Tuesday, 30 June 2015

June 2015: Life Happenings Happened

It's been a busy month, with lots to celebrate including both of our birthdays, our housewarming, trips to the circus / lighthouse / beach / scavenging / cycling and Jaws Day. Here's some of the things that have happened:

On display at Wild-Schacht Gallery this month... John Abell:

My social media statuses of note:

Somebody make us a badge saying 'We survived IKEA.' Applause. Applause. Bows.

Wore a new dress that I bought and a new haircut, Torben wore a new shirt that I bought... went to Chapter to eat nice food and drink pints because Why Not? There was a pop-up love party happening, with food, the world is full of copycats... now home to dance with fizz.

Is not going to pursue a new career in furniture moving. Somehow, mainly down to T, the sofa bed from Gumtree address round the corner is now moved by hand and in the 'library' / 'spare room' and Torben has a pint of home brew. There are few people, 1, that I trust to stand beneath a sofa on a staircase and not think they will drop it on me.

I declare Marking done. [and a lovely three semesters teaching on the MA in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of Gloucestershire. Fly my pretties.]

The garden is full of wild (roses) and (blooming) passion.

The witness relocation scheme is going well.

I am loving these long post-work evenings. From out foraging in nature yesterday night to tending the domestic gardens tonight, more planting, some weeding (me), some window washing (T, it involves a gadget therefore more fun). Strawberries are changing colour. Seedlings are sprouting. Front is swept tidy, ready for visitors. And I bought some dinky lanterns. House almost ready to warm. I'll be at Terry Hetherington Awards tomorrow if any Swansea folk fancy buying me an early birthday drink / celebrating young literary talent... Next up, samphire for tea.

Some snaps I took:

JAWS DAY 2015!
Outdoor Cinema in the Bay

I went along to the excellent opening party of Elysium High Street Studios... and somehow I still made it cycling the next day - the second time ever in my adult life...

& foraged Elderflower for cordial for birthday Prosecco and Gin cocktails...

and Samphire for tea...

Strange findings in Taff's Well included:

The garden is growing:

and we had birthdays...

Housewarming Buffet Inspiration may have been influenced by...

Torben's work gained more fans, as it should:

'It is in two acts, totalling about 90 minutes — the first, depicting Edwardian Kensington, much shorter than the second, set in Neverland — and is meant to be accessible to children as well as grown-ups. (Children’s tickets for the show are only £1.) It certainly has much simple spectacle: pirate battles, a cuddly giant nursemaid dog (Aidan Smith), a hologram tiny Tinker Bell fairy, a crocodile to rival Wagner’s Fafner (and one that has swallowed not just Captain Hook’s watch but an entire grandfather clock), rumpus on rumpus, and lots and lots of flying. You barely see the wires attached to Peter and his new friends as they swoop through the air. It is almost as good, I felt, as the film of Mary Poppins.' More praise (from Sunday Times) for über-talented Torben.

'a show-stealing crocodile / clockodile.' - Birmingham Post on WNO'S Peter Pan. Gold stars for Torben Schacht

'Altogether, a stunning achievement for the entire Welsh National Opera team, and a production which surely sets a new benchmark in Pelléas interpretation.'

The making of the Pelléas and Mélisande skull by Torben Schacht...

& I have been reading:

Next, we're going dinosaur hunting...

June 2015: Parthian Happenings That Happened

June kicked off well with Desire Line, the new novel by Gee Williams, listed as Book of the Month for The Welsh Books Council, Waterstones (Wales) and WH Smith (Wales). Here it is on display in Cardiff Waterstones. 

If you missed the Desire Line book signing in Lingham's Bookshop to mark the start of Independent Booksellers Week on Sat 21st June don't fret, we've lots of lovely events booked in with Gee this autumn including appearances in Rhyl, Blackwood and Cardiff and at Gladstone's Library.

