Saturday, 30 August 2014

Museum of Words

This competition offers three chances to win $200 and one for $20,000. It's free to enter, you can do so in English, Hebrew, Arabic or Spanish and they only want a maximum of 100 words. It would seem silly not to have a go.

I considered using a diagram of the inside of my head to illustrate this post but decided on a photo of Thomas Hardy's desk. Was that the right choice?

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Doggy tales

Alfie Dog are now open for submissions again. The guidelines are here.

There's still time to enter the competition too. This one isn't free as you must download five short stories from the site, but as most of them are only 39p each that means a £1.95 outlay for a chance at £200 and publication of your own collection. Whatever happens you'll have an interesting collection of reading material. (You might like to choose one of these ... pretty please)

Wednesday, 27 August 2014


Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry which traditionally have seventeen sylables and a seasonal reference. (The picture is of a Japanese anemone which flowers in my garden every autumn)

Don't know about you
but I simply cannot do
a decent haiku

If you can do better (or worse - I'd like to see that!) then you might like to try this competition. There's a £25 first prize.

This publication are looking for submissions of short poetry. They don't pay though.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

A ray of sunshine

My story, The New Weather Girl' is in the 30th August issue of My Weekly. 

A while ago My weekly stopped accepting short fiction submissions from authors who'd not previously had anything published by them. I've since heard them described as a closed shop ... but there are still opportunities to be published in My weekly. Features can still be pitched to the following -
Health – Karen Byrom, General

Real Life - - Audrey Patterson
Travel, Cookery – Alison Graves
You can also submit pocket novels. Maggie Swinburne is the person to contact about those. “Pocket novels are exciting, thrilling reads that sweep the reader away for adventures and intrigue, drama and romance! 50,000 words please.”

Monday, 25 August 2014


Thanks to Suzy for telling me about this competition. There's a £20 prize. The deadline is the end of the month, but there's no theme so you can send in something you prepared earlier.

I'm going enter but the lack of theme will make choosing a story difficult. With nothing to narrow it down it's hard to see the wood for the trees and whittle it down to just one.

Did you twig that last paragraph was just to give me an excuse to post this picture? (At least I spared you the barking stuff about branching out into different genres and hoping my entry would be OaK and not wanting to leaf any out!)

Saturday, 23 August 2014

I'm making a habit of this

Recently I met up with another friend I previously only knew through the internet. Sheila Crosby is a great writer, scientist, writing buddy, photographer, yeti keeper, founder of the critiquing group I belong to and all round good egg.

As a change from me driving in the campervan to see her she flew over from La Palma. Another break from my usual m.o. was that instead of tea and cake there was curry and wine ... and sausages ... coffee... trifle ... Well we had a lot to talk about!

Hopefully it won't be too long until we can meet again. If I was to win the £30,000 top prize in this competition, or the £500 in this one then I'd start making travel plans. Alternatively if I won the arvon course on offer here, I might make new writing friends.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

The power of three

A few days ago, at an undisclosed location in the south of France, I met up with my writing friends Hilary Mantelpiece and KJ Rolling Pin. The photographer made reference to the opening scenes of Macbeth so we sent him to Coventry ... where his remains have been formed into a new gargoyle.

Our weekend retreat was funded by the two Arthurs (Mr Cone and Mr Doyle to you). They're huge fans of our work. Well, who isn't?

We dined exclusively on ice cream served in cornets formed round the horns of unicorns and drank nothing but the finest vintage peppermint tea.

Naturally our conversation was of literary matters, well worn themes and the loveliness of DC Thomson editors. Do read my friends' accounts here and here for the whole story. Some parts are even true!

No famous authors were harmed in the making of these blog posts. The same cannot be said of cakes and scones.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014


Hands up who thought I'd put an extra f in the title? Anyone? No? Oh, I was sure I'd catch someone out. Riffling, as you know, means to turn pages in quick succession (my book Paint Me a Picture is such a page turner you're sure to riffle through it) to shuffle cards or something to do with gold washing. A riffle can also be a patch of waves or ripples (I particularly like that one)

Rifling on the other hand is putting spiral grooves in a gun barrel to make it more accurate (the gun in question could be a rifle, but they do it with other kinds too). Rifle can also mean to search and rob or carry off as booty. So someone might riffle through a gun inventory deciding which rifled rifle to rifle.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Need some help?

I like writing (you probably guessed). As a hobby or even way to make a living it has many advantages. But if something goes wrong we are rather on our own compared with those who are members of clubs or work for big companies. (Imagine some stuff about being all at sea, out of our depth, floundering etc and the picture will make sense)

For UK writers help, particularly with contracts, is provided by the Society of Authors. (If you're in need of financial support for your work in progress, you might find this helpful. )

Which aspects of writing, or being a writer would you most like help with? (I can't guarantee I'll be able to provide that help, but maybe between us we can point some people in the right direction)

Friday, 15 August 2014


I was asked by User design if I'd like a copy of this book so that I could review or feature it.

As you've probably guessed, it's about punctuation. The use of each punctuation mark is clearly and simply explained, there are examples of its use and, where helpful, suggestions to avoid misusing them. It seems to me to be comprehensive and accurate. Typographical marks, rather than punctuation marks, are not included.

It's cute; maybe better described as a booklet than a book. The cover has that strokeable finish you sometimes find on nice notebooks.

The book is very short. There are just 36 pages and funny little sketches (illustrating the examples) take up half of each. Those shown are the first and last pages, reproduced with the publisher's permission.

That does make the £10 price tag seem a bit steep, but has the advantage of making it very quick to find the information you want. I have other books which provide the same information, and much more, but they don't make it easy to check if you suddenly have a doubt over whether to write women's or womens'.

The website states the book is for all ages, but especially designed for teenagers and those who feel reading a book is boring. I think it would also be good for those writers who don't want to be told how to write, and/or don't want to get sidetracked whilst in the middle of something. It would be a nice small prize for competitions or other writers's group activities. It's not so good for procrastination though!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Ooops - and huzzah!

I forgot to do a Wednesday word of the week post, which is the oops.  The huzzah is because I've sold another story to My Weekly and I'll be meeting up with writing buddies later this week.  I need to work on my cake eating skills!

Anyone want to share an embarrassing oversight or, better yet, a piece of good news? (It doesn't have to be writing related) I'd like something fun to read whilst I chomp.

I do have a competition link too, but I'm not sure how to make it relevant to the rest of the post ... um, the cake has a middle in it and I have a writing friend in the Midlands and another friend is a wonderful poet and winning might make you go 'Huzzah!' Yes, that should do it. Here's a competition for poets who live or work in the Midlands.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

You Write On

Apparently uploading your short story or the opening of your novel to this site gives you the chance of feedback from top publishers.

Anyone tried them?

Monday, 11 August 2014

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Canterbury Tales and Poems

Thanks to Beth Cuenco for the following -
The Wise Words Festival (, in partnership with The Canterbury Times, is launching two competitions, one for those who like to write prose and the other for those who like to write poetry.
Both competitions invite entries inspired by the theme ‘The Great Unknown.’
  • Poets are invited to submit a poem of up to 20 lines (no poem is too short)
  • Writers are invited to submit a short story (Flash Fiction) that contains no more than 500 words (again there is no minimum limit)
There are three age categories, 7-10 years, 11-15 years and adults (16+)
The competition will be judged by our Festival Patron and award-winning author Jane Gardam OBE. Winning entries will appear in the Canterbury Times and in the next edition of our very own paper ‘Wise Words’ that will appear coffee shops across Canterbury.
Competition Rules:
  • All work must be in English and not previously published in any form.
  • Entries must be original; entirely the entrant’s own work and must not infringe the copyright or any other rights of any third party.
  • Only one entry per person is allowed.
  • There is no charge for submissions.
  • The deadline for entries is midday 11th August.  Entries must be submitted to . Please put the age bracket within which you fall and include POETRY or FLASH FICTION COMPETITION in the email subject. 

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Getting Graphic

If you're a graphic novelist or storyteller then this competition might appeal. The prize is £1,000 plus publication of your story in The Observer.

Reckon they mean graphic as in 'with pictures' rather than 'with explicit detail' but I've been wrong before. Anyway, I'll play it safe with the illustration.

Friday, 8 August 2014

I'm a cover girl!

No no, I don't mean Patrick McCabe is my pen name and this is how I look if I push my hair back. But see in the bottom left where it says 'Be Constructive'? That's my article they're referring to!

I'm jolly chuffed, let me tell you.

The article is two pages of advice on how to get good feedback and how to use it. I'd love to know what you think of it (see what I did there?)

I was fortunate to have help and quotes from my writing buddies as well as editors, proofreaders and authors. Thank you all. Writerly types are such generous people.

If you found your way over here after reading the article - WELCOME!

I don't have a free competition link today. I have three - this one has a prize of £500 plus a place on an Arvon course. This one offers £1,000, a weekend away and, appropriately, feedback on your work. There's only cash on offer with this one, but as the top prize is £30,000 perhaps we'll let them off?

And here's a Friday Freebie courtesy of Della Galton.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014


It's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. Last month I really was feeling insecure. More so than I let on in my post. That's because I wasn't writing. Not writing means not making any mistakes, not getting work criticised or rejected  - but it's not much fun and there's no chance of actually coming up with something good.

I'm writing again now. I'm making mistakes, my critique buddies are finding 'issues' and it's very likely at least some of the pieces I'm sending out will come back. I'm much happier.

How are things with you?

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The Weekly News

If you have anything outstanding with TWN you've probably already had the email, but in case anyone didn't know ... any stories sent between June last year and April this year will not be used and you may submit elsewhere. For stories sent since April this year, they'll be accepted within 12 weeks, if at all. After this period we're to assume a rejetion and may submit elsewhere.

I'm glad to have this cleared up (I expect Jill the fiction editor is too). If there's anything worse than having a story rejected it's not having a reply at all. Jill works alone on a part time basis. Those magazines which send replies and give reasons generally have a team of staff in the fiction department.

Just a reminder about the Alfie Dog short story competition. (There is an entry fee of around £2 in the form of five story downloads. Can I suggest you try one by that Patsy Collins woman?) The prize is £200 plus (optional) publication of your short story collection on which you'll earn royalties.

Right, I'm off to water the allotment whilst it's still cool.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Something Crazy

For this competition all you have to do is write something completely out there. Reckon I can do that.

There's a £10 WH Smith voucher for the winner.

You could use that to buy pens in the colours your favourite words smell of.

Or present it to a stranger as the ransom payment and and say you'll collect Mr Fluffy at midnight as agreed.

Or add to your notebook collection.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

A good deal

The prizes for this competition are fabulous. Publishing contract, writing retreat in France and your book featured in Woman Magazine.

I can't enter. Sigh. Oh well, I did get to go to France earlier this year. Didn't actually do any writing while I was there, but I met this chap. Maybe I can work him into a story.