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April-deadline writing competitions

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

I will be adding more so keep an eye out for the latest info. on the competitions calendar page which also lists regular competitions (weekly, monthly, quarterly) and competition websites (scroll down to December and keep going).

  • Children’s: puffindigitalprize.co.uk.
  • Flash FictionIndies Unlimited hosts a weekly 250-word max. prompt competition – see Indies Unlimited. Also see ‘Short stories’ below.
  • Flash Fiction: Weekly challenge on theironwriter.com.
  • 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.
  • Flash Fiction: The NLG Flash Fiction Competition (that I am Head Judge of) is now open – see ‘June’ for full details.
  • Flash Fiction: The New Writer Annual Prose & Poetry Prizes launches every April. £2,000 in prizes. Closing date 30th November. Short stories, flash fiction and poetry.
  • Mixed: Winchester Writers’ Conference has opened their mixed writing competitions (deadline late May). Details in their competitions brochure. £7 per entry if attending, £9 if not.
  • Mixed: Christian magazine Pockets has a different theme per month.
  • Mixed (novels & short story collections): iWriteReadRate and Cornerstones Literary Consultancy (voteformyebook.com) are offering a monthly social competition to members of the community – see ‘Monthly’ towards the end of this page.
  • 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 novelrocket.com/p/launch-pad-contest.html. 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. NB. The entry fee is $45 so give this very careful consideration.
  • NovelsRubery Book Award First Prize is £1,000 and the winning book is guaranteed to be read by a top London literary agent from MBA Lit. Second and third prizes are £200 and £75 respectively. The books should either be published by an independent press or self-published. All genres welcome. Visit ruberybookaward.com for more details. Deadline 30th April.
  • Playwriting: The King’s Cross Award For New Writing. Up to two full-length plays may be entered per writer, unpublished and unperformed scripts only. £5,000 prize. Closing date 30 Aprilthecourtyard.org.uk/content/25/writers-group.
  • Poetry: Poetry-Next-The-Sea Open Competition. Judge Heidi Williamson, max 40 lines, £100 first prize, closing date 6 Aprilpoetry-next-the-sea.com/index.html.
  • Poetry: UK’S First Bug Poetry Competition marking Buglife’s tenth year as the only conservation charity in Europe devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates, closing date 8 April.
  • Poetry: Buxton Poetry Competition History and Heritage theme, all ages, judge Philip Wells, 40 lines max, closing date 8 Aprilderby.ac.uk/buxtonpoetrycompetition.
  • 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: writers-forum.com/poetrycomp.html.
  • Poetry: other poetry competitions include Nonsense Poetry & Flash FictionVerWriting Magazine (WM: open to all theme: horror), poetrypf.co.uk, swconline.co.uk.
  • Poetry & Short stories: Deddington Writers’ Group Open Writing Competition Short Story or Poem. Competition information and entry forms available from website end January or send SAE to: 7, The Daedings, Deddington, OX15 ORT. 1st prize: £100, 2nd: £50,  3rd: £25, awarded in both categories. Closing date 13 April. See deddington.org.uk/community/arts/writing or deddingtonfestival.org.uk.
  • Poetry: The Royal Berkshire Poetry Competition open to all, 40 lines max, 1st prize £200, closing date 14 Aprilglowmagazine.me/poetry-competition.
  • Poetry: Poetry on the Lake International Poetry Competition has a theme of ‘metal’. Top prizes of €200, judges include Anne-Marie Fyfe, closing date 22 April. See poetryonthelake.org.
  • Poetry: Ver Poets Open Competition. 1st prize £600. 30 lines max, closing date 30 April. See verpoets.org.uk/news/competitions.
  • Poetry: Ware Poets Open Poetry Competition. Prizes: £600, £250, £100. £100: The Ware Sonnet Prize. Anthology publication for winners and shortlisted poets (£3.50 pre-ordered). Closing date 30 April. Informal prize-giving ceremony at Ware Arts Centre in July. Fee: £4;  4 poems for £12, then £3 per poem (in the same submission). Length:  up to 50 lines. Sole judge: Susan Utting. Include contact sheet with usual details. Download flyer from website, or send SAE: The Competition Secretary, Ware Poets Competition, 21 Trinity Road, Ware, Herts. SG12 7DB or email: warepoets_competition@hotmail.co.uk and see poetrypf.co.uk/images/compware13.pdf.
  • Poetry: Southport Writers’ Circle International Poetry Competition. First Prize £150, Second Prize £75, Third Prize £25 A maximum of 40 lines per poem is allowed. Closing date 30 April. See swconline.co.uk/n1/?cat=5.
  • Poetry: The New Writer Annual Prose & Poetry Prizes launches every April. £2,000 in prizes. Closing date 30th November. Short stories, flash fiction and poetry.
  • Screenwriting: Canada-based Wildsound run monthly screenwriting competitions.
  • Screenwritingoscars.org/awards/nicholl/apply.html is a screenwriting competition with a late April deadline.
  • ScriptRoyal Court Theatre’s 100-word plays and ‘Ticket to Write’: competition for stage plays about The Beatles lasting 15 minutes, closing date 5 Aprilacedrama.co.uk/index.html
  • Scriptwriting: The Nick Darke Award is open to all writers – stage play screenplay or radio play – prize fund £6,000. Closing date 29 Aprilfalmouth.ac.uk/nickdarkeaward.
  • Short stories: William Trevor / Elizabeth Bowen International Short Story Competition 1st prize €3,000, closing date 5 Aprilmitchelstownlit.com/index.html.
  • Short stories & Poetry: Deddington Writers’ Group Open Writing Competition, Short Story or Poem. Competition information and entry forms available from website end January or send SAE to: 7, The Daedings, Deddington, OX15 ORT. 1st prize: £100, 2nd: £50,  3rd: £25, awarded in both categories. Closing date 13 April. See deddington.org.uk/community/arts/writing or deddingtonfestival.org.uk.
  • 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: http://writers-forum.com/storycomp.html.
  • Short stories: The Fowey Festival of Words and Music (formerly the Daphne du Maurier Festival) has announced the launch of the Short Story Competition. First Prize is £100 and Runner-up £75. Entry is £6.00 and entry form and full details at foweyfestival.com/the-du-maurier-festival-society-short-story-competition. The closing date is 19th April.
  • Short storiesGlimmer Train (different category each month), The Moth-Altun Short Story PrizeNonsense Poetry & Flash FictionNottingham Writing Magazine (WM: open to all theme: horror / subscriber-only theme: food), francobritishcouncil.org.uk, west-linton.org.uk/content/pentlands-writers-group. Also see Deddington in ‘Poetry…’ above.
  • 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: Young Writers’ Competition. The annual Young Writers’ Competition at Jane Austen’s House Museum is entering its fourth year and is now open for entries. Annalie Talent, Education Officer said ‘Next year is the 200th anniversary of publication of Pride and Prejudice and so we have made the theme of the competition First Impressions which was the original title of Jane’s best-loved novel.’ Entries should be short stories of 300-400 words and entrants can interpret the theme in any way they want. Entry is open to all UK school pupils in school years 7-11. There are two categories: years 7 and 8 and years 9, 10 & 11. The competition will be judged by Professor Kathryn Sutherland of St Anne’s College Oxford and the Museum’s previous Writer-in-Residence, Rebecca Smith.
Closing date 26 April. See jane-austens-house-museum.org.uk for details.
  • Short stories: first Annual Sara Park Memorial Short Story Competition. Theme Journeying, max 2000 words, closing date 30 Aprilredsquirrelpress.com/SquirrelCOMP.html.
  • Short stories: The James Plunkett Short Story Award for new and emerging writing talent, open to all writing in English who have not had a short story collection published. 1st prize €2,000, max 3000 words. Next closing date 30 April. See ireland-writers.com/index.htm.
  • Short stories: The Bristol Short Story Prize is open to all writers internationally over 16 years of age. Stories can be on any theme or subject and entry can be made online via the website or by post. Entries must be previously unpublished with a maximum length of 4,000 words (There is no minimum). Entry fee £8 per story. Closing date 30 April. 1st prize £1,000 plus £150 Waterstone’s gift card. 20 shortlisted writers will have their stories published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology. See bristolprize.co.uk.
  • Short storiesMassacre Magazine runs a quarterly horror 250-word max short story competition. Deadlines end April, July, October, January. “We will pick one winner who will receive a £15/$20 Amazon voucher and have their story published in the summer issue of Massacre Magazine. Our decision is final, any moaners will be mangled.” :)
  • Short stories: The New Writer Annual Prose & Poetry Prizes launches every April. £2,000 in prizes. Closing date 30th November. Short stories, flash fiction and poetry.
  • NB. Don’t forget to check out the competitions calendar page for regular competitions and comp websites.

