Category Archives: short story

INKSPILL 2018 Bookshop

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The INKSPILL Book Shop posts provides you with access to this year’s Guest Writers books and other books featured over the weekend.

Our Guest Writers give their time for free and the whole weekend is free for you to access… so if you are in the market for a book, you have come to the right place.


Kate Garrett

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The Density of Salt

These are poems of journeying, transformation, and growth, woven through with fairytale and myth, forest, sky and sea; they are elaborations of the dark times that make us look for light. This book is a place where love is never the same feeling twice, and neither is revenge.

doomsday

You’ve never seen a doomsday like it

These are poems about surviving doomsdays. People use the word doomsday to describe the apocalypse, and apocalypse simply means ‘an uncovering of knowledge’. Every life has its share of apocalyptic moments—not only great catastrophes, but also small secret revelations, and surprise twists of good fortune as well. They leave you with lessons learned, and stories to tell.

deadly

Deadly, Delicate 

Here are fourteen poems circumnavigating the world of historical piracy, presented at a slant where the men are dangerous and the women are lethal. The violence and the sweetness, the freedom and the acceptance of death are all given equal footing. Never straying from the brutality of a lawless life on the seas, Deadly, Delicate welcomes you to the depths…

Three Drops Press and Picaroon Titles can be found here – 4 pages of books.

Spotlight Kate Garrett

 

bONNIES CREW

Bonnie’s Crew Poetry Anthology 

The Bonnie’s Crew poetry anthology is here! Our tiny A6 paperback contains 41 poets and 52 pages of poetry. It’s a limited first print run of 200, and they’ve been flying out my front door – but we do still have plenty available.



Kevin Brooke

jimmy-cricket-front-cover YA

Jimmy Cricket

‘Seen through the eyes of the main character, Jimmy Latham, this story shows how teenagers can, with the right support, survive just about anything. Set just after Jimmy’s fifteenth birthday and a year after the death of his parents in a car accident his life is in disarray. But then…he’s given the chance to focus on something positive.’

Published by Black Pear Press

Max & Luchia–The Game Makers

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Max & Luchia–The Game Makers takes you on a magical journey into an online game invented by the imagination of Max & Luchia. Illustrated throughout by the super-talented Seraphim Bryant, this is an exciting, engaging read that young readers have said is unputdownable! 

Published by Black Pear Press

The Roman Citizens From Class 6B

roman

Ben has an amazing talent – his pictures come to life! When he and his friends Calum and Maisie are transported onto a Battlefield, their Roman adventures begin. Aimed at an approximate reading age of 6-10, the story includes a chariot race in the Circus Maximus, a day in the Roman Senate and a daring rescue of a slave girl called Phina from the lions in the Colosseum. After hiding in the Catacombs, Ben draws one last picture and he, Calum, Maisie and Phina are transported back to England – 61AD England to be precise where they are soon charging towards the Roman Army alongside Boudicca, the Iceni Queen.


Alison May 

All That Was Lost

ATWL Cover

In 1967 Patience Bickersleigh is a teenager who discovers a talent for telling people what they want to hear. Fifty years later she is Patrice Leigh, a nationally celebrated medium. But cracks are forming in the carefully constructed barriers that keep her real history at bay.   

Published by Legend Press

Click below to buy a copy.

INKSPILL 2018 Bookshop

Standard

inkspill bks

The INKSPILL Book Shop posts provides you with access to this year’s Guest Writers books and other books featured over the weekend.

Our Guest Writers give their time for free and the whole weekend is free for you to access… so if you are in the market for a book, you have come to the right place.


Kate Garrett

density.jpg

The Density of Salt

These are poems of journeying, transformation, and growth, woven through with fairytale and myth, forest, sky and sea; they are elaborations of the dark times that make us look for light. This book is a place where love is never the same feeling twice, and neither is revenge.

doomsday

You’ve never seen a doomsday like it

These are poems about surviving doomsdays. People use the word doomsday to describe the apocalypse, and apocalypse simply means ‘an uncovering of knowledge’. Every life has its share of apocalyptic moments—not only great catastrophes, but also small secret revelations, and surprise twists of good fortune as well. They leave you with lessons learned, and stories to tell.

deadly

Deadly, Delicate 

Here are fourteen poems circumnavigating the world of historical piracy, presented at a slant where the men are dangerous and the women are lethal. The violence and the sweetness, the freedom and the acceptance of death are all given equal footing. Never straying from the brutality of a lawless life on the seas, Deadly, Delicate welcomes you to the depths…

Three Drops Press and Picaroon Titles can be found here – 4 pages of books.

