Those of our members that have supplied biographical details are listed below. It is entirely optional to be included.
Robert is our current Secretary. This is what he says about himself.
As a child I was an avid short story writer from ‘The Haunted Castle’ to the ‘Space Invaders’. But my creative endeavours have always been eclectic. I attended Edinburgh College of Art where I gained a 1st Class B.A.(Hons) Degree in Painting, before going on to do a Master in Fine Art, and then teaching at Edinburgh College of Art.
I returned to writing at various points throughout my working history, publishing two short stories in Queer Words (quarterly paperback of new lesbian and gay writing); ‘The Protégé’ in 1995, ISBN 1900950022, and ‘Client/Transcript’ in 1997, ISBN 1900950057. I also had a short piece of prose published and displayed on London Underground, ‘The Wait’, as winner of the GlaxoWellcome Write for Life competition in 1996.
However, my visual work took precedence for a long time. I exhibited extensively. But in 2017 I wrote my first book, on DISC personality profiling / psychometrics to support personal and team development: ‘DISCover the Power of You: How to Cultivate Change for Positive and Productive Cultures’, published through John Hunt Publishing Ltd. ISBN: 978-1-78535-591-2. I then self-published my e-book, ‘DISCover your Animal Magic: 6 Steps to Support Small Changes for Big Transformation’ – Kindle Edition for anyone with a passion for personal development. ASIN: B01NBY2BSR.
This gave me the inspiration and confidence to attempt a novel, and I set about writing the three-part historical fiction I had been mulling over for the past three decades: A Family Still, with the first part called Fermented Spirits. I have since completed my first, and drafted my second, DI Harry Handy novels. I am currently in the process of trying to find a Literary Agent/Publisher.
I have recently had a short piece of flash fiction ‘Time to think’ accepted for publication through Reflections magazine for their Autumn/Winter 2018 edition, won the Stanley Wilson Monologue Competition for my monologue entitled ‘Gavin’s Revenge’ through the Scarborough Writers Circle in September 2018, and e-published a piece of flash fiction ‘Loughborough Lite’ as part of 81 Words.
A sample of Robert’s writing work and style:
The Bench 384 words
Libby lit her Loughborough Lite and looked out, longingly, over the rolling waves to the still horizon. The cloudy sky above broody and threatening a downpour. She inhales, lingering over the flavoursome fag. She runs her fingers over the varnished wood she sits on. Her Lionel’s wood. Her Lionel’s bench.
Libby smiles, not bothering to look behind her. She knows the inscription by heart. Lionel. My love. My life. My Littlebottom. With love and laughter, Libby.
A gull squeals above. Libby shakes her head. It had taken some getting used to. That Littlebottom. Half-jokingly she had suggested they take on her name. Ritchey. Mr and Mrs Ritchey. Lionel had laughed. Never, he had exclaimed. Never are you going to get me to become Lionel Ritchey.
So Libby had become Libby Littlebottom, which, it turns out, had been fine. Until they got older and the new kids on the street started calling then lard-arses. Lionel was too weak by then to do anything about it. It was all the smoking he did. Or so they said.
Libby looks off into the distance, feeling Lionel’s bench below her little bottom. She sighs and smiles, and caresses the varnished wood. She takes a deep draw, savouring the taste. Her Lionel. He’s still sitting on the shelf in the sideboard in the sitting room.
Or at least, mostly.
Libby glances at the Loughborough Lite. She slits them open and sprinkles in a splattering of Lionel before re-sealing them with a slither of rolling paper. Lionel had shown her how to do it years ago. Making a rolly, he had called it. Happy times.
The clouds above have shifted closer. Libby shivers and takes the last draw of her fag, luxuriating in her Lionel. Feeling him below her and inside her all at once.
Libby tucks the roach into her pocket. Not able to fling it away lest any remnants of Lionel are left unsmoked. She wipes down the bench and gives the plaque a brisk rub with her sleeve. She rocks back and forth as a coughing, barking fit overtakes her. Her throat burns in loving memory of Lionel. She blows a kiss to her Lionel’s bench, happy that its midday. She’ll be able to get home before the kids are out of school, missing their lard-arse taunts.
