Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year!

2012 was a brilliant year for me - I got married and had my first novel published, stuff like that. I hope at least parts of it were good for you too.

I don't know what this year will bring, but I'm fairly sure it will include writing. It better do as I've signed up for write1sub1 again. Want to join me? All you have to do is try to write and submit at least one piece of work each week or month. In 2012 I wrote 48 new pieces. I'm hoping to better that this year.

I'll be releasing another romance novel soon, hopefully writing another and I'm planning to maker much more effort with the competitions. Should keep me busy.

My final resolution is to review or at least rate all the books I read from now on (on Amazon and Goodreads). As a writer I really appreciate it when anyone leaves a review for my work and as a reader I often find reviews helpful.

Do you make resolutions and/or set yourself goals?

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Just a few quickies ..

... before we're off again (we'll be starting the New Year as we mean to go on - in the van!)

There's one snowdrop out in the garden - spring is on the way!

Found a paying market for dark fantasy, horror and speculative fiction. Not genres I usually write, but those who do might like to take a look here.

If haiku is more your thing, then this might appeal.

I may have mentioned this short story competition before, but the prize is so good, I don't want anyone to miss it.

And for readers, here's a short story of mine you can read for free. Also Escape to the Country is free to download today. (US link)

What are your plans for seeing in the New Year?

Friday, 28 December 2012

After the party

We've just got back from our Christmas camping adventure and it looks like someone  had a party in our absence! (If he thinks getting his little friends to climb the tree and pretend to be baubles is going to fool me he can think again.)

We had a lovely time. Our Christmas meal was a Bangladeshi feast in my favourite restaurant (not sure if it's a good or a bad thing my fave eating place is 150 miles away) As our main course came out a waiter brought extra chairs to our table. These were to hold some of the side dishes that wouldn't fit on the table but if they'd been for extra people to help us eat it, we'd still have had plenty.

My lovely Gary gave me a kindle paperwhite and I also got some money so I'll be able to buy books for it ... which do you suggest?

If you're looking for something to download yourself, then Not a Drop to Drink is free from Smashwords, or you could buy Paint Me a Picture, Escape to the Country or one of my short stories from Alfie Dog.

Teresa is giving away a collection of short stories (and if you visit her blog for details of how you can help a horse sanctuary for free)

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Happy Christmas!

(The image is by Gary)

I hope you all enjoy Christmas, that you get to see or speak/write to people you love, eat and drink a few tasty goodies, have fun, stay safe and sneak in some reading time.

I hope too that you hear really terrible festive jokes and share them with me. (Good ones are allowed too) Here are a few to set the tone ...

One snowman says to the other 'Can you smell carrots?".

Q. What's Good King Wenceslas' favourite pizza?
A. Deep pan, crisp and even.

Santa asked Mrs Claus what the weather forecast was for Christmas Eve. She said, "It looks like reindeer."

Friday, 21 December 2012

Happy Winter Solstice

It's the shortest day today - which means from now on there's increasingly more daylight and spring is on the way. That's reason enough to celebrate the winter solstice and post a picture of my druid, I reckon.

If you can come up with a short story on the theme of Freedom you could win yourself £500 and a place on an Arvon course in this competition. I'll definitely be giving it a go.

It's minutes since I last plugged my free short story collection, Not a Drop to Drink, so I'll mention it again now so it's in the minds of anyone who gets an ereader for Christmas and wants to try it out. (If you don't think you'll get one, try this competition to win £1,000 of vouchers to buy techie stuff)

Anyone going wassailing tonight?

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Yet more free stuff.

If you write sci-fi or fantasy then this competition could win you up to $6,000. The same amount is on offer for illustrators. You won't earn so much for this one, but the winner will be paid and there's a trophy.

Can't remember if I mentioned this before (but better twice than not at all) $500 prize and a trophy.

Not a competition as such (but submitting anywhere is a competitive business) this is a paying market you might like to try.

Winning one of these books might be useful for research or just for procrastination.

Jinx Schwartz's the Texicans is free 20th - 22nd December.

Monday, 17 December 2012


Jane has kindly nominated me for The Very Inspiring Blog Award. Thanks, Jane! I do hope my blog inspires people to have a go at competitions.

