Category Archives: autobiography

January-deadline writing competitions

competitions 677265Every month, I post the next month’s writing competitions (taken from this blog’s competitions calendar page) and below are those with January deadlines (relevant as at the date of this blog post). Good luck if you enter and let me know how you get on.

  • Children’sFrances Lincoln.
  • Flash FictionFiction DeskIndies Unlimited hosts a weekly 250-word max. prompt competition – see Indies Unlimited. Also see ‘Short stories’ below.
  • Flash Fiction: The Fiction Desk Annual Flash Fiction Competition has a deadline of 31 January. The first prize is £200, with four runner-up prizes of £25. Stories 250 to 1,000 words. The entry fee is £3 for one story, or £7.50 for three stories submitted together. Full details and online entry forms can be found at
  • Flash Fiction: Writer Austin Briggs runs a monthly 55-word competition (different theme each month). It’s free to enter and you can win $55 (of his own money!).
  • Flash Fiction: Each week on, four writers agree to compose a five hundred word story involving the same four elements. Please remember to give your story a title. The stories can be in any genre except erotica. The writers will not know what the four elements are prior to committing to the challenge. There is a four-day time limit to complete the story. I email the elements early Thursday morning, my time. The story is due at midnight, Sunday, your time. Each author retains full and complete copyright of their story submitted to The Iron Writer for this competition. However, it is understood each story will remain on this website indefinitely. The Iron Writer will not publish any submission outside this website without express permission from the author. So, if you are up to the challenge, please email me at HERE and we can schedule when you are willing to participate. Please include your main blog or website. I will link your story to your site. You may participate as often as you want.
  • Flash Fiction: Each month the Scottish Book Trust provides a prompt to get you started, but where the <50-word story goes from there is entirely up to you. Their favourite story will be published on their page and the writer will receive a lovely Novel Poster from The Literary Gift Company. You can submit your story in the body of an email or as an attachment and remember to include your full name with your entry. They also welcome entries in Gaelic or Scots.
  • Mixed: Christian magazine Pockets has a different theme per month.
  • Mixed: The Pen Cove Award (formerly the Whidbey Writing Competition). This contest from Whidbey Writers Workshop in the USA is open worldwide and is for fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry and writing for children or young adults. Up to 1,000 words. I’m told they have a rather strange way of selecting a winner for this one. The judge reads submissions until he or she finds one that ‘knocks his/her socks off’. Never mind that the next one might have divested the judge of his/her pants and woolly vest, the remaining entries are tossed aside without so much as a glance.  However, you can submit you entry again if it isn’t selected (try to get it in early, as entries are read in order of submission).
 Closing: Monthly.
 Prize: $50.
 Entry Fee: Free to enter.
 Comp Page:
  • Mixed (novels & short story collections): iWriteReadRate and Cornerstones Literary Consultancy ( are offering a monthly social competition to members of the community – see ‘Monthly’ towards the end of this page.
  • Mixed: Bronte Society Creative Competition invites you to write a poem, short story or illustrate a scene from a Brontë novel. Judges Margaret Drabble, Simon Armitage, Victoria Brookland. 3 x £500 first prizes, deadline 31 January. See
  • Non-fiction: Nature writing essays welcomed for the Resurgence & Ecologist magazine. The deadline is early January.
  • NovelLightship First Novel Prize: Have you written a literary or genre novel? Enter the beginning of it into Lightship’s First Novel Prize for a chance to win a publishing contract with Alma Books 1st prize £1,000 closing date 31st January 2014
