Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Guest post by womagwriter Keith Havers

My guest today is womagwriter and novelist, Keith Havers


Always On The Lookout

I had the pleasure of meeting Patsy a few weeks ago and an off-the-cuff comment by me over the coffee and biscuits is the basis of this post.

I happened to remark that, as an almost full-time writer, I consider myself to be at work during all my waking hours. By that I don't mean that I'm constantly writing or that my mind is consciously working on stories, but I am always on the lookout for ideas and inspiration.

I think this stemmed from a few years ago when I had just begun sending off short stories to competitions and magazines with very little success. My wife and I were walking along the seafront at some English resort and watching the activity on the beach. It was a cold day and there weren't many people about but my wife challenged me to concoct a story based around some of the things going on. I actually managed to come up with two stories, one of which was eventually published.

From then on I was constantly aware that there are story ideas all around and almost anything can be used as a basis for fiction. It has now become second nature for me to latch on to an overheard conversation, an unusual event or a news item on TV and begin to turn things over in my mind.


Since then I have had published stories based on TV shows, family life, national events and many more. Since becoming a writer I've become more observant and a bit of an eavesdropper but it has paid off.

You can find my blog here.

Keith has recently self-published Youthtopia, a children's adventure story aimed at 11 to 13 year olds. It features seven youngsters from diverse backgrounds who have to work together to outwit a criminal mastermind.

A sequel is in process.

Are you like Keith, always on the lookout for story ideas, or do you switch off from your writing when you're away from your desk?

Friday, 21 April 2017

Guest post by womagwriter Tracey Walsh

I'm joined today by womagwriter and pocket novelist, Tracey Walsh.

This week's #writingchat (Wednesdays 8pm-9pm on Twitter) was on the subject of Writing Tips. I was slightly off subject when I tweeted:

Bought PF mag today. Showed shop assistant my story. Her response: "You wrote it? Why did you do that?" Discuss! #writingchat

It had been niggling me all day. Whenever I've had a story published before I've had overwhelmingly positive comments. The only other odd comments were things like:

"Do you make them up in your head?"

And:

"They pay you?!"

But the lady in Tesco really took the wind out of my sails. The next day I nearly headed to another shop for the morning papers but I decided to be brave. After serving me the (same) sales assistant asked, "Did you show your story to anyone else?" 

So, come on folks. Share some of the interesting comments you've had about your stories.

Monday, 17 April 2017

New address for The People's Friend

As of today, anything posted to The People's Friend should be sent to 2 Albert Square, Dundee, DD1 1DD (That's not too hard to remember, is it?)

All other submission details are unchanged.

UPDATE Those who already have an editor at PF might have been given a different postcode. If so, they should use that. This address is for those who've not yet been assigned an editor there.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Taking a break?

Good Friday is a traditional time for gardening and the weather is lovely, so that's mainly what I'll be doing this Easter.

These pictures are all from my garden. Can you guess which is my current favourite flower and see why so many of my stories feature plants?





How about you - will you be gardening, writing, or doing something else this long weekend?

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Plots, plans and pals

There haven't been many posts lately, but I have managed to come up with an excuse perfectly valid reasons for this. Firstly there doesn't seem to be a great deal of womag news about (if you have any to share, particularly good news, please get in touch).

Secondly I've been out in the campervan (aka mobile writing retreat) meeting writing friends and making plans. At the end of March I met up with Anne Rainbow (we're considering running a residential writing course next spring).

Then more recently pocket novelist Susan Jane Jones popped into the van for a quick cuppa and long(ish) chat about (amongst other things) our current novels in progress.

On the same trip I visited Alfie Dog editor (and co-author of From Story Idea to ReaderRosemary J Kind. We have an idea for another writing book - if we can fit it in around our other projects.

Then it was off to Nottingham where I met up with Keith Havers, Linda Sprott, Maria Smith and Carol Bevitt.

It was a gloriously sunny day and we'd been on a walk around the lakes, so we really did need to sit in the shade and eat ice creams, even though we'd started off in the cafe. (If you want to see the 'informal' group photo, take part in tomorrow's #writingchat.)

