A few months ago I discovered elitewriters.co.uk and got into email correspondence with the site owner, Ellie Williamson. She seemed great, we'd chat about how ridiculous it was, us both being up at 2am in the morning working on our various bits of fiction, seemingly not realising that we weren't actually writing at all but chatting.
I was going to be the site's profiled writer in July. I submitted the required pieces of writing - an About You, a Blog Entry and a Short Piece of Fiction but then everything went quiet. A few days of no response and I had a terrible sense of foreboding. I knew I'd only 'met' Ellie on-line but she just didn't seem the type of person to suddenly, and without explanation, close all communication. I kept checking back to the site which was like the Marie Celeste. I even had the fleeting notion that the site was a scam to fleece my £10 annual membership from me but I had to have a stern word with myself for doubting my instincts; I knew that Ellie Williamson and her site were completely kosher.
When I got back from holiday, I clicked on the link to elitewriters.co.uk and everything had changed. A new homepage had been uploaded which explained that Ellie had died after a three year battle with breast cancer. Her friend and colleague, Lorraine Cornish, who runs Words Undone and also helps out with Active Writers, had decided to take over the site in her memory.
I wouldn't claim to know Ellie or insult those close to her by pretending to feel a grief like theirs but I enjoyed my few months of correspondence with her and do feel real sadness that another person in their mid-forties should lose their life too soon.
So, I'd like to help Lorraine promote elitewriters.co.uk in Ellie's memory. If you're a writer, please have a look at the site. It's primarily a showcase for writing with constant opportunities to enter competitions and air your missives. If you're a reader, please pop over there and let us budding wannabes know your thoughts.
My July profile has been resurrected for September so you'll see me over there. I had to steady my hand when I submitted the featured short story as it's something I wrote ten years ago, annoyed by the rise in cosmetic surgery, even back then. I rediscovered the story (it isn't as heavy as it sounds) and decided to give it a whirl. However it's the first time I've ever submitted anything which hasn't been read and critiqued by an army of helpful others. I'd be keen to know your thoughts - honest!
Thanks for listening and here's to making the best of every moment while we're still lucky enough to be here.