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suzannebowditch

Writer of historical fiction, blogger, mum, pet lover :)

Birthday greetings

This is a picture of my son Liam, whose 21st birthday is today. This image is one we took in Seaworld, Florida, and he’s just two years old.

Today, he’s a musician, living it up in the eclectic and bohemian city of Melbourne. He loved the the dolphins and sealife on offer in Florida, but has replaced catching fish with chasing his musical dreams ( plus chasing women, but that’s another story! ).

He’s grown into an independent, larger than life but polite young man. I hope the world is ready for him and his music, because I certainly wasn’t!

Happy birthday Liam ! Xx ❤

#birthday #birthdayfun #party 🎉

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Creative Writing Competitions

Nicholas C. Rossis

Creative Writing Competitions | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Image: Almond Press

Almond Press has come up with a great list of writing competitions currently running. Here is a selection:

Writing Competitions: Upcoming Deadlines

Inkitt Writing Competition 2017

  • Top Prize: Inkitt will give the grand winner a minimum $6,000 in book marketing with a proven Amazon Top 100 strategy including a dedicated marketing team with professional editing and cover with 25% royalties.
  • Deadline: October 31st

Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction

  • Top Prize: £500
  • Deadline: October 31st

Artificium ‘Dark Matters’ Flash Fiction Competitions

  • Top Prize: £250
  • Deadline: October 31st

Young Walter Scott Prize

  • Top Prize: £500
  • Deadline: October 31st

The Family Narrative Project Essay Contest

  • Top Prize: $500
  • Deadline: October 31st

Woven Tale Press Prose Competition

  • Top Prize: Writer’s retreat
  • Deadline: October 31st

The Caledonia Novel Award

  • Top Prize: £1,000
  • Deadline: November 1st

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize

  • Top Prize: $5,000
  • Deadline: November 1st

Stringybark Malicious Mysteries Short Story…

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What you should know about self-publishing

By Anna Parsons So you finished writing your book and want to publish it—great! Completing a manuscript is an accomplishment you should be proud of. The next step is deciding how to pursue publication. One mistake authors can make is to self-publish a book with the intention of “really” publishing it later on with a […]

via What You Should Know About Self-Publishing — Holloway Literary

Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

eleanor-oliphant
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple, orderly life. She works as an office clerk, from Mon to Fri, wears the same clothes, eats the same lunch everyday, then spends her weekends drinking copious amounts of vodka. She drinks alone, in her flat for one, and does not speak to another soul until Monday comes around again. Her work colleagues think she is quirky but slightly odd. But Eleanor Oliphant is content with her life. Nothing is missing from her orderly, uncluttered existence.

Until one random act of kindness changes all that.

She meets Raymond, an IT guy in her office, and gradually, she has to ingratiate herself  with other people – has to learn the ‘social niceties’ that we all take for granted. Through her encounter with Raymond, her social circle expands in ways that she’d not thought possible. Suddenly, she is visiting a sick man in hospital, entertaining people in her lonely flat, and learning how to care for others.

We are taken into her world, and how wonderful it is to have access to that journey! To her quirkiness, her sense of humor and the innate way she looks at the world.

It had me laughing out loud, sympathizing, crying, and feeling totally in love with her character!

A very heartwarming, compassionate and moving story – 5/5 (and I would give it a lot MORE stars if I could!)

Highly recommend this book.

Have a lovely week, fellow bloggers!

#reading #eleanoroliphantiscompletelyfine #fiction #quirkycharacter #books #bookreview

How Often Should I Publish Posts on my Blog?

Jemsbooks

This question has plagued me continually since I began blogging. How often should I publish posts on my blog? I don’t know the answer, do you? I don’t think there is a strict rule about this.

I think it all depends on the individual and how much he/she has to say. I find that I feel more verbose when I am rested and energized. If I have had a busy day or too much to do physically around the house I don’t always feel up to a long post. It also helps that my husband starts dinner if he sees that I am typing away. Reason why I am typing furiously right now! LOL! Don’t tell him!

Laptop

I write my posts as I write my books – off the cuff. I don’t always know what I am going to say until I type it on my laptop. It’s always a…

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The blacklist

SKYLINE REPORTS

The bear goes through the forest with a file in his hand. In a glade he meets the fox. The fox greets him coquettishly:

“Hello, bear !”

“Hi !”

“But what have you got under your arm, bear ?”

“I have a blacklist of those I have to eat.”

‘Oh, bear, am I on the list ?”

The bear looks at the list and announces him:

“Bad luck, you’re on the list.”

“Woe ! Bear, let me see my kids again and promise you I’m back.”

The bear allows him.

The fox goes quickly to his burrow, kisses the children with tears in his eyes and comes back. The bear kills him with a blow of the paw and then eats him.

The bear walks for a while in the woods and at some point he meets the wolf. The wolf greets him coolly:

“Hello, bear !”

“Hi.”

“But what…

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Research mania

The esteemed historical fiction writer Ken Follett (of Pillars of the Earth fame), has said that he read over 200 text books to research his last novel in the Kingsbridge series, entitled A Column of Fire.

