Monday, 23 March 2015


Another first! I’m the featured writer over at Alfie Dog Fiction.

(Does this make me a celebrity?)

Thursday, 19 March 2015

That was the year that was

The only thing wrong with our holiday in Scotland last year was that it was too short. We wanted to see so many places but only had enough time for brief visits to a handful of them. Even before we packed to go home, we decided to treat ourselves to another holiday there next September.

As we’re barely into spring, I hadn’t thought about looking for accommodation yet, but my husband found a holiday cottage on the Internet that ticked all our boxes and booked it.

So, that’s September sorted.

Thinking about summer reminded me of a summer holiday story I began writing for People’s Friend last year, only to abandon it when I realised I’d left it too late to submit to them. I found the story and dusted it off, but before I set to work to finish it I checked PF’s fiction editor’s blog. Good job I did, because I discovered she was buying summer themed stories back in February and is now looking at autumn/ winter tales.

Plan B – I’m now busy writing a Christmas story. I’ve also made a note in the back of my diary to submit the summer story in January 2016.

How was your 2015?

How far ahead do you plan?

Monday, 2 March 2015

One for the readers

What would we do without readers?

     Writers would have to talk to themselves all the time (instead of just most of it).
     Publishers would go out of business.
     There’d be no need for bookshops or libraries.
     Even Amazon’s profits would tumble …

Which is why I was so pleased to see this competition for readers.
Alfie Dog Fiction is offering £100 for a very short – 30 to 50 words – review of one of its titles downloaded during March. Not bad for an investment of only 39p, the cost of its short story ebooks.

If you want to have a go, but can’t decide which story to choose from the 1,600 currently available, may I humbly suggest you take a look at my stories? I promise I won’t be offended if you write a less-than-glowing review of one of them, but I will be delighted if you win the prize!

Pass it on …

Monday, 23 February 2015


Isn’t it wonderful when you don’t have to spend ages trying to invent a clever plot and interesting characters because you suddenly find a ready-made story right in front of you? One such serendipitous moment happened while I was doing a spot of late night shopping, and it didn’t take much creativity on my part to turn it into this 75-word story for Paragraph Planet

With much thanks to an anonymous, middle-aged shelf stacker and Aretha Franklin!

Have you ever been given a story?

Friday, 13 February 2015

Sometimes you win when you lose

Last Christmas (that seems such a long time ago now), National Book Tokens had a puzzle on their Caboodle website where you had to solve picture clues to find hidden book titles. I enjoyed trying it, but I only managed to guess 16 or 17 of the 20 titles. 

So I was very pleasantly surprised last week to get an email from Caboodle saying that everyone who had taken part, but hadn’t qualified for the top prize, had been entered into a prize draw and I’d won a £10 book token. 

Some more books for my To Be Read shelf!

If you’re a book lover and you live in the UK or Ireland do have a look at Caboodle. They have regular book giveaways and competitions, all free to enter, and you can also sign up for special offers from your local bookshops.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Word of the week (23)

The writer frowned at the sentence she’d just written.
WEIRD looked weird.
‘I before e except after c,’ she muttered, but WIERD looked even weirder.
She checked it, and wondered how often dictionary compilers make mistakes.
Perhaps she should use an alternative version. WYRD worked for Terry Pratchett. (But she didn’t want her readers to think she couldn’t spell.)
She rewrote the sentence using a different word.
It didn't work. STRANGE wasn’t weird enough.

Which correctly spelt word looks wrong to you?

Thursday, 22 January 2015

How this writer’s mind works (6)

Looking back over my writing records for 2014, I realised that – apart from blog posts – I’d only written fiction during the whole year. Nothing wrong with that, and I don’t think I could stop writing fiction even if I wanted to, but as one of my 2015 ‘hopes’ is to earn more money from writing, producing the occasional non-fiction article seems a sensible thing to do. In the past, I wrote non-fiction on all sorts of subjects and usually found it easier to sell than my stories.

I started by checking the latest editions of the women’s and lifestyle magazines in the newsagents. I couldn’t afford to buy every one that caught my eye, but I bought a couple of my favourites to do some in-depth research at home and quickly leafed through the others.

In almost every magazine the main features were about dieting and/or fitness. (Am I the only woman in the country who hasn’t made a New Year resolution to lose weight or run a marathon?) The second most popular subject seemed to be about saving money. There were headlines such as:
  • Save £££s on Household Bills
  • Best Budget Beauty Buys
  • Feed The Family For Less
  • Low Cost Travel
  • Thrifty Home D├ęcor Ideas 
Inspiration! I was certain I could write a similar article. After all, I’ve spent all my life finding ways of living within very moderate means. I’m an expert in saving pennies here, pinching pounds there. All I had to do was choose a subject that a magazine hadn’t already explored. The answer was right in front of me.
How To Cut Your Magazine Bill.

Once I started brainstorming, the ideas came thick and fast. I could include tips for starting a magazine-swapping club. I would advise readers to seek out magazines online and in libraries. I could list sources of free and discounted magazines …

And then I noticed the one, tiny flaw in my brilliant article. Which magazine will want to publish it?