Saturday, 21 January 2017

Guest post by Wayne Kelly

By day, Wayne is a video producer, editor and script writer. When he’s not doing that, he hits the page – novels, short stories, songs and anything else that puts juice in his creative batteries. He co-hosts The Joined Up Writing Podcast and blogs at He loves to connect with other creatives on Twitter, where you’ll find him @MrKelly2u


Listen up! How Podcasts Can Help Writers and Creatives.

I’m passionate about podcasts and the positive impact they’ve had on my writing and creativity. Patsy has kindly given me the opportunity to share some of that passion with her readers and to introduce you to some of the amazing content that could entertain and inspire you and your work.

Quick intro – What Are Podcasts?

Podcasts are episodic, usually themed, audio content that you can listen to on the web or subscribe to using iTunes or on your smartphone. They’re almost always free and come in a variety of flavours from Audio Drama, How-To Shows and Lifestyle, to Science, Comedy, True Crime and of course . . . Writing.

Anyone who knows me, reads my blog or follows me on Twitter will probably have noticed my podcast obsession. I actually co-host one with Leah Osbourne – The Joined-Up Writing Podcast, where we interview successful authors, editors, agents, screenwriters and anyone connected with reading or writing good books. We were even lucky enough to interview Patsy about her recent book, From Story Idea to Reader. You can find that episode here.

Making connections and getting involved

Our show is called The Joined-Up Writing Podcast because we want to ‘join up’ and connect with other like-minded creatives. Too often, Social Media forgets to be social – we’ve all been deluged with constant ‘BUY MY BOOK’ tweets or Facebook posts. Podcasts provide a forum for real conversation, and it’s a conversation that you can be a part of. Have a burning question for your favourite author? Want to suggest a topic or a guest for a future show? Maybe you want to be a guest yourself? Podcasters love their listeners to get involved and, thanks to technology and the flexibility of the format, it doesn’t matter where you live. Our most recent guest was a playwright based in New York, but Skype allowed us to connect for his interview.

No niche too small!

Mainstream TV and radio must always cater for the masses but Podcasting embraces the niche, which is great if you want quality content on just about any facet of Writing. There are shows on the mechanics of narrative and storytelling, like The Story Grid. Joanna Penn has The Creative Penn, packed full of information for Indie authors. The Narrative Breakdown looks at screenwriting. The Worried Writer has long-form interviews with writers, often focusing on dealing with self-doubt. If you want some quick and dirty writing tips then Writing Excuses is a good one to try, as each show is only 15 minutes long.

The point is, there’s a wealth of free hints and tips out there, just waiting to find your ears.

Be inspired . . .

It isn’t all about Writing podcasts. We all know that inspiration can come from anywhere and there are loads of top quality shows to get your creative juices bubbling. Perhaps you’re a crime writer and looking for inspiration? Try some True Crime like Serial, Crimetown or Stranglers. For real people telling real stories, have a listen to The Moth. Homecoming is a suspenseful audio drama that stars Friends’ David Schwimmer.

New shows are appearing every day, and because they’re audio, podcasts are great for multi-tasking. I download my favourites on to my phone and listen whilst walking or driving, so there’s no excuse not to give them a try.

Already listening to podcasts? I’m always hungry for my next listening binge so feel free to pop your own recommendations into the comments below or get in touch with me through the blog or twitter.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Laughter lines

Wergle Flomp is an annual competition for humorous poetry. The top prize is $1,000 with eleven further cash prizes.

People have said my poetry is a bit funny. I'm not sure they meant it in an award winning kind of way, so I'll probably give this one a miss.

Here's a flower - because flowers are nature's poetry and to me this one looks as though it's giggling. (No, I haven't been on the Absinthe.)

Thursday, 19 January 2017

It's the future

Here's another free to enter short story competition for sci-fi writers. The prize includes paid publication, a trophy, books, membership of the National Space Society and some other stuff.

