W r i t e r ' s o f t h e F u t u r e
In 1987 Mike (still with an 'i') picked up a Science Fiction anthology from WH Smith. It was Writers of the Future volume III. He thought it was a good read and was intrigued to see that it wasn't just any anthology but one that formed part of a competition. It seemed a good place to send stories, because writing stories was something he'd just started to do.
Mike put the book on a shelf and waited until he was ready. He wrote some stories. Then he stopped writing so that he could become an accountant, but then some years later, he started writing again.
In 2008 he was looking for story markets and found that dusty old volume III on his shelf. He wondered if it was possible that the competition might still be out there. Incredibly, after more than twenty years, Writer's of the Future was still going and bigger than ever, so Mike sent them a story. It won.
Here's the video of the award ceremony in 2009 for Writer's of the Future XXV. It is one of his proudest moments.
Writer's of the Future is probably the world's biggest prize for aspiring new genre writers. Here's the link. Writers of the Future Contest