This June, while I was in Croatia on my annual sun holiday with Keith (the picture here is our view of the gorgeous sunset from a meal in The Culinarium Restaurant at Sensimar Adriatic Beach), lots of things started to happen regarding my writing. Almost all at once it seemed. They say things happen in threes (they don't of course, we just count them in threes and then start another set of three!)... and three things happened. Oh and then a fourth.... so four!
One day, while we were enjoying a morning of pampering at the spa, having a relaxing neck and shoulder couples massage, I got a missed call on my phone. Afterwards, I listened to the voicemail and it was from Jenny Amphlett from the Sentintel (Staffordshire's local newspaper) telling me that I had made the final three of the "Too Write" competition run by the paper and Staffordshire University in conjunction with Stoke's "Hot Air" Literary Festival. I was thrilled! The only fly in the ointment was that I was away until the day AFTER the prize giving, which was on June 9th. Luckily, I was able to contact my mum and dad, who were happy to go along on my behalf.
I spoke to Jenny on the phone, and she told me that one of the judges - local crime writer Mel Sherratt - had particularly liked my story and said that it reminded her of her own writing. That's a great thing to hear. I don't read much crime fiction, or really write it, but the story I had entered had a kind of criminal element to it. A crime incited by fear really.
Anyway, I would have to wait until the day before I came back home to find out how I got on.
The next thing that happened was I got an email (on the same day) inviting me to read at the Hanley Library 6 x 6 Reading Cafe on 14th June. I had entered the competition on the theme of "Blossomings" - you had to send a story that would take six minutes to read and the idea was that six authors would be asked to read (hence 6 x 6 - they are clever, see!). Anyway, they liked my piece very much and wanted me to read it on the night - just four days after I got back from Croatia! The news got even better when I discovered that June Palmer, also from City Voices, would also be reading her piece. It was nice to know that I would have company.
A few days later while still away, I received an email from National Flash Fiction Day telling me that a flash I had send to them had been chosen to appear in their 2016 Anthology. I was so thrilled about this, especially when I saw some of the other names that were in there too. Along with writers I had met (either in the flesh or in cyberspace) along the way during the last couple of years, were some very wonderful and talented writers who had been asked to write something especially. To have my piece alongside people like... well, you know, I am not going to continue that thought. I don't want to offend or upset anyone by mentioning certain names and not others. Some of the people are probably in step with me and where I am in my career... some are several steps ahead. And some are in the stratosphere! You should read the book for yourself (you will find details of it under "My Writing" in the menu above).
So that was my exciting holiday... oh and the fourth thing was that I had an email from the National Lottery saying they had news about my ticket - which means I had won something. But since I was outside the UK I could not access my Lottery account to find out how much. I was sure I had won big. I mean... all this great luck I was having. I was on a winning streak. Everyone knows that lucky streaks are a real thing. I had definitely won big!!!**
**I won £3.70.