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: http://www.5minutefiction.co.uk/i-like-your-bow-ties-mr-day.html
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.