© Thames Valley Writers’ Circle
Thames Valley Writers’ Circle AGM

13 Jul 2019: Notice of Annual General Meeting

The AGM will be held during our meeting of 30 July 2019 - the last meeting before the summer break. The documents for this meeting are in the Library on the 2019 page. It is suggested that you print a copy of these documents and bring them with you to the meeting.
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21 July 2019: Summer Homework Marta's choice for our summer homework is as follows. Flash fiction, up to 500 words,. The theme is: university life. It must contain the word “ghost”. We will have the readings on our return after the break (Sept 3rd).
Most of you will already know that Joyce resigned from the committee at the A.G.M. and is no longer our secretary. A very big thank you, Joyce for all you have done for the Circle over the years. She has been a member of the Circle since it began in 1993 and became secretary in 1995. Being secretary in those days was very different. She would spend her time at the meetings making notes of who read what and what it was about. She then photocopied them and distributed them at the next meeting.
7 Aug 2019: Thank You Joyce!

Secretary Extraordinaire

In the early days, there were few members. Twice, when we needed to raise funds, Joyce and husband Gerry had car boot sales selling items given by members. Writing the pantomime (Snow White and the Seven and a Half Poets) was a joint effort and Joyce also produced and directed it. Coming up to date, Joyce finished writing her second novel “Saluting the Magpies” recently and is now writing a sequel.
That evening is also the peak time to see the shooting stars known as the Perseid meteor shower - clear skies permitting. Could be an omen; Sarah’s star is about to shine brightly.
9 Aug 2019: Sarah’s on the Radio Tune in to BBC Radio Bershire on Monday 12 August at 11:00am. Sarah will be interviewed on that station about her career and crime writing.
Not such a good day for the grouse, though. It’s the “Glorious 12 th ”, the start of the shooting season.
16 Sep 2019: Colin’s Latest Book Available

Behind the Crime

“Whatever the crime, there is a human story behind it…” Based on Colin’s experiences as a probation officer, the book looks at some of the cases he dealt with, with a sympathetic eye. Without excusing their crimes he looks at the real people and their individual stories. See Colin for a Limited Special Edition copy.
We support this event each year by linking up with Hospital Radio Reading and Progress Theatre, Reading. We supply stories. Actors from Progress Theatre read them at a recording session and the Hospital Radio broadcasts the recordings to the patients during the week of the event. We don’t yet know whether the stories will be broadcast at lunchtime or in the evening, or both.

12 Oct 2019: National Short Story Week (11-17 November)

If you would like to submit stories for this event, send them to Dick at sawdonsmith@hotmail.com in time for the recordings. Stories should generally be between 1200 and 1500 words but shorter ones might be accepted if we can double up. Remember that stories must be suitable for people in hospital. Dick will pass the stories to the Chairman of Hospital Radio Reading who has the final choice on which will be recorded. The recordings will be made on Monday 4th November, so please let Dick have stories well in advance of that date so that choices can be made and decide which will suit each reader, who we hope, as usual, will be a present or past member of the Progress Theatre.
16 Oct 2019: Neil’s Latest Book is Published Congratulations to Neil as his latest book is published. You don’t have to be an Archers fan to enjoy this book just a fan of all manner of puzzles. To quote from the back cover:
“As one of Britain's best-loved and longest running radio serials, The Archers has a special place in our lives and affections. But when you're not tuning in for the latest goings-on in Borsetshire, how about a puzzle or two to pass the time? From quizzes and riddles to crosswords and sudoku, whether you're an expert on all things Ambridge or merely a casual listener, there's plenty in these pages to tickle your fancy and tease your brain.”

5 Nov 2019: Halloween/Bonfire Night Comp Results

2nd Sarah

3rd Colin

Castro’s Bangers

A jolly tale of youthful enterprise - ask Les C about the ‘in’ jokes.

All That Glitters

An imaginative story with a charming twist.

Buzz Bomb

A melancholic story from World War II.

