Wednesday, 30 November 2016


Whee! is an expression of delight. The exclamation mark isn't compulsory, but I feel it's justified.

Whee! is the sort of thing a person might say either because it was the launch day of their first ever co-written non-fiction book, or to show how thrilled they are to have purchased a copy of the rather excellent From Story Idea to Reader. (Wheeeeeeee! is what you squeal when being spun round on a children's roundabout in the park after a celebratory glass of something bubbly. Apparently.)

From Story Idea to Reader is available from Amazon as a paperback (£9.99) or ebook (£3.99). If you'd like it in a different format, such as pdf, you can obtain them direct from the publisher.

For a full list of contents, click here.

Monday, 28 November 2016

I'm rooting for you.

Thanks to Tracy Fells for bringing this free to enter, weekly flash fiction competition to my attention.

There's a new prompt each week and the winners of the best 150 word story get free entry into the Bath Flash Fiction competition, which offers a £1,000 prize.

Sunday, 27 November 2016


The current competition from Words Mag, has the theme of 'murder'. You have until the end of the year to submit your entry which can be up to 2,000 words long. First prize is £50.

I don't know for sure that anyone has ever been murdered in this castle, but it's possible. What do you think?

Friday, 25 November 2016

A bright flash

Brilliant Flash Fiction have a quarterly competition which is free to enter and offers a cash prize. The theme for the current one, which closes on the 15th of January, is 'Aftermath'. The top prize is €50 and the word limit 500.

You may also submit stories of up to 1,000 words, but no payment is offered for those.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Mini masterpiece

Here's another 50 word competition. The prize is a collection of books.

Last time I blogged about one of these teensy story competitions my entry was commended, so I really should have a go at this one.

The books illustrated aren't part of the prize, but it took me so long to create that image that I'm going to use it everywhere I can. If you like the look of any of them, you can buy them here.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016


Estimation is the process or result of making an estimate, an opinion or judgement of worth, or an old term for esteem.

By my estimation it's time for another plug for my books. You'd all go up in my estimation if you bought one ;-) Or read it on Kindle Unlimited, or borrowed it from the library ...

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Feeling adventurous?

If you've published an adventure novel, you could enter it in this competition from the Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation, for a change to win £10,000. If you've written one but it hasn't been published you can enter that too and possibly win the help which will see it published.

I climbed up a jolly big hill. That's about as adventurous as I usually get.

Entries accepted from all nationalities.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

The Creative Café Project and CaféLit

The following post is by my guest, Gill James.

The idea for the Creative Café Project was based partly on the old coffee houses in Vienna, where almost in rent-a-table fashion musicians, and other creative practitioners would meet and debate for hours enjoying excellent coffee, and on De Gaulle’s and André Gide’s maisons de la culture. It’s all about providing creative spaces for creative people.

Nexus Art Café, Manchester

A book event at a creative café 

The Creative Café Project

The Project lists cafés worldwide that meet Creative Café criteria, offers advice to cafés about how to become more “creative”, suggests activities that creative practitioners might take on with cafés, and reviews cafés. Visitors can search for cafés on place names, post codes and by activity.

Read more here.

What a creative café looks like

A creative café may simply have free newspapers for customers to read or, more and more frequently these days, it might offer free Wi-Fi. It might hold book events and / or display art work for sale. The more proactive creative cafés have full lists of events. Do take a look at the list of activities offered.
The project has brought along two new concepts: the literary salon and the writer in residence. Both of these activities are very rewarding for writers.

Salford Museum’s café is a typical creative café

We’re always on the lookout for more cafés, reviews of cafés and creative practitioners willing to work with cafés. We’re also running a series on writers in cafés. If you’d like to get involved in any way, please use the contact form on the site.


CaféLit supports the project by raising awareness, producing short stories that can be consumed as one enjoys a drink in a café and through the small profit made on the annual publication of The Best of CaféLit.
Each story has a drink associated with it. This gives the mood of the story. Take a look at a few here. Stories are anything between 100 words and 3,000 words. You are welcome to submit. See our guidelines.
At the end of each year we select a few of the stories to appear in our Best of volume. We pay the editor and the publicist 7.5% of the profit each and the rest is shared 50 / 50 with the project. We don’t make a huge profit but it does pay for a few flyers. Authors often donate their royalties to the project. They are also offered a 25% discount for life on all CaféLit publications. The project itself gets a little funding from elsewhere.
Our annual get-together in London is fun. Here are details of this year on 3 December. Alas, full now.

Coming soon

From 2017, CaféLit writers will be able to receive a discount on all Chapeltown, Red Telephone and Bridge House books as well as CaféLit.
All CaféLit contributors, whether just online or in The Best of, will be offered an author page on our web site.
A second celebration of all the imprints will be offered in Manchester in the summer.
Watch this space. Why not sign up for our newsletter?

Saturday, 19 November 2016

No vultures here

Cultured Vultures are open to submissions. In theory you may get paid, but that's subject to your piece being read by a lot of people and they make it clear they can't guarantee that will happen. 

On the plus side, you can write about a whole range of topics or send poetry, fiction or reviews and if you don't make any money they'll work with you to "to help build your social profile, show you how to write captivating content, and many other essential aspects of being a writer in the modern world," which sounds jolly useful.

We don't have vultures, cultured or not, around our way so here's a quizical swan and family – plus a bonus duck.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Fine festive fun

Amazon are running a Christmas story competition. The prize package includes publication, £2,000 of Amazon vouchers and a Fire tablet.

There's not long left before the entries close, so get typing NOW!

