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28 Jul 2020: Zoom AGM a Success

by Les Williams At the AGM we agreed the following. 1. There will be Summer Homework, as usual. This year the rule is to use an opening sentence from one book, and the final sentence from another. The maximum word count is 1500. You can use the following two sentences to open and close, or if preferred you can choose your own, (noting at the end which two books the sentences are from, and the authors). Opening sentence; They stood in the doorway and stomped the rain from their boots and swung their hats and wiped the water from their faces. (From Cities of the Plain, by Cormac McCarthy). Closing sentence; He went back and forth, changing his mind daily. (From Theodore Boon, by John Grisham). Your stories can be emailed to Walter for posting on Corona-f. webmaster@thamesvalleywriterscircle.org. 2. It was agreed that we will take an August break as usual. This means that there will be no activity on Corona-f (except for submitting the Summer Homework) until Tuesday 2nd September, (our "virtual" return date). 3. Garden meetings may continue in August but they will be dependant on hosts and take-up. Invites will come from the host via Stuart, and you must reply direct to the host if you wish to attend. 4. September meetings. We will try to use zoom, for two meetings a month, with readings and feedback. Walter is investigating how we can read the stories on zoom as they are being read. This would make following each story, and being able to comment on them, easier. I hope you enjoy the rest of our summer, despite these bizarre times, and I look forward to our "return" in September. Kind regards Les

3 Aug 2020: Marta’s Poem in Snakeskin

For those that don’t know it, Snakeskin is a poetry ‘webzine’ that invites contributions for its monthly issues. This month it has accepted a poem from Martha - “Monday Morning”. You can read and enjoy it at Snakeskin. On the Snakeskin site, click on the lady with the big hair to see a list of this month’s contributions.

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.
Above: 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.

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.

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 obtained 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!”

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 published works,

atwww.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.
EMAILS
© Thames Valley Writers’ Circle
Created with Xara Designer Pro X
Send in your news items to webmaster@thamesvalleywriterscircle.org

28 Jul 2020: Zoom AGM a Success

by Les Williams At the AGM we agreed the following. 1. There will be Summer Homework, as usual. This year the rule is to use an opening sentence from one book, and the final sentence from another. The maximum word count is 1500. You can use the following two sentences to open and close, or if preferred you can choose your own, (noting at the end which two books the sentences are from, and the authors). Opening sentence; They stood in the doorway and stomped the rain from their boots and swung their hats and wiped the water from their faces. (From Cities of the Plain, by Cormac McCarthy). Closing sentence; He went back and forth, changing his mind daily. (From Theodore Boon, by John Grisham). Your stories can be emailed to Walter for posting on Corona-f. webmaster@thamesvalleywriterscircle.org. 2. It was agreed that we will take an August break as usual. This means that there will be no activity on Corona-f (except for submitting the Summer Homework) until Tuesday 2nd September, (our "virtual" return date). 3. Garden meetings may continue in August but they will be dependant on hosts and take-up. Invites will come from the host via Stuart, and you must reply direct to the host if you wish to attend. 4. September meetings. We will try to use zoom, for two meetings a month, with readings and feedback. Walter is investigating how we can read the stories on zoom as they are being read. This would make following each story, and being able to comment on them, easier. I hope you enjoy the rest of our summer, despite these bizarre times, and I look forward to our "return" in September. Kind regards Les

3 Aug 2020: Marta’s Poem in Snakeskin

For those that don’t know it, Snakeskin is a poetry ‘webzine’ that invites contributions for its monthly issues. This month it has accepted a poem from Martha - “Monday Morning”. You can read and enjoy it at Snakeskin. On the Snakeskin site, click on the lady with the big hair to see a list of this month’s contributions.

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.
Above: 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.

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.

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.

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 obtained at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=oxford+road+derek+walsh&crid= TWPQL50U04ZL&sprefix=Oxford+Road+Derek%2Caps%2C16 0&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!”

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 cov-

ers and dynamic blurbs.

26 May 2020: Beth Elliott Latest

.

There’s more about Beth’s books,

and soon to be published works,

atwww.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.
Dick Sawdon Smith
News - 1
News - 1