Wednesday, 8 December 2021


Did the blog post title grab your attention? It would have worked on me! 

It's not just click bait, I promise. There is a relevance to writing. I have a tendency to include lemon drizzle* in my stories – they're a kind of delicious citrusy motif.

Do you do anything similar? Maybe a lot of your characters drive the same kind of car, or ginger cats often lurk ready to jump into the action, or there's a particular name you frequently use?

* Other cakes are available. I know – I've done the research!

Womag news

Thanks to Jane Ayres for passing on the ISSN for Seven Days. It's 2753-1295. I had asked ALCS, but they told me they couldn't find it so it was safe to assume there wasn't one!

Free entry writing competition news

Secret Attic have a monthly short story competition which is free to enter, however the prize of a $20 Amazon voucher is only awarded to members and membership isn't free. Winning stories will be published, whether you're a member or not, but you may opt out of this if you wish.

There's also a 'weekly write' which again is free to enter, but only members receive the cash prize. All winning entries will be published.

This competition is for fables of up to 350 words, written in the style of Robert Louis Stevenson. The prize is £100 and you've got until early April next year to enter.

If you're a playwright with east or south east Asian heritage, then take a look at this competition which offers a £1,000 prize. I'm not massively keen on competitions which are only open to a restricted group of people, but I accept there are often good reasons for them.

There are prizes on offer for this poetry competition. They don't say what they are, other than that they'll be 'exciting experiences'. As the competition theme is 'A Life After Conflict' I find that just a bit alarming! 

This competition is for flash fiction with a twist. At first I assumed they meant a twist ending, but then I thought about the picture and blog name and now I'm not absolutely sure about that. Anyway, the prize is publication and promotion on social media. If you wish you can pay £3 for feedback on your entry.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Getting ready to prepare

December already! It's the time of year when I start thinking that I really should try and get organised for next year. To help with that, please let me know what kind of writing related content you'd like included on this blog. I don't promise to act on every single suggestion, but if a large number of people all want the same thing I'll do my best to provide it.

 Womag news

In the #PFWritingHour yesterday it was confirmed that The People's Friend 'always' want 3,000 word stories. 

For those who've not come across it, the 
#PFWritingHour is a twitter event from 11 to 12 every Tuesday. It's usually good fun.

Free entry competition news

This competition from Anansi Archives offers small cash prizes for flash fiction, poetry and short stories. The good news is that it's quarterly, the bad news that the current competition closes at midnight tonight.

You've got a lot longer for this one, which is just as well as they're looking for up to 8,000 words of realistic science fiction. There's a prize bundle including paid publication.

This competition is for Valentine's poems and offers £100 in vouchers as the prize.

My news (just in case you've missed it!)

My latest novel is now out! Acting Like A Killer is a cosy, romantic murder mystery, set in Falmouth (West country) and Lee-on-the-Solent (south coast of England). There's a dog in it, and castles, cake, the seaside, friendship, birds, flowers ... all the good stuff.

Sunday, 28 November 2021

No more rehearsals

Free entry competition news

You'll probably have heard the phrases 'life is not a dress rehearsal' and 'there is no planet B'. Both came to mind when I read about the latest competition from Nottingham Writers Studio. You have up to 5,000 words to write your story. There are a range of prizes from £250 for the winner to £15 for highly recommended. As well as the money they'll each get a year's free membership of NWS and have their story published in an anthology. (I was a runner up last year last year.)

My news

My romantic murder mystery Acting Like A Killer is out today! Thank you so much to everyone who has helped (or is about to help) with the promotion for this and/or ordered a copy. As always your support is greatly appreciated.

The ebook will remain at the introductory price of £1.99 ($2.99) for a few more days and then go up to the regular price of £2.99 ($3.99).  It can also be read through kindle unlimited. The paperback version is now available too. You can get it from Amazon, or order through bookshops and libraries. If you do read a copy, I really hope you enjoy it.

I'm no actor, but I have made a video of me reading the first few pages.

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Thanks, maybe, yes, no and please.