(UK residents only)

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Do as I say

Unless you're very new to this blog, you'll have read my encouragement to enter writing competitions. I do think it's a good idea, especially when they're free to enter as most of those I blog about are. That doesn't mean I always get around to taking part myself. This summer I hardly entered any.

To be fair to myself I was busy writing a non-fiction book and putting together a short story collection. Oh and touring in the van for three months... Even so, I decided to put things right and fire off a few stories.

Although I haven't won anything (yet) I'm pleased I bothered. I've had a couple of mentions, including one in Writer's Forum and I have some new stories which I might be able to place elsewhere.

What about you? Have you entered any competitions? Do you have any good news to share?

Wednesday, 16 November 2016


The word keep has a variety of meanings.

To keep is to retain or preserve – I keep food fresh by keeping it in the fridge. Or it can mean detain or prevent – Don't let reading this blog keep you from writing. Or to guard or protect – keep yourself safe on the internet by keeping your passwords secret. It's also part of a castle!

There are other uses for the word, but I'm not going to keep on typing as that's kept me away from my stories long enough. Maybe some of you would like to keep on with the definitions or examples?

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Book trailers

I have a short story in Bridge House publishing's latest anthology, Baubles.

As part of the publicity for the collection, the publishers have created this trailer.

Do you like book trailers?

Do they encourage you to buy the book?

Have you ever made, or had made, a trailer for your own book?

Monday, 14 November 2016

Daggers drawn?

Daggerville Games run a monthly short story competition. Word counts, themes and prizes vary (typically it's 350 words and a £30 Waterstones voucher). These details are found on their Facebook page. It's a condition of entry that you like' this. Seems to be the only one.

I'm not sure there is a dagger in this collection, but there are enough weapons for a large village.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

It's almost here ...

From Story Idea to Reader will be released on 30th November as a paperback and in a variety of e-formats. The kindle version is available to pre-order now!

From Story Idea to Reader is an easily accessible guide to writing fiction. Whether you are brushing up on your writing skills or starting out, this book will take you through the whole process from inspiration to conclusion. No matter if you are looking to submit your work for publication, enter a competition, or want to self-publish, this practical guide will help you every step of the way.

Between them, Patsy Collins and Rosemary Kind have sold hundreds of short stories, written sixteen published books and produced numerous articles for Writing Magazine and similar publications. They've both judged writing competitions and run workshops, and Rosemary has read and edited thousands of short stories and published dozens of books for other writers.

With the information, help and encouragement in this book, you too could see your work in print.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

No Family Secrets

I have another short story collection out! (No, I don't have anything better to do with my time.) You can buy it here. No pressure at all.

You could also help spread the word by tweeting, sharing on Facebook etc. Only the teensiest bit of pressure there ;-)

Perhaps Aunty Louise hadn't wanted to be told the truth about why her bum looked big in that dress. If so, she asked the wrong person; Tracie's mum never lied. Louise did ask though, that's why she was told. That's why there are questions Tracie keeps to herself.

Sue's mother always tells the truth, but people don't always listen. Jemima tells lies. Well, it's either that or get a job and pay her way and she's not really suited to that sort of thing. She's much better at manipulation, although perhaps not good enough.

Angela hasn't been strictly honest about the painting and Mary's mother-in-law has withheld important information. That causes upset in both their families, until the loving, honest support of their daughters-in-law put everything right.

Can lies ever be a good thing? Perhaps if they're told to preserve family traditions, or to allow a sick child to benefit from the help of a superhero, they're forgivable. The made up stories Jane tells little Charlie certainly have a positive affect and not only on her son.

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.

Do you ever write about members of your family? I don't do that directly, but I do use some relatives as inspiration. Hard no to as they're such an interesting bunch.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016


Tantamount, which is almost always followed by 'to' means equivalent.

Clicking on my blog is tantamount to agreeing to see more of my photos!

Monday, 7 November 2016

Are you a grown up?

If you're 50 or above and would like to submit to an anthology about ageing, take a look here.

I still have my teddy bear and I'm a lot less grey than he is, so I don't think I can be anywhere close to old yet. Don't think I've grown up much since my Granny made him for me either.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Free editing book

My friend Anne Rainbow's jolly excellent editing book is FREE today. Her ten step editing plan is simple, effective and has certainly helped my 'hit' rate.

You can also sign up for her free, informative emails and follow her blog here.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Heavy feathers

The Heavy Feather Review is currently open to submissions.

Other than with copies of the issue you're in and a lifetime digital subscription, they don't pay. I suppose it's better than nothing.

They accept fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, essays, interviews, reviews, hybrid pieces and artwork.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

What do you enjoy about writing?

 "What is your favourite aspect of being a writer?" That's this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question – and it's an easy one for me to answer.

It's the writing part! I love how we can write about what we like. It doesn't matter if we want to tell the truth or make everything up, whether we prefer haiku or epic novels, or both, or something else entirely. We can create whole new worlds, or fix this one. 

Being able to change our mind is good too. If, after 30,000 words, we decide to alter our character's name, or sex, or age, or outlook on life, we can do that. If we feel we'd like to attempt scriptwriting, poetry, articles, or short stories then we simply open a new document and start typing away. 

The fact that I have two new books coming out before the end of the year perhaps shows how much I enjoy writing and the variety it offers. No Family Secrets is a collection of 25 short stories and From Story Idea to Reader is a non-fiction book I've co-written with Rosemary J Kind. The writing for both is done so it's time to start on one of the less fun aspects of writing; marketing our work. 

Ah well, I'm doing a cheat's version of Nano – 30 short story drafts in 30 days. That should keep me happy.

What do you most like about writing and what are you currently working on?