Is that too much name dropping for one post?Not quite I don't think ...

My last meeting was with People's Friend author Enid Reece. Niddy and I have known each other online since we both started writing but this is the first time we've met for real.

We chatted over a cup of tea and hardly any cake, before going for a walk.


It was lovely to meet up with so many writing friends and I'm now full of enthusiasm for my current, and future, writing projects. Thank you all for your company and inspiration.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Any luck?

I have a story in the current (May!) issue of Woman's Weekly Fiction Special - and I'm delighted to be issue buddies with several of my writing friends.

My story is about a lucky red pen. One of those wouldn't help me as I do nearly all my writing straight onto the laptop, but when I submitted work by post, I tried to use lucky postboxes to drop them into. Sometimes it worked!

Do you have anything which you consider lucky or helpful when it comes to your writing?

Monday, 20 March 2017

Changes at The People's Friend

The People's Friend staff will soon be moving offices. For now, continue to send submissions to 80 Kingsway East, Dundee 8SL.

The editor, Shirley Blair, mentions on her blog that writers may have to wait a little longer than usual to get replies and asks that they 'bear with us' for a time.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Every Day Fiction

Every Day Fiction is a paying fiction market. Don't get too excited – it's only a token payment of $3.

Regularly published writers have probably lost interest by now. Those who're newer to submitting might feel that having someone so keen to publish your story they're willing to pay, is worth more than the sum involved.

For those who are still with me, stories may be any length, up to 1,000 words and of any genre. If you have a piece which you'd love to see published, but which doesn't fit into the womag market, this could be a good place to try it. There's also a reasonable chance you'll get useful feedback on your work and, if published, there's an opportunity to promote your blog or even books. Either of those could be valuable.


Sunday, 12 March 2017

Two years!

It's now two years since I took over the Womagwriter blog.

If I'd realised in time there would have been cake, but someone ate it. Here are some flowers instead. They're biennial wallflowers, which sort of makes them sound appropriate if you don't think about it for too long.

Under the circumstances, I hope you'll forgive a plug for this rather excellent guide to writing fiction. It's not just me saying it's good - there are a baker's dozen 5 star reviews.

Shouldn't have mention baking and the lack of cake. I'll be in the kitchen if anyone wants me.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Guest post by womagwriter Maggie Cobbett

Today's guest is Maggie Cobbet.

Thank you very much for inviting me to guest on your blog, Patsy. ‘Fillers’ have long been a supplementary form of writing income for me and are a particular comfort whenever a painstakingly crafted story is rejected. I’ve given talks, written articles, run workshops and even been persuaded to publish a handbook on the subject. (Sales of Easy Money For Writers and Wannabes have far outstripped those of my other books, so I must have got something right!) 

Womag devotees will already know of the ‘filler’ opportunities offered by the women’s magazine market but may not have looked much further afield. There are publications out there linked to just about every human activity and a great many editors welcome snippets to complete their pages. One of the first successes that I chalked up was a reader’s letter to a DIY magazine popular with my father, but over the years I have also contributed to titles dedicated to antiques and collectables, cookery, current affairs, family history, film & television, gardening, health, lifestyle, music, pets, regional interest, satire, sports, travel and even writing. Magazines and editors come and go, but keep an eye on your newsagent’s shelves and you’ll be amazed at what you find. 
 
For now, I’d like to focus on Reader’s Digest. You’ll probably all be familiar with out of date copies gathering dust in your doctor’s or dentist’s waiting room. Pick up a current one the next time you’re out shopping and take a good look at page 4. On offer in the February 2017 issue are:

£50 for the star letter and £30 for regular letters; 
£50 for the true stories, anecdotes, jokes in Laugh! and You Couldn’t Make It Up...; contributions to end-of-article fillers and My Great Escape (travel column).

I’ve had repeated success in all these areas, so why not you? Good luck, everyone!

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Guest post by editor Rosemary J Kind

Today's guest is writer and editor, Rosemary J Kind

At the heart of setting up Alfie Dog Fiction was a recognition that so many good womag stories aren’t published, or are published once and then find no more readers. Alfie Dog Fiction set out to provide an additional or alternative home for short stories. We wanted somewhere that would carry the best of all fiction, regardless of whether it had been published before and which generated royalties for the authors.

