Friday, 30 March 2018

Cake and coincidence

It's my birthday! Now, I know that means you're all going to give me yummy cake, but I don't know what kind, so please leave a comment lettting me know. Delicous descriptions welcome.

Today is also publication day of this book. It's a collection of 'noir' short stories, selected from the best entries in Fahrenheit Press's recent competition. Yep, there's one by me in there, and yep, I did blog about the competition whilst it was running.

Does the fact the book comes out on my birthday seem like a slightly spooky coincidence to you? It does to me, but that might be because something similar has happened to me before...

My first novel, Escape To The Country, was published six years ago as a result of my winning a writing competition. Since then the publisher has ceased trading (I'm no accepting any blame for that!) and it's been re-released. However the original publication date was my birthday.

That is a bit weird, isn't it? I think I need a cup of tea to help me cope. And cake. Lots of cake.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018


'Hoy!' is a call for attention, sound made to drive livestock or a way to hail a boat ... apparently.

Personally I'd go for 'Hi' or 'Hello' in the first instance, always used 'cummo-on' to get the cows moving (and was pleased to hear the exact same call used by the people moving these cattle in the Outer Hebrides), and wouldn't be able to resist 'ahoy there' should I ever need to yell at someone on a boat.

Another thing my dictionary claims is that hoy is an Australian game resembling bingo which is played with cards. It's a long time since I played bingo, but I'm fairly sure it doesn't even vaguely resemble cards. Anyway ...

A hoy is a small vessel, usually rigged as a sloop, which carries pasengers or goods for small distances. I can't argue wth that, as I've not yet done sufficient research. Clearly I need another boat trip or two.

Here's a free to enter short story competition with a prize of publication in a glossy magazine and a two night stay in a castle; ideal if you want to get away from the hoi polloi ;-)

Monday, 26 March 2018

All About The Light

I've just entered this competition from MJ Mead.

As I was re-checking the rules, I noticed the helpful short story competition tips. I don't recall posting a link to those before, which makes me think I probably didn't blog about the competition at all.

Better (nearly too) late then not at all, right?

They want stories on the theme of light, which are betwen 1,500 and 2,500 words long. They have to be in by the end of the month (so write at the speed of light!) The prize is a Nook Glowlight 3, and publication.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Blooming Good

Erewash writers are running a free entry writing competition with the theme of 'Summer Garden'. You may enter flash, poetry or a short story. There are cash prizes.

Here's what my front garden looks like in May.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018


My dictionary gives several complicated definitions of saline, but they all come to pretty much the same thing – has salt (or salts) in it.

The process of making something salty is salinization. The level of saltiness or salinity is measured using a salinometer.

What's your favourite salty thing?

Monday, 19 March 2018

Don't be chicken

Chicken Soup For the Soul are inviting submissions of true stories of up to 1,200 words to go into themed collections. They pay $200 and ten copies of the book for all selected stories.

Do you like writing about real events, or prefer to make everything up?

Friday, 16 March 2018

Not So Fantastic Plastic

Limnisa are running a writing competition, with a week's writing retreat in Greece (or online tutoring) as the prize. The theme is plastic. Thanks to Alyson Faye for bringing this competition to my attention.

You're probably aware that there's now a lot of plastic in our seas and that this is very bad for the creatures who live there (and ultimately for us). Please, please, please try to reduce your use of plastic, especially 'single use' items, such as lids on take away coffee cups, individual portions of milk and ketchup, drinking straws, plastic cutlery, excessive food wrap in supermarkets ...

Wednesday, 14 March 2018


If a person is froward, then they're perverse or difficult to deal with.

I'll admit that I occasionally act frowardly, but I don't think my overall character displays much forwardness.

The same is mostly true of Jess in my novel Leave Nothing But Footprints, but she does have her moments.

Don't we all?

Monday, 12 March 2018

Last woman standing?

Thanks to Alyson Hilbourne for letting me know about this competition from Dark Regions.

They're looking for stories about 'a sole survivor stranded on a deserted island'. The word count is from 10 to 1,000 words (yes, that's between ten and one thousand words). The best five stories will be published and gain a cash prize. First place wins $500 and it's free to enter.

You can write ten words, can't you?

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Celebration time?

"How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal / finish a story?"

For me, it's usually a cup of tea. Quite often there's cake too.

That question comes from the Insecure Writer's Support Group and if you're thinking you never have much to celebrate, then perhaps you'd like to join?

We tend to think success means winning first prize, selling a story, or getting a publishing contract. Of course such things are wonderful – but that doesn't mean anything less is failure.

We won't win every competition or find a buyer for everything we write, but that doesn't mean we're no good or are wasting our time.

It's VERY important to recognise every writing achievement, even if it's just thinking up a good title, or spotting and fixing a potentially embarrassing typo.

If we've done better than that and actually finished something and submitted it we should definitely celebrate. (And do so again if the piece is bought or placed.)

What's your most recent writing success or achievement and how did you celebrate?

Monday, 5 March 2018

Child's Play

For this competition from the Alpine Fellowship, you're asked to write about childhood. They're looking for something which shows, "an artisan’s humility alongside that spontaneous engagement with the work of making that rests securely upon the awareness of what Ezra Pound called ‘a live tradition’ – not as a set of limits, but as an invitation to explore, to make new and, most of all, to extend the musical possibilities of language." Hmmm. 

On the plus side, work need not be highly polished and the prize is £3,000. I have a sudden urge to explore and become securely aware ...

Friday, 2 March 2018


Craft are open to submissions of flash fiction and short stories, for which they pay a decent rate.

They're also running a competition, with a big cash prize - and a fairly hefty reading fee. I shall probably skip that one.

Whenever I think of 'craft' it conjurs up an image of some kind of needlework, though of course there are many other types of craft and meanings of the term. What does the word craft mean to you?