Lesbian Visibility Week

Phew, a bit late in the week, but let’s fly the flag here, before I go back to the emergecy fund application to ACE, refreshed with reminding myself why I do this.

We publish everyone. (Except people who aren’t writers, obviously).

But my first publications as a writer were with a lesbian press, and while we aren’t a lesbian press we are a lesbian-owned press, and we can still use that visibility.

So in celebration, here are our lesbian authors and poets, together with the books they are in, all of which are available from us direct, and from intrepid bookshops, and as ebooks from your usual supplier. There are probably more, but if they don’t tell me, I can’t celebrate them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want my M.A.

One in a series of guest blogs by Arachne Authors in Lockdown,  in the run up to our Eighth anniversary.

joan observer spoof (3)

Joan Taylor-Rowan

This one is by Joan Taylor-Rowan.
We published Joan in our very first book: London Lies with Renewal.
Joan followed that up with Birdland in  Stations, and she was one of five women authors to feature with five stories in Five by Five.
Joan also organised the sold-out Hastings leg of last year’s Solstice Shorts Festival, Time and Tide.

Joan’s brand new website

Over to Joan

 

 

I want my M.A.

I was the first in my girl-guide troupe to get ten badges.  The next goal was to swim half a mile – and get a badge for my cozzy – even though I could only swim backstroke – very slowly. I think they gave me that one so we could all get in the coach and go home.  So yes, I am a little addicted to certificates and awards, maybe that is one of the reasons I decided to do an M.A. in Creative Writing.

I’ve always written and have had success with short stories, and even self-published a novel but my literature qualifications end at a GCSE in English. When I moved to Hastings part-time, a few years ago, I set up an informal group teaching creative writing for beginners (that’s for another blog post), and really loved it. Perhaps, I thought, I could approach the local independent school sector and offer my services, and expand my teaching opportunities and my income?  But would my publishing history of short stories impress the demanding parents of Cassandra and Bilious?

I had a couple of options: I could work with a writing mentor for a year and hope to come out at the end with a lucrative book deal (any book deal), or I could do an M.A. and brandish my certificate as confirmation of my literary abilities. In the process of doing the M.A., I might write a novel and get a lucrative book deal, but if I didn’t, I’d still have the M.A.  Besides I enjoyed studying, and the possibility of discussion with other writing nerds appealed to me.

I chose Chichester, because they ran a part-time course with a good reputation, and I thought at the time it would be a manageable journey. It wasn’t.  Southern trains were into social distancing long before Corona virus made it essential.

The course consists of a weekly three hour session divided into seminars and workshops. Some of the seminars were thrilling and inspirational, introducing me to writers I’d never heard of and ideas I’d never considered. I was obliged to discuss what I’d read and to write pieces inspired by themes such as art, or structure or time.  I left tired and elated, full of words and sensations and empty pockets – M.A.s do not come cheap, and the five hour return trip plus three hours in seminars was fuelled by coffee and snacks.

The weekly workshopping of each other’s writing took some time to get used to.  Feedback groups are only as good as the effort that is put into them; lazy students or careless ones do not necessarily give good feedback, but in my experience, most students were diligent and hard-working – juggling jobs, families and travelling.  Sometimes students with the least impressive writing were fantastic at dissecting the work of others. They were also the bravest, giving in raw work and using the feedback to really develop. Getting and giving feedback is an art in itself: too harsh and you break someone’s spirit, too soft and you might as well be someone’s nan telling them, it’s lovely dear. No-one pays £6000 for that.  It’s hard to hear it too: you’ve got to chop one of those adjectives. I can’t, you weep, like Sophie choosing between her children. The work will be all the better for it, but that’s hard to believe as you press delete.

Tutor input is craved and inevitably treasured. Their thoughts are the pearls and rubies. And of course you never get enough.  I found it to be valuable not only for what it taught me about my own work, but for what it taught me about reading the work of others – to go deeper, to be thorough. Give to them what you would want them to give to you.

I didn’t realise how much I’d come to depend on this workshopping system until forced into The Great Isolation. I’m nearly at the end of my course and suddenly I am adrift, no face to study, no tone of voice to inspect.  Is that really a compliment, or is their body language saying something else? Where is the shit in this delicious-sounding sandwich? Also I’m not able to see someone’s spirits lift if I give them a heartfelt compliment, or get a supportive hug in the artistic struggle. An emoji just doesn’t cut it.

