Alan Beard's site

Stories and information

NEWS:

19.5.17: Another new flash 'Ladybird' was published today on Reflex Fiction.

20.5.17: New flash 'Spy Film' published in 'Here Comes Everyone' the Toys and Games issue.

23.3.17: my flash was published in the fantastic 'Funny Bone: Flashing for Comic Relief'. See goodreads review here.

2.11.16: new flash 'November' up at Spelk Fiction.

24.6.16: had some good news on this horrible day:

Many thanks for your recent submission to FlashFlood the National Flash-Fiction Day journal. We’re pleased to say that we enjoyed your story and would like to publish it. It will appear on the journal blog, http://flashfloodjournal.blogspot.co.uk/ at around 11.50 (BST) on 25th June 2016.

Please do tell people about your success and encourage them to read the journal once it goes live. Stories will be posted all day throughout National... Flash-Fiction Day.

Thank you for taking part.
All the best
The FlashFlood Editors.

27.5.16:  My story 'Cheer Up Lucky Lips Forever' from Taking Doreen out of the Sky will be broadcast on Brum Radio on Tuesday 31st May at 10:30 pm  and repeated the following Sunday (5th June) at noon. 

23.11.15: A good week, a further flash - You at the Park - accepted. Quite surprised, as you will see in this email trail:  

Dear Alan, 

Thank you again for your flash, which we’ve read, thoroughly enjoyed, and would like to accept for Funny Bone: Flashing for Comic Relief.....

Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine   http://www.chester.ac.uk/flash.magazine

Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press  http://www.chester.ac.uk/flash.fiction/press

From: Alan Beard [mailto:Alan.Beard@bcu.ac.ukSent: 28 September 2015 11:40 To: flashmagazine Subject: RE: Any Chance of a Flash, Please?

Hi Ash and Peter,

I don’t really have any light hearted stuff. This story does have the word ‘funny’ in it , but it’s not funny at all, and probably won’t fit..

Alan

From: flashmagazine [mailto:flash.magazine@chester.ac.ukSent: 25 September 2015 20:13 To: Alan Beard Cc: flashmagazine Subject: Any Chance of a Flash, Please?

Dear Flash-Fictioner,

We are going to edit an anthology of new flashes by many of the world’s best flashers and would very much like you to contribute a story. Funny Bone will be sold in aid of Comic Relief: www.comicrelief.com/

Your flash must be previously unpublished (including online); it should be amusing/light-hearted/wry/satirical/fun/etc. (basically, just not gloomy/morose/depressing; black humour is fine); and it must be no more than 360 words (including the title)..... 


20.11.15: Another flash - Ice Cream - accepted: Hello Alan - welcome to Spelk! I really enjoyed that, and have marked it down for February 15. I'll promote the story nearer the time, but pls feel free to spread the word in the meantime. Can you let me know if you're on Facebook or Twitter, and I'll tag you.

https://www.facebook.com/GaryJohnDuncan

https://www.facebook.com/spelkfiction
@SpelkFiction


10.12.14: A reading last night in Wolverhampton with fellow TSFGers Brian Goodwin and Natalie White went well. Sold one book!


28.3.14: Another nice email this morning:

 Dear Alan,Thank you for sending us your flash fictions. We're delighted to say that we'd love to include "thought he was god" in our inaugural issue. We received a large number of submissions and this story - for us - particularly stood out, leaving a chill on the skin, an uneasiness. 

from 'Hark' magazine. 


25.3.14:  Nice email this morning:  

Hi Alan,Just to let you know that your piece from Oblong III is now being featured on the website (I'm sorry it has taken so long – we had a bit of a backlog!): http://oblongmagazine.com/2014/03/26/one-sunday-at-the-beginning/


13.2.14: it has been brought to my attention that today's Metro has a review of The The Sea in Birmingham which mentions my story. It doesn't appear on their e-version, but someone at work had a copy, and I have been trying to scan and post - see below - but as it's difficult to read I'll type it out:

Today's Read: TSiB.. What was originally a community-based writing group has proved the strength of regional fiction by having its members' works bought by major publishers and listed for heavyweight prizes. This celebration of three decades of stories amply demonstrates what has contributed to the Tindal Street Fiction Group's success. Although there are moments when 'community' and 'writing' coalesce in a worthy, wordy way, and a bit too much defiantly downbeat grot, there are standout stories. The psychedelic transcendence of Alan Beard's after-hours romance and the surreal poignancy of Julia Bell's sharply observed culture clash tale are two gems. Tina Jackson.


