100-word October results out hopefully tomorrow (Monday)

Yes, sorry about that. I usually aim for the 15th but I’ve been a tad busy this month. Blame NaNoWriMo. I’m currently 7,143 words behind and it’s a new day in <checks> an hour. Oops. So 8,810 tomorrow. Hey ho. I’ve written 5,000 words today so if I keep going at that rate. I’m almost ready with the results but want to go through the stories one more time as I have too many still to select. It just means they’re that good… and I’m a tough crowd.

The good news is that I’m writing the follow up to The Serial Dater’s Shopping List, The Serial Dieter’s Shopping List, with Donna and the helm this time. It’s lovely being back with her, Izzy, William and Duncan (although he’s not featured very much yet – at 22,863 words).

Donna’s been seconded to the sister paper at Hemel Hempstead and stays with her mum in Tring (both Hertfordshire) so if you know that part of the world…

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A busy day – five ‘woo hoo’s and it’s only 3pm!

The day started off brilliantly with me finding out I’d been longlisted, with 121 others(!), for my 143-word story ‘Two Peas’, written especially for Ad Hoc Fiction for their theme of ‘door’. To read the story (and if you enjoy it please click on the ‘Vote’ button) please pop along to https://adhocfiction.com/read/#FlashEbook then keep clicking on the ‘xx more’ until it shows ’53 more’. (NB. there are only a few days to do so; the current theme is ‘Feed’ and then votes for that will open October 30th replacing this one.) Thank you!

Secondly, I’ve been interviewed over at TL Clark’s blog, and starts…

Author name: Hello. I’m Morgen Bailey.
Morgen with an E. Not to be confused with the handful of MorgAn Baileys (mostly American), including a rocket scientist, basketball player, Green politician, and transsexual porn star. I get some interesting Google Alerts!

Are you a traditionally published/indie/hybrid author?
I’m both. I self-published seven books between 2011 and early 2018, and my eighth, The Serial Dater’s Shopping List, was traditionally published, the first of a two-book deal, by Bombshell Books (part of Bloodhound Books) in July 2018. (Hello Betsy, Fred, team, and fellow Bombshells!)  Self-publishing means the author has total control but not the support of a publisher or agent. I’ve been very lucky with Bombshell in that I got to choose the (fabulous) cover, and had a blog tour and review promotions upon release. These days it’s generally up to the author anyway to do most of the marketing and I’m hiring two marketeers to help with this.

Thirdly, I’m the judge for the annual Flash 500 Short Story competition! You have until the end of February to submit your stories but it’s never too early to start planning. Lorraine says, “We are looking for stories ranging between 1,000 and 3,000 words, with strong characters, a well-crafted plot and realistic dialogue (where used). Make us laugh, make us cry, but most of all, make us feel!” That’s exactly how I judge too! Click on the link or photo above to find out more.

Fourthly, I’m going to be one of The National Association of Writers Groups’ (NAWG) regular contributors to their bi-monthly ‘Link’ magazine. You can look forward to writing and editing tips, competition advice and more. Click here for more details.

And fifthly (not finally as the day’s far from over…), an anthology I contributed a (very British, based in Cambridge and inspired by Trinity College’s Great Run) story to is available for pre-order from Amazon. See https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cool-Weather-Warm-Hearts-Anthology-ebook/dp/B07G4LK4XQ for details. Clicking on the picture below will also take you there.

 

Why readers are so important

What is a writer… or more appropriately, a published author without readers? Not nothing, because we can still write for pleasure, but most of us put work out there to be read, not to make lots of money… although that would be nice.

I’m prompted to write this following a wonderful email I received today:

“Is there a follow up to The Serial Dater’s Shopping List? It just ended too fast. I spent all this time getting thru izzys adventures and it was just like you, said okay i reached my word quota gotta STOP now.”

I loved it. My book is just over 100,000 words so no mean feat getting to the end too fast. Some, especially those on Amazon.com didn’t get that far, which makes me really sad as an author.

