Posts filed under Uncategorized

Bing Bong: Would Jo Gatford Please Report to the Fiction Desk Flash Fiction Competition?

I almost fell off my chair at work last week. It's a silly chair, or maybe I have a habit of sitting on it wrong. It's something that happens a lot. But this time it was because of an email. One that sent me to this page, which gives the names of The Fiction Desk 2014 flash fiction comp. And there, at the bottom, under 'overall winner'... well, that's me that is.

And then somehow my chair malfunctioned. It may or may not have been related to the spontaneous celebratory interpretive dance that occurred after I read my name.

Bing Bong will be published in The Fiction Desk new anthology - details to be released soon.


Posted on March 12, 2014 and filed under Uncategorized.

Anti Hibernation Measures


I am opposed to January in general, mainly because I don't have an open fire to sit and read by, but also because it is wholly unnatural to get up when it's still dark outside. I therefore have a collection of bookmarks entitled: Reasons Not to Hibernate, such as:

- Mallory Ortberg at The Toast

- This horse's name:

- Welcome to Night Vale podcasts

- My Drunk Kitchen: Vegan Cheesecake:


- Brain Pickings (pick an article, any article)

- This picture of women boxing on a roof in the 30s:


- People who pre-order my book (ooohhhhh snuck that one in there, didn't I?)

- This particular part of Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold:


Ok, that should be enough to get me through the next week or so. Oh and the whole editing a novel thing. Yes. That.

Posted on January 27, 2014 and filed under Uncategorized.

Juicy Deadlines


Chaos, people - it's what keeps stress-levels high and caffeine-levels wavering at 'she's-gonna-blow'. The antidote? Um, nothing really, but STRUCTURE helps a little bit. Knowing one's arse from one's elbow and which way is skyward and so on. GOALS and QUOTAS and DEADLINES. Aaaaall part of the creative process, unfortunately. Yeah, when you were a teenager or at college you wrote until ink bled out of your eyeballs but - here's a secret - it was utter shite. Shite, dipped in pathetic irony, rolled in self-conscious pretention. And that's if you had potential. I can't write like that any more - every hour of the day in great waves of prolific fury. If you'll forgive a further extension of the shite analogy: as I have matured, my literary bowels have become REGULAR.

I only finished my last novel because I gave myself a 1500 word quota for each week. That's not much at all, even for someone working full time, with a kid (or a few). I'm having to enforce a similar requisite for editing: 20 pages a week minimum. And that means 20 pages that don't make me gurn or cringe or squint at any point. Pages I would be happy to pass to any critical reader.

I have quietly and unofficially decided to follow Write1Sub1 - which is the aim to do what it says on the tin: write and submit one story per week for 2011. I want a string of publications this year so long I could hang myself with it.

I'm entering each competition that takes my fancy - I missed several awesome ones last year purely because I was disorganised and missed the deadline. I entered three and was a finalist in one, so my odds ain't been too shabby so far. Snarf. But to improve those odds, I need to at least keep track of what I'm entering and when, and what I'm subbing and where.

Here are a few big ones from my ticklist of comps and deadlines so far:

  • Shattering the Glass Slipper - Turning Cinderella upside down and flashing her pants. Grimm's tales for 2011. Closing date: 31st January 2011
  • Writers & Artists Writing Competition - Oh sweet Arvon, how I have coveted your retreats for over a decade. Closing date: 14th February 2011 
  • The Tibor Jones Pageturner Prize - Looking for exciting writers and compelling new voices - I mean, that's just me all over, they might as well close submissions right now. Am I right? Closing date: 8th March 2011
  • Writers Without Borders - Guffaw. I worked at Borders for a year. I want to write about my unconscionably evil manager. And I love Evil Wylie. Closing date: 1st April 2011
  • The Bridport Prize - Makes me want to miaow. So I will: miaow. Closing date: 30th June 2011

Another good place for finding those juicy little deadlines is Duotrope's Deadline Calendar, which tells you all the themed issues that are pending from their listings, and can be a great starting point for story prompts - complete with a readymade potential home.

ALWAYS on the lookout for more, so if you've found a doozy, please let me know in the comments below.


Posted on January 4, 2011 and filed under Uncategorized.