I’m very much looking forward to this event. Here you will get to meet the editors of Digbeth Stories, hear their thoughts on the state of publishing in the UK, why they’ve chosen Digbeth and what makes a good piece of writing as well as hear from Kit de Waal who will be submitting a brand new story to the anthology. As well as all the above it’s an ideal opportunity to meet other writers and to pitch your story ideas to the editors. See you there.
Hmm, let’s start by looking back.
My last post was concerning the huge boost to arts funding that would become a reality after Labour won the 2019 general election – well, that never happened. A bit of a shock if I’m honest. I’m a bit of an optimist, and I was convinced that Labour’s argument couldn’t fail, but it did, so what does the future hold? Well, not a lot if you’re going to sit around waiting for someone to do things for you. It seems that the right-wing have public opinion sown up, thanks to their super-rich media-moguls, but that doesn’t mean we can’ bring about change in our own lives – just look at the huge impact Greta Thunberg has had upon the world simply by going on strike!
We need to make things happen ourselves – don’t worry, this isn’t the part where I hurl internet platitudes at you, ‘Be the lobster you want to be!’ So what am I doing, apart from displaying my fondness for the word lobster? A few things. Me and a talented friend are putting together a book. We’re both fed up of being at the mercy of literary gatekeepers and decided we’d do it ourselves, but this isn’t some self-publishing vanity project – to be fair, much of the self-publishing world isn’t. This will be a labour of love to a part of our city that means a lot to both of us. We’ll be documenting in words, both factual and fictional, and images, a part of this glorious place we live in that could soon be no more. Some of you may even buy it – now there’s a thought.
I continue to scratch away with my own writing. I will have a short story out this year in a Birmingham themed collection from Dostoyevsky Wannabe, and I continue to send words out to potential publishers – chin up, no man’s put me down yet…
There are opportunities out there for creative types like me and I shall be doing my best to snag a few of them. I enjoy working with others, and unlocking other people’s potential, so I’ll be looking out for more stuff like that as well as stand alone projects. A few are already on my radar – it must be this 2020 vision.
I’ve also agreed to climb Snowden in the dark – climbing it in daylight is too easy! That last statement is something I’d never say. I’ll post some more info regarding this soon.
January has nearly gone and I’ve not done half as much as I intended to. I will do more in February. See you there.
I received my copy of Songs For The Elephant Man the other day and its a beauty. This great collection of short stories is yours for mere pounds – £8.99 for eighteen stories!
You can order this from any good bookshop or buy it direct from the publisher’s website by clicking here.
As always, let me know what you think.
Some great tips for getting rejected from periodicals and competitions. They’ll either make you laugh or blush with shame.
Thanks to Kmelkes for this glimpse from the other end of the telescope.
Last Saturday, we launched Night Swimming, at the ‘book festival in a day,’ States of Independence. When I say we, I mean Matthew Pegg – a marvellous and industrious human being – introduced it, and I read a brief extract from one of the stories.
Matthew did a top rate job taking about Mantle Lane Press and the three collections that are out now, including, Night Swimming. My reading went really well; there was a great reaction from those there and a posting of purchases on Twitter soon after.
Night Swimming is:
“A collection of dark, urban tales: the pros and cons of stealing a pensioner, a mothers prison visit, incipient love and roller skating, the guilt of a brothers death, and a past love burnt out by rioting. Stories that deal with loss, longing and hope.
Garrie Fletcher writes about the gaps between lives, the pauses between stations and the static hiss of the city. The moments he captures are fleeting and easily missed, but resonate like a steel string plucked above a pickup, distorted and electric.
Mantle Lane Press small books can be slipped into a pocket and make an ideal stocking filler for literature lovers. ”
To get your hands on a copy of this beautiful book just click here. You can also order it from your local bookshop, or if you’re local, to me, get in touch, and I can get a signed copy to you.
My first collection of short stories, Night Swimming, is almost here. It’s still not really sunk in. But on Saturday, March the 11th, I will finally hold a copy in my hands – that should do the trick.
