Category Archives: ebooks

One Year On…

Standard

A year ago, I posted here about having lost my beautiful mare, Cracker, how hard I was finding adjusting to life without her – and how difficult it was to focus on anything, even writing.

Since then, a lot has happened (including a house move), and while I’ve been horse-less, I’ve definitely had more time for writing-related activities. On the non-fiction front, I’ve had my first full-length article published in a national magazine (equine-related, of course).  And on the fiction front, most excitingly, I achieved my aim to release an eBook short story collection on Amazon. (Two, in fact!)

I’m quietly proud of “Beyond Words” (the second of the two collections) as it brings together some of my favourite short stories, all of which have achieved competition success.  There’s so much to be gained from entering competitions – the discipline of meeting deadlines, word counts and themes can only help improve your writing, especially when it takes you away from your comfort-zone, and being short-listed, placed or commended can only increase your writing confidence. If you’ve never entered a writing competition before but would be interested in having a go, there’s a reference list at the back of “Beyond Words” which gives each of the competitions in which the stories were entered.

And a year on…  Well, I finally decided it was time to take on a new equine partner. This is Deemon Whirlwind, my new part-Arab gelding:

2017-03-20 17.11.13

2017-03-20 17.09.46

After 15 educational years with Cracker, I’m looking forward to an equally long and inspirational partnership with this handsome chap. And of course, I’ll keep you posted!

Advertisements

Special Offer for Storytelling Week

Standard

Who doesn’t love hearing a story told to them? Whether you’re a child listening with rapt attention to a bedtime story made up for you by your parents, or you’re an adult listening to an audio book in the car on the daily commute, there’s something magical about being told a story. As someone who reads quite quickly, and not always very carefully (in fact, sometimes I skim read – a terrible admission for a writer!), listening to a story sometimes helps me pick up nuances and details I’d otherwise have missed.

Well, this great oral tradition is celebrated during National Storytelling Week which this year runs from 28th January to 4th February. You can find out all about it here:

http://www.sfs.org.uk/national-storytelling-week

I’m afraid I don’t yet have any audio versions of my stories, though there are lots of other out there, such as Patsy Collins’ story “Uncle Mick” available to listen to here:

Not to be outdone though, in honour of all things short-story related, my collection The Camel in the Garden is free to download from Amazon Kindle this weekend.

If you take the opportunity to download it, you could always read it to someone else! And if you like the stories, and had time to leave a brief Amazon review, I’d be ever so grateful.

Thank you – and happy reading!

 

Flash Fiction – One in a Million!

Standard

If you’re a writer of short stories or flash fiction, you may be interested in the “One Million Stories Creative Writing Project” at:

http://www.millionstories.net/index.html

As their homepage states, “It is our mission to discover, select and showcase some of the very best new short fiction being written today, and then publish it right here for you to enjoy…”

They have a specific page dedicated to flash fiction, called The Sharp End and they have just published my 100 word piece, “Sunburn”:

http://www.millionstories.net/TheSharpEnd.html

The One Million Stories Project is open for submissions now. They are looking for anything between 50-5,000 words.  Check out their guidelines here:

http://www.millionstories.net/contactus.html

And of course, if you like my flash piece, you might want to read my short story collection Beyond Words available here:

 

 

Erewash Writers Comp – Winning Entries

Standard

Last month I discovered I’d managed to place not one but two stories in the 2016 Erewash Writers open short story competition (cue slightly smug grin!). I’ve made it as far as the shortlist in past Erewash competitions, but to find this year that Resolution had been placed 4th, and Never Far From the Tree highly commended, was a real boost.

One of the nice things about Erewash competitions (as well as the fact they post the judge’s comments), is that the winning stories are published on their site: http://erewashwriterscompetition.weebly.com/winners-2016-open-short-story-competition-with-patsy-collins.html

If you enjoy Resolution and would like to read some more of my stories, don’t forget Raspberry Ripple is available free here: https://fictivedream.com/2016/11/27/raspberry-ripple / and if you’d like to read some others I’ve written which have been successful in competitions, you can find my ebook Beyond Words on Amazon, here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beyond-Words-short-stories-deception-ebook/dp/B01JWLPKW0

FINALBeyondWords

Hopefully the festive break will provide lots of reading (and writing!) time – and perhaps even a blog post or two. Until then, thanks for reading – and Merry Christmas! x

Online Story Outlets – Fictive Dream

Standard

In the words of Bob Dylan, the times they are a changin’, and whilst there may be fewer print outlets for short stories writers than there were in the past, on the web there’s a proliferation of ezines, blogs and pages devoted to flash and short fiction. At the moment, publication via these outlets generally won’t earn you any hard cash – and it’s up to the individual writer to consider whether or not they are happy for their work to appear for free. An established writer may not see much benefit, but if you’re new to writing and hoping to build a list of writing credits, or simply want the buzz of seeing your work “out there”, it’s a step on the literary ladder.