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Posted by on March 31, 2014 in competitions, writing

 

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March Deadline Writing Competitions

competitions 677265Taken from this blog’s Competitions page, below are competitions closing next month. Below that are the regularly-held ones and other competition-related sites. I will be adding more to the Competitions page in the next few weeks so that’s always the best place to check but for now this is correct and plenty for you to be getting on with. Do let me know how you get on if you enter any of them (and / or if any of the details are incorrect)…

March deadline writing competitions
  • Children’sAcademy of Children’s WritersCrystal Magazine.
  • Flash FictionIndies Unlimited hosts a weekly 250-word max. prompt competition – see Indies Unlimited. Also see ‘Short stories’ below.
  • Flash Fiction: Weekly challenge on theironwriter.com.
  • 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.
  • Flash Fiction: Flashbang is now open to entries: flashbangcontest.wordpress.com. Sponsored by CrimeFest. £2 entry fee. 150 words maximum. Deadline 1st March. First prize is two passes to CrimeFest. Shortlisted and winning stories published online. Full details are here.
  • Flash Fiction: Erewash has a free flash fiction competition. Deadline noon (UK time) 21st March. Full details here.
  • Flash Fiction: The Berkhampstead Writing Competition has a 31st March deadline.
  • Flash Fiction: The Flash 500 Fiction Competition, established 2009, is a quarterly open-themed competition for fiction up to 500 words has closing dates of 31st March, 30th June, 30th September and 31st December. Entry fee: £5 for one story, £8 for two stories. Prizes: £300 plus publication in Words with JAM, £100 and £50.
  • Flash Fiction: The NLG Flash Fiction Competition (that I am Head Judge of) is now open – see ‘June’ for full details.
  • Mixed: Winchester Writers’ Conference has opened their 17(!) mixed writing competitions (deadline 24th May). Details in their competitions brochure. £7 per entry if attending, £9 if not.
  • Mixed: Words for the Wounded (W4W) is a new charity that raises money via writing prizes and donations for the rehabilitation of wounded servicemen and women. All proceeds will be passed to projects such as Battle Back, funded by Help for Heroes, which uses sports rehabilitation to help wounded service personnel gain independence and confidence. W4W is launching its first writing prize on Armistice Day, November 11, and is calling for all non-writers, aspiring, and experienced writers to enter. Entries can be up to 400 words, written in poetry or prose, fiction or life story tale. Winners will receive a small cash prize and their entries will be published in the monthly writers’ magazine Writers’ Forum (writers-forum/com). Entry costs £4.50 and the deadline is March 11, winners will be announced on 6 June (D Day). Prizes £250, £100, £50. Oscar-winning screen writer and author Julian Fellowes and his wife Emma are among W4W’s patrons. Julian says: “Emma and I feel strongly that we must never forget the debt we all owe to these brave men and women. We are honoured to be involved in this wonderful charity.” Other patrons include Rt Hon Lord Ashdown, Lt. Col J. Dryburgh, authors Katie Fforde, Katherine McMahon, Louis de Bernieres, Sarah Challis and Mark Hodgson, Daisy Goodwin, paralympian Ann Wild OBE, Taryn Lee QC, artist Rowena Hampton, extreme sportsman  Hugh Williams Preece, Lt Ian Thornson and Founder/Director of the Winchester Writers’ Conference Barbara Large. For more information, see wordsforthewounded.co.uk or follow us on Twitter @Words_4_Wounded.
  • Mixed: Christian magazine ‘Pockets‘ has a different theme per month.
  • Mixedhelenwhittaker.net/phpBB2 (shorts & poetry).
  • Mixed (novels & short story collections): iWriteReadRate and Cornerstones Literary Consultancy (voteformyebook.com) are offering a monthly social competition to members of the community – see ‘Monthly’ towards the end of this page.
  • 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 novelrocket.com/p/launch-pad-contest.html. 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. NB. The entry fee is $45 so give this very careful consideration.
  • Novels: other March-deadline competitions include Dundee International Book Prize and The Next Big Author.
  • PlaywritingWindsor Fringe Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama. and sohotheatre.com (Verity Bargate Award).
  • Playwriting: Cambridge Theatre Challenge: Would you like to write a one act play for the stage and enter it in a competition where short listed plays are given full performance, judged by the audience, considered for publication and given a written assessment by a publishing company? The winning playwright will also receive a cash prize of £200. Every play will be read in its entirety by a minimum of two judges and entrants will receive two lots of feedback on request, at no extra charge! A shortlist of up to ten plays will be drawn up and posted on the Sky Blue website.  Local actors and a production team will be assembled by professional directors to rehearse the plays for performance at the Junction Theatre in Cambridge early July where the audience will vote for the winner. Closing date for submissions is 30th March. Plays must be submitted on line and full details can be found on our website skybluetheatre.com/newplaywriting.php.
  • 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: writers-forum.com/poetrycomp.html.
  • Poetry: The Flash 500 Humour Verse Competition, established in 2010, welcomes any form of humour verse will be accepted, from a limerick to a poem of 32 lines. This is also a quarterly competition with closing dates of 31st March, 30th June, 30th September and 31st December. Entry fee: £3 for the first poem, £2.50 for each poem thereafter. Prizes: £150 plus publication in Words with JAM, £100 and £50.
  • Poetry: other poetry competitions include Cardiff InternationalFish Prize for PoetryLiterature WalesMAGMichael Marks (pamphlets), Northern Writers’ AwardsWriting Magazine (WM: open to all theme: creative acrostic mini), davidburlandpoetryprize.comtreehousepress.co.uk (Three-in-One), towerpoetry.org.ukfirebirdpoetry.comscottishbooktrust.com/familylegends.
  • Screenwriting: Canada-based Wildsound run monthly screenwriting competitions.
  • Scriptseuroscript.co.uk.
  • 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: http://writers-forum.com/storycomp.html.
  • Short stories: Mslexia Women’s Short Story Competition. 1st prize £2,000. Closing date 18th Marchmslexia.co.uk/whatson/msbusiness/scomp_active.php.
  • Short stories: Graffiti Magazine Short Story Competition Rules: *For crime stories* 1. Closing date March 16th2. Entries must be in English and be the writer’s own unpublished work. They must not be on offer for publication or entered in any other current competition; 3. Maximum length 1,500 words; 4. Each piece of work, with its title, must be in clear type on one side of A4 sheet(s). Details of the writer must not appear on this sheet; 5. The name and address of the writer and the titles of all entries should be typed on a separate sheet of A4 paper; 6. The prize-winner will be notified by post, if SAE provided, or by email if email address is provided; 7. Entries are only accepted by post. Please keep a copy of your work, as entries will not be returned; 8. The fee is £3 per story. Cheques / Postal Orders in sterling only, should be made payable to ‘Catchword Writing Group’; 9. All entries that arrive on time will be considered by the adjudicator, whose decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into concerning the result; 10. Competitors wishing to be informed of the results should enclose an SAE marked ‘Results’ or provide an email address. Send entries to: Graffiti Magazine Writing Competition, c/o 33 Sandford Leaze, Avening, Glos. GL8 8PB (UK). Prize: £25 The winning entry and up to five of the short listed stories will be published in Graffiti. For more information: graffiti.magazine@yahoo.co.uk.
  • 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 storiesThresholds International Short Story Forum Feature Writing Competition. Free to enter, international, max 1500 words, 1st prize £500, closing date 27 March.
  • Short stories: The Bath Short Story Award opened for entries in October. This new international competition welcomes stories of up to 2,200 words on any theme or subject from published or unpublished writers. Prizes are as follows: 1st £500, 2nd £100, 3rd £50, and a local prize of £50. The competition closes March 30th. For further details see bathshortstoryaward.co.uk.
  • Short storiesWriters’ Village runs a quarterly short story competition which attracts entrants worldwide. Click here for the rules… and every entrant receives invaluable critique! Their spring deadline is 31st March.
  • Short stories: The Yellow Room Spring Short Story Competition has a max 1,000 words, any theme, first prize £100, closing date 31 March.
  • Short stories: Stringybark Erotic Short Fiction Award. International, max 1800 words. Closing date 31 March. Find out more about the award here.
  • Short storiesLightship One-page Short Story Competition. Max 300 words. Closing date 31 March.
  • Short stories: Exeter Writers Short Story Competition. The first prize is £500, 2nd and 3rd are £250 and £100. There is also an additional prize of £100 for a writer living in Devon. Stories can be in any genre except for children, they can be up to 3,000 words and the entry fee is £5 per story. The closing date is 31st March.  Rules/entry form: exeterwriters.org.uk or you can send a stamped self-addressed envelope (SAE) to Competition, 4 Albion Place, Exeter EX4 6LH.
  • Short stories: Short Fiction, The Visual Literary Journal. Annual Short Story Competition
    1st prize £500 plus publication, max 5,000 words. Closing date 31 March.
  • Short storiesThe Moth Magazine Short Story Prize. Judge Martina Evans, 1st prize €1,000 + publication, closing date 31 March.
  • Short stories: One of the UK’s largest and oldest writing groups, West Sussex Writers, is running its second national short story competition. With an open theme, generous word count and final judge, Pam Weaver. West Sussex Writers hopes to attract the cream of the UK’s short story writers. Max 3000 words. Closing date 31 March. 1st prize £200; 2nd prize £75; 3rd prize £50.
  • Short stories: Five Stop Story runs a quarterly short story competition (end March / June / September / December). Membership to the site is £25 but you get to enter up to five stories in each competition. Further details at fivestopstory.com/write.
  • Short stories: Other March short story competitions include CalderdaleChapter One RomanticDark TalesExeter WritersFish Prize for Flash FictionGlimmer Train (different category each month), Meridian WritingMslexiaNorthern Writers’ AwardsRider HaggardWriting Magazine (WM: open to all open: 750-words max / subscriber-only theme: last line ‘Out she walked with a spring in her step.’), and Wyvern.
 

