Daily Archives: August 11, 2014

Here Comes INKSPILL 2014


For the 2nd year we are offering a FREE Online Writing Retreat at the end of October, 25th & 26th.

Please comment to register interest, it was helpful and fun for many writers who participated last year and some of the TOP POSTS each month come from INKSPILL 2013.

This year I also have some exceptional Guest Writers lined up for you all and it may be the final time we can offer this retreat as 100% FREE. Each year we cover different aspects of writing and also add a selection of Free-writing and observational activities of the workshop variety.

You can participate in real time (GMT) and follow the whole process over the weekend or just dip in and out of posts. You can link back to your own blogs if you think some of your followers may be interested and people can join in at any point over the weekend.

SO SAVE THE DATE – 25th/26th OCTOBER and come and join the fun.

Leave a comment or a LIKE if you feel you may be interested. This is by no means a commitment on your behalf, just gives me some idea of preparation.

INKSPILL 2014 will be posting requests soon.

Have a think: if there is a gap in your knowledge, something confusing you, a direction needed? You can ask us to look into it – after all it is YOUR retreat!

AWF circle AWF retreat2

25th & 26th OCTOBER 2014


Mslexia Survey & Writing Tips


Found this in amongst my emails, thought the questions might be of interest to you even if you decided against doing the survey.

I would recommend you do this, often:

When you read something that excites you, analyse why it works so well, include these strengths in your own writing. When you read something that you believe is below par (and yet it has been published) analyse the weaknesses and avoid them in your own writing.

IF YOU FEEL YOU NEED HELP/SUPPORT/ENCOURAGEMENT be sure to sign up for the FREE Writing Retreat (final weekend of October) ‘INKSPILL’ on this very blog! Look out for tasters and teasers coming soon! Inkspill tinyinkspill pink

And now the survey…

How does your reading affect your writing?

The latest Mslexia Survey

Hello, it’s me again…

With another wee survey to distract you from your writing for a few minutes. (Though people have told us that our questions are actually quite helpful in clarifying their thoughts about their creative process and their writing lives).

Our Guest Editor Bernardine Evaristo wanted us to investigate how what we read feeds into our writing. We thought that sounded interesting too.

There are ten multiple choice questions, so it should only take ten minutes to complete. The survey closes at midnight on Saturday 16 August.

As ever, your responses are anonymous and it’s impossible to match them with your contact details. If you’d like to respond more personally, or at greater length, or contribute to the Letters pages in the magazine, please email your comments directly to editor@mslexia.co.uk. (If you do respond in this way, please let me know if you’d prefer your contribution to remain anonymous.)

The link to the survey is below.

Very many thanks.

Debbie T
Editorial Director, Mslexia



Benches by Jan Watts – Book Review


Benches I was so excited when I finished reading that the first thing I did online today was leave a book review on Amazon – although you are probably aware of the current battles of Authors against Amazon and if you prefer you can follow the links in this review and buy it directly from the publisher.



I really enjoyed reading Benches, it has been a while since I managed to read a book in a day, but I just didn’t want to put this novel down. I wanted to find the answers and was delighted by plot twists. I hate it when a book has an expected ending and this one will keep you going right to the final page. There is humour and laughter, serious issues, great characters and the plot wriggles and winds – quite in opposition to the straight canal setting.

Great stories have it all and Benches will appeal to a wide range of readers, you will not be disappointed. It has meat as well as sizzle – it is brilliant.


The Blurb

Nancy Byrde tells us her version of the canalside goings on that spice up her retirement. Together with her dog, Steven, she gets close to her family, the good and the evil. She dices, with drugs, violence, a teenage runaway and being over exposed at a wedding she wasn’t invited to. Will she find a new happiness? Benches is set in and around Birmingham in the UK. The names of places has been changed to protect the innocent. It grew out of an encounter with a bench that had been graffitied with a rude word. This is a debut novel.





My Amazon Review

5 Star

Benches is a great novel, humour, real life, family, plot twists, surprise events and an anagram puzzle of Birmingham’s suburbs… what’s not to enjoy! I believe that everyone who reads this will smile and laugh and yet it is a novel that covers some pretty serious issues too, there is meat as well as sizzle.
It is a quick read (you won’t want it to be), unlike a narrowboat – it moves at pace. It has been ages since I had time to read a book in a day, but I did… I didn’t want to put it down. You will want to find answers too. Treat yourself and treat others too (get some EARLY Christmas shopping in).
From cover to cover, a true delight.