Category Archives: Small Press Magazines

Autumn Short Story News


2016-09-24-07-32-15The leaves are just beginning to turn on the trees, the mornings have a fresh nip in the air, and the evenings are drawing in.  Yes, it’s that time of the year when I look forward to those mythical long winter evenings in front of the fire where I’ll catch up on all that reading and writing – sigh!

Autumn means a new issue out for Scribble magazine – plenty of fireside short story reading there! There’s also still time to enter their annual short story competition, which this year has the theme of “Fear”.  Stories can be up to 3,000 words, and must be submitted by 1st November.  There’s a £4 entry fee (though it’s free if you subscribe to the magazine – one of the great things about Scribble), and the winning story will receive £100 plus publication in the December issue.  Pop along to the website for more details:

It’s been a good week for short stories.  With the BBC National Short Story award shortlist having been announced, the five shortlisted stories have been broadcast on Radio 4 over the week, and if you missed them they are also available on iPlayer:  Particularly good if (given we’ve not reached those long winter evenings), you can’t yet afford to settle down to read.

I’m off to listen while I catch up with some housework!

Issue #70 of Scribble – Out Now


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The latest issue of Scribble was waiting for me when I got in this evening – and it feels like quite a bumper issue, with seventeen short stories, and two articles.  (And a very attractive cover design.)

One of the best aspects of this magazine is the feedback from readers – and in this issue, editor David Howarth, mentions that he’s had to allocate an extra page to accommodate all the reader comments submitted.

I’m a big fan of Scribble – not only because it’s a great platform for short story writers (both those new to writing, and the more experienced), but because David takes the time to give feedback on unsuccessful submissions.  It’s also very good value at £15 for an annual subscription (which includes free story submissions and competition entries).

You can find out more about Scribble and subscribe here. The annual short story competition is this year on the theme of “fear”.  Max 3,000 words.  Closing date 1st November 2016 – so plenty of time to plan your entry! ;0)






Popshot Magazine -Submissions Open


I was lucky enough to receive a subscription to Popshot magazine for Christmas, and I’ve been really impressed so far.  Popshot is devoted to literary fiction and poetry, but if you’ve seen an issue, you’ll know it’s beautifully designed and illustrated so there are also submission opportunities if you are a budding artist.

There have been 15 issues released so far (subscribers get three issues a year – I’ve had “The Curious Issue” and “The Adventure Issue”) and submissions are now open for their 16th issue, on the theme of “hope”. For more info, click here. You have until 24th July to submit.


If you’re interested in submitting, you can also get an online edition (including a free preview) but I have to say, the print magazine is so gorgeous (and reasonably priced – £6 for an individual issue, £10 for a year’s subscription) that I still think a real, tangible copy is the best!


‘Going Home’ Short Story Comp – Still time to enter


If you’re lucky enough to have some writing time over the weekend, but you’re stuck for an idea and need a little challenge to get your teeth into, why not try writing a piece for the Scribble short story competition – theme “Going Home”.  Entries can be up to 3,000 words, and Scribble are quite open-minded about genres, so you can interpret the theme as you wish.  There’s an entry fee of £4 per story (though it’s free to subscribers – an excellent reason for being one!), and there’s prize money up for grabs, not to mention publication in the magazine.  You’ve only got until 1st November to submit your entry (which should focus the mind!), so if you’re interested, pop to the website for all the submission details:

Good Luck 🙂

The loss of another short story outlet: farewell ‘The Yellow Room’


Sadly, Jo Derrick has decided to bring to an end her literary short story magazine for women, The Yellow Room.  The magazine had been in difficulty for a while, with Jo fighting against rising printing and postage costs, but recently there had been a boost from several well-supported competitions, and the future had looked a little more hopeful.

Jo says the final decision is in part owing to increased competition from online magazines.  On a Facebook post announcing the closure of The Yellow Room, Jo says, “There simply isn’t the customer base for print magazines these days. Times have changed. Self-funded small press journals may soon be a thing of the past.”

I fear she may be right, though I rather hope she isn’t entirely.  I love writing websites, and I think online platforms are a great way for the short story writer to get their work read by a large audience.  But for all the advantages of the whizzy interactive website, there is something special about holding a physical copy of a magazine – and something special about seeing your work on the printed page as opposed to a virtual one.

I wish Jo well concentrating on her own writing now, and thank her for all her hard work on The Yellow Room since 2008.  And if you’re a writer, in particular a short story writer, I urge you to support a wide range of magazines – both of the ‘e’ and print variety.  Unsupported, they will die – and with each death, our range of possible outlets becomes a little smaller.

Seasonal Storytelling


The Autumn issue of Park Publications’ Scribble magazine is out now – encompassing a wide range of genres, styles and themes. Editor David Howarth is keen to publish stories on any subject as long as there’s an intriguing plot and believable, engaging characters so this is a good market for slightly more quirky stories that might be not be suitable for the mainstream magazines. Payment is in vouchers which can be used towards future entry fees or an annual subscription, but the three best stories (as voted for by the subscribers) receive a cash prize. Far more important though is the opportunity to receive feedback from real readers via the letters page which is always extensive.