To be able to look at the cover of my book and flick through the pages, pages covered with words that I typed, deleted, retyped, crossed out, scribbled over and screamed at should fill me with joy, or at least a deep sense of satisfaction.
However, this isn’t ‘job done.’ Now starts the long process of promotion, of convincing people to buy my book. The first step, along the road of self-promotion, will be taken on Saturday at this year’s States of Independence in Leicester. I will be reading a short extract from, Night Swimming, as part of the Mantle Lane Press launch. I’ve read my work at many events over the years, but this will be the first time that I’ve had a ‘product’ to promote. At the moment, I’m reading through the stories and trying to decide which one will tantalise the most and leave an audience wanting more.
If you’re in Leicester, or fancy a day out there, please come along to States of Independence. Here’s some info and details from their website:
States of Independence
Independent publishing | Independent writing | Independent thinking
A book festival in a day
This year’s States of Independence is our eighth. It’s a book festival in a day, a marketplace, a conference, a chance to relax and listen to some readings, an opportunity to argue about issues in the industry and to meet with independent presses from across the region.
States of Independence supports independent thinking, independent writing and independent presses. Join us for the day or an hour. Attend lots of events – you will be spoiled for choice – or just one, or simply come along and browse through the twenty or so bookstalls to see what the independent sector is publishing.
As always there are poetry and fiction readings and industry panels discussing current hot topics – this year focusing on independent literary magazines. Non-fiction wanders from British Palestine to John Clare’s escape from an asylum, via the political power of music, reminiscences about being gay in the 80s, and how to talk about poetry
States of Independence is a free event, underwritten by Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham and the Centre for Creative Writing at De Montfort University, with the support of over fifty writers and over thirty presses.
All sessions are free, no tickets required.
Just turn up and stay for an hour or two, or the whole day.
States of Independence is organised and funded by Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham and the Creative Writing Team at De Montfort University, Leicester.
My collection of short stories, entitled: Night Swimming, will be launched on March the 11th, at States of Independence in Leicester. States of Independence is a gathering of independent publishers. There will be workshops, readings, panels, seminars, book launches, bookstalls, independent presses, regional writers and much, much more. I think it’ll be based at De Montfort University, but I’ll let you know the full details when I get them.
If you’re in Leicester, or fancy a day in that fine city, then please come along and say hi. Previous events have been free of charge and there’s plenty to see and do
Artists wanted, Birmingham, Birmingham Literature Festival, Book Cover Art, Book cover designers, Graphic Design, Great opportunity, Mantle Lane Press, Night Swimming, short story collection, Submissions wanted
Calling all artists/photographers/graphic designers.
There’s a great opportunity at Mantle Lane Press for book cover designers.
There are three books that need covers including my own short story collection, Night Swimming. Please check out the link below for details and share this on your own networks.
You can also hear some of the writers of the latest Mantle Lane Press Anthology read from the collection at this year’s Birmingham Literature Festival.
What Haunts The Heart is a new collection of short stories by brilliant writers from across the Midlands, presenting a host of haunted characters: a waxwork-maker, a doomed puppeteer, an isolated writer… What Haunts The Heart weaves together tales of lost love, regret, bad decisions, madness, secrets, obsession and redemption.
Come and hear a selection of these fantastic stories performed live by writers including William Gallagher, Liza Kershaw and Fiona Joseph.
Tickets are £3 and available here.
I’ve some rather lovely news to share. Those wonderful people at Mantle Lane Press are going to publish a small collection of my short stories entitled, Night Swimming.
Mantle Lane Press is based in Leicestershire and is an offshoot of Mantle Arts. Their aim is to support Midlands writers.
My collection will fall into their limited edition small books collection. These are similar in size to the Penguin 60s range and each features a cover image by a different artist, ensuring that they are attractive, unique and collectable.
I’ve just signed the contract and I’ll let you know more about it when I do.
Right, I’m off to give myself a good pinch.