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Writers' & Artists' Blog

Calling All Short Story Writers!

pennyshorts

We hear from Catherine Horlick, the editor of a new and exciting platform designed to showcase the work of new and established short story writers.


Launching in April 2015, pennyshorts.com will sell short stories of all genres at 50p per click, or an annual subscription of £20. 50% of the proceeds will go to the contributing authors.  The rest will be spent on maintaining and marketing the site. pennyshorts is dedicated to the neglected short story; the twist in the tale, the transformational moment, the glimpse into a different psyche.  All contributions are welcome, from published and unpublished authors, but only the very best stories will make it onto the site, and all stories will be professionally edited and proofread.  

pennyshorts has been created to be a natural home for the short story and to give readers the opportunity to access new voices in fiction.  There is a lot of free content on the internet, but no quality screening, and much of it is …

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Visiting Libraries

Libraries

If we want to get the message across that libraries are important and that we need to make more use of them, then authors can help.

Having visited several libraries in England and Wales, offering a free book event for local school children, I’ve had the opportunity of hearing, firsthand, the concerns of librarians. 

They fear losing their library and they fear losing their jobs – not a healthy atmosphere in which to work. They talk to me about diversifying the services they offer; creating groups to gather in the library on a regular basis; they think of every possible way to draw children into the library, and yes, they’re offering tea and coffee, too (not to mention the management of the building, like co-ordinating the scaffolders to fix the leaking roof). Anything to increase the “footfall” and prove to their local council that they are needed and valued. 

School children came to the libraries and I talked to them about cows, milk, dairy farming and my book – …

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Writers' Groups - Are They Any Good?

Writing advice

Before I became a mother, I vowed I would never join a mother and baby group.  Before I had twins, I vowed I would never join a twins and multiple births group. Before I set out to become a published writer, I vowed I would never join a writers’ group.

Guess what?  I joined all three.

It’s not that I couldn’t manage on my own. I consider myself to be self-sufficient, self-disciplined and rigorously independent. Yet, there have been undeniable benefits to joining all these groups. Here are some.


Empathy  

Only mothers of twins know how annoying it is when, oblivious to your bedraggled appearance and bloodshot eyes, someone says, ‘Oooh, I always wanted twins.’  Only writers know how annoying it is when, oblivious to your bedraggled appearance and bloodshot eyes, someone says, ‘Oooh I always wanted to write a book.’ It’s good to meet up with people who truly understand your experiences, with whom you can enjoy a good moan and …

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New Year's Writing Resolutions for 2015 & Every Year Thereafter

Writing

I am terrible at keeping New Year's resolutions – awful, in fact. You’ve probably seen me, lumbering by your house every morning from New Year’s Day until January 8th, wearing brand new running shoes and a pained expression, breathlessly muttering “I think I might be about to keel over”. You won’t see me after that, though, and that’s because by then, the only place I can be found is lying horizontally on the sofa, while my new jogging shoes get transformed into upcycled plant pots for the porch. But last year, there was an exception to my failed list of resolutions. Just one, but it was the one that I was sure was harder than all of my goals put together. Last year, out of the eight New Year’s resolutions I scrawled down in the front of my diary – along with save money (ha!) and of course, jog three times per week (double ha!) – was “finish my novel, once and for all, no matter what”, and it was the one resolution I saw through to the end.

So, as I sit down, …

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Copyright & IP – Friend or Foe?

Writing advice

I need to be careful what I say and exactly how I say it, but copyright is everywhere. A quick search on the news section on Google (other search engines are available) shows ‘about’ 194,000,000 results - quite some number. Headlines, currently on the first page of the search, range from musicians threatening to sue UK.gov to digital copyright issues affecting car modifications. And small businesses complaining about a lack of transparency from copyright collection societies to the curious case of the Sherlock Holmes copyright saga after the US Supreme Court refused an appeal.

For authors, copyright and intellectual property (IP) can be scary words. But these are words that really matter, no matter how fearful you might be of them, especially with the emergence of digital media and the way information is retrieved.

It may sound very dry, but if you’re a self-published author you need to fully understand all facets of your IP, including copyright. This will …

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