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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

WRITERS' & ARTISTS YEARBOOK






















Every two years, I buy the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook because I carry this ambition to be a writer when I grow up. It is a waste of money, in my view, to fork out for it every year.  It is not a perfect reference book and is not always up-to-date but it contains an enormous amount of guidance, ideas and contacts and has helped me gain several commissions over the years. It has taught me a lot, like an old campaigner pointing a rookie in the right direction.

It is a book for browsing and checking, mainly, but it also contains authoritative articles from experienced writers, editors, agents, et al.

I was impressed particularly with and encouraged by "Writing Features for Newspapers and Magazines" by Merope Mills, formerly editor of the Saturday Guardian and its Weekend magazine. She is now the San Francisco-based West Coast Editor of Guardian US.

She gives the beginner/learner sound advice on starting out, ideas, contacting publications, style, money, deadlines and editing.

"No one could accurately predict what shape the industry will take a few years from now, but one thing is for sure: every title needs great writers, ideas and well-written content. But be it for print or online arm of its operation, making the right approach, especially if you are unknown to an editor, is more essential than ever."

Somewhere in the book - I can't find the page right now - I found a site called clippings.me, an online showcase for writers to add links to published work.  This is what it looks like: https://www.clippings.me/users/45142

It's another way to self-promote and costs nothing for up to 10 links.

Anyway, enough of this blether, I'm off to write a poetry pamphlet.

Monday, 29 August 2016

BAD DAY AT THE OFFICE

I’ve had bad days but not as bad as John J. Macreedy’s in Black Rock,
A day for him that began as he stepped off a train and into a world
Of secrets and lies, an isolated place of menace led by Reno Smith
And his heavies, Hector David and Coley Trimble.  Spencer Tracy,
Robert Ryan, Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine got on with their day
And I went to work in a period of bad day after bad day after bad day.
We were a ‘respect for the individual’ company, modern guru claptrap,
Mouthed by old-school bosses who couldn’t give a toss about changing,
After all, the old bark and bite ways worked. “Just bloody well do your job,
Or else!”  Big bully boss-boys and, sometimes, girls dressed themselves
In the morning with a sneer, a grimace, ready to belittle, begrudge, be a bastard 
Or bitch because that was their fun, that was ego in top gear. “JFDI” –
“Just fuckin’ do it” – a mantra behind the wafer-thin curtain of culture,
A workplace on paper that looked like Disney cartoons, wholesome,
Encouraging, celebratory and proud. Away from the bullshit, smeared
On wall posters, on pocket-size leaflets, on badges and message pads,
Stone-faced business tyrants, Renos, Hectors, Coleys, underestimating 
Us Macreedys. “JFDI,” they’d bawl. “JFDI.”  Until one of our number, hit back, 
Just like John J. - “You're not only wrong. You're wrong at the top of your voice.”

Saturday, 27 August 2016

FAO FEATURES EDITORS - SEPTEMBER BULLETIN

Hello.

Here are some ideas for September features. Some of them may be in your diary already. Some of them may be added to your diary after reading this. Some features may be written by in-house journalists. But maybe, just maybe, I can write something for you.

Let me know what you want, word count, deadline and fee and I will get to work. (A summary of my published work appears below.)

Here's the September list and, if I can help, I look forward to hearing from you. joecushnan@aol.com

SEPTEMBER












5 Freddie Mercury would have been 70

6 Princess Diana's funeral in 1997 (I have a retail story about trivia on that day).

8 First Star Trek TV episode shown on US TV













9 Otis Redding would have been 85

12 Johnny Cash died in 2003












13 Roald Dahl born 100 years ago

14 Princess Grace of Monaco died in 1982

15 The Sun newspaper published for first time in 1964

16 Marc Bolan died in 1977

18 Jimi Hendrix died in 1970

20 Cannes Film Festival founded 70 years ago

21 H G Wells born 150 years ago

27 Hippy musical 'Hair' opened in London in 1968

30 Pinewood Studios officially opened 85 years ago

30 James Dean died in 1955


Best wishes,

joecushnan@aol.com

JOE CUSHNAN
Born and raised in Belfast, now living in Nottinghamshire.

Books: Shops, Shoppers, Shopping & Shafted; Before Amnesia: Seeds Of A Memoir; Shaking Hands; Retail Confidential; Much Calamity & The Redundance Kid; Stephen Boyd: From Belfast To Hollywood; Hamish Sheaney: The Nearly-Man Of Irish Literature; Juggling Jelly; Geek!; A Belfast Kid; Jack Elam, I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life; The Chuckle Files; The Poems Of Hamish Sheaney: Remastered & Expanded; Only Yules & Verses; Only Drools & Corsets; Fun With Words, Fun With Rhyme; Fun With Words, Fun With Noise


Published features, reviews and poetry include - The Galway Review, Scarlet Leaf Review, Derwent Poetry Festival 2015, 2015 Templar Poetry Anthology “Mill”, Octavius Magazine, Ireland’s Big Issue, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Belfast Telegraph, 2013 Belfast Book Festival, Irish News, BBC TV NI “Stephen Boyd: The Man Who Never Was”, BBC Radio Sheffield “Rony Robinson”, BBC Radio Ulster “Saturday Magazine”, BBC Radio 4 “You & Yours”, The Guardian, Tribune, NZ Management, The Grocer, Retail Week, Edge, Open Eye, Yorkshire Post, The Catholic Herald, Cambridge Evening News, The London Paper, Southern Cross, NZ Freelance, Writer’s News, Belfast News Letter, Irelands Own, Fortnight, The Dalhousie Review; Blithe Spirit; The Cannon’s Mouth, Poetry Monthly, Poetic Comment, Bard, Current Accounts, Candelabrum, Decanto, Inclement, Haiku Scotland, Time Haiku, etc. 

