Spring In My Step

Which step is that then?  Well it’s the next step in my writing of course, but more of that shortly.  As we in the UK all take that common leap of faith from March to April we hope to experience a marked change in season, from Winter to Spring.  I for one, will not be holding my breath … .

Small section of the Walled Garden at Blair Castle.

Small section of the Walled Garden at Blair Castle.

What is the graphic all about?  A good question and one that deserves an answer.  In some ways it represents that leap of faith as mentioned above regarding the weather, but it also represents a similar leap … regarding my writing aspirations.  How so? I hear you ask, so I’ll enlighten you.

The walled garden only partly pictured above, has a lot going on within and by virtue of the ‘walled’ aspect it is reasonably under control.  As the garden is cultivated and nurtured there is a fervent hope to see great things from it in time.  In my own case, since October 2012 I’ve been working a three-day week.  Mainly thanks to Tony Brown, my Area Manager and Kev Bailey, my Store Manager at Ryman, my transition from management to staff and reduced hours has been easy.  I have much more time available for writing, reading and increasing my art portfolio.

The key word of course is ‘available’ … and now, you dear reader wonder why.  Gaining all the extra time in the world is no good unless it is used for the intended purpose.  Like many others I’m guilty of allowing other things to encroach on my time; DIY projects, TV programmes, clearing out the attic, etc.

Between October and December last year I relaxed and enjoyed the extra free time.  January 2013 arrived and I made a concerted effort to tackle more projects related to my newly announced job title: ‘Creative Writer and Freelance Artist’.  I finished off a couple of outstanding short stories, completed the term of writing classes with the Inkerman Writers and settled in as a member of ReadWave online.

More recently I’ve finished reading the incredible book, ‘Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee’ by Dee Brown.  It’s a tale of the atrocities committed against the Native Americans as the white man ‘discovered’ and ‘tamed’ America.  If you’d like to read my review, please click on the appropriate Good Reads panel in the right hand column.

Why is April so important with all this leaping?  Another good question.  It sees the start of the new tax year and I will now start to maintain records of all my expenditure and income related to my writing and artwork.  I will have a couple of months to decide whether or not I want to go down the route of ‘self-assessment’ with our wonderful Customs and Excise department.

I’ll be back soon with news of a move for my e-published books … could they be heading for Amazon / Kindle publishing?

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Comic Relief 2013

It’s Tuesday, it’s near the end of January and the campaign is now well and truly underway.  My employer, Ryman is selling Red Nose pens at an unbelievable rate and once again it’s great to be at the heart of such a great fund-raising event.

My alter-ego, Tam O'Shanter

My alter-ego, Tam O’Shanter

Last year my alter-ego was Doctor Sorders (as seen on the front of my ‘Rhyme Scenes – Volume 1, Humour’).  This year my alias is Tam O’Shanter and as the graphic shows, there is a hint of Scottishness about my outfit.

Further to my pledge to donate the proceeds of all sales of my eBooks to the fund, I have now reduced the prices to $0.99 which means if you’re a Brit, it will cost you less than £1 for any of the books.  To put it simply, if you downloaded my novel and all four of my books of poetry, it will cost you less than £5.  You can sample before you buy!

Link to my eBooks: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/TomBenson

With effect from this week I’ll be at work, dressed as seen here until the end of the fund-raising period – 15th March.  I’ve made some Comic Relief 2013 ‘business cards’ to give to any of our customers who would like to help sponsor me by downloading my books.  My personal efforts started yesterday and I’m pleased to say I’ve had two downloads already – so at least things are going in the right direction. This evening I handed out some of my Comic Relief cards to members of the Inkerman Writers, our local writing group and I’m hoping there will be a response or two from there.

A reminder of the cause we're working for

A reminder of the cause we’re working for

It’s within our power to help alleviate this sort of suffering for so many.  We might talk about being starving but we say it between meals … some of these children don’t understand the concept of ‘meals’, they only know suffering and survival.  The lucky ones …

Many celebrities are raising awareness of the plight of children like this, please help me to raise funds.  I don’t mind if you download a book, or more and don’t even read them – I’m only interested in the fund-raising.

Am I crazy … or not? – Part 1

Ryman – Newcastle Upon Tyne.

I know that several people think that I am crazy, and that was before I made the decision.  Which decision?  I hear you ask.

It could be my stepping down from a management position, or perhaps reducing to a three day working week.  In the eyes of different folk it’s one or the other, but for most I suppose it’s because I’m doing both … at the same time.  My graphic is an acrylic of the Ryman, Newcastle Upon Tyne store where I’ve worked as a Deputy Manager for the last four years.  I completed the painting in 2009 to celebrate Red Nose Day.

Mainly thanks to my wife who is continuing to work, I have no major concerns regarding cashflow.  Olive (the wife), is the unsung hero in my situation, because I have her support.  She understands how much it means for me to devote quality time to my writing.  My motivation is based on several factors but I’ll mention more detail on that in my next post.

I am now well on the way with the third (and final) draft of my romantic novel ‘Ten Days’.  My sample readers will have their copies of the manuscript within a few days and a hard copy is already with my son, Andrew.  He has agreed to help me with the design of the cover and I know his design expertise will better anything I could come up with.

The Inkerman Writers writing group has recently re-established itself in a new base and I am in attendance once again every week.  The group is working on short stories for inclusion in an anthology which we aim to have published in the Spring of 2013.

At the time of writing I have two other short stories underway for competitions.  My writing schedule is rounded off by my attempts to write at least one poem a week for posting on thestarlitecafe.com/  For the purposes of posting poetry on that site I’ve retained the pseudonym of Tomfoollery.