24/2/2018

Much has happened on the writing front since I last blogged, vis a vis:

I’ve got a wee story up in issue 5 of the brilliant Cabinet of Heed E-zine. Here’s the link https://cabinetofheed.wordpress.com/2018/02/13/exorcisms-jan-kaneen/ Just love the illustration and I’ve had some fab feedback about the story via Twitter.

I did the Kathy Fish Fast Flash course which was wonderful and soooo productive. You write a flash everyday in the company of twelve brilliant writers from all over the world and feedback on each other’s writing. Its a mega positive space and Kathy feeds back on everything you post. She is such a positive energy source that’s its impossible not to pour stories out. You do ten exercises and each results in a first draft. The pointers and exercises are designed to get your ideas flowing and they really, really do.

I got a distinction for tutor marked assessment 3, edited it after brill feedback from Kath (my totally excellent OU tutor not Kathy Fish) and submitted it off to two venues, one suggested by Kath. Will report back if it gets accepted in either place.

I was longlisted then short listed at Ink Tears Short story competition – here’s the link to the listing, which I’m so pleased about.

http://www.inktears.com/news-b/2018/2/22/shortlist-for-inktears-short-story-contest

The results are out next Friday.

I’ve submitted a story to the National Flash Fiction Anthology this year, something I’ve not done before and I’ve also entered the 100 word National Flash Fiction Day CoWIN_20180127_20_54_24_Prompetition, which again I’ve not done before so it’ll be interesting to see how I do. I’ve also booked myself to attend the Flash Festival again which will be in July 2018. It was soooo good last year I’m keen to do it all over again  And finally….here’s a pic of me with my monster mug which I won last month for writing a horrible story inspired by the twelve days of Christmas. I have to say its makes tea, coffee, hot chocolate, gin, all taste wonderful.

 

 

 

26/01/2018

I’m meant to be writing the references list for my Tutor Marked Assessment – a task I find in the same irksomeness continuum as cleaning the toilet, taking the wheelie bins out or pigging out the car after the teenagers have been hogging Macdonald’s in the back, thus I am here blogging by way of avoidance. Last night I went out with my friend Carol for outing number one of her 50th birthday celebrations. She’s planning to really break the arse out of celebrating this august event by doing something different every month for a year. Proceedings kicked off yesterday by six of us going into Cambridge to do a role-play adventure game where we had to cypher our way out of a crumbling pyramid. It carolsbirthdaywas quite good. Here’s a pic of us after we’d escaped but before we went to the pub. Later, at the pizza place, we  planned what to do next i.e. a trip up the Shard in London. It occurred to me that this would be a great theme for a collection of flash fictions. So when I’ve finally finished referencing and eventually submitted my TMA02, I’m going to start on that. Writing-wise, since I last blogged, I won Horror Scribes Flash fiction 12 Days of Christmas Comp. Here’s the link to my winning flash https://horrorscribes.com/2018/01/05/the-twelfth-day-of-christmas-and-overall-winner/#more-1157

and here’s a pic of my story on a mug which I’m dead chuffed with.horrorscribes It only came yesterday so I haven’t yet had a brew in it. Will get grumpy husband to take a photo of me tomorrow having tea and biccies then I can put it on my next post. What could be better than flash fiction and a brew? Right better press on for this is buttering no parsnips nor referencing no influences. Oh yes one last thing. Next week I’m doing Fast Flash with Kathy Fish. Will blog anon. Soooooo excited.

 

4/1/2018

roadsariverAs its been 2018 for four days, and as this is the view from my liminal front door, I thought I’d better post a blog to commemorate the occasion. The road is often a river as I live on the Cambridgeshire flood plain, but I never worry because my 400 year old cottage has flooded only once according to local tradition and that was in the big flood of 1947. Even then we came off least wet as we sit quite high on an ancient bank. The nearest it ever came to coming in, in my time, was in 2004 when it lapped the edge of the top tarmac path. I almost bought sandbags that year. Anyway, back to more mundane ramblings. I was sick over the festive season and mostly chucked up when the family festivities were underway in my kitchen. Never-the-less, I got to see the family and some friends which was lovely. To link clumsily to the image above, I find myself in a liminal headspace at the moment. Its my birthday next week and though I’m proper fed up with eating and drinking (despite the norovirus incident) I know that I’ll have to give it another fling when the birthday comes along. We’re planning a trip to a local carvery which is more for the family than me as I’m veggie. Anyway, the prospect of yet another blow-out hovering on the horizon, has me Hoovering up (by which I mean eating) leftover dark chocolate brazils and sad unwanted edible tree decorations and the like because there’s no point in starting the inevitable January diet until the carvery’s done and dusted. I know, lazy self-indulgent, contradictory thinking, but at least I’m making myself walk/swim off the hogged choccies.

