Monthly Archives: August 2014

One Lovely Blog Award

Thanks to the lovely ravenous Raven ladies at C.L Raven for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog award. Much appreciated. 🙂  (As only some of my posts could actually be deemed as ‘lovely’, I am doubly grateful to them.  Check their awesomeness out: Horror writers, ghost hunters extraordinaire, lovely, witty Welsh girls with a great blog which you can find here 🙂

So, in order to fulfill the requirements of this nomination I now have to tell you, dear readers, seven facts about myself which may be deemed ‘interesting’.

Hmmmmm…As I’m quite open on my blog, I’m wondering if there’s much more left to tell, or that I’d want to tell, or that’d be interesting enough to tell, which you don’t already know.

Therefore, I thought I’d make this a little more of an interesting and interactive experience, so I’m going to do this in a “Would I lie to You?” or “Call my Bluff” kind of way.

As such, I will present to you ten facts about myself, seven of which will be true, three of which will be made up. Then you can have some fun in the comments section guessing which ones are not true. Or just have a little wager with yourself. Or make up which ones you’d like to be true.  Doesn’t that sound fun?  I’m not going to elaborate on each ‘fact’. Part of the fun of “Would I lie to You” or “Call My Bluff” is trying to catch out which ones aren’t true by asking questions. I will say though, that there is an element of truth to them all. Making up lies about oneself, turned out to be a lot harder than I thought it’d be!

NB: People I actually know well cannot take part!

So here we go: Seven facts about me and three lies about me:


1)  I have a tattoo on my lower back of an eagle, because ‘Eagle’ is my favourite Abba track.

2) I have an accreditation in teaching sex education.

3) I can’t ride a bicycle

4) I was once interviewed for a teen magazine about student life, and featured in a double page spread.

5) I once bought cannabis from a man I didn’t know from a twelfth floor flat in the city centre.

6) I take the same cuddly toy to bed with me that I’ve had since my second Christmas when I was just one year old.

7) I once met Rolf Harris and his pen ran out whilst signing autographs, so I gave him mine and he kept it.

8) I’ve never tried smoking a cigarette.

9) I was once stopped and searched in my car by police at 1am on suspicion of being involved in a robbery.

10) I dated a guy who was a roadie for the band Coldplay.

So, which of these are true and which are porky pies? I’ll leave it to you to decide. 😉

The next thing to do is to nominate four bloggers to pass on the Lovely Blog award to. These are just a few of my favourites who do indeed have quite lovely blogs. (Please note nominees, there is absolutely no obligation to do this too. You may just bask in having your blog linked to, because, readers, you should check these guys out anyway, three of whom have featured on Freshly Pressed, no less! (I know!)  So, without further ado, may I present:

1) Graham Milne (Graham’s Crackers). Graham is just a phenomenal blogger who regularly has me fighting back a tear in the eye or a lump in the throat. Just an awesome guy with an awesome blog.

2) Amira Makansi (The Z Axis). Amira blogs about writing and about issues of this ever baffling world we live in with a no nonsense approach. There is also wonderful fiction and poetry to be found there. A truly lovely blog with something for everyone.

3) Nancy Gedge: (Diary of a not so Ordinary Boy) Nancy blogs about parenting, teaching and Down Syndrome as well as a few other pressing issues with style, grace and a dollop of much needed reality. A mainstay of my blog visits.

4) Drew Chial: (Drew Chial) Drew is absolutely one of my favourite bloggers, and if you’re looking for a little bit of everything, then Drew’s blog is the place to go. Lots on writing and blogging as well as social media, but mixed in with satire, fictional shorts and the best, most unique, supporting picture gallery you’re ever likely to find!

Hopefully you’ll check out these other bloggers too, now you know a little more about me….Or do you…? 😉

Thanks, as ever, for reading.


Filed under General Rambliings

99-Word Flash Fiction

One of my minor goals lately has been to attempt a piece of 99 word Flash Fiction. I didn’t want to force it and so I didn’t. However, when Story Bandit on Twitter (@storybandit) laid down a writing dare to write a piece of 99 word flash fiction, incorporating the words: bumpy, enthused, long-haul trucker and damning, a story sprang to mind immediately. I had a lot of fun teasing the words to get to 99. Oddly enough, I found it’s  much harder even than  writing the 140 character micro fiction pieces for Friday Phrases on Twitter. Anyhow, I hope I’ve managed to pull something off with this piece.

Thoughts always welcome from anyone who knows more about Flash Fiction than I do in the comments section. Thanks 🙂

Survival of the Fittest

We warn all motorists not to drive there, unless confident of their survival skills.’

Ed laughed at the damning magazine article describing ‘America’s Loneliest Road.’

Undeterred, enthused for the trip east, he took Highway 50 across Nevada.

It lived up to its name; desolate, bar the lone long-haul trucker who passed him near Austin.

Eventually, almost hypnotised by the monotonous procession of telegraph poles rising from expanses of bleached desert, and concerned upon reading ‘no services for 88 miles’, Ed headed for the bumpy, more scenic Pony Express Trail.

There the trucker waited in the sagebrush, ready to feed.


Filed under Writing

Breaking The Law…The Write Way.

