publications

Some More Updates!

Hello, everyone!

I’ve been so terrible for posting news as and when it comes, as I used to do, but I have been busy focussing on finishing my MA. The dissertation has been completed, bound, and is staring at me from my desk, tempting me to tweak just…one…more…thing…!!! I have high hopes for it, but what will be will be.

Firstly, some exciting news that I’m sure many of you may already know. I’m the new Senior Editor of New Flash Fiction ReviewI’m beyond thrilled to be a part of this flash magazine who have published stunning flash fiction writers (including the likes of Lydia Davis!) and to be working with Meg Pokrass and Pamela Painter. Here we are pictured below at the end of the Flash Fiction Festival. Submissions are currently open until September 12th. Check New Flash Fiction Review out and send us something incredible.

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(L-R): Me, Pamela Painter, and Meg Pokrass. We’re having a well deserved sit down after the busy Flash Festival.

I’m also now an Associate Editor for Vestal Review, who I have been a First Reader with for almost a year. Our current reading period is from now until the end of November, so send us something we can’t refuse.

Last time I posted an update, the new National Flash Fiction Day Anthology, which I was co-editing with Meg Pokrass, was about to be published. Well, it’s now available in to purchase in paperback and on Kindle. It’s called Sleep is a Beautiful Colour and features incredible authors, including: Calum Kerr, Robert Shapard, Pamela Painter, Bobbie Ann Mason, Claudia Smith, Robert Scotellaro, Stuart Dybek, Etgar Keret, Meg Pokrass, Angela Readman, Danielle McLaughlin, Robert Lopez, and so many more! Based on the theme of Life As Your Know It, every flash in this anthology offers something striking, unusual, unique, and powerful. You will not be disappointed!

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I’ve also had a few more publications and acceptances:

I have four flashes forthcoming in flash fiction magazines that I’m really excited about and haven’t blogged about! Each of these magazines, some old and some new, have been absolutely killing it with the flash they publish. Thank you to all of the editorial staff of these magazines who keep publishing such awesome work. I’m so happy to be a part of them:

‘Colour Tasting’ will be published in Ellipsis Zine very soon (Friday 25th August).

‘Marrakech’ will be published by the off-the-wall (b)OINK zine in September and is possibly one of my favourite flashes I’ve ever written (mainly because of the fun I had writing it).

‘These Are the Rules of Canopy Shyness and Life’ is one of those stories I thought would never find a home because it’s really a bit mental and odd, but thankfully The Airgonaut loved it and will be publishing it in their September issue.

‘Moderation’ will be published in September by Spelk. 

And as if that’s not enough…

‘They Dropped the Bomb’ was published by Paragraph Planet on Sunday 25th June, while at the Flash Fiction Festival in Bath. It’s inspired in some ways by my family, and in others by where the world is likely to end up… You can read it below:

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My micro ‘The Broom of Sisyphus’ won National Flash Fiction Day New Zealand’s Micro Madness. You can read it here.

My prose poem ‘In the Light, I See…’ was published by Unbroken Journal, who I love. read it here.

A new anthology called Short on Sugar, High on Honey, which features stories about love that are between 7 and 13 words in length, is going to be published and will feature one of my stories. The anthology has been edited by Mark Budman and Tom Hazuka, and will be published by Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press.

And three more stories of mine will also be published in the 2017 Worcester LitFest Flash Fiction Anthology. The anthology is usually published in November in paperback and kindle, and will include ‘Actually, Love Actually’, ‘What the Coffee Promised’, and ‘Interviews with Prospective Postmen’.

If you’re in Bath on Friday 29th September, you can catch me reading some stories at St. James Wine Vaults in Bath for Jude Higgins’ launch of her pamphlet The Chemist’s House. It’s a great collection. The event is free so do come along! More details here.

I think that’s it… I’m hoping to return to more regular posting of news rather than piling everything into one post every couple of months. As I have now finished the MA, I’m currently planning on relaxing (hence the lovely butterfly picture I took on a recent walk), applying for jobs, thinking about PhD proposals, and getting some writing done! I have a few newer pieces out in the world for consideration, and I’ll be taking part in a Kathy Fish workshop in September, which I’m so looking forward to!

Thanks for reading!

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‘Introduction’ and ‘Chain’ Published in SpaLife Magazine!

Two of my flash fictions, ‘Introduction’ and ‘Chain’, have been published in the Autumn 2015 issue of SpaLife Magazine, a magazine run by students at Bath Spa University.

The two flashes, pictured below, are, I like to think, very different from each other and demonstrate what I feel flash fiction allows writers to do: explore different things in different ways.

There is nothing experimental about either of these two stories. One, ‘Introduction’, looks at how small the world is, how we’re all potentially connected, and why this may not always be a good thing. The other, ‘Chain’, is a funny story about miscommunication.

For me flash fiction enables us to explore lots of different areas in different ways in such a small space and, though it seems restrictive, there is a great deal of freedom to do just that. Having ‘Introduction’ and ‘Chain’ published side-by-side in this way shows two different sides of my writing: the serious and the playful. Perhaps they’re both serious, and both playful, or neither.

Hope you enjoy reading them:

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‘Midnight Sky in Winter’ Published in the Winter Issue of Unbroken Journal!

Nothing better to wake up to after a night of partying on a Saturday night, a Halloween night too, to find the winter issue of Unbroken Journal published and ready to read online. I cannot begin to describe how much I enjoy reading this journal.

Unbroken Journal celebrate the poetic prose and the prose poem, and accompany writers’ work alongside photography, which is always well-chosen and thought-provoking. They’re particularly fond of prose poetry and this is fantastic because there aren’t very many journals, from what I know, that publish a lot of prose poetry (and they’re missing out). I thoroughly recommend checking out their latest issue and consider submitting your own writing to this journal. Follow this link to check them out!

Of course, I also recommend you read their latest issue and my prose poem, ‘Midnight Sky in Winter’, kicks this issue off! My little poem being the first one to appear in the issue — now that’s not something that’s happened to me before! You can read the issue, and ‘Midnight Sky in Winter’, by following this link here.

If you’re interested you can check out their last issue too, which features two more of my prose poems, ‘Stuck’ and ‘Caught’. You can read those by following this link, and keep an eye out for their first issue of 2016, as this will include another of my prose poems, ‘Tessellation’.

Happy reading, happy writing, happy Sunday!

The R-Word: How I’ve Turned Rejection Into My (Second) Best Friend

It’s inevitable; if you’re a writer and you submit writing to competitions or magazines you’re going to receive rejections. It’s one of the facts of life. Nobody likes to be rejected. Every “no” you receive makes you feel as if you’re not good enough, but here’s the thing, rejections can actually be your friend. I can hear you saying “What?!” now, but as I hope to explain in this article, rejections can make you a better, stronger writer.

Now everyone is different, another fact of life, so these are the 5 things I do when I get a rejection, and they work best for me. It’s how I’ve made rejection my second best friend. I say second because, obviously, my first best friend is an acceptance of publication. (Of course, I’m not talking about actual human beings).

I’m certainly no expert, but this list details what I personally do when I receive a rejection, and I find it helps me a lot and wish to share it with you all:

 

  1. Update my spreadsheet.
    In my previous article, which can be found HERE, I discussed how keeping a spreadsheet to track your publications can be great for motivation and generally knowing what you’ve sent where. Well I update my spreadsheet making note of the rejection but it also serves as a reminder of all the other pieces of writing I’ve had published and the ones I have still being considered for publication at the time – though this sometimes makes me think “ah, more rejections to look forward to” most of the time I think “look at all the potential acceptances still out there.”
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  3. Revisit my Writing
    Now it’s said that sending out a story, or any piece of writing, before it is ready is a mistake, which is true, however, there’s a factor of this statement that is never considered: we send out writing when we have revised it to a standard that we believe is ready for publication.

    Let me explain: when I submit a piece of writing to a magazine or publication I believe, at that moment of time, that the writing is ready to be read by an editor or judged in a competition. By the time I’ve received a rejection, it may have been several weeks, or even months. This is why you need to look at the piece of writing again; enough time has passed since you last reviewed the writing meaning you can read it objectively.

