It’s been a while since I’ve been on here, and I’m sorry about that. I’ve been busy (as you’ll see) in a good way and I’ve not really had much to say and I think that when that’s the case it’s better not to try to pad things out. Same as writing.

So autumn’s definitely settled in. And the clocks have gone back. And that’s all reminded me why this is my favourite time of the year. It always feels slightly more magical when there are leaves on the ground, all different colours and crisp, and just asking to be kicked up. With (occasional) bright, cool days. Before the wet and the sleet of the winter arrive. And, of course there’s Halloween. I actually think that I should make Halloween my Christmas. There’s an awful lot less stress, it’s fun and a bit magic, and the decorations, I think, are far better. Pumpkins and skulls and cobwebs and trick or treaters beat tinsel hands down in my book. I’m even going to shun my usual grumpiness and go to a Halloween party, with costumes and everything, for the first time in my life. I think I’m going through a period of transition.

And on the subject of Halloween…

Last week I judged the Poised Pen’s Halloween Flash Fiction competition. And things like that are, despite the hard work and time demanded, always fun. You can see the short list here.

Huge congratulations to the winner, Jacki Donnellan, whose brilliant Jack’s True Story, took first prize. And an excellent story it was too. And it contained at least one pumpkin.

Congratulations too, to C Connolly and to David Shakes, whose stories, The Lament of Eva Keena, and Ferryman, took second and third prize respectively.

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And yesterday I was at the local radio station, Canalside, with someone who’s been both a friend and a student of mine for a good few years. Jenny’s collection of poems aftermathand short stories, Aftermath, is available now (with all proceeds going to the Poppy Appeal). The station recorded me reading some of the poems from the book for Jenny to be played in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday and, if I can, I’ll see if I can get hold of the files and pop them up here. They really are very good.

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And, with it being half term, this is the first time in, I think, five weeks, where I’ll not be running my children’s writing group. It’s been hard but it’s been tons of fun too. It’s  a lovely and heartening thing to see people not only genuinely excited by writing, but able to produce some really great stuff too. I’m glad I’m doing it.

So, yeah. Busy in a good way.

And that’s about it, I think, for now.

Merry Halloween!

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