Tuesday, 19 February 2013


Well, with 4 entrants and 3 prizes I couldn't bring myself to draw names, so I've decided these 4 shall all win. Yeah!


- please email me your addresses and I will send you a little something via the good old fashioned postal service. My email is up there in the 'contact' tab.

Dan, well, I know you didn't feel right being in the draw but when I see you in a few weeks time I'll make you a cuppa and ensure you have direct access to the biscuits at all times.

You have five and a half hours

to write a comment here to enter a draw to win a posted-to-you gift FROM ME!

Or write a comment under here, I'm not fussy.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Thank you + photo story + GIFTS 4U!

I've been doing this blogging thing for 3 and a half years, and the numbers of followers have grown steadily and impressively and I've been excited and grateful for each new follower I've gained.

In the past couple of weeks I broke the 2-digit barrier and saw the pleasing (if you're pleased by that kind of thing) number of 100 a-top my followers list.

So I'm celebrating by looking back a bit, and by saying thank you.

Looking back
Right at the beginning, two posts in, I tried to explain why I respected Ali Smith so much. I was getting ready to enter The Bridport Prize, so full of the excitement and intimidation of the small, really small, chance that my idol might read my story. Did I ever expect what would happen next?

I tried some stuff, structured stuff, like the series of guest posts I ran on 'How You Write', (the links are in the side bar if you're interested) where writers came over and talked about their writing process.

I shared, and still do, information on interesting writing prizes and places to sub to. (I'm overdue one of those. Dan Purdue did a good one recently.)

And good writing news, like this and this.

And I got out my Rejection Section once or twice.

I've had some great guests: helped Vanessa Gebbie and Kerry Hudson as they launched their brilliant debut novels, and I interviewed Dan Purdue and publisher David Lear.

This post about Bridport, this one where I got all opion-y, and this fella are some of the posts with the highest number of hits. 

I've told you some embarrassing, trivial, ridiculous stuff.

So now I want to say Thanks, Cheers, Ta - for your support, comments, encouragement, ideas these past few years.

I feel like I've met some of you already, I HAVE met some of you already, and I'm sure I'll meet some of you in real life at some point too.

So, here's me trying to say thank you:

Hm - webcam makes writing come out wrong!


And there's more!

I'm  going to send, to anywhere in the world, 3 little thank you gifts to 3 of my followers.

All you have to do is be a follower of this blog (all this talk of following is making me feel all omnipotent), and leave a comment here before Tuesday 19th Feb at 5pm.

New followers welcome! I'll randomly choose two names from my current list (that is up to and including Follower 100: Bruno Gaspari) and one name from any new folks who'd like to jump on the following train after today. Choo choo! (Sees list rapidly decline in numbers.)

So that's all - say hello - tell your friends - I promise I won't use the winners' addresses inappropriately and I promise I've put that permanent marker pen away now.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Love and loss and Jeanette Winterson

Some thoughts, a bit disconnected, since reading Jeanette Winterson's memoir.

I finished reading Jeanette Winterson's brilliant memoir last night. Why be happy when you could be normal? is the kind of book you want to buy for everyone you know. The kind of book that you want to read out loud from, underline, fold corners on all the pages and passages you need to go back to. You need to spend a bit of time not reading another book when you've finished it, so you can really feel it, digest it, respect it. That's how it got me anyway.

I finished it in the bath, the water almost cold. I got out, went to the living room and demanded why my boyfriend hadn't come to see if I was okay. I'd been gone a while. 'I could have drowned!' I exclaimed. I was being playful. I realised I was also being myself at 4 years old, indignant that my Mum hadn't told me I was going to be at school all day for the first time - she thought it'd be better to just, you know, let the day unfold. Up until then I'd just been there for the morning. So all the other kids were crying on their way in, and I had no idea. When she came to pick me up, I stood on the steps of the classroom, my hands on my hips, and - well, I guess the word is exclaimed - 'You left me here ALL DAY! I've had my dinner AND EVERYTHING!'

Jeanette talks a lot about love, how she has had to learn to both love and be loved. My Mum said it all the time. Often it was just used as a greeting or a goodbye, or a goodnight, or while we were watching TV or hanging out the washing, or whatever. Love you; you too. I miss that easiness, I don't think it's ever as easy as that again.

I've always been a bit preoccupied with identity. Reading this book has made me think about it a bit more, how you define yourself, or let yourself be defined. I am always impressed by people who don't define themselves. Who live outside of their ego. I have been thinking, for the past 3 years since my Mum died, about myself as parent-less. It does change something. But I don't want it to define me. It's important, I am working my way through it, as millions are, have done, will do.

But I am not going to use it. I think some people use their bad experiences as bricks to build their identities with. I am interested in those who refuse to do this. I think Jeanette is one of those people.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Fake French Fish

So this guy's wife is getting all cosy with a French fish. Only the guy suspects the fish might not even really be French.

He's got a French accent, sure, and he calls himself 'Christophe', but that doesn't prove anything.

Fake French Fish is a weird little story I had published in OBLONG Magazine last year, and now you can read it on their website, here.