  • NovelsNovel Rocket runs an annual Launch Pad Contest: Boosting You Out of the Slush Pile. Entries will be accepted in all genres beginning mid-January. The deadline for submission is different for genre categories according to the following schedule. In each case, entries must be received by 11:59 PM EST on the 10th day of the month (April to September) listed on They also post a new writing-related article seven days a week, from author interviews to marketing discussions to articles about the craft of writing.
  • Novels: Other novel competitions closing in January include
  • PlaysBruntwood (OPENS 31st January).
  • Poetry: Kent & Sussex Poetry Society Open Poetry Competition has a First Prize: £1000, 2nd: £300,  3rd: £100,  4th: 4 x £50. Entry fee: £5 per poem. 3 or more poems: £4 each. Closing date: 31st January. Entries to: The Competition Organiser, 26 Courtlands, Teston, Maidstone, Kent, ME18 5AS. Put name and address on separate sheet – not on poem or enter online and pay by Paypal. For more details, go to:
  • Poetry: other poetry competitions include Haiku CalendarHippocratesLeaf PressStrokestownWriting / Writers’ News magazines (monthly),
  • Poetry: The Writers’ Forum Poetry Competition is a monthly contest for poems of up to 40 lines. Closing: Monthly. Entries arriving too late (after the 15th) for one month go forward to the next. Prizes: 1st – £100. Runners-up – A Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. Entry Fee: £5 each, £3 each thereafter. Includes a critique (sae required if entering by post). Comp Page:
  • Screenwriting: Canada-based Wildsound run monthly screenwriting competitions.
  • Short storiesHome-Start Bridgwater Short Story Prize has a January deadline and this year’s judge is Dame Margaret Drabble.
  • Short stories: The Writers’ Forum Short Story Competition is a monthly no-theme contest for stories between 1,000 and 3,000 words. Closing: Monthly. Entries arriving too late (after the 15th) for one month go forward to the next. Prizes: £350, £150, £100 and publication in Writers’ Forum magazine (and possible anthology). Entry Fee: £3 per story for subscribers, £6 each non-subscribers. £5 extra for a critique (sae required if entering by post). Comp Page:
  • Short storiesHayley Sherman runs a monthly short story competition for submissions on any subject up to 2,000 words. The winners are published on the website, promoted online and receive a £10 First Writer voucher. All entrants are also considered for publication in The New Short Story Annual at the end of the year. Deadline 25th of the month. Heather Marie Schuldt runs a similar contest, although 500-750 words max., but with the same deadline.
  • Short stories: The Bath Short Story Award opened October for entries – see ‘March’.
  • Short storiesWriter Selection has a 31st January deadline and 200-2000 word count. Prizes £150, £50, £25. Entry is free and all entrants receive a year’s membership (normally £10).
  • Short stories: The James White Award seeks science fiction stories from non-professional authors. Writers have the opportunity to win cash and publication in a leading UK sci-fi magazine. Open to non-professional authors only (see the website for what classifies a professional author). Stories up to 6,000 words. For science fiction stories. Broad interpretations of the genre are welcome. One entry per author. No fan fiction. International writers welcome. Original and unpublished works only. Stories cannot have been previously entered into the James White Award in any other year. Deadline: 31st JanuaryFree entry. Prize: £200 and publication in Interzone, the UK’s leading science fiction magazine. See for details.
  • Short stories: Other competitions include Bury St EdmundsChudleighFiction DeskGlimmer Train (different category each month), Home-Start BridgewaterMslexiaNational Galleries ScotlandNottingham Writers’ ClubWriting / Writers’ News magazines (monthly),


