I was off social media for most of Monday (a situation that usually makes friends panic that I might have died) and so it wasn’t until late in the day that I saw the incredibly exciting news that Sleep Is A Beautiful Colour, the story I wrote about my then- five-year-old, has been nominated by the National Flash Fiction Day Anthology for Best Small Fictions 2018. Yay! Getting the email from Tino Prinzi last summer to ask if I’d let them use it as the title story for the 2017 NFFD anthology was one of my most exciting moments in writing to date. This is the strawberry butter icing on that cake.
About Best Small Fictions: https://www.facebook.com/TheBestSmallFictions/
Lovely news this week that my story, Reunion – inspired by a reunion with my best friend from school a few months back in which we partied like it was 1999, dancing to terrible music out of hours at a softplay centre – has been picked for the Ellipsis Zine Two anthology. The sheer joy of meeting up with someone you adored for years, and finding you still adore each other, found its way into words that reflect the spirit of rather than reality of our friendship, in this story. We were (and are) WAY less cool in real life, but we had so much fun, always.
Thrilled to have my downbeat micro flash, Holy Night, chosen by Open Pen London litmag to be the Christmas Eve story in their Twelve Days of Christmas series: http://www.openpen.co.uk/holy-night/ Pretty happy too that they let me have The Smiths’ Please Please Please as my contribution to their accompanying Christmas playlist, on the wafer-thin ground that it was ‘once used in a John Lewis Christmas advert’. It’s one of my favourite songs, especially at the moment.
This flash was originally a free-write in response to a challenge last year to write a Christmas-themed story for our writing group. I remembered it this year and searched in the dozen or so scraggy notebooks I have stuff scribbled all over. Remarkably, I found it in the first one I tried. Even more remarkably, given my ‘disturbed spider fell in some ink’ style of handwriting, I could read all but one word of it, and rewrote it for this year.
Thanks, Open Pen, for letting me be part of your brilliantly warped and slightly disturbing Christmas stocking, this year – it was an honour.
Edmonton airport travellers can read free short stories while waiting for flight
A few months ago I was approached by Canada-based writer Jason Lee Norman about an exciting secret project he’d been working on for some time, bringing Canada’s first ever short story dispenser machine to Edmonton International Airport. The airport was keen to invest in something so creative and innovative and the project had reached the stage where they were looking for flash fiction writers from the local area and from destination countries, including the UK, to submit the stories that would fill the machine.
Was I interested? Er, YES PLEASE. Did I know any other UK flash writers who might also want to submit stories for consideration…? Yes – yes, I kinda thought I might :).
I wasn’t wrong – there was LOT of enthusiasm and excitement among UK flash writers about this project. The short story dispenser launched successfully early in December – I have two stories in the machine, and about a dozen UK-based writer friends have work in there too. We’ve been playing spot-the-story as passengers have shared pictures on the internet of the stories the machine has dispensed to them. We hope they have taken some of them home to keep and to love.
More dispenser machines are planned soon, with the potential for our stories to end up all over the world. The stories are free to the readers, with royalties being paid to authors each time their work is dispensed. Many thanks to Jason for such an unusual and brilliant opportunity.
Very happy to have two stories up in this month’s Connotation Press, one started in a Kathy Fish Fast Flash class, the other from a prompt from my mentor, the utterly wonderful Tania Hershman. And as write-ups go, this is kinda nice. Thanks, Jonathan Cardew.
This story started in a Meg Pokrass Facebook class – highly recommended, by the way, and terrific fun. Meg’s prompts are left-field and brilliant. It’s undergone a lot of rewriting but finally achieved one of my publication goals by appearing in this month’s edition of (b)OINK. Many thanks to Rob Parrish for picking this one up. You can read Whiteout here.
I’m still finding my way with sending things out to lit. mags. Well, ok, to anywhere, really. I love to write, but spend ages rewriting and editing, trying to drag the story up towards being the sort of thing the better writer I want to be might produce.
I spent the last couple of months working on a thing I really wanted to apply for, trying very hard to write The Best Story I Have Ever Written. Turns out that sort of pressure isn’t the absolute best, creativity-wise, but it did result in a clutch of new story drafts, like a little nest of hatchling eggs. That metaphor is going to get weird if I try to continue it, but the upshot is that I’m now trying to rewrite and send out a few of them.
I really, really don’t sub enough, to the point that I’ve never had to write a cover email before, so the one I wrote for my first sub of this week was pretty embarrassingly awful. Happily (well, kind of) it resulted in a speedy, but very kindly-worded rejection, which afforded me the opportunity to write a proper email back to say thank you.
The second sub was via Submittable – easier not to blunder – and resulted in an even speedier ACCEPTANCE. Joy!
All in all, I reckon this subbing business might get to be kinda fun, given time. Wish me luck.