I'm supposed to tell you 7 random things about me. I'm usually good at random, but this time I'm going to stick to the theme and tell you about 7 ways I find inspiration for my writing.

1. Competitions. Many have a theme and that helps me come up with a story idea. This one for example asks 'what needs to change?' That question could provide plenty of story ideas. There's also a £200 prize, which brings me on to ...

2. Success. If I sell a story or get placed in a competition I find that for the next few days story ideas seem to flow much more easily.

3. Deadlines. If it has to be done soon, I do it. If the competition doesn't close for months, like this one, I'll probably leave it until it's too late.

4. Eavesdropping. OK, I can't point to an actual published story inspired in this way, but I'm very nosey and pretending I'm listening in strictly for research makes me feel better.

5. Reading. Obviously you can't copy other people's stuff, but their work might give you an idea or two. eg I read a poem of Seaview's which prompted me to write a short story.

6. Cake. I don't think any explanation is needed.

7. Experience. I've had a wide range of jobs, met a lot of interesting people, have tried lots of hobbies and often use tiny details of my own life to prompt a story.

I'm passing this on to -

Tracy, Womag, Wendy, Frances, Della, Rachel, Marion, Vikki, Lizy, Gary, Suzy, Rosemary, Deborah, Anne and Amanda,

Finally thanks to Rosemary for another star on my blog of the year award.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Even more free stuff.

Guess what we're doing over Christmas. This competition might give you a clue - and even better the chance to win a $100 gift card.

Is crime your thing? Writing it I mean. If so, you might like to have a go at this competition. The prize package looks jolly interesting.

If you get involved with the Telegraph short story club you could win yourself £500.

For the readers (which I'm sure includes anyone who's ever stumbled across this blog) I have a couple of giveaways. Olga Miret's book, Cannon Fodder (US link) will be free to download from 14th to 16th December and Genevieve Heaston is doing a give away on Goodreads (the site always has plenty of chances to get hold of free 'real' books)

And The lovely Keith has given me another star to ad to my blog of the year award. Thank you so much, Keith.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

More Free stuff

Erewash writers have got a couple of free to enter writing competitions for 2013. This one is for flash fiction on the theme of 'start'. The second is for a short story with the theme of 'Full Stop'. There are also paid for competitions listed on the site.

You can see the results from this year's free entry competitions here. (I was shortlisted in the twins one)

Here's an ongoing contest with a $50 prize each month. The current theme is 'Artist's Choice'.

Poets might like to try here or here or even here for a chance to win £100 (actually that last one also includes a competition with a £1,000 prize)

Do you know how to do something? Can you explain it in 300 - 500 words? If so you might be able to earn yourself £100.

If you live in the US, pop along to Clarissa's blog as she's giving away real books.

I have a short piece up on Cafelit which I wrote for an exercise in my writer's group. You can read it, for free, here.

And thanks to Teresa who has awarded me a star to add to my blog of the year award. It's looking really sparkly now.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Free stuff

Get yourself a free copy of And the Stars Will Sing by Michelle Brown (US link)

If you've ever had trouble with timelines in your story (some people having three birthdays a year, others never aging, the Battle of Trafalgar falling between the two world wars, children born before their parents met) then Wendy has something that might help.

Here's a free to enter writing competition that could win you £10,000 (if you can write fast and have a good idea to combat youth unemployment)

Write a wintery poem and you win a £100 Amazon voucher.

I've got another star for my blog of the year award from Charlie Britten. Thanks, Charlie!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Starry starry blog

The lovely Vikki has nominated me for the 2012 blog of the year! Thank you, Vikki.
The rules for this are - 
"1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012′ Award
2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen — and ‘present’ them with their award.
3 Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012′ Award —  and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)
4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.
5 You can now also join the Facebook group.
6 As a winner of the award — please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award — and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars… Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once — this award is different!
When you begin you will receive the ’1 star’ award — and every time you are given the award by another blog — you can add another star! There are a total of 6 stars to collect."
I'm passing this on to -

Teresa Lovely short story writer who shares pictures of Indy. (not the reason for the award, but if you comment on this post, you could win a book)

Hilary I learn something new from every post.