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February-deadline writing competitions

competitions 677265Below is a list of February-deadline competitions taken from this blog’s Competitions page. See that page for other months, regularly-held competitions and websites that list a variety of opportunities.

FEBRUARY

  • Children’sKelpies Prize.
  • Flash FictionIndies Unlimited hosts a weekly 250-word max. prompt competition – see Indies Unlimited. Also see ‘Short stories’ below.
  • Flash Fiction: Weekly challenge on theironwriter.com.
  • 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.
  • Mixedsumlitsem.orgscpsw.co.ukgracedieuwriterscircle.co.uk.
  • Mixed (novels & short story collections): iWriteReadRate and Cornerstones Literary Consultancy (voteformyebook.com) are offering a monthly social competition to members of the community – see ‘Monthly’ towards the end of this page.
  • Novels: New for 2014 is the Bath Novel Award which has a closing date of 28 February 2014 and a top prize of £1,000. They’re also on Twitter.
  • 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 novelrocket.com/p/launch-pad-contest.html. 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. NB. The entry fee is $45 so give this very careful consideration. NB. The entry fee is $45 so give this very careful consideration.
  • Novels: other competitions include Acorn Independent Press Crime NovelCrime Writers Association Debut Dagger.
  • PoetryHungry Hill WritersNorwich Writers’ Circle Annual OpenStraid Collection AwardWriting / Writers’ News magazinestemplarpoetry.co.uk/awardswardwoodpublishing.co.uk (Lumen/Camden Poetry Comp).
  • 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: writers-forum.com/poetrycomp.html.
  • Screenwriting: Canada-based Wildsound run monthly screenwriting competitions.
  • ScriptThe Imison Award and comedy.co.uk/sitcom_mission.
  • Short stories: The Bath Short Story Award opened October for entries – see ‘March’.
  • 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: http://writers-forum.com/storycomp.html.
  • 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 storiesBBCCremonaEmerald Flash FictionGlimmer Train (different category each month), and Writing Magazine.

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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 http://www.thefictiondesk.com/submissions/flash-fiction-competition.php.
  • 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 theironwriter.com, 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: whidbeystudents.com/student-choice-contest.
  • Mixed (novels & short story collections): iWriteReadRate and Cornerstones Literary Consultancy (voteformyebook.com) 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 bronte.org.uk/bronte-society/creative-competition.
  • 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 novelrocket.com/p/launch-pad-contest.html. 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 booklinethinker.com/hookline.
  • 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: kentandsussexpoetry.com.
  • Poetry: other poetry competitions include Haiku CalendarHippocratesLeaf PressStrokestownWriting / Writers’ News magazines (monthly), haikusoc.ndo.co.ukslipstream-poets.co.ukbevlit.org.
  • 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: writers-forum.com/poetrycomp.html.
  • 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: http://writers-forum.com/storycomp.html.
  • 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 http://www.jameswhiteaward.com/rules 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), flair4words.co.uk/news.

***

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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5a.m. Flash 211212 – Kenny Johnston’s ‘Always Smiling Through the Tears’ fundraising 21 Dec to 31 Jan

I often run 5a.m. flashes to highlight free eBooks and today is slightly different. Kenny told me…

Kenny - ASTTT

From Friday 21st December to 31st January 2013, all profits from the book will go to three charities (Suicide Prevention, Domestic Violence and the Samaritans). I’m looking to raise over £10,000 to divide between the three charities. I’ll be working with the Grassroots Suicide Prevention and Hull Samaritans in January 2013 and most of the year.
Also, for Twitter and Facebook followers of the book, there will be exclusive opportunity to obtain the book as an e-book on Boxing day and New Years Eve, by PM the book’s Twitter account (@ASTTT_Book) or Facebook page (search ‘Always Smiling Through the Tears’ on Facebook).

As it is Christmas and bearing in mind, the value of things nowadays. If you could ask your followers or those interested in donating but unable to purchase the book, if they could ask their local bookstore or Library to stock the book, as it has been praised for being a very inspiring and motivational book for those suffering with Depression, Domestic Violence and having Suicidal thoughts to know, that they can overcome their situations and have a friend in the Author, who is willing to stand in front to protect them, behind them to motivate them and beside them as a friend, every step of the way.

If you require further information please feel free to contact me via Twitter or by email at alwayssmilingthroughthetears@gmail.com.

Also, see the Press Release for the book at http://www.theopenpress.com/press_release.php?year=2012&aid=159253.

