Posts filed under Writing

Writers' HQ is GO

Four-ish years ago I had a 4-year-old and a 9-month-old and writing time was a long-distant mythical concept never to be seen again. 

I mooched around Google looking for local writing groups in an attempt to give me a kick up the arse and some understanding angst-ridden writing peers, but I never quite found one that I felt comfortable in. Writing groups can be... a little weird, sometimes. Cliquey. Not always that inviting. 

BUT THEN. I came across Brighton Writers' Retreat, a monthly writing session hosted by Sarah Lewis - essentially a case of locking writers away in a room at New Writing South for 6 hours and plying them with endless caffeine, snacks and sandwiches. Pretty sweet.

I emailed her immediately with the opening line: 'WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?'

She had a 9-month-old too - a few weeks' different in age from mine. She was desperate for writing time, too. She'd actually done something about it. 

A coupla months later and I was Sarah's resident heckler. A while after that I started helping out at retreats in exchange for a freebie ticket. A few years later and I took over for six months while Sarah went on maternity leave for baby number 2. 

It was around then that we both made a decision. Sarah no longer had a job to go back to. I was sick of working random freelance copywriting gigs that had nothing to do with creativity. We knew the retreat worked well. We knew people wanted time and support to write. We also knew they struggled to make time, afford the time, and justify the time. 

Brighton Writers' Retreat spawned its own baby: Worthing Writers' Retreat. And then it mutated into Writers' HQ. We wrote a mahoosive application for the Arts Council and were awarded a grant to help us set up five online writing courses 'for badass writers with no time or money'. 

And here we are. About to do this shit. And all because we wanted to write, and didn't wait around for someone to give us permission to do so. 

So, in the motto of our brand new love-child, 'stop fucking about and start writing'.

Posted on May 15, 2016 and filed under Life, Workshops, Writers' Groups, Writing.

The rain it raineth every day (but sometimes there is

There's a big-ass (free) story of mine up at Sundog Lit if you want to read about what a giantess might do at her human daughter's wedding. Issue 5 is pretty damn stunning all over, actually, so I'm feeling glad to be in such good company. Also to be celebrated today: SUN. After months of rain (though thankfully no catastrophic flooding where we are) there is light and ohmygosh even warmth when you turn your face towards the sky.

The littlest womb-fruit came across a patch of crocuses in a park and ran circles around them.

I bought an old cheap bike and have been braving Brighton's bike lanes to get to work in the open air.

Water has stopped seeping in along the top of our front door and into the boot of the car and through the corner of my office.

And, whisper it: it's almost March. March means spring, right? RIGHT? Tell me I'm right. Almost. We've broken the back of this wet and worthless winter, anyhow.

So. Click here to read my story: The Giantess' Daughter, and enjoy your little human-sized day.

Posted on February 18, 2014 and filed under Publications, Short Stories, Writing.

Fictional Cat Funerals and Orgasmic Burgers

Image Last week I stood up in a pub and talked for ten minutes about a psychotic cat funeral. Poor  fictional Sammy, taken before his time - the unwitting catalyst for a coup led by the Women's  Institute. Just to clarify - this was Rattle Tales, and I had been asked to read my story: Now Look  What You Did, which is currently out on submission, shipping for a home.

I think I'm into this live reading thang, scary though it is. And I never realised what a joy it is to hear stories read aloud - in the space of an evening we were taken on ghost hunts, to post-apocalyptic underwater worlds, into the study of Einstein and his cat, to a menagerie in the tower of London, a bus bombing, the cockpit of a plane, and into the head of a teenage girl who missed a devastating trauma by a bare inch.

The night was held at The Brunswick in Hove, where the Troll's Pantry creates burgers which are the closest thing to orgasmic food I've ever put in my mouth. Like, seriously. Bacon chilli jam, y'all.

Next: Grit Lit in December, I hope.

Posted on November 3, 2013 and filed under Reading, Short Stories, Writing.