Saturday, June 30, 2012

Intl Short Story Conference in Little Rock

It's been such a busy week, full-on short stories, so I am going to be very lazy and a bit naughty and not blog here but direct you to my fellow participant Nuala's excellent blog posts! She is far far more organised than me, and we were on the same flash fiction panel, so I trust her reportage! Read her Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 blogs. I will get my thoughts together when I get home next week!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Off To Little Rock!

Apologies for the silence, I have been rushing around America, it's been fun! I will blog about my retreat experience when I have a clearer head, tomorrow I am off to the International Short Story Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas (best know for Bill Clinton, perhaps -  that's his little Presidential library on the left).

I will be on a panel about flash fiction, and reading from my new book, and you can find out more about it all here. Looking forward to hanging out with (and meeting for the first time) writer pals including Nuala Ni Chonchuir, Sylvia Petter, Mary Costello, Paddy O'Reilly and Adnan Mahmutovic, and just talking about short stories! That, for me, is another kind of retreat!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happy International Short Story Day! And... Delighted to announce that...

By the miracle of technology, I am writing this on a bus in America! I wanted to wish you all Happy International Short Story Day today, June 20th, the shortest day in the southern hemisphere...and the shortest night in the northern hemisphere.

And... by the miracle of technology I am delighted to announce that My Mother Was An Upright Piano: Fictions has just been published as an ebook! It is available in 2 ebook formats - epub and mobi, and each format includes an extra secret story, which is new and unpublished and hidden somewhere within the ebook.  A different secret story in each ebook format!

You can get it for Kindle here (UK) and here (US), here (Germany), and here (France) and for all other e-readers (ePub) direct from Tangent Books. How exciting!

A great way for me to celebrate ISSD, which, by the way, was initiated by the fabulous Comma Press, one of the pioneers of short story publishing in the UK...Check out this very comprehensive post on Thresholds and follow @shortstoryday on Twitter. And of course, if you need ideas of short stories to read, I am one of those recommending some of my favourites on the International Short Story Day site - and do check out The Short Review's June issue and our voluminous archives - why not buy someone you love a short story collection or anthology as a present today? Spread the joy...

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Tales From the Shed 1: My Mother Was An Upright Piano

I am away right now without much Internet access, but by the magic of Blogger scheduling, I'm still able to blog! And here, for your delectation, is the first of my Tales From the Shed: a video, filmed by my partner, James, of me in my writing shed reading one of the fictions from my collection. There will be more... And maybe I will expand this to include me reading other people's Tales too. Or tours of the shed. Any requests?

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Languages of Colour...

How gorgeous is that? It's the front cover of a new anthology published on May 31st by the excellent Frogmore Press, "A collection of writings and artwork on the subject of colour and colour theory" which includes my very short story, Colours Shift and Fade (first published in the Vestal Review). Contributors include Graham Dean, Clare Best, Liz Rideal, Julian Bell, Rachel Playforth, Aprilia Zank, Niki Fulton, Robert Hamberger, Jeremy Page, Tamar Yoseloff, Roy Osborne, Ros Barber, Catherine SmithMario Petrucci, Kay Syrad, and many others. It's a wonderful anthology - find out more here.

And I had a wonderful time last Sunday night reading at Stroud Stories in the company of these excellent writers: Thursa Swindall, Anthony Hentschel, A.J. Grace-Smith, Adam Horovitz, Rachel Levay, Rommy Collingwood, Pauline Roberts, Aidan Rush, Jo Bousfield, and Esme Lloyd-Baldwin. You can see pictures on the Stroud Stories blog.

Tuesday night's Spread the Word event in London, Short Story: Big Picture, for which I was on a panel with Helen Garnon-Williams (editor, fiction, at Bloomsbury), Di Speirs (head of readings, BBC Radio) and Ted Hogkinson (online editor, Granta), expertly chaired by Aasiya Lodhi, BBC Radio producer, was very interesting. We talked about whether Britain lags behind America and/or Europe in terms of enthusiasm for stories, the problem of there being not enough prizes for short story collections, who is publishing short stories - longer ones as well as shorter - and took excellent questions from the audience, including what those of us who read for competitions we wished we weren't seeing in short stories! I refused to answer any questions relating to the "rules" of short story writing, since I don't believe there are any, and Ted and I, when asked for our vision of where the short story would be in 10 years, both envisaged an iTunes-like way to deliver single short stories to readers.

It was fascinating for me to be part of this discussion - and a great honour - and did make me wonder about the future. What is the purpose of a short story collection - for its author, for the reader? This is something I am personally thinking about as I enjoy promoting MMWAUP, and think about future projects. The world is changing... but music lovers still by albums, don't they? I do. Sometimes. Hmm. Food for thought! Answers in the comments please! :)