For a preview of the first few chapters of the book, please press the book cover on Amazon Kindle at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Always-Smiling-Through-Tears-ebook/dp/B00ANNA4DM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1355742209&sr=8-2.

Thank you very much, Kenny. I hope it does really well.

***

** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!

See http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008E88JN0

or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books (including my debut novel!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.

For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.

As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do, and a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words (and post stories of up to 3,000 words). Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me posting it online in my new Red Pen Critique Sunday night posts, then do email me. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 

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Short Story Saturday Review 018: Samantha and the Cockerel by Maggie Harris

Maggie HarrisWelcome to the Short Story Saturday slot and the eighteenth review in this series. This week’s review is of one of the short stories of a collection, ‘Canterbury Tales on a Cockcrow Morning’, by poet, short story author, memoirist and interviewee Maggie Harris.

The first sentence launches us into Samantha’s world and the dilemma of the noisy cockerel. With Samantha being a newcomer to the village we know this is going to spell trouble. We know it’s set in modern-day times by the 4×4 and new-build house, and from the off, the language is very rich with such phrases as ‘was wheedled into her turquoise gaze like a fisherman fighting a large tuna’. The tone is very friendly, as if the reader is sitting by a fire being told this tale, and the dialogue authentic, which adds another layer. There are touches throughout the piece that give clues as to Samantha’s lifestyle; the signed copy of Nigella’s latest book, the Hunter wellingtons and Home & Gardens magazine. We can’t help but take to the characters, good and bad, and feel every increasingly sorry for Gareth, although when he doesn’t defend Samantha as she expects him to do, our sympathy does switch slightly.

Samantha’s not going to win fans of Primark shoppers but that’s the great thing about fiction; we can have our characters being as horrible (snooty in Samantha’s case) as we’d like them to be.

I loved the twist when she goes into the local shop then when her plans are even more scuppered when we find out that her neighbour is involved in something Samantha has her sights on. But then events change again and we have the climax to the story which will definitely raise a smile.

This story is just one of fifteen so if they are as enjoyable as this one, you won’t be disappointed.

Thank you, Maggie, for inviting me read to your story.

maggie-coverCanterbury Tales on a Cockcrow Morning is a collection of short stories; 15 tales of modern-day Canterbury. From a homeless girl to a Chinese take-away owner who likes Country and Western, from a run-away schoolgirl who wants to be in a music video to a tale of two friends who meet up through the years: the stories link new migrants to Canterbury through their own voices, the voice of the storyteller and the city itself. Published by Cultured Llama in August 2012, the book will be launched and performed during the Canterbury Festival in October.

Maggie Harris has published five collections of poetry, and a memoir Kiskadee Girl. Her first collection, Limbolands won The Guyana Prize for Literature 2000. Her short story collection, Canterbury Tales on a Cockcrow Morning was published in August 2012, and launched during the Canterbury Festival. Her website is www.maggieharris.co.uk, she’s on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/maggie.harris.984786) and LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/maggie-harris/27/540/217).

Canterbury Tales on a Cockcrow Morning is now out and had a successful launch in the Kent towns of Canterbury and Thanet, with more than 100 people coming along to the events. Maggie says, “I have struck oil with my current publishers, Cultured Llama, who are the most hard-working, hands-on, friendly, fair and helpful publishers.” That’s great news. Congratulations, Maggie.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with erotic writer and author marketing adviser Lucy Felthouse – the five hundred and eighty-third of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!

See http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008E88JN0

or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books (including my debut novel!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.

For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.

As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do, and a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words (and post stories of up to 3,000 words). Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me posting it online in my new Red Pen Critique Sunday night posts, then do email me. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 

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Author Spotlight no.144 – Jill Dobbe

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the one hundred and forty-fourth, is of memoirist and travel writer Jill Dobbe.

JillJill Dobbe has been an educator for 25 years and an overseas educator for 18 of those years.  She has also recently become an author of a travel memoir.  Jill grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, USA, and has always been interested in travelling.  After earning a BS in Education she dreamed of going off into the world to become a teacher.  However, not long after college, she met her husband and found herself married and pregnant with her first child.  Her dream of travelling did not end however, and after two children, she and her husband, also an educator, moved from their small town across the world to an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  The life of teaching and living abroad began on that island and continued on for ten years.  Jill and her husband eventually moved to four different countries during those years.  Their children grew from toddlers into worldly teenagers, while all together they experienced safaris in South Africa, typhoons on Guam, and the Chinese New Year in Singapore.  Eventually, Jill returned to the U.S. with her family after literally moving around the world in those ten years.  As they settled back into American life, reverse culture shock set in and once again, they found themselves having to get used to another culture-the American culture.

Jill and her husband continue to live overseas and presently work at an American school in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  Their two children are now adults and their son has gone on to medical school and their daughter has followed both of them into overseas education.  She also currently works in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

And now from the author herself:

I have always loved to read and always packed a suitcase full of paperbacks when we moved.  I never considered writing my own book though, until my husband suggested it.

Here We Are - exterior - ver1JPGI wrote HERE WE ARE & THERE WE GO: Teaching and Traveling With Two Kids in Tow, a travel memoir about our ten years of living, working, and travelling overseas together.  I had a lot of stories to tell that were somewhat crazy, humorous at times, and even a little scary.  I wrote my memoir as a way to explain why we enjoy this crazy lifestyle, but also to advise couples who have children, that you really can travel with your kids and learn a lot more about the world than you thought you would.  Anyone can find something to relate to in my book; educators who are currently teaching overseas or those who are considering it, travelers with and without children, even the armchair travelers.

My book was really a labor of love for me as my family and I reminisced together about all of our adventures during those ten years, both good and bad.  We talked, laughed, and reminded each other of what we all went through, while I continuously wrote everything down transforming it into a travel memoir and dedicating it to my lifelong travelling companions, my husband and kids.

You can find more about Jill and her writing via…

***

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with non-fiction author James Bishop – the five hundred and eightieth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!

See http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008E88JN0

or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books (including my debut novel!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.

For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.

As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do, and a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me posting it online in my new Red Pen Critique Sunday night posts, then do email me. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 

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5am Flash: Indie Author Books – Non-fiction

Having seen one of my interviewees Rosanne Dingli say on a LinkedIn thread: “someone should write a blog soon about all the wonderful indie books available by very capable writers”, I challenged them to give me a <15-word synopsis for their book(s)… they are accepting the challenge and their books are appearing here. What I’m after is your name (listed within each section alphabetically by first name), your website / blog address, book title, book link (where we can buy it), genre and summary in no more than 15 words (a test of your editing skills :)). You can email me these details for up to 5 of your books (please don’t paste them into this page’s comments section). My free and $0.99-$2.99 eBooks are detailed on the Books – mine page.

Non-Fiction (including auto/biographies)

Click here for Fiction – children’s / Y.A.

Click here for Fiction – novels & novellas

Click here for Fiction – poetry

Click here for Fiction – script

Click here for Fiction – short stories (includes flash fiction)

So what I’m after is your name (listed above alphabetically by first name), your website / blog address, book title, book link (where we can buy it), genre and summary in no more than 15 words (a test of your editing skills :)). You can email me these details for up to 5 of your books (please don’t paste them into this page’s comments section). My books and free short stories are detailed on the Books – mine page. Please note: the chances are that I’ve not read the books listed on this page (much as I would like to have done) so these are therefore not personal recommendations but are, in the main, by authors who I have chatted to, interviewed or got to know… even just a little bit. :) Kindle Fiction recommends a variety of eBooks and if you’ve read any eBooks you’d like to recommend then you can email suggestions to kindlesrp@gmail.com.

** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!

See http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008E88JN0

or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books (including my debut novel!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.

For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.