Womag news

Several people have asked about the rejection policy with Seven Days, magazine, so I asked Siobhan. Her (very swift) reply was – "I’m not sending out rejection responses so 2 months / 60 days would be the cut-off for assuming and sending elsewhere." She added "the fiction content has now increased – which can only be good news." 

Thanks, Siobhan. It's so much better to know where we stand within a reasonable period of time than to wait and wait and wait and still be left wondering.

Free entry competition news

For this competition from On The Premises, you're asked for 25-50 words on holiday stress. The first prize is $35. I'm very tempted to have a go at that one.

Thanks to Alan Barker for letting me know about this crime writing competition. Stories can be up to 2,000 words and the top prize is £1,000 plus some nice whisky glasses. I'm definitely entering that!

Here's what seems to me to be an odd poetry competition. Entries are to be inspired by something within the TV show Twin Peaks, which I've never seen so it makes no sense to me. Possibly American spellings, such as 'donut' will help. Still, as with all the competitions I feature, it's free, they seem to like a bit of alliteration, you can have up to three goes and there's a £75 prize. I'll probably give it a miss, but if I do enter I'll craft couplets concerning my curious compulsion for chocolate cake.

A request from me

My romantic murder mystery Acting Like A Killer is officially released on Sunday (it can be ordered now). Anything you can do to help support it will be very welcome. 

That support includes, but isn't limited to, buying a copy of the ebook or paperback*, asking your library to stock it, or borrowing through kindle unlimited. If you do read and enjoy it, a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads would be wonderful.

Also sharing tweets and posts or otherwise letting people know the book exists will be very much appreciated.

*books make excellent and easy to wrap gifts ;-)

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Over to you!

 Do you have any womag news?

Are you researching, writing, subbing? Had any acceptances or rejections? Any other news?

Feel free to use the as a picture prompt. If you'd like other writing prompts, short exercises and story/scene suggestions then you might find this book useful.

I'd love to hear your competition news.

Have you entered any writing comps? Had any luck? Heard about interesting contests? Got any tips to pass on? (Although I only feature free to enter competitions in my posts it's fine to share news about other competitions too.)

Do you have writing tips to share, questions to ask, or suggestions for this blog?

My news

Just a reminder that my murder mystery novel Acting Like A Killer is out next week, and that my friend Rosemary J Kind and I are doing a combined launch event for our books.  

We'll be reading the opening pages, getting interviewed and answering questions from attendees.

It's free to take part. Email for the link.

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Couple of things ...

Free entry competition news

Thanks to Alyson for sending me the link to this competition. If you can write up to 500 words about why you love London, you could win up to £500.

My news

Together with my friend Rosemary J Kind, I'll be taking part in a Zoom chat /; book launch.  Rosemary will be talking about her historical novel, Vi for Victory and I'll be discussing my romantic murder mystery, Acting Like A Killer.

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Womag updates

I'm still on my travels, so not always finding it easy to keep up with news. Luckily I have friends who help to keep me informed. Thank you to those who have passed on the following bits of womag news ...

Those writers on the Take a Break closed list have been sent news contracts, offering a much lower rate of pay, but no longer requiring all rights. 

The fiction editor at YOU is still reading and buying stories which were sent prior to them temporarily closing to new submissions.

The current word count requirements for Yours fiction are –  450, 800,1400, 2,000, and 2,700

The word count range for Seven Days is confirmed as 500 - 1,200 (not 500 - 1,000 as stated in one issue.)

Thursday, 28 October 2021

Happy hallowe'en!

How do you feel about writing and reading spooky, ghostly or horror stories? I'm on the wimpy side and prefer the cosy kind.

My news

If you like reading ghost stories which aren't too scary, you may enjoy one of my four collections of slightly spooky stories. Slightly Spooky Stories II is currently reduced to 99p / 99c.

Free entry competition news

 Thanks to Alyson for the link to this competition. There's £500 on offer for a memory recounted in 400 words. These don't need to have a hallowe'en theme.

