Saturday, 1 October 2016

Creative Writing at Rose Cottage

Now that the weather is getting cloudier and the nights are drawing in, I'm looking forward to getting back to a few of my writing projects. Some new publications are in the pipeline. 

Flash Fiction in 666

On Halloween, Fantastic Books Publishing will be launching a collection of horror-themed flash fiction in their anthology 666. Many of the authors included are winners, short-listers and long-listers from a recent Fantastic Books competition. The brief was to write a horror story in just 666 words. My story 'Loft Conversion' came second in the competition and my other entries were short-listed ('The Pond') and long-listed ('Bad Vibrations at Stratisfest' and 'A Perfect Match'). All four will be in the book.

Image copyright of FBP

Here as a taster / temptation are two images that inspired two of the tales. 

This is a picture of one of my tins. An inspiration for 'A Perfect Match'.

And this is a spot near Rose Cottage. Look closely and you might see the inspiration for the spooky element in 'The Pond'.

This is the second time I've come runner-up in a FBP competition. My story 'Bar-code' came second in their science fiction short story competition and was published along with another of my stories. 'Human Fossil' in their winners' anthology Fusion.

I'm really proud to be included in the author team at Fantastic Books Publishing. It's a friendly publishing house which supports a range of charities. Here's a quotation from Dan Grubbs the CEO:

'We support over 20 charities, run an annual convention, sponsor a horse rider, a heritage railway and a small rally team, own a sound studio, have a fledgling film division and take care of the work of almost 100 authors while achieving our aim of giving our authors a fair share of the profits from their books.' 

Short Writes in Short Flights 2

I'm delighted to have had some some short snippets and aphorisms accepted for publication in James Lough's and Alex Stein's Short Flights 2 (now retitled Short Circuits) to be published in April by Schaffner Press. This follows the success of the first volume Short Flights: Thirty-two Modern Writers Share Aphorisms of Insight, Inspiration and Wit 

My interest in such forms developed a while ago when I created a Twitter Project based on the sayings or Gregueria of a Spanish writer, Ramon. Here are links to my Twitter page, Gregueria,  and to James Lough's Twitter page.

Writer Interview in The Letterpress Project  

I've just had an interview published by The Letterpress Project. This is a fabulous project that celebrates and promotes the love of reading real 'physical' books. Their website and Facebook Page form a wonderful repository of information about and musings on real books and the joy of reading. 

The site also includes author interviews, new creative writing and a host of other resources. You can find my interview here

Painfree Slimming

Well, kind of. Cutting down on drinks is quite a test of will-power. 

We eat a lot of vegetarian meals. The one below is a favourite and fairly low in calories. A variation is to use paella for the stuffing with smoked mozzarella for Nicky and chorizo for me.

Roasted long sweet peppers stuffed with couscous and feta

Non-vegetarian meals usually include free-range chicken. The one below is really easy and not too calorific if you can possibly avoid the skin...

Thai roast chicken with red-curry coconut milk sauce

I love fish (Nicky doesn't) so my low calorie nights often include fish or shellfish. Sea-bass fillets are cheap and surprisingly low in calories.

Thai-spiced sea bass with asparagus and bok choi stir-fry

Here's a recipe with rainbow trout. A bit of naughty mayonnaise added.

Roast rainbow trout with lemon,  garden herbs and sun-dried tomatoes

I once found the following ready-mix at Morrisons (never seen it since) and teamed it with 'zero' calorie noodles.

Seafood mix with Bare-Naked noodles

Here's my own variation using bargain scallops and chorizo mix (down to 99p from £5.50 at end-of-day Morrisons) and added touches.

Scallops and chorizo with red peppers and chilli sauce

Every now and then I treat myself to a juicy rib-eye steak. Quite high in calories but not too bad if you go easy on the extras.

Griddled steak and mushrooms with papaya and cucumber salad

Steak kebab with Indian spices

Black pepper steak kebab

And here's another recipe with Bare Naked noodles, using duck this time.

Chinese duck-breast stir-fry with Bare Naked noodles