Double Whammy!

The Weekly newsSomething exciting has happened.

For the first time ever, in the history of the universe, my writing buddy Sally Jenkins and I have got a story each, at the same time, in The Weekly News (April 26th issue).

Ta dah! A full house! A clean sweep, or whatever you want to call it.

And what makes it even more satisfying, is that we both critiqued these stories for each other. Actually, I seem to remember there wasn’t a lot to say about either of these stories –we thought they were pretty much ‘there’ – and so, clearly did Jill Finlay of The Weekly News, who bought them.

If you want to rush out with your £1 and buy a copy (I’m sure you do) and are wondering where you can buy TWN (some of you, come on admit it, have never even heard of it!) then think of it as the opposite of a ‘top shelf magazine’.

The Weekly News is a gentle, ‘general interest’ newspaper, aimed at men and women and you can usually find it in the Co-op or other (large) supermarkets, on the bottom shelf, along with Daltons Weekly and Racing Post!

Talking of ‘racing’, I went to my first ever ‘point-to-point’ on Easter Monday, held just outside the next village to us. A ‘point to point’ is described on Wikipedia as “a form of horse racing over fences for hunting horses and amateur riders” and I couldn’t put it better myself. (Hmm, although I might actually add, “And the riders usually fall off.”)

But if I had to sum it up in one word, I would have to say: posh.

As well as the dogs and the picnics-next-to-Range-Rovers and the stalls selling expensive clothing, it was teeming with teenage girls (Tamaras and Imogens) in breeches and boots, with long flicky hair who probably have posters of Prince Harry on their dorm’ walls. I’m sure you get the picture.

It was fascinating. It will make a good setting for a story one day. To a writer, nothing is wasted! Not even the £20 we had to pay to get in (gulp!) because, on the first race, we won £24! (for a £4 bet). Hurrah! I bet on Basil Fawlty, because I liked the name (his rider fell off) but my OH wisely chose ‘Smugglers something or other’. I think he only won because all the others.. you’ve got it.. fell off.

Children’s writing competition c/d 2nd June 2014

And finally, here are a couple of competitions for you. The Independent is asking ‘Could You Be The Next Children’s Literature Superstar?’ If the answer is ‘yes!’ or a more circumspect ‘maybe..’ then have a look here.

First prize is a tasty £5000 publishing contract AND a weekend in Italy (oh, and a handmade pen!)

The rules, in brief are: one entry per person. Must be current residents of the UK or Ireland. Entry: A novel, written in English, for children aged 7-12. Entrants retain copyright in their work. One-page synopsis, author bio plus first 5,000 words to be submitted by 17.00 (BST) Monday 2nd June 2014.

World War I Short Story Competition c/d 16th June 2014.

This is a smaller competition but if you’ve written a story for the WWI anniversary this year – or you want to – then it might appeal. Swansea Writers have a short story competition, with a WWI theme. You can enter up to two stories of 1,500-2,500 words each and the first prize is £100, two runners up win £25, plus book tokens. The best stories will be published in an anthology. Entry Fee: £5 per story or £7.50 for two.

Bonnie, reading my story in TWN. And.. er.. sorry.. also lying on Sally's.

Bonnie, reading my story in TWN. And.. er.. sorry.. also lying on Sally’s.

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26 Responses to Double Whammy!

  1. journalread says:

    heh-heh… when I saw the title ‘Double Whammy’ I thought for one glorious moment that I’d be reading about the Worcestershire LitFest’s ‘Double Whammy Slammy’ that completes the festival 29 June at Drummonds in Worcester. Just in case you’d be interested in coming along, see the overview of the festival here: http://worcslitfest.co.uk/2014-programme-and-tickets

    • Yes, and only £5 to go along, Polly! thanks for letting us know about that. Worcester is not too far from me but …eek, I can’t keep up with all these festivals! I’m off to Chipping Norton Festival at the weekend and then it’s Stratford and Chipping Campden after that..!

  2. Congratulations and thank you for the competition info! It just so happens I’m writing a children’s book at the moment (although it’s just ground to a halt!) If I can come up with enough plot for a synopsis I have until August to finish the full novel (that’s assuming shortlisting of course!) Plus it’s free to enter, as far as I can tell. Bonus.

  3. Glad it was useful, Amanda – and good luck if you decide to enter! Sometimes a competition – and that all-important deadline – is the spur we need, isn’t it!?