6.2.14: Gig tonight @ the Library of Birmingham 6pm. I will be reading along with Fiona Joseph and Gaynor Arnold, all contributors to 'The Sea in Birmingham'. Details here:  http://www.libraryofbirmingham.com/event/Events/theseainbirmingham .


9.12.13: Joel Lane, my great friend and writer (a fellow member of Tindal Street Fiction Group) has died in his sleep. Terrible news. I have written about him - and so have other members -on the Tindal Street Fiction Group website.


21/11/13 - Gig tommorow (Friday 22nd November 2013) in Leamington. Details here. Update: was a good night. Intimate little venue, which includes a sound studio. hard to find though! Sold two books. 


7/10/13 - New story 'Two Parties' featured in 'The Sea in Birmingham', an anthology of stories celebrating thirty years of Tindal Street Fiction Group, launched at the Library of Birmingham on Oct 12th


7/10/13 - had another flash 'Old Men Complaining' accepted by Litro magazine online. It will be one of their Friday Flashes. Update Nov: it has been published here.


24/7/13 - have had a flash 'One Sunday at the Beginning'  accepted by Oblong Magazine, a new British online and print effort based in Brixton. Coming out in Sept..http://oblongmagazine.com/ . Update Oct 7th - story has come out in the print magazine, but not online (yet?).


18/7/13 - got a 'gig' coming up on the 15th August 7:30pm @ Gino's in the Jewellery Quarter (in Brum):

http://www.meetup.com/JQBookwormers/events/102132062/


19/4/13 - My flash fiction 'All Light' has won a 'Highly Commended' spot in the National Flash Fiction Day competition. You can read it here, should you wish to.


13/2/13 - My first collection 'Taking Doreen out of the Sky is now available on Kindle.


26/11/12 - just found a nice little review of 'You Don't have to Say' on a website called 'Opening the Book'. It's short enough to quote in full: 

Funny, bleak, down-to-earth stories. There are some beautifully described moments in these tales which really make you see ordinary everyday things almost for the first time. But don’t try to read this book straight through – these are stories to be savoured one at a time.

They also had a chart of the book's characteristics (eg more sad than happy, more disturbing than safe, but was pleased to see more beautiful than disgusting):

29/8/12 - I am appearing at the Warwick Words Festival on October 2nd 2012. I am running a workshop in the afternoon, 2pm start, at the Sozzled Sausage, Regent Street, Leamington on How to Write Short Stories. Then in the evening I am part of a panel that includes two other members of Tindal Street Fiction Group on 'How to Get Published' . Starts at 7:30pm in Waterstones, Leamington. Also appearing: Mez Packer author of two novels (Among Thieves and The Game is Altered), and Luke Brown, editor of Tindal Street Press.

The next day, October 3rd I am reading at the Wellington Literary Festival. at 7:30pm in the library.

(8/10/12- update: have done the events and had a very good time. 5 attended the workshop in Leamington and we all enjoyed it - I hope! The session in Waterstones was well attended, and the one at Wellington had about 30 in attendance. A very receptive audience who asked many pertinent questions and bought several books from me. I reckon I sold 6 over the two days which doubled my annual sales, probably. Right is a photo from the Wellington event.)

