Tag Archives: 100 stories for Queensland

Queensland Floods – One Year On

Today marks the one year anniversary of the floods that devastated Queensland in Australia. One year on and the state of Queensland is still trying to rebuild–some people still aren’t back in their homes. I just wanted to post to remind everyone that it is still possible to purchase copies of the charity anthology 100 Stories for Queensland. All proceeds go to help victims of the Queensland floods. Below are some links to places where the anthology can be purchased (either in paperback or ebook form). Not only will you be helping out, but you’ll get to read some fabulous stories by some talented authors. There’s something in there to suit everyone.

100 Stories for Queensland site

Amazon UK (free delivery to Australia and NZ on orders £25 and over)

Amazon US

Book Depository (free delivery worldwide)

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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.

100 Stories for Queensland – A Review

A devastating flood…

In late December last year and early January this year Queensland, Australia was hit by devastating floods. At one time or another, floods covered ninety per cent of the state. Crops were destroyed, homes and lives were lost. Watching the devastation unfold in the media left me with a feeling of horror. The stories that came to surface had me in tears.

The call…

On the 11th of January Trevor Belshaw put out a call on Twitter and Facebook “100 stories for Queensland?”.

The response…

Authors from around the world submitted upbeat and uplifting stories of fiction. One hundred of those stories were chosen for an anthology whose purpose is to raise money for those affected by the floods. Those working behind the scenes, such as editor Jodi Cleghorn, have worked hard and done an amazing job compiling those stories into a beautiful book.

The launch…

On the 3rd of May the eBook of 100 Stories for Queensland was launched and can be bought on the 100 Stories for Queensland website (you can even read a free sample of stories before you buy). In a fortnight the print version of 100 Stories for Queensland will be available from Amazon and the Book Depository and may be ordered from your local bookstore.

My Review

After being brought to tears by Kate Eltham’s beautiful introduction, I’ve been reading through the fantastic collection of stories contained within 100 Stories for Queensland. Here is just a snapshot on my thoughts on a few of the stories.

John Baird’s ‘The Safe Option’ is a very clever story. I loved the twist.

Kim Bannerman’s ‘The Turtle Inventory’ is cute and funny. All those turtles!

Alan Baxter’s ‘The SpeakingTree’ is a tale of life. I loved the old fig tree.

Stephen Book’s ‘After All These Years’ has great characterisation. It reminds me of one of my favourite series: the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris.

Gillian Brown’s ‘The Anniversary’ has a funny ending.

Christopher Chartrand’s ‘The Carver’s Daughter’ is a sweet story. It almost made me cry.

Jennifer Domingo’s ‘One Tenth of a Second’ is a story of unbeatable odds and doing your best anyway. It brought a smile to my face.

Karen Field’s ‘Amunet’s Gift’ is very sweet. It has great visual imagery.

Emma Karry’s ‘Confessions of a Toddler’ gave me a good giggle. It reminded me of a certain little toddler living in my house.

I’m only two thirds of the way through reading all the stories so far, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of them.

I feel privileged to be included amongst these talented writers and to be a part of something raising money for those affected by the floods. It’s such a great cause, I hope you will consider buying a copy to help out. I know I will be buying a copy (or two). Remember 100% of the sales from the eBook and 100% of the wholesale price of the paperback (excluding printing costs) go to the Queensland Premier’s Flood Relief Fund.

Pitches and Queries and Updates, Oh My!

I want to cover three separate topics today: the Twitter pitch, query critiques and an update on the 100 Stories for Queensland Anthology.

The Twitter Pitch

Earlier this week literary agent Jennifer Laughran (aka @literaticat) of Andrea Brown Literary agency decided to have a bit of fun on Twitter. She gave everyone one hour to tweet her a pitch of a (real or fake) manuscript. I LOVE Twitter pitches. You think it’s challenging to condense a 50-100k word manuscript into a 250 word query? Try condensing it into a 140 characters or less pitch. Not only do you need to capture the essence of the main plot of the story, but you have to make it hook too, which really boils down to showing what makes your story unique.

Following her ‘Tweet-a-query’ session, Jennifer Laughran posted her conclusions about Twitter pitches on her blog, stating “…the lessons here are applicable to the regular query process too.” You can find her post here, as well as the four pitches she thought stood out above the rest.

