Fab ‘Fiction Feast’ News – And A Giveaway!

November 2014 issue

November 2014 issue

Last time I wrote, I was feeling a little glum, as you may remember.

Well, I’ve perked up because the latest (November’s) issue of Take A Break Fiction Feast has three (yes, three!) of my stories in it. This is a first for me. I’ve never had more than one story in the same magazine at the same time (and it may never happen again) and not that long ago, I was on the verge of giving up trying with TABFF because I just kept getting rejections.

The thing about TABFF is that you never know when your stories are going to appear. If the editor says she wants your story, it’s then a waiting game, until it appears in the magazine (and you see how many pages it’s on!), so it was a lovely surprise when the magazine arrived this week and I spotted my name …er, you-know-how-many times.

The first of the stories, ‘The Cake Baby’, is about a woman who ‘pretends’ (kind of) to be pregnant. It’s based on someone I met on a writing course. I wasn’t sure if she was pregnant. She had a bit of a belly (don’t we all) but it was accentuated by what she wore – smock tops – and it wasn’t only me that wondered if she was ‘in the family way’ because apparently, someone else had asked her.

I’d have been mortified (because she wasn’t!) but she cheerfully told me the story and then patted her stomach and said, ‘Nah, it’s just a cake baby!’ And that was the inspiration behind that story.

The second one ‘Surprise!’ was also based on something that happened once, while I was staying at a B&B in Devon but I can’t say any more about it, because it will spoil it…

And the first 4 paragraphs of the third story ‘Write Him Out Of Your Life’ (which I called ‘Heroes & Villains’), are absolutely true and really happened to me. It’s a story about someone who teaches a Creative Writing class. The rest is imagined but that shaky start when I first started to teach, gave me the inspiration.

To celebrate my mini-success, I’m giving away a year’s subscription to Take A Break Fiction Feast!

So, if you want to write for them – or already do – you know you should be buying a copy every month and reading the stories and if you win my prize, the magazine will pop through your letter box every month for a year and you can put your feet up with a cup of coffee and relax… Ahh, doesn’t that sound good?

So, if you want to be in the draw, just leave a comment under this post by 9pm on Sunday 5th October, when I’ll be doing the draw and you’ll be included. Readers with UK addresses only though, please, as the subscription won’t cover overseas postage.(Sorry!).

All names will be put into the proverbial hat and someone will be picked at random. The winner will need to provide me with their name and address so that I can order the magazine on their behalf.

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76 Responses to Fab ‘Fiction Feast’ News – And A Giveaway!

  1. littlemerants says:

    What a great giveaway. And well done on your success!

  2. Ooh, that was quick, littlemerants! It the prize was awarded to the first person who responded, you’d definitely be the winner! Anyway, you’re in the draw..thanks!

    • Cindy says:

      Well done! I always find it inspiring to read about writers who receive lots of rejections and then finally make it, rather than instant success stories. A years subscription to TABFF, what a brilliant prize!

  3. Congrats – that’s a real achievement! Just goes to show that persistence really can pay off. Enjoy your success! 🙂

  4. kathmcgurl says:

    Fab news! Have publicised it on womag blog.

  5. Ninette says:

    Congratulations…I still seem to have lots of stories that need finishing, editing, altering or burning! Too much procrastination going on here at the moment. I KNOW I can’t be in the draw *sulky face* but I still wanted to make a comment so that I don’t feel entirely left out. 🙂

  6. Oh, Ninette, I feel guilty now!! But if you will live in these exotic places…! You could always enter and if you win, have it sent to your son/daughter’s house in the UK? That would be allowable!

    • Ninette says:

      It’s okay…it’s fine! I just like to have my say… By the way, it’s pouring with rain in this exotic place! But, sun forecast for the rest of October 🙂

  7. Julia says:

    You’ve scored a hat-trick – well done & well deserved.

  8. Claire Chappell says:

    Congratulations on your triple success. When you reveal the inspirations to your stories, I am compelled to purchase the magazine (good sales technique ;-)) and to keep writing instead of the dreaded procrastination. Thanks for that and the generous ‘raffle’ prize on offer 🙂

  9. Wendy Clarke says:

    I thought we were going to magazine sisters as one of the stories they’ve bought from me is an October story but I’ve just looked and we’re not. Well done on having the three – I find the only problem with having more than one in an issue, is that it cuts down the number they still have which means frantically writing more (not that that’s a bad thing!) Look forward to reading the semi-true one!

