Sunday 28 June 2009


1. Writing news.

I have almost finished the first draft of the novel section begun last week. This week has seen a ridiculous amount of reading it back from the beginning, changing this and that, editing furiously before getting to the current word count of 9000ish, and it’s not quite finished. One scene was changed over and over, as I tried to decide who was watching a particular event from a hiding place. I went through the scene three times, from three characters’ points of view. I’m still not sure… it may yet change again. And another scene, intended to be a quick link between two others, turned itself on its head as I wrote it, and it became a really exciting new series of events. Well, it surprised me! And yet another scene –feels very flat and needs a lot of work.

2. Reading news.
Not much, to be honest. The newspaper every day?

3. Teaching/Workshops/Lit Fests.

• West Cork Literary Festival: I’ve been planning the short story workshops, making sure I have fifteen copies of everything. Gathering together all sorts of writing fun stuff.
• Ip Art. (Ipswich Arts Festival.) I’ve also been planning the two flash workshops for next Saturday. Both workshops have waiting lists. I chatted to Gill Lowe, who is interviewing and compering the evening event, planning what readings to do, and what sort of topics to natter about.
• National Association of Writers in Education, Annual Conference, November. Nice news: my proposal for a flash/micro fiction workshop for delegates has been accepted. And Short Circuit, the Salt Guide to the Art of the Short Story is to be given a launch event at the conference as well. So Jen at Salt n the editor are very pleased.
4. My Books news.
Frustration! Dear Salt Publishing have sent plenty of copies of paperback Bubbles to the distributors, Gardners, and they have arrived. But for some admin reason, they have not yet been clerked in to their system. So. Neither Ipswich nor Bantry will have copies unless they sort this glitch out fast. It is very frustrating.
Festivals, especially ones where the writer is leading workshops, are very good places to sell books. Participants are readers, and writers, and are there because they are interested. But it only works if the chain doesn’t break down.
Please keep a finger or two crossed!
Another result of this, is that Amazon still has the hardback listed (now costing £102.00 for a single second hand copy..) but at the same time Amazon says the book hasn’t been released yet. I guess if you are selling thousands of books at mainstream bookshops, this doesn’t matter. To me, who isn’t, it does! Somewhere, hidden away, is another page on Amazon listing the paperback. Available in 1 to 3 weeks it says. Mind you it’s said that for weeks.

Short Circuit: Salt has been working on the book, and I’ve been doing a little tweaking of the text, with a few new bits from me, a few from others. V exciting.

5. Competition News

1st place—$2,000 and publication in Glimmer Train Stories.
2nd-place—$1,00 and possible publication.
3rd-place—$600 and possible publication

Full details HERE


I don’t know if any readers of this blog are intending to enter this great competition – with a chance to win £10,000. But if so, please be aware of the following unusual clause in their terms and conditions.
Entrants are deemed to grant to MMU a non-exclusive, worldwide licence over each entry submitted for the duration of the Competition… and for publicity purposes thereafter. Selected pieces may be printed in publications and journals hosted by MMU and may appear in electronic format on the MMU website, or in other electronic forms.

In other words: All entrants grant MMU a licence to use their entries for publicity purposes (not just those chosen as the winner) after the competition ends, in perpetuity. All entries may be published in print, on the web, or in other electronic forms.

I checked with the organisers, and yes, this is correct. They also said it is very unlikely that they would want to use any entries other than the shortlisted ones, but did not rule it out. They will however agree with individual writers to waive the licence, and said this in their email:

We'd be happy to agree not to publish a non-short-listed story if the author wanted to enter their work to other competitions after the Manchester Fiction Prize has ended on 23rd October.

It would therefore appear to be sensible for unsuccessful entrants to obtain this agreement individually when the comp has announced the shortlist.

Grateful thanks to MMU for clarifying this.

If you are lucky enough to be shortlisted – it is unclear what happens. I can see no mention of a winners’ anthology as in Bridport, or Fish, and there is no mention of any prize for any stories other than the first prize winner(s).
But -it does NOT look as though you can resubmit your shortlisted story anywhere else easily, as MMU retain the right to publish it at a future date in print and/or online and electronically.

If anyone knows differently, please do contact me! Full terms and conditions for the Manchester Fiction Prize HERE on their website, together with online entry details.

