My 2017: October

I have only published one novel this year… I’ve been struggling to finish the new one – maybe that’s a 2018 project! However, I have published two other books, the how to write guide I mentioned earlier, and an anthology I co-write with two writing chums.

Here is what I wrote at the time of publication:

I mentioned that I have collaborated with two friends to publish an anthology of poetry,stories and other writings. We came together to form our small group from a creative writing class; we called ourselves The Moving Dragons and we started a blog with the idea of sharing not only our own work, but that of other people too (get in touch if you have something you’d like to share, with links and credits etc of course!)

From our blog, came the idea of an anthology – and we’re so delighted and thrilled to have made that idea a reality!

From the introduction:

For a couple of years, the three of us,  Lois, John and Richard, have successfully shared our thoughts with the world through our blog; The Moving Dragons Write is a medley of stories, poems and articles, a whole kaleidoscope of different writing. Our name came from the symbol of the county where we live, the Somerset dragon, and the well-known words ‘the moving finger having writ…’

Here are some samples:

… a poem from me –

The Thermos Flask

 Have you ever wondered,
You who abandoned your flask on a rock
Near Dunseverick Castle,
Have you ever thought about your flask?
Do you remember the times you used it, the picnics, the walks,
Or taking it to work?
Have you still the cup?
Because when we found it, standing all alone,
A sentinel waiting to be recalled,
It had no cup.

© Lois  Elsden 2017

 … the opening to a short story from Richard –

Saying Goodbye to Ouray

I first saw Łyżka when he was benching on Main Street, just along from the Post Office. Every store has a bench out on the sidewalk. It’s mostly oldsters and young Moms, with children in strollers, who sit there gossiping, so it was kinda unusual to see a black t-shirt. I checked him out with a passing glance and moved on, casually scored him as us gals do.

He came into the bar late the next evening and asked me for a table for one, upstairs in the restaurant. He was good-looking but in an understated sorta way. I liked the way he looked me in the eye when he talked to me. He said his name was Whistler, or something like that anyways. He had the most beautiful, liquid brown eyes. I think I was attracted to him from the get-go.

I’m from Ridgway, a few miles up valley. I left there because it was so stuck in the past. Yeah, sure, I have been to the other towns around the area. I quite like Silverton and Teluride, probably because they aren’t too big. I once went down valley to Durango but there were too many people, too many cars, and too many buildings there for a small-town girl like me on my own. I feel I know most of the eight hundred or so folks in Ouray, to nod and say ‘Hi’ to anyways.

The winter season brings outdoor types in their SUVs for the skiing and ice climbing while summer brings the hog riders along the San Juan Skyway before noising up and down Main Street. They clog the bars and generally seem to say, ‘look at me with my shiny Harley, ain’t I good-looking with my beard, shades, bandana and dangerous black t-shirt?’ I don’t like ‘em ‘cos they hassle me at work. I have figured out how to deal with them but there is a new crop every year that I have to get trained.

I’m Mary-Lou Ellis but everyone calls me Dish at work. I got asked a heap of times if I was the dish of the day so it was easier to give in and answer to the name. It’s printed on the front of my t-shirt now – that’s where most of the guys look first anyway.

I’ve been with my boyfriend, Rick, for a coupla years now. We’re saving hard to get enough dollars together to get married. I work all the hours I can get in the tourist seasons while Rick gets some good tips from his clients when he takes them out in the San Juan Mountains, either in his jeep or hiking, in the summer. He teaches ice climbing down at the Ice Park during the winter. With my long hours and him being away so much, we don’t see as much of each other as we would like

© Richard Kefford 2017

… a poem from John –


Why not move across, old chap,
Then I can pass and onward go.
It’s best to drive upon the left
It doesn’t impede the traffic flow.

You surely can’t wish to annoy
By fixation on a different place,
A missing chord, a family tiff,
A soccer match or motor race?

Can it be that mind so firmly set
On some great philosophic plane,
Means I must trail in your wake
With all behind me in your train?

What ultra careless arrogance
Prompts you to such calumny.
What super oblivious ego trip
Strangles half the motorway.

I can but muse, and dreaming see
Wild fancies. Could I but instruct
That mid-lane doddlers cease to be
And never ever again obstruct.

I could fly close upon your tail,
Watching cross-hairs drawing in.
Then rake you with a hail of lead
And see your deadly flaming spin.

Or joyfully, abaft the beam, set
Rolling fire from each gun deck;
Gloating as iron and grape hit home
To render you a splintered wreck.

© John J.C. Watts 2017

Here is a link to where you can get a copy of our anthology:

… and here again is the link to my how to write book –

A writing list

A writing chum told me has made a 2018 writing list – things he intends to tackle next year… I’ve got some priorities in my head, but as for a list, well, I hadn’t thought of it… so what would be on my list should I make one?