So if you’ve read a book you’ve enjoyed, especially if it’s mine (you can click on the picture to find out more about this one!), please do leave a review wherever you bought it, and on Goodreads (I have over six times more reviews there than on Amazon – the latest is below), and if you could spare the time to drop the author an email, it really would mean the world to them.

My latest review on Goodreads (as of 8th October)…

“31 days – 31 dates truly sounds exhausting, confusing and exhilarating at the same time. “The Serial Dater’s Shopping List” was a great, lighthearted summer time read. Having done my fair share on online dating I thought I would truly enjoy this book and I was right. Some of Izzy’s dates reminded me of my own which had me laughing and all of her dates had me reconsidering doing online dating again.

I do have to admit that the ending was a little frustrating for me. I felt like while some things were resolved there needed to be a little more context there before ending the story. Too much is left up to the reader’s imagination, which while some like that I do not. In addition, I knew before starting this book that it was a UK title and therefore would reference many British things. However, I was not expecting to be so confused at times but the slang terms Izzy used. All in all though I truly enjoyed this book. Not something that kept me up at night wanting me to read, but it was enjoyable. I received my copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.” Thank you, Tiffany!

The Serial Dater’s first reviews

My latest ‘baby’ is only hours old but already some fabulous reviews. I’ll probably bore you rigid with all my gushing, or rather other people’s mild gushing but it makes a change to talk about my writing…

And on Amazon.co.uk:

“A light-hearted and fun read as we follow Izzy through the month of May and her 31 dates. With the dates as the focal point, we as the reader accompany Izzy as she meets an assortment of men in a range of places. Through her column Izzy then reflects on her dates and her month of dating and develops a ‘shopping list’ of dos and don’ts for online dating – hence the title of the book. Within the context of writing her column we get to meet Izzy’s best work friend – Donna a lively character and her boss William as well as observing the general office dynamics. Written entirely in the first person I enjoyed this book a lot, while I struggled to hold in mind the 31 men as individuals this didn’t matter although there were many funny moments along the way. I particularly enjoyed the newspaper column entries where Izzy reflected on how the date had gone and what she had learnt from the experience. These articles bought to mind Carrie Bradshaw (who I love) and I could almost hear the voice of Sarah Jessica Parker as she ‘couldn’t help to wonder’. Make no mistake though, this isn’t Sex and the City – it’s a great story in it’s own right. Izzy as a character was likeable – as a professional journalist she was strong and confident, she took the task in her stride and although some of the men she met can only be described as fools, she was unaffected by knock backs and refused to let the words or behaviours of some of her dates affect her confidence. I found this stance admirable as she engaged in the task assigned to her in a pragmatic manner, committed to enjoy the experience as well as creating a terrific column for the newspaper. Overall a very enjoyable read – short chapters, generally broken down into sections detailing the date, the office and the article, maintained my engagement as a reader. Despite being a ‘light’ read, Izzy’s reflections carried words of wisdom as did her attitude as a strong female character. Recommended reading by me!”

“Laugh out loud is right. It’s a bit of a while since I was last dating, and this book brought it all screaming back to me. And reminded me not to be so petty with my hubs about him leaving pants on the floor and forgetting to put the bins out. After all, he is pretty perfect, and judging by my past dates, I am lucky to have him (and not be out in the dating pool again!). In the first few chapters, sometimes I felt that there was a bit too much detail in the way of information, that did detract from the story to begin with. As the book went on however, the writing flowed a lot better, and I realised that this was clever and quite intentional. The main character, Izzy is a bit set in her routine, and as single people get, used to living her life her way, and this came across in the pages. Once she got into the flow of dating, and the social aspects both good and bad, I felt that the character loosened up a lot more, and this showed in the writing. The idea of the book is refreshing, and smartly written, and the ending was just beautiful. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable smart novel that should silence the ‘fluffy read’ critics with a well executed zinger of a line. I would definitely swipe right for this one. The book is out today from Bombshell Books, so if you fancy buying it, or reading more about the author, read on!”

“It took a few pages for the book to get going but once it did, I was hooked. Once you get to the dates themselves, it is very funny and probably has situations that you have found yourself in at some point or another! Worth a read and a good book to take on holiday!”

