Monday, 6 June 2011


I have lots of competition winners to announce today! All the ones with the deadline of 1st June. (The Big WTBP Writing Comp is still open – deadline 1st July.)

Pick Me to Win a Crabbit Mug
The entries to this were a horrible mixture of emotional blackmail, wheedling, flattery, wit, creativity and plain desperation. You tugged at my heart-strings, all of you. I wanted to give you all a mug. I really wanted to give one to Dan Holloway, selflessly requesting one for his mug-collecting, artistically-talented, writer-wife. I was almost swayed by Bookmaven’s attempts to tick all the boxes, including telling me she wasn’t worthy. I so wanted to give one to Mikeyboro who does seem to need a mug very, very badly.

But in the end, how could I resist the clever approach of the person who managed to insert eight of my own book titles into her entry?

So, Eleanor Patrick wins with this:
“Blame my Brain for this bizarre thought, but if this mug doesn’t perch safely on my shelf, it might be Wasted, or given to a Chicken Friend, sold in the Fleshmarket, eaten by a Deathwatch beetle or shattered under The Highwayman’s Footsteps. Besides, I could use it when Sleepwalking. But I suppose I Can Learn to think better thoughts if you don’t like this one!”
But then, I realised that Dan Holloway really had to win a mug too, because over and above his own impressive appeal, someone else (Jo) appealed for him. So, Dan, I will find another mug for you :)

#lessinterestingbooks competition
This one was a “random” pick, thank goodness. And so, with thanks to everyone who entered and who helped my #lessinterestingbooks game be the No1 worldwide Twitter trending topic, I hereby announce the winner of a crabbit bag:
Fab children’s writer, Katherine Langrish!

Competition of competitions
Again, this was a random pick from all the entries to all the competitions, and the comments below the post. And the winner is:
Mikeyboro! (Choose mug, bag or book.)

Monthly draw
Each month, I take the names of all those who have ordered a signed copy of Write to be Published direct from me and pick one at random to receive a crabbit bag.
The winner of the May competition is: Jacqueline Pye!

If the rest of you would like a chance to win in June, don’t forget to order from me by emailing your request to and saying whether you’d like to pay by paypal or cheque. NB I do need to add postage and packing, so the total will be £10.49, and I can only post to the UK.

What Not to Say in a Covering Letter
This was the fun one. Do head over to read all the entries – they made me laugh a lot. I ended up giving two prizes, one for getting the answer most correct and the other for being most creative or amusing (in my opinion). And it was extremely difficult to choose. You were all very amusing and had so got the point about crappy covering letters.

The question was: What awful covering letter mistake have I admitted once making? The correct answer is that I wrote the covering letter in rhyme and in different colours. So, most exactly correct, and therefore winner of that prize, was catdownunder, who used grit and determination to come up with the answer:
“I prowled back through the COB's posts to 18th March 2009 looking for a clue. That is the post in which ma-am admits to sending a submission letter in rhyme. Do you realise that she makes this admission in no less than seven different colours and two different sizes of font. It makes me wonder whether these sins extended to her covering letter at that time?” Yup!
The winner of the “most creative wrong answer” is Sian, because although she was wrong, she did actually write the entry in rhyme, which got her an extra few marks. Sian also manages to cover a whole load of possible errors in the rhyme:
“You don’t have much time
So I’ll finish my rhyme
But before I bid you adieu:
A lock of my hair
In a brooch you can wear
Designed especially for you.

A holiday pic
(No, don’t take the mick)
That hat just slipped over my nose
My best autograph
(Oh please, please don’t laugh)
And a freshly picked red dewy rose.

Did I nick it? Well maybe
From next door’s old lady
(She won’t notice she’s seems to have squillions.)
But you and I, dear
Year after year
Will be making millions and millions.”
Wonderfully bad!

However, I absolutely must award an extra prize. Penwright, have I ever said that the book was about a heron? Or that I used that curly fake-handwriting font? Because both things are true. Perhaps I have said it somewhere but, if so, you are very observant. If not, you're a bloody genius. Can you please tell me how you knew that? And I’ll send you a crabbit bag for your cleverness!

