Monday, 7 September 2020

Nice surprise - Story in a new anthology

Well, that's a nice surprise. I had a story - "Teach Control as a Foreign Language" published on the Trembling With Fear site around 18 months ago, and completely forgot that part of the deal was that it would also be published in a print anthology.  The anthology is now out and is available from Amazon UK here.

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Reading on BBC Radio WM tonight.

Just a quick post to say that I will be reading my story "Marks on a Page" on BBC Radio WM between 8:20 and 9pm tonight.

Monday, 10 August 2020

New drabble accepted by "Trembling With Fear."

Just had a drabble - "A Cerebral Vacation" - accepted by Trembling With Fear, which should be appearing in their "Holiday Special" later in August.  This was a new one for me as I don't usually write stories of that length (100 words or so).  In fact, I am generally quite dismissive of the drabble as a storytelling format; while you can tell a complete, interesting or moving tale in the more accepted flash length of 1000 words or so, I rarely read drabbles that have much of an impact on me.  They tend to either be poems adapted to prose - all imagery and purple wordplay - or "shrug your shoulders" mood pieces which leave you wondering what the point of them was or, worst of all, "Gotcha!-style" vignettes along the lines of, "Here's 90 words and here's the last ten.... I was the vampire all along!"

That said, I had an idea that was no more than a flash piece and I wasn't even sure if it was that so I wrote it to its natural length.... which turned out to be a drabble.  I may redraft it as a flash piece at some point but even though I like the idea I have so many things to work on it will probably stay as is.

I will post the link to Trembling With Fear when it is published.

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

New story at "Horror Sleaze Trash"

Well, that's a personal record!

Finished writing story at 6:30pm on Tuesday, published by 4:30pm on Wednesday. 

22 hours! 

Only possible of course to the quick turn around by Arthur Graham at Horror Sleaze Trash.

My one (and only) pandemic-inspired story (am I the only one disappointed by the lack of imagination of Competition runners, editors and Commissioning editors in wanting stories on "people's experiences of the pandemic" or "tales of isolation")?

Anyway, here's mine, for what it's worth.  "Gimp World" is available at Horror Sleaze Trash now.

P.S.  It does leave my current dilemma of having no stories to submit unresolved, however.  In the last few weeks I have written this and a 100 word drabble.  As noted above, this was accepted within 22 hours and the drabble was accepted by Trembling With Fear within three days.  I'm not complaining, obviously, but still.....

Saturday, 11 July 2020

New flash piece at "The Cabinet of Heed"

I have a flash fiction piece published this month at The Cabinet of Heed.  Funny - I've been submitting stories to them for ages with no joy, but they accepted this piece and in the confirmation email seemed really impressed with it.  Just goes to show that you can't predict what people will think of your work and there is rarely (although there are a few exceptions) such a thing as "an editor who doesn't like my work."

"The Hole in the Wall" is the only story I wrote last summer (no idea why I was so unproductive - it may have been because I was trying to lose weight so was walking for hours every day as well as fasting, and while that was really effective for weight loss, I found it hard to concentrate on anything) but I liked it and it went down really well when I performed it at the 42 Spoken Word event last year.

Anyway, "Hole in the Wall" can be found here - Cabinet of Heed.

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

"The Bumper Book of British Bizarro"

Just received a copy of The Bumper Book of British Bizarro featuring my story "Nanny Knows Best" (The Epilogue, not the Prologue of the same name which was published by The Wild Word).  I haven't had a chance to read any of the other stories yet but it looks like an interesting mix of poems, flash fiction, short stories, comic strips and visual art. 

The anthology is available from Amazon here in both paperback and Kindle formats.

Monday, 8 June 2020

Update June 2020

It's been a quiet few months (for obvious reasons).  I've been continuing to work throughout the pandemic but as I've been conducting my one-to-one tutorials online, I've found I've been working even harder than before!  While I haven't had a two hour daily commute to deal with, student attendance has been 100% and I've also been doing more work by email, in addition to the sessions (which I don't normally do when I'm in a physical office), so the time and energy needed to write has been severely limited.

So mainly, my efforts have been directed towards sending out completed pieces for publication and I haven't written anything new for a while.  I'm normally on holiday at this time of year but as the University extended a lot of assignment deadlines from mid-May to the beginning of July, I'm still working two days a week.  Hardly a massive imposition but a bit annoying and interfering somewhat with my usual Summer writing schedule.  Also, with a recent acceptance I am now completely out of previously finished stories, so I have to write something new...

In addition to "The Creative Game" being republished by FlashFlood as part of National Flash Fiction Day at the weekend, I have just received an acceptance for a flash story called "The Hole in the Wall" by The Cabinet of Heed.  This should hopefully be published at some point in July.

I have the flash epilogue to a story called "Nanny Knows Best" published by The Bumper Book of British Bizarro published in late July, too.  This is the final story in my upcoming flash collection and the only one that has been, as yet, unpublished.

Then finally, I have that collection of flash fiction, This Septic Isle - technically my second collection of short fiction - published by Nihilism Revised in September.

So, quite a lot coming up and quite a lot to look forward to.  But, yes - I really need to take advantage of this Summer to get some new work written and some older work polished and revised.

Saturday, 6 June 2020

National Flash Fiction Day 2020

Today is National Flash Fiction Day in the UK where FlashFlood: The Journal of National Flash Fiction Day, publish a piece of flash fiction every 5 - 10 minutes for 24 hours.  They have re-published my story "The Creative Game" which was originally published at Bizarro Central in 2018 and which is featured in my collection of flash fiction, This Septic Isle, which will be published by Nihilism Revised in September 2020.

