Imagination Overload

Calum Kerr
Calum Kerr

Today I’d like to share a post about how genre fiction lends itself to the short form, from prolific flash fiction writer and National Flash Fiction Day organiser extraordinaire, Calum Kerr. There’s also a fantastic story at the end. Enjoy!

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Yesterday, over on Nettie Thomson’s blog, I talked about how I had turned away from writing horror stories until flash-fiction steered me back to the dark side. That got me thinking about flash-fictions and how they work for genre writing.

It’s an interesting issue. I have read, and written, a lot of flash-fictions which might be considered ‘literary’ or at least ‘realist’ in that they occur in the real, recognisable world.

To a large extent, flash-fictions often rely on the reader’s understanding of the world so that when something is referred to or implied, there is no lack of understanding, and the reader provides the necessary extra information from their own knowledge. When using this kind of shorthand, there isn’t always time for world-building or setting up complex scenarios, such as those needed in science-fiction and fantasy writing.

However, if the writer assumes an informed audience, then this can be overcome. I’m not simply talking about an audience well-versed in the particular genre of the story, but an intelligent audience who can make the same leap that you, as the writer, makes when creating the story. Small details, as in any flash, can convey a huge amount, and the rest falls into place by extrapolation.

One of the problems that a number of writers have – and something I see a lot in the work of those just starting out – is an assumption (to be fair, usually unconscious) that the reader is not quite as clever or clued up as you, the writer, and so things need to be explained. This leads to sprawling narratives where everything needs to be said two or three times, just to make sure the reader isn’t getting lost.

When I write flash, I assume the reader is keeping up. If they get lost, well, they can always read it again. The stories are short, it won’t take long.

And that, for me, is why genre stories can work so well in flash-fiction. You can create, not just a version of this world, but a version of any world. You can do it in a few words, and with a few salient details, and the pictures are then painted on the canvas of the reader’s imagination. If I mention a green Renault Clio in a ‘realist’ story, then anyone who’s ever seen one of those will be picturing the same thing. If I mention ‘a sleeper ship, plying the stars, filled with a frozen population’ then everyone reading will either know what I’m talking about or be able to work it out, but each individual will see a different ship, with a different layout, with the frozen bodies stored in different ways.

As a writer, using flash-fiction to write genre stories, I can use a larger and more varicoloured palette, and at the same time make it much more personal for each reader.

So, does flash-fiction work for genre writing?

Affirmative.

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Calum Kerr is a writer, editor, lecturer and director of National Flash-Fiction Day in the UK. He lives in Southampton with his wife –  the writer, Kath Kerr –  their son and a menagerie of animals. His new collection of flash-fictions, Lost Property, is now available from Cinder House.

Read on for a great example of genre flash…

Shock Corridor

By Calum Kerr

“This area is non-operational!” came the calm voice over the speaker.

Injit was not calm. He was running for his life.

Behind him the bulkhead door shot closed with a blast of air that wanted to knock him from his feet. He rode it, letting it carry him, and then planted his feet and kept going.

A crash and roar rocked the station as the section behind him crumpled and surrendered to the vacuum. Fuel cells detonated and tremors rocked the floor under Injit. He staggered and bounced against the wall, but he stayed on his feet and carried on.

There had been no warning. He didn’t know what had happened. A momentary hole in the shield? A micro-meteor just too large and travelling just too fast to be stopped? It didn’t matter now. The imperative was to get away from the rolling collapse and get safe.

Gravity shifted under him and the floor became a slope. Injit dropped forward, his palms hitting the floorplates and skidding in blood. He ignored the pain and scrabbled forward, clawing his escape.

If he could reach the central hub, he could get to the shuttle and away. If the collapse stabilised he could return and begin repairs. If not, there was enough food, water and air in the shuttle to last him six weeks, long enough for help to come if he was lucky. But first he had to get there.

