Where do you run to?

Is it safe to come out now? Has the planet stopped burning and flooding? Are the world leaders finally addressing the issues of climate change?

Ha. As if.

For the past two and a half years, I’ve buried myself in the fantasy world of romance writing. My reason is simple: reality keeps bringing me down. Embracing the genre of happily-ever-after endings allows me to mould the world to a kinder, more generous place.

In the meantime, I’m still reading a wide range of fiction. My most recent bedside book is Fahrenheit 451. Written in 1953, Ray Bradbury’s dystopian story is about a ruthless totalitarian state. It depicts a government that attempts to destroy knowledge by censoring and burning books. The harsh regime demands unquestioning loyalty to its version of the truth. Sound familiar?

Lately, powerful bullies, funded by a war chest of taxpayer dollars, have combined resources to try to force through a massive building project on our quiet, residential street. Sometimes a person can only ignore abuses of power for so long.

I’ve come out of my burrow now, ready to fight. Perhaps if I can make a difference in this one small corner of the globe I will take this energy to bigger battles.

In my writing life, I will continue with my romantic fantasies a while longer. It’s important to have an escape, a safe place where fairy tales come true and human decency abounds.

What is your escape? Where do you go when things overwhelm you?

Photos from Pexel.

The most important week of the year February 25 - March 3, 2018

Neil Gaiman tells us to: "Read. Read anything. Read the things they say are good for you, and the things they claim are junk. You'll find what you need to find. Just read."

Please join readers everywhere in celebrating this most important week of the year.

Weekend Writing Warriors: Outback Promise - the acceptance

It’s great to be back here with the Weekend Writing Warriors. If you want to read more excerpts from other writers, click on the image above or on this link here.

My novel, Outback Promise, is a story of the tragic loss of a child. It explores how the ensuing grief drives two loving people apart. After a few long years of separate coping and more than a few mistakes, Grady has held out an olive branch to his wife Rosalyn. He proposes they run away together, seeking the magic that once held them strong.

I was stalling, not wanting to give him an answer too easily. I sighed heavily. ‘Don’t get too damn full of yourself when I tell you I can get the time off. I’m in.’

Grady half-swallowed a whoop of triumph, closed the distance between us in two long strides and kissed me. For the first time in years it felt right to be there, sheltered in his arms. I told myself to live in the moment.

He whispered, ‘We’re going to have a ripper of a time. You’ll see.’

With that declaration I knew he wanted more than my agreement, he wanted my enthusiasm. The rain was subsiding almost as fast as it started and I thought how there was just enough of it to make a mess of everything. It would turn the dust into mud and spike the humidity to an unbearable level.


Outback Promise

Tragedy. Betrayal. Hope.

‘I can’t remember the last time a book affected me this much,’ Tess Woods.

After losing their only child, Roslyn and Grady Balfour's lives are destroyed, shattering their perfect marriage. When Ros discovers Grady's infidelity, it sets their love on a destructive downward spiral. Grady hopes that three months camping together will rekindle what was lost so long ago. 

Attempting to repair their broken marriage, Ros and Grady set out on a journey of self-discovery and redemption deep into the Australian outback. Packing resentment and bitterness along with them on their quest, the couple struggles with what they've lost. Forced to battle the challenges of the other travelers along with the dangers of the harsh outback, their only chance for survival lies in facing the secrets of the past. Will Ros and Grady find a way to hold onto each other when everything else has fallen apart?


4.4 stars out of 5 – 39 reviews – Amazon.com

Buy links:

Amazon HarperCollinsKoboBarnes & NobleiBooks 

Google Play

The pause that refreshes

It’s true: I’ve been missing in action for some time. The past few months have been my equivalent of an embryonic diapause. This is a mechanism where certain mammals do not reproduce when the environment is not right for nurturing young. Embryos remain in a state of dormancy until conditions are right for reproduction. In 2016 my dormant young were my YA and contemporary stories.

I’ve been writing in a different genre, under a different name. But that’s another story for another day.

A couple of things stirred my interest in disaster scenarios again. One trigger was listening to this chilling podcast from CBC. It dramatizes an earthquake event in the Pacific Northwest. Add to that the new earthquake threat, identified as the Devil’s Mountain fault. Suddenly interest in prepping was alive again. Do you want to read a fictional account of an earthquake hitting Vancouver and surrounds? Look for my book Lockdown.

