Posts Tagged Sharon Boothroyd

Words Magazine Short Story Competition

The results of the Words Magazine 2017 ‘Murder’ short story competition were published a few days ago. There were 139 entries and I was delighted to make the shortlist. Other writers I recognised on the list were Patsy Collins and Julia Thorley. Many congratulations to John Silver and Sharon Boothroyd for rising above us and taking first and second place respectively.

Words Magazine runs two competitions a year and the next one is now open for (free!) entry. The theme is ‘Christmas’ and the closing date is 30th June 2018. The winter weather is still fresh in our memories – so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get in a Christmas frame of mind! There is a limit of 2,000 words. First prize is £50 and second prize is £25.

The aim of Words Magazine is to raise money for the RNLI. An annual e-subscription costs only £6. Or buy the current edition on Kindle. Worth considering if you enjoy short stories!

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The Promise – Cover Reveal!

Exciting times! I can now reveal the fantastic cover of my forthcoming grip-lit novel, The Promise, to be published 28th January 2018.
Ta Dah!

The Promise by Sally Jenkins

As yet, the back cover is not finalised but the proposed ‘blurb’ is:

A man has been stabbed. A woman is bloodstained. The nightmares have begun again for Olivia Field.
Ex-convict, Tina is terminally ill. Before she dies, the care of her younger brother must be ensured. She calls in a promise made thirty years ago in a prison cell.
Tina’s terrible blackmail demands put Olivia’s entire future and, ultimately, her freedom under threat.
“Jenkins spins a web of intrigue” – Judith Cutler

At this point I’d like to give a very grateful shout-out to two of the very few people who have read the book so far:

Womag writer, Sharon Boothroyd acted as my beta reader and gave valuable feedback on the parts of the story where what was in my head didn’t quite make it on to the page. Thank you for your patience and constructive comments, Sharon!
Prolific series crime writer, Judith Cutler read The Promise and gave me a great shout line for the front cover, ‘Jenkins spins a web of intrigue’. Thank you for making time in your busy schedule to read my book, Judith.

The Promise is now available for paperback pre-order, either from Amazon, Waterstones and other book shops or direct from The Book Guild. Why not treat yourself and get a lovely, brand new, first edition (!) paperback book through the post in the dark days of January?

Alternatively, leave me your email address and I’ll send you a reminder about the publication date in January and let you know when the e-book editions become available (should be the new year too).

And if any of you bloggers out there would be willing to host a guest post/interview spot around January 28th or into February 2018 please get in touch. I would be grateful for any help with publicity! I can be emailed at sallysjenkins ‘at’ btinternet.com (replace ‘at’ with @).

Thank you all for sticking with me over the years.

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Self-Publishing for Charity

A client recently asked me to format an ebook that he intended to publish for charity. Then a writer friend of mine announced she’d published a short story anthology with the royalties going to a good cause. In turn, this reminded me of a book I’d bought in aid of charity at the beginning of last year.  It seems that writers are a generous breed and so I had a word with each these three writers to see what they personally had got out of the project and how their chosen charities had helped publicise the book.

Speak the English the English Speak is Colin Grey’s first venture in self-publishing and I think he’ll be the first to admit that it was a steep learning curve! Speak the English the English SpeakThe book contains the meaning and history behind 500 essential English idioms. The information will be useful for students and teachers of English as a foreign language as well as native English speakers who want to know more about phrases in everyday usage. For example, I didn’t know the origin of the expression, ‘Fill your boots‘, Colin’s book tells me that in the past, fighting forces’ alcohol was rationed and delivery was measured in long leather tubs that looked like riding boots.
Colin has chosen to give his royalties to the Maiastra charity, which helps young musicians. The charity has helped him publicise the book by mentioning it in their email newsletter which goes out to all supporters. I asked Colin what he, personally, got out of the project, “It’s fun! It gives me an interest and is a small achievement – something I never expected I would ever do.”

 

Paws for Thought

Sharon Boothroyd, of Ryecorn Digital Publishing, has produced a short story anthology, Paws for Thought, in aid of her local branch of the RSPCA. “Our project had to be passed by the RSPCA committee first, so it was an anxious wait for us, but they said yes and we were thrilled,” says Sharon. “Personal benefits to us are that it showcases our abilities and those of the terrific writers we’ve included in the ebook.”
The RSPCA gave the book a mention on their homepage and also allowed their logo to be used on the book cover. Sharon chose the RSPCA as their charity beneficiary because it was where her tabby cat, Buster, was adopted from. “The RSPCA are great to work with and if this book goes well, there might be a ‘Paws for Thought 2’ later.”