Spotlight Kate Garrett

 

bONNIES CREW

Bonnie’s Crew Poetry Anthology 

The Bonnie’s Crew poetry anthology is here! Our tiny A6 paperback contains 41 poets and 52 pages of poetry. It’s a limited first print run of 200, and they’ve been flying out my front door – but we do still have plenty available.



Kevin Brooke

jimmy-cricket-front-cover YA

Jimmy Cricket

‘Seen through the eyes of the main character, Jimmy Latham, this story shows how teenagers can, with the right support, survive just about anything. Set just after Jimmy’s fifteenth birthday and a year after the death of his parents in a car accident his life is in disarray. But then…he’s given the chance to focus on something positive.’

Published by Black Pear Press

Max & Luchia–The Game Makers

front-covere28093max-luchia

Max & Luchia–The Game Makers takes you on a magical journey into an online game invented by the imagination of Max & Luchia. Illustrated throughout by the super-talented Seraphim Bryant, this is an exciting, engaging read that young readers have said is unputdownable! 

Published by Black Pear Press

The Roman Citizens From Class 6B

roman

Ben has an amazing talent – his pictures come to life! When he and his friends Calum and Maisie are transported onto a Battlefield, their Roman adventures begin. Aimed at an approximate reading age of 6-10, the story includes a chariot race in the Circus Maximus, a day in the Roman Senate and a daring rescue of a slave girl called Phina from the lions in the Colosseum. After hiding in the Catacombs, Ben draws one last picture and he, Calum, Maisie and Phina are transported back to England – 61AD England to be precise where they are soon charging towards the Roman Army alongside Boudicca, the Iceni Queen.

 

INKSPILL 2018 Guest Writer Kevin Brooke Interview

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INKSPILL GUESTS Kevin

Kevin Brooke talks to us about writing, research and relaxation. Links have been included, you can also find Kevin’s books in our INKSPILL BOOKSHOP.

1. What are your ambitions for your writing career?

My main focus as a writer for young people is to publish as many books of the right standard as I can. In doing so, it will allow me to contact local schools and speak to young people with the aim of encouraging reading and writing. As someone who didn’t start reading for pleasure until I was about 25, this is particularly important to me and tend to write stories that are accessible for all. I also concentrate on stories of the type I would have liked to have read when I was younger and base my characters on two demographics i.e. 7-11 and 11-15. For me, these are such crucial ages of development for young people and I therefore focus on themes that are suitable for these age groups.

 

2. So, what have you written?

My first book, The Roman Citizens from Class 6B was utilised as a resource in a primary school in Malvern in 2016.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Roman-Citizens-Class-6B/dp/1291271511

roman

I regularly use my second book, a Young Adult novel, Jimmy Cricket, as a resource to encourage reading in schools (I am currently Patron of Reading at Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College in Worcester).

https://blackpear.net/authors-and-books/kevin-brooke/jimmy-cricket/

jimmy-cricket-front-cover

I have added this in, as Kevin is too humble… In 2015 Jimmy Cricket was studied in school in AustriaInternational Success

I am hoping that my third book, Max & Luchia: The Game Makers (aimed at 7-11 years), will be just as successful.

https://blackpear.net/2018/08/14/max-luchia-the-game-makers/

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I’ve had approximately 35 short stories published in various publications that include Short Stories From Black Pear, in Graffiti Magazine, as a member of Worcester Writers’ Circle, in WorcesterLitfest Flash Fiction collections, University of Worcester magazines and WWI remembrance publications.

A full list of publications can be found at www.kevinbrooke.com

I often enter short story competition and was awarded first prize in the Erewash National Short Story Competition in 2014 and the Kishboo Magazine Spring Competition in 2016. Several runners up prizes, a number of commended and highly commended awards have also led to publication in competition anthologies.

Although I don’t consider myself as a poet as such, I do write poetry and publications include Contour Magazine (as organised by former Worcestershire Poet Laureate, Nina Lewis), on the Goodhadhood website, WorcesterLitfest publications and several collections aimed at Young People.

3. How much research do you do?

I’ve just finished a degree in Creative & Professional Writing and English Literature at the University of Worcester and one of the main things I’ve learnt is the need for proper research. Although I’d always researched in the past, I tended not to delve as much as I do now. This includes the need for visiting the place I am writing about as experiential research, to fully utilise the five senses. For example, I recently wrote a short story about a protagonist who headed into a dark forest and replicated their situation by going to a nearby wood and turning off the torch. The results of taking shorter steps as I walked, holding my arms out in front of me and a general sense of disorientation were then utilised in the story. In my opinion, people observation in cafes, bars, train stations etc. is also crucial to pick up on individual mannerisms and to create genuine dialogue. As a writer for Young People, I also try and read as many modern stories as I can to enable me to gain a general sense of what is popular at the time of writing a story.

