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It’s been some ten years or so since I did boarded trains and the whole travelling to work thing. Now, my travel consists of a walk to the kitchen to make a cuppa, and then a flight of stairs to my office.

Most of us do this in a conventional way. And then there are these guys….

Hasn’t anyone heard of an invention called the ‘Boat’?

If she could get away with it, my daughter would have one of these.

…And if I could get away with it, I’d have this.

How many farmers does it take to sow a field?

The same amount  of workmen it takes to dig a hole.

I see what the driver’s getting, but what does the female get from this deal?

…. Maybe one of these.

Probably not the best way to take your washing to the laundrette.

… Or your wife on her honeymoon.

And people thought British Rail had problems.

Where it all began… The man with the dog powered bicycle.

So, what is the worse journey you’ve ever experienced? And let me know which is your favourite picture and why.

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As you guys probably know, I’m on my holidays at the moment and a day spent at Disneyland far outweighs a day spent blogging. But, my hubby read this on Mail Online and I just had to share.

Can you guess what it’s about?

 

One Christmas, my dog once ate the tree decorations, ripped apart some record LP’s (remember them?), and we never found the blade from the Bic razor.

Do you have a dog? What’s the worse thing they have done? Would you name and shame them on You Tube of Tumbler?

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Okay, today I have been busy finishing my novel, and now I have to go pack for my holiday. So, I’m passing the reigns.

Now, I won’t tell you how I stumbled upon Peter Koevari’s post, Authors and Piracy, eBooks on the high seas,  – but it was funny.  Anyway, I really liked it and wanted to share it with you guys. So, I illegally downloaded it for publication here. Later on I’ll be touring London, selling it on printed flyers for the small fee of 99p. Just to be clear, the author will be receiving none of this fee…. but Shhhh – don’t tell anyone.

I couldn’t think of a better titled that Peter’s, so I stole that too.

Over to you, Peter.

I am going to tackle what I think is a very important topic for Authors and creative artists. I’m going to talk about Johnny Depp piracy!

It’s a funny thing, piracy (aaaarrrg!), as we live in a world where it is very easy for people to jump onto torrent and release sites and download whatever they want, for free. Most people accept that this is the case and at some point in their lives, have likely done it themselves.

What if we got you as a reader, and a room packed full of people and asked the question, “Raise your hand if you have *never* downloaded absolutely anything illegally or broken copyright laws. Never copied a movie in a VCR, photocopied copyrighted material, bought anything pirated, downloaded an image and used it on a blog from google images, or absolutely anything that can be considered a breach of copyright?”

I would be surprised if any hands went up, and I would be floored if a number of hands went up. Do I endorse it? Absolutely not, but you can’t change the world… you can only adapt.

Lady Gaga was quoted to say that she is happy for people to download her songs, as she makes all of her money from touring anyway. This is not such a case for us as authors, is it?

We don’t “go on tour” to sell out tickets to our shows and make a huge packet, do we?

So, why did I bring this topic up in the first place?

Because I googled my book title with a timeframe of the last week, and discovered that my books have been pirated. Was I happy about it? Of course not, although the attention is flattering.

The funny thing about everyone who pirates is, it doesn’t bother them and they have all sorts of justifications for pirating… and that is all well and good, until it’s *their* work that is being pirated. They don’t slave over manuscripts for many years to write a novel, pay editors, cover artists, work every day to promote their novels. No, they enjoy reading the books that other people produce… just like we all do as readers.

After all, pirates are just regular people, but with a different perspective and values. Do I consider them criminals? No. Do I want to run out there and track down everyone who downloaded my book illegally and persecute them? No.

You may be looking at me in shock and horror, but why on earth would I want to ruin someone’s life over copyright laws, for wanting to read my books?

Let us face the reality about the argument of potential sales: It’s flawed.

I put pirates into a few categories:

A) Pirates who NEVER buy what they download

B) Pirates who download to try without paying, and then go ahead to buy what they really like

C) Pirates who buy what they really like, and pirate what else they can, because they can and they may want to look at it later.

D) Pirates who (for whatever their circumstantial reason) cannot afford to buy the things that they want.

E) Pirates who cannot buy what they want, due to restrictions

The pirates who are in category A, will never pay for our books. Are they a lost sale? No. Are we losing money because they download our books? No. Are they still ripping us off as authors? Yes… but what exactly can we really do to change it?

The best we can hope for is that they tell their friends and families about our books (if they enjoy them) and some of them may want to buy them.

Pirates in category B, will try our books without paying for them first. If they like them, they will probably purchase them… but likely not.

Category C is similar, but the stuff they hoard and download will likely never be seen or read, but will definitely be shared.

Category D is a tough one. I mean, at the end of the day… just because we can’t afford to have something, doesn’t give us a justification to take it without paying because we want it. However, people do what they need to do and although we don’t like it, there are some real reasons why people would like to genuinely buy something, but the way they need to purchase it deems it “not viable”. Does it excuse it? No… but we can understand it. We can hope that those readers do help us as authors by spreading the word about books that they like, and when they get into a position that they can afford it, they support us as authors.

Category E concerns me greatly, and the fact that people can’t buy ebooks over the Internet, due to restrictions is just ridiculous. We should all push for any companies who do that, to change.