He clambered up and into the next section, sprawling over the raised threshold into the normal gravity on the far side. He dragged his feet after him, pressed them to the ridge to boost himself upwards as the door flashed down just missing his heel. It was followed by the calm voice repeating its warning, barely audible over the crumple-crash of collapsing metal.

Injit’s legs were starting to thrum in tune with the collapsing station, but he staggered on stiff legs and kept moving forward.

He was nearing the next section, just one away from the hub, when the lights started to flicker.

“This area is… This… non… This… Th-th-th-thhhrrrrrrrr…”

In the frantic strobing, Injit slowed, and then an arc of electricity grounded to the plates in front of him with a bang. Injit pulled himself to a stop and watched as the corridor between him and the hub was lit by a lightning storm.

He looked back, but all was dark behind him. The sounds of creaking and crumpling were continuing. He couldn’t go back. He couldn’t stay here.

He faced forward, took a deep breath and thought of home.

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Thanks Calum!

What do you think? Does genre work in flash? Comments welcome, as always.

The Boy Who Listened in at Doors by RJ Barker

So… while you all eagerly await the announcement of the longlist for the #SJIBFS competition (which is a tough job, incidentally…) I’d like to share with you a brilliant flash fiction from a writer I am very glad to call a friend. Not only does he write brilliant fantasy, crime and horror of his own, he has also been an invaluable sounding board for my work, giving encouragement and constructive criticism and a kick up the arse when required. So, without further ado –  please read, enjoy and let us know what you think in the comments. RJ is one to watch. You can say you saw him here first…

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The Boy Who Listened in at Doors
by RJ Barker

There are Witches out there, with skull faces.

On windy nights they gather in the tree outside his window and huddle together on branches winter-shorn of leaves. They chatter and laugh, flap their cloaks and watch him with beady black eyes.

All witches, all watching. Laughing black leaves on the cold oak’s boughs.

“They’re just crows,” says Mother with her half-sad mouth. “Just crows, my boy, just crows.”

The Boy pulls his curtains together tightly.
not even the mercurial moon
can peek into his room.
Better the dark than peeking Witches,
with skull faces.
Hard, black, leather-skin carapaces
Long dead grimaces.
Grinding and eating and cawing and gnawing.

He has protectors, many and varied.
Can’t, doubt the bravery of Flying Fred Ted nor Keemo the duck that Daddy brought him from the hospital.
When Daddy was still here.
Stick thin on the bed.
The bears hate the witches with Skull faces and he hugs his small army close.

He should feel safe.

Witches talk
And squawk
And screech and cackle and yatter and caw-caw the night away.
Outside those thick black curtains that Mummy, with the half-sad mouth, fitted.

“They’re just crows, My boy, just crows,” she had said as she hung the curtains, shoulders slumping, a pale hand covering tearfilled eyes.

When they first visited – black flecks falling out the dusky sky to populate the bare oak –  Raggedy capes making excellent wings for those who wish to be something else.

The same night the Terminal took Daddy went away.

Witches have guile, they know people would spot birds with skull faces straight away.
(Make a fuss.
Call animal protection.
Or the newspapers
Get the T.V. People
Or maybe write a book.)

Witches don’t want that.

So they slip their black pointy hats down over their shiny-leathered skulls.
Hard black beaks
Cover hard black faces.

“Just crows my boy, just crows. Where do you get these things from, my son?”

Sometimes, the caw-cawing and yattering starts to swirl in his head, stops being squawks and screeches and becomes words.

Always the same.

Taunting, teasing, sneering, squealing, high pitched, rakkety-ratchet old-hag, warty-chinned voices

“Shall we eat the boy tonight? Good and plump he is. Who’d miss the lonely little scrap? Our bellies would be full and his mother not be sad.”

Again they say it.
Again and again.
Each time more teeth-on-glass voices join the chorus until eventually, in a great taunting, teasing, sneering, squealing, high pitched, rakkety-ratchet old-hag, warty-chinned wail the whole flock of skull-faced, witch-crows takes to the sky.