4. What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

Max & Luchia: The Game Makers, is based on a young person’s imagination. The two main characters create a world in their minds and then, after doing something special to help other people, they are given the chance to play the game they’ve created for real. The hardest aspect, therefore, was creating something a 7-11 year old would be inspired by. Fortunately, I carry out a number of creative writing workshops with young people and this gave me a sense of the fairy-tale, mythical world they created in their stories. After that, it was about creating the imagery that a child would relate to. For example, instead of an adult description based on feelings to describe “a beautiful night’s sky” I tried to use clearer, descriptive phrases such as the one I heard an 8 year old use about the sky being “filled with a thousand stars”.

5. Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

In giving advice to a writer, J K Rowling has been quoted as saying “Write the story as well as you can, revise it, refine it, and if it still seems alive to you, you’re done” and I tend to offer this advice creative workshops for young people. For me, if this means leaving gaps between revisions to ensure the story has had chance to grow then so be it. I wouldn’t particularly use the time-span of one month, but enough time for a few ideas to develop or for external influences to enter the story.

6. Any tips on what to do and what not to do?

If you are going to write a children’s story, make it current. Winnie the Pooh was successful in 1926 because of the world in which it was set, but if you’re going to write a children’s story now, read a few that are fast-paced, modern and relevant to young people today. I made this mistake and spent an entire year writing a story that I wanted to read as an adult. The agents and publishers who rejected it (and these are the kind ones that replied) said, in a nutshell, “Go away and read some children’s stories that have been written in the last ten years.” They were right.

7. How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Although I use Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, the aim is always to direct people back to my website www.kevinbrooke.com

8. What do you do to relax?

I am a member of a local contemporary choir called Voices Unlimited. The photograph I have used for this (taken by nature, landscape an event photographer, Jodie Stilgoe) is from a show entitled ‘Welcome to the 60s’ in which I played Davy Jones at The Swan Theatre in September 2018. I also use this photo (and similar) for marketing purposes and send it to schools to introduce myself as someone who doesn’t take himself too seriously. As for singing itself, as well as being therapeutic, I find there is something in its very act of self-expression that helps with my writing.

INKSPILL 2018 Writing Activity – The Knowledge

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From the Bench

 

In the next writing activity we invite you to write a short story or flash fiction. Spend 10 minutes writing down initial ideas from the prompt and then spend 30 minutes or more writing the first draft of your story.

Set an alarm on your phone or use this timer https://timer.onlineclock.net/ for 10 minutes.

From the Bench

Someone is sitting on a bench reading a newspaper article about a recent string of crimes. This person knows who did it.


Remember to click.

 

Idea originally posted by Melissa Dono on Wattpad

 

 

Book Launch ‘The Women You Were Warned About’ by C.S. Barnes

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This is definitely one of those posts I wish I’d written and posted when it happened a few weeks ago. It was during my 10 Day immersion in the poetry world and there was no spare time. This is a copy of a social media message sent around the right time – I think the over-use of the exclamation mark sums up how ecstatic I was.

A fabulous launch – really good fun! Loved hearing you breathing life into the women between these pages! Delighted to hold a really copy! CONGRATULATIONS! Thanks for asking me to read.  I cannot wait for the next one! x

It was a wonderful sunny afternoon when we took off to the city of Worcester to celebrate success with Charley. Charley Barnes Book

There are three factors that made this launch an incredibly exciting time for me;

  1. Knowing about the conception of the project and secretly knowing it was to be published by Black Pear Press. Charley and I went through the publishing process at the same time and were there for each other throughout.
  2. This was the first book I was asked to endorse, along with Luke Kennard. It always will be the first book I endorsed.
  3. Charley asked me (along with Claire Walker, Polly Stretton & Alan Durham) to read at the launch.

Besides all that I would have been excited anyway. Launches are like birthdays, I always get just as enthusiastic for others as I do for my own.

cs barnes

Book Launch, Drummonds Bar, Worcester, 7th May 4pm

It was fun preparing my set and I was able to use the bounty of my NaPoWriMo poems, some with small rewrites.

Polly went first, much to our delight, (the pressure of kicking off the event) and as the publisher (part of the Black Pear Press) it seemed fitting.

I was up next followed in the second half by Claire Walker and Alan Durham. Everyone produced fine sets and performances were top notch.

There was cake, chocolate cake, friends, family & conversation. Perfectly timed with enough space to chat and mingle, hear each other perform and enjoy Charley choosing pieces and talking about the story behind the short stories.

CB launch

It was simply a lovely, Sunday afternoon. Having resisted the temptation to pre-order my copy, I was happy to queue up and buy my perfectly bound edition of The Women You Were Warned About. I savoured every moment of watching (or trying not to watch) Charley sign it.

I loved the atmosphere of pride and celebration that held the room together, beyond words to watch this happen right before my eyes. There were plenty of faces I recognised and people I knew who had come to celebrate with Charley and on such a sunny day too. Fabulous room full of people all eager to find out just what those warnings were.

I loved listening to and watching the audience reaction to the collection of answers. Charley completed the event with a brave Q & A. Some of the points are still being discussed, weeks later, now that’s how to get a book to linger!

C:/Users/Tony/Documents/Writing Projects/Black Pear/The Women Yo

You can buy a copy here

https://blackpear.net/2017/05/08/c-s-barnes-launches-first-book/

C.S. Barnes is a Worcestershire-based writer and poet who is
currently working towards her doctorate in Creative Writing.
While Barnes’s interests initially lay exclusively in poetry, her
academic studies have seen her experiment with other styles of
writing—namely the short story—and, as part of her current
degree, Barnes is now working on her first full-length novel.

Alongside her writing endeavours Barnes is also a creative writing
tutor. She has worked with primary and secondary school
students, all the way through to the undergraduate students at her
own university, where she has been tutoring for the past two
years.

The Women You Were Warned About: Answers to Absent Questions,
is Barnes’s first full-length publication and, after having so much
fun with the women contained within these stories, she sincerely
looks forward to the possibility of working with such hideous
women again in the future.© 2017 BLACK PEAR PRESS

black pear

FLASH NANO – NaNoWriMo Reaches the Halfway Point

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WOW – Pitstop… NaNoWriMo reaches the half-way point, which I could hardly believe when I logged on to update my word count… YES I have been writing, well catch up writing (but that’s okay, especially with NaNoWriMo).

nano rabbit

As I am following Nancy’s blog prompts and attempting to spend the month writing flash fiction, I am not planning on reaching 50,000 but what I can tell you is with all the catch up writing I have smashed through 10,000 – which I celebrated. I remember from 2013 that once you smash that barrier the word count tends to follow and for a while (despite only adding 100 words or so) the number increases drastically across the 100 boundaries. Until your brain leaks the thought of 20,000 words – you feel good for a while.

NaNo-2015-Participant-Badge-Large-Square

Last week I thought I might have to cheat further by writing poems not prose, but I am enjoying the Flash challenge and am creating stories that wouldn’t have existed. I am also making these challenges work for me a bit and finding time to research and build up my post NaNo resources – you have to have something to get on with straight afterwards. Keep busy.

nano_15_mug_back_detail Week 2 of NaNoWriMo – Flash Nano

Day 7 – was finally written, an interesting futuristic tale that I think has legs and might become a longer work of fiction some day. It surprised me, even after I had the basic concept of a society that needed more focus on rest and health (and let’s face it our world is mad for busy) – there is a great growing entity behind this story that I would like to explore further. I can feel a Christmas Holiday writing project coming on.

Day 8 – my story was fairly short, but again re-reading it I found some magic moments that I may be able to copy and paste into a story at some point in the future. I wrote this story behind the schedule and it made me glad that I had such an interesting day at work.

Wow, Nancy – you made me happy to be at work!?

Day 9 – This was a great prompt and it could have gone anywhere, in fact at one point I thought it might. I have written all the ideas down for future reference. It also inspired me to create an activity for my writing class and the resulting letter has some dark humour in it. It pleases me when I manage to write something funny, a good change from the serious.

Day 10 – was another prompt that nearly flew to thinking outside the box and again I have a stream of ideas to tackle another time. In the end I based this on a miraculously true story and had fun researching meanings for Italian names. I included bright nobility, which sums up the protagonist well, strength and keeper of time. The ending was left open, but I know what happens.

Day 11 – Again I think this story may need more work, I think it would appeal to the YA market, a market I haven’t considered before. Again, there are touches of humour found in the relationship between the father and his daughter.

Day 12 – has left most of with our jaws on the floor and I have only had time to scaffold my effort. Very 80s and worth being part of Flash Nano for this prompt alone.

Day 13 – was one I enjoyed (although it hasn’t helped the Nano count at just 13 words) but it was fun to edit and re-edit. I changed the story idea twice too, I am happy with the final result.

I also played catch up with the Day 6 challenge – the 100 word story. I wanted to write 150 words so I could submit it and I did just that (well 149). I will keep you posted on this one.

