In Dusk: Stories and Poems from Solstice Shorts Festival 2017, ed Cherry Potts
published by Arachne Press on 21 June 2018. Pre-order from February 2018
e-books published 21 December 2017
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the gallery and to pictures by one of our favourite photographers
As a child, I liked dusk. While it held no perils, it did feel mysterious. In Flick’ring Shadows the photographer Smith shows people and scenes in low light at the end of the day. If you can have revealing low light, Smith has found it. And, through his pictures, you in turn find Smith.
Flick’ring Shadows keeps company with a terrific set of other stories and poems, all of which were read at dusk on the winter solstice 2017 from Aberdeen to Redruth.
Read how a wrote it in my blog post of 8 December, 2017 At the end of the day, it’s all about dusk
In the Gloaming
in Shortest Day Longest Night to be published by Arachne Press on 21 December 2016
The short days and long nights of the winter solstice - tough times for humans and beasts.
In 'Mouse', a woodmouse and a child face a long night in a Balkan woodland, small lives in danger in a war-torn country. No children’s story this, it was read as part of Arachne Press's 2015 Longest Night Festival.
'In the Gloaming' shows Lucia battling her failing sight and the poor light at the turn of the year to embroider an eagle. While she works on its eye, she remembers someone else's eagle eye. Patsy Prince read the story (with BSL interpretation by Paul Michaels), to music played by Sarah Lloyd, at Arachne's Shortest Day: Solstice Shorts Festival 2016 on 21 December. See and hear it here.
The two stories are part of the anthology Shortest Day Longest Night.
Liberty Tales, Stories and Poems Inspired by Magna Carta
ed Cherry Potts
Arachne Press 2016
ISBN 978-1-909208-31-5 Print
Another escapade for Buck, Rhys and Lewis, who are introduced in 'Call me Dolores' and also feature in A Baker’s Dozen. Here Rhys uses his knowledge of Magna Carta to rescue two maidens in distress at a livestock market in Ludlow.
The stories and poems in Liberty Tales from Arachne Press are inspired by the outcome at Runnymede, in 1215, of the arm wrestle between King John and the Barons.
What Kind of Tea, Gran?
Fabio on the Train to Colico
Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Vol 8 No 2 (Oct 2015). University of Chester
The lovely people at Flash ignore dates of publication with abandon, so this 2015 edition only came out this summer, 2016. (I know, I know, who am I to talk about being on time?)
It's best to read a collection like Flash as you might read a poetry anthology. Dip in, explore, come back, read again. Do that and find out in remarkably few words what happens to Gran, my friend the poet and poor Fabio.
The Instructions of Miss Mary Jones
Meet the pensive and neurotic Miss Jones. Her letter about her endlessly impending funeral was chosen by Alexander McCall Smith in a Scottish Arts Club competition. He probably rattled off a 44 Scotland Street novel in the time I took to write Mary's letter.
Can I come and see you when you're dead?
Eighth Short Story Anthology, firstwriter.com, 2012
Inspired by Heiner Schmitz (1951-2003) whose death is recorded in the wonderful and moving photo essay by Beate Lakotta and Walter Schels, Noch Mal Leben Vor Dem Tod (Life before death). You can see photos of Heiner and read about him at Slate
Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual 2016
‘Really? You’re in Aesthetica?’ said a friend when I managed to get a story past the critical doorkeepers of one of the best new writing anthologies around. I took her surprise as a compliment to the writing, if not me.
Read ‘K’ to find out what happens when the duped wives in a bigamous relationship get together.
Solstice Shorts, Sixteen Stories About Time, ed Alison Moore, Cherry Potts, Imogen Robertson, Anita Sethi, Robert Shearman
Arachne Press 2014
'A warm and curious tale of a middle-aged adulterous couple', according to Felicity Skelton in Sabotage Reviews. She likes the whole book, I mean, really likes, not just likes on Facebook. There are loads of other great stories here drawn out from a range of writers by the award-winning Arachne Press
See Carrie Cohen read Wednesday Afternoon at the first Solstice Shorts Festival
Florence, Who Made Mustard
Brittle Star Magazine #34 July 2014
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Have you met anyone famous recently? In ‘Florence, who Made Mustard’, we see our heroine’s life through her work at Joe’s diner in New York. Florence starts as a shy young woman in the kitchen, but over the years encounters some of Joe’s celebrity customers, people we might like to have met. See if you can work out who they are.
Brittle Star is a great magazine, full of good new writing.
Call me Dolores
An Eclectic Mix - Volume One, ed Lindsay Fairgrieve. Audio Arcadia 2015
Stalking. My two stories in Lindsay’s anthology are contrasting tales of stalking, in a sense. ‘Removed’ is a geographical and emotional pursuit that turns into something more. Warm and sentimental.
‘Call me Dolores’ introduces a trio that I could have known in my youth, Buck, Rhys and Lewis, and describes an episode that is the antithesis of ‘Removed’.
Gina and Livia Sewing
Two Women Sewing is a painting by Robert MacBryde, one of the so-called Two Roberts. The idea was to choose a work of art from the National Galleries of Scotland and write a story around it. I chose the MacBryde painting and his 'two women' became Gina and Livia. When you read the story, imagine Bill Paterson reading it. He would be perfect. Anyone know him?
Arthur, an old-fashioned copper standing in a doorway. I responded to one of those online competitions that give you a picture and ask you to invent a story about it. The website it was on has vanished, but Arthur still keeps an eye on things.
Water may be Hot
'A mirror doesn’t care that you’re old, Mrs D.'
Frome Festival 2015 didn’t pick 'Water may be Hot' as a winner, but liked it enough to shortlist it. Those of you who are or have been teachers may be able to drum up a chorus of pupils or students well able to tell you how you should live. Maggie explores her past and contemplates what next with her sixth form comforters.
By the Estuary
In on the Tide
Appletree Writers Press 2013
OUT OF PRINT
Someone described ‘By the Estuary’ as poetic and ambiguous. The anthology In on the Tide is out of print, but you might come across a copy in a bookshop or a library, especially if you are in Edinburgh or Dunbar where Appletree Writers hang out. Let me know if you do. I will republish ‘By the Estuary’ soon. Appletree used In on the Tide to raise money for the RNLI, the lifeboat people. For more on the lifesaving theme, see A Baker’s Dozen.
A Baker's Dozen
Thirteen Stories About Scones
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The world's first short story collection on the theme of scones,
A Baker's Dozen was written to raise money for the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and the Devon Air Ambulance Trust.
The stories (13 of course) feature:
'How to Eat a Scone'
Five stories about World Scone Day 2031
The latest daftness of Buck, Rhys and Lewis in 'The Quiet Pudding'
'Baking with Gertie', an example of a new genre, psychocuisine
Offering her a scone broke the ice and sowed a seed of friendship. For an hour they chewed the fat, discussing metaphors.
The Anniversary' Wimbledon Bookfest Short Story Competition 2016
An unlikely celebratory lunch. Judges' choice for the short story competition at the 2016 Wimbledon BookFest on the theme of The Anniversary.
How come Chantal and Randy have lunch together once a year?