Whatever category these pirates are in, it does not matter, they are going to do what they do, regardless of what we try to do about it. People who would buy our ebooks and paperbacks will still do so, even if the availability of our books on pirated channels would make them more accessible for free. Not everyone pirates, and lots of people out there like to support authors and keep them writing.

For any pirates out there that think all eBooks should be free, I would like to ask you… would you go to work from 9-5 for no paycheck at the end of the day? I doubt that you would, but if you are happy to work all your life for no money, then you can stand tall with that argument.

For those Pirates that say that Authors are the real pirates for controlling their work and restricting what you can do with it… I really question that. If you buy my paperback, you can sell it, share it, sleep on it, use it as a paperweight, throw it in the air… I really couldn’t care less what you do with it… but I do hope you share it with your family and friends.

eBooks are usually considerably cheaper than paperback editions, and I have not put DRM on my ebooks (Can’t change the kindle Legends 2 edition when purchased from Amazon, they wouldn’t let me undo it). Although I don’t encourage emailing my book to every man and their dog, I see no reason why you couldn’t share the read in the same manner as a paperback.

As for the analogy of people buying ebooks and that they can’t sell it as they would a car, that is an interesting one. There is no real “second hand market” for digital works. Like second hand video game stores, further sales only profit the people trading in them… not the makers of the game. The same applies with eBooks.

Why would someone want to buy a second hand eBook when they can just buy it online themselves? We’re not talking cars worth huge money, are we?

Writing books is hard work and we work for nothing until we make any sales on our books. I am an indie author, what does that mean? We don’t get fat pay cheques from publishers, and we have to pay our own way and promote our own way for my books to be successful. Unlike movie studios, we don’t make millions or hundreds of millions in sales.

As much as the world is what it is for pirates, it is what it is for authors. We write for you, the reader, to enjoy our stories. If we all stopped writing, there would be no more books to read.

Having said all of this, what disappoints me the most… is that if any of these pirates bothered to come to my site and contact me, asking if I can give them my ebooks for free… I would have offered them an honourable deal of giving them my ebooks in return for an honest review. The act of pirating my ebooks is an unnecessary exercise of breaking copyright laws and using torrents or hosting sites.

I would love for pirates to consider buying my books and sharing them with their friends and families, but it is their choice if they wish to support me as an author, or not.

As a result of all of this, I stand by my words and I have put up a page on this very website that clearly offers review copies of my first book, Legends of Marithia: Prophecies Awakening (Uncut and Extended Second edition) to anyone willing to show some class and honour, and review my books for me on Amazon, Goodreads, etc. No need to break laws or illegally distribute my books!

It shows that you respect me as an author, and I will… in turn, respect you as a reviewer and respect your opinion. I don’t care if someone is a pirate or not, the offer is open to you equally.

If you decide to change your approach and buy my books (before or after you have read them, and however you have obtained them. eBook or paperback), then you have my gratitude for supporting me as an author.

Do you have an opinion on this? Have you had this happen to you? Comment and talk about it.

Follow Peter on twitter @Peterkoevari

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It was just over seven years ago that London won their bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games.

I remember exactly what I was doing when we began our campaign. I was on my honeymoon at the Atlantis Resort in the the Bahamas. I cannot express the joy and hearing the news… or the sorrow the following day when the 7/7 bombs devastated London.

Now, seven years later, London is stronger than ever.

However, our efforts to hold one of the most memorable moments in history haven’t gone without its problems.

It was feared that London traffic would come to a standstill in a bid to get Olympic officials to the venues on time with the introduction of  the ‘Olympic lanes’.

Many tax payers protested at the amount of money being spent on the venues when the current economic climate was already in a state. Then there was the outrageous scenes of blocks of empty venue seats when tickets were impossible to purchase.

Most embarrassing of all? Only a fraction of the security team arriving for work on the first day of the Games.

And then there was this man, Minister Jeremy Hunt – the cherry on the cake…

But, Britain is strong. We will always survive.

And here’s why…

It all started with the torch bearers, cheered on by thousands of supporters who lined the streets come rain or shine as they carried the Olympic flame around the country.

But, our Armed Forces stepped in to secure the venues and the opening ceremony was absolutely breathtaking. Millions around the world watch Kenneth Branagh ‘build’ London. Dancers danced, singers sang, and we even had a little help from Mr Bean.

When it was time for the Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth to arrive, who better to escort her than James Bond himself.

And Britain went on to have one of their most successful Olympics…EVER!

But it’s not just the British that have made these past two weeks so special. It has been an entire nation.

There have been tears of joy and sorrow. Medals have been won, and medals have been lost. But above all, for two weeks, countries rejoiced together. War and disagreements were buried and put aside. Instead, we supported one and other.

I just hope that spirit can continue.

Did you watch the Olympics? What was your favourite moment? How do you think London did hosting the games? Did you find it hard getting tickets? Did you attend any of the events? Let me know.

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What an amazing weekend I had. On Saturday, Audley End House hosted the Greatest Eighties Concert Ever! And it didn’t disappoint.

