All Aboard the Runaway Creative Train: The Year of the Handbag

In March, I discovered my husband had published my manuscript on Amazon. Clutching the lilac handbag, I went into a bit of a panic.  The delete button on my laptop did not remove the book from Amazon. There was no chocolate in the house, so I ignored him by reading a book.   Little did I know, he’d presented me with a ticket to begin a creative writing journey via social media.

While waiting to board the creative train, I watched YouTube footage about how to engage in social media. I wish I had known about Neetsmarketing rather than shouting at the lovely people who were trying to explain.  Fortunately,  there was light at the end of the tunnel, Sue Moorcroft was the first person to accept my friend request on Twitter.    Her response to my book review and ideas to promote ‘Just for the Holidays’ lit the creative spark, and she helped me to understand Twitter. The sound of the whistle jolted the pistons in my imagination.

Once I had boarded the creative train, some wonderful people waved me off. The first review request came from Angela Petch.   Her reaction to my review of ‘Now and Then in Tuscany’ fuelled the creative enthusiasm and the train started to increase pace.  She also agreed to join me in a whacky race to meet up with Sue Moorcroft’s character, in France.  Angela introduced me to Patricia Feinberg Stoner and Rosemary Noble.  Rosemary ‘Ranter’s Wharf’ made me rant on behalf of my ancestors. Patricia’s book is funniest book I have ever read about becoming an accidental expat, in France. It was a great day when Patricia sent me her ‘Rude Book of Limericks’, and I realised she had quoted me on her front cover.

I crashed into the inspirational Diane Need, in the Midlands, when my creative ideas were heading in all directions.  Diane’s heart-warming, fun novel was a great read on the journey.  Jan Ellis asked me to review one of her books and sent me a book parcel, and this was the ticket to my new collection of books. Jan is currently writing a blog post about the contents of her handbag, and I know it will be amusing.

On my creative journey abroad, I stopped off to meet Patricia Furstenberg. She took me on a magical journey back to my childhood through her children’s books.  She is also my Twitter guru and is Queen of the Hashtags.  At her stop, Patricia introduced me to Jennifer from ‘Jennieration’.  Jen is a ‘fearless thinker’ who delights in language, culture and creativity. Jen’s daughter, Ella, is the youngest author in my Handbag Gallery, and she wrote a wonderfully creative guest post.

While speeding along the tracks of creativity, I met Carol Cooper.  And I was thrilled when she came up with the idea of interviewing the interviewer.  She looked inside my handbag and made me reflect on my journey. Angela Petch also asked me questions about the editing journey.  At this point, I reached a bit of a crossroads, I had neglected my writing.  The blogging train had been gaining speed and getting out of control.  I decided to get off at the next stop and visit my book again.

Locked in my study, in ‘Editingland’, I couldn’t resist interacting with Wendy Clarke.  I stopped over at ‘Silent Night’ to present an extract, and found Wendy incredibly supportive.  She featured me in her blog, and wrote a generous blog post about how to use software to market a book.  What a wonderful stopover!  I would never have found out about this if I had not boarded the creative train via social media.

Finally, I realised the creative train isn’t out of control.  Sometimes, one shouldn’t worry too much about the final destination, but one does need to interact with others on the journey.  ‘You Can’t Go It Alone’ so I recently asked Angela for support. Angela will talk to me about my editing next year.  My interactions with Adrienne Vaughan and Jan Brigden also gave me a lovely boost on my journey.  Caz Greenham, the children’s author, has convinced me that Eric Seagull exists. I now live inside the creative world with authors. It was lots of laughs with the hilarious Lisa Mary London.  However, it was frightening inside the Dutch woods and the world of Imogen Matthews’s characters.  She is mailing a guest post to Books in Handbag about how she stumbled on a forgotten World War Two.  I will be travelling back in time to the seventeenth century with Anna Belfrage.

Having established my seat on the creative journey, my role as blogger has gained pace in 2017. Thanks to the response of the writing and reading community, I have had a wonderful year. My role as an ‘accidental’ blogger and supporter of writers has pushed me towards an exciting, unknown destination. Each day, I open photos of handbags and develop more interactions with wonderful authors.  Next year, I will launch an initiative for readers with Anne Williams. I hope that many others will hop aboard the new initiative to celebrate reading.

While writing about my journey, Judith Barrow has just tweeted that she has ‘enjoyed being part of the journey’.  The people I have met on my journey have made the whole adventure worthwhile, as I get to peer through the window at their writing world.  Sue Bentley’s friendly comments always make me smile as I head towards my unknown destination.

