Friday, 15 June 2018

Written a novel novel?

For this competition, "The judges will be looking for novels which explore and expand the possibilities of the form, which are innovative and imaginative in style, which tackle subjects and themes relevant to the world we live in." If you've written something which does that, then you could might win the £3,000 prize. Sorry, UK residents only.

As my novel Leave Nothing But Footprints has already been published, I can't enter it. I doubt that it's what they're looking for anyway, but as it's set in a camper van, features great scenery, food and photographers, and is romantic, it's very relevant to the world in which I'm living at the moment!

Wednesday, 13 June 2018


A nugget is a lump of gold, or other precious substance, as found in the earth. It can also mean anything else which is valuable for its size, particularly something abstract such as a useful nugget of information.

As I lack both lumps of gold and the skill to photograph abstract concepts, here's a picture of Hev-Ock. She may be small, but I treasure her. My oldest (yet still incredibly youthful) friend gave her to me for luck and since then she's been a little nugget of inspiration.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Visual Verse

Each month, Visual Verse offer an image as a prompt and invite writers to come up with a short story or poem in just one hour. (You start when you like and time yourself.) It's probably more of a personal challenge than a competition against others, although as they say they'll publish 'up to 100 writers over the course of the month' it seems reasonable to suppose that they'll select the best pieces.

This seems to me like a fun thing to do. Can you spare an hour to have a go? If that's too long, or you fancy a warm up, you can try this challenge – I'm giving you three minutes, starting from now, to write something prompted by this image. You can either post it below, or if you decide to keep working on it and submit it somewhere, just say that's what you're doing.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018


It's summer – and there are plenty of distractions from writing. I mean the definitions of 'something that distracts; an interuption' and a relaxation from work, amusement. Those are good forms of distraction and for me involve being out in the garden, or away in the camper van.
 Being distracted is often associated with a loss of concentration on the job in hand. Another, far less pleasant, meaning of distraction is confusion, perplexity – even a frenzy of madness. For example, trying to promote my latest book of short stories drives me to distraction

If I was suffering in either of those ways, I'd definitely be needing the help of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, who'd no doubt reassure me that I'm not alone in often being distracted and probably offer advice on overcoming the issue. They're good like that!
For a writer, being considered distracting is an excellent thing. We want to make the reader forget the reality around them and immerse themselves in the worlds our words create. I've had readers tell me they've been so distracted by my novels that they've missed their stop on a train, let the dinner burn or continued reading long after they'd planned to stop.

I'm sorry about the spoiled food and hope they weren't late for anything fun, but otherwise very pleased by such comments.

If you've written a really distracting unpublished novel, and live in the UK then you might like to enter it in this competition and be in with the chance of winning £30,000. Gosh, just planning what to spend that cash on could keep me distracted for hours!

Saturday, 2 June 2018

£20,000 prize for self published book

Amazon are running a competition offering £20,000 cash, support, promotion and stuff like that. All you have to do is write a book, self publish it through them in ebook and paperback forms and enter the appropriate phrase in the keywords, and you're in with a chance. (There are some nationality restrictions, but entry isn't limited to the UK.)

The snag is that "Readers will play a significant role in the competition, with the award shortlist compiled based on customer feedback for the entries" which I suspect means that only those which get a large number of good reviews will ever get read by the judging team.

As it happens, I'd already planned to release more short story collections during the appropriate period, so it makes sense for me to enter them, doesn't it? The first Just A Job is available now. 

BLURB: Work is a huge part of our lives; from the first time someone asks us what we'll be when we grow up, until we're drawing our pension and looking back with relief or regret. Through training for and obtaining them, travelling to and actually being there, to winding down at the end of a busy day, our jobs take up much of our time.

Whether full time, part time, or can't wait for home time, working from home, working away, carer or career, paid or volunteer, we all have a job to do. Most people have friends at our place of work, and perhaps there are rivals. It's where many of us meet our partners. Love or hate it, like almost everything else in life, our job is what we make it.

Bosses, employees and colleagues all have a story to tell. Just A Job contains 25 of them.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018


Gusto means enjoyment or vigour in doing something. For example, the wildflowers in Patsy's mini meadow seem to grow with gusto.

When gusto is followed by for it means relish or liking. Patsy has gusto for cake. It is also an old term for a form of artistic execution.

If you write sci-fi, horror or fantasy stories with gusto, you may be interested in this short story competition – you have up to 17,000 words to play with.  As usual for those I feature on this blog, it's free to enter and there's a prize. In this case $1,000 for first place (then $750 and $500).

Monday, 28 May 2018


Here's a free to enter competition for bloggers. There are cash prizes, different age categories including those born before 2000, worldwide eligibility, the subject is education with specific questions to answer and you have until 13th October to enter. Those are the details I'm sure of.

I'm a bit hazy on the actual prize, it seems dependent on the number of entries. I'm also slightly unsure as to how people enter. As it's for bloggers, I'd gussed it would be via a blog post, but there's mention of entry forms and emailing submissions. Still, if you're keen to get your hands on up to $2,400, I'm sure you'll figure it out.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Not set in stone

Thanks to Lindsay Bamfield for sending me the link to this travel writing competition. Although they're expecting mainly factual entries, that's not a requirement of entry.

Both fiction and non-fiction are welcome. Entries should be on the theme of 'Heritage'. There's plenty of time to get your entry in, it's open to all and there's £200 on offer.

As travelling, writing and history are three of my interests, I really should try this one, shouldn't I?

Maybe I could do something about the journey between these two sets of stones?

Wednesday, 23 May 2018


A conflagration is a great and destructive fire. It feels like there should be more to it than that, but apparently there isn't.

I quite like setting fire to things, but only in a small and controlled manner. Not it the manner of a conflagration nor as happens in my novel Firestarter.