Friday, 19 July 2019

Friday Freebie

Thanks to Sheila Crosby for bringing this free to enter novel writing competition to my attention.

 It's for women over forty, writing about a character over forty. I'm not eligible! Oh, OK, not because of my age, but because entrants must not previously have been published.

As I do qualify with regards to age, here are some pictures from my recent travels to show you the sort of thing your mc might be interested in.

The Friday Freebie will be back next week with The String Games, by Gail Aldwin.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019


An excursus is a detailed discussion of a particular point in a book, often placed in an appendix, or a digression in the narrative. It comes from 'excursion', which makes sense.

How do you feel about books which sometimes stray off the main point? Do you enjoy the excursion, or prefer to stay on track?

The photos are from one of our excursions in the van – I'm not digressing from the writing theme of this blog by posting them, as I'm writing a story set in this location.

If you won the $1,000 prize in this free to enter writing competition, you could afford a lovely excursion – where would you go?

Wednesday, 10 July 2019


Medicine can mean the science or practise of diagnosing and treating or preventing disease. It's also any drug or preparation used to treat disease – I think that's what most of us immediately think of when we hear the word. Medicine can also describe a spell or charm thought to cure disease.

Taking your medicine means to put up with something unpleasant, whereas having a dose of your own medicine means to endure something you've inflicted on others.

A medicine man is someone with powers of healing within themselves, rather than a dispenser of drugs. A medicine chest is any container which holds drugs or medication.

Herbal medicines are traditional remedies, some of which work extremely well. Next time you have a sore throat, try gargling with sage tea. Tastes awful, but does the trick. Talking of traditions, you might like this free to enter short story competition from On The Premises, which has that theme. First prize is $220.

Am I the only person who doesn't trust any medicine which tastes nice?

Friday, 5 July 2019

Sex and Clangers

Thanks to Beatrice Charles for passing on the details of this free to enter writing competition. The subject is sex and you can write fiction, non-fiction or poetry. They also welcome undefinable works. I think I've written some of those, but they're not sexy. The prize is £300 and publication.

I was going to wait to post this until I could think of a suitable illustration, but the closing date is coming up soon, so instead I'm going to share photos of Bagpuss and The Clangers, who I met recently in The Beaney, Canterbury. These are the real ones, used for filming.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019


Ongoing means in progress, under way, continuing, being worked on. I have a novel that's been ongoing for years and now looks as though it will be more than one book (the big project I mentioned last month).

The amount of work involved, and not knowing if it will be a success at the end of the process, was making me feel a little insecure. Thankfully several members of the Insecure Writer's Support Group did what they're there for and offered support and encouragement. Amongst the helpful suggestions was a common theme – just go for it, do a bit at a time and don't put obstacles in my way. Since then I've added more words and am feeling just a little less daunted.

Other meanings of ongoing are progressing, advancing and growing. The story is doing that, albeit slowly. They're the aspects I'll try to focus on, rather than how much more there is to do and what might happen when I eventually finish.

This ongoing competition from The Third Word asks for just 80 words, which can be a complete story, scene or extract from a longer work. I won once and that was with a novel extract.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019


Napper is an 18th century slang word for the head. Did you know that, or did you, like me, think it was a word for people who take naps?

Don't get caught napping and miss this free competition. If you use your napper and come up with something good enough to win, you'll have it recorded by a professional actor and made available on their website. Previously published work may be entered.

And here's a free to enter poetry competition.

And this is for Dr Who fans.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019


Elbows are of course the joint halfway down our arms which allow them to bend. They're very useful to writers!

A piece of piping shaped into a right angle, or any similarly shaped bend or corner can be known as an elbow bend or elbow joint

If you jostle your way through a crowd then you can be said to be elbowing your way into a space, and those displaced in this manner are elbowed out. Once you have sufficient space around you, you'll have plenty of elbow room

If you give something elbow grease, you've put effort into it. Giving a person the elbow is to dump them. Being out at the elbows (either a person or item of clothing) means to be tired or ragged.

