Tag Archives: good things

The Unsung Letter

At the behest of some twitter enablers, I have set up a tinyletter, which, if you’re not familiar with the term, is a bit like a blog that you can subscribe to and have it come to your inbox. A lot like a blog, then. But quite popular now.


The tinyletter in question is The Unsung Letter, a response to the lack of word-of-mouth that some books receive on publication. It seems that certain books are doomed to obscurity from the start, when they really should be read and sung about and passed around and bought, and the writer of the book given a brief clap on the back to let them know that yes, their words were heard, and connected to others. SO. The Unsung Letter will be a once-weekly post from a different writer/bookentity/nanotechnologist/lover of the newly obscure, recommending a book that they think people should read. And at the bottom of the post, there will be a link to buy that book, and a bio of the post writer.


A good few good people have already volunteered to write posts, so I expect this project will be a fun and fruitful one. Here’s to singing praise for the good books. The first missive is live, and to introduce things, it’s a recommendation from me. It can only improve (but I think you will like the book I recommend)


Sign up >>>>HERE<<<<


(It’s free and only takes an email address to do)

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Patience 2

It only takes a little while sometimes for a mood to turn, for the puddles to start drying up (today I saw that before my eyes, steam curling off just-soaked pavements).


In the last few days, while writing and not writing, I have:


received a video of a beloved writer reading her work out to me, from her lovely garden, with light everywhere.


and very shortly afterwards –


received word that I will be reading stories from On the Edges of Vision at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August, as part of an emerging writers’ series. A dream.


If you will be in Edinburgh on the 15th of August (a Saturday) please come along. Here are the details, and the names of other writers/readers. If you can’t make it, recordings of the works will be up on the website after the event!

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On the Edges of Vision has a cover!

I’m in love with the cover design created by Brian Mihok. It’s both warm and and slightly sinister – and I think hints at a number of stories in the collection. >>>>>>>Go check it out on Queen’s Ferry Press’s site [ah go on, click it – you can see blurbs for the collection there too!].


And then, if you like, you can add it to your to-read pile on Goodreads (if you use another library aggregation site and On the Edges of Vision isn’t there, do leave a comment)

(leave a comment anyway)

(let me know what you think)

(can you tell I am excited! My book has a cover!)




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One good bye and one HOOORAY

My very last post is up on Necessary Fiction.


Go over there and click on all the writers (for info on Chris Rice, you need only her wonderful piece, here)


So it is goodbye, and I’ve had an incredible time. I hope some of you have enjoyed reading my posts – if you haven’t got round to it, they are all archived here. Take your time.


I also have two announcements, one sad, one happy:


Sad, first: my agent Drea and I have parted ways. I was very sad to let her go, but circumstances are tough right now and I think it was the best decision, for her and for me. I look forward to reading work by her authors in the future.


It’s never nice to share bad news , so I put off talking about it for some time. But now I have a piece of good news to share, which balances things out:


I have just learned that I’ve been accepted for the Banff Mountain Residency this winter! Four Scottish artists are heading out to Alberta! In a month! And I am one of them!


OK, breathe. I have a wonderful multi-step project lined up for the residency, alongside goals for novel number three, which I have been to frantically busy to work on for close to two months. I am so grateful to the Banff Centre for choosing me, and – that’s it for the moment. Watch this space!


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Little boats


Writers and artists are in the business of making little boats.


By that I mean, of building things they then send out into the world. Mostly, of course, art of all kinds, but sometimes rafts connected to same. Efforts to send their work out into the world, or to directly aid them in making further art.


That is what I have been up to, all the week long. A few days ago I posted a link to the Creative Futures Banff Mountain Residency. Just go and look at the website and the Leighton Artists’ Colony Studios and see how gorgeous the landscape of Banff looks. Icy, wintry air and slabs of mountain and claddings of snow.  It would be a marvelous opportunity for me to work in solitude in an environment relevant to this next novel of mine – which now has a working title, by the by: The Library of Endings.