 

 

28/8/12 - just found out that a story of mine'Background Noise' has been successfully adapted into a twelve minute short film 'Between Two Thieves', directed and adapted by Jordan Barnett, starring Maggie Miklus as the main character. It's set in San Diego - a very different setting than Birmingham UK! I haven't seen the film yet but it got a good review (there is also an interview with the director who mentions me and says he has changed it to fit his concept). I'm intrigued. I'll put a link to the film proper when it is available. The film's logo:

24/4/12 - I attended a World Book Night event at Solihull Library last night, and introduced five Tindal Street authors (Gaynor Arnold, Fiona Joseph, Mez Packer, Sibyl Ruth, and Amanda Smyth) and Andy Killeen, another Birmingham author. A very well attended night, over 60 people and the theme was 'our favourite books', which for TSFGers included The Bible, David Copperfield, The Oxford Dictionary, and Raymond Carver's Where I'm Calling From. Picture of me introduding the writers right (Gaynor & Sibyl sat looking towards the camera).


12/3/12 - lovely review of 'You Don't Have to Say' in 'Under the Radar' (a magazine from Nine Arches Press, based in the East Midlands). Not available online, I will type up for my reviews section. Was reviewed alongside fellow Tindal Street writer Gaynor Arnold. Oh, and I had a review put up on amazon.com (the USA one) by Rene Ghosh who commented on the guest book after reading one of my stories on East of the Web, and has gone on to buy the book. Nice when that happens.


3/1/12 - the only day I didn't buy a Guardian last week there was a mention of me! Luckily a friend pointed it out: just a name check really in a list of best stories of the year, but very nice to be mentioned at all.


31/10/11 - an interview I did with Carl Sealeaf has just been published in SL Magazine, a publication 'produced especially for young people in Solihull and the surrounding area.' You can read it at http://slmagazine.org/#/magazine/4550073795


17/10/11 - enjoyed my weekend at Lancaster where I read as part of the Lifest's 'Great Short Fiction' day. I was looked after very well, and it was a pleasure to read to such an attentive audience and meet some fellow writers, like Ann Donovan, Rachel Trezise and Simon Robson and hear Polly Samson and Deborah Kaye Davies read. I learned that the Lancaster litfest is one of the oldest, having started in 1978. The place was great too - very lively, all the pubs (and there were lots) were full to capacity. Would definitely go back there. This is the logo for this year's festival:

 

9/9/11 - four of my goodreads reviews have been put up on The Writer's Hub. They are for my favourite short story collections I've read this year (so far): Alan Heathcock's Volt; Lindsay Hunter's Daddy's; James Kelman's If it is Your Life; Joel Lane's The Terrible Changes. It actually says five of my favourite collections, but no, there are only four.

 

5/9/11 - I have been invited to read at the Lancaster Literary Festival on Oct 15th 2011, as part of a 'Great Short Fiction' day. I have been paired with Welsh author Rachel Trezise, who I haven't read yet, but just ordered her book of stories 'Fresh Apples' from amazon and her novel 'Sixteen Shades of Crazy' from the library. Other short story authors appearing on the day are Polly Samson, Deborah Kay Davies, Sue Gee, Simon Robson, Ann Donovan and Graham Mort (whose book 'Touch' I read recently).

 

30/6/11 - Lovely review of 'You Don't Have to Say' just come out in Short Review, along with an interview with me. Brilliant little webzine, so happy to be featured there.

 

27/6/11 Flash: The International Short Short Story Magazine Vol 4 (1) has come out (due in April but only just been published) with my story 'I Liked Her' in it. Nice mag. This one includes writers such as Etger Keret, William Wall, Lydia Davies (mind you that accompanies a scathing review of her collected stories!). I will put a pic of the cover up soon...here it is:

 

17/6/11Joel's launch (see below) went very well (details on the TSFG page). It was great to meet the people behind Nine Arches Press who mainly publish poetry but are branching out into short stories. They also produce a magazine 'Under the Radar', and I was told last night that the next issue will include a review of 'You Don't have to Say'. Hopefully a good one... have to wait and see.

 

16/5/11 - I will be reading stories as a 'special guest' at Joel Lane's book launch on June 16th at 7:30-9pm at Priory Rooms (central Quaker Hall) in Birmingham, main hall (B4 6AF: map). More news later... meanwhile poster for the event is below (although this is a draft poster and may change).