Writing-wise, I’m on a threshold too. I am so excited I could barely withhold the revelation to here but..flashfestival.drumroll/big tah dah, I’ve booked myself on Kathy Fish’s Fast Flash on-line course. (Its my birthday present from grumpy husband and starts on the 22nd Jan.) Will blog about it in the fullness of time. I am so excitied. I just love her work and several of the on-line flash fictionistas have recommended it in such glowing terms, I just had to. Also I’ve been very lazy with flash fiction since I started my MA and it will get me kick-started for the year to come. I’m currently writing Tutor Marked Assessment 2 (only a working title) for my course, which is in the workshop for peer feedback until 10th January, so a wee bit liminal re that too at the moment.

One thing that’s not borderline or in any way marginal, is the Flash Fiction Festival Anthology pictured above on top of one of the fireplaces, (where is matches the décor.) I’ve read it now and it is so very good. The contributors read like a who’s who of the flash fiction world (even despite my inclusion.) I feel very blessed to be included amongst writer who I so admire.

I was going to finish with some aims and objective for the coming year, but quite frankly such unexpected stuff occurred last year that I think I’ll just hold on tight and hope for the best. Happy New Year peeps of the bloggis-sphere, hope its not going to be too much of a rocky ride, or that if it is, I hope its good rocky, not pants rocky.

27/12/2017

Sitting in my hotel room at 10.24am in Bolton, waiting for the boys to get ready for checking out at eleven, then off to dad’s for breakfast, then the long drive home. Thought I’d take these free fifteen minutes to blog as I haven’t done so in such a long time.

We had the traditional Boxing Day family gathering last night and it was lovely to see my brothers and sister; aunties and uncles, nephews and nieces. Grumpy husband phoned earlier to say that its snowing at home and I saw on the news that the A14 is shut due to lorries stuck in the snow. He reckons it will be better to set off later rather than earlier so we’re going to go to dads for brekkie and a weather check.

Writing wise I’ve not done any submissions as I’ve been studying hard and doing my Tutor Marked Assessments (TMAs) for my Master’s course. I had my best ever mark for TMA01 which I was really pleased with. It was for a short story written ‘in flash’ i.e. four resolved flashes linked by subject matter into a ‘bigger’ narrative arc that tells a more global story. Its about migraine, on one level and self-delusion on another. My tutor also gave me really helpful feedback for a final edit, which I’ll do when TMA02 is done dusted and submitted on 23rd January.

Started my teaching at the Community Education Centre in St Ives, just after my last blog, and iIMG_1491t went really well. I got five star feedback and one of my learners had a story published at Ad Hoc fiction which was totally brilliant. I get a new set of learners in the third week of January and so it starts all over again.

Here’s the cover of Ellipses ‘One’ in which I had a wee tale. There really are some wonderful stories in here and I felt so proud to be amongst some of my  favourite writers of tiny tales.. Right better go and check out.

29/10/2017

Life struck again then, as it has a habit of doing. It started when Grumpy Husband had to go to Toronto for work. On his return, he was taken seriously ill, though he had been unwell for weeks before he went – with a virus that had floored him and a tooth infection that he needed two lots of antibiotics to get rid of.

After his flight home, he walked through the front door,  looking terrible and tired, went to bed with suspected jetlag and slept for a couple of hours. By the time I got back home, in the evening, he was struggling to breathe, a struggle that worsened through the night.

He dozed on and off taking my Ventolin almost hourly to get through, and called the doctor at eight a.m.  (as soon as possible). An appointment was made for ten which he attended by car. The doc sent him straight to the hossie with a suspected pulmonary embolism. They admitted him though he tried to discharge himself, then after  days of tests,  treatments, fall-outs with consultants (husband was still grumpy despite brush with death and first consultant was an imperious dolt) he was diagnosed with heart failure and pneumonia and he may or may not have had a pulmonary embolism.

As luck would have it, all this happened at half term and so was easy to manage logistically and lovely step daughter came to stay. He’s home now but things will be different from now on as we will have to learn a new ‘normal’  geared to make husband more healthy because his heart will never go back to what it was.

Have decided to make this an opportunity not a threat and have removed all his cigars and packets of full fat butter. He was fortunate to be given a chance to change I reckon, some people have a massive heart attack with no forewarning. At least we have been warned. Its back to school tomorrow and I think we’re good to go brave new world wise, and a whole new chapter is about to unfold.

Studying wise I’m two weeks behind and am likely to lag another week as hubby cannot drive for several weeks as part of his rehabilitation. Have organised an extension for my next project though so am hoping that will be okay.

Since I last wrote I’ve had a piece of CNF published in Salome Magazine (cover below) under the pseudonym Jane Kermode. It was a TMA from last year and I’m glad its found such a wIssue+3+Cover_Final_150dpionderful home. (Salome is my new fave litzine). Here’s the link  https://www.salomelit.com/salom-issue-3-october/ but you have to pay for a subscription or a single issue – you can’t read it for free. They’re dead good and pay writers fifty quid a pop.

I’ve also got a story in ‘One’ an anthology from Ellipsis Litzine – here’s the link http://www.ellipsiszine.com/one/ which again is not free. I’ll post a copy of the cover when the complimentary issue comes. Can’t wait to read it!

