Back Blogging!

back blogging

Oh hello! It’s been a while and I’ve sorely missed the company of you my fellow bloggers and those other dear people who once upon a time signed up here to keep up to date with moi…

I am back in the world of blogging for myself as well as others, which means lots of self-indulgent nonsense… And regular self-indulgent nonsense seeing as I make a living these days by writing regular blog posts and articles for other people and preaching the benefits of writing such items on a regular basis. You know the old saying of the cobbler whose children are always the worst shod, or that so many people teach what they want to learn…? Both sayings apply to me; time to start taking one’s own advice.

Anyway, for those who have managed to bear with me so far (muchos gracias), here is a quick re-cap of the last four months:

1. I have revised and edited my book numerous times – as per the advice of professional writing experts, and those kind people who have read the book for me. Despite snivelling and crying as I did it (awwww, I loved the bit where the teenagers got drunk and then changed themselves into cats to see what that would be like), I have cut out a lot of the dross.

2. I have met up with a publisher on a regular basis and taken on board all of his excellent advice.

3. I have written a synopsis several times (and there is excellent advice about how to write a synopsis here).

4. And I have approached agents. Here I would like to offer up lots of little-known help and advice – agent such and such, for example, really loves submissions which use the comic sans font, whilst agent other such and such goes wild for proposals which reach her in-box on a Tuesday at 11.16am precisely. If only! My only advice for writers approaching agents is – the first rejection stings, the subsequent ones, not so much.

5. I have had enormous fun contributing on a regular basis to Friday Flash Fiction (a website for 100-word stories), and also the Friday flash fiction blog site.  These websites welcomes regular contributions and I promise you writing 100-word stories is brilliant fun and brilliant discipline.

Anyway, a final development has been the creation of a proper professional website – jetcomms, a partnership with another professional blogger, and from this we are hoping to generate more writing and PR work. Here’s hoping…

All I Have in My Life is Flash Fiction

A more accurate pic would of course be fingers on a keyboard...

A more accurate pic would of course be fingers on a keyboard…

It’s true dear reader. Some weeks ago I hit on the idea of a regular Friday Flash Fiction challenge to give me regular material – and I’ve now forgotten how to do all the irregular material.

What to write about on a Wednesday, I pondered to myself a couple of days ago. And Saturday scribblings, what might they involve? Monday meanderings too, it would be unfair to dismiss this day just because it doesn’t begin with an ‘F’ and therefore doesn’t meet the alliteration criteria.

In my defence, dear reader, life has been rather busy of late. Much scribbling on many subjects has been done, leaving me a little jittery at the end of the day and in serious need of time away from the laptop. “Urgh,” my poor fried brain sighs to itself, “no more blasted writing for goodness sakes! Reading only, and reading of the loveliest, lightest of topics* must ensue, perhaps adding the odd sprinkling of lovely Prosecco and a teensiest bit of reality TV via Strictly Come Dancing.”

This week’s offering needs some explanation. I started up a flash fiction discussion thread on LinkedIn several weeks ago and it is still running. This was my response to a 100-word piece someone contributed which used ‘thread’ in a different, but clever way…

The Trouble with Fridays

Aunty Em agreed with her niece; Fridays were indeed difficult and blasted bobbins running out were a pain in the neck.

Is it time to start a new thread, dearest Jane?” she asked, “you may be right you know. This one has run its course.”

The two of them nodded sagely. From outside the house, though a rustling was heard.

The FFC friends stood at the door. “We have more threads for you,” they told the twosome. “Can we carry on?”

*OK, I may have said I can only read the loveliest and lightest of topics these days, but one book I read recently which I absolutely loved was Gordon Lawrie’s Four Old Geezers and a Valkyrie. It’s gorgeous and I really recommend it.

The Many Adventures of Flash Fiction Writers

So, some weeks ago, I started writing flash fiction on a regular basis. Mainly, it gave me a regular topic to blog about it. Always a bonus, as when you start out on blogging you usually fire off blogs left, right and centre at the beginning of your online life. Two months down the line and you get to the stage where you can’t bear to switch on your computer, so racked with guilt are you over your failure to write, entertain or annoy the masses.

I hit on a regular topic idea and heaved a sigh of relief. Heaven, I thought to myself, I have at least one thing I can blog about once a week. Folks may read it, folks may not, fellow bloggers may like or comment… or they may not notice. But my conscience will be squared. Hey, I signed up to this blogging deal, which meant writing when there is theoretically nothing to write about, and doing something on a REGULAR BASIS.