  10. Yes, exactly, Wendy. I need to get moving and write some more but everything else (life!) keeps getting in the way!

  11. julielees says:

    Wow, congratulations! Not bad considering, as you said, that it took TABFF so long to recognise your talents (my words, not yours). I’d love to be entered into the freebie draw, by the way.

  12. Liz Power says:

    Well done! You’ve inspired me to have a go at writing for them myself.

  13. Helen Lowry says:

    Well done, Helen. That’s absolutely fab!

  14. Margaret Jones says:

    Congratulations – I’m looking forward to reading your stories.

  15. I’d be happy to have one story in FF, delighted with two, and delirious with three!

  16. juliathorley says:

    Congratulations. I’m looking forward to reading your stories. I’m curious, though: did you get paid on acceptance or publication?

  17. Great news, Helen, and you’ve reminded me I have one to send them. I haven’t had any luck with a story being accepted yet… look forward to reading yours.

  18. Julia, TAB pay on publication, so you do have to wait a bit longer with them for your money!

  19. Vivien McLaren says:

    Wow! What a buzz that must have given you Helen. Just wish I could come up with an idea and I’d write a story, just one idea would do. Anyway, I’m thrilled for you.

  20. Emma Jones says:

    That is amazing. Congratulations. I’ve recently got v interested in short stories & am going to be sending of my first 2 this weekend. Eek!

  21. Sue Cunningham says:

    Picked up my copy of TAB today and the first thing I always do is check out the contents page to see which writers’ names I recognise! Well done, what a fab achievement having three stories in one issue – please put in me in the hat for your very generous draw.

  22. Cat Lumb says:

    Well done on all three in one mag, very impressive! Would lobe to be entered into the giveaway – not that I need another reason to read fiction instead of write it! Still, if you plan to submit to them it’s research, right! :/

  23. Jenny Roman says:

    Blimey Helen – three? In the same issue? I can’t manage one with TAB. I’m definitely in need of this fab prize. Well done – bask in the glory 😎

  24. Linda Casper says:

    Three stories in one edition must be a record!
    Please enter me in the draw.

    • Linda, actually it’s not (shame!) – but I’m flattered that you think it might be! A super writer called Jo Styles had FIVE .. yes FIVE in one issue about a year or ago! So, I’ve got some catching up to do!

  25. Gail Richards says:

    Huge congrats on your three stories. I’m looking forward to reading the cake one – reminds me of when I was in the swimming pool once with my young son and a bossy little girl looked at my tum and said ‘You’ve got a baby in there’. (Unfortunately, many years later it still looks the same.)

  26. Beatrice Charles says:

    Helen, that’s wonderful. Well done. Now of I could sell just one story to TAB I’d be dancing. As it is, I’m asking… Please add my name to the draw!

  27. KH says:

    Super news, Helen – well done! You deserve the success. I’m looking forward to reading the three stories. You must be over the moon. I would be. Go celebrate. Please add my name to the draw too. Thanks. Good wishes. Kate Hogan

  28. Janice says:

    Congratulations! I love TABFF and I’m looking forward to reading your stories. Always enjoy seeing writers I *know* in the mags.

  29. banksywrites says:

    Yay. Well done, Helen. I look forward to reading the stories, especially the third one, having been a former student of yours. Hope I’m the one drawn out of the hat.

  30. Sue Blackburn says:

    Oh I love TAB FF and always enjoy the stories. Had no success yet in getting an acceptance but I keep on keeping on. Congratulations on three stories in there – brilliant. What a generous offer – please put my name in the hat and thank you :0)

  31. Jackie Sayle says:

    Well done, Helen. I picked up my copy of the October TABFF today and was pleased to see you had three stories in there, as does Linda Lewis. I’m about to go onto their website, as I do every month, to submit my answer to their £500 cash Picture Pointer puzzle and to enter the book giveaway thing. I’ve been doing it for years and have never won anything yet. Maybe I’ll be lucky and win your prize draw.

  32. What an amazing achievement well done. You deserve your moment of glory, I can’t imagine many have achieved that.

  33. Derek Baker says:

    Well done. Three stories in one Mag.i can see your name in lights yet in the west End when you have a play or film made from your stories!.

