Images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos. Screenshots taken by me, Allison Symes. Book cover images from Bridge House Publishing/CafeLit.
It has been a brisk start to the first quarter of 2023 for me, I’m glad to say.
I was interviewed by Hannah Kate of North Manchester FM via Skype on 26th February with the interview being broadcast on Saturday 4th March. Please see the link here. I come in at about the twenty-seven minutes mark, and the interview lasts for about fifteen minutes, but do check out the whole of Hannah’s show as this is a wonderful celebration of books, stories, reading, and writing. What is there not to love about those things?).
It was also great to put in a good word for Mom’s Favorite Reads too and my title there as “flasher queen”, more on that shortly.
Hannah carries out catch up interviews every so often and neither of us could believe it was two years since I was last on the show. I was glad of the opportunity to spread the word about flash fiction again. Now I’m a great believer in prep work so ahead of this interview, I jotted down a few notes on what I wanted to ensure I covered. Word to the wise: that pays off.
It is lovely to have further experience of being interviewed. It is also great to be able to share links to audio on my website and blog as that makes for (what I hope would be) interesting content for my followers.
Mom’s Favorite Reads – US based online magazine
For about the last eighteen months, I have been the flash fiction/short story editor for Mom’s Favorite Reads, a general interest magazine which regularly hits the top spot in various Amazon categories. I write a monthly column but that includes a flash piece relating to the theme set by the editor, Wendy H Jones.
Contributors, including me, have to get their pieces in by a certain date of the month ready to appear in the next edition, assuming the pieces are of a good enough standard.
They inevitably are. The emphasis is that only light editing/proofreading will be done as it is expected that writers will (a) stick to the rules of submission and (b) send in work which meets the theme and is good enough to be published. Pieces have to be in by a certain date in the month, I edit, and then those pieces and my column appear in the next issue. Mom’s Favorite Reads is out on the first of the month.
My delightful task here is to go over the stories (and sometimes flash non-fiction pieces) which come in as a result of my challenge which I put on the Facebook page relating to MFR. It is a joy to do this and write my column and gives me a chance to spread the word about the joys of flash fiction further afield!
Oh and I was given the title of flasher queen here, something I am proud of! On a slightly more serious note, it is important for writers to know where they fit into the market so having a title like that helps here.
My column comes in at 750 words per month. All flash submissions (including the one I produce for my column) are up to 300 words maximum (so my column is roughly 450 words of tips and talk about the theme and the rest is my response to that theme).
You’ll recall I wrote a piece for CFT about this and it is something I definitely want to sign up to again. I loved the challenge of writing thirty new stories over the month of November. I’ve edited some of them. One of these ended up on Hannah Kate’s Three Minute Santas show back in December – my First Night on the Round, a humorous piece written in the style of a police report, which is a prompt I’d not tried before. I now have a great start to my fourth flash fiction collection. Talking of which…
It took me longer than I thought it would but I have now sent in my third flash fiction collection to Chapeltown Books. It is now wait and see time. Hope to update more about this as and when I can but am so relieved to have got the book in! I have another long term project on the go and would like to make good progress on that later this year.
I have sent in my story for the annual Bridge House Publishing anthology so again it is a question of wait and see for that. It has been a pleasure to be in several of these anthologies. Naturally I hope I can do it again!
As well as for CFT and MFR, I continue to blog for the Association of Christian Writers (More than Writers) and for Authors Electric. Great fun to do. Good practice in sticking to strict word count limits too. For both of the latter blogs, I pick the theme so the challenge here is to come up with something interesting month on month knowing the target audience.
It was with pleasure I ran an in person workshop in London in January and I am looking forward to running my first one on Zoom in May for a writing group (connection here is via people I know from the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School. If you needed proof networking was important for a writer, this kind of thing is it!).
I continue to run the monthly Zoom meeting for the Association of Christian Writers Flash Fiction group. Zoom is handy here as the members of this could never get together in person so being open to using online tools is also so helpful for a writer. I’ve used Zoom to record stories too. For Hannah Kate’s show, I needed to ensure my story didn’t go over a certain length of time so I used Zoom to record it as that gave me the exact time and I could play it back and hear how it sounded too before I sent it in to her.
Plenty going on then and naturally I hope there will be much more before the end of the year. Taking stock matters for a writer. I find it enormously encouraging to see where I am now writing wise, where I have come from, and where I am likely to head.
I also love reading other writers’ journeys here because we are all different and there are many routes into being a regularly published writer. Sometimes you can find out about potential markets that could be of interest.
I was told about CafeLit years ago and, having had work published there, I found out from CafeLit about the flash fiction 100-word challenge they were issuing. From there came my route into being published with Chapeltown Books.
One writing thing so often leads to other writing things, again another reason why networking matters, as does having a consistent social media presence (whether you are on one platform or half a dozen. Consistency does help get your name remembered, as well as making you look professional).
Whatever you are working on writing wise at the moment, good luck. Do take stock of where you are now with your writing compared to where you were when you started out. I hope you find doing that as encouraging as I do. It takes time but you will see progress.
Often progress is in the little things which in turn lead to bigger things. (There was no way I would be running workshops straight away as a newbie writer. That has happened as people have got to know me and what I do writing wise).
So take heart from progress. You can build on that.
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
Never miss out on another blog post. Subscribe here:
Subscribe to Blog via Email