This one or that one?

An extra post today. Lucky you lot! 🙂

There are currently 2 competitions or “opportunities” for writers of short stories who would like to write for radio. The BBC Opening Lines details can be found here; the BBC National Short Story Competition with Booktrust details can be found here. The bright-eyed and bushy-tailed will notice that both of these competitions are in association with the BBC.

Opening Lines is free entry and 3 successful writers will have their stories broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and be invited to London to see their winning stories recorded. There is no other payment for this “opportunity”.

The BBC National Short Story Competition is also free entry, but the 5 winning entries (that’s FIVE), will receive £15,000 1st prize, £3,000 runner up, and £500 each for the 3 further shortlisted entries. Interviews with the shortlisted writers will be broadcast over 5 weekdays and each story will also be broadcast.

Now then, as an advocate of writers being paid, which one do you think I’d recommend you go for? Of course, it’s entirely up to you, but if you have any doubt, please check out these usual rates of pay from the BBC first, via the Society of Authors.

I continue to argue that if a slot is already paid for, then it should be paid for. Organisations and companies should not exploit beginning writers by encouraging them to submit something and then not pay them what they’d normally pay. “For the glory” doesn’t really pay the rent, does it? Or perhaps we should try something similar when the gas board come calling: “Sorry, although I do usually pay my utility bills, why don’t you accept having the glory of being my energy supplier this time?” Or how about when our TV licence becomes due for payment …?

In my opinion, the BBC can afford to pay its contributors. End of.

Let me know if you enter either competition or “opportunity”, and how you get along. (I love how they’re calling it an opportunity … not.)

And the winner is …

cover blue jpegFirst of all, heap big apologies for being a day late with this. I’ve been in bed with flu since Friday, only emerging for a birthday party Friday night and a gig-on-a-whim on Saturday. I was supposed to be going to Birmingham to see my parents on Sunday too, but that and another gig were both cancelled.

So, anyway – muchos thanks to all who entered the 2,000 blog posts competition. Rufus has made his choice and the winner is … JACKIE SAYLE!

Congratulations, Jackie. Please send me your snail-mail address, either via the contact form or any other means you have to contact me, and I’ll send you a copy of Tales From Baggins Bottom, best bits book one. Dontchya just love those snappy titles?

The flu started to abate yesterday when I found myself in the back yard sweeping and swilling the flags, scrubbing and cleaning the garden furniture, and repairing the bird table I only bought at the beginning of December.

The stupid oafs had only sawn the single leg in two exactly halfway down for ease of transportation. This would be fine but the weight of the house bit on top plus gravity meant the join, when rejoined, wasn’t strong enough.

I knew what was required, rather than take the table back – I’d only have the exact same problem – and I explained it to Dad, who made me two wooden brackets to place over the join and give the single leg strength. He gave me these and everything else I’d need on Christmas Day.

It took me a few hours to grapple with a G clamp (needs one hand to hold it and the other to screw it up), hold both ends of the leg (also needs two hands, one for each end), slide one of the pieces of wood into place (at least one other hand), and then drill the pilot holes and screw in the screws (at least another hand).

Hands up everyone who can count how many hands were needed … This may come as a shock, but I only actually have two hands and haven’t quite trained any of the animals to use their paws in such a manner. BUT … not one to be beaten I managed it.


bird tableAnd here it is – a mobile phone pic but one that shows one of the wooden “brackets” at least. You can see how “top heavy” it is. I would have put the cut immediately beneath the house part.

Do you know, I amaze even myself at times.

I spent 2 hours in the garden working and the fresh air and activity seem to have done me some good. Today I was back on the yoga again and wondering where to take the dog for his walk – he’s not had a proper walk since last Thursday, poor thing.

Also on Sunday I cleared an editing job and got that submitted. This week I have two more proof-reading jobs with an editing job after that.

I’m not 100% happy with the Baggins Bottom book, so I have more work to do on that while Jackie sends me her address. My proof copy arrived on Saturday and while I’m happier than I thought I would be with the cover, I’m not as happy as I thought I would be with the interior layout. So I need to play with that before sending Jackie her prize.

Right, onwards …