Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society

July 27, 2014 10 comments

I’ve finally got around to joining the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society and registering my short stories and articles that have been published over the last three years.

Being a member of ALCS ensures that you get paid any secondary royalties earned by your works, for example if an article is photocopied by an organisation like a school.

Life membership of ALCS costs £25 but this is deducted from the writer’s first royalty payment – so there is no upfront charge and therefore no risk of being out of pocket by joining ALCS.

I have to admit to not totally understanding how ALCS knows what has been photocopied and how payments to writers are calculated. And I don’t imagine that at this very moment zillions of people are photocopying my work and handing it out to all and sundry. So will I actually ever see any money from ALCS? I have absolutely no idea, but you’ve got to be in it to win it, as they say.

Registering work published in magazines (newspaper articles are not accepted) is easy and can be done on-line. But only things published in the last three years are eligible – so it’s better to do this sooner rather than later and then keep it up to date.

The only problem that I encountered was finding the ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) for some publications. The ISSN is an identification number for periodicals but not all magazines have them. I’ve had several articles published in Freelance Market News which I discovered had no ISSN. However, when I contacted the magazine’s lovely editor, Angela Cox, she went to the trouble of obtaining an ISSN for Freelance Market News (thank you, Angela!) So I’ve now been able to register those articles, although I’m not sure of the implications if the ISSN wasn’t in existence when the article was first published.

Has anyone else got any experience/knowledge of ALCS?

The Winner of The Ian Govan Award is …

July 20, 2014 21 comments


You may remember me telling you about The Ian Govan Award award several months ago.

Ian Govan

Ian Govan

This is an award running annually until the end of 2017. It is in memory of Ian Govan of WordPlay Publishing

The brief is to send the first three chapters, character study and outline of a novel featuring a main character called Ian. It can be set anywhere, and be in any genre (except erotica). But if it has some humorous content, and perhaps a little social commentary, then all the better. Ian was known for both when he was alive.

The prize is free publication through WordPlay Publishing and €250 (£210) towards the winner’s marketing budget.

Entry is FREE and the competition closes on 31st December each year. Entry is by email.

I was over the moon to get a phone call recently informing me that I was the winner of last year’s competition (which I believe was the first). My entry was based on the manuscript I produced during NaNoWriMo last November – so all that typing for thirty days was worthwhile!

Now I have twelve months to get the novel into a publishable state. There’s no editing included in the prize, so if anyone’s got any experience of paying for editing services, do let me know.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a novel to work on …



Win a One Day Writing Workshop

July 13, 2014 17 comments

What does the word SHINE mean to you?

I’ve been having a little brainstorming session because I fancy entering this FREE competition. It’s organised by the Reading Agency and the winning ten entries will be invited to London for a workshop with Joanna Rees. Twenty shortlisted entries will win a copy of The Key to It All by Joanna.

The brief is to write 1500 words of original fiction on the theme SHINE.

So what ideas did I come up with?

  • Sunshine
  • Shining & polishing the furniture (an OCD cleaner perhaps?)
  • Shining as in ‘being the best’ (for example shining at school)
  • Moonshine (possible fairy/fantasy story?)
  • A shiny piece of jewellery or metal

But none of the above immediately forms the basis of a story for me.

What about you? Any better ideas?

We need to be quick, the closing date is 31st July 2014. Entries should be submitted by email to


Death in Elysium by Judith Cutler

July 5, 2014 5 comments

Have you ever fancied creating your own cosy crime ‘detective’ to star in a series of books? Death in Elysium

If so, take a look at Judith Cutler‘s latest novel, Death in Elysium, published by Severn House.

Judith is an old hand at creating strong female leads to solve a variety of crimes. She’s written series featuring lecturers, caterers, antique dealers and resting actresses. Death in Elysium is her first novel to feature vicar’s wife, Jodie Welsh.

But Jodie isn’t your typical vicar’s wife. She accumulated her fortune working in the City and has been made redundant. She falls in love and marries Theo, a widower and parish priest with a small town lifestyle completely different to the London life that Jodie is used to. Adjusting to the role of vicar’s wife is not easy and the parishioners give her a mixed reception.
Jodie employs a local teenage ne’er do well, Burble, as her gardener. But Burble goes missing and Jodie discovers strange building work going on in a nearby valley. The mystery deepens as someone tries to mow Jodie down with a car and a church warden is knocked unconscious.
Jodie needs all her contacts and skills from her past life to work out what is going on …

I asked Judith to explain how Jodie Welsh came into being.
“My experience as a village-dweller and as a practising member of the C of E came together in Jodie. Brash new-comers aren’t always the most welcome people in Kentish villages, and clergy wives are under particular scrutiny, since they’re often supposed to conform to an unwritten set of rules – rules poor Jodie never even knew existed since her relationship with her husband is so new.”

Judith planted a few characteristics within Jodie that will ensure she can stay the course for a series of books.
“Jodie needed a quirk, in this case her love of running, which has the advantage of her being able to spot things others wouldn’t and to take to her heels when necessary. Since clergy aren’t bound to stay in the same parish forever, Jodie and Theo can move to other parts of the country and her private wealth can free Theo to work in areas which will bring new challenges for them both.”