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I look forward to the next week of prompts.

NaNoWriMo

I collected a few more award buttons and have 13 stories and 11,548 words so far

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Nancy Stohlman FLASH NANO

Performances and Events in the Final Week of August: 42 & Naked Lungs

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Last week I had the pleasure of performing at Drummonds 42, after taking a 4 day break after the book launch. This may not sound like much, I had 48 hours of that completely OFFLINE – it was wonderful, life used to be so simple… Sometimes nerves get the better of me when I have had a performance break, fortunately that didn’t happen this time.

It was good to see writers/poets I had not seen/heard for a while and we were even treated to a bit of Musical Theatre. Catherine Crosswell is currently rehearsing Sweeny Todd for a production in Ledbury and she performed one of the songs – with props and Andrew Owen (the host) as well as treating us to her poetry. It was fantastic.

Usually these nights are themed, but once a year they do an open theme, like on the 27th. I performed a poem called ‘Missing’ which I had only performed once before in Birmingham, back in the late Spring. I performed a couple of other poems too.

There was a good variety of story and poetry and some new performers, it good to see new people come back and others take to the stage for the first time. I cannot make 42 this month as I have tickets to go and see A Night With Elvis McGonagall perform his poetry at The Hive on the same night. Elvis McGonagall

42

On this same evening there were events which I would have also loved to have been able to make (still hate the clashes), notably ‘Spire & Dust’ – which is usually Fire and Dust (have been meaning to go all year), they re-named it as it was taking place in the Inspire Café where Antony Owens had his book launch.

 

Z Worcs mus fest

Knowing that I had performances over the weekend, I wanted to take it a bit easy leading up to Worcester Music Festival. However, Joe and Chris delightfully booked me last month to perform this month. I wanted to go and see what the night was like, so went to watch performers at Naked Lungs (the people who run this are organising the artistic/performance collaboration for Birmingham Literature Festival in October).

Naked Lungs happens at Cherry Reds, a lovely, small, funky venue in a pedestrianized part of the city. Unfortunately my SatNav is currently on the blink and it is so I had my route scribbled on A4 paper. Birmingham is a nightmare to drive around at the best of times, they are working on the tunnels at the moment and a lot of central traffic is either diverted or at standstill. I think it took me longer to navigate the island (roundabout) that it did travelling into the city itself. I parked up and made the stupid mistake of asking a local – who helpfully google mapped on his phone and it looked like I was miles away. Keeping the route in my head I over shot a turning and basically by the time I got off the RING ROAD – I was on the other side of the city – fortunately an area I know well as it is where Writing West Midlands are based. A 30-40 minute journey turned into a frantic hour! BUT… I got there.

The lovely Andrea Smith (a.k.a Performance poet Swingerella) was there and we got to have a half decent natter in the numerous intervals. The crowd is fairly young – so that helps me decide on material for the set. Of course there were some people my age and possibly a bit older too. I was excited to find that both Ben Norris AND Ian Bowkett were performing sets.

The whole night was fantastic with great performances from; Ian Bowkett, Ben Norris, David Timothy, Heidi Murphy  – during the evening a box was passed around for us to write ideas of topics of conversation for Benjamin Jones the resident philosopher who then pontificated on a range of subjects, a funny, quirky and cool addition to the evening and a master of improv!

A new experience was FATLiP, (Toby De Angeli, Dana Segal and Jak Stephens) although we only had 2 of them, they were mesmerising a spoken word (with heart, narrative, mixed styles and pace) prose poetry, along with music and a loud speaker. I truly could have listened to them all night. They are playing Bestival this September!

FATLiP will be performing their combination of spoken words, sounds and performance to tell unheard stories from unsuspecting places.

Sometimes it is just nice to watch and not have to sit with butterflies, nervously waiting for your turn! Although it is such a relaxing, enjoyable atmosphere I doubt I will be too worried. Mainly it was FUN, laid back, well organised and FUN!

I managed to learn another new poem for Worcester Music Festival (only wrote it last week) so I am planning on being able to connect properly with the audience on at least some of the poems. It is much easier to work on the performance if you are not trying to balance a book…. another reason why my next poetry collection will be in an A5 notebook! I am looking forward to getting my set ready and returning to Cherry Reds on the 25th September

Naked Lungs

 

July Review

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At the end of June’s review I wrote;

Roll on the sunshine! Morning-Sun-mit

I was looking forward to the Summer holidays. Well, sunshine happened  – lots of it and the sunburn from the 52 Event formed a base tan that other people commented on when I was out Tuesday night. I have very fair skin and usually just freckles darken and I get a golden glow, my legs remain blue! This year – thanks to outdoor events and our lovely garden (that Mr G is constantly tending and creating) I have a tan – for the first time in my life and even my legs have some colour!

