Short story contest winners and new issue of
month, firstwriter.com has announced the winner and special commendations
International Short Story Contest, as well as releasing Issue 21 of
Daithi Hogan of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, was
announced as the winner of the competition for his short story "The Promise",
and wins £200. The winning story can be read online at
The story will also be published in a future
issue of firstwriter.magazine, and the winner will also receive a
firstwriter.com voucher worth £24 / $36 – as will the ten Special
- Stephen Atkinson, United Kingdom, "Cokum";
- James Rice, United Kingdom, "Taylor in
- Ryan Lee, United States, "A Down and Out
- Meryl Moorhouse, United Kingdom, "Desmond";
- Vincent Wood, United Kingdom, "A Story of
- David Mathews, United Kingdom, "Can I come
and see you when you’re dead?";
- Paul Chiswick, United Kingdom, "Twelveheads
- Clay Iles, United Kingdom, "Music Lessons";
- Elizabeth O'Herlihy, Ireland, "Number
- Kristine Rothbury, Australia, "A Brilliant
International Short Story Contest is currently underway. To submit your
work for the chance of winning £200 (that's around $300)
firstwriter.magazine Issue 21: Inferno
latest issue of firstwriter.magazine has also just been released,
featuring quality fiction and poetry submitted from around the world, plus your
first chance to see not just the winning poems from our Tenth International
Poetry Competition, but also all ten Special Commendations. To view the
here. To enter your work in our Eleventh International Poetry Competition
All those whose work has been included in issue
21 have now been notified, so if you submitted work for issue 21 and have not
received notification of inclusion then, regrettably, on this occasion your
submission was not successful. Please do feel free to try again, however,
www.firstwriter.com/Magazine. We have now begun accepting submissions for
books, two publishers, one year...
In April 2011, Marion Grace Woolley found her first
publisher through firstwriter.com's
publishers. A year later, she has published three books with
two different publishers, both from our listings.
Here, she talks a little about her success, and the advice
she’d give to new authors.
fw: Thank you for taking the time to
talk to us, Marion, and congratulations on your success! Who are your publishers, and what are the books?
Green Sunset Books and
Belvedere (under Netherworld Books) are the two publishers.
The books are a bit of an eclectic mix. I have always
enjoyed reading a broad range of stories, so I suppose it makes sense that, as a
writer, I also like to explore different genres. I have been very lucky in
finding publishers who have supported me in my endeavours.
The first novel to be published was Angorichina,
which is historical fiction set in a tuberculosis clinic in 1930s South
Australia. The second is Lucid, a dark, loosely sci-fi novel focusing on
the relationship between shamanic entheogens, dreaming and drugs. Finally,
there’s Georg[i]e, which is a transgender romance, recently described as
"chick lit with balls".
Ango and Georg[i]e are with Green
Lucid with Netherworld.
fw: How did you go about approaching
I have been a member of firstwriter.com for a long time. Even
before my books were finished I had half an eye on the listings. During periods
of procrastination, I’d browse through and make my own list of "potentials". It
wasn’t an exact science, more whether I liked the name of a company or not!
I don’t think many people are lucky enough to get accepted
on their first submission. Even famous names report their fair share of
knock-backs. It took me two months to get a "yes" on Ango, which is
pretty good going.
I don’t really believe in making one submission at a time.
I think that’s a bit unfair on authors, as some publishers take months to reply.
One well-established agent never replied at all. Imagine if I had been waiting
on them before making another submission.
I don’t think there’s any great mystery in approaching
publishers. The golden rules are: follow the submission guidelines to the
letter, proofread and spell-check your work.
Even if you do everything right, you’ll still get a few
rejections, it’s just part of the game. You’re not a proper writer until you
have enough to make a doorstop.
fw: What has been your most valuable
That there is a lot of mythology surrounding publishing.
When I set out, I think I thought what most people do: 1.
All publishers have a printing machine out back; 2. Your book will be in every
high street store and displayed on the side of busses; and 3. There will be a
The reality is: 1. Most independent press go through
Lightning Source (Ingram Books), who have cornered the market in POD publishing
– the only ink in their office comes with a "received" stamp; 2. Social
networking aside, advertising is extremely expensive and most indie presses don’t
have the budget to compete with over 100,000 new titles a year; and 3. There is
generally no advance.
All of that can sort of burst your bubble if you let it.
The important lesson is to hold on to why you write, and try not to get swept
away in all this "writing is a business" lark. Yes, it can be a business, but I
don’t think that’s why most of us picked up a pen in the first place.
fw: Any advice for aspiring authors?
Cultivate your own self-worth.
I don’t think there’s a lot of room in this business
(there’s that word again!) for doubt. So many people will tell you that your
work isn’t quite right, send you a rejection slip, offer to publish you "for a
fee" – if you were to take all of that on board, even the Dalai Lama would feel
Literature is hugely subjective. There has never been a
book written that everybody liked. So, accepting the fact that some
people won’t appreciate what you’ve written, seek out the ones who do. It’s a
sign of an ailing society that we can listen to praise and criticism in equal
measures, yet place more weight on criticism.
interviewed a friend a few years back over his decision to self-publish.
Something he said stuck with me:
“I've never been much for assessing the market and so on. I
generally create things that I want to exist, in the faith that no man is an
island, and someone else will want them to exist too.”
I think that’s a mighty fine ethos.
fw: What have you got out at the
I’ve just released my first collection of short stories as
an e-book: Splintered Door.
