Published

Today I received the exciting news that the anthology ‘The Good Life in Galicia 2018’ has been published. Whoo hoo! It has been a long wait from the closing date for submissions on 1st August, for me a participant, to publication, but an exciting journey all the same. Leading up to the deadline the ideas, the drafts, the edits, the nerves and finally submission. After the deadline date, further edits by a professional editor, accepting or not the advised edits, submitting photos to accompany my pieces and the wait.

The anthology contains my piece of fiction titled ‘Here be Dragons’ a children’s story about a treasure hunt and the return of a long lost family member. My second piece is non-fiction ‘Roof, Table, Door, possible Turner prize winner?’ and tells the story of how John and I recycled timbers, we found on a bonfire, and created useful objects.

The stories, poems and non-fiction pieces are about Galicia, written by people who live here or who have visited.

The editor has published the anthology on both Smashwords and Amazon and therefore widely available, so there is no excuse not to buy this excellent book about this little known part of Spain. Take a look and see what you think of our corner of the world and perhaps this year you will be inspired to visit or live here and post an entry for this years collection. Don’t forget the deadline is the 1st August.

Listed below are the links

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/930626

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Busy, busy, busy.

Happy first week end of Spring.

I am a little late this year, it’s the end of March already, to set up writing goals. I haven’t been idle but I wasn’t sure in which direction I wanted my writing to go.

Poetry? I’ve recently completed a short online course run by Future Learn entitled ‘Make a Poem’. It was a fun course and I learnt to create several poems from everyday objects and small seemingly insignificant events.

Novels? I have two novels with their first drafts completed. Both of them in their way are love stories but completely different settings, characters and genre. I’ve had a wonderful time creating these pieces of fiction and now they need to be edited. Scary! This is the part where my inexperience shows, I find it difficult to go back and read my pieces with detachment. I end up re-reading my novels, enjoying the story and glossing over the glaring errors, bad plot lines and missing bits. Oh dear.

Travelogue? I’m currently putting together a series of short books about my travels. The working title is ‘Travels in my tiny home’. Some parts have already been published in magazines. The renovation of our tiny home, a 1978 American RV, was published in Motorhome, Monthly, Magazine and our European travels were published in twelve articles over a year in the Purbeck Times.

My aims for this year, or what remains of it, are to complete the first draft of Travels in my tiny home’, and edit and publish ‘The Longing’ the second of my novels written as part of the NaNoWriMo challenge. I’d better get started.

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The End.

Firstly, Happy Valentines to everyone.

Secondly, the first draft of my book ‘The Longing’ is finished. Whoo Hoo!!

I began the research last August in readiness for the NaNoWriMo challenge in November and, 70,000 words later, I finished 15 minutes ago.

It has been an incredible journey, from the first nugget of an idea. This was from a news item, a short piece of about 100 words, that triggered my imagination. This nugget stayed with me for several months as I worked out what I was going to do with it, how to write, what avenue I would take. This nugget then took on a life of it’s own as I started writing in November, and lead me in the direction of how the story could be written. The research was extensive but straightforward, the information seemed to appear as needed. The characters are strong, full bodied and lead perfectly ordinary lives, except for this one event or dream, which made them extraordinary.

The Longing is a love story, set a few years in the future, but with a theme as old as time itself. Sometimes I came across information I was really uncomfortable with and avoided delving deeper, when I did I was astonished at how my perceptions changed and I accepted what I was being shown.

I hope when this story is published, it will open your eyes, broaden your views and accept that human beings are just human beings with the same hopes, dreams and desires as every other human being. I have left you the last line of the story as a teaser.

‘ The End’

Hee hee hee. Now as all good writing manuals suggest, I’m going to put my story away and go and do something else for a few weeks.

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February Wow.

I’ve gone off the proverbial boil, writing wise, for the past two weeks. Number one reason my novel, ‘The Longing’ needs some serious research about a subject I’m uncomfortable with but is the main theme of the story. I have spent hours doing other stuff, making excuses and generally avoiding the issue. You should see me squirming when I’m in avoidance mode and even my weekly writer’s meetings didn’t kicked me into touch. Instead I stopped my flow of a 1000 words a day and I wrote, and sent off, a piece of 100 word flash but haven’t hear anything in return. Or so I thought. For another reason, which I’ll write about at a later date, I checked my junk folder and there it was an email telling me my piece of flash entitled ‘Fen Adventure’ had been accepted and published in the February issue of Writers Abroad. I was annoyed that something I’d subscribed to had gone into my junk mail and ecstatic that a piece of my writing has been published and liked by writers much better than me. I am feeling pretty proud. Right! where’s my laptop I’ll start with the next bit of research.

