Showing posts with label Anthology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anthology. Show all posts

Monday 5 June 2017

Back to the Rewrites - and a Submission Call for a Charity Anthology...

Half way through the year already!

What have I achieved so far?

To date I have already exceeded my 2013 word count total; that was 23,032, and I'm almost up to 26, 469 which will pass my 2014 total... But there's still a lot to do yet.

My ghost story went live two weeks ago- I know, I've mentioned this before. :D

My 1920's story is progressing slowly. At the moment I'm developing the plot as I write, which is unusual for me as I'm more a semi-planner.

I've had a reading spell- a couple of my favourite authors have new books out, so I bought them for my Kindle. Read one in a day, and then the next one the following day.

The Lowdham Book Festival starts this month- 16th-24th June. So I'll be promoting my published work along with other Nottingham Writers' Club members on the 24th. Fingers crossed for sunshine all day this year.

Now back to draft 2 of my 1802 novel this week- again.


As everyone around the world knows the UK has experienced a few terror attacks this year, but it doesn't stop us carrying on with our lives and work, so here's a call for submissions for a charity anthology- from Lucy Felthouse.

All proceeds from this anthology will go to the British Red Cross' newly launched  UK Solidarity Fund. This fund will help victims of terror attacks in the UK, both now, and if needed, in future incidents.

2017 Calendar dates...
There's a short deadline for this anthology-14th July. So you can find the full details by following this link for all the information you need...

Sunday 28 June 2015

My Saturday at Lowdham Book Festival...

The Lowdham Book Festival has been running 16 years. It started small and has built on its success, and the final Saturday is a must visit place for anyone living in Nottinghamshire.

I've been attending for about 10 of those 16 years with the writers club, and now I'm the one who co-ordinates, from booking the stall, confirming which members have promotional material to display alongside the club's, and who is going to be available to help on the day- and making sure they know where to park and other essential information.

On the day I'll be there with one or two others to set up, and the last to leave with all the gathered equipment/leaflets.

This year I was very fortunate to have extra volunteers (I thank them all) - especially a couple of members who hadn't attended the festival before and wanted to come along for a few hours to see what it was like as well as help out.

They resisted the book stalls, unlike the regulars who went home with more than they arrived with!:D

Ready for opening time...
It was wonderful to meet a writer who I've known online for many years, but never met in person;
Ana Salote was launching her book 'Oy Yew' and doing a talk with her publisher (Teika Bellamy of MothersMilk Books) and her illustrator Emma Howitt.

Later in the day I had an opportunity to talk to Teika Bellamy to find out what she was looking for, and there are opportunities available.

Have a look at their submission guidelines which will tell you more...

Early afternoon I was able to get to an interesting talk by author Nigel McCrery on his book 'Silent Witnesses: a history of forensic science.'

The audience were entertained by this retired police officer who had an interest in forensics, though his many writing credits include: Silent Witness, Born and Bred, and New Tricks among them...

Promotion opportunity
I came home with four second-hand books. Basically reference works, though one, a wonderfully illustrated hardback is extremely large, but I'll never have a problem knowing what sort of furniture my historical heroes and heroines will be sitting upon.

My flask of coffee just about lasted out the day, and I limited myself to one piece of lemon sponge late morning so I could eat my packed lunch after the lunch-time rush.

Fortunately the hall was a comfortable temperature with the doors into the hall, and the back door open. It was very bright and hot outside, and even my camera had a problem with how bright it was- I'm going to have to darken the outdoor shots!

Well that's it for another year. I'll be suggesting what worked and what didn't this year, as will my fellow volunteers, so NWC will be ready for next June.

I never stop learning on days like this....

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Four Years Have Gone By...

A couple of days ago I realised that I'd been blogging four years- where has that time gone?

Persuaded by writer friends that I should try writing a blog- and if I didn't like it I could always delete it- it was with a big amount of trepidation that in September 2010, I set up Carol's Corner.

The appearance of my blog has undergone a few changes, and I'm going to be looking at adjusting a few minor things soon, but my blog will continue to be a mixed bag: my writing and research, my travels, along with book related news, and competitions of course.

I won't be changing the wallpaper either as I really like it. :D

Over the years my writing life has undergone a number of changes too.

Quite a few of my writing plans got disrupted by the accident I had just over three years ago, and it has resulted in my slowing down and re-evaluating how I'm going to handle my work-load in future.

I'm not going to say I'd never try for a publishing contract, but for the moment self-publishing is going to be my likely course.

I know it's a lot of work, but at least I'm in control and as anyone who knows me will tell you, I get a little bit edgy when I see stuff going wrong, but I can't do anything about it.

So, in these past four years:

  • I've won a couple of the annual competitions at the writers' club; most importantly the Romance Novel trophy, and in January this year, the Writer of the Year trophy to add to earlier successes: the Manuscript of the Year (a 250 word story voted by the audience on the competition night) and The Little Moe trophy for a Drama.