Find yourself some elbow room, apply creativity and elbow room and enter this free poetry competition. If you win the £100 prize you'll be able to replace something you own which is out at the elbows. You'll also have your work published and illustrated and will receive a copy of the book.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019


Verdigris (pronounced verdegree) is best known as the effect on metals such as brass and copper when they're exposed to weather or seawater. In a short space of time they go from bright and shiny to a dull blueish-green. It's commonly scene on roofs, pipework and weather vanes.

The verdigris can be polished off, but will soon form again.

Historically verdigris was used as a pigment for artists, producing the most vibrant shade of green available in the middle ages.

Did you know that verdigris can also be used to describe sailors? I guess it could be quite apt if they're under the weather.

I'll be green with envy if you win this free to enter competition from Amazon. There's a £20,000 prize. All you have to do is write something great, polish it up, publish on, enroll it in kdp select, sell lots of copies and get lots of good reviews and you'll be in with a chance!

Friday, 7 June 2019

Friday Freebie

The winner of last week's  Friday Freebie book is Ann. 

Please contact David with a UK postal address and he'll send out your copy of Brotherhood in the next few days.

Free ebook – Last Chance Horse by Jane Ayres (free through to 10th June).

Special offer – My romance Escape To The Country is currently reduced to 99p (99c).

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Insecure – or just lazy?

I have an idea for a really big writing project and it's creating all kinds of doubts. How do I tell if these are legitimate concerns, a dose of insecurity because it's more ambitious than anything I've so far attempted, or just obstacles I'm creating to get myself out of the huge amount of work which would be involved?

If you have writing insecurities and/or would like to offer help, encouragement or reassurance to insecure writers then you may like to join the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

While I continue to ponder my big project, I'm going to work on smaller scale writing. This free to enter short story competition might be just the thing. You have to sign up for the mailing list to take part and there's a weekly prize of £50. Thank you to Alyson for making me aware of it.

There's still time to leave a comment on last week's Friday Freebie and be in with a chance to win a paperback posted to any UK address.

Friday, 31 May 2019

Friday Freebie – Brotherhood by David Beckler

The winner of last week's  Friday Freebie book is Jen.  Please contact Alyson with a UK postal address and she'll send it out in the next few days.

Today's Friday Freebie is Brotherhood by David Beckler.

About the Author: I write fast-paced action thrillers populated with well-rounded characters.

I began writing in 2010 and use my work experiences, particularly my time as a firefighter in Manchester, to add realism to my fiction.

I live in Manchester, my adopted home since 1984. In my spare time I try to keep fit—an increasingly difficult undertaking—listen to music, socialise and feed my voracious book habit.

Join my mailing list to get a free copy of my novella Forged in Flames. My twitter handle is @DavidBeckler1

About the bookBrotherhood, published by Sapere Books in January 2019, is the first novel in The Mason and Sterling series and centres on two ex-Royal Marines, Byron who now runs a security company and Adam who is a firefighter. A strong cast of characters support the protagonists.

David is working on the final edits of the second in the series, The Profit Motive. Brotherhood is set in Manchester and The Profit Motive in Manchester and Wenzhou, China.

Blurb: When Byron Mason’s estranged nephew, Philip, rings him out of the blue in desperate need of help, he knows he must put his personal feelings aside to protect his family.

A teenage boy has been murdered, and Philip is one of the suspects.

Worse than that, the dead boy was the nephew of Ritchie McLaughlin – a local thug who Byron has clashed with in the past – and Philip has now gone missing. 

Desperate to clear Philip’s name, Byron enlists the help of his old friend Adam Sterling to track down the real killers. 

You can buy the book as a paperback or ebook here. To try to win a signed copy, posted to any UK address, simply leave a comment below by midnight on Wednesday. The winner will be announced next Friday.

Free ebook – Not A Drop To Drink by Patsy Collins.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019


Fictive means creating or created by imagination. It can also mean not genuine.

Are works of fiction, such as my lovely romance Leave Nothing But Footprints fictive? I don't think they are – at least not entirely. Although partly produced fictively there's far more to creating a novel than fictiveness.