Raggedy capes flap. Hat mouths croak. A dark spiral rising up and out over the city.

‘They’re just crows, my boy, just crows’ she says but the tears in her eyes and the tremble of his lip won’t leave.

‘Daddy would scare them away.’

‘I’m sure he would,’ she looks at the floor to hide her tears as she tucks him in. ‘There are no monsters, my son. Nothing eats people They’re just crows, my boy, just crows.’ Her voice a strangled sob.

He tries to be brave but he knows she lies and pulls the covers over his head and curls up, folding in his fear and pain with ganglion arms.

Monsters are real.

‘I’m sorry, Mrs Taylor,’ said the doctor. ‘There’s nothing we can do. It’s eating him away.’

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RJ Barker is slightly eccentric and lives in Yorkshire with his wife, two year old son and a constantly growing collection of poor quality taxidermy. His short fiction has been published in all manner of places (including charity anthology ‘Off the Record 2: At the Movies‘) and received three honourable mentions in, ‘The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror’. RJ’s illustrated poems (together with Mikko Sovijarvi) ‘Interment’ and ‘The Social Diary of A Ghoul’ have received pretty good reviews (like, here) and are available through Amazon for electronic readers. A paper version is planned soon.

He’s recently signed with Literary agent Robert Dinsdale of Dinsdale Imber and is working on something a bit longer.

You can find RJ on Twitter as @dedbutdrmng or read more of his work on his blog at http://wah-wahwriter.blogspot.co.uk/

When not writing, RJ dreams of growing a huge pair of antlers and hiring himself out as a novelty coat-rack.

The Man #flashfiction

This is my entry for Chuck Wendig’s latest challenge, based on a first line from Jake Bible. I suppose it’s sci-fi/horror, I’m not entirely sure… it just made itself up from the first line… The Light

THE MAN

by SJI Holliday

The problem with the ringing phone wasn’t how loud it was, or that it hadn’t stopped ringing for an hour, but that Tom didn’t have a phone.

It’d been 172 hours since The Man had visited and told him what he needed to do. 167 hours and 47 minutes since Tom had burned all The Technology in the furnace in the basement. The Man had talked for nearly an hour. 55 minutes, to be exact. Once he was done, Tom realised he hadn’t moved a muscle the entire time. He had drool running down the side of his mouth from his slack jawed acceptance of The Man’s speech.

Tom was no different to anyone else, he’d thought. Everyone had The Technology. Years before, Tom remembered vaguely, there had only been landlines. There was no way you could lie about where you were. That was one thing Tom was particularly guilty of, in fact he’d done it just the other day. 185 hours ago when Kimmy had called saying ‘Where are you baby? I thought you were coming to see me.’ Tom had said, ‘I’m just picking us up some beers, then I’ll be on my way, honey. Get yourself warmed up for me, huh?’ He hadn’t been picking up any beers. He’d just finished boning Clara, the hot blonde from across the hall. It wasn’t the first time either. After that he’d just turned off his cell. He hadn’t spoken to Kimmy since. Wasn’t much chance of it now either, since he’d melted the phone in the furnace.

Which is why it was kind of a problem that he could still hear it ringing.

He’d gone back down there, just in case there was any way that the phone might’ve fallen on the floor; maybe someone recognized it as his and stuck it though his mailbox.

Maybe.

He’d struggled a bit with the TV. Damn flat-screens were heavier than they looked. He’d watched it pop and shrivel inside the furnace before he’d shut the door. The stench of the melting plastic had caught at the back of his throat.

It was easier with the other stuff. The laptop was small and light. He tossed it in. He hesitated over the brand new android tablet. He’d only had it a week. Just managed to set it up to be able to record the TV, not to mention converting and transferring all of his music and videos on there. He’d stood at the open door of the furnace, the flames licking the sides of the dark cavern; tablet in hand. When he started to feel the heat scorching his eyebrows, he tossed the tablet inside and slammed the door shut.