There’s also a case if, like me, you’re hoping to make links, and promote your other work. Having a story on a website devoted to the medium may bring you to the attention of a few more readers who otherwise wouldn’t have heard of you. If they like your free story, perhaps they’ll click the link to your Amazon author page, or start following your blog.

“Fictive Dream” which was launched six months ago, is one such online magazine dedicated to the short story, and is open to submissions from both emerging and established writers. Editor Laura Black is looking for “stories with a contemporary feel that give an insight into the human condition…  They may be on any subject. They may be challenging, dramatic, playful, exhilarating or cryptic. Above all, they must be well-crafted and compelling.”

In a recent email to her writers, Laura writes, “From the start, it became clear that the calibre of the Fictive Dream writer was going to be high. Almost all of you are experienced authors, many with short story collections, novels or plays already behind you. However, it’s also great to be including talented new writers in the early stages of their writing careers. “

Today sees the publication of my story Raspberry Ripple – I’m excited to see this story appear on “Fictive Dream” and hope readers enjoy it. Of course, I also hope that they’d like to read more of my work, and decide to visit this blog, or download one of my ebooks, but anything which encourages interest and enthusiasm in the short story gets a thumbs up from me.

To read Raspberry Ripple, or find out more about “Fictive Dream”, including their submission guidelines, visit https://fictivedream.com/

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

Free and half-price stories for National Short Story Week

Standard

This year, National Short Story Week runs from 14th to 20th November celebrating all things short story-related. The aim is to raise awareness of short stories themselves and those who write and publish them.

As someone who loves the medium of the short story, as both a reader and writer, I’m looking forward to seeing what the week brings. Patron Katie Fforde says, “Let’s get everyone reading, writing and listening to short stories in this designated week.” My tiny contribution to this aim is two special offers I’m running on my own short story collections.

The Camel in the Garden, a collection of three short about loss, love and family, is free from 14th to 18th November. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Camel-Garden-Three-stories-family-ebook/dp/B01EPBTO92/ref=pd_sim_351_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=5A7PRP33X1R38X5PQXR9

Beyond Words, 12 short stories about love, death, and deception, is half-price from 14th to 20th November.  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beyond-Words-short-stories-deception-ebook/dp/B01JWLPKW0/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

If you don’t usually read short stories, this week is a great opportunity to try some. If you’re interested in writing short stories, and perhaps having a go at entering a few competitions, you may find Beyond Words useful to read, as each of the stories has either been short-listed, long-listed, placed or highly commended in a variety of competitions.

I hope as many people as possible take this opportunity to get involved with short fiction – reading it, writing it, and reviewing it. And if you pick up, or download, a short story this week, I hope you love it and want to talk about it.

For more information on National Short Story Week, visit the website:  http://www.nationalshortstoryweek.org.uk/

Short Story Competitions: 5 Tips for Success

Standard

trophy-clip-art-free.jpg

Whether you’re a seasoned short story writer, or trying your hand at short fiction for the first time, sooner or later you may consider entering a few competitions. You might be hoping for a foot on the ladder to fame and fortune, or you might just want to test your skill and possibly earn some feedback on your work. Winning or simply being short-listed in a competition can do wonders for your writing confidence, and may even lead to new writing opportunities. Whatever your motivation, you’ll want to maximise your chances. Over the past few years, having entered numerous competitions (sometimes successfully, sometimes less so!), I have the following five tips:

1) Find the right competition for you. Don’t just go for the most well-known or prestigious ones – they will have big prizes but a correspondingly high level of competition. Conversely, don’t just enter the freebies where there are likely to be more contestants simply because there’s no fee involved. Keep up to date with competition news – there are monthly magazines (e.g. Writers’ Forum, and Writing) which contain competition listings. Writers’ groups in your area may run competitions – check for promotions in your local library. Search for competitions online or get yourself onto Twitter, start following lots of writing-related accounts and you’ll be inundated with information about competitions and prizes. Once you’ve found a competition you’re interested in, find out as much as you can about it. If it’s an annual event, if possible read the winning entries from previous years. The idea is not to copy a specific style, but to build up a feel for the kind of work which has been successful in the past. Are these past winners character driven, do they have a particularly strong narrative voice, or are they action packed with an engaging plot? How does this fit with your own story-telling strengths? Find out about the judges too. Often there will be a single overall judge, though the initial short-listing may have been carried out by a panel of other readers. Read up on the judge’s own writing background and try to think if there’s an aspect of your writing style which most closely dovetails with the work the judge appears to enjoy.