Authors often need to research facts – I learned a huge amount about photography to write this book, drew on my memory for  details such as campervanning disasters and toasting marshmallows, and took some of the walks through gorgeous Welsh scenery along with my characters.

I'd argue that even elements of a story which come directly from the author's imagination may still be genuine. For example Jess values the support of friends and learns to take pride in doing something well – those things are genuine, aren't they?

Then we come on to the actual typing out of the words, the editing, proofreading, cover creation, marketing etc etc. Some of these tasks may well require imagination, but the work doesn't stop there.

What do you think – are novels fictive?

If you've written something, fictive or otherwise, you may like to try this free entry writing competition. There's $4,000 on offer for 'the best short story, novel excerpt, poem, one-act play, graphic story, or work of literary nonfiction published by a new or emerging writer in Narrative.

There's still just time to enter the draw for a free book in last week's Friday Freebie.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Friday Freebie – Badlands by Alyson Faye

Today's Friday Freebie is Badlands by Alyson Faye.

About the Author: Alyson lives in West Yorkshire with her husband, teen son and 4 rescue animals. She has been a teacher, a carer, a road safety instructor and a lifetime film buff. Currently she teaches creative writing workshops and writes dark fiction, both short (flash) and long. 

Her short stories have appeared in print in the anthologies, Women in Horror Annual 2, Stories from Stone, DeadCades:The Infernal Decimation, Coffin Bell Journal 1 and Crackers. Her debut flash fiction collection, Badlands, was published in January 2018 by indie publisher, Chapel Town Books and her own Trio of Terror - Supernatural Tales (all set in Yorkshire) came out in December 2018. Her flash fiction has appeared in several charity anthologies and can be heard on several podcasts. Her fiction has won, or been shortlisted in several competitions.

When not writing Alyson enjoys singing, swimming, crafting, time with her Labador, Roxy and eating chocolate, the darker the better.
Her blog can be found here.
Her amazon author page is here and she's on twitter as @AlysonFaye2.

About the book: The books contains tiny tales with long shadows. This is my debut collection of short shorts - a collection of thirty plus pieces drawing on my interests in old movies, churches, the Victorians, homelessness, the supernatural and the dark side of life. My WEA class tutor introduced me to the concept of writing taut and short ie under 500 words or even 100 worders and I took to this format - finding it both fun and a challenge. I realised I had built up enough over 3 years for a collection and I sent it off to an indie publisher who happily decided to run with it. The title, Badlands, also the title of a Martin Sheen film from 1973, (not seen it? I would recommend you seek it out) came to mind, as so many of the pieces explore the darker side when events tip into the weirdly strange.

Many of the tales are set in real locations or are drawn from my life or family :-  Doll Man is set in a local park's playground in Saltaire, the English Heritage Trust village built by mill owner Titus Salt in the nineteenth century, where I used to regularly take my young son. The Adelphi is a homage to Liverpool's once glittering hotel of that name; Cathedral Crow was inspired by walking in the cloisters of Norwich cathedral in Tombland and watching the birds roost in the stoneworks; Bouquet from Valletta came from a real life glimpse of a glorious garden and a conversation with its creator in that town; Bookworm is the most autobiographical- I am the child/girl in the story; Visiting Mum is based on my own family experiences of dementia. However a seed of fact may start the tale but fiction rapidly takes over. No crimes were committed by this author - unlike by the inhabitants of these pages. It is all imagination.  

Blurb: ‘Badlands' is a collection of flash fiction pieces, from drabbles of 100 words to longer pieces up to 1000 words. Many have been published on line and in anthologies, and short-listed or been placed in competitions. They have all been written during the last three years, the oldest pair being ‘Chestnuts for my Sweet’ and ‘A Guy for the Children’, both written in the autumn.

These short shorts reflect an interest in ghost stories, history especially the Victorians, old movies, derelict buildings, real life issues such as homelessness, and just the ‘what if’ factor of when a seemingly normal situation starts to tilt off centre, dangerously so.

