin-style seven veils-type dancer. Marion, as part of her research, reads academia and surfs the internet to ensure accuracy but says there will always be experts out there keen to pick holes in any errors there might be.

Marion was then asked if she plans her novels. Like me (and many other authors), she said that she doesn’t plan but gets an idea and runs with it. If she gets stuck, she moves on to later passages and returns later. I do the same, putting ‘more here’ and move on.

l2419I asked Marion whether she has received any feedback from Iranian readers and she said she hasn’t yet. So, if you’re from Iran, do buy her book (Amazon links below) and leave a review. When asked ‘what next?’, Marion said she is writing inspired by the Children of Lir, an Irish tragedy. Marion tells me that she was reading about King Lear in the research and that Lir / Lear is a linguistic thing. She said, “Lear and Lir are the same name, but Lir’s used as a possessive. So Lear walked down the street / Lir’s children. It would be awfully confusing, and Gregory’s translation uses Lir – so I do. There’s also Irish chocolates called Lir.” Interesting. Thanks, Marion.

After early November fireworks festivities, Marion’s next stop is Kendal library (I love brown Kendal mint cake, Marion!) before returning to African in the new year. Marion then talked about how she was involved in the publication of a Rwandan Sign Language dictionary (see bio below for further details) and after thanks from the writing group’s Deputy Chair, Mike Richards, we had a welcome tea break (with scrummy biscuits) before setting on our way home.

And now a little more about Marion…

Continue reading

A writer’s escape

A very good friend of mine, a writer (most of them are), is soon going to have her three-bedroom detached house to herself and is considering letting out two of the rooms – a single and a double – to other writers on a day-by-day basis for writers looking to get away for a day or for longer to finish that overdue novel. It would be self-catering most likely although she will provide tea, coffee, cereal etc. so it can be a ‘home from home’ (including the family pet!).

Because I teach creative writing (locally and online), I could help make it a small retreat with organised sessions (perhaps more so in the summer) but for now, I would just be an ‘escape’.


If you were thinking of escaping (in this case to Northamptonshire, c. mid England), what would you look for?

golf 176428Her house is set in a quiet location overlooking a green and golf-course with very little traffic, usually plenty of parking and a ten-minute walk to shops and a very large park, and the obligatory plenty of pubs in the area… although far enough away not to be a nuisance at curfew time. Each bedroom has a desk, hanging space (wardrobe in the double), quality beds and nice views. The rooms don’t have en-suite facilities but a lovely bathroom (with power shower) at the end of the landing and downstairs w/c. To the back of the house is a reasonable-sized, relaxing garden with tables and chairs, and a small garden at the front.

  • How much would you pay per night for the single?
  • How much would you pay per night for the double?
  • Would you be interested in somewhere like this?
  • What else would you want included?
  • Any other comments…

Please leave a comment below. Thank you.