1st Les W

A wide ranging collection of short stories, covering both Halloween and Bonfire night themes, kept us entertained for a couple of weeks. The votes produced the following results.

12 Nov 2019: Relay Novel - The Starting Gun Has Fired

Some months ago, it was decided to attempt a novel/novella in which one of us would write a chapter then hand the story over to another who would continue the story (what I call a ‘relay novel’). As each chapter is written it will be read at a meeting and the next author decided upon. Brian has got us off to a great start with his first chapter called The Lady on the Beach. The story is set in a small seaside village called Heedlesham (which which we can use as a working title for the story). Every year, in the summer months, the only topic of conversation in the local pub is the caravan park on the edge of the village and its hated population of holiday-makers. Just one person did not share this hatred; soon to be joined by another - or is he? The baton has now been passed to Nick, who will write the next chapter. You can keep up to date with the progress of the story by going to the Library. On the Home page there is a panel with three links to files that contain the story so far, a list of the characters and a list of the chapters and their authors.

24 Nov 2019: Looking for an Agent?

(This item is from Walter)

Recently, when submitting my story to a publisher, I was given a link where I could find out what has happened to my submission. The image on the right shows what the link displays. At the bottom it refers to QueryTracker - which I followed up. It’s a web site which allows you to search for publishers and agents. I should explain that “Query” seems to be the American word for “submission”, and yes, this is a US web site and most of the information in it is US-based. However, I have found that it contains enough UK information in it possibly to be a useful source of literary agents. It’s free to use - you must register first, then you can search for UK agents (or American ones if you wish), but if you pay the £25 per year fee you can do more sophisticated searches. Could be worth it if you’re so busy that you can’t afford the time to do the searches manually. I have registered, used it to find an agent and emailed my story to her. I’m now waiting for the response which should give me a link to the Tracker page for it. I will let you know what happened to my submission (query?), and how it compares with traditional methods, at one of our meetings. The QueryTracker link is at the bottom of the Links page, but just this once, I’ll put it here. Good agent hunting!
14 Jan 2020: Arthur Redway Memorial Comp Strong Entry We received sixteen entries for this year’s competition which was won last year by David Baldock. You now have until 19th Jan 2020 to read them and send in your placings to Stuart for your favourite three. All members can vote, not just the entrants. The results will be announced and the top three will be read at the meeting on 21 Jan.
David with the Trophy
21 Jan 2020: Arthur Redway Memorial Comp Results Congratulations to Colin Ferguson and Les Williams who tied for first place in this year’s event. Colin’s entry is a melancholy tale of a murderer released from prison to find his mother very ill. Be prepared for a shock ending. Les tells of a post-climate-change world in his tongue-in- cheek style. David Baldock’s entry, a sad tale of misplaced love, came a close third. Colin said that receiving the trophy meant even more to him, given that the competition was so fierce. The voting was so close that only three points separated first from fifth!
31 Jan 2020: Presentations Evening Voted a Success Ian and David can feel proud of the dinner they organised at the Calcot Hotel, To keep the creative thinking juices, as well as the gastric juices flowing during the evening, there were quizzes, designed to test our ability to ‘think outside the box’; which box, I have yet to discover. The London Underground Quiz was won by Nick. Sarah’s partner, Trish, won the fiendish English Words Quiz and the limerick competition was won by Geoff. A special award, Comedian of the Year, was won by Les Cooper who received the prize of a Bunty Annual! Shhh. There is talk that the evening was so successful, that it may be repeated next year!
The photos below were contributed by Sally, Chloe and Walter. Click on any photo in this group, then use the right and left arrows shown at the bottom of the enlarged image to display the next photo, or use the play button to cycle through them automatically.
23 Feb 2020: Query Tracker Update (from Walter) Last November I wrote about an American web site that offered a listing of agents and publishers and an online way of keeping track of your submissions (called “queries” in the USA, apparently). I have since used Query Tracker a few times to find British agents and publishers and submit my story to them. So far, only the one that originally alerted me to this facility seems to use it to manage the submission process. The rest have used traditional methods (I never thought I wouId use “traditional” to describe email) to keep me informed on the progress of my submission. While I have not found Query Tracker to be an enhancement to the submissions process, I think it is a useful listing of potential agents and publishers for your work.