What I found funny was the age of the spectators. I mean, they were OLD! Then I realised. So was I. No longer was I that young teenager with her back-combed hair, Madonna style clothes, and white stiletto shoes. Instead, it dawned on me… Heck, I’m middle-aged.

When did that happen? I haven’t turned grey… or not that my hair dye won’t cover-up. I don’t have many wrinkles that L’Oreal eye cream can’t cope with. My bum hasn’t sagged that much… has it?

So, I thought it would be fun to do a ‘Then and Now’ blog.

Right, I’ll be brave and start with me.

   
                                Me, back in the 80’s                        … and, me now

Notice the hair and the shoulder pads? The only good thing about the first picture is that the car is KITT from Knight Rider.

So, back to Saturday night.

Recognise this singer? This is Nik Kershaw way back in the eighties.

Here he is some twenty years later playing one of his most famous songs.

How about this man?

The gorgeous Rick Astley. Remember that wiggle dance. Oh boy, did I love this guy back then. Actually, I still love him now. Here’s why…

Here are some more…

Anthony Michael Hall, that guy from the Breakfast Club and Weird Science.

  

Teen heartthrob, Emilio Estevez, from St. Elmo’s Fire.

   

How about Star Wars hero, Mark Hamill.

   

We all remember the beautiful Kelly McGillis.

   

What about the people we love now?

Take the sexy Mark Harmon from NCIS fame.

   

And ever wondered if the hunky Paul Walker was really always that cute?

   

Ahh, wasn’t he just adorable!

So, which childhood crush or hero do you think has changed the most with age?… For the better, and (cough cough) for the worse. Shannon Doherty is doing okay, and so is Demi Moore for that matter. Who do you think hasn’t aged at all?

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Someone over on my WanaTribe recently asked what the difference was between Who’s and Whose, so I thought I’d dedicate today’s post to all those common and annoying little grammar mistakes that spell-check isn’t so good at spotting.

Like with all my posts, I like to make these explanations as simple a possible without resorting to the use of crayons and picture books, which I regularly use 🙂

So, without further ado, lets start with the one that brought us here…

Who’s vs Whose:

Who’s is an abbreviate and used in place of ‘who is’, or ‘who has’.  Example – Who’s going to the party? Who’s this? It would also work at Who is going to the party? and Who is this?

Whose is the possessive of who.  Example – Whose book is this? Whose side are you on?

Basically, if ‘who is or who has’ does not fit the sentence, then use ‘whose’.

Who vs Whom:

Who, like I, he, or she, is a subject and is the person performing the action. Example – This is who gave it to me.  Is Paul the one who wants to know?

Whom, like me, him, and her, is an object. It is the person to whom the action is being done. Example – To whom do I send this letter? This is the man whom I told you about.

Basically, who and whom is the same difference as I and me. Try re-writing the sentence and change who or whom with another pronoun. So,

This is who gave it to me — He/she gave it to me – OR –  Him/her gave it to me? She how he/she sounds correct, so ‘who’ would be used.
This is the man whom I told you about. — I told you about him/her – OR – I told you about she/he. In this instance him/her is correct so whom would be used.
To whom do I send this letter? – Do I send this letter to he/she? – OR – Do I send this letter to him/her? Again, the latter him/her is correct and whom is used.

Which vs That:

That is used in a restrictive sentence. Example – “Cars that are red are more sexy”. You are restricting the sentence by saying that only red cars are sexy.

Which is used in a non-restrictive sentence. Example – The red cars, which went on sale yesterday, are now half price. If you omitted which went on sale yesterday it wouldn’t actually change what you want to say, which is that red cars are now half price.

All Right vs Alright:

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, alright is a frequent spelling of all right. Now, although the dictionary lists the word ‘alright’, you be hard pushed to find somewhere that agrees with the spelling ‘alright’.

What should you do? Although the ‘alright’ usage is growing, it’s probably best to stick to ‘all right’.

Like vs Such As:

Like is used when you are comparing. For example – Can you take me somewhere nice like Paris or Rome? Here, the person is not asking to go to Paris or Rome, but somewhere like it.

Such As is used when you are including. For example – Can you take me somewhere nice such as Paris or Rome? Now they are making it clear they want to go to either Paris or Rome.

One vs You:

Using either one or you is classed as grammatically correct.

One, however, is often used when one is being more formal. It gives the impression of a higher standing. For example – One has to conduct oneself in a certain manner. However, you would not use ‘one’ when you are the object. For example – The maid lay the blanket over one’s lap, and one thanked her. This just sounds awkward.

You is much more relaxed. For example – You have to conduct yourself in a certain manner. See how the same sentence holds a different weight? It’s not as formal. Basically, using you is more acceptable in the world today.

So, what version of words do you get stuck with? What are your pet hates. Let me know…. Don’t be shy 🙂

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Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

TV quiz shows have always been big business for those who want to win some quick cash, a holiday, or a badly made crystal decanter set (remember back to the shows in the 70’s and 80’s?)

Most contestants are people like you and me. Good common sense, can find the UK on a map, and know that oranges grow on trees.

But then, somewhere from the depths of the Amazon jungle, TV producers dig up people who give answers like these…

 

Q: What kind of dozen is 13?

A: Half a dozen.