 

 

In 2016, proofreader Helen Baggott, wrote about her personal experience of breast cancer in Swimming With the Tide. Breast cancer experienceAll royalties from the book go to the Macmillan charity.
Helen is the only one of our charity publishers to produce a paperback version of the book as well as an ebook.
“I did the paperback,” she said, “because there was no extra cost involved  and I have friends who don’t use Kindles. I felt it was important that they could buy the book. Also, I wanted to give some people copies and paperbacks seemed a better way of doing that. Although Macmillan didn’t help with the promotion they did send some items that I could include inside the paperback copies that I sent out. These could be used as bookmarks.”

 

All the above writers should be applauded for using their talents for the good of others. Each one has also derived personal satisfaction from their project and probably learned something that will help them on their future publishing journey. I wish them well in their fundraising efforts.
If you’ve published something for charity, please give it a shout-out in the comments section below.

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Writing the Fiction E-Book Series

A couple of weeks ago I told you about a Guest Posting contest organised by Nick Daws.

Well, I took my own advice, entered – and won!

My guest post was about the benefits of writing a fiction e-book series and some tips on how to go about it. The post is now available to read in full on Nick’s blog.

And I’d like to congratulate Sharon Boothroyd, who is a follower of this blog, she also entered and was one of the runners-up.  Her post too will appear on Nick’s high-traffic blog.

 

The Page is Printed Creative Writing Prize
Now here’s an unusual writing competition based around a single A4 page. The website says:
“Submissions are invited in any genre, it could be a love letter, a short story, a poem, a court summons or a shopping list … the only rule is that your entry must be contained on one side of A4.”
Closing date is 1st may 2014. There are first, second and third prizes of £200, £100 and £50. Entry fee is £4 or three for £10.
Full details can be found here.

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Reading as a Writer

Last week I went to an event at Birmingham University where the novelist Helen Cross was speaking.

Cover of "Charlotte's Web (paper-over-boa...

Cover of Charlotte’s Web (paper-over-board)

Helen was explaining how becoming a writer had taken away a lot of the ‘magic’ she previously experienced when reading. She told us that the first book she remembers getting utterly enthralled in as a child was Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White. The book made her cry. Even after she’d finished it Helen spent a lot of time musing over the book and wondering what the characters could have done to make things turn out differently and more happily.

But as she’s got older Helen has found such connections with books becoming increasingly rare. She puts this down to the fact that she now ‘reads like a writer’, for example she is looking to see how the book is constructed and what sort of tricks the author has used to withhold information from the reader. Helen finds herself mentally ‘editing’ the book and deciding which passages she would cut or how the dialogue might be changed.

I found this rather sad. To me the joy of reading is escaping into another world – something that can’t be done if you find yourself constantly critiquing the novel. I do admit to being more aware of the difference between good and bad writing since I started to write myself but I can also take off my ‘writer’s hat’ and just enjoy a book for what it is.

But maybe one of the secrets of becoming a good novelist is to analyse everything you read, and thus learn what works and what doesn’t.

What about you? Do you read as a writer or as a reader? Can you still get emotionally involved in a book?

Finally, thanks to Sharon Boothroyd for alerting me to this opportunity at the BBC.  The next window for sending in material to Opening Lines – BBC Radio 4’s showcase for short stories is January 6th – February 14th 2014. They are looking for short stories that work well when read aloud i.e. with the emphasis on the narrative and not too much dialogue or character description. Stories should be between 1,900 and 2,000 words and only one submission per writer will be accepted.

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Fiction Addiction – Two Years On

I told you about the online writing group, Fiction Addiction, sometime ago.

Fiction Addiction

Sharon Boothroyd

 Over the last couple of years it’s turned into a useful support group for Womag writers. The founder, Sharon Boothroyd, has brought me up-to-date on its progress and I wanted to share with you what she had to say:

I set up Fiction Addiction in Feb 2011 because it was proving difficult for me to find honest opinions from other writers, and I couldn’t afford to pay for professional critiques all the time. My local writing group didn’t focus on short stories and on a recent creative writing course, the tutor didn’t know anything about the Womag market.

The idea behind my online writer’s circle is to ‘test’ your work on other Fiction Addiction members before subbing your work out to the magazines. We offer each other support, feedback, encouragement and motivation.

When I began Fiction Addiction in Feb 2011, I decided the first thing I needed to do was recruit members. Membership would be free.

I wrote an appeal and asked Kath if she would upload it on to her popular womagwriter’s blog. She did do, and Sally Jenkins very kindly featured me in her blog here in March 2011.

I was expecting one or two requests – but I was immensely pleased to be overwhelmed with people wanting to join! Some members were writers with lots of Womag sales, some were beginners and some were in-between. It’s still the same balance now, with 11 members.

My husband designed a website, and we put all the info there, including guidelines and a FAQ page. I wrote the website myself. To keep costs down, we decided to pick a free website.

As time passed, we’ve had a members leave and new members joining. Two years on, it is still lovely to read work and receive emails.