Alex The awesome ninja Captain and champion of all insecure writers.

Write 1 sub 1 They're encouragement has helped a lot with my short story output and inspired many other writers to get their stuff out there.

Vikki She's learning so much about writing and sharing the best tips with us plus she's just so nice. (If I've understood the rules correctly it's OK for me to award her a star)

Friday, 7 December 2012

And the winners were ...

I'm always on about free to enter writing competitions and although I'm going to keep on giving you links for those, I thought you might like to hear about a few winners for a change. 

Mandy Shearing, Katie L Thompson, Gretchen Elhassini and myself have all won the same competition in different months. It was run by Creative Print Publishing (and mentioned on my blog when entries were open). The prize for each of us was a publishing contract. I take credit for telling Mandy about the competition, but the other two found it before I did.

Tell us about your book.
Katie - DYING TO LIVE (US link) is a romantic novella about Alicia’s journey to freedom. Alicia is married to a man who abuses her but a potentially fatal incident changes Alicia’s life for the better.
Gretchen - THE LINCOLN LETTER (US link), Historical Conspiracy.  This book was inspired by Dan Brown. I enjoyed the Da Vinci Code and wanted to bring the story back to America, to explore some piece from our past that could potentially affect the future.
Mandy - TRANSMISSION OF EVIL (US link)is a supernatural thriller based in a quiet village on the South Coast where an archaeological dig unearths something far more sinister than pottery when a perfectly preserved body is discovered. The circumstances of this long-ago death and the nearby siting of a communications mast provide a conduit for an ancient evil that seeks the weakest, most corrupted mind in the village to continue its work.
I've always been fascinated by the supernatural and I'd love to think that reverberations from our lives survive to be felt by future generations, although hopefully not with such tragic consequences as I've written about in Transmission of Evil!
Patsy - ESCAPE TO THE COUNTRY. (US link) Lighthearted crime/romance. It was inspired by the years I spent on a farm and my love of food and wine!

How did you feel when you learned your book would be published?
For a long time I didn’t believe it was true and I didn’t tell anyone in case it turned out to be a con. It wasn’t until the paper book came through the post that it suddenly hit me, I’m an author. It was amazing.
It was the most amazing feeling.  I couldn’t believe the email I received, and I still remember it: “your well written book has been chosen as the winner.”  Fantastic.
After reading the email telling me my book was to be published, I think I finally managed to stop grinning about a week later! It had always been an ambition of mine to see my name on the cover of a real printed book and, when my copy arrived, I still couldn't quite believe it. Even now, if I'm feeling a bit low I prop my book up and stare at my name on the cover (yes, I probably do need to get out more, but I don't care!)
What's the most exciting, fun or odd thing you've done to promote your book?
I did a two day book signing in November but the most exciting thing had to be the book signing at Waterstones. I’d never even dreamt of doing a book signing at Waterstones and I got to meet lots of lovely people. I’d never imagined that so many people would be interested in my book.
I went to a Civil War Reenactment dressed up in 1860s hoop skirts to sell the book.                                 I was lucky that my boss at the time was quite forceful and I was amazed how many people I'd never met came up to me at work and said she'd "advised" them to buy a copy! Promotion with menaces - works every time!
I've done a series of radio interviews and also taken bookmarks to a talk in the library and left them on people's seats.

What difference, if any, has becoming a published novelist made to you?
Before becoming a published novelist I’d write books but never finish them because I didn’t really see the point but since ‘Dying to Live’ was published I’ve become a lot more confident in my ability to write. It’s given me the incentive to finish writing books and given me the courage to self-publish. I’m one of those people that write because if I don’t I go crazy.
It hasn’t made as big a difference as I thought it would have. Of course I imagined myself being a New York Times bestseller with the first novel and that hasn’t happened.  I’m plugging away though, trying new things, pushing frontiers.
I feel more confident in my writing now. Before, I wrote because I personally enjoyed my stories but I had no idea whether "real" readers would like them. Now, I can point to my book and say that my work is out there and people have enjoyed it. That's a feeling worth more than gold. Although it's also a bit weird to be discussing characters and events that previously existed only inside my head!
Like the others, I think it's increased my confidence in my writing. It's great to have a book with my name on the cover, but I've not yet given up the day job.

