Gunnar and me, cutting our 10th anniversary cake.
Monday, 22 November 2010
Gunnar and me, cutting our 10th anniversary cake.
Sunday, 31 October 2010
However launch over, no time to rest as I am putting the finishing touches to Shipwrecks of Sussex, so watch this post for updates. Meanwhile I am eagerly waiting copies of The Story of Pembrokeshire which is due for release on 15 November. This is a greatly updated version of the book that came out in 1993, and has been in print every since. This edition will have two sections of coloured photographs, and will be approximately 50% longer. If you enjy this beautiful historic part of the world, so look out for a copy.
Wednesday, 13 October 2010
First of all it has arrived! Haunted Worthing, I mean, always a truly exciting time for an author when you actually have something to show for all that research and hard work. I must say I am very pleased with it, and I do hope readers will enjoy it too. Worthing grew from a very small coastal, mackeral-fishing hamlet recorded as 'Ordings' in 1086 with a population of just twenty-two into a market town by 1803 and into a bustling Victorian seaside town. It has been home to smugglers and several well known literary figures over the centuries not to mention a holiday destination for thousands. The town is rich in history, and it is this past which has surely helped supply its pubs, theatres, streets ad houses with more than their fair share of ghouls and poltergeists. The ghosts in this book are on the whole a peaceful, fairly friendly bunch, but don't be misled. There are the exceptions, those poor souls with a sad past. In my latest book you will meet the 8ft monk reading his prayer book, the young girl whose hair is stroked by an unseen hand, two ghostly children caught on security camera, the famous musician who frequented his last home and the painting that weeps salty tears, and I am sure these tales will leave you chilled to the bone. But for a truly spooky experience pop down the road to the Dolphin Hotel in Littlehampton, declared the most haunted building in the town and meet a whole family of spooky ghosts and enjoy the truly freaky experience, but not one for the faint hearted. Here live Fred the blacksmith who resides in the cellar, and a nursery of mischievous children who love to play games together, run around, make plenty of noise and are known to throw the odd item or two, but don't stay at room number 2, as you may meet the top half a lady! The book has 70 black and white illustrations too.
The last few weeks have been very interesting as I pursue my research for shipwrecks! Did you know that over 200 ships were wrecked in Seaford alone? I have enjoyed days in Hastings, Seaford, Newhaven, and Worthing and Chichester nearer home. Deadline for Shipwrecks of Sussex is 30 November and I am in the happy position of feeling I will reach the deadline with no worries! In fact I have too much material! Watch this space for more information on publication date.
Finally the delayed Story of Pembrokeshire will be published on 15 November, so it has been a busy year to say the least, but a rewarding one!
On Tuesday 5th October I run a Day for Journalists and Non-fiction Writers for the SWWJ at The Writers House in London, which turned out to be most enjoyable as we shared our methods of working on a feature as well as on a non-fiction book. It was interesting to learn how each of set about sorting out our material. We also looked at various magazines as potential markets and I am sure everyone went home with at least one idea to pursue.
Friday, 3 September 2010
Friday, 27 August 2010
Wednesday saw me a little nearer to home at Malipins Museum in Shoreham, housed in one of the oldest domestic buildings in Sussex, and sitting proud on the High Street. It has a fascinating collection of maritime history as well as local history for this part of Sussex and Shoreham Film Industry.
Thursday turned into another productive day when a visit to Littlehampton Museum proved most interesting. Not only did I learn about another wreck I have not discovered before, but I had the wonderful opportunity of handling some of the artifacts from this wreck. Many thanks to the museum staff who were so helpful.
With a mass of notes and photocopied material you can guess what I will be doing this weekend!
Sunday, 22 August 2010
The highlight of the week for me was on Friday when I went along along to the 'Meet The Authors' event organised by Selsey Writers as part of the Selsey Festival. There were around 22 authors there, all eager to talk about their books and meet their readers. Pictured above is me with my very dear friend Josephine Chia who amongst other things has written an excellent book as a tribute to her mother. It has a most unusual title 'Frog Under a Coconut Shell', which is a Malay idiom that likens someone to a frog that lives under a coconut shell and who believes the shell to be its entire world. It refers to Josephines mother who although herself uneducated and living a parochial existence in a small village believed in and struggles for a greater vision - the right to educate her daughter and is a wonderful testament to the love and courage of a mother that changed Josephine's life forever. If you only buy one book this year, make sure it is this one. Do visit her website and learn more about her work
Saturday, 14 August 2010
On 6 July I spent a most enjoyable day at Selsey Writers talking about using folklore in your writing. The group were all asked to put some ideas on paper and the feedback session showed that most had come up with some really good original idea to work on. Well done Selsey Writers and thank you for inviting me.
