Monthly Archives: March 2012

Dream a Little Dream cover

Dream a Little Dream cover

Here’s the cover of my new book, DREAM A LITTLE DREAM, which will be published in November 2012. Fabulous Choc Lit have done it again.

I love this cover! It’s gorgeous. It’s quirky. It’s yummy. I hope you like it, too.



March 27, 2012 · 14:11

The perils of publication

My first published work appeared in a weekly magazine.

The letter offering money in exchange for publishing my short story arrived on April 1st 1996 (making me slightly suspicious) and I was cleaning my teeth as I opened it. Nearly choking on toothpaste, which involves a deeply unpleasant scorching of throat and nostrils, was a tiny price to pay for the attendant absolute euphoria.

I ran laps of the house, ‘Weeeh yeahhhhh!’ I screamed at bleary-eyed family members, ‘IsoldastoryIsoldastoryIsoldastory!’ (the post was delivered much earlier in those days), I rang my mum (who can be relied upon to be up early) and I fell over my dressing gown in my urgent need to switch on my computer. Then I wrote my acceptance letter, literally shaking with joy.

Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to replicate that joy, at various levels, on selling short stories, articles, serials, courses, novels and ‘how to’. I never get tired of it and would recommend it to anybody.

But the joy of acceptance is far from being the whole story of being a writer. There’s harder-to-live-with stuff, too:

  • Work rejected – sometimes with a ‘what on Earth are you thinking of?’ overtone or ‘make it half as long and twice as funny and we’ll think about it’ editorial advice. I had pretty much assumed that once I had a story accepted, EVERY story would then be accepted! This was not the case. And still isn’t.
  • Fees that don’t arrive or have to be chased.
  • Revisions.

Though I’m philosophical, take the rough with the smooth, accept the realities of life –  I know that for some people, the non-joyful stuff comes as quite a shock. Which makes me think that it would make an ideal subject for an article for a writing magazine. The emphasis there is often on how to get published – but I think that what to expect from the experience and how to deal with it would be helpful, too.

So, can any of you help me with material? What came as a surprise to you, when you got something published or had success in a competition? Were those surprises good or bad?

Rewrites …?

Cover art …?

Or have the recent changes in the publishing world  turned things upside down for you?

I’d love it if you’d let me know.


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The Yellow Room short story competition

The Yellow Room Short Story Competition closes on 31st March 2012. 
Email entries only this time. You can pay online via Paypal or send a cheque to cover the entry fee. Open to men and women writers!
Details below: 
The Yellow Room Spring Short Story Competition
 Closing date: 31st March 2012
1st Prize – £80
2nd Prize – £45
3rd Prize – £20
The winning story will be published in
The Yellow Room Magazine
Entry Fee: £4 (or £10 for 3 stories)
Pay for one entry online here:
Pay for 3 entries (£10) online here:
Cheques made payable to J M Derrick
All entries should emailed to:
  1. 1.Entries should be no more than 2,500 words, in any style or genre, on any theme. 
  2. 2.Entries should be the original, unpublished work of the author (including unpaid publication in competition anthologies, internet or small press), and should not have won a prize in any previous competitions.
  3. 3.Entries should be in English, typed, double-spaced.
  4. 4.All entries must be emailed as an attachment in WORD.
  5. 5.Closing date is 31st March 2012
  6. 6.The author’s name should not appear on the manuscript, only the title. 
  7. 7.Send a title page with name, address, email address and telephone number of author with word count as a separate Word document or in the body of the email.
  8. 8.Entrants may submit as many entries as they wish, as long as each is covered by the correct entry fee. 
  9. 9.Entry fees can be paid for by cheque made payable to J. M. Derrick, 1 Blake Close, Bilton, Rugby CV22 7LJ, if entrants prefer not to use the online payment method.
  10. 10.A list of results will appear on the website or on the blog (http: as soon as they are available (before June 2012).
  11. 11.Please DO NOT send entries by post.
Entries which fail to conform to any of these requirements will be disqualified and entry fees will not be returned.
All prize winners will be notified before June 1st, 2012.
Copyright remains with the authors; but permission will be requested to include the winning entries in the The Yellow Room Magazine.
Good luck.

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Shortlist for the Choc Lit Short Story Competition is announced!

Congratulations to everybody on the Choc Lit Short Story Competition shortlist!

The winner and runner up will be revealed on the 10th April.

Well done everyone the standard and number of entries was amazing!
(In alphabetical order)

Chloe Banks, The War of the Last Rolo

Jennifer Bohnet, Paris Can Wait

Debbie Freeman, For the Love of Chocolate

Lara Higgins, On a Night Like This

Geoff Holder, Blood and Chocolate

Laura E James, Bitter Sweet

Lucy Mouland, A Foreign Field

Margaret Mounsden, Black Market

Lucy Oliver, Her Life, in Chocolate

Marilyn Rodwell, Brazilian Dreams

1st prize £200, publication on the Choc Lit website and Choc Lit’s authors corner blog and a box of chocolates from Plush Chocolates.
A Runner Up will receive £50 and a box of chocolates from Plush Chocolates.

Good luck to you all … x


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Circalit has announced the publication of a short story anthology for  
Autumn 2012. The Circalit Anthology will be read by over 10,000 subscribers  
and will be available in paperback and as an eBook. Any short story  
uploaded onto Circalit will automatically be considered for the anthology.  
Simply create an account at and upload your short stories  
to be eligible. The deadline for entries is 31st March, 2012.

For further information please contact:
Robert Tucker

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