Halloween update!

Back from France and ready to write

We’ve just got back from a wonderful family holiday at Disneyland Paris, which was absolutely fabulous! It was my son’s first visit and he adored every moment of it. Visiting during the Halloween season was new for me too, it was great to see all the villains and decorations.

I’ve been submitting a lot more shorts recently after discovering The Submission Grinder, which is really an invaluable tool. Getting the submissions going again has really put me in the mood to write up some of my new ideas and I’m thinking of writing a new spooky short given that it’s Halloween in just a few days. There is a whole slew of great new games coming out to play, so I really should make the most of my motivation to write while I have it, because I know at least one of those games will distract me (Planet Zoo, I’m talking about you).

Obviously, NaNoWriMo is starting soon too and I really want to dedicate some time towards that too! Hopefully, November will be a really productive month for me.

This year has flown by!

So, I’m not going to lie… this year has not been as productive as I had hoped. I’ve been doing a lot of coursework this past year and so it didn’t leave a lot of room for anything else. Fortunately, my course ends in just a few days and I’ll have more free time again!

So I’m back to sorting through my stuff, I have a few new story ideas, a few new shorts in progress and I am revising Vulpini a little bit. I also need to get some more people to read it for me as I’m looking for some feedback, but beta readers are always few and far between, especially when the manuscript is hefty!

Loving my little fox in my header? It’s by a very awesome artist named Kadi.

Feeling super motivated for February

So February is here and I am feeling so motivated and positive about writing at the moment. Maybe working through The Artist’s Way really is working for me, who knows! I’m not going to question where my sudden influx of energy has come from, I’m just going to roll with it. I’ve started querying Vulpini again, I’ve submitted to a few short story competitions and I even tried my hand at flash fiction for a new challenge.

I’ve also started trying to be more organised, setting myself monthly goals and mixing it up with different things so I don’t get burnt out just writing Wolfrik, getting despondent over Vulpini queries, or obsessing over short story competitions. I even bought a new diary (any excuse for new stationary) that has all these super helpful trackers and goals sections. I feel so mature about it until I remember I also write in new game releases in there and earlier wrote when preorders would go live for Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers.

January Update

Ok so I haven’t been as productive as I could have been so far this month, most likely because I’ve been playing way too many games (sorry, not sorry). However, I saw these gorgeous fairy lights in Paperchase and anything wolf/fox related really makes me feel motivated to get some more writing done, and I have written a little more of Wolfrik.

As far as The Artist’s Way is going, I’ve been keeping up with my morning pages and working through the weekly tasks. It’s tougher than expected and it makes me wonder whether I’m doing it right. I never know what to write for the morning pages and so it often turns into a diary of sorts. Is this right? I have no idea! I am determined to see it through though, so I will keep on swimming!

I’ve also started re-submitting for short story competitions again and will hopefully have some luck this year. Fingers crossed. I also have a few ideas in the works for some new short stories so I should really start getting those written out.

New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve been fairly quiet recently and I aim for that to change now that 2019 is here. Here is a break down of my aims for the new year:

  1. The Artist’s Way – someone kindly bought me this amazing book by Julia Cameron for Christmas and I fully plan to try out its 12-week course and hopefully see some wonderfully creative results! In particular, I aim to really stick with the morning pages even past the course to ensure I don’t get out of the habit of writing. Someone once told me that your creativity is like a muscle and if you don’t exercise it then it will won’t be as strong. Time to get exercising!
  2. Update my blog more often even if it isn’t necessarily about writing, but encompasses life events and things I’m up to. All good writing practice after all!
  3. Read more. I need to start reading some of my (rather horrendous) pile of shame books that I haven’t even touched. Some absolute corkers in there that I am desperate to read and I just need to dedicate the time.
  4. Submit more short stories. I don’t know why I’ve let this lapse. I was short-listed in a competition at the end of last year and so it was a really positive experience and should have given me a burst of new energy, but my motivation just trailed off.
  5. Finish Wolfrik. I’m past the half-way mark!
  6. Finish NaNoWriMo properly. Whilst I did take part, I did not reach the goal of 50k words. I can blame my trip to France half-way through November all I want, but I know that I just lost motivation.

If I manage to stick to even half of these I will be happy, but I’d love to be successful on all these points. Fingers crossed!


NaNoWriMo is here!

Ok so I’m a day late out of the starting blocks due to a horrendous cold, but I am on it starting from today! Though it’s not the norm for NaNoWriMo, I’m not starting a new project, but instead using this month as a tool to concentrate some more on Wolfrik. Of course, I’ll only be counting the words I add in from today!

Recently I’ve been doing so many short stories and been on a competition submission spree that I’ve neglected my main novel and so this feels like a good way to get back into it. Mixing it up feels healthy to me and so I think a solid month of novel writing will be refreshing after all those short stories.

If you’ve never taken part in NaNoWriMo before, then I urge you to check it out and get those creative juices flowing! It’s such a brilliant writing community and could be the perfect excuse to write that story you’ve always wanted to!

Short Story Competition with Top Prize of $5,000

Illustration by A. Hughes, from Sing-Song: A Nursery Rhyme Book.

Here’s another short story competition for you to sink your teeth into: The Short Story Project is hosting a great competition where 20 winners will be chosen! Top prize is $5,000, second prize is $1,900 and third prize is $950. Cash prizes are rewarded for winners who place in the top ten, with additional prizes available. The top five winners will also be featured on The Short Story Project. Entries can be up to a maximum of 2500 words but must be in English. The competition is open worldwide, with an entry fee of $17. The closing date is September 30, 2018. For more information and how to submit, visit the website.

If you’re after other short story competitions, there is the adult fairytale short story competition that closes on October 15, 2018, and Writers’ Forum hosts monthly short story competitions.