I have managed to finish updating The Story of Gower, which is now 50% larger than the original, and like the The Story of Pembrokeshire will have two sections of colour photographs. This is now with the publishers, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch. The manuscript of The Story of Pembrokeshire was returned so that I could include an index, which I am very pleased about. Since this book was first published in 1993 I have had some super letters - always godo for a writer to receive - but several had said that an index would have helped, especially when they were exploring the area.
Nearer home I have been working hard on my next book The Shipwrecks of Sussex, which is proving to be a fascinating subject. So far I have meet some super people who are willing to share information with me, and I have several visits lined up in the coming couple of weeks with Marlipins Museum in Shoreham and Littlehampton and Seaford Museums. A visit to the visitors centre at Beachy Head ealier this week proved most useful, and I fear my problem will be choosing what to put in the book. At the same time I am also working on The Story of Carmarthenshire, which will form part of The Story of ... series. So a busy few months ahead for me! What's new I hear my readers ask.
I am also waiting with anticipation the arrival of Haunted Worthing, which should be available from September, so watch this space for details, book signings, etc.
Saturday, 3 July 2010
I have an interesting event lined up for Tuesday 5 July. I have been invited to talk to Selsey Writers about using folklore in their writing. I am really looking forward to meeting everyone and gaining a few more writing friends. I have drawn on folklore in most of my books, especially the Story of... series where I tell the story of the county from the beginning of time to present day. Watch this space as the updated book on The Story of Pembrokeshire will be published any day now. This book was first published in 1993 and has been in print every since, but I am sure this updated version, together with many colour photographs will be welcomed.
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Today I was thrilled to receive a copy of the cover of my book on Haunted Worthing, being published by the History Press. I must say I am absolutely delighted with it. This book is due to hit the bookshops in early September, so watch this space for more inforamtion. Meanwhile I am working on my next book, Shipwrecks along the South Coast, in between enjoying the glorious sunshine. At last the warmer weather has arrived.
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
We stayed in Deauville in a property overlooking the sea with views of some of the best sunsets I have seen. This was a recuperation and relaxation holiday, so I did my best not to end up turning it in a writing holiday, but there is so much to see and do Normandy that I found it extremely difficult. We were in Normandy on the 6 June, a very important in history, so a trip along the Normandy beaches was a must. Although we did not see the main parades, we went to Arromanche to see what remains of Mulberry Harbour, which helped to win the war. There were Canadian, American and British War Veterans there for the anniversary, and a visit to the museum was very moving indeed. Mulberry Harbour was built in England piece by piece in various parts of the country, and no one knew what they were working on. The pieces were then shipped out to France and built under the cover of darkness – a fantastic piece of engineering – the harbour, and road from the harbour to the village to take the vehicles, supplies, etc!
Orbec is a medieval village – one of only a few that was not totally destroyed during the war. Very quaint with timber houses of the distinctive Norman appearance, some with thatched roofs. The day we went was market day and all the farmers came into town with their horse and wagons to sell their fruit, veg and homemade bread and cheeses. As you can imagine we sampled a great deal of the local produce!
Another day we went to Falaise, which is the birthplace of William the Conqueror, and a huge bronze statue of the Conqueror, on horse backs sits in the castle just below the castle – his childhood home and that of the Dukes of Normandy.
We also visited Caen, which is now very modern being almost destroyed in the war, but we did walk around the ruined castle and visited the museum.
I loved Honfleur, so pretty and some of the buildings seemed to be so tall that they would topple over! Again it was market day so very busym and interesting to see all the different foods on display. Various boats were in the harbour and seafood was on every menu.
Deauville itself is where all the film stars holiday and once a year (in September) is home to Deauville film festival. Things were extremely expensive in Deauville, but it was nice to see another side of life. The promenade or the Boardwalk is boarded for miles and super to walk along. All along the boardwalk are beach huts with little gates in front with the name of a film star who has been to Deauville – lots of lots of them, all famous, including firm directors as well. We were told to look out for famous people as they come to Deauville to the Casino and then parade along the boardwalk in the afternoon. Unfortunately I cannot report seeing anyone famous, but we did look at the restaurants serving Oysters and Champagne and an enormous platter of shell fish for a mere £60 per person!
