Monday, 2 July 2012

Olympic Torch Relay and a 'Gold Medal' Win!

I've just got back from going to see The Olympic Torch Relay in Rugby town centre. I'm so glad I got up earlier and made the effort, because the atmosphere was fantastic. When I saw the torch coming into view, I got all emotional and trembly. A once in a lifetime experience. It was great that most of the Lawrence Sheriff schoolboys stood on their school field behind me, cheering and going wild - and that was just for the members of the public cycling past before they closed the road!!

I had a bit of a 'gold medal moment' on Saturday when I discovered that my story, I Like Your Bow-Ties, Mr Day won first prize in The 5 Minute Fiction 1st Birthday Competition. It's the most prize money I've ever won - £100. The Top Ten stories were on the website for a week and readers had to vote for their favourite to win. Thank you for those of you who voted, by the way! If you'd like to read the story, here's the link:

I've been enjoying a fair bit of success with my short stories this year, which is most gratifying. I'm entering as many competitions as possible and I write an average of four new short stories a week. Not all of these are good enough to enter into competitions, but it's certainly helping improve my technique. My story, Camels In A Field, won The Word Hut competition in May. The story was published on their website and I was asked to do a 'Meet The Writer' interview for them. Both the story and the interview attracted the attention of Thomas Stofer, an agent specialising in the crime and thriller genre at LBA. He emailed me, saying he would like to read my crime novel. I was extremely flattered to be approached by an agent, even though he didn't feel the novel was the sort of thing he was looking to represent. He was, however, very complimentary about my writing and urged me to submit it to other agents, which was most encouraging.

I have been busy clearing my childhood home in rural Staffordshire ready for a tenant to move in. This has been emotional experience and part of me would love to move in there myself. However, my husband and two children have all sorts of ties here in Rugby and wouldn't want to relocate. I have been enjoying spending the odd day here and there at the property, using the opportunity to have friends round for lunch or coffee instead of packing possessions in boxes!

I am also helping my seventeen-year-old son with his university choices. He isn't very pro-active and I'm having to nag him to do more research. We visited The University of Hertfordshire a couple of weeks ago and Matt loved it. It's one of the best universities in the country for Music and has great links  with the music industry. It's also only 25 minutes from Central London. However, the music courses are always over-subscribed, so Matt will need to apply early and work even harder to get the grades he needs.

I am in the middle of proofreading stories for Issue 8 of The Yellow Room. I also have a huge backlog of submissions to deal with, so I apologise to those of you who are still waiting for a decision and some feedback.


Rosie said...

Well done re winning competitions. I read your 'I like your Bow-Ties, Mr Day', and found it very moving. I remember helping my son with his choices and homework - ooh the pain, trying to motivate them. You have my sympathy.

Oldrightie said...

It wos the D's wot won it! Well done, Jo!

Julia said...

I've been to see the torch today, too, here in Kettering. Thought the pre-flame promotors' vehicles were a bit full on, but it was a lovely atmosphere. Funniest moment? When I heard an exasperated mother shout,'Cherokee, come back here!'

Joanna said...

Brilliant, Jo. I love that story and it really deserved to win. Many congratulations. X

I agree with the uphill struggle of motivating teenagers. Keep at it!

Sally Zigmond said...

Well done, Jo. It was a great story. There's nothing like a win (as well as a bit of cash) to help with motivation.

I can believe Matthew is making his uni choices! Where did the time go? I hope he gets into Hertfordshire. It sounds just right for him. But I'm sure he'll do well wherever he goes.

Anonymous said...

A few years a go when I was starting out with attempts to write I read your magazine (QMF) and read it and tried my hand at getting published. I had very honest feedback from you and it took the stuffing out of me for a while, but was so very useful! A belated thank you

I seem to remember that QWF was sold onto someone in America? I did't know you were running another magazine, until today!
I'm going to have a good look around the site.

TracyFells said...

There is a SWEET award for you Jo and your excellent magazine over here: