Friday, 26 June 2009


I was having a conversation with someone earlier today about the importance of headspace, i.e. getting the inside of your head upholstered appropriately.
In an office-based business you'd expect nice shiny office chairs, desks at the right height, some potplants, maybe a little kitchen and good lighting. Why would your head be any different if, as a writer, that is your workspace?

I have been frantically busy recently with a couple of life-changing events that are taking up most of my mental and physical capacity. Even though I have had a little spare time, I have not been able to write (including blogging) because the inside of my head is so utterly filled with clutter and paper aeroplanes flying around. If my headspace was an office right now it would be condemned for several hundred breaches of health and safety law and the workers would be streaming out through the front lobby in horror.

Hopefully soon the headspace will be refurbished, the paper aeroplanes filed in the correct drawers, the keyboards dusted off and I'll be able to write again.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Flash Fiction at Bewildering Stories

I have a story called 'Sharp Focus' in Issue 341 of Bewildering Stories.
Click on the link to the right to view it!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

New Words

Just a little something I came across today.

I was reading an article in the Comments section of The Times Online about the male pill. The article was quite light-hearted, discussing the attitude of dog-walkers to un-castrated dogs, a study in China where only about four fifths of the men remembered to take the pill even though they were (presumably) being paid to take part in the experiment, and the tendancy of both men and women to lie about contraception. All interesting reading over a lunch hour.
Being the online version, comments had been posted at the bottom of the page. One included the phrase 'I loled when I read about your dog'.
The word 'loled' isn't in the dictionary. Or if it is, it won't mean 'perfect tense of the abbreviated form of Laugh Out Loud'.

Yet. The language of technology is forever creeping into our speech. 'Phone has dropped its appostrophe to become both a noun and a verb in its own right. I've already mentioned The Times 'Online'. Even e-mail has lost its hyphen: I email, you email, they all emailed some emails.

Lolcats abound on the website ICanHasCheezeburger (much loved on this blog). Almost everyone under the age of 25 would be amazed if you thought 'lol' at the end of a text stood for Lots Of Love (a joke elaborated on brilliantly by the comedian Matt Kirshen).

Very soon lol, loling, loled, lolable will all make their way to the Oxford English Dictionary. For anyone who is a little uncomfortable at the idea, I like to think of language as a big party to which we are all invited and there's always room for one more. Even the poor castrated dog.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Fingers Crossed

I recently submitted the standard first three chapters of my novel, Maynard Hill, to two independent publishers along with my shiny new synopsis.
Both have come back to me and asked for the full manuscript.

Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Doorknobs and BodyPaint

My new foray into flash fiction (stories of less than 1000 words) is definitely paying off. I've had my third success, this time in the quarterly fiction e-zine, Doorknobs and Bodypaint (see link to the right).
The piece was written in response to a challenge: write a story in less than 450 words about people's life choices using only dialogue. I'm quite scared of dialogue - I think it's one of my weakest areas - so I'm delighted to have been accepted. (AND - modest cough - mine appears under the banner First Prize. I don't think I win much more than honour but that's better than a kick in the shins, I think.)
The premise of the story is 'what if people really grew up to do all those jobs they dreamed about as kids? And what would speed dating be like?'

If you were paying attention a few posts ago you'll remember I wanted to be Hazel from Watership Down when I grew up.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Salt Publishing Needs Your Help!

Salt publishing are a small, independent press publishing short stories and poetry, among other things. They are truly tiny, but have made a big impact in terms of creating a home for the short story and for poetry in the last few years. Unfortunately last year the Arts Council decided to completely revamp the causes to which they supplied funding, as you may have seen in the press, and Salt were one of the losers.

They're asking you to buy 'just one book' from their website (, Amazon, or anywhere else (providing it's first hand, not second hand!). They need to sell about another 3000 books, which is not a huge number in the scale of things.

Do culture a favour, get yourself a good book to read, and support the cause. Then get all your friends to do it too ;)