Friday, 10 August 2018

New story published by "decomP magazinE"

I have a new story published by decomP magazinE today.  And this one really is a new one in that it was written this year.  That said, I had the original idea decades ago - well over twenty years - after having read Bradbury's "The Crowd."  From what I remember, for those who haven't read it (and you should - all Bradbury is worth reading), "The Crowd" is basically a story based on the premise that every crowd you see - gathered outside opening sales, gawping at roadworks, jostling around accidents - is actually the same crowd,  an amorphous blob of people that appears and disappears depending on there being a need for a crowd.  (Or at least that's how I remember it.  As I say, it's probably been 25 years since I read it).

Anyway, when I read that story I couldn't help but think of, "What would the story be like from their point of view?"  Hence an idea that for many years lay in my ideas file as "A Day in the Life of the Man in the Street" until such point as I realised that flash fiction was the perfect form for many of my ideas that couldn't really support a longer story.  The actor angle came from reading a flash piece a few months ago that all the writers and editors that I follow on Twitter were lauding.  It was rather good and was a first person actor tale thus inspiring the actor angle, which I thought worked rather well as a narrative framing device.

That said, I think the Twilight Zone-esque elements of the original story got somewhat lost in this shorter piece and I think it could actually support a longer story of 5,000 - 10,000 words.  So while I am happy with this piece as it stands (and I'm certainly happy with where it's been published - decomP is very well-retrospected and has many of the stories that it published be nominated for prizes and awards, including the prestigious Pushcart Prize - I still don't consider this idea done quite yet.....

decomP also has the rather nice feature of also having the authors read their pieces as audio files.  So you too can now get the full experience that the dozen or so audience members at the Worcester Speakeasy 2018 LitFest Special had when they heard me read this a couple of months ago!  ;)

Friday, 13 July 2018

Reading at "Worcester Speakeasy" 12th July 2018.

Just got back from doing a tiny 3 minute slot at "Worcester Speakeasy" tonight where I read my most recently published flash story, "Authorsoft tm", which appeared in Ellipsis Issue Three.  At only 300 words it fit pretty well into the 3 minute time slot I had and thankfully it seemed to go down well with the audience, which is always good.

It was also an interesting evening as "Speakeasy" has moved to a new venue which has a nice outside stage area.  As far as I know, this was the first "Speakeasy" to ever be held outside and it had a really relaxed atmosphere as a result.

I'm looking forward to expanding out beyond Worcester to events in other towns and cities in the months to come.

Saturday, 30 June 2018

New story published by "Ellipsis"

Ellipsis' collection, Three is available today from their website and will, eventually, be available to purchase from Amazon.  It features my story "Authorsoft tm".  This is another ooooolllllldddd story - maybe 15 - 20 years old - written in a period when I was still looking for my own voice but had been enormously influenced by Baudelaire's prose poems.  So I ended up writing a load of short-short stories (which I called prose-poems, like Baudelaire's, as at the time the flash form didn't really exist) which featured my usual vision and ideas albeit written in a tone of voice that was very heavily influenced - overly so, in fact - by Baudelaire.

I liked most of the ideas, however, even if at the time I recognised the writing style was derivative and not "honest."  Thus, most of the "prose-poems" that were written in this period  languished on floppy disks then memory sticks and then finally the cloud until recently.  Some ("The Chaotic Butterfly," "A Fresh Perspective," "The Friend We Made"), now that I have my own authorial voice and I feel (somewhat!) more in control of the form (which now has a name - flash fiction!) have been totally re-written and subsequently published, while others, like "HumourChip tm" and "Authorsoft tm" just needed a bit of tweaking, editing and polishing.

So anyway, enjoy "Authorsoft tm" (and other excellent flash pieces) in Ellipsis' new collection Three, available from here.

Also, on a somewhat related point, here is the companion piece to "Authorsoft tm", "Poetsoft tm".  Now bear in mind that I am not a poet when reading this although from a conceptual point of view I think that actually works better for this piece in terms of its subject matter.  I do think this was actually published in some poetry pamphlet at some point almost 20 years ago, but it was such a small scale photocopied thing, I really can't remember its name.

 PoetSoft tm


James Burr

"I really love you, and I think your body's great!"
 I type onto the screen.
 Artistic inspiration
 Direct from a machine.

 Alphabetical index and simple colour display,
 Place the cursor on the poet
 And Bingo!
 We're away.

 I've never heard of this guy,
 But let's look at his style,
 Put the cursor over "cummings"
 And access the algorithmic file.

 "i really love you and i think your bodys great".
 What?  Is that all?  Don't tell me that that's it.
 Oh no, I think I've been ripped off.
 Trust me to buy this shit.

 But hang on.  The sixth Lord Byron,
 There's a name I know.
 The manual says he's a romantic,
 So let's give him a go.

"O radiant love shining 'pon dusky flesh
 Of beauty that ne'er will fade."
 Yes, yes, this is what I want,
 This is bound to get me laid!

 But I'm a sensitive Millennial man,
 so let's try some Plath
(for a woman's point of view).
 After all, even if it's rubbish
 I can always make it new.

"In darkness blood milky-weeps from cracked and swollen breasts..."
 Ugh!  I've seen enough!!
 For what I want this is just too poor.
 I'll press delete and cancel.
 And try one poet more.

 So who the Hell is this one?
 His name rings a bell;
 I can't remember what he wrote,
 But apparently they did quite well.

"O radiant love shining
        the breasts of the dull secretary,

 Eh?  What's it say?
 I don't know what it means.
 But then judging from the looks of her,
 I'm sure neither will she.

 But now I think I'm finished,
 And that was a lot of fun.
 Because, like the advert says,
"Art at the touch of a button",
 But a readership of one.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

New story published at "The Ginger Collect."

I've had a new story published today by The Ginger Collect'Humour-Chip tm' is actually quite an old story - possibly over 10 years!- but it's only taken so long to be published as I hadn't really tried getting it published anywhere.  Until my recent rash of flash fiction publications, I didn't really know what to do with it.  In many ways it was flash fiction before I knew what flash fiction was.  It was also a weird mix of slightly speculative and vaguely humorous but with a melancholy tone, which again made it a hard piece to put forth.  But in the last few months I edited it down slightly and I also performed it live (and it seemed to go down well) so I felt a lot more confident in finally trying to get it out in the world.

It can be found here.

Ginger Collect also have a nice feature where they interview their authors and ask them for a bit more detail on the stories and on their work in general.  That can be found here.


Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Reading at Worcester Speakeasy Thursday 14th June.

I'll be reading at Worcester Speakeasy tomorrow, Thursday 14th June.  I'll be performing a new piece, "The Man on the Street" and an old favourite, "The Lexical Guide to the Bulldog Breed."  Come along if you can!

More details here and flyer, below.

Friday, 11 May 2018

New flash fiction piece published by "Bizarro Central."

A new flash fiction piece, 'A Fresh Perspective,' has been published on the Bizarro website, Bizarro Central, today.  Yet another piece of gritty, realistic, kitchen sink drama.  ;)

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Live reading in Worcester tonight.

I'll be reading at the 42 night this evening in Worcester and performing the flash piece that was recently published by Horror Sleaze Trash, "And from the Heads of Babes."

Don't forget that this month 42 will be at Cafe Bliss in Sansome Street.  See you there!

Sunday, 22 April 2018

New flash piece published in "Trembling With Fear"

New flash piece published in Trembling With Fear.  I had to change the names of some of the celebrities (for legal reasons, apparently) which I think has a slightly negative impact on the story.  However, I think it still works.

Pop over to Trembling With Fear for a read.  I'm also hoping this and/or "The Last English Speaker" will be appearing in The Horror Tree anthology when that comes out later in the year.  We shall see.....