I don’t know what my chances are, just that working on the application felt good. Necessary work. Physical exertions, requiring attentiveness and an interrogation of my methods that I might not otherwise have engaged in. So whether I get it or not, the little boat sails off from me, out, watertight as much as I could make it.


Next on the cards for me is a September residency over at Necessary Fiction. I’ll post signs when I have things up there.


What have you been working on?


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I <3 _____ [you are here]

(source: Liz Your Best Life)


This is a late Valentine’s to PLACE.


I finished Everywhere is the New New York a long while ago, and neglected to mention it here. So many great essays on hometowns and adopted cities, the good the bad and the foetid. But I think my current favourite was this, by Tyler Crumrine:


Are you sad? That’s fine. People get sad. Celebrities get sad. Politicians get sad. Sometimes I even get sad. But do you really want to live in a city that rubs it in your face? Where people are always smiling, and looking you in the eyes, and making you feel like YOU’RE the one with the problem? No. You want to wallow. You want to lash out. You want to swaddle yourself in a blanket of sadness so thick you can sit back and say, “It’s not my fault. This is the natural state of things. How else am I supposed to feel? I mean look at this place.”


That’s where Pittsburgh comes in. We understand you here, sad sack. In Pittsburgh, there’s no pressure. In Pittsburgh, we feel you. In Pittsburgh, you can recover as slowly and as bitterly as you want.


There’s no Broadway or Disney World here. No sir. Just bridges. And not even well-kept bridges. Just long, lonely ones built from the sweat and tears of steel workers. The kind that are perfect for standing on and brooding.


I feel like I should visit Pittsburgh, properly this time. The last time, it was a stop on the Greyhound bus trip to New Mexico. The NRA were in town, and a couple of emo teens got on the bus with a huge gun, hidden in a towel. They were arrested in Columbus, I think. What we saw of Pittsburgh was what surrounded the bus station. It looked pinched, a bit grim. Old buildings that could be beautiful, if you squinted or the sun hit them just right. A little like Glasgow – so I probably should give it another try.


Ask me on any given day, and I’d have a new favourite from this collection. It’s rich, funny, personal, grim, kind. You can buy a copy of Everywhere is the New New York, if there any left, here. I’d love to see this as a world wide series – a chapbook or an essay collection, bound in maps. It’s fantastic to see a light shone on all these small (and not so small) places. To see what gleams and what little beasties crawl out.

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First look: Everywhere is the New New York and Hallelujah Giant Space Wolf

good things


A delightful package arrived today from Colorado and Yrfriendliz – a copy of the chapbook Everywhere is the New New York (which features a piece I wrote on Edinburgh) and a surprise – Hallelujah Giant Space Wolf by Daniel Bailey.


I want to do a write up on both, though I’ll be away for a few days in London, doing touristy London things this time, rather than business (because D is coming with me, for his first stay of any real length there) and I have some deadlines looming. Books to review, a long essay to wrestle with on the theme of my first ms, my first girl – Kilea. Before then, though, I’d like to let you know that Hallelujah Giant Space Wolf is a book of poems, and, as you can tell, has an amazing title. The first poem is ‘Geronimo Boredom Prayer’ and features the ‘I’ becoming God:


‘gifting love unto the world like a premature baby

shining its way out of the womb all naked and hairless

then I became God in human flesh and walked through the woods

damaging trees with my love-making and sex appeal

eventually, I grew bored of my godliness,

so I became Nicolas Cage, which was awesome

except for the whole being a dad thing


You can own Hallelujah Giant Space Wolf and have it on your bookshelf to warm your poetry-and-excellent-book-title loving soul by going over here and buying it.


If you’d like to support the tiny publisher/editing team who put together Everywhere is the New New York, and to read 12 wonderful essays on American Cities that are not NY but their own dirty, magical thing, and one essay that’s ditto on a certain Scottish city, the chapbook is bargain at $5, and available here.

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