Q: Who was the Prime Minister before Tony Blair?

A: George Bush.

Q: Of all Beatrix Potter’s books, which is the only one to feature a human in the title?

A: Peter Rabbit.

Q: Who painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?

A: Leonardo Di Caprio.

Q: Johnny Weissmuller died on this day. Which jungle-swinging character, clad only in a loincloth, did he play?

A: Jesus

Q: How long did the Six Day War between Egypt and Israel last?

A: (long pause) 14 days.

Q: What happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963?

A: I don’t know, I wasn’t watching it then.

Some of these contestants can’t even ‘get’ the answer with the presenter helping them a little, or in most cases, a hell of a lot:

Presenter: What is another name for “cherrypickers” and “cheesemongers”?

Contestant: Homosexuals.

Presenter: No. They’re regiments in the British Army who will be very upset with you.

 

Presenter: What’s 11 squared?

Contestant: I don’t know.

Presenter: I’ll give you a clue. It’s two ones with a two in the middle.

Contestant: Is it five?

Answer: 121

 

Presenter: On which street did Sherlock Holmes live?

Contestant: Er…

Presenter: He makes bread.

Contestant: Er…

Presenter: He makes cakes.

Contestant: Kipling Street?

Answer: Baker Street

 

Presenter: Where is Cambridge University?

Contestant: Geography isn’t my strong point

Presenter: There’s a clue in the title

Contestant: Leicester?

Answer: Cambridge

 

Presenter: What ‘K’ could be described as the Islamic Bible?

Contestant: Er…

Presenter: It’s got two sylla-bles… Kor…

Contestant: Blimey?

Presenter: Ha ha ha, no. The past participle of run…

Contestant: Silence

Presenter: Okay, try it another way. Today I run, yesterday I…

Contestant: Walked?

Answers: Koran & ran

 

Then, there are the presenters that just give up, knowing their contestant is a lost cause:

 

Presenter: What religion was Guy Fawkes?

Contestant: Jewish.

Presenter: That’s close enough.

Answer: Roman Catholic

 

…. And lastly, there is this person…

 

 

So, what is the best Q and A combo you’ve every heard?

 

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This weeks competitions that have caught my eye:

FICTION:

Writer’s Digest Thriller Competition

The Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards Thriller Category is now open.
Winners will be listed in the May/June 2013 issue of Writer’s Digest.

Deadline:  September 14

Learn more about the Thriller competition

Writer’s Digest Science Fiction Competition

We are now accepting entries in the Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards Science Fiction Category. Winners will be listed in the May/June 2013 issue of Writer’s Digest.

Deadline:  September 14

Learn more about the Science Fiction competition

Writer’s Digest Young Adult Fiction Competition

The Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards Young Adult Fiction Category is now open. Winners will be listed in the May/June 2013 issue of Writer’s Digest.Deadline:  September 14

Learn more about the Young Adult Fiction competition

Writer’s Digest Romance Competition

We are now accepting entries in the Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards Romance Category. Winners will be listed in the May/June 2013 issue of Writer’s Digest.

Deadline:  September 14

Learn more about the Romance competition

Writer’s Digest Crime Competition

The Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards Crime Category is now open. Winners will be listed in the May/June 2013 issue of Writer’s Digest.

Deadline:  September 14

Learn more about the Crime writing competition 

Writer’s Digest Horror Competition

The Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards Horror Competition is now accepting entries. Winners will be listed in the May/June 2013 issue of Writer’s Digest.

Deadline:  September 14

Learn more about the Horror writing competition

Short Short Story Writing Competition

We are now accepting entries for the Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Writing Competition. The top winner will receive over $3,000 in cash and prizes and a trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City.  The top 10 winners will also be featured the July/August 2013 issue of Writer’s Digest Magazine.

Entry Deadline: November 15, 2012

Click here to enter the short short story competition

ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA Via RWA

 *Open to published authors
**Open to published and unpublished authors

**Romance is Hotter in Las Vegas Writing ContestSponsor: Las Vegas Chapter

Fee: $10 LVRWA members; $15 RWA members; $20 non members
Deadline: July 31, 2012
Eligibility: Non-published short story
Entry: All electronic, 4,500 words maximum.
Categories: Romance or Romantic Elements.
Judges; Published/Unpublished.
Final Judge: Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary Agency.
Top Prize: $100.
FMI, visit www.LasVegasRWA.org or contact us at LasVegasRomanceWriters@hotmail.com.

