Diamond Life

People often ask, ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ Last year I came across this image on the internet and was blown away by the woman’s incredible, ethereal beauty. So much so that it inspired a short story: Diamond Life. It’s a bit of a weird one, but I liked it. So did the rest of the world, sort of… I entered it into various competitions and it was shortlisted three times, early on, then nothing in subsequent comps. Finally, despairing (and a tad disappointed) I thought, I’ll give it one more chance. I’m glad I did, it won first prize in the NAWG (National Association of Writers’ Groups) 2021 short story competition. I was so pleased. This beautiful creature deserves it.

If you’re interested in reading any of my stories, my new collection Degrees of Exposure is available now. (Diamond Life will be in my next collection but in the meantime, you can read it in Henshaw Four.)

In praise of writers’ circles

bridgendLast week I was delighted to be invited to a presentation evening in Bridgend where my story, Edna and Goliath had won first prize in the Bridgend Writers’ Circle annual open competition.

The group meet in the old Public Library building where the event was held. It was a delightful occasion attended by the mayor and also Jo Derrick, this year’s competition judge.

Meeting the group’s members underlined for me how much we aspiring writers owe to writers’ circles such as this – without their efforts there would be few competitions to enter and thus, little stimulus to keep writing and striving to improve.

Huge thanks to Bridgend and numerous others like them

Writing and Reviewing on Taylz

taylz-logoTaylz is a new site for short story writers – and readers. Its aim, so it says is “to build a comprehensive library of the latest, most exciting new short stories available online. We want Taylz to be a natural port of call for readers interested in new voices in fiction, as well as a lively, creative forum where new and established writers can receive constructive feedback.

We’re interested in stand-alone stories that can be read in one 15-20 minute sitting (1500-8,000 words)– ideal for the average commute, lunch break, or as a bedtime read.”

Taylz is launching the site in two phases. Phase 1 is the story-building phase which is exclusively for writers.  This will build up a bank of stories and writers, that can then be used to attract readers for Phase 2  – which will be aimed at the reading public across the English speaking world.

Please do take a look. This seems a very promising outlet for developing writers. Becoming involved in the site also provides a very useful reminder of how much one learns through the reviewing process about one’s own weaknesses.

How old is an ‘older’ writer?

An article in the Daily Telegraph yesterday focused on ‘older writers’ with the headline that ‘It’s never too late to write a book”. However it was a bit disconcerting to find that the featured authors looked (and indeed were, in relative terms) so young. One even talked about having four young children – so not that old then!

A bit more encouragement for the truly ageing amongst us, highlighting the achievements of Diana Athill, Mary Wesley, and the vast number of lesser-known first time authors/writers over 60 etc would be much appreciated.

And no, the argument that publishers are looking for ‘social media’ experience and “longevity – someone they can get several books out of” isn’t acceptable. There is a vast market of over 50s who are looking for books that resonate with them – not necessarily by older people, but not automatically by the latest up and coming 20 something authors either (end of rant).

NB Good to see the Prime Writers Group – looking forward to seeing their numbers swell.