Thursday, October 30, 2008


Here are Karin Ridgers the actress/TV presenter and Charlotte Nial proprietor of Cranwell House Skin and Beauty Clinic at last night's fabulous launch. The Clinic has opened at 102 High Street, Ingatestone and what a great evening! Non-stop Champagne with canap├ęs and a chance to tour the seven beautiful treatment rooms for both men and women. Guests had an opportunity to sample some of the latest beauty treatments and products and meet some of the consultants and experts. On Thursday 6 November 4-9pm the chaps will have a special evening to themselves and look around the clinic, discover what’s available for them; and also meet the well known sports therapist and personal trainer, Mike Cooper. Mike will be on hand to offer advice and free consultations and trials Very soon the brand new website will be up and running. Contact 01277 350539 (



This will be held on SATURDAY November lst 2008 from 11.00 - 4.00pm at The New Cavendish Club, 44 Great Cumberland Place, London W1H 7BS (nearest tube Marble Arch).

This first Day for Novelists will be led by Wendy Hughes and subsequent ones will be facilitated by Silja Swaby. It is designed for beginners as well as more experienced novelist, and a comprehensive factfile on writing your novel will be handed out on the day. In this workshop Wendy will cover the salient points of novel writing, starting your novel and questions to ask yourself, studying the market, planning and plotting, character and characterisation, The big ‘C’ – conflict, research and how much detail, viewpoints and revision and submission. There will also be time for general discussion and what subjects you would like covered in future workshops. It is planned to run two Days for Novelists a year.

The cost of the day is £18.50 per person. (Cheque made payable to Wendy Hughes). Refreshments can be ordered at the New Cavendish Club. Further information can be obtained from Wendy Hughes email: or telephone 01932 702874.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


In my research for fashions from the past, have asked my contemporaries for pictures of their favourite dresses. Yes, we really did have small waists then! Look at this gorgeous picture of Janet Cameron, well known to many of you in the magazine and newspaper world. More pictures of Janet coming up. A version of this dress was shown on the catwalk this week at the London fashions. Actually, Janet hasn't changed much either. That's good Kentish air for you.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008



Exactly a year ago, Malcolm Burgess' 50 Reasons Why I Hate the Office was published and what a great launch party we had. Here he is with his fabulous cabaret. Malcolm's book is a brilliant read and certainly has no connection with David Brent and that Slough mob! From listening to his readers’ comments, Malcolm’s book has certainly struck a communal funny cord and looks set to be a top stocking filler once again as we think about Christmas prezzies. Hutton-based Malcolm is well qualified to write his whimsical A – Z journey through the daily 9 - 5 office grind. After leaving university, much of his adult life has been spent in publishing, advertising and he was a former literary manager at Essex CC, organising the prestigious annual Essex Book Festival. Since September, however, he’s joined the select band of "working from home brigade."

Basking in some great reviews on radio and major broadsheets, this is one author who is enjoying his book’s success. As a freelance journalist and scriptwriter, his recent comic series has appeared in The Times, Metro and the Mail on Sunday’s ‘You’ magazine amongst other titles. His latest radio comedy, Fear and Loathing in Crouch End was first aired on Radio 4 in December 2005 and his column in London’s Metro newspaper has brought chuckles to many bleary-eyed commuters on Monday mornings.

"If hell had a modern name, it would be today’s workplace," laughs Malcolm. Try as they might to convince us that there’s a purpose to what we do (vision statements about global domination) and that they always have our best interests at heart (Human Resource managers who love us all), we know we’re being conned."

In his book, Malcolm comments on every aspect of office life, from the agony of Bonding and Away Days, workaholics, conference calls and that ghastly Office Creep (there’s always one), not forgetting Sex In the Office – there are lots of laughs.

Malcolm exploits the deep vein of cynicism and rebelliousness that runs through every office. Better than any stress-ball or executive toy, "I Hate the Office" is the essential weapon in the war against the angst of modern office life.

As reported in an article in The Times "From tedious training courses and ugly office design to the horrors of commuting and work as the new religion, there are many reasons to hate the office." Suggested solution? Head home and start loving life as a homeworker! 500 Reasons Why I Hate the Office, published by Icon Books ISBN 10-84046-779-7 £9.99


Many Londoners will remember GAMAGES that lovely old departmental store in Holborn, now just a memory. Fellow writers working on aspects of Edwardian fashion for their features, may be interested in this page from a century-old mail order catalogue. So, my colonial friends, tell me what you think of those 1908 October fashions!

Monday, October 27, 2008


Shire Hall, right in the middle of Chelmsford is the venue for Richard Madeley's talk on Thursday 30 October at 7pm. Richard will be presenting his latest book FATHERS & SONS which I've read and found it fascinating - interesting background. Richard lived in our town of Brentwood during the 1970s and he mentions our Hartswood and Shenfield Common as a background to his teenage years and first job with the Brentwood Argus. Many of our writing and reading groups will be there on Thursday and we look forward to meeting up with them during the evening. Tickets can be obtained from Waterstone's £3.00 Tel: 01245 268737

Friday, October 24, 2008


Tickets still available at Stanford le Hope Library - see below

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Fabulous evening ahead when Stanford le Hope Library will be the venue for guest speaker Will Adams, one of our most exciting adventure/thriller writers. Will is looking forward to meeting his readers. The date is Wednesday 29th October, the time 7.30pm and the tickets are just £1 to cover the cost of a glass of wine! Do give the Library a call at 01375 672058 (it is open everyday except Wednesdays) to book your ticket.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Denver-based Society of Women Writers & Journalists member, Elizabeth Wallace, is visiting England at present. Author of CHRISTMAS PAST IN ESSEX, Elizabeth enjoyed meeting many of her readers today and signing copies of this great book, newly reprinted.