As with my paperbacks, it’s a bit of a mixture of themes
and styles. A good introduction if you’ve not read my work before. Sort of "dark
fairytales for adults".
I’d like to offer 50% off for fwn readers
September 1, 2012.
Head over to Smashwords and enter the code: ER47Q Even if you don’t have a
Kindle or iBook, you can still download it as a PDF or read online.
I’m also appearing at
booQfest in September. Sunday 16, Northampton Library from
2–3pm. Come and say hello.
You can find Marion online via her
Facebook or on
To search over 1,350
publishers for one who will offer you your own publishing
Hungry Hill Poetry Prize 2012
The Hungry Hill Poetry Prize 2012 is now
open to entries until August 31, 2012. It is an open competition for
poems up to 40 lines, on any theme. First prize is €200 and there is an
entry fee of €6 for up to three poems.
The competition will be judged by Gabriel
Griffin, poet and organiser of the Poetry on the Lake festival.
For details of the competition and how to
For over 100 other writing
Newspaper Taxis: Poetry After the Beatles
The Beatles changed popular culture in an era
when popular culture was changing the world, high culture and low culture
blending to become our culture.
The editors of The Captain’s Tower: Seventy
Poets Celebrate Bob Dylan at Seventy (Seren, 2011) are planning to create a
new anthology to mark fifty years of what they describe as "the only pop group
guaranteed a place in histories of the future". They will be drawing upon
Things We Said Today: Poems About The Beatles (Stride, 1994), which included
contributions from Philip Larkin, Roger McGough, Carol Ann Duffy, Adrian Henri,
Wendy Cope, Jeremy Reed, Wes Magee and Lachlan MacKinnon.
The editors are seeking poems that exist only
because The Beatles did, but come after, going beyond hagiography and
reminiscence to capture what made them a vital force, at the forefront of
creative and social change.
Submissions should be sent by email to
New website for freelance writers
Launched in July, Creative-Bloc aims to
become the central hub for freelance writers working across multiple
Primarily an online members club for
writers and employers, Creative-Bloc is also a directory and portal.
Combining job and project listings with industry news, guest and member
interviews and insider tips, Creative-Bloc offers its Writer Members
unlimited access to the job bank and employer directory.
Employer Members will gain unrivalled
access to hundreds of the world’s premiere writers working across a wide
range of sectors and niche industries, indexed by verticals such as
location, languages spoken and area of expertise.
While there are numerous third-party
agencies who generate editorial copy, Creative-Bloc aims to do away with
the middle man and enable its Employer Members to obtain more control
over the content they commission. Moreover, by working directly with
employers, Writer Members will earn a higher fee.
“Creative-Bloc offers writers the
commercial advice and support necessary to succeed in a competitive
freelance environment.” – Rachael Oku
For further information on becoming a member of Creative-Bloc, visit
www.creative-bloc.co.uk or email Rachael:
Keep up-to-date with blog news, tips and job opportunities via Twitter:
Finding time to write is hard
Finding the time is one of the hardest part of being a writer – at
least for me anyway. I work days part time, and have a young nine-month-old
grandson living with me who requires 99.5% of my free time when I'm home.
That's my other job! Writing is just that little thing I do on the side,
when there is extra time between naps!
By Marcella Simmons
Every day, in between loading the dishwasher and making the bed, in
between feedings and nap time, I find ten or twenty minutes to jot down ideas
or write in my journal.
Church starts this morning in little over an hour and Baby Kendray is
napping, so while the dishwasher is whining and the dryer is buzzing I am
making use of what few minutes I have to spare. Since there are several
writing projects saved on my computer desktop, these few minutes are used to
make editorial changes, jot down ideas and read a few articles about
writing. My inspiration. I even had a few minutes to work on this particular
article about finding time to write.
There are times when my mind is exhausted after a hard day at work and
then coming home to a little one. I either watch a little television or just
take it easy until I can find the energy to write.
Starting a new family wasn't in my plans a few years ago but when my
daughter gave birth to Baby Kendray and realized three weeks after he was
born that she didn't really want him. It was my grandmotherly duty to step
in and adopt him. Having met him and loving him from day one wasn't hard to
do. How she gave him up without second thoughts is beyond me, but there is a
little more to this story than is being told. All I can say is that the
situation my daughter found herself in wasn't good and yes, drugs were
involved – it was either take him in or the State would take him and I
couldn't allow that to happen, especially when it was someone I cared so much
for. His mother has little to do with him now except during supervised
visits once a week. His sperm donor has no contact with him whatsoever.
My own baby is now twenty five years old and believe me, and as I said
before, starting a new family wasn't in my plans. But now that Kendray is a
part of my life, I schedule my writing time around him. Sometimes I write
while he is in my lap! The truth is, he just gave me more to write about!
My journal is filled with pages about Kendray – about his new tooth, when he
started crawling, and how he makes me laugh. There are so many new ideas to
write about – it's just finding the time to write that is the hard part – or
making myself write when I don't even feel like moving a single muscle!
Make use of every free minute you can use to write. Have an idea, jot
it down. Ponder it in your mind until you're ready to write. When you sit
down to write, the idea is there – all you have to do is take that idea and
write the thoughts you had in your mind - turn it into a poem, a story or an
article. The most important thing to remember is that finding time to write
is hard work, but once it is written, you can make into a workable piece of
art. Never let an idea go without jotting it down even if it's no more than
a short sentence. That sentence could turn into a saleable story!
Good luck in all your writing endeavours!
writers at firstwriter.com
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