24 Mar 2020: The Chris Mundy Memorial Poetry Competition

Congratulations to Walter, this year's winner from a high quality field. Thirteen entries were submitted then anonymised and voted on by members. Walter's uplifting entry was just what was needed at these difficult times, and that was clearly reflected in the voting. Getting out of our writing comfort zone is an excellent way of stretching us so the non-poets among us will hopefully have enjoyed the experience. Walter will be presented with the winner's shield, suitably engraved, when we resume normal service.

The full results are as follows;

1st Walter Ode to a Blackbird 2nd Janis A Home for the Hybrid 3rd Les W Tears and Years All the entries can be read on the Library’s 2020 page.

7 Apr 2020: Spring is Here - It’s Official!

Forget pink supermoons - that’s fake news, anyway! After 4,176 hours (to save you doing the maths, that’s about 25 weeks!) of continuous isolation, oops, I mean hibernation, Speedy has decided that spring has arrived and has graced Mary and Stuart with his active presence.
Left: Speedy takes his first steps in 2020 sunshine (well, daylight).

11 Apr 2020: My NAWG News

First may I thank those who passed comment on my story ‘ Sweet Wine or Sour Grapes’. I have sent it to Woman’s Weekly under my usual non de plume and now just wait. Les always starts the meeting with ‘any news’ so I thought I would give my experience after I entered last year’s NAWG open competition - that’s the one you pay for and pay an extra fee if you want to see the judges critique. The deadline was November but I had only just realised that I hadn’t heard from them. I didn’t expect to win but I was interested to see the judge’s critique that I had paid for. Unfortunately, when I enquired I discovered my critique had been lost. However, they found it and forwarded it to me. I won’t give the whole critique but the judge said, ‘This story had a lot going for it with a sharp sense of place, good pace and some economical writing. But it seemed to have too many things going on to make it a successful short story. It was crying out to be a novel.’ Some time ago I entered it in another competition and the judges comments were. ‘This well written story is to big to be confined to a 2000-word format. The readers curiosity is aroused by the brief references to the minor characters never mind the lightly and telling major ones and the whole MS is full of vitality. It would make an excellent novel.’ What a pity I am not a novel writer.
Dick Sawdon Smith

22 April 2020: Barbara (by Les Williams)

I am late to my emails today so have only just picked up on the terribly sad news about Barbara. For me Barbara was a very special person and someone I know we will all greatly miss. For Susie and all of Barbara's family the current circumstances have made a very sad and difficult time so much worse. I know our thoughts will be with them all. Barbara, as well as being an excellent writer, was inspirational. On countless occasions she was extremely helpful with her insights and guidance, often given to me as asides with a wry wit. There can be no doubt that it was her hard work and dedication that created, nurtured and developed the Circle to become the highly appreciated and successful body it now is. For that we all owe her a great debt. See her story.

27 Apr 2020: The Barbara Olive Smith Memorial Trophy

As you will know our calendar of events had The Iain Pattison Short Story Competition down for announcement last week. In view of the recent sad news there has been some discussion as to whether it would be appropriate to hold the competition at this time. It was decided that with Barbara's indomitable spirit she would have wanted, indeed insisted on the competition being held. The competition has always been the highlight of our writing calendar and we had previously agreed that we would rename the competition in her honour, although we had hoped then that she would still be with us. We had also agreed that there would be an annual trophy award to the winner. Therefore from now on the competition will be for The Barbara Olive Smith Memorial Trophy. This year's competition is now open, with details on the Competitions page. Iain Pattison has again kindly agreed to judge our entries and provide a critique of each.
More tributes to Barbara

11 May 2020: Oxford Road is Published

The book that Derek has regailed us with (or should that be ‘with which Derek has regailed us’) at past meetings, of the real variety, has now reached the bookshelves, well the Amazon web site, at least. Currently, the ebook can be ontained at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=oxford+road+derek+walsh&crid=TWPQL50 U04ZL&sprefix=Oxford+Road+Derek%2Caps%2C160&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_ 17 Derek says it should should be available in paperback soon. A tip he would like to pass on is that he was advised by a friend in publishing to press ahead and upload the book rather than wait for a publishing deal. She read his manuscript and wrote a review which she posted on one of the sites. The hope is, that the more reviews he gets, the better the chance of attracting publishers. As he says, “On the other hand, if it sells well anyway, then I won't need one!”

