Sunday, 6 December 2015

Wirral Writers' Christmas Meal

For the second year running Wirral Writers' Christmas Meal was held at the Celtic Arms in Northop. Excellent food, sparkling conversation and above all, excellent company.  

It has been an especially good year for Wirral Writers', and I believe we have a great deal to celebrate. Our Maynah Lewis competition entered its 27th year, and our September competition was one of the closest results I can remember.

I thought I'd just scribble down some of the accomplishments by members of the group this year. Apologies if I missed anything, but it makes impressive reading, even so:

  • Five published short stories (one print magazine, three online mags, one anthology)
  • Three acceptances for publication forthcoming in 2016.
  • Three indy-published books
  • One movie option
  • One first place competition success
  • One performed theatrical play
  • Several performances of folk songs, lyrics first aired at Wirral Writers
  • Two interviews (one blog, one radio)
I for one am looking forward to more in 2016. Look out for our forthcoming Tick Tock anthology that will be hitting an Amazon store near you, some time in the year. Our Maynah Lewis competition will be a story based on the fable, The Hare and the Tortoise in a modern setting, and in 2016 we'll see at least three published stories, by members, that have already been accepted.
Wirral Writers' are going from strength to strength.
2016. Bring it on!  

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

New Title out now

Sticks & Stones now available from Amazon !

Product Details


Friday, 20 November 2015

Stephen King short fiction competition: Send us your stories

Stephen King is running a short story competition in conjunction with The Guardian newspaper. Some may be interested in entering this so follow the links below...

The master of horror fiction joins us in a search for the most original and gripping short stories. But how will you interpret Stephen King’s intriguing invitation?


Sunday, 8 November 2015

The Last Days of Dogger City

I have some news. I've been sitting on this for a couple of weeks, waiting until the contracts have been signed, and that has been a very hard thing to do. I broke cover on this at the WirralWriters meeting on Friday, but for those who were missing, here it is: A few months ago I had a story in Analog called The Last Days of Dogger City. That was just about as big a thrill as I could imagine, but now the story has now been optioned, to be made into a film script, by Carylanna Taylor and Jacob Okada at First Encounter Productions.
I am giddy with excitement.
I'm one of those people who sit in the cinema reading the credits right up until the last ones have rolled by and waiting for the lights to go up. This week I've been doing it and comparing font sizes between the screen writers and the other contributors... and dreaming of the day.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Vintage Radio

Here's an image taken from the studio cam at Vintage Radio this morning. I had the pleasure of  being interviewed by Will Redfearn for the Community Hour. A very enjoyable morning. The show ran from 10 until 11, then afterwards we continued our chat for nearly an hour because we had so many shared interests: books, caravanning vs motor caravanning, big band music...
I love what Vintage Radio are doing. They are all volunteers, and are providing a connection, not just for Wirral residents, but for ex-pat Wirral people all over the world. I was delighted to be asked to do this. How often does a person get the chance to talk about themselves for a whole hour, and choose the music to play in between interview segments. It was a great opportunity to give a plug to Travelling in a Box, too, and, of course, to Wirral Writers. We are always on the lookout to welcome new members, so with luck the interview will widen our reach a little. If you are a writer in the Wirral area, drop us an email and come along to our next meeting. You will enjoy it, I promise. Chatting with Will Redfearn helped me remember something I should share more often. Back in 2000, once I got the writing bug, I started to send out stories, and I did it for five years with nothing but rejection. Then I joined Wirral Writers, I listened to the feedback, and within a year I had won the Jim Baen Memorial contest, in the USA. Writers' groups work, they really do.

The Vintage Radio interview will be repeated on Saturday 31st October, times not announced yet, but they'll be up on the Vintage Radio website soon. It will give me a chance to listen to it, relive the moment, and cringe at all the things I should have, and shouldn't have said. 

Saturday, 5 September 2015

The Singularity

Here's news of a new UK Science Fiction market. The Singularity is currently accepting submissions for stories up to 7k words, and, although they're not a paying market yet, they seem to have quite a professional outlook. It's certainly worth taking a look, even if just for the cover art on their first issue, which I think is just fabulous.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Writers for Radio

I wasn't sure if anyone - ahem, Liz - would be interested in this...

It's called Writers Room, on BBC website. Looking for new radio plays/writing talent.

Alfred Bradley Bursary Award 2015/16


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

First Time Interviewed

Just if anyone's interested. Interviewed by author Simon Bestwick for his blog.