Saturday, 23 October 2021

Yellow Room now not reopening

I've received the following message from Jo Derrick –  "I am afraid I have decided not to relaunch The Yellow Room Magazine after all. There are far too many obstacles and so few resources available. I had hoped to receive several subscriptions or orders by now, but only received four. This is in contrast to nearly fifty submissions. 

I'm very sorry to disappoint you and your blog followers."

Whilst I don't feel it's the job of writers alone to keep magazines running, it's worth remembering that if they're not supported then they won't be able to operate. If there's a particular magazine you really don't want to stop publishing you might like to consider buying a few issues, or perhaps buying a gift subscription for a friend or family member.

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Competitions and hairy beasties

I've not posted many competition links lately, but I do have excuses of sorts, and I have some free to enter competitions for you today.

The excuse first – We're travelling in our campervan in fairly remote Scottish locations, which means internet access isn't always available.

Also I've been attempting some promotion stuff for my new novel, Acting Like A Killer. I'm spectacularly bad at this, so if you can help at all with spreading the word, that will be very much appreciated. 

The paperback is already available from Amazon at £10, or can be ordered through bookshops and libraries. The ebook is on pre order at the early bird price of £1.99 and will be released at the end of November.

Now the competitions ...

This one from Hamer is for lyrical non-fiction of up to 500 words from UK writers who are over 40 and haven't had a book published by a trade publisher. Top prize is £250.

For this one you need to write a lot more words and include a serious crime. The prize is a $10,000 advance.

The Commonwealth short story prize offers regional winners £2,500 and £5,000 for the overall winner.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Seven Days

The new womag Seven Days is out now – and I'm delighted to say that I have a story in the first issue and several readers of this blog have also had stories accepted.

I do hope that as many of you as possible will consider buying an issue, subscribing and/or spreading the word about this publication to those who might be interested in reading it. Editors can only buy our stories if enough people by the magazines.

Along with my story they published a mini bio and mentioned my romance novel, Escape to the Country

Isn't this illustration great? Until you've read the story you'll have to take my word for it that it's perfect for the story.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Over to you!

 Do you have any womag news?

Are you researching, writing, subbing? Had any acceptances or rejections? Any other news?

Feel free to use the as a picture prompt. If you'd like other writing prompts, short exercises and story/scene suggestions then you might find this book useful.

I'd love to hear your competition news.

Have you entered any writing comps? Had any luck? Heard about interesting contests? Got any tips to pass on? (Although I only feature free to enter competitions in my posts it's fine to share news about other competitions too.)

Do you have writing tips to share, questions to ask, or suggestions for this blog?

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Intentions realised

Today is release day for my latest short story collection! Thank you so much to everyone who has already ordered Criminal Intent and/or has been helping me let people know it's available. Your support means a lot to me.

The ebook will be remain at the introductory price of 77p (99c) for a few more days, then go to the full price of £1.99 ($2.99). It is also available through kindle unlimited.

 The paperback is now available too. You can get it from Amazon, or order through your local library and some bookshops (ISBN 978-1914339103).  If you get hold of a copy I do hope you enjoy reading it.

Free entry writing competition

The Green Stories novel writing competition offers £1,500 in prizes.

Free writing course

If you've ever intended to write a novel, then you might find this free masterclass from Cat Lumb of interest.

Monday, 4 October 2021

Another change at YOU

South African magazine YOU have 'decided to close for submissions until January' at which time there will be a new fiction editor.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

A new womag market!

I've ben asked to post the following, and as I was sure some of my blog readers would be interested, I was happy to agree.

A new women’s weekly, SevenDays, is launching next month. The magazine is aimed at mid-market readers aged 45+ and includes puzzle content, fiction, craft projects and heath & wellbeing features. We are currently looking for fiction contributors. Short stories of 500 – 1200 words, not previously published, first rights only, author retains all other rights. We are offering £75 per story and welcome uplifting, quirky, humorous, nature-inspired and thought-provoking reads. Family, friendship and nature are significant themes. Romance, historical, comedy, mystery and thrillers are all invited genres. Serials will be accepted at the same rate. To submit work for consideration, please email 

Was I right? Are you interested in new markets?