So choose your favourite caffeine fix – latte, cappuccino, mocha ….
And which cake do you fancy? Lemon drizzle, chocolate fudge or fruit cake?
If you’re sitting comfortably, then I’ll begin.
Or I would if this was a ‘real’ instead of a virtual book launch. Then I could have the pleasure of meeting you all in the flesh and thanking you for all the support and positive comments about my first e-anthology. Plus I could read you one or two stories from the newly released Old Friends.
Instead I’ll just tell you about my second book and then you can visit Amazon and ’Look Inside’ or download the sample to get a real flavour of it…
Old Friends contains 13 short stories that have previously appeared in My Weekly, People’s Friend and The Weekly News. I’ve included tales with a twist, stories about the ups and downs of family life plus, of course, a little romance.
I hope this collection will bring a little escapism to your coffee break!
Or find it on all other Amazon sites by searching for ASIN B00BJIKIBI.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.
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!
It’s great to see so many of you here today – thank you for sparing the time to come along. There will be chocolate profiteroles and cream when I’ve finished speaking – so I’ll keep it short!
One Day For Me contains some of my writing successes from recent years – eight stories that have either won or been shortlisted in UK national writing competitions. The subject matter and characters are varied and include Wallis Simpson, an abused wife, a young girl making money from lost property and a pro-athlete struggling with the demands of her career.
I’m proud of these stories and I’d like to share them with you.
Of course, I didn’t work in isolation. I want to say a big thank you to my writing buddy, Helen Yendall , who read many of these stories when they were still a work in progress.
I also want to thank Marilyn Rodwell of the Birmingham RNA and our anonymous erotic writer member, who between them organised an inspiring workshop on e-publishing – without which I would never have got this project off the ground.
Finally, I would like to say a huge thank you to all the followers of this blog who took the time to comment on my original cover design. I learned a lot from you all (which I will summarise in another post) – and I hope you agree with me that the finished cover is a vast improvement!
I now declare One Day For Me launched!
Now the waiters will circulate with the profiteroles – enjoy!
The museum contains exhibits that each recall the breakup of a relationship. Each object is accompanied by a narrative telling its story such as:
- A lover’s mobile phone, given to the girlfriend he’d just broken up with, so that she couldn’t call him anymore
- An axe that was used on the furniture of an unfaithful partner
- A garden dwarf that was thrown at an ex’s windscreen on divorce day
The place sounds like a building full of writing prompts with a whole wealth of relationship stories, just waiting to be written. There’s a cafe there too - so somewhere to sit and jot down notes whilst enjoying mulled wine and pepper cookies (the house specialities according to the website).
The museum also accepts new exhibits from people wishing to get rid of stuff that reminds them of a painful breakup. What would your hero or heroine donate?
Look out for the museum’s touring exhibitions, there was one in Lincolnshire earlier this year and one in London in 2011 – if only I’d known I could’ve collected enough ideas to last a lifetime! Instead I’ll have to save up for a flight to Zagreb …
P.S. I had an acceptance from People’s Friend this week – hurrah, a great way to end the year!
Many moons ago I started writing a My Weekly Pocket Novel. At that time they were 30,000 words and I thought that was an achievable target. When I was part way through, the required word count went up to 50,000 – so I adjusted my plot and carried on. I reached 50,000 words and the end of my story. Then I lost confidence in what I’d written and decided it was so bad that I couldn’t possibly send it out.
So it sat gathering virtual dust on my hard drive.
Then the news came from Maggie Seed that My Weekly Pocket Novels were being replaced by the new Easy Reads imprint and she needed manuscripts. I decided it was now or never. So I wrote a synopsis and polished up my first 3 chapters and, with nothing to lose, emailed Maggie.
A week later, I nearly fell off my chair when she replied and asked to see the rest of the manuscript. Unfortunately the rest of it was still in ‘first draft’ stage. So I’m now busy editing and trying to knock it into a coherent shape.
Of course, there’s still a high probability that the whole thing will be rejected so I’m not sitting here with rosy coloured specs on planning my launch party. But it’s nice to know that the basic idea, outlined in the synopsis, was not total rubbish!
So if you’ve got something languishing in a bottom drawer – why not get it out and search for a market? If you don’t submit then you’ll never get published. But if you do submit…who knows what might happen!
For more information on Easy Reads have a look on womagwriter’s blog.
I had a lovely email from People’s Friend this week accepting a story.
The story was one of my favourites (you know how you get those sometimes – no matter how many rejections a story attracts, you keep tweaking and re-submitting because you think there’s something special about it and all you need to do is find the right market). This one started life as a competition entry and has been almost completely rewritten on its journey via Woman’s Weekly and My Weekly. Finally, People’s Friend asked for two lots of changes to make it fit their readership.
The acceptance email said it now had ‘the perfect balance of romance and emotion’. So all that remains is to recreate that same balancing act in another story!