**The 2012 Golden Rose Contest

Sponsor: Rose City Romance Writers
Fee: RCRW members $30, RWA members $35, others $50
Deadline: August 1, 2012
Eligibility: Open to all non-contracted authors of romantic fiction (RWA and non-RWA members) unpublished in book-length (40,000 words or more) in the last three (3) years and any member of RWA who is not eligible to join RWA-PAN. Please see the RWA website regarding PAN eligibility rules.
Entry: Accepting entries up to a maximum of fifty (50) pages including prologue (if any). Your entry may include an optional non-judged two-page synopsis. The synopsis does not count toward the 50-page maximum for the manuscript, however the synopsis cannot exceed two pages even if the manuscript is shorter than 50 pages.
Judges: First round judges are romance writers (trained in judging) with at least one being a published author or RWA-PRO member.
Categories and Final Judges: Contemporary Series Romance – Roberta Brown, Roberta Brown Literary Agency; Contemporary Single Title – Alex Logan, Grand Central Publishing; Historical – Chelsey Emmelhainz, Avon/HarperCollins; Mainstream Novel with Strong Romantic Elements – Sarah E. Younger, Nancy Yost Literary Agency; Paranormal – Nicole Resciniti, The Seymour Agency ; Romantic Suspense – Aubrey Poole, Sourcebooks; Young Adult – Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary Agency.
Top Prize: The first place winner in each category will receive the Golden Rose Award. All other finalists will receive suitable recognition. Results will be published in the RWR.
FMI, visit http://rosecityromancewriters.com/contest-home  or email contestcoordinator@rosecityromancewriters.com.

7th Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Contest

Sponsor: (SOLA) Southern Louisiana RWA
Fee: $15.00
Deadline: August 1, 2012 *deadline extended*
Eligibility: Entrants do not need to be members of RWA to enter.
Entry: First 5 double-spaced pages. Also, one-page, single-spaced synopsis (not judged). No electronic submissions. See website for more information. No staples please, paper clips only.
Categories and Final Readers: Short/Long Series Contemporary, Stacy Holmes, Senior Editor, Yellow Rose Line; Single Title Contemporary, Rhonda Penders, Editor-in-Chief, The Wild Rose Press; Historical Romance, Allison Byers, Editor, Historical Line; Paranormal, CallieLynn Wolfe, Senior Editor, Black Rose Line; Inspirational, Nicola Martinez, Editor in Chief, Pelican Book Group/White Rose Publishing; Novel w/ Strong Romantic Elements, Rhonda Penders, Editor-in-Chief, The Wild Rose Press; Romantic Suspense, Lori Graham, Senior Editor, Crimson Rose; Erotic Romance, Diana Carlile, Senior Editor, Scarlet Rose Line.
Judges: experienced, trained, published/nonpublished.
Final Readers: First place winners in each category receive a guaranteed read by an editor of The Wild Rose Press who will send you a request for a full or partial manuscript, or a rejection.
Top Prize: $50 cash with tiebreaker and special certificate for the overall highest score in all categories. Also, certificates and signature button for 1st, 2nd, 3rd place and honorable mention.
FMI, http://solawriters.org/ or email contest coordinator at ngenovese@gmail.com.

**Show Me the Spark 2012 Contest

Sponsor: Heartland Romance Authors

Fee: $20 RWA Members / $25 Non-RWA Members
Entry Deadline: August 1, 2012
Eligibility requirements: The annual Show Me the Spark! Contest is open to unpublished and published authors of novel-length fiction. The entry must be the author’s original work, unpublished and uncontracted as of the time of the contest deadline. No entry can have been previously published in any format. (on author’s website visible to the public, self-published, ebook, mass market, etc.).
Entry: All electronic. First chapter up to 3,500 words max (actual word count), including prologue, if applicable. *Word count will be verified. No part of a second or any additional chapters will be judged. End your entry on a hook, leaving your judges breathless with no more pages left to turn. Optional 5-page synopsis can be provided, but will not be judged.
Judges: trained/experienced, published.
Final Round Judges: TBA (updated on website).
Categories: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Romantic Suspense, Inspirational, Young Adult, and Erotic Romance. Each category will advance finalists to final round judging.
Top prize: First prize: Engraved Show Me the Spark memento. Second and third prize: certificates.
FMI, www.heartlandromanceauthors.com or email contest@heartlandromanceauthors.com.

**Heartbeat

Sponsor: Heart of Louisiana
Fee: $10.00 for all entrants
Deadline: August 3, 2012 *deadline extended*
Eligibility: Unpublished authors or published authors not contracted for the entry.
Entry: First chapter (up to 4,000 words) and a synopsis (up to 5 pages) of your unpublished romance novel.
Categories: Contemporary (long, short, single title), Inspirational, Historical, Paranormal, Erotic
Judges: Each entry will be read by at least one published author in the preliminary round.
Final Judge: Adam Wilson, Editor, Gallery and Pocket Books.
Top Prize: Manuscript reading by Adam Wilson, Editor, Gallery and Pocket Books.
FMI, www.heartla.com/contest.htm.

**Fiction from the Heartland Contest

Sponsor: Mid-America Romance Authors (MARA)
Fee: $30.00
Deadline: August 10, 2012
Eligibility: unpublished in book-length fiction in the past five years from deadline.
Entry: Prologue/First Chapter/Synopsis (max. 35 pages).
Judges: at least one published author and experienced critiquers.
Final Judges: Final-round judges two publishing professionals.
Top Prize: $50.00 and plaque.
FMI, www.mararwa.com.

2012 Golden Palm Contest

Sponsor: Florida Romance Writers
Fee: $20 for FRW Members, $30 for all others. Contest fee payable by PayPal or check.
Deadline: Midnight, August 15, 2012
Entry: Maximum first 25 pages. Electronic Submission only.
Final judges: Editors/Agents.
FMI, www.frwriters.org.

