April Update: The Masters Review, Burningword, Storgy And A Podcast

News

When You Lived Inside The Walls

Since my last update, some of my short fiction has appeared in a few different publications. The Masters Review was kind enough to publish “When You Lived Inside The Walls” – a story about rats and traps and family life that in no way represents my true feelings towards rodents. Burningword also featured my flash fiction piece “At The Bottom Of The Ocean”, about a man who’s really, really tired of the view from his window.

I was happy to have a very old (the first draft was completed before Facebook existed) story “Three Second Memory” shortlisted for the 2015 Storgy Short Story Competition. Although it didn’t go on to win, I’m pleased that someone liked it enough to shortlist it, and I hope that I’ll be able to find a home for it soon. You can read the competition winner online at Storgy‘s website, where there’s also a host of other fictive delights.

I’ve also had one poem, “Moon Babies” appear in Poetry Quarterly – an excellent collection of poems available in physical and digital formats – and my TubeFlash story “The Seventh Challenge” recorded for a podcast, available to download via iTunes here.

Finally, I also finished work on another issue of Neon – which is now available to buy or read online. This issue features the work of Luke Silver, Clifford Parody, Jane Flett, Mack W Mani, Tara White, Eliza Victoria, Gregory Cartwright, Caroline Hardaker, and Natalia Theodoridou, as well as a cover image by urban explorer and photographer James Kerwin. Print copies are still available if you feel like reading something off-kilter and a little bit gravity-defying.

February Update: Bare Fiction Prize, Global Game Jam, And The Best Of Vine Leaves

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February Update

This month I was very pleased to discover that I had won the Short Story Category of the 2015 Bare Fiction Prize with my story “The Sea In Me”. Bare Fiction is an excellent young literary magazine which publishes not only fiction and poetry, but plays as well. My story – which revolves around an adolescent woman undergoing some unusual changes – will appear along with the other winners in the March 2016 edition of the magazine. I’d strongly recommend subscribing to the magazine if you can – a digital subscription is just £12.00, and gets you access to some seriously interesting writing.

Unrelatedly, at the end of January I took part in the Global Game Jam at the SAE Institute in London. The Global Game Jam is a yearly challenge which involves building a game inspired by a secret prompt in the space of forty-eight hours. This year, the prompt was “Ritual” and you can see the game that me and my team came up with here. I’d recommend checking out some of the other games from locations around the world as well – there’s a huge amount of innovation on display, and it’s amazing to see what can be created during just two days of intense creative collaboration.

Finally, an update on a couple of my published pieces: my poem “Morning Sex” – which first appeared in issue fifteen of Vine Leaves – now also appears in the magazine’s annual best-of collection, The Best Of Vine Leaves 2015. Meanwhile my short story “Blue”, published by The Pigeonhole as part of their Fable collection is now available from their new IOS app. If the idea of irresponsible, possibly-hallucinatory lesbian pixies appeals to you, it might be worth a look.

November Update: InkTears, Esoterica, And The Pigeonhole Book Club

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Image by Ellen Keizer.

My story “Immortal” was highly commended in the InkTears Flash Fiction Competition this month. It’s a very brief tale about a mortal man who has a one night stand with a woman who will likely live forever. At the moment it’s not available anywhere online, but I hope to soon find a home for it – perhaps as one of the final stories in Archipelago, my story-a-day project for 2015.

I’ve also spent part of this month writing more spontaneous stories – this time at an interactive art event in Norfolk. Esoterica collected several exhibits together in a space attached to a pub, and allowed members of the public to come and interact with them. You can see some of the stories that I wrote during it on the Street Typist Twitter feed. And, following a suggestion from one of the Esoterica folk, I’m now on Instagram as well.

Finally, The Pigeonhole (publishers of my short story “Blue”) have also been busy. They’ve recently introduced a “book club” feature, which allows you and a group of friends to read from a selection of titles on a week-by-week, chapter-by-chapter basis, while also discussing what you’ve read in your own private forum. It looks like a very cool way to share a book, and you can check it out for yourself here. They have a number of original titles, as well as some ex-copyright classics. My story “Blue” is in Fable, and I also have an entry in their Sex Staves collection.

