My Birthday Month

It’s raining today at the beginning of my  birthday weekend — the day itself is on Monday, but the whole month has been particularly sunny with successes and fun events.  I was delighted that my flash fiction ‘Winter Spider’ won the Flash 500 quarterly competition and now, encouraged by people’s comments, I plan to write a longer sequence around the characters. Less organising and more writing is the mantra for June. Could this happen, I wonder, with the Flash Fiction Festival coming up in July?

In other writing news, my story ‘The Ways of the Flesh’ was selected for the National Flash Fiction Anthology, 2018. I’m very, very  happy to be included in this with a great line up of writing friends. Also, my tiny micro, ‘Wings of Desire’ — which does, yes, reference the film directed by Wim Wenders, received a  highly commended in a new micro contest judged by write and editor Jayne Martin in Bending Genres magazine. And was fun to write.

The evening of readings of Ad Hoc Fiction winners for Ad Hoc’s third birthday earlier this month in Bath went brilliantly with great readings and a birthday cake with a sparkler made by Diane Simmons. This length of micro (150 words) works very well read out loud when there are a lot of readers.  Eleven came from around the country and Louise Mangos came from Switzerland. The pace and the energy was perfect. And many people said how much they liked the variety of fictions and how much could be said in so few words.

Last week, I  had the privilege of going to the Saboteur Festival Day last week and was stunned and so thrilled that Charmaine Wilkerson won the novella category for her novella-in-flash ‘How to Make a Window Snake’.  And I am very pleased for Ad Hoc Fiction who published this beautiful collection of  novellas-in-flash last June and has had this acknowledgement.

This month, I also went to the reception for Creative Bath finalists where Bath Flash Fiction is a short-listed  in the publishing category. Results in June at a party in Queen’s Square, Bath.  Fingers crossed.

Finally, if you like —  check out my mini-interview with  Tommy Dean where I brave a messy desk picture — not the tidied up version seen on another post on this site.

Looking forward to May

May is looking great for flash fiction and related events. First up -Friday May 4th at St James’ Wine Vaults Bristol, 7.30 -9.30 pm. I’ve organised an evening of readings for Ad Hoc Fiction’s third birthday party with ten or eleven writers reading their  Ad Hoc Fiction wins. One of these writers is Louise Mangos, who is coming all the way from Switzerland. She’s illustrated all three wins and her picture here goes with her story, ‘Heat’. Free entry, free wine and free birthday cake. Do come.

On May 16th there’s a  reception in Bath for finalists of the 2018 Creative Bath Awards. Bath Flash Fiction Award is a finalist in the category of Publisher for the anthologies, pictured here, published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2017. You can buy them all at bookshop.adhocfiction.com Or if you’re in Bath, buy from Toppings bookshop and Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights. I applied for these  awards at the eleventh hour and am thrilled to be a finalist.

May 18th- 19th is the Saboteur Awards weekend. These prestigious awards happen yearly and initially, they ask for nominations to create a long list and then afterwards, further voting for the  best of writing and performing in several categories.  Charmaine Wilkerson’s wonderful novella-in-flash ‘How To Make A Window Snake’,  in one of the four anthologies published by Ad Hoc Fiction last year, is short-listed in the novella category. I’m off to London for  the day to hear the outcome at the Awards announcements on the Saturday evening and hoping that she’ll win.Vote for her by the May 9th deadline.

I was also very pleased that my own chapbook, The Chemist’s House was longlisted for the Saboteur Awards short story collections category awards, and another Bath Flash Fiction anthology, ‘The Lobsters Run Free’ was long listed in the anthology category.

I’m also looking forward to the results of  few flash fiction contests I’ve entered.  I think they’ll be announced in May. My birthday is at the end of the month so getting writing recognition at my enormous age would be a bonus birthday treat. Further on this year and there’s the second  Flash Fiction Festival I’m directing, to look forward to. Everything suggests it’s going to be another fab event. Book up at flashfictionfestival.com  if you are a flash fiction friend  and haven’t yet, because I’ll miss you otherwise…

Latest writing news here

My writing desk — the grand tour

January 2018 is starting off with a flourish. I am honoured to be  interviewed as guest reader for  Smoke Long Quarterly  and am selecting a story from the submissions received from January 8th to January 14th.  They suggested I could include a picture of my writing desk but didn’t use it eventually. Anyway, as it’s now a lot tidier than it was, here is the  grand tour…

  • My Linux Ubuntu desk top computer. I abandoned  Apple Macs last year for the delights of updating the Libre Office word processing software (just as good as Word) free. And the machine won’t need upgrading like Apples either. And it was much cheaper.  It’s very fast.
  •  On the first shelf facing outwards,  the four books that Ad Hoc Fiction published in 2017. Ad Hoc fiction does  all the background competition administration and web development work for Bath Flash Fiction, as well as Bath Short Story Award.  I’m so excited they are now a small press, and published To Carry Her Home,  Bath Flash Fiction Volume One early last February,  How to Make a Window Snake, the collection of winning novellas-in-flash in June. And Bath Flash Fiction Volume 2, The Lobsters Run Free in December 2017 along with Flash Fiction Festival, One. And there’s more to come next year. Individual collections as well as the 2018 anthologies.
  • My debut pamphlet ‘The Chemist’s House is  up there on that shelf  too. One of the highlights of last year was being  published by V. Press.
  • The scented candle in the pink tin.  Rose.
  • The re-useable water bottle. Going to really make big efforts to reduce buying plastic this year.
  • The extremely cheap Nokia phone I use for infrequent calls and texts. I use an iPad for everything else and am resisting a smart phone. The little orange book rests on a note pad which is supposed to detail what I eat every day. But I haven’t filled it in for several months.
  • The junk box. Full of junk. But pretty on the outside.
  • That little flowery box contains some jewellry.
  • Second shelf — the 1815 portrait of my ancestor, Hannah Hopkins. Probably should use this name as an alternative author name sometimes. Just for the luck of it. It’s next to …
  • the hedgehog frame containing a tiny picture of my parents, looking young.  Too small to see.
  • A few book titles just about visible. ‘Sudden Fiction‘, my first intro to flash fiction.  A Richard Ford novel, which is in the wrong place there. Should be on the alphabetical novel shelves. It’s next to Writing the Natural Way, one of the first books on writing I bought, years ago.
  • My hour glass has fallen behind the computer. You can just see a flash of glass and orange sand peeking out.   I do plan to write fiction for at least 60 mins several times a week this year. And to make that a priority instead of the numerous other writing activities I am involved with.  So I have given the hour-glass its own picture. If it’s visible, I won’t forget.  And I want to submit more this year.