Are you writing anything now?
I’m writing many things at the moment including several romance books, ‘Cameron’ and ‘Kelly’ (sequels to ‘Daisy’) and a variety of short erotic romance stories.
I have about 3 novels that are part way done.  I’m shopping my latest finished product around to agents in the hopes of securing representation.  I also just “sold” a screenplay and am busy writing character backgrounds for the producer.  And due to the success of selling the first screenplay, I started working on another.
I am writing a sequel to Transmission of Evil at the moment but as I killed off some of my favourite characters in the first book, I'm introducing a few more. Whether they survive for yet another story in the series though, is still to be decided....!
I'm always writing something. Currently I'm working on the last edits of A YEAR AND A DAY, which will hopefully be published next year.

Where can we learn more about you?
Katie's blog is here and this is her facebook page.
Mandy is on twitter @MandyShearring
Gretchen's blog is here.
Here's my facebook page.

Coming soon ... lots more free to enter writing competitions and hopefully lots more winners amongst my writing friends.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

That time again!

Yes, it's the first Wednesday of the month. Where does the time go? I'm not feeling insecure particularly, it's lack of writing time which is bothering me most right now. Oh well, I don't suppose I'm alone in wishing I had more time for the things I want to do.

I will find time to visit the blogs of some other members of the Insecure Writer's Support Group though.

How about you? Are you finding time for everything you want to do, or not even making headway on the stuff that's got to be done?

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Free reads

Some of my writing friends have had work published recently and you can read it for free.

Here's issue 2 of Running Out of Ink. It's well worth a read. (If you'd like to submit to this publication, take a look here)

Haiku queen Marion has poetry in this collection.

Pop over to Rob Crompton's blog for details of his free offer for Bunderlin.

And Not a Drop to Drink is still free. (While you're there check out the lovely review from Fiona)
UPDATE - Fiona is currently offering her NaNo book for free too! You'll need to enter coupon code UR24H when you 'buy' it.

Do you have work in those publications? Somewhere else you want to give a link for?

Made any online reading finds we should know about?

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Feeling lucky?

Thank you so much to everyone who downloaded my book and/or helped with the promotion. Escape to the Country reached #119  in the UK free download chart and #951 in the US. Most importantly it's reached 100s of new readers and helped publicise my writing. I'm lucky to have so much great support - your help has made a huge difference.

Talking of luck, over the last few days I've had stories accepted by The Weekly News, Woman's Weekly and Alfie Dog. I've also been longlisted in a short story competition. Had some of the less good sort too - the publisher who expressed an interest in one of my novels hasn't accepted it. Oh well.

Here's a free poetry competition. There's still time to enter the Commonwealth short story competition too. The prize is £5,000 and it's free to enter so, assuming you're part of the commonwealth, it'd be daft not to email them something.

Fancy a free copy of the latest James Patterson audio novel? Or how about a $100 Amazon certificate? (I've contacted the author and UK likes will count)

Hopefully one of my blog friends will have good luck with one of those - that's if you believe in luck?

Friday, 30 November 2012

So, NaNo

How was it for you?

I gave up on my attempt less than half way through. I've completed it in the past and may, just possibly, attempt it in the future.

Come on - confess to your failure or brag (quite justifiably) about your success.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

It's FREE now

Get you free copy from or and please pass on the links to anyone who might be interested.

update - ranking 910 in UK and 3,163 in US. Not too bad.

update on the update - 502 and 1,853 now. Better.

updated update of the update -  143 and 1,194. Pretty good.

Not that I'm obsessively checking or anything ... 136 and 1,107.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Slightly Skiffy

My recent blog posts are starting to feel like a series on 'genres what I don't normally write'.  I have written Sci-fi* but I've done even less of that than I have children's stories. I might have a go at something for this competition though. There's plenty of time to work on it and the prize includes a sparkling trophy thing as well as books, paid publication and other stuff. I've never won any kind of trophy for writing (or anything else as far as I can remember and I think I would remember)

If you have something already written, or can come up with an entry by 16th December then this competition is worth a look. First prize is £300.

