Sunday, 29 May 2016

In search of a victim

I was researching hard* in the New Forest the other day, when I got an idea for a story set there. Trouble is, something must die ...

If it was a person I'd be OK. Always killing them off I am. One particularly annoying woman has died in at least nine different stories so far. This time though, it needs to be an animal of some kind.


Not any of the donkeys though. I couldn't kill a donkey, even one I'd made up for the purpose.











How about him?











*Yes, that is a mug of tea in my hand. What's your point?



Friday, 27 May 2016

... and the winner is ...

The results of Nottingham Writer's Club national competition, judged by that Patsy woman, are now in. You can read the top three stories (along with my comments) here. I recommend you do - they're really rather good.

I haven't been to Nottingham (yet). Think this place is close though.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

A reminder


If you intended to enter the Richard and Judy Competition, this is a reminder to get on with it. There are just a few days left.

And if you didn't. it's a reminder that I went to France recently and will be bomarding you with my holiday snaps for a while.




Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Stray

Stray can mean to wander from the right place (e.g. don't stray off the path) or to deviate morally (she promised to be faithful, but strayed with at least three of his golfing buddies, a caddy, the chaps in the pro shop and the club barmaid). In that case she could be described as straying or having gone astray (and no doubt called worse things by her husband!).

 It can also be a person or thing which has strayed or become lost (I think this dog was a a stray). Stray is also some weird sciency thing which interferes with radio reception, or it can be something isolated or unusual (e.g. most bluebells are blue, but sometimes you see a stray white one).

Monday, 23 May 2016

Vaguely vegetably

Purple Pumpkin run a monthly free entry competition with a small cash prize. Even if you don't wish to enter, you may find them useful as story prompts.

Yes, I know these are artichokes but ...

1. Purple pumpkins don't exist so are tricky to photograph.
2. I wasn't sure I'd find anywhere more suitable to sneak in this picture.
3. Purple artichokes isn't alliterative and I like a bit of alliteration.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Jazzy!

Jerry Jazz are again running a free entry short story competition. You don't need to write about Jazz and entrants may come from anywhere in the world. There's a £100 prize, plus publication for the winner.

The flowers are jazzy, don't you think? I photographed them in France (which is somewhere in the world!) Yep, I will be working pictures of French locations into future posts.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Browse

Browse can mean either to read in a rather unmethodical manner or to look through items for sale or a collection in a similar manner. Imagine you're in a bookshop which has a massive sale on and you keep flitting between titles by your favourite authors and pretty, shiny notebooks.

Another meaning of the word browse is vegetation eaten by animals and their method of consuming it. A browser is someone who browses.

So, you could browse the library for a book on browsers browsing on browse, to browse through. (If that scrambled your brain, blame Hilary - the word was her suggestion.)

Friday, 13 May 2016

Bonsoir

I've not been online much as we're in France. They do have the internet there, of course, but at first we had a technical issue and we've been very busy sightseeing, eating, drinking, taking lots and lots of photographs and something else ... ah yes, writing!





















One lovely distraction from the keyboard was meeting up with my writerly friend Lorraine and her husband.





As usual I'll be sneaking our travel pictures into blog posts, but if you want to see more now, you can find lots on our campervan blog.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Yegg

Go on, guess what a yegg is ...

It's a travelling burglar or safe breaker. Didn't get it, did you?

We do a lot of travelling, but just about the only thing I take is photos. I like to think I do that with flare ;-)

Monday, 9 May 2016

Purple eggs!

My dad has quite a lot of different birds at the moment. One particular breed lays very pretty eggs, some lightly freckled in creamy coffee brown, some heavily speckled in rich chocolate, some almost treacle coloured - and some purple! I expect that even without seeing the photo you'd have guessed which he saved for me. But can you guess the breed?

I'll give you a clue (not because I'm nice, just because I need something to make this fit the blog subject). The name of the bird is a synonym for flinch or tremble in fear.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Clear, concise and compelling?

Little Acorns are running a short story competition for pieces between 750 and 1,000 words. It's free to enter and there's a cash prize of £20, plus publication in their magazine.

There's no set theme, so I'll just pick a random photo from my 'writing ideas' file.

Umm, you don't need to know why I was researching toadstools. It's just a picture, OK? Don't go reading anything into it.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group

The Insecure Writer's Support Group 'meets' online on the first Wednesday of each month. Do join us if you're ane insecure writer - or would like to support those who are.

My current insecurity revolves around sales figures. I rather suspect I'm not alone in this!

To try to boost sales, I've been offering some of my books for just 99p (or 99c) This does help, but then I worry that it's not fair to those who paid full price when it first came out. What do you think about that?

To avoid that problem, I started off my last book at the lower price and then put it up to the regular price of £1.99 ($2.99). That seemed to go well and I intend to repeat the exercise with my next (still to be written) book.

Obviously I can't do that with those which have been out for some time though and I do feel they deserve to be read so I think I'll continue with the price promotions and hope those who've already bought the books will forgive me.

The current offer is for Paint Me A Picture which will be available at the reduced price until 8th May.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

A quick note

Thanks to Sheila Crosby* for reminding me about this free entry flash fiction competition.

You have just a few days and only 75 words to write a story which features music. There are cash prizes.

*I don't want to put you off or anything, but I've seen her entry and it's pretty brilliant.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Paint Me A Picture

Paint Me A Picture is on offer this week for 99p (or 99c). Sharing my tweets, mentioning it on Facebook and generally letting people know, and/or downloading it will make me jolly smiley and stuff.

Mavis Forthright carefully rehearses her jump from Portsmouth's Round Tower. She's existed for over five decades. Lived hardly at all. Will end her misery with a few second's fall into the cold sea. Except she's not quite ready to die. A half day's delay to try a bacon sandwich from the cafe won't matter. Mother's no longer there to disapprove. 

She delays another day to lend Janice a book. Then a week to use her new paints. A month. Until the end of term. Mavis makes new plans; to create paintings full of emotion, to live, perhaps even make friends.

As if to balance her survival a number of people connected to Mavis die. At first that doesn't matter. They're people she dislikes. Mavis continues painting, tending her garden, feeding the birds and keeping her home properly clean, without additional concern. Then people who've been kind to Mavis are killed or injured. That shouldn't happen.

Why are people dying? Is it because of charming Norman who's back from her past, or is that strange boy Jake her mistaken guardian angel? Perhaps Mavis herself is to blame. She must learn the truth, stop the deaths and protect those she's learned to care about before she can enjoy the new life she's making for herself.


For those who're wondering about the cover image, my lovely husband created it. The picture is of the Round Tower in Portsmouth, where much of the book is set. The Round Tower is connected by a short piece of sea wall to the Square Tower, which is where we got married.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Get drawn in.

If you'd like to win a place on a residential illustrating and writing for children course, take a look here.