Saturday, 27 July 2013

Getting Brave- A Submission...

Not sure what has changed, but I'm finally feeling brave enough to start sending my short stories and flash fiction out into the world.

So far I've sent an entry into the Wells Literary Festival short story competition- closes on the 31st July so you still have time to enter online if you're interested.

Today I sent a piece of flash fiction off to e-zine CafeLit. Submission details here.

I have looked at it before but never felt I was good enough- lots of writers feel like that at some time I'm sure.

But I decided this little piece of flash fiction might fit. I suppose it's a slightly quirky story.

At the Fringe event at Lowdham last month, when I read it to an audience, I referred to it as the 'underwear story', especially for the males in the audience who may have never come across shapewear before, or even known that's what it's called!

It's surprising what unusual items can create a story... :D

Now I have to get on with life while I await a yea or nay on my submission.

While I hope it gets a yes, I'm realistic enough to accept that it may be a rejection. That is the less pleasant aspect of the writers' life.

But at least the waiting for an answer time, is very much shorter than for some magazines...

I decided that this year I'd take up opportunities that arise, even if they weren't in my plan for the year.

I'll let you know the good or bad news when it happens...

Monday, 22 July 2013

I've Ground to a Halt...

Yes, I know I've been missing for weeks- sorry.

I didn't realise how tired out I was until my brain went on strike and I began sleeping late on a weekday- very unusual for me...

This year I've been able to do more concentrated writing than I have before- at least 15,000 words on the novella since mid-January. It may not seem a lot, but it's the most I've written in six months before.

(I just need to get my busy weeks organised better, so I can get a few writing sessions in...)

As soon as normality returns I'll get the last two chapters of the first draft completed, and then the really hard work starts with the 2nd draft- putting flesh on the bones of the basics that I've been concentrating on so far.

There are a few 'information needed' queries that I need to delve into, so I'm making a list to work through over the remaining summer holidays.

I'm thinking about going to this year's Festival of Romance (November) but haven't actually mentioned it to my OH yet- who will have to hold the domestic fort if I do go...:-)

As my short story writing has finally improved, I'm going to make an effort to write a few more before the year ends.

I also have to catch up on my reading- both paperback and e-books.

Serena is still lacking a website, but she does now have an e-mail address. So I have to make some decisions there too.

So I may have ground to a halt in one way, I realise that the 'to do' list is building up... :-)

Monday, 8 July 2013

Another First Place...

I mentioned in my last post Lowdham- photos and a story, that one of the
A second one...
stories I read to the Lowdham, Fringe audience was being judged for a Nottingham Writers' Club competition;  so I couldn't tell you more at the time. 

As I knew the judge lived in different part of the country, I felt I was fairly safe to read it at the Fringe event...

It's always difficult to write a story when you know the judge- even when a pseudonym is being used for entries, 
so they won't have any idea who has written the stories.

Last Wednesday evening our Prose Secretary, was able to announce the results of the Spring prose-they were waiting for her when she arrived home from work...

The important bit- I got first place.

The judge (Patsy Collins) gave each entry helpful feedback- which is always appreciated. Mine highlighted my tendency to write long sentences, which could have been broken up. 

Patsy's the second person (recently) who's mentioned I use long sentences, so I'll be watching for this when I edit...

The story had to feature a tin of treacle, a bird and the weather (mine was a bit weak on the weather, but it was used); I had my protagonist, Jenny, bake a treacle and lemon cake- which the judge said was " an unusual, quirky combination and seemed to give those characteristics to the baker."

And with a baked cake comes cake crumbs, so cue a bird... :-)

I have to admit that when I write any contemporary short story, my characters and plots do tend to be on the quirky side.

When I was putting the story together, my only concern was actually getting the three items into the story in a way that seemed natural and not contrived. Plus having it ready by the deadline for handing in.

I was probably thinking about the story for longer than it actually took to write! 

So perhaps this is the method that works for me- as the same thing occurred with my Autumn Prose win too...

The 'Ladies of the G.O.D. Club' will get revised to deal with the minimal use of the weather- it could be used more and there's word count to do so. 

Then I'll decide what its future is.

Hopefully you'll get the opportunity to read it somewhere, and if it makes the wider world, I'll let you know.

I'd basically given up on writing any new short stories, but this has reassured me that I am capable of writing them...

image courtesy of 

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Lowdham- Photos and a Story...

Okay here's a few photos from Saturday at the Lowdham Book Festival- I've yet to master the finer arts of Photoshop Elements 9, so apologies for the light on my glasses.

In the Village Hall
The village hall is the central hub of the festival with a couple of other venues to host other talks, and marquees out on the grass behind the hall. There's always activities for children provided so no one misses out.

I would have liked to have gone to a few of the events in the afternoon, but there was a steady flow of people from 10.30 am onward, so I only left the club stall for the Fringe and a quick look at the second hand book stalls in the marquee.

(I was quite restrained; I only bought one second-hand book.)

Nor did I get to sample any of the cake on sale from the kitchen hatch- it's usually very yummy cake...

When I wasn't answering queries and promoting Nottingham Writers' Club, I was able to talk to my neighbours, Leicester Writers Club and a lady who was selling her fantastic photographs of wildlife and nature.

There were lots of writers with books to sell; including a couple of authors published by Pen & Sword books. Their wall posters stood out well, but of course the Duke of Wellington is very distinguished even in one dimension.

I bought a book (signed by the author) for my OH- who is wonderfully supportive on days like this, driving me to the village hall, keeping everything running at home, then returning to collect me at the end...

So to the performance... 
Talking to the audience while
posing for the photo

There wasn't as many people in the room as last year, but it was a sunny day this time.

In one bar there was music, and in the other the literature.

I was one of three NWC members performing.

Jennifer Appleyard began with the start of her novel, ' Touch the Earth' (Hayloft Publishing Ltd) and from there Viv Apple took over with a selection of her poetry to lighten the mood.

As we had time limitations I'd chosen short pieces. There was a 200 word story on illusion (see below) and the audience were surprised at the last line revelation as I'd hoped.

The 1400 word story that went next is currently being judged in a club competition, so I won't say anymore, but the audience liked it- hope the judge does too!

I finished off with a very short piece that I referred to as 'the underwear story' (for the benefit of any men in the audience who didn't know what shapewear is). It's actually a misadventure tale, but luckily the unfortunate woman survives the experience... :-)

So here is the first story I read. I hope you enjoy it...


Work beckoned.
    Rachel stepped out the shower, patted her skin with soft Egyptian cotton, then slathered herself in ‘Opium’; its fruity, spicy aroma began her transformation and she revelled in it.
    Slipping on the black lacy thong and matching suspender belt she began to slide the sheer black stockings up each leg in turn, and with a light-fingered fix, was done.
    Contact lenses in, she admired the view in her mirror and wished she could wake up one morning to find her pale blue eyes turned this olivaceous shade.
    With deft artistic strokes of brushes and sponges she changed face; a touch of colour to highlight the cheekbones she usually hid, and a black flick of gel liner to suggest the exotic.
    The Teal, Suzy Wong style dress with the seam slit to her right thigh displayed her stocking top and she gained extra height with gold strappy shoes via four inch heels.
    Then with a wielding of heated tongs to create a mass of curls, and a final spritz of hairspray, the illusion was complete.
    Rachel was gone; in her place stood Orchid, wild, alluring and luscious.
    Ready to ensnare the cheating husband she was employed to expose.

 © 2013 Carol Bevitt

 (Photos courtesy of Dennis Apple.)