LinkedIn Flash Fiction Challenge

Actually, those preceding two paragraphs friends? I wandered off on a tangent. My main point is – at the same time as starting a regular Friday flash fiction post, I also started a flash fiction challenge on LinkedIn, asking fellow writers and editors to contribute to a 100-word flash fiction piece on a Friday as a kind of relaxing way of switching off.

It proved to be incredibly popular – lots of people joined in, lots of people contributed on a regular basis and I really enjoyed everything that I read. It takes talent and skill to write a 100-word story, and people also made their contributions topical. One lady chose to plagarise existing stories in a really witty way, another person went for plays, whilst several people opted for seasonal themes such as Halloween.

Publish, Publish, Publish

Three weeks in and people on LinkedIn started suggesting I take it further. One person said a website, another dreamt up a book of flash fiction stories for charity, another individual gathered together most of the stories for me and in general people seemed willing to sign over their permission for stories to be published. (I thank you).

So watch this space. It looks as if a Friday Flash Fiction challenge website may well appear. Here is what I hope. We post up lots of stories, which people like and then hundreds, if not thousands, of people all over the world start to contribute…

And now for this week’s Friday Flash Fiction challenge:

The Glamour of Writing

In her youth, Jenny had imagined the life of a writer as glamorous.

As she scribbled out her endless short stories which detailed the adventures of a teenager not dissimilar to Jenny, she imagined a grown-up writer’s life to be more or less the same. She would wait for the muse to strike and she would write about whatever took her fancy.

And get paid for it.

Alas, reality had since bit. Writing jobs often involved creating thousands of words about display cabinets or toner cartridges. And getting paid more than a pittance was the exception and not the norm. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Flash Fiction – a Winter Warning

Hello once more friends. It sure is getting cold out there, so I urge you to come in, pull up a seat and help yourself to a warm drink or two. I have hot chocolate on offer, but there is also mulled wine for the alcoholically-inclined (I include myself within the latter group).

Ah, the task of personal blogging has become 300% easier since I hit upon the idea of a regular feature and the Friday Flash Fiction challenge is just that. I also have to thank the Friday Flash Fiction challenge for keeping me sane. This week, for example, I have written out an awful lot of words about display cabinets. The joy of dashing out a mere 100 words of lovely fiction is a joyful escape.

Anyway, here is November’s second 100-word* flash fiction story…

WINTER WOES**

Marcus viewed the approach of winter with dread.

You know it will soon be time for your nightly duties,” Rachel had told him the other night as she pulled the curtains shut. Marcus tried (and failed) to look enthusiastic.

She’d told him years ago that this was the duty of every husband. Marcus wondered if this was true. He’d never dared raise the subject with his Wednesday night drinking pals.

That night, Rachel slid into their bed with an inquiring look. He assented with a sigh. A pair of ice-cold feet attached themselves to his much warmer legs.

*The diligent amongst you may notice this particular flash fiction story is a word or two over the 100-word limit. Tsk! Brevity will be back next week.

**Most of my flash fiction stories aren’t autobiographical. This one definitely is.

Another Friday Flash Fiction Challenge…

Better late than never on the regular (ahem!) flash fiction feature, eh?

I certainly needed a 100-word brain break this week as readers I have worked like a SLAVE. I’ve written one cook book, edited a diet book, written 12 blogs (14 if you include my own too), applied for various jobs and indulged in a little light banter on various social media networks.

I have sweet Fanny Adams left in me and plan to spend my weekend doing nothing more stimulating than reading celebrity gossip mags (I’m desperately behind on updates to the progress of Kim’s post-baby diet, and as for Kerry Katona pregnancy news, the lord only knows what has happened in the last two days…) and watching famous folks try to dance. A soupcon of Cava or five may accompany these reading/watching efforts and I may well do all three in bed.

Anyway, without further ado here is Friday’s flash fiction challenge…

All Bagged Up

“Mercy me!” cried the old lady, “please don’t take my bag. It’s got all my belongings and savings in it.”

The thief paused. Conscience wasn’t usually a consideration, but today his own granny had gone into a home and he was feeling more merciful than usual. On the other hand, that care was going to be expensive. He pulled out a handful of notes, thrust them at the old lady and ran off with the bag.

