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Popshot Magazine

Whilst browsing in WHSmith the other day I came across Popshot Magazine for the first time. It’s a well-presented, quality magazine containing poetry, short stories and illustrations. And best of all, anyone can submit work!

Popshot describes itself as “an illustrated literary magazine that publishes short stories, flash fiction, and poetry from the literary new blood”. On the website are examples of pieces that have previously been published.

Popshot is published twice a year in April and October. There are no specific writers’ guidelines on the website and the next submission period opens on the 1st December 2015. Potential contributors are asked to sign up to a mailing list in order to receive details about this next submission period.  Probably worth doing if the magazine appeals to you.

Popshot is also looking out for illustrators.

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Two Poetry Competitions

Poempigeon is running a free competition on the theme ‘Awakenings’. Poems can be any form and any length. To enter, register on the site and upload your poem. Closing date is 30th April and the prize is a £25 Amazon voucher.

The thing I like about Poempigeon is that it’s an interactive site, so other poets can read and comment on your work. Everybody likes a nothing-to-lose freebie, so, even if you don’t usually write poetry, why not have a go?

Carillon is running a sonnet competition (any style, any subject) to raise money for Worldwide Cancer Research. Entry fee is only £2 and 80% of the entry fees will be shared among three winners (each getting a minimum of £25 but could be much more). The winners will also receive a subscription to Carillon. Closing date 1st August 2015. All profits will go to the charity.
Carillon also accept submissions of articles, stories, fillers and writing news.  Payment is a contibutor’s copy of the magazine.

Finally, I’d like to say ‘thank you’ to everybody who took the time to comment and congratulate me on my shortlisting.  It never ceases to amaze me what a warm and friendly lot writers are, despite us all competing with one another for ever decreasing markets.

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A Competition, A Novel Workshop & A Beta Reader Request

Three bits of (potentially) useful information for you:

  • Romantic comedy novelist, Alison May, is running a Developing Your Novel workshop in Birmingham city centre on 28th March. I’ve been on a similar event tutored by Alison and it was very helpful. It costs £44, including lunch and refreshments, and there’s a discount if you book before the end of January. So, if you live in the Midlands there’s no excuse for not getting your novel off the ground in 2015!
  • Modern literary magazine One Story has opened its annual reading period and, until 31st May 2015, is accepting submissions of high-quality literary fiction from outside contributors. They pay $500 and full submission details are here.
  • Anyone looking for a writing buddy/beta reader? I’ve been asked to publicise the following request:
    My name is Sharon, and I’m looking for a volunteer reader for my unpublished chick- lit/romance novel.
    I’m seeking someone who has the time to read it and give honest feedback.
    In return, I’ll read your unpublished novel and give feedback too. We’d correspond via email.
    Interested? Please email me: sbee.poetry ‘at’ gmail.com

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Three E-Books (not mine!) and a Workshop

I’ve three lots of e-reading to tell you about today (plus a novel-writing workshop) so get your Kindles, tablets, smartphones and other gadgets at the ready …

Firstly, Wendy Clarke has launched her first collection of short stories. Room in Your Heart by Wendy Clarke
Wendy is a prolific and successful women’s magazine fiction writer. She’s had around 90 stories published over the last three years – phenomenal!
Her collection, Room in Your Heart, comprises twelve romantic short stories that have previously appeared in People’s Friend. It’s worth taking a look if you’d like to write for People’s Friend or if you just love a good dose of romance!
The book is available on Amazon and I’m sure Wendy won’t mind you gate-crashing the launch party over on her blog – pop in and say hello (and see what she has to say about Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners).

 

Secondly, the e-magazine for fiction lovers, Kishboo has now formally launched. Kishboo Edition 1
It is available free online or as an Android app and very cheaply for Kindle.
The magazine is running a short story competition and is also looking for articles and readers’ letters. Have a look at the first edition online and see if you can spot any familiar names among the contributors.

 

 

 

Thirdly, you may remember me talking about Judith Cutler’s new crime novel Death in Elysium a few monthsDeath in Elysium ago.
At the time it was only available in a rather expensive hardback edition but now it’s out as a not-quite-so-expensive e-book. It’s the first in a new series of crime novels featuring city girl/vicar’s wife/sleuth, Jodie Welsh. Take a look at it on Amazon.

 

 

And now the workshop:
Romantic novelist, Alison May, is running a ‘Developing Your Novel’ workshop on Sunday 15th November at The Hive in Worcester. It costs a reasonable £40 which includes lunch and refreshments. It is aimed at people who already have a novel-in-progress (at any stage). It will include intensive sessions on plot structure and characterisation, and will also look at skills such as writing a synopsis and editing and revising your novel. Full details on Alison’s website.

Phew, I’m exhausted after telling you all that lot. Time to curl up with a good book …

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What’s the Copyright in Recipes?