  • Four of my very short stories- 200 words each- originally written for the One Word Challenge competition on the Writers Online,Talkback forum- were published by small publisher Alfie Dog Fiction, in the 'One Word Anthology' as both an e-book, and a paperback via Amazon's Createspace.

  • I launched the existence of my pseudonym, Serena Lake.

  • I've read some of my short stories and flash fiction in front of the public at the Lowdham Book Festival's 'Fringe at The Ship' event.

  • A few months ago I heard that my short, 'A Tight Squeeze', will be in 'The Best of Cafe Lit 2014'.

  • I have the first draft of my historical romance novella completed.

  • A synopsis and first three chapters for my Dorset novel.

  • And the current WIP which is a contemporary romance, which I will eventually self publish.

  • Numerous other ideas, characters and notes for further stories.

  • I've found what works for me- at the moment.

  • I've been Chairman of my local writers' club- my three year term finishes in April 2015.

Best of all I've made new friendships both personally and professionally- thank you all. :)

So what are my plans for the rest of  2014 and into 2015?

'Just keep writing' is going to be my motto.

I've found life tends to throw curve-balls when I make too definite plans, so I'm going to be flexible and take up the challenges as they approach, and aim for getting one of my projects published sometime next year...

I hope you'll continue to pop in and read my posts- I'm certainly intending to read more blog posts by others too.

So do continue to leave comments as it's good to know you're there.

Meanwhile, full steam ahead... :D

Thursday 27 June 2013

PLR and Other News...

I've been busy trying to get as much as possible done this month with limited time and hands to help, so apologies for my recent silence on the blog pages...

After today my writing time is going to be spasmodic, as college has finished and the house will not be as quiet as it is normally on a week-day when everyone is out.

I'm getting ready for the last day of the Lowdham Book Festival too- every event on Saturday is free to attend, so if you're nearby and can spare an hour or two I know you'll find something to interest you.

I'll be on the Nottingham Writers' Club stall, and then at midday at The Fringe at the Ship, before returning to the table to promote the club and members work...

Last week's cyberspace book launch of the One Word Anthology was a great success, so a big thank you to everyone who popped into the launch page on Facebook- much fun was had by all... :-)
*   *   *

Now to the serious stuff...

Many writers were unhappy about the proposed move of control of the Public Lending Rights service (probably) to the British Library when it was proposed in 2010. Sadly even with an overwhelming majority against the move in the 2012 consultation, the intention to make this change has continued.

Yesterday (26th) the scrutiny committee of Culture, Media and Sports declared its findings:

" The CMS committee, chaired by Conservative MP John Whittingdale, concluded that: "It was resoundingly clear from the public consultation that there was overwhelming opposition to the Government's proposal to abolish the Registrar of Public Lending Right and to transfer its functions to another public body. We continue to believe that the British Library is not a suitable host organisation for the PLR function given its many responsibilities and the risk that these could take priority over the PLR function." " (The Bookseller - here.)

Unfortunately the Government can ignore the opinion of the committee and carry on with it's plans. Money can be saved by this change, so change they will. :(

*   *   *
Another related PLR issue is e-books. Authors do not receive PLR on library e-book loans, so they are losing income.
 And the Society of Authors (SoA) has found that authors may not be receiving the correct payments from their publishers for e-book library loans by treating them as if they were sales rather than licences...
 If you go the item in the SoA's News and Events section, you can read about it in more detail- here.

Digital is giving writers so many opportunities, but it's also giving them a lot of 'virtual' headaches in trying to ensure they get the money they have a right to...

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Happy Launch Day - One Word Anthology...

Last November when the e-book version of the One Word Anthology was released I officially crept into existence.

Serena Lake has been evolving for many years - and was originally going to be called Persephone Lake, but writers have to be practical and Serena Lake fits better on a book cover!

Actually Serena is a little more earthy than Persephone. And Serena sounds like an historical romance writer too.

The two, 200 word stories in the One Word Anthology are both moment in time pieces.

In 'After Heat' for the word 'Heat' one of my characters in waiting, Jago, is sharing a moment in time with the woman he is falling in love with- now considering he is a typical alpha male who just seems to have women falling over themselves to get his attention, that moment is quite significant.

I just have to discover how they reach that stage...and write the rest of it. :-)

The second story 'Surprises' for the word 'Shift' was a little bit of a struggle.

The only idea that shift brought to mind was the underwear type - (I'd been studying historic costume for a different character at that time). I had this scene of a cabin, but the size of a cabin (the old traditional sailing ship cabins not modern liner cabins) wouldn't work for how I saw the idea, so adjustments in location had to be made and by being flexible it solved the problem of how to keep the reader- and Jason guessing...

Jago and Jason are both in the queue for their stories to be written...

Now Serena ( otherwise known as Carol) is working on a novella set in 1802, so hopefully the next time you see the name Serena Lake on a book cover, it will be for this story.

But I'll always be grateful that I was able to step out into the world in the One Word Anthology by the Talkback Writers...


Monday 17 June 2013

One Word Anthology Book Launch on Tuesday...

