Wednesday, 26 June 2013


So how's that for the word of the week? It's one of those words that makes my head hurt if I try to explain it, so I'm not going to bother. I think it may contain a double negative.

I'm rather proud of the fact that I managed to work antidisestablishmentarianism into a story though. As I've done that already your challenge is to casually drop it into a conversation. Please report back when you have, I'd love to know how it went.

Things have been hectic lately so in addition to no explanation for the word of the week I'm also giving you no new competitions* (and probably another double negative) To make it up to you here's a picture of a fox eating the remains of a pasty. I saw him in the building site car park that I've spent the last two days pretending is a writing retreat. I called him Franz and have written a story about him.

*actually I've lost track a little, so these might be new links - a possible place to submit stories and poetry, writing competition, ghost story competition, poetry competition.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Guest post by Nicole Flockton

Nicole Flockton is joining me today to talk about writing competitions and her new book, Rescuing Dawn. She's offering a free kindle version to one commenter (if you don't have a kindle you can download a free app and read it on your computer) Over to you, Nicole.

Today, with the advent of self-publishing, our beloved contests are slowly losing traction and appeal. It’s a shame really because contests are a fantastic way to get feedback on your writing and they also get you under the eye of an agent or editor or in most cases these days, both.

I didn’t enter a lot of Romance Writers of America’s contests. I didn’t know much about them. I entered a few contests run by Romance Writers of Australia and, although I never finalled or won, but I found the experience really worthwhile. It’s a great way to build up your skin for when you do get published and you get reviews. Also the feedback was great and helped me to look at my work with fresh eyes.

Since I moved to the US and joined my local RWA Chapter – West Houston I’ve become well acquainted with contests, in particular the Emily Contest. This is a contest which is run by West Houston RWA Chapter. It’s a fantastic contest and has had quite a number of successes from people who won their category going on to being published. It would be such a shame to see a prestigious contest, like the Emily and many other contests, fall to the wayside.

I feel that contests are a great tool, especially for writers that are just starting out. Most of the contests have published authors as first round judges. The information these multi-published authors can give back to you are amazing. Even if you do decide to go down the route of self-publishing entering a contest is sure to benefit you all.

The West Houston Emily contest opens in September so you have plenty of time to get your entries ready. Here is a link to the special Emily website -

Do you have a favourite contest that you like to enter?

He helps save lives, now he wants to save hers.

Dawn Granger has loved and lost and it’s a road she’s not prepared to travel again, that is until her past turns up and has her questioning her resolve.

Andrew Holmes has sailed the globe numerous times, when he almost loses his life, he decides he needs to give something back so he returns home and trains as a paramedic. When he runs into his former sweetheart he is surprised to find an attraction he thought dead come to life. When he sees the sadness in Dawn he knows he will do anything to make her smile again.

Dawn tries to resist Andrew but their past pulls at her in ways she thought long dead. Can she trust a man who's run out on her once before? Can she risk putting her heart on the line again? Or will it all be taken from her again.

Read an Excerpt Read Reviews

Nicole Flockton

On her very first school report her teacher said ‘Nicole likes to tell her own stories’.
It wasn’t until after the birth of her daughter and after having fun on the community board of that she finally decided to take the plunge and write a book.
The stories she writes are contemporary romances with either a medical setting or in the boardrooms of high powered business. Nicole enjoys taking two characters and creating unique situations for them.
Apart from writing Nicole is busy looking after her very own hero – her wonderfully supportive husband, and her two fabulous kids.
There will be a kindle copy giveaway of RESCUING DAWN to one commenter!

Nicole on the web: Website Facebook Twitter Author Page

Saturday, 22 June 2013

And the winner is ...

Thanks so much to everyone for all their good wishes and support regarding my latest book. I'm still promoting it. Since my last post I've been on the radio (my bit starts 1hr 39 mins in and includes a 'deliberate' mistake) and have persuaded my local bookshop to stock copies.

Right, think I've dragged it out long enough, the winner of my blog competition is .... Maggie May. Her prize is an ecopy of Up the Garden Path

Susan J Jones and Lexa Cain are both runners up. Their prize is one of my Alfie Dog short stories.

Congratulations, ladies. Please email sales (at) with your story choice (if appropriate) and choice of format and your prizes will be emailed back.

Did you know it's International Flash Fiction Day today? That makes it an excellent day to read short stories (like these or these or these or these or these !) or to write some. If you're writing then you might want to submit you work somewhere such as Stinging Fly, Cafelit or Alfie Dog Fiction as EDF or even enter it in a competition.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Patsy's Incredible Summer Solstice Up the garden path Party!

It's the summer solstice round about now which means extra drinking time in the garden and the launch of Up The Garden Path!

As promised, there are prizes. To be in with a chance to win a paperback copy, like Alfie Dog on Facebook, then drop into the launch party (which starts at mid day) and have a go at the quiz.

