From Time Capsule Back to Website

So I’ve not put a lot of new content on here, I know. It’s really going to get in the way of my meteoric stats rise, and that’s a shame, but let me explain.

I’ve been reconsidering where I place my work online, and how best to use my website. For now, I think there’s going to be a lot less new content on here. What you can expect are larger monthly update posts. These will attempt to capture what I’ve been writing and creating elsewhere in the world.

Writing

Now of course, you can always check out my writing portfolio page for a master list of everything I’ve written and put out into the world, but here’s what I’ve been up to so far this year:

So at a glance, it looks like I’ve abandoned Ash & Feather for Medium. That’s not entirely true, but going forward a lot of my short-form writing will end up on Medium. Why is that? Honestly, because it pays. Not a lot, but enough to usually cover my phone bill each month, and certainly more than the nothing I was getting out of publishing directly on here.

I also won the February qualifier for Hammer & Tongue Solent. They’re a poetry slam competition, and I’ll be competing in their regional slam in December. If I’m one of the two best poets that night, I’ll go on to perform at the national slam at the Royal Albert Hall! So wish me luck!

Speaking of poetry performance, I’m regularly going to open mic nights and improving my technique, and I’ve started recording my readings. I’m hoping this will lead to a poetry-based YouTube channel, but in the meantime any videos will go up on the Ash & Feather Facebook page.

Workshops

Itchen to Write has been growing as a platform for affordable, accessible writing workshops across a broad range of disciplines. So far this year we’ve hosted workshops on screenwriting, plot and structure, found poetry, and this month we’re doing editing! You can find out more about our events on Meetup or Itchen to Write’s website.

I’m also teaching a variety of courses for Eastleigh College:

If you’re local to the area and fancy learning a bit more about these subjects, head over to their website and book your place!

Freelancing

My freelance writing work has tapered off somewhat, so if you’re interested in working together, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I have a wide range of experience in copywriting, fiction writing, and other forms.

Miscellaneous

As mentioned before, I do have an Etsy shop now. At the moment it’s mostly ceramics and vintage books, but I’m hoping to add a wide range of bullet journal layouts, prints, and planner PDFs in the future. If there’s anything you think would be good to add, let me know and I’ll look into it!

My social media presence has been growing; I’m over 1k followers on Twitter now, and creeping up on 200 followers on Instagram. Neither of these are particularly branded, but I post a lot of nice photography and political memes so if that’s your thing consider adding yourself to a growing crowd of people with excellent taste.


Anyway, I think that’s about it for now. As always, comments and suggestions are always welcome!

 

Monthly update!

We’re closing in on a year of ups and downs, redundancies, temp roles, and dipping my toes in the freelance waters. I’ve made some really positive changes and significant progress on my mental and physical health, and I think 2019 is shaping up to be a fantastic year indeed.

News!

NaNoWriMo, unsurprisingly, was a bust for me. In retrospect, November strikes me as a really inconvenient month to try and write a rough draft of a novel (or at least 50k of a rough draft). There’s Thanksgiving, and Christmas is looming on the horizon. And it’s on the back end of Halloween and Bonfire Night.

But, it doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy! I’m excited to have a few opportunities going:

If you’re interested in working with me on proofreading, editing, or writing, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

And what does all that mean?

It means I’ve been busy, but like a good busy, not the unproductive sort of busy that’s plagued my life for so long. I’m happier producing creative content, and I look forward to sharing all of it with you in the coming year.

If there’s anything you’d like to see more of on this website, please let me know–I’m always looking for new ideas!

Monthly update dropping like these crisp autumn leaves

Monthly update!

It’s a little late, but better late than never. I’ve been thinking about how I’m framing these monthly updates. They’re supposed to be part accountability, part actual news updates to let you guys know what I’m up to when I’m busy not posting. So I might play around with how they’re laid out and what I actually talk about in them. If you’ve got feedback, you know where to leave it.

So what’s going on?

