Two things caught my eye in the world of poetry this week:
Firstly, NASA is asking for Haiku to make a trip to the planet Mars. This is a real opportunity to get your poetry to a wider audience!
The spacecraft will launch in November to study the atmosphere on Mars. Three poets will have their haiku put on a DVD that will be placed in the craft. Everyone else that submits a haiku for inclusion will get their name included on the DVD.
“The Going to Mars campaign offers people worldwide a way to make a personal connection to space, space exploration and science in general, and share in our excitement about the MAVEN mission,” said Stephanie Renfrow, lead for the MAVEN Education and Public Outreach program at University of Colorado, Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.
There is no entry fee (and no prize other than the honour of sending your work to Mars). Entrants must be 18 or over and all Haiku must be written in English. The deadline for submissions is 1st July 2013. From the 15th of July the public will vote for the three Haiku that will go off to the red planet. The winner will be announced on August 8th 2013.
Full details are available here.
Thanks to Nick Daws for bringing this opportunity to my attention.
Secondly, The Emma Press is now open to submissions for ‘The Emma Press Anthology of (Mildly) Erotic Verse’. This got my attention because I went to a workshop last week on writing erotic e-books. It was quite an eye-opener when we were told about the various different sub-genres in the market – or maybe I’ve just led a sheltered life!
But The Emma Press isn’t looking for anything explicit or hard-core. They say, “The erotic element of the poems can be as apparent or barely-there as you like, but the writing has got to tick all the boxes: metre, pace, form and language.”
It is envisaged that 15 poets will be included in the book and there will be a £25 advance for each poet.
Up to four poems can be submitted and there is no entry fee. But be quick – the deadline is 17th May 2013.
Full details are here.
Recently, I’ve been turning my hand to crime-writing – inspired by some of the competitions mentioned on Helen’s blog.
I’ve sent my entry into the M.R. Hall competition (by email after the on-line form kept insisting that my entry was longer than the required 2,000 characters, but I think that glitch is fixed now).
My entry for the Cremona Hotel competition has been drafted – but will no doubt need a generous dose of spit and polish before it’s ready to go on its way.
Now I’m turning my mind to brainstorming ideas for the GKBC competition (stands for Giving Kudos to Brilliant Content) and after that there’s the ‘Win a Book’ competition in the May issue of Writing Magazine (write 250 words in which someone pulls a gun on a bank cashier).
Alongside this, and to get me into the mind-set of a crime writer, I’ve been reading Crime in the City - the Official Crime Writers’ Association Anthology 2003. I’ve just looked on Amazon and only second-hand copies are available now - so maybe I’ve got a rarity here!
Like all good stories, these tales are character-led and usually contain no great detail about the mechanics of the crime involved or the police procedures used in solving it. The latter often puts people (including me) off penning crime fiction for fear of getting the investigative procedures wrong, so short stories could be a good starting point.
The best way of finding out about police procedure is to make friends with a policeman but failing that, there are resources available on the internet. After a quick trawl I’ve found:
- Crime and Clues - the Art and Science of Criminal Investigation
- Writers Write - this page lists several websites that might interest crime writers
- Writing.ie -Really Useful Links for Crime Writers
Now, time to decide how my next victim’s going to die …
Who doesn’t like something for nothing?
So here are a few bits and pieces that won’t cost you a penny:
- Nick Daws is running a competition on his blog to win a copy of his new course ‘Blogging for Writers’. All you have to do is send him a guest post of between 500 to 1000 words for his writing blog. The winning entry will be published on his (high-traffic) blog along with any others that he feels are of sufficient interest to his readers. The closing date is Sunday 31st March at 5pm.
- Ideas Tap are running a competition for stories on any theme between 1,200 and 5,000 words in length. Up to 12 stories will be chosen to receive expert feedback plus publication in an e-anthology. The closing date is 28th May and full details are here.
- My first e-anthology One Day For Me – 8 Award-Winning Stories is free across all Amazon platforms until 25th March.
There were 20 entries for the See Jane Write prize draw.
I asked this random number generator to pick a random number between 1 and 20.
It chose 20.
So the winner of the paperback copy of See Jane Write is Susannah Harrison!
Susannah says that her most notable achievement to date is winning the Reader’s Digest 100 word story competition last year – and that’s quite an achievement, I would say!
Congratulations to Susannah, and thanks to all of you who entered.
Brian David has been in touch and asked me to tell you about the latest CheerReader short story competition.
First prize is 100 Euros. The winning story plus runners-up will be published on the CheerReader website.