Writers: Please feel free to share this comp information.

That's it for this week. Happy writing. I will post from Ireland next, and maybe from Wales after that!

Sunday 21 June 2009


1. New Writing
A solid week. New part of the novel begun, 6,000 plus words completed that I am happy(ish) with.
Novel wordcount is now c. 75k of which a lot is fluff, but we’re getting somewhere. I also finally, after a lot of procrastination, made a diagram of time-sequences and family relationships– now done. It has added to the sense that ‘I know where I am going’ with this behemoth. This will guide the final two sections as and when. Then will come the editing.
The section I’m working on will hopefully be first-draft-done this coming week.

2. Competition news
I got this email:
Congratulations! Your work has been chosen as the Editor's Choice in Prose for The Binnacle's Sixth Annual Ultra-Short Competition. The judges and I loved it... I should say that I am not one of the judges for the contest, only an arbitrator. I do, nonetheless, read every entry. Typically, I very much concur with the judges, but there are usually a couple works that really could have just as well won one of the prizes. That is where I step in and say that we ought to have at least some recognition for them. When I read your piece, I was just blown away. Wow!
They had over 900 entries, so that's lovely news. It's also nice to know how 'Ed's Choice' is organised - I didnt know! Also, this micro-fiction comp hasn’t yet declared the winners publicly. As soon as it does, I will change this post, and also I will be able to give congrats to the talented friend who has won… clever lady!

3. My Books news

Ed’s Wife and Other Creatures
This is my second collection, very very different to the first. Funny, for a start…
Ed’s Wife will be published on 1st November, by Salt Modern Fiction. Details were finalised this week. Forms signed etc.
Ed’s Wife and other Creatures is a gathering of 70 micro-fictions of which a few have won awards. About 20 will have been published in print in Australia, Ireland, USA and online. And a few translated into a couple of languages other than English.
Words from a Glass Bubble
I am watching with interest as the hardbacks dwindle on Amazon and the paperbacks take over. As I write, there are three used copies left, at extortionate prices!
Three starting at £50.00 plus postage. Yep. FIFTY QUID. Well if anyone is desperate, I have a few hardbacks left, for a lot less than that.
Short Circuit- The Salt Guide to the Art of the Short Story
I heard from Salt this week that the book is huge! It comes out at a whopping 240 pages, the largest the printer can manage, and will retail at £12.99 plus, I assume the usual discounts if you purchase direct from Salt Publishing
4. Teaching news
• Invitation to run a day’s creative writing workshop in October at Shapwick specialist school for dyslexic students in Somerset. Interesting, it will be on their Open Day, and will be great fun to welcome in visitors to the workshop!
• The five-session Short Story for Beginners Workshop at the West Cork Literary Festival week in July is a sell-out.
I was asked at very short notice if I would step in and take the workshops, as the original leader had to sadly pull out. I was fully expecting some of those who had signed up to slide away, and am delighted it is full. We'll have a good week.

5. Submissions News. ‘Art from Art’ Anthology USA
I sent a previously published story to Modernist Press (Los Angeles and New York) in response to a call for short stories based on works of art. Their previous collection looks good quality, with some great writers therein, including Sean Levin. They accepted the story, which is nice. And they pay well, plus copies. It looks a very interesting press, and an interesting anthology.
Here’s the detail for the call from the Modernist Press website:
This collection of short fiction by literary writers aims to feature stories that are connected directly to—or inspired by—a work of art. It could be a song, a painting, a museum, an architectural monument, a blueprint, a piece of writing—a play, novel, poem, letter, etc. The art in question needs to be a major component of the story—a character—within the fabric of the story. Perhaps the idea will be inspired by an event from life or maybe it will be something completely fabricated.

All genres welcome. ART from ART will bring new and established voices and ideas to a fine collection of fiction. I aim to have the art featured on a page either at the beginning or the end of each story—a visual correlative that will enhance the experience. Submit your story and a brief bio via email to Stephen Soucy at Please follow standard submission guidelines (Microsoft Word Document with 12-point font).
UPDATE: Payscale for this project is $100 for the right to publish each author’s story in the anthology, and two copies of the finished book. I’m finding that stories between 2000-5000 words are working best. I’m really looking for a story with a completely developed narative and with finely drawn characters. I’m not looking for a brief 2-page piece, and I’m not open to poetry at this time.

