Flash fiction, Bath and utter filth

13886451_10208524016330211_6416325799480538441_nI was part of a fun evening of flash fiction readings in Bath last week. It was a packed house, an excellent atmosphere and brought home to me how good this type of fiction is for reading events. Literary festival organisers should take note – flash works!

The event was organised by Jude Higgins, who is pretty much Dame Flash of Bath, as she is the person behind the Bath Flash Fiction Award as well as being a successful flash writer herself.

Other writers/readers were:

  • Santino Prinzi, Flash Fiction editor of Firefly Magazine who was reading from his Chapbook Dots, and other flashes of perception which is due to be published by Nottingham Review in September.
  • Bath writer Diane Simmons, who has been widely published in short story and flash fiction anthologies and magazines. You can find out more via her website.
  • Carrie Etter, who is so renowned as a poet she has her own Wikipedia page, but also has a stellar rep as a flash writer – her new Chapbook of flash stories Hometown is available from V.Press.
  • Meg Pokrass, who was reading from her flash collection The Dog Looks Happy Upside Down from Etruscan Press (and the copyright holder of the image on this post that I have borrowed shamelessly). Meg has published a number of flash books, does flash readings, teaches flash, edits flash magazines. In short, she quite likes flash fiction.
  • Me.

Why the utter filth in the heading of this post, well that might have been down to one of my flashes which might have been about cunnilingus followed by a flash from Meg Pokrass that had a description of a part of a woman’s anatomy as a ‘velvet donation box’.

Now that may sound less than classy and hardly the highbrow kind of evening you might expect, but all I can say is – the audience lapped it up!

Brittle Star, Alison Moore & a short story

BStar-cv-38-193x300It’s always a good moment when the postie (should that be ‘postperson’ these days?) rings the bell and hands over a parcel. Even better when the parcel contains an anthology or book or magazine that one of your stories appears in. Even better when you didn’t realise (probably due to huge stupidity on your part) that the story was even going to be published.

And so it was a few weeks ago when my postman (for he is a man) handed me a wrapped copy of Brittle Star Issue 38. My story Bone Hard Ground had been Commended in the Brittle Star Short Story Competition, judged by Alison Moore.

Yes, that’s the Alison Moore who was shortlisted for the Booker Prize a couple of years ago for her novel The Lighthouse. And her latest book Death and the Seaside has just been published by Salt Publishing.

She said of the story that it: “has a strong sense of the past underlying the present and a striking final image.” I can go with that…

What I like about Brittle Star, apart from the obvious dedication and enthusiasm of the editors and publishers to promote new work, and the hard work that goes into it, is that it has little line drawings at the start of each section. For some reason, I find these strangely comforting.

So, if you want to read a copy of Brittle Star Issue 38, just click on the link to the publishers website. And if you want to know more about the magazine, submission details and taking out a subscription then go to the website at www.brittlestar.org.uk.


Writer pats himself on the back for doing okay

anthcover2016I am discovering that as a writer, it’s important to occasionally take some time out and assess what you have achieved recently. After all, no-one else is going to do that for you. Plus it makes a pleasant change from either writing, worrying about writing, worrying about not writing, lying awake wondering why your writing has become utter arse gravy and going to work because you don’t earn enough from your writing.

So, I thought I would post a little update on recent publications and a few more in the pipeline.

If you like stories with talking orang-utans (and frankly, who doesn’t) then my short story Being The Good Guys has been published over at The Forge Literary Magazine, a splendid Anglo-American venture.

Meanwhile, I have a another story available to read on the Bare Fiction Magazine website, called The Day of Joy, which was Highly Commended in the Bare Fiction Prize 2015, judged by Paul McVeigh.

Hold on, there’s more. My flash fiction story Two Kids, Three Balloons is forthcoming in an anthology called A Box Of Stars Beneath The Bed, which is being published in conjunction with National Flash Fiction Day 2016. (I will put more details about events taking place on National Flash Fiction Day on this blog shortly).

