Sunday, 29 November 2015

Poems in the park

Here's a poetry competition, with book tokens as prizes.

Don't think I'll enter, but only because my poems generally go something like this ...

There were trees in the park
they were covered in bark
but you couldn't tell
as it was totally dark

Friday, 27 November 2015

Mystery Minotaurs

I may have mentioned this one previously, but it's a good one if you happen to be an unpublished author with a completed crime novel. The prize is a $10,000 advance.

We recently went on a minor tour of Wales and thanks to some creative navigation on my part, our route was at times a bit of a mystery.

(Yes, I know but have you any idea how hard it is to photograph a real minotaur?)

Seems some people are having trouble with the link, so here's the full address -

Wednesday, 25 November 2015


A guaranty is an undertaking to meet a payment or other obligation on behalf of another. It's usually made in writing. More than one are known as guaranties and they're made by a guarantor.

A guaranty can also be something used as security for a guaranty.  So a guaranty should, in theory, guarantee that the guaranty is met.

Confused yet? If so, don't worry about it and stick with guarantee. That can be used instead of guaranty as well as meaning a formal promise or assurance.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015


There are just a few days left to enter this competition. Fortunately you're only required to use 150 words - so you can do it!

The subject is trees, you can submit a story or poem and the prize is a collection of books written and signed by Nick Perring.

If you like, you can also guess the species of tree in the photograph.

Monday, 23 November 2015


A while ago I blogged about The Poised Pen's short story and poetry competitions. I'm pleased to say that I actually got around to sending an entry - and delighted to say I've been long-listed! I'm sure I recognise some of the other names on the list too.

I'd love to say I'll be jumping in the van to read at the results event in Liverpool on 7th December, but it's a long way and we already have trips booked for December so I'm not sure it's possible. The transport manager is looking into it.

Friday, 20 November 2015


No, not another advert for my new book*, but a free entry short story competition. The prize is publicity on their site, plus €10.

*Which is very nice.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Writing scholarship

The ideal candidate to win the $4,000 prize in this competition is a retired factory worker, but other people can enter too. Anyone at least 16 who can write in English in fact.

I can't think of a suitable illustration, so I'll just pick something at random and try to make it fit ...  Okaaay .... Ah! I know.

Winning this would be a step in the right direction for those hoping for a career in writing.

Gosh, but I'm good.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015


I quite often cogitate (being a gardener and a writer makes it compulsory) but have only just realised that excogitation is also a thing. That means to think out or contrive, whereas cogitate is to ponder or even meditate.

By my calculations that means I can now spend twice as long looking at the pretty flowers and claiming I'm working by plotting on my plot.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Another excuse

Thanks to Beatrice for pointing out this competition to me.

She thought I'd be interested not so much because it's free to enter and has a small prize (and teeny word count) but because it gives me another excuse to post a photo from Sctoland: The Tour.

Clearly she knows me well.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Here be monsters

Myslexia invite new writers to submit poems or stories on the theme of monsters. I don't think there's any prize or payment, but I could be wrong.

update I've been informed they do pay for all published work (thanks, Linda)

It seems people who aren't women are permitted to enter this competition, but I could be wrong about that too as everything else they do seems to be for women only.

Another update. I was wrong again! Only women can submit.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015


Nice word cusp. Can't think why it isn't used more. It's not as though it doesn't have many uses.

A cusp is a pointed end where two points meet. This could be part of a tooth (pre molars are bicuspid as they have two pointy bits) or an architectural or biological feature. Eg the top of a gothic arch, a leap point or part of the valves in our hearts.

If a mathmatical curve reverses abruptly that change is marked by a cusp and cusp is also the name given to the pointed ends of a new moon.

Cusp can also denote a transition of some kind. Those who's birth sign is on or near the end of a period are said to be on the cusp. Eg if your birthday is on 20th March you're on the cusp of Pisces and Aries (what that means I haven't a clue!) Teenagers are sometimes considered on the cusp of adulthood (as are middle-aged writers!)

Tuesday, 10 November 2015


There's a top prize of €300 on offer for this poetry competition. Further prizes will be awarded and some poems broadcast on Radio Orange and the winners published on the radio.  The theme is the human rights of refugees and asylum seekers.

The photo is of Tintern Abbey in Chepstow. I'm sure people must have sought refuge or asylum there in the past.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Dappled Things

There are both fiction and non fiction competitions here. Both have cash prizes.
For the fiction they're looking for, "carefully crafted short stories with vivid characters who encounter grace in everyday settings".

There wasn't enough sun for these trees to cast dappled shadows, but I'm sure that at times they do. 

Thursday, 5 November 2015


Today* is the launch date of my latest novel - Firestarter. It's a romantic comedy with a hot fireman and a few flames. (just pretend you don't know me when reading chapter 15, OK?)

*Good choice of date, eh?

To join in this launch party, just bring along something, or someone, hot!


Alice has a fantasy. It starts with being rescued by a hunky fireman, involves the kiss of life and ends in him not needing his uniform. At the New Forest Show, Alice is offered an innocent version of her dream. Reluctantly she turns down fireman Hamish's invitation.

Despite Alice's blameless behaviour, boyfriend Tony's obsessive jealousy kicks in. Hamish wants to take Tony's place, but a hoaxer ensures Alice already sees far too much of Hampshire Fire Service. The threat of an explosive sprout surprise, her mum's baking, sister Kate's mind boggling pep talks and the peculiar behaviour of Alice's boss Miles provide distractions.

Is Alice really in danger? What is Kate up to? Can Hamish possibly be as perfect as he seems? It takes Alice masses of wonderful food, disgusting wine, smelly mud, red footed crows and steamy Welsh passion, but she finds the answers. And rethinks her fantasy.

Thanks to all the people who've helped with promotion. You can find links to all the interviews and guest posts about the book, my writing process, locations, characters and wildlife here.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group

The first Wednesday of the month is when many writers share their insecurities and/or offer support. Do join us.

I have a very good reason for feeling insecure as tomorrow is the launch date of my latest novel, Firestarter. I'm sure I can't be the only author who feels a little nervous about how her book will be received.

Underneath the nerves there's a touch of optimism. I loved writing this book. If it's half as much fun to read as it was, people are going to enjoy it. I've also had extremely generous support from bloggers and writers when it came to publicity. Thank you! You can find details of the interviews and guest posts here.

If you can, please come back tomorrow for the launch.