Those were the days

Aerostat cover 1Wallowing in nostalgia, I was sorting through some of my old cuttings recently. My first ever fiction in print was in the Irish Independent in March 2014. Since then I’ve had poetry published, and short stories in the Momaya Short Story Review 2015, The Mayo Advertiser, and the Writers Abroad Anthology Kaleidoscope 2015.

But I was writing a long time before that. So just for the craic, here is a list of newspapers, magazines and periodicals I’ve been published in (some of them I’ve been Editor of, too). In no particular order:

Ludlow Advertiser; The Aerostat (Editor); Coventry Jobhunter (Editor); Stourbridge and Halesowen News (Editor); Shropshire Star; Polygon; The Aston Sun; Worcester Evening News; Berrow’s Journal; Wolverhampton Balloon Club Newsletter (Editor); Sky High Balloons Newsletter (Editor); Birmingham Post; Evening Mail; The Guardian; Woman’s Own; She; Annabel; Woman’s Realm; Bella; Weekly News; News of the World; Dudley Chronicle; Sunday Mercury; Kidderminster Shuttle; Express and Star; The People’s Friend; UK Press Gazette; Campaign; Marketing; Dudley Trader; Kidderminster Times; Country Quest; Education Bulletin (Editor); Council Chat (Editor); The Real Times (Editor); In Touch (Editor); Health Connections (Editor); The Villager (Editor); Rock of Ages Newsletter (Editor); Orion Media Services Newsletter (Editor); The Greenway Emporium Newsletter (Editor); Positive Life; Roscommon Herald; Irish Independent; Una Bhan Newsletter (Editor); Roscommon People; Roscommon Champion; Leitrim Observer; Western People; Connaught Telegraph; North West Express; Sligo Champion; Mayo Advertiser; Mayo News.

Phew! Did I miss any? Probably. Does it matter? Probably not…

PS. The picture is of one of the pages of  a beautifully bound collection of all the Aerostats I edited, presented to me by the BBAC. That particular issue included one of my own photos on the front page – my husband David piloting our hot air balloon over Worcestershire.

Advertisements

Blog Off

mum portrait 2002I’ve mostly managed to resist active participation in social media. I’ve dabbled of course, marvelling at the wonderful breakfast posted by a woman I used to work with six years ago, and the amusing antics of a pet Alsatian owned by someone I met in a bus queue last week. Then there’s my second cousins twice removed; it is important that I know their bedroom colour schemes and the depth of their feelings for Bolivian carnivals and natural hair extensions.

For a writer, social media is both a blessing and a curse. First off it’s inspiration, all that material just sitting there waiting to be developed from fact into fiction. But then clearly, it’s a distraction. The whole internet thing is. While you’re there trawling Facebook posts about cute kittens and ten things you didn’t know about celebrities you’ve never heard of, shouldn’t you be … ahem…writing?

Well, that’s what I’ve believed for a long time – until that is, it dawned on this late bloomer that social media can be a useful tool in the writer’s workbox. Not only useful, but essential. There are thousands of good writers out there competing with you; the ones who get published seem to be those who can market themselves. Enter stage left social media. Facebook is up there as a writer’s must-have, alongside Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, the list is daunting to a newbie…

So here I am, dipping my toe into blogging. A kind of on-line journal to share with like minded types. All my ramblings about being a writer, getting published, entering competitions and such-like. And reading, of course. I’m a voracious consumer of the written word, and like to share my literary opinions.

Meanwhile, would you like to see a photo of the delicious lunch I had with my friend Catherine the other day? There’s a writing connection – she’s a poet, too.

Oh sod it, I knew I should have taken a picture before we started eating. Never mind, here’s one of what I looked like in 2002, according to my daughter. Its not that accurate, big bum, Norah Batty stockings and curly hair notwithstanding…

See, I even looked like a writer back then, didn’t I?

A Floral Tribute

ox eye daisiesWhen I go for a walk with the dog, it’s to put my writer’s jumble of thoughts into some semblance of order. My family marvel at a cat lover’s ability to tolerate a canine walking partner. Odd, I agree, but I’m over it, and as dogs go, this one is most agreeable…

Some of my best poetry and short story ideas come to me as we traipse through the muddy lanes hereabouts, jumping puddles, heads down against the worst of the wind and rain.

