An Interview with Esther Newton


Enormous thanks go to Jacqui for her fantastic interview questions and for allowing me to be a guest on her blog :-)

Originally posted on WordDreams...:

My Book CoverI don’t know how I got to Esther Newton’s blog, but once I did, I spent a good bit of time browsing her posts and enjoying her take on the publishing world. When she launched The Siege, I wanted to share her story with all of you.

Briefly, Esther is a tutor for a British distance learning college. A lot of her students ask to read her work, which is why she decided to put them all together in a book of stories. Despite awards she’s won, she chose self-publishing because short story collections “don’t sell particularly well” (her words). To her surprise, the feedback has been great so far. As I read through her thoughts, here are questions that I just had to get answered:

  1. How do you market this, Esther? Do you require it in your class? Or use it as examples of a particular writing…

View original 570 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Top Tip Of The Week

My writing tip for you this week is a reminder about the importance of:

Market Research

When you first start writing, you know you need to analyse your target market carefully in terms of readership so you know who you’re writing for, the length of articles/stories the publication uses, the type of article/story the editor is likely to accept, the style you need to write in etc. Perhaps you make a careful record of everything you need to know, or you make mental notes as you study the market carefully.

Fast forward a few months/years and it might be the recorded research notes that go out the window first and soon you find yourself just quickly flicking through a publication to get the general gist of what they’re looking for. You might even dispense with that. Perhaps you’ve been published by them before and feel certain you know exactly what they’re looking for. But, even if you have, if you don’t look at your market carefully, how will you know that the slot you wrote for last time has been replaced by another? Or that the magazine no longer publishes stories shorter than 1500 words? Send in an article aimed at an old slot in the magazine or a story of 1000 words and the editor will know you haven’t bothered to take look at the magazine. It doesn’t look very professional, does it?

Thorough market research is a must.



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 6 Comments

My Weekly Writing Challenge

Last week my daughter came up with the words you needed to use in my ten-word story writing challenge (‘discombobulated’, ‘unicorn’, ‘bacon’ and ‘fabulous’). She clearly did a great job as you’ve all been taking up the challenge with great gusto (scroll down to see all the entries). So I thought I’d ask her again. Here’s your challenge for this week:

Write a ten-word story, using the words ‘bamboozled’, ‘banoffee’, ‘Horatio’, ‘afro’ and ‘twerk’.  A special challenge goes out to Jason Moody to see if he can break his record of 16 entries last week!

Here are last week’s entries:

Geoff Le Pard leapt in straight away with an entry, which will get you thinking:

‘Discombobulated is an anagram of bacon and unicorn. That’s fabulous.’

Steve Walsky sent in a witty entry:

‘The chef’s fabulous whimsical Unicorn Bacon Sandwich discombobulated the diners.’

Keith Channing sent in two corkers:

1) I wrote a story with discombobulated, fabulous, bacon and unicorn.

2) A discombobulated unicorn tastes fabulous with bacon – so I’m told.

Now it’s over to Jason Moody and his 16 stories:

1) “A discombobulated, fabulous unicorn, with bacon? What’s funny about that?”

2) “Can I help you?”

“Discombobulated fabulous Unicorn with bacon please.”

3) A discombobulated, fabulous unicorn eating bacon. A strange day indeed.

4) “Garçon. Discombobulated fabulous unicorn with bacon. No onions, thanks.”

5) Kevin Bacon rode in on a discombobulated unicorn. That’s fabulous!

6) “Discombobulated? Fabulous sweetie. Bacon roll please,” cooed the young Unicorn.

7) The shop sign discombobulated Ted. ‘Bacon-like unicorn. Fabulous value!’

8) “Hello. I’m a discombobulated unicorn.”

“Fabulous. I’m bacon,” said Pig.

9) “No,” said Kevin Bacon. “No fabulous, discombobulated unicorns. Bad idea.”

10) “Unicorn? Bacon?”

“Apologies. My fabulous list has discombobulated you, miss.”

11) “Have you a copy of ‘Discombobulated Bacon Unicorn?”