The Lowdown with... Alexandra Peel
Today's Lowdown continues to shine a spotlight on the contributors to GAME OVER. Today's victim

is... Alexandra Peel.

Alexandra is a visual artist turned author. She has a degree in Fine Art, Sculpture and has been a freelance community artist, painter, graphics tutor and book seller; she currently works as a Learning Support Practitioner in a F.E./H.E. college. The author of The Unsinkable Molly Brown, a pirate adventure for children, she has also created a series of Penny Dreadful style stories under the heading, The Life and Crimes of Lockhart & Doppler, about a pair of miscreant treasure hunters based on hers and her daughter’s Steampunk alter egos. She is a member of Wirral Writers and can be found on Twitter and at her blog.

1.        Tell us three things about yourself.

I hate pulses; I have a kind of horror of the ‘gritty’ texture of beans, especially baked beans. When I was a toddler, my father –in his wisdom as a new parent – made me eat a bowl of vegetable soup; I threw up all night and my mother forbade him from forcing me to eat vegetables again. So I grew up eating all my veg raw – carrots, cabbage, swede, etc.
I have a black belt in Tai Kwon Do, hard earned as I am rather heavy around the ‘beam-end’.
I harbour a secret fantasy that I am actually not my parents daughter.

2.        What was the first thing you had published?

When my generation was growing up, parents were very hands off in their child rearing. I spent a lot of my early years alone in the back garden, or in the shed. I loved the shed, it smelt like an ironmongers shop. Here I drew a picture on a blackboard of a horse and a girl. My mother, when I showed her, sent me away to write a story about it – she was too busy doing laundry to appreciate my emerging talents! ‘The Princess and the Pony’ was printed in that week’s edition of the Liverpool Echo.

3.        Which piece of writing are you proudest of?

I wrote a story (unpublished) called ‘Beneath the Skin’. Set in an alternative 19th century. I began it at a writing workshop run by Sam Stone at Lincoln Asylum, Steampunk weekend. It began with an idea of a serial killer and grew into two parallel stories that contrast then collide. It is my first full length novel.

4.        …and which makes you cringe?

Lots. I’m relatively new to this. I’m learning. I tend to get over excited when I’m ‘on a roll’ and forget all about the technical aspects of the English language; I string lots of adjectives together like a badly made, colourful bunting.
5.        What’s a normal writing day like?
I don’t really have one. I have a ‘real’ job which takes up four or five days a week, however, it is part-time. Sometime I write for hours for days at a time, other times I do a short story and leave it at that. I am quite possibly the most undisciplined person in the UK, I’m naturally lazy. I carry little notebooks around with me to scribble ideas in; my work bag was stuffed with torn strips of paper at one point, collected over a period of weeks, I had to collate it all together – and then I ignored it for another few weeks.

6.        Which piece of writing should someone who’s never read you before pick up first?
I reckon a visit to my Blog. The stories are short, accessible and, like candy floss, require little effort of the part of the consumer. All the stories are about the same two characters – Lucy Lockhart and Theodora Doppler – a mother and daughter treasure hunting duo. Set in a ‘Steampunk’ alternate 19th century, Lockhart and Doppler are miscreants, opportunists and serial bed-hopper in the case of Lockhart. Frivolous fun in the style of the Penny Dreadful.

7.        What are you working on now? 
A couple of things at once – I have the mind of a butterfly. A short story for an online submission about being stranded on a desert island.
A 500 word piece for the writing group I am a member of – Wirral Writers – which I am struggling with, we get given a title, or a sentence, or selection of disconnected words and have to come up with something along those lines.
Another story about Lockhart and Doppler for my blog. Plus, the second part of ‘Beneath the Skin’.

Friday, 31 July 2015

First Time Published

So following on the coattails of Mike, I am so very excited to say that I will be having a short story published.
I'm not sure if anyone remembers me mentioning the open submission/call for horror stories based on classic arcade games? Well, the one I wrote was accepted. I am so excited - I'm not generally an excitable person as you all know!!!
The book is called Game Over and is edited by Jonathan Green, who is also a writer of various titles himself, covering sci-fi, fantasy, gaming books and more.

There are twelve authors, I have no idea who the others are, or what they wrote. The book will be out around the 12th August I believe.
Jonathan also did a lovely bit of editing for me too!

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Grand Book Tour

From England to the Alps in a thirty-year-old caravan. What could possibly go wrong? Well now you can find out, because Travelling in a Box, the book that gave its name to the blog, is available on Amazon, in paperback, and for Kindle.