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26 May 2020: Comedy Theatre and Computer Training!

Colin has passed on the information below which could be an exciting opportunity for the ‘silver surfers’ among us.

Joffe Books have brought out Kindle editions of my first two Regency Tales, with more atmospheric

covers and dynamic blurbs.

26 May 2020: Beth Elliott Latest

.

There’s more about Beth’s books,

and soon to be published works, at

www.regencytales.co.uk
Third prize goes to Les Williams for his tale ‘Deadweight’. Iain said “This smashing tale is written with confidence and skill”.
The winner this year is Neil Somerville with his story ‘Your Call’. Iain said “This is one of those stories that makes me think: Wow - I wish I’d written that.”
The second place went to Rob Stallard with his story ‘Selling J.K. at Hay’. Iain said “I loved this story. It’s gentle but contains a very dry, wicked sense of humour”.

23 Jun 2020: Barbara Olive Smith Memorial Competition Results

The event was judged by Iain Pattison. There were 12 short stories submitted with the theme ‘The Wisdom of Age’. Iain said that he really enjoys reading our stories as they are always highly inventive and often very amusing. Stories from TVWC are always of a very high standard.

25 Jun 2020: Magazine Success for Dick

Congratulations to Dick in getting his short story 'Sweet Wine or Sour Grapes' published in Woman’s Weekly - in the current fiction special of that magazine. Dick originally read this story to us several weeks before we went into lockdown. He re-wrote the piece following our comments and presented it to us in week 2 of our virtual meetings in March. If you are a regular reader of the magazine, you may have a little difficulty in finding Dick’s story as ‘they’ changed the title to 'Growing Close', and of course, it's under Dick’s nom-de-plume, Charlotte Sawdon.

7 Jul 2020: TVWC s into the Future

by Walter After a few minor glitches, we managed to hold a virtual meeting via Zoom. I set up the meeting and was joined by Les W, Les C, Vicky, Nick, Neil, Sally and Helen C. Stuart tried but was unable to get any sound on his computer. Nick amused us with his animated alien climbing around his room. Les W read his short story ‘That Entrepreneurial Spirit’. There was some agreement with Les C’s comment that it didn’t seem to have the same impact as it would have had in a real meeting room. There was some discussion around the subject of ‘garden meetings’ and regular Zoom meetings but no agreements were reached. I explained that this meeting was set up to try out the technology so that we would be able to have an AGM later in the month. Normally meetings are free if they last less than 40 minutes but, for whatever reason, half way through the meeting, Zoom put up a message on our screens saying that the time limit was lifted, as a gift to us. At the end of the meeting I was messaged by Zoom to say that if another meeting was booked immediately, there would again be no time limit. Trying to get us in the habit is my guess. The AGM is booked and will be online. Details will be emailed nearer the time.

26 May 2020: Comedy Theatre

and Computer Training!

Colin has passed on the information below which could be an exciting opportunity for the ‘silver surfers’ among us.
Some months ago, it was decided to attempt a novel/novella in which one of us would write a chapter then hand the story over to another who would continue the story (what I call a ‘relay novel’). As each chapter is written it will be read at a meeting and the next author decided upon. Brian has got us off to a great start with his first chapter called The Lady on the Beach. The story is set in a small seaside village called Heedlesham (which which we can use as a working title for the story). Every year, in the summer months, the only topic of conversation in the local pub is the caravan park on the edge of the village and its hated population of holiday-makers. Just one person did not share this hatred; soon to be joined by another - or is he? The baton has now been passed to Nick who will write the next chapter. You can keep up to date with the progress of the story by going to the Library. On the Home page there is a panel with three links to files that contain the story so far, a list of the characters and a list of the chapters and their authors.
We support this event each year by linking up with Hospital Radio Reading and Progress Theatre, Reading. We supply stories. Actors from Progress Theatre read them at a recording session and the Hospital Radio broadcasts the recordings to the patients during the week of the event. We don’t yet know whether the stories will be broadcast at lunchtime or in the evening, or both.
© Thames Valley Writers’ Circle
Thames Valley Writers’ Circle AGM

