Some brilliant news – Resonance & Revolt has been shortlisted for Best Collection in the British Fantasy Awards. For a full listing of the nominees in all categories, check out the BFS link.
I’m in fabulous (and female) company on this shortlist, which also includes All the Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma, The Future is Blue by Catherynne M Valente, How Long ‘til Black Future Month? by NK Jemisin, Lost Objects by Marian Womack and Octoberland by Thana Niveau. I found it very interesting that this shortlist has turned out to be all women.
This is also the first time that I’ve appeared on a BFS shortlist so I’m thrilled to be included alongside these brilliant writers. And I’m especially excited to see that women writers have made a strong showing in all categories as well as the collections shortlist.
I’m also very pleased to see that Eibonvale Press…
First – a DUV update. Myself and Cat have been flat out promoting Friday’s event (Swallow Your Pride); a radio interview, a bit of local press, a lot of social media, networking and fly posting to spread the word. Oh, and some controversy, which seems to follow DUV whether we want it to or not! But we’re not worried about rattling a few cages. I’m confident that Swallow Your Pride will be a fantastic event – given the acts we’ve booked, it can’t be anything but.
Local radio station Coast FM have been very supportive and did an excellent interview, where we were able to explain what we’re about and why DUV was created and local newspaper The Cornishman gave a decent amount of space to our gig poster and blurb. At the time of writing we’re trying to recuperate before the event.
We then refocused on the zine, which was mostly completed and is, literally, hot off the press as I write. We’ve created something that’s pretty unique, I think, and the combination of old-school cutting and pasting physical images and writing, and computers/new technology, has worked really well. How it will be received is anyone’s guess but you can guarantee it will cause a stir, bearing in mind that people have objected to our ‘Unicorn Free Zone’ poster, the use of the word ‘queer’ and the proclamation ‘Diversity and perversity!’ Despite Penzance’s idea of itself as being arty and somewhat Bohemian, it’s clear to me that conservatism still rules. Time to shake the air!
I’ve managed to fit in a fair bit of fiction writing too, recently, and am immensely happy with new story A Cure For The Common Cold. 3000+ words in, it still has some way to go but I’m enjoying stepping away into the different world and headspace that writing fiction brings.
Work with Dead Unicorn Ventures continues – the zine is near completion but the focus has been on Swallow Your Pride. Our Press Release has now been sent to local press and radio, BBC Radio 2’s Folk Show and other interested parties. Promoting a gig of this scale is entirely new to me, and we’re determined to sell the venue out, so complacency is not an option. We’re in the process of designing more posters to help spread the word via social media and already have some interest from a local journalist.
I’m working on fiction again. ‘A Cure For The Common Cold’ is now 2000 words long and well in hand. It’s been hard work getting back into the headspace to write fiction, but I’m happy with what I’m coming out with. I’m also preparing to push my most recent collection, ‘We Are All Falling Towards The Centre Of The Earth’ a little more by taking it to a couple of local independent book shops in Penzance with a view to them selling a few copies, as well as trying to get Waterstones on board to sell some. Much as I believe in my writing, I continually fall short when it comes to promoting it and I’m trying to change that.
David Mathew’s forthcoming short story collection, ‘Panic Soup’ will include some back cover blurb from me. I was asked to do this a while ago and was very impressed with the stories, so it was a pleasure to do so. I’ll post here when the book’s published.
Text by Julie Travis, title from a lyric by The Glove
I was recently interviewed by writer Georgina Bruce for her website, Monster Soup, and the resulting piece was published on Saturday, 13 April. My thanks to Georgina for her interest in my writing. Her first short story collection, This House Of Wounds, will be published by Undertow in June and I’d highly recommend it.
It’s been a time of great personal upheaval and change.