This sunshine is wonderful – but it has kept me away from the laptop – which I could use in the garden, but find that scribbling in my notebooks and catching on up reading a far more appropriate garden relaxing activity!

I have also had an exceptionally busy time offline and Mr G took a week off – which is a week I barely logged on at all.

 __________            July         _______________

Brought me abundant opportunities, some fabulous events and wonderful experiences.

Blogs and Projectslaptop

I continued to write poems for 52 and got behind on my MOOC course (due to real paid work), I hope to re-enrol next time this course is offered. It is a shame but I don’t think I could deal with the stress and pressure of catching up.

I didn’t hear back from Naked Lungs and presume they have invited other artists to collaborate on the pop up event for Birmingham Literature Festival. I also missed there open mic event this month but have already booked a slot for the one at the end of August.

The blog now has 778 followers, an extra 13 people joined in July. I am grateful to you all and hope you enjoy splashing in the Fountain.

Last month the most popular post was;

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Writing Short Stories – Tips on Planning and Structure More stats 367
 

It continues to gain popularity with over 300 reads once again:

Writing Short Stories – Tips on Planning and Structure More stats 306

I am delighted – because many of them may have been 52ers that the most popular post in this last week of July was…

52 Meet and Perform for the Stratford Poetry Festival More stats 146

Followed closely by Tips on Planning & Structure.

Submission and Publishing type

My poem Clench – appeared in the July issue of Hark, an online magazine.

I had another poem ‘Fallacy‘, a 52 poem from the weather week accepted for print publication, the anthology will be out later this year. This was as a result of entering GBWO – Great British Write Off.

Jean Atkin kindly published my 2nd farm poem on her blog for Acton Scott Farm, it was called ‘Combine Harvester’ but it has been re-titled ‘The Cart’ because that is the subject of the poem.

 

I submitted work to the Mental Health Festival Scotland

HCE – Here Comes Everyone for the Girl/Boy Issue

Popshots – Time Issue

I also worked on several short stories – unfortunately I didn’t have the time to get them up to scratch before the deadline, after finding out about them a month too late.

 

Offa Press rejected my mini sample manuscript, I have yet to find out which 2 lucky poets have been taken on by them this year.

Popshots rejected my submission for the Time issue.

motivation secret

I have read many articles about not taking rejection personally, I didn’t seek these articles out, I did spend a weekend catching up on reading my writing magazines, but I am also a firm believer in the universe responding (even when you didn’t think you called) – I needed to read the wisdom and toughen up. Rejection is just part of the course.

 

 

 

Performing Poetry

The month started with a 9 day break from performing, although during this time the Ledbury Poetry Festival had started and I did attend some events. At the beginning of the month I drifted into auto-recovery after an exceptionally busy week working full time and supporting many events at WLF – Worcester LitFest. Later on in the month I took another 9 day break – so the performances and events this month have taken place over less than a 2 week period.

I need these sorts of breaks more regularly now after 10months of flurried activity. I enjoy events more if I am not too tired to stand up and besides I knew with work and writing as well, I wouldn’t have the energy to keep the relentless touring up. That was never my intention.

Stratford -Upon -Avon Poetry Festival and Ledbury happened this month.

There were as always events which I missed and open mics I had no energy to attend, my hope is that before the end of the year I may get to attend them all at least once.

I am gutted that I lost my opportunity to send audition video in to support Hollie McNish on her Birmingham Tour in October. Scheduling and technical equipment were against me, couldn’t even use my mobile as it broke! I guess also part of me felt I wasn’t ready for this, despite talking to her after ConFab in Malvern and her telling me how much she enjoyed CakeMan…. if the Offa experience is anything to go by – the poet can love and adore you and your work – it won’t necessarily lead to the powers that be, publishing house, agents or Performance Companies agreeing!

When things should happen I will be ready to jump – I did get my 2nd exciting booking for paid work this month and a new role for me to try on for size to boot. Both BIG opportunities I have had this year I have grasped with a quick and confident YES! Both will lead to more things and both are beyond what I imagined I would achieve 10 months into my poetry journey / 20 months into my writing journey.

