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.
After a dearth of acceptances over the summer months I’ve had four bits of good news in three days:
- Writers’ Forum have accepted an article that I first pitched to them back in July.
- I have a short story in this week’s Weekly News (dated 24th September). Thanks to Julia for letting me know it had been published and to Helen Yendall, my writing buddy, for giving the story the once-over before I sent it.
- I have won the Friends of Morley Literature Festival short story competition. This was a free to enter competition (which we like!) with a £50 first prize. There is also a prize-giving in Morley, near Leeds – I’m still working on the logistics of attending that. The 2012 short story competition is now open and entry forms are available via email from the organisers. Details are here.
- I have been asked to write for the Work Your Way magazine website. I mentioned this magazine on my blog a couple of weeks ago. It’s a new publication aimed at entrepreneurial/self-employed mums.
So at the moment my head’s buzzing and I feel great! But now I need to get some more work out there in the hope of getting this ‘high’ feeling again in the future. So I’m trying to learn from these acceptances.
Writers’ Forum taught me not to be afraid to chase an editor if he doesn’t reply to a pitch within a reasonable time – the summer holidays meant time was short and things were overlooked.
The Weekly News story was written from a male point of view and involved sport. This may have increased its chances of success in a publication read by both sexes.
My competition win shows that there’s nothing to lose and everything to be gained by sending off an entry to a free competition. For more free competitions check out Patsy Collins’ blog.
The offer from Work Your Way came about because once I’d had one article accepted by the magazine, I went back to the editor with another idea before she had time to forget who I was! Now I have to get my thinking cap on and come up with several more ideas – it feels quite scary to be put on the spot!
Acceptances seem like buses – you go for ages without any and then several come along at once.
Over the last few months I’ve been submitting stuff into a big black hole with every editor ignoring me. However, patience and perseverance has paid off and in the last couple of weeks I’ve had a handful of positive responses. So I’m feeling good!
Articles have been easier to place than fiction (not surprising when you think how many more markets there are for features compared to short stories) and the turnaround is quicker too.
These are the publications that have recently accepted my work – they’re wide open to all writers so why not give them a go?
- The Weekly News - I have a short story in the April 9th issue (in the shops now!) and have previously posted here about writing for them.
- Writers Forum
- Freelance Market News - this is available on subscription only and comes from the Writers’ Bureau stable
- Work Your Way - this is a brand new magazine aimed at entrepreneurial mums (incidentally I found this market through a lead in Writing Magazine).
The Weekly News prints three short stories a week. However, it is a market that is sometimes overlooked by writers targeting women’s magazines because it is published in newspaper format and can be difficult to find in the newsagent. I buy my copies in WHSmith or Tescos.
The Weekly News is aimed at a family audience of males and females across all ages. The short stories accepted for publication reflect this. It is not a market for romance or anything too ‘female’ orientated. In an interview for a past issue of Writers’ Forum Jill Finlay, the fiction editor said, ”We like funny stories or happy endings but also something slightly darker, edgier – blackmail, the occasional murder – but please, more black humour than shock-you crime.”
Jill is also a fan of twist in the tale endings and topical stories.
Stories range in length from around 800 to 2000 words. They are generally written in the third person and often from a male point of view.
I studied a couple of recent issues and in the first all three stories had a twist ending although they covered different topics:
- A story that appeared to be about a manned mission to Mars turned out to be children playing a game
- A story that appeared to be about a pilot flying a plane turned out to be a man driving to the airport and back in the middle of the night to lull the baby to sleep
- A disgruntled train commuter on her last journey to work before she switched jobs – to Customer Services Manager for the train company.
In the second issue I looked at, twists were popular again:
- A supermarket car park attendant issuing cash fines to customers parking illegally in disabled spaces turns out to be an ordinary woman just pocketing the money for herself
- A lady joins the gym to get fit for her 50th birthday party but hates it. However she does find a keep fit routine that suits her and is able to make a grand entrance to the party – as a belly dancer.
- A lady in bed and unable to sleep yet again because of the noise from the party next door. She finally cracks, gets up and goes to the shed to get something before joining the party – with two bottles of wine.
Some of the plots above may have lost something in my re-telling (apologies to the authors) but you get the idea of the type of thing that Jill Finlay chooses for The Weekly News fiction pages.
And if you’re visiting my blog for the first time, click here for details of my free prize draw.