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..