‘Good things come in small packages..

.. as the saying has it – diamonds for one and the historian, Neil Oliver for a second (well in my biased opinion). When I wrote my (very small) novella, Grand Designs, for Choc Lit it was on the understanding it would be published in ebook form only (although it also came out later in audio). To my surprise and delight Grand Designs was rarely out of the top 50 in the Amazon ratings and I was pretty content with that. But then …. Choc Lit decided to publish Grand Designs in paperback. It came out in late 2016 and is doing very well in its new format. It is a very short read at 119 pages, but a perfect size to slip into a handbag for a train or plane journey, or just to curl up with by the fire on a winter night with a cup of cocoa to hand, and let yourself be transported to the South of France and warmer days.’

Brixham Writer Linda Mitchelmore on her latest success.

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Happy New Year..

.. from all at Brixham Writer’s Group. May you have a successful writing year and a year that’s successful in every other way too!

This afternoon we had our first meeting of 2017 and it got off to a promising start. Kate and Margaret are both ploughing through novels and Michelle has had an idea which could be the beginning of an exciting new project for all of us. (Watch this space) Sadly a few members were absent, either working their day jobs or still riding the coat tails of the Christmas period but we look forward to hearing all their news in the coming weeks.

For all of us it’s back to business now, let’s get to work!

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Two out of two.

This afternoon we had the second of our two summer Writer’s Group meetings and as is usual over the summer – we had to admit that we’ve not been doing much writing!

Linda has put most of us to shame as always by managing to get a few short stories written and sent out and of course Kate is well into her new book. As for the rest of us, life seems to get in the way so much more over the summer!

Thankfully its only a few weeks now before the meetings resume properly in September and we’ll all be whipped back into shape! In the meantime, we’d better come up with something to show for the time in between!

Trish has been very much missed as expected and certainly not forgotten. She would not have been impressed with the lack of work on show today!

So back to it!!..

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The great library bar in the sky.

Tuesday was a sad, wonderful day. It was the day we said goodbye to Trish, a dear member of Brixham Writer’s Group who last week lost her short battle with cancer. Those who knew her will understand what I mean when I say I never really expected it to beat her, if anyone could scare off cancer it would be Trish. And in the end I don’t think it did beat her, I think she just decided it was time to let go.

It’s a sad fact of human nature that we don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone, or at least until it’s ill and stops coming to the meetings! Trish touched and enriched all of our lives in ways we’re perhaps only now coming to realise.

Trish was born in Herefordshire and grew up at Longwood Prep School where her stepfather was headmaster, she then went to work in Cambridge which was a place she loved for the rest of her life.      From there she travelled to California where she worked as a receptionist in a doctor’s surgery for seven years, but she returned to the UK to look after her mother in Bushey in the Midlands who was dying of cancer. Around this time, she started up a pottery with a friend which she really enjoyed. She took a job as a receptionist in a medical practice in Rugby but moved to Devon around eight years later.      When she arrived in Devon she went to work in a bookshop in Brixham and liked it so much, she opened a bookshop of her own in Totnes which she ran for about three years. By this time, she had reached retirement age, but to augment her pension she did dog-walking and house-sitting all over south Devon.      During this time, she had become an active member of the Conservative Association – she thoroughly enjoyed the social life and especially the quiz nights and skittles. She always ran the raffle, which she also did at the National Trust property of Coleton Fishacre.      Trish was also an avid reader and writer. She joined Brixham Writers Group about 26 years ago and attended every Thursday with great enthusiasm. She had success with stories published in many magazines in UK and abroad in Australia and Scandinavia. The achievement she was most proud of was having her book No More Secrets published in 2014. Trish was always a prominent member of the group, full of ideas and input, and often read out loud other people’s work if they had problems doing so. She loved doing it and was very good at it.

Kate says; “Trish was always full of ideas and energy, eager to contribute and forthright in expressing her views, and though this upset some people, it was what her friends loved about her. In all aspects of her life she loved getting into mischief and if there was a rule to be broken, she would break it. She will leave a deep hole in our Thursday meetings and they will be less fun without her. We will all miss her dreadfully. She attacked life with courage and a memorable sense of humour! She also had a passion for old houses and beautiful gardens, G&T and white chocolate”.

Anne says; “Trish was one of the longest standing members of our group and will be much missed. She was always grateful to the group for encouraging her into print”.

Ian says; “She always read my work aloud for me which helped me more than she knew”.

Catherine says; “Starting at writers group was the most intimidating thing I’ve ever done. These people knew their stuff and would either accept me, or tell me to find a new way to spend my time. Luckily for me it was the former and gradually I did relax and began to love the meetings and everyone in the group. Trish never became warm and cuddly, I was told off too often to ever completely stop being frightened of her! But she was also so kind to me, so encouraging and some of my proudest moments at the group have been when I received a compliment from her. She was an inspiration in so many ways and I will be a better writer going forward for having her there to challenge me. I will miss her at every meeting.”

It was a beautiful service on Tuesday, the hymns chosen because they had reminded Trish of her mother and happy childhood days spent living at the boy’s school! Touching personal eulogies were given by family and friends – although some of the juicier details were left out and had us chuckling at the back of the room – and the turnout was as impressive as it ought to have been. Everyone had the same story to tell, she was scary, she was formidable, she was hilarious, she was fiercely loyal, she loved us and we loved her.

As we were leaving, one of the newer members of Brixham Writer’s said something very fitting. She said that as she’d only been with us for a few months she’d hardly known Trish and now felt as though she’d missed out on something somehow. I dare say she did.

