Category Archives: Biography

Look what I got in the mail today…

My copy of 100 Stories for Queensland arrived in the mail today. I was so excited when I picked up the package from the post office that I tore open the cardboard packaging as soon as I got into the car. As I held the book in my hand I had a grin from ear to ear. I was holding my story in my hand in published form. My husband just shook his head at me because I wouldn’t stop smiling.

My writing journey has had its ups and downs; receiving 100 Stories for Queensland in the mail today was a big up.

May is Short Story Month

What is a short story?

A story whose plot (beginning, conflict and resolution) is told in a minimal number of words. Often a short story involves some kind of twist at the end (though this isn’t necessary). A short story can be any genre.

How short is a short story?

A short story is generally a story of no more than 10,000 words. Most short story competitions will ask for stories between 1,000 to 3,000 words on average. Anthologies may ask for short stories up to 10,000 words.

Why write a short story?

1. They’re a great exercise in concise writing. A smaller word count to write a story means ensuring your writing is as tight as it can be.

2. It’s a great way to explore other genres. Because many short story competitions and anthologies ask for you to write to a certain theme, they can push you out of your writing comfort zone to try something new. You might even find you enjoy writing in a genre you never thought you would write.

3. It’s a great outlet when you need a break from/are procrastinating on your novel.

4. Some competitions and anthologies will pay you if you win/your story is accepted. And even if the payment is only minimal you are getting your work out there which is exciting in itself.

5. It’s good practice for when you start submitting your novel. You won’t be accepted in every anthology and you won’t win every competition, so you will become more accustomed to rejection, but also keep trying. It’s encouraging when a piece does get accepted and validates that someone does think you can write (other than your mum or significant other). Those published/winning pieces can also look good when mentioned in the bio section of a query letter (as long as the publications/competitions aren’t too obscure).

There are lots of great anthologies/competitions out there for every genre you can think of (try googling). I like to keep a list of anthologies/competitions currently seeking submissions (along with the due date). I don’t always get inspiration or time to submit by the due date, but I keep the list handy in case I do get the time or inspiration to write something.

Coincidentally, May is a monumental month for me in terms of short story writing as I have had not one, but two debut stories released (twins!). The launch of Australian Literature: A Snapshot in 10 Short Stories (with my story ‘Angel Blood’) took place at the end of April and just became available on Amazon. At the start of May the charity anthology 100 Stories for Queensland (with my short story ‘A Penny for a Wish’) was launched and is now available on Amazon as well (in fact as I type a chart rush is taking place and 100 Stories for Queensland has shot up the bestseller list from #444,000 yesterday to #1,121 this morning on Amazon US – raising lots of money for Queensland flood victims).

The Australian Literature Review is currently running a short story competition (with 2 days left to enter). They are also calling for submissions for a comedy anthology (submissions due by 30th September). Keep an eye on them because they often run short story competitions and put calls out for anthologies.

If you’re interested in supporting a worthy cause, and reading some fantastic short stories in a variety of genres, consider buying a copy of 100 Stories for Queensland as all profits go towards The Premier’s Queensland Flood Relief fund. And as an added bonus, if you live in Australia or New Zealand, Amazon UK currently have free shipping to Australia and New Zealand for orders over 25 pounds.

Interview on Fleur McDonald’s Blog

A couple of weeks ago I interviewed the lovely Fleur McDonald (author of the Australian novels Red Dust and Blue Skies). I am lucky enough to have a short story appearing in the same anthology as Fleur (Australian Literature: A Snapshot in 10 Short Stories). Today Fleur has posted an interview with me on her blog where I talk about my writing, balancing writing with motherhood and a little bit on my short story in the anthology.

http://fleurmcdonald.com/2011/05/guest-blog-jo-hart/

AusLit Australian Literature Anthology

February 2011 has so far been a very good month to me. Earlier in the month I received news I had made the final list for the 100 Stories for Queensland anthology, an anthology to raise money for those affected by the terrible floods at the beginning of the year. Today I have some more exciting news to share. My short story ‘Angel Blood’ is to be included in the AusLit Australian Literature anthology due to be released in April. The anthology features ten stories by a range of commercially published and emerging Australian authors.

A little about the authors involved:

Kerry Brown

Kerry Brown is a children’s book author with two currently published picture books Poppy Wash and Can I Cuddle the Moon.

JJ Cooper

JJ Cooper is the author of two action thrillers, The Interrogator and Deadly Trust.

Rebecca James

Rebecca James is the author of pschological thriller Beautiful Malice.

Fleur McDonald

Fleur McDonald’s novels Blue Skies and Red Dust feature strong female protagonists living on the land.