Listening to someone explain their character’s motivation can be nearly as boring as listening to someone’s dreams (so my partner tells me). Even though we all know this, we still think that our ideas are thrilling. The great thing about a group of people in the same situation is that you can reciprocate – I’ll nod and look interested if you’ll do the same. It works and we’re both happy. Online and text, it just isn’t the same, even with the Dr Who weirdness that is the webcam. Listening to a floating head with a patchy convex face discussing the finer points of your character’s mental  and spiritual breakdown, while a naked toddler scampers past chasing a dog, leaves the muse weeping in the corner, wailing I could have been a contender.

So I cannot wait for the sunshine or a vaccine to send Covid 19 packing, so that I can get back with my writer pals in person.  And I promise, I will not moan, or complain, or bitch or be judgmental ever again… Ok, so I had my fingers crossed there.

Announcing the contributors to our 8th Anniversary Anthology

cover design by Karen Boissonneault-Gauthier

Here’s who is in the eighth anniversary spiderlit celebration, No Spider Harmed in the Making of this Book

Poems from
Chris Cantu
Daisy Bassen
Elizabeth Ditty
Emma Lee
Eugene Goldin
Federica Santini
Hugh Findlay
Jennifer A McGowan
Jennifer Rood
Joanne L M Williams
Kate Foley
Mark Heathcote
Natalie Rowe
Sarah Lawson
Seth Crook
Stella Wulf
Tracy Davidson
Tricia Knoll

Stories from
Amy Rothermel
Carolyn Robertson
Claire Wearne
Daniel Olivieri
David Mathews
Elizabeth Hopkinson
Guy Russell
Helen Morris
Jackie Taylor
J. A. Hopper
Katherine Wagner
Margaret Crompton
Maria Kyle
Martha Nance
Patty Tomsky
Peter Donahue
Phoebe Demeger

All the Writers for Time and Tide

Alison Lock, Sisterhood Of The Seas: Holyhead, Maryport
Angel Warwick, We Dig The Pig: Clydebank, Greenwich, Maryport
Carl Alexandersson, Tulpaner Och Liljekonvaljer: Maryport
Christine Ritchie, Clearance: Clydebank, Holyhead, Peterhead
Claire Booker, Fisherman’s Daughter: Clydebank, Greenwich, Hastings, Lisbon, Maryport; and How Women Came to Tristan da Cunha: Clydebank, Greenwich, Lisbon, Maryport, Peterhead
Elinor Brooks, Woman from North India on Bostadh Beach: Maryport, Peterhead
Elizabeth Parker, Overlord With Declan: Greenwich; and The Watchers: Clydebank, Greenwich, Maryport, Peterhead
Emma Lee, Casting A Daughter A Drift: Clydebank, Greenwich, Hastings, Holyhead; and When You Regret Wishing For Something Thrilling: Greenwich, Lisbon
Holly Blades, Delivery: Greenwich, Holyhead, Lisbon
Ian Macartney, Mother Fish: Clydebank; and Ovčice, Croatia: Peterhead
Ivonne Piper, No Tearaways: Holyhead
Jane Aldous, In The Shadows, On The Shore, Leith: Maryport, Peterhead
Jenny Mitchell, Church Mary Sounds The Sea, Clydebank, Greenwich,
JN Nucifera, City Of Water: Greenwich, Lisbon,
John Richardson, False Light: Clydebank, Greenwich, Maryport, Peterhead
Joy Howard, When Will We See The Sea: Peterhead
Julie Laing, Modality (Film): Clydebank, Greenwich
Kate Foley, Verticals: Hastings
Laura Potts, First Light: Clydebank, Greenwich, Holyhead,
Lynn White, Paddling: Maryport,
Mandy Macdonald, Frocks Of Passage: Greenwich, Maryport, Peterhead; and Half A Dozen Oranges: Clydebank, Greenwich, Lisbon
Math Jones, The nth Wave, Maryport,
Melissa Davies, Bird Wife: Clydebank, Greenwich, Maryport; Halibut: Clydebank, Greenwich, Maryport; Lookout Men: Greenwich, Lisbon, Maryport; Seaweed: Maryport; Værøy: Greenwich, Maryport
Michelle Penn, The Sinking Of Mrs Margaret Brown: Greenwich, Maryport
Ness Owen, Sea Lessons: Clydebank, Greenwich, Holyhead, Lisbon, Maryport
Nick Westerman, Napoleon: Greenwich, Maryport
Olivia Dawson Points of Interest: Clydebank, Greenwich, Hastings, Maryport, Peterhead
Philip Hewitson And Susan Cartwright-Smith, Open Water (Film): Greenwich, Maryport
Reshma Ruia, Crossing the Black Water: Clydebank, Greenwich, Hastings, Lisbon
Sarah Tait, Bosun’s Locker: Maryport; and Hawser: Greenwich, Maryport, Peterhead
Savanna Evans, On A Day Like This: Greenwich, Maryport
Simon Whitfield, A Conjuring Poem: Peterhead
Thomas Tyrrell, Of Grainne Mhaol: Greenwich
Valerie Bence, Arrival: Clydebank, Greenwich, Hastings, Lisbon, Maryport
Vivien Jones, I Nearly Drownded, Daddy: Greenwich, Lisbon, Maryport