That was it. That was all The Technology he had. Wasn’t it?

‘All of it,’ The Man had said. ‘It will only work if you toss all of it.’

‘How long will it take?’ Tom had asked.

The man had cocked his head and stared. He had a face like an inquisitive sparrow. ‘I can’t tell you that,’ The Man said, ‘I still have a lot of people to see.’

After The Man left, Tom sat in the dark and waited for It to happen.

Waited to see The Light.

His stomach cramped.  His head spun like a merry-go-round. His mouth felt like an old rug that’d been left in the sun.

Still, the phone rang.

Using a final burst of energy, he’d turned the apartment upside down. He’d looked inside the empty shell in the wall where he’d pulled out the microwave. He crawled into the space near the sink where he’d disconnected the dishwasher. He trawled though the trash. He even checked inside the toilet bowl. Just in case.

If he could just find the damn thing and answer it. He could tell them to stop ringing. Tell them he needed to get rid of the phone. It was holding things up. Stopping It from happening.

He peered into the darkness of the unplugged refrigerator. The smell of the rotting vegetables sucked inside his nostrils. His appetite was long gone.

He folded himself back into the space near the sink. Knees pulled up to his chest. He felt things crawling in his hair; heard The Man whispering stuff inside his head; jittering, crazy noises. Like a jar full of flies.

He pushed his fingers into his ears to drown out the incessant ringing of the phone.

Closed his eyes, and waited.

Waited to see The Light.

The Proposal: My #flashfiction for #DFQWBS

Cabo Beach

The lovely flash fiction trio of Laura James, Miranda Kate and Rebekah Postupak have come up with a fantastic idea to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of #DarkFairyQueen Anna Meade  – they’re creating an ebook collection of wedding tales penned by all of Anna’s favourite writerly friends. You can read more about the plans here. So without further ado, here is my contribution… 🙂

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  • Title: The Proposal
  • Author: SJI Holliday
  • eBook: Yes

Annabel rubs a gloved hand across the passenger side window and peers out through the small porthole she has made in the glass.

Mikey chuckles as he re-starts the engine. “Quit breathing so hard and you wouldn’t get us so steamed up.”

She pokes him playfully in the ribs. “Where are we anyway? I don’t recognise it.”

The car slides back into the traffic and she hears the gentle tick tick of the indicator as Mikey signals right. “Nearly there.” He lays his big thick hand on her tiny shell of a knee and squeezes it with just the right amount of pressure.

Annabel sighs and stifles a yawn. Mikey wants her to be excited about all this. Excited like he is. It’s ok for him. He’s done it before. She feels so damn scared she can’t think straight. She wonders if anyone has noticed she’s gone. Sure, it’s only been 24 hours, but most folks would think it strange that she just upped and left like that. Even if she hadn’t been in circulation much lately. Not since she’d been hanging out with Mikey. Only one person had said anything about him, but she knew the others thought the same.

He’s bad news, Annabel.

Sure. That was exactly why she was with him.

Damn her life. Eight till seven, six days a week in the mini-mart that sucked the life out of its staff, its customers and even its goddamn food. They’d stopped stocking fresh fruit and veg because folks had stopped buying it. Cans of corn. Packets of powdered mash. Did the neighbourhood kids even know what a real potato looked like?

The car stops again. Mikey turns the key and the Buick makes that slow pip pip pip as the engine cools.

“Ready?” he says.

She leans over and lifts the holdall from the back seat. “As I’ll ever be.”

She pulls a stocking over her head, hands one to Mikey. He takes the guns from the bag. A SIG-Sauer for him, a slightly more glamorous Beretta for her. She smiles at him though the mask and she thinks he smiles back but it’s hard to tell with the distortion. She unclips her seatbelt and finally the adrenaline kicks in. Butterflies flap their wings inside her gut.

