Post-Holiday Blues & Some Serial News

Have you missed me? I’ve been away for ages, I know. Soz.

Last week I was on a tennis holiday on the Turquoise Coast in Turkey.

“You’re brave,” people said to us when we announced our destination. And they were right: half way through the week, disaster struck. I’m still not sure how I managed it but, during a game of doubles I managed to STAND on the ball that I was chasing, my foot rolled over it and WHAM! Woman down and the result was: sprained ankle, ice, strapping, no more tennis or swimming or wearing nice shoes in the evening.

The moment I did it, I could have cried – not from the pain – but because all those lovely new tennis clothes (bright orange!) that I’d brought and evening wear, complete with strappy sandals, would have to stay in the suitcase.

And then I got a really bad cough – which I still have – and which is now turning into a cold. So I am feeling sorry for myself! 😦

turkey3But it was a beautiful resort and we will probably go back (I will be wearing a cotton-wool Michelin Man suit over my entire body), so here are a few snaps that you might like to see.


But enough of all that. Let me tell you what else I’ve been doing.

Yesterday I went to Birmingham to teach a 2 hour workshop on ‘Writing Historical Fiction’ for a former teacher of mine – Chris Morgan. Here we are, at the end of the session, looking rather pleased with ourselves! (And I managed not to cough once, which was a miracle).

me and chris1

Chris used to run an evening class in Creative Writing in Acocks Green (yes, there is such a place) and over twenty years ago (!) I attended that class for about 7 years and learned lots. He is a great teacher and very encouraging!

I always know a workshop has been OK if I manage to inspire myself, while doing it (*she says, modestly*) and I must admit, having read Emma Darwin’s excellent ‘Get Started In Writing Historical Fiction‘ in advance – which gave me some great ideas (and she’s giving away a free copy on her blog, closing 12th June), I’m feeling ready to tackle another story (or maybe even a serial….!) set in the past now.

Talking of which, my 3-part Edwardian serial is going to be published in The People’s Friend next month, starting 18th June.

The editor, Shirley Blair, emailed me the layout of the first page of episode one this week and it looks very good but there were a couple of surprises… firstly, they’ve changed the title from ‘Allen’s Angels’ (mine and not very good), to ‘Where the Air Is Sweet’ (because of course, as it’s set in a chocolate factory, you can smell the chocolate for miles around). Then, my three main characters’ names have been changed! Edie has become Annie, George has become Edward and Richard has become Justin.

Hmm.. what d’you think?

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15 Responses to Post-Holiday Blues & Some Serial News

  1. Sara Kellow says:

    I think your names are better – Justin doesn’t strike me as very Edwardian as I am married to one!

    • Shh, but yes, that’s exactly what I thought, Sara! Justin?!! It sounds too 20th century, doesn’t it? Of course, it’s actually an ‘old’ name (there’s a ‘St Justin’) but it just doesn’t sound Edwardian to me!

  2. My business head says, ‘so what, I’m getting paid, they’re buying the story. Let them change it around.’
    My heart might say different… 🙂

    • When I was at the PF workshop they said that they sometimes change characters names if they’ve already used those names in the same issue (because readers get confused) and I suspect they didn’t like ‘George’ and ‘Richard’ (which I used) because they were the real names of the Cadbury brothers and we’re not actually replicating their lives or the factory – the story’s just inspired by them. So, I don’t have a problem with them changing names or the title (although I prefer ‘Edie’ to ‘Annie’ and she just doesn’t feel like my heroine anymore!) BUT I was a little taken-aback by Justin! It sounds too modern!

  3. Anne says:

    It is one thing to change a title – after all, the magazine probably knows which version would be the catchiest. Changing the names of characters – without consultation – is more dubious. Imagine attending a class and being called Christine because the teacher doesn’t like Helen! I agree with Sara – your original names were better.

  4. Wendy Clarke says:

    Ah, I guessed right that you were on a tennis holiday. Such bad luck about the sprained ankle – feel so sorry for you. I also came back from my holidays with a yucky virusy thing. On the last day, I walked around Pompeii doubled up with stomach pains (boo). Glad you’re feeling better now and looking forward to your serial. As to name changes, it hasn’t happened to me very often but my last story had Doris change to a name I’d never heard of! (Can’t remember what it was now).

  5. Wendy, it’s horrible when you’re ill on holiday, isn’t it?! At least I was still able to eat (a lot) and drink (a lot) but then I’ve come back feeling like ten-ton Tessie!

  6. Patsy says:

    Sorry about the ankle, but glad the rest of the trip – and all things writerly – were problem free.

  7. rosgemmell says:

    What a shame about your holiday woes, though it looks a lovely place. Have to agree about Justin not sounding right but they do seem to change names a lot on PF!

  8. juliathorley says:

    I have a golfer husband at home at the moment with a sprained hand – he fell over his own golf bag! – so I know how frustrated you must have felt to step on your tennis ball. I have a friend just back from Turkey and she says it’s the best holiday she’s ever had. As for your name-change: I agree – Justin? No!

    • Sprained hand is not good, either! I had my ankle x-rayed today. I was ‘supposed’ to wait 2 weeks for the results (which would make it a MONTH since I fell over!) but I pestered the rather grumpy radiologist and she told me, unofficially, that she couldn’t see anything ‘broken’ but then she added, darkly that a sprain would take ‘twelve weeks’ to mend! Eek, no! I am supposed to be playing tennis again – for the first time – this Thursday! Yes, Turkey is lovely. Can’t say mine was the best holiday I’d ever had but it did have the potential to be!! (if that makes sense!).

  9. They are an entity all of their own, but really well done on winning. I entered that one and I’m proud of my 6,000 word effort. I’ll complete the story with Monica and daughter Ellery, and Jocelyn with her daughter Heather. I also had a Peter, and a Carly, and Erthin. I might have made the last one up, but it’s a modern Welsh name. Modern as in this year:00))

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