A cup of tea and a piece of cake at Lupton House, one of Trish’s favourite local places and stories swapped we all made our way home but we have a group meeting to look forward to on Thursday – although I’m sure it will be a sad occasion, we’re lucky to have each other to fall back on.

Wherever you are now Trish, I hope everything is to your liking. If not, I’m sure you’ll soon put it right! We love you xxx

Trish

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Women Of Straw

Just before the meetings broke for summer we had a visitor! Carole Llewellyn, who was a dedicated member of the group before moving to Spain with her husband had come back to see us, and she brought good news with her!

Her novel Women Of Straw is now available and she brought a hard back copy for us to admire!

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Carole,  is now back home in Spain and working on her next book. Women Of Straw is available on Amazon now along with her previous titles Megan and Rhiannon. Here is a look at the blurb to whet your appetite:

“In 1865, Luton in Bedfordshire is famous for manufacturing straw boaters worn everywhere, although times and fashions are changing. Kate Devlin, the eldest of three children, helps her mother, Rose, run the Devlin plait-school at 10 Plaiters Way. The plait produced there is sold to the Stratton Hat Company, and Kate’s ambition is to become a hat-maker. Kate is befriended by her brother’s employer who has recently purchased Heaven Scent lavender farm. She likes this hardworking young man, and he in turn admires her and it is not long before he declares his love – a love Kate does not return. A family tragedy changes Kate’s life, and with the help of the Stratton Hat Company she sets to achieve her ambition, but her journey finds her confused, infatuated and ultimately frightened for her sister’s life. Ambition to be the best hat-maker in Luton and the chance of true love are pitted against each other – Which will succeed and will Kate achieve both?”

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Here comes the sun

And with it comes the end of this season of writers group meetings. We don’t meet weekly in the summer – partly because the parking in town becomes even more impossible – but just go once a month to each others houses to catch up.

So this Thursday was our last meeting and it seems we all have a lot to be getting on with this summer. Ian has an almost finished novel to work on and a bunch of articles to keep up with, Anne has lots of beginnings of stories to find middles and endings for, Kate has proofs to work through before getting stuck in to her new novel and Catherine has three books on the go at once – all at different levels of development. Michelle’s sequel to her first book Fish Soup is coming together nicely, Linda is still churning out beautiful short stories and Sandra is trying her hand at another pocket novel.

On top of that, we still have an anthology to get out!

So far from being a restful month, we all have a lot to be getting on with before we see each other again!

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** Breaking news **

Brixham Writer’s Group has a new member! We welcome Margaret who mainly writes historical fiction but this week wrote a short story just for us! She’ll be another valuable addition to our group and we look forward to working with her in the future.

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Moving houses!

It’s been an interesting few months for Kate Furnivall as she valiantly challenged the definition of “deadline” and produced what is sure to be another masterpiece. What she kept closer to her chest was what was going on behind the scenes.

A few words from the woman herself to fill you in on what’s been going on;

“Changing publisher is a bit like jumping off a cliff. You feel the solid familiar ground under your feet fall away and you spread your wings and hope you’ll fly. After a glorious eight years with Little Brown, I decided that I needed a change of direction. Leaving was a wrench because I had formed good friendships there, but I knew it was time to rethink my future and so I moved to Simon & Schuster, a publisher I had always admired. I am thrilled to be working now with the brilliant Joanne Dickinson, publishing director at Simon & Schuster, and her wonderful team who are always so enthusiastic and supportive. I am looking forward to a new chapter in my publishing career, which will start with the publication of my new book THE LIBERATION in November 2016.”

Now that the move has been announced, at the London Book Fair no less, we look forward to the next chapter of Kate’s career (pun intended). We’ll keep you all informed.

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Three’s company, five would be even better!

Linda

Please find pictured over very own Linda Mitchelmore clutching her trilogy of novels; To Turn Full Circle, There’s No Turning Back and Emma and her Daughter. All three of these have been published by Choc Lit and are available in ebook format, paperback, audio, and large print. Set in lovely Devon and even the Torbay area itself, a place Linda herself describes as; “a place close to my heart that I never want to leave”. Linda is an invaluable member of our group and one of our more prolific writers and we’re very excited to tell you that there are currently plans for two more books featuring some of the characters from Emma and her Daughter. Watch this space!

In other brief news; we’re now on Instagram as @brixhamwriters (so if you’re about please jump on over and give us a follow) and Ian has just signed the contract for a paperback version of his novel 🙂 Congratulations to Ian and we’ll look forward to seeing the results.

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A Thursday Update!

Another Thursday, another Writer’s Group meeting in a surprisingly sunny Brixham, and we’re all keeping ourselves busy!

Michelle has taken on a lot of promotional work for her publishing house Sunpenny and is off to the London Bookfair next week. When she returns from that she has been asked to get involved again in the organisation of FishLit – the book based imprint of Brixham’s FishStock festival – and between all of these things she’s getting writing of her own done too!

Kate is back with us after what felt like a long absence as she raced to finish her latest book. She is considerably happier now that it’s done and she’s free to join us once more. We were privileged to hear some of her work today and were spellbound as usual.

Catherine, one of our (as yet) unpublished members, is plugging away at changing that by entering yet another competition. Her travel book is also painfully close to completion so who knows what this year may hold!

We are hoping to release a group anthology this year inspired by our seaside town and the contributions are starting to pile up which is very exciting! This would be a brilliant way of showcasing each and every one of our writers and it will be such good fun to work on a project together.

As Winter turns to Spring, 2016 is looking to be a good year for Brixham Writers. Keep an eye on our blog and twitter page for more updates 🙂

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