A big thank you to everyone for supporting my blog – your enthusiasm has fuelled my creativity and put me on track. Have a wonderful Christmas! Best wishes for 2018! Hope you will join me for more adventures in 2018. 

For me, this has been the creative year of the handbag and new friendships!  How can you sum up your year?  The Year of …


Please see all my adventures at Handbag Adventures and my blog at

15 thoughts on “All Aboard the Runaway Creative Train: The Year of the Handbag”

  1. Dearest Jessie, what an exciting 2017 you had! Thank you for taking us along on your handbag adventures and for supporting us, writers, and our books, through your lovely tweets!
    I remember the first posts with books in handbag I saw on Twitter; the handbags AND the books grabbed my attention, I thought it was unique for a Lady’s handbag is, well, private territory *wink* 🙂 At the same time, an author will pour her heart in that book she writes… Matching the two created the perfect pair.
    Getting to know you, Jessie, has been a privilege and a joy. Your creativity and energy, your optimism and kindness, have been an inspiration and have, more than once, brightened up my publishing days 🙂
    Thank you so much for your friendship 🙂 and for inviting me to your brilliant blog, amid such talented authors, interesting reads and epic guest posts 🙂
    Merry Christmas, Jessie, joy and blessings to you and your loved ones and a 2018 filled with prolific ideas, love and happiness – and a successful publication day of your very own! *wink*

    1. Patricia, I am thrilled to have met you, and delighted you have joined me on my journey. Your online presence and support motivate me. Your kindness and creativity shine so brightly out there is cyberspace – you are a star. You have guided me through Twitter and inspired ideas such as the guest post page. I feel so privileged to have supported your beautiful children’s books. This is just the beginning of an exciting creative journey! Have a wonderful Christmas with your family.

  2. Terrific article about Indie authors coming together to help each other succeed! It makes me so proud to be a part of this great community! Wishing you the best of luck and success on your continuing journey, Jessie!

    1. Lovely feedback! So kind of you to make these observations. Certainly, we are stronger together. Mutual support is key!

  3. And we all owe you a big ‘thank you’ too, Jessie, for all your support and encouragement.I must also mention your wonderful husband Tom who has sorted me out when the technological gremlins bit. I agree with Angela, we must try and meet up some time soon. Have a wonderful Christmas and….. keeeeeep blogging!

    1. Thanks for your kindness and friendship. I have found my favourite comedy writer! Tom is delighted to have helped. It would be a real treat to meet up with the three wise ladies!

  4. Jessie. Wow. You’ve been on the most amazing journey. I’m really looking forward to hearing about your next, series, of adventures during 2018. I love reading your blogs…you’re so talented in what you do. Not only that…you’re such a fabulous supporter of authors; including moi and my hero Eric Seagull. Thank you, Jess. Wishing you and your family a fabulous Christmas. Best wishes from Brixham Bay. Caz x

    1. Caz, it has been a joy to meet you and Eric – such fun! Our interactions on social media always make me smile. Have a glamorous Christmas! Hopefully, I look forward to hearing more about Eric’s adventures. Always a pleasure to support the creative community!

    1. I have enjoyed reading your thought-provoking novels. Your stories distracted me from my favourite TV programmes as they are so intriguing. Great to meet you, Helene.

  5. Just wonderful! I believe in fate. That morning when I tentatively dipped my toes into the waters of Twitter, I discovered it wasn’t the freezing, hostile ocean I had feared. I noticed a handbag icon and – living in Italy, home of wonderful leather handbags, amongst other delights – I decided to follow. Without a doubt, finding friendship and support with you, Jessie, has been a highlight of 2017 for me. Your blog, your tweets, your posts on Facebook manage to combine a professional approach with originality and fun. My dream is to be able to all meet up in actuality one day and have a fantastic party with all these like-minded people you have gathered together in your capacious handbag. Thank you so much. Here’s to 2018. xx

    1. Angela, you have made me laugh with your comments, and made me cry with your books – perfect. I am delighted to have benefited from your words of wisdom. It is incredible to sustain a friendship through words, but it would be great to meet up one day.

  6. Fantastic post, Jessie, so brilliantly written, imaginative and entertaining. Your blog is a joy with all the wonderful features and your support of authors and the reading community in general is treasured by us all. Thank you for all the personal support you’ve offered me and my novel throughout the year from interviews to the fab handbag gallery to being able to showcase an extract. I’m so proud to be included in your lovely post and to have gained you as a friend. Wishing you a very happy Christmas & New Year Xx

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and wonderful support. Your friendship and kindness mean a great deal to me. You comments have been like little gifts of positivity nourishing my enthusiasm. Thank you! Good luck with your novel. Enjoy the festive fun!

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