“Okay, so you know the drill – do we need to go through it one more time?”

She shakes her head. Wipes the window again; peers out at the buildings outside. Non-descript shops with metal shutters. Anonymous doorways.

Around the corner is Bernstein’s Bank.

*

“I’ll change your life,” Mikey told her one night, while they sat on her porch sipping cheap beer. “Me and you, baby. Whaddaya say?”

She giggled. “Is that a proposal?”

He dropped to his knees, big crazy grin on his face. “Annabel, my darling… Will you marry me? Will you spend the rest of your life with me? Will you move to Mexico with me, where we can live in the sunshine, away from all this shit and nonsense? Just me and you?”

She grabbed his face and pulled him towards her. His mouth was cold and tasted of beer. “God, yes. Take me away from this, Mikey. I want to live my freakin’ life!”

He pulled back and his eyes turned dark. “There’s just one thing I have to do first baby. Then I’m all yours. Do you trust me?”

“Always,” she said.

*

Annabel turns in her seat and stares at him once more. “Just this one job, Mikey? That’s what you said… then we’re off… we’ll get married in Cabo?”

“Sure, baby,” he says. “Trust me.”

*

It’s over before it starts.

How were they to know one of the customers was an FBI agent opening a savings account for his daughter? Mikey is pinned to the floor by the agent’s boot, fight knocked out of him; the SIG kicked far across the room. Behind the counter, the manager holds the phone tight to his ear and nods at the instructions being dictated to him from someone in control.

Annabel is on her knees; hands behind her head. She still has the Beretta stuffed in the top of her jeans, but she won’t use it. She can’t, even if she wanted to. She removed the ammunition when Mikey stopped for gas. After all, he’d said: “We’re not actually gonna shoot anybody.”

The butterflies are still flapping away inside her. I’ve got a life now. Even if it wasn’t quite the one I was expecting. Hell, even a prison wedding’s gotta be more exciting than anything I had before. She shuffles across the floor on her knees, bends down until her face is close to his. She whispers into his ear:

“For better or for worse, baby.”

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Wedding Toast: Good luck, Anna and Michael – hope you have a fabulous wedding and a very happy future together. Love, Susi P.S. #Whozdarkfairynow? (www.sjiholliday.com)

Thanks to Laura, Miranda and Rebekah for all the brilliant organising!

You can read the other entries here:

Pretty Woman: Snippet and Interview #OTR2

Remember this film?

Remember Off the Record 2 – the short story anthology based on film titles?

Remember that the proceeds go to children’s literacy charities?

Well, now you can read reviews of the book at:

Crime Fiction Lover
Z7HQ
CrimeSquad

…and you can read an excerpt of my story below  – enjoy!

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…Finally she turns round and sees me. For a second, she just stares then she catches herself and decides to speak.

‘Got a lighter?’

‘Sorry, I don’t smoke. There might be some ma─’

She flared her nostrils; reminded me of a bull getting ready to charge.

‘Fuck’s sake,’ she said. ‘It’s all right for you.’

I was genuinely confused. All right that I didn’t smoke? I suppose, but…

‘You don’t have to put up with it like I do.’ She sounded agitated; she was pacing about, one hand on hip, the other waving her unlit cigarette.

‘What?’ I said, carefully as I could. I wasn’t really up for listening to her rant but I didn’t seem to be getting a choice.

‘Everyone fucking coming on to you all the time. Pawing at you. Smacking your arse…’

Now I was intrigued. ‘Who’s smacked your arse? Someone here?’ I instantly suspected Paul, the trainee butcher. I’d heard other girls complaining about him before. He wasn’t particularly nice to me either, but that’s another story…

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If you want to know more about what inspired the story, you can read an interview with me here

(and with many of the other authors here)

And if you want, you can read the rest of my story (and all the others too) by clicking on one of the links below:

HORROR FACTORY: The Outhouse

Whoohoo – It’s Halloween and HORROR FACTORY is here!