6. Competitions closing soon.


Prizes in each category: £5000, £1000, £500, £50 x 10 Runners-up. Plus The Dorset Award: £100
Details on website include online submission form;


NB: only for entrants who have not previously had a collection/novel published.

7. The Weird World of Writing
I received quasi-blackmail emails from a writer who I sadly had to remove from The Fiction Workhouse a year ago.
I ran a competition on this blog a while back; the prize – a copy of my collection, with a handwritten extra flash piece. I had a few decent entries. The best in my judgement was by a Mariel Newley.

I sent the book. Published the work HERE together with her bio. Then on Friday, I received a long and strange email.
Here are some excerpts:

I am “Mariel Newley”…. I did plan to continue writing as Mariel and eventually to ask, as Mariel, to join the Workhouse, and if accepted (as I think I very possibly would have been) to tell the story ... which is a damning one: you threw me out, ostensibly for not being a good enough writer,

Nope. In the end, I deleted a membership because that member among other things called me a liar. Members had complained to me about having to critique some aspects of her work, and she refused to believe this. She wasted our time, constantly defending this work. That’s not what the place is about. There comes a point when you have to say your working relationship has broken down. So she went.

This is her second attempt in a year to gain re entry. Both times, the attempts are littered with threats and demands, exhortations to be polite (!!) exhortations to not do this or that because she is very very angry and will ‘take action’ if I publish her messages.. Well stone the crows,


The writer of letters/emails retains copyright. But when those letters are gratuitously abusive, somewhat cranky and defamatory, I think it is OK to reproduce excerpts here. Under normal circumstances I would credit them to the writer. In this case, let’s just say that they are from ‘Mariel Newley’. This is a small selection.

I decided that if I carried through my plan to re-join as Mariel, this would only cause further pain. I am not interested in taking revenge. What I want isn’t to humiliate you by showing up your cruelty and prejudice, although God knows, you bloody well deserve it. What I’m interested in is justice.
I am not, as I think I’ve just shown in taking the decision not to proceed with my plan, a vengeful person, or a natural bearer of grudges. I am quite capable of forgiving and forgetting, with no bad feeling remaining. That would be the ideal outcome - such problems as these are best dead and buried.
I want an (sic) re-admittance to The Fiction Workhouse. I hope you appreciate the fact that I have decided not to pursue my plan to re-join the Workhouse as Mariel I really believe I could have done your reputation some serious damage…
it would not be a good idea to blog about this. …I would be absolutely furious to find my real name on your blog, so furious that I would have to take some action about it - I am using a pen name because someone in the writing world has hurt me and damaged my reputation as a writer, and if you talk about it online, … editors will then know that this person was you. I’d strongly advise you not to mention it at all. I’m quite angry enough as it is.

Well, I don't quite know what to think. But I would like to say the following:
Message to Editors – I am indeed the person who removed a member from my small private writing site, in mid 2008, for the benefit of the team. Her identity is known only to the then members of that group. I gather her demand for readmission has been declined for the second time in a year by those who are running the site. We all rather hope this is an end to this silly behaviour.

I have judged writing competitions for a few years now and am not in the habit of choosing work according to whether or not I ‘like’ that writer, which is what I am being accused of, among other things. That is a serious allegation.

Message to ‘Mariel Newley’: Your flash piece would have won the competition, because it was the best, whoever’s name was on the piece. I wish you continued good luck under whichever name you use, and hope that you can now look back and see that your time at The Fiction Workhouse indeed did sharpen your work. But being a good writer does not mean you can demand membership of a private group any more than you can demand to stay at my home.

Moving on.

8. Other writing groups that may be of interest:
Critter’s bar is a mixed genre closed site for writers of all levels and it is free of charge. There is also a ‘group within a group’ for those working in greater depth on anon-posted work
Writewords is a paying site but inexpensive. It has some closed groupings in the many forms of fiction poetry novel and so on. There are many ‘site experts’, novelists, poets, short story writers, who give their advice freely. Open discussion forums, lots of calls for subs and writing job info.
Alex Keegan’s Bootcamp Paying site, with tough single-minded tuition style. Where I learned. Hard work required.