I was very excited last November when the Talkback Writers launched the e-book version of the One Word Anthology- as it was the first book to feature any of my stories for sale to the reading public.

(Serena will be talking about this too...)

One Word Anthology in paperback available now

Each author did what publicity they could (Catherine  Dalling and I did a guest spot on BBC Radio Nottingham talking about the book) and the e-book is still getting sales, but quite a few people wanted a paperback version to buy.

After initially thinking that a paperback wouldn't be possible cost-wise, we were delighted when our publisher Alfie Dog Ltd told us they were looking into producing a print copy of the anthology.

And now it's here. The official book launch in cyberspace is tomorrow starting at 11.00 am on Facebook and we hope to have enough time (and people) to spread out onto Twitter and a couple of blog posts too.

You won't be able to obtain it in your local bookshop unfortunately, but you can buy it via our publisher, here, and this link will then take you through to Amazon who will be doing the rest- and delivery is free.

As with the e-book there will be a contribution to our chosen charity, Medical Detection Dogs, who train animals to assist and save lives.

I'm sure you'll remember the adorable Lola in her official red coat...

Lola the life-saver
10% of the profits of the book will go to the charity, and for each copy ordered via the link our publisher will add a donation too.

(This doesn't apply if you go direct to )

Originally the book was priced at £5.99, but you can currently buy it by parting with £5.65, and knowing that you're also contributing to a very good cause.

And you get a good read too...

Pop back tomorrow for the official launch. You'll be very welcome...

Saturday 15 June 2013

A Busy Month Coming Up...

Variety for the weekend...

My short story entry to the Wells Literary Festival competition is now on its way. :-)

My story really didn't need too much extra work as it was very minor things; changing the placing of a short paragraph here, and on the first page where an issue nagged me, I just rewrote the same sentence in a slightly different way, and it was much better.

A year ago I didn't see those little improvements that could still be made, and perhaps they were the aspects that got the story rejected...

*   *   *

The other exciting news is that the One Word Anthology by the Talkback Writers (of which I'm one- well two, as my pseudonym Serena Lake has stories in there) is shortly coming out in paperback form.

The e-book is still available for 99p from Alfie Dog and other book buying outlets (though there may be slight price differences due to the way the book buying sites work).

The paperback will be £5.99, and 10% of the profit will go to the charity Medical Detection Dogs...

Out soon in paperback
(More news and about the book launch when I have a definite date.)

I better get on with sorting out my author page on Amazon...

It's two weeks to the final day of the Lowdham Book Festival ( 29th June) when Nottingham Writers' Club has a stall promoting the club and members work. So I'll be found on the stall for most of the day.

EXCEPT from just before midday when I and two other club members will be located across the road in The Ship pub to take part in the second Fringe event, reading a selection of our work for 40-45 minutes.

Various groups will be performing throughout the day and into the early evening, so if you're nearby, then do pop in, grab a drink and enjoy the events.

*   *   *

Then on the 3rd July, Nottingham Writers' Club has a ticket event. Novelist and Biographer Miranda Seymour will be discussing 'sleuthing and biography'; and will be talking about her forthcoming book, 'Noble Endeavours: Stories from England and Germany' due to be published in August.

Tickets will be £2.50 on the door to non-members; £1 for members. 
Miranda Seymour
Miranda Seymour

Starting 7pm, 3rd July 2013, at the Nottingham Mechanics, North Sherwood Street, in the city centre.

If you need any further info you can ask for details via the Nottingham Writers' Club contact form, here.

So I have a few busy weeks to come...

Friday 4 January 2013

Everything on Hold for a Few Days...

The wretched bugs that my family got over Christmas hit me with a sledge-hammer a couple of days ago.
If any of you have this cough/cold/headache bug going round please take it seriously. I was so ill yesterday afternoon I honestly thought I was going to need to go to the local hospital...

At least I feel a little more human after a second visit to the doctor... :)

So I'm going to be taking a couple of extra days off, staying warm and getting the family to do my regular shopping tasks.

I have a good supply of e-books to read in the meantime.

I've also just got my first royalty statement for the One Word Anthology- I've not earned much, but I can afford a chocolate bar... As the book was only launched in mid-November, it's a start; it was important to help the charity, beside getting some of my work published- and giving Serena an airing, as well as actually being able to say I had a book out in 2012...

If anyone knows of bloggers, or blog review sites that might be approached to see if they would consider reviewing the anthology, please let me know, so I can pass the details on. Or e-mail me at my contact address on the right. Thanks.

I wish you a bug free New Year, and thank you for all the kind wishes for 2013.

See you next week...

Saturday 8 December 2012

A Mention in Writing Magazine...

Just a quick mention.

In the January 2013 issue of Writing Magazine (on sale from 7th December) there is a two page article about the background to the creation of the One Word Anthology (p28-29).

Along the bottom of the pages, there are photos of many of the writers who have stories and poems in the anthology. I'm there too.

It's been good to put faces to names at last, as many of the writers are only known by their forum name. :-)

If you haven't bought a copy of the e-book yet, you can still do so. Either click on the image in the side panel of my blog- it links to the book on, or you can find it on Amazon and Smashwords.

