Tag Archives: contest

Arrr! Talk Like a Pirate Day (with prizes!)

In celebration o’ Talk Like a Pirate Day, I’ve a special announcement I’ve been burstin’ to tell ya.

Ok, so I’m not great at talking like a pirate, but I do have some exciting pirate-related news to share. I recently had not one, but TWO stories published in the anthology ‘Teapot Tales: Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the Sea‘.

teapot Tales ebook cover

The first story, ‘Island of No Return’, is about a cursed pirate captain who makes a deal with a sea goddess. It was partly inspired by the lyrics of Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’. Here’s a snippet:

“Be warned: do not make your decision to proceed lightly. All magic comes with a price. Are you prepared to pay the price?”

Lucas held out his arms and tore off his sleeves to reveal the blackened skin where the curse had already taken effect. “I am willing to pay any price to rid myself of this curse. I will not be taken by the darkness.”…

She moved towards him as though floating across the surface of the water until she stood so close their faces were mere centimetres from each other. Her lips pressed against his. At first, a warmth stirred inside him—she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever encountered, after all. But soon the warmth drained from his body and he felt his blood turn ice cold in his veins.

The second story, ‘The Seashell’, is about a tide pool explorer who’s magically whisked into an underwater world. This one is based on my memories of the adventures I imagined as a child playing on the beach.

Jagged pillars of rocks lined the shore. Waves crashed against them in a rhythmic percussion, accompanied by the screech of seagulls. Ashleigh skipped and balanced over the slippery rocks, avoiding the tide pools and skittering crabs.  Out of the corner of her eye something sparkled in the sunlight. Like a colourful beacon it glinted from a cragged rock jutting out of the ocean.

The anthology features sea-inspired short stories suitable for a variety of ages. And, as the title suggests, the stories are short enough to be enjoyed over a cup of tea. Check out the book trailer!

A CHANCE TO WIN SOME PIRATE BOOTY!

The authors of ‘Teapot Tales: Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the Sea‘ got together (in conjunction with Melusine Muse Press) and decided in celebration of our newly released pirate-themed anthology and Talk Like a Pirate Day we would do a giveaway! Head on over to the Melusine Muse Press blog to go into the draw to win one of several prizes, including a copy of ‘Teapot Tales: Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the Sea’. There’s lots of ways to get bonus entries into the draw, including liking my FB page. The winners will be drawn and announced on the 25th September.

 

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A Farmer’s Night Before Christmas

I got inspired to write this a couple of weeks ago and thought it would make a nice Christmas present for all my blog readers. By coincidence, this morning I came across a post on Susanna Hill’s blog with a holiday contest to write your own version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. So if you’re inspired to write your own version (or already have), why not enter Susanna’s contest. Or you could just pop over there and read some of the other fantastic versions of the classic Christmas tale people have come up with.

Here is the version I wrote a few weeks back, inspired by life on the farm in Australia.

farmernightbeforechristmas sig

A Farmer’s Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas and out on the farm,

Not a creature was stirring in stable or barn.

The hats were all hung after a long day of sowing,

And just like the song, the cattle were lowing.

 

The chickens were nestled in roost boxes of straw,

The dog was snoozing by farmer’s front door.

Both farmer and wife sat out in the yard,

Relaxing with cans after working so hard.

 

When out in the paddock there was stomping of hooves,

“Sounds like the cattle are on the move.”

With one final swig, farmer rose from his chair,

Wondering what gave his heifers a scare.

 

The pink and gold sky gave just enough light,

For the farmer to see a very strange sight.

An eight-cattle drove pulling a ute,

With a roaring V8 and a tray full of loot.

 

The driver’s tanned arm propped up on the door,

It had to be Santa, the farmer was sure.

Kicking up dust his Friesian steers came,

And he whistled and shouted and called them by name,

 

“On Sausage, on T-Bone, on Rissole, on Stew,

On Schnitzel, on Beefy, on Rump Roast, on Moo.