Stories
Elizabeth Hopkinson, A Madras Crossing: Greenwich
Diana Powell, Ballast: Greenwich, Holyhead, Lisbon, Maryport; and Sea Change, Greenwich, Holyhead
Cathy Lennon, Casting The Stones: Lisbon
Neil Lawrence, Diaspora: Greenwich, Hastings, Lisbon
Juliet Humphreys, Fisherfolk: Greenwich,
Holly Magee, Granmama’s Paradise: Lisbon
Linda McMullen, The Fisherman’s Wife: Clydebank, Hastings, Lisbon, Maryport, Peterhead
Eoghan Hughes, Herr Dressler: Hastings, Maryport,
Pauline Walker, Hingland: Greenwich
Roppotucha Greenberg, Listen, Noah’s Wife: Clydebank, Greenwich, Holyhead, Peterhead
Emily Bullock, Man Overboard: Lisbon
CB Droege, Metharme: Lisbon, Maryport
Kilmeny Macmichael, Remittance: Greenwich
Barbara Renel, The Professor’s Daughter: Hastings, Maryport
Paul Foy, The Answer, My Friend: Hastings, Lisbon, Peterhead
Rob Walton, The Dowager Duchess Of Berwick-Upon-Tweed: Lisbon, Maryport
Maria Kyle, The Surgeon’s Mate: Greenwich, Hastings
Cindy George, The Wreck Of The Kyllikki: Greenwich
Sheila Lockhart, Turquoise: Greenwich, Hastings, Lisbon

Songs
Kevan Taplin, Migrants: Greenwich
Chip Wilson/London Sea Shanty Collective, Scarborough Street: Greenwich
Hopewell Ink, At Sea: Holyhead
Fiona & Gorwel Owen, Across: Holyhead
Nicola Reed, Salina’s Harbour: Maryport
John Chambers, Here and Gone: Maryport

 

#Arachne5 Thank you’s and Author Catch Up Weird Lies

With the 5th Anniversary celebrations heading into view I was thinking about the thank you speech, and like the Oscars it is in danger of going on, and on. And on. So I thought I’d blog it instead, a section at a time. So I’ve been catching up with authors past and present in the course of the fifth anniversary planning to ask what they are up to now, (not that I don’t know in some cases)  because after all, without them there would BE no Arachne Press.

Several of them will be at the party, TONIGHT!! and even reading, come along and say hello, it’s free (but ticketed)

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Alan Graham
Alex Smith
Angela Trevithick
Andrew Lloyd Jones
Barry McKinley
C.T.Kingston
Christopher Samuels
David McGrath
David Malone
David Mildon 

recently performed a new play, Leaves at the Edinburgh Fringe

Derek Ivan Webster  Derek is now the Associate Director for the Arts at the Yale Office of Career Strategy. On rare occasion he can still be found writing within the cracks, but more often spends his days helping talented young artists pursue creative careers.