It's only 99p on Amazon and Alfiedog. And for the number of stories and poems you get in it covering a variety of genres, it's great value.

It's both light and dark, so something for everyone...

Friday 30 November 2012

Reviewing My Year...

Do you take time to seriously look at how you've done each year? And I don't just mean waiting until January the 1st and making resolutions-they usually don't last long...

Early December is my writing assessment time - if it's not been done earlier in October/November.

Reviewing the Writing Year
I've found looking at what's worked, and what's not gone as I'd hoped, is useful.

So last year (2011) I'd only achieved 2 of my 4 targets, that I'd set myself in late 2010; so I didn't do more than make general plans.

Here's what I decided I wanted for 2012:

 So I'm going to be getting on with my novella for the remainder of the year.

This coming Saturday I'll be at Sally Quillford's Pocket Novel workshop, which I'm looking forward to and I'm sure I'll learn a lot.

Hopefully next year will be more productive.

Did I keep to any of them?

I attended the Pocket Novel workshop and enjoyed it very much. I was reassured that I'd understood the requirements, and it did make me look at a few aspects in a different way, which I've taken into my other writing.

I also came home with another couple brewing in my head.

Yes, I've been working on the novella. Not as much has been done as I'd hoped, but I'm finally getting on with it.

Has it been productive?


I completed the revisions of the short story that I intended to send to Woman's Weekly. I sent it, and a few days off the four months received the standard rejection letter. But I actually got it sent off this year.
In the New Year it will be getting another look over and being sent off elsewhere...

A previously abandoned One Word Challenge Anthology book began a new life as an e-book project, and finally became available for purchase mid-November. I have contributions in it, and Serena does too.
So that was something I hadn't anticipated happening this year...

(You'll be able to read about the anthology by the Talkback Writers in the January 2013 issue of Writing Magazine-possibly with photos of some of the contributing writers included.)

I've got the basics of a few other projects which are in line for future development and writing up- some full length, others probably novella length.

I read some of my flash fiction to an audience at the Fringe at the Ship event in Lowdham in June.

Last week I did a slot on local BBC Radio promoting the 'One Word Anthology' with a fellow contributor (Catherine Dalling).

The past six months have shown me what I'm happiest doing, and what the best system of writing is for me personally.

I have my office area- that was just something on my wish list last year.

And Serena Lake has finally made her debut, quietly...

That is a lot more than I'd decided on last year.

Now I need to consider what I want to aim for in 2013, but I've been so busy that I haven't even thought about it yet. But I will.

image courtesy of Danilo Rizutti /

Monday 26 November 2012

Computer Issues...

My regular posting schedule is going to be out this week.

I've written this on my OH's netbook- had to plug a mouse into it, so I could get anything to move...

No idea what's wrong with my computer, but I can't access the Internet, and the security package isn't working either on my desktop.

Strangely enough everyone else using a wireless connection in the family is fine and secure.

My service provider claims it's a computer provider issue- because the laptop computers are able to access the browsers and security package okay, even though I can't on the wired line...

So tomorrow I will be contacting Dell to see if they can resolve the issue, even though I've run all the diagnostic tools and not come up with any obvious issues.

I expect to spend most of Monday on the phone and tearing my hair out in frustration. :(

I'd been intending to spend some time getting the size of the book in the side column reduced in size, but at the moment it will have to stay as it is, until I'm back to full browser access.

So apologies for the size-but the link to works if you click on the book. Apparently 69 copies have been sold so far, though I don't know if that includes the Amazon sales...

If you've bought and read the anthology, would you consider adding a review to Amazon?

The writers who contributed stories and poems to the anthology are reluctant to write and add reviews themselves, as they are concerned about the ethics of doing so.

They don't want to be linked to any accusations of sock-puppetry...

As soon as my computer is back online, I'll be blogging again.

In the meantime I'll be trying to keep to date with as much as possible via the netbook.

Apologies for not visiting and commenting on fellow bloggers pages meanwhile.

Fingers crossed it's not a major problem...

Thursday 22 November 2012

Thursday's Radio Interview...

Another experience in the book promotion of the One Word Anthology has been achieved- the radio interview.

Nottingham has a BBC Radio and local news studio on the edge of the city, and that's where Catherine (Dalling) and I were this lunchtime.

We had an interview about the e-book on the Gareth Evans programme that airs between 12 midday and 4pm.
Our instructions were to be there by 1.30 for 1.40...

Actually we were there by 1.05, as we weren't sure how long it would take us. We were fortunate that the tram came along just as we were approaching the Royal Centre stop, otherwise we wouldn't have got there until nearer 1.30.

It's not far to walk from the tram terminus- about 5 minutes- so we had time to sign in, sit in reception and chat, and watch the four screens on the wall- we had a choice of BBC News reporting on the flooding around the country, the lunchtime antiques show, and at one end the local BBC news studio presenter preparing for the East Midlands report that follows the main One O'clock News, while at the other end and with sound, the radio presenter Gareth in his studio.