  1. I’ve been accepted to teach an introduction to poetry course through a local college! I’ll also be teaching some IT and marketing related courses, so be sure to check it out!
  2. Itchen To Write also had a very successful workshop on editing your writing with writing coach and screenwriter Craig J. Rickard. We’ve got more in the works; watch this space!
  3. I was featured on Medium, in their publication I Quit!, a collection of the best times we quit the worst jobs. You can read my contribution here.
  4. My first poetry collection, BELTS: A NATIONAL SNAPSHOT IN POEMS, is available on Amazon! It’s less than £1, so please consider downsizing your coffee one morning to make room in your budget for a copy.
  5. Ash & Feather is on Facebook now, officially. I post industry news, behind the scenes snippets of what I’m working on, and the occasional bit of new content. Give it a like, what’ve you got to lose?
  6. I’ve had a chance to work on my photography, and I think it’s getting really good. You can find out for yourself, either on Instagram or on the photography website YouPic.
  7. If you like what I get up to on here, and poetry’s not your thing, you can buy me a coffee now, or if you’re in it for the long haul, become a Patron.

Whew! And all that while juggling a re-entry into the workaday world, even if only as a temp. There’s been a lot of positive energy and good momentum behind me lately, so don’t be surprised if you see more posts like this, jam-packed with new content and achievements!

I’m also looking for opportunities for freelance writing and editing, so if you like the feel of my writing, please drop me a line.

When I was growing up, I’d often spend the night at my grandmother’s house on the weekends. There were plenty of benefits to this: strawberry ice cream was served nightly at 7pm, there was a cherry tree in the back yard, the guest room featured a typewriter concealed within a roll-top desk, as well as a heated waterbed…and plenty of books to read.

A large portion of these books were from The Cat Who series, Lillian Jackson Braun’s cosy mystery series about a mustachioed journalist named Jim Qwilleran, who solves mysteries with his two Siamese cats.  They always had a fond place in my dusty memories, so imagine my delight when a tall stack of them were for sale at the local library for 20p a pop! I bought them all, of course.

2-o
Series author Lillian Jackson Braun with one of her own Siamese cats.

As it’s a lengthy series of fairly cookie-cutter books, I’ll be reviewing the series as a whole.

What Fired Me Up:

The books are quick and very readable, making for light reading or a good palate cleanser. The antics of Koko and Yum Yum are sure to delight readers of all ages, and prove that cats have always been cats. Qwilleran’s upbeat yet dogged personality is endearing, and he’s refreshingly human, frequently making mistakes and suffering small clumsy injuries. It’s also fun to read books written and set in times before the digital revolution. I guess these are vintage mysteries now?

The protagonist also doesn’t actively seek out the nefarious deeds he ends up uncovering. It’s fun to watch him attempt to just enjoy journalism, but seek out justice when something seems a little too easy.

What Fizzled:

I can understand how this flew over my head when I initially read these books as a child, but the series has a lot of product-of-its-time style sexism. Another thing I didn’t remember from my first pass through this series is the constant references to Qwilleran’s mustache. Its tendency to tingle like a Spidey Sense in a world otherwise devoid of magic or supernatural goings on took me out of the narrative each time, as did the constant stroking and touching and general hyperawareness he had for it. Maybe I’m just showing my ignorance. Facial-haired fellows, a question for you: how many times a day do you think about your mustache? It’s for research.

Verdict:

While they’re not groundbreaking in any way, even at the time, and haven’t aged particularly well in other ways, they’re still fairly enjoyable little reads. Their brevity and lighthearted approach, as well as gentler setting, can prove an easy salve for a frantic, sometimes cruel world. I’m not as heavily invested in them as I was when I was a child, but I do still recommend them.

Want To Read Them?

You can pick up some of these fun little books on Amazon.

Want More from Me?

Check out my other reviews here.

Monthly update!

June wasn’t exactly the rip-roaring month I was expecting, but in many ways I think it’s for the best. There were some reality checks and I’ve really buckled down on assessing my priorities and developing a workable strategy. I started a Patreon to help support my writing habit as well as subsidise Itchen to Write so that I can offer workshops very cheaply or for free depending on the support levels. Currently, Itchen to write relies on donations for its meetings, and the workshops have fees. I’d like to eliminate those because I’m a filthy socialist. Sue me. Become a patron. Or buy me a coffee.

Additionally, if that’s not your jam or you’re not able, consider doing your shopping on Amazon through my affiliate links. They don’t add to your costs when purchasing, and I get a kickback. You can find affiliate links in all of my book reviews, and anything you buy in the hour following the clickthrough applies, apparently.

I’ve got a lot of projects going at the moment, most are in the startup phase, so hopefully once the foundations have been laid, I can reveal these in their neat little schedules. But I’m really excited about developing new material!

Reviews!

I’m still getting back into the swing of making regular reading time. It’s a bit strange that it’s so hard, because I always enjoy it when I do. A bit like going to the gym, another thing I’ve not done in a long time.