The Golden Pen

Sponsor: The Golden Network
Fee: $35 per entry received on or before July 15; $40 per entry received on or before August 15; $5 judging discount.
Deadline: Opens June 1, 2012. Early-bird deadline July 15, 2012. All others deadline August 15, 2012.
Eligibility requirements: The Golden Pen Contest is open to writers who have not accepted a publishing offer for a work of original fictional narrative prose of 20,000 words or more by August 15, 2012. Entrant must retain all rights to the entry and not have granted any of them to a publisher or any other party prior to or by August 15, 2012.
Entry: All-electronic. Entry shall include a synopsis (not to exceed fifteen pages) plus the first consecutive pages of the manuscript in one document, together totaling not more than 55 pages. Categories: Series Contemporary, Single Title, Historical, Paranormal, Romantic Suspense, Inspirational, Young Adult, Novel with Strong Romantic Elements.
Judges: In the preliminary round, each entry will be judged by three judges, including at least one Golden Heart finalist and one published author (Golden Heart finalist may also be the published author).
Final Judges: Top editors; details TBD.
Top Prize: $30, certificate, and a golden pen.
FMI, visit http://thegoldennetwork.com or email goldenpencontest@gmail.com.

**2012 Heart to Heart

Sponsor: San Francisco Area RWA
Fee: $15 for members, $20 for nonmembers
Deadline: August 31, 2012
Eligibility: Open to all writers unpublished by an RWA-approved publisher as of the entry deadline. Prospective entrants may be published with a non RWA-recognized publisher. However, they may not enter books/manuscripts that have been professionally edited or have ISBN numbers.
Entry: Enter the scene(s) in which the hero and heroine meet for the first time or for the first time in the book, if previously acquainted, up to a maximum of 15 pages. Each entry may only be entered in one category. However, you may submit as many different entries as you wish. Each new entry must have a contest entry form and payment.
Categories: Contemporary, Erotic, Paranormal, Young Adult, Historical.
Judges: TBA.
Final Judges: TBA.
FMI, http://www.sfarwa.net/contests/heart-to-heart-contest.

*Laurel Wreath Contest for Published Authors

Sponsor: Volusia County Romance Writers
Fee: $20.00
Deadline: August 31, 2012
Eligibility: Books with 2011 copyright
Entry: 3 print copies of book
Categories: Romantic Suspense, Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Young Adult, Erotic Romance, Inspirational.
Judges: Booksellers & librarians.
Top Prize: Laurel Wreath engraved pendant.
FMI, contact lauralitak66@gmail.com for more information, or visithttp://www.vcrw.net/index.php/contests.

**Unpublished Beacon Contest

Sponsor: First Coast Romance Writers
Fee: $25 FCRW Member, $30 RWA Member (non-FCRW), $35 Non-RWA Member
Contest opens: August 1, 2012
Deadline: August 31, 2012
Eligibility: Open to all authors of romantic fiction, not contracted/published in book length fiction (40,000+) in the last 3 years.
Entry: All electronic. First 25 pages (including prologue, if applicable), plus up to five-page synopsis (unjudged), in .rtf format. (Combined total not to exceed 30 pages.)
First Round Judges: Trained and published authors
Categories & Final Round Judges:
Historical – Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, & Holly Blanck, St. Martin’s Press.
Single Title – Nalini Akolekar, Spencerhill Associates, & Esi Sogah, Harper Collins.
Contemporary Series – Andrea Somberg, Harvey Klinger Agency, & Susan Litman, Harlequin.
Fantasy/Futuristic/Paranormal – Beth Miller, Writers House, & Jhanteigh Kupihea, NAL.
Romantic Suspense – Weronika Janczuk, Franklin Siegal Associates, & Shana Smith, Harlequin.
Young Adult – Laura Bradford, The Bradford Literary Agency, & Audrey Poole, Sourcebooks.
Erotic Romance – Leis Pederson, Berkley, & Meghan Conrad, Ellora’s Cave.
Inspirational – Mary Sue Seymour, The Seymour Agency, & Lauren Plude, Grand Central Publishing.
Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction/Mainstream – Michelle Grajkowski, 3 Seas Literary Agency, & Rachel Burkot, Harlequin.
Prizes: First place winners receive lapel pin, all finalists receive certificate.
FMI, http://firstcoastromancewriters.com or contact contest chair atbeaconunpub@firstcoastromancewriters.com.

SCRIPT WRITING OPPORTUNITIES Via ISA:

(N.B. Only contact the companies listed below between 24th July – 5th August 2012)

SEEKING SCRIPT WRITER FOR FEATURE FILM IN SPANISH AND ENGLISH
Seeking a script writer for a feature film in Spanish and English. You must be fluently bilingual in both and have samples of work in each. This project has a completed treatment and is under a SAG ultra low budget contract. The writer will convert the treatment into a feature film script. There is pay for the project and pay will be made in draws. Serious inquiries only to playworldpictures@gmail.com

LOOKING FOR EMOTIONALLY CHALLENGING SHORT FILM SCRIPT
I’m looking for a SHORT FILM screenplay which features a YOUNG CAST. We’re looking to produce the film in the next few months as a showreel piece to illustrate my work directing teenage actors. We’ll also be submitting the film to festivals. The screenplay should be a short film of under 10 minutes w/ dialogue, feature actors between 13-15 years old, and be emotionally challenging for the cast. I’m an award-winning director of features and commercials. The short film will be produced to the highest possible standards. Casting will be performed by a top casting director. You can see my work at http://www.philm.co.uk/ Be brave. I’d like a script that is challenging and powerful of any genre. Please submit your screenplay or an initial synopsis to the link below or e-mail to phil*at*philmcompany.com. You will obviously be fully credited on the finished film and be involved in the development and production of the film. I look forward to reading them.