On a totally different note, Escape to the Country (US link here) will be free to download on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Anything you can do to help publicise this will be greatly appreciated - and please do download yourself a copy if you haven't already.

*and it's had almost no adverse effects at all.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Friday, 23 November 2012

A legend!

As they say in the navy, I'm a legend in my own stand easy*. I'm not telling you why.

Fortunately you don't have to write about me to enter this short story competition. You do however need to create a strong female protagonist (unless your stories are entirely about men you're doing that already, aren't you?)

The prize is $50, publication and an author interview on the site.

You don't need to be strong or female to enter.

Who do you consider to be a legendary female? (dead, alive, fictitious)

*tea break

Monday, 19 November 2012

For the kids

Win this competition and you'll get £2,000 plus publication of your children's novel. Alternatively, this one could earn you £1,500 plus an editorial consultation and a meeting with Literary agent Caroline Sheldon.

My granny made me this bear. He's called Brilly as I thought (and still think) he was a brilliant present. My dear brother used to call him Brillo pad. I'm still plotting my revenge.

I still have a book I was given (by my Uncle Grahame) the same year as I got Brilly - Aesop's Fables.

Do you remember any books or bears from your childhood? Do you still have them?

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Adults only?

When I told someone that I'm a writer he asked (slightly sarcastically I thought), "Going to be the next JK Rowling are you?"

"No," I said. "I write for adults." (this was before The Casual Vacancy hype.)

Suddenly he seemed much more interested. I don't think he was thinking of My Weekly fiction, more the sort of thing that might win this competition. I didn't explain, just said I had some research to do so he'd have to excuse me.

I don't write erotica, but thought I'd have a go at creating a fruity character. Do you like him?

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Celebrate shorts.

Today's post is by Rosemary J Kind from Alfie Dog (the best short story download site!)

National Short Story Week is a real time of celebration at It's our first since launch and we already have over 650 short stories to offer our readers. We have recently begun publishing collections of stories as ebooks as well and in addition to Patsy's 'Not a Drop to Drink' which is absolutely free, have 3 by Alpha Writers Group and the 'One Word Anthology' from Talkback Writers, all of which have been brought out in whole or part for charity.

In the next couple of weeks we will be launching our Christmas category with some fantastic stories for both adults and children bringing out all that is best and worst about Christmas. With over 180 authors we are just coming to the end of encouraging our readers to read their way through the alphabet of writers with Q, U and X the only letters we didn't have covered. In the new year we are going to be reading around the world covering the many writers our authors are from East to West around the globe.

We have also started advertising the site with Google Adwords and are seeing what response rates are like, while considering other avenues.

Having achieved all this in six months we are hoping by next year's National Short Story Week to be even stronger.

I know some of my blog followers have stories in the One Word Anthology - if you do, please tell us about your contribution.

Today's photo is by me. It has a very tenuous link - award yourself 23 points if you work it out.


Rosemary is hoping to reply to comments, but as her dog is just about to have puppies she might not be able to do so. I reckon we should forgive her if she promises to let us see pictures - what do you think?

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

I'm giving up

I've found it difficult to get into my NaNo novel. To keep the word count up, I cheated by writing a short story an mc read in a magazine. Then I had someone tell a different character about a family legend, which was really just another short story. As I seem to be in short story mode, I'm going back to writing those for now. I still like my NaNo idea and will probably get back to it after I've done some research and planning.

Maybe I should have stuck to this? (Maybe I'll still try that competition)

Do you (if you're a writer) ever find you can't work on a particular story and instead move onto something else? Or maybe the same thing happens when reading?

If you have stuck to a novel and completed it, you might be interested in this competition.

Short story writers might prefer this one or this.

Something else I'm giving up is buying lots of new tulips every year.

Gary's going to be totally convinced by that statement - right up until the point he remembers I'm a fiction writer.

One last thing ... it's national short story week, which makes it the ideal time to download Not a Drop to Drink, if you haven't got it already. (It's still free.)

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Aaaargh! and thanks.

