Monday 21 December 2020

Happy Winter Solstice – and Christmas!

Today is the winter solstice. From now on the days lengthen and spring draws ever nearer. For me, tomorrow is the start of a new year – and it will be very welcome. 

I recently went to Avebury for a bit of stone hugging, just in case that helps make 2021 a better year than this one.

Womag news

Thanks to Sharon H for the update about Love Sunday magazine. Submissions are now to be sent to This is a non paying market, but they will often include a mention of the authors book. If submitting to them and you want this, I suggest making that clear and reminding them on acceptance as this sometimes gets forgotten.

Thanks to Jill Crawford for passing on the information that following the closure of Woman's Weekly Fiction Special, Woman's Weekly are now only publishing stories of 800 or 1,800 words. Fiction is currently scheduled until October 2021!

Jill also informs me that stories of 1,800 words are wanted for both Woman and Woman's Own.

I understand that Woman's Weekly now has a new fiction editor. I'm currently trying to find out more about that, and the requirements and submission procedure for all three publications, and will update you with any information I get.

Free to enter writing competitions

Thanks to Sheila Crosby for telling me about this crime novella competition. The prize is publication and $1,000 (Sorry if I mentioned this one before. I thought I had but can't now find it, and decided twice was better than not at all.)

This competition is for 50 words featuring a candle. There are prizes in different age groups. You can write in English or Gaelic.

There's $250 on offer for the winner of this short story competition. You have 1,000 to 5,000 words to write about an attempt to repair something.

Here's a competition for plays which work in an audio form. The prize is £2,000.

A cheeky hint

If anyone is wondering what to get me for Christmas, a review of one of my books (even one of the free ones, and even if you don't feel gushing praise is warranted) would be lovely.

Most importantly

Thank you very much to everyone who has commented on this blog, provided information and shared links on social media. Your support means a great deal and is the reason I continue. I'm signing off now until January (or until something amazing that I can't keep quiet about happens.)

Wishing everyone an uplifting solstice, peaceful and happy Christmas, joy for any other festival or event you celebrate, and many good things for 2021.

Monday 14 December 2020

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?

Monday 7 December 2020

News and updates

 Womag News

Thanks to New Girl on the Block, for letting me know that Spirit & Destiny are currently closed to fiction submissions. I checked with features editor, Tracie Couper who confirmed this and said, "I have a fair few commissioned Spiritual Fictions still to use and therefore feel it wouldn’t be fair to commission any more right now."

She also said that she'll say on their Facebook page when they reopen to submissions. Of course I'll also post an update here once I know.

Competition news

The three winners of this playwriting competition will each win £2,000.

The first prize for this short story competition is $200. You have up to 3,500 words to write a horror, science fiction or fantasy story using the theme of 'Still Waters, Deep Thoughts'.

There's $1,000 on offer for this short story competition.

As usual these competitions are free to enter.

Other paying markets

Alpennia will be open for submissions in January. They're looking for historical short stories of up to 5,000 words, which include a lesbian character. You don't need to be a lesbian, to write about sex, or include unicorns in order to submit. There's a lot more detail on the site so, if this appeals, do take a look at that before you start writing. They pay $0.08/word. Thanks to Sheila Crosby for bringing this opportunity to my attention.

Wednesday 2 December 2020

An end to our insecurities?


It's time for the last Insecure Writer's Support Group post of the year – and what a year it's been for insecurities! I'd be surprised to learn that there's been a single person who got through 2020 without feeling insecure at some point. If we've been able to write some of the time, escaping into our work likely helped, but when we've been too anxious for that, not writing may well have added to our worries.

It's been tough at times, but changes are happening – including promising news about a vaccine. I'm confident that 2021 will be better.

This month's ISWG question is – Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why?

Yes. Times I'm not stressed by world events are most productive! I also tend to write more in the winter, especially rainy days, when I'm less distracted by things away from my desk. This year that's almost exclusively been my garden.

Competition news

Thanks to Alyson Hilbourne for sending me the details of this free to enter travel writing competition. There's $100 on offer plus publication for the winner. Three other finalists will also be published and receive payment for this. You might be pleased to hear that it doesn't seem necessary to write about
recent travel.

My News

(In case you missed it yesterday.) I've got a new book out. This short story collection would make a nice, easy to wrap gift for anyone who likes food and drink. Get it here.

Tuesday 1 December 2020

Reading break?

I've got a new book out. Coffee and Cake is a collection of short stories, all with the theme of food and/or drink – and all of which could be read in a tea break.

I know you're not all going to buy it, ask your library to stock it, or read it through kindle unlimited. Not all books will be to everyone's taste, and even if we'd like to, most of us simply can't read every book by every writing friend (I hope you do consider me a writing friend!)

I'm interested in what you do read and why. Do you read the same kind of stories as those you write and consider them as research as well as pleasure? Maybe you read mainly to relax or as entertainment. Do you look out for favourite authors, or perhaps books by those you know slightly? Or are you hoping to learn something or push yourself in some way through your reading choices?

If you enjoy finding free and bargain reads, you might like to join this Facebook group.

In the hope of enticing a few of you to consider my latest offering, here's the blurb –

We eat and drink for more than mere survival. Food comforts and reassures, connects us with others. A mug of coffee wakes us up in the morning. A cup of tea can calm us down.

Cakes are great for celebrations, birthdays in particular. Making one specially for someone shows how much we care. The same applies to learning to make their favourite dish, or passing on your signature recipe.

The food and drink choices we make expose aspects of our personality. What we give to others, and the care we take when doing so, can be even more revealing.

Sharing food helps build, or repair, relationships. It creates and recreates traditions and brings back memories – if that's what we want.

Whether you prefer unsweetened black coffee, or milky tea, rich sponge cake or something savoury, this collection of 25 stories provides the perfect snack.

You can get it here.