Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Autumn exhibitions, reviews and interviews

Whilst I spend the majority of my working hours in front of a laptop in my study, it’s good to get out, despite the misty atmosphere and falling temperatures. Recently I was invited to a private view of the Bucks, Beds and Berks Print Making Exhibition at the Bucks Museum which revealed a number of talented artist who might well be approached for interviews. In October the Ashmolean offered two press views in one day. My Power and Protection review is now on Cotswold Life’s website and Liu Dan is awaiting publication in The Lady. I was also invited to attend a Presentation Event at Top Santé, meeting editors and fellow writers over Prosecco and nibbles.

I have run a number of workshops at the Thame Arts and Literature Festivals over the last few years but this autumn did a live interview (The F Words: Fact and Fiction) with Herts author, Julie Mayhew.

On the writing front my Opinions and Pearls blog continues to be a vehicle for the outrageously old school views of Lady Margaret Gosworthy-Pringle. Do take a look. Writers’ Forum has published my interview with author Catherine Jones and my latest Hampshire Life artist profile features Chris Gilbert. Buckinghamshire Life includes another two articles: theatrical designer Terry Parsons and Aylesbury creative, Diane Harrison. My interview with artist Mitzie Green is in Hertfordshire Life.

It is some years since I established my Regular Writing group which continues to meet monthly and I was so pleased to hear of Julia Brilleman’s success in winning – again – the Thame Arts and Literature Festival short story competition.

Right, now to start writing for January editions.

Monday, 3 October 2016

From Louie Spence to Kandinsky

The variety of people I meet and events I cover continues to make my job as a freelance writer as exciting as it is unpredictable. Just last week, for example, I was chatting to that most natural of performers, Louie Spence, along with Linda Robson (Birds of a Feather) whose easy going nature made our encounter seem more like a friends’ chat than an interview. The following evening Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre gave me press ticket for the opening night of Sunny Afternoon. What an entertaining show! It was packed with energy, some of my favourite songs and outstanding performances. As you might imagine, I spent the next few days broadcasting its merits on twitter. If you haven’t seen the show, it’s on a nationwide tour and not to be missed.

In print, meanwhile, Hertfordshire Life has published my interview with photographer, Rachel Piper. I met another photographer at an exhibition during the summer – Stuart Feurtado – and he is my latest Our Creative Vale subject in Vale Life magazine. My Hampshire Life artist profile this month is John Green and Buckinghamshire Life includes two of my features: an interview with the amazingly talented magician, Tom Elderfield, and a piece about West Wycombe’s Hell Fire Caves where I’d been on a candlelit ghost tour.

Since I interview so many artists, I recently took the opportunity to go along to a Wendover Art Club talk about abstract artist, Kandinsky. It was a fascinating evening, partly due to the subject but I also met a couple of artists whom I plan to interview next year.

Now what else? Oh yes, I was privileged to critique the first three chapters of a friend’s book and continue to write three Neighbourhood News columns for The Bucks Herald. And it was good to catch up with Carole Matthews at the last Chiltern Writers meeting. There’s lots more in the pipeline, of course, but I’ll save details for next time.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Planning Ahead

It may be another warm, sunny day but here I am tucked away at my desk writing November features and planning for next year. But forward thinking is key when writing for magazines. Never mind the current season, it’s never too early to brainstorm people and events to interest readers in a few months’ time.

But back to my latest news. And there’s quite a crop. For Vale Life I interviewed the lovely watercolour artist, Joy Hawkes, for my Our Creative Vale column and The Lady has included my Storms, War and Shipwrecks review of this latest Ashmolean exhibition. My artist profile subject for Hampshire Life is Artist in Residence for the British America’s Cup team, Jeremy Houghton, whilst Buckinghamshire Life carries three of my features: Roald Dahl, Capability Brown and Local Authors. Meanwhile I’ve also interviewed Herts Open Studios artists for Hertfordshire Life and my weekly Neighbourhood News columns continue in The Bucks Herald.

Now if you’ll excuse me, despite the rising temperature, I need to get to grips with December . . .

Monday, 25 July 2016

Landscape Painter of the Year

No, not me. Words are my thing. And perhaps, after three years writing artist profiles for Hampshire Life, that explains my latest project. Archant is organising a Landscape Painter of the Year Competition for its South West titles whose Arts and Interiors Editor has asked me to be one of the judges for Hampshire Life. Ooh yes please, I enthusiastically responded within seconds of receiving the email. The competition will be launched in September editions with the winner announced in the New Year. I'll let you know how the competition progresses.