As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do, and a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me posting it online in my new Red Pen Critique Sunday night posts, then do email me. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 

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Author Spotlight no.136 – memoirist Michelle Taylor

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the one hundred and thirty-sixth, is of memoirist and non-fiction author Michelle Taylor.

Please note: although I endeavour to keep this blog light and cheerful, I do cover all genres of writing and some are likely to be more diverse or sensitive than others. Michelle’s is a very traumatic and inspiring story.

Michelle Taylor is a National Speaker and Author who learned some very important lessons from her journey in life and raising her children – Justin, Jordan and Meghan. She has endured a lot of pain during the course of her life and is so proud of each of her children and their accomplishments. They taught her so much about love and literally saved her life as she managed to pick herself up each time, dust off and begin again.

Michelle’s life story of abusive relationships sends a strong message that the cycle of abuse must stop!  Victims of abuse can learn from her incredible journey that will give women the courage and strength to take positive steps in the right direction.

Many people do not understand why women stay in any verbal or physical abusive relationship.  The truth is many women become so accustomed to it and end up missing the control, abuse, pain and fear simply because they feel lost without it.

Learn from Michelle’s story how she rose above it all with strength, courage and wisdom and her strong faith in God. Michelle candidly shares her difficult journey and darkest secrets that kept her constantly on the run from herself. A definite page-turner that will inspire and motivate to heal those dealing with the pain of complicated feelings toward their abusers.

And now from the author herself:

I am a 45-year-old woman that lives in North Carolina, USA, and when I was twelve years of age that is when my whole world turned upside down. ‘Lies in the Womb’ is a story about the terrible truth of being born as the result of an affair. It is a story of surviving years of abuse, longing for unconditional love and dealing with years of lies. The important lessons learned will help those who have endured abuse or are still in an abusive relationship.

My Mother was married with a three-year-old child when she decided to have an affair, and I was the product of that affair. Needless to say my Mother lost custody of her first daughter because she was pregnant with another’s man baby. Because of this, it is something she never got over and took this pain out on me. I left home seven times between the age of twelve and fifteen. Soon afterwards I was gone for good and then that is when I got into domestic abuse, one relationship after another. I felt no self worth, nor did I feel like I deserved any better than what I was getting. It took me many years to get over all this pain, including Mother stealing my first child to get even with me for her losing her own daughter years ago. It is a very sad story and one that I have cried myself to sleep over many times in my life.

Lies In The Womb’s title came from me being a lie in my Mother’s womb, this is my first book that is being published by Tate Publishing, also I have written two more that go along with the first one, also being published by Tate. I have had several interviews on National TV already. My goal is to help men and women to feel self-worth. I tried three times to kill myself, I didn’t care if I lived or died after my Mother took my first child. I have been belittled all my life, emotional abused, physically abused, and more importantly mentally abused by others, including my own family.

One of the biggest problems when dealing with manipulators is being aware of what is happening.  It is high time we bring these actions out into the open.  To be honest, the best defense is to remove yourself from the toxic person, however, some manipulators behave the way they do because we make it easy for them to do it.  If you are reinforcing their behavior, sometimes these relationships can be salvaged, but not always.

Here are some examples of manipulators and the best way to handle them:

Those That Belittle You

Those who deliberately belittle you in attempts to control you are one of the worse types of manipulators. These people may say you’re not worthy of their company or may be a little more subtle than that by telling you, “You’ll never find another man or woman willing to put up with you like I do.”  The best defense is to give these people clear consequences for their actions. These people thrive from your reinforcement knowing that you won’t fight back. Instead, make it clear what will happen if they continue to act or say things that are demeaning to you. However, you must follow through with your threat. These partners will never treat you as an equal, unless you put the same amount of pressure on them to change, as they do for you to conform.

Imposers of Guilt

Partners that manipulate relationships by guilt, understand they have a strong hand when dealing with a person of a caring nature. They may claim their problems are your fault, making you feel like you have to put up with them, otherwise they will be placed in an even worse position than they already are. They are telling you that by being with them, you have become indebted to their happiness. The best way to deal with this kind of guilt is to appeal to the person’s self-image. Tell them that you’re sorry they’re going through a tough time, but you need a strong partner who can take care of himself or herself. If that doesn’t bring them around, they are not ready to accept responsibility for their own life, and you’re better off without them.

Conditional Love

Sometimes manipulators use conditional love to shape the tendencies of their partner. In other words, if you do what they want, they will offer kindness, attention, and love. However, the moment you fail to reach their expectations, they take it away, demanding you work within their terms. Your defense is to not give-in to make things better. If you give into their fits, even just once, they will learn that the best way to manipulate what they need, is by using love as a bargaining tool.

Good and Bad Times

Some manipulators fear intimacy, so they maintain a balancing act of both good and bad moments throughout the relationship. This keeps things from escalating to a commitment. The reason this works is because the bad or sad times influence a partner with low self-esteem to accept the poor treatment in order to regain the favor of their lover. The good times reinforce their commitment, by strengthening their belief that they must be in a blissful relationship. While you may not always be happy, you should never feel you have to beg for your partner’s forgiveness to reap a small reward. Your best defense is to remind yourself that anyone who intentionally hurts you is not worth your time. Take advantage of their next low point or sad moment to get out of the relationship.

Broken Promises

Some manipulators get what they want by making promises they won’t keep. They’re not all bad, as some just like the attention, or don’t have the backbone to tell a guy / girl they’re not interested. Their intention may be there, but when it comes time to deliver, there isn’t enough motivation to get the job done. In defense, you should never loan anything of value to someone you don’t know. In addition, when in doubt you should ask for the promise prior to holding up your end of the bargain. For example, if a partner promises not to lie if you take them back, tell them that you will, but first they must regain your trust. This is one way to establish consequences for their actions, while giving them the opportunity to avoid punishment in the future, by proving to be genuine with their commitments.

It can be difficult to avoid manipulators.  There is a common thread throughout all of the above and that is a lack of awareness.  If you are not happy in your relationship or feel insecure, there is a chance their intentions for you are not honorable.  It is my hope that you will become aware of what is happening before it’s too late and make the necessary changes.

My schedule has been rather hectic lately with speaking to various groups about my story of surviving abuse in many of my relationships.  Yesterday I took a break and watching a segment on Oprah’s Master Class.  She had a woman on the show that had been married to a man for 14 years.  Like many couples, they were madly in love at the beginning, got married and eventually had 2 children.

Things changed after the children arrived.  She noticed odd things beginning to happen like finding marbles or toy cars on the stairs at night after the children had gone to bed.  She always kept a glass of water on her nightstand and it tasted like metal, bitter and left a nasty taste in her mouth.  Soon, her husband started cooking meals, specifically dinner however, it too tasted odd.  In fact, she found a green substance underneath the cheese in a pizza he served her.  Turns out, it was rat poisoning.  Can you believe it?

The point is the signs were there and as Oprah pointed out, it was important for not only her guest, but for all of us to learn about the signs of abuse.  They are often subtle, silent and unexpected.  No one wants to believe that the person they fell in love with could possibly do something so horrible to their mate.  Her guest did not want to believe it was really happening but after the rat poison discovery, she finally took a stand, changed the locks, recorded their phone conversation where he admitted it was rat poisoning and finally, filed for divorce.

Unfortunately, many women get hooked on the roller-coaster ride of an abusive relationship or the need to please their husband or the man in their life.  Of course, when there are children involved, it makes it much harder to leave the relationship no matter what is going on, simply for financial issues.  It takes a lot of courage to leave a relationship and sometimes it takes time to gain some perspective on what is best for yourself as well as your children.

