How to write a filler – Part 1

Today’s post is something different.

Over the years I have had great success in writing fillers to magazines. Fillers can be anything from tips, letters and jokes in newspapers and magazines. You can win different prizes according to the magazine you write to; from vouchers to beauty products.

So here are my tips on writing reader letters

  1. Keep it brief. Some magazines and papers edit letters if it’s too long and some do specify the word count.

  1. If writing a letter to a magazine, always mention the article name and author, and issue month (here is one I wrote)

Dear Sir/Madam

I was interested to read the article ‘Is your tap water poisoning
you?’ by Roz Lewis (NH January 2010) about fluoridising water.

  1. If writing to a paper about a TV programme, put the channel after the name of the programme. (another of my letters)

What a thought-provoking series ‘E Numbers: An Edible Adventure’ (BBC2) is. It’s interesting to know where E numbers come from, what they can do and that some are safer than we think. Thank you.

  1. Don’t write against a programme, praise them.

  1. If you praise an article in a magazine, say why, keeping it brief.

  1. Always include address and phone number if necessary. So if you have won something, they can send you the reward.

So, with these tips, here is your exercise. Find a magazine that interests you, and it has a letters page and/or tips page, then write a letter to the magazine. You should find the email address either on the first or last page to send it to.

Good luck. Let me know how you get on.


Diversity – What does it mean in writing?

Sorry I haven’t been here recently but things have gone a bit pear-shaped here at home for me. A couple of weeks ago I fell v ill, collapsing with pain. Turned out it was a kidney stone travelling down to my bladder, and that caused a kidney infection. I was admitted to my local A&E overnight. I am slowly on the mend and back on my feet, but taking painkillers to keep any pain under control.

Anyway, today’s post is about diversity in writing with an exercise.

Today I am asking you a question that comes with an exercise.

What is diversity in writing? (Not the dance group, either). What does diversity in writing mean to you?

Is it: black and other ethnic characters in the story?

Is it: characters with different abilities?

Is it: the authors who are diverse?

Or is it all of the above?

I used to think it was just the first one, but I now know differently. If I said that I write number 1 and 2 and am number 3, what would you think then? Would love to know what your take on diversity is. You can read the first part of my posting about diversity on my blog at You will need to scroll down to find the relevant post.

So, here is the exercise.

I want you to write a couple of paragraphs about a character who is different, and indicate in that short piece how they are different. Here is an example from Charlie

Charlie fell back on to his bed. He stared at the ceiling. Not for the first time did he wish he was normal like Wendy. A child without a disability. Able to go about his life without worrying if he would pass out at any time.

Good luck. Email me with your answer.

Charlie Book Event

If you are in SE London, UK, on Saturday 19 August, I am having a book launch for my new children’s book Charlie and the Captivating Cap. It is the second in my Rainbow School series about autistic children finding confidence.

It will be at Sydenham Community Library, Sydenham Road, London from 10.30am to 12 noon. I will also be handing out leaflets about Asperger’s Syndrome and what it is like for the person who has it (like me) and will answer any questions about the book and Asperger’s that you might have.

So, hope to see you there to raise awareness of autism and diversity.

Charlie is now live

I am a very happy bunny today.  The second book in my Rainbow School series for 7-9s called ‘Charlie and the Captivating Cap’ is now live on Amazon. You can find it here

It only took me five days to publish it. I began the process last Saturday, and each time I had to review the proof, a chapter heading was out of line. Talk about patience being a virtue.

I am currently working on Book 5 in the series which is Alistair’s story, who is a v anxious boy with Asperger’s.

Getting discovered – Different formats

Today’s post is all about getting discovered. One way is to publish your book in different formats. What do I mean? There are 3 that I know about: audiobook, paperbook and ebook.

For those of you who write for children, paperbook is probably the only version to do, esp if you write for younger readers eg under 9 year-olds. I currently write for 7-9s and will only publish in print for that age range, but when I come to write the next series, which will be for 9-12s, I might do an ebook version, too. My previous children’s books are only available in ebooks for now, but I plan to start putting them back into print over the summer.

For those of you who write for adults, all three choices are good options, esp ebook and print.

I believe the more formats you have out there, the more readers you can reach. I do like to have print copies of my books to hand, esp if I go to a meeting or a library where I can meet people and show them my book. I might sell a copy or two.

So, if you write for older children, think about publishing your book in print and digital. If you write for adults, think about publishing your book in all three formats.

Writing a series – titles

Today’s post is again about writing a series. This one is about titles. It also has a quiz and prize with it.

So, when you are writing a series, the titles of each book should either have the same words in eg in my Guardian Angel YA series, they all end in Angels. The Railway Angel, The Racing Angel, The Railracing Angels, The Leaping Angels and The Fire Angels.

Or, they can have different names but must connect to a similar theme. I am giving another of my series as an example, and this is the quiz and prize. The series is my adult magical realism one called Geraldine’s Gems. The first one is called One Good Turn, the second is A Trouble Shared. As you probably have guessed by now, they are shortened versions of well known phrases/sayings. Here is the quiz for you:

One Good Turn

A Trouble Shared

More Fish in the Sea

Don’t Get Mad

Life in the Old Dog

A Friend in Need

Birds Flock Together

They are all the ebooks in the series. But can you name all the correct and full sayings? The first person who contacts me with the correct answers will win a free PDF version of One Good Turn.

Good luck. Look forward to hearing from a winner.

Writing a series – pointers

Today I am going to be talking about writing a series. This is one way to keep your readers entertained and with you for years. I have written a few for both adults and children, and have found there are a few pointers that writers should do when writing a series. Here is what I think you should keep in mind:

1. Have at least one character the same in each book of the series.
2. Keep the same premise and storyline in all of the books.
3. Keep the same format to the story. Eg If book 1 has both showing and dialogue, keep the rest of the series the same, and don’t make say book 2 mainly dialogue.
4. Have similar covers.
5. Have the same font type on the covers

All of these will let the reader know they belong to a series. And, they are helping you build a brand. You can see what I mean about the ‘having one character the same in each book’ with my adult magical realism series ‘Geraldine’s Gems’ (will be redoing covers so they are all similar) and you can see by all that I have said above from my YA series The Guardian Angels’. All my ebooks are available on Amazon or Smashwords.

Now go forth and write a series. No, see if you can plan a series with these pointers. I plot out each series before I write Book 1.