Welcome to my blog

Welcome to The Literary Pig's blog - a safe haven for all those afflicted with
the unbearable urge to write.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Breaking the (writing) rules

When you first start writing it's best to learn the rules and try to stick to them. Experimentation can come later when you feel more confident. That was my own approach to writing. I also have several golden rules that I stick to ... but then rules are there to be broken, aren't they (I'm sure someone very wise said that).
This weekend I traveled to Bristol for the Flash Fiction Festival at Trinity College. If you write or read flash or are interested in learning more about flash fiction then this is THE annual event to get to - I highly recommend you follow @FlashFictFest on Twitter to find out about events and the 2019 festival, and get your place booked early! This year's festival was wonderful: great workshops with very experienced flash writers, lots of time for networking (ie chatting/gossiping), opportunities for Open Mic, mini competitions, terrific food, a well stocked bookshop (note to self: take more cash next year!) and oodles of time for socialising. I wish I'd had Hermione's time twisting necklace (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) as each session I could have signed up for several simultaneous workshops. Here's a flavour of the tutors: Meg Pokrass, Jude Higgins, Vanessa Gebbie, Nancy Stohlman, KM Elkes, David Gaffney, Michael Loveday, Carrie Etter, Christopher Allen, Ingrid Jendrzejewski, Nuala O'Connor, Haleh Agar, Santino Prinzi and so many others. Basically the Stars of Flash Fiction were at this Festival. Writers had traveled from the US and Australia for the Festival, as well as coming from Ireland and all over the UK. It felt truly international, yet still like meeting up with old friends. I met some lovely new friends too and several of my heroes of flash fiction.

Over the weekend I broke two of my golden rules, as follows:
Never read after drinking alcohol. (See photo opposite, in which I look deadly serious. Photo by Debbi Voisey).
Another writer 'encouraged' me to sign up for the Open Mic readings on Friday night. By then I had drunk at least half a bottle of Prosecco. Maybe this was a rule that needed breaking ...

The second golden rule is not a writing one but since I was in the company of writers ...
Never (ever) do Karaoke.
By this time I had polished off the bottle of Prosecco and possibly started another ... I sang Human League's Electric Dreams (my favourite song of all time) along with Debbi Voisey.
I wish I could say never again, but actually I think I may have enjoyed breaking this rule.

Finally, another golden writing rule was:
Don't write a first draft just before a competition deadline and submit without anyone reviewing.
I broke this at the beginning of June when I wrote the opening 10K words of a new novel, then a synopsis and finally entered it into the 2018 Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller competition (for debut novelists).
If you read this link to Richard and Judy's Bookclub website you'll learn that sometimes it really is okay to break your own rules.
Now I have to finish the novel and submit before 28 December. I'd better get writing then ...


Monday, 25 June 2018

Separated From the Sea: short story collection by Amanda Huggins


 I am delighted to welcome Amanda Huggins on the Blog today. I’ve known Mandy virtually for several years, mainly from seeing her name on competition placings and short listings, and have long admired her writing. It is encouraging and inspiring to now see her short fiction coming out in print and particularly her own short story collection Separated From the Sea (published by Retreat West Books).
All 26 stories are incredibly poignant and will linger with you long after reading. Huggins’ prose is both beautiful and heart breaking; she exquisitely captures those delicate moments where a relationship is about to experience a pivotal change (good or bad). The characters are as diverse and colourful as the settings; we peer into the miniature worlds of her characters as they cope with grief, failed love affairs and seeking their dreams. We travel all across the globe (US, Paris, Italy, Japan etc) and I particularly enjoyed the stories set in Japan, where Huggins’ lyrical writing really seems to take off. My own special favourites include: The last of Michiko, The Shadow Architect, No Longer Charlotte and well I could go on …

Amanda’s work has been published in anthologies, literary journals, and publications such as the Guardian, Telegraph, Wanderlust, Mslexia and Writers' Forum.
Her travel writing has won several awards, including the British Guild of Travel Writers New Travel Writer, and her short stories are regularly placed and listed in competitions, including Bare Fiction, Fish, InkTears, and Cinnamon Press.

