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Welcome to The Literary Pig's blog - a safe haven for all those afflicted with
the unbearable urge to write.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Random words Flash Fiction competition

Here is an excellent challenge if you like writing Flash Fiction, or an opportunity to experiment if the genre is new to you. Helen Yendall is running a Random Words competition here and offering two sets of prizes. I really like it that she's running a New Writer category for writers who haven't yet been published (full terms on her Blog), which is good to see as it's tough to get placed when you're starting out when so many more experienced (and professional) writers are regularly entering competitions.

All you have to do is pen a 250 word story, which must contain these 4 words (chosen at random by Helen):
reluctant, plague, magazine, sleep

So take a look at the prize on offer and the terms of the competition over at Helen's Blog about writing.

Good luck,,,

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

A brief intermission

While the Indoor Writer is putting together several blog posts on the Swanwick Summer School here is a brief intermission featuring some photos from her recent holiday on the Isle of Wight (worth a visit if you've never been, it's a cross between Devon and Dorset... with plenty of good walks, pubs and cream teas).

We stayed at Roseland Cottage (below centre), near Calbourne village, with it's flower filled garden.

    Iguanodon footprint (above) at Compton Bay.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Word of the day: Gallimaufry

I keep seeing the word gallimaufry and here is a related post from the excellent Dovegreyreader. Gallimaufry has nothing to do with Doctor Who and means a jumble or hotchpotch (another great word). Now need to write it into a short story.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Swanwick Writers' Summer School

By the time you are reading this I should be returning from Swanwick. The indoor writer won herself a whole week at the Swanick Writers' Summer School and I'm tagging along. I was rather miffed to have been left out of the Berlin trip so there's no way she's leaving me behind this time. I will be taking copious notes and hopefully some photos to bring back to the blog. Always wondered what really goes on a these "summer schools". Apparently they swoon about drinking tea, eating cake on the lawn whilst musing on literary themes. Rubbish! Bet my curly tail they never leave the bar and spend hours talking about "that book" - you know, the one by that nice English lady EL James about soft prawns (I'm sure that's what the indoor writer said it was full of...).

Looking forward to meeting and hearing:
Linda Lewis (author of The Writer's Treasury of Ideas & prolific short story writer)
David Nobbs (Reginald Perrin and many other great comedies)
Helen Lederer

and meeting new writers and bloggers!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Escape to the Country by Patsy Collins

You can read all about how Patsy Collins' debut novel came to be published on her writing blog and here (when LitPig met Patsy). It's an inspiring story for all writers in 'having a go' and submitting your work to competitions.

This is a lovely, light and frothy read. An ideal book to pack for the holidays, but also great to curl up with by the fire (with tea and crumpets) during our cooler seasons. Leah 'Escapes to the country' when she's been accused of serious misconduct in her financial job. Her live-in boyfriend, Adam, fails to stand by her and she flees from London to Aunt Jayne's farm in Kent.

Aunt Jayne comforts Leah with herbal teas and homemade cooking and helps her to de-stress with solid hard work on the farm. As Leah learns about aching muscles and early mornings she's thrown into a dilemma when meeting the handsome and charming tractor driving Duncan. Her feelings about Adam are questioned as she starts to fall for life in the country and, of course, for Duncan.

Patsy grew up on a farm and her knowledge is slipped nicely into the book without any lecturing tone. There is plenty of Patsy's humour in this book making it nicely upbeat, with the occasional giggle too. I ripped through it on a city break to Berlin. It was a perfect tonic to take away the fears of take-off and landing, and allowed me to sneak back to the rolling English countryside whenever I tired off museums and Bavarian beer.

Escape to the Country is available on Amazon (and kindle version here), and you can get a signed copy here.

I'd love to have the recipe for Aunt Jayne's love potion herbal tea. Patsy - if you read this, how about a follow-up with Aunt Jayne's country recipes...

Oh and if you're worried Patsy reassured me that "no real pigs were harmed in the writing of this book", always good to know.

Keep reading...

Friday, 3 August 2012

Garden saga

The hot weather last week seemed to bring out the camp followers in abundance. For several days the indoor writer became a surrogate mum to a fledgling blackbird. BB (baby blackbird - original huh?) must have fledged a bit too early and quickly relied on indoor writer for food and chatter. It followed her all around the garden, even when she was mowing the lawn, and was waiting every morning on the patio step. At first we thought he couldn't fly, but after a few flaps he did manage to get up on to the trellis or one of the boundary trees. He sat and watched us trotting about our business, wheezing slightly. Handsome hubby remarked on the glazed look in BB's eye that the bird looked several twigs short of a full nest (bit unkind I thought). BB would perch on the kitchen doorstep and even sneaked in for a house tour. Indoor writer returned from lunch with a friend to find handsome hubby reading in the lounge and BB patiently perched, like an expectant diner, on the breakfast bar in the kitchen. Seems he'd been shut indoors for over an hour and had sweetly left several little presents - one on top of the piano stool (nice). Then after a family day out on Sunday we returned home and there was no sign of BB. Days later and still no sign. She's hopeful that he's just moved onto pastures new, but life is tough for fledglings and few survive to adulthood. Trotters crossed that one day BB will return in full ebony plumage.

While basking in the evening sun and supping Berlin beer we watched Fat Mouse (right) scuttle back and forth feasting on seeds dropped from the bird feeders. As you can see this has to be the fattest mouse in Sussex. We couldn't decide if the poor creature was simply obese, pregnant or perhaps even sick. When it then settled down for a mouse nap in the middle of the patio, eyes closed and head nodding, we leant more towards the latter. Unfortunately we haven't see Fat Mouse since - maybe she's happily sleeping off the seed binge with a nest of babies?

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Illuminating Flash

The indoor writer became very excited when her September issue of Writing Magazine plopped through the letterbox this week. Why? Because her first ever feature made it into print. So if you subscribe to WM then checkout page 26 and 'Get Flash'.

Even better the article got mentioned on the front cover (bottom right) and despite a few minor word changes is basically unchanged. Okay, they did change the title, but I guess that happens a lot.

To date she's pitched a magnificent total of 3 articles (pathetic huh?) and 2 have been commissioned, including the Flash piece for WM. The first article was written for a writing correspondence course and her tutor encouraged her to go ahead and submit to The Lady. Perhaps this was a little ambitious for a first article, but hey if you don't submit... The piece came back in its SAE within 24 hours - not kidding, I think they simply changed envelopes and sent it straight back. And the moral of this tale... never give up because her next two pitches were successful.

Oh and the twist in the tale (or should that be curl in the tail?) is never bin ANYTHING. A year later the rejected article was retweaked to meet the theme of a competition and has just won her a place at this year's SWANICK Writer's Summer School (more on this in a later blog). It won the non-fiction category.

Keep writing and Keep SUBMITTING