Am I a writer?

Well, I write stuff. I write blog posts and short stories and flash fiction and I’ve written a novel. I write pieces of 140 character micro fiction on Fridays and I write a journal.

But if you asked my friends or family: “What does Joanne do?” They’d reply, first of all:  “She’s a teacher.” Then they might say: “she’s a foster carer to her nephew.” They might say she’s a bossy, cantankerous weirdo too, I don’t know. What I do know is that I doubt any of them would say: “She’s a writer.” Which is odd, given that I probably spend a quarter of my time doing just that, when I’m not teaching, parenting or doing chores.

I wonder if I had any of my work published, whether this would change. I’m pretty sure it would.

However, let’s take now, as now is where we’re at.

Do I class myself as a writer? If people ask me: “What do you do?” do I reply with: “I’m a writer?” Or “I write.” Well, the short answer is, no, no I don’t. Why? Why do I not say I am, when actually I write an awful lot?

The answer is I suppose two fold.

The main one being: I don’t earn a living from it. I write, but it’s a hobby really.

The second answer is more complex.

It is more to do with what I see of the writing community around me, whether they be published, none published writers/authors or traditional or indie published writers/authors. I don’t see myself as a writer yet, as I break practically every writing rule,ever conceived.(Mainly because I hate being told what to do. I’ll follow advice, sure, I’m not a stubborn idiot, but tell me something is black, set in stone and I’ll tell you it’s white and wobbly.)

So, here are 13 reasons I probably can’t consider myself a writer, just yet and why I won’t be published for a very long time! (< there’s one; right there.)

1) I do not send my short stories, flash pieces to magazines or other literary publications as I see many of my Twitter folk friends doing.

2) I do not plot and plan stories or novels or characters in any kind of detail.

3) I use adjectives as if they are going out of fashion.

4) I use cliches (see above ^) and adverbs excessively. (<)

5) I do not write every day or at a a set given time, or give myself word count goals. Not even when people on Twitter are screaming at each other to do so, as though if they don’t write, their arm might fall off.

6) I have no idea what characters are going to do in any given situation before I put them in a situation. I do not write them a full bio before I plonk them head first into a story. Fun! Try it!

7) I don’t read anywhere near enough. I average a novel every two months these days. Shocking. I therefore, according to Stephen King, “have no tools to write.”

8) My novel starts with a prologue.

9) My novel starts with a prologue featuring the main protagonist

10) The first actual chapter of my novel doesn’t introduce the protagonist.

11) It took me fourteen months to finish the first draft, not three as Stephen King recommends. Though I am not Stephen King…so.

12) I break pretty much every one of Elmore Leonard’s ten tips for writers (covered above) as well as a) I don’t only use said as a dialogue tag. b) I have opened a short story with a weather description. c) I have gone into detailed description in my novel at times because…well, TOLKIEN! d) And I have definitely used suddenly numerous times and more than 2 exclamation marks per 100,000 words.

13) I never follow writing rules. (except the laws of basic grammar and using active over passive, though I’m pretty sure I’ll have broken those too.)


What “rules for writing” don’t you follow? I’d love to know that I’m not the only law breaker out there..Come on, ‘fess up; you’ll feel so much better for it. 🙂




Filed under Plot Development, Writing

Flash Fiction: Heart Shaped Box

This week, no rambling, left-field Joanne thoughts, oh no. I’m in at 294 words in another Flash Fiction piece inspired by one of my earliest FPs. The original FP is at the end of the piece. It’s not my best work, I’ll happily admit, but it was a challenge I set to myself to write something and publish it in an evening. So here it is. Hope you enjoy.

Heart Shaped Box.

Jim scrutinises the plain brown, paper wrapped parcel sitting on the counter top. What on earth have the hospital sent?

The news the night before that Donna had died was shock enough, but when a motorcycle courier turned up that morning with a parcel from the hospital she had passed away in, a cold chill ran through Jim’s spine.

I could just throw it away – not open it. The thought plays over and over in his mind as he thumbs the thin paper covering the box.

Finally, unable to look at it any longer, Jim seizes the parcel tape and tears it off in one decisive motion. Removing the outer paper reveals a blue gift box with a well fitted lid and a neatly tied bow.

Tucked under the ribbon, he finds an envelope bearing his name, written in capitals. He hastily discards it in favour of lifting the lid.

But even two hours procrastination can’t prepare him for the contents.

His stomach somersaults. Bile rises and settles somewhere in the back of his throat.

There, packed in ice, lies the unmistakable mass of a human heart. The raw redness of the aorta and ventricles, the veins and arteries, clearly visible through the translucency of the cold storage.

Confusion floods every synapse. Jim seizes up the letter and rips it open.

A donor card flutters to the floor.

Unfolding the letter, Jim finds Donna’s distinctive scrawl, still recognisable after five years apart.

‘Dearest Jim,

I gave this to you long ago. This time, I hope you won’t reject it.

Yours forever, Donna.’


The above story originated from this Friday Phase which I wrote back in January.

He knew she’d died; he’d read the obituary. But it was a shock when he opened a parcel from the hospital to find her donated heart there. 



Filed under Writing