You're asked to set the story no more than 60 years in the future. By then, Stonehenge will probably look like this...

That might well be my worst link between photo and post. Well, worst so far. Who knows what the future holds?

Wednesday, 18 January 2017


To swish something (a rejection slip perhaps) is to move it through the air, so that it makes a sound. Helpfully my dictionary describes the noise produced as 'a swishing sound'.

You can also swish things away - horses swish tails to dissaude flies from bothering them, scythes can swish the long grass into neat rows of drying hay.

Swish is also another term for something that's a bit posh or smart.

The rate my hair's growing, I'll soon be able swish it in my swish mobile writing retreat.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017


If you've written a play, you might be interested in this competition to have your work performed at the Arundel festival. The best piece will win £250 and the other successful authors will get £100 each.

Annoyingly, although I've been to Arundel and I've been to plays, I don't have photos of either to illustrate this post. Luckily the plays are to be performed by the Drip Action Theatre Company and I have plenty of shots involving rain.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Greek retreat

Do you fancy winning a week's all inclusive writing retreat in Greece? (That must come close to being a rhetorical question.) If so, just enter a short story into this competition. You have up to 3,000 words and may write on any theme*.

Those who don't fancy a writing retreat can still enter as there's an alternative prize of five online sessions of personal tutoring.

*If you're struggling to come up with an idea, try the section on generating ideas in this marvellous book.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

There are two events for writers coming up in Salcombe, Devon. At the first participants will be talking about me (well, they’ll be discussing one of my early stories) and at the second they get to talk to me and Anne Rainbow. If you’re local to the area, or want to treat yourself to a weekend away, we’d love to see you there.
Left Bank Writers workshop
Saturday 11 February: 10am-3pm, with a short break for lunch, at Harbour House, Kingsbridge
anneThe Left Bank Writers group welcome Anne Rainbow, playwright, author and inventor of RedPen Editing, to explain her 10 steps to successful self-editing using, as an example, a short story written by novelist Patsy Collins.
Anne’s Kindle book Editing the Red Pen Way is available from Amazon.
Cost: £12 to Left Bank Members; others £17. Some concessions are available. Contact Michael Elsmere to book your
Meet the authors: Anne Rainbow and Patsy Collins
Sunday 12 February: 4-6pm at the Cottage Hotel, Hope Cove
Anne Rainbow has published 100s of text books, written several plays and short stories, and majors on mentoring other writers in the art of self-editing using her RedPen method. Her Editing the Red Pen Way is available from Amazon.
Patsy Collins has 500+ short stories in a range of UK, Irish, South African, Canadian, Swedish and Featured Image -- 908Australian publications. Patsy also writes novels and is the expert on the womag market. Patsy Collins’ latest book From Story Idea to Reader is available from Amazon.
Annfinal-cover-small-front-251016e and Patsy will be having afternoon tea at the Cottage Hotel on Sunday 12 February and invite all local writers to join them between 4pm and 6pm to discuss writing, editing, self-publishing and marketing.
Book your cream tea (£5.95) direct with the Cottage Hotel on 01548 561555 to enjoy two hours in conversation with Anne and Patsy.
 My books will be on sale on the Sunday - no high pressure sales pitch though, I promise.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Alternative Publishing

This competition from Alternative Publishing Services offers a $200 prize, publication in an anthology and two copies. All other entries selected for publication will also win a small cash prize and two copies.

For once I'm completely unable to think of something even tenously related to this post to use as an illustration, so here are some sweet peas.

Can you think of an image which would have been more suitable?

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Wish I'd known...

For this competition from Birds of a Feather Press, you're asked to write 500 - 2,000 words on what you wished you'd known about a holiday destination, before you arrived. There's a $200 first prize, as well as ten runner up prizes.

I wish I'd known how big Arbroath smokies are before I ordered one, as I'd have made sure I was REALLY hungry. Fortunately Gary helped me eat it, so none went to waste.