 

 

Ellen O’Neill
James Smyth
Jonathan Pinnock Since his appearance in Weird Lies in 2013, Jonathan Pinnock has had two books published. TAKE IT COOL (Two Ravens Press, 2014) describes his real-life search for the reggae singer Dennis Pinnock along with the story of how they came to share a surname, and has the unique distinction of having been reviewed in The Herald, Family Tree Magazine and Songlines. His debut poetry collection, LOVE AND LOSS AND OTHER IMPORTANT STUFF, was published this year by Silhouette Press, and his second short story collection, DIP FLASH, will be published next year by Cultured Llama.

Joshan Esfandiari Martin
Lee Reynoldson
Lennart Lundh
Maria Kyle
Nichol Wilmor
Peng Shepherd 

Peng’s first novel, The Book of M will be published in June 2018 by HarperFiction (UK) and William Morrow (US). The Book of M tells the story of a couple torn apart by a supernatural apocalypse and the courageous, thrilling journeys they take to find each other again.

 

Rebecca J Payne
Richard Meredith
Richard Smyth
Tom McKay

#Arachne5 Thank you’s and Author catch up, Lovers’ Lies

With the 5th Anniversary celebrations heading into view I was thinking about the thank you speech, and like the Oscars it is in danger of going on, and on. And on. So I thought I’d blog it instead, a section at a time. So I’ve been catching up with authors past and present in the course of the fifth anniversary planning to ask what they are up to now, (not that I don’t know in some cases)  because after all, without them there would BE no Arachne Press.

Several of them will be at the party, TOMORROW and even reading, come along and say hello, it’s free (but ticketed)

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Alison Willis
Bartle Sawbridge Since Lovers Lies was published I have read from it in a packed room at Keats’ House, a literary festival in Faversham, and lots else in between. I self-published my first novel, A Piece of String two years ago, (look at the excellent reviews on Amazon, and buy it!) and I’m making good progress on its sequel, based not in inner London but in a fictional village in Middle England.

Bobbie Darbyshire Since Lovers’ Lies came out, Bobbie Darbyshire’s third novel, OZ, was published in 2014 and has received much praise on Amazon.  She has completed a fourth, Thinner Than Water, and embarked on a fifth.

Catherine Sharpe
Cherry Potts Running Arachne gets in the way of much writing, but I’ve managed to squeeze a story into most of the anthologies, and publish a collection and a novel, and had several stories published elsewhere.

 

 

Clare Sandling
Darren Lee
Jason Jackson
Jessica Lott
Mi L Holliday Since being published in Lovers’ Lies a poem of mine, A Mother’s Concern, was published in Shooter Literary Magazine, Issue #3: Surreal. Also, myself and my colleagues here in Japan are gearing up for a big seminar on English education to be held at the end of September 2017. This is the culmination of three years of efforts to integrate new teaching methods and technology into elementary and junior high foreign language classrooms, and we’re all very nervous and excited about presenting the results! Hope everyone will wish us luck!
Michael McLaughlin
Michelle Shine
Nichol Wilmor
Nathan Good
Peter Higgins
Rebecca Gould
Richard Smyth
Rob Cox
Rosalind Stopps

copyright Huntley Hedworth

Tania Hershman I’ve published four new books since 2013 – I’m co-author, with Courttia Newland, of Writing Short Stories: A Writers and Artists Companion (Bloomsbury, 2014), my first poetry pamphlet, Nothing Here Is Wild, Everything Is Open (Southword, 2016), won 2nd prize in the Fool For Poetry chapbook contest and was published in February 2016, and in 2017 my third short story collection, Some of Us Glow More Than Others (Unthank Books) and my debut poetry collection, Terms and Conditions (Nine Arches Press), were published. I founded ShortStops, a hub for all things short story in the UK and Ireland in November 2013, and I am now on the last leg of a PhD in creative writing inspired by particle physics, and am a Royal Literary Fund writing fellow at Manchester University.  www.taniahershman.com

Tom Conoboy  It’s been a busy couple of years writing-wise for me. I completed my PhD after five years and I was free to get back to my own writing. What a release that is! The joy of writing! I’ve completed one novel, the story of a young American girl who arrives in Scotland in 1985 in search of the key to her identity and I’ve just finished the first draft of my second novel, based on a real life murder in Perth in 1935.

