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