I’ve also got a story in the Flash Festival Anthology which will be ready in time for Chrimbo and I’ve got two teeny tales on the longlist for Ink Tear’s Annual Flash Fiction Competition. Here the link to them –  http://www.inktears.com/news-b/2017/10/25/longlist-for-flash-fiction-contest-2017

That’s about it. Off to take George to work now and make a very healthy dinner.

 

 

 

13/9/2017

I’m back in the hobbit house for a couple of hours only, but had to blog because today is a day of new beginnings. The OU site for year two of the MA went live today and its my Dad’s 80th birthday though we’re not having the party till a week Saturday.

Also very excitingly,  I took both boys to school/college together this morning for the first time since reception, as they’re both now at sixth forms in Cambridge (different ones) but they’re both on the same bus route which is something to celebrate when you live in the middle of no-where like we do.

It’s also my mum-in-law’s 82nd birthday and we’re gathering friends and family early this evening for a meal and trip to the cinema which will be nice way for her to start her 83rd year.

Also, the internet is working properly, not a day too soon as we are all so dependant on it for our studies and work.

Also I do my first tutorial next week, teaching beginners flash fiction to adults at The Ivo. The head of Adult Learning has sent me handbooks to read, and lesson planners to fill in which I will work on tomorrow, so another completely new start.

The weather has come out in sympathy with all these nativities. Last night there were howling winds lashing the fen at the front of our cottage as the first storm of the autumn earned its name – Aileen. I don’t know why storms have the names they do, other than its alphabetical and alternates gender. If I were a storm, I’d want be called something more suggestive of power and motion, like Aurora or Artemis or Atom.

Anyhoo, when I took the boys to the station this morning, the village was already a hive of activity with a brace of tree surgeons picking up dead branches that had fallen in the night. The track outside our cottage is thin and there’s no room for car’s to pass, so a mis-placed branch is a proper hazard. IMG_0347

She’s blowing right now, is Aileen, but only bending the trees because their dead wood has been blown away. They’re pretty noisy though, close to them as I am in the hobbit house, but its an exciting noise, full of promise not danger, a sort of herald of new thing a-blowing in.  It wont be long till the noise changes from autumnal rustling that sounds like  waves breaking, to dry tap-taps of naked branches from wintery trees like the ones above.

I know this academic year will bring challenges. I know we’ll probably cry as much as  laugh, and, if the start at one of the sixth forms is anything to go by, we’re going to have to combat institutional laziness and unsatisfactory systems, but even that will be a learning experience that will teach us something.

Of yes…and on the writing front have made many submissions and had a weird flash published at Occulum. Here’s the link https://occulum.net/2017/09/05/spin-by-jan-I’mkaneen/

I feel like the wind blown trees sound, full of life and ready to get cracking.

25/8/2017

It was a big day in our house yesterday. The moment had finally arrived. Results day for Harry’s GCSEs (well everybody’s GCSEs).

School had sent an e-mail a couple of weeks ago, saying they would email the results at 6 am. Harry had been to a party the night before but I told him I’d get him up early in case the internet went down (again) and we had to do a dash to school to get paper copies (they won’t tell you over the phone).

I woke at six but waited till half past just in case there was a delay, then went to Harry’s room. He was in very  deep sleep then all bleary-eyed when I woke him. He couldn’t remember his password to log into the pupils portal. He didn’t get to sleep until 4, he said. He’d been lying  awake feeling something like a cross between the night before Christmas and being told that someone has died.

He finally managed to tap in the right email and password but only after three, half -asleep attempts

The writing was way too small for my old lady’s eyes, but I could see the A star for biology.

‘What does it say for maths?’ I asked.

‘Eight.’ he said still not smiling yet.

‘Are you sure its not a six?’ I said.

‘Let me have another look,’ he said, moving the laptop closer.

I squinted. ‘No,’ I said. ‘I think it is an eight.’

Its an eight Mum,’ he said, his face starting to break into a massive smile.

And it was.

The full results were: A stars in Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and English LangIMG_0758uage. A’s in History, Geography, and English Lit, and a B in German. The boy had done it! Got the grades he needed for Hills.

He’s gone to Reading Festival now with his mates who all got what they needed, too.

I am so very proud of him and I hope he’s partying like its 1999, or at least that he did last night. This is a new start for both of us. No more long school drives, no more six o clock starts. He can be independent and get the guided bus there and back again, to the best state Sixth Form College in the County. The picture above is one I took last year at La Sagrada Famila, in Barcelona. The light was so intense, shining through the stained glass windows into the vast dark space. It looked almost tangible, like running water, leaking into intense puddles on the floor. It made me well up because it was so beautiful. That’s why I’ve put it on here. The feeling I felt when Harry realised his success was similar.

Anyhoo…on the writing front, I found a home for the weirdo spider story – a new E-zine called Occulum. I’ll post a link when its published (first week of September). Also I’m to be interviewed by Uprising Review as part of my prize for winning Zero Flash this month. I’ll post that link too when its done. I also entered a wee flash into Ad Hoc.