Category Archives: Short Stories

Blog Birthday and a Competition

Today is my blog’s third birthday! I had planned a big celebration, but, as seems to be the norm lately, time got away from me. I do have an exciting announcement though…

There is a fanfiction competition happening to coincide with the release of a collaborative story collection titled The Life and Times of Chester Lewis, of which I am one of the contributing authors (alongside some great writers, such as Michael White who co-authored Private Oz with James Patterson). The collection follows the life of the title character, Chester Lewis, through the decades from the 1930s through to the 2030s (I pick up the story during the 1980s). The fanfiction competition is open to writers worldwide and has a fantastic first prize (plus anyone who enters is eligible to enter the Chester Lewis Fan Fiction Group where you will receive regular fiction writing tips and have discussions with fellow writers).

Thanks so much to all my blog followers and readers, new and old, for always making me smile with your comments, follows and likes over the past three years!

Eighty-Nine on Kindle FREE!

If you’re anything like me, you love getting free stuff. I was really excited when the editor of Eighty Nine (in which my story ‘Eighteen for Life’ is published) announced we’d be having some promotional days over the coming months. Eighty Nine has just recently been released on Kindle and starting 6pm tonight (AEST) it will be available to download FREE for 48 hours! How exciting is that? For those like me who are terrible with working out timezones:

US- Pacific Time 12:00am Wed 30th May – 11:59pm Thurs 31st May

UK 9:00am Wed 30th May – 8:59am Fri 1st June

Aust 6:00pm Wed 30th May – 5:59pm Fri 1st June

Here are the Amazon links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

If you don’t have a kindle, not to worry, you can download Kindle for PC for free from Amazon.

If you haven’t heard me talk about Eighty Nine before, here is a bit of a blurb and explanation on how the anthology came about:

BLURB

1989: a cusp between decades.

The year the Berlin Wall came down and Voyager went up. Ted Bundy and Emperor Hirohito died. The birth of the first Bush administration and computer virus.

In San Francisco and Newcastle the ground shook, in Chernobyl it melted.

Tiananmen Square rocked the world and Tank Man imprinted on the international consciousness. Communism and Thatcherism began their decline, Islamic fundamentalism its rise.

It was the year Batman burst onto the big screen, we went back to the future (again), Indiana Jones made it a trifecta at the box office and Michael Damian told us to rock on.

Based on a play list of 26 songs released in 1989, Eighty Nine re-imagines the social, political, cultural and personal experiences at the end of the decade which gave the world mullets, crimped hair, neon-coloured clothing, acid-wash denim, keytars, the walkman, Live Aid, the first compact disc and MTV.

Some Back Ground

The third literary mix tape EIGHTY NINE, based on a playlist of 26 songs from the year 1989, went on sale in October 2011. Editor Jodi Cleghorn randomly assigned a song per author and asked them to create a story around the song that reimagined the events of 1989 through a speculative fiction lens.

Blake Byrnes, a final year fine arts student, turned an accidental promo photograph into the ‘eighties grunge’ cover, based on the character “Amiga” from Dale Challener Roe’s story Shrödinger’s Cat. Byrnes’ artwork provided the visual template for the character of “Amiga” in Devin Watson’s live action book trailer.

The Book Trailer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bom-dnS8r9Y

There are some great stories inside by some fantastic authors. Enjoy!

P.S. Here is a review of Eighty Nine from dark fantasy and horror writer/reviewer, Alan Baxter.

 

Take a break from novel writing and venture into short fiction (Guest Post)

After spending November writing a novel (or at least 50,000 words of a novel) you may be feeling it’s time to have a bit of a break, I know that’s how I’m feeling. I’ve set my novel aside until January. But maybe you are still feeling the itch to write, you’re just looking for something not quite as huge as a novel. As you can tell by the anthologies in my side bar, I like to do short story writing. Short stories are a great way to get down those plot bunnies running rampant in your head that you know will never be developed into longer novel length stories (or maybe they will–my NaNo story this year started as a short story idea).

Today I have a very timely guest post from Nadia Jones on the benefits of short story writing.

Take a break from novel writing and venture into short fiction

After a few weeks and a few thousand words, you’re starting a new chapter for your novel. The blank page of the word document and the menacing blink of the cursor taunt you, daring you to succumb to writer’s block. Suddenly the prospect of writing a 50,000+ word novel looms above you like some insurmountable peak you’ve convinced yourself to climb. You are, in short, overwhelmed.

I have a suggestion for those weighed down by the anxieties of tackling a novel: try your hand at short fiction.