    For instance, a story I submitted a short story to a competition announced its longlist this week and I didn’t make the cut; this doesn’t mean my story was bad, it just means that there were other stories that were better – simple as that. But rather than send the piece of writing for consideration somewhere else straight away I choose to review it. This particular story was submitted when I thought it was ready in April, but now it’s nearly August, which means when I look at this story again I’m going to see things I didn’t see before.

    This means I can review, cut, add, change, develop, and edit my story in many ways. Perhaps I won’t need to, maybe I still like it the way it is, but the point is the time between submitting it and looking at it again is enough time for me to be able to see my writing in a different light. Simply looking at the writing again will make it better, even if I only change one thing.

    The main distinction between the original statement I disagreed with about sending your stories out before their ready is that only writing a piece then sending it straight away is a sure way to guarantee that your writing is not ready; you must give all writing time and space to breathe, and you must give yourself time to revisit the writing objectively in order to make it as strong as you can.

 

  1. Find somewhere else to send the writing.
    Though I said don’t find somewhere else to send the writing to straight away I didn’t mean this. You should definitely find somewhere else suitable to send the writing to, but you should first revisit it like I’ve previously said. I always ensure I have a list of opportunities waiting in the wing. The thing is there are lots of different publications and competitions out there, all with their own editors and judges looking for something in particular, all with their own tastes, and what doesn’t appeal to one editor or judge will probably appeal to another.

    I like to think of it like this: every opportunity I don’t pursue is an automatic rejection. I’m having horrible flashbacks of Dale Winton hosting the National Lottery’s “In It To Win It”, but you do – if you don’t submit your writing then you miss out on the potential that people will publish and read it. So get back out there!

 

  1. Don’t let rejection destroy your confidence.
    This is difficult and like I said everyone is different. Some people receive a rejection and pick themselves straight back up. Often I’m lucky enough to be in this category (but that’s because I’ve made rejection my second best buddy), but for other people this can really knock you back.

    The important thing is that the rejection of your writing is not a rejection of you as a person, though it feels like it because writing is personal; we write from our own experiences, our own dreams, we record the stories we want to share with the world, and when someone says “no” it feels like our experiences and the stories we want to tell are being invalidated.

    But this is not the case. Maybe it didn’t quite fit the publication. Maybe the writing needs a little more work. Perhaps you missed something (I once submitted a poem where the title was spelled wrong, probably why it was rejected). There’s always going to be a reason why the writing was rejected, but it is never about you as an individual.
    So, believe in yourself, and do steps 2 and 3.

    And remember all the times you have had writing accepted for publication; it beats all of the rejections, and if this hasn’t happened yet your time will come. It will. (I promise).

  2. Read
    Yes, we all know that reading is a great way to improve your writing. Reading is writing. In fact, it has been said so much that it’s almost in itself a cliché. But it’s true, and if you’re going to read anything, read what trumped your submission.

    For instance the competition I was referring to earlier publish an anthology of the prize-winning story and the shortlisted stories and this presents a great opportunity to read the stories that had done so well. By doing this I can learn what qualities these stories have that perhaps mine are lacking.

    Maybe you’ll read it and think I can’t learn anything from it, but I highly doubt it.

    This tip is also useful for publications and magazines for two reasons. Firstly, you can read the writing that was accepted giving you a clear indicator to the type of writing they like to publish. In fact, many publications advise you read what they’ve published before you submit your own writing. This increases your likelihood of an acceptance too; your story could be perfect, but if it doesn’t fit what the publication is looking for it won’t be published. The second reason why this is a good thing is that it supports the publication; after all without readers there’d be no publication to submit the writing to. So, you get a twofold benefit here: you can learn what qualities makes a competition winning piece of writing, or what fits best in a publication, which will develop your own techniques and abilities, and you support a publication that will rely on its readers to keep it going.

 

That’s it. This is what I do when I’m faced with a rejection, making it my second best friend. You take rejection and you learn from it. You become a better, stronger writer, and then you find a new opportunity to chase. I firmly believe that no matter how well someone writes, no matter how widely published or successful they are, they can always learn more.

I’m really interested to hear what you think about this list. Is there anything here that you don’t do and you’re going to do now? Or is there anything else you do that helps you deal with rejection? Let me know in the comments section!