News item, the first.
Remember, back in 2013, I had a story accepted and published in Stories for Homes, the best-selling anthology which has raised over £3,000 to date for the housing and homelessness charity Shelter?
This year, the SfH community began to stir again. Was it time for a sequel, they wondered? A new batch of stories, a new anthology, another opportunity to fund raise for Shelter?
Yes. It was.
256 submissions were received for SfH2. 55 pieces were selected for the book, and another 29 for the website. Mine was one of the latter, so sometime between now and September, you'll be able to read Potato Soup online, in the company of some other flash fiction, short stories, poetry and real life stories about housing and homelessness.
I'll keep dropping links on my facebook page as the project progresses...
News item, the second.
I don't usually enter competitions, because they can be pricey. But the inaugural Leicester Writes Short Story Prize caught my eye - not least because I got a discount for living in Leicestershire!
This week I was delighted to discover - by chance, when the shortlist came out - that one of my stories, The Pink Feather Boa Incident, was longlisted for the prize! That means publication later in the year in the prize anthology...
Unfortunately I didn't make it onto the shortlist, but good luck to everyone who did.
News item, the third.
In an attempt to get a few reviews onto Goodreads in advance of publication of Kingstone, I offered a pdf ARC to a few folk I knew had read StarMark, in exchange for an honest review.
Within 24 hours I had the first one back. (You can read it in full here)
In summary; 'All in all, a highly recommended page-turner suitable for pre-teens upwards.'
*One happy Squidge*
News item, the fourth.
Effie Purse, the new story which has pushed Crystal Keeper's Daughter to the sidelines, is flowing well. I'm hoping to finish the first s***y handwritten draft (I've already used up two biros!) by the end of June, and first type by the autumn.
For the SfH2 publication I needed to update my bio, so I looked to see what I'd written for SfH1. Back in 2013, I was apparently still fine tuning The Ring Seekers (shelved for the time being, having gone through many, many incarnations and edits but never quite making the grade...), had only just started writing these Scribbles, and had only just seen the publication of Granny Rainbow and the Black Shadow in a charity anthology.
It made me realise that most of the 'success' I've had so far in writing has been in the four years since then. In fact, there's so much that I can't really list it all in a bio - and if I did, it would sound like I'm bragging! Probably more accurate to say that most of the advancement in my writing has occurred since then.
This time round, I can include the publication of two Granny Rainbow books, StarMark and (by the time the bio goes live) Kingstone. I can also include the several short stories published in various anthologies (I think there were twelve or so when I added them up) and the visits I've been making to schools to run creative writing sessions.
It seems almost unreal to think that all of that and more has happened in the last four years. It made me realise it's good to sit back and take stock sometimes, to give yourself a pat on the back for what you've achieved, and then determine to do more of the same.
So today, I'd encourage each and every one of you to take a minute or two to see what you've achieved in the same time. Don't focus on what's not happened - life can be a pig sometimes and get in the way of our dreams and desires. Instead, look for where you've made progress - even if it seems like it's only baby steps forward - and if you'd like to, share it in the comments below.
Let's celebrate progress!