Over the five years since we began we’ve grown to become one of the biggest paid short story download sites in the world and been delighted to have stories we’ve nominated accepted for the Write Well Awards on both of the last two years.

We now have two submission windows a year and the next one opens for four weeks from the 5th March. We are looking for good quality stories. Stories that will leave the reader satisfied at the end. Whether it is romance or horror, general fiction or crime we do want a good story line. Our full submission criteria are on the site.

What aren’t we looking for is often more useful. Avoid clich├ęd storylines or characters. If I can guess your twist ending while still on page one then it isn’t that much of a twist. If you can surprise me with a twist ending that is consistent with the story then you will certainly have me hooked. If you can move me to tears or make me laugh out loud then you’re in with a pretty good chance too. Although I have read quite literally thousands of short stories in recent years, I’m still a reader at heart. I love a good story.

If you haven’t sent off short stories before then there is lots of good advice in the book that Patsy and I wrote together. From Story Idea to Reader was born out of the experiences we have between us of writing and publishing.

Depending on the volumes of submissions I will try to give some feedback if I can, particularly if a writer shows promise. If you want more detailed feedback we do offer a paid critique service for work you want to place elsewhere. The other thing worth doing before you submit is to download some of the stories we have on the site to get a feel for them. We do offer a few for free and many hundreds on a paid download basis, including many of Patsy’s.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Guest post by aspiring womag writer Julie Day

Today's guest is Julie Day.

Why I write womag stories

I've been writing (or trying to write) short stories for women's magazines for about five years now, but it's only been the last couple of years that I have taken it seriously; submitting and reading the magazines. I've been to a few Woman's Weekly workshops and met the Fiction Editor, and it's these that have made me really want to get a story in Woman's Weekly.

Within the last year, I have found a Facebook group for womag writes, who have been very supportive. It also helps to know that I'm not the only one submitting and being rejected. Through this group I have found a blog to put my stories on for feedback, and the advice I have got there, especially from experienced writers, has been helpful and I've learnt a lot. I feel that my writing has improved because of it. I am continuing to use this blog to help me improve more.

Even though the market for womag stories has shrunk even more, I am not giving up. I am more determined to carry on. I will keep on reading the magazines, and finding new markets to write for, even outside the UK.

I have had short stories published in small press magazines over the years but not a national one. So, to see a story in a womag with my name next to it will give me such a buzz, knowing that I am starting to get there with my story writing.

So, if you want to write for womags, here are some tips:

1. Don't give up
2. Read the magazines and study them.
3. Read their guidelines
4. Keep an eye out for new markets
5. Find a group on or off-line for feedback
6. Take their advice, esp from published womag writers
7. Don't give up
8. Join an online group for support. You won't feel you are the only one.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Top tips

Take a Break magazine use 'brainwave' tips as fillers and pay £50 for those with a photo and £25 without.

Some are more useful than others. As an example, "To stop cakes going stale, eat the whole thing in one go."

Or there's one in the current issue advising people to smear peanut butter on their campervan.

Hmmm, odd people these campervanners, especially if they also happen to be red headed writers.

If you know of any opportunities to write fillers and would like to write a guest post about one of them, please contact me.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

New windows, love?

Annalisa gives some tips for submitting any written work, in which she describes the writer as a cold caller offering double glazing. I think that sums up the submission of unsolicited fiction to womags very well.

Just as everyone needs windows, the editors do need our stories. And just as we would, they'll only buy as many as they need, when they need them. They're also more likely to buy from those with a good reputation, or who at least seem as though they understand the business they're in.

It's our job to offer our product when there are gaps to be filled and to ensure what we're providing is a good fit - no massive Georgian bays to a sleek, modern flat. We also need to convince the buyer that our windows are as described and that we haven't also fitted them to their rival just across the road.

Are the windows you're trying to sell exactly right for the establishment you're offering them to?

