Wednesday 28 October 2020

A ,B and C

A, B and C = Allas, Best and Competitions!

 Womag News

I had a reply from my request for more information from the two ladies who've taken over from Lotta at Allas. 'At the moment we are forming our new organization, finding a new way to work.' There aren't any new guidelines, and it seems that they will only respond to submissions if they wish to buy the story.  Of course if I learn more, I'll pass the information on.

Submissions may be sent to Margaretha Malmgren  Margaretha.malmgren (at) and Cecilia Ericson Cecilia.Ericson (at)

Womag/competition news

Thanks to Alyson Hilbourne for sending this scan from a recent copy of Best magazine. 

They'll be paying £500 to the winner, and there are also runner up prizes of £200. Winter themed stories of no more than 1,200 words are to be sent to bestfiction2020 (at)

Competition News

There's £1,000 on offer for this short story competition – but not much time left to enter. Thanks to Jane Bettany for reminding me about it.

And a quick reminder from me...

If you fancy some not too scary hallowe'en reading, you can find it in my short story collections Slightly Spooky Stories ISlightly Spooky Stories II, Slightly Spooky Stories III and the brand new Slightly Spooky Stories IV.

I'm using the excuse that I'm promoting these to share really terrible, hallowe'en jokes on Twitter. If you know any, please share them in the comments – I'll allow good ones, but those which cause a groan seem most appropriate, don't you think?

Wednesday 21 October 2020

Frights, fun and freebies

Thanks to Liz for telling me about this free to enter monthly competition. There's a prize of $500 Aus for a piece of flash fiction written against the clock. It sounds like fun, so I'll enter if I remember. First Friday, Furious Fiction's free flash ought to be hard to forget, but there's a good chance I'll manage.

Francesca Capaldi runs a competitions blog for the RNA. Not all the competitions are free, but she does her best to check they're not rights grabs and excludes those which are 'ridiculously expensive'.

My latest books, Slightly Spooky Stories IV is out now. As you've probably guessed from the title, it contains two dozen, not too scary stories, perfect for hallowe'en reading and is the fourth book in this series. They're all individual stories, so it doesn't matter what order you read them.

You might remember that I won last month's Secret Attic short story competition. Maybe it will be you this month, as they're running another one. There's a prize of £30, plus publication. Also on the site are poetry and flash competitions. Publication is currently the only prize for those.

Here's a playwriting competition, with a £500 prize.

Finally, thanks to Lynne Pardoe for passing on the details of this short story competition. As with all the competitions I mention, it's free. They want 500 words, and there's a lovely writer's hamper worth £500 for the winner!

Monday 19 October 2020

Changes at Woman's Weekly

In case you missed the news, reported in the comments to my last post (thank you, Chris!), Jane Kemp has taken over from Emma as fiction editor at Woman's Weekly. I've invited Jane onto the blog to explain exactly what she's looking for at the moment, and will let you know if there's any response. 

Sadly the Woman's Weekly Fiction Specials will finish with the December issue. Obviously that's a disappointment to those who write for that market, but it will impact on us all, as a shrinking market means greater competition. 

In an effort to cheer people up, my next post will contain LOTS of links to free to enter writing competitions.

Friday 16 October 2020

Over To You

Do you have any womag news?

Please read the comments for the latest news about Woman's Weekly.

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?

If you'd like to read an interview about my writing, you can do that here.

Wednesday 7 October 2020

IWSG and more free to enter writing competitions.

It's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. This month's question is –

When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?

To me a working writer is someone who puts time and mental effort into their writing, to make it as good as they can, and who then attempts to have it published for financial gain. This may, or may not, be their main means of support. They probably enjoy at least part of the writing process, but perhaps don't do it solely for pleasure.

A hobbyist, in my opinion, is someone who writes mainly for their own enjoyment. They might edit their work if they like doing that. They might enter it into competitions or submit for publication – but any success is a bonus, not the reason for writing.

An aspiring writer is someone who'd like to write, but has never yet made any attempt. As soon as they string words together in a creative way they cease to be aspiring and really are writers.

I'm a writer. I don't generally define it further than that, but out of these options, working writer fits me best. I take my writing quite seriously in that I research and learn all I can, and revise and edit until the piece is as good as I can make it. I try hard and put in a lot of hours – and I hope for a reward of some kind.

Do you agree with my definitions? Which of the options – working, hobbyist or aspiring, do you think describes you best?

Thanks to Alyson for passing on the link to this free to enter fantasy/ science fiction competition. They want up to 3,000 words. The top prize is £100. Entrants must be over 18 and the work can't have been previously published.

And also for mentioning this flash fiction competition in a comment to an earlier post. Very short, and weird, Christmas stories are wanted There's a $50 prize, plus the winners will be read on a podcast (by the author if they wish). This sounds like fun, think I'll have a go myself. I'm sure I could do weird if I disconnected my inner editor.

Thanks to @The_StorySmith for bringing this paid publication opportunity to my attention. They're looking for horror stories involving cake. I'll probably give that a mis as 'I've run out' is a bit on the short side!

Talking of competitions, I won one! The Secret Attic run monthly free short story and poetry competitions, plus some with entry fees.

I've got a new short story collection coming out soon. You can pre-order it here. The first three in the series, and all my other books, can be found here.