 

#Arachne5 Thank you’s and Authors catch up Stations

With the 5th Anniversary celebrations heading into view I was thinking about the thank you speech, and like the Oscars it is in danger of going on, and on. And on. So I thought I’d blog it instead, a section at a time. So I’ve been catching up with authors past and present in the course of the fifth anniversary planning to ask what they are up to now, (not that I don’t know in some cases)  because after all, without them there would BE no Arachne Press.

Several of them will be at the party, and even reading, come along and say hello, it’s free (but ticketed)

As they were…

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What they are doing now…

Adrian Gantlope
Andrew Blackman Since Stations was published, I’ve had my second novel A Virtual Love published, and am at work on a new one. I’ve also been travelling around Europe and North Africa for three years, freelancing to pay the travel expenses as I go.

Anna Fodorova My novel The Training Patient was published by Karnac in 2015 and is now in the process of being translated into Czech to be published by Prague publisher LABYRINT next year. I am writing another novel called In the Blood.

Bartle Sawbridge Since Stations was published I have read from it and Lovers Lies to two people and a dog in a public library in Harrow, a packed room at Keats’ House, a literary festival in Faversham, and lots else in between.I self-published my first novel, A Piece of String two years ago, (look at the excellent reviews on Amazon, and buy it!) and I’m making good progress on its sequel, based not in inner London but in a fictional village in Middle England.

Caroline Hardman I’m still writing, although not as much as I would like to… I went  freelance a few years ago, and that took over my life a little more than I thought it would! However, I do have a story (Straw Houses) appearing in the forthcoming Stories for Homes 2, a charity anthology raising money for Shelter. The e-book is due for publication next month and a paperback version in November.
The other project I’ve been working on over the summer is Raw Stories, a new fiction podcast which launches 4th September! A new episode every fortnight. I read a story (which may still be a work in progress – hence the ‘raw’ in the  title) and then chat a little bit about it afterwards.  It’s on iTunes or there’s an RSS feed.  I’m tweeting about it  @rawstoriespod.

Cherry Potts Running Arachne gets in the way of much writing, but I’ve managed to squeeze a story into most of the anthologies, and publish a collection and a novel, and had several stories published elsewhere.

 

 

David Bausor
Ellie Stewart Since being published in Stations I’ve had my writing published in various places including Popshot Magazine, Ink Sweat and Tears and Hippocampus Magazine. I spent 3 months travelling round New Zealand in a camper van with my partner at the end of 2016, and I’m currently working for a children’s charity in Kent.

 

Jacqueline Downs

 

 

 

 

Joan Taylor-Rowan

Katy Darby 

 

 

 

 

Louise Swingler
Max Hawker
Michael Trimmer
Paula Read
Peter Cooper
Peter Morgan
Rob Walton Since being lucky enough to have two stories in Stations, Rob Walton has been writing flash fictions and poetry, appearing in various anthologies and magazines.  Publishers included Butcher’s Dog, The Emma Press, Sidekick Books and The Interpreter’s House. A poem for children found its way onto the 2016 National Poetry Day website, and he won the 2015 National Flash Fiction Day micro-fiction competition.

 

Rosalind Stopps
Wendy Gill Since being published in Stations, one of my stories was chosen for the inaugural anthology Words and Women One, and I was delighted to have another story published last by Arachne Press in Shortest day, Longest Night. I have written and released a charity Christmas single and my musical That Man had it’s West End debut at The Hippodrome in 2016.

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” #Arachne5

As part of our Arachne 5th Anniversary celebrations, we’ve asked all of our authors to come up with a blog, that might have something to do with writing or anniversaries. Some of them responded! This one is from Jacqueline Downs who we published in Stations – her story She Didn’t Believe in Ghosts is set at Crystal Palace.

 

On September 23rd 2016, I received a birthday gift: a five-year diary.

Instead of acting as a repository of my thoughts and feelings about pop stars and boys and fallings out with best friends, this diary has a different function. Each day, year by year, this diary requests that I respond to a question or statement. The idea is that over five years I will be able to see how my answers to the questions or statements change, or don’t change. Prompts range from the profound and potentially distressing (‘Who loves you today?’, ‘What have you got to lose?’) to the seemingly more trivial (‘Write down the last text message you sent’, ‘What is your favourite item of clothing?’). Whatever I am asked, my response will reveal something about how I am thinking or feeling at the time; how I view myself on a given day in a given year.

