Friday, 29 January 2016

Ship's Ahoy!

My lovely husband has written a book! Today is the launch date. If you like ships you're probably going to love it. There are hundreds of excellent photographs of ships and thousands of interesting facts about ships.

He's far too shy to be interviewed, so I'll just quote some of the things he said whilst he was writing it. Some you might empathise with if you've written any kind of book yourself and one I *may* have made up.

"I've always wanted to do this."

"That's the first chapter done, the rest shouldn't take long."

"Why did I think this would be a good idea?"

"I'll never get this finished."

"Never again."

"It's all right for you, you just make it all up."

"All my success in life ever is due to my wonderful wife and the brilliant way she carries my tripod for me. She's terrific in every way."


"Never again."

"No I can't go out/eat dinner/come to bed/talk to you - I've got a book to finish."

"This was a terrible idea."

"Never again."

"Huzzah! Finished."

"I wonder if anyone will buy it?"

"They want me to do another one. That might be a good idea."

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Six plates of sardine soup

Helen Yendell is running another of her fun short story competitions. She's provided word prompts; key, planet, soup, sardine, six. And there are prizes of £25 and £10 Amazon vouchers.

I always try these. Usually my efforts end up way over the required word count, but that's OK as it means I've 'won' a story idea, even if I don't actually enter.

I know what you're thinking - the moon isn't a planet. You're right, but it's where the soup dragon lives and he could be the key to winning this.

Monday, 25 January 2016


The latest issue of Kishboo magazine is out. It's free to read and there are articles by writers, 20 short stories and a few poems  and book reviews too.

In each issue there's a free to enter poetry competition, with two £5 prizes. There's also a short story competition. There's a £3 entry fee for that. Four prize winners are selected by public vote, with two further entries recieving an Editor's choice award of £15.

I have a story in the current competition. You can read (and vote for it!) here.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Want £1.875 per word?

If my maths are correct, £1.875 per word is the minimum rate the winner of this short story competition would get. If you wrote less than the maximum 8,000 words then it could be even more. Just divide the £15,000 top prize by your word count to get the exact figure. There are four further, smaller but still not bad, prizes.

There are pages and pages of rules and regulations, which you'll need to read carefully. They include the requirement to be a British National or UK resident and to have been previously published.

The odds of winning are exceedingly slight, but I'm going to improve my chances a little by actually sending in an entry. How about you?

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Spy out your first publication

If you've not been published before, you might like to try this short story competition.

The best 15 espionage stories of 2,000 to 6,000 words will win paid for publication.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016


Abaddon is an old world which can either mean hell or a place of destruction, or be used to suggest an unpleasant angel or a devil.

I'd try to keep both at a safe distance, if I were you.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Dark and elusive

Here's a novella writing competition - not something I see many of.  They're looking for a 15,000 to 20,000 word mystery story and you have until the end of May to get it written. The prize is $1,000 plus publication.

I don't see many black orchids either, so here's a pink one.

Sunday, 17 January 2016


Daggerville Games run a monthly flash fiction competition. There's a different theme each time and word counts vary.

This month it's 350 words on 'Frost'. The prize is generally £30 and a free game.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Musselling in

A man called John Coyle reckons there aren't many poems about the humble mussel. I think he could be right - but possibly not for long. There's a €250 prize on offer for the best one in this competition and €100 for second place.

If I knew anything about mussels and could write poetry, I'd definitely have a go. Maybe I will anyway. If I had a photo of a mussel I'd have used it to illustrate this post. But I don't, so I haven't. Unless there are some in Dublin Bay, in which case I have.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Another result

Congratulations to Alyson who won the November Purple Pumpkin competition after seeing it mentioned on this blog. Purple Pumpkin run a new competition each month, with a theme, free entry and small cash prize - I'd love to see another of my blog friends as a winner.

(I know that's a butternut squash, but when they're growing I call them pumpkins.)

Wednesday, 13 January 2016


Translucent is a nice word. It always makes me slightly hungry as it reminds me of 'suculent' and is most commonly encountered in cookery books referring to fried onions. I do like fried onions.

If something is translucent it allows light to pass through diffusely - just as partialy cooked onions probably do (I've never actually fished one out the pan to test that). It's also described as semi-transparent.

Can you think of anything other than onions which is translucent?

Monday, 11 January 2016

Short sounds

Soundworks are running another of their short story competitions, with the prize of having the piece recorded by actors and published on the site. You may send as many entries as you like, will retain copyright (although Soundworks will own copyright of the actual recording) and can submit previously published work.

When I mentioned the last competition I thought it sounded like fun and sent in one of my stories. It's been shortlisted!

Suppose that means I should have another try.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Take it slow

If you like to travel then you might be interested in this non fiction competition. There's a $500 prize on offer for the best, "article that describes how traveling in a slower manner and attempting to adapt to the space and time of locals, their culture, and land has deepened your experience of both the people and the destination."

You will need to write it quickly though!

I may, just possibly, have mentioned that I like to travel. Our last trip was to Ireland, where we took things very slowly - and I took this picture.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Snap happy

If you happen to have a photo you've taken of a Mediterranean sunset and can quickly write a blog post, you could enter this competition and be in with a chance of winning a holiday in Greece.

This is my favourite sunset picture - because it was taken on the first night of our honeymoon. My geography is a bit sketchy, but I don't think the bit of sea btween Wales and Ireland is the Med, is it?

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

The year ahead.

It's IWSG time again. The new year is a time for optimism though, so I'm doing my best to look forward to all the things I'd like to achieve in 2016, rather than worry about what might go wrong.

Last year was my best ever for short story sales. I'd like to do even better this year. That means I'll need to write and send out a lot of work, so that's mainly where I'll be concentrating my time and effort.

I'd also like to write more articles. Don't know why but I'm far more nervous of pitching them than I am with subbing fiction. Several writing friends have offered suggestions and encouragement though, which might well spur me into action.

Then there's the bigger, long term project. Firestarter was the last one. I have a few things I could work on, but am yet to decide which to tackle first.

What are your writing plans for the year ahead?

Monday, 4 January 2016

Raise the red ... hair

It looks like publication is the only prize for this competition, but as they only want 99 words, you might like to try it just for fun. They even provide a prompt - beauty.

Seems appropriate to illustrate it with a picture of me looking my absolute best! This was taken by a friend on our way back from spending Christmas in Ireland. There was a bit of a breeze out on deck.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Ease yourself in

If you're not yet back into your writing stride after the Christmas break, you might like to try this competition. Instead of writing a story, you supply prompts so the organiser can write it for you. The  prizes each month are a full edit of your writing.

Brace yourself for another tenuos link between picture and post ... These are turnstones, which I photographed a few days ago on Dublin breakwater - and this year I'll leave no stone unturned in my search for interesting free to enter writing competitions.