VRWG November blog by Joan Carter

Right, let’s get this writ!

Ten minutes set on my egg-shaped egg-timer and away I go monkey writing…

I think I’ll write a Satsuma… sastuma.. whatever it’s called, I’ll look up the name later…. it’s that poetry form in which segments get repeated in different orders. Hmm, auto-wrote “indifferent orders”, we’ll see about that!

Agenda.. agenda.. get the agenda..


For the first time in ages I didn’t make notes.. typical to go and volunteer to write this at the end of the meeting, when it’s too late to start notetaking!

Welcome – yes, Bob definitely welcomed us all. And a jolly large crowd there was, to meet and hear Special Guest, Zara Stoneley, who has written erotic and Rom Com thingummie books too (or is it Rom Com Tiddle I Po?) I looked her up on Google the other day… and her books must be pretty steamy cos my home laptop wouldn’t let me see them!! And not even on a library computer as I say, at home! I forgot to get myself a long cold drink for the meeting to cool me down if necessary, so as Zara started to read I nervously eyed my agenda to see if I could improvise a ladylike fan….

But luckily Zara read from her less-steamy books – The Holiday Swap & Country Rivals – or at least from less-steamy parts of them – so my glasses didn’t even mist up. Zara first gave us an introduction to how she’d started writing – first novel at 13 – won an erotic writing competition in 2012 (preparing by reading loads of erotic books and also writing it in only weeks!?), the prize was a book deal – another contract from that – and so on and so on – and her latest book has sold 10,000 copies in a month!! We were all suitably impressed.

[OOPS, 10 minutes is up.. set the timer for the next 10… ]

Zara also took part in a very generous and informative Q&A session, covering: editing, plotting work, research (mostly write what you know, especially about emotions), using a nom de plume… and more..

Now, before Zara started her talk, Bob asked the group to quickly update us all on any news – and there was plenty – I won’t remember it all, sorry! – Debbie Bennett had done an author session at which she walked in to see a cardboard cutout of herself, a surprise from which it seems she didn’t quite recover, although she was neither mobbed nor totally ignored by the teenage audience, hurrah! – Natalie quietly mentioned she had a story in a new anthology she’d brought in – someone else (sorry someone, I don’t know your name, please add it in the comments – if there are comments? – if you’ve taken the time to read this far) had sent a letter of complaint to The Times and had it published – Joan C (me) had been published – not words but one of her etchings is included in the 2017 Northwich Calendar (available from the Northwich Art Shop and Library) – as Marian said, I am Miss September 😉

In the coffee break between Act 1 and Act 2 from Zara, I asked Natalie if I could take a peep at her gorgeously bound book, Murder Mayhem Short Stories. As I stroked the title page with its lush engraved design I commented that it made me think of a book by Edgar Allen Poe or someone. Natalie diffidently said that was what the publishers wanted as it was an anthology of old and new writers. I casually read the contents page and discovered something so astonishing that I did several double takes. With Natalie’s permission I took the book to show Bob. He was equally amazed and delighted, took the book and read out from it (before re-introducing Zara), to let everyone else know what Natalie had modestly held back from telling us – that listed among other classic authors with whose work her story appears are… GK Chesterton… Wilkie Collins… Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.. and… Charles Dickens !! Wow.. So, another well-deserved round of applause for Natalie…

[10 more minutes up a while ago and I didn’t even notice! Good old monkey-writing]

As if all the above excitement wasn’t enough, papers were being circulated for ticking about Drinks, Being Present and the Xmas Meal (Dec 4th, hurrah!) – and the Winter Wordfest was mentioned (Dec 13th Hurrah, Hurrah) – and at the end piles of cash were growing re: Drinks, Being Present and the Xmas Meal…

Then a volunteer to write this was requested and I rashly said Yes.

And then most of us pushed off home while the Management Committee had another meeting.

So that’s it! And not a Satsuma – or even Sastuma – in sight! Or is it Retsina?

All I have to say now, as I sit on the school table in my gymslip with my legs swinging*, is:

And this is wot is a blog. It is. It’s true!

(*Ref: Morwenna Banks’ “Little Girl” in Absolutely)

PS: Can these 849 words count towards my NaNoWriMo quota please? I’m 6 days behind!