It's time for another Insecure Writers' Support Group post. Why would I be insecure? OK, I'm doing NaNo which means I have to write around 1,666 words a day and complete the first draft of a novel in 30 days. Even if I succeed it'll obviously be rubbish* but I'm not bothered (much)

So why, faced with a choice of failure or writing rubbish, am I not feeling insecure? Simple - I don't have time. Gotta go write now.

Word count total due - 11662
My total - 8807 Eeek!

*There may be people who can write a decent novel in a month, but I'm not one of them.

Thank you so much to everyone who reads this blog, my short stories and my novels. Extra special thanks to those lovely people who give me such useful and generous feedback during the writing stage, those who comment here and everyone who has reviewed one of my books.

Without your help and encouragement I simply couldn't keep writing.

This is a blog hop from Vikki and Tara.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Horsing about

Jane Ayres was first published in a UK pony magazine aged 14. Since then she's written quite a few books, many of them involving horses. She says, 'horses have always inspired me to write'.

Jane has published three books on Kindle and will be donating the proceeds to the Redwings horse sanctuary.

I wonder if she likes horses ...

As I know some of my blog readers do, I thought you'd enjoy a few pictures. (All photos courtesy of Celebration Carriages.)

 I know plenty of you like a freebie, so I've got one of those for you too. Matty and the Problem Ponies (or here for US) will be free to download between 7th and 11th of November.

(apologies if you're suffering deja vu - I accidentally posted this a few days ago)

Friday, 2 November 2012

It's all happening today

I got up in the middle of the night to go to the BBC studio in Southampton. You can hear my radio interview here. My bit starts 13 mins in. We had breakfast in the van afterwards.

I got home (via IKEA) to discover I had a story up on 5 Minute Fiction. Then I discovered this wonderful review for Escape to the Country. After that I completed my NaNo words for today (I've only killed one person so far) and popped out into the garden for an hour. Then I got cooking. I managed to use lots of our lovely wedding presents for the first time by creating and eating a scrummy cream tea. (I had help with the eating part).

The scones all vanished before I could photograph them, so here's a garden picture instead.

After that I had a message from a publisher. I'm feeling slightly optimistic about that, but also a bit superstitious so that's all I'm saying about it for now.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012


I had a bit of a confused day yesterday. I thought I'd get a bit organised prior to NaNo and schedule a couple of posts for November. You ended up with half of yesterday's post combined with half of today's and immediately followed by all of one for next week. I'm going back to being disorganised - it'll be less confusing all round.

Anyway, happy hallowe'en!

Here's a mystery writing contest (which I can't enter) and here's a call from the BBC for short story submissions (I will be giving that one a go)

Talking of mistakes, can you spot the typo here? I really should have noticed that.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Happy Hallowe'en.

Here's a freebie spooky story for Hallowe'en. It's White Heaven Woman by Jessie B Tyson. (Here for US.)

Jessie's produced a youtube piece about her book which you might like.

If you've got an idevice then pop over to Dan's blog for another spooky freebie.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Something to say?

A while ago the lovely Vikki awarded me the top commentors award. I must have been so busy commenting recently that I forgot to post about it! I lurve everyone who reads and comments on my blog - without you I'd just be writing to myself! Thanks to all of you.

I'm passing this on to Kitty, Alex, Annalisa, Tracy, Frances, Teresa, Suzy, Rosemary, Carol and Helen but please don't think that means I don't appreciate everyone else who stops by.

Click here for the chance to win an audio book version of Rod Stewart's autobiography. Are you A Rod Stewart fan? (Go on, you can tell me) Do you like autobiographies? How do you feel about audio books?

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Falling free

Here's a short story competition with £100 prize.  The theme is fall. (Note that all shortlisted entries will be published.)

This writing competition has an unusual prize - 10 hardback copies of their book printed. There's also an Amazon voucher for the runner up. Theme is Autumn.

There's another short story competition. The prize is £500 and an Arvon course. The theme is Freedom.

Rather read short stories than write them? My collection is still free.

Monday, 22 October 2012

The Next Big Thing

Thanks to Vikki for tagging me in The Next Big Thing thingy. I've decided to tell you about my NaNo project - in the hope it'll make me feel obliged to actually write it.

