Strawberry Thief – a short story

Strawberry Thief by Judy DarleyJust as the birds are dashing around celebrating the start of spring, my flock-infused tale Strawberry Thief has found a new home with the deliciously named Straylight Magazine, biannual literary magazine of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

They say: “We look for innovative works of fiction, poetry, and art. Straylight takes pride in being on the edge of literary innovation.” So I’m feeling rather flattered.

The story begins: The hide is empty but for herself and Jonathan. In the clearing beyond the small, wooden structure, birds cavort—more species than she can name. Jonathan would know them all. He understood their code of feathers and colors in a way she’s never been able to grasp.

To read the full story, click here.

Reading at Novel Nights

Green Glass by Judy DarleyThis Wednesday from 8pm I’ll be reading my short story Green Glass as part of Novel Night’s romance themed evening. My tale is a bit less hearts and flowers than wavering principles and recycled glass, but at the core of it is a protagonist with a desire to be a better person, and that has to count for something.

Along with our gracious Grace-ious host Grace Palmer, I’ll be accompanied by local writers Amy Morse, Chloe Turner and Kate Dunn, with Rosemary Dun, author of The Trouble with Love, headlining. Can’t wait to discover their interpretations of love!

It takes place at The Square Club, 15 Berkeley Square, BS8 1HB Bristol, United Kingdom. You can buy tickets here: http://buytickets.at/novelnights/78222. Hope to see you there!

The Creak of Snow – A short story

Scottish Isle cr Judy DarleyAlmost a year ago, on Wednesday 3rd February 2016, in fact, I submitted my story The Creak of Snow to a special Scottish-themed edition of Literary Orphans.

I was thrilled when just a short time later, I received a merry email informing me my story had been selected for publication. Huzzah!

But then, well, nothing. No updates, no sign of the issue going head. No sign, in fact, that Literary Orphans still existed in the world. I checked the website a few times, and gradually resigned myself to that fact this wasn’t happening.

So imagine my delight this festive period when on 30th December 2016 I received an email from editor Mike Joyce explaining what had happened, apologising profusely, and announcing the publication of today!

The time difference between here and Chicago may confuse things a little, but to read The Creak of Snow, a story of a young Scottish girl coping with a new life in England, go to http://www.literaryorphans.org. Double huzzah!

Writing prompt – journey

Basque country coastal walk by Judy DarleyThe journey has long been a staple of storytelling. You give a character a mission, send them off on their way, stick a few obstacles in their path and see what happens.

In a recent story, The Daughters, I sent two sisters off on a journey I’d taken myself, into the rural reaches of Spain’s Basque Country. The setting gave me a backdrop for two very different women to come to terms with their relationship, while tasking them with solving the riddle of how to reach a particular beach from the clifftops they were walking along.

That area is on the fringe of the Camino de Santiago, making it ideal for a fictional pilgrimage. You can read the story at www.litro.co.uk/2016/12/the-daughters/

Think of a journey you could send your own characters on and how it might change them, however subtly.

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to Judy(at)socket creative.com to let me know. With your permission, I’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Literary Bristol

Judy Darley in Redcliffe CavesBristol Festival of Literature returns from 21- 29th October 2016, with curious, intriguing, inspiring events popping up all over the city. I wrote a feature about it for The Bristol Magazine, and was wowed by the options on offer. Events are already selling out, so get your tickets fast!

Literary Stirrings feature in The Bristol Magazine

You can pick up copies of The Bristol Magazine all over the city, in cafes, hairdressers, estate agents and other businesses.

I’m taking part in a least two events. The first is Writers in the Caves, taking place in Redcliffe Caves from 8-9.30pm on Tuesday 25th Oct. Going Underground: Subterranean Tales is a Bristol Writers and friends event – I’m one of the friends, and very excited to be invited back! Reading in the caves is a really magical event – it’s a wonderfully spooky environment, and I’ve written a ghost story especially for the occasion. The pic at the top of this post (photo taken by Sally Hare) shows me at last year’s event.

The second is A Hint of Crime, the launch of Bristol Fiction Writers’ Group’s section anthology (which I have three tales in). At Foyles Bookshop Bristol (3-5pm, Friday 28th October, free), we’ll be reading stories with “a dark or dishonest undertone” and answering questions about writing and the imagination. I’ll be reading my story The Longhouse, inspired by my travels in Borneo.