Most good bookshops will be stocking the book, including Waterstone's of Brentwood, Chelmsford and Southend. Signed copies can be obtained from me - just give me a ring 01277 651062. CHRISTMAS PAST IN ESSEX by Elizabeth Wallace price £9.99 ISBN 978-0-7524-4463-5

Thursday, October 09, 2008



With thanks to Newsquest (Essex)Limited

Whether we are aware of it or not, rhyme and rhythm run through so many aspects of our daily lives in the form of poetry, music, prose, work and relaxation. We can’t fail to notice that this Thursday 9th October is National Poetry Day and around this time annually there are some mighty big celebrations happening in pubs, theatres, schools, workplaces and, of course, in Essex libraries.

Already the organisers of The Essex Poetry Festival have set in motion many writing workshops, readings, and live performances, many of them free, and thirty of the nation’s best known poets have been invited to take part.

Last Friday, Brentwood Library was the setting for a rather special poetry workshop organised by the professional librarian and poet Anne Welsh. Inspired by materials within Brentwood library, Anne shared some of the tricks of her trade as a professional librarian in tracking down fresh inspiration through physical and online libraries in Essex and beyond. She had no trouble in attracting not only lovers of verse, but prose writers and even a journalist or two! This successful evening was superbly organised and hosted by Dean Randall in Brentwood Library:

He said: “I found the event a real eye opener, the poetry produced during the evening was to a very high standard. It was great to see poets from different groups coming together giving each other encouragement and striking up new ideas and inspiration which - after all - was the objective of the event. Very pleased that it went down so well and Anne worked very hard on the evening and creating the handouts and exercises, which were, designed to engage all levels. I enjoyed it and I know the participants did, too. ”

The Big Day of Poetry is scheduled for Saturday 11 October at the Cramphorn Theatre, Fairfield Road, Chelmsford starting at 1pm with an evening programme at 7.15pm. Well-known and national favourites such as Michael Horovitz, Patience Agbabi and Jo Bell, Adrian Green and Frank Dullaghan are among a whole list of poetry luminaries. There’s also a chance for budding bards to take the stage at the Open Mic. For Box Office details Tel: 01245 606505. Information about other Essex Poetry Festival workshops and Readings throughout this special month can be obtained from booklets in all Essex Libraries.


My good friends, Brentwood-based James and Joanna are presenting a very special performance in November.

Tuesday 4th – Sunday 9th November 2008
(Sunday performance at 7pm)

At Barons Court Theatre

Myriad Productions Ltd presents a brand new adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's masterpiece.

Raskolnikov, a former student, murders an elderly woman money-lender and her half sister on the premise that certain people are born possessed of an intrinsic right that entitles them to commit all manner of crimes in the name of humanity. Having taken the steps from thought to deed, however, he finds himself unable to bear the horror of what he has done and embarks upon a difficult journey through denial, confession and, ultimately, redemption.

Venue: Baron's Court Theatre, The Curtain's Up Pub, 28A Comeragh Road London W14 9HR. Box Office: 020 8932 4747

Saturday, October 04, 2008




New Cavendish Club at 44 Cumberland Place London W1H 7BS

Wendy Hughes, our tutor, is looking forward to meeting writers - beginners as well as more experienced journalists - on Saturday 25 October 2008. Her first Journalists’ Day was a great success earlier in the year and delegates enjoyed meeting other journalists at the Helios Centre. The venue for the next event is very much more comfortable.

Wendy will concentrate on the importance of being organised and totally professional. The value of using Internet sources for information will be emphasised. Wendy has huge knowledge when it comes to writing for general newspapers/magazines as well as e-magazines. She will encourage writing projects using personal knowledge/interests to write for trade journals. There will also be a practical workshop where delegates will be given an opportunity to work with an idea for a feature. There will be a shared general discussion of individual work produced and a chance to say what you would like discussed at future events. Fact-files forjournalists and six pages of journalistic ideas to get you started will be available (£1.50) Ticket price £18.50/£20.00 for the whole day 10.00am-4.00pm. Contact Wendy Hughes 01932 702874.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


ISBN 1 84024 001 6 GRACIE FIELDS - A BIOGRAPHY - contact Joan Moules - see her website


What a privilege to meet the wonderful Sussex writer Joan Moules who joined members of the Society of Women Writers & Journalists at Chester University last week. Joan has written many books and articles and her output is prodigious. I am now reading her best-selling biography of Gracie Fields published by Summersdale. The book has brought Joan such fame and on to our TV screens. Now, she has just been commissioned to write her first crime book - what a girl! This picture shows Joan centre, Frances Clamp, another excellent writer of eleven books and yours truly.