Wednesday, 31 October 2012


I had a bit of a confused day yesterday. I thought I'd get a bit organised prior to NaNo and schedule a couple of posts for November. You ended up with half of yesterday's post combined with half of today's and immediately followed by all of one for next week. I'm going back to being disorganised - it'll be less confusing all round.

Anyway, happy hallowe'en!

Here's a mystery writing contest (which I can't enter) and here's a call from the BBC for short story submissions (I will be giving that one a go)

Talking of mistakes, can you spot the typo here? I really should have noticed that.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Happy Hallowe'en.

Here's a freebie spooky story for Hallowe'en. It's White Heaven Woman by Jessie B Tyson. (Here for US.)

Jessie's produced a youtube piece about her book which you might like.

If you've got an idevice then pop over to Dan's blog for another spooky freebie.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Something to say?

A while ago the lovely Vikki awarded me the top commentors award. I must have been so busy commenting recently that I forgot to post about it! I lurve everyone who reads and comments on my blog - without you I'd just be writing to myself! Thanks to all of you.

I'm passing this on to Kitty, Alex, Annalisa, Tracy, Frances, Teresa, Suzy, Rosemary, Carol and Helen but please don't think that means I don't appreciate everyone else who stops by.

Click here for the chance to win an audio book version of Rod Stewart's autobiography. Are you A Rod Stewart fan? (Go on, you can tell me) Do you like autobiographies? How do you feel about audio books?

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Falling free

Here's a short story competition with £100 prize.  The theme is fall. (Note that all shortlisted entries will be published.)

This writing competition has an unusual prize - 10 hardback copies of their book printed. There's also an Amazon voucher for the runner up. Theme is Autumn.

There's another short story competition. The prize is £500 and an Arvon course. The theme is Freedom.

Rather read short stories than write them? My collection is still free.

Monday, 22 October 2012

The Next Big Thing

Thanks to Vikki for tagging me in The Next Big Thing thingy. I've decided to tell you about my NaNo project - in the hope it'll make me feel obliged to actually write it.

What is the working title of your next book?
The Last Dream of Maria Rossini

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I wrote a short story and realised the story was too big for that format (not the first time that's happened) In that story, Maria dreams of murders before they happen and tries to get a hunky, but unconvinced, policeman to stop them. I wanted to have her running a restaurant, possible mafia connections, a romance for the policeman with the sexy Maria causing trouble, visits to castles, ice cream, a dog or a cat, or both, a few scenes of gruesomeness and other good stuff, but I couldn't fit any of it in. Writing a book seemed like a sensible plan.

What genre does your book fall under?
Welllllll, it's a crime story with supernatural and romantic elements. Or maybe a romance with crime and supernatural elements.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I don't know, but I will be requiring a lot of hunky policemen types and a few smooth Italians and a couple of girls. Who should I audition?

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
If only Maria Rossini would keep her dreams to herself, (insert mc name) could live a normal, happy life.

Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?
Hopefully I'll find someone to publish it for me. Not sure I'll go through an agent though.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The plan is to bash out the whole thing in November. Obviously it'll be really terrible and need totally rewriting later, but it'll give me something to work on.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Too early to say as I've not decided how romantic or otherwise it's going to be.

Who or what inspired you to write the book?
No idea - maybe I ate too much cheese one night.

What else about your book might pique the readers interest?
I plan to kill lots of people in interesting locations (perhaps there'll be a body behind the door in the photograph?) and have my characters eat masses of Italian food. Naturally I'll need to do a lot of research for the eating part.

Anything else?

I haven't yet got a name for my hunky, crime fighting, pizza eating, warm hearted, main character yet. Any suggestions?

Now to pass this on to five people so they can share details of their next big thing. I'm going to pick on Travis, Rachel, Maria, Suzanne, and Paula.

And here's a little thing I wrote earlier.

Friday, 19 October 2012


D'you like hallowe'en? I'm not keen on groups of teenagers, with two sheets and a plastic mask between them by way of costumes, demanding cash at my door of an evening, but I do like a nicely carved pumpkin and a glass of something blood red. For some people the day, or perhaps I mean the night, has special meaning. For me too in a way - it's a great topic for short story writing. (I have a slightly spooky story coming out in the 27th October issue of The Weekly News)

You might think it's a bit late to start writing hallowe'en stories for this year, but you'd be wrong. This competition doesn't close until 23rd of the month. You have up to 3,000 words to come up with something suitable and could win an iPad or £250. Be warned that all entries will be published and the one with the most downloads will win, so although your story needn't be brilliantly frightening, you'll need to scare all your family and friends into helping you if you want to win.

This one operates on a similar scheme. This time it's the entry with the most facebook likes that wins. The prizes aren't so good either, but as they only want a scary travel anecdote in 150 words you might think it's worth a go.

