Back to school – but such fun!

Susan Pope Books

University of Kent Central campus Canterbury


I have just had the pleasure of attending a 2 day Summer School at the University of Kent on the main campus at Canterbury. My chosen topic, naturally enough, was Creative Writing. This was a wonderful opportunity for anyone – any age – to taste University life. Some delegates had only a little experience in creative writing while others were passionate about it, wanting to make it a full-time career.

The social side of the Summer School became just as important as the learning curve, in fact it was part of it. I travelled with others from the Medway Campus to Canterbury on a coach where the bonding process began. There were also delegates to the twin course of ‘Discover Research Skills’, aimed at Social Science students, but closely related to creative writing. Some students were attending for the second year, and had tasted both, others like me perhaps, deciding to perhaps try the…

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Mermaid Tails – The making of a book.

‘Medway Mermaids’ Women’s Writing Group’ has been part of our local community for several years but most Mermaids have never seen their work in print. The Anthology was Natalie’s suggestion. She is always full of bright ideas so this was a chance to put that right.

January 2014 saw our project begin, led by a sub-committee of three. Every member was allocated ten pages to fill with their own work and we set a timetable. Our aim was to have books for sale before Christmas. Back in January that seemed a doddle.

We asked for submissions to be in by the end of April but our writing friends seemed to be having a joint crisis of confidence. We trawled back through our files for those little writing gems and asked for specific pieces we had seen before. Gradually poems, short stories and memoir began to arrive. New members submitted work not seen before and the groups’ confidence that their work was good enough grew.

We spent the next four months editing work and re-formatting other people’s word documents. You may think we all write on the same hymn sheet but we don’t. Bringing these into one format was daunting. Meanwhile we created our cover; a lovely painting by Holly Aird of a scene on our local River Medway. Cover graphics were added and Holly worked on line drawings inspired by some of our poems, stories and lots of ‘Mermaids’. After a straw poll of members our anthology title became ‘Mermaid Tails’.

We knew from the start we would self-publish. Two Mermaids had previous experience using Art’s Council sponsored ‘’, so we began the process of transferring our huge wobbly word document to their template. Their website is brilliant and guides potential authors through the process, but every page needs to be set out exactly as it will appear in the book. A Foreword was written for us by bestselling crime writer Elizabeth Haynes, who had once been a Medway Mermaid. End pages were prepared and we also included biographies with every author’s personal story.

On a cold wet Sunday afternoon at the end of November, we held a launch party in a riverside bar, where the river and the road ran together in a sea of endless rain. Undeterred the Medway Mermaids arrived with their friends and families. Members came forward and bravely read their work and between readings we enjoyed songs by two local musicians. Our stunning volume, ‘Mermaid Tails’, resplendent with 100 pieces of work, was admired and has now sold over 100 copies. In the process the Mermaids raised funds for a local Dyslexia support group. Making this book as perfect as possible had required hours of teamwork, but the smiles on the faces of our Mermaids when they saw their work in print, was worth every ounce of effort.

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The Real Writing Community

Hi Mermaids,
This one is for you and yours.

Susan Pope Books

The Book Launch Party is becoming a bit of a dinosaur in this modern digital age but it still has lots of appeal. And why not? If you have spent months, or even years, writing a novel or a work of non-fiction, why not throw a party and celebrate.

I have recently attended several book launch parties and there was much to celebrate. In November my local writing group Medway Mermaids published ‘Mermaid Tails’, an anthology of work by fifteen female authors from in and around Kent’s Medway Towns. We met with friends and families on a filthy Sunday when a year’s rain fell from the skies. Inside a local bar we enjoyed live music and readings from the book. The sense of community felt within our meetings became illuminated that day as we celebrated. The group have already sold over 100 copies and raised £130 for a local Dyslexia…

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Sue’s seven useful things to know about writing for money

Some great advice from novelist Sue Moorcroft…

Sue Moorcroft blog

As I write novels, serials, short stories, articles, columns and writing ‘how to’, I’m sometimes asked for my tips. I’ve collected them together in this post:

1 You need to know about more than just writing.

2014-05-13 10.39.462 You need to know about publishing. Publishing is an industry and has to make money to survive. If you don’t learn something about how it works you’re making your life unnecessarily hard.

3 You may need/prefer to know about self-publishing. You get control and you get more of the cut each time your book is sold. And you get all of the work, or have to pay/persuade people to do some of it.

ios_homescreen_icon4 You need to know what ‘discoverable’ means. Promotion will almost certainly be part of your life. Website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, ELLO, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram … OK, you don’t need to know all of…

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The Unsent Letter – Book Launch

Mermaids member Lin Tidy is launching her second book, The Unsent Letter  on Sunday, the 14th December at The Marina Bar Rochester, 2-4pm

Front cover pic & writing copy (2)


Lin’s previous book, The Warrior on The Wall has had 29 5* reviews on Amazon so far. One reviewer saying “I just couldn’t put this book down.

Come along to The Marina bar next week to see Lin giving readings from the book. Many of the mermaids will be there and we all wish her great success for this new publication.

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The Medway Mermaids have arrived.

This blog post appeared on Susan Pope Books a few days ago.

Susan Pope Books

There’s a new kid on the block – perhaps that should read – A new Blog on the rock. Medway Mermaids is a Writing Group for Women based in Medway, Kent, UK. The River Medway skirts the north boundary of the Medway Towns, weaving the towns and its history together.

Medway Mermaids was formed back in the 1990’s. Today the membership is made up of ordinary women from working class backgrounds. They write in various genres which reflect their own lives, interests and dreams. They welcome any woman who feels she has something to say and wants to put that down on paper. They support and nurture budding poets, novelists, short story writers, and those wanting to record memoir. They also have lots of fun in the process. I am very proud to be a member of this happy band.

They have just published their first Anthology of member’s work called…

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Book Launch

We’re all very excited here at Mermaids…We are about to publish Mermaid Tails, an anthology of poetry and prose by our members.

Here is our cover designed by artist Holly Aird, graphics by Judith Northwood-Boorman.


Our official launch is tomorrow, 2pm at The Marina Bar in Rochester. Please come along to help us celebrate (and you get a complimentary glass of wine!).

All profits from sales of the book are going to Dyslexia House Association Medway.

There will be music, readings and lots of giggling  :)


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