Sadly for him, he’d just had his first (and last) encounter with a witch. The bag twitched ominously. An enchantment had been triggered…

Take a Brain Break – the Friday Flash Fiction Challenge

Greetings friends, I thought I’d introduce a spot of regularity to my blogs. It’s what experts recommend after all…

Usually, my blog modus operandi is to wait for the muse to strike me. Honestly, that lady hits hard when she eventually gets here, but she is a fickle creature; I leave the door open for her and she only deigns to appear on rare occasions. T’uh! So I remembered the lessons of my newsletter writing years where regular columns, features and photo caption competitions were the stuff we editors and writers relied on to fill our pages.

Participation – from you, you and YOU

Hence, lovely audience, I am hoping for a little participation from you, yes you, in the Friday flash fiction challenge. I stumbled upon this idea one Friday. Having spent several hours writing about products for a client, I felt my brain needed a break. It needed to shift from research, facts and key word placement (subtly done, I promise) to fictional creativity. But only a little.

I opened a new document and typed out a 100-word story. I rather love flash fiction (and there’s a great guy out there who posts a 300-word flash fiction story every day) and its neat exposition, rising action and climax, otherwise known as beginning, middle and end. I then posted the story on the LinkedIn writers and editors group and asked for contributions, so thought I’d try the same idea here in lovely, lovely blog world.

Veni, Vidi, Vici

There are writers amongst my esteemed and valued audience, but then aren’t we all to a certain extent? Someone replied to my Friday flash fiction challenge with Veni, vidi, vici – which of course counts as it falls within the 100-word limit.

Anyway, here’s my own effort and a promise to post one a week every Friday. I’d love it if you could contribute – post your efforts below. Thank you!

The Case of the Disappearing Cat

Alice loved her cat. He was everything to her – friend, companion, substitute child and hot water bottle, so when he went missing she howled.

She paced the streets seeking him out and sticking posters on lamp-posts, but it was no good. He had disappeared.

She was, however, approached by a private detective agency. They had noted her patience, tracking skills and determination to leave no stone unturned. Would she like a job with them?

Would she ever! Alice signed up with joy. A day later, her cat returned. The agency was glad to see the back of him.

Grateful Thanks and a Writing Plea

Gimme a 't', gimme a 'h' etc etc

Gimme a ‘t’, gimme an ‘h’ etc etc

Once upon a time, I worked for a company whose unofficial motto was: “Never Knowingly Original”.

I have tried to stick to this ethos throughout my blogging experiment, shamelessly ‘borrowing’ ideas from other much more experienced and knowledgeable folks and this evening is no exception.

I’ve recently signed up to follow a gent who blogs a 300-word piece of flash fiction EVERY SINGLE DAY. A marvellous idea certainly, but it is not this one I’m, er, nicking. (Though I do think it might be an interesting and educational exercise if I were to embark on such a process. For your sakes dear readers, I would keep such scribblings private.) No, said gent thanked the newbies who have recently started following him – c’est moi and others – and I thought to myself, “Aha! What a jolly good idea.*”

I THANK YOU

So to all those who have recently ticked the ‘follow’ bit on my blog, thank you ever so much. And to all those who have been following me for a while, thank you too ever so much. I am very grateful and I hope I bring a tiny bit of something to your life, even if it’s only a sigh of irritation as a ‘new blog alert from highheelsandpinkglitter’ hits your inboxes. (Does anyone know the correct plural of inbox, btw?)

As I have bored myself witless over the last few months with my own musings (the situation has been exacerbated by my work situation which means I spend a great deal of my time on my own speculating aloud on topics such as the weather and feeling hurt when the cat doesn’t want to be in the same room as me) I would welcome guest posts with OPEN ARMS.

RE-BLOG, RE-BLOG, RE-BLOG

Fellow bloggers may think to themselves, “Lordie, lady laziness, why don’t you just re-blog something??” I know, I know – but I’d really love some dear person to think up something which would fit with my very loose set of topics… Actually, scratch that, write about anything you like and just throw in the odd reference to anything I’ve written about – even if it’s just one word. ‘The’ will do, to be honest.

Best case scenario – I am flooded with enough guest posts to keep me in thrice-weekly blogs from now until Christmas. Worst case? No guest blogs at all… Reader, have mercy on me.

 

 

 

*For some strange reason, blogging brings out the Nancy Mitford in me.

Picture courtesy of nursingworldnigeria