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)
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!)
Read the interview here
and keep an eye out on her twitter feed as she posts interviews with other writers!
I’m thrilled to tell you that my flash piece(s) ‘Triptych’ will be appearing in the next edition of Gorse Journal. Gorse is home to all manner of intellectual discourse and experimentation, beautifully bound and hefty – 200 pages of the good stuff.
You can pre-order a copy from their website here
(and clicking on the link will take you a tempting list of pieces foretold). I can’t wait to read all of it myself, though I imagine it will take me many days to get through it all, and lots will reverberate around my brain for long after that.
My piece(s) under the heading are split (naturally enough) into three: ‘Nostalgia Tremens’, ‘Ritual Stitches, Good Red Wounds’ and ‘Museum Piece’, and each is about some dangerous woman, and all come from the collection-in-progress currently titled Mayhem and Death. Just to give you an idea of the flavour of them. I hope you’ll pick it up, either by ordering, or a little later this month, find Gorse No. 5 in one of the shops which stocks the journal (Shakespeare & Company in Paris is one such place – ah, my heart. Lucky you if you get to browse there).
I have some big news coming shortly, related to Flesh of the Peach – but not quite yet. More soon (I must clamp my hand on my mouth for just a little longer)
It’s half ten at night as I write this, but I feel like I have to make a post, or else something will float away from me: I’ve decided, finally, what to call my second flash fiction collection. It isn’t finished, and I haven’t begun approaching publishers about it yet, but at nearly 37K it’s now formed into something with character enough, I think, to bear the weight of a name:
Mayhem and Death
It will be over forty stories long, with several sections (one of which, Ritual Stitches and Good Red Wounds, was the semi-finalist in two chapbook contests). Around ten stories have been published or will be shortly, with hopefully a few more to come. Lots of murderesses in this collection, which is a nod to Margaret Atwood’s use of it in Alias Grace. The feminising suffix, so often used to diminish, set against ‘murderer’ reads strange and unheimlich. Also: versions of films beloved (and hated)(and invented)(and mashedup), and an interconnected flash segment about a mother reading her deceased daughter’s diary of nightmares.
I’m excited! I’m also still working on the witchy novel Villain Miriam (working title, though I quite like it too) and awaiting to share some news about my debut novel, Flesh of the Peach. Later, later. At a more reasonable hour. Perhaps.
If desirous of some of my stories, see the Fiction section above for lots of links to published pieces, or buy my first book here (free worldwide shipping)
Today at 2pm GMT I’m going to start writing flash fictions, and over the course of the next ten hours, hope to write ten pieces.
Why on earth am I doing this? Mostly because the last few weeks or so have been quite slow and unproductive in terms of writing – this is often the case, slow progress is still progress, though it isn’t very encouraging. I need a jolt. I need to set off and keep going. I need the deadline.
I have playlists lined up, and will be on Twitter the whole time (naturally, procrastination has its place too). You can follow me there if you don’t already: @HelenMcClory. I’d welcome suggestions: an object, a location or time period, a character name. Something vague to get me started if I meet any inspiration black holes. You can join in too with your own writing spree, if you like – low pressure, coming and going as you like.
2PM till 12AM.
I might do a post tonight if things go well, perhaps sharing a few titles. Not any of the writing – that will probably be pretty pants. Above all, this is an exercise in forward motion, not finesse, and the pieces will need heavy editing after. Any fictions up to snuff will go in my current flash-fiction-collection in progress (a part of which, as I mentioned elsewhere, was recently a semi-finalist in two chapbook contests, which gives me hope. More editing there, later).
I’m off to prep and scout the snack situation. Please say hello on Twitter or comment below.
Let’s see how this goes. I may regret it, but there’s always coffee, for when that really hits.
For the new month I was commissioned by Visual Verse‘s editor Eley Williams to write a piece in response to the site’s prompt – Grant Wood’s famous painting American Gothic – very suitable subject matter for me, given my writing.
Here’s a taste:
This land’s so full of spikes like you wouldn’t believe. Saul broke earth this spring early and found rows of them, growing like dragons’ teeth under the thin soil.
“Come out, Alice,” he yelled. “See this.”
There are stories and poems by other commissioned writers, and the opportunity to submit your own work. You have to write your piece in an hour. Each picture stays up the month long, but as this is a short one (albeit with that leap year day clipped on as a bonus), you only have another 28 days to crack your fingers and get to it.
A few days ago I finished the first full-length draft of Villain Miriam (which began life as a 12,700 word novella). Here it is all printed out at 67,700 words. It’ll be a fair bit shorter when I’m done (savage edits planned). I’ll retype the ms from scratch too I think, a tip I’ve seen elsewhere and think might give a fresh perspective.
This is how Villain Miriam begins (at the moment). This is how it continues: lots of tinkering, lots of red pen. Getting as much done as I can before the novel edits come in for Flesh of the Peach.
The sun is shining, and I’m off for tea and biscuits. The year finally, at last, finally, feels like it is starting.