9. Reading news

This week I’ve read and can thoroughly recommend Colum McCann’s collection of short stories, Fishing the Sloe-Black River. One reviewer said this:
I think I’ll find myself dipping back into McCann’s River whenever I feel the need to connect with a story. McCann’s taut prose, imaginative descriptions, and characters that seem too deep to have been created in so few words, are part of a masterful collection of short fiction that places him solidly in the lineage of great Irish short story writers. To borrow one of McCann’s own descriptions, his writing is “as sharp as a new blade of grass,” and Fishing the Sloe-Black River is an impressive collection from a remarkable voice.

10. Theatre news

I saw La Cage Aux Folles at The Playhouse Theatre with my daughter in law… it is fabulous! One of my favourite films from decades back.

That is it for this week. Have a good one, write well.

Sunday 14 June 2009

A Little Hush, a little work, a little change of scene.

Things will be quiet as of now. I will be posting one blog post a week, with the salient points of life that week, from the writing perspective.

What, no Twittering, no Facebooking, no nothing? But this lot are indispensable... so brilliant for networking and selling things. Oh yes, they may be.

But you have to have something to sell, and they get in the way of doing just that, creating.

The very thought of rejoining Facebook makes me feel ill. All those ridiculous games and treats and pressies. And 'friends' you are not friends with, and the unsubtle psychological pressure to be popular or suffer the consequences and die?

And Twitter. I don't DARE even think about it. The wasted TIME just tweeting, in the mistaken belief that really, what you are saying is IMPORTANT? To whom? And how much better could that time be spent?

Oh sure, viral marketing is a wonderful invention. But the network explosion, for me anyway, needs controlling, and I know if I started, I wouldn't be able to stop tweeting on the pretext that I am helping some writer out there do something!

So I am helping myself, from now on. What am I doing? I am writing, actually. I now turn into a focussed writer, at my desk from 8 am each morning.

No more mentoring, no more working online. I have left two online groups today, including one I love dearly. I do not want to work anywhere where the internet encroaches, because it is NOISY!!! I have a retreat booked in Wales... and will not even be taking my laptop. It will have to be back to quill pen.

I will be looking for a nice place on an island with no wires at all. If you know of one, drop me a line. I will check emails each evening, once, at 6.00 pm.

There are plenty of good books recommended a few posts down. Enjoy.

(Hush pic from HERE)

Saturday 13 June 2009

Generous review from Asham for Glass Bubble

I am indebted to the organisers of The Asham Award for their most generous review of Words from a Glass Bubble.

This stunning range of work is not afraid to explore the darker side of human emotion, yet allows us to see the light which often wavers at the end of the bleakest and longest tunnel.

These beautifully written stories are in the best literary tradition, lyrical yet understated.

For the rest of this review and to read what they say about Short Circuit, the forthcoming short story text book from Salt Publishing, see the News section of the Asham Award Website, HERE You can also read up on the finalists of this year's award, and read other news especially about Julia Widdow's novel.

Short Circuit contains a brilliant chapter entitled 'Writing into the Void' from Marian Garvey, last year's winner of the Asham Award for new Women Writers.

I am delighted to say that I have agreed to read for the next Asham Award. What a lovely thing to be asked to do.

Friday 12 June 2009

The Definitive Fiction Workhouse Short Story Reading List

(While I was away, some members at The Fiction Workhouse put together their 'definitive' short story reading list. Thanks to Valerie Waterhouse for collating, posting there, and sending it here for general consumption. My own bits were added at the bottom of the list.)

The Definitive Fiction Workhouse Short Story Reading List

ONE: The Fiction Workhousers Top Short Story Authors (They all had to have multiple votes to achieve this hallowed status)

Raymond Carver
Jhumpa Lahiri
Alice Munro
Nathan Englander
James Joyce
Katherine Mansfield
Lorrie Moore
Flannery O’Connor
William Trevor

