April 2014 archive

Free Mentoring for Ladybro Writers

| Uncategorized, Writing


Are you female? Are you a writer? Do you feel you could benefit from the help of someone who’s successfully navigated the publishing industry already? Then do I have the thing for you! I am hugely proud to be part of The WoMentoring Project, which offers free mentoring by professional literary women to up and coming female writers who would otherwise find it difficult to access similar opportunities. So proud I keep shouting out ‘lady writers’ like a teen intent on acting the cool class joker, when really they’re mega excited. LADY WRITERS! LADY WRITERS! (I was never any good at playing it cool).

My cringing enthusiasm aside, you should check out this amazing project. The full proper grown up details, courtesy of the talented Kerry Hudson who’s founded this organisation, are below:


The mission of The WoMentoring Project is simply to introduce successful literary women to other women writers at the beginning of their careers who would benefit from some insight, knowledge and support. The hope is that we’ll see new, talented and diverse female voices emerging as a result of time and guidance received from our mentors.

Each mentor selects their own mentee and it is at their discretion how little or much time they donate. We have no budget, it’s a completely free initiative and every aspect of the project – from the project management to the website design to the PR support – is being volunteered by a collective of female literary professionals. Quite simply this is about exceptional women supporting exceptional women. Welcome to The WoMentoring Project.

Why do we need it?WoMentoringIllo2Web

Like many great ideas The WoMentoring Project came about via a conversation on Twitter. While discussing the current lack of peer mentoring and the prohibitive expense for many of professional mentoring we asked our followers – largely writers, editors and agents – who would be willing to donate a few hours of their time to another woman just starting out. The response was overwhelming – within two hours we had over sixty volunteer mentors.

The WoMentoring Project is run on an entirely voluntary basis and all of our mentors are professional writers, editors or literary agents. Many of us received unofficial or official mentoring ourselves which helped us get ahead and the emphasis is on ‘paying forward’ some of the support we’ve been given.

In an industry where male writers are still reviewed and paid more than their female counterparts in the UK, we wanted to balance the playing field. Likewise, we want to give female voices that would otherwise find it hard to be heard, a greater opportunity of reaching their true potential.


In an ideal world we would offer a mentor to every writer who needed and wanted one. Of course this isn’t possible so instead we’ve tried to ensure the application process is accessible while also ensuring that out mentors have enough information with which to make their selection.

Applicant mentees will submit a 1000 word writing sample and a 500 word statement about how they would benefit from free mentoring. All applications will be for a specific mentor and mentees can only apply for one mentor at a time. Selections will be at the mentor’s discretion.

Please see the website for further details on applications:  http://www.womentoringproject.co.uk

With thanks to Sally Jane Thompson for the stunning illustrations.



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One Minute Critique: Bloggers Fashion Week Event

| One Minute Critique, One Minute Critique Events


There’s London, Paris, Milan, New York, and now Bloggers Fashion Week. It makes sense. Fashion and beauty were one of the first industries to take blogging seriously, embracing the skilled, tasteful fresh voices that came out of the blogging boom. Bloggers like Liberty London Girl, Susie Bubble and Bryan Boy now occupy front row seats around the world. Want to reach a wider special interest audience? Hit up the bloggerati.

Things got off to a dodgy start: my dress was held together with a safety pin, my shoelace broke, and due to unexpected traffic there was a brief but saturating run through the rain. Oh yeah. I’ve still got it. But once I actually got to Bloggers Fashion Week – and sorted myself out in the mirrored lift on the way up to the snazzy Penthouse in Leicester Square – things looked instantly brighter. As I sipped my cocktail and took in the array of brands at the event I realised this was something really rather special.

Chatting to up and coming labels, many of whom were showing for the first time, I was enthused by not only their wares – delicate summer dresses from Soma, street style influenced leather hoodies from Pelle by ME, dainty jewellery from Astrid & Miyu – but by the designers also. Here was energy and genuine passion for their collections.

Upstairs, in the beauty bar, were yet more tempting treats to get our freshly manicured (thanks, BassBuds) fingernails into. Below are just a few of the great brands on show:


As I looked out the panoramic windows I felt the whole of London was there for the taking. And for many on show, I’m sure that’ll only be the beginning.

Bloggers Fashion Week, organised by Bloggers Love Events: a fun, fabulous fountain of fashion 5/5



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One Minute Critique: The Dead Ground, by Claire McGowan

| One Minute Critique, One Minute Critique Books


Full disclosure: I know Claire personally. We’ve got pissed together in a staggering number of places. I’m a writer, I hang out with other writers, I knew it wouldn’t be long until I got round to reviewing a pal’s book. I’m not going to pull the wordy wool over your eyes and neglect to mention our relationship. That’s not cool. But I will let you know my policy for reading and reviewing my mate’s books (whether on a public forum or face to face): only say something if you liked it. Everyone’s different with different tastes, and even a bad book is hard to write. There’s no point needlessly hurting the feelings of your writing buddy if you don’t dig their work. However, if you love it, and you love them, it’s your duty to tell anyone who’ll listen how bloody brilliant it is. And McGowan’s book is bloody and brilliant.

The Dead Ground is the second in McGowan’s Paula McGuire series. Paula is a forensic psychologist in a current day Northern Ireland specialist team investigating missing persons. In The Dead Ground she is investigating a stolen baby and, in case with many dark twists and turns, soon the disappearance of a heavily pregnant woman…and more. Paula is also pregnant and she doesn’t know who the baby daddy is, and whether she wants to keep it. Let’s hear it for an interesting, multifaceted strong female lead. You know, like a real life woman.

Just like McGowan’s first book in the Paula McGuire series, The Lost, this one plunged me into a world I thought I was familiar with from the telly box news. Turns out I know nothing about post- troubles Northern Ireland. McGowan’s writing illuminates a unique culture, in which the tensions of the past permeate the present. It makes for a fascinating and complex backdrop to what is an incredibly gripping, and at times distressing, story. Be warned the prologue is particularly brutal. And to think I’ve slept in the same room as the mind that conjured that up.

 The Dead Ground, Claire McGowan: a heart beating 5/5

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