13 Jul 2019: Notice of Annual General Meeting

The AGM will be held during our meeting of 30 July 2019 - the last meeting before the summer break. The documents for this meeting are in the Library on the 2019 page. It is suggested that you print a copy of these documents and bring them with you to the meeting.
Created with Xara Designer Pro X
21 July 2019: Summer Homework Marta's choice for our summer homework is as follows. Flash fiction, up to 500 words,. The theme is: university life. It must contain the word “ghost”. We will have the readings on our return after the break (Sept 3rd).
Most of you will already know that Joyce resigned from the committee at the A.G.M. and is no longer our secretary. A very big thank you, Joyce for all you have done for the Circle over the years. She has been a member of the Circle since it began in 1993 and became secretary in 1995. Being secretary in those days was very different. She would spend her time at the meetings making notes of who read what and what it was about. She then photocopied them and distributed them at the next meeting.
7 Aug 2019: Thank You Joyce!

Secretary Extraordinaire

In the early days, there were few members. Twice, when we needed to raise funds, Joyce and husband Gerry had car boot sales selling items given by members. Writing the pantomime (Snow White and the Seven and a Half Poets) was a joint effort and Joyce also produced and directed it. Coming up to date, Joyce finished writing her second novel “Saluting the Magpies” recently and is now writing a sequel.
That evening is also the peak time to see the shooting stars known as the Perseid meteor shower - clear skies permitting. Could be an omen; Sarah’s star is about to shine brightly.
9 Aug 2019: Sarah’s on the Radio Tune in to BBC Radio Bershire on Monday 12 August at 11:00am. Sarah will be interviewed on that station about her career and crime writing.
Not such a good day for the grouse, though. It’s the “Glorious 12 th ”, the start of the shooting season.
16 Sep 2019: Colin’s Latest Book Available

Behind the Crime

“Whatever the crime, there is a human story behind it…” Based on Colin’s experiences as a probation officer, the book looks at some of the cases he dealt with, with a sympathetic eye. Without excusing their crimes he looks at the real people and their individual stories. See Colin for a Limited Special Edition copy.
Send in your news items to webmaster@thamesvalleywriterscircle.org

12 Oct 2019: National Short Story Week

(11-17 November)

If you would like to submit stories for this event, send them to Dick at sawdonsmith@hotmail.com in time for the recordings. Stories should generally be between 1200 and 1500 words but shorter ones might be accepted if we can double up. rememberi that they must be suitable for people in hospital. Dick will pass the stories to the Chairman of Hospital Radio Reading who has the final choice on which will be recorded. The recordings will be made on Monday 4th November, so please let Dick have stories well in advance of that date so that choices can be made and decide which will suit each reader, who we hope as usual will be a present or past member of the Progress Theatre.
16 Oct 2019: Neil’s Latest Book is Published
Congratulations to Neil as his latest book is published. You don’t have to be an Archers fan to enjoy this book just a fan of all manner of puzzles. To quote from the back cover:
“As one of Britain's best-loved and longest running radio serials, The Archers has a special place in our lives and affections. But when you're not tuning in for the latest goings-on in Borsetshire, how about a puzzle or two to pass the time? From quizzes and riddles to crosswords and sudoku, whether you're an expert on all things Ambridge or merely a casual listener, there's plenty in these pages to tickle your fancy and tease your brain.”