My live BeaconLit interview with Jan Raycroft, Buckinghamshire Life Editor, was great fun and I’m looking forward to my next live gig at Thame Arts and Literature Festival this autumn when I interview author and playwright, Julie Mayhew.

Following my recent trip to the Ashmolean, my Bountiful Invention review has been published in The Lady. The August edition of Buckinghamshire Life includes my interview with Three Chairs Grooming pioneer, Ryan Bartlett, whilst the same edition of Hampshire Life carries my Hampshire Open Studios feature.

I’ve recently been down to Portsmouth to interview more artists including the Official Artist for the British America’s Cup team, and last week a chance meeting with a local photographer at a Wendover exhibition secured my next Creative Vale subject. I attended an inspiring Chiltern Writers meeting and, as always, am constantly on the lookout for news, events and information for my Bucks Herald columns. So do get in touch if you have details to share.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

From Summer Exhibitions to Christmas

Well, it’s countdown to Saturday’s BeaconLit where I’ll be doing a live interview with the Editor of Buckinghamshire Life, Janice Raycroft, and providing a Writers Surgery where I hope to answer your questions – and if I can’t, I’ll find a man who can.

I’ve fitted in a couple of Press Days this month – Kate Malone’s exhibition at Waddesdon Manor and the Ashmolean’s Storms, War and Shipwrecks. I’ll let you know when they appear in print. Huge thanks by the way to Waddesdon Manor and Ashmolean for delicious lunches and looking after us all so well. Such events are a great opportunity to meet fellow writers.

Meanwhile my 19th Century Art review is in the The Lady and Just Four are this month’s artist profile in Hampshire Life. For Vale Life the fabulously talented Graham Jefford is my latest Creative Vale subject. Indeed, I popped in to see him on Friday at Bucks Open Studios. “Ooh, here’s the lady who’s top of my Christmas card list,” he smiled whilst greeting me. “I couldn’t have wished for anything better.” I did, of course, inform my Editor of this praise. Graham was exhibiting with textile artist Barbara Shaw, one of my previous Creative Vale subjects.

Now what else? Oh yes, the July edition of Buckinghamshire Life includes my features about Ellesborough Silver Band and The Beautiful Chilterns, and my three Neighbourhood News columns continue in the Bucks Herald. Finally, it may be summer (hmm, questionable isn’t it?) but crime author Dave Sivers has asked me to do a live interview in December down at Wendover Library. I’ll let you have more details nearer the time but I reckon his books will make great Christmas presents.

Friday, 27 May 2016

From BeaconLit to Opinions and Pearls

They say it’s who you know that counts. Well, having written for Buckinghamshire Life for a few years I am delighted to report that the Editor has not only agreed to sponsor this year’s BeaconLit Festival but also to appear as one of our keynote speakers. I’ll be interviewing Janice Raycroft about her work and journalist career. If you haven’t already booked your ticket, log onto www.beaconlit.co.uk before the end of May for a great deal.

Following a recent Press Day at Waddesdon Manor, my review of A Closer Look: Spotlight on French Royal Furniture by Jean-Henri Riesener has been published in The Lady. Also on the arts front, my latest Vale Life subject is the fabulously talented textile artist Barbara Shaw and for Hampshire Life Katie Gibbs’ artist profile appears in the June edition. Buckinghamshire Life includes my Bucks Open Studios feature and an interview with Lynne Hamilton of Hamiltons Canine Hydrotherapy.

I’m off to Stowe Landscape Gardens later to do some Capability Brown research and looking forward to a bumper crop of Press Days during June. And did you know about my Opinions and Pearls blog? The forbidding Lady Margaret Gosworthy-Pringle is somewhat forthright in her old school views and is currently sharing her thoughts about subservience. Or lack of. Ooh, what freedom writers gain via a pseudonym!

Friday, 29 April 2016

From interviewing to tea and tarts

What a busy and varied month I have to report on. Let’s begin with a new venture, but one to which I have secretly aspired for some time – interviewing. Fellow writer and Chiltern Writers member Dave Sivers asked me to interview him at a couple of his book signings in order to add interest to the events. Of course, I replied! The first venue was Aylesbury Library with a hearty number of supporters. Ivinghoe Library was a little quieter but still great fun and my thanks to Dave for making my role so easy and interesting.