Alas it was time to leave and I returned home to find the final proofs of The Story of Pembrokeshire sitting on the doormat, so it was back to work as usually!
Tuesday, 18 May 2010
- Treat your writing as a business and always act like a professional writer.
- Be prepared - good supply of paper, envelopes, stamps and a GOOD quality cartridge in your printer.
- Only submit your best work.
- Be motivated and be determined to succeed and you WILL succeed.
Newspapers - daily, weekly, regionals, nationals, Sunday supplements, local freebies.
Magazines - a glance along the shelves in your local newsagents should bring in a wealth of ideas.
Trade Journals - always a good source. The competition is less fierce and editors are often desperate for the right sort of material.
Don't forget the English speaking markets either Ireland, America, Canada, Singapore, etc.
Religious and Inspirational writing.
Food and Travel Magazines
Children and Teenage publications.
Seek out a new market and see if you could write for this publication. Thank you Sutton Writers for inviting me.
Saturday I attended the second of my 10 session courses on historic Worthing. This week the session included the great and the good of the town -Town Officials, Councillors and Aldermen. Chris Hare packed a great deal into the session and I have come away with a great deal that I would like to research further.
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
1. An original idea.
2. Believeable characters.
5. An interesting title
6. A story that had a beginning, middle and an end.
7. A story that held my interest to the end.
8 a satisfying or believing ending.
I must say the majority ticked all the boxes, but a few could have found better titles. Titles can be so difficult. Each person went away with a tip sheet on writing short stories, which I hope was useful. Well done to Chichester Writers for a most enjoyable evening. Wednesday saw me back at my desk working on my Gower book, which is almost ready for the final proofread. Thursday was a day of pleasure as I attended the SWWJ south east regional lunch at the Birch Hotel in Haywards Heath, and besides meeting up with old friends it was good to chat to two of our newer members from the Worthing area. Monday 10 May I travelled up to London for the SWWJ Council meeting, always a long day, but especially enjoyable because as membership secretary I had 18 new applicants to present to Council. The SWWJ is going from strength to strength. If you are a writer, do have a look at the Society of Women Writers and Journalists website and consider joining us. Our up-coming event is our Summer Festival which is to be held at The Royal Overseas League in London, always an enjoyable event.
Monday, 3 May 2010
As we move into May I have a busy month ahead of me - what's new I hear you ask! In the background I am working on the final edit of an update of The Story of Gower and sorting out the photographs, which has to be with my publisher by 30 May. A the same time I am gathering material for Shipwrecks along the South Coast, which has a deadline of 30 November, and I shall look forward to exploring the south coast in the summer months. On the 4 May I will be talking to Chichester Writers Circle about their entries for a short story competition (modern fairy tale) and announcing the winners, and giving some general tips for writing short stories, which I am looking forward to. It is always enjoyable to visit Writers' Circles and chat to fellow writers about their projects. Thursday 6 May is the South East Regional lunch for the SWWJ at The Birch Hotel in Haywards Heath. It is good to have a day away from the desk, and I am looking forward to chatting to fellow writers and listening to our surprise guest speaker. 14 May sees me in Surrey talking to Sutton Writers Circle on the subject of Writing and Placing Articles, which I know I shall enjoy very much., although the markets for articles seem to be dwindling by the week. The following day, 15 May, is the second session of my course on Secret Worthing run by Chris Hare, a local prolific author. This session is on the Great and The Good of the Town - Town Officials, Councillors and Aldermen, and I know I am in for a treat.
Thursday, 22 April 2010
Back at my desk I am working on the final draft of The Story for Gower. This was the first book I wrote back in 1992 and it has been in print ever since. Now I am working on a new edition which will be roughly twice as long with colour and black and white illustrations. Obviously this being my first book it is very special to me and I must thank my publisher Myrddin ap Dafydd at Gwasg Carreg Gwach for the opportunity to update this book.
I am also working on a new book for The History Press entitled Shipwrecks of the South Coast, which I am enjoying researching. Being born and brought up a stone's throw from the Gower Peninsula I have always had a special affinity with the sea, which can be so powerful. There are so many shipwrecks to write about that I think I will need to be extremely selective.
Next week on Tuesday 27 April I am running a Day for Journalists and non-fiction writers in London. Anyone interested in learning more or attending, please contact me.
