I am not going to talk about the war. I am not going to talk about stress and anxiety. I am going to attempt positivity, to spread good karma, better energies, through - of course - beautiful short fiction. And this is very short fiction: the post brought me a jewel this morning, The Binnacle's Firth Annual Ultra-Short Competition edition 2008. This is a literary magazine with a difference: the winners and the finalists in this competition for 150-word short stories and sixteen-line poems are each printed on a small business-card sized card, and the entire pack of 50 or so comes in its own box with a painting (by someone like Rembrandt, I would guess) on the front.
This is a limited edition, mine is number 29 out of 200, and as well as the pack, I received ten copies of my short short story, Thin Ice, which was a finalist in the competition. I was a finalist last year too and I gave out the copies of last year's story to several friends on my birthday. It was a lovely thing to be able to do, and now I have more to give out. This is such a creative and imaginative way of rewarding the winners and finalists, I am just thrilled by it. If you want to receive a beautiful box of short short stories including your own, enter this year's competition, deadline feb 15th.
My virtual book tour is drawing to a close, tomorrow will be the final stop, on Debi Alper's blog. It has been an amazing experience but I am now ready to stop talking about myself and to try and get back to my writing. Of course, this doesn't mean I stop refreshing the Amazon page every hour or checking who has visited The White Road's web site. Of course not! Selling a book requires a lot of work - I almost gave a copy away for free to a friend I bumped into yesterday in a local shop, but luckily she refused and insisted she pay for it. Yes, I need to sell them, I need to accept that. And as I write I just thought of my paternal grandfather, who had his own schmatta (cloth and fabric) business in the East End of London before I was born. Would he have given away his products? I don't think so. I think he would have scolded me for not thinking like a businesswoman. He died when I was seven, I never really knew him, but I like the thought of him watching me now and tutting at my non-commercial behaviour. I'd better try and little harder!
PS For those of you who are interested, my book's out of stock in the UK and the US right now, more being printed as we speak (see here for information about where to buy the book). But the damn clock radio is at No 91 in the Amazon UK Bestselling short story list. It's the strong voice, I think. Very powerful stuff.