Related articles (tips on entering writing competitions)

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. Guidelines on guest-blogs. There are other options (including author spotlights, interview, poetry, flash fiction, short story reviews etc.) listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.

Read the rest of this entry »


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Author Spotlight no.327 – Ken La Salle

Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the three hundred and twenty-seventh, is of multi-genre author and interviewee Ken La Salle. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.

Ken-02aAuthor and Playwright, Ken La Salle has made a virtue of versatility. Not only is he adept at switching hats between author and playwright but he also publishes much of his own work, produces his own audiobooks, hosts his own podcast, and creates several video series on YouTube.

Coming from a background in theater, where roles are swapped like caps on a regular basis, La Salle wasn’t comfortable with the idea of writing in just one genre and just one voice. As a result, he switches between fiction and non-fiction and jumps between genres as well. The gravitational pull of theater also exerts a force, which means La Salle also writes several new plays each year. Not being a specialist comes at a price but La Salle has seen his plays on stages around the country and his books finding better reviews and reception with each published work.

Climbing Maya thumbnailWhen you’re not a star, it’s difficult to find publication for literary non-fiction, such as a memoir. But Ken La Salle hasn’t allowed that to stop him. Instead, he has dived, head first, into publishing his own work, most of which is available on all e-book formats. This gives him the freedom to develop the kinds of projects he likes, even as he works with his agent, Jeanie Loiacono, to publish some projects with traditional publishers. (Climbing Maya, from Solstice Publishing, is available in both digital and paperback.)

Recently, La Salle found that he did not need to leave his performing background too far behind when he launched a line of audiobooks. Written, read, and produced by the author, they include everything from fiction, to inspirational, to memoir with the library still growing. All books are available on Audible, iTunes, and around the web.

In Our Selves coverLa Salle’s inspirational work is all rooted in the same message: Follow your dreams! This can be found in his monthly piece on the Recovering The Self website. Earlier this year, La Salle followed another avenue for getting his message out with his new podcast, So Dream Something, which can be found on iTunes, around the web, and on his website. Each month on So Dream Something, La Salle interviews someone who has followed their dreams to learn the highs and lows and lessons from some very different perspectives. Some of his guests have included writers, actors, painters, teachers, and a woman who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail at the age of 58.

Ken La Salle is not stopping there, however. Recently, he also launched several new series on YouTube to highlight his talents and help get the word out about his books. My Side is a monthly series about random anythingness and the meaning of life… somewhat. Radio de’Olde is Theater of the Mind in bite-sized servings and hard to swallow caplets. Lastly, 5 Brief Minutes takes a specific topic and twists it beyond all recognition.

Ken La Salle hopes that all of this leads to increased book sales… because Top Ramen really sucks after 15 years.


And now from the author himself:


People often say this word to me as if I don’t know the meaning.


But at 47 years of age, I’m running out. My Patience meter is on “E”.

Ken La Salle (d) thumbnailWhen faced with the challenge of being a writer at a time when anyone with a keyboard and a monkey can take a turn at being a writer, I realized that my alternatives were to give up or lose my mind. And my sanity had plenty of dents in it already, anyway.

Here’s what I mean by “lose my mind”. I mean that my option was to dig myself even deeper into the hole I’d created by being a writer, embrace being a starving artist, with more energy than I knew I had. Or, as Joseph Campbell once said (and I then butchered), “When falling to your death, dive.”

I decided to do that by using every talent at my disposal.

This started with audiobooks. After all, I love audiobooks. True story: I’m not a big reader. I would much rather have books read to me. I’ve repurchased some of my favorite books in audio just to enjoy the experience. Why wouldn’t I want to provide that experience to my readers? As an actor, I loved the idea of reading my work aloud. All I had to do was set up a recording studio, purchase all the recording equipment (which is far less than you might think), and find a distributor. While this might sound intimidating, keep in mind the whole “losing my mind” bit.

But I wasn’t done there. Already having the recording setup, I thought it might be nice to join the whole “podcasting” movement. I’m a firm believer in following your dreams, no matter what they might be. Dreams make us better people, and I wanted to get that message across. What better way to do it than to invite others on who were following their dreams. These episodes have been an inspiration to me and have helped me continue in my endeavors, even when the world seems deaf and apathetic.

This, of course, brings me to the craziest idea of all: the YouTube videos.

Here’s something you might not know about me. I don’t really know the meaning of the word “confidence”. So the idea of creating my own series of videos – worse still, the idea of anyone being at all interested – was just deranged from the start. And yet, I knew they would be a lot of fun to create. And this is what gave me the courage to do it. Yes, courage – because the land of YouTube is fraught with trolls and other beasties and being ignored is not the worst thing that could happen.

The bottom line, though, is that I have only one chance to be a successful writer and, if I’m going to take that chance, I have to take it for all its worth. And this is where I ask you, dear reader, to give me a try. I have books available in digital formats, in paperback, in audio – and so much more content to listen to there’s bound to be something to catch your imagination.

I certainly hope you’ll give my work a try with my thanks.


You can find more about Ken and his writing via…

A Grand Canyon coverSW Blue Food Layered Cover Death Misses layered cover WoDVod cover


If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at opportunities-on-this-blog (the spotlights are option (a)) or email me for details.

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I welcome items for critique directly (see Editing & Critique) or for posting on the online writing groups listed below:

Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group

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