And on Amazon.com:

“I liked the writing style where each chapter was a different date! Throughout the whole book I was hoping for a certain ending, and it did not disappoint. As someone who has participated in online dating, I felt so much of this book was spot-on to real life, and even though it was just an experiment, you felt Good her frustration and happiness she experienced throughout! I will say that 31 dates seemed like a lot as I was reading – probably because I was anxious to see how it was going to end up for Izzy, Donna, Duncan, and William! A good read!” (I chopped off a bit of a spoiler at the start.)

Latest News… (scroll down for new content) Morgen signs with Bombshell Books!

Yes! I’m beyond excited… my women’s fiction novel The Serial Dater’s Shopping List has been picked up by Bombshell Books, an imprint of Bloodhound Books! It’ll be published on Thursday 12th July 2018, available online and from all good bookshops (so do support your local bookshop and ask for your copy). 🙂

– Tagline: 31 men in 31 days what could possibly go wrong?

– Short blurb: Given the challenge of dating 31 men in 31 days by boss William, technology journalist Isobel soon realises that her list of ‘wants’ and the reality of the men she meets are eons apart. Will she meet the man of her dreams or does the mix of the weird and wonderful instil in her that she’s destined to be single?

– Long blurb: Isobel MacFarlane is a recently-turned-40 journalist who usually writes a technology column for a newspaper based in Northampton, England, but her somewhat-intimidating boss, William, has set her the task of meeting 31 men, via a local internet dating site, all within a month. Having an active, though fruitless, social life with her friend and ‘Health & Beauty’ colleague Donna, she knows what she wants in a man, so creates a shopping list of dos and don’ts, and starts ticking them off as she meets Mr Could Be Right Except For, Mr Not Bad, Mr Oh My Goodness and Mr Oh So Very Wrong. Follow the ups (there are a few) and downs (there are many) of the dating process and intertwined with her experiences, get to know her colleague and family, including her niece Lola who, apart from being an amazing storyteller, can eat ambidextrously whilst wearing a Princess glove puppet on her right hand, and Baby, William’s non-too-healthy African Grey parrot.

And you can watch John Scotcher read the first chapter… click the ‘play’ icon in the screen below…

My ‘5pm Fictions Collection’ (250 stories) is free today… for the last time!

This is the full collection of five volumes (250 stories) written one a day, and is free today, Saturday 31st March.

The stories in these collections vary in length, point of view (first, second and third) and genre.

Volume 1: Here there are family heirlooms, thefts, murders, kidnapping, Chelsea buns, and alien hums. We meet mothers, strange little girls, characters looking to improve themselves, and several cold feet.

Volume 2: There are criminals, victims, revenge, men in uniform, luck and misfortune, sharp edges, sticky red hands, no faded circle of skin. We meet a generous aunt, a fan of Hawaiian shirts, a modern-day Cleopatra, and a young girl with wings.

Volume 3: Here we have neighbourhood watch, chalk and fromage, a picture on a mantelpiece, , a whooshing sound. We meet a daddy’s girl, a cry baby, Dad’s Army, a borrowed dog, an African grey parrot, amateur actors, and others who don’t listen, are doing their best, feel stupid, or should have knocked.

Volume 4: Here we have young and old love, spirited and strained relationships, local and exotic locations, and those who love or loathe shopping, circuses and those who think their life is a circus. We meet a disillusioned artist, an eight-foot tall blue alien, untidy teenagers, a fortune teller, and several dogs and dead (human) bodies.

Volume 5: Here we have a passion wagon, a full moon, police escorts, tugged hearts and curved smiles. We meet a variety of dogs (including borrowed and best in show), a ghost from a half-empty bed, an American werewolf in London, a contented tree, and spouses with revenge on their mind.

Download this for free today from http://mybook.to/5pmFictionCollection (this link leads to the Amazon store in your country) and you can see the writing prompts that inspired these collections at can see the writing prompts that inspired this collection at https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/my-writing/short-stories/5pm-fiction.

Below is one of the stories from this collection (my favourite):

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