Live Blogging from Milford #7


There may be wine involved

Thursday 19th September

Jacey Bedford
Today was our last day of formal critiquing. The week has gone well. Submissions were all high standard and so were the critiques. My story was last up and I received enormously helpful feedback. This evening we gathered in the library after dinner for a session on markets and marketing, initially with suggestions for where and how ro market the pieces we all submitted, but then it expanded into a useful chat on publishing and agents in general.

Apart from a couple of people who are going to stay at Trigonos tomorrow and write, we’re all going to Criccieth for lunch and a visit to the castle. Wheee! A day off!

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Live Blogging from Milford #6


Lake Nantlle panorama by Victor Ocampo. (The lake at the bottom of the garden.)

Wednesday 18th September

Jacey Bedford
Tina arrived last night, only able to take part in the last part of the week due to unusual circumstances, so now we have our full fifteen writers. We might have cracked a bottle of wine and stayed up a little later than usual, but that’s what Milford is all about. Well, that and writing, of course.

Wednesday night is always the AGM. A new committee is elected to run Milford for the following year. That committee has been fairly static for the last couple of years and was reelected unanimously with one addition. So the Milford committee for the coming year is:

  • Dave Gullen – chair
  • Jacey Bedford – Secretary
  • Liz Williams – Chair in charge of vice
  • Tina Anghelatos – Treasurer (together with her minion)
  • Kari Sperring – in charge of shouting about the blog
  • Jim Anderson – egregious token male
  • and new for this year…
  • Tiffani Angus – links with academia

Blame them for anything you don’t like.

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Live Blogging from Milford #5

IMG_20190917_122656648.jpgJacey Bedford
Five of us ended up going to Caernarfon this morning. Liz Williams drove, Russell Smith snagged the front passenger seat. Karri Sperring, Victor Ocampo and I squished into the back seat. The weather was lovely, and Caernarfon was welcoming. we met a nice lady barn owl. Victor and Russell did a quick trip around the castle. Liz and I bought wearables, and we all had coffee.

Mark Bilsborough
Hard critting today, with plenty of chocolate to keep us sweet. We’ve had genocidal aliens, dreamy dream sequences, telepathic symbiotes and fire-starting mechanoids. Just another day in the office. Actually it doesn’t feel much like Milford – the sun’s shining, for a start, and I haven’t been to Mordor yet. The food, though, is as fantastic as ever. Of course, we’re all writing in our garrets now (yeah, right. For garret read drinking the library). It’s a hard life.

IMG_20190917_123032095Liz Williams
We have been working hard but escaped to Caernarfon this morning so that one of the overseas visitors could see the castle. This was a big success: we had tea, cake, a visit to the castle, several shops, sunshine and an owl (this was to advertise the re-opened Tourist Information centre). Socks were purchased. The sunshine meant a more or less uninterrupted view of Snowdon for most of the afternoon.

Russell Smith
Big day on the base and beyond. Got up at 7am and got straight on the catchup reading before breakfast and then my usual morning walk to the lake. Yeah, this is a thing for me now. But then we got to go across to Caernarfon, so have mooched around a castle, got a couple of fun souvenir presents and then we got back to a pretty intense critique session but a good one I think. Dinner was amazing and now we’re having a well-earned social. I’ll have some great pics for the week from today. I’ll figure them out from somewhere!

Victor Fernando R. Ocampo
Alder, rowan, birch. Rose, nightshade, meadowsweet and cockle.  I am in Wales, a lone tuft of cogon grass, atop  a hummock under which two dragons, ruby and crystal, turn turn turn in restless, eternal sleep.

In Milford, we feed them dreams of spaceships and puppet children, Astral Edens and fleshy things that change in the night. Through gates of horn and ivory,  we burn them in a fire of bones, freeze them in the Blackthorn winter till they rise again like a golden city of a thousand spires.

I had too much port, haven’t I? Or perhaps it’s the rush of another rich pastry. Many, many cwtches, new butties and old.

Milford is gold.


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Live Blogging from Milford #4


Sunrise over the Nantlle Ridge this morning, by Powder Thompson

Jacey Bedford
We had a good day yesterday. Four more stories critiqued constructively in the afternoon followed by good conversation in the library after dinner. Sometimes conversations break up into small groups of twos, threes or fours, and other times it’s one conversation involving everyone, which is what happened last night. We were talking publishing of course. Stick a bunch of writers in one room and sooner or later we start talking shop.

Some people are still catching up with their reading and critiquing, but five of us are heading into Caernarfon this morning. Our excuse is that Victor Ocampo, who has flown in from Singapore for Milford, wants to see the place. I always like to take a little trip into Caernarfon when I come to Milford. The town is quite small to say it has such a honking great castle in the middle of it, but it’s lovely to wander around.