5 Nov 2019: Halloween/Bonfire Night

Comp Results

1st

2nd

3rd

Castro’s Bangers

A jolly tale of youthful enterprise - ask Les C about the ‘in’ jokes.

All That Glitters…

An imaginative story with a charming twist.

Buzz Bomb

A melancholic story from World War II.
Les W
Sarah
Colin
A wide ranging collection of short stories, covering both Halloween and Bonfire night themes, kept us entertained for a couple of weeks. The votes produced the following results.

12 Nov 2019: Relay Novel - The Starting

Gun Has Fired

24 Nov 2019: Looking for an Agent?

(This item is from Walter)

Recently, when submitting my story to a publisher, I was given a link where I could find out what has happened to my submission. The image below shows what the link displays. At the bottom it refers to QueryTracker - which I followed up. It’s a web site which allows you to search for publishers and agents. I should explain that “Query” seems to be the American word for “submission”, and yes, this is a US web site and most of the information in it is US-based. However, I have found that it contains enough UK information in it possibly to be a useful source of literary agents. It’s free to use - you must register first, then you can search for UK agents (or American ones if you wish), but if you pay the £25 per year fee you can do more sophisticated searches. Could be worth it if you’re so busy that you can’t afford the time to do the searches manually. I have registered, used it to find an agent and emailed my story to her. I’m now waiting for the response which should give me a link to the Tracker page for it. I will let you know what happened to my submission (query?), and how it compares with traditional methods, at one of our meetings. The QueryTracker link is at the bottom of the Links page, but just this once, I’ll put it here. Good agent hunting!
14 Jan 2020: Arthur Redway Memorial Comp Strong Entry We received sixteen entries for this year’s competition which was won last year by David Baldock. You now have until 19th Jan 2020 to read them and send in your placings to Stuart for your favourite three. All members can vote, not just the entrants. The results will be announced and the top three will be read at the meeting on 21 Jan.
David with the Trophy
21 Jan 2020: Arthur Redway Memorial Comp Results Congratulations to Colin Ferguson and Les Williams who tied for first place in this year’s event. Colin’s entry is a melancholy tale of a murderer released from prison to find his mother very ill. Be prepared for a shock ending. Les tells of a post- climate-change world in his tongue-in-cheek style. David Baldock’s entry, a sad tale of misplaced love, came a close third’ Colin said that receiving the trophy meant even more to him, given that the competition was so fierce. The voting was so close that only three points separated first from fifth!
31 Jan 2020: Presentations Evening Voted a Success Ian and David can feel proud of the dinner they organised at the Calcot Hotel, To keep the creative thinking juices, as well as the gastric juices flowing during the evening, there were quizzes, designed to test our ability to ‘think outside the box’; which box, I have yet to discover. The London Underground Quiz was won by Nick. Sarah’s partner, Trish, won the fiendish English Words Quiz and the limerick competition was won by Geoff. A special award, Comedian of the Year, was won by Les Cooper who received the prize of a Bunty Annual! Shhh. There is talk that the evening was so successful, that it may be repeated next year!
The photos below were contributed by Sally, Chloe and Walter. Click on any photo in this group, then use the right and left arrows shown at the bottom of the enlarged image to display the next photo, or use the play button to cycle through them automatically.
23 Feb 2020: Query Tracker Update (from Walter) Last November I wrote about an American web site that offered a listing of agents and publishers and an online way of keeping track of your submissions (called “queries” in the USA, apparently). I have since used Query Tracker a few times to find British agents and publishers and submit my story to them. So far, only the one that originally alerted me to this facility seems to use it to manage the submission process. The rest have used traditional methods (I never thought I wouId use “traditional” to describe email) to keep me informed on the progress of my submission. While I have not found Query Tracker to be an enhancement to the submissions process, I think it is a useful listing of potential agents and publishers for your work.

24 Mar 2020: The Chris Mundy Memorial

Poetry Competition

Congratulations to Walter, this year's winner from a high quality field. Thirteen entries were submitted then anonymised and voted on by members. Walter's uplifting entry was just what was needed at these difficult times, and that was clearly reflected in the voting. Getting out of our writing comfort zone is an excellent way of stretching us so the non-poets among us will hopefully have enjoyed the experience. Walter will be presented with the winner's shield, suitably engraved, when we resume normal service.