So with this in mind, I have been busily reading as much as I can for my new book! Researching as much as you can is an essential part of the writing process, especially historical fiction. In order to write just one chapter, you have to understand the whole situation that your character lives in ; the clothes they wore, the food they ate, where they worked etc, are just SOME of the details….what was happening socially, politically, culturally, at that time ?

Here’s just a few of the books that are now in my house….in my writing room, beside my bed, on my coffee table….everywhere!

They are taking up bags of space, and I’m thrilled about it!

Does anyone have any research tips?

Please share, fellow bloggers!

Enjoy the rest of your creative week! 📚 ✏ #books #reading #writing #writerslife

Friday Fiction : Hot Chips!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

This is a short story I wrote as part of my writing portfolio on the Creative Writing course. The main themes of the story were: self, family, identity, and using the theme of Food as a metaphor for these ideas. It is inspired by the novel Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto, an uplifting novel about Grief, Loss, and Family dynamics, set around the preparation, making and sharing of Food.

Enjoy your weekend, fellow bloggers 🙂

Hot chips!

She’s in the kitchen again. We can hear her searching for mum’s cooking utensils, pulling out the vegetable rack, throwing dirty spuds into the sink for scrubbing. The stovetop flame is set to hot, the kitchen warm and steamy. My brother and I peer through the kitchen window, giggle as we watch her ample backside waddle around, hands wet and shiny from being plunged into a mass of peelings. She’s dressed in a colourful flowered pinny and sensible Clarks shoes, the granny ones that she swears are good for her bunions. My brother’s best friend Pete is with us, as well as a handful of kids from our street, eager to taste the golden crunchiness of the fries, spitting happily in the frying pan. We are not allowed access, not until she’s finished cooking. But we don’t mind, our young bodies are tired and footsore, playing out all afternoon. We are happy to watch and learn, eager to taste her chippy supper.

Its Saturday night and my parents out on their usual jaunt to the local Social Club. My gran babysits us every Saturday, has done for years. She loves her time with us; we can tell by the swing of her hips, the cheery sounds she makes listening to Radio Two. We love having her over too, and so do the local kids. We are as excited as kids can be at that age, in a world of Action Man and Atari games, to see her struggling out of my dad’s car, arms loaded down with goodies. She always has a huge bag, colourful butterflies splashed on its side. She greets us with a big bear hug, almost encasing us in her bosom. She smells of cake and lavender talc, bought from the local Avon lady.

My mother knows her routines of old and frowns as she walks into our house, plonks her bag onto the sofa.

‘Mum,’ she’d say, with a shake of her head. ‘The kids won’t have a tooth in their heads if it was up to you!’

‘Nonsense,’ my gran would reply. ‘I always make sure they brush their teeth before bed. Now get along with you; enjoy yourselves. I’ll just put the kettle on.’

Then she would disappear into the kitchen and mum was none the wiser. We knew what she was up to though. Her mission was to peel as many spuds as she could, to feed us and any other kids that passed through. I swear the neighbourhood parents knew of her too. It was an easy ride for them when gran was at our house; no cooking and the kids out of the way until bedtime. She’d peel and fry, then peel and fry again, shaking the pan across the stove top to get a crispy coating on all sides. The chips would behave beautifully; warm and golden, smothered in salt and tomato sauce.

Then she would open the back door, step out onto the patio. The sun would be a deep red globe over the rooftops as she’d dish out the golden fingers, bread slices arranged around one of mum’s roasting plates. The salt and vinegar would fly off in all directions as we’d hunker down for our supper, safe in the knowledge that while our bellies were full, the world was a good place. We would huddle together if it was chilly, under the safety of my dad’s huge clematis, and watch the stars appear. The chips would be hot and sticky with tomato pulp as we shovelled them; fingers burning at the hot grease, mouths tingling with spicy sauce. Then we would giggle to ourselves, tummies bloated, knowing that we were way past our bedtime. But we were safe under granny’s watch. For it was her that let us be ourselves; to run around after dark, eat chips under a twinkly night, wrap our bodies in warm blankets while we watched the sun set.

Suzanne Bowditch, 2017

#writing #iamwritingabook #foodasametaphor #shortfictionstory #food #family

 

7 Elements of Historical Fiction

A Writer of History

Inside HFAll writers of fiction have to consider seven critical elements: character, dialogue, setting, theme, plot, conflict, and world building. While every story succeeds or disappoints on the basis of these elements, historical fiction has the added challenge of bringing the past to life.

Since I work best by example, I’m developing an explanation of the seven elements in the context of historical fiction.

Character – whether real or imagined, characters behave in keeping with the era they inhabit, even if they push the boundaries. And that means discovering the norms, attitudes, beliefs and expectations of their time and station in life. A Roman slave differs from a Roman centurion, as does an innkeeper from an aristocrat in the 18th century. Your mission as writer is to reveal the people of the past.

Dialogue – dialogue that is cumbersome and difficult to understand detracts from readers’ enjoyment of historical fiction…

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