Head over to FlashFlood: The Journal of National Flash Fiction Day now to read that and hundreds of other flash pieces.

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Mention in "Metro"

The two SLAM MINUTES events where I have pieces being staged in the next few weeks are mentioned as "go-to" in today's "Metro"....

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

More work with SLAMX upcoming!

Just had another short one-minute sketch/piece accepted by SLAMX Theatre Company who will be performing it at the Vault Festival, London, SE1 7NN on Sunday 23rd Feb at 3:15pm.

It is an adaptation of the flash story, "The Girl Within," which was originally published in A Cache of Flashes (Black Pear Press) in 2016.  I'm really looking forward to seeing how they stage this as it calls for a youngish (under 10 years old) girl as one of the characters, otherwise it just will not work at all.  Admittedly she doesn't have any lines, but she does have to act a bit and I'm not entirely sure where a self-professed guerilla theatre company will procure a young child.  I suppose I'll find out on the night.... 

I've always liked this one though, as it was one of two or three flash stories which, whilst conceived as short-short ideas in their own right, were heavily influenced by Chris Morris' Jam TV show and Blue Jam radio show in execution (one of the others being, funnily enough, "Genuine Photo" which will be staged by SLAMX on the 9th of Feb).  So it will be interesting to see it performed on the stage, even if it is only a minute long.

The Facebook Event page is here.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

James Burr - Theatre Guerilla?

Looks like I'm branching out.....

Just had a one minute (well actually, it's over two but I guess they're being forgiving) play/sketch accepted by SLAM X Theatre company in London, who will be performing it on Sunday February 9th.

On the event Facebook page, they describe themselves as "A guerrilla theatre movement" and the night will be 30 Performers+1 Secret Location+1 Trending Topic+1 Minute Each = Motley Opinions & Solid Entertainment." While it's only a short performance, it will be interesting to see my work performed by actual actors on the stage. It will also be interesting as while I've been more involved in live readings over the last few years, I've been working pretty much just in Worcester, so working with actors and other creative-types in London will be a new and hopefully exciting experience.

The piece in question is an adaptation of "Genuine Photo" which was originally published in A Cache of Flashes in 2016 and was shortlisted for the 2016 Worcestershire Literary Festival Flash Fiction Competition.

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Final publication of 2019?

In what must surely be the final publication of 2019 (I had the acceptance a few months ago, but only just received the email confirming release - at 7pm on Christmas Eve!), I have a story published in the latest volume of "Palm-Sized Press."

I imagine it will be available on Amazon at some point, but at present it can be ordered directly from Lulu here.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, 7 December 2019

This looks great!

I'll have to watch this at some point.  But intil it becomes more widely available, I'll have to satisfy myself with Jan Svankmajer's Alice, which I think is currently free on Amazon Prime UK.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

New flash published

Very pleased to have a short flash piece published in this year's Worcestershire LitFest Flash Fiction Competition anthology, The Jar Thief: Flashes from Litfest.  "Casanova Jones: A Tale of the near Future" is an edited down version of a story I wrote last year but thankfully it still works at 300 words (even though the longer version is far better, in my opinion).  It is a story about the effects of electronic communication on actual human interaction and so is largely told through Messenger text boxes.  I actually read this live at 42 last year and, despite the visual nature of the storytelling device, it still seemed to work.  That said, I'm glad this has found a home somewhere as it's one of those that I have a soft spot for, even though I have no real idea why.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Spoken Word Self-Publishing?

I was talking to a friend yesterday when he mentioned the possibility of self-publishing.... audio books.  Admittedly, while I'd considered self-publishing before, this was something I had never thought about.  For a while I dismissed it - after all, I'm no actor or voice artist.  But then as I thought about it further I thought, "Well, my voice isn't that bad!  I normally get decent feedback at spoken word nights and I don't have any annoying verbal tics or speech impediments"  (as far as I know!).  But as he pointed out, a lot of people listen to audio books now, either as they work (he is a visual artist so listens to podcasts and audio books as he works on his canvases) or while commuting.  So why not take advantage of that new medium?

So what do you think?  Would you have any interest in an audio version of some of my work?  Maybe the upcoming flash collection?

While I have a far better audio set-up at home now (I was planning to do some YouTubing a while back but never got round to it), some audio versions of my stories can be found below.  Also, if I did do an audio book of stories, would you prefer it as a straight reading of the stories (such as in the link to decomP magazine below) or do you like the sound effects and music of some of the YouTube examples?

Reading of "Man in the Street" - decomP magazine, 2018.

Reading of "Genuine Photo" - 

Reading of "The Girl Within" - 

Reading of "Nanny Knows Best (Prologue)" -

On unrelated news, I will be attending the book launch of this year's Worcestershire Litfest and Flash Fiction Competition anthology, The Jar Thief, tomorrow (Sunday) at Titania Ltd, Security House, Barbourne Road, Worcester, WR1 1RS at 6pm.   I apparently have at least one flash story in there - I submitted three but haven't been told what has been accepted in it as yet, so that will be interesting.  I have also had flash stories accepted for publication by Palm-Sized Press and the Bumper Book of British Bizarro Vol 2.  And in the best news of all, my collection of flash fiction, This Septic Isle, has been accepted for publication, possibly some time in mid-2020.  More news as it comes in!