12) He felt discombobulated. A unicorn made of bacon? Spectacularly fabulous.

13) The stall owner was discombobulated. “Bacon flavoured unicorn. Fabulous entree!”

14) A rather fabulous, young unicorn became discombobulated after eating bacon.

15) A unicorn once told me to try bacon. Discombobulated. Fabulous!

16) “Sir?”

“Fabulous. Bacon, eggs and unicorn.”

The waitress seemed discombobulated.

Irani Pudaruth sent in an hilarious story:

His fabulous speech on bacon and unicorn left everybody discombobulated.

Sammi Cox sent in one which made me smile:

The discombobulated unicorn was painted a fabulous shade of bacon.

Chris Farley‘s is a beauty:

Bacon? What a fabulous name for a baby discombobulated unicorn.

Sacha Black never fails to entertain:

Bacon discombobulated the unicorn because he was a fabulous vegetarian.

Maria Wilhelmsson has a knack of making the story feel so much more than ten-words:

“Want to discombobulate someone?”


“Serve them bacon and unicorn!”

Kyrosmagica shares her story:

A discombobulated pig courted a fabulous unicorn who ate bacon.

Robert Lund brings the challenge to a close in style:

‘The Unicorn discombobulated the recipe for the fabulous bacon sandwich.’

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 47 Comments

Markets For Writers

For those of you who relish writing something with a dark edge to it, this competition will be perfect for you. ‘Almond Press are holding their ‘The Apocalyse Chronicles’ short story competition.

They say, ‘The key theme of the short story competition is Apocalypse. We value diversity, so stories written from a dystopian, dark fiction, weird fiction or horror perspective are all welcome’.

Entries of up to 5000 words are invited.

There is no entry fee and the winner will receive £100.

The closing date is 15th July 2015.

For more details vitit to the website:



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 9 Comments

Funny Of The Week/Hilarious Exam Answers Part Five

Love the smarty pants answer:

'F' in Retakes_INSIDES.indd

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

When It’s Okay To Come Second!

We all like to win but you can’t win them all, as they say.  I didn’t win first prize this time, but I was chuffed to be awarded the runner-up slot, in a flash fiction competition, with my short story, ‘Dead’. This one was something of an experiment for me. I like trying out different styles and genres. For those of you who’ve read my book of short stories, you’ll find this one somewhat different.


I didn’t think looking down upon oneself when dead would be quite like this. In fact, I didn’t believe in all that. Once you’re dead, you’re dead; aren’t you?

I look at my face, so pale and my eyes, insignificant and lost amongst the dense drama of lashes. The slash across my mouth; Blood Red, the lipstick’s called. God, what a state. How did I let it come to this?

Then I see him. He’s standing on the spot, right by the bed, his hands clasped together, the knuckles bone white. His head tips back and a growl escapes, gaining momentum with each grunt. His fingers escape their prison and grab at his hair. In moments he’s spent and slips to the floor.

Drip, drip, drip. The sound demands my attention. I find the source. I liked that top. Mum was with me when I tried it on.

“Green’s your colour. Go on, I’ll treat you,” she’d said, giving my arm a squeeze.

That stain will never come out. I watch the trail of blood, snaking its way from the cotton, over the sheets, spattering the wooden floor.

“Where did you get that bruise from?” I can still hear the catch in Mum’s voice. “He’ll really hurt you one day.” I ignored the tears. Told her she didn’t know what she was talking about.

A flash of silver on the bed. Smoked Scottish salmon fillets, tender belly pork – the knife has seen it all. And to think I moaned that it was getting a little blunt.

A flicker of movement. A finger. Mine. Now two. My hands wrap round the knife. I can’t see myself anymore but I don’t need to. I’m not done yet. But you are, you bastard. I’m coming for you.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 28 Comments

Top Tip Of The Week

My top tip is a bit of a cheat this week, I’m afraid but I’m having a day off work and going out with my mum, dad and daughter. Here’s a tip to remind you about the importance of spelling:


Have a great weekend :-)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 7 Comments