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, April 30, 2013

The Exeter Novel Prize - could the first winner be you?

Everyone at Creative Writing Matters is very excited today because tomorrow we launch the Exeter Novel Prize. This award carries a first prize of £500 (convertible into any currency, non-UK readers, thanks to Paypal) and five runner-up prizes of £50.

What's more, the first prize is sponsored by lovely Exeter Writers, who are all very enthusiastic about this new West Country venture. The group's website is on this link: www.exeterwriters.org.uk.

We hope people from all over the world will enter the Exeter Novel Prize and that literary agent  Broo Doherty of Wade and Doherty, who will be reading the shortlist of six, will find at least one entry (or even several entries) which will make her think: I can help to turn this writer into a star.

The Creative Writing Matters team - Cathie Hartigan, Sophie Duffy and I - will be hosting a launch party at Exeter Library on Thursday 27 June 2013, in the early evening. We'll confirm times on this blog and on Facebook, Twitter and on the Creative Writing Matters website. So, if you would like to come, please pop in to check updates on this and all the exciting things we have planned. www.creativewritingmatters.co.uk.

It's so hard to make the breakthrough as a debut novelist, and it's perhaps even harder to make a comeback if you've been off the scene for a while.  So we decided to open the competition to both published and yet-to-be-published writers.  Provided you're not already agented or under contract to a commercial publisher, you're very welcome to enter. Sadly, we're not opening the prize to children's writers this time, but every other genre, including YA, is acceptable.

The theme of the launch party will be how to be a winner and we'll open the discussion to everyone.

There will also be cakes, and entry is free, so please join us on 27 June!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Competition to win a copy of my latest paperback - easy!

The Western Morning News is running a competition to win a copy of The Wedding Diary, published in paperback on 7 May.  All you have to do is answer a very easy question and a book could be yours.

What's the name of the heroine?

You'll be able to find out if you click on this link, which also has the contact details for entry.


The closing date is 10 May so you have plenty of time to enter!

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Exeter Novel Prize - be the first to win this brand new competition!

It's often been said that everyone has a novel inside them.

Some cynics love to add that inside them is precisely where it should stay.

Cathie Hartigan, Sophie Duffy and I have decided to test this hypothesis. We have set up a brand new fiction award, The Exeter Novel Prize, which in its inaugural year will be sponsored by Exeter Writers and will offer a cash prize of £500, with five prizes of £50 for runners-up.

You can find the details on this link:


Entry will be open to anyone, published or yet-to-be-published, who does not already have a literary agent and is not currently under contract to a publisher. You can choose to write in any genre except for children. YA is likely to be acceptable, but we haven't finalised this aspect of the competition yet. Your novel can be set anywhere and at any time - past, present or future.

Please return to the Creative Writing Matters website for updates, and in the meantime perhaps start writing or polishing up that unpublished novel, ready for entry?

We'll be having a launch event in Exeter in June 2013 to which everyone will be welcome.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Ebook arriving!

My new novel The Wedding Diary is up on Amazon Kindle and other ebook platforms from today.

I'm looking forward to finding out what readers think of my first rom com.  Most people know me as a historical novelist, and this is something a bit (no, make that a lot) different.

Where's a fairy godmother when you need one?

I need mine today!

You can click on the image to the right of this post to take you to Amazon's UK website, or click the link below. The cover art is gorgeous!


Monday, April 1, 2013

Rejection - boo hiss...

Rejection - it's a way of life for writers.

I get lots of emails from readers of Writing Magazine who have been bruised and battered by rejection letters.  Or sometimes they get rejection emails sent out on Christmas Day or on Easter Sunday, or sometimes rejection compliment (ha ha ha - oh, the irony) slips with NO scribbled across them, or sometimes there's just a REJECTED rubber stamp on the typescript itself.

OMG these things hurt.

So today, on Easter Monday, I'm drawing everyone's attention to a wonderfully cheering website which should buck up every writer!


Do have a look and be encouraged.

You haven't failed until you have given up and stopped trying.

Story, story, story...

Merry April and equally merry Easter Monday, everyone!

Now it's spring (or so we are led to believe), what better time could there be for starting to write that novel or short story you've been thinking about for ages?  Cathie Hartigan and I are here to help with Chapter 3 of our free on-line guide, The Creative Writing Student's Handbook.

Click on the link or the image to the right of this post to take you to Chapter 3, in which we suggest how to make a story.  If you're writing fiction and you don't have a story, you don't have a house - you have just a pile of bricks.