The full results are as follows;

1st Walter Ode to a Blackbird 2nd Janis A Home for the Hybrid 3rd Les W Tears and Years All the entries can be read on the Library’s 2020 page.

11 Apr 2020: My NAWG News

First may I thank those who passed comment on my story ‘ Sweet Wine or Sour Grapes’. I have sent it to Woman’s Weekly under my usual non de plume and now just wait. Les always starts the meeting with ‘any news’ so I thought I would give my experience after I entered last year’s NAWG open competition - that’s the one you pay for and pay an extra fee if you want to see the judges critique. The deadline was November but I had only just realised that I hadn’t heard from them. I didn’t expect to win but I was interested to see the judge’s critique that I had paid for. Unfortunately, when I enquired I discovered my critique had been lost. However, they found it and forwarded it to me. I won’t give the whole critique but the judge said, ‘This story had a lot going for it with a sharp sense of place, good pace and some economical writing. But it seemed to have too many things going on to make it a successful short story. It was crying out to be a novel.’ Some time ago I entered it in another competition and the judges comments were. ‘This well written story is to big to be confined to a 2000-word format. The readers curiosity is aroused by the brief references to the minor characters never mind the lightly and telling major ones and the whole MS is full of vitality. It would make an excellent novel.’ What a pity I am not a novel writer.
Dick Sawdon Smith

22 April 2020: Barbara (by Les Williams)

I am late to my emails today so have only just picked up on the terribly sad news about Barbara. For me Barbara was a very special person and someone I know we will all greatly miss. For Susie and all of Barbara's family the current circumstances have made a very sad and difficult time so much worse. I know our thoughts will be with them all. Barbara, as well as being an excellent writer, was inspirational. On countless occasions she was extremely helpful with her insights and guidance, often given to me as asides with a wry wit. There can be no doubt that it was her hard work and dedication that created, nurtured and developed the Circle to become the highly appreciated and successful body it now is. For that we all owe her a great debt.
Tributes to Barbara

27 Apr 2020: The Barbara

Olive Smith Memorial Trophy

As you will know our calendar of events had The Iain Pattison Short Story Competition down for announcement last week. In view of the recent sad news there has been some discussion as to whether it would be appropriate to hold the competition at this time. It was decided that with Barbara's indomitable spirit she would have wanted, indeed insisted on the competition being held. The competition has always been the highlight of our writing calendar and we had previously agreed that we would rename the competition in her honour, although we had hoped then that she would still be with us. We had also agreed that there would be an annual trophy award to the winner. Therefore from now on the competition will be for The Barbara Olive Smith Memorial Trophy. This year's competition is now open, with details on the Competitions page. Iain Pattison has again kindly agreed to judge our entries and provide a critique of each.
Derek says it should should be available in paperback soon. A tip he would like to pass on is that he was advised by a friend in publishing to press ahead and upload the book rather than wait for a publishing deal. She read his manuscript and wrote a review which she posted on one of the sites. The hope is, that the more reviews he gets, the better the chance of attracting publishers. As he says, “On the other hand, if it sells well anyway, then I won't need one!”
The book that Derek has regailed us with (or should that be ‘with which Derek has regailed us’) at past meetings, of the real variety, has now reached the bookshelves, well the Amazon web site, at least. Currently, the ebook can be ontained at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=oxford+road+d erek+walsh&crid=TWPQL50U04ZL&sprefix=O xford+Road+Derek%2Caps%2C160&ref=nb_s b_ss_i_1_17

11 May 2020: Oxford Road is Published

JOIN A THEATRE COMEDY PROJECT!