It is estimated that 80% of domestic abuse victims remain silent, suffocated by fear of the unknown life without their spouse, self-doubt and financial ruin.  Whatever is going on in your relationship, the first step is to recognize the signs and symptoms of an abusive relationship.  Here are some of the signs and symptoms of an abusive relationship:

  • Do you often feel afraid of your partner or avoid certain topics for fear of making him angry?
  • Can’t do anything right?
  • Feel you deserve to be mistreated or emotionally numb?
  • Does he ever yell at you or humiliate you in front of others?
  • Criticize or put you down
  • Excessively jealous?
  • Constantly checks up on you or looks through your cell phone?
  • Threaten to take your children away from you?
  • Force you to have sex?
  • Destroys your personal belongings?
  • Limit your access to the phone, money or the car?
  • Controls who you see or where you go?

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, then it is time to take action.  Make a plan and do whatever you have to do to stay safe and keep your family safe.  If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, speak up! If you’re hesitating—telling yourself that it’s none of your business, you might be wrong, or the person might not want to talk about it—keep in mind that expressing your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save his or her life.

That was really interesting. Thank you, Michelle. You can find more about Michelle and her writing via her website http://www.liesinthewomb.com.

***

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with romantic suspense author Amy Romine – the five hundred and fifty-second of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!

See http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008E88JN0

or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books (including my debut novel!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 
 

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5a.m. Flash 281012 – Don Darkes eBook Smashwords offer for readers & reviewers

Recently I put up a shout-out (on, as I recall, Facebook and Twitter) for anyone who has a free eBook to let me know and I’ll blog about it.

Don emailed me to say that he will gladly give away free copies of his non-fiction memoir eBook 6692 Pisces the Sailfish to anyone willing to review it. I don’t review full books but do review short stories for my Short Story Saturdays blog slot and I really enjoy it so please do consider Don’s offer because we not only love knowing that our work is being read but also what you think of it. It’s how we learn where we’re going right (or wrong).

The details he’s given me are as follows:

  • Sign up for a free Smashwords account. (They need your email address and your name only) – you will have to validate it by clicking on a link when they send an email to you to check that it is correct.
  • Add my book (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/238421) to your shopping cart.
  • Check out.
  • Enter the coupon code:
  • Utilise the -50 %Discount use coupon code PU72F in the space provided (below the Price)
  • or
  • Access the Free reviewers copy use coupon code LN38D
  • Click UPDATE – the price will change from $5.99 to reflect the discount
  • Click Checkout
  • Once done a page will open showing that “You Own this book”.
  • Either click on the DOWNLOAD button at the top right of the page OR scroll down the page to the different formats available and click on the format you prefer.
  • I recommend .pdf because you can print it as a booklet on any dot matrix printer or you can read it on your pc or most ebook readers, tablets and ereader devices.
  • You can download more than one format if you wish and even come back to this page and download it again and again simply by logging in to the Smashwords site.
  • Don’t forget to click on the “LIKE-IT” Facebook link on the Smashwords page – it may help to publicise the book and will also help to put a huge smile on my face.

Thank you so much, Don. That’s really generous.

You can read my interview with Don, here.

***

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books and I also have a blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2012 in ebooks, novels, review, writing

 

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Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast – short stories episode no.16

Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast ‘short stories’ episode number 16 went live today and contained three flash fiction pieces that have appeared on my blog as Flash Fiction Fridays. Do email me should you like to submit your own. This episode contained:

See the links above to read the stories… or hear my dulcet tones on the podcast.

The podcast is available via iTunesGoogle’s FeedburnerPodbean (when it catches up), Podcasters (which takes even longer) or Podcast Alley (which doesn’t list the episodes but will let you subscribe).

Thank you for downloading / listening to this short story episode – I hope you enjoyed it. The next episode will be a hints & tips episode in a fortnight, then short stories return a fortnight thereafter.

All the details of these episodes are listed on this blog’s Podcast Short Stories and my email address to submit a short story for critique (or review for the Short Story Saturdays) is morgen@morgenbailey.com.

***

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me. I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 
 

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Author Spotlight no.106 – Barbara Barth

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the one hundred and sixth, is of Barbara Barth.

Barbara Barth is an author, antique dealer, and dog whisperer. She lives with six rescue dogs from her local animal shelters.

Her business card reads “Writer With Dogs”. It is a title she wears proudly.  She launched a one-issue online dog magazine dedicated to animal rescue and vintage dog art Dec 2010. Her book launch was a fundraiser for Animal Action Rescue with all proceeds donated to the group.

Barbara credits dogs as part of her healing process after her husband died four years ago. Her memoir “The Unfaithful Widow” follows her first year as a widow in a series of essays that include a vintage Corvette, bad dates leading to good things, the best group of girlfriends, and a bevy of dogs. Her memoir placed as a finalist in the 2011 USA Best Book Awards.

Barth recently closed her small antique shop but still sells collectibles from an antique mall in a small southern town close to her home. She promotes other writers with a writing guild, critique group, and an online Book Talk site.

A member of the Dog Writers Association of America, and an online blogger for Lifetime Television’s The Balancing Act, you will find Barbara writing most days at her computer surrounded by a group of lazy pups napping nearby.

And now from the author herself:

I’ve always been a storyteller. In fact, many of my friends thought I should be a stand up comic. The problem is, while I am funny in small groups, I lack the confidence to stand in front of a crowd and talk. Writing takes care of that problem for me!

After my husband died, I found myself sending horrible e-mails to friends at god-awful hours late at night. Then I’d turn on music and relax. Within an hour, I’d send a follow-up e-mail saying, “never mind”.

I decided to channel that sadness and energy into writing. What started out as a way to clear my mind became a way of life. I found I loved writing.

After the initial outpouring of emotion, I had to pull my story together to make it readable. I had much to learn.

“Does the period go inside or outside the quotation marks?” I didn’t have a clue. As a reader I never paid attention to structure. I was not an English major. I did my research and soon became armed and dangerous to continue.

A New York Times Best Seller Author critiqued the beginning of my book at a writer’s conference.

“Barbara, you’ve killed your husband off three times in twenty pages. No one will care. They want to know what you are doing now. Why did you start to date so soon?”

I was crushed and embarrassed. When I read her notes later, I realized she liked my writing. It clicked in my head what she meant. I knew how to pull my story together.

My memoir “The Unfaithful Widow” turned out to be a funny book full of all the things I never thought I’d do again. No subject is taboo. It is a series of essays pulled together under the single theme of finding joy again.

I am currently working on my widow sequel, but widow won’t be in the title. I do want to share all the goodness that has followed my first year and how I have found a creative niche for myself.

If I can do it, you can do it. That is my message. Except, do it your way. We each are different in how we deal with life.

I still buy and sell antiques. It is hard to find a white space on my wall for all the vintage art. I rarely go on second dates. I need to loose weight. I am a dog hoarder. I write about these simple things on many women’s sites.

“My life is an open book.” That quote applies to me.

At a recent book club meeting I was asked, “Aren’t you afraid someone will talk about you?” I do write under my own name.

I laughed. “No. I’ve already said it all myself!”

There is a great freedom in sharing your heart with others if you are true to what you believe. I write from the heart and am grateful my audience enjoys my tall tales on life.

You can find more about Barbara and her writing via…

Author web: http://www.barbarabarth.netDog MagazineAmazon on paperback, also available on KindleHelen Ross Writes review from AustraliaBook Talk Blog for authors and interesting writing sitesLifetime Television The Balancing Act blog site. Readers can contact me directly: bb-bjd@comcast.net and on Facebook.

***

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with erotica author Elizabeth Cage – the four hundred and forty-fifth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 

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5a.m. Flash 260712 – Writing competitions for August

Every now and then at 5a.m. (probably posted by my clone) I will be bringing you a newsflash, update on what I’m doing, invited guest piece, or whatever takes my fancy, and today I’m talking about writing competitions with August deadlines…

August is nearly upon us and this means a fresh month on my blog’s competitions calendar. Below is a list of competitions with August deadlines, some closing on the 1st so you don’t have long!