Masterpiece of Thrills

I picked up this book the other day, but haven’t had the time to post about it yet. As soon as I saw the illustration on the spine I was drawn to it. Titled Masterpiece of Thrills, this book contains a collection of sixty dark short stories by various authors and thirty illustrations. Although it isn’t dated, searching on the internet leads me to believe it was published in 1936.

The book itself isn’t in great condition; the cover is torn and discoloured and there are pen marks both on the cover and on some of the pages. There is foxing throughout the book and the spine is rather on the fragile side on the inside, threatening to come loose at any point that you open the book too wide. However, the book is still very readable as long as you’re not too reckless with it.

It only cost me £3, which considering the size and age of the book, I thought was pretty reasonable. The black and white illustrations inside are of a really interesting style, and of course, of a grim nature to suit the stories told.

At the rate at which I’m buying books, I’m going to have to invest in a new bookcase! When they are such lovely and intriguing finds though, I’d rather get them than not and regret it later.


Monthly Open-theme Short Story Competitions

Illustration by H. Stratton, from Songs for Little People.

If, like me, you’re currently looking to get your short stories published – here is a great opportunity. Writers’ Forum magazine runs a short story competition every month, with all types of stories welcome. Winners not only see their stories published, but first prize is £300, second prize £150, and lastly, third prize is £100. Short stories entered must be between 1000 and 3000 words. The entry fee is £6, or £3 if you’re a subscriber to the magazine. It’s a rolling competition, so if your submission happens to be too late, they will simply enter it into the following month’s competition. Anyone can enter as it’s a worldwide competition, but entries must be in English. Full terms and conditions and how to enter can be found on their website.

Additionally, for a further £5, you can receive feedback on your submitted story. You can also allow your entry to be used in a free workshop where, if used, it will be featured in Writers’ Forum. These examples are used to show readers how to improve their writing. All you need to do is state that you are happy for your entry to be used in your submission.

I like this competition for a few reasons: it’s monthly, so you can really get your creative juices flowing on a regular basis; it’s open-themed, so no restrictions there; the word count is quite generous.

If you’re looking for other short story competitions, there is the adult fairy tale short story competition by Writing Magazine, which closes on October 15th, 2018.

Great Charity Shop Book Haul

I spent way too much money today on books from the charity shop, but I fell in love with them all! The Oxfam bookstore is always a little pricier than other charity shop books, there were even a couple of books where the price made me think twice, but ultimately I bought them all. I didn’t want to regret not buying any, and they were all gorgeous books, despite some of them being a little worse for wear. They were also three for the price of two, so I can’t complain too much.

My young son was with me today and he asked me why I like old books as they’re “always ripped“. I hope one day he understands my fascination with older books! He was quite happy to leave with his pristine looking atlas book, whereas I left with my large bundle of faded, worn books that he had turned his nose up at.

I picked up the usual suspects that pique my interest; fables, folklore, legends, and of course, a healthy dose of Alice in Wonderland.

The first book I spotted, mainly because of its eye-catching spine, was My Book of Beautiful Legends. It’s a collection of stories from all around the world, retold by Christine Chaundler and Eric Wood, with illustrations by A. C. Michael. At £11.99, it was the priciest book I found today and given that it’s in poor condition and many of the pages plagued with foxing, I was on the fence about it for some time. In the end, this beautiful book won me over and found its way home with me. Having now discovered that it was published in 1916, I can see why it’s seen better days and I’m glad I bought it. It features some gorgeous colour illustrations inside and I love the range of short stories, covering things from Norse and Greek mythology, to well-known tales such as The Pied Piper of Hamelin.

King Arthur and the Round Table

The next book I picked up was King Arthur and the Round Table by A. M. Hadfield. A lot cheaper than the previous find at £4.99, but still a bit more than I usually spend. Once again, this beautiful old book wormed its way into my heart despite its damp spots and musty smell. Published in 1953, this book features colour and black and white line drawings by Donald Seton Cammell.

I also picked up Stories From Grimm: Stories Old and New, published by Blackie & Son LTD. Publish date is unknown, regrettably, internet searches give varying dates. It’s missing its dust jacket, but still has a beautiful cream cloth cover with dark green print. It also features some beautiful colour illustrations. For £2.49, it was well worth picking up.

The Ever-Ever Land

The Ever-Ever Land: Tales and Poems of Wonder, Truth and Surprise collected by Richard Wilson was a book that I didn’t know I wanted until I saw the vibrant, quirky illustrations inside and then I knew I had to have it. I loved the colour range used in the pictures and there’s just something really eye-catching and unique about them that I absolutely adored. £3.49 seemed like a decent price to pay for this beauty.

Last, but by no means least, I picked up two more copies of my favourite books! The first was Alice in Wonderland and Other Stories by Lewis Carroll, published by Odhams Press Limited circa the 1930s and featuring illustrations by Edgar B. Thurstan. It’s missing its dust jacket, which is a shame as looking at internet search results the cover looks gorgeous. At £2.49, this was an easy addition to my Alice in Wonderland collection. Finally, I picked up the lovely Alice Through the Looking Glass, published by Golden Pleasure Books in 1964. This vibrantly coloured picture book is in great condition and has some fantastic vintage artwork. It cost me £4.99, which is a little more than I usually spend on books. As I said before though, higher prices normally go with the territory of shopping in the Oxfam specialist bookstore and so I knew what I was getting myself into when I walked in. I’m just too spoilt by bargains found in other charity shops.

Overall, I’m really pleased with the collection of books I managed to find today. I’ll have to avoid the Oxfam bookstore for some time though, as it’s far too easy to spend money in there and I have bought so many books this month already!

Alice Through the Looking Glass