You can buy the book as a paperback orebook here. To try to win a signed copy, posted to any UK address, simply leave a comment below by midnight on Wednesday . 

The winner will be announced next Friday.

Free ebook Are We Nearly Famous? by various authors.

If you'd like to offer one of your physical books as a Friday Freebie or to have your free ebook mentioned, do get in touch. Any form or genre considered.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019


Secrete is an interesting word in that it can mean almost the opposite of itself. 

In some cases secrete  means to put away, hide or conceal. I'm sometimes the secretor of seeds when visiting gardens (please keep my secretory secret!)

Secrete can also mean to produce something – a secretion. Our eyes may secrete tears (I'm not absolutely sure it is our eyes that do this, in fact I'm fairly sure it's a separate gland or duct or something, but the only alternative I could come up with was a festering wound secreting pus and frankly that's way too icky.)

If you've written a first novel, don't secrete it away in a draw – enter it in this competition and you could win a £20,000 advance, the services of a literary agent and guaranteed publication.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019


Reciprocity is 'the condition of being reciprocal'. It's doing something in return, mutual actions, give and take, inversely correspondent, complementary. 

After I plant flower seeds, they reciprocate by blooming. This act of reciprocation is then follwed by another – bees visit to collect food, pollinate my plants and continue a recrocating cycle.

Have you ever behaved reciprocally?  

If you win the £16,000 first prize, or even one of the three £8,000 awards for this free to enter playwriting competition, as a result of seeing it here, I hope you'll reciprocate my kindness in posting about it by buying me a cake. A big one. With a cherry on top.

p.s. I have a new collection of short stories out. Family Feeling is currently on sale for the reduced price of 99p (99c)

Friday, 10 May 2019

Friday Freebie

The winner of last week's Friday Freebie is Helen Lowry. Please contact me with the UK address you'd like your book sent to.

Sorry there isn't a new competition this week – stuff happened. (Nothing bad – just busy.) 

Wednesday, 8 May 2019


Lichen is the variously coloured mossy type stuff you often see on trees and rocks. It's composed of a fungus and alga in a symbiotic relationship. There are a LOT of different types.

Lichen is also the name of a skin disease, but let's not go there.

Lichenology is the study of lichens and things which have been lichened.

Personally I pronounce the word litch-in (as in litch-gate which I feel is appropriate because churchyards are a good place to see lichen). The alternative is to say it as though it were written liken. 

Lichen forms when something just stands about doing nothing. You can't afford to do that if you want to enter this free crimewriting competition, as it ends at the end of the month. The prize is a two book contract with Avon (an imprint of Harper Collins). 

Friday, 3 May 2019

Friday Freebie – A Year And A Day by Patsy Collins

The winner of last week's Friday Freebie Is Sharon Boothroyd. Please contact  Alyson with a UK postal address and she'll send it out in the next few days.
Today's Friday Freebie is A Year And A Day by Patsy Collins.

About the Author: 
Patsy Collins is a short story writer and novelist. Hundreds of her stories have appeared in magazines in the UK, Ireland, Sweden, South Africa and Australia. They've won competitions, been selected for anthologies and a few are included in her own themed short story collections. So far there are 16 of these, each containing at least 24 stories.

After winning a novel writing competition Escape To The Country (a romance) was published. Patsy's since published four more novels and co-authored From Story Idea to Reader – an accessible writing guide.

Patsy sometimes gives talks about, or readings of, her work and also presents workshops. If you'd like her to jump in the campervan and visit your group, do get in touch.

About the book:
A Year And A Day is a romance, with a touch of crime and hint of fortune telling. There's masses of delicious food and beautiful flowers, both things the author researched extensively.

