About Me

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I'm a 68-year-old disabled amateur writer living and working in Slough in Berkshire in the UK. I began writing in 1996 after having to retire from my career in the National Health Service due to heart disease. I've had a series of heart attacks and two heart bypass operations. Between 1996 and 2010, I contributed regularly to several UK leisure and lifestyle magazines. Many of these articles can be downloaded from the 'ARCHIVE' section of my website. I've also contributed to some television programmes. I'm a member of the 'Slough Writers Group' which is both interesting and informative. At the moment I'm preparing to start writing factual features for magazines. You can see the articles that have been published in the 'LATEST WORK' section of my website.

Saturday 9 December 2023

Fab Friday

It's been a busy day today. I've been coming up with ideas.

If I get funding for my 'National Centre for Writing' course 'Creative non-fiction', the 'blurb' says 'For the final module, you will pull together everything you’ve learned to produce a 1,500-word piece of non-fiction on a topic of your choice.'

I've already been thinking of a topic, and I'd like to explore 'autism' and other mental health issues (and how they affect my good friend Bodie Best). Even if I'm not able to get on the course, I'd nevertheless like to write it (as a magazine article). Bodie is such an interesting person.

I've also put a few ideas to Beverley Cuddy, the editor of 'Dogs Today' magazine. Here are the ones that were accepted:


·        1) Narrowboat Dog – A dog and their owner who lives aboard narrowboats.

·        2) Urban Dog – A dog and their owners who live in towns or cities. What additional challenges and/or joys do they face?

·        3) Long-distance 'trucker' dog. – A dog that travels in the cab of big trucks with their owners (day and/or overnight).

·        4) Commuting Dog – A dog that travels to and from their owner's place of work (by car, bus, or train)

·        5) Dog at owner's workplace – A dog that spends their days (and/or nights) with their owner at their place of work. Office/Building site/factory etc.

That's all for today. Plenty to be getting on with!

Thursday 7 December 2023

Smartphone entry

 I'm writing this on my smartphone to see if it works.

I've enrolled on the course 'Creative writing non-fiction articles' with the 'National Centre for Writing' at the 'University of East Anglia'. It starts in February and lasts for 12 weeks. At least 5 hours a week. 

Today I've been researching possible sources for funding. £475. Fingers crossed! 

Wednesday 6 December 2023

Website Wednesday

I've spent today, tweaking, redesigning, editing, and uploading my revised website. I've added the 'OTHER STUFF' and 'LINKS' sections which have been redesigned.

I've also added my inclusion statement as it's 'National Inclusion Week':-

"I aim to create a safe and welcoming atmosphere for everyone. I want to challenge all forms of oppression including those based on race, ethnicity, nationality, creed, gender, sex, class, sexuality, gender reassignment, learning ability, physical impairment, mental illness, HIV status, age, occupation, income, wealth and unrelated criminal conviction. I aim to design my activities, services, and decision-making processes specifically to encourage and support participation from people who face disadvantage in society, including women, BME people, disabled people, LGBTQ+ people, and people on low incomes."

I've also included links and logos for 'Society of Authors' and 'Gay Authors Workshop'.

I'm quite pleased with it. I don't use any software to build/edit my website. I write it myself in raw HTML. i think there's a bit more tweaking needed but, like my writing, I need to leave it alone for a couple of days and come back to it with fresh eyes at the weekend.

I read a new book this afternoon: '50 things to know about writing non-fiction articles for magazines'. Although It didn't take too long to read, it's a really good book.

I'm going to leave it at that for today. I'm now going to settle down and watch some c**p television.

Monday 4 December 2023

Busy beginning!

It's been quite a busy beginning to the week. I thought I'd got a CityLit session tonight so I cancelled my visit to Slough Writers Group. So I told Mark (my friend, group member, and 'chauffeur') that he needn't pick me up, but he couldn't go either; problem solved. I'm still not allowed to drive myself, so I can only go when Mark's able to give me a lift. The irony is, that there's no CityLit session this evening after all!
I've been sorting out my 'virtual' office (i.e. the laptop and PC's desktop). They really were a 'virtual' mess! I've also been filing my CityLit paper documents (complete with my handwritten scribbles!) I tidied up my email signature text and graphics.
It's the last session of my CityLit 'Writing for Magazines' course tomorrow night. I've completed this week's assignment but couldn't complete the session where we were supposed to write about food. I read (as we were encouraged to do) examples of food writing in a range of magazines, which I did, but it didn't help! I'm obviously not cut out to be a food writer.
I did some work on my website content. In my last 'edit' of it, I left off two sections: 'OTHER STUFF' and 'LINKS'. I'm planning on reinstating them, but not until I've tightened and tidied them up. I'm planning to do them on Wednesday and/or Thursday.
My leg's really bad today. I've used the last of my morphine this morning, but am expecting another bottle to be delivered tomorrow, so until then, I'm going to lie here in pain.
I've got nothing I really want to do for the rest of the day so, at the end of the next sentence, I'm going to 'log-off', have something to eat and drink, and watch TV.

