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A Literary Television Treat

January 5th, 2018

First, happy New Year! Here we are at the start of 2018 having been lashed by storms Dylan and Eleanor. I can’t say that I’m really sorry as it’s given me the chance to spend a bit more time curled up with some good books and the last of the chocolate biscuits rather than having to go out into the garden and start dismantling the Christmas reindeer.

This year my husband decided to make reindeer from logs that we’d sawn off trees over the previous year, and give them collars of shiny red metal. I think they’re great, but the local wildlife wasn’t as impressed. We have some very fat, very bold squirrels. They’re not frightened of me, or my husband, but they certainly gave the Rudolphs a wide berth. I loved watching them edge their way around keeping a very beady eye open for any movement. At least I know what to put near the bird feeders in future to keep them at a distance. Perhaps we need to invent some all-season mythical beast that we can use to keep them in check! Squirrels are cute, but not when they’re eating all the nuts and digging up my bulbs for a quick snack. Read the rest of this entry »




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The Rising Price of Competition Entries

December 1st, 2017

As you know, our Flash Fiction Competition closed for entries yesterday, so I was going to suggest some alternative competitions that you might like to enter until we get our next one going. I found a few that I thought might interest you, but was then astounded by the entry fees that were being charged.

Fish Publishing  are currently running a series of competitions (with closing dates ranging from 31st January to 31st March). These include a Short Memoir Prize (4000 words), a Flash Fiction Prize (300 words) and a Poetry Prize (300 words) but the fees range from 14 Euros to 16 Euros per entry  – more if you enter online. The prizes are great but it’s still a lot of money! Read the rest of this entry »




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Have You Heard Of ‘Up Lit’?

November 24th, 2017

Last week I commented on the fact that Ian Rankin had been quoted as saying that readers were turning away from grittier topics and looking for something more ‘kind and gentle’. I rather pooh poohed this idea so I was surprised when I read an article in the December issue of Writing Magazine by Margaret James. She was discussing what genres had been popular this year and looking ahead to what editors would be looking for in 2018.

She actually used a term I wasn’t familiar with – ‘up lit’. If I hadn’t seen it in the context of a writing magazine I would probably have thought it was something to do with interior design. I’m familiar with ‘chick lit’ and ‘lad lit’ but this one was new to me. Apparently, it’s optimistic storytelling that is supposed to leave us feeling cheered up rather than depressed. In other words, lots of light at the end of the tunnel. 2018 is tipped as the year of empathy and kindness! Dare I say ‘Bah, humbug’? Read the rest of this entry »




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Schadenfreude

November 17th, 2017

At the recent Hong Kong Literary festival Ian Rankin, author of the John Rebus novels, was quoted as saying that in a world of uncertainty, increasing violence and terrorist attacks people were turning away from grittier novels and looking for something more ‘kind and gentle’.

I agree that reading is a form of escapism. But I also suspect that there is a degree of schadenfreude among the reading public. We sit comfortably with our book of choice and enjoy the fact that we’re safe while the protagonists are undergoing all sorts of perils and problems. And it’s not a new thing. You only need to go back to the Bronte sisters. Wuthering Heights…Jane Eyre… very romantic but also very gothic. They must have sent an enjoyable shudder up the spines of many a well-brought-up young lady. Read the rest of this entry »




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NaNoWriMo 2017

November 10th, 2017

First, thanks to David for last week’s blog and pointing out the importance of choosing a good title for your book.

I’d always suggest being guided by the experts (your publisher or agent if you are going for a traditional publishing deal). But what do you do if you’re thinking of self-publishing? Well, I’d come up with my own idea, try it on the people around me that I knew and trusted, listen to their advice and suggestions – and then make my own decision.

It’s that time of year again (doesn’t it come round fast?) – NaNoWriMo. For the uninitiated, that’s National Novel Writing Month where participating authors try to get the first draft of their novel completed in the 30 days of November. I suspect they may not have too much time to worry about titles at this stage, as they’ll be too busy getting the basics in place. Read the rest of this entry »




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