The excellent cover was designed by Nathanael Scott and the collection is edited by Liam José at The Crime Factory.

I’m so excited that my story was accepted for this special 🙂

You can read a a bit about it below, and you can download/buy a paper copy at The Crime Factory website. I can’t wait to read the other stories, I think this is gonna be a good one!

Oh, and make sure you read my bio in there too, it’s horror themed…

The Outhouse: Blurb

Shelley Kane bypassed the usual trappings of a woman in her 40s: husband, job, kids. Instead she’s a full-time carer to her divorced and embittered mother, Betty – who told her long ago that she was no use to anyone except her… and the years of verbal and physical abuse have left Shelley believing just that. Until one day, when preparing one of Betty’s regular mid-afternoon G&Ts, Shelley snaps…

But Betty is not a woman to be silenced – living or dead.

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You can read THE OUTHOUSE in Crime Factory’s ‘Horror Factory’ Special, released on 31st October 2012, here:

Three things to read at Halloween #review

To celebrate Halloween, I thought I’d share my views on the latest creepy things I’ve read…

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SHORT STORY: ‘The Companion’ by Ramsey Campbell

When something is described by Stephen King as ‘maybe the best horror tale to be written in English the last thirty years’  how could I not read it? In fact, how could I not have read it already?!  To my shame, I have only recently discovered the works of British horror writer Ramsey Campbell… better late than never!

Stone goes to visit an old fairground but soon discovers it’s not the original one he visited as a boy. He is directed to the ‘real’ old fairground, which is deserted and scary and still houses an old ghost train, and Stone (who clearly hadn’t read the rules of horror movies) decides to climb into one of the cars, which promptly sets off on its tracks…

The writing is beautifully atmospheric and my heart was pounding with anticipation throughout. The incredible last sentence really did send shivers down my spine.

This story is included in the collection ‘Dark Feasts‘ (which you might have to buy second hand as I’m not sure it’s in print.)

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POETRY: ‘Interment’ by RJ Barker (illustrated by Mikko Sovijarvi)

This is a beautifully illustrated horror poem with a strong repetitive style and a definite hint of Poe. Told from a child’s point of view, the story is creepy and disturbing; and coupled with the black and white images and unusual fonts the whole thing really comes to life  – although the indication of never-ending suffering does make it feel very sad. It’s only a few pages long but I found myself reading it over and over again.

Also, from the same author and illustrator: The Social Diary of a Ghoul – a twisted food diary, with some fabulously descriptive language: Monday is soup day and fiendish nails clikker clack…

I don’t read a lot of poetry but I really enjoyed reading both of these.

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NOVEL(LA): ‘The Small Hand’ by Susan Hill

When you’ve written something as bone-chillingly terrifying as The Woman in Black, coming up with another scary ghost story is a tall order. This is only the second of the Hill’s books that I’ve read but the style and tone of this book felt similar in some ways, making me wonder initially if it was set in the same era, but it is actually just an upper class and slightly ‘stuffy’ modern day.

The author is a great scene setter, I love the sparseness of the prose and the initial premise of the ghostly hand gripping the hand of antiquarian bookseller, Adam, is brilliantly creepy. However, what follows doesn’t quite push up the tension as much as I’d hoped and I did guess the ending. This is a quick read and the book is beautifully laid out but I feel there is something missing from it that I can’t quite put my finger on. I’d be interested in hearing others’ thoughts on this one as the Amazon reviews are very mixed but there is an excellent review at the Guardian here.