What about you? Are you ready for a disaster? Is your grab-and-go bag packed? Have you stockpiled food yet? If you’re unsure how to do any of that, there is a world of reference material out there to help you. One place to start your emergency preparations is with the Geek Prepper site. Here’s their recommendation as to how to build your food resources – 35 Survival Foods. Or click on the picture to get to their site.

In the meantime, I’m going back to my story in the mountains where a trio of teenagers are dealing with a disaster of great magnitude. Someone has prepped for this event but will they share their emergency supplies?

Weekend Warriors - Outback Promise - half truths

I love the Weekend Warriors blog and I’m sorry that time has swept away and I haven’t been able to participate more.

Today's excerpt comes from my novel, Outback Promise. Ros has just told her best friend, Suzanne, that she has accepted her husband’s invitation to go walkabout in the Outback. Suzanne knows nothing about Grady’s affair. That’s a secret that Ros has kept close to her chest.

As she finished her last microdot of tomato, she set her fork down and cleared her throat. ‘Okay, you can stop the act now – what I really want to know is, when’s the big divorce?’

It took every bit of my willpower to bite back the first questions that sprang into my head. How did you find out? What do you know? I speared a small green leaf and chewed slowly, half-smiling at her. My pulse raced as I tried to imagine what she’d heard and how.

She drained her glass of chardy while her attention lit on a surfer half her age strutting past on the beach below. When I didn’t answer she continued, ‘You know – the two of you. Sleeping in a tent. Nothing around but dirt, dingos, and drongos. How long’s that going to last?’


Please join other authors on the blog hop by clicking here or on the image above.


Outback Promise - blurb:

Tragedy. Betrayal. Hope.

After losing their only child, Roslyn and Grady Balfour's lives are destroyed, shattering their perfect marriage. When Ros discovers Grady's infidelity, it sets their love on a destructive downward spiral. Grady hopes that three months camping together will rekindle what was lost so long ago. 

Attempting to repair their broken marriage, Ros and Grady set out on a journey of self-discovery and redemption deep into the Australian outback. Packing resentment and bitterness along with them on their quest, the couple struggles with what they've lost. Forced to battle the challenges of the other travelers along with the dangers of the harsh outback, their only chance for survival lies in facing the secrets of the past. Will Ros and Grady find a way to hold onto each other when everything else has fallen apart?


4.6 stars out of 5 – 36 reviews – Amazon.com

Buy links:

Amazon HarperCollinsKoboBarnes & NobleiBooksGoogle Play

And now for something completely different - Weekend Writing Warriors' hop

This is my first week on the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop. Thank you for letting me join!

My excerpt comes from my novel, Outback Promise. Ros’s husband Grady has just suggested they escape to the Australian outback to try to heal the rift in their marriage:

How long had I been marooned on my desert island? I stood and brushed the dust off my dark brown shorts, untied the blouse from around my waist and pulled it over my exposed shoulders. The sun was hotter than ever and I hoped it wouldn’t burn.

Grady unfolded his tanned legs and sprang to his feet beside me. He tried to kiss me but I stepped away and started down the track to Bantry Bay and the old Explosives Magazine. It was my way of saying maybe, and a spiteful part of me gladdened at the hurt disappointment in his eyes. That’s the problem with being a victim – pain turns you into a tormentor.


Please join other authors on the blog hop by clicking here or on the image above.


Outback Promise - blurb:

Tragedy. Betrayal. Hope.

After losing their only child, Roslyn and Grady Balfour's lives are destroyed, shattering their perfect marriage. When Ros discovers Grady's infidelity, it sets their love on a destructive downward spiral. Grady hopes that three months camping together will rekindle what was lost so long ago. 

Attempting to repair their broken marriage, Ros and Grady set out on a journey of self-discovery and redemption deep into the Australian outback. Packing resentment and bitterness along with them on their quest, the couple struggles with what they've lost. Forced to battle the challenges of the other travelers along with the dangers of the harsh outback, their only chance for survival lies in facing the secrets of the past. Will Ros and Grady find a way to hold onto each other when everything else has fallen apart?


4.6 stars out of 5 – 35 reviews – Amazon.com

Buy links:

Amazon HarperCollinsKoboBarnes & NobleiBooksGoogle Play

What happened to summer?

Back in June, I decided to give my blog a short rest after almost five years of regular posting.


Back lane in Oak Bay June 2016

Back lane in Oak Bay June 2016

When I opened my blog notebook this week, I discovered the last notes were scribbled in the first flush of June heat. I’d donned a swishy sundress and a floppy hat for the first time in the season and set off for a walk. The notes I made on that stroll probably made a lot of sense when I wrote them.

