Thursday, 3 August 2017

Alternatives to Microsoft

Hello fellow Writers,

I think some of you may be aware that I have had 'issues' with my computer over the past year or so.   I ended up having a new hard-drive installed; Windows 10 is gone as I went back to Windows 7.
I can't say there is much improvement.
When there are updates to install, it takes time, and then, it gives me a message saying: Installing Incomplete, Windows is Reversing the process - which then takes anything from 4 to 24 hours!!!! Really Microsoft?! I pay for this?!!

So, I scoured the online FAQ's and Help Desks and Forums etc.
I even did some of the stuff people said worked. One was a trial to see where the malfunction was occurring; it appeared to be in my Windows Word docs! Hm, so I decided to look around and see if there was anything else to use.
I am fed up with the stranglehold that massive corporations have on products, what am I paying for if it keeps going wrong?

I have discovered a plethora of alternatives - in no order of preference, they include -

Deep Blue Diving
WPS Office
Google Docs
Apple iWork
Calligra Office

But how do I know which will suit me? How do I know that I will be able to open up all the work I have done previously on Will I be able to open up the work on another computer?

My husband uses Ubuntu - software that uses LibreOffice - he has NEVER had an issue with it. It has security updates every couple of weeks, this takes around 30 minutes. It does everything Microsoft Word does, but at a 'lower level', he says. Also, Ubuntu and LibreOffice are FREE!

So why am I not rushing to install it now? Because I am terrified that if I undo all my Windows and install something else, then the whole computer will come crashing down around my ears.

It would be great to hear your experiences of an alternative to Windows; what you use and why you like it. 

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Maynah Lewis Cup 2017

Congratulations to this year's winner of the Maynah Lewis Cup - Elizabeth Fisher.

Liz's story was a chilling tale called The Stone Birds. Josephine is hungry and so is her new-born. So are the gulls.

The runners up were:
2nd Chris Black with New Beginnings
3rd Nick Rose with Silver Shilling

Our judge was Di Morrow. Unfortunately she was unable to attend the award night, so a big thank you to David for doing a fine job of the presentation and announcing the winners.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Book Launch

Book Two in Mjke Wood's Sphere of Influence series - The Lollipop of Influence - launches on Saturday, 8 July. It is available now, for pre-order on Amazon and most other platforms.

Here's the book trailer to get you in the mood.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Tick Tock

 So Wirral Writers anthology finally came together. What a team effort. I hope everyone is as happy with the resulting book as I am. I think we all learnt something from the process and from my own point of view, it was a lot harder than compiling a single author's works. 
There was so much to agree on; theme, title, word count distribution, cover and more. I am sure the next one will be better - oh yes, there will be another one.
It would be great to hear some feedback from readers, in the meantime, you can obtain your copy of Tick Tock at -

Friday, 27 January 2017

Deconstructing Back Cover Copy

We've been talking a lot about cover blurbs at recent meetings. It's a topical subject for us as we move into the last stage of finalising the layout for Tick Tock, our anthology.

Last week I shared an online course on writing a blurb. Here's an article that offers a different approach, by deconstructing the blurbs from two big selling novels and analysing the elements that go into creating a compelling and enticing blurb.

I've also shared the link to the website where I found the article. Some of you may also find this to be a useful resource.

Happy writing!


Wednesday, 26 October 2016


National Novel Writing Month

Members may be interested in this event/site.
I have just signed up for it, only took 2 minutes. The idea is that authors get 1 month - November -  to come up with a 50,000 word novel! I know, it's a lot when you're doing other things like, bringing up a family, doing a job, or enjoying retirement!

But I thought some might find it a useful tool if nothing else. I personally could do with having a kick in the pants as far as writing goes - don't get me wrong, I love writing; I'm just so damn lazy.
 NaNoWriMo, 'na-no-RY-moh' is an annual, Internet-based creative writing project that takes place during the month of November. NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write 50,000 words, from November 1 until the deadline at 11:59PM on November 30. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to get people writing and keep them motivated throughout the process. The website provides participants with tips for writer's block, local places writers participating in NaNoWriMo are meeting, and an online community of support. The idea is to focus on completion instead of perfection. NaNoWriMo focuses on the length of a work rather than the quality, encouraging writers to finish their first draft so that it can later be edited at the author's discretion. NaNoWriMo's main goal is to encourage creativity worldwide. The project started in July 1999 with 21 participants, but by the 2010 event, over 200,000 people took part and wrote a total of over 2.8 billion words.