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Your Cat Magazine

Your Cat Magazine will consider unsolicited features or articles. You may pitch the idea, or submit the finished piece.

"The magazine’s style is relaxed and chatty, yet informative." Most womag stories are relaxed and chatty and everyone knows female writers are cat owners*, so maybe some of you will be able to create "Articles relating to everyday life with a cat, a story about a very special cat, or how to deal with problems in cat ownership."

*Mine is fictitious, but I do have one.

Your Cat also publish short stories – about cats, obviously. They're not overly encouraging about the submission of these. "We do carry monthly fictional short stories, but these are written by established novelists and tend to be planned 12 months in advance."

Are you interested in non-fiction writing opportunities about cats – or any other subject?

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Guest post by Womagwriter Sharon Boothroyd

Today's guest is Sharon Bothroyd.

When I began writing seriously in 2010, I began to focus on the fiction market for women's magazines. 

As I became more involved in it, I discovered that several of these short story writers had also enjoyed publishing success with letters in national magazines. More importantly, they'd been paid a small fee for their efforts. If there was no fee, a prize was offered instead. I thought, Why don't I have a go a that?

So I did, and eagerly began to send letters in. My spirits were high. Surely I'd see my name and piece in print somewhere? But no. Sadly, I didn't get anywhere at all! 

After a few months, I felt ready to try again. However this time, I carried out research first. I studied the tone and style of the magazine I intended to submit to, and what type of letter was likely to be picked for publication, plus the subject of it eg: I learnt that positive feedback about a previous feature was popular.

I kept my submission short and snappy - and my hard work paid off. I was absolutely thrilled to see my letter published in What's on TV magazine. I was delighted to receive a payment of £10 for little more than a paragraph.

Since then, I've had lots of letters published in magazines such as Woman's Weekly, The People's Friend, Yours, My Weekly, WebUser, Vegetarian Living, Take a Break and Your Cat. 

How do I find ideas for letters? It's easy – you need to think of what could appeal to readers. For Woman's Weekly, I once wrote about the tests I undertook for breast cancer. I urged readers not to ignore any call- ups. (Thankfully, I was okay).
I've also been featured with several opinion pieces for the 'You're Telling us' page in Take a Break magazine. They pay £50 for each one published. 

The ' You're telling us' question can be found on the TAB facebook page. They request a photo of yourself and your age, too. TAB also post requests for true- life reader experience type of articles. I've had 'A letter to your younger self' piece published and a 'Christmas cringes' one too. These can pay more - up to £100.

Some publications offer a prize to the star letter only. I attempt it, and often I don't win the prize, yet I'm still pleased to see my piece published.

I've won a small beauty prize for my star letter in the free TESCO magazine and being selected for Your Cat's star letter scooped me a range of cat toys and biscuits.UPDATE: The Tesco mag now offers a swanky kitchen mixer for their star prize letter!

My prize letters in another monthly magazine netted me a free one year magazine subscription – twice! (A fantastic saving of around £80).
If you have a hobby, eg computers, cooking - pick a suitable magazine that accompanies it. For instance, my hubby is a very good cook and baker. He's had several recipes published in Take a Break's My Favourite Recipe magazine. (He scooped £25 per recipe).

It's not just letters. Some magazines also publish short poems. I've had several poems published in Yours and The People's Friend. They like rhyming, upbeat material.
Yours paid me £10 in gift vouchers per poem. The vouchers can be spent practically anywhere. They pay £10 gift voucher for a published letter too.

Don't forget that fillers such as top tips, funny photos, a 'pet of the week' type of feature, puzzles, jokes, beauty queries and 'items to be valued' pieces are high in demand, too. 

I've had my childhood teddy valued in Real People magazine (I earned £25) my cat has been featured in My Weekly (Another £25) and I've had beauty questions featured in Take a Break. (They pay £50 for this). 

I've also made it to the TAB letters page too, with their 'What a laugh!' slot. I was £50 richer for just a few lines of text. A writer friend of mine likes to create her own word puzzles (not necessarily crosswords) and she has these published regularly in Real People magazine. If published, the fee for this is either £30 or £50.

