Tag Archives: competitions


Timing is everything in life, but what about in competition?

The last week I’ve been working on a short story for a competition for Honno Crime Anthology, see Honno for details.  I’ve written a whole 5,000 word new and original story.  I’ve had a friend look over it and give me notes. I’ve edited it and I’m happy with it.

It’s now 22nd of March and the competition doesn’t close until the 30th June.  So what do I do?  Do I send it off now or wait till June?

If I send it off now, that will mean it’s done and I can forget all about it and concentration on other projects.

If I wait, I can put it to the back of my mind for a couple of months, then read/edit again before I send off.  But I’ve got a memory like a sieve – what if I forget to send it? Well I guess that’s what diary reminders are for.  I’ve also got a dying laptop – what if I lose the file?  Well that’s what doing a backup is for.

What if in the intervening months, I think of a whole new short story worth putting in?  Well if I’ve not sent anything, then it won’t matter, I can write the new idea and compare the two, then decided. Or possibly send two – not sure if that’s allowed, doesn’t say one way or the other, but I’ll check later.

This is just one of those writer dilemmas that I’m never sure of.  What would you do?

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Blocked for Blogging

Hey who stole the last six weeks?  I meant to blog again in Feb and March, but things kind of got away from me.  I even started a blog, but never had time to finish it.

February was rather busy, being my husband’s birth month we had a great long weekend away in North Wales, just us, as an actual couple – bliss.  Then there was all the editing, I was booked through from the 15th of Feb and I haven’t had a day off from it since.  Well that’s not entirely true, had one day free of it because I needed a rest, and I needed to get a short written.   So here’s a rundown of what I’ve been up to.

I’ve re-read a manuscript I wrote last year and have sent it to my editor – was not hopeful for what will come back, thought it was okay when I wrote it, but lost confidence in it.  Figured I may end up having to scrap it and starting all over again, and that’s exactly where I am now.  I kind of knew that there were some problems with it, but wasn’t sure which were the flaws and which weren’t.  Turns out there were a lot of flaws – including the leading man being to ‘beige’.  So complete re-write it is.

I’ve also been working to polish the steampunk story that’s been accepted for publication.  Fingers cross that it’s better, but the problem with making changes is you’re (or at least I’m) never sure if they are improvements or not.

I’ve been busy writing reviews For Warped Factor, mostly comic reviews, but had one  article I’m particularly proud of is Six Degrees of Separation to Lwaxana Troi.  It was a fun piece that actually got enough hits to get on the sites top ten for a week or so. To be honest the comic reviews have kind of taken over a bit, there are some great new titles out and so I have been reading them.  The biggest problem I’ve found is that I’ve started reading them with the excuse that I’m going to write about them and doing that instead of doing the things I should be getting on with, like writing another book.

Procrastination has been a problem, but I think it’s actually a symptom, a symptom that I may have to recognise the fact that I’m never going to get published – okay as above, I am getting published, but it’s all likely to also be a symptom of my depression, but I do have a reason for this one.  In January I was very upbeat about some prospects, not least of which was a publisher requesting a full manuscript, which I sent back to them that very day.  The email said they would get back to me in six weeks.  It’s now been eleven weeks and I haven’t heard a thing.  Okay people get behind and until I get the thanks-but-no-thanks there’s hope.  But to be frank, if it they’d read it and thought it was worth picking up, they’d have done so by now.  So yes, there’s hope, just not much of it.

I went with the family to Cardiff ComicCon.  That was a good day out, spent far too much money on comics – but what else was I supposed to do?  Got some good ones this time round.  Lou Scannon and Moon, and Bearlands (Zombie Teddy Bears).  Just have to get round to reading them instead of manuscripts at some point.

I even got round to booking tickets for London Film and Comic Con in July, in hopes of meeting another author who publishes through Xchyler Publishing, also by that time, the anthology I’ve got a story in should be out and I’ll have a product to push.

You might have picked up on the note of being depressed above, and that’s  been a bit of an issue this last few weeks.  I had zero concentration and was crying over absolutely nothing, really annoying, especially when I have so much to do.  Seem to be coming out of it these last few days, not completely as I write this, but getting there.  Did have a bit of good news today.  I entered a short story competition last month in with the Swansea Writers Circle, and I got third place, so yeh me!  Especially in a genre I don’t usually write, children’s fiction, rather happy with that.

The one thing I haven’t managed to keep up with is the MOOC on Forensic Psychology: Witness Investigation which I really want to do.  Must get my butt in gear and catch up.

Anyway, I’ve got three edits to get done so I’d best get back to it.  Thanks for listening.

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New Year Off To A New Start

Well January went unexpectedly well.