A selection of her short stories appear in the InkTears showcase, Death of a Superhero, and her flash fiction collection, Brightly Coloured Horses, is published by Chapeltown Books. Separated From the Sea (Retreat West Books) is her first full length short story collection.

Separated From the Sea:
Crossing oceans from Japan to New York and from England to Havana, these stories are filled with a sense of yearning, of loss, of not quite belonging, of not being sure that things are what you thought they were. They are stories imbued with pathos and irony, humour and hope. 
Evie meets a past love but he's not the person she thinks he is; a visit to the most romantic city in the world reveals the truth about an affair; Satseko discovers an attentive neighbour is much more than that; Eleanor’s journey on the London Underground doesn't take her where she thought it would.
QUESTIONS
Q - Can you share how you went about finding a publisher for the collection and the steps involved from acceptance to publication? 
Prior to 2017 I had only submitted my short story collection to a couple of publishers, as in my heart I knew it wasn’t ready, and that there were at least half a dozen weak stories that didn’t deserve their place in the book.
However, when my flash collection, Brightly Coloured Horses, was accepted by Chapeltown Books at the start of 2017, it gave me the confidence I needed to try and find a publisher for the full-length collection again – this time in earnest.
 After a further edit I submitted it to another publisher, and this time it made the next round, and was sent out to readers. The response was very positive – one reader specifically asked the publisher to let me know that if the book were accepted she would definitely buy it. Yet in the end it was a no – they felt it still needed more work. I was now armed with suggestions for improvements, and as well as making all the changes, I wrote five new stories in a very short space of time that turned out to be some of the best I’ve written. (This is unusual for me, as I’m a very slow writer!). So I was finally able to ditch the weakest stories, re-title the collection and get it back out there.

I made it my writing goal for 2018 to get Separated From the Sea published. I submitted it to three publishers at the end of 2017/beginning of 2018, and Retreat West Books was one of them. I sent the sample stories to Amanda Saint under a pen-name. I had met Amanda briefly at the launch of a Retreat West anthology in September 2017, and I wanted her to read my work without any pre-conceived ideas about the author! She came back to me very quickly asking for the full manuscript, and a few weeks after that, towards the end of January, she signed me up. I’m very proud to be RWB’s first single collection author!

I was expecting publication to be a slow process, and certainly didn’t anticipate Separated being out any earlier than 2019 – however as you know, the book launched on June 2nd, which is amazing. I had the final manuscript over to Amanda very quickly, and then she fired the edits back to me a couple of weeks later. Luckily, she liked my re-writes, and we had agreed on the final version by the beginning of March. By April, the RWB team and myself were proofreading, and I already had the wonderful cover designed by Jennie Rawlings at Serifim. Then the blog tour was arranged, and I fired my guest posts off to Amanda before I went on holiday at the end of May! Phew!

I think I’ve made it sound far too easy (!), and obviously there was a lot more to it than that – especially from the publisher’s point of view!  It goes without saying that there’s a lot more work now that the book is out there – all the ongoing marketing/PR activity by both RWB and myself.

Q - I love the imagery in all your stories. What triggers a new short or flash story for you ... a title, image, character etc ... can you talk us through the Amanda Huggins process of story generation?
 My stories are occasionally inspired by personal experience, yet I would never write an entire short story about something that actually happened to me. Instead, I draw on small incidents that really occurred and include those as part of a longer piece of work.

