I've set up this blog so that all my friends, relations and colleagues in the world of writing can keep up to speed with what I'm doing - from now on, I'll never have to say sorry for not keeping in touch.

Or anyway, that's the plan.

So do please link up with me on Facebook and Twitter - https://www.facebook.com/margaret.james.5268 and https://twitter.com/majanovelist

You can find my novels as digital downloads on Apple iTunes, Kobo, Kindle and Nook, and most are available as print paperbacks, too.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tempus fugit...

... or something, anyway. Where does time go? Where has this year gone? Why have I done only about a third of what I was meant to do by the end of July? How do other authors manage to write six novels every year and still have time to paint their nails?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Brit Awards

The Brit Awards website at www.britwriters.co.uk says: we’re happy to tell you that we’re now accepting submissions for BWA Unpublished 2011. The official deadline is 5pm (UK time) on Friday 25 February 2011, but we’re closing the competition once we receive 20,000 submissions.

The website adds: the ceremony for the Brit Writers' Awards Unpublished 2010 took place on Thursday 15 July and our first ever Unpublished Writer of the Year was crowned! Former teacher Catherine Cooper from Shropshire won the £10,000 prize for her children's novel The Golden Acorn: The Adventures of Jack Brenin.

There were lots of other prizewinners, too - so this competition is definitely one for people who are yet to be published to bear in mind!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hard workers...

I think I work hard. Yes, I'm good at kidding myself. But some writers work really, really hard. I've just had a message from Rosie Goodwin, first published six years ago and now writing book nineteen for Headline. Rosie spent a long time in the literary wilderness, writing several novels before she got her big break with The Bad Apple, but since that first novel came out there's been no stopping her, and she's now one of Headline's biggest sellers.

She's a great example of what persistence, determination and talent can achieve, as a quick look at her website at http://www.rosiegoodwin.co.uk will reveal. Rosie has long been hailed as the natural successor to Catherine Cookson, and for once the comparison is justified.

Monday, August 16, 2010

No peace for the wicked...

Sudden panic this evening - had overlooked a deadline (if it's not in the diary, it doesn't get done, but whose job is it to write in the diary, and then to check the diary - mine), so I've had to burn the midnight oil. Sorry, that's a huge cliche, but it's nearly midnight, so please let me off.

Email is a wonderful thing, but the good old days of fobbing people off and blaming the postman are well and truly over - sigh. As far as the publishing trade is concerned, now means yesterday.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Six Little Words

If you'd like to win a place on an Arvon course, all you have to do is write six words! The competition for a six word short story closes soon, but if six words is all you have to write you have plenty of time.

See the link on http://www.arvonfoundation.org/p225.html for details and examples of entries submitted up to now.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Essay Prize

The intellectuals among you might be interested in writing an essay and winning £500? Yes, no, perhaps? Details on this link http://johnsonsocietyoflondon.org/Johnson%20Essay.pdf.

Once upon a time, I used to read the works of the Great Sam of Literature for edification and pleasure, but now I am as old as him, if you see what I mean, I find him somewhat irritating at times. I wonder at Boswell's patience, I really do...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Lovely sunny day here today, so skived off writing and went out. So will have to write twice as many words tomorrow. So perhaps had better go to bed early, then get up early and get going - 3,000 words by lunchtime...

Monday, August 9, 2010

The horrid truth

I was alerted by Liz Fenwick on Twitter to this link http://helpineedapublisher.blogspot.com/2010/08/selling-out.html?spref=tw, which makes rather horrid reading, but am afraid NM might be right.

On the other hand, books DO get published, and new authors who are not already Jordan or David Beckham DO get contracts, so maybe it's not all gloom? I'm going to keep writing, anyway.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Send story out, get cheque by return!

Well, perhaps not quite by return. But if you keep sending out short stories, and they keep boinging back to you, here's a book which might help and comes recommended by Maureen Vincent-Northam.

She says: if your stories have a tendency to wing their way back to you as if on elastic, see http://bit.ly/bOFqO2

When it comes to writing and selling short stories, Della Galton really knows her stuff.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

City of Thieves

Rave review of my August book of the month in the Times today. Amanda Craig thinks it's great, and so do I.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Power of the Cover

You can't judge a book by its cover? Well, maybe not, but the cover is the first thing any prospective reader sees, and so it has to make a good impression. A new website at www.bookalicious-ramblings.net/2010/08/waiting-on-wednesday-historica.html seems to like the cover of my own new novel, The Silver Locket - what a relief!

Christina Courtenay's debut novel Trade Winds certainly has a gorgeous cover, and it also has a wonderful story between those covers. All fans of historical fiction will love it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

More Money for Jam

New competition, closing date 31 August 2010, so get your brains ticking over sharpish! See http://www.wordswithjam.co.uk/#/competition/4539850014. Competition judges say bribes will not be accepted - now, as if anyone would dare...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ellen Renner - City of Thieves

My August book of the month is City of Thieves, Ellen Renner's brilliant follow-up to her bestselling debut, Castle of Shadows.

If you enjoy fantasy with a touch of the Gothic, intelligently written and intriguingly plotted, this novel is definitely for you. It doesn't matter about your age, because this author appeals to readers from 8 to 80.