sample of writing taken from my story, Miles to Go Before I Sleep

Miles To Go Before I Sleep: an extract



tea and a peach


The homestead towered over him, cold and impressive. He was too close to make out the stone chimneys or was it that the house was leaning in on him? He estimated its path of destruction in the event of collapse. Him, the rent-a-car and the ancient oak on the other side of the road all buried under new and ancient rubble. No-one would come, not in this weather. Then, as if to put him in his place, the hum of an approaching car, moving way too fast for the conditions, broke the frosty silence. You always saluted in these parts – even enemies and troublemakers were acknowledged. He shot a gloved finger into the air. At least now they’d know that he was back.

He secured the gate with a deft lift, sliding the icy bolt back into the slot which was still too small. Stepping forward, he regained…

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It’s the first of January and I’m-a-lookin’ to submit

So this is what’s happening.

It’s the first day of the new year and coincidentally I’ve been scanning the net for competition entry opportunities (thank you :). Why “coincidentally ” you might ask? Well, the fact of the matter is that I’ve completed a story or two of  late and feel it’s time to take the plunge once more to seek out that edge, that dreaded wait for a reply, for feedback, for affirmation. Sometimes the wait never comes to an end.

I submitted my story, Miles to Go Before I Sleep (yes, I shamelessly lifted the title from the coldest of poets), to in time for the December voting. In case you don’t know it, you submit your story and it is read by other writers who have also submitted. You have to read all six of your allocated stories, assign them a vote from 1-6, and they, in turn, read yours and decimate it or praise it to the hilt (I experienced both ) or something in between. I ended up not making it through to the third and final round but trundled in a brave 76th out of 284 entries. If it was a cross country 10k race I’d have been chuffed but I wasn’t sure what to make of it. The feedback I received made for some thought-provoking reading. I suppose I felt  what it must be like for a published author to read criticism of their work. Lately, in The Irish Times, Julia Anne Stevens is quoted by Greg Londe  as saying that “[Mary] Lavin once told me that she read criticism as though it were detective fiction.” While hardly in that league (yet, obviously!), I think I’ve learned a thing or two.

The search for submission ops ends here today; back to my trusty steed, or computer as the case may be!

P.S. I’m considering this competition in the short term. The theme is “insomnia” and Paul McVeigh, the judge, provides some guidance here.