I do expect members to contribute, even if it’s once a month. Members can also drop out and join again.

We also look at competition entries and first chapters of novels.

Feedback has also been a problem for some. My advice is to be kind but honest, which I admit can be tricky! Of course, it’s entirely up to the writer what they do with feedback – they don’t have to use it.

We’ve had lots of successes when the writer has tweaked a story after receiving FA feedback, including me.

One of the first stories I sent round was an office girls story called The Game. After re-drafting, I sent it to PRIMA magazine earlier this year. It won their short story competition and was published in the May 2013 edition.

And very recently, (July 2013) a FA member has had a story accepted by Woman’s Weekly! She read our comments on her work and then adjusted her story before subbing.

We all feel very proud!

The Fiction Addiction website can be found at Http://fictionaddiction.biz.ly and Sharon has recently started a blog, click here to take a look. 

So if you fancy a little bit of support with your writing, contact Sharon via the Fiction Addiction website and become part of the group’s success story!

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No one understands me …

… like another writer.

Everyone knows that writing is a lonely business, a solitary pursuit that is not for those who need other people around them.

I don’t mind being alone with my computer or notepad – I quite like my own company. But some sort of evolutionary process has made us humans into social beings who, occasionally, need interaction with like-minded people.

And ‘like-minded’ can be the difficult bit. I have a lovely family but they are not writers and have no interest in the literary world, bar a library book to read before bed. So it’s difficult to share with them the ups and downs of a writer’s life.

I don’t tell my husband about every rejection I receive or every competition in which I fail to even make the short-list. He’d probably ask me why I was bothering to write anything at all. But, to justify the time I spend at the keyboard, I do tell him in great detail about every success, however tiny. But that doesn’t count as an interaction with a like-minded person.

That’s why it’s so liberating when I get to meet up with another writer, especially one who shares the same interests as me. How good it is to talk to someone who knows the difference between a story for People’s Friend and one for Take a Break. How nice it is to see the sympathy in someone’s eyes when you tell them about the rejection of a story that you were sure had been absolutely perfect for your chosen market.  And how great to share news of a success!

And it’s absolutely wonderful to talk to someone who doesn’t see writing as your little ‘eccentricity’ that you are indulging in now that the children are almost grown-up.

I’m very lucky in having a great writing buddy in Helen. Last week we had our quarterly catch-up and target-setting. Back home I’m thinking I was too ambitious in my targets – probably caused by the over-enthusiasm generated by talking to another writer.  But never mind – it will do me good to aim high.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a virtual friend in person for the first time. I got to know Sharon via this blog and discovered she lived in the same town where I was brought up. So last time I was in the area we met for coffee. Sharon runs Fiction Addiction – an online critique group for womag writers. It was good to put a face to a name and share the trials and tribulations of trying to get published!

So how do you feed the need to share the frustrations and joys of writing? Are you lucky enough to have a like-minded partner or maybe you let off steam on a writers’ forum?

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Appeal for Short Stories

Update 24/4/2014 – Unfortunately ‘A Quick Read’ will be closing soon and therefore no more stories are required.

Original Post:

Sharon Boothroyd has been in touch to tell me about a short story app, A Quick Read, that she and her husband, Keith, are developing – and they need your stories. Here’s what Sharon had to say about it:

Would you like to see your stories published on an Android phone app?
My husband and I are launching a new project soon – a FREE short story app called A Quick Read.
The good news is, we’re not charging any writer to upload the stories on the app.
The bad news is, we cannot pay writers a fee, as we’re starting the project as a hobby. However, if we mange to secure funding, we will be able to pay you.
I’ll be sending out lots of press releases to raise publicity.
The categories for fiction are:
Crime 
Mystery
Paranormal 
Twist in tale 
Heart-warming
The word count we require is 500 -1,000 words.
No swearing, no excessive violence, and no erotica, please.
Also, we require a brief outline (one or two lines) about your story.
Go to www.aquickread.net to view our website.
‘Terms and conditions for writers’ can be found under ‘Information’ on the drop down menu.
It would be best if you sent us unpublished work. All writers retain copyright. 
You can also see how the app works on the website.
Please e-mail your stories to me, Sharon at:  keith.boothroyd@gmail.com.
Many thanks.
PS If you have a website or blog address, we can place this at the bottom of your story on the app.

I’ve sent in a couple of my own stories that weren’t quite right for the womags and not long enough for most competitions.

So if you’ve got something short and sweet that you don’t want to leave gathering dust, why not give it a try?

Sharon also runs Fiction Addiction, an online writers’ circle for those interested in writing for women’s magazines. She writes under the name S. Bee and one of her stories is critiqued in Sue Moorcroft’s Fiction Workshop in this month’s Writers’ Forum magazine.

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