To the top of the hayshed; to the top of the dairy,

Get moving you bullies, stop acting like fairies.”

 

Then with a bang they crashed on the roof,

The tin rumbled like thunder under each solid hoof.

In through the screen door the farmer did race,

As Santa squeezed out of the old fireplace.

 

He was dressed in a singlet and blue stubby shorts,

His blundstones were covered in dirt of all sorts.

His skin was all wrinkled and brown as the earth,

He had a belly of considerable girth.

 

The beard on his chin was white as a lamb,

And the smile on his face as wide as a dam.

He gave farmer a wink and a thumb in the air,

Then offloaded the pressies and got out of there.

 

He jumped back in his ute and spurred on his team,

The engine grunted and purred like a dream.

He was heard to yell out as he drove out the gate,

“Have a ripper Chrissie and bonza new year, mate.”

 

To all my blog readers: I hope you have a happy and safe holidays!

Blogiversary Celebrations: Part Four – Contest Winners!

I know some of you have been waiting for this all day. The time has come to announce Peevish Penman’s and my joint blogiversary contest winners!

CONGRATULATIONS TO:

Jessica (@jsubject)

Lisa. B. (@LisaMBasso)

and Monica B.W.

The three winners each receive a five-page critique from both Carrie and myself. If the three winners could please e-mail Carrie at  bzuley(at)yahoo(dot)com or me at thegracefuldoe(at)hotmail(dot)com we can organise your critiques.

Thank-you to everyone who entered and helped spread the word about the contest.

And thank-you to everyone for helping me celebrate my blog’s 1st birthday today. I’m looking forward to another year of blogging and writing. 🙂

Blogiversary Celebrations: Part Three – Interview with Agent Intern C.A. Marshall

I would like to welcome special guest, and winner of the Best Agent Intern Site award, Cassandra Marshall to my blog. Cassandra has kindly agreed to answer some questions for me to share with you.

As a writer, what have you learnt through being an editor and an agent intern that you now apply to your writing?

Each activity helps the other. I can use what I see in the queries pile to help write my own query so it stands out (and I have four full requests in two weeks to prove it! Yay!) and if I see mistakes over and over again in a clients MS, I’ll check my own for those mistakes too. It’s like the quote, “It takes a village to raise a child” except it’s more like, “It takes a writing community to write a book.” The more you learn and then share what you learn, the better for all of us.
(GD: Congratulations on the full requests!)

As an editor, what is the most common mistake you see when editing a manuscript?

Not capturing a specific voice. Teens using outdated slang or phrases, characters that are formulaic and cliche, stuff like that. The more you read in your genre, the better you will be at distinguishing voice.

Do you have any tips for writers who might be in the process of revising their manuscripts?

Save your changes. Use “track changes” if you edit in Word. Save the bits you cut out in another file. You never know if a revision means that you could use a scene you’ve already written and you’ll be sad that you got rid of it. Or it’s also possible for those scenes inspire more books.

What is the best piece of advice you have for aspiring authors?

Read. Read as much as you can in your genre to figure out what does and does not work. Read submission guidelines for each agent/publisher and follow them exactly. Read agent and fellow writer blogs and become part of the community.

Thanks for having me Jo!

C.A. Marshall is a freelance editor, lit agent intern, YA writer, and loves to play with her dog Mollie. She dreams of one day owning a small house near the water, preferably in England, with a shelf full of books she has written and has helped others to write. She can be found in Emmett, MI and at camarshall.com

Be sure to check out the Free Edit Contest on Cassandra’s blog. One lucky person will win a FREE substantial edit for up to 100K words.

Thanks so much for being here, Cassandra!

(P.S. To all those waiting for the results of the Graceful Doe and Peevish Penman’s blogiversary contest, the winners will be announced in the next post. Not long now!)

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!

