Category: Fiction Writing (page 1 of 2)

Back from the Dead…

Okay, it’s been a while, but I do feel like I’ve been temporarily departed from this world for the last couple of months. That’s because I’ve been redrafting and self-editing another version of Arete: Descendants. It’s finally done and after lots and lots of reading up on freelance editing companies, it’s been sent off to Bubblecow.

I’ve heard some really good things about them from other independent authors. Here is a very insightful review and a sample of the service in case you’re shopping around by Aidan.J.Reid, a thriller author. I found this one really thorough and it helped me decide which editing company to choose. I’m sure it’s going to be a very rewarding process too and look forward to learning how to improve the story when I get back the edited manuscript and editor’s report.

The other thing I’m looking forward to doing this month is getting on with developing an idea I started back on a writing course earlier in the year. I’ve signed up for my first Nanowrimo and aim to get the first draft of ‘Extension’, a Young Adult, Dystopian novel done by the end of the month. With book baby number one being taken care of over the next month by an editor, it seems the perfect time to get onto developing the next one. Let me know if you’re taking part. If you’re in London, especially North East, I may even be able to meet you in the real world and leave my hermitage for a write-in, where we can get back to the imaginary world, of course, that we writers inhabit best.

(Image from Shutterstock)


Discovered Tomes…

Relief from a carved funerary lekythos at Athens: Hermes as psychopomp conducts the deceased, Myrrhine, to Hades, ca 430-420 BCE (National Archaeological Museum of Athens).
CC BY 2.5

Thought I’d put a little piece up about some of the great publications I’ve been reading this week. Some discovered through competition submissions and deadlines I’ve completed this week and others just little gems come upon along the way.

Psychopomps magazine had a competition deadline lask week and so I’ve been devouring lots of stories from there past volumes, as well as getting my hands on a hard copy edition that I’ve been wanting a while (the one in question has Lovecraft’s The Shunned House in its, so enjoying the building sense of dread that ensues each time I open the cover). It’s an unusual style and genre in the magazine.Their fee-free submissions window is open until the 15 March, so still time to polish up your weirdest and most wonderful pieces. (Incidentally, a Psychopomp was a guide to the souls of the dead in Ancient Greece so this will give you an idea of its tone).

The other one I’ve subscribed to to take a look at as there’s a fast approaching short story comp. deadline coming up is Mslexia. I was pleasantly surprised with what a lot this magazine has to offer to its fm ale readers: competition listings, interesting articles about self-publishing, guidance on how to foster a writings comunity and keep up motivation in your writing, submissions calls for short stories, poetry and columns where extracts of work are critiqued, as well as a wonderful collection of short stories and poetry all on this month’s theme of ‘monster’.

The last I’ve been reading this week was The Coastal Zoo, a collection of short stories  from the Exeter Writers and the prize winning entries from the last 5 years of the Exeter Short Story Competition. Thoroughly enjoyable and when reading the prize winning pieces you are struck by the reoccuring themes. All the work is uniquely beautiful, but you do start to notice a pattern: loneliness, love and loss time and time again.

Well, off to read some more dreadfully frightening stories!



Short Story Contests

My story is set in Edinburgh during over the holiday season.

Wanted to share some good news with you readers and writers out there! Yesterday I heard that my short story, Irrepressible has come runner up in Fictuary Short Story Holiday Contest and will be published in their Feed Me Fiction April Edition. As you can imagine I’m really thrilled and hope you guys will check it out when it’s released and have a read!

As well as getting the story featured, what I really appreciated was getting some comments on my story. I think lots of you out there will empathise that going through the process of submitting stories/novels (I will admit I have done this when said story was not ready to be queried in the past) but even so, submitting and receiving form rejections or not hearing anything does get rather disheartening. So make sure you do celebrate the milestones and achievements along the way! For me that was a couple of halves of craft beer last night and a celebratory lunch out with my husband today 🙂

Happy reading and writing to you all!

Bath Flash Fiction Awards

Don’t really have that much to blog about this week as I’ve been working hard at getting an entry ready for the bath flash fiction competition, as well as the usual redrafting of novel, short story writing, Beta reading and looking after doggy clientele 😉

Thought I’d just put out a shout there to everyone who’s entering and to all the lovely readers looking forward to the upcoming publication of the awards. Good luck and enjoy! I re-read the winning entries from last year to my sister this morning and although all are really good, was struck again at how amazing Eileen Merriman’s story was: check it out if you haven’t read it or if you just want to reminisce. And her blog is here if you want to explore more of her work.

I thought it was very fitting that that’s the one that’s so visceral, charged with so much emotion and depth when the competition closes this year on Valentine’s Day (lol!)

So have a lovely weekend and hope you all fall in love with a new author or book this Valentine’s!


Short Stories – Scratching the Surface


I wanted to share a few little bits and pieces I’ve been reading lately, both tips on short story writing and some quotations and musings on some of those I’ve enjoyed lately.

I came across this great article recently on the Writers and Artists website and will definitely be trying to take these tips on board. Looking forward to reading Eliza Robertson’s collection Wallflowers. Maybe have a read of her tips in the article and see if they resonate with you. My particular favourite tip was number 5 and her reference to Adrienne Rich and capturing the “sheer heft of living.” Funnily enough this ties in with number 2 and I’d always thought I didn’t really get poetry; it just didn’t sit with me that well. But when I looked up this one, I read it again and again.

The other blog I found that I really liked this week was KM Elkes, whose piece ‘The Three Kings’ was commended in the 2015 Bath Short Stories Award; a piece well worth checking out. I really liked having a look around his blog, full of info and tips about writing, particularly liking this post. I’m always thinking I’ve got to read copious amounts to truly improve my fiction writing, but this is a great reminder that it’s not how much you read, but how you read. And after all, if something you read affects you, that’s when it’s important to analyse the piece; what is it about it that makes it sing to you and how can you bring that out in your own writing?

