Sunday, 30 April 2017

Book deal!

A quick reminder about this novel writing competition. There's a £20,000 book deal on offer for the winner - but not long left to enter and you have to be a UK author, not currently represented by an agent, to be eligible.
In case you're thinking there's no point entering these things, I'd like to tell you a short, true story... I once won a novel writing competition. The prize wasn't so good and the company running no longer exists (the book does), but I got to do a book signing in Waterstones, picked up some royalties and it kick started my writing career.

Someone will win this competition too. Why shouldn't it be you?

Friday, 28 April 2017

Unseasonal words

Words mag are running another free to enter writing competition. You have up to 2,000 words to write a story on the theme of Christmas and entries don't have to be in until the end of June. There are cash prizes.

All entries will also be considered for publication in the magazine, but this isn't compulsory.

At the end of last year, I realised I'd not entered many competitions recently, so sent something in for the previous Words mag competition - and came second! I should probably enter a few more.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017


Younker is a very old term for a youngster. Here's a picture of me when I was a younker.

Despite the evidence, I don't actually feel old enough to have been in black and white.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Ink blots and poetic plots

Printerinks are running a free poetry competition with a £100 Amazon voucher as the prize. You have 45 lines and until 5th May to write poetically about new beginnings.

I used ordinary ink to create this test. If you don't do poetry (or even if you do) perhaps you'd like to play. All you have to do is say what you see in the pattern, and I'll give you a totally made up and extremely unhelpful interpretation of what that says about you.

Or you could do the same for me. I can see a bug-eyed and rather grumpy goat/dog hybrid. It's attempting to disguise its grumpiness by clapping its spindly little legs and throwing confetti in the air.

My husband, Gary, reckons it's a surprised viking.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Lost in translation

Brilliant fiction are running another free to enter 500 word fiction competition. The prompt is 'the dubash'. I had to look that one up. It means Indian translator or interpreter.

There are cash prizes, starting at €50 or local equivalent for the winner. All shortlisted entries will be published. Thanks to Alyson Faye for passing on the details.

Have you ever got lost or caused confusion due to language difficulties? It happens to me a lot in patisseries. I always only intend to order a couple, but somehow always end up with a much larger selection.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017


I'm sure you're aware that a sultana is a dried seedless raisin type thing and absolutely delicious when included in sticky buns which have been toasted and spread generously with butter and... Sorry, got distracted for a moment there.

The small yellow grape variety which produces these fruit is also called a sultana - as is the wife, mother, daughter or concubine of a sultan.

So a sultana could grow sultanas, dry them to make sultanas and feed these to the rest of the sultan's sultanas.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017


Well done to Alyson Faye, who saw a competition I'd listed here, entered and won! It's a regular competition, with cash prizes offered twice a month, so you can have a go yourself.

Do you enter any of the competitions I mention? Ever win any?

Sunday, 16 April 2017

A spot of lunch?

Thanks to Fay Knowles for passing on this submission opportunity, which she spotted on Morgen Bailey's useful blog (Morgen runs a free monthly 100 word competition with a writing course as the prize).

Lunch Ticket are looking for poetry, prose, fiction, flash, creative non-fiction and artwork. They have regular submission windows. The current one closes at the end of this month. (I don't think they pay.)

In case you were wondering, the photo shows a little light snack in the mobile writing retreat.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Send oldies packing

If you can write either a factual article, or entertaining short story on the subject of 'travel for seniors' in 750 words or less, you could win £200. Entry is free, anyone over 16 may enter and you have until 31st of July to send something in.

I don't quite qualify as a senior, but I'm practicising the travelling part, ready for when I am.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017


You know how you're aware a thing exists, but it had never occurred to you there was a specific word for it? (Or is that just me?) Well, those little strandy bits in an egg, which join the yolk to the ends of the egg, inside the shell, are known as chalaza.

Competitions for eggs on plates are an actual thing too. I'm sure there's a word for that... Whatever it is, I like the fact this happens so much, I recreated it in a scene in Firestarter.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Pen Pals

Over the last few days I've been meeting up with lots of writing friends. As quite a few of them write for women's magazines, I've posted the details on my womagwriter blog.

As you're here though, I have an excuse to share some other photos from the same trip...

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Third Word

The Third Word run a twice monthly flash fiction competition. It's free to enter, they only want 80 words and you can send multiple entries. There's a £20 prize each fortnight, plus the chance of publication.

It's hard to illustrate a competition where you can write about whatever you like, so here's a photo of something I like. I'll be extremly impressed if you work it into your winning story.

How do you feel about such tight words counts? Do they encourage you to have a go, or put you off?

Friday, 7 April 2017

Going to Galtelli?

There's not long left to enter this competition, but as the prize is €1,000, travel to Sardinia and accomodation whilst you're there, plus publication, you might think it's worth staying up late to get an entry written. 2nd, 3rd and 4th placed entries get the same, minus the €1,000.

Just to make it a little harder, your piece of up to 5,000 words should be inspired by Daledda's novel Canne al Vento.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Thanks, IWSG

The Insecure Writer's Support Group exists to allows writers to share their insecurities and to offer support to others.

A few months ago I made a post saying I had so many projects on the go that I was spending more time deciding which to work on than I was on writing. Thanks to the great responses I got, I was able to prioritise and do some actual writing.

The one I tackled first, Leave Nothing But Footprints, was for a competition. I 'only' had to get the first chapter and outline done by the end of last month. Whilst I wait for the results, I'm going to move onto somehing else for a while. Whatever the result, having a bit of distance from the story will be a good thing. To be honest, my chances of success in that competition are very slim, but having got my entry sorted out in time feels like a real achievement and has given me a confidence boost.

Have you ever asked for help with anything writing related and got a response which has helped you produce a result you're pleased with?

Sunday, 2 April 2017

I will if you will

The Scottish book trust run a monthly 50 word short story competition. If you write two words a day, you'll be in plenty of time to enter this month.

I double dare you to send something in!