AUGUST

It’s not an August competition but it’s just opened… one of my writing groups runs the annual H.E. Bates Short Story Competition (deadline end October – details here. This year we have a theme (and new judge: Stephen Booth): ‘A walk at midnight’. :)

***

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 

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Author Spotlight no.99 – Thomas Sullivan

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the ninety-ninth, is of humour author Thomas Sullivan.

Thomas Sullivan is the author of Life In The Slow Lane, a humorous memoir about teaching driver education to teenagers for a cut-rate company in Oregon. He was an In-Car Instructor who worked with kids on the road once their classroom instruction was completed.

His book was originally published as an ebook by Uncial Press, and was recently released in audio form by Cool Beat Audiobooks. Thomas’s other humor writing has appeared in a variety of online journals including The Short Humour Site and Bad Idea Magazine, among others. He has been an instructor in a number of vocational and educational settings and currently lives in Seattle.

And now from the author himself:

To use a bad driving pun, I began writing by accident. The company I worked for occasionally had a car die and busy students frequently missed lessons. Our scheduling was also erratic, so I often had a few hours between lessons. This created “down time” on the job that I used to write about the funny episodes that occurred while I was teaching students and interacting with my employer. Over time I assembled my collection of tales into a narrative about a year teaching great kids and working for a questionable employer.

I don’t think one needs formal training to be a good writer. But being untrained does mean that a writer needs to find a good editor and be very, very open to suggestions. I was fortunate to find a great editor (a gentleman in Virginia named Kevin Quirk) for the initial draft of my story. The editors working for my publishers revised the story even further. So my one insight to the process a writer goes through is that the stories we produce don’t belong solely to us. They are meant to be collaborations and openness on the part of the author is essential. This is often difficult to accept as an emerging writer.

You can find more about Thomas and his writing via…

Author website: http://www.thomassullivanhumor.com.

Audio sample: http://www.prx.org/p/71515.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with poet, biographical fiction author and political journalist Matthew Abuelo – the four hundred and twenty-first of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 

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Author Spotlight no.90 – Dale Stanten

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the ninetieth, is of memoirist Dale Stanten.

Many people have a single lifetime career. Not Dale. She is into her fourth. While raising her young family, Dale obtained her RN degree and practiced psychiatric nursing. She parlayed her medical and extensive sales experience to become CEO of her Destination Management Company which for twenty years organized conventions, corporate events, and meetings for national and international guests. Dale conducted numerous educational seminars and assisted in developing a tourism college degree program.  During her fourth career, she penned her memoir and has immersed herself in the marketing process. Through her speaking engagements, she hopes to help others overcome difficult circumstances based upon her own personal life experiences. She loves her life and is appreciative of all the good things that have come her way. Dale resides in Boston and Phoenix with her husband.

And now from the author herself:

In 1950s Jewish Boston, my mother established a home-based business as a prostitute to remedy her husband’s inability to provide for his family. At age six, I was answering the front door for johns. Neighbor children were forbidden to play with me and even the Girl Scouts asked me to leave. What a terrible irony, in a family with so many strange and twisted realities, my gay sister, “coming out” at age 16, was the only thing my parents focused on as contemptible.

My memoir, The Hooker’s Daughter – A Boston Family’s Saga, is a story of survival, driven by a strong will and an ability to extract positive qualities from a dysfunctional life, punctuated by immoral and illegal behaviors. I was able to reconcile the reality of my environment with what Iwished it to be. My resulting tenacity enabled me to cope with my terminally ill husband and widowhood at age 37. My unconditional love for my mother challenges the reader to examine beyond that which is socially acceptable and identify that which is universal.

This memoir could have been a dark book, “A Mommy Dearest.” But, instead of condemnation, this is a story of love, forgiveness, and triumph over one’s demons. To paraphrase the German philosopher, Nietzsche “What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.”

I grew up in Mattapan, a Boston suburb, which was a highly Jewish populated neighborhood. Like other first and second generation immigrant families, we clustered together embracing our way of life. There were the comforting landmarks and events:  lots of synagogues, kosher butchers, delis, bakeries, and holiday celebrations on Rosh Hashana and Passover. Yiddish was spoken on the streets and in homes. However, I felt terribly isolated, a misfit and without a support system

The Torah pasha, Lech Lecha, (Genesis) commands us to transcend ourselves to experience our “real self.” As I matured, the time came to “cut the psychological umbilical cord,” in order to discover what I was capable of.

One day, I read there was a writing group meeting in a back room of Panera’s bakery and decided to go. At first, I wrote the assignments that the leader gave the ten of us, but eventually I asked if I could write my own pieces instead. They were struck with my story and encouraged me to consider it as a serious endeavor to be shared with others.

I could have put my writings in the drawer but there was something more gnawing at me! I felt that I could offer something to people who are suffering and struggling.  I wanted to show that it is possible to overcome dire circumstances and inspire people not to be victims. As the Torah says: “If you save one person, you save the world.”

Many people have asked me about the process of getting my book published. My experience has been very positive and I had a great story to tell. It took me a number of drafts to understand that a memoir need not be a chronological listing. Instead it should absorb the reader like a good novel while maintaining the truth.

I had many discussions with my husband about what should or should not be in the book.  He said, “There is too much in there. No one will believe it. Decide what is important to make a point and leave the rest out.” But I said, “It happened to me. I am telling the story.” Well, it is very hard for an author, especially a memoir writer, to leave anything out. The final product left out a lot.

The growth of E-books and self-publishing has significantly changed the publishing industry. Today, a traditional publishing house requires the author to do the majority of the marketing and publicity. Unless you have a platform and your name is Clinton or Bush, it is difficult to obtain any assistance. Ultimately, I decided to self-publish. This gave me more control of the process.

Writing the book is only the beginning. Marketing can absorb a great deal of time and effort. I love marketing! I built my original business from nothing and understand that personal contact and follow thru is very important. What I didn’t know was that it should start at least 6 months prior to publication.

If you get published, I assure you, you will enjoy the journey. The activity will bring you rewards that you never anticipated.

I agree. The only thing that comes close to seeing your name in print is creating the work in the first place. Thank you, Dale. 

Print copies of Dale’s memoir are available on her website, www.TheHookersDaughter.com, from the publisher Infinity Publishing, and from Amazon.com. Ebooks are also available for Kindle, Nook, iBook from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and vendors such as Smashwords and Goodreads. Dale can be contacted by email at TheHookersDaughter@Gmail.com or on Facebook.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with Author and Crime Squad website creator / host Chris Simmons – the three hundred and eighty-ninth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 

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Guest post: ‘Memoir Writing with a Purpose’ by Jeff Rasley

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of memoir writing, is brought to you by non-fiction and thriller writer Jeff Rasley.

Memoir Writing with a Purpose

Most writers have kept a journal or diary during some period in their lives.  I started a diary when I was sixteen.  After two weeks I quit and burned the document out of fear my parents might find it.  There was too much incriminating evidence, and my strict Midwestern, Presbyterian parents would not have allowed me to take the Fifth to avoid self-incrimination.  I didn’t take up journal writing again until I became a serious adventure traveler.  (Serious in the sense that it was a favorite avocation since age 18.)

Some of my travel experiences seemed worth recording in photographs and in writing.  In some cases there was meaning to be interpreted from the experiences beyond the immediacy of the moment.  So, I began to try to turn some of my travel journaling into publishable articles.  Eventually I had enough material to write books, which were travel memoirs with a purpose.  In the journal I would record the facts of the experience and my reaction to it.  To turn the journal writing into a worthy article or book there had to be meaning beyond the experience.  There had to be an insight, lesson or wisdom which I could interpret from the experience and offer to others.  The next challenge was, of course, finding a publisher.