Garry oak leaves and acorns July 2016

Garry oak leaves and acorns July 2016

Way led onto way, to paraphrase Robert Frost. Countless hours were spent at the beach, walking the breakwater, hiking the forests and enjoying the gorgeous homes and gardens of my neighbourhood. I’ve been writing fiction too (that’s another subject for another day) but my blog has been idle.

Apples August 2016

Apples August 2016

"Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets," says Tim Kreider in his article The Busy Trap.

Now the blog vacation is over and it’s time to get back to work. What did you do on your summer break?

One of the lovely houses in my neighbourhood. August 2016   

One of the lovely houses in my neighbourhood. August 2016


Oak Bay beach Victoria BC (a short walk from my home)

Oak Bay beach Victoria BC (a short walk from my home)

Cheaper than a cup of coffee!

Outback Promise is on sale for two weeks for only 99¢ until June 25

You can buy it here:


Photo from Wikimedia Commons: Coffee for love by Nevit Dilman

Do you see what I see?

In the Globe and Mail not long ago there were pictures of two women who were so similar, they could have been the same person. At first glance, my overactive imagination leapt to the conclusion that they were. I envisioned a woman with a double life, maybe even two families, a female version of Jack Lyons in The Pilot’s Wife.

Subsequent investigation proved me wrong, as so often happens when my imagination takes over. The women’s similarity in appearance and the fact that the memorial notices were published on the same day was a simple coincidence.

Still, there may be a novel in what I thought I saw. One more idea for my File of Possible Plots. An advantage of having a healthy imagination is that this file is almost always overflowing. It’s well furnished with romantic, dramatic, and comic perspectives on things that were quite ordinary in real time. Hoof beats? It has to be zebras.

A disadvantage of an overactive imagination is the unproductive distortion of reality. It can cultivate fears when there is nothing to be fearful about. As quickly as I can imagine success, I can imagine failure. This makes it necessary to choose which vision I keep alive. What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality. (Plutarch)

When my imagination seizes a common and everyday event and embellishes it to be extraordinary, it’s decision time. Do I let it run loose or do I muzzle it?

Is your imagination a double-edged sword? Does it drive your creativity on one hand and discourage it on the other? How do you harness it for the maximum benefit?

Zebra picture from Wikimedia Commons: A zebra by Lunkwill

Memorial pictures from the Globe and Mail newspaper, Saturday March 19, 2016



Where am I?

In case you’re wondering where I’ve been lately, for the month of April I’m touring with Outback Promise. You can find me here:


Another day to celebrate!

Read any poetry lately? Monday March 21st 2016 is World Poetry Day.

From the United Nations website:

Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings.

Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures. In celebrating World Poetry Day, March 21, UNESCO recognizes the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.

Do you still remember poems or rhymes from childhood?

Occasionally I even try to write the stuff but almost everything I create is only suitable for personal consumption. Sort of like my attempt to bake perfect bread.

I wrote one poem, through the eyes of the protagonist of Outback Promise. I know it’s not bad because it was published in Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine before that publication started specializing in erotic verse.

This is Rosalyn’s voice, at age 25, before she leaves her hometown of Vancouver forever:

Upward Mobility

A raven squats on the peeling roof

crows boil by, bleating and scolding,

      as cherry blossoms strain in crusted-green captivity

I schlep my heavy backpack up the hill

away from the white-capped water

      toward the tired building where boiled cabbage

      and constant sorrow linger in the hallway

Sunshine sprawls on distant mountains.

I lift my eyes from the gray sidewalk

      In a shimmering window my reflection smiles back

          A stranger in my clothes.

So what are you doing for poetry day? Reading your old favourites? Scratching out a limerick or two?

Photo from Wikimedia Commons by: Linda Bailey

A Day to Celebrate


I spend a lot of time looking at screens. I write on my computer. I read books and check my social media accounts with a smart phone and a tablet.

A lot of my time is devoted to reading print: novels, non-fiction books, newspapers, magazines, and anything else that stirs my curiosity.

By the time I go to bed at night my eyes are begging for a res,t but the story-lover in me is not yet ready to sleep. Enter: audio books. Someone reads to me every night thanks to my local library and their brilliant collection of books.

Who do I read to? I read all my day’s work to my husband who is an intelligent and helpful listener.

Do you like being read to? Or do you prefer to read to someone else?


Who is helping you?