But while walking, I’m often distracted by my unlikely knowledge of wild flowers – I have no recollection of learning the names of so many plants, but somehow I can recognise them and recall their common names.

One of my most treasured possessions is a 50-year-old, well-thumbed copy of the Observer’s Book of Wild Flowers. I would have learnt some of the flowers from that book, although I don’t remember the process of learning them, not like I recall the thrill of Mrs Lane teaching me to read with a Janet and John book in Infants School, or Sister Virgilius schooling me in the seven times table in Junior School.

And I still remember Sister Edwards’ frustration at me, as a pre- teen in Senior School, trying to work a neat chain stitch in Embroidering classes in Form One St Anne’s. I have distinct memories of putting a lot of teenage effort into learning Latin, trigonometry and calculus, and then learning to play the guitar as a 15 year old. But learning all those flowers, when on earth did that happen?

The knowledge was unlikely to have come from my parents. They were both townies, not terribly impressed by the lack of street lighting and dearth of public transport that comes from moving to the countryside, as we did when I was nine years old. They wouldn’t have known a dandelion from a daisy (well they might, they were keen gardeners, but even so…).

And while I can’t now remember much else of what I learnt as a schoolgirl all those years ago, somehow I can still identify a Wood Anemone or a Good King Henry, a Lesser Celandine or a Germander Speedwell. And although I was brought up in rural Worcestershire in England, it’s very satisfying to see the same familiar plants in the Irish hedgerows here in County Roscommon, distracting though they can be when I’m supposed to be thinking of writing.

PS:   They’re last year’s ox-eye daisies, if you’re wondering…

It’s all in the name

 

Little Lou
I was Louise G Corti back in the days when I modelled swimwear

Gee, what’s with the extra letter then, Lou C?

Some things are an absolute gift, and this is one of them – it is a story I recount at poetry readings, and it is absolutely true. And possibly, if you’re here you have heard the story and you’re checking it out? I wonder if ‘underwear’ or ‘writer’ were the trigger words? No matter, read on:

I discovered (quite by accident, of course) that if you Google ‘Louise Cole’ you’ll find a rather lovely raven-haired girl modeling underwear.

Quite clearly, that’s not me, not least because I’m, well … blonde and she’s not.

If you Google ‘Louise G Cole’ however, there I am (if you look hard enough), not modelling undies though, obviously.

I hope you’re not too disappointed.

PS It’s for Gillian, just in case you were wondering. And I was Louise G. Corti back when I tried my hand at modelling swimwear.

What this late bloomer has been up to…

Louise G. Cole pic 1

I consider myself to be something of a late bloomer in the literary sense, although I have been a writer since I was old enough to hold a pen. I had a long and varied career as a commercial wordsmith after first training as a newspaper journalist, but I have only recently accomplished any sort of success with my stories and poems.

Here are some of my most recent writing achievements:

