Sunvault ToC & Flash Fiction Online antho

Two nice things to start off the week:

1) The Sunvault anthology ToC is out! I’m incredibly honoured to be among such fabulous writers. I’m really looking forward to this antho.

2) My story “Creation” is included in Flash Fiction Online 2016 Anthology Volume II: Fantasy. Yay! (You can get it here on Amazon.)

I wish I had more energy/time for writing and submitting new stories and poems, but alas, it’s challenging with my PhD and all. Also, I’m still concentrating my creative energy on novel revisions. I’m getting to the point where the bigger things have been fixed and it’ll soon be time for just adding smaller details / checking for consistency. And then for actually reading through the whole thing for voice and language. Not that much to go before it’ll be a finished third draft.

My work on it feels so inadequate, so slow – but I’m trying to be gentle to myself. I’m gaining more energy as the sunlight increases (spring equinox today! hurrah!), but I’m still recuperating from anxiety and exhaustion so I’m making every effort not to beat myself up over not “doing enough”. I’m working on the novel, even if it’s far slower than I’d like. That’s the main thing. Slow and steady, slow and steady.

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“Creation” out in Flash Fiction Online

I’m happy to announce that my flash piece “Creation” is now out in the August issue of Flash Fiction Online.

You can read it here: Creation

It’s a story of Faerie, with an emphasis on language and Welsh things. I’ve visited the Welsh castle referred to in “Creation” myself, a few times: it’s a majestic place. (A seagull once stole my sandwich in Conwy town, but that hasn’t reduced my enjoyment of the castle.)

This story was born out of a writing exercise. From late 2013 to early 2015 I had a sporadic but persistent project where I wrote something – poems or short story snippets – based on the pictures in the 33 abandoned places in this post. The zero draft of “Creation” was written already in December 2013, inspired by picture #5, “The abandoned Wonderland Amusement Park outside Beijing, China”. I don’t know how I ended up writing about Faerie for that picture, but that’s how it turned out from the very start.

David Gray /Getty Images

David Gray /Getty Images

(Another of those abandoned-place stories has been published, too: The Ruin in Luna Station Quarterly, inspired by picture #8.)

“Memory” in The Flash Fiction Press

My piece “Memory” is up in The Flash Fiction Press!

Read it here.

I wrote the first draft of this in summer 2013, based on the prompt “the smell of freshly-cut grass”. I occasionally do freewriting by hand in a notebook based on prompts written on paper slips that I keep in an old Cadbury’s jar. I should try to do it more regularly, because sometimes some cool stuff comes out of these scribbles.

"Memory" - first draft

“Memory” – first draft

Flash fiction sale to The Flash Fiction Press

My flash fiction piece “Memory” (fantasy, of sorts) will be appearing in The Flash Fiction Press on 21 September. I’ll post a link when it’s up!

After a bit of a fallow period during my all-too-busy summer, I’ve been increasing my fiction & poetry submission volume during the past couple of weeks. I’ve also got a lot of new – and some old – stories brewing, including a sequel to Moss. In fact, since I just spent the past hour and a half trawling through my notebooks and typing down ideas into a file for later consultation, I actually feel a bit overwhelmed by ideas. :D Always more ideas than time to write! And so many projects I’m working on/want to work on! (I really need to revise my poetry collection and actually send it out. I’ve been sitting on it for far too long…)

However, now out for a walk to brainstorm one of those story ideas.

Coming up later today: Sunday recs! I’ve been reading SO MUCH good stuff this week.

First story publication – in Finnish!

Exciting! A flash fiction piece of mine (‘Munankuorikehto’, meaning ‘Egg-Shell Cradle’) will be published in the upcoming issue (3/2014) of Spin, the quarterly magazine of the Turku Science Fiction Society (TSFS).

The magazine is print-only. Those of you proficient in Finnish can subscribe to the magazine, or order a separate copy when the issue comes out this autumn. :)

I’m very pleased by this news, but also amused by the fact that my “officially first” story publication is in the language I write less in! I should really write more in Finnish as well, although right now (as usual) my writerly focus is on my English-language work. Ah, bilingualism! I am very pleased I have two native languages to practise writing in, I have to say. Such different challenges in each. (A matter for a separate post, I think!)

Flash fiction is rewarding

I went to check out a wonderful art installation by the Helsinki coast today, involving a huge collection of intriguing instruments made so that the wind played them. It was ethereal, gorgeous – wind-spirits singing!

As a result, I got inspired for a stuck-in-space sci-fi story. I wrote the first part on my mobile phone as I walked back through the chimes, bells, percussion and gentle booming played by the sea wind. The rest was written just now.

I may have mentioned that I usually have problems with writing short stuff, except when it comes to poetry. So, it’s pretty exceptional for me to find it so easy to write a story that’s less than 500 words. I feel rather pleased right now. Of course, it’s late again and my early-to-bed scenario looks like it’s failing – but hey! I wrote a complete flash fiction piece! Sleep is lovely, but writing is even better.

Drabble for my grandfather

Long time no blog. Busy, &c &c. ad nauseam.

Last night at my writers’ group I led an exercise on description. We each brought an interesting object and then spent five minutes writing short descriptions of each. It brought out some really good stuff, I think – a nice exercise.

And one of the objects resulted in me being engulfed by memory and sadness, and the following drabble resulted (the version below is edited from the original rough write). I’ve been thinking a lot about my grandfather lately, the first loved one I lost to death. Nearly nine years ago, and I miss him. I always will.

So here’s a short piece. For you, ukki.

*

From the Woodwork

I’ve been thinking a lot about him lately. Grandad, with his steady hands and carpenter’s heart. These were his, I think as I run my fingers along the battered red handles of the pliers. His hands gripped them just like I’m doing now. They feel solid. Grandad was solid too, to the last.

I blink back tears, concentrate on the object in my hands. The pliers are flecked with paint from his past projects. The jaws, well-worn from countless hours of use, are rusty now. The shape and weight of the pliers give me strange comfort. I open and close them a few times. It feels like a heartbeat.

Like Grandad’s heart, that beat too irregularly, and then stopped beating.

*