Although you won't be able to earn mega bucks with letters etc, the odd £10 here and there soon adds up. Bear in mind that no matter how many letters you submit, you won't be chosen every week. Consider the fact that the editor or team will become familiar with your name. However, saying that, I think they do appreciate regular contributors - just don't swamp them!

Publications are always looking for well- written, entertaining, intelligent letters that fit in well with the editorial style of the magazine. Always be cheerful and polite and don't waffle, and make sure you follow the magazine's submission instructions. It's all mainly done via email now. 

Your subject heading should be: 'Letter for consideration. 'Work can be edited, changed or even added to – to me, this doesn't matter as I want to be published and I want to be paid. 

Some magazines let you know beforehand if your letter has been selected, and some don't. If you sub regularly, this means a weekly scan of the magazines in shops to check if your piece is in. Yet some prizes arrive completely out of the blue.

One Christmas, I won a prize of a large jigsaw puzzle, yet I hadn't a clue who had sent it or what publication my letter was in. All I had was a snail mail letter saying 'Congratulations!' from the makers of the jigsaw, which didn't really help. 

Later, I realised I must have been awarded star letter in 'Down your way', a Yorkshire based nostalgic magazine. I quickly emailed the Ed and he confirmed it. (UPDATE: I've won this prize a second time with a piece about phone boxes. As it was approaching Christmas, it came in very handy as a gift for a jigsaw lover).

So, what's stopping you from having a go? If I can do it, so can you! Get writing and good luck!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Double Swedish

I have two stories in this week's edition of Allas Magazine.

One involves a girl and a female estate agent.

The other is a twist ending story which, as soon as it was accepted, I wondered how they'd illustrate. Sadly, because I love their illustrations, they've decided not to. I really can't blame them for that.















How is your Swedish coming along? I reckon that after all my mentions of this magazine, you'll be able to translate this title.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Is your man a softee?

As I mentioned a few days ago, many magazines offer the chance to submit 'fillers' and there are
plenty of reasons to write them.

One such opportunity is in That's Life! (the UK version). They want amusing stories about your man, which could earn him the title of 'soft lad of the week'. Poor Gary has been featured a few times, but in my defence I did share the £50 fee with him. (It's £50 for the best and £25 for the rest).

I'll leave him out of it this time and use myself as an example of a soft lass. This photo could be sent with something along the lines of, "Patsy was told it would be windy on the deck of the ship, so I don't know why she looks so surprised."

You can include up to four photos, but one is generally enough. With all fillers, if photos are accepted then it's always a good idea to send one. That not only increases the chance of your piece being used, but may earn you a higher fee.

If you know of any opportunities to write fillers (even for non womag publications) and would like to write a guest post about one of them, please contact me.

I'm down in Devon this weekend - do come in and say hello if you're in the area.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

What's in a name?

I have a story in the current (March) issue of Take A Break's Fiction Feast. My original title of Daisy Chains has been changed to They're Just Flowers.

Magazine editors quite often change story titles and I'm never surprised when it happens. There are several reasons they might do this - perhaps the original was similar to something they've used recently, it may be to fit a house style (some favour short titles and some longer) or so it fits neatly on the page or even in the contents list.

With this story the main character's name has also be changed. That is a surprise as it's never happened to me before. (I once had a boy turned into a girl, which I think may have been to suit an illustration, but the name stayed the same.)

No doubt there's a very good reason for Angus to now be called Archie, but I can't think what it might be. Can you?

Have you ever had story titles or character names changed? How do (or would) you feel about that?

Monday, 6 February 2017

All That Love Stuff

This book is a collection of 24 of my romantic short stories. Most were previously published in a variety of women's magazines around the world, but there some totally new ones too.

The ebook is £1.99, paperback £6.60, or you can read it free with kindle unlimited. Hopefully it will be also be available in libraries quite soon too.

I think this must be my cutest cover yet - what do you think?

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Guest post by womagwriter Beatrice Charles

My guest today is Beatrice Charles, with a summary of why she finds a subscription to Readly a useful resource for her writing.