What is the working title of your next book?
The Last Dream of Maria Rossini

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I wrote a short story and realised the story was too big for that format (not the first time that's happened) In that story, Maria dreams of murders before they happen and tries to get a hunky, but unconvinced, policeman to stop them. I wanted to have her running a restaurant, possible mafia connections, a romance for the policeman with the sexy Maria causing trouble, visits to castles, ice cream, a dog or a cat, or both, a few scenes of gruesomeness and other good stuff, but I couldn't fit any of it in. Writing a book seemed like a sensible plan.

What genre does your book fall under?
Welllllll, it's a crime story with supernatural and romantic elements. Or maybe a romance with crime and supernatural elements.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I don't know, but I will be requiring a lot of hunky policemen types and a few smooth Italians and a couple of girls. Who should I audition?

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
If only Maria Rossini would keep her dreams to herself, (insert mc name) could live a normal, happy life.

Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?
Hopefully I'll find someone to publish it for me. Not sure I'll go through an agent though.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The plan is to bash out the whole thing in November. Obviously it'll be really terrible and need totally rewriting later, but it'll give me something to work on.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Too early to say as I've not decided how romantic or otherwise it's going to be.

Who or what inspired you to write the book?
No idea - maybe I ate too much cheese one night.

What else about your book might pique the readers interest?
I plan to kill lots of people in interesting locations (perhaps there'll be a body behind the door in the photograph?) and have my characters eat masses of Italian food. Naturally I'll need to do a lot of research for the eating part.

Anything else?

I haven't yet got a name for my hunky, crime fighting, pizza eating, warm hearted, main character yet. Any suggestions?

Now to pass this on to five people so they can share details of their next big thing. I'm going to pick on Travis, Rachel, Maria, Suzanne, and Paula.

And here's a little thing I wrote earlier.

Friday, 19 October 2012


D'you like hallowe'en? I'm not keen on groups of teenagers, with two sheets and a plastic mask between them by way of costumes, demanding cash at my door of an evening, but I do like a nicely carved pumpkin and a glass of something blood red. For some people the day, or perhaps I mean the night, has special meaning. For me too in a way - it's a great topic for short story writing. (I have a slightly spooky story coming out in the 27th October issue of The Weekly News)

You might think it's a bit late to start writing hallowe'en stories for this year, but you'd be wrong. This competition doesn't close until 23rd of the month. You have up to 3,000 words to come up with something suitable and could win an iPad or £250. Be warned that all entries will be published and the one with the most downloads will win, so although your story needn't be brilliantly frightening, you'll need to scare all your family and friends into helping you if you want to win.

This one operates on a similar scheme. This time it's the entry with the most facebook likes that wins. The prizes aren't so good either, but as they only want a scary travel anecdote in 150 words you might think it's worth a go.

And yikes! here's another one where the size of your social network is all important. The FAQs state, "If you're a successful author, this might not be the thing for you." Still there's a chance at $5,000 dollars and potential for plenty of publicity should you get selected in any of the rounds. Despite the contest title, worldwide entries are accepted.

What do you think of writing competitions judged on popularity of the author rather than quality of the writing? I think you can guess my opinion.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Not a Drop to Drink

Not a Drop to Drink is available free from Alfie Dog and Smashwords. It should be on Amazon too fairly soon, but you might have to pay on there.


I'm over on Vikki's blog today - do come and say hi.

Monday, 15 October 2012

A good look round.

How do you research a place if you can't get there? A picture might help. A 360 view would be better.

Whether you want to know what's behind the pyramids of Giza, what's in the control room of a submarine, how a Sussex wood looks when the bluebells are out, what the White Cliffs of Dover look like from the top, take a peek into a disused lime kiln or explore Herculaneum, Gary and Geoff can help.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

It pays to be quiet (sometimes)

Here's my lovely husband, sitting quietly after climbing 999 steps in the sunshine earlier this year.

You don't need to keep quiet to win vouchers, gifts and membership to the London Writer's club, but you do have to write a story on the theme of Hush.

You don't need to say an awful lot to enter the Micro Award and give yourself a chance of winning the $500 prize.

If you can write something to get the little darlings off to sleep then winning this children's bedtime story could earn you £500.

