Sunday, 17 June 2018

COMING IN 2018

I attended two classes in 2017 with the late Helen Lamb as the tutor. It was such a loss when she suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. She had shared with the class that she had just completed her first novel and was touting it round looking for a publisher. I am pleased to say that Helen's novel will be published sometime in 2018 and is called 'Three Kinds of Kissing'.

Helen was very encouraging to her students. I followed her advice and sent a novel I had completed out to four agents in Scotland. One came back almost immedately and agreed to represent me and now the novel will be published in time for Christmas this year. It would still be tucked away in a folder on my desktop if Helen had not expressed such urgency for me to 'get it out there now'.

Helen also encouraged me to send one of my pieces of shorter fiction out to 'New Writing Scotland' - an excellent showcase for writing. I again followed her advice and one of my short stories will appear there in August: https://asls.arts.gla.ac.uk/NWS36.html

Teachers can be so important and so inspirational and so generous. And they live on in memory of the things they taught and the people they were - thank you to Helen.


Sunday, 13 May 2018

F, M or OTHER - QUARRELS with the GENDER BINARY


Last night I attended the launch of this wonderful anthology of writing. The event took place at Lovecrumbs Cafe at the West Port in Edinburgh - plenty of coffee and cake on offer… indeed everyone was encouraged to eat more cake and more cake.

This was a sell-out event with over 60 people in the audience - all genders. The atmosphere was celebratory and at the same time intense. There were several readings - some from the anthology and some authors chose to read pieces not included in the anthology. I read my piece 'CAT OUT OF THE BAG'.

After the readings the readers formed an informal panel to answer questions (some submitted online prior to the event and some direct from the audience). This provoked some very intelligent debate around the issues of gender and society and acceptance - oh, and also anger… people who are not treated fairly and not treated like people do, I think, have reason enough to be angry.

This was such an important event and I hope this anthology goes on to do good things. We won't change the world overnight, but we will change it a little at a time. Lots of brave people at this event and I was so thrilled to be associated with what went on - even if my contribution was so small a piece.

You can get the anthology from Knight Errant Press (they have a webpage) or from Lighthouse bookshop in Edinburgh.


BRIGHTON PRIZE ANTHOLOGY LAUNCH


This year the people at The Brighton Prize decided to launch their new anthology from Edinburgh - the winner, Paula Hunter, hails from here and one of the runners-up is not far away (that's me by the way) and one of the shortlistees, Joanna Piesse, comes from the north, too, so it seemed like a good idea.

The event was held in the wonderful 'Golden Hare Bookshop' - I defy any booklover to go in here and not come out with a book or two or three to add to their bookshelves…a simply beautiful selection of books. The shops holds about 32 in the audience and the place was pretty full.

It is such an intimate and lovely venue to read in and the staff are so friendly and welcoming. It was a bright warm Edinburgh evening - and that always lifts the mood in the city. People shrug off their winter wardrobes and everywhere is lit up and filled with colour.

The readings went well - I really enjoyed hearing Paula and Joanna's stories read. Paula's is so beautifully understated and poignant; Joanna's has a punchy first page and a captivating voice. The readings were well received and the audience had time at the end to ask questions - good questions, too, something we could get our teeth into. And I believe we shifted some anthologies.

All in all, a successful launch to The Brighton Prize anthology.

Thanks to everyone.


Thursday, 1 March 2018

TO BE PUBLISHED IN 2018

News just in - the news I hinted at in the last post - I will have a novel published later this year, one that I am really very proud of and that has been in my desk drawer for a number of years now and which I was pushed to 'get out there' by the late Helen Lamb who was a teacher of mine for almost a year. The contracts are signed.

The novel will first be published in hardback… probably in October. 

This could not have come at a better time for me. I have not exactly been blocked these past months, but have not written much… which is not how it has been these past ten years. I have a lot of short stories done and dusted and many are in print in nice places and have had very good things said about them. But I needed to make the next step up with the writing - the step that increases the readership and shows what I can do on a bigger canvas. I am hopeful that this novel will do that.

And now I feel motivated to bring more of my novels to the table, to get them redrafted and polished and 'out there'.

More news will follow - details on the novel and publisher etc.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

News round up

So, runner-up in The Brighton Prize (story section this time... last year I won the Brighton Prize flash fiction section) and that was a good enough note to end 2017 on. Except, I also heard that my children's novel, 'The Chess Piece Magician' has fallen out of print and that felt a wee bit sad.

This year, 2018, may hold some news to make being out of print with 'Chess Piece' more bearable - all very hush hush at the moment and exciting and not counting any chickens before they're hatched… but will let people know as soon as I am able.

Happy New Year to everyone and high hopes for a better year and a brighter year and a year with kindness and good thoughts and good deeds - universally.



Saturday, 28 October 2017

PODCAST FOR CASKET OF FICTIONAL DELIGHTs

As Promised, here is the link for the Casket of Fictional Delights' podcast of the winning flash fictions read by real actors and actresses. Cannot believe my story won this competition with so many good pieces. You could do a lot worse than tune in to listen to these stories. Lovely work.

http://www.thecasket.co.uk/audio/


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

CASKET OF FICTIONAL DELIGHTS

Just to say that you can read a wee flash of mine here

It was winner in The Casket of Fictional Delights' annual flash fiction competition judged this year by Kit De Waal. I entered this competition for the same reason I enter all the competitions I enter - it is always a thrill for me to have someone read my work. I was so pleased to reach the shortlist and to have Kit read my piece and to then have her say such kind things about my craft. Thanks to her and to Joanna Sterling who runs 'Casket' and who also said some nice things about the story.

Congratulations to Neem Shah and Zoe Meager who also did well in this competition, and to all the others on the shortlist. You can read their pieces on the site.

At a later date you will be able to hear the pieces read by a real actor/actress. I will post a link here when that happens.