Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year!

This is the traditional time for looking back and making plans for the future. I like a bit of tradition ...

I became a full time writer part way through 2013 (following redundancy). I'm really enjoying it and have put more time and effort into my writing and it seems to be paying off. I could do better though and that's my aim for 2014.

How was 2013 for you?

Do you have any plans for 2014? I hope the New Year opens the door to all kinds of possibilities and success for you.

If you are thinking of reading more, learning about, or are a simply a fan of, Shakespeare then this free online course might appeal.

Maybe you'd rather write for the BBC?

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Happy Christmas!

I hope you all have a lovely time over the next week or so whether you celebrate Christmas or not.

Here are a few freebies and offers in case your plans include reading -

My short story collection is still free. My publisher, Alfie Dog have a few other freebies too.

Sally Quilford is giving away two of her Regency novels between now and Christmas Day.

If you've signed up for Amazon Prime you can read Paint Me a Picture or A Year and a Day for free.

Using code DQ88A will get you 30% off Escape to the Country until the end of the year. Or try DY25F to get Robert Crompton's Leaving Gilead for free.

Ana Salote's book Oy Yew will be free on Boxing day (her birthday)

Katie Stewart's Mark of the Dragon Queen will be free from 26th to 30th December.

Finally, I have Surprise Gift, a new and appropriate story up on Alfie Dog. Not on special offer, so you'd have to pay the full 39p for that one.

If you're running your own free promotion, feel free to mention it in the comments.

btw, in case you were wondering what authors like for Christmas, I can assure you sales/downloads are on the list. So are reviews from anyone who enjoyed their work.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013


A skeuomorph is a design feature that's no longer needed but included because previous versions of the item (often made using different materials or in a different way) had whatever it is.

For example the decks of cruise ships are no longer made from planks of wood (as it's a fire risk) but they're likely to be finished in a brown material laid in strips to resemble planks. Modern compact cameras no longer have shutters, but they often make that distinctive cur-lick when a picture is taken, as they have a device added to reproduce it. Chocolates sometimes still come individually wrapped because back in the old days people didn't always eat a whole tinful in one sitting ...

Can you think of any more examples?

Thanks to Julia Hones for telling me about this free to enter competition with a cash prize (there are also paid submission opportunities mentioned on the site)

This opportunity to write for the BBC has been mentioned on several blogs, but here it is again in case you've missed it.

If you'd like my opinions on writing what you know, please take a look here.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Chain Reaction

Samantha Tonge (author of Doubting Abbey) has suckered me into a chain blog thing. Thanks sooooo much, Sam! ;-)

First I have to answer four questions. Here goes.
1)     What am I working on?
Well, I thought I'd concentrate on my novel, so naturally I've come up with lots of short story ideas! I've given in and am writing them.

2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?
That's tricky when writing, as I do, mostly for women's magazines. The stories do have to be original and not the dreaded 'well worn themes' but they can't be too different or they'll not be suitable for the magazine. To achieve this I try to look at things from a less obvious angle and to write about situations the reader may not have experienced, yet can still relate to.

Character is the most important thing, I think. If the character is believable and the story is theirs then it shouldn't feel like we've heard it before.

3)     Why do I write what I do?

 Because those are the ideas that come to me.

4)     How does my writing process work?

I get an idea and write it directly onto the computer as soon as I can. Then I'll go through correcting and improving. That stage is repeated until I feel it's as good as I can get it. Feedback from writing friends helps a lot with spotting areas which need work.

Now I select three victims. They are -

Wendy Clarke is a short story writer. Her stories have been publishes in The People’s Friend, Take a Break Fiction Feast and Woman’s Weekly.

Sheila Crosby started writing ats chool in Leeds and never stopped. She's published 50 short stories, including an anthology of quirky science fiction, “The Dodo Dragon and other stories” Sheila went to La Palma in the Canary Islands with a six month contract, met a tall dark handsome Palmeran in the Isaac Newton telescope and has stayed for 22 years so far.  Last year she published “A Breathtaking Window on the Universe: A guide to the observatory at the Roque de Los Muchachos”  “The Seer's Stone: 12 stories inspired by La Palma's starry skies”, will be on sale in January.

Susan Jane Jones is a fellow Alfie Dog author. She writes short stories and articles and is working on a novel, 'Hats off to Love'. You can visit her website here, buy her stories here and more here.

Do vist their blogs next week.

Phew, that's that done.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013


It was my writing group's Christmas party yesterday (so I won't be writing about it in present tense). We each brought wrapped books we've read and enjoyed as presents for each other and enjoyed food practically presented on disposable plates.

All the members were present, except one (he's presently on holiday). The results of our competition were announced and the winner presented with a trophy (I was second*). We gave the judge a small present to thank him for his presentation on humour in writing, and his feedback.

*I mention that to present myself in a good light.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

The end!

At last, I've got to the end of the list of free to enter writing competitions I started last week. (I'm not stopping doing them, but I'm now up to date with those I've found so far) nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine, thirty.

After all that, I hope you'll forgive me for advertising 'A Wish for Christmas' - a lovely collection of festive short stories available from the publisher or Amazon.

Want another quiz? Ok then, there are two versions - this one is for all those who don't forgive the advert ... add the prize money from all thirty of the competitions posted this week and multiply by the number of words in War and Peace.

And for those who do - multiply the entrance fee for all thirty* by the number of stories in my FREE collection.

*clue - they all cost the same to enter as it costs to download Not a Drop to Drink.

There's another free (and short) read here.

Friday, 6 December 2013

To continue the continuation ...

More free to enter writing competitions - thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen. (I think there are more than six left, but I'll put them all in the next post anyway)

Keep on eye out for Friday Freebies from Alfie Dog - just share the appropriate post to be in with a chance to win a story download.

And for an instant freebie, take a look at my story up on Writer's Who Rock.

And another quiz - can you name a book that has one or more birds in the title? (have you read it? Any good?)

I'll start with To Kill a Mockingbird. I've read it and recommend it.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

All in All

It's time for the last Insecure Writer's Support Group post of the year so I decided to look back on my insecurities over the last twelve months.

Being made redundant was a cause for both optimism and concern. At last I had the chance to write almost full time - but would I be any more succesful than I had previously?

When I got acceptances, or the writing was going well, I felt quite confident. When I'd had nothing but rejects for months I was insecure.

I'm starting to feel that, on average, I might not be any more insecure than most other writers. What do you think - are we all a mixture of gloom and cheer?

(If you came looking for free to enter writing competitions you'll find several on the last two posts and there are more to come on Friday and Sunday)

Monday, 2 December 2013

To continue ...

To continue the list of links to free to enter writing competitions I started in my last post - seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve. (There will be more on Friday)

And here's another word/geograhpical quiz (or maybe it's a discussion point) Is this house located in Wessex?