This isn’t meant to be a cautionary tale against writing a novel—far from it. But I think writers can learn invaluable skills in short fiction that transfer beautifully to writing a novel. And short fiction could work marvels on an overworked mind by offering the writer an opportunity to briefly tell another story. Think of short stories as a calculated respite from writing a novel, a chance to engage nagging thoughts and ideas that exist outside the narrative of your ongoing novel.

Develop a pithier writing style

Writers who strive to construct a taut and well-paced short story will find that the task improves their overall writing ability. If you take a look at short stories from well respected authors of the craft—Carver, Cheever, O’Conner, Hemingway, etc.—you’ll notice that their beauty comes from the depth of meaning and nuanced development that occurs over a few pages. Some of the greatest short stories have more to say than entire book series; they’re able to capture snapshots of huge emotions and themes, offering the reader a brief glimpse into another world.

Any writer could benefit from the discipline and condensed writing habits demanded by short fiction. Short stories teach a writer to spare everything but the essentials, to strip away padded paragraphs and wordy dialog that distracts from the central message of your story. In other words, writing and understanding the art of the short story makes you a better writer.

Flesh out ideas independent of your novel

Just because you’re writing a novel, it doesn’t mean that you stop thinking about other stories and characters. In fact, some writers will tell you that it’s quite difficult to resist writing every new idea or character into their novel. If you’re constantly indulging in these new ideas with your novel, you risk turning the work into a bloated and convoluted work.   Short stories provide a constructive outlet for these new ideas that pop into your head; you can flesh them out over the course of a few pages and determine if they’re worth pursuing in long form.

If you write out a setting or a character in short story format and find that there’s much more to them than you initially thought, you might have the makings of another novel on your hands. In fact, many well-received novels began as short stories whose characters kept the authors engaged page after page. Some authors cite short stories as an incubator for good ideas: they’ll write out a scene or two with a new character to see how they develop. If the story works, the author might transform it into a longer narrative.

Short stories as instant gratification

One of the most frustrating aspects of writing a novel is the seemingly endless process. Novelists will write for months and months without any sense of finality or closure to the ongoing narrative in their work. Completing a few short stories might grant novelists the sense of closure that they so want in their larger works. While a novel can takes months or years to complete, a particularly nimble writer could dash off a short story in a matter of hours. In this way short stories can offer a quick release to writers who feel like they can never complete a project. Completing a few well-constructed short stories might just be the validating experience that could impel a writer to continue that novel.

This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at online college about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @ gmail.com.

From Song to Story (Part Two): The Vampire’s Curse

I’m hoping you’ve now had a chance to read my story for FREE on the Literary Mix Tapes website. If not, it’s still up until 11pm AEST (that’s another 14 and a half hours). There will be SPOILERS in this post.

To recap: In Part One I talked about how I was given the song ‘Eighteen and Life’ by Skid Row as my inspiration (a song I’d never heard before). I had to combine it with an event from 1989 and include a speculative fiction element to write a 1500 word story. After listening to the song I had an idea to make my main character a vampire.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Now all I had to do was tie my vampire character to an event that happened in 1989. That was tricky. I skimmed Wikipedia’s list of events from that year, but nothing really stood out. At one stage I was tossing up between Tiananmen Square and Ted Bundy. But in the end I went in a completely different direction. Instead of going with a political event, I went with a pop culture reference. There was one thing that really stood out in my memory from the year 1989. It was the movie The Little Mermaid (Hey, give me a break, I was only 7 in 1989!).

A Different Kind of Vampire

The idea behind my vampire evolved from the idea that the last image he saw when he was alive, a movie poster of The Little Mermaid, meant he had a compulsion to feed on girls who resembled the red-haired, waspy-waisted Disney Princess.

I was really quite happy with my draft. I loved my vampire, who I thought was different to any vampires I had read in the past, wasn’t romantic in the least and had ties to a more traditional form of vampire.

A Second Opinion

I sent my draft to several beta readers, made up of writer friends and fellow Eighty Nine authors (one of the great things about being involved in Literary Mix Tapes is how all the writers work in contact with each other and swap stories to critique). I took on board most of their comments and ignored the ones I thought might not work for my story, and started redrafting.

Hold My Breath and Submit

What if Jodi thought my writing wasn’t good enough and sent me an e-mail telling me, ‘Sorry, we won’t be including your story in the anthology’? Thankfully, this was not the case. Jodi loved the idea behind my vampire. Now it was time for the edits.

Pushing My Story to New Limits

Working so closely with an editor (especially one as awesome as Jodi) was such a great experience. I learned a lot and pushed my story into new realms. Every time Jodi sent me back edits and notes it sparked new ideas. It was a long back and forth process, but so worth it.

