haloLook what just dropped onto my welcome mat (Its on the chairside table now). Halo lit mag with my wee story in it. It is so beautifully produced, I just want to stare at it and stroke the cover. Am going to read it from cover to cover in Nicko’s comfy chair in front of a blazing fire – well I am when I get back from dropping Georgy off at work – cannot wait.


Been hard at work drafting, redrafting, re-re-drafting (repeat as appropriate) my second Tutor Marked Assessment (TMA)  for my MA. This is a piece of Creative Nonfiction about when I was ill as an undergrad. Have just put final touches to it and will now leave it in a drawer until next week, so I’ll be able to see it with fresh eyes before submission.

When you edit something so many times (which you have to do as part of this coursework) the writing becomes a bit invisible and you miss mistakes. I’d edited out a ‘he said’ ‘she said’ and make the beginning senseless at final draft stage. Good job one of the excellent tutor group members picked up on it. I’ve edited this story so many times I almost know it by heart and have come to anticipate what’s written rather than what actually is.

The next stage of this TMA is to do a 1000 word commentary on how I came up with/edited the piece. That’s why I’m doing this blog. Procrastination is a powerful thing. So far I’ve washed all my hand-wash jumpers, Hoovered  the house and cleaned the loo.

Other writing-wise I’ve done hardly ‘owt this week, bar polishing my TMA01 story. I’ve just written a tiny flash for Ad Hoc Fiction as I came up with a funny-sad idea for a 300 word Flash for Bath Flash Fiction and you get a free entry to that if you win Ad Hoc. Haven’t written the flash for Bath though and don’t know if I’ll be able to fit in getting it done this time round.(Deadline’s in Feb)

janandlilyAnyhoo, before I go, here’s a pic of me and the lovely Lily Green at The Arnolfini Bookshop in November at the launch of No Bindings. Lily is the creator of the No Bindings concept and is an all round gorgeously good egg. It was a very cold day, that day, and Lily was standing near the door telling people all about the No Bindings, thus the hat scarf and coat. What a brilliant day I had.





My first blog post of the New Year has been a long time coming. This has been because the whole family has been proper poorly on and off for four weeks or so, with a nasty virus that keeps ebbing and flowing. It was bad enough to lay Harry out for two full weeks and make him miss 10 out of 15 mocks (very bad timing).

We’re all on the mend now though so that’s good. Christmas and New was full-on as usual. The pic above is of the Bolton clan on Boxing Day. Paulina came this year, George’s gorgeous girlfriend. She’s really becoming one of the family and is a wonderful addition. She also came to my birthday meal on the 12th January at the pub though she was proper poorly with the yucky virus. Hopefully she’s feeling better today. Writing-wise am doing a piece of Creative Nonfiction, 2000 words long for Uni course and polishing my first TMA now its been commented on my the course leader.

Why was the course leader been commenting on your TMA I hear you ask – well – I was discombobulated by my tutor’s feedback and genuinely felt that her comments would make the story worse, not better, which was a bit of a blow because I’d deliberately submitted a story a couple of drafts away from completion, to get the benefit of her expert comments before final drafting. (This TMA didn’t need to get a fab mark as it doesn’t count towards the MA’s final grade.) When I asked her to re-comment she refused, so I had to ask the course leader to offer his opinion. He gave brill feedback – really close criticism – highlighting what I did well and what I could do better including plot opportunities missed, fining down of language and seeding outcomes in just the right places. Really feel like I’ve got my money’s worth now and am polishing said story in the light of these comments, but my tutor thinks I’m the spawn of Satan, which I suppose I’ll just have to live with. She thinks that wanting to discuss her feedback is being disrespectful and the sign of being a bad writer. I really think it’s more about becoming critically aware. Either way it will be interesting having a tutor who is a critical enemy rather that a critical friend. Should learn a lot!

On the ‘getting things published’ front, I’ve had my flash, ‘Staying Warm in the Winter’ accepted in Halo Magazine, my poem ‘Putting Your Face On,’ published on Strange Poetry and I’ve entered my short story Self-possession into the Henshaw short story comp.