Lucky writers have a network of friends who keep them going in this isolated occupation that breeds self-doubt. Those writers usually make their luck by going to conferences, courses, and writing groups. There is another way too – the internet offers a lot of places to find like-minded friends.

Last year I met Tess Woods after I signed my contract with HarperCollins Australia. We’ve never met in person but have built a friendship over great distance.

Tess is a human dynamo. Not only does she work as physiotherapist in her busy family practice, she’s a mother of two. She has a passion for social justice and in 2014 started the Meals By Mums group that cooks nutritious meals for Perth’s homeless people. On top of that she maintains a kickass website, sends out monthly newsletters, and is working on her second novel. Her first critically-acclaimed novel Love at First Flight is being prepared for a print release in August 2016.

So I was thrilled to be featured on her March Book Club Pick this month. She has reviewed my novel Outback Promise and is giving away three copies of it. If you click on this link and leave a comment, you’ll be in the running for one of those free copies.

I’ve been blessed with some strong friendships through my short writing career. Tess is one more and I’m grateful that she made time in her busy schedule to put the spotlight on my book this month. Someday I hope I can repay her in some small way. In the meantime I try to pay the gifts of friendship forward.

Where have you found your best writing friends? How have you helped each other along the way?

What did it mean to you?

This meme been floating around the internet for some time: 

The fact is, once a work is published it’s fair and proper for everyone to have their own interpretation. Writing is art, after all. So if a book is well-written and thought-provoking, then it’s done its job.

Every so often a reader comes along who interprets my work the way it spoke to me. That doesn’t mean everyone else is wrong. They’re just different. And vive la différence – it makes the world a wonderful and diverse place.

This week The Bookfeed Blog summarized my personal interpretation of Outback Promise here, although I might have said examines in place of teaches:

Outback Promises teaches a lesson in cherishing what you have now, in this moment. It teaches you not to take your loved ones for granted. It shows that everyone has different ways of processing things and that communication really is key. The issues the couple face, are caused by both of them and I find that refreshing and realistic. Too many books these days bash men with all the blame falling on the male antagonist.

Bolitho does such a good job at demonstrating the reality of it all. Grief, love, relationships. I love that the trip isn’t all smooth sailing and that they meet so many obstacles and continue to overcome them.

The review ends with a warning that the book was emotionally draining for her. That’s reasonable, because isn’t that why we read? If we don’t want a roller coaster ride, what are we doing in the amusement park?

Now for something completely different - a cover reveal for The Warrior Prophet

I don't often have guest authors on my blog so I’m delighted to welcome back the talented Lisa Voisin. Today is the big reveal of the dramatic cover for THE WARRIOR PROPHET, the third book in Lisa's The Watcher Saga.

There is also an excellent giveaway included. You could win THE WATCHER and THE ANGEL KILLER, the first two books in the series, and an angel wing key chain.

Before we go any further, let’s look at that fantastic cover:


Mia Crawford is a prophet.

She can see angels. She also sees demons. Everywhere.

She knows the angels are preparing for war to get her fallen angel boyfriend, Michael, back.

A war that could take years.

Haunted by visions of Michael’s soul being tortured, Mia can’t rest until she knows he’s safe.

To save him, she must make an impossible journey through Hell. Her only guide is the one person she prayed she’d never see again.



Go to Lisa’s website to find out how to win the first TWO eBooks of The Watcher Saga: THE WATCHER and THE ANGEL KILLER PLUS this wonderful key chain.


While the angels battled outside, a ghoulish female demon pounded a crack in the protective structure around Michael’s hospital room with her fist. Her long, stringy black hair whipped over her face with each blow. She struck and struck until she hit the perfect angle. The structure cracked.

Her eyes glowed red and her skin was the color of black polished granite, wet with black slime. With a tearing sound, like ripping silk, the crevice grew. Her form as ragged and filmy as liquid smoke, she slipped into the crevice and poured herself through. I struggled to make a sigil of my own and managed to make the first cone. By the second, she was in my face. Her cold, dead stare mesmerized me and her shrieking pierced my eardrums. But when she reached a bony arm for Michael, I reconnected to the network and ignited the room, throwing her beyond my reach.

She picked herself up and circled the outer edges of my halo, inching closer to test it. I dropped Michael’s chart on the bedside table and flared my energy out further. My halo wasn’t as big or bright as when Michael and I had been connected, but I could hold her off. I had to.


