I’m delighted to have my short story with a not so short title published by the excellent Spelk Fiction. Not Every Wound Can Heal went live on the stellar flash fiction site this morning. Prompted by a mis-remembered tale of a holy relic glimpsed in Prague church, it rings in at just over 330 words and begins:
A dark artefact hangs from the ceiling of the Baroque church. It resembles a bit of branch, or a stick covered in rags. Our tour guide tells us it’s a mummified arm.
Afterwards Tim and I each remember the story differently. He’s convinced it’s the relic of a saint. I’m sure it’s the limb of a thief who tried to steal jewels from a statue of the Virgin Mary, and that she came to life and twisted his arm entirely off.
Perhaps it’s not an arm at all.
I can’t get it out of my head.
Read the full story Not Every Wound Can Heal here.
I’m excited to be sharing one of my stories at Salon Soirées’ mirror-themed evening on Tuesday 11th September. This cosy literary event takes place at the gorgeous Bloom & Curll Bookshop, 74 Colston Street, Bristol.
I’ll be reading my story Farewell Gifts, which was inspired by artist Gilly Mound’s painting Little House, pictured below. I wrote the story just after moving to a new home, and with love and loss on my mind. If you come along and listen to the story, I think you’ll understand what I mean.
Little House by Gilly Mound
Tickets are free, but limited, so book yours here. Doors open to the audience from 6:30pm for a 7pm start. Organiser Julia says: “Listenings will take roughly 2 hours, with a short interval between, and a chance thereafter to mingle, indulge in a delectable tipple, and find yourself a book treasure – please bring cash!”
As summer edges into autumn, I find that literary events become ever more enticing. Find out more about the Salon Soirées series here:
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Eventbrite | https://salonsoirees.eventbrite.com
This beauty arrive last week, brimming with noisy poems and tales all fit to stop you in your tracks for a moment (or far longer, if you’re not careful). I’m thrilled to have my surreal flash fiction Underwire included in issue 67 (Winter/Spring 2018) of Tears In The Fence.
The issue boasts a spine and 184 pages, making it a journal, if not a full-blown anthology, rather than a magazine.
You can buy back issues of Tears In The Fence or subscribe here.
Here’s a sneak preview of my tale:
Underwire by Judy Darley
The pebbles of the beach are cold lumps beneath my soles. A January wind whistles in from the sea, but I ignore the goosebumps sprigging my flesh and with effort I think the core of me into heat. That’s a trick, imagining a small inferno lit at the centre of my gut, flames licking the ropes of intestines and keeping me warm.
That’s how it begins, and the image below is where it ends, but you’ll have to get your hands on a copy of the issue to find out what happens in between.
My very short dystopian tale Flamingos and Ham has been published by Ellipsis Zine Two. It offers a glimpse of a future that a certain D. Trump esquire would undoubtedly heartily approve of, and was inspired in part by 2017’s heartfelt Women’s Marches and the Pussyhat’s that provided a vivid flash of pink to the ensembles.
You’ll need to buy the magazine to read the story in full (or wait for my next short story collection to come out in 2019 – squeee!). Here’s a sneaky taster:
Flamingos and Ham by Judy Darley
I was 12 when the ruling came in, banning certain words, colours, and clothing. It seemed farcical at first. My mum and dad laughed in disbelief as they watched the news.
“How can they outlaw pink?” Dad hooted. “What about flamingos and… and, ham?!”
Mum grimaced. “How can they forbid hats, and wool? What are they afraid of?”
Neither mentioned the words considered inflammatory. I think they understood even then that to utter them aloud could be dangerous.
Buy Ellipsis Zine Two.
My short story The Edge of the Sand is the featured tale in issue 9, the March issue, of In The Moment magazine. It’s in shops now.
Turn to the centre of the any issue and you’ll find the cute mini-mag, inviting you to “take a moment”, with a recipe, a crossword and a short story. What a fab idea!
Their strapline for my tale reads: “Arianne finds a way to help her mother overcome her fears in this moving story by Judy Darley.”
What a great introduction. Ta very much!
It’s a beautiful magazine to have my words take up home in, and they pay a decent amount too, which is refreshing. In issue 10 they’re publishing a travel piece I’ve written for them about visiting the Azores. Can’t wait to see how it look on the page.
And, yes, I have used this photo previously to illustrate a post about my tale Adrift. It’s curious how many of my stories happen within earshot of the sea!
My story Garden Shed has been published by the excellent New Flash Fiction magazine. It’s a deeply personal piece reporting almost verbatim from a dream about my father, who has Alzheimer’s Disease. I woke reeling with the discovery that all this time the man we’ve lost has been out there, safe in the shed, while the poor soul he’s become ambles through an increasingly confusing world.
The picture to the left captures him ice-skating one Christmas, just as he was beginning to blur.
You can read my story here: http://newflashfiction.com/judy-darley/
Just 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.
I’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!
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.
I admit, I have a curious fondness for pigeons. Something about their dauntlessness as they crowd the city streets, pecking for crumbs and dodging vehicles impresses me, possibly more than it should. So when I saw a call for poetry submissions about these generally unbeloved birds, I had just the poem in mind.
Happily, my poem Crusty was accepted for publication and now roosts in the poetry anthology Poeming Pigeons along with many feathered friends. It’s available from The Poetry Box, but you can read it here.
Crusty by Judy Darley
We’ve reached an understanding, he and I
sharing the same street corner
ignored by the same passersby.
His stained blanket mirrors my ragged wings
We both limp from hunger and on twisted limbs.
His fractured, fractious stories echo my plaintive call
His rheumy eyes, filth-clouded, reflect my skies, dismal.
We’ve both experienced the same fall from grace,
existing on life’s edges in this wretched place.
He raids the bins, eats what he can, and what he can’t he passes on.
When night crowds in, I rise to roost
watching over him till dawn.