Saturday, 21 July 2012


Even the torrential rain on Wednesday11th July couldn't deter a hardy bunch of writers attending the last Worthy Words Workshop meeting of the term.  These meetings are held at Worthing Library on the second Wednesday of the month 2-4pm. Many thanks to all who braved the weather, and an extra special thanks must go to Julie who left her sick bed to attend, and to Sue who started off with good intentions but was driven back by the rain, feet squelching in trainers, and clutching an inside out umbrella! Where is our great British summer? What a dedicated bunch we are! 
   The theme for the meeting was how to turn any visit or journey into a travel article or a setting for a short story or a novel, and judging my the lively discussions it gave most a few ideas to work on. Each member received a handout on the subject, which included: Nonfiction: Understanding the readership of the magazine you are aiming at, the content, the various markets and how to specialise within the travel trade on subjects such as food and drink, garden and gardening, arts and crafts, folklore and the quirky and the unusual. Fiction: Have a genuine feel for the place you are going to use as a setting, take lots of photographs and look at the local history of the place if you are historical writers.Wendy advised everyone to do some research before the visit, and to make sure you included in your suitcase the following: 
   Research information
   List of things they need to find out.
   Camera, spare batteries and a spare memory card.
   Notebook or holiday journal – write in it every day, not only where you have been and what you have seen, but the feel of the place, the people, and anything that strikes you are interesting – similar to what you would do when you sit and people watch.
  A supply of pens, pencils and a spare notebook or two and finally...If you take a laptop write up any notes each evening in point form.  Also download any photographs from your camera so you have plenty of space. A list of all the current writing competitions, together with a 'Summer Challenge' were handed out to ensure that everyone was kept active until the next meeting in September.  Anyone in the Worthing and surrounding area that is interested in any aspect of writing, do contact Wendy  for more a friendly chat and more information.  Worthy Words Workshops resumes on Wednesday 12th September.  Looking forward to seeing you all.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Friends of Worthing and Broadwater Cemetery

A belated New Year's resolution to myself - I must keep this blog up to date as so many exciting things are happening at the moment!
It has been another very busy month for me charging around Worthing, delving into the archives, acting like a tourist and looking for anything unusual to photograph for my book Not a Guide to Worthing. Shame the weather has not be kinder to me. July 7th saw me taking a tour organised by the Friends of Broadwater and Worthing Cemetery. These free monthly tours, during the summer months, are a must for anyone interested in history and the people who helped to shape this great town. Each one is themed - July we were lucky to have two, Seafarers and Worthing Mayors - truly a delight  for me as many of the people featured also had a place in my Shipwrecks of Sussex book, including Worthing's seafaring disaster, which happened on 14th November 1894. The Zadne, a steamer carrying coal from south Wales to London got into trouble during a hurricane storm.  On the horizon was spotted a sole survivor in a lifeboat, but within metres of the shore the boat flipped over, and he was drowned.  During the course of the day all the bodies were washed ashore. One body was repatriated to south Wales and the reminder, including two that was not identified were buried in a mass grave in the cemetery.
 Don't miss 'The Friends' Open Day on Saturday 4th August which starts at 10.00am through to 3pm, and includes three fantastic tours: Religious Figures who greatly influenced what happened in Worthing, a Military Tour concentrating on those who served in all conflicts, and a General Tour based on the guides own selection of interesting people buried in the cemetery, plus stalls, refreshments, booklets and much, much more.  I am looking forward to the day, and hope to see you there too.

Friday, 15 June 2012


Madlen Namro and Wendy Hughes had a wonderful time last Saturday launching their book 'Rainbow Stories: Facts and Things to do at the Stickler Syndrome Support Group conference.  Both authors are members of the SWWJ.  The weather was blustery but it didn't spoil the fun.  Many thanks to the Mobile Creche Company  who looked after the children SO well and used the characters in the book in their face painting sessions.  Everyone had a wonderful time.  Julie Williams who runs the company is a wonderful lady who really enjoyed having the children around her. Well done Julie, you did us proud yet again. Anyone interested in more information about the book contact Wendy.  Many, many thanks to all who attended the launch.   Now it is on to my next book Not a Guide to...Worthing.  Watch this space to learn more as the story unfolds!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012


Saturday 9th June sees me hosting a Members' Day for the Stickler Syndrome Support Group, at the Moller Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.  These are always special days for me and a chance for so many of our members to network and feel less isolated.  It is also particularly exciting for me as, along with co-author Madlen Namro we shall be launching our children's book Rainbow Stories: Facts and Something to do.  Madlen lives in Poland and like myself is a member of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists.  Both Madlen and I love bright colours, and so the idea of a book of Rainbow stories evolved.  I enjoying researching and writing about places and interesting facts and Madlen enjoys making up stories, and we hope that this will be the first of many such books for children.  If you are in the vicinity of the Moller Centre on Saturday do pop in and say hello.  Madlen and I will be available to sign books from 4.15 to 5.30.  As Madlen lives in Poland it may be the only chance for both authors to sign books together.  Looking forward to seeing you.