The last six weeks or so have been utterly exhausting: I have ended the longest relationship of my life, moved house once and am preparing to do so again at the end of the week and realised that it’s likely that I have Asperger’s. Writing fiction has been next to impossible in this time, but my work for Dead Unicorn Ventures has continued, along with a doing a couple of interviews. My new abode is – for the first time – my own flat, in central Penzance. I have no idea what living on my own will be like, or even whether I can actually afford to do so, but an opportunity arose that I couldn’t turn down. It will mean that I will be able to write at any time, day or night, that I feel the urge/need. It will also mean that I’ll be able to try to work out what having a diagnosis for Asperger’s – which won’t happen for a year or so – will mean for me. It certainly makes sense of my moods and behaviour over my entire life. Every therapist I’ve ever come into contact with has tried to find a way to ‘fix’ how I am, has told me I have to be able to face crowds of people and big social situations.
I don’t need fixing because I’m not broken. I’m just wired differently to most people.
Not one therapist or doctor has ever suggested I might be on the Autistic spectrum.
As a result of what’s happened recently, I brought forward a decision I’d planned to happen after my death; after talks with Simon Costain of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, in Boscastle, I will be donating Jhonn Balance’s wand to the museum at the beginning of April. The wand was given to me by Ian Johnstone, but I knew I was only its guardian for a short space of time. This way, people will be able to see it and it will be cared for for generations to come. Obviously, as with all Coil collectables, the wand would probably fetch a large amount of money if I sold it. Money would be extremely useful, of course, but I promised Ian I’d never sell it. I feel happier having made this decision and am very much looking forward to visiting the museum again, and meeting Simon – a big fan of Coil – in a couple of weeks’ time. Photos and a report will be posted here.
Meanwhile, test pages of Dykes Ink have been printed. There have been some technical issues with riso print and DUV is discussing how to resolve these, but we’re still on course to get the first issue out in the Spring. We have been lucky enough to obtain contributions from some excellent female artistes and have enough material to fill a fair part of issue 2. More here as it happens.
One of the ‘Unicorn free zone’ posters put up by our Queer arts group Dead Unicorn Ventures several weeks ago has recently been vandalised. It was with great amusement that we found that someone had gone to some effort to turn it into a ‘Unicorn welcome zone’ poster. Apparently some are taking the DUV poster to be ‘anti gay’. This is ridiculous beyond words, especially bearing in mind that every poster was accompanied by another declaring our right to be gay! It seems some people have no sense of humour. But it also means we’re on the right path.
The Ginger Nuts Of Horror’s LGBTQ+ month (January) has gone very well, providing a much needed focus on a marginalised group. Most of the writers involved are new names to me, which is the whole point of the focus. My own interview appeared on 29 January and it’s possible that the article I wrote on the Coil album, Horse Rotorvator, will also appear in the next few weeks. Some straight writers were also involved in this project, which attracted criticism from some quarters, but I found it perfectly acceptable to have them there – I’ve never been against having allies. My thanks to Jim McLeod for instigating such a progressive initiative.
I’m delighted to announce that The Cruor Garland has been accepted by Queer horror podcast Monsters Out Of The Closet. Producers Shriya Venkatesh and Nicole Calande felt the story had an affinity with The Wickerman and Children Of The Corn – most illustrious comparisons. The story will be recorded this Summer and will appear either later this year or in 2020.
Dead Unicorn Ventures’ interview with The Tribunes on 19 January went extremely well and I’m in the process of transcribing a huge amount of material for the Dykes Ink ‘zine. There’s undoubtedly enough for at least two issues of the zine, which is what we were hoping for. We’re now almost at the point of collating all our material for issue 1, so we’re on schedule for the planned Spring publication. We’re also finalising the Press Release for Swallow Your Pride and have begun a fly-posting campaign around the streets of Penzance, not just to advertise DUV, but to provide some defiance in an increasingly Right-wing country.
Finally, I’m also in the process of being interviewed by a female student at Exeter University, Devon, UK, regarding female punks of the 1970s and 80s. My work with DUV made me keen to be involved in this!