Saturday, 30 November 2013


I had lovely organised bookmark files with all my competition links in. One each for those I'd already blogged about, those I had yet to mention and those I intended to enter. Had. Past tense.

The whole morning has been spent searching the internet for free to enter competitions. I've found a lot, including some new ones. So many that I'm going to post them in batches of half a dozen over the next few posts. Some of course I've already mentioned but I'm going to add the links anyway as I can't be bothered to check for the benefit of those who may have missed them the first time.*

Here's the first batch. One, two, three, four five, six.

*Strange as it seems there are people who don't hang on my every word.

Here's a combined word and geography quiz ... use part of the location in the photo to complete a well known simile for hunting down relevant information, amongst all the other stuff, on the internet.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

A few things ...

.... you may be interested in.

Sally has details of a poetry competition here.

Sue has details of a competition to win a one day writing course.

And I've been chatting to Jeanne about, amongst other things,  large meals eaten towards the end of December.

And here's an old household appliance - can you see what it is?

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The C word ...

No, not that one. I'm far too ladylike to blog about such a thing! The one I mean is defined in my dictionary as 'the annual festival of Christ's birth, celebrated 25th December'.

I don't want to talk about it yet, but as a writer I do have to think of it (and other festivals, holidays, events and seasons) well before the event itself. Even if I write my Valentine's stories in February and Hallowe'en ones in October, they're no good to magazine editors then.

Here's a competition for very short festive stories with an interesting prize selection.

And here's a really lovely book you can buy. The paperback version would make a wonderful gift, or how about sending the e version instead of a card?

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Hot and Cold

Although we've had a few bright, sunny days this week it's clear that winter is on its way. We've given in and put the heating on. I'm not a huge fan of winter. It goes on too long for my liking. I feel the same way about Christmas. If we could confine both of them to the same two weeks at the end of December and beginning of January, I'm sure we'd enjoy them far more.

Talking of doing things in a short time, you've not got long to enter this poetry competition from
Dappled Things. It has a $500 prize.

A warm fire is good on a cold night. Fire is also the theme for Poem Pigeon's latest competition. There's a £25 prize. You can read my heartwarming entry here.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013


Synecdoche is a word I'd never come across until I opened the dictionary at random just now. Despite never having heard of this device previously, I have used it. I wouldn't be surprised if you have too.  A synecdoche is a figure of speech in which part of something represents the whole.

For example you might refer to a traditional Sunday lunch as 'a roast' even though the vegetables and gravy were cooked in another way. It's generally understood that 'a blonde' will have more body parts than just her hair. When we refer to writing a book we generally also mean planning, rewriting, editing, proofreading and trying to find a market, not just bashing out a first draft.

Here's a picture of a couple of birds - which, I think, is a synecdoche for a picture of a couple of birds and their shadows and a dead leaf, on some grass which has been marked to form a football pitch.

Reader's Digest are running a short story competition with a £1,000 prize. As you're limited to 100 words, you might find a synecdoche or two comes in handy. Here's a poetry competition with a $175 first prize. Apparently synecdoches are often found in poetry, so if you enter I hope you'll use one.

Monday, 11 November 2013


Buy my books or the dusty paper flowers get it!
Promotion's a pain, isn't it? Writers don't generally like doing it and most readers don't want to be presented with a constant stream of adverts every time they look at an author blog, Facebook page, twitter account etc.

Advertising isn't something I'm good at, but I have to try or no one will read my books - and if they don't there's no point writing them. Sigh.

If you have a book to promote, or are looking for something to read, you might like  iAuthor. They offer a free book advertising service.

How do you discover the books you read?

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

OK actually

It's Insecure Writer's Support Group time again. It's whizzed round so fast that I've been caught out feeling pretty OK about my writing at the moment.

For a start I've got to grips with the new laptop much more quickly than I'd expected, so I'm writing instead of fretting about the things I can't make it do or looking for lost files.

Secondly, if you were to pop down the newsagent's (in the UK) you could pick up three different magazines with my stories in.

 Thirdly the post hasn't come with today's rejects yet.

Fourthly I've not put myself under the pressure of doing NaNo this year. I'm doing my own less challenging challenge.

Fifthly (which doesn't feel like a real word although if firstly and secondly are then it should be) I can get men to take off their shirts just because I tell them it'll help sell one of my short stories.

As I was so rubbish on the insecurities front the least I can do is to find you a couple of free to enter competitions.

Here's a poetry one (I'll enter it and won't win, if that's any consolation)

And here's a short story one.

And another.

And another.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Samantha Tonge

Today Samantha Tonge is visiting to chat to me about her tasty short story collection, Sweet Talk.

So, Sam the important question first - did you bring any sweets with you to stop me asking awkward questions?
Yes – a large gobstopper! (Oi!) No, I didn’t bother because if you are anything like me, it is impossible to put a sweet in your mouth without you quickly chewing or crunching it!

How many sweets did you 'have' to eat to research the book and while writing it?
Not so many sweets, but lots of chocolate, cake and biscuits – all in the line of duty, of course! I am actually not a huge sweet fan. I prefer toffees, fudge and chocolate. 

I know the book isn't actually all about confectionary - what other sweet stuff is in there?
A wide range of stories featuring kittens, stick insects, firemen, sisters, Christmas wishes... but they all have one thing in common: they are uplifting and guaranteed to leave you feeling good. Plus one is a little bit saucy! Please let it be the one with the firemen. Oh sorry, what we were talking about? Oh yes ...

Copies of Sweet Talk are in a nail salon local to you, aren’t they? How else are you promoting the book?
I am very excited about doing a signing in a couple of weeks, at a high school, during a ladies night Christmas fashion show/craft fair event. I have been practicing my signature!

You write for The People's Friend and I know they like nice feel good stories. Do you ever get the urge to write about really horrible people or things?
No, because whilst the stories are all feel-good, I can still write a wide variety and never get bored. I recently sold two stories in the voice of a cowboy, set during the Californian Gold Rush. They were huge fun to write!

Out of all the characters in the book, which can you relate to?
Ooh, quite a few but probably  most of all Wendy out of ‘One Lump orTwo’. The story revolves around a cooking faux pas she made, when guests came to dinner – that’s exactly the sort of thing I’d do and the story is based on a mistake I made one Chirstmas!

In case you're not visiting Sam's local nail salon anytime soon, Sweet Talk is also available from Amazon and the publisher.

Samantha’s debut novel, Doubting Abbey, is out soon from digital-first CarinaUK Harlequin. Find out more here.