Sunday, 30 June 2013

McGough... and a cough

Me & McGough with matching poetry pants
You know that scene in 'Outbreak' when the carrier sneezes in the cinema? There was a moment on the stage on Friday night when I could have brought down the Great and the Good of Alsager with one unguarded 'Atchoo'.

Starting with the Mayor, the vicar and the manager of the Co-op, I could have spread contamination out across the poetry cartels of South Cheshire, the art-loving innocent of North Staffordshire and elderly fans of sixties bands just days before The Rolling Stones rolled on the Ralgex one more time.

Let me explain: I have a streaming cold at the moment. But that wasn't going to stop me meeting one of my poetry heroes: Roger McGough. I'd been invited as 'one of the top three prizewinners' to read my poem at his gig for the Alsager Summer Festival, and I'm delighted to report that I won! Hurrah! Huzzah! And I read my poem (in what I like to think of as a sexy, husky voice - dues to nasal congestion and a raw throat), and I managed not to have a coughing fit during any of the more poignant moments of Roger's performance  - although it was touch and go with the boy and the red ball on the beach.

But despite my mentioning I was full of cold, Roger, amused by my mentioning someone had once described me, rather disturbingly, as 'Roger McGough in a bra' had gone in for kissing in the French style... erm... I mean both cheeks, not tongues. I live in fear I may have done for him. The same thing probably happened to Nelson Mandela. Well, not exactly the same.

Who killed Roger McGough?
I said the poet, with my hacking cough.
I killed McGough

I could launch an attack on the poets of England this way:

Who killed Carol Anne Duffy?
I said the poet, with my nose so stuffy
I snuffed out Duffy

Who killed Ian Macmillan?
I said the poet, with a lack of penicillin
I killed Macmillan...


Sunday, 23 June 2013

Is any of this real?

Sadly there's no date on this picture - any clues?
For all my talk of notebooks the other day, we are firmly en-meshed in the digital world, are we not?

What a strange world it is:
  • I have written a 'virtual' book (Tales from a Broken Biro: There Will Be Ink) on my computer and published it online.
  • People can buy it on (and read off) a screen.
  • I am promoting it using Twitter to friends I've only met in the ether, and they to their wider networks
  • I have already sold (and given away in yesterday's promotion) a total of 100 copies, including more than 20 in America

In the first 48 hours it even reached the top ten Amazon Kindle Bestsellers in the free short story category, alongside (okay, a bit under) names I see every day at work - Carole Matthews and Stephen Leather.

Is any of this real?  (Answers on a virtual postcard)

Thursday, 20 June 2013

There Will Be Ink

I've only gone and done it!

My first collection of short fiction is now available on Kindle!  It's called Tales from a Broken Biro: There Will Be Ink and contains 24 short stories, most have which have been published at some point in journals and zines but are thrown  gathered  herded collected together now like a bunch of awkward people at a party.

It's a snip at £1.98, and hence cheaper than buying me a congratulatory glass of wine, but I'm offering it for FREE on Saturday 22nd, which is National Flash Fiction Day.

Whether you buy it or download it free, I'd be delighted if anyone wished to write a short review on Amazon and give it a rating.

Two of my stories are also in this year's NFFD Anthology: Scraps and another in Lost and Found, the University of Chester's High Sheriff’s Cheshire Prize for Literature collection to be launched next week.

I am one excited bunny.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Take notes!

Note to self: always write down the interesting things as soon as you hear or think them.

History drawls a veil over exactly when I started to do this: I should have wrote it down, that moment I first put pen to paper knowing I would otherwise forget that witticism, perfect line, cunning plot, great title, cracking dialogue.

So I never go anywhere without a notebook, and if you want to be a writer, neither should you. My most recent acquisition is this fab personalised one from The Dog's Doodahs.

Some people complain I am 'stealing their ideas'. These are usually people who will never do anything useful with the ideas they have, and ideas that are doomed to die young and unfulfilled. Plagiarism? No? It's a Public Service!

You have to be careful, occasionally I don't write enough and just find random words staring back at me that mean nothing:

the Darth Vader of fairies

synchronise your mothers

regurgitated garnishes from previous incumbents

Apostrophe wife

fake town?

I still keep notebooks, especially for journeys, but some are too lovely to use. And now I jot ideas on my phone or iPad, too, ready to transpose into a Word document... which now runs to over 70 pages. You do the math.

Then be afraid.

Do you make notes?