TWO: The Fiction Workhousers Top Short Story Collections

Atwood, Margaret. Bluebeard’s Egg and other stories
Barnes, Julian. A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters
Carver, Raymond. What we talk about when we talk about love; Where I’m calling from; Cathedral
Beckett, Samuel. Stories and texts for nothing
Camus, Albert. L’exil e le royaume
Chekhov, Anton. Lady with a Lapdog and other stories
Colette: Collected Stories
Conrad, Joseph: Short Fiction
(Read for: These are possibly novellas, but brilliant anyway; out of print?)
Coraghessan Boyle, T. If the River was Whiskey
Dinesen, Isak: Seven Gothic Tales
(Read for: Weird and beautiful, if your taste runs to this sort of thing)
Englander, Nathan. For the Relief of Unbearable Urges
Gebbie, Vanessa. Words from a Glass Bubble
(Read for: The Workhouse Bible) (Pah. Stuff and nonsense… the author.)
Ho Davies, Peter. The Ugliest House in the World
Hogan, Desmond. Stories
Jolley, Elizabeth. Woman in a Lampshade.
(Read for: Way ahead of her time; terrific characters; good at taking the reader by surprise)
Joyce, James. Dubliners.
Keegan, Alex. Ballistics
Lahiri, Jhumpa. Unaccustomed Earth
Mansfield, Katherine. Collected Stories
McEwan, Ian. First Love, Last Rites
Moore, Lorrie. Selected Stories.
Munro, Alice. Runaway; The Beggar Maid; Dance of the Happy Shades
O’Connor, Flannery. A Good Man is Hard to Find; Complete Short Stories
Phillips, Jayne Anne. Fast Lanes.
Proulx, Annie. Heartsongs.
Rhodes, Dan. Anthropology
(Read for: Perfect, funny little flashes)
Rourke, Lee. Everyday
(Read for: A recent find, so very much an of the moment favourite, but contains some great voices)
Saki (Hugh Hector Munro). Short Stories of Saki.
(Read for: The Great British Humorist – good on tiger-shooting memsahibs and child-eating wolves; some dodgy views)
Scott Fitzgerald, F. Collected Stories.
Simpson, Helen. Hey Yeah Right Get a Life
Thomas Dylan. Collected Short Stories
Trevor, William. Cheating at Canasta; Collected Stories
(Read for: Use of language; sometimes weird approach to dialogue)
Updike, John. Early Stories
Whitaker, Malachi. The Crystal Fountain and Other Stories
(Read for: Anti-fascist DH Lawrence contemporary from Yorkshire; witty and skilfully crafted; out of print)
Williams, Joy. Taking Care
(Read for: The best writer nobody has ever heard of)

THREE: The Fiction Workhousers best Anthologies

Best New American Voices (annual; various)
Granta American Short Stories
(Read for: Vol 1: Includes Carver, Vonnegut, Oates, Wolff)
The O. Henry Prize (annual; various)
Anthology (name not specified) featuring Alice Munro, William Trevor, Mishima, Tobias Wolff, Annie Proulx

Lots of my favourites are already there, above. But I will add these:


Best American Short Stories of the Century, ed: Updike
New Irish Short Stories, Faber and Faber (any of them)

Single author collections:
John Cheever: Collected Stories
Adam Marek: Instruction Manual for Swallowing (Comma)
Wena Poon: Lion in Winter
Plus all the collections I mention on my blog anyway, because I love them. Especial mention to:
Petina Gappah, An Elegy for Easterly, (Faber and Faber)
Tania Hershman: The White Road and other Stories (Salt)

Echo the list above. And add in
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

From Readers of this Blog:Additions from Those Who Know:

Single Author collections:
Haruki Murakami: After the Quake
Alistair MacLeod: Island
Tim O’Brien: The Things They Carried
Anthony Doerr: The Shell Collector
Richard Yates : Eleven Kinds of Loneliness
Julian Barnes: The Lemon Table

Writers who must not be forgotten

Lewes Needle Writers' Summer event.

Last night was the Summer event for Needle Writers, an evening performance event held in the lovely cafĂ© of Lewes’ Needlemaker’s Centre.

Every quarter, three writers are invited to read, and last night was a HUMDINGER.

Sarah Salway led the field, with a double-whammy – poetry and a short story. The poetry centred round an addiction that many women suffer – ‘acquisition as love-object’ is how it came over to me. The poems were very sensual – I will look at shopping in a new light from now on! She then read ‘Toad in the Hole’, a short story from her collection Leading the Dance about a boy suffering group bullying. She whisked us into the world of young boys taunting each other, a world in which a single incident labels a boy for life in the heads of his peers, but more importantly, in his own mind. I already have Sarah’s collection, but it isn’t signed, and I didn’t take it along. So I bought another copy, and some lucky person will have a pressie soon!

