Friday, January 12, 2018

Flash Fiction Armagh - Call for Submissions




Flash Fiction Armagh is now open for submissions for inclusion at our public reading in our Flash Fiction event in Armagh City on 22nd March 2018 at Mulberry Bistro.

Deadline for submissions is 28th February 2018.

What is Flash Fiction Armagh?
This is an event featuring Flash Fiction writers reading their work to an enthralled audience in Armagh. It differs from Open Mic in that the readers are selected ahead of time, based on their submission quality, and the evening follows a set programme.

Why?
Flash Fiction Armagh provides a platform for writers to experience immediate audience reaction to their work – a valuable resource for those who sit all day in a room by themselves writing. We aim to entertain and provide an opportunity to mingle and make friends. We encourage people to attend the event whether they write, read or prefer to listen.

And the best reason of all - it's a bit of craic. Flash fiction Armagh is based on Flash Fiction Forum San Jose, California. Hop over to their website to see how they do things. 

Reading at Flash Fiction Forum San Jose, Works Gallery, San Jose, California
Who?
Entries are encouraged from:

  • ·         Experienced writers
  • ·         Authors who can extract a short section from their books
  • ·         Irish Language writers
  • ·         New writers
  • ·         Poets whose poetry reads like prose

How?
Please email your 200 – 750 word submission within the body of your email (no attachments please) to byddi@hotmail.com with Flash Fiction Armagh in the subject line.

Réamonn Ó Ciaráin, Armagh author of Laoch na Laochra: Scéal Chúchulainn, and Chúchulainn: Ulster’s Greatest Hero, will help me curate the submissions. 

It is free to enter, but please only submit up to three pieces of work.

You must be available to read at the event -  Thursday 22nd March 2018, 7.00pm

If you are not selected for this date we reserve the right to invite you to read your submission at a subsequent Flash Fiction night.

We plan on having 3 or 4  per year, so no need to resubmit the same piece again.

We do not publish online or in print and you retain all rights. We don’t mind if you submit work that has been submitted elsewhere or that has already been published. Authors are welcome to bring copies of their books to sell.

When?
Deadline for submissions is 28th February 2018.
Flash Fiction Armagh is Thursday 22nd March 2018, 7.00pm

Where?
Upstairs in Mulberry Bistro, Armagh, 6 Cathedral Rd, Armagh, BT61 7QX. Awarded Best Newcomer 2017.


For more information about Armagh Writers and writing events in Armagh, have a look at their Facebook Page.

If you are a writer from or living in Armagh there is also a Facebook group.

Happy writing Flash Fictioners,

Byddi Lee
 



Flash Fiction Armagh - Call for Submissions




Flash Fiction Armagh is now open for submissions for inclusion at our public reading in our Flash Fiction event in Armagh City on 22nd March 2018 at Mulberry Bistro.

Deadline for submissions is 28th February 2018.

What is Flash Fiction Armagh?
This is an event featuring Flash Fiction writers reading their work to an enthralled audience in Armagh. It differs from Open Mic in that the readers are selected ahead of time, based on their submission quality, and the evening follows a set programme.

Why?
Flash Fiction Armagh provides a platform for writers to experience immediate audience reaction to their work – a valuable resource for those who sit all day in a room by themselves writing. We aim to entertain and provide an opportunity to mingle and make friends. We encourage people to attend the event whether they write, read or prefer to listen.

And the best reason of all - it's a bit of craic. Flash fiction Armagh is based on Flash Fiction Forum San Jose, California. Hop over to their website to see how they do things. 

Reading at Flash Fiction Forum San Jose, Works Gallery, San Jose, California
Who?
Entries are encouraged from:

  • ·         Experienced writers
  • ·         Authors who can extract a short section from their books
  • ·         Irish Language writers
  • ·         New writers
  • ·         Poets whose poetry reads like prose

How?
Please email your 200 – 750 word submission within the body of your email (no attachments please) to byddi@hotmail.com. 

Réamonn Ó Ciaráin, Armagh author of Laoch na Laochra: Scéal Chúchulainn, and Chúchulainn: Ulster’s Greatest Hero, will help me curate the submissions. 

