Wednesday 28 October 2015

Is there Anybody There?
It's that time of year again. The nights are much darker and thoughts are turning to Hallowe'en in a few days time. If you enjoy reading ghost or horror stories why not visit Alfie Dog Fiction where there are plenty to choose from? Some of these appear in an anthology of ghost stories entitled The Day Death Wore Boots. 

I have three ghost stories published on the site:

  • The Journey Home  - On the way to their cottage after a busy working week in London, Sophie and Tom give a lift to a teenage girl. Why is she out alone on a cold night, dressed in a flimsy dress? Why are they so uneasy when they drop her off at her home? 
  • Unfinished Business - Kathy will never settle until she finds her cat, Monty. She ventures out of the house in the dark and in atrocious weather to look for him. But will she be able to face her fears as she nears the end of the street and enter the place she dreads? 
  • Rock-a Bye Baby ( included in the anthology) - Ali and Ben are awaiting the birth of their first child. The baby’s bedroom in Rock Cottage is freshly decorated and everything is ready. Mums-to-be are supposed to be excited, aren’t they? So why did Ali feel so uneasy? Was it just over-tiredness like Ben said? 
You may find them to download HERE. 

For the next Writers' Group meeting, we have been asked to write something entitled 'The Room in the Pub'. You've guessed it - the new venue is a room in a pub so it's very topical! I've decided to make it a ghost story and am grateful to Honno author,  Juliet Greenwood, for posting this link on her Facebook page. 14 Welsh Ghost Stories That Will Send a Chill Down Your Spine

What better way to get inspiration for a story than to read accounts of 'real' stories of ghosts that have been handed down through generations. Many of the stories involve haunted goings on in pubs where poor souls have met their Maker in unfortunate circumstances. 

According to author and historian, James Moore, more than two hundred and fifty inns and taverns across Britain are linked to gruesome tales of murder. His book 'Murder at the Inn: a History of Crime in Britain's Pubs and Hotels' links pubs that can still be found today with 'captivating and sometimes horrifying tales from their past.' 

So far, my ghost stories have been quite gentle where the ghost can't move on until something has been resolved but perhaps after reading these I may be able to come up with a story that's more terrifying or spine-chilling. Will I have the courage to walk up the stairs to the meeting room in the old pub and read out what I've written? ...Aaaarrrrgggghhh!

Do you believe in ghosts? Do you know of an incident which doesn't have a rational explanation? What inspiration have you had for writing a ghost story? Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment. Thank you for reading.

You may also follow me on Twitter @JanBayLit and on my Jan Baynham Writer Facebook page.

Monday 19 October 2015

Back to It
It was back to earth with a bump last week after three weeks away. I didn't get much actual writing done in terms of the novel or completed short stories but it was a busy week with lots of 'writerly' things going on. In writing group on Monday, we looked at each other's work and I talked through an idea I have for a story. It's inspired by an anecdote told to me by someone I got chatting to on holiday - as you do! How we got talking about life insurance I don't know, but suffice to say the guy won't take any out because of what he told me. I just hope I can do justice to his story and turn it into a worthwhile piece of fiction. I should say that his wife was present and she was laughing as much as me! :-) Watch this space!

On Tuesday, I attended a writing workshop as part of Penarth Book Festival. The well attended session, led by author, Julie McGowan, was interesting and interactive. Julie presented us with a number writing scenarios covering character and avoiding stereotypes, dialogue and editing. The time flew by and I thoroughly enjoyed the morning. 

Later in the week, I attended the launch of 'Awen Inspirations', the 2015 Rhondda Cynon Taf anthology, at Pontypridd Library. All contributors had to either live or, as I do, attend writing classes/groups in the area. I was pleased to have both a story and a poem included . In spite of a heavy cold and croaky voice, I read out my poem 'The Grandmother Clock' and enjoyed listening to other writers and poets. I then met my writing buddy, Helen, for lunch. We talked about which stories we were submitting to competitions and looked at some critiques. 

This week also saw me start working with Geraldine Ryan as part of the Womentoring project. For those of you not familiar with the scheme, the idea is 'to introduce successful literary women to other writers at the beginning of their careers who would benefit from insight, knowledge and support.' I applied to be mentored by Geri because she was offering Womag fiction as her specialism. Her stories and serials regularly appear in Women's Weekly and she also writes for Fiction Feast and other magazines. She has run many workshops and courses on 'Writing Fiction for Women's Magazines'. I'm very excited to be working with Geri and only hope I can do justice to the help she'll be giving me.

I've also tried to catch up with fellow writers' blogs and I've registered to take part in NaNoWriMo again this year. I intend to use the time to complete - yes, FINISH, END, CONCLUDE, FINALISE - the first draft of my novel! Between now and November 1st, I hope to do some more research so that I can just write without interruption.

How about your writing week? Have you been busy with 'writerly' things above and beyond actual writing? I'd love to hear what you have been doing so please leave a comment. Thank you. :-)

Thank you for reading my blog. You may also follow me on Twitter @JanBayLit and on my Jan Baynham Writer