Tuesday, 13 April 2010
So much as happened since I last blogged that I am not sure where to begin, except to say that I now believe in spirits after a most unusual paranormal experience at the Dolphin Hotel in Littlehampton. Intrigued? Then you will have to wait and read my book, which will be out in September. Meanwhile if you are in the area do pay a visit to The Dolphin Hotel who recently received an award for the most haunted building in West Sussex. The pub is run by Ellie Boiling and her partner Katie Smith and you can be sure of a warm welcome and a friendly chat with the locals.
The last couple of weeks have seen me visiting Hiorne Tower, but I saw no sighting of the 'white lady' who threw herself off the tower when her lover rejected her. A visit to Arundel castle and the town was a delight, and so was a walk up Highdown Hill, closer to Worthing. My purpose was to visit the Miller's Tomb, an eccentric 18th miller who kept a coffin under his bed in case it was needed, and built his tomb 27 years before he died! He visited it every day to meditate but local legend tells another tale, that he was a smuggler and used his coffin and table top tomb to hide his contraband. Once it was elaborately decorated with verses penned by the miller. Sadly most have worn away, but a carving of a skeleton is clearly visible.
The village of Angmering not only has an interesting history, but its far share of ghosts too, and a special thank-you must go to Neil Rogers-Davis for his help, and his excellent website.
Saturday I start a 10 session course run by local writer Chris Hare in his Heritage Learning series, which I am really looking forward to. Being a relatively newcomer to the area I have much to learn. The following week 19-21 April is London Bookfair and I hope to meet up with fellow writers at this event. On Tuesday 27th April I am running a Day for Journalists and Non-fiction writers for the SWWJ, but guests are most welcome. Please contact me for details.
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
On 8 March I attended the SWWJ Southern Regional meeting held at Chichester, and after enjoying meeting and greeting fellow writers we settled down to a most interesting morning discussion on amongst other topics, the value of writing competitions, should writers specialise, query letters, and the state of the market in general. After a lunch break in Chichester and another opportunity to network, we were treated to an excellent short story workshop run by the the award winning crime writer Peter Lovesey, who seems to have picked up as many awards as he has written books. His gentle approach managed to get us working and several came away with the bones of a short story, including me. I'm afraid this will be on 'the back burner' until Haunted Worthing is safely with The History Press with deadline looming around the corner.
Following on from this meeting I agreed to talk at Selsey Writers on 6 July 2010 about using Myths and Legends as a source for material, which I have used in both fiction and non-fiction. I am looking forward to an enjoyable afternoon and meeting new friends. All my books on regionals in Wales have a chapter on folklore, and it is a subject that fascinates most readers.
Unfortunately a day away from the computer means several days back in front of the screen trying to catch-up, but I am pleased to say that Haunted Worthing is taking shape with several places lined up to be visited in the next week.
Yesterday was the SWWJ Council meeting, which are always held in London. We have some very exciting events coming up shortly which I will be post as they come up. If you are a writer and not a member of the SWWJ do visit our website and consider joining. Do also look at our events page. I certainly would not be the writer I am today without the help and advice of the SWWJ.
Saturday, 6 March 2010
Peter Thorogood, author, composer, literary historian and leading authority on the 19th century poet Thomas Hood (1799-1845), and Roger Linton a gifted designer, trained at the Royal College of Art, restorer and conservator have combined their talents and skills to return St Mary's to its former glory. The story of how they set about saving the house and gardens in told in Return to Splendor by Peter Thorogood and obtained from Bramber Press, specialising in publishing books, CD and cassette recordings by authors, composers and performers associated with St Mary's House. Roger Linton's fine work is displayed throughout the house and ranges from the restoration of a four-poster bed to the decorating of the octagonal dining room in the Pre-Raphaelite style to designing and planting the Topiary Garden, featured in a number of television programmes, magazine and newspaper articles.
Obviously such a project needs continuous funding and the enterprising Peter and Roger are always devising ways of keeping their hard work going by organising open days, concerts, private functions, and conferences. They are also licenced for Civil Marriages, which would provide any lucky couple with a perfect setting for that memorable day. I urge anyone visiting my blogspot to arrange a trip to St Mary's soon - see website for opening times - and I promise you will not be disappointed, and I am sure like me you will come away much richer for the experience. Thank you Peter and Roger for sparing me some of your most valuable time, and for a most enjoyable visit.