Michael Pryor

YA fantasy author Michael Pryor is the author of several series and stand alone novels, including ‘The Laws of Magic’ series and the ‘Doorways’ trilogy.

Sam Stephens

Sam Stephens is an aspiring novelist. His award winning short stories Daddy and The Surgeon can both be found on The Australian Literature Review website.

Michael White

Michael White is author of Equinox, The Medici Secret and The Borgia Ring. He also writes the ‘E-Force’ series under the pseudonym Sam Fisher.

Belinda Dorio and Sonali Rajanayagam complete the author list for the anthology.

Interview on Jest Kept Secret

This week I had the pleasure of being interviewed on fellow writer Jess Byam’s blog. I met Jess through Write on Con, she gave me some great (and helpful) critique on one of my picture book stories. She contacted me last week to ask if I would like to be interviewed on her blog. In her interview I got to discuss my work-in-progress, my early writing memories and my favourite books.

I’m hoping to soon start conducting a few interviews of my own with fellow writers in the future. In the meantime if you’d like to see my responses to Jess’s interview you can see them here: Interview on Jest Kept Secret

Blogiversary Celebrations: Part One – A Reflection

Wow! I can’t believe one year ago today I made the very first post on this blog. I started this blog with the intention of sharing my writing journey with others, as well as sharing information and helpful links I found along the way. The blog has changed appearance in the course of the year (a new header, new theme, handy page links at the top and a cute little Twitter link), but the intention has always stayed the same.

By far the most popular posts I make are the ‘Helpful Website and Blog Post’ editions I post once a month, compiling all the helpful sites and writing information I’ve come across in the past month. (Look out for an award ceremony later today where I’ll be awarding some of my favourite sites of the past year.)

Lots has happened along my writing journey. I finished my YA novel and I’m currently in the last stages of tweaking it. My picture book story ‘Can You Jump Like a Kangaroo‘ came third in the Smories 2nd International Short Story Competition. My short story ‘Waiting on the Docks‘ was featured on The Australian Literature Review website. And I’ve met so many fantastic and supportive fellow writers through chats, forums and Twitter.

A big thank-you and lots of love to all those who follow my blog or even just visit occasionally.

xxx

PS Stay tuned, I will be posting throughout the day. I have lots of exciting things planned. And don’t forget the contest for 3 people to win a 5-page critique from both Peevish Penman and myself ends today, but if you’re quick you can still enter: Blogiversary Contest Details

PPS Don’t forget to pop over and wish a Happy Blogiversary to Peevish Penman too: Peevish Penman. Happy Blogiversary Carrie!

Author Interview

This week I was interviewed on Beth Hull’s blog. I got to talk a little about my work-in-progress, my writing process and how I find time to write with two little ones at home (among other things). Beth is my critique partner and in coming weeks I will be interviewing her on this blog.

Aspiring author interviews are not only great practice for when you do become published and will have to think about the answers to questions about your book (including summarising it in a couple of sentences) and about your writing process, but it’s also a good way to relate to other writers who are at a similar place on their writing journeys.

You can check out my responses to Beth’s questions here: NiFtY Interview with Jo Hart

An Aspiring Author

I recently read an article that suggested, in this modern world of computing and the internet, aspiring authors would be wise to start a blog to help them promote their writing and create a platform for themselves. I have been considering starting a blog for some time now and this article not only gave me the push to do so, but it also gave me a subject to blog about: writing.

I have been writing fiction and poetry for as long as I can remember; for as long as I have been able to write really. I remember writing my first ‘novel’ at seven years of age about my best friend turning into a fairy and riding on a unicorn. Back then I thought I had written quite a long chaptered story, but looking back now it was really only a page per chapter written in large handwriting and only five chapters long. Nowadays (20 years later) you can be assured that my writing constitiutes much more than a couple of handwritten pages. My longest piece of work to date is a completed novel entitled ‘Sunday’s Child’ and it constitutes over 50,000 words.

‘Sunday’s Child’ is a crime genre novel, I enjoy writing the crime genre and also the genres of mystery and even science fiction at times, however my favourite genre to write would be the fantasy/magic genre. I’m currently working on a series of novels aimed at a young adult readership involving four teenagers who are sent to a world in another realm. At the moment I have been trying to dedicate a minimum of an hour a day on this particular series. I have several other work-in-progress stories that I have been working on as well, both aimed at a younger audience (one involving time-travel and the other involving a magic necklace).

I am hoping to keep this blog as a way of updating progress on my stories, including excerpts of my writing, poetry and drabbles, sharing any useful tips or writing advice I happen to come across and just sharing my passion for writing with anybody who reads this blog. 🙂