It seems the whole show for today was word related: with questions about words, fun news that was word related; so we were going to fit right in with the One Word Anthology...

We went upstairs and waited to go into the studio.

Then it was time. Introductions were done while the music was playing, we sat down and then it was time to put the earphones on.

Catherine and I naturally alternated answering the questions, and during the next music break we were able to tell Gareth about the contributors who are in Fiji, and Australia and Europe, as well as the UK and Ireland.

So when we put our earphones back on, this community aspect became part of the next question.

We talked about the words used in the anthology- why does the mind always go blank on important things? :)

Then it was time to tell listeners where they could buy the book, and say thank you.

It was the 2 o'clock news and we could leave the studio. Hopefully some of the listeners went and bought the book- or will do in future...

Everyone was pleased with how well it went; and fellow contributors were happy with our efforts. As were we.

The e-book
So here's an edited version minus the music. Interview.
Hope you enjoy it. (Thanks, John.)


Tuesday 20 November 2012

Grammar and the Radio...

Well I hope my grammar will be right on the radio...

Thursday lunchtime- Catherine Dalling and I will be on BBC Radio Nottingham talking about the One Word Anthology, with Gareth Evans.

If you want to listen to the show live, you should be able to access it via the BBC iPlayer Radio pages in the UK.

Family members who are not otherwise occupied will be at home listening. And numerous friends will be tuning in to hear our efforts.

It is a bit scary- I did a short guest slot one New Year about five or six years ago, so it will be interesting to see how much has changed since then...

*   *   *

Now I mentioned grammar earlier, and I know how some writers struggle with it - there are bits I'm still not sure of too. So a good book that explains every aspect clearly, with examples, is a very useful addition to the bookshelf.

So I'm going to suggest you have a look at 'Grammar for Grown-Ups' by Katherine Fry and Rowena Kirton. Amazon has a look inside option, and it's cheaper than at Waterstones (where I bought my copy). It even has a Table of Tenses which I know I'll find useful...

I didn't know about this book until I saw it in Waterstones today, when I was browsing the reference section. I've since discovered a couple of people I know have also bought a copy.

*   *   *
I'll be doing my next blog post late Thursday, so I can include a link to the interview.
(That's assuming I don't get struck down with any seasonal bugs between now and then. :-) )

Wednesday 14 November 2012

A Learning Experience from Promoting...

Well I've learnt a lot about book promotion this past week, so I thought I'd share a few of the things I've discovered.

Plan ahead

It might help you to make a list of all your potential outlets for advertising your book- flyers that can be left at any local shops, libraries, writers groups and community settings (these do depend upon the genre of your book of course, and permissions).

Local newspapers - worth looking at the free papers that get put through the door; if you can find a local slant to appeal, as with any regional paper you buy. (Our daily paper has a weekend supplement with the Saturday edition and includes books, and local related articles- often by specific writers, so send a suitably adapted press release.)

Check out local radio- if you're in a big (UK) city you'll possibly have a BBC radio station. You may find a show during the day that has a book slot that would welcome local writers.

Flyers with your book cover, author name, where it's available (for e-books) and the price, plus a bit of the blurb. More can go by e-mail nowadays but please don't just send it to everyone on your contact list and every writer you have a contact address for. That is spamming them and they will not appreciate it, or buy your book. You can lose more friends and contacts that way.

Social media- hopefully you have a presence on Facebook and Twitter; so you've made friends who might retweet a message when you're tweeting about your book launch, or giving links to where they can read about and buy your book.

If you've created a page for your book, invite your friends to like it.

For the anthology we started with the important posts - images of the book, the back page, and the gorgeous Lola, trained by the charity we're giving 10% to.

Each day a small related link was posted as a countdown to the official launch, which hopefully kept the book in the back of readers minds, and coming back to find out more each day.

On launch day as many of the writers who could do so blogged, visited, commented, tweeted and retweeted, and posted on Facebook, also sharing. (Be warned it is tiring, so have regular breaks.)

And then there were the launch parties...

Only time will tell how sales from all sources have done, but yesterday the anthology was 17th in the kindle store anthologies list. Of course it's dropped back today as everything has gone back to normal and other anthologies get promoted.

As is inevitable there were the odd typos that slipped through, but they've now been corrected.

If you're just one person promoting a book you can only do so much. And a lot of it can be done online to reach more potential readers, so choose your best methods to get the news out and books sold.

A really important point to remember when approaching local press/radio- especially at this time of year; are there any major events going on, either locally or nationally?
Last weekend was Remembrance Sunday, and this Friday is Children in Need- both big news events, so I'm not approaching local press about the anthology until early next week, and hopefully it won't get passed by.

(It may still be, but why make it harder for yourself spending time sending out press releases that won't get read because there are big events going on with lots of local coverage filling the pages?)

I'll be adding the book cover in my sidebar (somewhere). It's a lovely reminder that I've been published in a book before I'm another year older... :-)

Are there any tips you would like to pass on? If so please leave a comment below.