Shhh, don't tell everyone but I can get you an e copy of Lovers Take Up Less Space for free. Just type this code - EL88W - in where it asks for a voucher. You might need to create an account first, but you're probably going to be needing one of those to get Not a Drop to Drink (which will also be free) so you might as well do it now.

If I can I'll be entering all those competitions. I won't be downloading the book though - I've done that already.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Hello, Sweetie!

The lovely Susan Jane Jones has nominated me for this award. Thanks, Suzy!

1.  Cookies or cake? 

Cake, obviously. Cakes are bigger than cookies.

2.  Chocolate or vanilla? 


3.  What is your favourite sweet treat? 

See 1. and 2.

4.  When do you crave sweet things most? 

After breathing in ... or out.

5.  If you had a sweet nickname what would it be? 

Some people call me Rottweiler. I'm sure they must be thinking of sweet little puppies.

I'm passing this on to the following sweet people. Helen, Carol, JJ, Katie, Teresa, Tracy, Rachel, Alex, Vikki, Thomas, Shannon, Diane and another, Diane. If you'd like to accept, just answer the questions on your blog and then pass it on to up to a baker's dozen more sweet people.

Someone else who's sweet (but doesn't have a blog) is my cousin Chris. He sent me this link as he thought my blog followers might be interested. Nice of him to think of us, wasn't it?

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Working for Free?

Talking of giving work away for free (as I have been incessantly for the last two days) ... is that a good idea? In the case of Escape to the Country it's too early for me to say, but I'll keep you informed once I get the facts.

It worked out quite well for Womagwriter, and some authors who now have good sales figures originally gave their work away. What about you? Has giving work away ever done your writing 'career' any good, are you hopeful it will, or is it something you'd never do under any circumstances?

If you are happy to offer work for no immediate monetary reward then you might like to consider submitting to The Short Humour Site or Cafelit.

Here's a free picture prompt! Do you know what it is?

Click here to read an interview with me and hear about another freebie.

For another take on writing for free, take a look at Elizabeth's blog.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thanks everyone for all the support I've had with spreading the word about the FREE promotion of Escape to the Country. I've lost track of all the tweets and retweets, blog posts, facebook comments etc but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate every single one. And it's working!

Escape to the Country is currently No 4 in's free kindle rankings. I can't tell you how pleased I am. Oh, OK then - I'm gobsmackingly chuffed. (The US ranking is quite respectable too.)

It's still free, so if you've not yet downloaded it, please do. Either from or (You don't need a kindle as Amazon will offer a free app to dowmload and reab books on your computer, phone, tablet etc)

Also available as free downloads today are Transmission of Evil by Mandy Shearing and  Dying to Live by Katie Thompson.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Time for ... a free book?

Another month, another first Wednesday, so time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. So am I feeling insecure? A bit, yes. It's the novels you see. The people who've read them seem to like them (which is wonderful to hear), but there haven't been as many readers as I'd like.
I wrote the above this morning before going off to the day job. I came home to discover my publisher has decided to give away the e version of Escape to the Country for free. It'll be available to download on 4th and 5th October (and remember you don't need a kindle to read it). Hopefully this will generate lots more interest in the book!

Please, please, please, please, help me feel less insecure by downloading the book as soon as it becomes free in your area. If you read and enjoy it, please, please consider posting up a review on Amazon or Goodreads (of course you're free to review it even if you hate it, but I'm not daft enough to beg for negative reviews.)

Anything you do to help spread the word will be appreciated and rewarded with massive quantities of virtual chocolate, cake and wine - or other goodies of your choice.

Click here for the .uk version and here for the .com one.

 Thanks for your support!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Catching up

I thought I'd got got all organised before I went away with my laptop, notebook, magazines and competition details, but wherever I am there always seem to be distractions preventing me doing as much as I intend.

If you can avoid getting distracted by a few more pictures from our latest trip, you'll find links to things I'd meant to tell you about, but didn't get around to mentioning.

There was (and still is) the chance to win Jack Reacher audio books.

If you can instantly write an amazing book blurb you could win a writing course (but if you can do that you probably don't need the prize!)

There's just slightly more notice for this poetry competition - which has a £500 prize.

Oh look, I've just left room to brag about the lovely reviews I've had for my book!