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Friday, November 16, 2018

Tears, stotty bread and a blast from the past

The old Ryhope Junior School, Ryhope, Sunderland 
It's been quite a week in my writing world this week.


The gorgeous Lewis & Cooper store in Northallerton
On Monday I traveled by train (always my favourite mode of transport) to the North Yorkshire town of Northallerton. It's a bit posh, is Northallerton. Anyway, I was there to meet bestselling author Margaret Graham, who also writes as Milly Adams.  We had a lovely lunch together and I learned a lot from this prolific author, who had a great deal of experience under her belt.

I also made a start on my Christmas shopping in Northallerton, it really was a good day out. Mondays are my "day off" writing which means I stay away from my computer, laptop and try my best to switch off. It's not always successful, but I try.

Ryhope Community Centre, Ryhope, Sunderland
Tuesday saw me giving a talk to the Ryhope Heritage Society on my novel Belle of the Back Streets. What a turn out it was! A packed room at Ryhope Community Centre included the parents of some of my old school friends. What a catch-up session I had, it was amazing. I was asked to sign hardback copies of my book that people had bought at Sunderland Waterstones. I also met some of the people who had kindly helped me with research via email. And then a woman approached me. "You don't know who I am, do you?" she asked with a cheeky smile. I had to admit that I didn't.  She told me who she was and I saw it there immediately. We'd been to school together, and had last seen each other some 40 years ago. We hugged each other to bits.

The talk went really well although I have to say I'm still very nervous about standing up in front of people having attention focused on me. The vicar of St. Paul's church in Ryhope was in the audience and he asked me to read from Belle of the Back Streets. An amazing experience, a wonderfully warm audience and I enjoyed myself so much I'm going back to join in their monthly heritage meetings starting in January next year.


On Wednesday, inspired by Belle of the Back Streets. I made a stottie cake, or stotty bread.  You can read all about it and see some pictures of me baking here.

The idea is to include a recipe for stottie cake in the paperback version of  Belle of the Back Streets. The recipe I've concocted is one I tried three times in the course of the week so I think it's going to be OK. I do hope so!

Also on Wednesday, I had a short story published in The People's Friend Special No. 166, it's their Christmas edition and my short story was called The Greatest Snowman.


As the week drew to a close, another blast from the past had me in tears...

Ryhope Junior School, Ryhope, Sunderland (before it was knocked down!)
I received an email from a teacher at Ryhope Junior School. Along with another teacher and a teaching assistant, she'd attended one of my talks on Belle of the Back Streets. at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens as part of Sunderland Libraries Literature Festival.

I've been asked to give a talk on my books to the children at the junior school. Not only that, the school are having their library renovated and have asked me to officially open the library.  I was so touched by this request when I read the email that I burst into tears. I've replied to say yes, of course.

Ryhope Junior School is the school I attended, although it's not the same building or in the same place. The original Junior School, pictured above, is the one I went to, but it's a housing estate now. The new Junior School is just a short walk away.

In other news this week, I wrote another episode of my weekly soap opera Riverside for The People's Friend magazine.


Friday saw me tinkering with our digital camera and computer special effects  to produce a competition for my Facebook page. You can enter to win a signed hardback of Belle of the Back Streets along with chocolate, bookmarks and postcards. Enter the competition here.

Oh... and also in my writing week I managed to complete my target 2,000 words per day for three days. That's one more draft chapter completed, just five more to go.  This is my third novel I'm writing now and it's coming on very well indeed.  I'll soon be able to reveal the title but until then there's a bit of a teaser here.

It's been a busy week, a wonderful week, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I absolutely LOVE what I'm doing right now.

Debut novel Belle of the Back Streets
Now out in hardback and e-book 

Kindle e-book just 99p until January 1st 2019 


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