Monday 12 November 2012

Launch Party Today- Join the Fun...

Today is the day, the One Word Anthology e-book by the Talkback Writers is launched, and you can now buy it from for 99p.

It's available in the following formats e-Pub for e-readers other than Kindle.
- mobi for Kindle.
- pdf for reading on your computer screen.

Buy it now!

10% of the revenue from the anthology goes to support the work of Medical Detection Dogs - you can find out more about the valuable work this charity does in training animals to support and save

30 writers have contributed stories and poems that were written for the monthly One Word Challenge on the Talkback forum - which is part of the
website, run by Writers News and Writing Magazine.

Each month the writers are set a word prompt. They have
200 words (excluding the title) to create a story, and/or poetry up to 40 lines.

Lola, the Diabetic Alert Dog
The winner of the previous month's competition- one for poetry and one for prose- read the entries and choose a winner, both winners then set the word for the new month and will judge the entries at the start of the following month.

The anthology is a selection of the variety of stories and poems inspired by the chosen words.

A big thank you to all the writers involved, I'm proud to be among you.

It really has been a joint effort getting the anthology organised and put together, to now being available for sale.

Special thanks must go to writers: Jay Mandal, who suggested the competition many years ago and started it all.
Brenda Gunning, who collated the pieces and edited them ready for the publisher, Rosemary J Kind - who has the patience of a hundred people (if not more) and the technical expertise.
And finally Marion Clarke who took our assorted suggestions and created
the absolutely brilliant cover.

Early in December there will be an interview with Rosemary and Brenda in Writing Magazine (January issue) where you can find out more about how the book developed.

I'd like to give a big thank you to the WM/WN editor Jonathan Telfer who has supported the One Word Challenge on the forum from the beginning, and rightfully has a few words at the start of the book -we couldn't leave him out...

Okay, that's the official part out the way. Here's my self-promotion bit :-)

You'll find my four stories appearing under both Carol Bevitt and Serena Lake (my other name).

Carol's stories are 'Junk Mail' and 'The Child in Everyone'; while Serena's stories are 'Surprises' and 'After Heat'.

The e-book is also available on Smashwords $1.60 (it's changed to UK currency ) and Amazon; but please buy direct from our publisher if you can, as it means the charity will get more...

Now it's time to party!!!

Find us on Twitter, Facebook and wherever we can spread the launch news, so please join in.


(image from )
Virtual bubbly will be swirling...

Saturday 10 November 2012

Meet One of the Writers in the One Word Challenge Anthology...

As we're only a couple of days away from the launch of the One Word Challenge Anthology, on Monday the 12th, I thought it would be fun to introduce you to one of the writers in the anthology.

Catherine Dalling is not just a writer and friend, but also a talented artist.

Catherine Dalling
So to the questions and answers...

Tell the readers a little bit about yourself.

I’m almost 48, married with two teenage children, a dog and three cats.  I became a stay-at-home mum when the kids were born and other than a couple of part-time jobs have stayed that way.
 Twice a week I run a music quiz at a couple of local pubs and love it, even though I have to say I now know more useless information about one hit wonders and chart stats than I am probably ever going to need, unless one of my characters ever becomes a DJ.

What started you writing?

Up until the children were born I was predominately a portrait artist, people and pets,  but when you have two young children it's not easy to paint when you don't have the space. So the paintbrushes were put away and I got on with being a mum.  But something was missing, I needed something creative. 
I had been a prolific writer whilst I was at school, short stories (somewhere between the Famous 5 and the Hardy Boys) and rather bad poetry.  So I started writing a bit of fan fiction, then it mutated into not-so short stories - always dark, either realistically so or heading into urban fantasy.

As the kids got older I started painting again, but I have to admit I had the bug for writing. I enrolled on a writing course and really enjoyed it. I have very Gothic tendencies, but other than my beloved New Rocks (a particular type of boots) you wouldn't really notice it - well until you walk into my office that is...

Some writers concentrate on one genre, others a variety. Which type are you? And what are you currently working on?

I admit to a love of all things dark and macabre, but I don't do gore. I always think the less it's described the more it affects the imagination of the reader. So I tend to stick to what I know, and love.

I have a vampire serial that is at the stage where it needs a good edit, but to be honest I've popped it in the back of the cupboard as I feel the market is so saturated in blood that it will probably drown. My vampires can wait.

 I am focussing on what will hopefully become a series of books involving the Nephilim; it's still in the early stages but the characters are already shouting at me at inopportune moments, which is always a good thing.In my head the characters are real. As long as I don't walk down the street talking to myself we should be okay.

When you're writing do you need to shut yourself off from everything, or are you happy to work with everyday life going on around you?

Normally I like to be all alone, locked away without distraction, once the kids get home from school I have no hope of getting anything done. Or if I don't want to be distracted by the washing/cleaning (can't work in a messy house) I take myself off to one of the local cafes with my net book for an hour and have a couple of lattes and get my brain working. I can shut the noise out, or I can people watch (it's valid research – honest).