For example, just like the protagonist in my story ‘Better to see him Dead’, I did accidentally  switch the washing machine on with my cat inside – don’t worry, she escaped unharmed! And just like Evie in my story, ‘Enough’, I did slip on the ice and smash a flask of soup I was taking to a homeless man.
However most of my main story ideas come straight from my imagination, often sparked by something observed or overheard on public transport, in the street, or on the news. Sometimes the starting point will be a newspaper story, or a single scene from a film that inspires me to create a completely new story or an alternative ending.
Q - You are also a successful travel writer, and your sense of place is a key element I admire in your fiction. How do you split your time between the two? What is a typical writing day for you?
 When I started writing seriously a few years ago, I concentrated solely on travel writing. There were so many places I wanted to write about, and I had a pile of travel journals from various trips I’d made to countries such as India, Japan, Russia, and Eastern Europe. The first pieces I wrote were for specific competitions, as I found the deadlines were a useful incentive. I sent a travel piece to the Daily Telegraph every single week until they published me! 

In the last couple of years I have concentrated more and more on writing fiction. However, the sense of place in my stories is still very important to me, and the settings for my short stories are often countries I have explored on my travels. I was brought up on the North Yorkshire coast, and so the sea appears as a major character in a lot of my work as well.

I had to laugh at you saying ‘a typical writing day.’ If only I had a whole day to write – ever! I work full time in engineering, and so five days a week I’m at the day job. I enjoy getting out and talking to people, and writing is a solitary pursuit, so it actually makes for a good mix. However it does severely restrict the time I get to actually write! I have a half hour walk to work, which is useful thinking time, so I'm often jotting down notes as soon as I arrive.

I try and write most evenings during the week, but there are so many demands on my time that if I get an hour or two then I’m lucky. Fortunately my partner writes too - a very popular niche music blog - so we both understand each other’s need for creative space!

Q - Can you tell us what writing projects, fiction and/or non-fiction, you have in the Huggins pipeline? 
 A few months ago I started work on a poetry collection, which is something I’ve been wanting to concentrate on for some time. A number of the poems are about growing up in a seaside town in the seventies, but others explore themes of grief and loss, and of yearning for a different life, closer to nature.
I also have an idea for a novella which I plan to start work on soon.
However, it’s proving difficult to write anything new at the moment, as I’m still busy promoting both of my collections!
I'm also the judge of this year's I Must Be Off Travel Writing Competition, so later this summer I'll be reading the shortlisted entries, which I'm looking forward to!

Thank you, Mandy, for being such a sport and answering all of LitPig's questions. I have to admit we are really excited to hear about a poetry collection and look forward to reading that! 

Please do check out the links below to buy this wonderful collection. You can also follow Mandy on Twitter and her blog.

Published by Retreat West Books - 2nd June 2018
Ebook                ISBN: 978-1-9997472-7-5
Paperback         ISBN: 978-1-9997472-6-8
The collection is currently in stock on:
Foyles
Mandy's blog - Troutie McFish Tales
Twitter: @troutiemcfish










Monday, 12 March 2018

Paisley Shirt by Gail Aldwin


I am delighted to welcome Gail Aldwin onto the Blog today. I first met Gail last summer at the Flash Fiction Festival in Bath, and then again at West Sussex Writers’ 80th birthday/Writing Day in Worthing. We chatted about ongoing projects and I’m pleased to share that her debut collection of Flash Fiction is now available from Chapeltown Books.

Paisley Shirt is a collection of flash fiction, 27 very short stories which will surprise, delight and make you think. I was quickly immersed in these and read them all in one sitting, but it’s a great collection to dip into and read in stages too. Gail’s flash stories often take you in one direction, almost lulling you into a sense of cosy expectation and then the character(s) reveal their true selves, often with surprising results. One of my favourite stories from the collection is the title flash ‘Paisley Shirt’ where Aunty Maggy reveals a past secret that surprised me. Another is the poignant ‘Stone’, a tiny story with a lingering punch to the heart.


Gail Aldwin is a prize-winning writer of short fiction and poetry. Her work can be found online at Ink, Sweat & Tears, Slamchop and Words for the Wild. She also has stories published in a range of print anthologies including Flash Fiction Festival One (Ad Hoc Fiction, 2017),
Gli-ter-ary (Bridge House Publishing, 2017) and Dorset Voices (Roving Press, 2012). Cast Iron Productions (Brighton) staged Killer Ladybugs a short play Gail co-wrote in 2017. As Chair of the Dorset Writers’ Network, Gail works with the steering group to support writers by connecting creative communities. She is a visiting tutor at Arts University Bournemouth and author of Paisley Shirt a collection of short fiction.
 