I Should Have Listened to my Beta Reader (sorry Rachel!) — P.S. SPOILER ALERT (you should really read my story first before you read this section)

One of my beta readers made this note:

I was just wondering whether it might be interesting if the girl at the end was actually his sister – maybe she looks up at him and mentions his name as she dies or something – then he really would feel sentenced to this life.

I didn’t think this would work for my story, I think I had some lame reasoning about the hair colour being too obvious and the fact he’d watched the girl for three days would mean he would have known it was his sister.

Then on Jodi’s first lot of edits, she wrote this note:

What I’d like to see is for you to take this idea and really push the boundaries of it. Rather than him imprint on the Little Mermaid – what if he imprinted on his sister, she doesn’t run away, gripped by fear she stands and watches it all happen? Which would mean he is cursed to walk the earth feeding from girls who look like his sister.

I took the idea and ran with it. The Little Mermaid was scrapped. The focus on 1989 now came from the cultural references, rather than a specific reference. Having the sister as the focus added a new layer of depth to the story.

The Countdown

Once all the stories were finalised, all the authors got sent a pdf copy of the book to proofread, which meant a first peek at the other stories. (It was great seeing everyone’s takes on their songs and the year 1989.)

Then we got our first look at the cover. The girl on the front cover has been affectionately named Amiga after a character from one of the stories in the anthology.

Then the nailbiting wait for my contributor’s copy to arrive in the mail. I was on a rollercoaster ride that whole week. I knew it was due to arrive, so every time I got a parcel pick up notice I got really excited. But every time I made a trip to the post office I was disappointed to find it wasn’t ‘Eighty Nine’. Then one day my husband walked in with a parcel for me and as soon as  saw the envelope I knew it was finally here! Of course I flipped straight to my story and basked in squeefullness (yes, I just made that word up)of my name in print.

Blast Off!

And that leads us to the launch!  Thanks to everyone who has joined in the Facebook event so far (it’s still going, so drop and join in the fun if you haven’t yet).

You can still read stories for FREE. The last one has just gone up and the others will gradually be taken down one by one over the next 24 hours.

You can also still take part in the Amazon chart rush (and take advantage of free shipping to Australia and New Zealand if you order from Amazon UK before 31st October). Or if you buy a copy directly from the Literary Mix Tapes site you get a complimentary ebook to go with it!

To finish, a picture of me getting into the spirit of the launch last night with my copy of Eighty Nine.

From Song to Story: Vampires with an Eighties Twist?

Today marks the launch of the speculative fiction anthology Eighty Nine. To celebrate I want to share the journey of how I took a song from the year 1989 and turned it into a story about a vampire with a compulsion. My story ‘Eighteen for Life’ will be posted HERE to read completely FREE for twenty-four hours starting at 11pm AEST*. (The first stories have already gone live.)

But first, a look at how it all started…

When Opportunity Knocks

When a call went out for authors for a new Literary Mix Tapes anthology I jumped at the chance to be involved. I heard about it through Jodi Cleghorn (who had been the editor on 100 Stories for Queensland). I was impressed by all the hard work Jodi had put into 100 Stories and I was excited by the idea of writing a story based on a song prompt. There were eight places available and I was lucky enough to secure one of the places.

The Idea Behind Eighty Nine

Authors had four main rules they had to follow for their stories:

1. It had to be 1500 words.

2. It had to be tied the year 1989.

3. It had to be inspired by a song from the year 1989 (from a playlist of songs which would be randomly drawn from a hat and assigned to each author).

4. It had to be speculative fiction.

Combining a cultural/political event from 1989 with a speculative element (ie: fantasy, paranormal, science fiction) into a story inspired by a song, all in 1500 words. Piece of cake, right? Hmm, maybe not. I do love a good prompt though, and I knew I would have a lot of fun with this one.

Drawing Songs from a Hat

When I first read through the song list for the anthology I had my fingers crossed for ‘Funky Cold Medina’ as I immediately got a story idea for it. There were also some other really great songs on there I love, like ‘Love Shack’. But when Jodi pulled my song out of the hat I could only say, “Huh?”

I got ‘Eighteen and Life’ by Skid Row and I’d never even heard of the song or the band.

Thank You, YouTube

The YouTube video (click to watch)

I went straight to YouTube so I could listen to the song. My heart sunk even further. Not only was I unfamiliar with the song, it was heavy metal, which I can’t stand. I knew there was a chance one of the other authors might swap songs with me, but I looked up the lyrics and listened to the song a couple more times…

Inspiration!

I got an idea. I decided to use the character Ricky from the song as the main character in my story. There were a couple of lines in the song that I wanted to include as part of his character, but in a different way to what the song meant.

