Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Easy Reads now in the shops

On Saturday I went to my local WHSmith to buy a couple of the new Easy Reads, published by DC Thomson. You'll probably find them near the women's magazines section The first 4 are now out, and are definitely worth a look, whether you want to write them or not. They're beautifully produced, lovely clear font, fab covers, only £1.99 and they really do fit in your pocket even though they're no longer called Pocket Novels!

I have read Sally Quilford's Bonfire Memories, which is classified Crime - Intrigue. She really does keep you guessing who dunnit, and leads the reader skilfully up a whole host of blind alleys. Definitely recommended, and I have the other Crime one, Julie Coffin's Web of Fear, to read next.

They're lovely little books and I really hope they do well.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Got something to say about a writing competition?

Sally Quilford's competitions column in Writers' Forum will soon be taking on a new format, and she's looking for input from anyone who's had anything to do with writing competitions. Whether you organise them, judge them, win them or just enter them - let her know your tips and experiences.

Go here to see what's happening to the column, and to contact her with your snippets.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Meet the Friends!

Quick post as I'm dashing out to Zumba in a moment but I've just spotted a note on the People's Friend facebook page to say the team will be at the 50+ Show in Glasgow on 9th and 10th November. So if you're in the area, check it out and go meet Shirley Blair in person!

PF Facebook page is here.
PF website and blog is here.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Writers - what to buy each other for Christmas

I know it's a bit early yet but anyway - take a look at these story cubes. Nine cubes, with a different little picture on each face. Pick any three or more dice, roll them, see what you get and write a story inspired by the three top-side images. Endless fun and endless ideas!

I definitely want a set. They come in a dinky little box, too.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Wot, no payment?

I wrote a short story way back in 2004 when I was at an early stage in my writing career. I was quite pleased with it, and sent it off to a couple of womags, but it was rejected. Then I sent it to a non-paying online magazine, the Rose and Thorn. They accepted it and duly published it.

Fast forward to January this year. I received an email via the contact page on this blog, asking for permission to republish that same story. It was from a fellow called Robin, not Rose & Thorn. I was naturally a bit suspicious, and emailed back, asking where they wanted to publish it, and would there be any payment? He must have googled my name (I have a fairly unusual surname) and followed links to find this blog and email address.

Robin replied, explaining that he worked for a company who were helping the Texas Education Authority put together exam papers. They wanted my story as part of an English course assessment paper. They offered me US$500, and asked for 10 years exclusive rights over it, after which time all rights revert to me. (For which reason I can't post a link to the story on this blog until mid 2022!)

I googled the company to check them out, and discovered they were huge and definitely legitimate. I agreed to the publication, and was duly paid by bank transfer.

Why am I telling you this? Just to make a point that sometimes, having work published for no payment, can work in your favour. Who knows who might be reading it? That little story of mine earned nearly $1 a word, and is studied by Texan college students, which I find oddly amusing.

I do think that if an organisation can afford to pay writers then they certainly should. I was as incensed as everyone else when a magazine with a good budget and high readership tried to fill its pages last summer by holding a fiction competition with the only prize being publication (thankfully they backtracked and quite rightly ended up paying for all stories they published).

But I also firmly believe there's a place for small, non-paying markets, run by people with enthusiasm, passion but no budget. Professional writers need not use time and effort submitting to these places, but for others - beginner writers, hobbyist writers, or maybe writers with years of experience under their belts and a stack of unpublished stories gathering dust - such outlets are in my opinion, certainly worth investigating.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

PF on FB

Really quick post to urge all those on Facebook to check out the newly launched People's Friend facebook page - here .

The first of the new look issues is out now - I haven't yet seen it though there's a picture of its cover on facebook. It looks great - really fresh.

Short stories wanted for Android phone app

Sharon, who runs the Fiction Addiction writing group, sent me an email asking if I'd put the following on this blog:

Would you like to see your stories published on an Android phone app?
My husband and I are launching a new project soon – a FREE short story app called A Quick Read.
The good news is, we're not charging any writer to upload the stories on the app.
The bad news is, we cannot pay writers a fee, as we're starting the project as a hobby. However, if we mange to secure funding, we will be able to pay you.
I’ll be sending out lots of press releases to raise publicity.
The categories for fiction are: 
Twist in tale  
The word count we require is 500 -1,000 words.
No swearing, no excessive violence, and no erotica, please.
Also, we require a brief outline (one or two lines) about your story.
Go to to view our website. 
Terms and conditions for writers’ can be found under ‘Information’ on the drop down menu. 
It would be best if you sent us unpublished work. All writers retain copyright.  
You can also see how the app works on the website.
Please e-mail your stories to me, Sharon at:
Many thanks.
PS If you have a website or blog address, we can place this at the bottom of your story on the app. 

This sounds like an exciting project! Even though there's no pay at present, including your website or blog address might bring in more readers, so if you've got some spare stories of the right length it'll be worth sending them to Sharon and Keith.

Hmm, I have an Android phone. This app looks like a great thing to have if you find yourself stuck somewhere without a book or Kindle to read... I'm looking forward to its launch!