Saturday 2 December 2023

Society of Authors

Yesterday, I became a member of the Society of Authors at https://www.societyofauthors.org

Empowering authors since 1884.

The SoA is the UK’s largest trade union for all types of writers, illustrators, and literary translators, at all stages of their careers. We have been advising individuals and speaking out for the profession for more than a century.

'Our aim is that individuals of every background, age, location, career stage, and professional focus should have equal access to the opportunities, knowledge, support, and community they need while working across industries and in creative spaces where they are genuinely valued and rewarded for what they do.'


Here are the results of yesterday's research for 'Slough Writers' Group:-

 A selection of forthcoming Writing Competitions


Elmbridge Literary Competition 2024


Entry Fee: Adults: £5, Under 18s: free

Prizes: Adults: 1st Place: £250; 2nd: £150; 3rd: £100; Under 18s: £10-£35 in book tokens

Word Limit: Varies

Category: Short Story Competitions/Poetry Competitions

Competition Website:  www.rcsherrifftrust.org.uk/elmbridge-literary-competition/


Bridport Prize – Short Story

DEADLINE: 23.59 (UK TIME) ON 31 MAY 2024

Entry Fee: £14 per entry

Prizes: First prize: £5,000; second prize: £1,000; third prize: £500; highly commended: 10 x £100

Word Limit: 5,000 words (no minimum, title not included in the word count)

Judge: Wendy Erskine

Category: Short Story Competitions

Competition Website: www.bridportprize.org.uk/the-competition/short-story


Bridport Prize – Flash Fiction

DEADLINE: 23.59 (UK TIME) ON 31 MAY 2024

Entry Fee: £11 per entry

Prizes: First prize: £1,000; second prize: £500; third prize: £250; highly commended: 5 x £100

Word Limit: 250 words (no minimum, title not included in the word count)

Judge: Jasmine Sawers

Category: Short Story Competitions

Competition Website: www.bridportprize.org.uk/the-competition/short-story


Oxford Flash Fiction Prize 2024

Write yourself into history and become one of the greats with the Oxford Flash Fiction Prize!

Deadline: 31 January 2024

Word Count: 1000 words / Font: Arial 12pt, single spaced word document or PDF.

Entry Fee: £7 for one flash fiction / £11 for two flash fictions / £15 for three flash / £35 critiques

Prizes: 1st Prize: £1000 – New Voice Prize: £200 – 2nd Prize: £200 – 3rd Prize: £100

*Shortlisted entrants will be offered publication in our end of year anthology.

For further information and how to apply, please visit their website: https://oxfordflashfictionprize.com/


FFF Competition Nineteen


Deadline: 10 pm (UK time) Saturday 23rd December 2023

Entry Fee: £3.80 per entry (PayPal/Stripe) or £2.30 per entry via BSC (UK bank account)

Prizes: Winner: £150.00; 2x Highly Commended: £30.00; 2x Shortlisted: £20.00 (all winners will receive publication)

Word Limit: 300 (excluding title), minimum 100

Judge: S. A. Greene (winner of Competition Eighteen)

Category: Flash Fiction Competitions

Competition Website: www.freeflashfiction.com/current-competition


Henshaw Press Short Story Competition


Entry Fee: £6 per entry

Prizes: First prize: £200; second prize: £150; third prize: £50

Word Limit: 2,000 words

Judge: Four published authors / creative writing academics

Category: Short Story Competitions

Competition Website:  www.henshawpress.co.uk


Writers' & Artists' Short Story Competition 2024

Deadline date 12th February 2024

Enter our free annual short story competition and be in with a chance of winning a place on an Arvon Residential Writing Week (worth £850) as well as seeing your story published on our site. To enter, all you have to do is submit a short story (for adults) of no more than 2,000 words on the theme of risk via our online competition form, and ensure that you have a (free!) account on our website.



 Useful Writing Links (in no particular order)


New Writers



National Centre for Writing



Writers Guild of Great Britain (WGGB)



Creative Future Writers






National Association of Writers and Groups (NAWG)



National Centre for Writing



Writers Digest



Society of Authors



Writers & Artists Yearbook



New Writing South



Shape Arts (for writers with disabilities)



Urban Writers Retreat



Royal Society of Literature






BBC Writers Room



The Writers' Greenhouse


Quite a list!

Finally, it's Friday

So we've survived the week and made it through to Friday 1st December (World Aids Day).

I've been researching various outlets for some of my newest articles.

I also researched some competitions and links for my writers' group 'Slough Writers'.