But don’t go just yet. Or rather, come back soon as I will be revealing a couple of more snippets of news soon too, including details of a story that will appear in Unthology 10 from Unthank Books.

Right, that’s enough for now, laurel resting done for a while. Time to get back to making a story that’s better than the last one. Onwards on upwards….

A3 Review Final Call For Submissions

A3_Issue_5_RGB_grandeI’m currently Guest Editor over at the A3 Review, the literary magazine that acts like a map, from the people who bring you Writing Maps.
Each month there’s a writing contest and May’s theme is: Five Senses. Smell, taste, touch, sound, vision. DEADLINE: 28 May 2016! Entries only accepted via Submittable.
What would it be like to lose one, or two, or all the senses. Or maybe have a sense greatly enhanced. Is there a sixth sense? Think about relationships between the senses, about situations like a meal or a kiss or a dangerous meeting where senses are heightened. Maybe a character is forced to undergo sensory deprivation. Think how the senses can trigger evocative memories. Or think about animals and how differently they perceive the world through their senses.

The A3 Review welcome short stories, flash fiction, comics, graphic stories, a snippet of memoir, photographs, illustrations, and any combination of the above. The only restriction is a word-limit of 150 and images should fit well into an A6 panel.

For more inspiration, visit A3 Review on Twitter. Please make sure to view full guidelines here.

Entry fee is $5 (approx £3) per submission. Multiple submissions welcome.
All genres welcome. All writers and artists welcome. Welcome is the key word here…

The two winning entries will be published in Issue #5 of The A3 Review, the Writing Maps Journal. Winners will also receive Writing Maps and other goodies.

The three overall winners of the March till August contests will receive cash prizes of £150 for 1st; £75 for 2nd; and £50 for 3rd.

So, now I’ve told you, the rest is up to you. I look forward to reading your entries.

A smidgeon of news

A3_Review_Issue_4_Cover_1024x1024It’s been a decent year so far from this small corner of the writing universe. So here’s a round up of what’s been happening since February.

Bath Flash Fiction Award: I was shortlisted for the latest Bath Flash Fiction Award. Congratulations to all the winners. There’s a new competition already underway, with a deadline in June 2016. My flash ‘My Father, Who Ate A Tree’, will appear in the Award anthology later in the year.

The Forge Literary Magazine: This Anglo-American magazine will be publishing my short story ‘Being The Good Guys’ in June. It features a talking orang-utan – what’s not to like about that!

The A3 Review: I am guest-editor of the next edition of the A3 Review, the literary magazine that acts like a map, from the people who create Writing Maps. Each month the A3 Review holds a competition, looking for the best in flash fiction, poems, graphic stories and illustrations. I will be choosing two winners each month between now and August for inclusion in the 5th issue. You can find out more and enter the competition via The A3 Review Submittable page

That will do for now. I hope to have more news very soon….

An interview at The Short Story

m3ql_aJ1_400x400Hello website, it’s been a while, did you miss me?

Anyway, here’s a brief news item and a shameless plug. I was given an opportunity to wax lyrical (or as lyrical as I can get) about short stories, writing, publishing etc, over at The Short Story, a website set up to celebrate and publish anything and everything to do with short fiction.

Always good to answer some questions about short fiction, so feel free to have a read.

That is all!

New short story in Nottingham Review

7010094I have a new short story, about eclipses and relationships (of course), appearing in the next edition of The Nottingham Review www.thenottinghamreview.com

If any writers out there want to join me on the pages of this new literary magazine, then the submissions window is open until mid-November 2015. Theme is vaguely winterish, both flash fiction and short stories are accepted.

To get a flavour of what’s required, here’s what editor Spencer Chou said about the magazine in the first edition:

“I want the focus of The Nottingham Review to be on the everyday. Stories written with simple language not weighed down by ornate, distracting description. Characters and situations that people can relate to. Stories about things so ordinary and familiar that the beauty to be found there is frequently overlooked.”