Dorinda is our current Chair. She says:- My junior school teacher used to take the pen out of my hand to make me look up from the story I was engrossed in writing. And I still get excited by words on paper. I get twitchy if I haven’t got a book on hand (sometimes two!) I used to read pieces in the evening paper about Scarborough Writers’ Circle, but didn’t really know what went on there. In 2006, after taking early retirement from the Civil Service, I gathered all my courage and went along to a meeting. When I realized what fun it was, I couldn’t understand why I’d left it so long to join the group. In 2012 I graduated from Hull University (Scarborough) with a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing. I enjoy research and history. My writing interests are varied – short stories, novels, non-fiction articles. As part of an online short story course I have started to regularly submit short stories to women’s magazines. I am in hot pursuit of my first acceptance. I have had stories and poems published in three anthologies – Illumination, Making Waves and The Plotting Shed. Since 2015 I have been a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers Scheme and have written a romantic suspense novel. Cross Your Heart is set in Hong Kong in 1967. I am submitting it to publishers.
Originally from Rhodes, Middleton in Lancashire, I have lived in Scarborough with my husband since 1997. I have two adult children – my daughter resides in Derbyshire and my son in the Czech Republic.
My writing life began in early childhood when I used the written word as a way of dealing with emotions that I found difficult to express orally. My current work is based on my own and others’ life experiences and emotions. I read many other writers’ work, too numerous to list, and keep a journal of ideas. The journal encompasses conversations, overheard or otherwise, and thoughts whilst out walking. I read through my journal intermittently because words I wrote in the past often spark a draft for a new piece of prose or poetry (free verse), which I express as works of fiction.
I find the beautiful North Yorkshire Coastline a great resource for encouraging creativity. I enjoy walking by the sea and believe that to be a great inspiration, not only because it is fascinating to watch but because it represents the water of life and connects strongly to emotions, which is what I love to write about.
I’d be happy to hear from you if you want to pop a comment in the reply post on this site or visit my website at:
spinning stories from the secret self
Mandy is originally from Langley Park, County Durham. She has a wide range of interests, not only as a writer but also as a performer. Recently Mandy took part in the Queen Street Players’ Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime, and previously she performed in the Durham Literature festival. Writing areas include Crime, Children’s fiction, and poetry. Her current projects are a crime novel called provisionally Badge of Honour, A children’s story Lucinda the Lifeboat, and the Pantomime Ole King Cole. In addition Mandy likes amateur dramatics, family history, quizzes, reading and cross stitch design!
Author Anne Morley came to Scarborough over fifty years ago initially to teach at Brompton Hall School then moved to the newly built Woodlands School. She met John and has now found time in retirement to indulge her lifelong ambition to write a book. Anne was educated at Middlesbrough High School for Girls. She chose to become a teacher and trained at Kesteven Training College near Grantham. Her career has been mainly in Special Education culminating in the Learning Support Department at Yorkshire Coast College. Having honed her skills with the Scarborough Writers’ Circle, she has delved into one of her many interests, the children’s charities she and her husband John support.
Her new book, ‘Curiosities from Scarborough’s Children’s Charities’ is available from http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/farthings.
Judith first came to Scarborough in 1980 after studying medicine at Leeds University. She spent two years working in New Zealand and six months travelling through South East Asia before settling into General Practice back in Scarborough, marrying Richard and having two children. She retired from Medicine 5 yrs ago, and started writing 4 yrs ago when both her children were away at University.
She lives in Scarborough with husband Richard, two dogs, a cat, four hens and a double allotment. She is also a Trustee at Newby and Scalby Library, which hosts Scarborough Writers’ Circle meetings every 4th Tuesday evening.
Judith enjoys writing poetry and short stories, particularly fantasy and this year has had poems published in Reflections magazine and in the anthology Terror Tales for a Winter’s Eve.
Here’s a sample of Judy’s writing . . .
The Sea Minx
The sky darkened as she stood waiting on the rough stone surface of the ancient jetty, looking out to sea. The wind strengthened and worried at her long silver hair, whipping loose strands of it across her face. She closed her eyes and lifted her chin, smiling as she felt the icy kiss of rain drops on her face and arms.
