Wednesday, 30 July 2014

A market, a competition and news from Ireland's Own

Bits and pieces for you today

1.  Here's a possible market for your short stories, especially the 3-6000 worders - Cracked Eye publish stories of all genres, and pay their authors (though I don't know how much).

2.  The Bath Novel award 2015 has just opened for entries:
The Bath Novel Award
International competition for aspiring and self published writers
£1000 1st prize
Shortlist Judge Mildred Yuan, Literary Agent (United Agents)
Closing Date 31 Mar 15
First 5000 words and synopsis
£20 entry fee
Full details

3.  Ireland's Own fiction editor Phil Murphy is retiring. From now on submissions should be sent to Sean Nolan but best to wait till mid September as there is a bit of a back log. With thanks to Sue B for passing this news on. 

Finally, if you have any information of interest to womag writers, please do contact me on the link above. I don't write short stories myself any more and am losing touch with what's going on in womag world, though I do want to keep this blog going! So I'm relying on you lovely blog readers to pass on snippets for me to publish on this blog. 

Thank you! 

Friday, 25 July 2014

Guest Post - Sam Tonge: The Long and the Short of it

If you're a regular reader of this blog, womagwriter and novelist Samantha Tonge will need no introduction, as this is her third guest post for me (I think!) Her latest novel, From Paris With Love, has just been published by Carina UK (my new publisher! Woot!) and here's a post from her talking about the difficulties of writing novels to short deadlines and still trying to write short stories in between.

 The Long and Short of it

When my debut novel, Doubting Abbey, was published last November, I kept telling myself that, come the New Year, I would start writing short stories again, Last year I sold around fifty to The People’s Friend – I stopped subbing in September when I signed my three book deal with CarinaUK Harlequin. There followed a frantic few months of revising, editing and promoting the book and before I knew it 2014 had arrived…
The thing is, with a digital-first imprint, the turnaround is VERY fast. I signed in September. Doubting Abbey was published in November. Then the deadline loomed for book two. I began writing the standalone sequel, From Paris with Love, in December. I handed in the manuscript in April. Revisions and edits then followed. 

Then writing posts for my blog tour. The book was published last Thursday, 24th July.
However, as soon as I’d finished editing that one, the deadline for book three loomed. The manuscript for my Christmas book is currently with my editor. We hope to have the revisions and edits finished by the end of August.

So within around a year, I’ll have had no time, nor the headspace, to start producing shorts again, due to becoming the published author of three novels. Yet I am lucky enough to write full-time – during school hours, anyway - so theoretically it should be more than possible. I know writers who wear many different writing hats, and would find it laughable that I find it so difficult to switch between, and time-manage, two genres. But the long and short of it is, quite simply, my brain isn’t wired to skip from one fictional project to another. I made one feeble attempt at a submission, a story about a school prom, but it was rejected for being too light-hearted. Clearly I’d failed to jump out of my chick lit tone.

What’s more, I find it stressful trying to manage these two areas of writing. Around January time I felt like failure, telling myself I’d worked so hard to find success with the People’s Friend and was now throwing all that away. I told myself I HAD to start writing shorts again – apart from anything else, my wallet missed the income - but inside I knew that my novel deadlines weren’t going to go away; that if I put pen to paper for a women’s magazine, I’d be fretting at the back of my mind that the time could have been spent writing another chapter for the next novel, instead.

Before signing my novel deal, I also greatly underestimated the amount of promotional work necessary, to get a digital book in front of readers’ eyes - the interaction on Twitter and Facebook, the long blog tour on well-known chicklit blogs, finding reviewers and sending free copies out to them…. That’s not to mention putting together picture boards on Pinterest, setting up an account on Tumblr, and creating a website just for the book… I could go on.

Eventually, I do hope to find some balance. I miss working with the lovely People’s Friends editors, and the daily interacting with fellow short story writers and magazine readers. Yet, at the same time, I love writing novels. Becoming a published novelist has been my goal for ten years and now that I’ve finally achieved it, I feel that I owe it to myself to give it my all. I believe the first couple of years of being a published author are crucial, in terms of creating a brand and garnering a loyal readership. So, just for the moment, I’ll be sticking to 90,000 word stories. At least I’ll save money on stamps…

I get that, Sam, I really do. I've been unable to write short stories for a while now, since I began concentrating on longer fiction. Like you my dream was to get a book deal, and now that I have, there's no time for writing shorts. Unless my writing class is holding an end-of-term competition - I just have to enter all those! 

Best of luck with the book launch. I've just been over to Amazon to buy it. Loved Doubting Abbey and am desperate to find out what happened next to Gemma and her posh bloke!

Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family, and two cats who think they are dogs. When not writing, she spends her days cycling and willing cakes to rise. She has sold over 80 short stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, came out in November 2013.
Every girl dreams of hearing those four magical words Will you marry me? But no-one tells you what’s supposed to happen next…
Fun-loving Gemma Goodwin knows she should be revelling in her happy-ever-after. Except when her boyfriend Lord Edward popped the question, after a whirlwind romance, although she didn’t say no….she didn’t exactly say yes either!
A month-long cookery course in Paris could be just the place to make sure her heart and her head are on the same page… And however disenchanted with romance Gemma is feeling, the City of Love has plenty to keep her busy; the champagne is decadently quaffable, the croissants almost too delicious, and shopping is a national past-time! In fact, everything in Paris makes her want to say Je t’aime… Except Edward!
But whilst Paris might offer plenty of distractions from wedding planning – including her new friends, mysterious Joe and hot French rockstar Blade - there’s no reason she couldn’t just try one or two couture dresses is there? Just for fun…


Saturday, 19 July 2014

Two great blogs

Here are a couple of must-read blog posts - especially for those who write longer fiction as well as (or instead of) short stories.

Firstly, Sally Quilford's write-up of a talk she gave at the RNA conference last weekend. I so wanted to go to that but it clashed with the pier-to-pier swim. Ah well, next year, definitely. She spoke about her favourite genre, Romantic Intrigue. Her blog post is full of excellent advice on how to mix a romance with a crime story, and end up with something hugely satisfying which you will stand a great chance of selling. I have realised that my time-slip novels are essentially romantic intrigue, with the romance in the historical story strand, and the intrigue in the present-day story.

While you are over there, do take a look at Sally's other recent blog posts. Ever wondered what a McGuffin is (and no, MacDonald's don't serve them) ?

Secondly, and still on the subject of the RNA conference, here's another write-up of the weekend along with photos.  This gives a wonderful taste of what it was like, and makes me even more determined to get there next year!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Woman magazine + Accent Press novel competition

Ooh look, here's a great opportunity for the unpublished novel writers among you. Woman magazine have teamed up with Accent press, to find a new contemporary women's fiction writer. The winner gets a publishing contract with Accent, as well as a week long writing retreat in the Dordogne. What's not to like!

Send a synopsis plus first three chapters by the end of November 2014.
Full details here: