At long last I have some good news, not least that the things that have been distracting me are mostly positive and largely finished!
My story, 'A Real Party Animal' won a prize in the Henshaw Press Short Story Competition. If anything, this was a lesson in persistence. I wrote the story about 29 years ago. It's about a man whose wish is answered when he bemoans the fact that he has no one to take to a party. Over the years, I sent it out to 35 publications and contests. Of these, five ceased publication before they could respond; three made good comments; it was shortlisted four times and it received 23 rejections without comment. I could have thrown it in the bin, but I sent it out on a whim having seen the contest mentioned in Writers' News, and the result was success at last. The moral is, if your work is rejected, take note of any comments–good and bad–reread the piece with a critic's eye and make any changes you feel would improve it, and send it out again. It could well strike a chord with the next editor or judge who sees it. You can read my effort at
The other piece of good news is that I took part with my fellow members of Get the Word Out (GTWO) in Northampton's Bardic Picnic. The theme for the event was 'Space', and the five of us who read our work tackled various aspects of the subject from personal space and the impossibility of knowing what is inside another person's head, through a contemplation of the night sky and the gaps caused by dementia, to how the perceived need for space triggers war and the devastating results of the same. On the whole, it went off well, and I certainly learned a lot from my first appearance reading at this type of event.
My fellow GTWOers were: Trevor Smith, who has just launched a book of poetry inspired by the world wars, titled Autumn or Fall? Sarah Veness, who has two books, The Memory Box and Phoebe's Feline Lowdown on Lockdown; Toni Heather, and John Dale who is also a leading member of Milton Keynes Authors Group, and valiantly agreed to read one of my poems. Well done, everyone! I should also mention our founder member, Chris Matthewman, who was handing over his cloak as the 12th Bard of Northampton at the picnic, and is about to move to another town. We shall miss him at our meetings, but we can catch up with his writing and music videos at and on YouTube.
That's it for now. I would promise to be back again soon, but you probably wouldn't believe me. You might be right, but I'll do my best.