Bits & Bobs, Odds & Sods & A Winner

It’s been full on crazy as the end of the United Kingdom school year hurtles towards me so this post will be quick & dirty, lickety split blurty:

  • I went to the Winchester Writers’ Festival  which was wonderful. I attended some great sessions and received helpful feedback on Up She Rises during one to ones with literary agents. I met writing friends from social media in person and made new ones. How inspired was I by the keynote speaker Meg Rosoff? This much:



Booty From Winchester Writers Festival


  •  National Flash Fiction Day 2016  took place on Saturday 25th June. I’ve already  blogged about the anthology (which you can still buy here) but there are some mighty fine flash fiction stories waiting to be read on the NFFD blog too.



  • Finally, since I won’t be posting on Friday, Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian family and friends. What a great country I don’t live in anymore…






A Box of Stars Beneath The Bed

Isn’t that a beautiful title? There’s a beautiful book cover to go along with it, too:


The anthology was put together for National Flash Fiction Day 2016, which takes place on Saturday 25th June. I’m thrilled to have a flash in the anthology, with the not so beautiful title Onion.

I’m in very good company, with some truly amazing writers, so I encourage you to purchase a copy of the anthology. You can buy the UK print version here or the Kindle version here. It’s also available on the Canadian and American Amazon websites.

To celebrate National Flash Fiction Day, I’m giving away one print copy. Everyone who leaves a comment below before midnight (GMT) on Saturday 25th June will be entered into the draw. The name picked from a hat will be the winner. Good luck!

Now, I have to ask: What’s beneath your bed?

A Bit to Rest Your Toes On


Sigh or Wish by Deanne Fitzpatrick

Lucille is the landlady of Rachel’s boarding house. She is also one of several local women who hook rugs. One Friday night, at loose ends in Twig, Rachel joins them for a session:

Flossie and Annie, who it transpired were sisters, sat side by side, their hooks moving in time. Flossie’s rug featured a bright orange house with the ever-present sea behind it. Annie’s was much more detailed. It showed a woman in red dress and white apron, standing in a grassy yard, pegging sheets to a clothesline. Flossie and Annie hooked like Lucille, row by row.

In contrast to the others, Biddy seemed to hook freestyle. In her design a woman knelt in a wooded area, picking blueberries. I marvelled at Biddy’s hook roaming the surface of the burlap. When I commented on it, she said, “Ah sure, as long as you fills it in, it don’t matter how. I likes to meander.”

The speed at which the scenes unfolded was unbelievable, the blank canvasses filling in rapidly before my eyes. It amazed me that the women were creating such vivid works of art from a bit of burlap and recycled wool and rags. But they would not accept my effusive praise.

“Ah go on with ye,” said Lucille. “It’s only a bit to rest your toes on.” 

“You knows yourself,” said Flossie.

“Sure anyone could make these,” added Biddy.

I’m not sure anyone could hook a rug, but maybe someday I’ll have a go. If nothing else, I’d like to buy one,  maybe one hooked by Newfoundland artist Deanne Fitzpatrick who now lives in Nova Scotia. Deanne kindly granted me permission to use the beautiful image above. Her rugs are magnificent; you can see some more of them here.

Are you crafty? (in either sense of the word)


Hello From The Other Side

Welcome to my new home! I’m still settling in, so please ignore the boxes and make yourselves comfortable. (Oh, and while I think of it, why not sign up for future posts to be delivered via email. See the sidebar on the right.)

As I said in the final Twig post, I wanted a place to talk more generally about reading and writing so I’m delighted to be able to share some writing news. My flash fiction, Sligo Beach, has been longlisted for the 12th Annual Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest. Or, as Geist Magazine jokes, “the writing contest whose name is almost as long as the entries.”

It was an interesting exercise. I had to submit a postcard and a story that was somehow connected to it, with a 500 word limit. I can’t share my story yet, but here’s the postcard that inspired it, originally sent to me by a lovely friend. Wouldn’t you love to know what these two (sisters in my story) are talking about?

photo (42).JPG

What inspires you?


Pockets of Happiness


It takes awhile, but eventually Rachel starts to find pockets of happiness in Twig: music, craft, friendship. Sometimes we don’t realise what’s available right under our nose.Like Rachel, I recently found a new cause for happiness, a pocket of writers, in my own little town.

A few months ago I stumbled across the Loose Muse in Winchester, run by the wonderful Sue Wrinch. It features readings by poets or novelists, followed by an open mic session. I’ve attended two sessions and thoroughly enjoyed them both. When Sue learned I was from Ringwood, she told me about Rough Diamonds, a new literary event in my little town.

I took myself along to the May session of Rough Diamonds and was thrilled to meet and listen to fellow writers. I’m on the mailing list now, so there’ll be no stopping me. I might even read at the open mic session. I’m sure Rachel would want me to introduce her to the U.K, right?

Any rough diamonds or pockets of happiness hiding right under your nose?