“He had a heart of stone.”

and

“…he fought the world alone”

Bam! I immediately thought of a vampire walking the world on his own in a lonely existence. Ricky would be this vampire. And there was my speculative fiction element.

THE STORY CONTINUES IN PART TWO.

Come Join in the Launch Events!

As I mentioned, stories are being posted FREE for twenty four hours each, with one story going up every hour (the first ones are already up). Mine goes up 25th October at 11pm AEST* and will remain up until 26th October 11pm AEST. Don’t forget to come back here tomorrow after you’ve read it to find out how my idea transformed into the story in its final form.

There will be a Facebook event happening at 5pm AEST** today to celebrate the launch. Please come along as there will be eighties trivia, prizes (including copies of Eighty Nine) and lots of eighties fun. Just by clicking the ‘I’m attending’ button you go in the draw to win a copy of Eighty Nine.

You can also get involved in the Amazon chart rush taking place. This is a good chance for all you Aussies to take advantage of Amazon UK‘s free shipping to Australia offer (which ends on the 31st October). Grab a few other books you’ve been thinking about getting while you’re at it (or maybe some copies of Eighty Nine to put away for Christmas presents; or a copy or two of 100 Stories for Queensland to continue to help with flood relief).

Me & 1989

As part of the launch celebrations, here is a photo of seven-year-old me from 1989:

I haven’t changed a bit 🙂

Because I know time zones suck:

*11pm 25 Oct AEST = 12pm 26 Oct AEDST(Victoria); 9am 25 Oct EDT(New York); 6am 25 Oct PDT(California); 1pm 25 Oct GMT

** 5pm 25 Oct AEST = 6pm 25 Oct AEDST; 3am 25 Oct EDT; 12am 25 Oct PDT; 7am 25 Oct GMT

Helpful Writing Sites and Blog Post August/September 2011

As I didn’t post a Helpful Writing Sites post last month I’m combining my compilation of helpful links from both August and September into one post.

Writing

Identifying Your Fantasy Novel’s Subgenre

When querying your fantasy novel it’s best to be specific about your novel’s subgenre. This post gives a brief outline of each of the fantasy subgenres.

The Big Ol’ Genre Glossary

Taking it a step further than the above post, this post outlines all the various genres and their subgenres. A handy list to have when wanting to check which genre/subgenre your novel falls under.

En Dash vs. Em Dash

Not sure what the difference between them is? This posts helps clear it up.

There is a Learning Curve to Creating Ebooks

For those interested in self-publishing and creating your own ebooks, this post recommends two free programs you can use to convert your MS into ebook format.

Five Telltale Signs of an Amateur Writer

An acquiring editor tells how she can reject an MS in 8 seconds and lists the five telltale signs of an amateur writer.

10 Words Editors Hate

Be careful about using these ten words in your MS, as they may very well send your work to the ‘Do Not Publish’ pile. Some may surprise you.

Eight Reasons I Hate Your Book

There seem to be a few negative posts around lately, but helpful, none-the-less. In fact, I found this one to be VERY helpful. Freelance editor and agent intern, Cassandra Marshall, shares eight of the most annoying (and totally fixable) things she comes across in manuscripts. It helped me realise one of the biggest downfalls of my current WIP, it might help you with yours too.

10 Tips for Writing a Short Story

Short story writer, Amanda Lohrey, shares her tips for writing a first-rate short story.

Getting Your Children’s Book Published

A checklist of things you need to do when preparing to send your MS to publishers, specifically for children’s writers.

Besides Using Google, How Can I do Research For My Book?

Sometimes it can be hard to navigate Google to find the information you’re looking for. How can you be sure the information is accurate? This post has some great (and easy) tips on how to find accurate sources of information for your research.

14 Dos and Don’ts for Introducing Your Protagonist

Author Anne R. Allen gives a list of fourteen great points to take into consideration when introducing your story’s protagonist.

Querying/Submitting

Wherein I Answer an Awkward Question

A few months ago I wrote a post called Writers Beware. This post gives the same warning and similar advice to my post, but takes it a step further with some great information about vanity presses pretending to be traditional publishers.

The Biggest Submission Mistakes

Writers Relief interviewed a range of editors to find out what they considered to be the biggest submission mistakes.

Proper Manuscript Format

I’ve bookmarked this page. The post itself is presented as the manuscript would be formatted giving a visual example to go along with the explanation of how a manuscript should be properly formatted. This is especially helpful if a publisher/editor/agent does not have specific submission guidelines for manuscript format or requests standard manuscript format.