Mini-interview + Blogiversary Contest Details

CONTEST NOW CLOSED – Thanks so much to everyone who entered and promoted this contest. Winners will be announced later today (11th Sept 2010 AEST)

In exactly one week my blog will be celebrating its one year blogiversary! By coincidence Peevish Penman is also celebrating her one year blogiversary on the same day (10th September in the US and the 11th September in Australia). To celebrate our joint blogiversary we will be holding a joint contest. But before I give you the contest details I’d like to introduce Peevish Penman (aka Carrie Bailey) a writer, blogger and mom from Oregon. She runs a fantastic Writer’s Zine on her blog and has taken some time to answer a few questions for my blog to launch our joint contest.

1.  Do you have a writing mantra and would you recommend it for other writers?

I use a string of curse words followed by “so write already, Carrie.”  In truth, I try so hard to stay “G-rated” on my zine and other media that it all just pours out other times and has led to my theory on “the conservation of curse words” which states that each individual must use a fixed finite number of them throughout the course of their lifetime.  My “writer mantra” is where I choose to expel all of mine safely and in the privacy of my own home where no one can fine me a quarter.

(GD: I think I will probably explode in an expulsion of expletives on my death bed. 🙂 )

2.  If you had to spend a year writing on a deserted island without any contact from the outside, what would you bring and why?

A generator and S. Michaels aka. @slushpilehero’s laptop.  My signed copy of Ashwin Sanghi’s book, “The Rozabal Line.”  Twenty thousand bags of coffee beans, an espresso machine, and a barista.  Plus, some peanut butter, spoons, and a row boat so I could row over to your island, Jo, and trade for chocolate. And a camera so I could prove to my twitter friend, @soulwindow, that I am not our mutual twitter friend, @ItaliaTrent.

(GD: I’ll trade you a Mars Bar for two spoonfuls of crunchy peanut butter)

3.  So far what has been your greatest challenge as a writer and how have you overcome it?

Typos.  I can’t overcome them, because they’re inserted into my work by gnomes-who excel at html-after I’ve toiled and labored over each piece.  However, I’ve found that if I simply forgo the need to be perfect and hand my work over to other people to edit, they neutralize the gnomes’ damage.

But seriously, there was a point when I used to experience a mild euphoria each time I noticed errors in other people’s writing.  I think it is an important stage many writers go through when they realize that talented writers aren’t great because they’re perfect, but because they’re experienced.

My desire to be perfect used to paralyze me from writing and/or sharing my work at all.  Now, I let the keys fly and worry about the mistakes later.  Lately, I’ve been sending out very rough drafts to people I trust, because the earlier I get feedback, the better my work turns out. Just ask YA writer, Juanita McConnachie aka @WritersblockNZ, she’s seen the havoc gnomes’ wreak first hand.

(GD: I wonder if those are the same gnomes who stole my TV remote.)

Thanks so much Carrie! And if you would like to see my answers to those questions then pop over to Peevish Penman’s blog for my mini-interview.

And now for the contest details…

THE PRIZE:

A critique from both Carrie and Jo for up to five pages of your manuscript. That’s right a total of two critiques for your first five pages. And because it’s our blogiversary there will be not one, not two, but THREE WINNERS! Three people will be getting a critique from both Carrie and Jo.

HOW TO ENTER:

Simply comment on this post (or Carrie’s contest post) with your entries. We’ll be running entries on a point system:

+1 entry for following @gracefuldoe on Twitter (+2 if you are already a follower)
+1 entry for following @PeevishPenman on Twitter (+2 if you are already a follower)
+2 entries if you subscribe to The Graceful Doe’s blog (+3 if you already subscribe)
+2 entries if you subscribe to Peevish Penman’s blog (+3 if you already subscribe)
+1 entry if you tweet about the contest (please include link to tweet)
+4 entries if you mention the contest on your blog (please include link to blog)

Good luck! The winners will be announced in one week on our blogiversary (that’s 10th September in the US and 11the September in Australia).