Category Archives: cash

Writing Buddies, a guest post by Linda Tyler

My sincere thanks to my two-year writing buddy, Linda Tyler, for this insight into how she got her short fiction writing career off the ground. This is my first guest post on this blog and I am grateful to Linda, whose work I admire.

linda tyler with sherlock holmes

Linda Tyler in conversation with Sherlock Holmes

Early Writing Buddies Success Already friends, Shirley and I started to write seriously a couple of years ago (2014), bouncing ideas off each other and providing an honest critique of each other’s stories. We were delighted when our first success was joint second prize in a regional short story competition in Scotland.

Since then, like Shirley, I have had a few successes.   I’ve self-published on Kindle an historical romance (Summer Intrigue), have a poignant story in an anthology (Last Call and Other Stories, published by Ouen Press), been highly commended for the opening page of a crime novel, short-listed for a piece of mystery flash fiction, had a family tale published in The People’s Friend and have stories, one bizarre and the other comedy, in two anthologies to be published this year (2016).

Write the story You want to write As each of these works of fiction is different, I feel I’ve yet to find my ‘voice’.  On the other hand, this means I’ve written the story I wanted to write and the style followed naturally.

Rejections go with the territory Despite these little successes, I’ve had many rejections.  Between the summer of 2014 and the end of 2015, I submitted 58 stories; six of these were successful.  Interestingly, two of the stories had been rejected previously by other competitions/publishers, another had been rejected elsewhere twice and yet another had been to three different places before finding a home.

Don’t Look Back Writing really is a case of perseverance.   Shirley’s motto is Onwards and Upwards; mine is One Story Back, Another One Out.  Both are good maxims.   Send off a piece of work, forget about it and get on with the next one.

My ideas usually come from comments made by friends or something I’ve read (I read widely, both fact and fiction).  We are often told ‘write what you know’.

For whatever reason, I find it difficult to base a story on an aspect of my life; and the one story where I’ve attempted this has been out seven times with no success.

What I do find helpful, though, is to set a story in a place I know – for example a coastal town, a relative’s sitting-room, a church and a preserved steam railway.  The characters may be imaginary, but the setting is one I can easily visualise. Image result for pound money

Don’t waste your money With the exception of the flash fiction piece, my successes have been with free submissions.  It is too easy to spend £5 here, £7 there, and find at the end of year how these sums have mounted up. This year I intend to submit only to those competitions, magazines and anthologies with free submission.

And I cannot over-emphasise the importance of a writing buddy.

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Another microadventure – Information received loud and unclear

I spend quite a bit of time in a village in the Turkish mountains. It’s a bit like Scotland but with warm sunny weather. Not in winter, though. It’s a summer place.

water and tapI complained long and loud to anyone who would listen about my April trip to Turkey earlier this year. A number of unexpected power cuts hit the country and I spent more hours than anticipated sitting under the duvet wearing two pairs of pyjamas, waiting for the electricity to come back on so I could boil the kettle, make some coffee and have a shower. And possibly connect to the internet, but that’s not life-changing.

I noted to my listeners that all communities in Turkey have a public address system, a useful and informative method of reaching thousands of people instantly. On the occasion of the power cuts it was not, unfortunately, employed to give us any information. A wasted opportunity to contact a needy public. But never mind. Even Turkish-language announcements get willingly translated to the English-speaking people who live or stay here.

Today the public address system was used to relay information to… me.

I drove to the municipal offices this afternoon to pay my water and sewage bill, a bit overdue as I don’t live here all the time.

The lady who processes your account and takes your payment sits in a little office of her own and welcomed me. I produced the bill that had been left at my house by the meter-reading man and she tapped details into her keyboard. She told me in Turkish how much I owed – well, confirmed how much the bill said.

I offered her my Turkish bank card and she apologised. No, sorry, only cash would do.

‘Ah,’ I said, ‘cash machine in the car park!’

‘Yes,’ she smiled.

‘I will come back in ten minutes,’ I said.

‘I wait for you,’ she said.

Off I went, drew out a chunk of money, paid a large commission to the bank that owns the machine and returned to the water lady.
turkish liraAs she was processing my payment she explained that I had paid two surcharges for late payment. She went into some detail about how these surcharges could be avoided for the next bill. What I needed to do was come to her office at quarter to four on October 23 and she would telephone the man who takes readings and she would allow me to pay in cash, sort of in advance.

‘How much will it be?’ I asked. I wanted to make sure I had enough cash next time or the bank surcharge would eliminate any avoided late fee.

Her hand gestures and facial expression indicated that she couldn’t tell me and she couldn’t possibly guess.

‘I will return on 23 October, three forty-five,’ I tried to say in Turkish, while writing it down on a piece of paper in figures. She smiled. I smiled.

I went back up the street and bought some bread. Swinging the package from my right hand and complimenting myself on an afternoon usefully spent – water bill paid, bread bought and money withdrawn from cash machine, I headed back to my car. The sun shone brilliantly and the swimming pool beckoned. Perhaps a glass of chilled chardonnay might even follow.

School was just about to finish as I walked past the playground. The public address system announces key times at the school – start in the morning, lunch break, end of day. The electronic music played its little tune – like the one Classic FM plays to introduce their adverts.

‘School must be ending,’ I thought.

Then I heard a garbled, oddly-pronounced message ‘A… H… M… come back to belediyesi.’ It was repeated. Across the whole valley, to thousands of people, the water lady was calling me, in English, to return to the municipal water payments office.

I laughed out loud in the street. I must have forgotten my receipt. Or perhaps it was actually going to be possible to pay in advance – today.

But no.

She was all of a dither. I had not paid, she said.

I did, I said. I came back with money from the machine.

But in the discussion and explanation about my returning at precisely three-forty-five on the actual date of 23 October, I had in fact not paid her the money – but she had in fact given me a receipt. She must have been horror-struck when she discovered her mistake. And then she had to broadcast it to the whole valley. Possibly she worried that her boss would deduct the amount from her meagre salary.

I paid her and apologised. She apologised back.

We both smiled.

At least the public address system works.

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