 I used to write in silence but now I tend to have music on, something that sets the mood for what I'm writing: a bit of HIM, or Within temptation, Bach, Beethoven, it varies, of course.

You have four stories in the anthology. How would you describe them to readers?

I have to say that the OWC has been an interesting exercise for me. I remember looking at it and thinking there is no way I can actually get my point across in 200 words (she has) - probably takes me more to tell people what they are about. So looking at the four stories, each is different, but very typically me.

  • In 'Heat' I wanted to get over the feel of the inner city on a hot summer night, the seedy underbelly of nightclubs, I think I did.

  • Bounce – you know that kid at the back of the class that you always thought was a bit odd?This is how he could have ended up, school wasn't the happiest days of everyone's life.

  • Chaos – A humorous look at the beginning of the Apocalypse.

  • Witness – A look at humanity from an unusual viewpoint.

As a writer in a rapidly changing book industry, do you see your genre as benefiting from them? Or having to adapt?

I think it's a two edged sword (to use rather apt cliché). When I was growing up dark fantasy/urban fantasy wasn’t seen as a serious genre. It seem to be changing. You only have to look at the plethora of vampires around at the moment - some better than others - to see that technology (and teenage girls) seem to be the vampires friend.

I remember when the books were either nestled in with the horror, or epic fantasy and you had to read the backs of covers to find what you wanted to read. Now it’s so much easier to find something that appeals, with no end of suggestions thrust at you when you have purchased online.

I think ezines are brilliant. There’s more scope to showcase writers who would probably never see the light of day otherwise.

I used to get the bi-monthly Fantasy and Sci-Fi (my abbreviation) periodical from the states (not overly expensive) but sometimes late etc; now I have it direct to Kindle for 99p - brilliant (I don’t own a Kindle but I have it on my phone) which means I read more as it’s always in my pocket.

What authors would you recommend new writers read?

I think it depends on what you want to write, but honestly, read whatever you can lay your hands on- especially if you aren't sure of what genre you fancy, or more to the point how you want to write it.

 I’d avoid how-to books until you’ve found your voice, as I think they can be slightly a negative influence; and if you read too many it will just confuse you. It’s like painting, you find your own way, or you just end up like someone else.

Don't feel you have to like, or emulate someone if it doesn't do anything for you. There is nothing wrong with not liking what someone writes. It’s not bad writing, it just isn't for you.

The same goes for your writing. Don't try to write to please anyone but yourself. If you love your characters and your story, it will show.

So read, read, and read. 

Read classics (in my case) Poe, Lovecraft, Wilde.  The Picture of Dorian Grey is a really well spun tale. 

As for vampires you can’t beat ‘Dracula’. Bram Stoker was a genius.

But for more recent authors (and again I can really only point you in the direction I go) look at  Jim Butchers 'Dresden Files', Mike Carey 'Felix Castor',  Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and Tanya Huff, Laurel Hamilton, and Charlaine Harris.

Where can you be found on the web?

For my writing there is a fairly new blog which will be updated on a regular basis:

For my paintings: and

Thanks you for sharing your thoughts and inspirations with us, Catherine. And I'm certainly looking forward to reading your contributions  to the One Word Challenge Anthology on Monday.

And remember you're invited to the official launch on Monday, here, and on Facebook (The One Word Anthology) and on Twitter...

Monday 5 November 2012

An Exciting Week Begins...

The countdown to the launch of the One Word Challenge Anthology e-book begins today.

This is a very exciting week for me, as I have four pieces of micro fiction included in this e-book- two are by my alternative writing persona, Serena Lake.

And the very best bit of all, beside the price (99p direct) is that 10% of the cover price of each e-book will go to Medical Detection Dogs, a charity that trains dogs to assist people with life-threatening conditions.

Fantastic cover image by Marion Clarke
But I'm getting ahead of myself...

The book will be available to buy in a few days, direct from Alfie Dog Fiction.

It will also be available from Amazon and Smashwords but there's no definite date yet for those. (But I'll add links and prices when they become available.)

(Buying direct from the publisher will ensure the charity gets more.)

I'm one of 30 writers who have contributed to the anthology, so expect to see other bloggers posting, tweeting and taking about it on Facebook as the week progresses.

As the official launch is Monday 12th November, you're all invited to the virtual launch party I'm holding here.

Lola the Diabetic Alert Dog
A couple of days before, 9th/10th, I'll be bringing you an interview with one of the other writers' involved, Catherine Dalling.

If you want to find out more about the Medical Detection Dogs charity that the anthology is donating to, please look here.

(Lola belongs to one of the writers in the anthology; and the Talkback Writers have followed her progress through initial training to passing her final qualifications.)

More news in a few days...

A little bit about the book

Friday 26 October 2012

Changes for the Better...

As you may have noticed I've made a few changes with the blog.

I know the new blogger interface hasn't been popular, but I've discovered it does have some advantages- more variety in the background wallpapers to start with.