Here is the link if you want to have a read, I promise you it’s very short only 100 words https://mailchi.mp/b823781a8218/february_news?e=721c45d726

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January

A note of regret, I didn’t complete the 50,000 word challenge for NaNoWriMo last November. I achieved 41,000 a mean feat in itself and I am over half way through this story but not the success I had hoped for in October. My excuse is, life got in the way or rather the weather remained sunny and warm and I spent more time out in the garden and with the horses than I did writing.

Keeping warm

The weather this January is bitterly cold and there is nothing to do in the garden and the horses are quite happy to munch and keep warm. I am spending more time indoors near the wood burners and writing. My novel is progressing slowly, there is a lot of research for each step of the way, some of it easy and some uncomfortable, when you read my novel you will see why. Today, I am blocked, mentally, because there are various endings I’d like to explore, one happy, one safe and the other dystopian, humm!

Whilst I work through my mental block I have completed two pieces of writing one entitled ‘Yes’ for The Prose https://theprose.com/ and the second entitled ‘Fen Adventure’  the January prompt for Writers Abroad http://www.writersabroad.com/  It is refreshing to turn away from something that is proving frustrating and divert my energies to a different task. I can return later in a better frame of mind and with the research already completed I can add it into my novel.

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Day 4 NaNoWriMo

abstract bay boats bright

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I hit the 10,000 word mark today. Whoo hoo. It’s a fantastic feeling, living through the thoughts of characters. They are coming to life, but for the moment they’re following my plan and long may that continue. Stephen and Paul, my main characters, had a huge bust up and it took them a long time to make up. Phew, I’m relieved they have or it would have been a very short story. They resolved to make decisions together, especially the important ones like having a family. There have been concessions though, Paul is to stop treating Stephen like a spoilt child, and Stephen to be money savvy.

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It’s Raining!

Resultado de imagen de raining

It’s raining, how fantastic!

I love being outside, gardening, playing with the horses, walking, picking mushrooms and breathing the fresh air of Galicia. I also love writing and creating with textiles, but only if I stay indoors and if the sun is shining I’m outside. I’m that sort of person really. Last weekend it began to rain, albeit the temperature dropped from 20C to 4C practically overnight, but this change in weather will mean I’ll be indoors in front of the wood burner writing and creating. Whoo hoo!

Monday I completed the short OU course ‘Start Writing Fiction’ in readiness for NaNoWriMo which commences on Thursday, tomorrow.  Scary stuff! The novel I’m writing this year has been researched, character studies written, thank you OU, a rough outline and I say rough because once my characters start talking the story could change direction in an instant. My NaNo profile is complete, I’ve buddied up with Dawn Hawkins and Susan Borgersen, thank you guys in advance, and if anyone else out there wants to join in, my profile name is jacqueline vncent! Have you noticed the spelling mistake? I know, not a  good example of my writing skills, can’t even spell my name and to make it worse it’s been spelled incorrectly for four years! I’m not observant either!

Resultado de imagen de nanowrimo

NaNo is a challenge to write 50,000 words in a month, it’s a world wide organisation with budding writers from many countries and in many languages. There are groups, forums, help and daily inspirations for those days when the words swim and don’t connect.

I have a working title ‘The Longing’ and my story is set twenty years in the future and concerns a couple, Stephen and Paul, whose biological clocks are ticking as each year passes and who desperately want a family. They don’t want to follow the normal routes open to gay couples and are looking at pioneering research solutions. Stephen has a private income from a family trust fund and Paul is an engineer working in intelligence chips.

My desire is for the Galician rain to be true to its nature and pour for the next thirty days because tomorrow morning I begin my quest to bring Stephen and Paul to life and tell their story.  I don’t want any distractions like sunshine or a glorious Autumn. Wish me luck.

 

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Fabulous Critiques, Furry Friends and Creating.

SidIt’s been a funny old week, inconsistent, jumbled, lots going on and nothing quite finished, a bit of a blur really.

Sid, the feral kitten has gone to his new home, with Katrine and Glyn, where he will be thoroughly spoiled. His mum has taken up residence in Freddy’s, our cat, basket and Burma, another stray who’s moved in, has decided that, yes, we can stroke him. Whilst at Katrine and Glyn’s house delivering Sid, their neighbour appeared with 5ltrs of fresh raw milk. One of his cows had lost a calf and he needed to milk her but didn’t need the 5lts plus a day she produced. K and G already had the previous two days milk, and made cheese, cream, puddings etc. and would we like today’s? Yes please! We took it home, a fair exchange for a kitten, made seven rice puddings for the winter, froze some, made yogurt with some, it’s delicious, and at this precise moment in time I’m draining a half litre of yogurt to make herby soft cheese balls to put in olive oil. I have a wonderful time creating food, preserves etc. from fresh local produce.