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Live Blogging from Milford #3

Jacey Bedford
It’s Monday, but somehow it feels like Wednesday. Time doesn’t run quite straight here. Timey-wimey, wibbly-wobbly and all that. I’m preparing for another afternoon of critiquing. Four crits to deliver. I’ve read and critted all the pieces, but that was between late August and Early September, so I have to do another read through to remind myself of the pieces so I can talk sensibly about them. We only have four minutes to deliver what we want to say, but that’s plenty of time. After the critiquing has gone around the room, the author gets uninterrupted right of reply and then it mutates into a general discussion. We can also give the written piece back to the author at the end, or email it if we’ve done any line edits that are not worth bringing up in the spoken crit. We start at 2.00 and each crit takes about an hour. There’s a break for Trigonos’ excellent cake at 4.00. In some years we’ve had to start early and finish late because we’ve had up to six crits in a day, but this year it’s worked out that we have a steady four crits a day. Today it’s the turn of Russell Smith, Mark Bilsborough, Victor Ocampo and Tanya Haimbe in the hot seat.

Have an early morning view of the lake taken from Trigonos’ dining room. Even when it’s murky this is, truly, a lovely place to hang out in for a week.lake-1


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Live Blogging From Milford #2

Sunday 15th September – p.m.

Jacey Bedford
Jacey-new hairThe first full day of critiquing went well. Four stories were up for crit. Mine first, then stories from Tiffani Angus, Powder Thompson, and Sam Tovey. No one ran away screaming, ‘But you don’t understand my genius!’ No one burst into tears, and everyone kept to time. That’s a win!

We got some good out-of-context quotes, too:

“This story is Brothers Grimm meets Deliverance.” – Jacey Bedford

“There are possibilities for government snooping. Boris would bloody love this.” – Russell Smith

“I think you’re going to call a penis a tallywhacker and just get on with it.” – Powder Thompson

“A strong man is useful for moving furniture, but you wouldn’t want one to run the country.” – Kari Sperring

Liz Williams
Today has, I think, gone well: we try to start off the first day with 2 critiques for people who know the ropes, followed by 2 critiques for the new people. Today has been very positive with some outstanding contributions from the group. Otherwise, it’s been raining…but we are in Wales. Perfect weather for sitting in an old house and reading all morning. And it is roast lamb for dinner tonight. We’re currently sitting in the library for a pre-prandial drink.

Sue Oke
Had a really good day. Caught up with all the critiques, which meant I actually had time to write something new! No grandchildren knocking on my door, wanting a story (not a bad thing), but love writing in this beautiful place. It’s just the right sort of calm atmosphere. The afternoon (2pm-6pm) was our first, official, critiquing session. That went really well – great atmosphere, very professional and constructive. Tired now, though. Especially after the wonderful dinner we’ve just had. Sitting in the library, in front of a real log-fire, just the perfect way to end the day!

Sam Tovey
First round of critiquing today; my first experience of the Milford method, and, as I was one of the critees, something of a trial by fire. A very nice fire, mind. Plenty of laughs (featuring more genitally-oriented jokes than I would have expected), many incisive comments, and an overwhelmingly positive and friendly atmosphere. I’m looking forward to more of the same tomorrow! Still got some reading that I really ought to be doing, but it’s hard to leave the warmth of the library and head back to my room. (Plus there’s port here, so…)

Russell Smith
A fine way to spend a Sunday, and after a really quite anxious run up to my first critiquing chamber in *some* years now, I really did settle relatively quickly. Enjoyed the time – I may change my tune when it’s my turn in the den tomorrow but for now, have figured out a morning post-breakfast visit to the magnificent lake, enjoyed an incredible Sunday roast and am now having a fine time winding down by a window from where I can hear the river, close to a real fire crackling away, with a glass of port to hand. How very civilised.



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Live blogging from Milford 2019

Jacey Bedford
Sunday 15th September.

We gathered yesterday and started to get to know each other. There are five writers who have never been to Milford before, so we’re a good mix of newcomers and old hands. Some of us had horrendous journeys yesterday. My own should have been a three and a half hour drive and it took six, thanks to a huge tailback for roadworks on the North Wales expressway.

Sam was the last to arrive. A train delay caused him to miss a connection and we were just contemplating whether we should pile some dinner on a plate for him to microwave later, when he arrived.


In the library. Photo by Victor Ocampo.

Dinner over, we retired to the library. It doesn’t take long for conversations to start buzzing, and I think all the Milford newcomers felt comfortable. They all seemed to fit in right away. That’s the great thing about kettling a bunch of SF writers together in a remote location. We all have something in common and get on instantly.

I’m usually a night owl, but I was so tired from the journey that I was in bed and fast asleep before eleven thirty. I got a solid eight hours. Bliss! Breakfast this morning was sociable, and now I’m contemplating the crit session which starts this afternoon at two. We always start with someone who’s been to Milford before, so my story is up first.

Okay, Milford 2019. Have at it!

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