As another follow-up to the Twitter pitch session, teacher and writer Tamara posted on her blog a breakdown of the Twitter pitch. You can find her post here.

Query Critique

Last week I blogged about my endeavour to continually improve my query. As a recap, I’d been writing, revising and rewriting a query for my YA fantasy. I submitted to ABNA as a test for myself to see how effective my query was before submitting to agents. I didn’t pass the pitch round. So I have been revising and rewriting the query some more. In the meantime, I came across author Susan Dennard’s blog and she just happened to be starting a new feature on her blog where once a month she takes on ten queries and critiques them. She then randomly selects two of these queries to also go up on her blog for community critique (either as it is or with revisions following Susan’s critique). I was lucky enough to be one of the first ten to submit my query to her when she opened the gates for queries this month. She gave my query a fantastic critique (my main problem was being too vague, I needed to be more specific). Then, my query was selected as one of the two to be put up for community critique. I’ve received some more great feedback already. You can see it (and offer your own critique if you want to) here.

Susan next opens her doors for queries for critique on the 4th of April. It’s well worth submitting, because Susan gives great critique. You can opt not to be put in the draw for the community critique if you don’t want to, but Susan’s critique alone is worth it. Be quick though, because only the first ten get in each month.

Anthology Update

The 100 Stories for Queensland anthology (an anthology to raise money for those affected by the devastating floods in Queensland) was meant to be due for release on the 8th of March. Due to unavoidable circumstances, the release date has been pushed back. At this point I’m not sure when the new release date will be. I do know the anthology has already been edited and formatted and is currently being looked at by proofreaders. I’ll let you know when I know more.

100 Stories for Queensland

It feels as though Mother Nature really has it in for Australia this summer. Currently, bushfires are raging in Perth. Only days ago, category 5 cyclone Yasi hit Northern Queensland. In December 2010 and January 2011 major floods affected seventy-five per cent of the state of Queensland, including Brisbane (its capital city) causing major damage and loss of life. My brother lives in Queensland and thankfully lives in an area not affected by either the floods or the cyclone, but many other people have been affected.

Watching the devastation unfold on television and reading the heart-wrenching stories around the web left me in shock. But, as with the devastating bushfires two years ago, it has been uplifting seeing not only Australians, but those around the world reaching out to help those affected.

The writing community has pulled together in several ways to help raise funds. In January several writers organised a charity auction. Writers from around the country donated books and offers to critique manuscripts to raise money for the Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal. Then, following in the tradition of 100 stories for Haiti and 50 stories for Pakistan, a call was put out for short stories to be included in an anthology to be titled 100 stories for Queensland. I knew without a doubt I wanted to submit –  to be a part of something that could help raise much needed funds for flood-affected Queensland.

The submission guidelines called for uplifting stories, and my first thought was to submit a comedic rhyming story I wrote last year and had been sitting idly in a folder on my computer. I soon found out, however, that the anthology wasn’t accepting rhyming stories, so it was back to the drawing board. As the days drew closer to the closing date, I started to panic I wouldn’t find inspiration for a story to submit. Finally, an idea developed. A story about a simple wish – about hope.

I wrote and rewrote and edited and proof-read. I passed it on to beta readers, including my friend Rachel who happens to be a history buff and was able to set me straight on a few points I’d overlooked. I submitted right on the deadline.

Last week, I found out my story had made the long list. Today, I found out it made the final list and will be included in the anthology.

My story is called ‘A Penny for a Wish’, but my simple wish is this: When the anthology is released on the 8th of March, please think about purchasing a copy as 100% of the sales profits will be going towards flood relief in Queensland. Two years ago in the Victorian bushfires, one of my best friends lost everything – her house, her property and all of her possessions. I’ve seen first hand how much these funds can help towards rebuilding someone’s life when they’ve lost everything. And even if you don’t want to read some fantastic stories by some amazing authors, consider donating in some other way.

P.S. I just found out about another great writer initiative raising money for flood relief. Writers on Rafts involves a multitude of fantastic Australian authors offering a multitude of prizes. All money raised goes towards the Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal and you can enter as many times as you like. Winners are drawn Friday 25th February 2011. (I believe the competition is open to Australian residents only on this one.)