October Update: SubTerrain, Archipelago, And The Poetry Book Fair

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Some Place To Go

This month, my short story “Some Place To Go” was published in issue seventy-one of Canadian literary magazine SubTerrain. I’d highly recommend picking up a copy – the issue is beautifully presented, and I’ve enjoyed reading every single one of the stories, poems and essays in its pages. “Some Place To Go” is an old one; I finished the first draft five years ago, and have been searching for a home for it ever since. It’s a weird little tale about a couple who escape a secure facility in an attempt to find refuge from an apocalypse they’re convinced is just over the horizon.

Lately, I’ve also been working on the final hundred or so stories for Archipelago. The blog is now home to two-hundred-and-ninety-three tiny stories – one for each day of 2015 so far. Just seventy-two more, and I’ll have completed the entire year – I’m already looking forward to the feeling of mild and temporary satisfaction that I’ll experience when (or if) that happens.

At the end of last month I put the finishing touches to the most recent issue of Neon Literary Magazine. It’s now available in a variety of formats from the website. It comes with a free copy of Battery Pack Volume Two – a micro-anthology of tiny stories by six very talented flash writers. Just before the issue launched, I took Battery Pack and the Neon chapbooks to the Free Verse Poetry Book Fair in London, where it was a fun experience to actually meet some human beings face to face, and see just how healthy the state of poetry in the UK actually is. One of my favourite discoveries was The Literary Pocket Book – a small press that produces beautifully made and original combinations of poetry and paper, including one book made from scans of pages from a book left to decay in a coalfield.

Finally, I’ve started a new Twitter feed, where I’ll be posting pictures of some of the stories I write while busking. I won’t be recording every single one, as the transient nature of the act is one of the things I like about it – but do follow if you’d like to occasionally look over a piece of hastily typewritten fiction.

August Update: Typewriter Busking, Vine Leaves, And Cake

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August update header image.

I’ve always had a thing for typewriters.They look, at first glance, like something that shouldn’t really work. Their insides are ludicrously complicated, and they bristle with levers and switches and buttons, the functions of which can only be discovered through experimentation. But they make satisfying noises, and when you write on one your words are printed instantly on the page; you can’t easily take back any mistakes. There’s also something wonderfully textured about a typewritten page – letters jump or smudge, or show up faint or dark depending on how hard you press the keys.

After being typewriter-less for years I acquired one off the internet back in April. It took me two months to then locate a working ribbon for it, but once it was in order again I decided I should actually try and use it. So I started busking. I sit on the street. People provide me with some words and I write something using them as a starting point. Most of the time they’re pleased, and some of the time they give me money.

There’s a few interesting things about writing this way. One is that it forces me to be a lot less precious about my words. A typewriter produces only one unique copy of a story – which I then give away. There’s no chance to edit, develop, redraft or change a piece. The first draft is the final draft. Sometimes the end result is something I’m proud of, and sometimes it’s not – but I have to accept what I come up with, since there’s no opportunity to alter it.

It’s also a strange experience to write things in front of an audience. People often watch me type, and react to a story as it appears on the paper line by line. It’s a level of feedback that I’ve never had before, and one that I would never have thought I’d enjoy. It’s fun though – normally I don’t get to see how people react to things I’ve written.

I talked briefly about my busking on a local radio station, where they also had me write a couple of stories for them live on air. It was a fun experience, and you can find the stories – complete with many typos and smudges – on their Twitter feed. Some other stories originally produced on the street have also made their way onto Archipelago; my story-a-day project for 2015.

Also in the last few months I’ve had a poem published in Vine Leaves, a flash fiction published in Cake Magazine, and my short story “The Life Of Dogbreath” was a notable contender in the Bristol Short Story Prize 2015. Although it didn’t make the longlist, I’m pleased to have been mentioned, and can definitely recommend the anthology if you fancy some excellent short stories.

June Update: Twine, Little Folk, And The Fractured Nuance

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June Update

I’ve spent many hours over the past few weeks playing around with Twine – an open-source interactive storytelling tool. It’s pleasingly simple to use, whilst still being versatile and easy to customise. It’s certainly much easier and neater than using HTML, and requires no real knowledge of code. If you’re at all interested in the possibilities of hypertext fiction, I’d recommend checking it out.

The end result of the hours spent playing is this – a companion piece to my story “Blue”, which was published by The Pigeonhole as part of their Fable anthology last month. If you haven’t read “Blue” you can still sign up – The Pigeonhole publishes novels and collections in weekly instalments, and the price for Fable is just £0.56 per story. The companion piece (which has the rather laborious title of “A Guide To The Capture And Identification Of The Little Folk Of Myth And Legend”) is free, entirely fictional, not-at-all serious, and can be read right here.