Creating an article worthy of publication meant going beyond mere biographical journaling.  If one is a person of historical or cultural interest, then autobiographical writing may be worthy of publication.  (No matter how poorly written the Paris Hiltons of our celebrity-obsessed culture will find a publisher.)  But, fortunately or unfortunately that eliminates ninety nine percent of the rest of us.  Journaling for one’s own pleasure, or to pass on to family and heirs, of course has value.  And social media has created the opportunity to bore the hell out of friends by posting the quotidian details of one’s life.  ["Here I am enjoying my first copy of coffee of the day looking out my window and a blue bird landed on the sill, blah, blah, etc."]

The personal essays, or memoirs with a purpose, I have been inspired to write are mostly about extreme experiences such as Himalayan mountain climbing or solo sea-kayaking.  I have learned, or had reinforced, great lessons about life from these adventures.  For example, I was inspired to write about the strength and beauty of the human spirit and the willingness to be self-sacrificial after witnessing a Nepalese guide and porter risk their lives to save and care for others who had been trapped by an avalanche.

Other writers have found meaning worthy of publication in more mundane experiences.  My sister-in-law, Cherri Megasko, writes for the Yahoo Contributor Network.  She uses personal experiences to write about topics of interest to homeowners, parents and a general readership.  For example, her article entitled “Groundhog Wars” is a delightfully humorous essay about the different approaches her and a neighbor applied to dealing with a resident groundhog.  Its wider application for animal lovers is how to deal with what some consider pests and others consider lovable critters.

Essential to making a memoir interesting and worthy of publication is to have a central theme that carries the narrative forward.  Without a thematic narrative, we are back to mere observation or a random collection of insights without a guiding light.  [And I know from hard won experience it is best to have a guide in uncharted territory and a light to see in the darkness.]  In other words, the piece should make a point.

The narrative must include factual details to make it interesting.  Without interesting, quirky or astonishing factual details, a personal essay gets placed in the folder labeled BORING.  Even hard core academic writing must include the important facts on which an argument is based.  A point made in the abstract is likely to be forgotten as soon as the magazine or book is closed or the reading device turned off.

The last point I cover when teaching a class about memoir writing is to consider carefully whether to identify or to change the identity of individuals, organizations or companies referred to in the piece.  Friendships can be damaged and libel / defamation suits can be filed.  It is easy enough to disguise an identity with a fake name and to attribute some intentionally misleading characteristics to protect the privacy or reputation of a person or organization.  Consider the consequences and choose wisely.

As to publication, well, much has changed in the last decade or so.  When I first began writing for publication in the 1980s, I would go to my neighborhood library and page through Writers’ Market looking for the magazines or journals interested in publishing the type of article I had written.  Now, the neighborhood library has probably closed.  Information about publishers is online, but many of the print publications have ceased to exist or been downsized.  The advent of the digital age and online publishing has created vastly more opportunities for publication than ever before.  And I don’t subscribe to the view that quantity has reduced quality.  Great writing still happens and is more accessible.  But there are fewer traditional publishers of successful magazines and books.

One significant consequence for writers of the traditional publishing industry’s decrepitude is that pay is harder to come by.  For several decades a writer could expect to be paid from $100 to $2,500, depending on the newspaper’s / magazine’s / journal’s prestige and circulation, for a feature length article.  And there were multiple publication possibilities for many different categories of articles.  While the multiplicity of online publications (especially blogs) has vastly increased the possibility of publication, the possibilities for remuneration seem to be much reduced.  Writing for “content farms” or guest blogging (thanks Morgen!) did not exist as opportunities in pre-digital history.  Unfortunately, the writing is often done gratis (damn!).

You’re very welcome… thank you for offering, Jeff, and for gratis! :)

Jeff Rasley is author of Light in the Mountains — A Hoosier Quaker finds Communal Enlightenment in Nepal, Islands in My Dreams, Nepal Himalayas — in the Moment, False Prophet?, Bringing Progress to Paradise and  Monsters Of The Midway:  The Worst Team in College Football. 

He practiced law for thirty years in Indianapolis, Indiana and was admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court Bar.  He has an outstanding academic record: graduate of the University of Chicago, A.B. magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, All-Academic All-State Football Team and letter winner in swimming and football; Indiana University School of Law, J.D. cum laude, Moot Court and Indiana Law Review; Christian Theological Seminary, M.Div. magna cum laude, co-valedictorian and Faculty Award Scholar.  Jeff is currently President of the Basa Village Foundation USA Inc. and U.S. liaison for the Nepal-based Himalayan expedition company, Adventure GeoTreks, Ltd.  He teaches classes for IUPUI Continuing Ed. Program and Indiana Writers Center.

For chairing the Indiana-Tennessee Civic Memorial Commission, Jeff received Proclamations of Salutation from the Governors of Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Pennsylvania and he was made an honorary Lieutenant Colonel Aide-de-Camp of the Alabama State Militia, a Kentucky Colonel and honorary Citizen of Tennessee.  He was given a Key to the City of Indianapolis for his report on the safety conditions of Indy Parks.  Jeff received the Man of the Year award from the Arthur Jordan YMCA.

Jeff has published numerous articles and photos in academic and mainstream periodicals, including Newsweek, Chicago Magazine, ABA Journal, Family Law Review, Pacific Magazine, Indy’s Child, The Journal of Communal Societies, The Chrysalis Reader, Faith & Fitness Magazine, Friends Journal and Real Travel Adventures International Magazine.  He gives programs about adventure travel and philanthropy to service clubs, community organizations and churches.  He is an avid outdoorsman and recreational athlete.  He leads trekking-mountaineering expeditions in Nepal and has solo-kayaked around several Pacific island groups.  Jeff also loves to read and considers completing Marcel Proust’s 3600-page Remembrance of Things Past as one of his most enjoyable accomplishments.

Married to Alicia Rasley, Jeff is a multi-published author, RITA Award winner, and University professor. He has kindly provided the following from ‘Chapter 1:  Home is a Resting Place’…

The first time I came home from Nepal I knew where my home was.  It was in Indianapolis, Indiana where I lived with my wife Alicia and our two boys.  I had not been sure of that before I left.

We were going through a rough patch in our marriage.  I felt trapped with a wife, kids, mortgage, and law office to run.  The American dream had come to feel like an Edgar Allen Poe nightmare.  Financial pressures and family responsibilities felt like walls closing in on me.

Work and responsibilities beat and fashion the adult American into a tool of production and consumption.   At the systemic level our society and economy value the acquisition of material wealth over all other values.  In succumbing to this cultural imperative we are conditioned to believe that our meaning and purpose is determined by job and profession rather than by love, family and enjoyment of life.  For example, after being introduced to a new acquaintance, the first question is, “What do you do?”  Materialism reduces our identity and humanity to a name and a job.  And our consumer culture determines our value by what we consume.

My high school history teacher in Goshen, Indiana, Mr. Slavens, liked to say, “The average American male, dead at thirty, buried at sixty.”  I don’t remember who he was quoting, but it haunted me.  At forty I was definitely feeling lost, if not dead.  I did not want to lose my humanity, but I felt life being sucked out of me as I measured out my days in six minute billing units at the office.

Alicia wisely and firmly told me to go traveling, to do what I loved.  Not just a weekend or week-long road trip; she told me I should go to the other side of the planet.  I should go trekking in the Nepal Himalayas.

You can find more about Jeff and his writing via his website www.jeffreyrasley.com. His latest book is Monsters Of The Midway:  The Worst Team in College Football and is available from Amazon.com.

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.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with non-fiction author and editor Jill Meuhrcke – the three hundred and forty-fifth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore and Kobo. My eBooks are also now on Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.

 
 

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