We all know not to copy chunks of other people’s stories or articles. Similarly, we all know that there’s no copyright on ideas, so we can write a story or an article about the same subject as someone else, as long as we don’t use the same words. In fact people do this all the time (I believe there are only seven basic plots?) but the finished manuscripts are usually all quite different.

By the way, although there’s no law against it, it’s not a good thing to ‘steal’ an idea, especially if it’s unusual and the originator is likely to recognise it after publication.

But what’s the ruling on recipes?

I’ve just sent a couple of recipes to Take a Break’s My Favourite Recipes magazine. However, I’m not the world’s best cook. When I was 14 my cookery teacher wrote on my report, ‘Sally’s written work is much better than her practical work‘ – I think it was her way of politely saying that I was useless in the kitchen!
So, I don’t invent recipes from scratch. I start with something from a cook book or magazine and make slight adjustments. At the very least, I always omit the garlic because my husband doesn’t like it, I often replace celery with carrots and I never have the right herbs so just throw in what I have.
Therefore the recipes I submit are not exact copies of those I started with it. But I was still a bit dubious about whether I might be breaking a law or ‘stealing’.

I did a quick internet search and found this useful article on the Paleo Living Magazine website. basically it says that copying a list of ingredients and basic directions for cooking the dish is OK. However, what may be protected by copyright is any ‘creative narrative’ with the recipe, such as how the dish was invented or suggestions for wine to go with the meal.

So it seems that I can continue sending off my slightly amended recipes in the hope of winning £25 if they’re chosen for publication.

Now I just need to practise my food photography so that my accompanying photos look at least a little bit mouth-watering!

 

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The Journeyman

The tagline for The Journeyman magazine is, ‘a collection of short stories from emerging authors‘. 
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It is distributed free (in the Sheffield area, I’m guessing from the adverts) to be read ‘on the train, in the office, at home …‘. There is also an example edition to be read online.

I’ve just received a complimentary copy containing my story, ‘One Day for Me’. Like most small magazines the payment is not great – only £10. But the editor will accept things that have been previously published elsewhere, provided that copyright and publishing rights still remain with the author. This means that you can get a little bit of extra mileage out of a story that’s already earned its keep, plus The Journeyman also has a ‘Meet the Authors’ section which includes a short bio of all the writers published in that edition.

If you fancy submitting, the guidelines are here. In brief, the editor is looking for well-written stories across all genres. The preferred length is up to around 3,500 words.

Update July 2015: I understand that The Journeyman has now ceased publication. It’s very sad to see fiction markets like this disappearing.

And the mention of ‘One Day for Me’ gives me the excuse to tell you that my e-book ‘One Day for Me – 8 Award-Winning Stories‘ is available for just 99p/99c (UK & US only) until August 10th 2014.

One Day For Me by Sally Jenkins

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Writing Romantic Novels with Sue Moorcroft

Last Saturday I had a great time (and learned a lot) at a workshop organised by the Birmingham Chapter of the

Sue Moorcroft

Sue Moorcroft

Romantic Novelists’ Association. It was held in the lovely surroundings of the new Library of Birmingham.

Sue Moorcroft came to talk to us about writing romantic novels. She gave us much good advice such as:

  • Know the publisher/market you are aiming for before beginning the book and she told us that Harper Impulse are currently open to submissions.
  • Have a one sentence synopsis to describe the book and also know what tone you are writing in i.e. light and frothy, grittty, tearjerker etc.
  • When planning the story, avoid listing the scenes/ideas down the page. Instead use a spider diagram so that your brain is not chanelled into what happens when too soon – instead your mind can jump about and pick the most appropriate scene.
  • What should you do when a story runs out of steam or you have a ‘saggy’ middle? Introduce something dramatic such as the revelation of a secret, a new character (maybe an ex-boyfriend or an illigitimate baby), a skeleton in the cupboard or anything else that will add drama to the situation.
  • Keep the hero and heroine apart by giving them conflicting goals.
  • The traits required of heros and heroines – they should both be decent, honest people but should have some flaws and vulnerability like the rest of us.
  • A prologue (where the book lends itself to it) gives the author two chances to hook the reader (once in the prologue and once in chapter one)
  • Chapter One should move the story forward. Do not clutter it with back story or scene setting.
  • An epilogue can be used to prolong the reader’s feeling of happy satisfaction at the end of a book. It may be a wedding, new baby or other tieing up of loose ends.
  • When writing, remember Act, React and Interact. This will make it easier to Show rather than Tell. For example the characters should react to their environment – such as squinting at the sun – rather than the author describing the sunny day.

We had a lovely buffet lunch and the whole day ran smoothly. Special mention should go to Marilyn Rodwell for her organisational skills and her doughnuts which gave us all a sugar kick first thing in the morning!

And if you’d like more of Sue’s invaluable advice take a look at her book  Love Writing – How to Make Money Writing Romantic or Erotic Fiction – available in paperback or as an e-book.

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