8 Things I Have Done To Try To Finish This Novel

I’m the kind of writer who doesn’t write. It’s not really that I’m afraid. It’s not that I don’t think I’m good – quite the opposite in fact. I’ve learned to be blessed with the realisation that the world isn’t going to jump up out of its bed in the morning to tell me that my stories are amazing, and seeing as someone has to think I’m great, it might as well be me, right?

No, it’s not fear. It’s because I’ve always been told to work on one literary project at a time and only when it’s done can you move on. Continue reading “8 Things I Have Done To Try To Finish This Novel”

Fiction From the Iron Lung

Hello! Thanks for dropping in. I’ve uploaded an audio recording of a short fiction piece that I wrote called Olio. It’s based around the concept of an iron lung – no, not the Radiohead song – and polio, and it kind of just evolved from there. This recording was done at the 2013 Dublin Zine Fair and originally appeared in issue 2 of ESC zine.

From,
From, “What America Looked Like: Polio Children Paralyzed in Iron Lungs.” (click to read the article)

Continue reading “Fiction From the Iron Lung”

An Open Letter To Publishers, Magazines and Blogs

Jeremiah Gardner's An Open Letter To Publishers, Magazines and Blogs

I write short pieces on Medium sometimes. It’s a handy outlet to have when I have something I feel I need to say that doesn’t fit into the remit of this blog.

On perusing Medium this evening I found an article by a writer called Jeremiah Gardner asking magazine editors & publishers to please learn to better value the contributions of your authors. 

Girls Like Comics Button
Girls Like Comics

As I edit Girls Like Comics, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to let the other comicbook reviewers know how much I value them and their work, the time they take to read the comics, to write the reviews, and, if they draw comic strips to go with their review, then how much time that took too. I was wondering if I should send them chocolate for Christmas, or thank you cards or what, if anything, I should do.

Thanks to this article by Jeremiah Gardner, I have a bit of a better idea on how to just say thank you –

Dear Publisher,

As a contributor, I put a lot of thought, time and effort into the articles I write. Each article takes a significant amount of labor to produce. My prevailing focus is to provide value to your readers and, in turn, create value for your publication. After all, why write or publish a magazine if it doesn’t clearly provide value for the end user.

Yet, as a contributor, I never quite felt that my contributions were valued from (publisher)’s point of view. There is very little feedback and very little interaction outside of simply sending an email via the publish@ address.

Ultimately, your contributors are creating value for you and should be considered a ‘customer segment’ for your business model and a customer to ‘be served.’ It doesn’t have to be big or expensive, but there are a number of ways to help your contributors feel way more valued.

I know you are pulled in so many different directions. So here are a few focused thoughts that I’ve felt / thought about over the course of our relationship regarding how you can better value your contributors:

Read the rest of the article here.

The woman and the rain – flash fiction

remington quiet riter - 1952 typewriter - jessica maybury

There was no relentless sound of rain in Nell’s cave, no hiss of the sea, or scream of gulls, or a whisper from anything living. No water dripped from eerie stalactites like in the old films. There were no monsters there. There was no breathing. There was just Nell.

It’s not that she was a spirit guide, like the ones off up in the mountains. She wasn’t a witch woman. She had never healed anyone in her life.

The thing about Nell that set her apart was really such an ordinary thing, something that many of her friends and family had, something perhaps even you might possess. The thing about Nell was that she was compassionate. If she had a TV she wouldn’t switch off at the money-begging poverty-porn charity ads, nor would she have left the room on some pretext. She would have felt for the little waif on the television, but she wouldn’t have picked up the phone to dial the number to make some financial but probably meaningless contribution.

Nell knew, as you might, that compassion and charity begin at home. She knew that it begins with giving some money to the man hunched on the side of the street, or a paper cup of tea, or even a smile. She knew that it lies in really, actually, listening. It lies in realising that the person in front of you is just as perfect and as imperfect as she is and as you are.

Sometimes people come to visit Nell in the cave. Caves give people an aura of mystery. People tend to assume that cave-dwellers are prophets, whereas street-dwellers are junkies. People tend to visit prophets.

Nell never knew what they wanted, exactly. Maybe they never really knew themselves. Were they looking for secrets? For their future? For peace of mind?

Sometimes she would send them away with nothing. Sometimes she would sit and talk to them for a few minutes or a few hours. Most of the time she would greet them with a deep smile, and gesture at the path they had come down, and remind them that real life was out there, where they had come from, and real charity too, and real love. Real life was in the rain. Real love was in the trees, the grass, the hands of strangers. Charity begins with breathing, she’d say. We all must be kind to one another, for none of us has much time here.

I wrote this for Jeff Tsuruoka’s flash fiction creative writing prompt, the Mid-Week Blues-Buster. This week it’s based on the song Secret Journey by the Police, and is being judged by Christina Esdon.

VisDare 31: Focused – Flash Fiction

#VisDare 31: Focused
#VisDare 31: Focused

Focused

Tommy eyed his reflection without trying to look like he was doing it.

“Would you look at the state of yer man,” N34 muttered, “thinkin’ no-one’s lookin’.”

“Shuddup man,” C12 mumbled.
“I’m just sayin’. I’d luv ta film dem and put it on the YouTube.”

There was a sigh from K90, a female mannequin with plastic bags wound around her to preserve her plastic modesty.
“You’re only talking about YouTube because of that billboard,” she pointed out, “you don’t even know what ‘film’ is.”

“I do so, it’s where you keep your memories and YouTube.”

Tommy’s hair was gelled it moved in one piece, like a Legoman’s.
“Dude is this too much?” he said to his friend.

A strangled glut of rage from C12. Another sigh from K90.
“I can’t wait to move over to Prada,” she drawled, her eyes glittering over at the flagship store across the street.

****

This is a visual creative writing dare, called VisDare for short. Created by the super Angela Goff, you can read more about it here.

A huge list of writing journals

write
Obviously these aren’t even all that I know or have submitted to or have heard of.
This isn’t the tip of the iceberg.
Literary fiction, poetry journals, flash fiction, speculative fiction, realistic fiction, fantasy…and everything in-between.
If I’ve left out any writing journals that you really love, just let me know in the comments!

Bellevue Literary Review
Cake Train
Columbia Journal
Chorium Magazine
Ink, Sweat and Tears
Juked
Notes from the Underground
Pank
Smokelong Quarterly
Unstuck Books
Wigleaf
The Moth
The Bohemyth 
New Irish Writing
Pinback Magazine
The South Circular
Ambit
MsLexia
Magma Poetry
Ploughshares
Salamander 
Tinhouse
The Paris Review
Threepenny Review
The Cincinnatti Review
McSweeneys 
Witness 
The Missouri Review 
Fence 
Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet
Icarus
The First Cut
Three Monkeys
Outburst
Roadside Fiction
Aesthetica 
The London Magazine
A Public Space 
Iowa Review 
Boulevard 
Crazyhorse 
Redivider 
Sunnyoutside 
robot melon 
diagram 
Dancing Girl Press
ESC
wurm im apfel
The SHOp Poetry Magazine
Poddle
Bare Hands Poetry
The Poetry Bus
Crannóg 
The Irish Pages
The Penny Dreadful