Paisley Shirt:
A fascinating collection of twenty-seven stories that reveal the extraordinary nature of people and places. Through a variety of characters and voices, these stories lay bare the human experience and what it is like to live in our world. 

Q - How did you go about sourcing a publisher for a flash collection?

I received an email from Chapeltown Books inviting me to submit stories for a single author collection of flash fiction. I had an existing relationship with the publisher Gill James who has included my stories in the Best of CaféLit series and the annual anthology by Bridge House Publishing. Submitting stories to CaféLit as an emerging writer is an excellent way to have your stories reach an audience. I set about putting a collection together by using the theme of human resilience to link new stories and others which had been previously published. One of my favourite stories is about an old woman who reflects on an earlier relationship which became the title story for the collection, Paisley Shirt.

Q - Can you share what you love about flash fiction?

I like to write short fiction alongside on-going projects so that I get a sense of satisfaction in having completed a piece of writing. Flash fiction contains all the elements of a longer story and part of the joy of flash fiction is the ability to distil the details into a short form. Editing is where the fun begins! I love to see my flash fictions become more textured and layered through this process.

Q - For the flashes in this collection have you ever taken a character into a longer piece? If yes, then why and can you tell us more?

Most of my characters come fresh to the page with each new piece of writing. I sometimes reuse the setting of a flash fiction story to develop a longer piece. One of the first pieces of flash fiction I had published was called At the Hostel. It tells the story of an elderly homeless man who befriends a young girl at the homeless hostel by reading her poetry. I used this setting again when I wrote a 30-minute screenplay about young people struggling with the challenges of homelessness in an urban environment. This was delivered as a scripted reading at Bridport Arts Centre in 2016.

Q - You also write longer fiction, can you tell us about that and any other writing projects you're working on?

I’ve become really interested in working collaboratively with other writers over the last couple of years. I am working with four others on a 90-minute screenplay called The F Word about middle-aged women who celebrate a fiftieth birthday by going on a foraging experience. As you can imagine not everything turns out as they expect. Another collaborative group concentrates on scriptwriting and we are hoping to develop enough material for a short play night in the not too distant future. With five failed attempts at writing a publishable novel, I’m still not perturbed. This Much I Know is my current WIP. It uses a six-year-old narrator that gives a child’s view of the interaction between adults in a suburban community where a paedophile is housed. The trick in writing from a child’s perspective is to exploit the gap in understanding between the child and the actions of adults around them. I’m having a lot of fun playing around with strategies and techniques to capture the voice of a young child.

 
Twitter: @gailaldwin

Facebook: 
https://www.facebook.com/gailaldwinwriter/

Blog: 
The Writer is a Lonely Hunter

Chair DWN: 
http://www.dorsetwritersnetwork.co.uk

Gail’s new collection of short fiction Paisley Shirt is available in Kindle Edition from 
Amazon. The paperback is available from all good bookshops.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Stepping it up

2017 was a year of successes for my writing (read more here) and with 2018 underway I'm asking: how can I do better? Writing is now what I do, no matter how tough it gets (and sometimes it feels really tough), for better or worse this is me .. I am a writer. Feels good to say it out loud! I have over 80 publication credits for short stories, flash fiction and articles. My short story collection is ready and out on submission. I have several completed novels to work on and another in progress. All good. So I could just keep doing the same, sticking with my process to produce new work and my publication rate will probably mimic what's gone before.

But I want more ... and what I really want to do is step it up.