And yikes! here's another one where the size of your social network is all important. The FAQs state, "If you're a successful author, this might not be the thing for you." Still there's a chance at $5,000 dollars and potential for plenty of publicity should you get selected in any of the rounds. Despite the contest title, worldwide entries are accepted.

What do you think of writing competitions judged on popularity of the author rather than quality of the writing? I think you can guess my opinion.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Not a Drop to Drink

Not a Drop to Drink is available free from Alfie Dog and Smashwords. It should be on Amazon too fairly soon, but you might have to pay on there.


I'm over on Vikki's blog today - do come and say hi.

Monday, 15 October 2012

A good look round.

How do you research a place if you can't get there? A picture might help. A 360 view would be better.

Whether you want to know what's behind the pyramids of Giza, what's in the control room of a submarine, how a Sussex wood looks when the bluebells are out, what the White Cliffs of Dover look like from the top, take a peek into a disused lime kiln or explore Herculaneum, Gary and Geoff can help.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

It pays to be quiet (sometimes)

Here's my lovely husband, sitting quietly after climbing 999 steps in the sunshine earlier this year.

You don't need to keep quiet to win vouchers, gifts and membership to the London Writer's club, but you do have to write a story on the theme of Hush.

You don't need to say an awful lot to enter the Micro Award and give yourself a chance of winning the $500 prize.

If you can write something to get the little darlings off to sleep then winning this children's bedtime story could earn you £500.

Shhh, don't tell everyone but I can get you an e copy of Lovers Take Up Less Space for free. Just type this code - EL88W - in where it asks for a voucher. You might need to create an account first, but you're probably going to be needing one of those to get Not a Drop to Drink (which will also be free) so you might as well do it now.

If I can I'll be entering all those competitions. I won't be downloading the book though - I've done that already.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Hello, Sweetie!

The lovely Susan Jane Jones has nominated me for this award. Thanks, Suzy!

1.  Cookies or cake? 

Cake, obviously. Cakes are bigger than cookies.

2.  Chocolate or vanilla? 


3.  What is your favourite sweet treat? 

See 1. and 2.

4.  When do you crave sweet things most? 

After breathing in ... or out.

5.  If you had a sweet nickname what would it be? 

Some people call me Rottweiler. I'm sure they must be thinking of sweet little puppies.

I'm passing this on to the following sweet people. Helen, Carol, JJ, Katie, Teresa, Tracy, Rachel, Alex, Vikki, Thomas, Shannon, Diane and another, Diane. If you'd like to accept, just answer the questions on your blog and then pass it on to up to a baker's dozen more sweet people.

Someone else who's sweet (but doesn't have a blog) is my cousin Chris. He sent me this link as he thought my blog followers might be interested. Nice of him to think of us, wasn't it?

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Working for Free?

Talking of giving work away for free (as I have been incessantly for the last two days) ... is that a good idea? In the case of Escape to the Country it's too early for me to say, but I'll keep you informed once I get the facts.

It worked out quite well for Womagwriter, and some authors who now have good sales figures originally gave their work away. What about you? Has giving work away ever done your writing 'career' any good, are you hopeful it will, or is it something you'd never do under any circumstances?

If you are happy to offer work for no immediate monetary reward then you might like to consider submitting to The Short Humour Site or Cafelit.

Here's a free picture prompt! Do you know what it is?

Click here to read an interview with me and hear about another freebie.

For another take on writing for free, take a look at Elizabeth's blog.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thanks everyone for all the support I've had with spreading the word about the FREE promotion of Escape to the Country. I've lost track of all the tweets and retweets, blog posts, facebook comments etc but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate every single one. And it's working!

Escape to the Country is currently No 4 in's free kindle rankings. I can't tell you how pleased I am. Oh, OK then - I'm gobsmackingly chuffed. (The US ranking is quite respectable too.)

It's still free, so if you've not yet downloaded it, please do. Either from or (You don't need a kindle as Amazon will offer a free app to dowmload and reab books on your computer, phone, tablet etc)

Also available as free downloads today are Transmission of Evil by Mandy Shearing and  Dying to Live by Katie Thompson.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Time for ... a free book?

Another month, another first Wednesday, so time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. So am I feeling insecure? A bit, yes. It's the novels you see. The people who've read them seem to like them (which is wonderful to hear), but there haven't been as many readers as I'd like.
I wrote the above this morning before going off to the day job. I came home to discover my publisher has decided to give away the e version of Escape to the Country for free. It'll be available to download on 4th and 5th October (and remember you don't need a kindle to read it). Hopefully this will generate lots more interest in the book!

Please, please, please, please, help me feel less insecure by downloading the book as soon as it becomes free in your area. If you read and enjoy it, please, please consider posting up a review on Amazon or Goodreads (of course you're free to review it even if you hate it, but I'm not daft enough to beg for negative reviews.)

Anything you do to help spread the word will be appreciated and rewarded with massive quantities of virtual chocolate, cake and wine - or other goodies of your choice.

Click here for the .uk version and here for the .com one.

 Thanks for your support!