Is it almost two months since I last blogged?  Whoever is stealing this year, could they kindly stop!Although it now seems a while ago, I celebrated 23rd April, Shakespeare's birthday, at the University of Norte Dame, off Trafalgar Square at the SWWJ Prize Giving for the International Life Writing competition, which was a delightful experience, and one I shall cherish for many a year to come, espcially the winning entries that were read out.
16th May Worthy Words Workshops met once again at Worthing library for another lively session.  This group, like Topsy is growing with each meeting. This time we discussed the art of plotting, and again some very interesting pieces of work were read out.  Our next session is on June 11th and for more information, please contact me
The 26th May saw me back at Worthing Library for a Day for Writers, and this time we  spent the morning discussing Life Writing, with very interesting memories being recalled.  In the afternoon we discussed the up and coming market for flash fiction, a new concept for many.  The combination of both fiction and non-fiction seemed to go down extremely well and judging by the studious bunch it would appear that everyone achieved something on the day! 

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

London Bookfair

Did you go to the London Bookfair this year?  Any opinions?  I arrived at around 4pm on Monday and was pleasantly surprised to find that I could actually walk around at leisure. It certainly had a different feel to it this year. Lots of self-publishing companies and e-publishers, as well as a larger number of children's publishers. Unless I missed them, there were quite a few of the more established publishers absent - sign of the times maybe?  Whether you like it or not is seems self and e-publishing are here to stay. It has never been easier for an author to see his or her work in print, but will this ultimately lower the standards I wonder?  I am already hearing complaints from friends who read with a Kindle that the publications by unknowns are badly edited, and the grammar and spelling isn't as good as in a printed copy.  Would be extremely interested to hear your opinions.

Saturday, 14 April 2012


Worthy Words Workshops had another good session on Wednesday 11th April.  Everyone seems to be engrossed in one project or another, but this session's theme, markets and finding yourself a niche appeared to touch a cord with all. Writing takes up so much precious time, yet very few pay particular attention to marketing, which is vital when trying to publish your work.  My advice to anyone wishing to aim for publication is to choose one or two magazines and get to know those magazines really well - noting the length of the feature or story, the style and the content.  Try to imagine your average reader by the following:
How old is the reader - look at the adverts.
What is the educational level - look at the puzzles in the magazine.
What are their hobbies - Do the magazine have knitting patterns, cookery tips or arts and crafts.
What is their marital status - look at the problems page - are the articles about getting or keeping a man?
Where do they live - are there articles about DIY - look at the cost of the suggestions.
Once you have built up a picture of your average reader, then you are able to think of features and stories that the reader will be able to identify with.  Find you own niche in the market place.  If you are confident and happy in what you are writing, it will show in your writing.  Good luck!

Thursday, 22 March 2012


Worthy Words Workshops met for their monthly meeting on Wednesday 14th March, and I was delighted to see so many writers, in fact there wasn't a spare seat in the room!  Many thanks to the ladies from Chichester and Brighton who took the trouble to attend, and I do hope you found the session informative and useful.  After welcoming new visitors we went around the table sharing writing news since our last meeting. This was followed by a talk and lively discussion on the requirements for writing 'Pocket Novels' for People's Friend and My Weekly, obviously a good choice of subject, and several members went away planning to have a go! I then handed out the usual list of current competitions before manuscripts were read relating to the meeting on 8th February.  Most had attempted a seasonal or anniversary article, and these were read out and discussed.
Today, 22nd March I attended the SWWJ southern regional meeting.  This was extremely well attended.  Val Dunmore facilitated an excellent workshop on using imagination, and some excellent pieces of work were produced and read out.  After a lunch break author Lillian Harry talked about her own work and passed on some valuable tips, especially about research.  She also talked about e-books and the need to be aware of the significant rise and all author should learn to embrace it.  Authors should be thinking hard about self- publishing.  The publishing world is changing, the days of advances and publishers launches are gone!  Lillian actually remembered me from Swanwick.  I  first heard Lillian speak there in 1986, I think, when I was a just a fledgling writer!  Thanks you Lillian for remembering me - made my day!

Monday, 5 March 2012


Many thanks to Diana Frances, social secretary of the Chichester Yacht Club for inviting me to speak at their monthly ladies luncheon on Wednesday 29th February.  I received a most warm welcome, and after a delicious lunch presented an illustrated talk based on my latest book, Shipwrecks of Sussex, which is available at most of the Sussex Waterstones or on Amazon. The audience, who were either sailors themselves or the wives of sailors, could fully appreciate just how dangerous it was to travel in these waters in days bygone days.  Most were amazed to learn that over 4,000 ships went down between Hasting in the east and Chichester in the west. The question and answer session was extremely lively and many, many thanks to the ladies who bought copies of the book - either for themselves or as gifts for their sailor men folk.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Worthy Words Workshops

Worthy Words Workshops are well and truly 'up and running.'  The prose writing group which started in October 2011 held its second meeting of 2012 at Worthing library on Wednesday 8 February.  It may have been a icy cold day in Worthing, but there was plenty of warmth around the table as members shared their writing news with enthusiasm, before launching into a session on writing and placing seasonal and anniversary articles.  Homework was set for those who wanted ideas before competition news was shared and manuscripts were read out.  One member has embarked on a new novel and the group are looking forward to learning how this will develop. Several short stories were also read out and constructive criticism offered.  Meetings are held once a month on the second Wednesday of each month between 2-4pm.  New members are most welcome, and anyone interested in learning more should contact Wendy at for a friendly chat. 

Wendy has been asked to give an illustrated talk on Shipwrecks of Sussex on 29th February at Chichester Yacht Club, and is embarking on a new book for The History Press entitled Worthing a Pocket Miscellany.