There are so many other fabulous literary happenings to choose from too. Want to hear spooky stories in a cemetery? North Bristol Writers have that covered with Tales from the Crypts, (7-9pm, Thurs 20th Oct, £8). Fancy hearing some Egyptian storytelling surrounded by ancient artefacts? Head to Bristol Museum & Art Gallery (3-4pm, Saturday 22nd Oct, free). Keen to celebrate women in writing? Bristol Women’s Literature Festival are hosting a salon where you can share writing by women you admire, or your own at Spike Island’s reading room (6.30-8.30pm, Monday 24 October, free). Up for learning how to source fiction prompts from newspapers? Join journalist and author Emily Koch  at Paper Arts on Thurs October 20th, 10am-12pm (£5). And these are just a few of the rich literary pickings on offer!

Find the full programme and ticketing details at unputdownable.org. Hope to see you at an event or few!

Silvering – a short story

Leaves on lawn by Judy DarleyI’m thrilled that my short story Silvering has been published in volume one, issue four of Wolves Magazine. Bobby, the lovely editor, said some awfully nice things about it. Thanks Bobby! The story follows a man on an emotional journey as his view of the world is utterly changed.

You can read the story here: www.wolvesmagazine.com/#!silvering/t4t5c.

It’s a really beautiful and entertaining issue. Do drop by for a read if you have a moment free. And submit your tales and poems for future issues too – Wolves is one of the few literary publications to actually pay!

A watery big adventure with Bristol Biennial

Bristol waterways cr Judy DarleyBristol Biennial begins today, with a programme of peculiar, beautiful, imaginative and immersive events taking place across the city.

I’m really happy to have been chosen as one of 12 artists taking part in The Floating, a collaborative writing project taking place on the Bristol’s waterways, and set to culminate in a series of works inspired by the boat journey. Excitingly, these will then be published “in an experimental way” along the harbourside where you’ll be able to see them throughout the week of Bristol Biennial.

The project is being masterminded by graphic designers Conway and Young and writer Amy Spencer. It’s the first time I’ve been involved in anything quite like this, and I’m buzzing with anticipation!

The Floating is just one of an array of fabulously inventive happenings, many of which are free to experience. Find out more about Bristol Biennial and The Floating.

 

A short story – Paper Flowers

Mount Isola, Lake Iseo by Judy Darley

My short story Paper Flowers has found a happy home on the beautiful journal The Island Review.

The tale was inspired by a visit to Mount Isola on Lake Iseo in northern Italy, courtesy of the splendid Brescia Tourism. It was the perfect example of how my journalism feeds my fiction feeds my enduring thirst for travel.

My story begins with the following line: “I hand the yellow felt-tip to Chiara, half watching as she adds a few dots of colour to the heart of a paper lily: pollen that will never fall free.”

You can read the full story here: theislandreview.com/content/paper-flowers.

Flying Ant Day – a short story

Ant by Judy Darley

Disclaimer: This is not a flying ant.

Happy to say that my flash fiction tale Flying Ant Day has been published in A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed: 2016 National Flash-Fiction Day Anthology. Wonderful!

A Box of Stars Beneath the BedEven better, my tale is one of just 50 chosen from 500 entries. Woohoo! There are so many excellent writers on the list of those included. Definitely looking forward to reading the contributions from Jude Higgins, Diane Simmons, Jonathan Pinnock, KM Elkes and Jane Roberts.

I’ll be reading my tale as part of the National Flash Fiction Day celebrations in Bristol on Saturday, at At The Well on Cheltenham Road.

To get your copy, go to the Amazon page or visit the NFFD website, where you can also discover all kinds of events happening this National Flash Fiction Day (June 25th, in case you were wondering!).

Dawn Thread – a poem

Happy Summer Solstice! Today began when most of us were still sleeping (at 4.06am, rumour has it) and the air was green and fragrant. Gorgeous.

Nicholas Oakwell red feather dressThis week I’m pleased to share the news that my poem Dawn Thread has been selected for a special Midsummer issue of Enchanted Conversations: A Fairy Tale Magazine. In case you don’t know, Enchanted Conversations is a beautiful online journal of original fairytales, which has regular calls for submissions.

My poem came in a flurry after seeing an exquisite dress embellished by students and tutors at the Royal School of Needlework for designer Nicholas Oakwell (pictured left). The gown was hand sewn all over with more than 200,000 feathers, dyed in 18 shades of red, and made me think of the kind of tasks traditionally given to maidens in fairytales. The profusion of red made me think of the transition from girl to woman, and the feathers drew to mind several fairytales about long men turned into swans, and their sister sewing them shirts to return them to their human forms.

My poetic tale offers a rather different ending, culminating at dawn on the longest day.

Read it here.