Publication: the People’s Friend annual 2018

I’m delighted to report that I have a short story in this 2018 annual from The People’s Friend, out now.

This is the first short story I ever sold to them after 31 years of trying. I’ve not got my copy yet, but I have it on very good authority that the story is called Catch of the Day. (The People’s Friend are known for changing story titles.)

The book is only available as a hardback, but you can buy it from Amazon here.

Short story news: Shaking the Tree

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I wrote a short story based on the great storm that lashed the British Isles in 1987.

That story, The Spirit of the Wind, eventually found its way into My Weekly, and then into Twee Tales (on Kindle here, and in paperback here).

A little more recently, a friend of mine nagged me for a sequel to that story. She said she’d love to know what happened to everyone.

Towards the end of last year, I finally finished the sequel and called it Shaking the Tree.

I’m delighted to say that Shaking the Tree (my title) was bought by The People’s Friend in February of this year, and it has been published in their Special 141, on sale today – 31 May.

It took me a long time to crack The People’s Friend – more than 30 years, in fact. But they also have another short story of mine, The Complete Angler, which has been published in their 2018 annual, on sale on 11 July – pre-order your copy here.

Do let me know if you manage to read the story and what you think of it. Thank you!

Diary of a freelance writer: 31 August 2016

Sorry for going AWOL again, but I hope the reason for skipping the best part of a week soon becomes clear.

Wednesday 17 August 2016
A week ago last Wednesday was a good working day. I wrote 672 words for one blog, 419 words for another blog, and I finally sold a short story to People’s Friend after 31 years of trying! My story, THE COMPLETE ANGLER, will be in the 2018 PF annual.

In the afternoon I continued to edit a particularly gruelling book for the retainer job. And a new edit arrived from lovely-already-boss. I had a mess with Trello, so that’s now in the system.

The poet had band practice that evening and so I went and did the weekly shopping while we were over there.

On a downside, my father-in-law was taken in to hospital and kept in overnight for observation.

Thursday 18 August 2016
Thursday continued in much the same vein. I did some gig list admin in the morning before writing 731 words for a blog post, and I did some admin work too.

In the afternoon I continued with the gruelling edit.

Unable to find anything significantly wrong with my father-in-law at the hospital, he was sent home.

Friday 19 August 2016
Friday morning was another good working session. I wrote 550 words for a blog post, I wrote 1,060 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW, and I started to collate TWEE TALES TWEE (see sidebar for current word-count). I also managed some of the gruelling edit.

Friday afternoon was the dentist for both of us. We both have to go back next week for fillings.

Weekend
At the weekend, Monkey Dust had a good gig over in Doncaster on the Saturday and we were able to visit both sets of parents on the Sunday.

Monday 22 August 2016
Monday morning was yet another good working session. I wrote 405 words for a blog post and started a new collection, TRAVELS FROM BAGGINS BOTTOM (again, see sidebar for current word-count).

In the afternoon I continued with the gruelling edit, but my dental appointment was for 4:20pm. However, I was booked in for 2 fillings and a clean, but when he had a good look, he only decided to do one filling, and that was repairing a hole in a crown.

Tuesday 23 August 2016
Tuesday wasn’t a great day in the big scheme of things. I didn’t do any writing work of my own because I wanted to finish the gruelling edit and I spent all day on that.

Sadly, at around 9pm, my father-in-law passed away. I’d say suddenly, because the hospital and the doctors had failed to find anything wrong with him. But he hadn’t been very well at all over the previous few days. We didn’t put anything on Facebook because the poet doesn’t actually have an account on there and he didn’t feel comfortable with people he doesn’t really know making any comment, although he does appreciate that many may want to. We would, however, still appreciate it if it still doesn’t appear on Facebook. Thank you.

We went straight over to help sort out preliminaries and see the family, then we fetched my mother-in-law back with us so she had company for a few days.

Wednesday 24 August 2016
I spent last Wednesday finishing the gruelling edit as far as I could. There were 4 chapters missing and we were still awaiting those from the author despite several reminders that we didn’t have them.

We made some unpleasant but necessary phone calls. Then the poet’s kids and his granddaughter came over to spend some time with their (grand)dad and their (great-)grandmother, and we had a relatively lovely afternoon – especially under the circumstances.

Thursday 25 August 2016
On Thursday, we did some running around, made a few appointments, and went for some shopping. Late in the evening the poet was finally able to post the gig list.

Friday 26 August 2016
On Friday we had a few appointments before taking my mother-in-law home. She was ready for some time on her own, she had things that needed doing and there were friends and family who wanted to see her. We fetched a pile of paperwork back with us so we could go through it all and put it into some sort of order.

In the afternoon, it was the poet’s turn for a filling at the dentist. But again, once he had a good look, the dentist decided it wasn’t necessary and he did an alternative repair instead.

After the dentist, we both had hair appointments. The poet often sits outside while he waits for me to have my hair cut, or he’ll take the dog to the park. But he doesn’t have time to get his own hair cut. So having it cut at the same time as mine seemed the logical and most cost-effective thing to do.

Bank holiday weekend
We were busy at the weekend. It was a bank holiday so we had an extra day. The time was spent going through the paperwork, doing bits and bobs we don’t often have time to do, and on the Monday he made me some bookcases. We’ve been looking for ages for some bookcases that were in just the right colour, and when we couldn’t find any he decided to make some.

When we married, he inherited a lot of tools – either bought by me over the years or given to me by my dad. We jokingly call it my “dowry” – he was surprised to find a female who had her own full set of wood drill bits! He had lots of fun using the cordless drill/electric screwdriver that came with the dowry, along with a square and the aforementioned drill bits. And I have a lovely pair of bespoke bookcases! 🙂 Win-win!

Tuesday 30 August 2016
Yesterday was once again back to being very productive.

Because the poet had shared the gig list instead of me last week, I’d forgotten to schedule a post asking for the coming week’s gigs. So that was the first job on my list – I did it from bed at 7:20am! I also did some band admin for Monkey Dust, I made another phone call for the mother-in-law, and I did a little job for my dad.

I chased an invoice (it was paid this morning – hurrah!), I deleted a load of people from LinkedIn who I don’t actually know, and I did some admin work for my 2 main editing clients.

I closed down a couple of my survey accounts and claimed a payment from a 3rd. Now I have the regular retainer work coming in, I don’t have time to do the surveys.

I caught up on some diary work, and then it was book admin – adding the latest re-published book to my author page on Amazon, and I ordered/bought a few books. Now that I have a bookcase for fiction, I was able to complete my George R Martin collection, add another writing book to my writing collection, plus a load of freebies for the Kindle.

The outstanding 4 chapters arrived, but I flagged a further concern with those before printing off another book I can crack on with for the retainer client. However, by the end of the day, he’d resolved my query, so I’ll finish that one first now before starting the next. He also added me to one of his own Trello boards, so already that new system is working.

Homework w/c 31 August 2016
And so this coming week I need to crack on with stuff. I have the gruelling edit to complete and the new one to get done. Then I want to do the one that came in from lovely-already-boss.

I didn’t do any writing yesterday, so I want to ensure I at least catch up with that.

On Friday morning we have the funeral and on Sunday we’ll be taking my mother-in-law with us to visit my parents.

What are you up to this week?