For a chance at an ecopy (emailed to you in your choice of format) do the liking and dropping in stages,  then post up a garden related picture or anecdote. Alternatively reply to this post with a garden related limerick, haiku, poem or mini flash (100 words or less) There will be a couple of runner up prizes to both of these competitions - one of my Alfie Dog short stories emailed to you in your chosen format.

You can enter as many competitions as you like and enter the second two as often as you like. Facebook competitions will close 4pm today, the blog one at mid day Saturday (all UK time) If anything isn't clear do ask.

Up the Garden Path is available as a paperback from Alfie Dog,, and The Book Shop Lee-on-the-Solent and as an ebook from Alfie Dog, and and Smashwords.

I'd like to say a HUGE thanks to Rosemary at Alfie Dog who's done a brilliant job on putting this together and with the publicity. Also to Gary for creating the cover and trailer.

So, can I get anyone a drink?

Wednesday, 19 June 2013


This week's word is adumbrate. It means to foreshadow or to indicate faintly. I must try to add some adumbration to my next novel.

What? I think if you look carefully at the picture you'll find it faintly indicates four shadows ...

Moving swiftly on ... for this storytelling competition they really do want you to tell your story. You can even use funny voices if you like.

I hope to see you at my virtual book launch party tomorrow either here or over on facebook. There will be competitions with prizes! By way of adumbration I'll just say that now might be a good time to think up rhymes for aubergine, remember that time Aunty Ethel went headfirst into the begonias or to photograph any amusingly shaped vegetables you may have.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Garden party

Alfie Dog Fiction are hosting a virtual launch party for 'Up the Garden Path' on 20th June and you're invited!

I also have a (very short) book trailer. Please note how we've not just co ordinated my outfit to match the book cover, but also found a garden in the correct colour scheme.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013


Word of the week time has come round again. I'm pretty sure you all know what round means ... in my case it's an excuse to post a picture of The Sphere. (Hah! thought I'd got over that, didn't you?) It can also refer to sandwiches and drinks - round here we call that a picnic.

Here's a competition I meant to tell you about earlier, but didn't get round to mentioning. Erewash writers are holding a draw for all those who've entered one of their competitions (you have had a go at all the free ones I've told you about, haven't you?) They have competitions open so you can still qualify and be in with a chance of winning a book. nb you need to email to confirm you wish to take part.

And to round things off, these people are looking for submissions of stories from 5,000 words to 'long' novels. Might be worth a look if you have something the wrong length for regular markets.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Bits and pieces

I have a confirmed release date of 20th June for Up the Garden Path.

Not a Drop to Drink is still FREE!

I've found another potential market to check out.

There are snowballs in my garden even though it's almost midsummer.

If you're not sure which I'm most excited about, here's a clue - it will happen on the summer solstice!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Lunch with my editor ...

... well sort of. I went to a workshop run by Woman's Weekly and hosted by the lovely fiction editor Gaynor Davies. Although I didn't share her table in the lunch break we were in the same room!

Cara Cooper very kindly met me at Waterloo and between us we navigated our way to the impressive Blue Fin building. Later I met up with Wendy Clarke, Tracy Fells, Amanda Brittany, Lindsay Bamfield, Karen Clarke, Helen Hunt ... OK, I'll stop with the name dropping now!

Well except to mention Suzanne Ahern who gave an interesting insight into writing serials and Laura Lonrigg  who we interrogated about the role of an agent and the state of the publishing industry. (I think some of us wished she'd not been quite so honest!)

I think the workshops are now all sold out, but if you do get the chance to go to one - or anything remotely similar I thoroughly recommend it. However much writing you've done you're likely to pick up a few tips (or be reminded of things you'd forgotten!) to have fun and come away encouraged and inspired.

As I didn't photograph my lunch you'll have to make do with a picture of my notebook. Gaynor says we must carry one always!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

It's Insecure Writer's Support Group time again.

I have been feeling a little insecure recently, but writing has been the answer, not the cause. Although writing can, and frequently does, give me insecurities, when it's going well it can be absorbing and as good an 'escape' as reading.

Do you have favourite story characters, locations or situations you turn to when you need cheering up?

Monday, 3 June 2013

Real books and a couple of quickies

Paint Me a Picture and A Year and a Day are now real books!

Answer a multiple choice question here for a chance to win tickets to Harrogate Crime Festival.

The University of Chester are looking for flash fiction.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Coming soon ...

Alfie Dog Fiction are producing a collection of my plant based stories. It'll be available as both an e version and a paperback. I'm jolly excited about this.

Working on this project made me wish A Year and a Day  and Paint Me a Picture were both available as real books too. So I've sorted that!

If you're working on a novel yourself then the prize for this competition might be very useful. Actually it's a great prize for any writer.

If you're interested in education, people laughing at themselves or getting your mits on £150 then this competition might appeal.

Anyone who likes stationery (that's all of us isn't it? - I can't be the only one with more pens and notebooks than I strictly need and a collection of lucky paperclips) might like to try this one.