Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Two anthologies

Last week we had a few Internet problems, meaning I couldn't tell you the previous week's writing news.

Since September, apart from a couple of shortlistings, I had only rejections. And sometimes you know, you do reach a point when you wonder if you will ever be published again. But then a fortnight ago the unthinkable happened and I heard good news about two short stories in one day. The first of these is due to be published on March the 8th, in 100 Stories for Queensland. This is a charity anthology to raise money for people affected by the massive floods which hit the state in January.

Later in 2011 I will also have a story in a Leaf Books anthology. I entered Leaf's micro-fiction competition last year, for stories under 300 words. While I didn't win, I am very happy to be one of the commended entrants whose stories will be included in the book.

Both these things have put a smile on my face, as have my new bedroom curtains! It's not just the lovely primrose yellow colour, making me think of spring and sunshine. The instructions for hanging the curtains mention the need to "train your pleats". The idea of training my pleats amuses me every time I think of it. I wish I could train my pleats to type up my longhand scrawl, do the less interesting bits of research, and keep me stocked up with stamps.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Flash 500

I notice I've gained a few followers in the last couple of weeks. Welcome! At the same time I know I've been a bit remiss in the blogging department. I've been rather despondent. Working hard, without achieving much.

Negativity can be infectious, so I've stayed away until I have more positive news to share. It's a small piece of news at that, but this week I found I was longlisted in the Flash 500 competition for the last quarter of 2010. I didn't progress to the shortlist, but at least I know that in this particular story there must have been something I did right. The next Flash 500 closes at the end of March, with a top prize of £250. Worth entering if you like writing very short fiction.

I should have gone out to stock up the kitchen today, but it's blowing a gale here and I've not yet ventured through the front door. The weather has reminded me of a story I heard years ago when I used to work in Dudley. Dudley is in a part of the West Midlands known as the Black Country on account of its long industrial heritage. There is a place called the Black Country Museum, where restored buildings and staff in period costume recreate aspects of this history. Anyway, parents of a colleague had travelled from Dudley to some seaside resort - most probably Weston-super-Mare. They had dreadful weather and when they saw a local coach firm offering mystery day trips, they signed up. After two hours sitting on a coach they found themselves - yes, you've guessed it - at the Black Country Museum, just a mile from home.

This is exactly the kind of little incident I try to use in short stories now and then, only for fiction editors to comment that it's too far fetched. I have to restrain myself from phoning them up to scream "But it's true!". Have a lovely week, and I hope all your co-incidences are happy ones.