Free Online Comedy Project - Build your computer confidence & laugh and socialise with your peers! Reading's StrikeUp Theatre are looking for people aged 70 and over who are feeling cut off from their neighbours, friends and family and would enjoy the opportunity to meet new people in a relaxed, playful environment. We are working in association with AgeUK Berkshire and Reading Borough Council to bring you 6 free comedy theatre workshops, whilst delivering a crash course in video communications online. WHEN - Thursdays, 11AM-12PM, 28th May - 2nd July WHERE - Your Living Room - the course is run through a computer system which we can teach you how to use WHAT - Over six sessions, you will learn the secrets of being funny onscreen, from physical clowning tricks to the secret of comic timing, taught by experienced theatre practitioners from StrikeUp Theatre. Plus, you will learn how to get the best out of video conferencing applications like FaceTime and Zoom. Over the six weeks, we will put together a unique comedy performance from an original script, written specifically to meet the challenges of an online video workshop. HOW TO JOIN - To sign up, get in contact with Rachel from StrikeUp Theatre: EMAIL - rachel@strikeuptheatre.co.uk PHONE - 07514712785 Check out our video explaining the project - https://youtu.be/5z1wesMyLEk Rachel, Mary, Artistic Director, StrikeUp Theatre www.strikeuptheatre.co.uk rachel@strikeuptheatre.co.uk/ 07514712785 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SGE8AMKQNg&t=41s

Joffe Books have brought out Kindle editions of my

first two Regency Tales, with more atmospheric

covers and dynamic blurbs.

26 May 2020: Beth Elliott Latest

.

There’s more about Beth’s

books, and soon to be pub-

lished works, at

www.regencytales.co.uk

The Wild Card:

from Amazon page

In All Honour:

from Amazon page

Third prize goes to Les Williams for his tale ‘Deadweight’. Iain said “This smashing tale is written with confidence and skill”.
The winner this year is Neil Somerville with his story ‘Your Call’. Iain said “This is one of those stories that makes me think: Wow - I wish I’d written that.”
The second place went to Rob Stallard with his story ‘Selling J.K. at Hay’. Iain said “I loved this story. It’s gentle but contains a very dry, wicked sense of humour”.
23 Jun 2020: Barbara Olive Smith Memorial Competition Results The event was judged by Iain Pattison. There were 12 short stories submitted with the theme ‘The Wisdom of Age’. Iain said that he really enjoys reading our stories as they are always highly inventive and often very amusing. Stories from TVWC are always of a very high standard.
25 Jun 2020: Magazine Success for Dick Congratulations to Dick in getting his short story 'Sweet Wine or Sour Grapes' published in Woman’s Weekly - in the current fiction special of that magazine. Dick originally read this story to us several weeks before we went into lockdown. He re-wrote the piece following our comments and presented it to us in week 2 of our virtual meetings in March. If you are a regular reader of the magazine, you may have a little difficulty in finding Dick’s story as ‘they’ changed the title to 'Growing Close', and of course, it's under Dick’s nom-de-plume, Charlotte Sawdon.

7 Jul 2020: TVWC s into the

Future

by Walter After a few minor glitches, we managed to hold a virtual meeting via Zoom. I set up the meeting and was joined by Les W, Les C, Vicky, Nick, Neil, Sally and Helen C. Stuart tried but was unable to get any sound on his computer. Nick amused us with his animated alien climbing around his room. Les W read his short story That Entrepreneurial Spirit’. There was some agreement with Les C’s comment that it didn’t seem to have the same impact as it would have had in a real meeting room. There was some discussion around the subject of ‘garden meetings’ and regular Zoom meetings but no agreements were reached. I explained that this meeting was set up to try out the technology so that we would be able to have an AGM later in the month. Normally meetings are free if they last less than 40 minutes but, for whatever reason, half way through the meeting, Zoom put up a message on our screens saying that the time limit was lifted, as a gift to us. At the end of the meeting I was messaged by Zoom to say that if another meeting was booked immediately, there would again be no time limit. Trying to get us in the habit is my guess. The AGM is booked and will be online. Details will be emailed nearer the time.
for writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry
Thames Valley Writers’ Circle
News
for writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry
Thames Valley Writers’ Circle
News