Two of my poems also appear in The Fractured Nuance. This new literary magazine published its first issue this month, and quite apart from having a very sonically-pleasing name, it also has a beautiful print edition which costs only £2.50. You can pick up a copy here – please do if you have the chance; new literary magazines can sometimes have a hard time establishing a readership, but this is one that definitely deserves to succeed.

May Update: The Pigeonhole, Neon, Archipelago, and Lunar Poetry

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Fable

This month, The Pigeonhole were kind enough to publish my story “Blue” – a lengthy fairytale about lesbian pixies. The Pigeonhole is a relatively new publisher that does things a little differently – books and collections are published serially, in “staves”, with new content being delivered each week. Readers are able to have staves delivered direct to their devices, and can also discuss stories and explore extra content. My story appears in Fable, which you can pick up for just £0.59 per stave. Another of my stories appears in Sex Staves, an earlier collection by The Pigeonhole.

I’ve also recently put together and published issue forty of Neon Literary Magazine. This month marks the magazine’s ninth birthday. I never thought I’d reach either milestone, and so I’m immensely pleased that Neon is still going strong. Copies of issue forty are available from the website.

That aside, I’ve been continuing to work on Archipelago. I’ve found a rhythm to the process of writing for and updating the blog, which to date holds one-hundred-and-forty tiny stories. Read or sign up for email updates here.

Finally, the editor of Lunar Poetry – where several of my poems appeared a few months ago – is currently fundraising to start a dedicated poetry bookshop. It’s an excellent idea, and it deserves all the support it can get. The Indiegogo campaign is still running, and can be found here. Please do give it a look!

“She Blows Up Buildings”, “Day Of The Giraffe”, “At The School Of Flight” and “Concrete” Published in Lunar Poetry

Poetry

Lunar Poetry

The body was found folded
in a barrel of cement. Dead
when they disposed of him,
they said, and I was grateful.

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Four of my poems appear in the latest issue of Lunar Poetry, a relatively young monthly poetry magazine published both in print and online. The issue was launched on Tuesday 31st March at the l’klecktic gallery in London, where there were readings, drinks and general celebrations.

I love Lunar Poetry‘s approach to publishing. Printed issues are almost-ridiculously cheap (£3 for up to eighty pages of poetry) and the digital edition is sold on a pay-what-you-like basis. The website is also home to a fantastic and frequently thought-provoking blog, as well as audio poems and a host of regular features. If you want to support this fantastic new magazine, you can buy a copy of it here.

“Depths” Published in (Paranthetical)

Short Fiction

Paranthetical Magazine

In the immediate aftermath of orgasm you are surprised to find that you’ve shrunk down to the size of a pin and fallen into her vagina. You land, ankle-deep, and gasp upright, the last tremors of your climax still shivering your skin. The vast muscular walls of her heave above you, ribbed and glistening like the roof of a mouth.

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My short story “Depths” appears in the most recent issue of the Canadian literary zine (Paranthetical). The zine is available both online and in print, and is produced by Words (On) Pages, an organisation that aims to work with emerging writers. As well as running the zine they provide editorial and design services, run a blog and host regular events. You can find out more about what they do here.

“Depths” was written several years ago, but it’s taken until now to find a publisher. It’s one of my favourite stories, and (Paranthetical) is an excellent little magazine, so I’m really happy to have found a home for it there. I’d thoroughly recommend picking up a copy of the zine if you can – it costs only eight pounds from their Etsy shop.

“Listen, Sally”

Hyperfiction

Listen, Sally - A Hyperfiction Short Story

I want to say I’m sorry. But to be fair it’s not all my fault. You have to take some of the blame as well. You know you shouldn’t provoke me.

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I’ve republished on this site a short piece of hyperfiction that I wrote several years ago. It was, for a while, due to be published in an online collection of hypertext fiction, but the project collapsed before anything happened, so I thought I’d return it to here where it can at least be read.

Listen, Sally” is a short story told entirely in dialogue. It was put together in HTML and CSS, using Notepad++. It took about a week to write. I’d love to convert it to a more sensible, portable format, but I’ve long-since lost the map I made of the story, and it would be a lot of work to recreate it. There are, as far as I remember, six possible endings, and eighty-seven individual pages.