Andie Lewenstein was up next, a striking poet, who read a selection of her work. Andie has a series based on images from old European fairy stories, but not as children would see them now. She span the images up and out so that the well-known merged into something totally different. She read several other works, written on a writing retreat in Iona, including a very moving piece about mourning her father. A gifted lady.

Here’s her bio from the event sheet:
Andie Lewenstein has published poems and stories in anthologies and won the Ware Poets sonnet prize. She is currently drawing inspiration from fairy tale and the forest where she lives. She has taught creative writing in Adult Education, on Emerson College’s Word Work course, and she was co-director of the annual Poetry Otherwise conference in Forest Row.

And lastly, but by no means least, Julie Corbin, whose psychological thriller Tell me No Secrets was shortlisted for the Daily Telegraph Novel in A Year Competition, and is now the first publication in a three book deal with a top publishing house.
Julie had banned her husband and kids from the event. It was her first public reading – and all I can say is – she was absolutely terrific.

She held the room spellbound with the prologue and part of the opening chapter of Tell Me No Secrets and a third part based on one of the characters.
She hadn’t bought enough books… and what she had brought sold out within a few minutes of the reading finishing.

If you would like to read the prologue and first chapter of the book, visit her website (HERE) where you can download the pdf.


(Pics of Sarah Salway and Julie Corbin are taken from their websites, linked above.)

Thursday 11 June 2009

SAN FRANCISCO Pics Mark III My birthday

Well. I spent my birthday with my sister Susie.
I will say that again, because it feels nice to say it.
I spent my birthday with my sister Susie.
For those who don't know, we met only a few months ago. (Search on this blog under 'five sisters' - save me the trouble of explaining?)

Susie is a great supporter of The San Francisco Giants, so off we went to the ball game, which just happened to be a well matched tussle against The St Louis Cardinals. Susie has had a rough time very recently. And it was lovely to hear her yelling 'Come on ma BOYS!' despite herself. Here are Susie's BOYS waiting for the game to start. It seems that a lot of the time at baseball games is spent EATING. Wowee. We had wonderful seats, in the Club section (??) and had frequebt visits from sellers of candy floss, churros, as well as hot dogs and all sorts of other goodies. (Burp.)

The atmosphere was terrific. It was a 'Little League' day so there was hundreds of kids around, a school choir kicked off the game by singing the National Anthem, kids were invited to be commentators, there were kids running round the bases at the end for fun.

A good day.


The city of San Francisco is wonderful. Exciting - I kept expecting The Big One at any moment. ( That means an earthquake, for those of dirtier minds (!) Everywhere you look there are images I wanted to remember. Like this lady sitting outide a bakery - I visited City Lights Bookshop, and was thrilled to see Nick Hogg's 'Show me The Sky' in its new paperback self, on the new issues shelf. They had a couple of Salt Publishing books, and of course, I chatted about my book after buying a few tomes. They asked to keep a copy of Words from a Glass Bubble - and wanted to talk to Salt Publishing! This is the configuration of alleys and signs outside the shop.
Market Street, dusk. The colour and the buzz.
There was something about this man looking lost outside a closed shop at dusk. All was noise and light, and he was out of it, somehow.
And there was this bridge I found. Lovely! And a ship came along just at the right time.


Some iconic pics from San Francisco, version Gebbie, May/June 2009. Firstly, the importance of knowing where one's next meal is coming from... Secondly, those cable cars. Wonderful things, just made for hugging complete strangers...
Thirdly, it's nice to know the San Fransicans take their ironing seriously...
And fourth and fifthly... how many visitors wait patiently on their knees in Golden Gate Park, by a little hole in the grass, waiting to bring you closeups of that most iconic of American inventions... the GOPHER!!!!
Get a load of those TEEF!

OOOH! I'm in Paperback!

Just heard I'm live in pperback!!

WORDS FROM A GLASS BUBBLE - paperback, UK and USA on the Salt Website HERE.

Inn't this exciting!!

Added: And a big thank you to Pierre L, who tells me he has just ordered the new version from Salt Publishing for his collection!