Another aspect of Jodie’s life which I found intriguing was her tendency to compare herself unfavourably to Theo’s deceased wife. I wonder if her insecurities in this area will subside or grow as the series continues.

So, if you fancy getting to know Jodie (and seeing how an experienced author handles the first book in a new series) take a look at Death in Elysium. It’s available now in hardback and will be out as an e-book in October – or why not ask your local library if they can get hold of it for you?

The Museum of Broken Relationships Comes to London

June 29, 2014 2 comments

Regular readers of this blog will have heard me talk before about The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb. The Museum of Fractured Lives Omnibus EditionAs its website says, “the Museum offers a chance to overcome an emotional collapse through creation: by contributing to the Museum’s collection.”

In other words, people who have suffered heartbreak can donate an object related to that trauma to the museum. It is hoped that this will help the sufferer move on with his or her life.

Can you imagine a better place to find story prompts? The exhibition includes things such as a garden gnome, underpants, wedding dress etc.

And now, a touring version of the museum is coming to London’s South Bank as part of The Festival of Love from 28th June to 31st August 2014. There’s lots of things going on at the festival and they appear, from the website, to be free, including The Museum of Broken Relationships Exhibition.

And to celebrate this great event, The Museum of Fractured Lives Omnibus Edition is now available on Kindle!

The Museum of Fractured Lives is a completely fictitious institution inspired by the real-life Museum of Broken Relationships. The Omnibus Edition contains the individual stories of Maxine, Karen and Pete who have all donated to the museum. Plus, it includes an exclusive prologue which tells how the museum came into being.

The tales of Maxine, Karen and Pete are also available individually and Bil Howard of the US book review website Readers’ Favorite is a fan.
He says, “Inventive, intriguing and inspired; Sally Jenkins and her Museum of Fractured Lives is certain to be a hit.”
And, “With an excellent concept, Sally is causing quite a wave with her stories of betrayal and guilt. These are brilliantly written accounts with a special twist in the telling that draws the reader right into the drama. Realistic, intriguing and yet tragic.”


Children’s Writing Course & Horror Short Story Competition

June 14, 2014 12 comments

Here are two things I’ve come across recently that might be of interest.

Firstly, Groupon are offering a massive discount on a course entitled ‘Learn to Write Children’s Stories’. It is advertised as being reduced from £349 to £14!

The course consists of 14 modules (those of you who are good at Maths will have worked out that this is the equivalent £1 per module) and guides “beginners through the process of writing great children’s stories, from plot to story structure to voice and style, this course aims to free imaginations and let the inner child create tales of adventure”.

However, this offer is only valid for five more days (which, by my calculations, is until 19th June 2014).

Full details are here.

Secondly, Joe Mynhardt of Crystal Lake Publishing is running a FREE to enter Horror Short Story Competition.

The organisation of this competition is different to most competitions. Initially Joe only wants to see 150 words. These words must be split (in any ratio) over the synopsis and opening of the story. For example the synopsis might be 30 words and the opening 120 words or vice versa.

Those that get through this first round of the competition will then be invited to submit their full story, which must be between 3000 and 7000 words and it must be horror, weird or suspenseful.

The prizes are as follows:

1st: Your story in Tales From the Lake Vol.2; $40; one contributor’s copy; bragging rights; a 30,000 word edit by Joe Mynhardt; all Crystal publish eBooks published at the time of announcing the winners.

2nd: Your story in Tales From the Lake Vol.2; one contributor’s copy; $30; a 20,000 word edit by Joe Mynhardt; any two Crystal publish eBooks published at the time of announcing the winners.

3rd: Your story in Tales From the Lake Vol.2; one contributor’s copy; $20; a 10,000 word edit by Joe Mynhardt; any one Crystal publish eBook published at the time of announcing the winners.

Full details of the competition are here and the first round closes on June 30th 2014 – so there’s still time to write those initial 150 words.

Regular readers of this blog may remember that Joe did an informative guest post for us on fiction writing. It’s still available here and might be worth a read if you’re thinking of entering the competition.

ReadKirklees Writing Competition

June 6, 2014 11 comments

Many thanks to my (non-writing) friend, Alison, for sending the details of this competition to me.

ReadKirklees are looking for poetry or prose (up to 500 words) with the theme ‘On Your Bike‘.

There are three age groups, 11 and under, 12 – 17 years and Adult. The first prize in each age group is £50 in book vouchers, second prize is £30 in book vouchers and third prize is £20 in book vouchers.

The closing date is Friday 11th July and entry is FREE – so no reason at all not to have a go!

Full details are here.

As you may know, Kirklees is in Yorkshire (where I come from) and there’s another Yorkshire writing competition with a July closing date.

The Friends’ of Morley Literature Festival Short Story Competition closes on 1st July 2014.

This competition has an open theme and up to 3,000 words are allowed (average word length of previous entries has been 1600, so it’s quality not quantity they are after).

Entry to this competition is FREE too!

And, having previously won this competition and met the organiser,  I can personally vouch for its integrity. All the entries are assigned a number to keep them anonymous and then read by a panel who each independently score them for a range of criteria. The top-scoring handful are passed to Gervase Phinn who selects the first, second and third prize winners.

First prize is £50, second prize £30 and third prize £20. There’s usually a nice prize presentation event too.

See here for how to get your entry form.


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