Quick one today to say that I’m thrilled to be over at the lovely Jen Campbell’s blog today, answering one or two questions about words. Click here to see.
So, on Tuesday 5th August I’m running a writing workshop for children. It’s for children aged 7 and up and will only cost £2. I’m looking forward to it very much. I used to run an awful lot of workshops for children when I wrote for them but since switching to writing things for adults I’ve not really done any (I think the last one was back in 2008). So, yes. I’m looking forward to it. It will be fun. Places are limited so it’s probably best to book early, and you can do so here.
So, I’ve been a little quiet on here of late. Mostly because I’ve been busy. But I’ve managed to shift a mountain of work from my desk/computer and now I’m a little freer I’d like to point you in a couple of cool directions.
First, the winner and shortlisted mini-flash collections, from the Bookimbo competition I judged, are now available. They’re very lovely indeed and you can check them out here. Watch out for an interview with the winner, right here, very soon.
Second, National Flash Fiction Day happened a little while ago and the anthology to celebrate it is available here. There’s a story of mine in it. Doesn’t it look good?
And that’s about it for now. More soon…
The lovely and very talented Carys Bray has a new book out. A novel, and it sounds excellent. So, as she’s lovely and talented I’m thrilled to have her back on the blog to talk about it. And as if that’s not enough, leave a comment and you could get your hands on a signed copy. Over to Carys…
Nik has invited me to his blog to talk about my debut novel A Song for Issy Bradley which was published on 19th June – thank you, Nik! Here’s a little bit about the book:
This is the story of what happens when Issy Bradley dies.
It’s the story of Ian – husband, father, maths teacher and Mormon bishop – and his unshakeable belief that everything will turn out all right if he can only endure to the end, like the pioneers did. It’s the story of his wife Claire’s lonely wait for a sign from God and her desperate need for life to pause while she comes to terms with what’s happened.
It’s the story of the agony and hope of Zippy Bradley’s first love. The story of Alma Bradley’s cynicism and reluctant bravery. And it is the story of seven-year-old Jacob. His faith is bigger than a mustard seed, probably bigger than a toffee bonbon and he’s planning to use it to mend his broken family with a miracle.
A Song for Issy Bradley is a novel about family, but it’s also about faith, doubt and miracles – things that have always interested me. I was raised in a Mormon family. As a child I spent many hours in church meetings, listening as the adults told miraculous stories from the scriptures and everyday life. Many of the miracles were decidedly prosaic – the finding of lost car keys and fortuitous encounters in Asda – but others were startling and marvellous. In a particularly memorable tale, a Mormon Elder was said to have commanded a dead man to rise, and the man sat up and explained that the life had come back into him like a blanket unrolling. I loved these stories, they made the world a magical place. And as I wrote the novel as I revisited many of them.
I never expected my little book to find a big publisher. As a result I’ve been very uncool (i.e incredibly excited) at pretty much every stage of the publication process. It was exciting to see the book for the first time – it has a beautiful cover, really lovely end pages and, without its jacket, it is red, my favourite colour. It was exciting to read a blog about how the cover was developed. It was exciting to read lovely blurbs and kind reviews. And it was extremely exciting to see A Song for Issy Bradley posters up at various tube stations when I visited London last week. I wandered around the underground with a slightly inane grin on my face (it’s possible that I’m still wearing the inane grin, a whole week later). It is also exciting to visit Nik’s long-established blog and talk about my very first novel – thank you so much for having me, Nik!
If you’d like a chance to win a signed copy of A Song for Issy Bradley, comment at the end of this post and I’ll pick a winner within a week or two.
I finished the latest draft of the work in progress yesterday (it feels almost done, which is a great situation to be in) so most of my time since has been/will be dedicated to catching up on things I’ve meant to have done already. I’ve a huge pile of emails I need to attend to and there are a few things that need writing, so they’ll be done very soon.
In the meantime, here’s what Bookmunch had to say about Beautiful Words.
I think this is my favourite line from the review: ‘It’s hard to argue with a book that picks the word ‘fuck’ as its most beautiful F word.’ Indeed. Who am I to argue?
If you’d like to have a click here then you’ll be able to see the shortlist and the winner of the Bookimbo flash fiction competition I judged. A massive congratulations to all who are on it and a huge thank you to everyone who entered. Judging was a huge amount of fun because the standard of the stories was so high. Thank you for making the job a really difficult one!
Very pleased to point you in the direction of the Bookimbo Flash Fiction competition longlist. A huge congratulations to those who made it on there. The standard of entries was really, really high and there were loads of really good ones which didn’t quite make it so please don’t be too disappointed if yours was one.
And I’m over here, in New Zealand’s finest’s Flash Frontier mag, talking Beautiful Words in a piece illustrated (quite wonderfully) by Wellington Cartoonist Grant Buist and the lovely Rae Joyce.
Here’s one of my favourites.
I have had a busy (well, busier than normal) couple of weeks. I’ve been writing and teaching as usual, and I’ve been reading too. Most relevant (to me) is my copy of the brilliant There Was Once a Place (which is out now), the latest Fiction Desk anthology containing my story, Loss Angina. It’s a brilliant book, brilliantly produced.
Look, they said lovely things about me too.
I’ve also signed off the proof of my story, I Am No Good at Video Games, which is out next week as part of the National Flash Fiction Day anthology. I’ve only been in one anthology before, it’s not something I’ve ever really bothered with for some reason, so it’s all pretty exciting and different.
And, since Saturday, I’ve been judging the Bookimbo flash fiction competition. With over 300 hundred stories read it’s been both hard work and fun and it’s reminded me just how much of a double-edged sword judging can be. One one hand (or edge of the sword) it’s brilliant to be able to read so much good fiction, and on the other it’s horrible because so much of that good fiction won’t win. I emailed the long list yesterday, so that should be up at some point very soon. Watch this space.
And, speaking of very soon, I’m off to give a talk at a library about getting published shortly, so I’d better get my skates on.
I’ve just heard from the good people over at The Fiction Desk that my copy of the anthology, There Once Was a Place – which contains my story, Loss Angina – will be with me soon. And that means it’ll be shipping to those who’ve preordered soon too. If you’ve not and you’d like to, head over here. It’s available as an eBook too, if that’s your preferred format.
And to give you a little teaser, here’s the beginning of my story…
“A couple of months after Jude left the man shaved off his lips. Won’t be needing these anymore, he said to himself, standing before the bathroom mirror, razor in hand, the tap dripping.”
I’m over at the lovely C L Taylor’s place today, answering questions about Beautiful Words and about being on my deathbed.
Also, there’s a COMPETITION. Go here to be in with a chance of winning your very own copy.