Wednesday, 29 November 2017


According to my dictionary, to bedew means to cover with dew or sprinkle with drops of water. That part seems fair enough, but it goes on to state that poets can also use the word to mean sprinkle with tears.

Does it seem fair to you that a poet's characters' cheek may be be bedewed with tears but mine may not?

No, I didn't think so. Oh well, sometimes life isn't fair, so I'll confine all my bedewing to that involving unsalted water.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Financial help for writers

Would having more money help you to write?

If so and you're not under contract to publish and have not previously published a full length book of prose, you may be eligible to apply for this award of £10,000. 

I'm not entirely sure why they think those of us who have published books will automatically be in a better financial situation. Oh well, I'll just have to hope people buy my books.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Crime pays

Sorry, there's not much time left to enter this competition. It's a good one so I thought it was worth mentioning despite that.

If you happen to have an unpublished crime novel of at least 50,000 words, are over 18 and live in the UK and would like £10,000 to help towards having it published as an ebook, take a look here.

Hopefully they'll be no crime at Elmore Angling Club's Christmas Fair tomorrow. I'll be there (Lee-on-the-Solent seafront) selling my books from 10am to 2pm. It's free entry, so if you happen to be in the area, do pop in and say hello. I'll give you a free bookmark if I have any left.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017


To conflate is to blend or fuse together two sets of information – usually texts. When Rosemary J Kind and I worked on our joint book, she conflated her contribution with mine. The resulting conflation is From Story Idea to Reader.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Ad hoc flashing

Ad hoc fiction run a regular flash fiction competition. They provide a prompt and ask for 150 words.

If you win, you'll get free entry into the Bath Flash fiction award. For that they want 300 words and are offering a prize of £1,000.

(It's a lighthouse... they flash!)

Friday, 17 November 2017

That's sound

Soundworks are running another of their short story competitions. Entries can on any theme and submitted from anywhere in the world and be up to fifteen minutes long. That last bit is because the prize is to have your story recorded and made available for people to listen to on the site.

There's no charge to listen, or to enter. Previously published stories may be entered and it's an
interesting experience hearing your story read in this way (I know as I'm a previous winner).

There's just a few hours left to enter this competition, but as they only want 100 words, you might manage it. (Note - now closed)

Seagulls are noisy birds, aren't they? Have you heard the racket they make whenever the feel the need to protect their young?

Wednesday, 15 November 2017


To miaul is to cry like a cat, or to mew. I have no idea, other than the spelling, how it differes from miaow. Do you know?

Bagpuss doesn't miaul, he snores.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Paid for reviews

I've received the following email - "I just found out on Goodreads that you are looking for reviews for your book. If you are still looking for reviews, please do contact me. I have an extremely affordable review tour service available for authors. With the help of my service, you can reach out to more than 14,000 readers and 2,000 book bloggers. Only SERIOUS inquires will receive a response, thanks. "

In common with all writers, I really, really want reviews on my books (If you're read one of mine please, please pretty please, leave a review on Amazon/Goodreads) and I totally understand the temptation to resort to unethical ways of getting them, but please don't. When you get found out, it'll undermine all credibility in your own writing – and tarnish the reputation of other indy authors, even those who don't cheat in this way. 

Not A Drop To Drink is still free and reviews for that will be just as welcome as those for my other books.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Coming and going

This competition is for a poem on the theme of migration. The human kind, not birds and animals.

There's a £200 prize.

I don't really know what came over me, but I've entered this one.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Would this be cheating?

I'm doing Nano, and I was on track until yesterday, when a magazine editor asked me to rewrite a short story I'd subbed. I think I was entirely right to do that – but perhaps not to slip back into short story mode so fully that I forgot about the novel and drafted another short story.

Although I wrote 2,500 new words, they don't count towards my NaNo total. Unless ...

Would it be completely cheating for my main character to pick up a magazine and read an entire short story? If it is, how else can I get myself back on track?

Local – if you're from the West Country

This novel writing competition is for any author 'based in Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall or have written on a subject matter that is directly relevant and closely related to those counties'. I do most of my writing on location, in the camper van, I wonder if that will be enough to qualify me. 

As well as living in the right place, you need to produce your book as printed copies either by self publishing, or through a local independent publisher. The prize is £1,000.

I took this photo somewhere in Dorset, but didn't make a note of the precise location. If you're a local, perhaps you could remind me where it is.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017


A contranym (or contronym or even autoantonym if you prefer) is a word for which there are two opposite or contradictory meanings.

As examples–

 'Left' can mean remaining or departed. When the girls left the room, the boys were left behind.

'Trim' can either mean adding or removing something. I trim my hat with flowers, but trim the hedge with shears. 

'Refrain' is either to stop or repeat depending on the context. I might sing the refrain, or refrain from singing. (If you're nearby, you'll prefer the latter.)

Can you think of more examples?

Tuesday, 7 November 2017


Do you use your local library? Over on my womagwriter blog, I'm running a poll asking that question   - please pop over and vote if  you have a minute to spare.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Less privileged?

This competition is for a  'talented writer from a less-privileged background who is in need of financial assistance in order to be able to join one of Curtis Brown Creative’s six-month novel-writing courses'.
To be eligible, you'll need to be on an income of under £23,000 (or £30,000 if you live with someone) and you won't have had two parents who both went to university.

Hmmm, by that definition I'm VERY underpriviledged as neither of my parents went to uni, and my writing isn't bringing in as much cash as that. Odd, as I think I was lucky in my upbringing and I'm very happy with my current lifestyle. 

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Win a publishing contract

Lulu and Writing Magazine are running a novel writing competition. Entries can be in any genre and from published or unpublished authors – although the actual entry must not have been published in any form.

The prize is to have your book published. You'll earn royalties on sales and they're offering marketing support, so it seems like a pretty good deal. There's no fee to enter, other than the time and dedication needed to actually write a novel.

One of these books was originally published as the result of me winning a novel writing competition. Can you guess which? (Here's a massive clue.)

Friday, 3 November 2017

Book busking

This is me in action 'book busking' as a small part of the Bristol literary festival. I read a couple of stories from my collection Slightly Spooky Stories I.

 While I was there I met up with some writing friends and attended an interesting talk on self publishing. That was realistic about the difficulties we Indy authors face, but it hasn't entirely put me off!

From Bristol we went castle spotting in Wales and then spent hallowe'en listening to owls, watching the mist shrouded moon and photographing abbey ruins.