I talked about this with my husband over Christmas and he shared something he'd read about snooker (yes, snooker). Snooker players train/practise endlessly to improve their game. Many do well, gain successes but then hit a plateau where despite the process their success stalls. The World Champions get to the podium by reassessing and changing their process. Maybe not all at once, perhaps introducing small changes at first or continually trying new things. That is the push they need to get off the plateau and start winning bigger.

I think I'm stuck on my own writing plateau and I need to get off ...
[Naff homemade graph warning]
My writing process has proved successful to date. I don't start writing a new story until the entire arc is in my head. Then when I do begin the story easily comes out over a couple of days. I still have work to do re editing, sharing with readers etc but basically that has been my modus operandi for the last few years. Unfortunately, the stories have slowed down in their arrival in my head or sometimes fail to turn up at all.

I want to get off the plateau ... so I've been tweaking the process. In January I had only the sketch of a story in my head, not the usual oil painting, but I made myself sit down and start writing. The story started somewhere I didn't expect, which led to its ending - I wrote both back to back and then over a week I filled in the middle of the story. At almost 7,000 words it became one of the longest short stories I've written. It has been entered into a competition and only time will tell if this new approach is successful. What it did show me was that my process doesn't have to be fixed. I tried something new and I still wrote and finished the piece. I can change! Importantly, I actually enjoyed the experience.

I needed a kick to try something new and reading Chuck Wendig's 'The Kick-Ass Writer' has helped. This has "1001 ways to write great fiction. Get published, & earn your audience." Each section has 25
bite-sized pieces of writing advice - so a great book to dip into once a day - and often it feels as if Chuck is shouting in your ear. Each page has at least one memorable quote. It's funny, rude and all TRUE.
This is something from the book I am taking to heart: "It's time to start taking some risks ... Throw open the doors. Kick down the walls of your uncomfortable box. Carpet bomb the Comfort Zone so that none other may dwell there."

P.S. After writing this post I came across an article by Alison Moore in Mslexia (Sep 2017) 'I get knocked down (but I get up again' which sort of echoes some of how I've been feeling lately. One quote that gives me hope is: "A few times ... I noticed in retrospect that just when I had the gravest doubts about my work, and considered stepping out of the ring for a while - and maybe even did so - I was in fact in the process of making a leap forward."

Have you tried changing your writing process? Has it worked for you? Please share.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Bloodlines by Hannah Brockbank

I'm delighted to have talented poet, writer and artist, Hannah Brockbank as a guest on the Blog today. Hannah's debut poetry pamphlet Bloodlines (Indigo) has been recently launched and she's here to talk about her poems and process ... I highly recommend this collection and believe this is the just beginning of Hannah's poetry career.

About Bloodlines:
Through a linked sequence of poems, Bloodlines gives witness to a woman’s struggle to find connection with an absent father. Encompassing themes of biological inheritance and cultural disinheritance, the poems are compellingly intense. Rooted in landscape, the language is elemental, coursing through a series of imaginary encounters and moments of clarity.
 
Q: This is your debut collection, can you share how this came to be written and then published?
A: Bloodlines was born out of a desire to explore my experience of growing up without a father. I have no recollection of how he looked, moved, and sounded, so this was very liberating creatively. I quickly realised that I’d tapped into a rich vein of emotion and was intrigued to explore it further through poetry. I became very curious about my biological inheritance, and also, my cultural disinheritance. As time progressed, writing about an imagined relationship with my father became a conscious decision. I could see there was enough scope in it too, for it to become the focus of my MA Creative Writing dissertation which I completed in 2015 at the University of Chichester.
Once I had a polished pamphlet of 28 poems, I set about looking for a publisher. I spent a good deal of time researching publishers that might be interested in my work in respect of its theme and style, and I also spoke to other published poets about their recommendations. I decided to send it to Indigo Dreams Publishing as I enjoy reading their publications and magazines. After a few months, I received an email saying they liked Bloodlines and wanted to publish it. I was over the moon!
 
