Saturday, 3 June 2023

Almost Famous...

A kindly stranger (not a stranger; a writer buddy I've known for a fair few years) who has a proper blog, and is a proper published author, did a profile of me for her own blog here ➡️ 

She interviewed me about various writing-related things, and published an original story by me: Midnight Chicken, Stone Spewers, and Men from the Past.
Give it a read, if you like, and them maybe read all her other posts. She is ace.

Friday, 26 May 2023

Jo, a poem

Had a little visitor to the garden last night, aiding me hunting slugs and snails hell-bent on scoffing all the seedlings I'd planted out that day.

Called it Jo, after Eve's cuddly #hedgehog and wrote a little #poem about it.

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

What the hell are calendars for then?

Here is a picture of May in my calendar for the year, made by my lovely soon-to-be Sister in law.

Note the crazy out of context picture collage, the doctor scrawl entries of coffee, covid jabs, and half-term holidays; also the upcoming 24th wedding anniversary to my husband ❤️

What's missing? Well, this morning I spent a frustrating 90mins discovering my calendar had failed to note 12 writing competition deadlines that I had managed to completely miss this year. There are few - if any - free or subsidised competitions for novella length pieces, so to have missed a sizable number for 2023 is rather upsetting.

It got me thinking: perhaps, the point in having a #literaryagent isn't just to get your work published, but to become a carer of sorts to the writer
Rather than changing catheters and administering medication, it's to remind the writer that they need to submit by ... and get their head working for the first quarter of the year. Every year!

Anyway, can't be helped now, just need to do better from this moment on.

Wednesday, 26 April 2023


Today is a new day, and another chance to do my #MSMakesMe answer for @mssocietyuk over on Instagram (@tiddleboo); this time without trying to upload too-long videos! I thought I'd share it here, too.

My answer is in two parts, as we all have bad days and good days. First, the bad:

#MSMakesMe feel like I’m permanently wearing a heavy, wet, uncomfortable Winter coat, one that skims the ground, is in a dark colour, and has started to whiff a bit. That sort of coat.

Even when Spring comes, and the sun shines, I still find myself wearing that bloody coat, having it weigh me down, making me stagger as though the Winter wind is buffeting me. That’s my fatigue, that’s part of how it feels.


The good answer, though, is really good:

#MSMakesMe Serendipitous!

Serendipitous roughly means having something good occur out of an unlikely act; the act being MS. For those who don’t know, I’m a writer. I write short fiction, sometimes very short fiction, because that’s what my MS ravaged brain allows me to do now. Last year was a success, 34 pieces of work I submitted to competitions and journals were published. Hurray!

Last May I had my delayed graduation ceremony with the Open University for my Master’s in Creative Writing. At the time I sent the OU my story, the story of my studying with health issues. Well, last week, the Open University in Wales published a student story about me on their website 'The OU gave me my confidence back': Beck's experience of studying with MS | Open University in Wales , to show others who may be wondering if they could study with MS that they certainly could. That there is help available, that they won’t be the first (or last) to have trod that path.

Then, this week, Wales Online published an advert/article about me How The Open University enabled mum with MS to regain her confidence - Wales Online , based on that student story.

And, this Thursday, The Western Mail newspaper will be running that self-same article about little old me!

Now, perhaps nothing will come of this exposure, but perhaps something will. And, without that whiffy old wet, Winter coat that is MS, I wouldn’t have had that exposure.

So, this week, #MSMakesMe Serendipitous😊

Monday, 24 April 2023

Wonder if I'll Make Page 3?


When I was a child, if you’d asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d have said an artist. Or a writer. Or an astronaut. Or a vet. Or a sound engineer. Once, in French class, I lied and said I wanted to be a photojournaliste, because I couldn’t remember how to say any of the others. I don’t recall ever wanting to be a Page 3 girl, though.

Please don’t misunderstand me; I never viewed those girls as victims, or as imbeciles; so far as little me could see they were beautiful women displaying their beautiful bodies in the newspaper every day, bringing a smile to all with their pert boobies, and views on that day’s breaking news. 

Sam Fox not only got to number 3 in the UK singles chart with ‘Touch Me(I Wanna Feel Your Body)’ , but also co-hosted the greatest Brit Awards ever!

Linda Lusardi became an actress and a bona fide national treasure.

And Kathy Lloyd, to little me, was like a Disney princess come to life. She was, and to me always will be, the most beautiful of them all.