  4. Wendy Clarke says:

    The first story I sold was in the same mag as Tracy (which was how I came to know her). You and Sally should both go out and celebrate!

    • You’re right, Wendy, we should (although celebrate too hard and there’s a danger we’d spend all the money we earned! Whoops!). Anyway, we don’t live that near to each other, but we are seeing each other next month so we’ll have a mini celebration then!

  5. Jenny Roman says:

    Well done! Glad to hear stories are still being accepted by Jill – I sent her one at the end of Sept and I’ve not had a response yet, even after sending a follow up query email, so rather assuming it’s a no! :0) x

    • Jenny, it might not be a ‘no’, so don’t give up just yet! But as of 21st March 2014, anything sent to Jill (this was on a Facebook thread that I read) will have a 12 week ‘turnaround time’ -ie: if you haven’t had a ‘yes’ within 12 weeks, you should take that as a ‘no’ and feel free to send the story elsewhere. As this is a new-ish rule it obviously doesn’t apply to stories sent earlier than that date. Might be still worth another gentle enquiry?

  6. Bill says:

    Well done! my mother used to get the Weekly News……..er, every week.
    I think there was a doctor’s page where ailments were discussed and their cure advised.
    I remember she used to have most of them…………well the symptons anyway!
    The jokes were the funniest I ever read. Well done again!

  7. Thanks Bill. It is actually quite an entertaining paper! Shame more people don’t know about it. And, of course, it’s one of the few that still publishes and pays for fiction!

  8. Tracy Fells says:

    Well done to you and Sally on TWN double! And thanks for the competition news – hadn’t heard of these – I have a children’s novel done and a WW1 story so may enter both!
    >20 years ago the company I worked for at the time took all the staff on a day trip to Ascot (Ladies Day, I think). It was a different world. We did catch a glimpse of the Queen as we peered into the Royal Enclosure – she was tiny… Think this was the only occasion I have ever won a hat. Must be a story in there somewhere.

    • Tracy, thank you. I’d love to go to Ladies Day at Royal Ascot. I always imagine though, that if I ever did book a trip, it would pour with rain!! (that’s what happened the one and only time me and my mum went to Wimbledon! 😦

  9. Well done on the double whammy. Hope it happens again. The horsey do sounds quite funny. Look forward to reading the (fiction) version:))

  10. olivespastavino says:

    Congratulations on the double whammy….Don’t think I can pick up a copy over here, never mind, when we do eventually manage to meet up you can show me then! Just managed to complete a poem for Swanwick…phew. Didn’t realise there were not online entries so had to rush about and get someone to send it in for me.

    • Ninette, I managed a poem for Swanwick – at the very last minute – too! What are we like, eh?! I was intending to enter all 3 of their competitions (children’s and short story too) but of course, that was me being my usual over-optimistic self!

      • olivespastavino says:

        Ha! Yes…I intended to do two of the three, short story and poem. Ah well, there’s always next year! (should have read ‘no online entries’ tut tut, must watch these little errors, could be the difference between winning and losing!

  11. Jan Baynham says:

    Congratulations on your half of the double-whammy and to Sally, too! I shall have a look at the Swansea WW1 story competition, thanks. I like the sound of that. 🙂

  12. KH says:

    Well done on your stories, Helen. Belated ‘Well Done’s’ for your fab success with TSB and competition wins too. Good wishes KH

  13. KH says:

    Oh dear! I meant TAB – no idea where TSB came from!

  14. philippabowe says:

    And another congratulations – you’re on fire! All your hard work is paying off…sorry I won’t be able to read it, I’m pretty sure they don’t stock that paper in my local “presse”…Hasn’t Bonnie got big? Still lovely and glossy, she looks like a happy & healthy dog. 🙂

    • Philippa, thanks for your congrats! I did work hard in Jan/Feb this year and I suppose I’m seeing the results from that … but it was all downhill in March and April so it’ll be very quiet on the ‘success’ front for a while. Ah well, must get back down to it! Yes, (*swells with pride*) Bonnie is a little treasure. We love her to bits.

  15. Linda says:

    Congrats to you – and Sally. I tried submitting a few stories to The Weekly News many years ago but they sank without trace. I will seek it out again.
    Thanks for the competition news. I’ve just finished chapter 4 of a children’s novel so this could be the incentive I need to finish it!

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