Remember Me To The Bees update

Remember Me To The Bees coverA few of you have been asking for updates on my debut short story collection Remember Me To The Bees. Thanks for your interest!

Well, the book exists, which is really exciting! The official launch (more details to follow) will be in March this year, and it will be widely available from that point.

The book contains twenty of my short stories, each accompanied by artwork from the talented Louise Boulter, who also designed the gorgeous cover.

Author Tania Hershman has written a lovely foreword for the book, which made me quite blush! Rather marvellously, she says : “The title is, in fact, very apt: bees may be diminutive (relative to us, at least) but they possess power not only to inflict pain but also to give us the gift of intense sweetness. To my mind, as a reader, painful sweetness is a wonderful way to define the best of short stories, a honeyed sting that this excellent collection most certainly delivers.”

Yeeps! No wonder I blushed.

The back cover copy states:

“The twenty stories in Judy Darley’s debut collection cover the moments that make us the people we are, where actions are taken and sights seen that will change the protagonists’ lives forever – with sometimes startling consequences.

From the small boy grappling with fears both real and imaginary to the married woman being ardently pursued by a man who seems able to read her deepest thoughts, we catch our breath as Judy’s characters make emotional as well as physical journeys, twisting and turning to the very end.”

Over the next few weeks you will see copies of Remember Me To The Bees popping up in independent bookshops and art galleries across Bristol and beyond as well as appearing on sites such as Tangent Books’ online bookshop. Go on, buy a copy, and make a writer very happy!

How to write a thriller

In The Moors book coverNina Milton, author of In the Moors and writing tutor with the Open College of the Arts, explains what it takes to breathe life into a thriller.

There are many strange truths about writing crime and thriller fiction, and one of them is just how much descriptive detail can boost the readability of a novel. John Gardner, one of the great thriller writers, summed it up perfectly when he said ‘Detail is the lifeblood of fiction’.

The more detail you chose to include, the less predictable the writing becomes. Skimming over a description loses the reader, zoning-in absorbs him. It’s a way to create fiction that is strong, absorbing and energetic.

Adding detail to your crime story isn’t the same as over-describing. By looking closely at the most interesting parts of the whole – whether it’s an artifact, a character, a landscape or an interior – the description of it will be enhanced. The reader doesn’t want to see it all; that’s like being too close to the screen in the cinema – too much information. Continue reading

Midweek writing prompt – unexpected art

Thanks to Banksy and other great street artists, Bristol has long been associated with vibrant, thought-provoking graffiti that goes way beyond tagging.

Snowy cemetery graffiti cr Judy Darley

This particular example was commissioned by a Victorian cemetery to liven up an abandoned building. Doesn’t it look spectacular against the snow?

The setting makes me wonder what a passing Victorian ghost may make of the vivid splashes. What would they think of an entire wall transformed with such bold shapes and colours? Might they wonder if it was the work of aliens, radicals or, perhaps, lunatics?

Bristol grafitti cr Judy Darley

Could they be moved to add their own artwork to one of the incomplete canvasses? What might the result look like?

If you write something prompted by this image, I’d love to know. Just send an email to Judy(at)socket You could end up published on!

Midweek writing prompt – ghosts of a scene

Here’s a slightly belated writing prompt for you – the first of 2014! This shot is a still from a YouTube video, caught at just the point when several scenes overlapped to create this curious image.

Eerie shot

It makes me think of the way a familiar place can hold layers of memories, almost as though they’ve been superimposed over one another, or the way a crowded scene can be overlaid with the preoccupations and ideas of all the people moving through it.

Interpret this scene however you choose, but if you do write something prompted by it, I’d love to know.

Just send an email to Judy(at)socket You could end up published on!


Happy New Year!

Simpang Mengayau Borneo cr Judy DarleyI always feel such excitement (once the hangover subsides) on January 1st. The excesses of Christmas are over and a pristine shiny new year awaits – 12 whole months of possibilities!

2013 was a pretty impressive beast, all things considered. Short story queen Alice Munro received the Nobel Prize in Literature, helping to ensure the form receives the respect it deserves. Eleanor Catton became the youngest ever Man Booker Prize winner for her novel The Luminaries – a vast book with what feels like a cast of thousands.

Tea cr Judy DarleyIn art, the Turner Prize was won by Laure Prouvost for ‘Wantee’, a film about the powers of tea drinking, art and family, featuring a fictional grandfather and ideas about artist Kurt Schwitters. Laure, who lives in the UK but is utterly French, says the award made her feel adopted by her host nation. Aww.

And my own debut short story collection Remember Me To The Bees came out – which was a great note for me personally to finish the year on.

So storytelling has been top of the agenda in creative circles – and aren’t we all glad about that? Who knows what 2014 will bring?