Friday, 18 August 2017

Will you boost the prize?

Thanks to Beatrice Charles for sending me the details of this blogging/essay competition. There's a top prize of up to $2500 for a 600 to 1500 piece on the following topics -

  1. "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln. Do you agree?
  2. "Nobody realises that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal." - Camus. Discuss.
  3. Should the role of education be to prepare students for working life, or to broaden their mind?
  4. "No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally - and often far more worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond." - C.S. Lewis. Discuss

Beatrice says, 'There are categories also for child and YA writers. In particular they seem to encourage schools to enter. If numbers allow then they will match prizes to school or educational charity (although in previous years this hasn't happened as far as I can tell).

Prizes vary according to number of entrants. So the adult prize is between $250 -$2500

It may interest some of your contacts, and the more who enter the better the awards.'

I'm not sure I'll enter the competition, but the topics would also make great fiction prompts.

The photo shows me facing no kind of adversity, putting no effort into doing what's become normal for me lately... Oh dear, that isn't helping establish a link. Thank goodness for C.S. Lewis - I'm fifty and I read books. Phew!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017


A lodestar is a star used to help navigate at sea. It's usually the polestar, but not neccesarily. It can also be a guiding principle, or object of pursuit.

A lode is a vein of metal ore. Presumably some lodestars have lodes. Perhaps even loads of them.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Still travelling

I'm still away having fun editing and researching really hard, in remote locations. I'll be back in the land of lots of wi-fi soon and will be back to replying to your comments and reading other people's blogs soon, I promise.

 And almost certainly sharing lots more pictures from the trip.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017


An engram might not be an actual thing but if it is, it's a memory-trace – a permanent change in the brain which would account for the existence on memory.

I have lots of great memories and this photo represents many of them - they're some of the flowers from our wedding. They were grown in our garden and delivered to the venue in our campervan to an event shared with friends and family.

Obviously there was cake involved and I even signed a copy of my first novel which was released earlier that year. Oh, and my dress was purple.

What do you think? Do the things we experience physically change our brains in some way?

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

What helps?

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is great at making writers realise they're not alone with their insecurities – and for offering help and support.

I'm wondering, what's the most supportive thing that's ever been done or said to you with regard your writing?

For me, it was when Gary and I were discussing what should go on our wedding certificate for our occupations. Although I had a day job at the time, he suggested writer.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Off the radar

Apologies for the lack of response to your comments recently – internet access is very limited in the Outer Hebrides. We're managing to find things to do offline though!

Wednesday, 26 July 2017


Another Scottish word I've learned on my travels is smirs, which was taught to me by Dawn Brown (who also introduced me to some jolly good home baking). According to the dictionary, smir (or smirs, or even smirrs) is a form of light drizzle. Dawn tells me 'it's down from dreich, but up from scotch mist'.

It was smirring when we visited Crichton Castle. After it had smirred, the sun came out for us at Melrose Abbey.

Friday, 21 July 2017

The heat is on

This competition is for a piece of 'women's fiction' up to 2,500 words. Apparently this is 'the ultimate literary challenge'.

The prize is a mentoring session with Paige Toon and publication of your short story as an ebook, for which you might earn royalties.

I say 'might' not because I think the publishers won't honour that part of the deal, but simply because I'm uncertain that people will buy a single short story for £1.99. That seems a bit steep to me. Or maybe I'm under valuing my own short story collections? They're on offer at £1.99 too, but there are at least 24 stories in each.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017


I've been adding a few Scottish words to my vocabulary during my travels. I was introduced to guddle by Rosemary Gemmell. In the context she used it, guddle means a mess (as in an untidy room – and no she wasn't describing the interior of our van!) and/or a complex and confusing situation.

guddle is also a type of fish which can be caught by guddling. The guddling is done with bare hands so quite messy and the word apparently derives from making a mess around water – which is handy for me, as I've recently taken photos of various watery subjects in Scotland.