Saturday, 30 September 2017

Guest post by competition winner Lindsay Bamfield

Today's post is by Lindsay Bamfield.

You can learn a lot from Patsy’s blog. Unusual words, pictures of all sorts of interesting places and details of writing competitions. Not just competitions but free-to-enter competitions. Some ask for just a few words while others require mighty essays. Patsy includes non-fiction competitions and fiction embracing all sorts of genres so there’s something for everyone. Some prizes might be modest but others can be serious money. Many aren’t for me, but I have entered two or three, and have now won one.

I love writing and I love travelling, so the competition for the Senior Travel Expert website, leapt out at me. Entrants didn’t have to be a ‘senior’ traveller to enter the competition, although I do qualify on that score! I’d just returned from Uzbekistan and I quickly jotted a piece, not about the place but about travelling with groups of people who were, as our lovely (young) guide phrased it, of an elegant age. I’m going to use that phrase a lot from now on. I played around with the piece for a few days, deleting and adding, and eventually pressed send. And I won. At least, I half-won. Two of us were deemed winners so we shared the prize! You can see both pieces on the Senior Travel Expert website.

Keep an eye on Patsy’s blog, because free competitions are a great way to get competition savvy. After all, what have you to lose? Having said that, free competitions need to be taken as seriously as any other with only your best attempts submitted, because some attract a large number of entries. And if you don’t win, chances are you can recycle your entry for another competition! 

*blushes* Thank you, Lindsay and congratulations once again on your win!

Friday, 29 September 2017

A tasty one

Ouen Press are running a short story competition with the theme of taste. Entries must be between 3,000 and 10,000 words. The prize is £300.

You have until the end of the year to enter. To take part you must be over 18 and alive.

Do you think those eligibility criteria are too strict?

Wednesday, 27 September 2017


Witter means to talk tediously about trivial matters. So I'm keeping this post short.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Do something nice

Thanks to Gail Aldwin for alerting me about this competition.

Publication and a £100 prize are on offer for the best 500 word story with a joyful or uplifting theme. They want stories of positivity, hope and living life to the full. 

There's no entry fee, but the competition is being run to spread awareness of blood stem cell donations (did you know you could donate stem cells?)

Entrants are asked to do one of several things before entering, such as registering as a donor, making a cash donation or doing a good deed.

I have a request. Even if you don't plan to enter, see if you can do a good deed today. Doesn't have to be much, just a gesture which makes someone else smile.

The photos are of Scarista beach (Harris, Outer Hebrides) - a joyfully uplifting place to visit.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Crossing the Tees

For this competition you're asked to write about crossing the Tees. Not in a dotting an i way, or traipsing over a golf course manner, but actually crossing the Tees. The prize is £100.

I haven't been to that area of the country, which is a drawback in writing about it. That's also a disadvantage when it comes to finding a suitable photo for this post. Which is why there isn't one and instead I've given you a photo of an early protype for Stonehenge.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017


A tee-hee is a titter, or restrained laugh. If you laugh in this way, you'll have tee-heed.

The site of this gull standing on tiptoes to look over a rock, gave me the tee-hees.

Come on, write something in the comments to get me tee-heeing.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Cafe stories

Comma press are running a short story competition with a £500 prize. The rules are slightly complicated, so read them carefully – as you always should for any competition! (details are in the second item on the link.)

Entries must be between 2,000 and 6,000 words and fit the theme of cafe stories.

Imagine having £500 to spend in a cafe! I'd buy tea and cake for my writing buddies. Who would you invite and/or what would you order?

Friday, 15 September 2017

Be quick!

There are only a couple of days to enter this competition. That's not the reason I'm giving it a miss though – they want writers to tell them a true story about a former love. True? I don't think so.

If you're happy to kiss and tell, and can make a good job of it in 700 words, you could win $100.

Here's Gary ... I was going to say he's my current love, but that sounds as though I'm planning to trade him in sometime, and I'm not. I could tell you some stories about him, but I'm not going to do that either.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017


Bordure is a heraldic term and refers to the border around a shield.

I don't seem to have a photograph of a bordure. Clearly I need to visit a lot more castles.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Coining it in

For this competition you're asked to write a short story (1,000 to 2,000 words) on the theme of coins.

The prize is £200, which is quite a lot of pennies. UK entrants only for this one.

I know you know what coins are, but I thought it would make a change to use a photo which wasn't from one of our campervan trips.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Race the whale, Honey

Helen Yendall is running another of her free, fun flash fiction competitions. There are Amazon vouchers and glory to be had!

Friday, 8 September 2017

Big cash prize

The Sunday Times are again running their short story competition. Entry is free and the prize is £30,000. Anyone over 18 can enter, as long as they have a track record of being published in the UK.

If I won £30,000 I'd spend it swanning around in the campervan. I know I do that quite a bit anyway, but with that kind of cash we could get the van to somewhere sunny for the winter - and buy much more cake, and wine which wasn't on special offer. (Not that I'm complaining about my current lifestyle - I'm very lucky to travel as much as I do.)

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

I hate marketing!

OK, maybe 'hate' is a bit strong, but I really don't like it.

Marketing takes up time which I'd rather spend writing, or going out in the campervan, being with my lovely husband, or writing in
the campervan, or taking photos, or eating yummy food ... But that's sort of OK. I understand that if I want to sell books I must do some promotion – and I do want my books to sell.

A major problem for me is that I don't know what works and what doesn't. If I mention in this post that I released a collection of 25 slightly spooky stories this week, and I get sales over the next few days, will that be because of the mention? Or due to the fact I announced it on twitter? Or Goodreads? Put a new page on my website? Due to one of my other marketing attempts? Or just because I've released a book and people magically know? (It's not that last one, is it?)

The other issue I have is not wanting to annoy people. I don't like reading constant 'buy my book' posts on social media, so it doesn't seem right to subject others to a bombardment. I really would hate friends to feel under pressure to buy my books, especially if they're not in a genre they enjoy ... but I don't want anyone to be unaware of new titles if they would like to read them.

And another thing ... It's not just a one off. I have a new novel coming out soon (a romance about photographers, which is set in a campervan and involves yummy food) and I'm working on more short story collections and another novel, and I still hope to sell more copies of my previous releases.

Marketing – that's my current, and no doubt ongoing, writing related insecurity. Maybe you share it? Perhaps you can offer help or advice (please!) You might even like to join the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Something to aspire too.

Thanks to Gail Aldwin for alerting me about a competition - especially as it gives me a chance to post some of my pictures of Salisbury Cathedral from the time I climbed up inside the tower.

A spire, see? Oh, never mind ...

The free to enter competition is for short stories of up to 500 words. There are children's and an adult categories. UK residents only. 

The adult prize is publication and a writing course valued at £495. The runner up gets the same.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

The dark side.

If you can write a short (up to 7,500 words) crime or thriller story, you may be interested in this competition. The best 12 entries will be published in a collection from which the authors will earn royalties. As usual, with the competitions I blog about, it's free to enter. 

Not sure anything I write will be dark enough, but I intend to have a go. 

Friday, 1 September 2017

Catching up

I'm back from our trip to Scotland and the Outer Hebrides and trying to catch up with anything I've missed.
I'm not sure if I've already shared a link to this poetry competition, but as there's still time to have a go, I decided twice was better than not at all.

Anyone can enter and there's a cash prize. The first entry is free – you can send more poems, but that'll cost you.

I'm also sorting through the many, many photos I've taken over the last couple of months. Here are a few which I thought might work as writing prompts. Do let me know if you use them.