Available April 13, 2016

Pre-Order it now:

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Print

Kobo (epub)

Barnes and Noble   

Add it on Goodreads 


About Lisa Voisin

A Canadian-born author, Lisa Voisin spent her childhood daydreaming and making up stories, but it was her love of reading and writing in her teens that drew her to Young Adult fiction.

Lisa is a technical writer, a meditation teacher, and the leader of the Lynn Valley Literary Society’s Young Writer’s Club, a writing group for teens. A self-proclaimed coffee lover, she can usually be found writing in a local café. When she's not writing, you'll find her meditating or hiking in the mountains.

Though she’s lived in several cities across Canada, she currently lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her fiancé and their two cats.

Find Lisa on Social Media

Twitter:  @lvoisin






The Watcher:

Series: The Watcher Saga #1


Millennia ago, he fell from heaven for her.

Can he face her without falling again?

Fascinated with ancient civilizations, seventeen-year-old Mia Crawford dreams of becoming an archaeologist. She also dreams of wings—soft and silent like snow—and somebody trying to steal them.

When a horrible creature appears out of thin air and attacks her, she knows Michael Fontaine is involved, though he claims to know nothing about it. Secretive and aloof, Michael evokes feelings in Mia that she doesn’t understand. Images of another time and place haunt her. She recognizes them—but not from any textbook.

In search of the truth, Mia discovers a past life of forbidden love, jealousy and revenge that tore an angel from Heaven and sent her to an early grave. Now that her soul has returned, does she have a chance at loving that angel again? Or will an age-old nemesis destroy them both?

Ancient history is only the beginning.

Buy Links:

Amazon Kindle 

Amazon Print 

Barnes and Noble Print:  




The Angel Killer

Series: The Watcher Saga #2


Now that she’s found him again, all Mia Crawford wants is some downtime with her fallen angel boyfriend, Michael. But the call of duty keeps him away—from school and from her—with more demons to smite than ever.

When Michael is mortally wounded by a cursed sword, Mia must perform an ancient blood ritual to save him. But the spell exacts a price. Haunted by visions of war, torture, and despair, Mia discovers the world is in more danger than she ever imagined. Behind the scenes, an evil adversary pulls all the strings.

After redemption, there’s Hell to pay.

Buy Links:

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Print 

Barnes & Noble print



What are you expecting?

Every thought we have is creating our futureLouise Hay.

Last year my husband and I ran a positive thinking experiment. Every evening, one or both of us noted a good memory of the day and stuffed it into an old Planters peanut jar. Recently we started reading some of those brief records of our lives just 12 months ago.

The Huffington Post cites scientific proof that optimism improves our lives. Other sources say it reduces rates of depression, lowers levels of stress, and even boosts our immune system.

Positive thinking doesn’t develop in a single day or a week. Like other things in life worth having, such as a good friend or a fine wine, it takes patience and practice to claim the prize. So we began with something small, notes in a jar. Sometimes we recorded things as simple as spring birdsong at dawn’s first light. Other days our joys were bigger and grander but the idea was simply to recognize that every day was a good day.

What small pleasures do you find in ordinary living? What role does optimism play in our ability to weather difficult times?

What's on your chicken list?

I have two TBR (to be read) lists.

The first is all the books I really, really, really want to read and already own. Many are in my eBook library and vie for my attention daily. The rest sit on the shelves beside my bed and are a constant physical reminder of the wonderful worlds that await me.

The other list is the classic books that I know I should read but have avoided for a number of reasons: 

  1. I worry I won’t be smart enough to understand the profound themes that make them so revered.

  2. I’m certain that the authors’ brilliance will wither my confidence and leave me unable to write.

  3. I dread the archaic language of some of the older books.

To put it bluntly I’ve avoided many books out of simple fear.

Prompted by the purchase of Steinbeck’s East of Eden in December, I’ve decided to go through my fear, not around it.   

Last month I read East of Eden and loved it. Yes, Steinbeck was brilliant. No, I will never write at his level. But I yellow-tagged dozens of pages to go back to and read again. There is so much to learn from his work.

This experience made me wonder: what am I missing in other classic novels in favour of something more contemporary?

Resolution: to balance my ‘should reads’ with my ‘want to reads.’

Do you have any reading resolutions for the 2016? How are they working out so far?

Photo from Wikimedia Commons: Baby meet Moominmama  3 Nov 05 by Phillip Capper

What's bugging you?

Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use. Emily Post.

Some sources even say that good manners will keep us in better health than our ruder acquaintances. Maybe they will. Or maybe they will just make other people feel a bit more respected in our daily dealings. That’s fine too.