  34. Shelley White says:

    Well done! It’s brilliant that all your hard work has paid off!

  35. Angela Watt says:

    Congratulations. That’s a fabulous achievement. Well done.

  36. rosgemmell says:

    Congratulations, Helen – that’s a great achievement! And what a generous offer – that’s one mag I still haven’t managed a story in.

  37. Downith says:

    Helen, what an impressive achievement! Well done you! Am going to go out and buy it so I can read your THREE stories!

    Don’t enter me in the draw as I won the last one. Mustn’t be greedy!

  38. I’m all story-ed out lately after writing stories for many years. I remember when Teresa Ashby was called Teresa Bleeding Ashby because of her output. Then one month I had three stories in FF. I was at Writers’ Holiday at the time and Trish Maw (who I’d not met back then) tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘Oh, it’s Lynne Bloody Hackles – the one with three stories in FF. So, what middle name would you like?

    • Oh anything will do! (I can imagine Trish doing that by the way! Made me smile x)
      I knew I wasn’t the only one to have ‘triple stories’ in TABFF! I’m enjoying the moment because it could well be a one-off!

  39. Jan Baynham says:

    Wow, congratulations, Helen! Brilliant news. Can you pass some TABFF vibes this way so that I can get my first acceptance, please? 😉 I would like to be included in your draw. Thank you.

  40. POLYT says:

    Well, you know the saying about buses!! Well done and congratulations Helen, you must be chuffed to bits to have three stories in one magazine. It’s real encouragement to the rest of us to keep slogging away.
    It would be lovely to be included in your free draw.

  41. Joan Reed says:

    Wonderful. I bought the magazine this morning and look forward to reading your stories.
    Very well done.

  42. Lois says:

    So many people wanting a subscription to TABFF! I think I deserve it most, because living abroad, makes it impossible to pop out and buy a copy to see if my story is in. Mind you, I haven’t had one accepted yet.

  43. Sue Barnard says:

    Many congratulations, Helen. I can’t wait to read your stories. And thank you for offering such a generous prize. Please will you put me in the hat?

  44. Many congrats Helen! So far I’ve only sold ONE story to TABFF and that was earlier this year.Your success inspires me to keep on trying and subbing! I’d love to be included in your prize draw – I saw it on the womag writer blog.

  45. Congratulations, Helen, and thanks for the insight. Please do include me in your prize draw.

  46. Nicola says:

    Fabulous news, Helen. Many congratulations. What an amazing achievement.I have seven stories with them at the moment, so fingers crossed (one would be enough! LIttle blighters keep sending them back with coffee stains 🙂 ) Would love to be part of your draw. Thank you. What a wonderful gift. Sharing good fortune is such a wonderful thing to do. And usually comes back ten fold – so keep going and I’m sure you’ll catch up with the lovely Jo Styles. Thanks again.

  47. diane bird says:

    I’ve just started writing at 64 so need all the help I can get. Please enter me in your draw.

  48. Julie says:

    Wow Helen, clever you. I must have another go with TABFF. I used to like the short stories they did in TAB. Please include me in your draw.

  49. Cathos says:

    What an achievement! Not had a story published in FF for over a year😄

  50. annepargeter says:

    Well done! A real coup!

  51. Keith Havers says:

    That’s brilliant news, Helen. Also very generous of you to share your success. I haven’t had anything in TAB for ages. Looking forward to reading the stories.

  52. Maureen Brannigan (Kirsty Peters) says:

    Lovely news, Helen. Three is a great number. At the moment I have three stories in an envelope on my desk to go to Norah. Problem is, I went to three post offices to try to get IRCs (I’m Scottish, but live in Winnipeg). No luck, so now waiting until my sister sends me stamps from Scotland for return envelope:-) We should buy lottery tickets with lots of threes in them:-)Would love to be in your draw. Thanks.

    • Nicola says:

      Hi Maureen, IRCs are now obsolete. I was told by an editor (People’s Friend) to just type on the cover sheet that you would like a reply via email due to that fact. I have done so and it has not caused a problem thus far. Hope this helps. It was a pain in my side for months and there are many of us outside the UK. Hopefully all editors will be as understanding. I wish you lots of luck!