 

4/5/11 - Best British Short Stories 2011 is out. It's in my hand (I'm typing with the other). My story 'Staff Development' sits right in the middle. Very proud. Already had a review which mentions my story. I think I will add a page for reviews under my second collection pages. Also discovered that a story of mine 'The Heebie Jeebies' has been published on the Dublin Quarterly site. That's odd, because I never had an acceptance from them. I sent it to them in March 2009, and then East of the Web expressed an interest so I sent an email withdrawing it in Sept 09. Never heard a thing either way, so let EoW have it. Now it's on two sites. I've told DQ, let's wait and see what happens. 

 

 

28/4/11 - The reading at Solihull went well, about 20 showed up and we (Gaynor and I) sold a few copies and had a lively discussion about short story writing, the group and publishing. Found out recently I had my first amazon review (at last!) - and it's quite good. Also another review on the web has appeared (partly to do with the Edge Hill prize longlist, see below).

 

30/3/11 - 'You Don't Have to Say' has been longlisted for the Edge Hill prize. Chuffed. Up against some formidable opposition though, including James Kelman, Helen Simpson, Magnus Mills, Polly Samson.. my fingers and toes are crossed. Can't write or walk. (May update: didn't make the final cut, the 5 book shortlist: Simpson, Samson, Michele Roberts, Tom Vowler and Graham Mort did. Congratulations to them). August update: Congrats to Graham Mort who won the award.

 

24/3/11 - Gaynor and I are doing a reading at Solihull Library on Monday, April 18th 2011 to promote our recently released short story collections and to celebrate my story getting into Best British Short Stories 2011 (see below). The poster for the event is on this page.

 

14/3/11 proofs came today for the Best British Short Stories 2011. I can read the stories before they come out! Very proud to be in the book along with a bunch of fine writers (Christopher Burns, Dai Vaughan, Adam Marek, Michel Roberts, Salley Vickers, Robert Edric among them and two stories from Hilary Mantel!). More info: http://www.saltpublishing.com/books/anth/9781907773129.htm

 

5/1/11 the review mentioned below from Carol Birch has come out in the Independent.

 

20/12/10 heard today that my story 'The Broken Areas' is up on Wufniks , and that I have had another story 'I Liked Her' accepted by Flash: An International Short Short Story Magazine. 'Flash' looks like a good mag, the issue I saw had Margaret Atwood pieces and Bernard McLaverty as well as many new names. I'm pleased to be in it. 'I Liked Her' is a 203 word piece. The other news I've had recently is author Carol Birch getting in touch with my publishers to say that she was commissioned to review 'You Don't Have to Say' by the Times Literary Supplement, but for reasons unknown they have decided not to run her review. She sent it to Tindal St Press and they have sent it on to me. It's a terrific review and Carol has said that I can use it on my website if I want, so I will...I'll put it up some time today. 22.12.10: have taken it off again because Carol has told me the Independent have taken it and a shortened version will appear in the new year. 20.1.11: have put it back up again so readers can compare and contrast.

 

 

19/11/10 just heard that Staff Development, a story of mine published in Warwick Review in June this year has been selected for 'Best British Stories 2011', edited by Nicholas Royle and coming out in April 2011 from Salt Press. Very happy. The lovely cover is to the right:

 

11/11/10 had a flash fiction accepted by Wufniks - based in Manchester UK I think, but pointed out to me by an American friend. Story called 'The Broken Areas' (previously 'The Silver Lift'), and is around 300 words long.

 

6/11/10 have a reading at RADA, London on November 15th, as part of the WritLOUD programme of events organised by Birkbeck Uni.  Here's a link with further details: http://www.writershub.co.uk/writloud.php Also had a review in the Guardian today. Always wanted one, as it's the paper I read, but they ignored my last collection and the book I edited so nice to have one at last even if it's a bit mixed. Strange how 'Little Chef' is praised again and yet I could not get it published in a magazine/website and even had my worst comments, eg from flashquake:  I couldn't sympathize with any of the characters and the final line seemed a little too pat for the story, as if the whole story had been written just to deliver that one line. Ah well.

