First up for the Fourteen

Happy New Year, one and all, and I hope the festive season was all that you wanted it to be. Down here in Devon, we have had a few exciting days and we are still having them as we go into 2014. Some people around here have had a pretty miserable time of it, with flood water pouring in to their houses or businesses, heavy winds blowing down trees and bushes, and power cuts for days on end. Our own place, standing as it does quite a long way above sea level, has so far remained unscathed, but the South West of England generally will not be sorry to see the back of the winter of 2013 to 2014.

New Years are a suitable time for new methods, and this is my first blog to be done with Speech Recognition Software, which allows me to dictate the words for them to appear magically on the screen in front of me. I’m not sure I’m allowed to name brand names; suffice it to say that the device is an enormous help and I would recommend it to anyone suffering with RSI, arthritis or any other inhibiting condition.

For anyone who has decided that this is the year when they will start to write and be published, it makes sense to try entering fiction and poetry competitions and find out if the world at large rates your writing as highly as your friends and relatives might.

“First Flame”, the anthology of 25 of my prize-winning stories which SPM publications brought out at the end of September 2013, might serve as a useful starting point, and will certainly be less expensive than most creative writing courses.

Check it out at or, or, if you really want to treat yourself, go and get yourself a copy signed by the author’s own fair hand.

My own site is currently undergoing a facelift, which hopefully will be finished by the end of this month. it will contain a lot of new material, including free fiction and poetry downloads and a section called “Writing Short Fiction”, aimed at providing free teach yourself hints and resources for everyone who wants to try their hand at short story writing.

Here’s to 2014, whatever it is you want to do with it!


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