Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Writing for a cause

Sometimes we feel so strongly about a subject we feel we must say, or even write something. Does that happen to you?

If you support the things Extinction Rebellion stand for then you may be interested in this opportunity to be published by them.

Personally I haven't written directly about any causes, other than to speak against all rights contracts. I've done that via the Womagwriter blog, and it's one of several topics of discussion in my interview for the Healthy Happy Writer Show.

Instead of writing solely about causes, I work subjects I'm interested in into my fiction, and characters often share at least some of my views. For example my books Firestarter and Leave Nothing But Footprints both include references to taking care of wildlife and picking up litter. They're not what either book is about. They're both romances, but the characters care about more than just finding love.

Which causes have you written about?

Wednesday, 17 June 2020


Judging by the response to last week's post, in which I asked for your competition news and provided the usual three links to free writing competitions, that subject is no longer of interest to my readers, so I'm dropping it for now. Instead Wednesday word of the week is back!

Wallpaper is, of course, paper sold to stick on walls to make them look pretty, or cover cracks, or both. Oddly I haven't got a single photo of wallpaper. Here's some fancy panelling (at Bolsover castle). It's a wall covering and made from the same stuff as paper ...

Wallpaper can also mean an unobtrusive background, often background noise.

I don't recall every coming across wallpaper as a writing term until it appeared in a lovely review of Firestarter last week. (Ooops, I seem to have 'accidentally' included a more recent one too!)

In this context wallpaper means background, setting or location. It can form an important part of the story, or just be there to stop the reader feeling the action happening in a void.

What kind of wallpaper do you like?

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Competition and Novel News

It's been a long time since I finished the draft of a novel – but today I have! I'm celebrating with a cup of tea, then I'm going for a walk along the seafront.

That novel is pretty much all I've written since lockdown started (I'd made a start on the novel years ago and abandoned it.)

Obviously there's lots of work still to do before the novel is ready for publication, but I'm going to take a short break and do something else for a while.

Maybe I'll enter one of the free competitions I blog about every week?

It won't be this one as it's for children, and it won't be this one as it's for people over 70. Maybe this one? It is for novels, and it's an excellent prize.

I'd love to hear your competition news.

Have you entered any comps? Had any luck? Heard about interesting contests? Got any tips to pass on? (Although I only feature free to enter competitions in my posts it's fine to share news about other competitions too.)

For those who are unsure, this post explains how to leave a comment. (If you've subscribed to the blog by email and wish to respond, you'll need to click on the link and add a comment – it's not possible to do this by replying to the email.)

Wednesday, 3 June 2020


Hello and welcome to my June Insecure Writer's Support Group post, combined with the usual selection of free to enter writing competitions, and a spot of marketing. That seems a lot to fit into one post, but that's not going to stop me sharing photos and giving you some topical trivia – June who got me started as a writer. Not the month, but author June Hampson. I was very lucky to have her as my creative writing tutor for several years.

The photos are of castles I've visited in the past. I miss doing that – hopefully we'll be able to travel later in the year.

Do you recognise any of them?

Thanks to Alyson Hilborne for reminding me about the Scottish Book Trust's little monthly free writing competitions. This month they want 50 words about fog and the prize is publication on their website and a mug. They sometimes run other free competitions too.

Soundworks are running another of their monologue competitions. Winning entries (which may have been previously published) will be recorded by a professional actor and put on the site. I made the shortlist in the last one.

Beechmore Books want up to 1,000 words on the arts, written from a journalistic perspective. The top prizes is publication, a notebook and £200.

This month's IWSG question is – Writers have secrets! What are one or two of yours, something readers would never know from your work?

That's an interesting one. I don't think I have any secrets which have been kept out of my work. I don't mean I write about myself, because that's not the case, just that having written five novels and thousands of short stories it's likely I've touched on everything I'm interested in and care about. For example there are quite a few castles and coastal walks in the novel I'm currently working on.

I have no idea if reading my fiction gives readers a true impression of me as a person – I'd be interested to hear from those who've read my stuff and met me if they feel that's the case.

If you've not read any of my books yet, now is a great time to start as two of them have been reduced to just 99p (99c) until the 6th of June.

Both Firestarter and A Year And A Day are humorous, romantic stories and include a man in a uniform and a lot of food. Like I said, I don't keep secrets from my readers!