(I was changed over quite early on- within a few weeks of them warning they would start converting blogs automatically- bit of a shock, but I've got used to it.)

Also I've changed to a more recent profile photo. It was taken at the writers club Awards Night last year. I cropped off the antlers and bells- it really wouldn't give the impression of a serious writer if I'd kept them visible... :-)

I've still got a few things to change and sort out, but I have to use an alternative browser to do that.

Previously I could edit the side bar gadgets in the layout, but now all that happens is the gadget box opens and tells me the page can't be found, or just brings up the Chesil picture from the top of the page and a message telling me I can't access that page.

So if you've had this type of problem, try another browser and access the gadgets just as you did previously...

The other change is with the anthology.

I've been able to include two other pieces of micro fiction (to add to the existing two). I'd originally had to choose between these four pieces, so I'm really pleased to have been given the opportunity to add them.

This means I will have two entries under each name, my own and my Serena Lake pseudonym.

I'm finally getting excited about the anthology, and making plans for promoting it both individually and as part of the group- the group's exciting news will have to remain hush-hush for the moment, as there are deadlines to hit first.

I'm sure 2013 will bring a lot more changes, but these are enough for now... :-)


Wednesday 24 October 2012

My New E-Reader...

Over the summer my Sony Pocket e-reader began needing the battery charging before I could open the reader, even when it was still three quarters charged- it was clearly malfunctioning.

So I accepted that I either paid a horrible amount of money to get it working again, or buy a new e-reader. Well there really wasn't a contest. I could buy a brand new reader and a few books for what it would cost to repair. And I needed more storage too.

I'd been considering a Kindle but didn't want to be locked into only buying e-books from Amazon, so I was interested by a display of kobo's in WH Smith (when I'd only popped in to look for a plastic box).

I was trying to work out how to get from one page on the reader screen to the next, when a child of no more than 8 years old, out with her grandparents, proceeded to whizz through the pages on the nearest device with a few slides of her fingers.

Yes, I hadn't understood that the idea of touch-screens was sweeping movements...I'm a simple basic phone person, nothing that needs sliding. :-)

Resorting to the tactic of all technology bemused adults, I got an assistant to help me.

The three latest readers, mini, touch, and glo were on stands and connected up so I got a demonstration of how they worked, and was able to ask the 'kobo' assistant questions and get an answer immediately-great customer service (if only other stores had staff like this).

My only question was which one did I choose?

Should I pay £59.99 for the mini- ideal for fitting in the pocket, 1GB storage, with built in wi-fi for downloading ease; or spend a bit more on the glo (£99.99) and have the added advantage of an integrated front-light with adjustable brightness, the 1GB storage, but with the ability to use a Micro SD card for extra storage if needed...

Now if you read in bed, or are travelling as a passenger in a car when it's dark outside, then the light option is essential, though using the light will drain the battery quicker.

I decided to buy the glo and the assistant even helped set it up while I was in store, so when I got home all I needed to do was sign into and download my kobo desktop, plug in my reader and synchronise it.

It was then an enjoyable hour (or two) browsing through the book categories, and then downloading a few free previews of books I'm interested in buying. Some are books by authors I've read before, others are new to me.

I'm sure there will be elements that confuse me, but I can pop in store and ask the assistant if I need to, which is great.

I'm mastering the sweeping motion, and not accidentally opening the dictionary too often now.

And best of all, I should be able to load the One Word Challenge Anthology onto it, when it's published in early December, so I can show relatives and friends my stories. :-)

My only problem now is resisting reading, so I can get on with writing...

Monday 8 October 2012

Monday Thoughts...

Latest anthology news (see the details on my previous blog post) - it's looking like it will be out for December, when it will be available in pdf, epub and .mobi formats.

As another (local) writer/friend is also included in the anthology, we're going to get together and discuss what we can do to advertise our contributions and hopefully drum up sales in our area.

Looking forward to 2013, I'm going to concentrate on my longer length projects, and try a few more short stories when I need a break or change of perspective.

I've noticed a few mini workshops advertised so I'm going to see if I can book a place on them. I've decided to update a few skills relating to social media first.

Another writer on the Talkback forum posted a link this morning, it's a good reminder about planning ahead. (Thanks SilverLinings.)

While the agency is in the USA, and some aspects will be more relevant there, it has some good points; so if you've not taken the time to think ahead to 2013 this piece may make you reconsider. Read Mary Keeley's post here.

"Set your own pace and be comfortable with it." I think that first piece of advice is the most valuable, at least it is for me.

Life gets in the way sometimes, and pushing yourself to do more than is practical- or healthy- is a sure way of making life harder for yourself. The accident last year, and the asthma diagnosis this year made me re-evaluate everything in my life, but especially my writing.

By slowing down and accepting that I couldn't do all the things I wanted to, meant I made choices in what I concentrated on. And surprisingly I actually got more done, as I submitted a few things rather than none at all, and won the trophy at the writers' club last December (which was a morale booster).

Now I'm looking forward to my contribution in the anthology.

What has been the best advice you've received that helped you progress?