 

4/10/10  still recovering from my launch last week at the Ikon Gallery. Over 100 people attended, including all my immediate family (apart from my stepmother), my old English lecturer from Bath, and most of the writers' group. We sold over 50 copies, lovely atmosphere, beautiful (& erotic) Japanese prints on the walls, and the readings and Q & A seemed to go well. The after launch in the Prince of Wales was a laugh too, we were serenaded by the opera bloke off X Factor and other - rather good - bands and musicians and singers.  I got thoroughly pissed. 

 

27/9/10 two reviews of 'You Don't have to Say' have come out, one from Beyond Magazine, and one in the Times. Both good - read them here.

17/7/10  'Staff Development' is out. Part of a feature on Tindal Street Press in Warwick review, with an article about 'Finding a National Audience for Regional Writers', and a story from fellow TSFGer Gaynor Arnold, and an extract from 'The Old Spring', a novel byRichard Francis recently published by TSP.

16/6/10 'Staff Development' (previously called 'Separate Things') has been accepted by Warwick Review and will appear in their next issue.

13/10/09 on a streak! My story 'The Ditch' has been accepted by Tonto Books for an anthology coming out sometime. Entry was by competition - the winners are listed here: http://www.tontobooks.co.uk/blog/even-more-tonto-short-stories-the-results/  and here's the cover:

Also today I saw that my stories are out on East of the Web (see entry on 14/9/09 below). I have my own page.

18/9/09: Following the acceptance of two stories for East of the Web (see entry below) I was asked if I'd like to enter a story for the Wordia site which sometimes runs interactive flash fiction, based around words that link to other stories. I had one that almost fitted the bill, I had to add a couple of sentences to make an exact fit, and found out today it was up and running already! (I only entered last week). I think this link will get you to it, or at least to some of the other stories in the cycle.. http://www.eastoftheweb.com/interactive/index.php?p=ht_wordia/part/wound/13

14/9/09: Two of my stories 'Background Noise' and 'The Heebie-Jeebies' have been accepted for publication on the 'East of the Web' site. I'm pleased because i know the site gets a lot of hits (half a million a month) and there are always a lot of comments on each story. Also the site gives each individual author their own page with biog and contact details (eg a link to this site so may pick up more hits) and other stories. Happy days are here again. Link to the site:  http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/fictionindex.html

They both have illustrations to go with the stories (links underneath pictures):

                                                        

http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/Heeb753.shtml    http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/BackNois754.shtml

12/6/09: Another acceptance of a 'flash fiction' (this one's 300 odd words long). Called 'The Man Who Stole Everything' it will appear in the next issue of 'Falling Star', a magazine based in Los Angeles. The editor Matt McGee said:

Alan,       Thank you for allowing us some extra time in considering your work for Falling Star Magazine. After much debate, we're pleased to inform you that your work "The Man Who Stole Everything" will appear in the coming issue of Falling Star....

http://www.fallingstarmagazine.com/home

Apparently I will be paid for it too.

10/2/09: A hit, a palpable hit! My story 'The North Room', turned down on many occasions will finally be published. I sent it, along with other 'flash' pieces to the Buffalocarp competition and got this email today:

Hello Alan, I am writing to inform you that your story, "The North Room", has been named an Honorable Mention in the Buffalo Carp Flash Fiction Contest and will be published Vol. 6, due out March 20, 2009.

Funny I only sent it as a make-weight to the main piece, I had given up on it...

19/1/09:Received a copy of The New Writer with my story 'Backing Up' published therein (see entry below on 10/3/08). First time in a while since my work has actually been in print (rather than online) - the last one was 'The Party' in the 'Tell Tales 3' anthology. I'm also rich - a cheque for twenty quid came with it.

29/7/08: Normally this page is about my good news but want to direct any visitors to news about Gaynor Arnold, fellow group member, who has made it on to the Booker longlist. You'll find more here. 