On the 5th I got a letter from a publisher asking to see the full manuscript of one of my crime novels, Dead Happy, book one of the Murder Tydfil series, so fingers cross for that, I should hear something by the end of this month (February 2015).

Then on the 17th, I got an email from Xchlyer publishing, telling me that one of my short stories has been accepted into an anthology to be published in May.  This is a steampunk piece, the first steampunk piece I have ever written, and I’m dead proud of it, thoroughly enjoyed writing it.  When I sent it off, I was rather hopeful that it would be accepted. Mind you, who’s not hopeful when making a submission?  But there again, I had passed it under the eyes of several friends, so I’d had a fair bit of reader feedback before I submitted and knocked the worst of the rough edges off.  Have been working with the editors to polish the story, so fingers crossed it’ll be as perfect as a story can be when printed.

On the 16th I’d had a quiet text chat with the guy I do the freelance editing for, about one of the websites he writes for, asked for an intro, got it and on the 18th agreed some submissions with the guy who runs the site.  I made my first submission on the 19th and since then I’ve had two articles published:

Both of these and future articles will be available on www.warpedfactor.com, a site for the geeks amongst us. I have a further three articles accepted for publication in February.

It’s all unpaid, but it’s interesting and looks good on my writer’s resume. I’ve also managed to get a great website up and running, well okay, a mate of mine managed to get it up and running, but it’s mine to maintain and keep up to date.  So if you want more info on me and what I’m up to, find the links to anything I’ve written, take a look at www.gailbwilliams.com.

Then, in a rather surprise turn of events, I had an email on the 25th January.  Now the email itself wasn’t the surprise, I was expecting it as it was the results of a recent poetry competition run by the Swansea and District Writers’ Circle, results to be announced on the 4th, the surprise was that I won!  Poetry is not my thing and I only made the submission to ensure that there were a decent number of entries to judge from.  I would have been happy not to have ranked at all, so winning was a welcome surprise and a huge bonus.

So I’ve had a great start to the year and I hope it continues.  Who knows; maybe 2015 will be the year my writing really takes off.

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2014 Review

When I started this blog, I had no particular idea what I was going to say or do with it, just talk about what I’m up to, there’s been a few rants along the way, but hey that’s life.  One of the things I was hoping was that it would help me be more positive about things, and it has.  Instead of spending the year thinking, “Oh I’ve done nothing again”, it’s made me look back each month and appreciate that actually I have done stuff, I have achieved things.

So as we start the New Year, I thought I’d have a review of what I’ve achieved this year.

Of course, where I have to start is what did I say I’d do this year?  Look back on my blog and you’ll find I said the following:

So what at the plans for 2014?

  1. Get another book published.
  2. Write a monthly blog and a weekly Facebook update  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gail-Williams/261748000603425.
  3. Enter at least 6 competitions this year.
  4. Finish the romance book.
  5. Write book two of my Murder Tydfil series.

So did I do it – actually no, which is more depressing than I hoped this blog would be.  I got 3 of the 5 done, which is 60% and I think that just about gets me a ‘B’.  So where did I fall down?  That would be points 1 and 5.  Every agent and publisher I sent something to has rejected my books, some with some good feedback, but let’s face it, the only feedback any of us wants to hear is “Yes, I’ll take that one”.  Then there’s Murder Tydfil book 2, I’ve started it twice, but it’s just not working, so after a grand total of about 50,000, they’ve all ended up in the bin.

My blogging actually went really well, excluding this post, I’ve done 16 blogs this year, slightly more than my target, and they’ve been more positive than I would have expected, even the one about depression wasn’t that depressing.  So I’m proud of that.  Similarly I’ve got into updating my Facebook status a lot more frequently too.  Added to that, I’ve started to use Twitter much more, which I find an interesting medium, the restriction of 140 characters makes you really think about what you write.  Every word must count.

I started the year having won the Topsy Evans prize for literature, which I didn’t expect.  I entered way more than 6 competitions this year, and was very fortunate to be shortlisted for the CWA Margery Allingham Short Story Competition.  Additionally, I’ve been placed in a number of internal competitions for the Writers’ Circle.  I also had two World War One short stories published in the anthology “Unforgotten: The Great War 1914 – 1918”. I’ve got one short story on the go at the moment, for a submission to an anthology, which I’m hopeful for, but won’t hear about till 2015.

I did write a full romance book, supernatural romance as it happens.  It’s been edited and sent off to a publisher, still waiting to hear, but that’s not unusual.

Added to all that I also edited 10 full length novels, and never mind how many shorts and chapters.  And I managed to keep down a full time job.

Don’t forget, it you like crime thrillers and want to read a full manuscript, “Foreshadows” is still available.

So all in all, I feel 2014 was a successful year and I hope 2015 will be as good if not better.

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