Thursday 17 December 2020

Reading tonight at "Wordcraft"


I'll be reading "Gimp World", a story which was originally published by Horror, Sleaze, Trash at the Wordcraft spoken word event tonight.  Run by Staffordhsire Poet Laureate, Emily Galvin, Wordcraft normally operates in the Birmingham area.  I've been hoping to check them out for a while now but had never gotten round to it.  Now everything is online though, I managed to attend their last night and will be appearing at tonight's event, which is run live through Wordcraft's Facebook Page.  While I much prefer live Readings in real venues, the one bright spot about the pandemic and the resulting shut-down of venues, is that I've managed to find the time to branch out from my usual haunts and make contacts that I had wanted to make for a while but never had the time or energy to actually initiate.

It starts tonight at 7:30pm (GMT) at: 

Friday 11 December 2020

"British Bizarro Book Fair" - 19th - 21st December 2020


Following on from the successful US Bizarro Book Fair a few weeks ago, the weekend of the 19th to 21st December sees the launch of the British Bizarro Book Fair,  a virtual book signing event with Madeleine Swann, Jay Slayton-Joslin, Duncan Bradshaw, Dani Brown, Luke Kondor, Peter Caffrey, Bill Davidson, Chris Kelso and myself.

From the organiser:

"How it works: On the day of the event, will host our 9 authors at their "tables" (pictures of tables really). Click on an author's table to learn what they have for sale and how to buy from them."

Find more details here:

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Flash adaptation / sketch performed by OMF Theatre on Liskeard Radio - Sunday 22nd November 2020


An adaptation of my flash fiction story, "The Pub Fight", which was originally published by Bizarro Central, was broadcast as part of the Barmy Nonsense comedy strand on Liskeard Radio.  The brainchild of OMF Theatre, Barmy Nonsense is currently being broadcast online and on 87.7 FM by Liskeard Radio.  I know OMF hope to get Radio 4 interested in it, which would of course be fantastic!

The performance can be heard below (starts at 3:33).

Reading tonight at "42"


I've been avoiding doing online readings for a while, partly because I spend all doing doing tutorials online so the last thing I want to do is spend another few hours sat in front of a computer screen, but also because it just felt like a poor substitute for the real thing.  However, as the pandemic - or at least the Government overreaction to it - shows no sign of easing, and as the writing prompt for tonight's 42 session was "2020", I thought tonight might be a good opportunity to read "Gimp World" (originally published at Horror Sleaze Trash) for the first time in public.

Then again, as it is online it does also mean people are no longer limited by geographical location.

"42" starts at 19:30 (GMT) on Zoom:

UPDATED:  Now I've done a reading online, I think I prefer it to doing it live in many ways!  I can smoke, drink (normally I have to drive home), read while sitting down on my fat arse, and while you miss the reactions of the audience as you read, you do get a written record of reactions which you can keep for posterity (and to boost your ego, when necessary)....

Saturday 7 November 2020

Drabble published at "Horror Tree"

I somehow missed this one coming out.  A short drabble entitled "A Cerebral Vacation" was published by Horror Tree as part of their "End of Summer Special" back in the end of September.

You can find it here.

Thursday 29 October 2020

Reading on Radio WM

Radio WM featuring a reading of mine later today, between 8 and 9 (as broadcast earlier in the year). Apparently they think it's "spooky" so are re-broadcasting it again as it's almost Halloween.

Kind of nice they keep track of this stuff.

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.