Saturday, 22 February 2020

Fancy a week in Greece?

The prize for this free to enter short story competition from Limnisa is a week's writing retreat at a seaside location in Greece. 

It includes food, optional yoga sessions, use of a bike and some other stuff. 

It doesn't include travel costs.

To enter write a story of up to 1,000 words, 'loosely inspired' by the image and/or text on their website. 

If you wish you can also pay for a professional evaluation of your story.

I've been to Greece, so you get photos!

Friday, 21 February 2020

This competition from Harper's Bazaar is for a 2,200 word short story on the theme of summer. The prize is a two night stay in a hotel in Yorkshire.

I have writing friends in Yorkshire, so I'm tempted to give this one a go.

Monday, 17 February 2020

Win a tablet PC

Here's a competition for either poetry or short stories (up to 2,000 words). First entry is free, subsequent attempts cost £10. The prize for each category is a 'tablet PC'. You have until late March to enter.

Widely published authors are not eligible. They've not said how they define that, but as these are just a few of the magazines I've been published in, I guess I'm one of the wide lot!

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Queening it

This competition from Holland Park Press is for poems connected with royalty. You don't need to be in favour (or against) and don't have to actually write about a member of the royal family – dogs or handbags are fine, apparently. The prize is £200.

Here's me and Princess Anne
Some royals seem a waste of space
But I reckon Anne deserves her place
Actually I'm a bit of a fan.

Come on, surely you can do better than that?

Friday, 14 February 2020

Save the planet and win $1,000

Thanks to Alyson Hilbourne for passing on the link to this free to enter short story competition. The maximum word count is 5,000 and any genre may be submitted, but do take the stated 'provocation' into account.

There are nine prizes of $100 and one of $1,000 on offer.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Have your debut play performed

Here's a competition for debut playwrights. Shortlisted entries will be performed and the best will also win a 'tablet PC'. Entrants must be based in the UK and prepared to travel to Baring and Dagenham to attend the final performance. 

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Art imitating art?

 Art is both human creative skill, and the results of that skill. The arts are different branches of creative activity. (Painting is an art, a painting is a piece of art, painting is one of the arts.)

The word can also be used to describe a skill or talent which doesn't produce a tangible result. For example the art of not being around when there's work to be done.

It's the first Wednesday of the month, so time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group post. You can sign up here if you're a an insecure writer, and/or would like to support those who are.

February's optional question is – Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

No – not a single one, but many. My grandma was a good amateur artist and my husband is a professional photographer, so naturally I have an interest in these two arts.

In my novel Paint Me A Picture, the main character learns to paint – which saves her life. She and I were both inspired by a trip to the National Gallery. (The cover artwork is by my husband.)

I've attended two writing workshops with a connection to modern art and sold the stories I started at each of them. One of my few historical works centres around a (fictitious) painting, several of my contemporary short stories involve paintings and painters.

I also use photos for, and in, my work. Leave Nothing But Footprints is a romance novel about photographers, and photographers appear in quite a few of my short stories. I also take photos when researching, to remind me of facts, views and feelings.

Monday, 3 February 2020

Meet cute

Thanks to Alyson Hilbourne for telling me about this competition. They want up to 1,000 words about a 'meet cute' i.e. the first meeting of two romantic characters. It's free to enter and 'sweet Valentine's goodies' and pink champagne are offered as prizes.

I'm guessing the sweet stuff is chocolate, but Alyson suggested it could involve cake. Do you think one of us is right, or could it be something else?

Had you heard the term meet cute before? No, me neither. 

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Poetry for me!

I don't usually write poetry, but the entiries for this competition are allowed to be silly, so I might have a go. (Good poetry is also accepted!)

The competition is only open to British and Irish citizens. The prize is a £100 gift card. Entries open today and close on Valentine's day.

Wednesday, 29 January 2020


Ligneous means made of wood, or resembling wood, or just downright woody.

Trees are ligneous, as are some ladders and signposts, pencils, old ships, logs, doors, floors, church pews, garden fences, park benches and traditional Dutch shoes.

 What's your favourite ligneous thing?

Monday, 27 January 2020

Coming soon ...

This competition is for a 'near future' science fiction story – and there's not much time left to enter. Prize is paid publication and the word count is up to 8,000. 

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Big comp and little chat

This competition from Servicescape offers a $1,000 prize, plus publication. You're asked to write up to 5,000 words using any genre of theme, and there's plenty of time to do that as it doesn't close until the end of November.

Here's an interview with me on Pen to Print.

Friday, 24 January 2020

Write On!

I've only recently discovered Pen to Print and Write on. Do take a look – there's a free magazine, free entry competitions and other interesting stuff. 

Wednesday, 22 January 2020


The word way has a lot of meanings. Way more than I want to try squeezing into this post. It can mean a path or track, a physical or metaphorical route somewhere, a plan or course of action. How we behave is our way of life. A ship makes way through the water.

An object may be split three ways, as might our attention. The way we feel is important, as can be the way we make our way in the world. Way might mean the normal course of events, or a specified state (which you'll soon get the way of). We enter buildings through the doorway, then later look for the way out

People can be in the way (or the family way) get out the way, or . We can even have it both ways.

For a long time I've liked to think I have a way with words – and now I can prove it's true! My latest short story collection is currently available at the introductory price of 99p (99c).

Can you think of more meanings of, and uses for, way?

Wednesday, 15 January 2020


Today's Wednesday word of the week comes from the wonderfully talented** Gary Davies*, of Maritime Photgraphic. He described this ferry as looking refulgent in her new livery.

Refulgent means 'shining brightly' or 'gloriously bright'. Do you think it's apt in this case?

*My husband.

**No, I'm not after anything ... this time!

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

How's it going so far?

Has 2020 got off to a good start for your writing? Personally I'm quite pleased – I've had a couple of articles and a short story published, I've written and submitted a few pieces of fiction and entered one of the free competitions I blogged about recently. (And I learned that someone who entered another competition after seeing it here was highly commended.)

I've not entered this short story competition yet, but I plan to. It's free to enter, any theme and genre will be considered and there's a $1,000 prize.

I hope the year is going equally well for you, but don't feel insecure if you're yet to get many words down or receive that first piece of good news – there's plenty of time for that. Please don't get demoralised if at any time throughout the year you find yourself struggling to write as much as you'd hoped, or if
you're not getting the results you want. But if you do have any worries, remember the Insecure Writer's Support Group is there to help.

If you'd find it useful to have daily prompts and exercises to get you started, then A Year Of Ideas might be just the thing to kick start your writing. I've already heard from several people who've used it to create new pieces of writing.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

It's begun ...

The year has got off to a good start – I have two articles in the current (February!) issue of Writing Magazine. 

Obviously I'm happy about that, but I'm also rather chuffed that I'm considered one of the 'publishing experts' referred to on the cover.

Right, that's enough bragging for now – I'd better get back to work! How about you, are you writing, or still in holiday mode?