Monday, April 30, 2007


Here's some news: I got an Honorable Mention for the story which I entered into Jason Evans' latest contest, over at Clarity of Night - The Endless Hour. The picture certainly created a number of interesting entries. I think mine caused a few question marks but it definitely got people thinking.

Have a read- it's called Case # 453

I also heard recently that I got accepted to do an MA in Writing at one of the places I'd applied to. I am waiting on the other..... Ah happy news for a Monday morning.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Educational Writing and Contest Writing

Hello one and all. Isn't it a beautifully sunny day? I intend to enjoy it, as best I can!

Yesterday, I went to the Society of Authors' Educational Writers Group 2007 Seminar which was both interesting and enjoyable. I met some new and not so new people and I learnt what the state of play in educational writing is at the moment: we are embracing the 21st Century and all that entails - electronification and globalisation.

Kevin Taylor, Intellectual Property Director at Cambridge University Press, and Kate MacKenzie Stuart, Head of Science Publishing at Hodder Murray, led the seminar and, later, David Orme and Stewart Ross spoke about school visits.

Today, as well as enjoying this sunshine, I am working on my resources for Classroom Resources and I have just entered Jason Evans' Endless Hour Contest. Read some of the entries that are there already and do look out for mine.

Why not enter too?

Most of all, enjoy the sunshine.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Submissions: defined

A few people who write educational books have commented to me that the thing that puts them off writing fiction is the fact that when you write some or, in many cases, a full novel you do so in the hope of being published. This is different from educational and non-fiction publishing, where you tend to write a proposal or be commissioned, and, only once you have an agreement/ contract and or advance, do you work on the text itself. It's a surer deal.

Now, I can definitely see the logic in this, as in this instance, you know that you will be paid for your work. Increasingly, I'm finding myself so busy with my non-fiction work that I'm finding less and less time to dedicate to my fiction, especially with the day job too, and sometimes, it's just easier to work on something I know I can sell.

That's partly why I've applied to do an MA in Creative Writing. I figure that, at least with an MA course, I'll have a definite agenda and will have to designate time to the craft of writing and at the end of it, I'll have a qualification and have gained valuable insights. Let's hope I get accepted onto the course. For now, in an effort to combat my reliance on non-fiction work, I am reserving two hours a week for fiction. I've said it now, so you can all hold me to it!

Susan asked me recently how my fiction submissions are going, so in answer to her query, all I can say is they're still going. (I momentarily pondered the meaning of submission and thought it apt given what we writers endure when sending off manuscripts to publishers and agents.) I wonder whether I should be more systematic about it all and do a table, mail merge and send out thousands of letters at once. I know this is how some people operate but I'm just not like that; I tend to research things and target submissions to particular agents who look like they'd go for my work, and, so far, I've had some positive responses to query letters. I'm just waiting to hear back regarding manuscripts at the moment. Don't worry, folks, if ever my fiction does take off, you will be amongst the first to hear!

Meanwhile, I've just taken on three more titles for Classroom Resources and am waiting on two other potential educational projects.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

How to promote your book

On my travels through my space yesterday, I discovered Steve Weber whose entry and site are very useful if you are looking to plug your book, which, incidentally, is the name of his new book all about promoting your work through social networking.

On his site/ blog, he explains a number of ways authors can help the sales of their books, and it made for very interesting reading. Things like Amazon Shorts, reviews and Google book search are explained.

I was particularly interested in Sales Rank Express which looks like it’s worth exploring, especially as I am already fascinated by Amazon Sales Rank and what it means!

Another interesting link was to this site all about The Business of Writing for Children.

I hope you all enjoy exploring the possibilities.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Holiday Dreams

It's the Easter holidays and I'm spending a few well earned restful days in Wales, visiting family. I have caught up with my excitable (and now rather larger than I remember) nephews and my sweet (and cheekier than I remember) nieces.

Today I am dedicating myself to my writing. I hope to get at least 1000 words done. Down here in Wales the weather is gorgeously sunny and, having heard from my friend, who is travelling the world for six months, I hear Hong Kong is hot too.

Sarah- my friend- is on her second part of this journey, having started in Singapore and then moved on to Malaysia, only to discover she had dengue fever which resulted in her having to spend FIVE nights in a Malaysian hospital on a drip! Needless to say she was worn out at the end of it and she came back to the UK for a two week stint of TLC before heading back out to Hong Kong.

She writes these wonderfully full and exciting emails about her travels and they're written in such detailed and clear prose that I can really picture the scenes she describes. Despite having been a market researcher for an accounting and consulting firm, she definitely has a future as a travel writer!

I may use some of her work as inspiration for my own one day or, better still, I may travel the world myself. I still have quite a few places I'd like to visit. Canada and America are top of my wish list. Then there's the Caribbean, Japan, China, Mauritious, Tibet, Poland, Russia... the list is endless.

How about you? Any dream destinations?