2) Read the rules very carefully. Sounds obvious, but it’s so easy to miss something important. These days, writing competitions are extremely popular, and judges faced with the task of whittling down submissions will be quick to throw out any story not adhering to the rules. Don’t allow a story that would otherwise be a contender to be tossed aside simply because it doesn’t follow the brief. Start by checking the deadline, and the word count. There is usually a maximum number of words allowed, but some competitions will specify a minimum too. Check if the word count includes the title, and with flash fiction especially, check if you need to bring the story in on an exact total (e.g. 100 words). Adhering to a specific word count is an art form in itself, but you may find the restriction is beneficial, forcing you to re-write and remove weak verbs or muddy adjectives. If applicable, check if it is permissible for the work to have been previously published (and if so, if there are any restrictions connected with this – e.g. it may be that a story is eligible for submission if it has been published online on a personal blog, but not if it has appeared in print). Some competitions require you to include a specific opening or closing sentence, or to start from the basis of a specific scenario. If you choose to deviate from this instruction, the judges won’t admire your creativity – they will simply place your entry on the ‘reject’ pile. Finally, check the submission method: can you email your entry, is it hard-copy only, or do you have to enter online through “Submittable” or a similar site?

3) If you’re given a theme or scenario, spend some time considering possible interpretations. Chances are, if you’ve had an idea within the first few minutes of reading the competition requirements, everyone else will have thought of something similar. Judges will quickly get bored of the most obvious plots, styles or genres. Try to think laterally. One of my own first competition successes came about because the competition I’d entered had given quite a constricting scenario which suggested a fantasy style of interpretation. I’m not a strong fantasy writer, but I could see a way to interpret the scenario in a domestic setting, which is more my forte. I can only assume that by the time the judges came to my story, they had seen countless fantasy pieces – so by standing out in a crowd, my story was a success. If you’re stuck for ideas, discuss it with someone else – get another perspective. Spend some time on the internet (again, don’t be content with the first – or even second or third – idea you come across online – everyone else who is stuck will be doing exactly the same as you!). Look out for ideas from newspapers, magazines, the TV, or things you see or hear while you’re out and about. The subconscious is an amazing thing – it will be busy looking for links even without you necessarily being aware. You do need to give it a helping hand though. If inspiration doesn’t strike, just start writing something – anything. Eventually, another idea will spark and you’ll be able to make a link. From a tenuous link, you may then be able to pull out an amazing new plot.

4) Be professional in every aspect of your submission. Give yourself plenty of time to draft and re-draft. Once you believe you’ve finished your story, put it away for a while. Read it again with fresh eyes – you’ll probably spot a few errors you’d missed before. Read it to yourself out loud. The rhythm of the sentence structure is likely to sound different from the way it did in your head, and if you stumble over a sentence, this might indicate a re-write is necessary. Check the rules for presentation. Double lined spacing is usual, but some competitions stipulate a font size (and sometimes even font style). If you’re not sure on the correct way to typeset your story, take down a novel from your bookshelves and look at the way the professional publishers do it (especially things like speech, and paragraph indents). Don’t be afraid of white space – wide margins and plenty of space above the title looks better than having the text crammed in. Make sure you adhere to any regulations about page numbering and headers/footers carrying the title. Most competitions will not want you to put your name on any page other than the front sheet, as the work should be judged anonymously. Lastly, don’t leave it until the last minute to send it in – this will be the time there is a postal delay, or the internet crashes.

5) Don’t be put off if you enter a competition and hear nothing. You may enter many competitions without winning or even being short-listed. Don’t despair. Judging is subjective – for whatever reason, the judge simply felt more strongly about another story. It might have been a close call. You’ll probably never know. In the end, the judge’s decision is final, and the best thing you can do is read the winning entry (and any runners-up which are also published) and learn from them. Some competitions will provide a critique service for an additional fee. These can be quite useful in highlighting an area for future improvement. Whatever you do, don’t take it personally – it’s one writing professional commenting on the work of another. Even if you personally don’t agree with the criticism, you should keep in mind any advice or suggestions when submitting future entries. Keep a log of all submissions, and the date the results will be announced. This ensures that you don’t send the same story to two competitions at the same time (or to the same competition two years in a row as I once did!), and means you’ll be able to see as soon as a story is available to send to another competition. Over time, a log will allow you to analyse your success rate, and whether you have any particular strengths or weaknesses – thus allowing you to target appropriately in the future.