1500 words maximum and the theme is ‘anything you like so long as it makes us laugh’.
Closing date is 31st March 2013 and there is an entry fee of 5 Euros.
The full rules are here and previous winning entries can be read here - and I’ve just noticed that Julia Thorley, who follows this blog, was ‘commended’ in the last CheerReader competition. Well done, Julia!
So, if you can write humour, pick up your pens now!
First prize is £1000 plus ‘the opportunity to give a reading at a high-profile poetry event at which the prize will be awarded’.
Closing date is 15th March 2013. Entrants must be over 18 and live in the UK. Full details are here.
I have a paperback copy of See Jane Write : A Girl’s Guide to Writing Chick Lit by Sarah Mlynowski and Farrin Jacobs, to give away.
This is a very easy to read book from the US, and ideal if Chick Lit is your genre, or a genre you’d like to know more about. If you’d like to win this wonderful prize, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post indicating that you want to be put in the draw. You have until midnight on Saturday 16th February 2013. One comment will be chosen at random (so you don’t have to be witty or clever – but if you can be, all the more entertaining for the rest of us!). When I have made contact with the winner, I will announce her/his name on this blog.
BUT this is a competition for my email subscribers only. So, if you don’t already receive my blog posts via email, just stick your email address in the box on the right and follow the activation instructions in the email that you receive – then you can take part in the competition.
Sorry – prize can be sent to UK postal addresses only.
I hope no-one else had a bad head after the launch party. I knew I shouldn’t have finished that last bottle of Champagne after every one had gone. And I feel like celebrating all over again now because someone’s given me a really nice review on Amazon.
Anyway, basking in past glories won’t get the next book done. So how about a tight deadline to get the creative juices flowing?
Litro are running a free flash fiction competition. They want up to 1000 words from the prompt, “This is not love …”.
Entries should not have been previously published anywhere and the closing date is 7th Feb 2013 (entry is on-line). The winner will be announced on 14th February.
The winner and the two runners-up will have their stories published on the Litro website and the overall winner will receive three beautiful Clothbound Classics editions of Alice in Wonderland, Hard Times and Bleak House, supplied by Penguin.
Full details are here.
You’ve got 7 days – go for it!
Apologies to those of you who, like me, have your blogs registered with the Mumsnet Bloggers Network - because you’ve probably already seen this competition, but for those of you not in the know:
Moneysupermarket.com is running a blogging competition with a prize of £1,000. All you have to do is create a blog post about your dream holiday and include costings (excluding flights) – but keep the total cost under £1,000. Include a picture of your destination too. Mention the competition in your post and then email your entry to firstname.lastname@example.org. Closing date is 28th January 2013. Before you start have a look at the full details here.
And if you’re interested in registering your blog with Mumsnet have a look here. Basically, it’s a way of telling more people that your blog exists - and you don’t have to be a mum to join.
I hope you’re all fully recovered from the festive season and ready to write again.
Here are a few bits and pieces that might be useful for the new year:
- ‘Don’t Break the Chain’ – nip over to Vikki Thompson’s blog to read about a great method of encouraging you to write every day. It involves using a chart to mark each day that you’ve written something. Hopefully, all these marks will form a long chain that you will do anything to avoid breaking. Follow the link on Vikki’s blog to down load the chart for free. And it doesn’t matter when you start because there are no dates on the chart. So no excuses - you can start any time of the year!
- Prima magazine have changed the word count for their monthly ‘Your Winning Story’ competition. It is now a maximum of 1000 words. The prize is still a Kobo eReader. Email your entries to email@example.com and include your name, age, address, phone number and a recent photo. You’ll have to buy the mag. for the full rules plus the address for postal entries.
- Uniquely Dublin International Competition wants entries that ‘celebrate Dublin today’. There are categories for all the arts (music, animation etc) including the written word – and you only need to write 100 words about Dublin to be in with a chance of winning the category prize of 1,000 Euros or the overall prize of 10,000 Euros. Closing date is Jan 28th 2013 and entry is free. Full details are here.
And finally a couple of thank yous:
- I would like to thank Maria’s Book Blog and Jenny Schwartz for my prize of a Kindle copy of ‘Drawing Closer’ – Jenny’s contemporary romance. Maria regularly hosts author interviews and book giveaways, so if you want to win – pay her a visit.
- Last but certainly not least, I would like to thank Susan for nominating me for an Inspiring Blogger Award, which she did before Christmas. I’m supposed to tell you 7 things about me but I’m sure your eyes are glazing over by now so maybe I’ll leave that for another time. But do have a look at Susan’s blog - she’s a lovely lady.