My good friends at Wirral Writers have been with me all the way, chapter by chapter. They've felt the rain and the wind, they've wiped the mud off their boots, so many thanks to them for their input and advice. But now, in the true spirit of Indy publishing, I have embarked on a grand book tour. I have a copy of my book and I’m in a field in Ruthin, then I’ll be in a field near Rhos-on-Sea. Actually, thinking about it, I forgot to bring the book, so I guess I’m just on a grand tour. Maybe not so grand, either; in a field? Let’s just call it an ordinary tour, though technically speaking, a tour should probably visit more than two places. Okay, so I’m just away, in the caravan. How cool is that, though? Could you get more Indy?

So, I’ll set out my virtual sales counter, I’ll put on my big, floppy author’s hat, and I’ll give you a link to Amazon. Two links, in fact, because Travelling in a Box is available in the USA as well as the UK. Also Europe, Japan, Brazil... but come on, I can't link to everywhere; I'm sitting in a field.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Maynah Lewis Competition

Maynah Lewis Prize

I am sure everyone would like to congratulate Mike on being this years winner of the Maynah Lewis Competition, and also Liz, aka Turkish George, on coming second.

Coral Greenwood was kind enough to buy us all pens - yours is in the post Mike! as she thought they were all entertaining/interesting/brilliant. I can't remember if she did actually use the word 'brilliant', but I'm choosing to believe that's what she said. Coral also wrote short critiques of our stories, which I am very pleased to have as a newbie writer I need all the gentle critiquing I can get.
For me, it was an interesting experience; writing a short story 'to order', rather than blethering on about my own world of Lockhart & Doppler.
I asked if we could do it again - not a formal annual competition, but in-house, just us, and was informed that we would be doing exactly that in September. 500 words! I'm sorry I asked now.     

 Liz also suggested that it might be quite a nice idea if we posted our stories here on Wirral Writers blog. I second the proposal.

Anyhoo, next time we meet will be the Sunday Lunch (or dinner as we call it in our house) on 2nd August at Brook Meadow Hotel. See you all there - if I can find my way!!!

Monday, 29 June 2015

Noda Play Writing Comp

A lightning-quick post (while I'm eating breakfast) to mention the NODA script writing competition, closes Sept 4.  Check out the link.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Game Over - call for submissions

This may be of interest to some members. I hope it is ok to post something like this.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Grammar Quiz

Here's a grammar quiz to celebrate National Grammar Day (in the US, but we Brits can play, too)
Thank you to the people at for sending this over to us.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Maynah Lewis Competition 2015

The theme of this year's competition is:
What did you see in the bottom of your cup/glass when you stirred your drink?
The submission day is the meeting on 15th May.
Admission is free.
A pseudonym should be used. Your own name should not appear anywhere on your entry. Please submit a sealed envelope with both the title of the piece and your real name, so we can marry up the two after the result has been announced.
Max word count: 1600 words. The limit is strict, but per your own word processor word count. (We accept there are sometimes small variations)
Entries are to be double spaced using a conventional font such as Times New Roman or Courier.

So there you have it. Get writing.
Here's the list of the past winners:

2014  Mike Wood
2013  Mike Wood
2012  Cheryl Lang
2011  James Rhodes
2010  Mike Wood
2009  Mike Wood
2008  Mike Wood
2007  Mike Wood
2006  Gordon Thompson
2005  John Ralphson
2004  Barbara Trevor
2003  Barbara Trevor
2002  Cheryl Lang
2001  Cheryl Lang
2000  Claire Machell
1999  Ken Walker
1998  Barbara Trevor
1997  Gemma Williams
1996  Barbara Trevor
1995  Claire Machell
1994  Barbara Trevor
1993  Blair Lees
1992  Cheryl Lang
1991  Fiona Maher
1990  Dora Kennedy
1989  Barbara Trevor

Sunday, 1 February 2015

The Man in the Pillbox Hat

My short story, The Man in the Pillbox Hat is now up on Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show. Please follow the link for a snippet and to check out the artwork. You'll have to buy a subscription to read the whole thing, but it's a great magazine and you get six issues, a whole year's worth of fiction for your $15.

This started out as a Wirral Writers' Maynah Lewis in-house competition story. I got the idea during a caravan holiday in The Lakes, the one where we had no heater, no hot water, no cooker; the duvet got soaked because the caravan roof started to leak; and when we tried the microwave all the lights on the site went out. It was late October and we froze. But at least I had my laptop.