Tuesday 6 July 2021

Crawling back to happiness?

Soon, they tell us, we'll be able to live with no restrictions. Hmmm. Not so very sure about that. Personally, I'm used to wearing a mask, don't want to stop wearing it, don't want to stop sanitising my hands when I go shopping, or the basket or the trolley. It's a slippery slope down to a rise in cases of Covid's new variant if we plunge straight back into the normal we once knew, and, where I live, we've got too many cases and they're increasing. So maybe we should be crawling back rather than racing in and abandoning all caution, which is the message I'm getting. And of course, it'll be our fault, not the government's, when it all goes off again. Just saying. Heigh ho.


On the writing front, I've just finished a four-part serial for the only magazine I write for (Women's Weekly) and am researching with the hope of doing another. Clocked up quite a few over these lockdown months, seems it's the only thing I can concentrate on, in fact. I'm moving back in time. The latest one was set in the Georgian era, and now I'm looking at the Tudors. As I said in an earlier post, I love delving back into the past. But until I get the OK from the editing team on the latest one, I'm just reading as part of the research... feels like inviting bad luck to start writing it before the last one's been given the thumbs up and of course waiting for a plot to come winging it's way into my head. It might feature shoes. 


Starting to put a tune to someone else's words which is something I used to do a long time ago. It's a challenge, wanting to get it right, as the writer is a very well known poet and until I'm happy with it and the poet is, then I'm giving no other clues. Might record it though, so watch this space.


A friend of mine mentioned he'd spent some time reminiscing with an old pal of his and they clocked up three decades of memories over three nights. That, to me at least, is worth putting into a song, so also working on that.   


Still hoping to take the band out and do some gigs. The trio has a few outdoor performances under its belt which has been lovely and we're rehearsing again but as for the main band, well that's a space yet to be filled.


Finally, I can't wait to get back to singing with the groups I used to work with, pre-pandemic. That's going to be the last thing that comes back, I think, sad though it is, when singing and music is so important to the welfare of these particular people. But when it does, finally happen, oh Lordy I'll be smiling! And happy.  

Wednesday 3 February 2021

Sometimes just searching for stories

Hello everyone, wherever and whoever you are. Here I am stirring up the blog after it's been left to settle for far too long and has probably stuck to the pan! It's been an interesting couple of years since I last wrote (actually I  can't believe it's been so long and apologise). I could list everything that's gone on but won't. Suffice to say we've all had a pretty interesting time of it since March last year and nobody needs to know the woes, the wishes or unfulfilled dreams that make up a Covid-19 year. But we can all wish for a better one.

Really, though, I  have been busy- visit my website: https://www.celiabryce.co.uk and you'll see - but I suppose this post is about my most recent writing project.  As you may or may not know I really love delving into the past and into the lives of the people who lived there. Much of my writing grows from this exploration and though I do write stories set in present day, the vast majority come from those eras and those places which I  am interested in. Such as life in the North East during Victorian times, the First and Second World Wars; the 1950s and 1960s- which, looking at where we are now, sound so very far away and long ago. But those eras are where I'm happiest paddling around in and discovering things to write about. 

Imagine my joy, then, to be given the job of researching North Shields, the town nearest to where I live.  This job has taken me out and about to research the place, to look at its history and to speak with people either on the street-socially distanced of course-and down on the town's famous Fish Quay, and through social media. I wanted to gather their thoughts about the town today and the town they remembered. I had the excuse to pore over books and old  maps (oh what a joy that is) and to make notes and plant facts into my head. What's not to like! 

All of that resulted in a number of positive outcomes: I found some wonderful material to work with; I read some amazing FB accounts of life in the town, decades ago; heard some great stories through Zooming and came across some fab photographs which people found in response to my questions. 

And apart from learning how to use a microphone in all weathers-bearing in mind that my part in the project started mid-November and ended in January- and managing to up-load my sound files, send them away and actually be sure that they really would arrive in the right place, I did learn a lot about my local area and more importantly about the deep feelings of the local people who live here. 

The end product, by the way, is a podcast, an audio and e-book publication of the story I wrote using some of the information and tales I came across. You can hear and read, 'Time and the Shoe Man' from February 10th. 

It wasn't just me and North Shields, by the way; there were another six places and seven writers who were doing the same kind of thing, at the same time, and over six subsequent Wednesdays you can read and hear all the other stories. 

And as I write this I haven't  yet heard any of the work that we've done. This is really exciting. We writers sent away our sound files and our completed stories to the wonderful Philippa Geering, with her production company, Sonderbug. Philippa has had the unenviable task of making it all work! I really can't wait to hear the end product and hope that you all enjoy it. 

So if you'd like more info on this, go to https//bit.ly/HighStreetTales and read all about it.

That's it for now.

Stay safe, stay well and try to keep everyone else you meet safe too.


Wednesday 11 July 2018

The Kelpies Prize 2018

More than pleased to find that I've been short listed in the annual Kelpies Prize a wonderful competition run by Floris Books in Edinburgh, which champions children's and young adults stories with a Scottish feel. Fingers and pretty much everything else very crossed that my novel Haunted Tide can make the final hurdle!  It's been long in the writing, actually, had many edits and rethinks but it's a story I really like and believe in. So obviously I'm delighted that somebody else really likes and believes in it too! Here are the other two shortlisters and what a pedigree!  Hannah Foley and Robin Scott-Elliot. Look them up on https://discoverkelpies.co.uk/2018/07/the-kelpies-prize-2018-shortlist-announced/ and you'll see what I'm up against! 

                Hannah and Scott   

Whatever happens, I'm sure all three of us find it great that someone out there appreciates the work we do. Hard slog, that's what it is and it's nice to feature on a list! Anyway, it means a day trip up the road with my little band of supporters to meet another little band of supporters. If you're going to be at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and you've got space in your schedule, the award ceremony takes place at The Party Pavilion at 7.30pm.  Can't wait! Thanks for stopping by and reading my exciting news!

Monday 2 July 2018

From under the piles of stuff

Like a mole I've come out blinking and shrugging and realise that over a year has gone by without me noticing it. How on earth did that happen? Anyone's guess, I suppose. Being busy is my usual excuse so I'll stick to that because, folks, it's true!  Travelling, singing, running workshops, writing songs, writing stories, shovelling away rejection emails. You know what, it was much easier when rejections were just bits of paper smacking the mat. Now it's cheery emails. Ever tried shovelling away cheery emails that aren't cheery at all? Even a mole can't do that. Anyway. Not to be discouraged I'm working on a number of things, from picture book texts for wee ones to novels for older ones with bits and pieces in between.  Birds are featuring largely. Not sure why except our garden is full of bird feeders. If my husband puts up any more we'll have a forest.  Our feathered pals do get themselves into all sorts of scrapes, I've noticed, watching them while I'm thinking through stories. Some even fly themselves into my stories. Now, though I don't profess to know so very much about them I recognise a few and so can, with all confidence, let our growing bunch of little people know what the names are.  On the subject of little people, our lovelies surprise and delight me at every turn but especially when they want to hear one of my stories. 'We can't sleep without a story out of your head,' they say. Of course it's a ruse, after three stories from books, and I'm on my knees wishing they'd close their eyes, yet, blinking and shrugging, I snuggle up and tell them something from my head. Sometimes they fall asleep in the middle, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they say, that's a funny one. Which is good enough for me. Right. I'm off, under a pile of something. See you later. 

Wednesday 10 August 2016

Piles of stuff.

I know, folks. Over six months. Don't fuss. I'm a busy person. Piles of stuff to do. Mind you, I seem to have been very, very busy and with little to show for it in many ways. For example, my writing room still looks like a  hurricane slipped under the door without knocking. I may have mentioned the state of play years back when I first started this sporadic Blog. In other ways, though, being busy has produced some new songs, which I've gigged and which people seemed to have liked. So not all bad. Written lots of stories, too, sold them and had them published. Edited lots of novel pages. What's a pile of stuff in a corner? OK. So there aren't so many corners in a room so things tend to spill over into other, less angular places such as the middle of the floor, or under other heaps, or on top of other composting stacks. I just step over what I can, like a bloke does (rather refreshing actually) or  hide them with another mound of paper. Hamster like.  Easy-peasy. And it's called being creative. So I'm allowed. And so to the Olympics, the annual accounts (more hills of litter) and a recent song writing experience with the wonderful Gretchen Peters. Some things are put there in front of you and you Just Have To. Full stop. Rather like Wimbledon. You Just Have To. I've noticed leaves falling. Has anyone else? Do you think that's why August and Autumn share some of the same letters? Something to ponder. I've been given an amazing new computer screen. It's the size of a small wall. Great for hiding piles of stuff behind. Which is where I'll leave it for now and possibly for ever, Amen.

Tuesday 2 February 2016

Happy New Year everyone. Yes, I  know it's February already, but things have been busy, I've been away and came back to a pile of stuff, not all of it pushed through the letter box, which had to be sorted, things on a list which had to be ticked off and just a bit of jet lag thrown in. Crikey. Wears me out just reading that. But here I am again, bright eyed, bushy tailed (honestly) and ticking off The Blog. So where am I this very windy February day? My house is still standing, bits have not blown off, for which I am truly grateful and blessed, and my family still love me. As for everything else... Still writing. Most important. Still getting published. Most important. Waiting for other writerly things to  happen. Most important.  OK so three things in a row all of which are most important? Yes sir. If people can get away with apostrophes all over the place (or should I say apostrophe's -yuk yuk yuk) and the oddest spellings of things (because some greater nation than ours indulges - guess which one) then I can get away with three mosts in a line. Because as you know writing is my job. To date I have written four novels, a whole pile of songs and heaps of short stories. And now I'm thinking about novel number five. Keeping at it. Most Important. One of these days I might be able to boast that novel number two is heading for the shelves in a good book shop near you. Patient. Be patient. No, no, that's a note to me. Anyway, as I say, Happy New Year to everyone. It's only February. There's time.

Tuesday 10 November 2015

November 11 comes round. I'll be wearing my poppy tomorrow no matter that people seem to be fussing about such things. I think there's more to fuss about, frankly, but hey ho. So poppy and two minutes silence. Meanwhile working hard, waiting hard, and hoping hard that the planets are in alignment and lady luck is on my side. Fingers crossed that people like my novel, that people like my songs but mostly that people start liking each other. That's the biggest hope of all.