 
Q: I particularly love how many of your poems have a very domestic setting and yet others beautifully weave in nature or animals. What triggers the birth of a poem for you? Can you talk through your process of first idea to finished poem?
A: A large proportion of the time, my poems are triggered by a strong emotional response to an image, although occasionally, an interesting phrase or an idiom can intrigue me too. I’ll then write a ‘spill’ in my notebook, which is basically a mind map, except it doesn’t have order and can even include sketches, or clippings, or odd words that wouldn’t mean much to an outsider. I’ll keep adding to it over a number of days. I often start to find links between words or images. I call these ‘serendipitous moments’ and they feel rather like a gift or a good sign. At that point, I’ll start to free-write the poem. After numerous redrafts, I’ll start to think about form and line, and how these can increase the poem’s resonance. Once I feel I have a reasonable draft, I will share the poem with my workshop group.
 
 
Q: You had a wonderful opportunity to spend time at the Museum of Motherhood in Florida last year, how did this come about? And did it inspire you to write?
A: I am currently studying for a creative Ph.D at the University of Chichester which includes the creation of a full collection of poems about my mothering experience, and an accompanying study that involves, partly, examining matrifocal narratives in poetry. I searched the internet for residencies that would provide time and space to write, and had opportunities to further support my research. I was delighted when I discovered the Museum of Motherhood (M.O.M.). in Florida. I immediately applied for a two week residency and was accepted soon after. I stayed between 23rd October – 6th November last year. Whilst at M.O.M. I was able to handle exhibits, research, write, and make good use of the museum’s full collection of Demeter Press works. I also made a good friend in the museum’s Founder and Director, Martha Joy Rose. A truly inspirational woman.
 
 
Q: What is your next project, can you share what you’re working on right now?
A: I’m currently taking a short pause from an intensive 8 months of writing poetry in order to recharge. As much as I adore writing poetry, it can be emotionally greedy, so I’ve learnt that taking a short break now and then is beneficial, and as a wise friend pointed out to me, will actually help future productivity. So for now, I am walking, swimming, and painting. I think a writer’s mind, however, never truly switches off, and I’d be fibbing if I said I wasn’t still jotting ideas down in my notebook.
You can buy Bloodlines here from Indigo Dreams.
 
There will be a book launch in early spring at the University of Chichester (date to be confirmed). I will also read at some local Open Mics in the near future. Please check my website for further details and updates.
Hannah Brockbank is joint winner of the 2016 Kate Betts Award. Publications featuring her work include Hallelujah for 50ft Women Anthology (Bloodaxe), A Way through the Woods Anthology (Binsted Arts), Full Moon & Foxglove Anthology (Three Drops Press), The London Magazine, Envoi, and When Women Waken Journal. Her poems also featured in the Chalk Poets Anthology as part of the 2016 Winchester Poetry Festival. She has also written feature essays for Thresholds International Short Story Forum.
Hannah is currently studying for a Ph.D. in Creative Writing at the University of Chichester.
 
Instagram: hannahbrockbankwriter  Twitter: @hannahbrockbank
Author photo by Natalie Miller
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
.

 

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

2017: A writing year

Tomorrow I'll be meeting my writing buddy, Wendy, to review how we performed against our goals for 2017 and to set new targets for 2018. Yes, teacakes will be involved. You can read about Wendy's writing year here. For me 2017 has been a true rollercoaster year with some spectacular highs, along with a deep, dark low. The low was a personal one when my mum died suddenly in February. I'm still processing that loss and her passing has triggered some difficult emotions and memories, along with extreme anxiety at times. But this is a writing blog and I'll focus on what I achieved in 2017 ...

For the geeks here are the stats:
Short stories written = 4
Flash stories written = 6
Features written = 2
1 new novel started
Crime novel was called in by 6 literary agents but sadly no offers (and very little feedback as to why...)
I was also commissioned to prepare and lead two writing workshops: one on writing for competitions and the other on micro fiction. Both were successful with a good turnout.
Competitions entered = 42 requiring fees, 21 free entry
  • Successes (i.e. long/short listings, placements) = 13
Submissions to magazines/anthologies/online opportunities = 22
  • Acceptances = 10
Income = >4 times what I earned in 2016, it has been a very good year for getting paid to write! However, I am still a long (long) way off paying income tax, which is my ultimate goal (albeit an odd one!).