I think it goes without saying that I will continue to write here, sharing my thoughts, ideas, memories and my writing. I must also get back seriously or seriously get back to finishing my next Radwinter novel, which has been marooned three-quarter way through since the beginning of November when I tackled the national Novel Writing challenge of completing 50,000 words in a month. So finish Thomas Radwinter’s next story provisionally entitled ‘Saltpans‘, and I have an idea for another for later on in the year probably called ‘Alone‘. On the Radwinter front, I also want to publish as paperbacks at least two of my e-books, ‘Magick’ and ‘Raddy and Syl‘, and if all goes extremely well, then also ‘Beyond Hope‘.

In January and February I must prepare for a talk and two workshops I’m giving in February; the talk is on writing about family history, as I mentioned yesterday, and the workshops are on the process of writing and blogging.

I also have my unfinished stories – ‘Gus’, ‘Dancing in the Road’, ‘And the River…’, ‘Hamazasb and the Missing Shoe‘, and a couple of other bits of writing I started. There is also the story I began this year for NaNoWriMo, about Milla. Of those, I think there’s only a couple which I might actually tackle, others are very much on the back burner, as well as some I wrote many years ago which would need a total re-write.

I have completed five NaNoWriMo challenges, every year since 2013; they have been a great way to really get to grips with a new story, but they are also a great drain on time… the idea is also quite additive, though, will I be able to resist the challenge? Or maybe should I use it to get to grips with ‘Alone’? That actually is a good idea!!

I mentioned at the start my commitment to writing here; I also share another blog with two writing friends (which is actually open to anyone to contribute to!) From that we published an anthology last year and are hoping to publish a second next year. That is more a case of pulling together already written pieces rather than creating anything new but it still involves work. On our other blog we have challenged ourselves to write about subjects from a list we discovered with seventy-three suggestions of topics. We are doing really well with it, and have had a thought that maybe they could be edited and published – in three volumes!! There would just be too many words for one book!

So that I guess is my writing list… but then of course, something new, a whole new story might bob into my mind!! Inspiration happens in the most unlikely places and with the most unexpected ideas!

So, maybe like my friend I should write a list… should it be a calendar/diary/timetable?

  1. January – finish first draft of ‘Saltpans‘, prepare for family history talk and writing workshops. Begin to edit ‘Magic’ for paperback publication
  2. February – deliver family history talk and writing workshops, work on editing ‘Saltpans‘, also continue to edit ‘Magick‘ as a paperback – this takes much longer than you might think!
  3. March – prepare and publish ‘Saltpans‘, prepare first draft of seventy-three blog anthology, book I.
  4. April – work on ‘seventy-three’ maybe start thinking about next story for me – perhaps ‘Dancing in the Road’, but maybe something new will spring into my mind! Publish ‘Magick’ as a paperback’ and start of paperback editing of ‘Raddy and Syl’.
  5. May – publish ’73’, continue work on whatever new/old thing I’m writing
  6. June – writing, writing, writing, publish ‘Raddy and Syl‘ paperback, start preparing ‘Beyond Hope’ as a paperback
  7. July – more writing, writing, writing, continue with ‘Beyond Hope‘ paperback
  8. August – as for July but publish new paperback
  9. September – complete whatever I started new in April (maybe it will have got to the editing stage by now) Begin to look at second anthology with my two writing friends, to publish November/December
  10. October  – ditto September
  11. November – new Nano challenge, but also some light editing and pulling together of the April book, publish anthology II with friends
  12. December – maybe publish new book? Maybe continue what I started as Nano?

Writing it down like this makes 2018 look a massive challenge – however, a lot of it is editing and working on old things. This year I have felt that creativity has been pushed into the corner by other stuff I’ve been doing; I really want to make sure it isn’t the same in 2018. It’s all about balance.

2017 has been a great year, and I’ll write about in the next few days, but if I have any resolution for next year, it is what I mentioned above – find balance!

Christmas music and books

As Christmas approaches it suddenly becomes apparent that certain presents haven’t been bought, or great ideas turn out to be silly ideas, or you have just completely run out of time. I remember when I was a child I was very good at not having a feel and a guess of the presets beneath the tree, but I always hoped that I would receive a book – a book for Christmas was jut the best thing! A gift which would last not just the next few weeks, but for the rest of the year – and, I didn’t realise, in some cases the rest of my life! Later music would be a great present to receive…

So maybe you are stuck for what to get someone for Christmas… it’s late and you are bereft of ideas… how about  music… My friend Ros Cuthbert is not just an amazing artist, she is a fantastically talented singer. You need a present? How about an album from Ros?! Isn’t that just a great idea?

Here is a link to Ros’s Facebook page where you can contact her:

… and her website:

… and if you live in the Bristol/Somerset area she has a gig coming up:

On the other hand, if your loved one/friend is more interested in reading than listening, a couple of friends and I have published an anthology or poetry and prose:

I hope you find these ideas helpful!!!