LOOKING FOR COMMERCIAL COMEDY WRITERS FOR SPEC SPOT
Hello. I am looking for a comedy writer who is familiar with the 30 sec spot format. I am looking to freshen up my directorial reel and would love some new energy and ideas. I have no budget to pay you from, but this is a great way to see your idea put into a film format. It will make a great portfolio piece for you. Interested parties contact me at lbarcojo1@me.com Thanks!

DOC DIRECTOR/PRODUCER SEEKING SCREENWRITER
Documentary Director/Producer is seeking a writer to help with outline and script for a feature length documentary about the lives of folks with spinal cord injuries. You will be working very closely with the director so being a collaborator and team player is important. Requirements: Must have experience with writing scripts and an interest in the subject and documentary genre; Must be available to get together at least once a week to meet. Please submit to email a cover letter and resume to scidocumentary@gmail.com Those I am interested in will also have to submit samples of their work. Screen credit, IMDb credit, copy, festival exposure, backend points, along with the possibility of getting paid if we get funding. Thanks!

SCREENWRITER WANTED TO COLLABORATE ON NOVEL ADAPTATION
Novelist looking for a screenwriting partner to collaborate on a novel adaptation. The novel, DELIVERED, is available as an eBook on Amazon and iBookstore. In terms of genre, DELIVERED is supernatural fiction, with elements of crime, romance, and self-discovery. Applicants should be interested in one, or more, of these genres. The interested and serious writer should send current résumé and a writing sample in PDF format. The only writing sample accepted will be a screenplay draft adapted from “Warning,” the first chapter of DELIVERED. The text of the chapter can be found through a link on novel’s homepage http://www.delivered-novel.com, or the following link: http://www.delivered-novel.com/DELIVERED/The_Warning_Chapter.html. This an opportunity for a serious, talented, and committed screenwriter looking both to build a body of work and to lend his/her vision to a story with considerable independent/commercial market appeal. Candidates should send résumé and specific writing sample, in PDF format only, to CliffordEvan@delivered-novel.com. Please write NOVEL ADAPTATION in the subject line of the email. For the right collaborator, author will sign a contract giving co-writer second credit, as well as 30-40% of the screenplay rights, upon option or sale. Terms are flexible and subject to negotiation, depending on the work performed.

RICHARD LAMPONE
NY based production company is seeking a short film to produce.
Looking for a family drama under 20 pages with simple locations. and 3-5 characters.
Some Locations available ( Home with numerous bedrooms, bathroom) Yards/outdoor pool/park, ..etc
Send scripts or log lines to OneLastdayproductions@gmail.com
Thank you

LOOKING FOR SITCOM WRITERS
Renaissance Entertainment is a brand new production company that specializes in and promotes the progression of the human spirit through media, specifically through TV and Film production. Formed by a, currently enrolled, student at Columbia College Hollywood we don’t think or act like students. We are looking for sitcom/web series writers for a new show we are currently developing. You must be able and willing to write for an urban sitcom with authentic voices without being stereotypical (think THE GAME and NOAH’S ARC) on a team, as well as, individually and able to understand and translate both creative ideas and notes while also able to give notes and creative ideas. You must also be professional, on-time to meetings and deadline, reliable, able to operate in excellence, and you must live in L.A or surrounding areas and have a reliable car or familiar with public transportation. Please send the following to RenaissancEntertainment@gmail.com: one completed spec script for an already existing sitcom; one original completed (copyrighted &/or WGA registered) script; headshot (pic) and resume. This is NOT a paid gig however when show is picked up compensation will follow. Great opportunity for those wanting to get in on the ground floor of a new sitcom. Apply to Ly Smith

CONFERENCES AND CLASSES:

San Francisco Writers Conference

10th Anniversary in 2013
Join us February 14th – 17th, 2013 and help us celebrate at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, Mason & California, San Francisco!
We are proud to announce bestselling author
R.L. Stine will be our keynote speaker for 2013

 

Please remember to check out legitimacy of all contests, classes, and conferences before you enter, and to copyright all your work before you submit.

Good luck and let me know how you get on.

If you want more of me, you can also find me on FacebookTwitterGoogle+,GoodreadsKloutand Linkedin

As you’ll see, I haven’t used a picture at the top of this blog. I’m actually thinking about going through ALL my posts and deleting/changing any photos that aren’t mine.

Why?

I read a post today about copyright and photographs via the wonderful, Roni Loren… And it was scary! According to Roni’s recent, and horrifying experience, Fair Use doesn’t seem to exist. It doesn’t matter….

