Happy New Year 2018

Happy New Year 2018 Fireworks in London (from BBC)

Happy New Year 2018 and thanks for dropping by.

A new year means new beginnings, resolutions and good intentions. 2017 was a very tough year for me in my personal life so I am very pleased to leave it behind and look forward to fresh horizons. As with anyone who takes a hit on the personal front, my work life has suffered over the last twelve months and I start the new year looking forward to getting back to the focus of being an author.

As I have said in other posts, being an author is not all about writing. There are a lot of other aspects to the job – including writing blog posts! So my current Open Projects List looks like this :

  • Series fiction proposals – this is my creative focus for the beginning of the year. I’d love to write and sell one of my zany series fiction ideas to a major publisher.

Move over Famous Five and Beast Quest!

  • Devise sessions for an after school club – I’m delighted to have been asked to run a creative writing club at a school in Forest Hill. I hope to be able to share some of their work later in the year.
  • Write a day course for adults. I teach creative writing part-time at The City Lit in London and I am running a course in early February so I need to put the materials together.
  • CWISL – I belong to a group of authors called CWISL – Children’s Writers and Illustrators for Stories and Literacy – we work together to deliver literary events for children. I’m joint webmaster for CWISL and I’m also jointly responsible for creating the annual literary quiz
  • Review my website (this one) and build a new one to promote my services as a literary mentor to aspiring children’s authors. So if you know anyone who would like some help then ask them to drop me a line.
  • Papers Pens Poets. Like many authors I am a stationery addict. Eighteen months ago,  I set up a website with my dear friend Anita Loughrey, exploring the way authors use stationery in their work. Papers Pens Poets includes interviews with authors and stationery reviews.

Anita at the London Stationery Show

Anita and Me – a business lunch overlooking the Thames

Sadly, Papers Pens Poets has been another victim of my difficult year so I’m determined to put that right in 2018.

So it’s a busy start to 2018. Bring it on!

Jo Franklin

Stationery Addicts of the World Unite

Are all authors stationery addicts? I certainly am. One of the rules of this house is ‘Don’t take anything from the stationery cupboard’. My daughter sometimes begs to open the door and peek inside, but I only let her under close supervision.

I did let Anita Loughrey look inside once. She sat on the floor, opened the doors and marveled at the contents. I knew she was my true friend when she didn’t ask me to give her a single thing from my collection.

Anita is my kind of stationery addict.

She was also the perfect choice to accompany me to the London Stationery Show. We were hoping to worship at the altar of stationery and maybe pick up a few freebies along the way. But because it was a trade show, I felt a bit of a fraud which is why I suggested we set up Papers Pens Poets,

‘The place for writers and other stationery addicts to share their passion for papers and pens.’

Anita has written her own blog about the experience which you can read here.

It was a mad few days. Here is a rough timeline of what we did when. It’s amazing what you can do when you have passion and a tight deadline.


  • 16.37 Jo ‘Let’s create a blog and call it Papers Pens Poets’
  • 16.38 Anita ‘Yes let’s do that.’
  • 17.00 Register www.paperspenspoets.co.uk domain name.
  • 17.30 Create contact@paperspenspoets.co.uk email address
  • 17.31 Jo start fiddling around with business card designs
  • 17.35 Anita gathers inspirational author/stationery quotes to use on cards

Family time

  • 21.00 Jo has crisps for tea.
  • 22.00 Jo sends first roughs of business card to Anita.
  • 22.30 Jo convinces herself the card design is boring so makes a new one

We both go to bed after midnight


  • 7.30 Anita says she prefers the first card design.
  • 9.30 Jo places express order for 50 cards with www.moo.com

Jo goes to her writing critique group. Anita gets on with real work.

  • 18.00 Jo discovers that Weebly have redesigned their interface. Help!
  • 21.00 Jo registers with every free website hosting site in the universe and eventually decides to design the site in WordPress.

Saturday (NB Jo’s daughter’s 14th birthday sleepover weekend)
The whole day is spent with frantic phone calls between Anita and Jo. Jo designs the site while Anita works on the content.
12.00 Anita creates @paperspenspoets on twitter
Ideas are flowing thick and fast and clogging up both email boxes. This thing is going to work!
15.00 Jo bakes a birthday cake
Jo walks her dog by taking him to Liverpool Street Station to collect the Moo business cards. They look great

Anita schedules the first blog post for Monday morning.
Last few glitches ironed out. We’ve done it!
We launch the site and have 435 views on the first day. It’s a success!
We have a brilliant day at the London Stationery Fair and give out 50 business cards.Papers Pens Poets is a tremendous success. We’ve written reviews and articles. We’ve interviewed some authors and have a queue of others begging to be featured on our site. Do get in touch if you want to be interviewed about your love of stationery.Next job : Learn how to keep Papers Pens Poets in it’s place. Meanwhile we are having a blast.