She could hear the hiss and draw of waves to her left and to her right the shouts of the fishermen as their cold and calloused hands struggled with rough hemp rope and flapping canvas sails. They were turning, riding with the waves, hoping to reach the calm safety inside the harbour walls before the storm struck.
She turned her head and watched impassively as the boat was swamped by wave after heavy wave.
She listened as the wind snatched away their cries and she smiled again as the sea washed over their heads.
Time passed, and when nothing could be heard but the sea and the shrieking of the gulls, she stepped off the jetty and sank through the turbid water to search for their souls in the world beneath the waves…
Lesley Young joined the Circle in February 2012 after moving North from Warwickshire. Lesley works with senior managers in the NHS to develop management and leadership skills. She is also a practising coach.
She has been interested in writing for around 30 years, and is very familiar with academic writing for journals and conferences, but less confident with writing for different audiences! She is very interested in bibliotherapy and uses writing in her work whenever appropriate. Lesley was involved in various creative writing groups in Warwickshire and gained an Open Studies certificate in Creative Writing from Warwick University.
She leans towards writing poetry and has found that most of her attempts to put pen to paper have resulted in a poem of some description, even when the task was prose! Despite having several of her poems published in anthologies, she is determined to expand her writing repertoire and is sure that being involved in the Circle will give her the impetus she needs. Other interests include theatre, all things Italian and indulging her Whippets Alfie and Lottie’s passion for Scarborough’s beaches and pubs!
Here’s a sample of Lesley’s writing . . .
The Crosby Lads
It’s Another Place
Where the Mersey meets the Irish Sea
And time and tide wait for no man.
Yet two miles of men, one hundred strong
Cast from Iron and rooted deep
Stand apart, lines in the sand
And wait for ever.
I am like them, transfixed.
Lost in the moment, I follow their gaze
And fancy there is sadness in their eyes.
I wonder if there may come a time
When silently, bravely
Their vigil broken
They will swim home.
Former assistant secretary and then for several years Circle treasurer before retiring, Val originally wrote verse but was encouraged to write short stories through the Circle in-house competitions. Having got ‘the bug’ she then began her first, and only, novel which lays in the depths of her computer unfinished. She now works for her husband Bill as editor and agent. Her reasoning, ‘I no longer have the time to write, and besides, Bill keeps me busy and is a far better writer than I.’
Crime Writer Bill has served as Chairman and later President of the Circle until 2011. He has a successful series featuring DI Mike Nash and also The Eden House Mysteries with Accent Press. Independently, he publishes his Greek Island Romances under the pseudonym William Gordon.
Always an avid reader, Bill came to writing later in life when he had exhausted every book in the house when laid-up following a knee operation and decided he could do better. The first draft hit the shredder but he was hooked and eventually succeeded in getting publisher, Robert Hale Ltd. interested and has gone from strength to strength.
Always on the look out for character names, Bill has helped several charities both at home and abroad allowing auction lots for the chance to be named in his next book and is currently working with a Greek charity ELEPAP where all royalties from The Fountain of Daphne will be paid directly to them.
Read more about Bill and his work at: www.billkitson.com
And see his blog: www.billkitsonblog.wordpress.com
Mike has been a member of the Circle since 1975, and helped run the popular Scarborough Writers’ Weekends. At one, the guest speaker was Alan Ayckbourn, who took time out to give him advice on writing for the stage. This resulted in his very first play being performed by Phoenix Drama at Westwood in 1984 to critical and financial success.
He has been writing since schooldays, and has had poems, articles and short stories published in a variety of magazines. He also wrote and broadcast a weekly comic dialect story on BBC Radio York from 1988 to 2005, and was theatre reviewer for Top Trader and later the Scarborough Evening News from 1987 until retiring in 2008. The knowledge gained from seeing hundreds of amateur and professional shows has been put to good use in four more full length and five award-winning 1-Act plays, all of them premiered in Scarborough, and all since published. Despite being mostly Yorkshire comedies, they have found favour with amateur drama groups as far afield as Tasmania and Maine, and most recently in Spain.
He and his wife Anita are still regular theatre-goers, because he believes that writers never stop learning and considers himself lucky to have a first-class theatre on his doorstep. Here he can continue to study the work of the master of the craft who generously gave him such good advice all those years ago. Mike has a web site under construction at stageplaysmp.com