Meanwhile I’m also working with Dave organising BeaconLit which has attracted sponsorship, successful authors, a performance poet and Editor of one of this country’s iconic magazines. Please put Saturday 2 July in your diary and order an early bird ticket – it promises to be an inspiring day.

On the writing front, my latest Buckinghamshire Life features are an interview with Hon Christopher Gilmour about Winslow Hall and this summer’s opera event, plus an article celebrating RAF Halton’s Trenchard Museum and James McCudden Flight Heritage Centre where, during interviewing, I had the privilege of flying a de Havilland Chipmunk simulator. The fabulously talented Lucy Pick is my latest Hampshire Life artist profile and I’ve also written a feature about Gerlinde Seeley and her award winning skin care range for Lincolnshire Pride Magazine.

It’s never too early to think of Christmas, by the way. So, along with fellow journalists I was invited to tea and tarts in Queens Park Centre as part of their panto launch. Oh yes, I was!

Finally, my Bucks Herald Neighbourhood News columns continue to cover numerous local events and news, and pitches to magazine editors have been flying off the keyboard. I’ll keep you posted about their progress.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

From Royal Danish Ballet to BeaconLit and Waddesdon Manor

Having failed so early in the year to blog more regularly, I’m going to bypass the usual apology and crack on with the mother-of-all updates.

Let’s start with Chiltern Writers, shall we? In January I delivered a practical talk / workshop aimed at helping members and visitors Write for Magazines. I’ve received some great feedback so best of luck to everyone intent on feature writing.

Here’s a list of my published articles since then. Hampshire Life - art forger John Myatt, ASpaceArts of Southampton, Gallery Guide and Ron Moody artist profile. The Lady has run two of my Ashmolean reviews: Andy Warhol and Scenes of last Tokyo. The February edition of Hertfordshire Life published my Valentine’s Day article whilst Landscape magazine featured my article about the restoration of Chinnor Windmill. For Buckinghamshire Life I interviewed German art expert Katrin Henkel, did a round up of National Gardens Scheme in Buckinghamshire, a Mothering Sunday books selection; I interviewed a pest controller, a principal with the Royal Danish Ballet and explored a selection of festivals for the year. Vale Life continues my Creative Vale column with Pirjo Keene and Kathryn Acton’s work explored. And, of course, I continue to write three Neighbourhood News columns for The Bucks Herald as well as my WordPlay column for Thame Out.

I’m currently involved in organising this year’s BeaconLit event and we’re planning an exciting and constructive day to appeal to writers and readers alike. Follow them via @BeaconLit1.

Only recently I had a fabulous time at Waddesdon Manor as a guest on their Press Day. The private view included lots of news and details and it was fascinating mixing with journalists over a scrumptious luncheon in the Manor Restaurant.

My Regular Writing group continues with successes applauded, ongoing projects discussed and a hefty measure of encouragement all round. And it was lovely to meet a writer who contacted me through my website recently. We enjoyed a motivational chat in our local chocolaterie.

Well, time to crack on. There are editors to contact, ideas to brainstorm and features to write.

Monday, 4 January 2016


Not only do I wish you a Happy New Year but one that is equally rewarding and fulfilling. I’ve already begun 2016 as I mean to go on – writing features, exploring new markets and revelling in inspiration. Meanwhile, here’s a quick summary of my articles that hit the presses towards the end of last year.

Country Life: Parchment for Parliament; Landscape: Vicki Brand Upcycling; Buckinghamshire Life: Festive Dining Décor, Pantomime Round Up and 2015 Quiz; Hampshire Life: Romsey Art Group artist profile; Vale Life: Jane Miller; Thame Out: Wordplay column.

This month Tony Clegg is my Hampshire Life artist profile whilst for Buckinghamshire Life I talk to a number of charities in order to encourage everyone to take up volunteering.

February articles have already been submitted and next month’s Ashmolean exhibitions are in the diary. But for now I have half a dozen interviews lined up over the next few days in between which I will also be preparing my Chiltern Writers’ talk about Writing for Magazines.

Finally, whilst colleague and children’s author Nick Halliday is touring various continents for a few months I have taken on distribution of his fabulously successful The Lonely Tree.

Hmm, quite a busy start to the year. Must crack on . . .