I’ve no idea when it will appear in print – it’s gone into the magazine’s ‘story stock drawer’.
Helen from Multi-Story.co.uk has been in touch to tell me that for their latest short story competition, the prize pot has been increased to £500 for the first prize. Second prize is £100 and third prize £50.
The competition has an open theme and a word limit of 2,500. So there’s lots of scope there for writing something new or maybe you’ve got a favourite story which hasn’t got a home yet…
The judge is Amelia Farrell who has written short stories and serials for over 30 years, under various pen names. Have a look at the website to see what she’ll be looking for in the winning entry. But be warned, she says, “… don’t mistake me for some old girl who’s only interested in romance and cosy crime!” So this might not be the place to send a Womag story.
Entry is £5 and closing date is 30th June 2012. See the website for full details. The website also has a page giving pointers on how to improve your chances when entering competitions. Much of it has been said before but it’s always useful to have it drummed home again – especially the ‘Dare to be Different’ motto. Judges have a lot of stories to read and are looking for something that stands out from the rest.
Talking of competitions, I was pleased recently to make the longlist of the Flashbang Crime Story competition. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the shortlist but it was good to know that I’d been in the top 25% of entries.
5minutefiction has launched a short story competition to celebrate its first birthday.
Entries can be on any theme and any length between 100 and 1500 words. Closing date is June 1st 2012 and the entry fee is £2.
First prize is £100, second prize £50 and third prize £25. In addition, the winners will be published as part of an e-book short story anthology, along with up to 20 other additional entries. These stories will receive royalties from the sale of the book.
All entrants will also receive feedback.
Judging will be slightly out of the ordinary with 10 shortlisted stories being put to the public vote. Voters will be charged 10p to vote to help ensure only 1 vote per person.
Full competition details are here.
Also, I am pleased to announce that the e-anthology of selected stories from the last competition organised by 5minutefiction is now available. Time for Love contains 18 of the best entries from the Valentine short story competition – including mine (this could be the nearest I ever get to a book launch so I have to make the most of it)! Someone else you might have heard of, Simon Whaley, also has a story in there.
Time for Love is available to purchase from Amazon here. At only £1.54 it’s cheaper than the Kindle version of Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special – and might just help you win this competition!
If you don’t have a Kindle, download free software here to allow you to read Kindle books on your laptop.
I picked up a copy of Mature Times in the library this week. This is a free monthly publication aimed at retired people of both sexes and this edition (February 2012) contains the following announcement, which may be of interest to anyone writing poetry:
From next month, Mature Times will publish a reader’s poem in our Poem of the Month competition. Entries will be judged by our literary critic, Jacky Edgell, and the winner will receive a Mature Times pen set. Please submit your poem to; Poem of the Month Competition, Mature Times, Highwood House, Winters Lane, Redhill, Bristol BS40 5SH or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I also bought a copy of Yours magazine. This is a fortnightly publication, again aimed at older people and I guess more women read it than men. Usually it carries one short story per issue but this one (Feb 21 - Mar 5 2012) contains two stories, and one of those is the first instalment of a two-part story. This may be a one-off or it may be an indication that Yours is going to start carrying more fiction, including short serials. I’ve got my fingers crossed for the latter!
Finally, talking of serials, I won the competition on Womag’s blog to write the first 200 words of a crime serial!! Geraldine Ryan was the judge and provided the prize – a copy of her new book, Leave Over. This book contains two (previously published) complete serials, so I’m looking forward to reading it and maybe picking up some tips.
Most of us have ‘favourite’ stories, poems or articles that for some reason have never made it into print. For some
reason we particularly like these pieces but it seems no-one else does! Recently I resurrected a couple of stories which had unsuccessfully done the rounds but which I thought had a strong idea behind them.
The first was a ‘twist in the tail’ about a fortune-teller and was based on an anecdote that a work colleague told me. It was rejected by both Take a Break Fiction Feast and The Weekly News. I managed to distill the essence of the story down into just 60 words and emailed it off to Real People, which publishes a 60 word story each week and pays £25. And finally my fortune-teller tale found a home! It was published a couple of weeks ago and now I feel that I can stop fretting over that ‘favourite’ and move on.
Similarly, another story, set partly in the early 1980s and partly in the present day, had flopped in a couple of competitions and had been rejected by Woman’s Weekly. It then also got turned down by My Weekly – but this time with a few words about why it wasn’t quite right. I took notice of the comments, reworked the story and sent it off yet again – this time to People’s Friend. This week I had an email from one of the People’s Friend fiction team saying that they liked the story, but also listing a number of changes that would be necessary before it could be considered for the magazine. So now I’m editing the story yet again and crossing my fingers that when I re-submit it, People’s Friend will say ‘Yes’ and finally give my story a home.
So if you’ve written something you really love but can’t seem to get it accepted anywhere – keep trying. Persistance can pay!