This week, a meaningful book for a writer making a (slightly) later start:
I was in my 30’s and had never even let anyone read anything I’d written let alone had anything published and everywhere I looked were all these debut writers in their 20’s crushing it. I was not crushing it. I was being crushed.
And then I found [redacted] and her beautiful debut novel [redacted]. A first novel by a writer in her 30’s! I wanted to yell. I’m pretty sure I did a dance. It was like a little ray of light for me. A beacon of hope when I really felt like I’d not only missed the boat but my uber had taken me to the wrong port entirely.
Read more here. (The archive’s looking grand now, isn’t it?)
Sign up for The Unsung Letter for a weekly missive from a different writer/book lover on a beloved but underhyped book by a living author. It’s free and entirely optional (and why wouldn’t you want to discover new wonders you might have missed?)
Back in May, I had the delight of meeting with The Riff Raff founders Amy Baker and Rosy Edwards and appearing at their Effra Social event (as reported here) AND while I was there, Amy and Rosy interviewed me for their podcast. It was so much fun to do and you can listen to the whole thing here.
It’s about half an hour long. and covers topics like how one writes, the oddities that come out of travelling for research, and finding your genre. I hope you enjoy.
Ice Cream for Health
A ghost sign in central Edinburgh
It’s just about time for the second #ScotLitFest and I’m once again thrilled to be involved: last year Kirsty Logan and I chatted about short fiction, mythology and process with chair Sasha de Buyl-Pisco – which you can watch here. This year, I’ll be leading a flash fiction workshop on Facebook, which I am excitedly grabbing prompts for right now (the one above won’t be included, but it’s quite interesting, isn’t it? I love ghost signs). It’s taking place over one hour, 1-2pm, on Sunday the 23rd of July. More info here! Come over for a sweet creative alternative to a leisurely Sunday.
Check out the catalogue of other virtual events of #ScotLitFest – wherever you are in the world, as long as you have an internet connection, you can attend. And if you don’t have an internet connection – how are you reading this?
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)