We've also been gaining some lovely reviews:

'As for the writing; it is superb. There are scenes that are reminiscent of the high gothic house-based psychology found in Jane Eyre, others (like the wonderful scene where the feverish, adolescent Fern spits out what she believes to be the swallowed soul of her grandmother; a black phlegm-bird that circles and caws, clawing the air above her head) that are reminiscent of the best of Neil Gaiman. The story is claustrophobic, but well-paced; a beautiful reminder that not every form of love is healthy, and the bonds we form (the bonds that strengthen us) are not always good.' 

'There are so many beautiful lines throughout this collection that the rest of this review could just be a list of them' - Wales Arts Review published a lovely review of a wonderful short story collection The Missing Woman and Other Stories by Carole Burns.

Richard Owain Roberts' debut short story collection All The Places We Lived came out on ebook on June 22nd and it is also getting all 5 star reviews on Amazon.

'This book is ambitious and does not content itself to paddle in a parochial drama, instead Davies couches the inner lives and developments of his characters against a backdrop of global political, social and sexual realignment that emerged at the dawn of the 20th century. The personalities and exploits of the families and friends he traces run in parallel with the booming motions of the new technological age giving the personal and private revelations, struggles, loves, whims and weaknesses a universal depth and significance.' Chris Cornwell / Wales Arts Review on the Library of Wales reissue of Rhys Davies' A Time to Laugh 

We've been giving away lots of books for summer on Goodreads including The Normal State of Mind (Susmita Bhattacharya), The Actaeon Tide (Tom Anderson) and The Flight of Sarah Battle (Alix Nathan) and had special deals on Kindle too. See are our latest giveaways.

Dan Tyte had a small gathering and reading to celebrate his Rarebit story 'Onwards' going on the wall at Little Man Coffee in Cardiff

Our deadline passed for our competition for young Welsh Writers in association with the Welsh Writers Trust. Award-winning writer Rachel Trezise will pass her judgment soon!

My new intern Ziggy is constantly worn out after tough mornings sitting on manuscripts, hands, keyboard and stealing pens.

Tendai Huchu was interviewed by Short Story Day Africa ahead of the forthcoming UK release of his new novel The Maestro, The Magistrate and The Mathematician. Look out for events in Edinburgh with Tendai in August and October and a London event or two as part of The Southbank Centre's Africa Utopia programme in September.

We were over the moon to find out that Carly Holmes (The Scrapbook) and Tyler Keevil (Burrard Inlet) were both shortlisted for the Rubery Book Award 2015.

I felt the need to Facebook this: 'Intern bought me gluten free muffins today. Gold star.' Thanks Chevelle. Talking of our interns, meet our latest batch of brilliance, youth and enthusiasm: Stephanie, Chevelle and Bryan.

Susmita Bhattacharya read from her novel The Normal State of Mind at Plymouth Central Library  and she was shortlisted for the Thresholds Essay Prize

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Crooked Smile | Black Sheep Journal

Oooooh I have a poem about love and the eclipse up on the fab new Black Sheep Journal today accompanied by one of Torben Schacht's photos. The sun has just decided to come out and I'm taking him out for Sunday lunch. All very pleasant.

Here's the link to Black Sheep Journal where you can read it if you like. I'm in good company so flick back and read some more poems while you are there, you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, 13 June 2015


I'll be one of the eight poets reading / performing as part of this year's summer Octopoet event in Roath. Thanks to Mark Blayney for asking me. here are the details you need...

A summer Octopoet for the Solstice festival! Come and see the best poets around, for free. A mix of entertaining, thought-provoking, funny and surreal verse with a downtown New York vibe. Fully licensed bar!

Friday, June 19 at 7:30pm

The Coffi House, 3 Wellfield Road, Roath, Cardiff CF24 3NZ

Interested. Here is the link to the Facebook events page. Click click...


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Secondary Character: July 2015

The Welsh Short Story Network anthology Secondary Character published by Opening Chapter launches in July 2015. It contains my story 'Pocillovy' from my debut collection The Art of Contraception (Parthian, 2010).

Also in the collection: Jo Mazelis, Carly Holmes, Nigel Jarrett, Bethany Pope, John Lavin, Carole Burns Kate North & many more.