But I still never wanted to be on page 3. Until April 17th of this year…

Little old me got picked out of many, many wonderful folk, to be featured by the Open University in Wales as one of their disabled student stories. I am on their website: 'The OU gave me my confidence back': Beck's experience of studying with MS | Open University in Wales there for all to read who may be wanting to study, but think they won’t be able to hack it. They will. Still not harbouring any desire to be on page 3 though. But then…

They started to share my story on social media. Imagine the shock of taking a sip of coffee, and spurting it out all over your mobile phone because you just caught sight of yourself on Instagram in between clips of cats talking with Southern accents, and photos of your sister’s latest baking experiment! Apparently, the ad’s running on Facebook, too; but I’m not on there so 🤷

But there are no pages! Get to the point!! About right? Well, from today, my story is also featured in Wales Online!!! 

Which, technically, is a newspaper. Yes, it’s online (clue in the name), so, technically, it won’t have any pages, but the first thing that popped into my mind when I was told I’d be featured in it was, ‘Ooh!, Wonder if I’ll make page 3?’ (The second being a long list of incendiary opinions of politicians, celebrities, and AI.)

Which is surely proof that you don’t have to have one iota of common sense to get a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing 😊

P.S, I'm in the Western Mail print paper this Thursday 27th April, so, you know which page I'll be turning to first...


Update: Thursday, 27th April

Page 18! So, if you cover up the 1, and half of the 8...

Wednesday, 12 April 2023

Rub Sticks Together

When the highlight of your day so far has been scrubbing most of the filth circle from the shower tray, then you go and find out you're one of the @theopenuniversity #OpenUniversityinWales student profiles 😄

I've spent the best part of 17 years trying to pass myself off as able-bodied, while cursing the lack of visible role models who would have made those years so much easier. Irony? 

'You must be the change you wish to see in the world' commonly gets attributed to Mahatma Gadhi, though that's often debated. Irrelevant, the sentiment remains true. 

Cut a path through the brambles, so another can walk easier behind, rub sticks together to light their way, and always be grateful that you achieve what you set out to, no matter how many obstacles you had to battle through.

Thursday, 30 March 2023

State of the Union

In the words of Ringo Starr, 'Forgive the lateness of my reply.'

First post since last May! Appalling, but there we are. Still not in possession of Bernard's watch, so no time-travelling here. Anyway, on to the purpose of this post...


I don’t have a great deal in common with the 46th president of the United States of America; not withstanding a worrying regularity to muck up my words, and fall up steps. But we share something of not: being relatively late delivering our State of the Union address.

On February 7th of this year, old rubbish-nicknames himself, Joe Biden (check out some of the nicknames previous POTUSes had – The Last Cocked Hat, anyone? – here List of nicknames of presidents of the United States - Wikipedia ) addressed congress, touching on topics like the economy, news, achievements, and where to improve. Like a school parent’s evening, only without having to look at three A4 books of your child’s work on The Ocean, India, and The Victorians.

All well and good, but not as mind-blowing (perhaps a slight exaggeration…) as my very first SOTU, delivered on the last-but-one day of the first quarter of 2023. I’m intending to focus on my writing here, so it’s as much a mystery to me as it will be to you what turns up.

2022 stats:

85 pieces of work submitted in total (61 to competitions, 24 to journals, writing sites, calls for submission, etc)

34 pieces published/ to be published in 2023 (21 from competitions, 13 from other sources)

So… roughly a 29% success rate (just shy of 18% from competitions, 11% from other sources). Which is good.

However… 22 of those published pieces belong to a: a writing group that I no longer belong to, and, b: a journal which ceased publishing last year, which comes to almost 75% of my “Hey, I like your style, sister!” success platforms. Which is a little worrying. Isn’t it?

Well, maybe.

But… a big bit of the SOTU is to looking to the future, and, in the words of FDR in 1941 (Jan 6th, eager beaver!) have ‘freedom from fear.’

What fears? Well, look at those 85 submissions, what do they have in common? A total and utter dearth of agents or publishers. Not one bloody piece did I dare send.

2023 is almost ¼ through, but ¾ remain for that to be addressed. Even if the outcome is 0% success, I will have done it anyway, and nothing is ever as hard the second time around, is it, Amtrak Joe (terrible nickname)? 

Almost Famous...

A kindly stranger (not a stranger; a writer buddy I've known for a fair few years) who has a proper blog, and is a proper published auth...