Friday, 26 August 2016

FREELANCE WRITING - TAKING STOCK

FREELANCE WRITER - JOECUSHNAN@AOL.COM

35-YEAR+ RETAIL MANAGEMENT CAREER (COMMISSIONS ACCEPTED FOR GENERAL PIECES ON SHOPS, SHOPPERS, SHOPPING, RETAIL OPERATIONS AND THE "OLD DAYS")

BELFAST-BORN, SO VERY INTERESTED IN FAMOUS NAMES FROM NORTHERN IRELAND (COMMISSIONS ACCEPTED FOR PROFILES OF ACTORS, WRITERS, MUSICIANS, NOSTALGIA PIECES, ET AL) 

A NEAR-60-YEAR-OLD SENSE OF HUMOUR (COMMISSIONS ACCEPTED FOR "AT LARGE" PIECES ON LIFE'S QUIRKY WAYS)

I'M OPEN FOR BUSINESS, KEYBOARD CRANKED UP AND BRAIN IN GEAR. GET IN TOUCH. NO DEADLINE IS TOO SHORT (HMMM! I MIGHT REGRET THAT ONE)

I've been taking stock of my freelance writing over the past ten years or so and, if I may say so, a wide variety of interesting material has been published by kindly editors - a special mention and thank you here to Gail Walker, Editor, Belfast Telegraph for support and encouragement.

I have a few cuttings from thirty or so years ago of stuff I wrote for the old Sunday News in Northern Ireland. The pieces aren't very good but it was a starting point.  Since then I have developed a growing portfolio of published features, reviews and poetry.

I wrote a few retail articles (in a near-40-year career, I had - and still have - many stories and opinions!) I stuffed a lot of them into a book called Retail Confidential.


For a couple of years, I wrote radio and book reviews for Tribune magazine, as well as occasional TV and theatre reviews.  Here's a link to some of them. (Even though it says Tribune Web Editor on some of the reviews, I wrote them): http://www.tribunemagazine.org/?s=Joe+Cushnan



















I have had features published on Northern Irish subjects including Stephen Boyd, Sam Kydd, David McWilliams, the Ulster Hall, and a couple of personal family history pieces, and a reflective piece on the demise of British Home Stores.  Most of my features have appeared in the Belfast Telegraph, with a  couple in the Irish News.  Here's a link to a selection: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/search/?search=Joe+Cushnan




My most successful book is Stephen Boyd: From Belfast To Hollywood. It ticks along with paperbacks and downloads, not Harry Potter numbers but very pleasing.

My blog (this very thing you are reading) has attracted 108,000 views in 5 years - not too shabby. It contains all sorts of things but lately I have tried to devote the lion's share of space to reviewing more and more Northern Irish talent - writers and musicians. Use the search box to look up Evan Marshall, Liam Beckett, Michael Bradley, Paula McIntyre, Mairead Healy Kaz Hawkins Band, Simon Murphy, Mandy Bingham, Stephen Dunwoody, Brigid O'Neill, The Holy Innocents and more.

I write fun verse for children and adults including these two books:

The Poems of Hamish Sheaney Remastered & Expanded




Box Set (Without a Box) of Funny Poems


There is much more but I don't want to bore anybody. (Who's yawning at the back?)

I can send more samples to anyone interested in hiring me.

Either way, I'll keep tapping away in my own orbit.


SUMMARY:

Books: Shops, Shoppers, Shopping & Shafted; Before Amnesia: Seeds Of A Memoir; Shaking Hands; Retail Confidential; Much Calamity & The Redundance Kid; Stephen Boyd: From Belfast To Hollywood; Hamish Sheaney: The Nearly-Man Of Irish Literature; Juggling Jelly; Geek!; A Belfast Kid; Jack Elam, I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life; The Chuckle Files; The Poems Of Hamish Sheaney: Remastered & Expanded; Only Yules & Verses; Only Drools & Corsets; Fun With Words, Fun With Rhyme; Fun With Words, Fun With Noise


Creative portfolio includes The Galway Review, Scarlet Leaf Review, Derwent Poetry Festival 2015, 2015 Templar Poetry Anthology “Mill”, Octavius Magazine, Ireland’s Big Issue, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Belfast Telegraph, 2013 Belfast Book Festival, Irish News, BBC TV NI “Stephen Boyd: The Man Who Never Was”, BBC Radio Sheffield “Rony Robinson”, BBC Radio Ulster “Saturday Magazine”, BBC Radio 4 “You & Yours”, The Guardian, Tribune, NZ Management, The Grocer, Retail Week, Edge, Open Eye, Yorkshire Post, The Catholic Herald, Cambridge Evening News, The London Paper, Southern Cross, NZ Freelance, Writer’s News, Belfast News Letter, Irelands Own, Fortnight, The Dalhousie Review; Blithe Spirit; The Cannon’s Mouth, Poetry Monthly, Poetic Comment, Bard, Current Accounts, Candelabrum, Decanto, Inclement, Haiku Scotland, Time Haiku, etc.