I personally spend far too much time doing research, I get side-tracked, bogged down in minutiae, plus I don't type too well! This could be an opportunity to get some real bulk down on paper. If others are watching, so to speak, it might be the impetus needed to just get on with it.

People get published too, if that is what you're after. See, 14 Published Novels Written During NaNoWriMo;


Saturday, 17 September 2016

Maynah Lewis Cup 2016

Judith Railton (Left) presenting the cup to Chris Black
The winner of the 2016 Maynah Lewis Competition is Chris Black, with her version of the Hare and the Tortoise fable in a modern setting. Congratulations Chris, on a well deserved win!

A big thank you to Judith Railton for judging the competition this year, and for providing detailed and encouraging feedback on every story that was entered.

The Maynah Lewis Cup has been awarded each year since 1989, and is a key event in the Wirral Writers' calendar.

Wirral Writers' meet every first and third Friday in the month, at Bebington Civic Centre. Prospective new members are always welcome to come along and find out what we do.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Let's all help Nicola

Well I’m old(ish), with no dazzling smile and I certainly don’t ooze charisma from every pore. I’m catagorised as severely disabled, as I am quite badly autistic (ASD). I don’t believe in giving in, and I  WON'T let it spoil my life, but in order to do that I need your help - each and every one of you.

I have put this into medical, as 
this is a campaign to save my life...  (Please click here to read more)

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

How to Write a Bio

The Wirral Writers’ anthology is nearing completion. Now is the time to set aside our famous British reserve and modesty, and get writing some bios. Here’s some tips.

Always write in the third person. It is the expected form and it is easier to say nice things about another person than to say them about ourselves.

Start by introducing yourself and your writing. Joe Bloggs has had a passion for writing short fiction since leaving school.

Mention your biggest achievements first. If you feel you have none you are probably wrong. All writing activity is an achievement in itself. Jo has entered several writing contests and regularly submits work to her favourite magazines. 

Mix up the third person use for variety, sometimes using your name, sometimes he or she.

If you have any relevant qualifications, mention them. An MA in English literature might be more relevant than a swimming certificate, unless of course your story is all about a long distance swimmer.

Include some geography and non-writing interests. These often work well as a closer.
Joe was born in Sicily, but now lives on the Wirral with his wife, Annie and seventeen cats. When not writing he collects antique firearms.

You should save your bio on your hard drive and keep it up to date, because you never know when you might need it again. It’s a good idea to have at least three different lengths of bio, short medium and long, but you should also be prepared to customise each one for specific markets.

Look at other people’s bios. You’ll find them on the back of books, in online magazines; or just google your favourite writers with the word bio after their name. See what works and what doesn’t.

Now go and write one. 

Friday, 3 June 2016




Remember way back to 2015 sometime around autumn? The idea of putting a Wirral Writers anthology together was mooted.

The idea was received with a mixed response, but generally fairly positive. A rough timeline was agreed upon - the idea being to publish around Christmas 2016.

So where are we up to?
Everyone who wanted to be part of it has completed his or her submission, some have written more than one; the word count was equal for all. We have played 'Pass-the-Parcel' with each other's words, proof read, pencilled in corrections, added suggestions and so on and so forth. As far as I can tell, we are making good progress - I believe there are around 15 stories and a smattering of poetry to pull together now.

The hard work is yet to begin as far as I can tell, from author blogs I have been visiting to gain some insight on how to publish an anthology. We have to agree on the order of the work, we need author bio's, we need an editor (or do we?), type size, font, layout, preface, acknowledgements and cover design.  Then it has to be published, we're looking at self-publishing, online, with the option for hard copies. Price, promotion and distribution of money from sales.

So, “Onward and Upward! To Narnia and the North!”
C.S. Lewis

If interested, here are just a couple of the sites I have perused:-