Poetry in Colour – 2nd – 30th September – Evesham Library

Painting by Lindsay Tether

The exhibition features artwork by Lindsay Tether and poetry by Sue Johnson. Sue wrote poems in response to Lindsay’s paintings and Lindsay created artwork in response to Sue’s poems. Each item in the exhibition tells a story. They are all linked in some way.

It has been an absolute pleasure working with Lindsay – and has also involved a lot of meeting for coffee.

The exhibition and workshop on Monday 16th September (now sold out) is part of the 2019 Evesham Festival of Words programme.

September Inspirations

Keep challenging yourself! Don’t worry about what other people do or say. If I’d done that, most of the poems, stories and novels I’ve had published would never have been completed.

Keep submitting work to competitions and publishers. Be proud of the rejections you get. It proves you are a writer.

Take a look at Dahlia Publishing on Twitter. Have a go at their Short Story September challenge. I did this last year and completed 30 flash fiction stories – many of which have been published.

Also take a look at Inktober – this gives you a word each day in October. The idea is that you create a piece of art but I’ve found it worked equally well as a prompt for poetry. If you’re really feeling adventurous, do both. #amwriting

This then leads on to November and NaNoWriMo – which stands for National Novel Writing Month. The idea is that you do 50,000 words in November. However, it doesn’t have to be a novel. You could do a short story collection if you want to or outline several projects ready for a flying start in 2020.

The Glass Prison

I’m very happy that my historical story ‘The Glass Prison’ is published in the new issue of ‘Woman’s Weekly Fiction Series.’ Venice is one of my passions and getting this story published has been an exercise in persistence.

If you’ve written a story that you feel passionate about, then stick with it however long it takes. It will get there.

July Inspirations

For many of us, July will build memories of boiling in a heat-wave and trying to find ways of keeping cool.

Remember to document some of this – the feeling that you are melting, sweaty skin and clothes, heat mirages on the road and the blessed relief of a cool shower.

Write about the tension heat can create where people aren’t sleeping well, the frustrations over inconsiderate neighbours with late barbecues. Write about the feeling of release and a thunderstorm can give.

Also – Christmas may not be the first thing on your mind right now, but it’s a good time to polish up those stories and submit them to women’s magazines or begin that Christmas-themed novella.

Money in the bank

Buy yourself a notebook (if you don’t already carry one). Use it to jot down ideas for stories, brief descriptions of people and places and fragments of overheard conversation.

Use the information to create short, experimental pieces. Aim to finish one every day. Aim for 100 words. (This can be developed and expanded into a longer story).

Treat the stories and information you gather like money in the bank or a harvest of fruit or vegetables.

Midsummer Writing Exercise

Take a large sheet of paper and make a list of everything you feel passionate about.

List the projects you would like to do – however large or small.

My list is as random as this:

  • Create a book of poems about Venice with recipes
  • Write a play about a quilt
  • Create some inspiration cards for writers
  • Record visualisations for writers
  • Start painting again
  • Dust off my guitar and play one tune

Please note that several of these projects are things I’ve been advised by other writers not to bother with as they won’t make a lot of money!

The question is – how do they know?

Don’t let yourself be held back by anxiety about what other people will think. Go for whatever you want to do and good luck.



Threads – spinning the web of time

Almost exactly a year ago I went into a shop called Quilters Corner, opposite the library in Evesham, Worcestershire. It was a wet Saturday in March 2018. I was attracted by a beautiful quilt hanging in the window. It was log cabin pattern, using a variety of dark green, rust and cream fabrics. As a former patchwork addict, it was like a magnet. However, more surprises were to come! Inside the shop I came face to face with a black and gold Naumann sewing machine similar to the one owned by my Great Grandmother and passed on to my mother on her marriage to my father. It was the machine I learned to sew on – with varying degrees of success!

I stood gazing at the machine as time span backwards, did a loop the loop and left my brain spinning. I left the shop, went to the nearest café and sat writing a torrent of ideas. A year later, the result is this book. So far, this book has exceeded any expectations I had. The book signing in Quilters Corner (held on a wet Thursday in early April) was an amazing event (photo of me with Charlie Gannon, owner of Quilters Corner). The book is selling well – I have a small following in Germany – and appears to be leading to other projects I would never have thought of doing. I am also researching another novel set in Liverpool and Belfast.

Several people told me not to bother with this project. I am so glad I disregarded their advice and just did it. 

Right to Write Workshops – Tesco St Oswalds, Gloucester

Joy Thomas and I offer a monthly workshop in the Community Room in Tesco, St Oswalds Road, Gloucester – usually on the second Wednesday of the month.

The workshops run from 10.30 – 12.30 and cost £8.00.

Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided.

The next workshop is on Wednesday 11th September 2019. For further details and to book a place, please contact Sue on 01386 446477.

Flash Fiction & Poetry Workshops – Cheltenham – Second Tuesday of the Month

I run these workshops with Joy Thomas at The Suffolk Anthology Bookshop, Suffolk Parade, Cheltenham on the second Tuesday of the month from 10.30 – 1.00.

The cost is £12 and this includes a cup of tea or coffee.

The next workshop will be on Tuesday 10th September.

For further information and to book a place, please contact me: sue.r.johnson@outlook.com

The Girl With Amber Eyes

I am still having great fun with my ‘Year of Living Dangerously.’

I have a list of projects I want to write and publish by 10th September this year. After that I will review what has happened. If I am still having as much fun as I am now, then I will continue. If not, I will go for Plan B.

My first production for this year is ‘The Girl With Amber Eyes’ – originally published by My Weekly as a Pocket Novel.

The book is available on Amazon – £1.99 on Kindle – £7.00 paperback. I am also in the process of producing an audiobook.