Blogs

Thatcher and the IRA: Dealing with Terror.

Thatcher’s strategy for dealing with the IRA was shaped by Airy Neave, former British Army officer, barrister and politician. It was a simple solution best summed up in the words of Rev. Ian Paisley: No Surrender to the IRA. Mrs Thatcher’s colleagues suggested she thought of it in terms of Hitler’s march into the Sudentan and as a staunch Unionist she could not allow this. The analogy between Thatcher and Hitler is perhaps a bit too farfetched,...

Janice Galloway (1999) The Trick Is To Keep Breathing.

The title comes from a fragment near the end of the book and relates to swimming and life. Joy, the narrator, is a twenty-seven year old schoolteacher. She teaches drama, but in life she keeps fluffing her lines. She’s not quite sure about anything and, in this her first book, the experienced reader looks for clues to Galloway’s identity. Joy has got an older sister (Mhari) she’s terrified of. So does Galloway. Check. Her mother walked into the...

Edgelands, Journeys into England's true Wilderness

Not town, not open country, not seaside. Edgelands,we know them, we live them. Edgelands are the empty factories along the canal, sprouting with old mattresses, porn and a makeshift burnt out fire, the brief hovel of those on the road. They are the quiet walk along the canal, the trade route now a fishing, birding haunt. Edgelands are forgotten industry, retail parks at night, sites by the side of the lane for travellers, human and feral. Alive...

Prizes, Publication, and Member-Only ABC Stories

This week I’m glad to announce a new feature on ABCtales – which is the option to make pieces accessible only to other logged-in members of ABCtales. We’ve had a lot of discussions about what counts as digital publishing in the past, and how that works with ABC. Many users have asked me how they could avoid getting notes saying there work was already published on ABC when submission time rolls around. Having a piece available to ABC members only...

Thank You

i have not been on this site in a while. not because i had forgotten about it, but because i havent been writing. i remember at last look being happy for 200 reads, but 2000+ is wutz up. thank you for reading my little creative body of work. i feel special right now. many prosperous blessings to you and yours!

Luigi Pagano on Self-Publishing

Every now and then I get a query about self-publishing: how to go about it, who to approach, what to look out for. So I asked Luigi Pagano, a fantastic ABCtales poet who has published half a dozen collections with different presses over the past ten years, if he might share some of his experiences with the ABC community. And he happily obliged: I’m Luigi – some of you may know me already – but for those who don’t I’ve been an ABCtales member for...

04.04.14 Story, Poem and Inspiration Point of the Week

Before I get in to this week’s picks I wanted to let you all know that the Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2014 is now open for submissions in three categories: poetry, fiction and life writing. Wasafiri is a fantastic magazine with an international bent, and the competition is open to anyone worldwide who has not published a complete book in their chosen category. The deadline is July 2014, word limit is 3000 for fiction and life writing entries and...

Alan Gratz (2013) Prisoner B-3087

This is a novel based on the true story by Ruth and Jack Gruener. Inside, the book is dedicated: ‘For Jack who survived’. So it’s a novel that’s not a novel and a memoir that is not a memoir. All memories are ersatz, watery coffee brought to the boil with novelistic techniques. So we open, Chapter One, page two, with equilibrium, a remember of remembering: ‘If I had known what the next six years of my life were going to be like, I would have...

Janice Galloway (1991) Blood

I’ve got Janice Galloway the wrong way round. I’m working backwards from her autobiographical and award winning memoirs to her earlier works. This is a collection of short stories, musings and the setting of a stage play (Scenes from Life No.27: Living In). ‘Fearless’ is my favourite, which is no surprise, I just ate up anything autobiographical and this is from that genre. ‘And he had these terrible specs. Thick as the bottoms of milk bottles,...

The Woman in Black (2012) Channel 4 9pm

I’ve always meant to read this novel. Now I’ve spoiled it and watched the Hammer House of Hokum directed by James Watkins, with the screenplay by Jane Goldman, first. I’ve always liked a bit of Gothic. The name Arthur Kipps immediately makes me think of Pip and John Mills. I suppose we make do with the boyish Daniel Radcliffe as the man that is sent to settle the estate of the late Mrs Alice Drablow. Drablow is a Dickensian sounding name and...

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