It is free to enter, but please only submit up to three pieces of work.

You must be available to read at the event -  Thursday 22nd March 2018, 7.00pm

If you are not selected for this date we reserve the right to invite you to read your submission at a subsequent Flash Fiction night.

We plan on having 3 or 4  per year, so no need to resubmit the same piece again.

We do not publish online or in print and you retain all rights. We don’t mind if you submit work that has been submitted elsewhere or that has already been published. Authors are welcome to bring copies of their books to sell.

When?
Deadline for submissions is 28th February 2018.
Flash Fiction Armagh is Thursday 22nd March 2018, 7.00pm

Where?
Upstairs in Mulberry Bistro, Armagh, 6 Cathedral Rd, Armagh, BT61 7QX. Awarded Best Newcomer 2017.


For more information about Armagh Writers and writing events in Armagh, have a look at their Facebook Page.

If you are a writer from or living in Armagh there is also a Facebook group.

Happy writing Flash Fictioners,

Byddi Lee
 



Friday, January 5, 2018

Gosford Castle AKA Riverrun of House Tully


Gosford Forest Park is a fifteen-minute drive from Armagh City. It is home to Gosford Castle, the location for Game of Thrones' Riverrun of House Tully.

The Castle itself is now converted into apartments. Just imagine - you can live in a castle in Armagh! The Castle is set in beautiful parkland that is open to the public and has been since I was a child when we'd go there camping with the Girl Guides. Many a happy time was spent hiking and camping in the forest here.


As an adult and a Girl Guider leader of my own troop in Belfast, along with My Sister and another friend, we took a troop from Belfast on a camping trip. As was the tradition, the kids had a day shopping in the great metropolis of Armagh City to buy gifts to take home. It wasn't long before the girls discovered every Armachians favourite shop of that era (and of my childhood too) - McKenna's Sweet Shop at the top of Thomas Street. This wonderful shop, with its magical rows of giant jars filled with all kinds of scrumptious candies and sweeties, had the kindest, nicest proprietor - Mr McKenna.

He always had so much patience with us kids, as we clutched our precious coins unable to make the most important decision of our lives to date - which delicious treats to buy! We'd "him and haw" and he'd never fuss us until eventually, we'd have him putting one of this sweet and two of that one into a white paper bag until we had a wee sack of delight.

The kids we'd taken to shop in Armagh also found the pet shop. A bunch of them decided they wanted to purchase some pet mice. But how to transport their new rodent buddies? Mr McKenna had just the solution. He gave them some of the giant candy jars, now empty and with holes in the lid for air. I never did quite figure out how he'd become embroiled in the whole plan - I was too busy laughing at My Sister's horrified reaction when we reunited with the girls and they proudly showed us their new pets. My Sister hates mice and rats. She wouldn't let the kids take these little critters in her car even though they were ensconced in giant candy jars.

My worry was what on earth the parents would think when we got them back home to Belfast. I had visions of having to take care of all these mice myself, but the parents accepted their daughter's new pets with good grace and we were not blamed (at least not to our faces!)

Besides possible escapee mice, Gosford Park continues to be a beautiful haven for wildlife - including the magnificent Red Deer that lives on the estate. We had the good fortune to get close to a herd but safely separated by a sturdy chainlink fence. This fellow was gorgeous.


And even on a cold winters day, this spot looks so peaceful. Wrap up warm and sit a while - maybe bring a flask of hot chocolate (with a nip of brandy - why not?)


There's plenty to explore. In terms of walking, there is not much to challenge on the elevation gain side of things but for an invigorating walk on a bracing day, it's hard to beat a gaunt to Gosford Forest Park.


If your New Years resolution is to get more exercise why not start here. You won't regret it.

Byddi Lee

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Writing - A Labour of Love



It's that time of year again when we tend to assess where we are in our lives and how we plan to move forward. 2017 saw nearly as many changes as 2016. I woke up on New Years Day 2016 living in San Jose, then on New Years Day 2017 a resident of Paris. January 1st, 2018 will see me back living in my native Armagh.  How did that happen? Never mind how I'm just happy that it did.

