Wednesday, 18 January 2017


To swish something (a rejection slip perhaps) is to move it through the air, so that it makes a sound. Helpfully my dictionary describes the noise produced as 'a swishing sound'.

You can also swish things away - horses swish tails to dissaude flies from bothering them, scythes can swish the long grass into neat rows of drying hay.

Swish is also another term for something that's a bit posh or smart.

The rate my hair's growing, I'll soon be able swish it in my swish mobile writing retreat.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017


If you've written a play, you might be interested in this competition to have your work performed at the Arundel festival. The best piece will win £250 and the other successful authors will get £100 each.

Annoyingly, although I've been to Arundel and I've been to plays, I don't have photos of either to illustrate this post. Luckily the plays are to be performed by the Drip Action Theatre Company and I have plenty of shots involving rain.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Greek retreat

Do you fancy winning a week's all inclusive writing retreat in Greece? (That must come close to being a rhetorical question.) If so, just enter a short story into this competition. You have up to 3,000 words and may write on any theme*.

Those who don't fancy a writing retreat can still enter as there's an alternative prize of five online sessions of personal tutoring.

*If you're struggling to come up with an idea, try the section on generating ideas in this marvellous book.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

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 to book your
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.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Alternative Publishing

This competition from Alternative Publishing Services offers a $200 prize, publication in an anthology and two copies. All other entries selected for publication will also win a small cash prize and two copies.

For once I'm completely unable to think of something even tenously related to this post to use as an illustration, so here are some sweet peas.

Can you think of an image which would have been more suitable?

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Wish I'd known...

For this competition from Birds of a Feather Press, you're asked to write 500 - 2,000 words on what you wished you'd known about a holiday destination, before you arrived. There's a $200 first prize, as well as ten runner up prizes.

I wish I'd known how big Arbroath smokies are before I ordered one, as I'd have made sure I was REALLY hungry. Fortunately Gary helped me eat it, so none went to waste.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017


To be magnanimous is to be nobly generous rather than petty in feelings or actions. Hmmm, I do try to behave with magnanimity, but sometimes I get annoyed and fail to react magnanimously.

Do you like this word? It's a bit of a tongue mangler, isn't it? Decidedly tricky to illustrate too.

Umm... Aha! If someone who'd annoyed me fell into the sea I'd probably be magnanimous enough to throw them a life bouy – if I didn't have to go far to find one and I wasn't busy or anything.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Write boldly

The James White Award is an annual science fiction competition. For a short story of between 1,000 and 6,000 words, they're offering £200 plus publication. This competition is only open to non professional authors, but this is defined in an unusual* way, so check the rules before entering.

*Despite being a full time writer, I'm eligible (if you discount the fact that I don't actually write sci-fi that is).

They're taking a broad definition of what science fiction means. What does it mean to you?

Monday, 9 January 2017

Make room

On The Premises are runnimg a short story competition with the theme of 'Space'. That can be interpreted however you like.

They want unpublished work only and just one piece per person, otherwise there are no entry restrictions. Top prize is $220.