Blurb: Despite Stella's misgivings, her best friend Daphne persuades her to visit a fortune teller. Rosie-Lee promises both girls will live long and happy lives. For orphaned Stella, the fortune teller's claims include the family she longs for and a tall, dark handsome man. Stella doesn't believe a word, so Rosie-Lee produces a letter, to be read in a year's time, which will prove her predictions are true.
Stella remains sceptical but Daphne is totally convinced. Daphne attempts to manipulate Stella's life, starting with an introduction to her new boss. Restaurant owner Luigi fits the romantic hero image perfectly. In complete contrast is Daphne's infuriating policeman brother John. Despite his childhood romance with Stella ending badly, he still acts as though he has a right to be involved in her life.
Soon John is the least of her worries. Daphne's keeping a secret, gorgeous simply Luigi just can't be trusted, romantically or professionally and both girls' jobs are at risk. Worse still, John's concerns for their safety are proved to be justified.

John, and Rosie-Lee's letter, are all Stella has to help put things right.

You can buy the book as a paperback or ebook here. To try to win a signed copy, posted to any UK address, simply leave a comment below by midnight on Wednesday. 

The winner will be announced next Friday, when there will also be the chance to win another book.

Free ebook The Blight and the Blarney by Rosemary J Kind.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019


Void means empty or vacant, it can be an unfilled space (literal or metaphorical) even a vacuum. The inside of The Sphere is just a void.

When we sold our old campervan nothing could fill the void in my life (until we picked up the new one!)

It describes something useless or ineffectual. In a legal sense it means invalid. 

A thing, place or situation may display voidness, or be voidable - they don't sound like real words, do they?

Voided isn't the past tense of void – that's something used in heraldry where the central area is cut away to show the field. 

Today's the first Wednesday of the month, so this is an Insecure Writer's Support Group post. Do join us if you'd like to.

I submit a lot of work to editors. Sometimes I'm sometimes a little nervous about doing so, especially when pitching or submitting somewhere new, but it's not a major insecurity. 

Like everyone who attempts to get work published I get rejections. Of course I'm not happy about any of them, and from time to time they'll dent my confidence a little, but they're just a part of the process we have to accept. Even if we're initially upset or deflated we'll get over it and move on.

What I really dislike, and which does cause me to feel insecure, is sending my work into the void and never hearing back. Did it arrive? Should I chase it up? Can I send it somewhere else? I hate the not knowing – and it goes on and on. Will they reply this week?  Or next? 

Eventually I send a polite query. Was it too soon? Will they be annoyed? Why haven't they replied to that? Did the query reach them?

What do you do if you don't hear back – and how soon do you do it? And how many times?

If you submit to this free to enter novel writing competition you won't entirely be casting your work into a void, as although unsuccessful entrants won't be contacted you can check the shortlist in September and will know if you made it that far. The winner gets £3,000 – which might fill a void in your bank account!

If you haven't entered Friday's competition to win a paperback, there's still time to enter and if you'd like a bargain ebook, you can download Keep It In The Family, a collection of 25 feel good family related stories is reduced to 99p (99c) for the next few days..

Friday, 26 April 2019

Friday Freebie – Trio of Terror by Alyson Faye

The winner of last week's  Friday Freebie book is Frances Garrood.   Please contact me with a UK postal address and I'll send it out in the next few days.

Today's Friday Freebie is Trio of Terror by Alyson Faye.

About the Author: Alyson lives in West Yorkshire with her husband, teen son and 4 rescue animals. She has been a teacher, a carer, a road safety instructor and a lifetime film buff. Currently she teaches creative writing workshops and writes dark fiction, both short (flash) and long. 

Her short stories have appeared in print in the anthologies, Women in Horror Annual 2, Stories from Stone, DeadCades:The Infernal Decimation, Coffin Bell Journal 1 and Crackers. 

Her debut flash fiction collection, Badlands, was published in January 2018 by indie publisher, Chapel Town Books and her own Trio of Terror - Supernatural Tales (all set in Yorkshire) came out in December 2018. Her flash fiction has appeared in several charity anthologies and can be heard on several podcasts. Her fiction has won, or been shortlisted in several competitions. Find all her books here.

When not writing Alyson enjoys singing, swimming, crafting, time with her Labador, Roxy and eating chocolate, the darker the better.