143551349motivation worth it

 

 

 

 

Mouth and Music Summer mm

Speakeasy Poetry

Spoken Word at The Ort This was a pre-book launch set by some of the contributors to the Born Free Anthology Restless Bones

Poetry on the Farm – celebrating the end of Jean Atkin’s poet residency by performing in the Old Barn, inspirational day! Setting up Poems for the Farm 10 best

The Event

Performing at The Shakespeare Centre, Stratford Upon Avon as part of the 52 Event 52

The week following this I was fairly exhausted by the 4 day run and 300+ miles of driving on top of some work. I was also writing for submission and Mr G had taken the week off to spend time together in lieu of a holiday. I missed 5 events this week, but had a lovely week with Mr G in the beautiful garden making it even more special.

42 – Dark Fears and Desires Read about it

 

Events Celebrate the World

Ledbury Poetry Festival Ledbury PFLedbury

I also went on a crazy quest to meet my old English Teacher – the one who encouraged me that poetry was where my writing talent lay! He works with Carol-Ann Duffy and she performed at a secret gig in Worcester this month. Read all about the crazy here

The Poetry Army – who I was supposed to perform with at The Artrix, postponed until 2015 due to ticket sales. I was gutted, but will be involved next summer instead, with more confidence and hopefully I will love it all the same. This event was double booked with a wedding invitation we had already accepted, so at least we were both able to attend the wedding. Although I missed performing at The Black Country weekend because of a wedding head the next day!

Antony Owens & Joseph Horgan– Book Launch at the Inspire Bar, Coventry the-year-i-loved-england Reviewed here

Jo Bell and 52 – Picnic/ Performance Event Stratford-Upon-Avon Poetry Festival 52

Poetry Party – my first one and it was wonderful, well worth the journey and a great night spent entertaining each other together. Not to mention some delicious food, thanks to Saleha Begum.

 

The Poet Within Quotes-On-The-Craft-of-Writing-bilo-gde

I lost complete confidence this month, I know again this is a normal status/ state to experience – but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. Losing faith in your ability, in your words is like being trapped in a box with no air. Absolutely terrifying. Fortunately I pulled myself out of the 2 week slump by posting about it and within a few days of enjoying events my thoughts shifted back to believing in the magic.

I have had a crazy 10 months, I am constantly learning and experiencing, opening new doors, facing new challenges. The strength of the writing community keeps me going, people are supportive and always there to offer advice or critique should you want it.

Even my worse writing days are 100 times better than the decade I forgot to pick up the pen.

A month of writing and opportunities.

summer 3 Here’s to AUGUST! bf bd

How has your month been?

Drummonds 42 – ‘Dark Fears & Desires’: Poeting after a 9 Day Break!

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It doesn’t feel like I have had a 9 day break from performing, I have been busy catching up reading back issues of writing magazines -I am now ready for the next one to pop through the post in a couple of days time! I have written lots of poetry and have started to work on a short story, which I hope to finish reworking and editing today (as it is the deadline). I have been busy, although (apart from the reading) I took a break the week Mr G had off – he has been back at work the past 4 days and I have been writing in between household chores and making crumble with our home grown rhubarb, this act itself spawned a new poem about food and cooking.

My creative mind is certainly not on holiday – just as well, Mr G has booked next week off (this time the plan is to start sorting the house, including decorating and building furniture we bought last year) as you can tell we are a bit laid back about it – whatever it looks like – it is home and it has felt like that since we moved in a year ago.

Next week there are a few events and then the following few weeks it all starts to kick in. I am not earning a wage this month as I am not working, just as well because I have the opportunity to get creative and just be. I get to live one life not two, that’s a break by anyone’s measure!

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Last night was wonderful, a mix of new performers, lots of great tales and poems and Sharon Carr’s storytelling, a very talented Canadian storyteller who you must see if you get a chance. I loved listening to everyone, which was a good job as I was on 2nd from last. Andrew Owens, who hosts the event is entirely fair, sharing opening and closing spots between us all and varying at what point in the evening we read.

I love a themed night and often use the, to create new works, however this week my priority has been the short story I am attempting to complete before deadline (today) and so I consulted my poetry book to find poems to fit the theme.

dark fear People particularly liked ‘Clench’ which was published in Hark Magazine this month, it is more dark desire than fear or desire, but a desire with a different interpretation.

It was great to perform again after a 9 day break, although watching others the nerves kicked in. Mainly because I hadn’t seen the set list and didn’t know if I was going to be on in the 1st half or the 2nd half.

It was lovely to chat to old friends and meet/make new ones. The stage was full of talent and I had a really good night.

I came home just after 11pm and made a crumble with our home-grown gigantic rhubarb and attempted to work on the short story a little.

My next event is probably going to be a Workshop on Sunday.

MONDAY! Monday! On Writing and Time Management.