All submission guidelines say the same thing: "we recommend you read several issues of the magazine before submitting to us".
I used to buy regular issues of many different magazines. Before long I was knee deep in paper and several pounds lighter in my pocket. Digital subscriptions to the various magazines helped reduce the bulk but did little to reduce the cost. 

Then I won a month's free subscription to readly.com, found it a really useful resource and have continued with a paid subscription. It is a digital subscription service providing access to many and varied publications around the world.
Benefits of Readly:


I pay £7.99 per month for access to hundreds of magazines.
The cost allows five different people to access Readly at the same time and on different devices, so I can share this resource with my family.

Each user can compile a list of favourites - mine are the womags and other magazines which pay for readers' letters; my mother chooses household, knitting and cookery; my brother reads up about his hobbies of woodworking, clocks, etc; my niece parenting magazines. (Never realised my family is so stereotyped.)

Magazines from many different countries are available, which would be of more use if I were able to understand the language, but at least I can look at the illustrations in Allas and see who has been published there.

I can bookmark particular pages - narcissistic as I am I have marked my own published writing.
There is a search facility, which isn't always reliable, but helpful when I want to focus on one particular writer to research what it is about their style that makes them so successful with a particular publication. I also found a couple of my letters that had been published but had missed.

I can research a large number of non-fiction markets, as well as checking they haven't recently published something which I am seeking to pitch.
I can access back copies of magazines to when they began partnering Readly - WW and PF this was January 2014.
Once downloaded (up to 500 issues if your device has the memory capacity), they can be read anytime and anywhere. My brother found this useful on a recent 16 hour flight to Argentina.

Downsides to Readly:
It doesn't publish Take a Break Fiction Feast but it does include the TAB Specials which usually print a story or two, nor does it publish The Weekly News, Ireland's Own, or Woman's World (USA). It doesn't publish anything from Australia or South Africa. Readly claim that new editions are being added regularly so I do update my list from time to time.

The magazines don't earn as much through Readly as they will from direct sales, but they won't incur printing and distribution costs, and each time an issue is downloaded they will receive a payment.






Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Why Wait?

Patricia G posted the following in the 'Got A Question?' section.

Can you or anyone else tell me why, once an unsolicited story is submitted to one magazine, should you wait (up to 16 weeks!) before submitting elsewhere? I've submitted several stories to WW, waited and waited and never heard back from them - not even an email to say they're not interested.

Waiting is frustrating, isn't it, Patricia? I quite understand why writers are tempted to send the same story out to more than one magazine at a time, especially if it's topical or seasonal.

There are several reasons for not doing this. Editors don't want to spend time considering a story only for you to withdraw it because you've had it accepted elsewhere. It's possible that by the time you inform them of this, they'll have worked on it and scheduled it for publication, so making a change will be extremely inconvenient. 

It's also possible that a story will be published by two magazines at the same time (stories of mine have sometimes appeared in print before I was aware they'd been accepted). This would be very embarrassing for both editors and if it happened because the author had chosen not to follow the guidelines, I doubt they'd want to publish more work from them.

If the story is rejected you may be told why, or you may read through and spot something that needs attention yourself. You can then correct or improve it and submit it elsewhere – unless you've already sent the original to that magazine.

Can anyone think of other reasons?

With regard to Woman's Weekly, they do usually respond to all submissions. If you've been accepted by them in the past and so submit by email, the response will be emailed. If you haven't yet had an acceptance, so posted your story, they will respond using your sae and will return rejected stories to you. The recent change of offices may be causing a delay, but if you've already waited longer than 16 weeks, I suggest you contact them to check the story was received and ask if it is still under consideration.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Mills and Boon

OK, so Mills and Boon aren't actually magazine publishers, but I think it's fair to describe their stories as being aimed largely at women - and this competition is being run by a womag publisher. Will you let me off?

To enter you need to send your novel's outline and first chapter by the end of March. There's lots of advice about what they're looking for on the website. The winner will get £500, publication of their book, a session with an editor, books and publicity.

(If you're interested in other writing competitions, see this blog. Details of new, free to enter writing competitions are posted every few days.)

Does signing the wedding registration certificate count as romantic writing?