My plug for this great little magazine is not wholly altruistic, I have to admit – this issue contains one of my stories ‘Penny For the Guy’ – a rather tongue in cheek autumnal tale!

To find out more about writing for Scribble or to subscribe, visit

Oh, and if you do subscribe – don’t forget to vote! Your feedback is invaluable.


Cover Story: ‘The People’s Friend’ Special No 76


Forwarned by the lovely people at The Friend that my story ‘The Busy Bee’ would be appearing in Special No 76 out today, I popped out to see if I could get a copy this afternoon.  Imagine my delight to discover that Leah, my heroine, is on the front cover.  And, gosh, isn’t she glamorous!  It’s always interesting – and slightly unnerving! – to see how the illustrators have chosen to depict your characters, but I’m suitably awed by the front cover.  Thanks to all at The Friend.

I see I’m in good company – with a story from the prolific Wendy Clarke fronting the Special (Wendy also has one in the weekly PF magazine too – now Wendy, that’s just greedy!).

With issue 9 of The Yellow Room ( ) having arrived on Monday, I’ve got short stories galore to catch up with – so I shall sign off now – I’ve got some reading to do.

Making Hay While the Sun Shines


The latest issue of “Scribble” magazine arrived in the post this week, and editor David Howarth writes in his From the Editor’s Desk… piece that this is the time of year when submissions generally tend to slow down.  As he puts it, “there are obviously alternative attractions during the summer months so writing sometimes takes second place”.

And I believe he is right.  Whilst I’m still putting pen to paper (or more usually, fingertips to keyboard), my output is not quite as prolific as it might be in the winter months.  More importantly, it is not as focused. My submissions to magazines have tailed off recently, and the stories I have sent are not necessarily ‘hot off the press’ as it were, but re-workings of old beginnings, or old ideas.  And though I’ve still been taking time to keep up with other blogs, I’ve not written much here for ages.

So, what is distracting me?  Yes, the better weather means it’s much more tempting to be in the veg garden, or with the horses.  And there’s lots of work to be done outside – we’re hoping to make our own hay for the first time this year, which might not sound exciting, but believe me, I can’t wait!

I have to admit though, that there’s a part of me which thinks all these outside tasks are a bit of a displacement activity.  I’ve been in a bit of a rut with writing over the last few weeks.  A few rejections in a row.  Not really having settled to any big writing projects.  General feelings of self-doubt.  You know the type of thing.

So, it was with incredulity that I read Shirley Blair’s email this evening accepting one of my stories for People’s Friend.  Honestly, I had to read the message several times over to believe that it was an acceptance (I’d been very doubtful about that particularly story’s suitability!).  Typically, Shirley’s message was upbeat and enthusiastic – the perfect tonic to my writing gloom!

So big thank you to Shirley.  As I noted down the acceptance in my “Submissions” book, I realised I’ve hardly any other stories “out there” still awaiting a decision.  It’s time to get down to some serious writing work.

But probably not until after hay-making!  😉

The Curse of the Folded Envelope


Returned home today to find a dreaded brown envelope lying in wait for me.  You know the type I mean: it’s A4, has a fold down the centre where weeks ago you attached it to the back of your submission with a paperclip, your address is written in your own handwriting, and you’d hoped never to see it again.  Oh yes, a submission has been returned.  Gloomy face 😦

But, on picking up said envelope, it felt unusually thin….and lo, ’twas not a rejection at all, but an acceptance cleverly disguised (David Howarth from Scribble magazine very sensibly using my SAE to send his letter).   Happy face 🙂

My husband (who is now all too well aware of the significance of the dreaded brown-envelope-with-a-fold-and-familiar-handwriting) was standing by ready with tea and sympathy and was slightly perplexed when I turned out to be delighted with my mail!

But the tea was nice anyway!

New issue of “Scribble” out now


My copy of the Spring 2013 issue of Scribble magazine arrived in the post this morning.  Sixteen short stories, plus an article on writing, plus details of forthcoming competitions, plus feedback and comments on all the stories from the previous issue – all in eighty-odd pages.  It’s a great magazine for short story writers – not only because of the feedback element (which personally I think is priceless) but also because it allows you to explore a wider range of genres, themes and subject matter than you might if you confine yourself to the women’s magazine market.

I’ve not yet managed to get a story of my own in Scribble (though I did manage one in each of its now deceased sister publications, Debut and Countryside Tales), but I keep trying.  In the meantime, I love reading all the other stories, admiring engaging narrative voices, and pithy descriptions, and continuing to be amazed by the diverse subject matter on which people choose to write.

Scribble appears quarterly (next issue is out in June) – each current issue is £4.50, but back issues are free, and an annual subscriptions is only £15, additionally allowing you free entry to all Park Publications’ competitions.  A bargain, I think.

If you would like to subscribe, check out the Park Publication website for further details: