Wednesday 24 February 2021

Walking quickly!

Hi! How are you? 

I'm well. I think it helps that I've been on a walk of at least four miles every day this year – the photos are all things I've seen whilst doing that.

Aren't I lucky to have all this within walking distance of home?

My usual pace is slow, but I'm trying to speed up to leave time for all the other things I have going on.

There's the latest novel of course and I'm preparing for a 'generating and developing ideas' writing workshop I'll be delivering via Zoom in May, I've been asked to submit some cheerful short stories for a sort of new publication, and write a guest blog post for Pent to Print.

Work is progressing on turning two of my novels into audio books, and a lovely new cover is being created for one of those.

Others are doing the work, but there are questions to be answered and decisions to make. Once the audio books are complete, I'll have some codes for free review copies which I'll offer my newsletter subscribers.

I've been well rewarded for my efforts this week – six short story sales and some nice book reviews. The latest is for my short story collection, Coffee & Cake.

Free entry writing competitions

Pen to Print run a variety of free entry competitions, with nice prizes. If you write audio plays you might win a kindle fire as well as the chance to have yours produced. Poets and short story writers could win a tablet pc. Would be novelists can win mentorship from a professional to help get their book ready for publication. There's even a competition for photographers!

Do, as always, check the terms and conditions to check you're eligible. The Pen to Print competitions aren't aimed at established writers.

If you do have a prior record of publication you could try the BBC short story award instead. That offers a £15,000 first prize and four runner up prizes of £600.

And finally ...

Tonight's #WritingChat topic is reading and writing crime. Do join us if you can – just tweet 8-9 UK time, using the hashtag.

Wednesday 17 February 2021

Over To You

Here's the latest news from The People's Friend about COVID stories, how to submit fiction of all kinds and answers to other frequently asked questions.

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.

Thanks to Lindsay Bamfield for passing on the link to this free entry writing competition. There's a £725 / $1000 prize on offer.

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?

Sunday 14 February 2021

February freebies from my friends!

Happy Valentine's Day!

As I love all my blog readers (especially those who leave comments!) I'm sharing some pretty flowers and little gifts with you today.

Free writing course

Anne Rainbow is presenting a free ten week course for those who want to start writing – although knowing her there will be lots of useful stuff for those who've already made a start but got stuck and need a little help to keep going in the right direction. (Anne isn't getting paid for this and very much hopes that attendees will consider making a donation to the church, which is hosting this event.)

Free books

Fay Knowles has a collection of romantic short stories which is currently free to download.

My own collection of short stories, Not A Drop To Drink, is also free.

Mary Grand also has a free short story collection available.

If you'd like more free books to read you can find some here.

Free to enter writing competitions

I feel very friendly towards all those keyworkers who are doing their best to keep us safe, supplied with food and other essentials, and who treat those in medical need. This free entry poetry competition is intended to celebrate all such people in the UK. There's a £300 prize.

Those nice people at the Erewash Writing Group are running a free romance writing competition with a small cash prize.

Wednesday 10 February 2021

Freezy February

Gosh, it's cold! We've even had snow, which is unusual here. Sadly it's not in photogenic drifts or carpets, just a few dusty looking bits blown into corners.

The garden, which seemed so springlike just a few days ago, now looks very sorry for itself. I'm trying to think of it as a first draft. Once the sun shines again it will reveal the true beauty – just as a good edit does to our writing. And just as I wouldn't distress you with a jumble of my ideas and typos, I'm sharing pictures from last year which show how the garden will look after it's warmed up a little.

Free entry writing competition news

Here's a competition for a single author short story collection. Self published books aren't eligible and authors must live in the UK or Ireland. There's a £10,000 prize.

If you know any writers under 18 who live in the British Isles, they might be interested in this competition. (Having written that I realise I'm assuming that nobody under 18 reads this blog – please put me right if I'm in error!)

Pin Drop have a short story award. It's free to enter, but you have to sign up to their mailing list to get the details of how to do that.

The Scottish Book Trust have another wee competition with nice little prizes. 

Womag news

My story, If The Shoe Fits, is in The People's Special issue number 204 which is on sale today. 
My News

As promised/threatened here's an update on what I'm doing towards being more businesslike about my writing...

I'm gradually publishing all my books through Ingram Spark. There are two reasons for this – one is so that I'm not solely reliant on Amazon for book sales. The other is that it will make it much easier for libraries and bookshops to stock copies. They're unlikely to do that automatically, but will do so if anyone orders a book.

So far only A Year Of Ideas: 365 sets of writing prompts and exercises is available this way, but several others are part way through the process.

In order to publish with Ingram Spark I've bought my own ISBNs (this is essential) joined ALLi, the Alliance of Independent Authors, (recommended both for all the advice and news, and for the very worthwhile discounts on lots of things, including publishing with Ingram Spark). A blog post about the benefits of joining ALLI is coming soon. I could do one about ISBNs – why you might want them and how to get them, or about publishing through Ingram Spark, if anyone is interested.

I'm also having all my novels made into audio books. That's going to be a long and slow process. So far I've found a narrator and publisher for one, and am auditioning for another.

As this is a fresh start, I'm taking the opportunity to have all my novel covers updated too. This is how the audio cover of Paint Me A Picture will look.

Wednesday 3 February 2021

February is for friendships

It's time for another Insecure Writers Support Group post! This month I'm one of the co-hosts, along with Louise - Fundy Blue, Jennifer Lane, Mary Aalgaard, and Nancy Gideon.

If you're a writer who is ever insecure in any way, you might like to join the IWSG. There's the monthly blog hop, Facebook group, help, support, resources, website... All kinds of stuff. You can get involved with it all, or just the elements which most appeal.

This month's optional blog hop question is – Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere? 

My answer is – YES! 

I've been fortunate enough to meet some of them in person (cake has usually been involved!). I hope to meet more once travelling and meeting people becomes safe again, but there are those I consider friends despite the fact we may never meet face to face.

It's not just through blogging I've made friends, but through other writing related activities such as forums, workshops, conferences, groups and social media. On the whole writers are interesting, friendly and very generous. We tend to help and support each other. We take time out from our writing to encourage others with theirs. 

Do you have blogging friends, or writing friends you've met in other ways?

One writing friend I first met virtually is Rosemary J. Kind. We get on so well that we've written a book together. From Story Idea to Reader is an accessible guide to writing fiction, available in ebook, paperback and audio versions. The ebook is currently reduced to  £1.99 / $1.99

Free entry writing competition news

Here's a romance writing competition with a small cash prize.

This competition is for 'book-length essays of at least 25,000 words by writers resident in the UK and Ireland who have not yet secured a publishing deal'. The prize is publication and a £3,000 advance.

For this competition there's a £10,000 prize for 'the best piece of writing on the theme of the Alpine Fellowship 2021 - Untamed: On Wilderness and Civilization'.

Womag news

The People's Friend will be doing a Facebook live event about their pocket novels at 11am this Friday. This is for readers and writers. 

Thanks to Jackie Sayle for letting me know that Woman's Weekly have introduced a new monthly fiction magazine. Don't get too excited as it seems to be entirely made up of reprints!

If one of your stories is used in the magazine you can still claim for ALCS payments for stories sold under the old 'first rights with extensions' contracts. If you've given up all rights, you may still be able to do that, but will need the permission of the rights holder.

Other news

I've set up a new  Womagwriter Twitter account. You can follow it here. I'll be using it to share writing related news and help to promote other writers, so will follow back and retweet those who engage with me. (My personal account is here.)