12/6/08: My second collection has been accepted for publication by Tindal Street Press. I am very happy. TSP are an excellent publisher - their books are always well done in terms of quality, with intriguing covers, nice size fonts etc and they have been building a great reputation with the titles that have reached the Booker short and long list, Orange prize winners, Betty Trask awards etc, and have shown a commitment to the short story that is lacking elswhere. I'm proud to (re)join the roster which includes fab writers such as Clare Morral, Catherine O'Flynn, Anthony Cartwright, Jackie Gay, Gul Davis, Mick Scully, Gaynor Arnold, EA Markham etc etc.

It won't hit the shops until April 2011, as they are full next year. I submitted a mixed bag of long and short short (flash) pieces, but the latter didn't make a good fit with the longer ones and I agreed to take them out. I think I'll try for a third collection of shorter pieces, as they hang together better on their own (I think). Anyway pleased isn't the word for it, maybe ecstatic is.

I've known for a few weeks but wasn't supposed to tell anyone until the contract was signed - and now it is.

More news on the book's progress will be posted here for those interested. (I have updated this entry on July 8th 2009).

10/3/2008: Hooray again! My story 'Backing Up' was placed in the top ten of the 'New Writer' 2007 Short Story competition. Unfortunately not in the top three (which would have meant proper money) but a nice crit:

 There's some fantastic writing going on in this story, in an almost stream-of-consciousness form; and I love the title which works on many levels. A great sense of humour offsets any darker aspects of the subject matter. The material could have perhaps been better organised and more zealously edited, but I have to applaud the boldness of expression.

Thanks. And the story will be published in a future issue of 'The New Writer' so I'm happy again (see below) - what's great about this and the story below being accepted is that people will actually read it (apart from TSFG and my wife).

Also this week the newsletter from the great Short Review arrived in my inbox. This website reviews 10 or so short story collections (either single author or anthologies) once a quarter and this one includes two I already know and love, Tim Winton's The Turning (an exquisite set of stories, great writing and very affecting - try Aquifer as an example) and from the 80s Jayne Ann Phillips's brilliant Black Tickets, but also gave me three or four titles that are going straight on my amazon wish list. Also on Short Review is a wonderful blog about the experience of reading short stories and the hunt for the beautiful, the stunning, the intriguing or the quietly moving. Someone else who lives in short story world.

While we're on the subject of great websites try Laura Hird's, this has hundreds of stories, reviews, summaries of lit mags etc etc. - a huge roster of writers to explore and enjoy. Warning - it's difficult to leave once you're in.

Anyway it's been a great week - wish every one was like it. 

5/3/2008: Hooray!! An acceptance for a 6000 word story that has been doing the rounds since 2003. 'Mustard' will feature on the newly revived Sunk Island Review site, edited by Michael Blackburn. I had two stories in the print version which was around in the 90s. First story to be accepted (apart from the flashshots below) for two years.I'm happy. Link to follow. 

Here it is:  http://sunkislandreview.blogspot.com/2008/03/mustard-short-story-by-alan-beard.html   

21/12/2007:  Found a link to another story of mine: 'The Lookout'. It was first published in 1999 in frieze magazine (Issue 47, June-August 1999) - a commission to write a story to accompany artwork by David Thorpe (for an example see stories page - near bottom) - but it has just now come online at this link.

1/10/2007: Yet another Flashshot taken - 'Yesterday', which will come out on 28th January 2008, but also one turned down from 'Flash-Me'. Thinking of doing an almost-blog of rejections... maybe...have done here

19/9/07: Another Flashshot story 'Honey' taken. It will appear on 13th February 2008. 

27/3/07: Yet another story (my third and last as only three allowed per session) 'The Badness' has been taken by Flashshot, and will be published on September 4th, 2007. See below for details of Flashshot.

15/3/07: Have had another story - 'Televison Girl' - accepted by Flashshot. Date - September 15th, 2007. See next item for details of Flashshot.

9/2/07: just had a story - 'Please Affix' - accepted by Flashshot. They do stories under 100 words emailed every day (free) to subscribers. You can subscribe here. It will be coming out on August 3rd 2007.