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Monday rolls around all too quickly, HALLOWEEN 2011 081 you know I made the assumption that connecting back into a much missed creative life would take away the Sunday Slump of the rat race and the Manic out of Monday… how wrong I was. A lot of the internal struggle is created by the fact that the writing isn’t paying (yet) and so to keep my house, car, life (like many writers) I still have an evolving career/ day job.

If the tax man is reading this – YOU OWE ME MONEY – lots £100’s on a tax rebate….. would be helpful to receive that soon – believe me I doubt they read the blog (big brother paranoia) but when I tried to contact them through the website and calling I just got an automated message telling me if I was owed money they would know and would be dealing with it — then it automatically HUNG UP! Now this may be true but I tend to be a little unlucky with bureaucratic red tape and things that may take a few months usually roll on for years if my names and codes are attached to it! imagesCAEEZNXM

Anyway back to the post. I have had a productive morning, waking early on my writing day, doing some laundry (despite the rain which is supposedly clearing by dinner time!), starting my diet and exercise regime ready to not be uncomfortable in my skin at my brother’s wedding this Autumn and in the hope I fit back into some of my dresses this summer. By the time I logged on it was 10:30, I felt guilty and then I THREW AWAY that negative feeling, I could have slept in until 10! alarm-clock

So I made a start (as I always do) at the beginning of a writing day, by making a list. A set of goals, jobs to do, things to research, write, read.

paper-notesI am well disciplined and stay off social media until there is a break point or after the list has been completed is better. Breaks tend to elongate without you realising once you are trapped in the social media bubble. The way I see it is I wouldn’t have access if I was at work. I am at work (writing) – I have no access. My brain is so easy to kid!

Sometimes (depending what is on the list) time gets rolling fast and it will be time to pack up before I have ticked off the 1st two items. I do NOT worry. The post-it list is stuck in my writing diary, ready with the starting point if my next writing session.

Today’s list consists of research and writing. Plus I had a few business emails to read/ respond to. That’s the biggest surprise I think in writing, the fact that ADMIN takes up so much time. It took ages to flag up the emails, despite using designated email addresses for different areas.

to do I have currently applied for a pop-up performance arranged by Naked Lungs for this year’s Birmingham Literature Festival, have 2 – 4 short stories to complete (2 this week if I can) and several poems to write, some to follow up the workshop at Acton Scott Farm with Jean Atkin, some for a performance tomorrow night (1st one in 13 days, took a bit of a break!), some for this weekend and others to catch up on other projects I have only had time to dip in and out of. I also have my first official book review to write (for which I was paid, a complimentary copy of the poetry pamphlet)!

I have 14 websites to looks at/research, a character to create from a world I know very little about (eek!), I have a scratch night I probably won’t make pencilled in* and a book launch. This weekend is the Writing West Midlands Creative Writing Group and a deadline for some written submissions.

* Conserving energy (and petrol) WLF – Worcester LitFest in a fortnight and lots going on before then too. Plus I now have to fit EXERCISE into the schedule – and don’t suggest parking and striding to the gigs – I get red faced after about 3 minutes and would need a shower when I arrived and most venues have no dressing rooms or facilities!

So I had best get on with my list! imagesCAISM7Z5

 

Time Management:

  • Split chunks of time, I find not being to prescriptive works well (in my day job, things have to fit in allocated slots of time) and it feels good to break free! I started at 10:30 and said I could have a break in an hour, that kind of thing.

 

  • Know what you need to do, get your head down and try to do it.

 

  • I say try because creativity cannot be forced or pushed, some days it comes easier than others. So the true TIME management falls in making sure there is time to complete your projects when you have those duff days. This is usually a 4 day buffer at least, depending on length of editing/ proofing time.

 

  • I always try to get things written in time to give it some rest and a look over/ edit before submission – this is usually a period of a week if you have enough time to do this it can be beneficial.

 

  • Keep your unfinished list to know where your starting point is next time.

 

  • If you can that starting point should be part way through something -or the start of a task based on researching or something you can get into straight away. The problem with starting with your next writing job is the possibility you will be staring at a blank screen for some of the time.

 

  • Try not to lose focus. I often set alarms on my phone, that way I don’t even have to glance at the onscreen clock anyway.

 

  • Try to ease the pressure off. You are your Boss, it is always beneficial to get on with the Boss right?

 

  • And just like real work (unless you work in Health or Education/ Public Sector) take some breaks and give yourself treats and incentives for reaching target! Not food though – you don’t want a writer’s (saggy) bottom!

 

Good Luck! Green-Clovers-Vector-Illustration

PS I used part of my break to write this – I am now walking away from the screen!