My twelve days of Christmas – 2 – Publishers

As a writer, I’m delighted to see the rise and rise of independent publishers. My indie publisher of the year is

Galley Beggar PressGalley Beggars

Sam and Elly at Galley Beggars publish brilliant books – I haven’t been disappointed once. And they also respond personally to their customers. Next year they’re doing even more to support writers with their new School offering mentoring, classes and more – read all about it on their website.

 

 

 

 

The Plankton Collector

For those of you eagerly awaiting publication of my novella The Plankton Collector, there is an extract in issue #116 of New Welsh Reader, published on 1st December.

New Welsh Review #116

It is an issue celebrating the novella. And more.

Subscribe now and get a free gift!

 

 

Fictive Dream

Choosing where to submit stories is a tricky business. On the whole I now avoid US-based publications and websites, because I’ve found that most Americans (or at least editors!) don’t seem to ‘get’ my writing. It’s good to see more and UK-based websites (as well as others around the world) publishing short stories and flash fiction and one of my favourites is Fictive Dream.

Fictive Dream header

The Editor, Laura Black, is one of the best I have come across, professional, generous and supportive.

I feel privileged to have my work included on the site – you can read two of my stories there, Tracks and Mrs Myfanwy Pritchard.

I’m also delighted that Laura has accepted a story from me for Fictive Dream’s Flash Fiction February 2018, which will feature a new piece of flash fiction every day of that month. You can submit until the end of December – see the link above.

 

 

 

 

 

A personal anthology

Jonathan Gibbs, author of the novel Randall, a wonderful re-imagining of the world of the Young British Artists in the 1990s, has set up a weekly newsletter which generously offers an opportunity to any of us to draw up a personal anthology of 12 short stories. I jumped straight in and my personal anthology was sent out by Jonathan last week.

I relished the chance to revisit stories which have stuck in my mind since I first read them, some many years ago, others more recently. My chosen stories are:

  • At Sea, Guy de Maupassant
  • Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, Rudyard Kipling
  • The Luncheon, W. Somerset Maugham
  • A Child”s Christmas in Wales, Dylan Thomas
  • Curl up and Dye, Fran Landsman
  • Ernesto, Juana Adcock
  • Wires, Jon McGregor
  • The Semplica Girl Diaries, George Saunders
  • Tiger Palace, Kirsty Logan
  • Sound Waves, Lane Ashfeldt
  • The Cruellne, James Clammer
  • Two, Joanna Walsh

Read more about my choices here –  I also give links to where you can read and/or buy them.

 

 

A different writing skill

A dear friend of mine, Anna Schiff, died not long ago. I offered to draft an obituary for her and send it to The Guardian for them to consider for inclusion in their Other Lives.

This was a new writing challenge for me. Capturing the essence of a life within 400 words is not easy! I was lucky in that I didn’t have to do any research, having not only my memories from many years but also a copy of all the material read at her funeral, as well as a chronology of her working life. However, getting an appropriate combination of  key facts and anecdotal details was tricky.

Another friend offered an editorial eye, and polished up my work without compromising it – a great skill for which I was very grateful. We asked if it could be published under both our names, but The Guardian insist on a single byline.

They also asked for several pieces of additional information, including Anna’s mother’s maiden name. I realised why – an obituary is about recording information about a person for posterity as well as being a pen portrait. Fortunately, the inclusion of the additional information in the final edit done by the paper was not at the expense of all the fun bits.

The piece is in The Guardian online and I have just heard that it will be in the print edition tomorrow – 16th September. I’m so pleased – Anna deserves that recognition. She was, as one of her other friends said to me, a one-off, and we will not see her like again.

 

Anna Schiff photo
My friend Anna Schiff, in characteristic pose, though she finally gave up smoking a year before her death.