Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Walking Backwards to Izzie's

Gel's not rationed ... thank goodness!
This week's meeting got off to a strange start. Parked in my regular spot to pick up Annie (to take us to Izzie's) I spotted Linda walking in the wrong direction. Against all advice not to talk to strange men loitering at kerbsides, Linda acknowledged me and wondered what I was doing there. When I explained I was taking Annie to Izzie's, Linda realised her mistake. it would have been reasonable for Linda to cadge a lift with me and Annie but, by some quirk of fate, there were no back seats in my car. I had removed them in order to take large sections of my shed to the tip (see my latest blog post.) So Linda began to walk back in the direction she had come from as Annie arrived, understandably bemused by it all. After swiftly conveying Annie up the hill to Izzie's, I did a loop-the-loop around Bewdley and went back to pick up Linda. Finally, we were all assembled at Izzie's (all except for Chris and Rob who couldn't make it this week.)

We didn't have much news to share, although Linda's story 'Telling the Bees' has now appeared in 'The Loom' magazine and Linda said it was very tastefully illustrated and well-designed. Izzie has started a new feature on her blog in whch she interviews fellow bloggers, and Annie has purchased something called a 'rhythm dictionary' to help her with her three rhyming picture book projects.

Annie then read us 'Polly Poodle's Pamperina' - a 316 word divertissement with some moments of real panache. Izzie thought it would be appealing to girls and their mums and admired the originality of combining dogs with beauticians. She also thought it an enjoyable way of introducing children to the different breeds of dogs. Linda liked the fun aspect of the piece but noted it contained some very hard words ('palatial', 'chihuahua') so perhaps it would be more suitable for slightly older children. But who could resist couplets like: "Madam Dachshund, too old-fashioned?/Try it spiky. Gel's not rationed!"

Our next meeting will be at Rob's on 24th June. If we start walking in the wrong direction now, we should all end up in the wrong place in good time.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Nothing but a Phantom

On the 27th of May the Severn Valley Authors met at Tony's house to be entertained by the third chapter of his new novel Nothing but a Phantom. The novel is set in the late 1970s - early 1980s Angland, where an Anglo-Saxon king still rules over a country we would now know as England if history had taken a different course.

I was excited by this latest chapter Strawberry Crushed Ice. It conveyed the unease of an altered reality with a light but chilling touch; the familiarity of the period making it seem all the more surreal. Are the Intelligencers back? Can the government really lull the populace into a state of indifference with the specially engineered chill-out music from Relaxed Radio? What if? Will Dr Who make an appearance?

Ingram mysteriously falls through the window of his room onto the street below where through the gathering crowd, Tilman sees 'a mass that looks like a person, and lots of red and broken glass everywhere, larger fragments but also smaller pieces, and the redness glistening in the smaller fragments reminds him of crushed ice, strawberry crushed ice.' What a clever image.

Rob commented that this chapter showed a 'pacey continuation', cleverly beginning and ending with a window. Izzie said that she could really get into the story, feeling the progression and continuity. Annie suggested weaving in a history time-line to add authenticity, for example the idea that the Battle of Hastings never happened in !066, changing the course of history.

Tony commented that he was really enjoying writing the story and the journey to 'wherever'. He said that he was really going for the weird effect of this displaced reality. It certainly worked for me.

SVA News

Rob said that the highlight of his last week had been meeting Chris for a coffee and a chat. He was impressed by Chris's ability to stay chipper, confident and positive about Karl Marx and Careful Driving when he is currently under so much pressure.
Tony has been busy entering stories for the Bridport and Bristol short story competitions and submissions to the New Yorker and London magazines. Good luck!
Izzie is on the shortlist of BritMums blogging competition where we have every confidence she will do well, and she is upping her game by submitting to bigger magazines.
Annie is busy preparing her childrens' story Polly Poodle's Pamperina for agents and we hope she succeeds with that. We look forward to reading it at our next meeting at Jayne's house on the 10th of June. See you there!