Twisted Tales: The Doctor

Gordon Ramona had been obsessed with death since that day when he walked home from school and witnessed a man being thrown over the roof of a car. Passers-by had screamed and rushed to the man, who lay on the road with his head twisted at an impossible angle. Apart from the trickle of blood running from his nose, he barely looked injured. Gordon had knelt down to talk to the man and he had twitched, lifted one of his arms, then let out a long, rattling groan. The dead man’s eyes had stared back at him, glassy, unmoving, yet his body remained unchanged. Gordon had stared at the man until the ambulance had arrived and the paramedics had pulled him back and wrapped him in a blanket. He never forgot those eyes. That moment when the light behind them had grown fainter and fainter like someone turning down a dimmer switch.

Gordon left school with straight ‘A’s but no friends. He wanted to become a doctor. His school work, and the endless hours of spare-time research into mortality had left him cast out from the crowd, branded a ‘freak’ and a ‘weirdo’. But all he wanted was to find away to stop people from dying. Medical researchers spent years trying to crack the code of eternal life, and Gordon wanted to be the one to make the breakthrough. He took an elective year in Africa, working with the sick and the poor and the hopeless. Studying them, watching them die. Taking samples of their blood to analyse their DNA and find out some way to switch off the death gene. It was on a three-month stint in Haiti that he met the infamous Doctor Davis…

First published at The Black Flag.

You can read the rest of the story here.

What the Dickens? Literary Magazine #WTDzine

I’d like to tell you about my latest exciting news from the world of writing… I’m very pleased to announce that I am now a regular contributor to the fabulous What the Dickens? Magazine! I was lucky to have a short story accepted for Issue 1, and then a couple of flashes in subsequent issues (you can find the links here) so I was delighted to be asked to be involved on a regular basis.

If you haven’t seen this magazine before, you should go and check it out now… It comes out bi-monthly and each issue has a theme – this one being ‘The Pumpkin Edition’. As well as lots of features about writing/reading, it also contains info on other creative arts including music, theatre, screenwriting and everything else ‘creative’ you can think of. There are reviews, author features, writing prompts, photos and competitions, not to mention a wide range of short stories and poems. The magazine is currently available online only, but watch this space as there is more exciting news to follow soon!

Click on the magazine cover to read online (you can also find all issues in the kindle store).

My article in ‘The Curious Creative Life’ section can be found on Page 65.

Off The Record 2 – At The Movies #OTR2

I haven’t posted anything here for a while, but that’s not because I’m a slacker… it’s actually because I’ve been doing a lot of writing – which was my main aim after Harrogate (it was also to get the first draft of my novel finished, but that’s another post, coming soon…)

So I’d like to tell you about one of the things I’ve been up to.

You might have heard of a pretty cool short story anthology called Off The Record, where all the stories were based on song titles and all the proceeds went to charity… if not, you can download it for kindle here.

After the success of the original, editor Luca Veste has gone and created another one (this time with the help of Paul D. Brazill). It features stories from the likes of Helen Fitzgerald, Clare McGowan and Steve Mosby to name just three (the full list is here)

Again, the proceeds will be donated to literary charities (National Literacy Trust – UK and Children’s Literacy Initiative – US), but this time, instead of songs, the stories are all based around a diverse range of movie titles such as ‘Dead Man Walking’, ‘The Graduate’ and ‘Gregory’s Girl’… and also, ‘Pretty Woman’ – which was written by me. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to be invited by Luca to submit a story… and I’m delighted to be included in this collection with so many fantastic writers. I don’t really want to tell you much about ‘Pretty Woman’ as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who decides to read it, but all I will say is that it’s of the crime genre, and it ain’t pretty!

It’s out on 26th September on Amazon – and I really hope you’ll take a look. A short story collection with a great cover, filled with great authors and great stories and all for a great cause – what more could you want?!

(note to self: buy new thesaurus)

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Some of the other contributors have also blogged about the collection – please go and take a look (I’ll update when I have more)

  • James Etherington blogs about OTR2 here
  • RJ Barker blogs about OTR2 here
  • Erik Arneson blogs about OTR2 here
  • Mel Sherratt blogs about OTR2 here