Today I'm delighted to bring you news about the Sophie King Prize, a fantastic short story competition which aims to discover a great new romance short story. The winning story will be chosen by best-selling novelist and short story writer Sophie King.
The competition is free to enter, and is open to both published and unpublished writers worldwide. The winning story will be recorded by a professional actor, and broadcast from a dedicated online audio player. the winner will also receive a pair of Silver-Plated Life Long Champagne Calices and £0 (approx $79) gift voucher courtesy of www.handpickedcollection.com. One runner up will receive a £25 (approx $39) gift Handpicked Collection voucher.
The Sophie King Prize is now open for entries. Entrants must submit a short story of between 1,500 to 2,500 words with a romantic theme. The submissions deadline is www.thesophiekingprize.com. and the winner will be announced on . To enter, go to:
Below is an exclusive post from Sophie about her own experiences of entering competitions and why she decided to set up this competition.
The first competition I ever won, was actually a raffle. I was nine years old and I'd spent my week's pocket money on a pink ticket to win an enormous Easter egg wrapped in canary yellow paper, sitting in the window of my then-local newsagent in Harrow Weald.
I'll never forget my amazement when the lucky number was posted in the window and it was mine! It wasn't so much the chocolate (which, ironically, I've now gone off) or the fact that no skill was required to win, which excited me. No. It was that exhilarating feeling of sheer magic and disbelief, because out of all those tickets, mine came through!
Six years after that, I won my first poetry competition (in the local paper) and since then, I've been lucky enough to win two national novel prizes and be a runner-up in three more.
And that's why I started the Sophie King prize. There's a lot of talent out there but it's a tough market, isn't it? If my prize can help an as-yet unpublished writer, then I will have put a bit back and hopefully helped someone at the same time.
Whenever I speak at writing festivals - I've just come back from The Women's Writing Festival in Matera, Italy, which is great for meeting publishers and agents - I always encourage my audience to enter competitions. Don't enter with the intention of winning or else you might be disappointed. But do it because it provides a structure and a deadline. You might also find that the exercise gives you an idea for another short story. If you win, it's a bonus! It's also something you could mention in a covering letter to an agent or women's magazine fiction editor.
Meanwhile, I can't wait to see your entries! I'll be looking for warmth, some twists and a mixture of dialogue and narrative.
Good luck! If you haven't won a comp before, this might be your chance to be SECOND TIME LUCKY - the title of my latest Sophie King novel!
Louise thought she had everything, then suddenly finds herself as a single mum with an uncertain future. Can she build a new life for her and her children? And has real happiness been right under her nose all along?
Roddy was once the heir to Bridgewater House, but now he's a drunken lord who's fallen on hard times. Can he prove to his ex-wife that he has cleaned up his act, or is he about to risk everything in a desperate scheme to show how much he loves his kids?
Molly is a famous actress, coming to terms with retirement and the recent death of her actor husband Gideon. But dare she tell anyone that Gideon still comes to visit her? And how will she react to some unexpected messages from beyond the grave?
American Marcie always fantasised about marrying an English gentleman, just like one of her Jane Austen heroines. But will two resentful stepchildren, and failed attempts to have a baby of her own, get in the way of her dream happy ending? And what would her husband David make of her secret shame from the past?
As each of these neighbours faces their own challenges, their lives are about to become entwined in ways they never could have expected.
Second Time Lucky – doesn't everyone deserve a second chance?