Friday, 27 January 2017

Woman's Weekly update

The editorial staff at Woman's Weekly have moved offices. If you usually submit by email then there's no change (although responses do seem to be a little slower, presumably as a result of this).

The address for postal submissions is now - 

Gaynor Davies
Fiction Department
Woman’s Weekly
Time Inc (UK)
161 Marsh Wall
London
E14 9AP

Other than that, the guidelines remain the same (so much so they still show the old address!)

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Something filling?

Lots of the magazines have opportunities for 'fillers'. These can be letters to the editor, household tips, funny anecdotes, cute pictures of children or animals, rants or opinions, jokes ...

Writing these can be a good way to practice 'tight writing' and teach you to stick to the point. As fillers are submitted online or by email, there's nothing to lose, other than a few minutes of your time.

Having one published and therefore seeing your name in print and getting paid for a piece of writing is also hugely motivating, especially if it's your first acceptance, or first for a while. I know this because I wrote loads when I started out.

If the magazine also publishes fiction, or it's one you might like to write an article for, then creating fillers is a great way to study the market.

Have you ever written fillers? Would you like details of the opportunities available? If there's sufficient interest I'll do a regular feature with links or email addresses.


Friday, 20 January 2017

Little bit of good news ...

As you'll see from the end of the editor's blog post, The People's Friend are actively encouraging both new and established writers to submit stories. The blog is worth following as Shirley Blair often mentions the type or length of story she's currently looking for.

Because the good news was brief, I think there's room for a little bit of bragging...

I'm the featured author for the 'Where I Write' spot in the February issue of Writer's Forum. (Thanks to Philip for sending me the picture - my subscriber copy hasn't arrived yet.)

Both my writing book and this blog get a mention. I feel a little bit like a minor celebrity.

Btw, that teapot really does accompany all my travels. It's been to five countries, endured some rough sea crossings and helped me through at east two books and dozens of short stories.

Friday, 13 January 2017

My Weekly pocket novels - updated guidelines.

My Weekly have produced clearer, more detailed guidelines for their pocket novels - and they're accepting new (to them) genres too!


(If you click on the image, you should get a larger version which is easier to read.)

Monday, 9 January 2017

Devon Double

There are two events for writers coming up in Salcombe, Devon. At the first participants will be talking about me (well, they’ll be discussing one of my early stories) and at the second they get to talk to me and Anne Rainbow. If you’re local to the area, or want to treat yourself to a weekend away, we’d love to see you there.
Left Bank Writers workshop
Saturday 11 February: 10am-3pm, with a short break for lunch, at Harbour House, Kingsbridge
anneThe Left Bank Writers group welcome Anne Rainbow, playwright, author and inventor of RedPen Editing, to explain her 10 steps to successful self-editing using, as an example, a short story written by novelist Patsy Collins.
Anne’s Kindle book Editing the Red Pen Way is available from Amazon.
Cost: £12 to Left Bank Members; others £17. Some concessions are available. Contact Michael Elsmere melsmere@hotmail.com to book your place.red
Meet the authors: Anne Rainbow and Patsy Collins
Sunday 12 February: 4-6pm at the Cottage Hotel, Hope Cove
Anne Rainbow has published 100s of text books, written several plays and short stories, and majors on mentoring other writers in the art of self-editing using her RedPen method. Her Editing the Red Pen Way is available from Amazon.
Patsy Collins has 500+ short stories in a range of UK, Irish, South African, Canadian, Swedish and Featured Image -- 908Australian publications. Patsy also writes novels and is the expert on the womag market. Patsy Collins’ latest book From Story Idea to Reader is available from Amazon.
Annfinal-cover-small-front-251016e and Patsy will be having afternoon tea at the Cottage Hotel on Sunday 12 February and invite all local writers to join them between 4pm and 6pm to discuss writing, editing, self-publishing and marketing.
Book your cream tea (£5.95) direct with the Cottage Hotel on 01548 561555 to enjoy two hours in conversation with Anne and Patsy.
 My books will be on sale on the Sunday - no high pressure sales pitch though, I promise.