Here are some of the places my work was published in 2017:
Granta
Thresholds Short Story Forum
Writing Magazine
Take-a-Break magazine
Spelk
50 Word Stories
Reflex Fiction
In the Moment magazine
Flash Fiction Festival Anthology ONE
Brighton Prize Anthology
I YOU HE SHE IT Experiments in Viewpoint anthology (Huddersfield University)
Paragraph Planet

The Prosecco and Walnut Whips came out for the following successes:
Regional Winner (Canada & Europe) Commonwealth Short Story Prize, which included publication on Granta (links below in A-Z), £2,500 prize and an all expenses paid trip to Singapore for the prize giving. It was the high point of my year and of my writing career to date. Writing Magazine also published my 2-page article on winning the prize.
Other paid wins/placements included:
Runner-up Retreat West themed flash comps x2
2nd Prize GRIST Point-of-View comp
2nd Prize Flash500
3rd Prize Reflex Fiction Autumn Flash comp
Story of the month on 50 word stories

Notable listings included:
Longlisted for Mogford Prize, Reflex Fiction, Flash500 Novel comp (for a speculative novel)
Special Commendation for Fabula Nivalis prize
Shortlisted for Flash500 Novel comp (for a crime novel) and Bridport Flash Fiction.

Looking back at these stats makes me realise what a good year it has been. Odd, because I felt it was a bit of a wasted time as I hadn't written as much as previous years. Much of my success/publications came from work written before 2017, which demonstrates the 3 P's of writing: Persistence, Patience and Positive thinking. So I'm hoping new fiction written in 2017 will start to prosper and find good homes in 2018 (and beyond). I'm also really fired up to write new fiction: long, short and perhaps even some drama.

Finally, I looked over the stories published in 2017 and animals feature in many so I thought I'd end with a brief A-Z of animal themed stories that came out last year.

B is for Bird: Twitching, shortlisted for Bridport Flash Fiction and to be published 2018 FLASH: International Flash Fiction magazine
C is for Cat: Pandora's Cat, 3rd Prize Reflex Fiction - read it here
D is for Dragon: Skylighter, 2nd Prize Flash500 - read it here
H is for Hare: The Frost Hare, Brighton Prize Anthology (published in paperback) AND Hare, published on Spelk, read it here
R is for Rat: Positive Outcome, Runner-up Retreat West - read it here
S is for Swan: Inheritance, published on Reflex Fiction - read it here
M is for Moth: The Naming of Moths, published on Granta (CW Prize Regional Winner) - read it here
W is for Whale: Fish of the Sea, published Nov issue In the Moment magazine
W is for (Were)Wolf: Lunacy, Runner-up Retreat West - read it here

Did you achieve your writing goals for 2017? What new writing projects do you want to start in 2018? Please share ... and KEEP WRITING





Sunday, 24 December 2017

75 stories published!

I recently hit a milestone of seeing my 75th story published. Quite by accident it was on Paragraph Planet which only publish stories of 75 words exactly. That has to be auspicious, don't you think? The story was online for one day only so if you missed it here it is below. For anyone who enjoys a Christmas werewolf tale ...


Mistletoe and whine
Had he just explained how mistletoe was a parasite? The berries poisonous. What about romance? “Did you also know it was used to ward off witches and werewolves?” she says, glancing to the sprig above with its glowing orbs. She doesn’t add that not all folklore is based on fact. The full moon casts silvery shadows. A growl lingers at the back of her throat as he leans in for a kiss.


As you can see LitPig is already for Santa. Not sure how long the mince pies will last so I hope he gets here soon. From LitPig and me we'd like to wish all our followers/readers a very

MERRY CHRISTMAS