The one constant thing through all of this is the writing - that interminable itch that begs to be scratched, the voices that nag my brain for their very existence, and that sense of joy when someone tells me they've enjoyed my writing - the balm that soothes the immense insecurities that haunt every writer.

I keep wondering if I need to rethink my blog now that I've moved home. But there is as much to write about here as there is anywhere else in the world. Additionally, this place is marinated in history, as well as my own memories and, hey presto - lots to write.

Even nettles carry happy memories of my Granny's nettle champ!
I've also discovered that the photography here is a good as anywhere else I've lived, there's that box ticked too, and thus on goes the writing of the blog!


I'm always amazed and humbled, not to mention surprised, by the response I get to the more "personal" posts I write. The practical side of me reckons that people want to know the best tips for sightseeing, or gardening (way back when I had a garden) but when I bare my soul the ratings go off the chart. It's great and it's scary because like most writers I crave feedback, especially positive feedback - it's like writer crack-cocaine! But where does one draw the line? Having an introvert husband helps keep me in line to some extent, I reckon. I respect his need for privacy, I mean the guy doesn't even have a facebook page - in this day and age of "I post, therefore, I am" does that mean he doesn't exist. Is this the digital age equivalent of having an imaginary husband? But when all is said and done, his support of my writing career is one hundred percent. If it wasn't for his insistence that I keep plugging away at it, that he'll support us, that we'll be okay (as in won't starve, go naked and be homeless) when I get that panicky feeling of, "What is this all for?" I might have given up years ago.


It's a strange situation - to work all day (and contrary to popular belief - I do work hard at the ole writing lark!) and not have a set wage. To say writing is a labour of love is an understatement - it's a labour of love for both of us because I'm sure My Husband would have plenty of things to spend his hard earned cash on if only I still had my teaching wage coming in (for example.) But for him, it's not even up for debate - I'm a writer and he's a techie. For some strange reason, he's more confident than I am that my payday will come. When it does, he has his list - a list I'd be only too willing to buy for him (we're talking private planes, so he'll better not hold his breath!)


And then there's the amazing support I have always received from family and friends. I was prepared for a lot of slagging when my book first came out - it's a slagging culture here - but I was surprised to find that people were encouraging and kind. It might be what friends are for, but I'm blessed to have them tell me not to lose heart, that I can do this crazy near impossible thing - like write a trilogy, that they believe in me. I enter 2018 with a heart full of gratitude.

I still have my wonderful critiquing group in California and we conference call every two weeks to critique each others writing. My story would be so unstructured and bland without their input. Likewise, I have a monthly skype appointment with my Paris critiquing group whose input is invaluable. I learn so much from these writers.

The writing scene here is amazing and I've met a bunch of proactive writers through a variety of events. Its exciting, and it's fun.

Going into 2018, I plan to start a critiquing group in Armagh. If anyone reading this is interested in joining in, you can personal message me on Facebook for more details.

I'm halfway through writing a trilogy -  in the middle of book two. It's a long project and one that I wonder if I was wise to even start, but if I'm honest, I'm still enjoying it. There's the usual rollercoaster. One minute the ideas are flowing, I'm writing like a demon, and the next I'm plunged into despair - the rewrites are too hard, the subject matter too complicated. Really, you should see my google search history. Gruesome and gory isn't in it.  Things like "hammer blow to the head" and "how much voltage will kill a person" (apparently the current is the key!) I must be on every security agency list across the globe. I'd just been writing a very violent fighting scene one day when my 9-year-old nephew arrived at my door - talk about a swift change of hats!


Writing is a funny old world to live in but one I don't plan on changing for a while. It is is a labour of love, an addiction, and I'm lucky to have a husband to support my "habit".


So now, I continue forth with this blog - The grass is greener here than anywhere else I've ever been thanks to the rain... but then again - even with that - we didn't come here for the grass...


The stories also keep on growing, and that's the heart and soul of the writing, I suppose.

As we move into 2018, I wish you all a wonderful New Year, may we all realise more of our dreams and never be afraid to reach for the stars as we encourage those we love to do the same.

Happy New Year!

Byddi Lee