Abi, my writing buddy, and I meet up in person once a month in a bar or cafe to plot, plan and scheme our next writing venture. We’re both on the Futurelearn fiction writing course and we wanted to critique each others work. It’s good practice to look at our work with fresh eyes. We both chose two pieces each, only short, with the idea that, once critiqued and tightened up, to enter them for a flash fiction competition. At the end there were lots or rubbings out, pencil marks, question marks and discussions, but no tears. And two happy ladies. I also took along another piece I’d written, which had been critiqued via our course to much acclaim. We decided that this particular piece had enough in it to become a novel. The subject, a gay couple desperate for a child, the story an exploration of all their options , legal and illegal. I can’t say more than that it would spoil it for you.

 

 

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Character

Davinia

 

This was part of developing a character for the OU Start Writing Fiction course week 4. The prompt: A woman on a bus, carrying a Pekinese in her handbag.

We were asked to add the following information.

  • Who might she have been?
  • Where was she going?
  • What did her appearance suggest about her mood or state of mind?
  • How old was she?
  • How did she live?

 

David , her name before the change, was on her way to visit her daughter and the Peke was an opener, her daughter idolized Pekes. She wore red for courage, this was their first meeting since the op. The neck always gave her away, the folds of skin couldn’t hide her Adam’s apple. Another stop closer to her daughter, butterflies danced in her belly, her mouth dry. She couldn’t afford to take a snifter from the club, her major success, before she left.

Second part.

  • Why was she on the bus?
  • Why did she have the dog and where was she taking it?
  • Why did she look the way she did?
  • Why did the dog have a red bow?

 

Davinia, her name which she changed by deed poll after her op, when stopped by the police on a wet November night was three times over the drink drive limit. This event  has severely limited her travel options. Her heels were excessively high for walking, the Peke was carsick so a taxi was out of the question, her only viable choice was the bus.  She wiggled her toes in the red, to match her jumper and the Peke’s bow, strappy platforms, a joy for her after spending most of her male life in flat brogues, keeping up appearances. No more a secret, these were the first pair she bought, and they brought her courage for the encounter ahead.

 

 

Photo by João Jesus from Pexels

 

 

 

 

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Fiesta

San Mateo (2)

Today, 21st September, is our parish fiesta. The church bells are ringing out across the valley calling the faithful to celebrate San Mateo. He is the patron saint of the deaf. There are five services today and each one will be packed. The mini bus from the old people’s home (residencia) in Monforte will be busy carrying the residents to and from the church. The newly repaired road will be one way to cope with many cars, vans, motorbikes and walkers pouring in to attend the masses and the fiesta. The police, ambulance and fire brigade are on hand for any emergency.

During the mass, the figure of San Mateo is passed among the congregation. You hold him to your deaf ear/s implore him to heal your deafness and place money in the slot at his feet. I’ve been to one mass and had to stand outside with many others, the pews were packed and the aisles were crowded with wheelchairs.

It’s the last big fiesta, of the year, for Monforte.  This year the preparations began three weeks ago.

The road from Monforte to the campo (village green), where the fiesta is held, was in a bad state of repair, it was like driving on a rally, swerving to miss all the potholes. I swear they moved position every night. The road was cleaned of all kerbside vegetation, the overhanging branches cut off and the road resurfaced. It looks fabulous and is a joy to drive along. Tuesday this week the marquees for the bars and pulpo (Octopus) eateries went up. Wednesday the youths from the surrounding towns arrived to put up their makeshift tents, stage for  their music and clearing ground for campfires. Yesterday the tractors and trailers, and 4×4’s arrived to set up the areas for their families. Canopies to keep off the sun/rain, full kitchens, tables, chairs, linen and crockery.  the Galicians know how to picnic in style.

Last night the lights went on, the music started and the firework bombs announced the start of San Mateo.

This morning, apart from the masses in the church, the huge articulated lorries arrived carrying the ‘Orchestra’. It’s a bizarre sight. An artic. arrives, it’s unfolded, expanded and behold, a stage with several levels for a full band, a dancing troupe and singers, full compliment of sound equipment and lights that put Blackpool illuminations to shame.

The weather is gorgeous, the people are arriving and the noise will reach its crescendo at about 4am tomorrow. Fantastic

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