The new issue of Gutter is out now, and features one of my stories from Mayhem & Death – as well as a wonderful review of On the Edges of Vision. My book turns one year old on the 18th of this month. It was launched at Waterstones Argyle Street, right before I headed out on the American book tour. Hard to believe that it’s been a year already! I’m still not over the book winning the Saltire First Book of the Year award either.
A year, a year – and what have I been up to lately. I know I’ve been quiet here. Much of that is to do with the fact I’ve been working away on line edits for Flesh of the Peach, coming out next spring. It’s been a wonderful process, neither too invasive nor not rigorous enough – edits from an excellent editor are so important for tweaking bits into focus and letting the heart of the novel shine through. Now the book is off to the proofreader, and I’m anticipating the next phases: the cover and blurbs. Still floating ahead of me in the dusk. While that happens, I’ve work to do on the witchy novel I’ve spoken about here. Drafting and redrafting. Circling in on what is important there. The bones and the flesh of the thing refined. It’s easy to get discouraged at this – so far from the finish line that it seems to be an impossible distance away. It’s been almost two years since I completed the novella version of the book, and by optimistic calculations perhaps another year before it’s finished. I think come the autumn it will be easier. It’s an autumnal book, a little eerie, a little surreal. Littleg at all in kinship with Flesh of the Peach, which is, as my editor said, a ‘dark star’ of a novel. But part of me now, having read the earlier book, wants to bring something in line with the latter. I might have to dig down for texture, something a bit brutal – but trying to do so without crushing the sweet, folktale feel I want it to have. Hmm. Work to be done. I’d better get started.
If you’d like to buy Gutter no 15, here’s the link. You’ll be supporting writing from Scotland and elsewhere. Lots to read and much to discover, and only £6.99.
A new story from the in-progress collection Mayhem and Death is in Southword Journal:
They had bought the automaton town from a strange man in small offices in the city. They had bought the automaton town, and had it wrapped in soft cloth and transported by barge so as not to risk damage. When the barge came to the closest point to their home, they sent men with a specially constructed pallet to lift the automaton town and walk it across the lawns and into the ballroom, where it filled nearly a quarter of the floor space. There may never be dancing again, thought the daughter of the house.
Another flash fiction from the in-progress collection Mayhem and Death has gone up on Winter Tangerine.
I want to tell you about this other film I saw, one night when you were out sticking twigs in your hair and shoving your hand into the mouths of foxes, you dank, fleshy monster. This film was about a woman who had lost her snakes.
Writer Hayley Webster is hosting an online literary festival right now, and as part of it she has interviewed me on On the Edges of Vision and being a writer and speaking up for other writers (which she does herself very often, as evidenced by the efforts she has gone through to organise a literary festival under her own steam!)
Another flash from Mayhem and Death to share today, based on folklore I learned from Folklore Thursday‘s tweets:
They killed the hare when the mist was on the early morning river. They had come upon her in an abutting field, while crossing it silently out on a hunt. She lay in her form, resting, eyebright and whiskers quivering.
Two flash pieces to share today, from my work-in-progress collection Mayhem & Death:
Music swells and the branches of the trees catch at your veil, and you are every heroine of romance, ripping loose her stitches to get out of the picture. Into the open field. No more compulsive acquiescence. No more smiling on cue.
A curious state of affairs, Ausweiger thought as the men drove him through the desert towards their destination.