One of the things that makes it so challenging and interesting, is that it also serves the purpose of acting as a series of miniature writing exercises. You may need to be descriptive (‘What’s the weather like where you are right now?’) or imaginative (‘Where do you see yourself this time next year?’). You may have to negotiate your emotions (I’m always going to give the same answer to ‘When did you last speak to your parents?’ – 13 February 1979 and 12 May 2009 – and that is always going to be sad).

There isn’t much space to write, but within those confines I can answer with a couple of words or an untidy and ill-fitting paragraph. The best thing is, it gets me writing every day.

The challenge on the day I received this gift was: Write a quote for today.

I was able to answer immediately, as a writing group friend had helpfully written something apt in his birthday card to me:

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”

     Thomas Mann

I’m a writer. I don’t earn my living from it, but it’s who I think I am; it’s what I say I am, if I’m asked (although out loud I will always add the caveat ‘and editor’).  I put off writing a lot of the time, I get a slight homework-style dread when I know I have a deadline. But once I start, even if it’s just typing or scribbling, I feel happier. And then when typing or scribbling becomes actual writing, I feel a kind of lightness inside, there’s a taking off.

In the five years since Arachne Press started, I’ve taken off a little more. My first anthologised story was in Stations. Since then I’ve had stories performed at live literature events, published in other anthologies and online magazines, and written a screenplay based on another published short story of mine. This screenplay is with a producer who is trying to get a director on board, raise money, get the words off the page and onto the screen. I’m under no illusion about how long this process could take.

But with luck – and it will take a lot of luck, now that the hard graft of several drafts is out of the way – when the diary next asks, ‘Where are you right now?’ my answer will be ‘backstage at the BAFTAs’.

Because if you want to really take off, you have to aim high.

Jacqueline Downs is a writer (and editor). She blogs infrequently at Jacqueline Downs is Reading and Writing

What our authors have been up to

Part of the ethos of Arachne Press is to celebrate our authors even when they do something with a different publisher.
So here’s a quick round up of what they’ve been doing (that we know about, anyway).
Anna Fodorova recently published her first novel, The Training Patient with Karnac Press.
Bartle Sawbridge has very recently published his novel, A Piece of String.
Bobbie Darbyshire published a third novel, Oz, a while back but we didn’t feature it at the time.
Cathy Bryant is launching her first historical mystery novel Pride & Regicide, a Mary Bennett novel (yes, that Mary Bennett) TOMORROW on facebook
David Mathews has had 3 pieces of flash fiction accepted for the October edition of Flash Magazine, about tea, poetry and love.
Emma Timpany had a pamphlet of five short stories, Over The Dam, published by Red Squirrel Press in April, a result of winning their Sara Park Memorial Short Story Competition in 2013. In July, Cultured Llama Press published The Lost of Syros, a collection of sixteen of Emma’s short stories. She was also shortlisted for The Bristol Short Story Prize 2015; and will be published in the prize anthology on 10 October.
Geraldine Green has been combining being writer in residence at Brantwood in Cumbria with a poetry tour of America.
j.lewis has had literally dozens of poems published since his early outing with us with Grass was Taller in The Other Side of Sleep.
Jennifer A McGowan had some good news – but can’t say what until mid-October. Hmm… intriguing.
Kate Foley was runner-up in the Proms poetry competition and had her poem read by the marvellous Carolyn Pickles on Radio 3. The link here is good for a week or so still I think.
Michelle Shine has a shiny new website: www.michelleshine.co.uk
Paula Read has several projects on the go: she & her daughter, Lily, are putting together an anthology of short stories they’ve written with a French theme. And she’s writing the story of a family member who reinvented herself as an artist after moving to the top of a mountain in Italy! And finally she is working on a story for 11-15 year olds, set in the near future and concerning the fate of dogs.
Pippa Gladhill has a short play WE ARE WEATHER receiving script in hand performance on Monday 19th October  at BORDEAUX QUAY on Bristol Harbourside.

 

Arachne Authors talk about writing habits 2

Paula Read and Jacqueline Downs like to be in motion

Emily Cleaver writes when her child is asleep

Wendy Gill would like a greenhouse!

Lennart Lundh loves his computer, Michelle Shine loves her writing group