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  This is the final story in my upcoming flash collection and the only one that has been, as yet, unpublished.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!

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Fiction International 52: Body

Just received a copy of Fiction International 52: Body, which features my prose-poem "If Janus Had Two Faces, Then Why Can't I?" I haven't had a chance to read some of the other work yet but there is some great art and design in here.  It's now available here (UK) and here (US).

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

"Fiction International 52: Body" Now available.

Fiction International 52: Body, featuring my prose-poem "If Janus Had Two Faces, Then Why Can't I?" is now available here (UK) and here (US).

As noted in a previous post, this is a somewhat atypical piece in that it is a prose-poem, the style of which was very much influenced by both Ballard's Atrocity Exhibition and by classical Modernist works, such as The Wasteland.  That said, while its form is very different to my usual work, its themes (plastic surgery, the mutability of the flesh and so on) is very much in line with my usual interests, and of course, it also features the first appearance of my go-to deranged medic, Dr Kokoschka (who has since appeared in "It", "And From the Heads of Babes" and "The Byronic Man).

Fiction International is a very well-respected journal which has previously published the likes of Burroughs and Kerouac, so I am very pleased to be published here.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Reading in Worcester tonight (1st October 2019)

I have a 12 minute slot at "The Long and the Short of It" event at Caffe Bolero, St Nicholas St in Worcester this evening.  Doors open at 6:30 pm and entry is apparently £3.00.  The slightly longer than usual time-slot means I can do a longer story than is common at such things, so I'm currently thinking that I'll do an old favourite from the Ugly Stories for Beautiful People, "It."

Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Reading in Worcester tonight (Wednesday 25th September)

I'll be reading at this month's "42" Event at Drummonds: The Swan with Two Nicks, Worcester tonight, at 7:30pm.  I'll be reading "The Hole in the Wall", the only story I wrote this Summer (yes, a pretty disastrous Summer from a creative point of view), so I'm hoping it is well received.  That would at least make my total lack of creative progress over the last few months somewhat more tolerable.

UPDATE: Well, that was encouraging!  It may have been the only story I wrote this Summer (and only 1300 words at that!) but it went down really well.  Unfortunately, as I'm now back at work I didn't have the chance to rehearse reading it and it was only when I printed it off that I realised it was 1300 words rather than sub-1000, which I knew would be pushing it for a 6 minute slot.  As such, I did race through it a bit in order to not over-run which meant I committed the cardinal sin of talking over audience laughter.  That said, there WAS at least some some audience laughter, and quite a lot more than I thought there would be.  A lot of people came up to me afterwards to say how much they enjoyed it and I had several people telling me to get it published ASAP.  Of course, that leaves the question of where I should submit it.  While it is in my usual Twilight Zone / semi-surreal / Bizarro vein, it's not quite overtly Bizarro enough to be considered by many Bizarro publishers but is too odd for many publishers of more mainstream "literary" fiction.  Also, while it does need an extra polish and round of editing, I don't see it getting below 1200 words which puts it in that awkward "longer than flash" / "shorter than a short story" category.

Still, a really fun night with a generally very high quality of poetry and prose as well as some very encouraging feedback.

Next week I will hopefully be reading at a new spoken word event, The Long and the Short of It, at Cafe Bolero in Worcester. 

This one has the unique selling point of focusing entirely on longer poetry and prose with 12 minute slots.  This will be a nice opportunity to move beyond flash fiction and read some old favourites from the Ugly Stories for Beautiful People such as "It", "BobandJane" and "Foetal Attractions."  More news once the slot has been confirmed.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019


I'm currently looking to publish a collection of flash fiction (around 20,000 words in total) and am looking for publishers who may be interested.  However, it's frustrating as so many publishers just seem permanently closed to submissions even though they have a steady slate of books being released.

Most of the stories have been previously published (see the Publishing History page on this site) and I would really appreciate any suggestions on publishers who may be open to looking at the manuscript.

The stories in question are:

Nanny Knows Best – Prologue – 1060 words – originally published in The Wild Word
A Fresh Perspective – 900 words                - originally published in Bizarro Central
The Man in the Street – 960 words              - originally published in decomP
Genuine Photo           – 650 words                - originally published in A Cache of Flashes
(Shortlisted for the 2016 Worcestershire Literary Festival Flash Fiction Competition).

The Chaotic Butterfly – 930 words              - originally published in Bizarro Central
MWC ISO RL           – 1050 words              - originally published in Wired
(Shortlisted for the 2017 Worcestershire Literary Festival Flash Fiction Competition).

The Last English Speaker – 1250 words     - originally published in Trembling With Fear
Marks on a Page       – 300 words                - originally published in Wired
The Creative Game   – 530 words                - originally published in Bizarro Central
BobandJane – A fable in two indistinct parts – 2800 words - originally published in Raw Edge
Casanova Jones – A tale of the near future – 760 words.
The Girl Within         – 290 words                - originally published in A Cache of Flashes
The Friend We Made- 520 words                - originally published in Bizarro Central
HUMOUR-CHIP™ - 1000 words               - originally published in The Ginger Collect
The Pub Fight           – 910 words                - originally published in Bizarro Central
Invisible                      – 460 words               - originally published in Reflex
AUTHORSOFT™    - 299 words                - originally published in Ellipsis
It                                 – 2400 words              - originally published in Planet Prozak
And From the Heads of Babes – 830 words - originally published in Horror Sleaze Trash
Celebdaq                    – 1000 words              - originally published in Trembling with Fear
Nanny Knows Best – Epilogue – 880 words.

Thanks a lot for your help - any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Spoken word performance updates

I'll be performing at the 42 Spoken Word event at Drummonds, The Swan with Two Nicks in Worcester tomorrow at 7:30pm.  The theme of the night is "Through the Arched Window".  While they don't enforce the theme stipulation particularly hard, I have come up with something on theme called, imaginatively enough, "Through the Arched Window."  I'm a bit nervous as, while I rarely get nervous when doing readings, this involves me singing.  In public.  Something which is a bit of a deep-seated fear of mine.  While I'm doing it in character so it doesn't matter if I'm flat or croaky (Hell, it'll probably improve it), it's still something I'm not particularity looking forward to.

I doubt very much if I'll ever attempt to get this published anywhere; not that I don't think it's any good but because I feel it probably stands better as a performance piece than a published one.  In addition, it's also a straight-ahead horror story, something I've only ever really attempted to write once before, again for a specific theme for 42, so I don't feel it really fits in with what I usually do.  That said, it should be interesting as it'll be the first time I'll be using recorded music in a performance (I've been editing clips in Mixcraft all day), so depending on how it goes down (it is pretty dark, so even at a horror event I'm not sure how it will be received), I may record it as a spoken word clip which I'll upload to YouTube at some point.  Let's see....

I will also be performing at the next Worcester Speakeasy at its new venue of Paradiddles at 7:30pm on Thursday 8th August.  I'm thinking I may be performing "Celebdaq" which was recently published in the Trembling With Fear: Year 2 anthology.