If you follow the guidance above, there’s no guarantee you’ll succeed, but you’ll be giving yourself a good chance. As with everything in writing though, the main thing is not to give up. You won’t win anything if you keep your manuscripts in a drawer. Keep writing, and keep submitting!

If you’d like to read some of the stories I’ve had success with in competitions, they are published in my collection Beyond Words available for Kindle on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beyond-Words-short-stories-deception-ebook/dp/B01JWLPKW0

Dear Reader of eBooks

Standard

Thank you, o’ dear reader

For clicking on my book

For scrolling through the others

And giving mine a second look

 

I hope you like the cover

(It was professionally designed!)

And the blurb sparks interest –

Makes you want to “Look inside”

 

When you read the first few pages

I hope you find you’re hooked

And that you click to download

To read the whole eBook

 

I hope the writing grabs you

And the stories entertain

The dialogue rings true

The plotline doesn’t wane

 

And if you find you loved it?

Tell all your friends – please do!

And then tell all the reading world –

Please, please, leave a review!

 ~ Jenny Roman

 

To download “Beyond Words”, or to leave a review, please visit:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beyond-Words-short-stories-deception-ebook/dp/B01JWLPKW0/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Official! – “Beyond Words” Launch Day

Standard

Screenshot 2016-08-13 08.05.37

We might not be entering the glorious heat wave we were promised, but nil desperandum (as my mother used to say) – thanks to the wonders of modern technology, the official launch of my new short story collection Beyond Words is taking place in the always gloriously sunny virtual world of the internet. I’ll be hosting at the dual venues of this blog and my Facebook author page, so please pop along, find out all about the book, and help yourself to a virtual coffee and cake, or Bucks Fizz and a vol-au-vent, as takes your fancy!

As followers of this blog will know, over the last few years I’ve switched focus from submitting stories to magazines (though I still do some of that too) to entering story competitions. Competitions tend to encourage a wider range of themes and genres than some of the magazines currently accepting story submissions (most of which are aimed solely at women’s fiction), so I’ve enjoyed exploring some areas which I wouldn’t have been able to touch on for the magazine market.

Beyond Words is a collection of 12 stories, all of which have had some success in story competitions. Of course, I hope readers will think they are a jolly good read in their own right, but I also thought the collection might be of use to anyone new to the competition scene who might like to see the kinds of stories which have worked for me. At the back of the collection, I’ve provided a list of each story and the competition (or in some cases, competitions) in which it was short-listed, placed etc.  It’s available from the Amazon Kindle Store at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beyond-Words-short-stories-deception-ebook/dp/B01JWLPKW0/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

The stories I chose to make up the collection are loosely grouped around the themes of love, death, and deception – but it would be wrong to think there was a downbeat tone to the book. There’s lots of humour too – even if it’s sometimes rather dark. There’s also an emphasis on different narrative voices and styles.

I’m here all morning to talk about the collection, and I’d love to hear from you (please add comments at the bottom of this post, or pop along to my Facebook page to comment there), whether it’s to ask a question about the collection, or to talk about story competitions more generally.

Lastly, if you’d like to read some of my work before you decide whether Beyond Words is for you, I’ve made my previous collection of three stories, The Camel in the Garden, FREE to download for the next four days https://www.amazon.co.uk/Camel-Garden-Three-stories-family-ebook/dp/B01EPBTO92/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 .

I hope you enjoy both collections – and please get in touch if you have any comments on either. I’d really love your feedback.

Songs, Flags & Nag Rags!

Standard

Friends and regular readers of this blog will know that it’s not uncommon for my online presence to turn into…well, an online absence…as I devote my time to all things equine rather than writing-related. Which makes it all the better when I can combine my two passions in life, and write about horses.

This morning, I picked up a copy of Horse & Rider magazine (which my husband affectionately referred to as the “nag rag”), which features the first article I’ve written for a long time – and it’s really exciting to see it in print (after having the original idea sometime over the Christmas holidays!).

It was a good discipline, trying my hand at non-fiction for a change – and certainly something I’d like to do more of in the future.

Also delighted to discover I’ve now had 11 reviews on my eBook The Camel in the Garden a big thank you to everyone who has taken the trouble to share their thoughts on the stories.  It’s really appreciated.

Having also finished edits on, and subbed, a new story this morning, I think I’ve had a productive writing-related day, and can feel justified this evening in watching a bit of telly – so Eurovision it is!