Thursday, 28 May 2020

Hot and happy



How are you? We're both fine here. I'm weirdly short of time though, considering we can't go anywhere in the van. The garden is looking great though, my chilli peppers are coming on a treat and the latest novel is now at 82,000 words.

Hmmm, maybe that lack of time isn't so weird after all? I know losing track of days isn't, and you'll forgive me for once again not getting round to posting until Thursday.

Here's a little competition passed on to me by Alyson Hilbourne. They're looking for very short stories, flash fiction and poetry. There's also a competition for under 16s. A £25 prize is offered in each category and all winners and runners up will be included in an anthology. 



This competition is for a thrilling, suspenseful or frightening novel of a minimum of 7,500 words. You may send works in progress which is just as well because there's only a couple of days left to enter. There's a prize of $500 plus some publicity stuff.




Do you think that's enough chillies?

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Are you writing about C 19?


Thanks to Fiona for passing on this link to a call for submissions. Stella Quines want letters relating to the 'precarious and pertinent moment in history we are living in, together, globally'.  




Themes are provided and you're allowed up to 400 words. 'Each chosen letter will be performed by a professional actor, directed by Shilpa T-Hyland, Caitlin Skinner or Amy Liptrott, and filmed. 




The films will be shared online across Stellar Quines’ website and social media on June 8 2020.'





Are you writing about the Covid 19 virus? Or are you otherwise writing something different from usual?






Personally I've (temporarily) stopped writing short stories and am concentrating on another novel. 





The word count is going up steadily, but I have a long way still to go. That's OK though as I'm enjoying it.






I've also been doing things to bring colour into my life. Mainly gardening, but I also had a go at flower arranging and brightening up my lockdown hair. 




What have you been doing to occupy yourself when you've not been able to get out and about as usual?

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Competition news

I'd love to hear your competition news. Have you entered any comps? Had any luck? Heard about interesting contests? Got any tips to pass on? (Although I only feature free to enter competitions in my posts it's fine to share news about other competitions too.)

For those who are unsure, this post explains how to leave a comment. (If you've subscribed to the blog by email and wish to respond, you'll need to click on the link and add a comment – it's not possible to do this by replying to the email.)

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Bargain book.

Keep It In The Family, my collection of 25 'related' short stories is currently reduced to 99p / 99c.

Alec thinks he's suffered a medical emergency, Dr Kuttemopen says the same about his patient, and Jake and his granddad will be at risk from one if they carry on as they've been doing. With the support of loved ones, they could all put these predicted and suspected health problems behind them. Uncle Boris's condition will never go away, but neither will Aunt Jonna, so he'll not just cope, but enjoy doing so.

Everyone has problems or concerns from time to time. Some deal with them by always moving on and never looking back, others by asking the right question. They might try to keep them hidden, insist on bringing them into the open, or allow the sea to wash them away. Most will turn to their families for help, but all Miss Frencham's are gone. All she can do, is tell people about the bodies.

Anne's spent a lot of time waiting for her daughter; a whole lifetime, but it's been worth every second. Daniel's mother and Dizzy's father-in-law won't wait a moment for them, until they come to their senses and reunite their families. Stephanie's waiting for the right kind of snow, and Adam's waiting for the wrong sort of Santa. Their reward will be to know they did the right thing.

Families, whether we're born or married into them, or choose them for ourselves all have stories to tell. This collection contains 25 of them.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

IWSG and free writing competitions.




I'm not sure whether I feel 'May already?" or 'Is it only May?' to be most appropriate. Time seems a bit fluid at the moment.

Somehow though I've got used to the unsettled feeling and am back writing again. Maybe selling some of my short stories to magazines helped? Perhaps it wasn't that, as it's a novel which I've been working on. I've got it fron 28,000 jumbled words to a plotted out first draft of more than twice that.









I've entered some writing compeitions too. I'm tempted to have a go at this one. It's for a blurb for a hypothetical novel, but I thought I might use my novel in progress. Even if I don't win the $500 prize, I'd have a blurb for the book, which might be useful.







This competition has a prize of publication with a $10,000 advance against royalties, but I'm not sure my combination of romance and murder mystery can be considered literary fiction, so I'll give it a miss. The photos are of locations used in my WIP.







If you consider yourself working class, then you could try this competition with a £200 prize. I'm not sure I put enough effort into my writing to qualify!

If you're going to enter any of these competitions, but want a little help to get going then perhaps this book will be useful, or maybe you'll perform some kind of ritual first?










This month's Insecure Writer's SupoortGroup question is – Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE? Care to share?






Personally I make a cup of tea. Is that a ritual? I know it can be, as with Chinese tea ceremonies, but I just dunk a bag in a cup and slosh in some milk. Often there's cake too, but although I've never been tempted to test the theory, I suspect cake may not be essentail to writing.

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Win a book token, publication and cash

Thanks to Fiona for passing on details of this haiku competition. Like all the competitions I feature, it's free to enter. The prize is publication and a £20 book token (or prize of similar value if the winner is not from the UK).

The site contains some useful guidelines for writing haiku, which suggest this image might make a good prompt for writing one.

If you're looking for something to occupy children aged nine and up, take a look here. Entries of poetry, art, speeches or song are invited – but it closes very soon.