“Books like this go on for ever” – Salt Publishing

You may think that the above quote refers to novels that take an aeon to get to the point, if they ever do. But no. It was said to meself, just now, about my little book Words from a Glass Bubble…by Chris Hamilton-Emery of Salt Publishing. I rang to ask very tentatively about plans for the paperback issue. As the world knows, Salt Publishing have had a hugely dramatic time over the last few weeks, and the last thing I expected was that they would be carrying on with some ‘business as usual’.
I was delighted and not a little moved to be told that my book has sold very well for Salt in hardback. ‘Your book has done excellently’, Chris said!
The first run of the paperback version is finished and done by the printers… and will be available in the next day or so. They’ve had a chance to incorporate some lovely review quotes into the paperback cover.
And then he said that lovely phrase: ‘Books like this go on for ever’.!!!
I can’t tell you how lovely that is to hear. It means a lot to know that the book has done well for Salt as well as anything else.


Salt’s Just One Book campaign has hotted up while I have been away: one of my bestest fave actors and general good eggs of this world has backed the campaign as follows:
Griff Rhys Jones says:
“Support the good work here. Don’t let Salt fall. If the recession is going to take things down, let it be motor manufacturers, let it be bad banks, let it be chains of fast food restaurants. We can lose a few of them, but we don't have enough small independent and daring publishers like Salt. I think I can be a little more forthright than Chris and say ‘Just six books’. Buy dozens why don’t you? It’s a great list. And apparently you will help the economy in many subtle ways too complicated for studious folk like us.”

Chris Hamilton Emery has also put out the following message:

We’ve been busy campaigning over the last two weeks to save Salt. The business has faced some serious financial difficulties as the recession hit us hard. I’m pleased to say we’ve stabilised the business, but we still need to build our cash reserves to secure our future. We’d like to thank all our customers for supporting us; but more than that, we thought we’d offer everyone a summer treat:—


We’re now giving you a huge 33% off ALL books till the end of June. Use the coupon code G3SRT453 when in the checkout to benefit. Don't forget if you spend £30 or $30 you get free shipping too.
Please continue to spread the word, and spread news of this offer. Please don't let up. It's been extraordinary, but we're not out of danger yet. Every penny goes into developing Salt's books and services. We want to start a new children's list, and offer more resources to teachers and schools. We want to extend our publishing in new areas including our translations programme, we want to offer you more free magazines online. We want to help develop more support for debuts with the enhancement of our Crashaw and Scott prizes. We're planning audio books, ebooks and new videos for you. We only want to move forward, to develop and expand what we do and deliver great books in new ways to you and yours.

We need your support throughout June. We'll try and organise more readings and promotions with our authors. Virtual book tours. More launches. We'll work with bookstores to bring you short story and poety evenings. Stick with us throughout June and we can do something astonishing. That's the power of Just One Book — we want you to be a part of it. Follow us on Twitter look for #SaltBooks and #JustOneBook. Join our Facebook Group.

And have a giggle at the vid, too.

Oh, and one last special offer — Catherine Eisner’s magnificent crime novel, Sister Morphine for £7.50 plus P&P, simply enter coupon code EISNER in the UK checkout

Watch out for more special offers throughout June.

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Wednesday 10 June 2009

Back home, older, wiser, jet-lagged.

Staggered in through the front door an hour back, 3 or something here, 7 a.m. in my brain. The first thing I saw was a box from the USA. My copies of the Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Flash Fiction, in which I have a chapter alongside such luminaries as Julio Ortega, Robert Shapard, Randall Brown and Rusty Barnes the editor of Night Train. Ordered 20, 10 sold before they got here. Nice book.

I have had two weeks away, in the most beautiful place: California. Lots of happy and lovely pics to come.


1) I have decided I will be working in a different way from now on. That includes not working online. And alongside that, no more hand holding, mentoring, or being used as a scratching post.

2) I have decided that competitions need support from the writing community and not the other thing, which I read on some blogs over the last coupla weeks. Meant kindly, and in support of T and I, I am sure.

But be that as it may, these comps are run for the love of writing for the most part. There are hardly great riches to be had, and plenty of hard graft is needed from the good people who organise these things.

So thanks from me to the comp who took down the original plagiarised story.

And thanks are due to the organisers of another short story and flash fiction competition for their patience and consideration backstage recently. It was greatly appreciated. In case there is any doubt, I both understand and support their decisions.

And so, my last word on the subject is this -(thank the Lord) I'd like to encourage writers to support these comps.