She was born, bred and buttered in Blackpool.

That’s what Dublin means. Originating from the Gaelic: dubh meaning black: linn meaning pool. Dubh linn = Dublin.

Ria has always had a love for stories, possibly because of the culture she comes from. A seanchaí (shan-a-key), meaning a storyteller, has been part of the Irish way of life since pre-history, handing down stories by word of mouth before they were ever documented in text. She learned of this in her early years at school through the stories of mythology. Growing up, she found a passion for stories through movies, TV and books and this has always stayed with her.

Now in her latter years, she is creating her own stories which she loves sharing. These always include some humor, whether it is a novel or short story, her passion for writing is forever expanding. Ria has always had a love of all that is art and craft, which has bled into her hobbies, such as, painting, photography, bonsai, and creating three-string cigar box guitars. Obviously writing is there also.  She even studied art and technical drawing as additional subjects outside of her school curriculum.

As a teenager, she was involved in school productions as an art director and stage and prop manager. In third level education, she chose to study Architectural Technology.  On qualifying in 1984 she moved to London as Ireland was heading into recession and architectural work was getting slim. The UK however, was shooting out of recession under Maggie Thatcher.

She has lived and worked in the southeast of England up to the present day with no thoughts of moving back to the ‘Auld Sod’. Working with some of the top fifty architectural practices in her career, she has been involved in projects like Guy’s Hospital, Disney’s Offices, London and Smith Klein Glaxo office complex in West London among many others. She currently works in Canterbury, still as an architectural technician, producing the drawings a builder builds from and overseeing works on site.

Retirement beckons in the next few years, however, she will never be bored.



Jane Cottle is retired but not retiring and has had an interesting life which is probably why she has a vivid imagination and enjoys writing.

Her mother ran a music hall troupe so from an early age she was singing and dancing on stage.  Her father was a politician so she got introduced to quite a few famous people and appeared several times on television.

At 17 she was offered a recording opportunity by Apple Core, the Beatles recording company but turned it down!  She wanted to study and became a teacher instead.

Her first degree was in English from Sussex university and all her working life has been in education, initially in a primary school in London and later at a school for the blind in Kent. Whilst working she continued to study at Birmingham and Canterbury universities specialising in visual impairment, physical impairment and multisensory impairment.  She has tutored both Birmingham and Cambridge universities, training teachers to become specialists in visual impairment.  Her last post was as an education manager for Kent working specifically with children and adults who were blind or deafblind.  In 2011 she won Kent teacher of the year for her work with blind students. Her work with blind people has often inspired her writing because she had to paint pictures with words for them, particularly when describing abstract visual phenomena such as clouds and rainbows. 

She has always loved writing and performing and has written several musical plays for schools and also academic texts including one on writing in Braille. Outside of work she has performed in many amateur shows and pantomimes and as a result met more famous people and occasionally appeared on television.

Jane has been married twice and is now a widow. She has one son.

When she retired she completed an open university course in creative writing and joined Write by the Sea and also Shepway writers.  She writes for herself as a hobby because she has a head full of words and just has to write them down!  She has entered a few writing competitions and has won a couple and been shortlisted for a few.  She had two stories in Ghosts by the sea and there will be a couple in the new anthology.

She doesn’t particularly yearn to be a published writer but wants to leave a legacy behind of the thoughts in her head and the person that she is.  

After her mother died Jane discovered a treasure trove of poems and plays that her mother had written which brought great pleasure to the whole family.   Jane hopes that at some time in the future someone will read her own scribblings and understand her thoughts and feelings about life in the same way.

Events, Meetings


Happy new year, so excited for our meetings and events this year, we are also coming into our 5th year of Write By The Sea. How quick time goes, I feel we are getting better each year. Our first meeting is Thursday 12th January, see you there. Here are the dates and events so far that we have booked, the rest should be confirmed before the end of the month.



What a brilliant year for this writing group, with so many events and meetings that have all been successful. It was great to have Mićhel Faber visit us and give an excellent talk about his writing. If you have bought his books and want them signed he will pop in and do a signing next year. The workshops have been popular so we will be doing more of those in the new year. We are in the process of getting our events sorted for the year so we can step up our advertising in printed form. The third anthology has been delayed as it is so big, we have over 30 stories this time so editing has taken longer. We are aiming to have it ready for sale in the Spring as I think Travel By The Sea will be a good time to launch. We are arranging a book launch for this anthology so will let you know the date and venue as soon as possible.

We are finished now for this year so have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and see you on the 12th of January at Anna’s at 6pm.