This competition is for adult writers who are trans or non binary. Again there's not much time to get in an entry, but as there's a £150 prize plus publication, you may feel it's worth writing in a hurry. UK residents only.

Finally, here's a scriptwriting competition with a £6,000 prize. Your play needs to run for at least 45 minutes.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Last chance

Today is your last chance to get my REALLY well researched romantic, photographic and eco-friendly campervan adventure Leave Nothing But Footprints for 99p (or 99c)

Thanks to Alyson Hilborne for reminding me of the On The Premises competitions. The current one is for a limerick. It's free to enter and there will be tem prizes of $40.

I'm tempted...


There was a woman called Patsy
Who couldn't do poetry
But had a go
'cos, you know
She could do with the money!

What do you think?

Friday, 17 April 2020

Wednesday already?





Actually I do know what day of the week it is, on account of #WritingChat (old programme of topics, but chats are ongoing) on Wednesdays and the virtual writing group for the From Story Idea to Reader Facebook group. Both are free and you'll be very welcome if you'd like to join either.







Somehow, although I can't go anywhere, I seem to have less time than usual. Anyone else finding that?










If you do have time, you may like to try these free writing competitions and challanges –












Thanks to Alyson Hilborne for telling me about these free to enter writing competitions. There are categories for poetry, short stories and flash fiction.












And thank you to S. Bee for alerting me to  these cat and dog related competitions, with prizes to match. As well as a short story contest for adults, there are children's categories for both competitions.







Thanks to J Lenni Dorner for alerting me to this from WriteClub and the WEP challenge.








The photos are of my garden, the illustration for my story in the current The People's Friend Special, and the cover of my novel Leave Nothing But Footprints, which is on sale for the reduced price of 99p (99c) until the 23rd.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Competition news


I'd love to hear your competition news. Have you entered any comps? Had any luck? Heard about interesting contests? Got any tips to pass on? (Although I only feature free to enter competitions in my posts it's fine to share news about other competitions too.)

For those who are unsure, this post explains how to leave a comment. (If you've subscribed to the blog by email and wish to respond, you'll need to click on the link and add a comment – it's not possible to do this by replying to the email.)



Thanks to Alyson Hilborne for passing on details of this free to enter travel writing competition. They want no more than 500 words about a 'stand out travel experience'. The prize is publication in National Geographic and a two week trip to Vietnam (including flights). Alyson shares loads of interesting writing news on her twitter account, including competitions, giveaways and calls for submission.





If anyone sends me a link to a free to enter writing competition and would like a link back to their blog, website, social media account etc, please include that link when you email/message me.

Here's a monthly travel writing competition with a £250 prize and the chance of £1,000 for the best one of the year. This one also has a 500 word requirement and is free to enter.


If you've been reading the blog for a while you'll know that any mention of travel is my cue to spam you with photos. These are of R'ten – our mobile writing retreat, photographic base and means of transport. She's taken me to present workshops and meet writing friends around the British Isles.

The locations featured here are Eilan Doonan castle Scotland, the ferry to Raasay, a nature reserve near Bamburgh and Callum's Road, Raasay (worth looking up if you have a minute to spare or want inspiration for an interestig character).





Wednesday, 1 April 2020

No fooling



It's April the first, which means that as well as it being Insecure Writer's Support Group day, it's also April Fool's.










In England, and some other countries, this is traditionally a time for spoofs and practical jokes. It's common to see photos of invisible stealth planes and ships which are really photos of nothing, or silly news stories by people with names made from the letters of April fool(s). This isn't a good day to trust anyone called Olaf or Flo!



One very important part is to get your fooling in, and reveal you've done so, by noon. If you wait until after twelve it's you, not your victim, who is the fool.










Although tempted to make up a spurious word for Wednesday Word of the Week today, I've resisted. Instead I'm sharing some fun pictures. Have you ever played an amusing April Fool's prank? Or been on the recieving end of a funny one?













You don't need to have been fooled in order to benefit from joining the Insecure Writer's Support Group, although I'm sure you'd find advice and sympathy if that were the case.

Members will help you through anything from constant self doubt about your writing abilities to momentary anxiety or where to place a comma.


Thanks to Alyson Hilbourne for this link to another free travel writing competition. There's a $100 

Thanks to Alyson Faye for passing on details of this free short story competition. The prize is a Google Home Mini and a seesion with the plot doctor!


Something else which is currently free – My garden themed short story collection Through The Garden Gate.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Literary lady?



Literary means – of, constituting or occupied with books or written composition. Suppose that means I'm literary to some extent, as I'm often occupied with reading or writing.

To prove it, here are photos of me in libraries and bookshops.







You can also be described as literary if you're well informed about literature. Words or phrases which are used mainly in works of literature or other formal writing are considered literary.




I won't be doing another book signing for a while, but you can get your hands on my books here. (There are a couple of short free ones.)
This competition from Fitzcarraldo is for 'a book-length work of literary fiction written in English by published and unpublished writers around the world.' Entries close 1st July. The prize is publication and an avance of $10,000. 

There is no entry fee.












Even though I don't reckon it's what I write, I don't really know how to define 'literary fiction'? What does that phrase mean to you? What's the alternative?













Are you literary?