  • February 2016: Winner of HE Bates Short Story Competition for ‘Fives Staves and an Instant’
  • January 2016: Short story ‘The Three Week Rebellion’ chosen for publication in ROPES 2016
  • November 2015: Overall winner of Hanna Greally Literary Award for short story ‘The Three Week Rebellion’.
  • November 2015: Published in 12th annual Momaya Short Story Review with Honorable Mention for ‘All Donations Welcome’
  • October 2015: Short story ‘A Week Without Mary’ published in the Mayo Advertiser
  • October 2015: Published in Writers Abroad Anthology ‘Kaleidoscope’ – 500 word flash fiction ‘Mamma Mia’
  • October 2015: Shortlisted in Writing.ie/Crosspens Short Story Competition for 1,000 word story ‘The To Do’
  • September 2015: Article in Roscommon Herald’s ‘The Write Note’ column – ‘Crossing the Language Barrier’
  • August 2015: Long listed in Dermot Healy Poetry Competition for poem ‘The Triumphs of Peter’s Peapod Plonk’
  • May 2015: Published in ‘What Land and Country Is This?’ booklet published by Roscommon County Council on behalf of Ballaghaderreen Writers’ Group and Community Art Group Ballaghaderreen. Poems: ‘Time Changes Everything’ and ‘In the Name of the Future, a Prayer for Tomorrow’s World, Amen’, and an article: ‘It’s Right Here’. I compiled and edited the entire 24 page, A5 publication
  • May 2015: Three poems displayed at the Dock, Carrick on Shannon, for Poetry Day Ireland: ‘Old Flame’, ‘Blackout’ and ‘Farm Boy, 52’
  • May 2015: Poem published in the Roscommon Herald to mark Poetry Day Ireland: ‘Learning to Punctuate’
  • May 2015: shortlisted (twice) for Strokestown Poetry Festival’s Roscommon Poetry Prize, placed third for ‘Yellow Brick Road’ and highly commended for ‘Softly Softly’
  • April 2015: Shortlisted in The People’s College/Roberts’ Short Story Competition for ‘The Prodigal Robin’
  • February 2015: Published in Roscommon Herald’s column ‘The Write Note’ – article ‘A Room of One’s Own’
  • February 2015: shortlisted for a Hennessy Literary Award for short story ‘Flying Lessons’ published in the Irish Independent on March 30th 2014
  • November 2014 : runner up (twice) New Roscommon Writing Award for poems ‘Farm Boy, 52’ and ‘Bedtime Story’, subsequently published in Roscommon County Council booklet
  • July 2013: runner-up Boyle Arts Festival Poetry Competition for pantoum ‘Blackout’
  • April 2013: long listed Fish Flash Fiction Competition for ‘Hirsute Economics’
  • April 2012: monthly winner and overall runner-up A. Vogel Bedtime Story Competition with ‘Baking Day’
  • Ongoing:
  • Monthly performance poetry at the Word Corner Café at The Dock Arts Centre in Carrick on Shannon.
  • Performance poetry with The Hermit Collective, a group of artists, writers and musicians who stage pop-up shows in the mid-west.

 

The HE Bates Short Story Writing Competition 2015

he bates award

After something of a phone disaster recently, I finally managed to retrieve some of my photos. (Why we use phones instead of cameras these days is a rant for another day.)

So. A bit after the event, but here I am on February 4th 2016 in Northampton, after winning the HE Bates Competition with my short story ‘Five Staves and an Instant’.  I’m the giddy one with the big grin clutching the certificate. Next to me is Morgen Bailey who was chief judge, next to her is Dan Purdue who was the second prizewinner, and Julia Thorley who won the Northamptonshire prize.

I had a lovely evening (traffic chaos on the M1 notwithstanding), and I am still thrilled by the win.  The competition is run by the Northampton Writers’ Group in memory of the late HE Bates, who was a prolific story writer. He would be known to many as the author whose books inspired the TV series ‘The Darling Buds of May’ which famously launched the acting career of Catherine Zeta Jones, and starred David Jason and Pam Ferris.

Thank you to Group Secretary Nick Hamlyn who invited me to read my story without letting on that I was the overall winner.  I arrived very late (sorry!) so I missed the pre-amble and had no idea where I was in the scheme of things until Morgen started talking about the winning story and I recognised my gate. I wish I could bottle that feeling of having my name announced as the winner – fabulous!

Read the story (and Dan’s excellent one alongside it)  here.

 

 

Snowbird by Jessamine O’Connor

Jessamine O'Connor at Ballymote Library

Poet Jessamine O’Conner launched her third book ‘Snowbird’ recently. To mark the occasion, she laid on an excellent afternoon’s entertainment at Ballymote Library (in County Sligo) on February 12th, with lovely readings of poetry from the book , artwork from artist Gavin Porter  (who did the stunning book cover), and music from some of the Hermit Collective: Jimmy Noctor, Barry Stevens, Helen  Grehan and  Gregory Daly. I’m a great fan of Jessamine’s work – she has a way with words – and I’ve had a couple of outings with the Hermit Collective. She also runs the Wrong Side of the Tracks Writers’ Group which I’m able to dip into and out of on days when I’m not working.  You can find out more on www.jessamineoconnor.com.