The Bath Short Stories 2015 Awards Anthology is well worth sharing. The 2015 Judge, Carrie Kania wrote in the introduction to the short stories selected that what she was looking for in a short story was: “trouble at the start, followed by a reason or solution.” In reading the shortlisted stories, you can see this in action.

In Sofia Moore’s story That Summer, the winning entry, her first line is:

“That summer, I was sure someone would die.”

Events unfold within a small town, tension and prejudice mounts, all narrated and seen through the curious eyes of a local boy.

2nd entry, Dan Powell, ‘Dancing to the Shipping Forecast’, builds tension from the off:

“The wind shoves at the doors and windows and demands to be let in. It quakes the glass and howls when its entrance is denied…”

The storm feeds the atmosphere and the emotion continues to climb throughout.

And Angela Readman’s, The Woman of Letter, awarded 3rd place doesn’t disappoint either. The opening poetic imagery has a fittingly sinister undercurrent to hint at what’s to come:

“It is a perfectly ordinary morning, I have just told a young woman her lips are like strawberries in the snow. May strokes her bottom lip feeling for fruit, a sweetness that can bruise.”

So many other good authors in the 2015 anthology. Definitely recommend a read if you haven’t purchased it yet.

Happy reading and writing!


Short Fiction

I’ve lately been getting into writing flash fiction and have found it an excellent way to be able to work on something new every week and experiment.

Through reading around I found an article by David Gaffney that, I think, sums up the point of flash fiction really nicely and has tips  think about when writing it.

I decided to get the writer’s book and although it’s not my cup of tea, style wise, I think it’s got a lot of flash fiction pieces within that exemplify these points and are useful examples, plus I was sold on the title – Sawn Off Tales.

And remember, sweat your title!



Time to Write


In a bid to get organised for the year with regard to writing, I spent the first day of this week planning a schedule for across the month. The first week dividing my time between writing  flash fiction, editing old short stories and redrafting my novel. Four submissions of short stories made today and another flash fiction piece on Ad Hoc Fiction this week and I’m feeling good 🙂 I’ve found the flash fiction has been a really good exercise to get looking at my fiction writing in a more analytical light. The short word limit of 150 words means you focus on exactly what needs to be said, something often overlooked when writing a short story and especially when working on a novel.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of literary magazines and e-zines to get submitting to for the month and for later competitions throughout the year have a look on shortstops.

I particularly enjoyed reading Bare Ficiton and Duende Literary Journal this week. My faves were Jade O’Halloran’s Borderland State and Jake Maynard’s Before you Buy the Farm – well worth checking out.

Came across this – application deadline is next week: Word Factory Apprenticeship It could be a nice thing to submit to if your keen on trying something different.

And having posted on the blog again- something I will do consistently on Fridays from now on 😉 I am up to date with my new writing schedule!

Happy writing!



Short Story Competitions

notebookThought I’d share some of my good news – I got a piece of flash fiction published on Ad Hoc Fiction in this week’s competition. Have a look at the link and read and vote if you have time, (it’s free to read and to enter).

I’ve lately started submitting to short story competitions after working on redrafting a bit. If any other writers are looking for places to submit to I found this list of short story competitions really useful.

Happy writing!


The Battle of Land and Sea

I have found myself a little obsessed with the sea over the last year (since taking up diving – I know, you couldn’t tell, right!) and I’m sure that’s part of why I enjoyed Conrad so much recently. Reflecting on this I was reminded that I used to have quite a different fantasy a few years ago. For light relief after a hard day at work, I used to dream of a more peaceful lifestyle, away from the crowds of the city (I think this was a symptom of growing up in the countryside) and this was my go to site:


Now it has been replaced with looking at dive sites, scoping out which reefs and marine life I’d most like to visit, as well as eyeing up the occasional boat.

Ok, direct question – if you’re reading this what’s your fantasy and why? Has it changed over the years? Or if you’re a writer – what about your main character? What do they long for deep down?

Leave you with a Conrad quote:

“Sunshine gleams between the lines of these short paragraphs – sunshine and the glitter of the sea.” (Karain: A Memory)

Happy Halloween Creatures of the Night

I wrote a little about vampires not that long ago in a post about urban fantasy. At this time of year lots more people start thinking about these beings. Whether its Twilight, Vampire Diaries, Vampire Academy or any of the many more books, TV shows and films out there on this subject, there certainly is a fascination for the subject. I think it only right I make a respectful acknowledgment of these intriguing creatures too.

Let’s pause and reflect for a moment on this immortal. He beckons you, easily summoning you to him and you feel as though you would be content to remain with him here if only due to his handsome appearance and the intelligence in his gaze. Yet, it is his contradictory nature that makes you linger in the shadows.

  • He is dead and yet hungers for life
  • He is wise and yet possesses something primal

Before you think seriously of sidling up to this fellow, I must warn you – you can never fully know him. He is outside of time and nature. He has a consciousness, an awareness of what it means to be human, but with each passing day it dims; so that in the end, time is inverted and the past is far more palpable than the present moment.

If you do still want to draw nearer I recommend reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula and watching the 1992 film adaptation this Halloween weekend. I’ll also be treating myself to Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire and the 1994 film of the same. I believe the latter is the best of all vampire literature.

If I feel I haven’t had my fix I may throw in The Hunger, 1983 and Queen of the Damned, 2002. Admittedly these are less about substance and more about style with David Bowie strutting his stuff in the first and the songs of Jonathan Davis from Korn providing the voice of ‘The Brat Prince’. If nothing else, these two sure show that immortality gives you time to develop an impeccable sense of style, and taste.

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