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

New flash piece published.

Just a quick update.  I've just had a flash piece accepted by Horror Sleaze Trash.  Don't even ask me where this one came from, it just sort of bubbled up fully formed (or fully malformed?).  It was probably just me thinking about a load of experiments that I thought would be interesting to do but which "the liberal pinkos" would probably think were "unethical" or something..... ;)  Anyway, no real point to this story as such - just a disturbing, and hopefully funny, scene in time with one of my favourite recurring characters, Dr Kokoschka, a man whose circumstances are now so reduced that he is performing his quackery and insane research in a former industrial unit in Tipton.

Go visit Horror Sleaze Trash - I really like the aesthetics of their site.  Fits the name well.....

Saturday, 13 January 2018

New flash piece published at "Bizarro Central."

Starting the New year with an acceptance from Bizarro Central is a pretty nice way to get it going.  The piece they have taken, "The Creative Game" is also quite unique in that it was written specifically for a theme, something I don't usually do and have never done before.  This was for a reading at Worcester's 42 night and the theme, if I remember correctly, was "The most dangerous game."  Now I did also write another short piece with that title for performance (posted on this blog around Halloween).  That was very dissimilar to what I usually write in that it was pretty much a straightforward ghost story.  "The Creative Game" however, is much more in my usual area, inspired by Burroughs' cut-up literary technique and (I think) Tristin Tzara's Surrealistic games to inspire surrealistic writing but, as with most of my stories, then pushed to the nth degree.  However, as I say, this one was quite unusual in that rather than just writing up my big, long list of ideas, I had to sit down with a theme in mind and think, "Hmmmm, what can I do there?"  Not my favourite way of working but it was nice for a change and, when you're talking about flash fiction, it was hardly massively time consuming, either.

Anyway, it is over at Bizarro Central, now.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

New flash story published by Horror Tree

A new flash piece, "The Last English Speaker" has just been published by Horror Tree. Probably the nearest I've got to writing a horror story but it shows I've been teaching English too long when the Big Bad isn't a psycho or an evil spirit but is the English language.  The editors apparently hope to put out a print anthology at some point and if they do I'm fairly hopeful that "English Speaker" will be included as apparently both editors liked it a lot.

Please go and read it here.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

"Parasitic Endeavours"

Only a short film, but I really the atmosphere of this. Parasitic Endeavours (2017).

Thursday, 23 November 2017

New flash published at "The Wild Word."

"Nanny Knows Best" has just been published in Issue 22 of The Wild Word magazine, their 'Future' issue.  "Nanny Knows Best" is the first story to appear in my upcoming second collection, State of the Nation, and it was originally conceived as a framing story for it.  (I did a similar thing with the Ugly Stories for Beautiful People, when I used "BobandJane" as a top-and-tail to the entire collection.  I've always liked that device, going way back to when I first read various Bradbury anthologies such as The Illustrated Man, so I was keen to duplicate that, if I could, and I've been lucky enough to manage that twice now).

So anyway, please visit The Wild Word and I hope you enjoy "Nanny Knows Best."

Thursday, 9 November 2017

New flash published at Reflex Fiction

A new flash piece has been published by Reflex Fiction. I have since revised it (300 words was a bit limiting and I think I cut a bit too much out of it for it to get there - I actually wanted there to be more doubt about whether she had actually undergone a Kafka-esque bout of unexpected invisibility or whether the story was just a metaphor - sadly, I think that was lost in this published version) but they seemed to like the super-short version, so who am I to argue?

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Launch of the "Wired" anthology.

Wired, the anthology that contains "Marks on a Page" and my Worcester Flash Fiction prize shortlisted piece, "MWC ISO IRL" is being launched at the home of the 42 spoken word group, The Swan With Two Nicks, in Worcester next Sunday 12th November.  I, amongst many others, will be reading at least one piece, so come along.  It's normally a pretty good turn out for these launches, so it should be fun.