ANNOUNCEMENT: The winner of Patsy's giveaway is Tash. Congrats Tash, will be in touch with you directly.....
Today we welcome British author Patsy Collins to Romance Reader. Patsy is here to tell us a bit about her latest release, a romance novel called A YEAR AND A DAY. She's also going to share how writing competitions have helped shape her as a writer.
Patsy, in a recent interview, you mentioned that you had some success in writing competitons. Would you like to share a little about that?
Gosh where do I start? The beginning is traditional so I'll try that. My first ever writing success was around ten years ago. We were asked to write a forty word story (which is even harder than it sounds) I did OK and won a £25 book token and tea with the mayor.
Oddly I didn't go in for many more competitions after that. The few successes I did have earned me a selection of writing books, a crabbit bag, a book in Greek (I don't speak Greek) and some stationary.
I began a blog and every week (at least) I post details of writing competitions. Realising it was silly to encourage others to enter and not do so myself I made a determined effort in the last quarter of 2011. Prizes from that burst of enthusiasm included £1,000, dinner in the House of Commons and publication of my novel. 'Escape to the Country' was released in 2012.
I've slowed up again since, but last week I learned I'd won a kobo in another writing competition.
Some people claim that writing competitions are a waste of time. You wouldn't agree with that, would you?
Er, no. (You guessed I'd say that, didn't you?)
Even if you don't win anything it's good practice to write to strict guidelines and a deadline. Competitions often have themes too which can help spark ideas. If someone told me to write 'anything at all' and get back to them 'whenever' they might never hear from me again. Tell me to write 500 words about a cat and a tin of treacle and have it done a week yesterday and I'll be thinking up ideas before they've finished speaking.
You share competition information on your blog, as does Sally Quilford. Which are your favourite competitions which you promote?
I only blog about free to enter ones. Every one of my prizes was won in a contest which had no entry fee.
How have writing competitions helped you as a writer?
They've encouraged me to write stuff. Writing stuff is an important thing for a writer to do!
They've boosted my confidence. Winning is fantastic of course but also not winning isn't so deflating as getting a rejection. For all we know our non winning entry was only slightly behind the prize winner.
What's the most valuable lesson you've learnt from competitions?
To give it a go. The more time and effort I've put in the better my results have been.
Thanks for sharing Patsy, I find all this very good and useful information.
GIVEAWAY: Anyone who visits this post is welcome to download a copy of Patsy's short story book NOT A DROP TO DRINK, available on SMASHWORDS in a range of formats. Go here to download the book. There's also a PDF copy of A YEAR AND A DAY, Patsy's new release, for one lucky commenter. So be sure to leave a comment before leaving.
A YEAR AND A DAY
Despite Stella's misgivings her best friend Daphne persuades her to visit a fortune teller. Rosie-Lee promises both girls will live long and happy lives. For orphaned Stella, the fortune teller's claims include a tall, dark handsome man and the family she longs for. Stella doesn't believe a word, so Rosie-Lee produces a letter, to be read in a year's time, which will prove her predictions are true.
Stella remains sceptical but Daphne is totally convinced. She attempts to manipulate Stella's life, starting by introducing Stella to her new boss Luigi, who fits the romantic hero image perfectly. In complete contrast is Daphne's infuriating policeman brother John. Despite his childhood romance with Stella ending badly he still acts as though he has a right to be involved in her life.
Soon John is the least of her worries. Daphne's keeping a secret, Luigi can't be trusted, romantically or professionally and both girls' jobs are at risk. Worse still, John's concerns for their safety are proved to be justified.
John, and Rosie-Lee's letter, are all Stella has to help put things right.
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