What are your biggest gripes with people’s manners? Here are a few complaints I’ve come across lately. Some are mine. Others are the product of eavesdropping, one of my favourite pastimes:

  • People who eavesdrop.

  • People in stores who order salesclerks around like mininons. What happened to please?

  • Salesclerks who conclude transactions with either ‘no worries’ or ‘no problem.’ The customer could have spent their money elsewhere. Why would there be a problem? How about a simple thank you?

  • Sidewalk hogs. The ones that think they own that four feet piece of pavement. They and their mob of friends aren’t going to budge an inch for anyone.

  • Aisle blockers. They shop the way they walk, several people wide with no awareness of anyone else on the planet. If they meet friends, they make aisles impassable.

  • Cell phones not turned off in theatres and cinemas.

  • People who ask for things by email and then can’t be bothered with a simple TY response when they get what they want.

  • Lane blockers. You put your indicator on because you’re about to change lanes. The driver behind you accelerates to close the gap.

  • Litterbugs. Their coffee cups, plastic bags, gum wrappers, cigarette butts festoon city streets.

That’s the starting list but I had to stop. The last one makes my usually excellent blood pressure. When did our planet become on giant rubbish bin?

Still, I’m hopeful. I like to imagine what might happen if everyone turned on their most considerate and thoughtful behaviour. Maybe we’d see these results:

image from Triple M Sydney
  • Happier families and longer marriages.

  • A calmer society.

  • Less road rage.

  • Cheaper coffee.

  • The sun would shine every day. It would only rain between midnight and dawn.

Maybe not that last one but the rest aren’t beyond the realm of possibility.

What rude, self centered behaviour of others has tainted your day lately? How did you handle it?

Are you a young writer?

Here is a completion just for you:



2016 Valerie B-Taylor Young Writers Awards

The Federation of British Columbia Writers invites young writers (29 and under) to submit to our annual Valerie B-Taylor Young Writers Awards. Winners in each of three categories – – fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry – – will be published in the Fed’s quarterly magazine, WordWorks, as well as receiving a year’s membership in the FBCW and $100 in cash.

There is no submission fee!

Entries must be sent by email only. Detailed instructions are below. Judging will be blind.


The deadline for submission to the 2016 Valerie B-Taylor Young Writers Awards is midnight on February 17, 2016.


We have three wonderful final judges for 2016. For poetry: Leaf Press publisher and renowned Vancouver Island poet, Ursula Vaira. Fiction: 2014 Victoria Butler Book Prize winner and prolific author MAC Farrant.  Non-Fiction: Readers’ Digest author and award winning humourist Judy Millar.  Judges will pick winners in each of two age groups: 18 and under and 19-29.

See more information about the Judges Here. 


  • All submitted work must be original, unpublished, and not awaiting publication anywhere. Previously published is considered to be any appearance in print or online, including on or in a newspaper, newsletter, magazine, anthology, chapbook, book, website, electronic magazine, personal blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

  • All submissions are to be formatted in a serif or sans 12pt font, with margins of at least one inch. Acceptable file formats are .doc, docx and pdf.

  • Poetry – No more than three poems per entry; maximum length for each poem 50 lines (including spaces)

  • Short fiction and creative non-fiction – One story or article per entry with a maximum length of 1,500 words, double spaced. Short fiction may be a stand-alone excerpt from a longer work (Please indicate word count on front page).

  • Anonymity is preserved throughout the judging. Therefore please make sure your name/email does not appear anywhere on the manuscript.

  • Provide your complete contact information on a separate cover page that accompanies your entry. This page should include the following: (Please read carefully and make sure you follow, it is really helpful to us).

  1. Header: FBCW Valerie B-Taylor Youth Writing Awards (because we have another writing contest, “Literary Writes”, running concurrently and we don’t want to get the submissions mixed up.

  2. Age category and genre of your submission

  3. Title(s) of your submission

  4. Word or line count

  5. Your name, age, snail mail address and email

  6. Your telephone number.

    The winner will be notified by email. Following that, winners in each category will be announced on the FBCW web page and social media on March 17, 2016.

    Winning entries and a story on Literary Writes will be published in WordWorks.

    The FBCW reserves the right not to award a prize in a category should the judges feel there are not enough submissions to reach a meaningful decision.

    Note: It is not necessary to be a FBCW member to participate in Literary Writes. However, should you wish to join our writer network, you can join at the time of submission for a special rate of $20 (normally $25)