  • if you link back to the source and list the photographer’s name
  • if the picture is not full-sized (only thumbnail size is okay)
  • if you did it innocently
  • if your site is non-commercial and you made no money from the use of the photo
  • if you didn’t claim the photo was yours
  • if you’ve added commentary in addition to having the pic in the post
  • if the picture is embedded and not saved on your server
  • if you have a disclaimer on your site.
  • if you immediately take down a pic if someone sends you a DMCA notice (you do have to take it down, but it doesn’t absolve you.)

It really made me think, and I commented so.

My question?

If you are looking for an image to use for your blog, as many of us do, and type, say, “desert” into Google images – you are likely to find that same image, only from different websites. How are you supposed to know who it originated or belongs too?

I deleted my Pinterest account a long time ago when rumours of lawsuits began washing over the internet. Some photos I use on my blog and Facebook (especially my banners), are my own personal pictures that I have ‘shot’ myself. I would not expect anyone, after a year on the internet, to know they originated from me.

So, what about you? Have you used Google images to find photos? Would you sue someone for using one of your personal pictures? Have you ever been asked to remove a photograph? Or, have you had your own lawsuit to fight?

If you want more of me, try checking out FacebookTwitterGoogle+GoodreadsKloutBranchOut and Linkedin

 

In May, I wrote a post  giving you guys two pictures and asked you to write me a scary short story… and you guys didn’t disappoint.

Last week, you read Nigel Blackwell‘s brilliant story, Eye of Death. This week, we have Ewelina Rymsza with ‘Unreality’.

UNREALITY

My bare feet tapped on the cold cement out of a blinding excitement. Root had found this place, slobbered over with a thick, white fog, but alive with unending riches. My hands pounded on the old bench, and I wished he’d come sooner. After the End, our ancestors emerged from stone walls into a field of desolation. Places like these were less than rumors, more untrue than myths. The monuments here towered and crumbled with their epitaphs weeping over earth-hair.
“Root,” I murmured now heatedly but still quiet, “Root, would you get over here? I’m cold!”
Nothing.
I finally got up and decided he would steal what he found anyway. I was told brothers are supposed to lie and cheat, but I never understood it.
I walked slowly into the earth-hair. I’d never walked in it before, and it felt strange beneath my feet. I could feel some between my toes. It wasn’t hard like the cement I was used to; but it was chilling, too, and numbing even moreso.
“Root.” I had to be quiet. We were stealing artifacts. Root said he saw this place in a dream, and that’s how we could find it. He told me all of the artifacts would be underground, and I agreed to going despite not believing him at first.
“You shouldn’t be here, little girl!”
I heard a voice cut the fog, chiseling away the air like a saw. The music to it was jarring but undaunted. A disfigured darkness formed ahead of me.
“You shouldn’t be here, little girl. You shouldn’t be here. You shouldn’t be here.” And on that last word, it became to scream. I saw its knees buckle, and the belt of its body collapse. It kept screaming: “You shouldn’t be here. You shouldn’t. You shouldn’t.”
Chills shot into my veins and burst and kept bursting, and I felt compelled to weep but stood my ground to this anonymous shadow. It stopped abruptly and climbed the fog back up. It beckoned me closer then with its four gnarled hands. I shook the fear from its earlier plead and followed deeper into the white, changing sea.
The image became fainter and fainter, and I ran to catch it. My legs sprung in a furious dance while I hurdled over monuments and rocks. The curiosity in my bones grew its own marrow, birthed a life more invincible than mine. No fear any longer. No fear.
The shadow then stopped and vanished. I knelt into the earth-hair, and I began to cry. Where had the shadow gone? Root hadn’t even crossed my mind until then, and I mustered up the strength to wander in search. The fog thickened as if to mock my venture, and I lost myself further in this foreign place.
   You shouldn’t be here kept seeping more deeply into my thoughts, and I again began to feel the fear burdening my gut. You shouldn’t be here. You shouldn’t be here.
I called for Root again but walked onto a ribbon of unbroken tar instead. I was used to crushed tar, tar with alien growth between its cracks. This was smooth and paved. And then I saw me.
I saw myself curled into knots; and although I saw only my back, the clothing was mine. The hair was mine. The way she cried was my own. I stumbled back slightly with my eyes almost instantly tearing up.
“You shouldn’t be here,” she screamed in a voice unfamiliar to me. But it was me. It was me. I was sure.
I walked very gently towards her, and her sobbing started more strongly now.
“It’s okay,” I whispered, attempting to console what was a strange kind of ghost it seemed. A whisper of myself. I knelt down a foot beside her to give her room. That’s what I would’ve wanted. But instead, she snapped over to me, and I screamed.
What I knew as plants were growing from our insides, spun branches that hung out of us like desperate, dying trees.
   “You shouldn’t be here. You shouldn’t be here. You shouldn’t be here.”
And in that moment, we became one: Watching with the same knolls and our stomach swallowed by “trees.” We retched the same and bled the same, and I knew this was not my dream. This was not my dream. I shouldn’t have been here.

THE END

Next week, I’ll post another one.

If you want more of me, try checking out FacebookTwitterGoogle+GoodreadsKloutBranchOut and Linkedin

Upcoming classes:

21st July: From Idea To Story

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