      • Maureen Brannigan (Kirsty Peters) says:

        Hi Nicola,
        Thanks so much for this. Am hoping Norah will be happy to send reply by email. FFUK and WWUS are the only two I know of who won’t accept email submissions. Probably because they have highest volume of submissions.
        Where do you live now?

        Helen, don’t put me in draw – just dawned on me it would cost a fortune to get the mags over here.
        Will nip to bookstore this week and hope the FF with your stories is in. Looking forward to reading them. I buy the womags when I’m in the UK and bring a bunch back with me. Much cheaper.
        Congrats again.
        Atb,
        Maureen

      • Nicola says:

        Hi Maureen,
        No problem. You still have to submit by post but on the front page simply request a response via email. I live in Germany. If you are lonely over there in Winnipeg and need someone to bounce off, feel free to contact me via email: njburggraf@gmail.com.
        Best of luck, Nicola.

  53. indreamworld says:

    That’s great, congratulations! You’ve inspired me to get writing and get some stories out there.
    I’m an avid reader of Fiction Feast too so would love to win the draw!

  54. Sarah says:

    Well done, Helen. I read Fiction Feast every month and had a couple printed last year and a couple this year, but nothing but rejections since March. I intend to keep trying though.

  55. Kit Perkins says:

    What a hat trick, Helen, that’s bloomin’ marvellous! You’re an inspiration to us all. I’m relatively new to short story writing. I recently went to (ahem) a rival magazine’s crafting and writing event (two of my favourite things in the whole world, I was quite giddy!) I plucked up the courage to show my short stories to the Fiction Editor. She was really lovely and said I wrote some beautiful passages but the content was ‘too dark’ for their magazine. It was only a bit of cosy crime with touches of dark humour, but fair enough, she knows her readers! I guess there’s a fine line of writing something suitable, but still keeping it fresh and new. It must be really hard if the magazine has been going for a long time and has probably seen it all. It knocked my confidence, but seeing your success today has done me a world of good, so thankyou! I’m off to buy a copy of Fiction Feast now…

  56. Susie says:

    Many congratulations, that’s fantastic news. Perhaps you now need to write a blog entry on how to write for TABFF?

  57. Ali says:

    Well done on your triple publications – that is so inspiring and deserves a triple “tipple” ;D . Enjoy.

  58. julie says:

    Morning, I’m not sure that I’m eligible for the subscription, living in Australia, but I just wanted to say; what an amazing hat-trick. Hopefully, every person that’s commented (including me) will be in the same position one day.

    I miss TAB (along with Tescos & Asda), we don’t get it in Perth, well, unless it’s a late copy, We only have; That’s life & Take 5, not that I don’t enjoy them, but I actually won a cash prize years ago in TAB…..have I mentioned I miss it, along with Tescos & Asda? Not fogetting Sainsburys, and Waitrose..ummmm, seems to be a theme here. Maybe I should write a story about my yearnings for U.K. supermarkets. Is there a name for that?

    Anyway, must go, but I do wish the lucky recipient good luck, and I want to say ” keep up the amazing writing”. Julie

  59. swanview says:

    Congratulations! Well deserved. I look forward to reading them

  60. Jo Derrick says:

    Congratulations on getting three stories in the magazine! I can’t wait to read them. I haven’t had anything published by them in a while, but I’ll keep trying.

  61. Christine Henderson says:

    Congratulations, Helen. Great news, and I can’t wait to read them! Please include me in your very generous draw. Christine H.

  62. Pat says:

    Congratulations. I read The Cake Baby last night and loved it.
    Please enter me in your draw.

  63. Denise says:

    Three stories in the same issue. Wow and here I am still trying to sell my first. Well done, Helen.

    Denise Watson.

  64. Patricia Maw says:

    Many congrats Helen. I phoned LL to congratulate her. I once (a long time ago!) sold 3 stories to Norah in one evening. I had to sit down when she phoned! I’m sure Lynne makes up these stories about me – on the other hand I might have said it!
    It was good to see you at Swanwick. Don’t enter me – I subscribe.

  65. Caroline Russell says:

    Congratulations, well done. I’m still trying to get first one sold to them too. Feel inspired now, thanks for wonderful offer.

  66. Patsy says:

    Congratulations on getting three in at once! Bet that feels good.

    I know I’m too late for the draw, but as I’ve just renewed my subscription that doesn’t matter.

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