I've been meaning to post about this for a while, and the new book is being a little sticky this morning, so now seems like as good a time as any. Well, maybe not as good a time as, say, sitting on the grass in the height of summer with a bottle of fizzy wine and a groaning picnic basket*, waited on hand and foot** by a bevy of dusky maidens - that would be a pretty damn good time.

Anyway, yeah, so: competitions.

First up comes courtesy of those lovely people at Alibi, in conjunction with other lovely people at HarperCollins, The TV Times, and the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. As you probably know Alibi's the only channel completely dedicated to crime drama, which is kinda pretty cool in our household, and this year they're launching their inaugural 'search for a new crime writer'.

"Oh yeah?" I hear you mumble, through a mouthful of PotNoodle, "And what do we have to do to win this competition thing you're pimping, like a big hairy pimp?"
Easy, you cynical monkey, you're getting gravy all down your chin and it's not a good look. What you have to do is flex your creative writing muscles and come up with a short story (2,000 to 5,000 words) starting with the following sentence:

In my experience, those who beg for mercy seldom deserve it.

Piece of cake, right? Or a bag of crisps if you're not down with the whole cake thing.

The competition was rolled out on the 25th of Jan (yeah, I'm late getting around to telling you about it, but I've been deadline's bitch for months now) to an instant flurry of submissions. Some of which, I'm guessing, were lying about in people's top drawers, gathering dust, just waiting for an excuse to be foisted upon the world. And a couple of the entrants didn't even pause to read the submission guidelines and ... oh, I don't know ... take the basic sodding precaution of rewriting the first line to say, 'In my experience, those who beg for mercy seldom deserve it.'

Seriously, 10 out of 10 for enthusiasm, and 0 out of 10 for getting rejected straight away for NOT EVEN BOTHERING TO PRETEND YOU'D WRITTEN IT FOR THE COMPETITION!


Anyway, you've got till the 16th of May to enter, and you probably want to know what kind of goodies you'll be walking off with, like the kids on Crackerjack (though without the obligatory pencil and cabbage) one lucky write-ist will be leaving with their arms weighed down with:

Not too shabby, eh? And two runners up get:

All you have to do is write your short story and submit it at the Alibi website. Where they also have a video of me looking remarkably like a fat hairy potato.

More competition news tomorrow, and perhaps a photo of a dead mouse too!****

* Groaning as in 'full to bursting with nice things to eat' not groaning as in 'suffering from intestinal discomfort'. That wouldn't be such a good time.
** Why do people want their feet waited on? Are they pedophiles? Freaks.
*** Within reason, I assume. I mean, they're not going to fly you first class from New Zealand, are they? Be sensible.
**** I know you've been missing them.

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