Motivation

You’re Kind of a Big Deal

Advice from an author who recently sold her book, and the long journey it took her to get there. She gives hope to those of us who are still hoping to get there some day.

Social Media

The Facebook Author Page: 10 Status Updates to Embrace, 10 to Avoid

Author and Novel Publicity president, Emlyn Chand, outlines the difference between Facebook page status updates that will engage and win you fans (and thus lead to book sales) and status updates that will annoy and drive away fans. In her words, “When it comes to self-promotion, less is more. If you promote yourself graciously, book sales will follow.”

5 Points to Ponder on Pottermore (for Writers)

A look at how writers can use J.K. Rowlings new Pottermore site as an example for creating an engaging website (even if you don’t have Ms. Rowlings budget).

Five Ways Authors Can Promote Books on Facebook

Tips for using your Facebook profile/page to promote your book (in a subtle way).

Book Promotion

Creating Effective Presentations for Schools

Some great tips from picture book author Tania McCartney on doing schools visits to promote your book, including how to keep your audience’s attention, taking age into account and what sort of content to include.

Just for Fun

A Day in the Life of a Writing Mum

If you’re a writing mum like me, I’m sure you will relate!

And one last link, because I just have to share…

You may have noticed a shiny new book cover on the sidebar of my blog for a soon-to-released anthology titled Eighty Nine (which includes my story ‘Eighteen for Life’). It’s a speculative fiction anthology embracing the year that was nineteen eighty nine. One of my fellow authors, Devin Watson, has created this little teaser trailer: Eighty Nine Book teaser trailer.

2nd Blogiversary: The Highs and Lows of the Past Year

Wow, what a year!

This time last year I was celebrating the very first blogiversary of this blog, I can’t believe another year has past. So much has happened in this past year; these are some of the biggest ups and downs:

I took part in NaNoWriMo for the second year in a row. After finding it hard to get into the story I’d planned, I ended up writing a fanfic and reaching my goal of writing 50,000 words in a month. (The previous year I’d only managed half that.)

– The worst day of my life was the day I found out I had a miscarriage and lost my baby. I didn’t cope at all with the loss and sunk into depression. I found it hard to write for a while. I’m still struggling with the loss, but I’m writing.

After entering my completed YA fantasy MS into a couple of novel competitions and having no luck, I decided to put it aside for the time being, rather than following my original plan of querying it. I decided to focus on my YA thriller WIP instead.

– After the devastating floods in Queensland at the start of the year, I was compelled to submit a story to the anthology 100 Stories to Queensland. I was thrilled to first make the longlist and then the shortlist and have my story ‘A Penny for a Wish’ included in the anthology. The anthology has gone on to raise much needed funds for disaster relief in Queensland.

– I was surprised and thrilled to find out my story ‘Angel Blood’ was to be included in the Australian Literature anthology (and I also totally bawled my eyes out as it was to be my first story I would be getting paid for). It was released at the same time as 100 Stories for Queensland. I couldn’t believe my debut as a published author involved two separate stories being published at the same time.

– I jumped at the opportunity to get on board an anthology called Literary Mix Tapes: Eighty-Nine where I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with other authors and an editor (the fabulous Jodi Cleghorn). Working on my short story ‘Eighteen for Life’ has been a great learning experience for me as a writer. Eighty-Nine is due for release next month.

– I’ve had the honour of being invited to write short stories for several other upcoming anthologies (which I will tell you more about as the release dates come closer).

I found out I was pregnant again, but kept the pregnancy secret despite the fact I was suffering the worst morning sickness of all my pregnancies so far. Thankfully the morning sickness has now subsided. I’m nearly at the halfway point!

My family and I were all plagued by illness over the winter months, and in fact it got so bad my son ended up in hospital for a week (with me staying there with him) and my daughter ended up in hospital overnight. Even once we were home it was a long road to recovery (compounded by the fact I was also suffering horrendous morning sickness at the time). Needless to say my writing suffered during this time, as did my poor blog.

I worked up the courage to send a couple picture book (and one chapter book) manuscripts to publishers. So far no luck, but…

– Only last week I received the exciting news my picture book ‘Monster Sister’ was shortlisted for the CYA competition’s preschool category. (CYA = Children and Young Adult Writer conference, which is held annually in Brisbane, Australia.) I just found out the winner as I was about to hit ‘publish’ on this post. Unfortunately ‘Monster Sister’ did not win, but I feel so privileged to have even been shortlisted and to have had the opportunity for my story to be seen by a publisher.

Edit: Just had to make an edit, because I just found out that although ‘Monster Sister’ did not win the CYA preschool category, it did place second!

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.