I've set up this blog so that all my friends, relations and colleagues in the world of writing can keep up to speed with what I'm doing - from now on, I'll never have to say sorry for not keeping in touch.

Or anyway, that's the plan.

So do please link up with me on Facebook and Twitter - https://www.facebook.com/margaret.james.5268 and https://twitter.com/majanovelist

You can find my novels as digital downloads on Apple iTunes, Kobo, Kindle and Nook, and most are available as print paperbacks, too.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Wednesday's child is full of...

I remember my little sister being born. Or rather, I remember her coming home from hospital in a pink carry-cot, and peeping inside it to see a tiny dark-haired baby with big blue eyes gazing up at me.

'You've got a little sister,' said my mother. I was thrilled! My own living, breathing dolly! Poor child, she was my dolly throughout my childhood. But she survived, and this is what the dolly looks like nowadays:

My sister Janice Elaine Rosser was born on a Wednesday. You'll all know the rhyme:

Monday's child is fair of face
Tuesday's child is full of grace
Wednesday's child is full of woe
Thursday's child has far to go
Friday's child is loving and giving
Saturday's child works hard for its living
But the child who is born on the Sabbath day wins the lottery of everything fabulous.

Okay, I made that last line up, but my point is that my sister was a happy child and has grown up to be the best of sisters, loving and giving in every way.

She's now officially loving and giving because she's been chosen by the Independent on Sunday newspaper to be included in a list of just one hundred people in the UK who make other people happy, too.

Jan won her place in the line-up because she's a full-time carer for our elderly mother and last year she set up a website for the over-55s, offering a free forum for discussion, happy chatting, exchange of information and general neighbourliness.  Coincidentally, today sees the launch of a brand new updated version of the website at www.oapschat.co.uk.

If you're over 55 yourself, have parents in that age group or are interested in what that generation got up to and gets up to still, do pop over and have a look!

Congratulations, Jan - happy official happy day!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Say it all in 1,000 words...

The short story is a tricky format.

Short stories might look easy to write, but getting all you want to say into a few thousand words or less is a big challenge.

But writers are always up for challenges, right? So here's a new one. Say all you need to say in 1,000 words and win some great cash prizes courtesy of www.creativewritingmatters.co.uk.

If you need some tips on how to get started, take a look at the chapter on writing short stories in The Creative Writing Student's Handbook, which will get you thinking and planning and plotting straight away!

Most successful short stories show a character moving on in some way - learning something, realising something, making some kind of connection, making sense of a part of his or her world.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Twins going places...

The stars of the recent Salem Literary Weekend, held in the much-haunted Salem Chapel in East Budleigh, East Devon, were identical twins  C L Raven, who came along  to give a talk about their writing careers and to read from their latest novel-in-progress, Bleeding Empire.

They entertained a full house of readers and writers and at the end of their talk the crime novelist Graham Hurley stood up and said it was a privilege to be upstaged by two such fantastic writers.

The twins are having a good year. Back in March, their novel was long-listed for the first Exeter Novel Prize and is currently with an agent. The reaction of the audience this weekend suggests Bleeding Empire has a great future and that Terry Pratchett has at least two natural heiresses now.

So well done, C L Raven - we're all expecting great things of you!

No pressure, then...

Above is a photograph of the twins with literary agent Broo Doherty and novelist Sophie Duffy at the Exeter Novel Prize awards ceremony in March.

You can read more about the twins' day in haunted East Devon on their blog at http://clraven.wordpress.com/, in which they reveal how they were treated by the elements in the West Country. Well, it's very green here, and that's a clue! But, in spite of being rained on rather excessively, they seem to have had a great day.