About the book: Trio of Teror contains hree tales of the supernatural from the dark heart of Yorkshire

Living in Yorkshire and getting out and about with my cross Labrador, Roxy, I drew on both my local history knowledge and our trips to Filey and Scarborough as the backdrops to these three supernatural tales of quiet horror. The first, 'The Resurrection of the Reverend Greswold' is set in a church which was inspired by an actual derelict church, up for auction, along with its graveyard, outside Halifax. I couldn't help but wonder who would want a graveyard as a back garden? 'Swan Song' is set in Filey, where we've holidayed many times and the last tale, 'Hospital Blues' is a time slip story, set just after WW1 and in present day Bingley, the market town where I live. There was a closed-up hospital in the town which I walked past regularly and a few local street names crept in too. I am drawn to derelict buildings and enjoy researching their history; I read quite a bit about the rehabilitation of soldiers during/after WW1 for that one. I wrote the story in the centennial anniversary of the end of the war after visiting a number of local exhibitions and going to a few talks. It seemed a timely topic.

Blurb: A trio of terrifying, haunting tales to torment your dreams; an aperitif to set the scene for horror writer Alyson Faye's upcoming collection due out in 2019. Are you brave enough to step into her dark world? What is on the other side? This trio of stories are set in Yorkshire, in the seaside resort of Filey; in BIngley, at a hospital for soldiers injured in the Great War (written to coincide with the 100 year anniversary of the war's conclusion) and another is inspired by a derelict church outside Halifax.

You can buy the book as a paperback or ebook here. To try to win a signed copy, posted to any UK address, simply leave a comment below by midnight on Wednesday 1st May. The winner will be announced next Friday, when there will be another free book to win.

Free ebook Are We Nearly Famous? by various authors is currently available as a free download.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019


To go withershins means to travel in a direction contrary to the sun's course and is sometimes thought to be unlucky. Another meaning of withershins is anticlockwise.

Withershins can also be wrtten as widdershins. I'm not sure which version I like best – do you have a preference?

Did you leave a comment on this post to be in the draw for a paperback copy of Escape To The Country? You have until midnight to try.

Friday, 19 April 2019

Friday Freebie – Escape To The Country by Patsy Collins

The Friday Freebie is a new feature for this blog. Each time it runs, there will be a chance to win a paperback, just by leaving a comment.

I'm kicking things off with my own book, Escape To The Country.

About the author: Patsy Collins spends her time making things up and writing them down from her home in Lee-on-the-Solent or whilst travelling in a campervan. She is the author of five novels, sixteen themed collections of short stories, and half of From Story Idea to Reader – an accessible guide to writing fiction. Hundreds of her short stories have been published in women's magazines worldwide. Learn more at

Patsy runs two blogs for writers. This one regularly features free to enter writing competitions, and Womagwriter contains all the guidelines and information needed to submit fiction to woman's magazines in the UK and abroad.

About the book: Escape To The Country won a novel writing competition. It was the first book I had published – on my birthday the year I got married! (It's one of that version on offer today.) Since then the publisher ceased trading (not my fault!) and I've self published it with a different cover.

Blurb: Leah is accused of a crime she didn't commit. She escapes to Aunt Jayne's smallholding in the countryside to clear her name. Soon she falls in love with Duncan, a dishy tractor driver, and has much bigger problems to deal with than missing money.

Does she want to swap her career in London for farm work? Is Duncan really the rescuing hero he seems? Just when it seems life can't get any more complicated, a fire destroys everything Leah had worked towards. She learns many of those closest to her have lied – and one of them is the real embezzler.

You can buy the book as a paperback or ebook here. To try to win a signed copy, posted to any UK address, simply leave a comment below by midnight on Wednesday 22nd April. (If the winner already owns this book, I'll send an alternative.)

The winner will be announced next Friday, when there will also be the chance to win a book by Alyson Faye.

Making Changes by Mary Grand is currently available as a free ebook.

Oh and No Family Secrets isn't free – but the ebook is on offer for the next few days at 99p/99c.