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.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Time to chat to Valerie Holmes

It's a great pleasure to welcome you back to my blog, Valerie. I'm looking forward to hearing about your work and the inspiration for your Yorkshire sagas. 

Here is Valerie walking the North Yorkshire "trods" as these ancient pathways across the moors are known locally. 
'Thank you for inviting me to talk about my work and The Yorkshire Saga series, Margaret.
'I was fortunate that, as a student of creative writing, I had a brilliantly supportive tutor who inspired me to persevere in the face of initial rejections (a vital lesson to take on board for anyone who is serious about making it through to publication).
'My first novella was published in 2003. I love writing novellas and did so for the next fifteen years, having over forty titles published; romance and mystery, historical and contemporary. I look on them as my apprenticeship as authors continually improve their skills the more they write.
'My strap-line is: Love the Adventure! - and I do. 
'Writing is a solitary occupation, the research is all encompassing, editing, drafting, redrafting - the whole process from initial idea to published book is a labour of love.
'The Yorkshire Saga series is set in my birth county of North Yorkshire where I've spent many happy days exploring the coast, moors and forests, discovering its ancient abbeys, stately homes and researching its chequered history. 
'The beautiful coastal bay towns such as Whitby, Robin Hoods Bay, Staithes and Saltburn-by-Sea (my "Ebton" is where To Have and To Hold begins) were places where smuggling thrived in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.' 

Above is Valerie's fictional Ebton...

...and one of her favourite churches.
'Although we tend to glorify smugglers nowadays, historically they were plying a violent trade. But taxes were unduly high, war was ongoing, and the government did not care for the plight of the common man.
'With many changes happening both here and abroad, life in both town and countryside was becoming more challenging as machinery replaced cottage industries, so tensions were high.  The period between 1800-1825 fascinates me. It is an excellent era in which to set stories that are packed with mystery, love and drama.'
Thank you for bringing us up to date, Valerie! You can find out more about Valerie and her fiction at: www.valerieholmesauthor.com.

Competition Time with Creative Writing Matters

Hello, short story writers!

Creative Writing Matters is delighted to announce its latest short story competition for YA and Adult stories on any subject and of any length up to 10,000 words. Do take a look at the website and think about what kind of story you would like to write for us?

Last year's trophies are pictured below. Perhaps you could win one of this year's selection?


Previous winners and runners-up are all listed on the website and you'll probably find some familiar names among them - Richard Buxton, Simon Kettlewell and Louise Farr, to name but three.

We're also very happy to tell you that the bestselling novelist Trisha Ashley is once again sponsoring the Trisha Ashley Award for the best humorous story in the competition. So come on, make us laugh?

Trisha judges the shortlist herself and has been brilliant at encouraging previous winners and shortlisters, several of whom now have publishing deals. The latest is Elizabeth Morton, who was previously shortlisted as Elizabeth Heery. It's a fact that winning or being shortlisted in a prestigious international competition is a good way to get yourself noticed by a publisher!

We also offer short assessments of entries for a small additional fee.

Trophies and cash prizes await the winners!