I also commend Mark Anderson for also mentioning the curly handwriting font.

And Marina Drummond, who said, “There were colours: lettering and backdrop; hearts dotted about the paper. Wafts of perfume exuded from the lovely purple envelope, sealed in wax. The words stood out in stunning medieval calligraphy, with a few curls to add character. A photograph was glued to the centre of the page, tailored into a heart-shaped frame. Sparkles and gold stars adorned the masterpiece and fell out onto the grey table in the agent's office so as to remind him of the marvels of childhood. Flowers, patterns, hope, poetry: just before posting it, sending it off into the great unknown, there was a pause and a small pink lipstick kiss. The envelope looked beautiful, almost as if it was whispering back to you, 'And so, with a kiss, I die' - and you knew it was a good omen.”

Katherine Langrish also adds a cautionary tale for us: “One agent I was recently chatting with told me that he'd had an ms hand-delivered to his office door by the author dressed up in a full bio-hazard suit. The agent nearly had a heart-attack when he opened the door, and the ms went unread into the bin. So that's one to avoid, too.”

And I did like Mike Jarman’s entry: “And you'll also find enclosed a picture of my speciality handstand. No, really - I'm well known for them. If you accept my MS I can send you more...”

So the following need to send me their addresses, even if you’ve given them to me before:

Eleanor Patrick wins a mug
Dan Holloway wins a mug
Mikeyboro wins his choice of a book, mug or bag
Katherine Langrish wins a bag
Jacqueline Pye wins a bag
Catdownunder wins a bag
Sian wins a bag
Penwright wins a bag


Jane Smith said...

Am I alone in wanting to see that picture of Mike Jarman's "speciality handstand"?


catdownunder said...

No, I want to see it too Jane! :-) Thanks for all that Nicola. It was good fun and provided a much needed laugh Downunder.

Dan Holloway said...


Mike Jarman said...

Here is a picture of her ladyship performing for a well known interviewer.

Nicola Morgan said...

Mike, excuse me while I sort out a superinjunction against you...

Mike Jarman said...


womagwriter said...


Well done to all winners. I shall go and snivel quietly, Crabbit bag-lessly, in a corner.

David Griffin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Griffin said...

"Crabbitbaglessly": marvellous word, womagwriter! I had quite forgotten that word+derivatives, until I reread some of the famous novels:

A crabbitbagless screaming comes across the sky. - Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow (1973)

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a crabbitbagless wife. - Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen, crabbitbaglessly. - George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

I am an invisible and crabbitbagless man. - Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the crabbitbags, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness. - Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)



womagwriter said...

LOL David, you'll start a new books game if you're not careful!

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was an entirely crabbitbagless age...(Dickens)

Last night I dreamed I was Crabbitbagless again...(Du Maurier)

David Griffin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marina Drummond said...

curiouser and curiouser... so many deleted comments! ...of the ilk of the unhappy crabbitbagless, I presume.

thanks for the commendation - I feel as though I've won a school prize for effort, but not talent :) anyway, one lives in hope of the big WTBP comp. Either that or I can wait till crabbitbags/mugs/and most importantly BOOKS - find their way across the atlantic!

also, congrats to the winners. I'm sure you fully deserve to live fulfilled, happy crabbitbagfull lives....!!

Katherine Langrish said...

Golly! Thanks! :))
I get in from a week travelling up and down to London EVERY DAY (and therefore not checking online) and look what happens!
Can't wait for my crabbit bag (which I doubt I did enough to deserve), but YAY anyway!

Derek said...

Well done all and here's to the next one!

Penwright said...

Hello Nicola - sorry for the long silence, but I have been away on holiday and then for work. However, I am thrilled beyond words to see that I have won a bag! I discovered the heron/curly font details by trawling back through all your blog posts... I heard you at Cambridge WordFest and was so inspired (and amused) that I spent the rest of the weekend reading your blog history - and up popped the heron, so to speak! Can't wait to swank around with the bag - thank you, thank you, thank you!

Nicola Morgan said...

Penwright - good to hear from you and thank you for your lovely comments. I'm glad you're looking forward to receiving your bag but you may have to wait a long time if you don't send me your address...! My email address is