Sunday, 28 February 2010
Thursday, 18 February 2010
Yesterday I woke feeling much better, and as it was a lovely sunny morning, I thought I would take advantage of the day and do some further research for my next book. Armed with a notepad, hubby and camera, we set off with a list of venues. By lunchtime we had covered half the list and were in need of a rest and some refreshment. As we were outside one of Shoreham's oldest pubs in the High Street, The Crown and Anchor we decided to call in. The atmosphere was as welcoming as the sun outside, and just as friendly as the owner Giles, who gave me a tour of his pub. It is so rare to find a owned pub today, most are managed and serve up more of the same. The Crown and Anchor is split on many levels, which makes it unique and interesting. In by-gone days it was frequented by smugglers, hardly surprising when you learn of Shoreham's sea-faring past. Today the Crown and Anchor has a bright and cheerful ambiance The stylish restaurant is split on two levels, with an enormous wooden boat hanging from the ceiling, and a wonderful view of the River Adur. The riverside terrace would be a most enjoyable venue in the summer months. We sat near the window looking out on the still river, as we studied the menu with its plentiful choice to suit all tastes, but we decided to order off the set fish menu, which had an excellent selection of starters and main courses as well a 'specials' board. We finished our meal with a coffee and a mint, a nice touch, and although by now there were many diners it was not noisy, and we were able to sit and chat in comfort without having to raise our voices to be heard. I look forward to returning one evening to sample the food and entertainment, as well as enjoying a lunch or two with my friends and writing colleagues. Pubs like this are a rare find, and in this present economic climate Giles deserves to succeed and, according to my husband, well worth a visit as Giles keeps an excellent pint! Thank you Giles for an enjoyable visit. We shall return!
Friday, 12 February 2010
I was feeling particular low on Thursday, but soon brightened up when the post arrived with the proofs and cover of next book to be published, The Story of Pembrokeshire. This is always an exciting time for a writer when at last you see something in print for all your hard work. Guess what I will be doing over the weekend?
It is a while since I submitted the manuscript for The Story of Pembrokeshire, so am enjoying reading it with 'fresh eyes' so to speak. I am very pleased with the cover, and I am sure you will agree that it is very pleasing to the eye. I am also delighted to learn that this new edition is to include two sets of 16 pages of colour photographs, making 32 in all, as well as numerous black and white photographs. It was a joy researching this edition - the first edition being in print since 1993 - and I am sure it is going to bring back many happy memories to readers who trekked along the coastal path or climbed yet another hill to photograph a standing stone, or went in search of the mysterious blue stones that found their way to Stonehenge. I hope new readers will find it interesting and informative. It has already brought back memories for me of several weeks in the area, and early morning walks to a monument only to discover that the sun was in the wrong direction for a good photograph! As the back cover blurb states: Where in the midst of commercialism can one find peace, tranquility and paradise for nature lovers? Where else but Pembrokeshire: an area that rose from the sea over a thousand million years ago, and has since played host to pagan warriors, Celtic fort-builders, Welsh princes, swashbuckling pirates, Manx shearwaters and the Grey Atlantic seal. In this book Wendy Hughes has combined her unique blend of history, legends, and notorious characters to bring together a tale that will leave the reader spell-bound until the last page is turned. I hope I have done justice to such a unique area of Wales. Watch this space for more about this book, due for publication in May.
Sunday, 7 February 2010
I have just finished reading Sylvia's Kent excellent book on the history of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists( SWWJ), entitled The Woman Writer.
Since the Society was founded in 1894 by Joseph Snell Wood, the SWWJ has attracted many famous writers, journalists, poets and playwrights and this well researched book will give you an insight into this prestigious society and how is has gone from strength to strength, and is still attracting new members every week. I for one owe a great deal to the society. A copy of this book should be on every writer's bookshelf. Thank you Sylvia for featuring me in the book (yours truly is mentioned on pages 64, 114, 120).
Thursday, 4 February 2010
Work on my new book Haunted Worthing is progressing well. yesterday I met up with a really helpful chap, Andrew House who explained the various types of ghosts. Absolutely fascinating! I have also heard from my super Welsh publisher Gwasg Carreg Gwalch who has informed me of his publishing schedule. I'm excited to learn that an updated edition of The Story of Pembrokeshire will be out in May 2010, and a new edition of The Story of Gower has been scheduled for May 2011. A new book The Story of Carmarthenshire is planned for May 2012, so watch this space for my progress with this book.