However, we’re getting down to the wire time wise, as I may be starting a new job soon. More on that as and when (and if) it happens. A nice deadline like that is usually really good for my productivity, and I’ve got an exciting TBR pile to work through. So I think it’s fair to say I’ll get several reviews out this month!

Writing News!

 

I’ve been rapidly growing as a poet, including developing poetry workshops and a short poetry course to offer. My current thing I’m into is found poetry, which I plan to start sharing on my Instagram, so follow now to avoid missing out!

You can also expect to see a greater focus on self-published material from me, and I’ve been laying the groundwork to really diversify my online presence and build a solid fan base, so y’know, watch this space!

And of course, if there’s anything you’d like to see here, let me know!

winchester writers festival

Image result for winchester writers festivalLast week I got to spend the whole day amongst my fellow creative types at Winchester’s 38th Writers’ Festival.

It would have been great to spend the whole weekend there, taking full advantage, but I just had neither the bandwidth nor the finances to make that happen. Maybe next year!

What’s it all about?

Writing! Publishing! Editing! Marketing!

The festival programme was packed with informative sessions led by proven, knowledgeable speakers. Three days of workshops, panels, discussions, readings, and networking.

While I had to step out of two of the talks I attended for 1-2-1 appointments, I thoroughly enjoyed attending Jacquelina Saphra‘s interactive talk on poetry, hearing Hanna Jameson talk about writing tips, as well as learning about commercial women’s fiction from Sareeta Domingo and short story structure from Susmita Bhattacharya. They were all really interesting sessions, and I also got to meet other writers and make some friends.

Fun features:

The open mic night was a wonderfully intimate place to read pieces, and people from all walks of life read novel excerpts, flash fiction, poetry, and even script snippets (scrippets?). I read a few of my more politically motivated poems to enthusiastic applause. The added benefit of it being entirely for and by writers was that you also got more helpful feedback after reading.

Winchester Writers’ Festival also offered 1-2-1 sessions with industry professionals. Some of these were purely to workshop a piece submitted in advance, but there were also a lot of literary agents handing out offers. I pitched one of my works, and received some really great feedback that will help me improve future drafts.

The flipside:

THE PRICE. HOLY CATS THE PRICE.

And this is frankly endemic in writing festivals/conferences/conventions.

anigif_sub-buzz-24945-1520978591-7

As someone who has done events management and budgeting, I feel like the steep prices could be undercut, and still have a good event. But I also get the feeling that the fact that there is no other event like the Winchester Writers’ Festival anywhere near Hampshire does allow them to hold their delegates hostage.

While they do have about ten scholarship slots that receive free cost of attendance plus accommodation, and a small bursary fund (I qualified for one of those bursaries), it still leaves a lot of people with a searing hole in their wallets.

We need events like these that are affordable because otherwise the writing and publishing world turns into this classist community where your own bank account is gatekeeping you out of it.

That’s why today I’m at the much more reasonably priced TLC Writers’ Day at the Free Word Centre in London. I’ll be writing about this event for my next blog post!

Monthly update!

The year is half over and I’m pretty offended about it if we’re perfectly honest. The humidity is settling in and the heat is rising and it makes it pretty hard to get things done here in a country with no home A/C. But I’ve persevered.

The recovery from April has been a little slower on the visible side of things, but rest assured, my absence here has been supplanted by a surge of activity with my writing group, Itchen to Write, and really working hard on my main projects.

Reviews!

We’ve gotten off track with book reviews and social media scheduling reviews, but I can safely say the ship’s been righted and there are no less than four book reviews forthcoming this month, as well as resuming the social media scheduling series with a look at Later.

As always, please note that my buy links in my reviews are Amazon Associate links, so if you make a purchase I may get a little kickback from that. It doesn’t increase your prices, just helps to support the site.

Writing News!

IT’S PITCH SEASON YOU GUYS.

This month, I’ve got three opportunities to cram my pitch down as many agents’ throats as possible. I’m going to the Winchester Writers’ Festival on 16 June, as well as the TLC Writers’ Day on 23 June in London. These are both amazing events I’m really looking forward to, and as of this writing tickets are still available for both so make sure you get in on that action.

Additionally, #PitMad is coming up on 7 June, so you can keep a look out for my tweets as I try and catch the eye of a lovely agent. Wish me the best of luck!

 

I’m also teaching another poetry introduction towards the latter half of the month, so things are really heating up around here, and for once I don’t mean the muggy weather.