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Right. The website update happened. My eyes are too much burned by monitors to spend much time in floridly typing, but the news I was waiting to inform you of was that The Final Theory & Other Stories: The Leaf Books Short Short Story Anthology 2006 is back from the printers and up for sale. Here:

It costs £6.99, or you can buy it in a bundle with Razzamatazz (the poetry anthology) for £12 the pair. It's great. There is nothing else to be said.

The rain is very sideways and I don't much want to walk into it. Matt and I lack cars and have to do feet, and then trains, and then feet again. And the rain is sideways. Pity us slightly.



There was an expression of concern for my welfare in the comments of the underneathmost post, which is really very gratifying. I do notice that there has been essentially nowt in the way of posting for a week. A primary reason is that I can't tell you about Something until an update relating to Something has been made on the website. A secondary reason is that I was actually going to post earlier in the week but then the databasing took an entire day and I couldn't. The very good news is that databasing is being excitedly rotated between the four of us so I shouldn't have to do it more than once a week (plus one extra day per month, presumably, thinking about it mathematically, like), which actually quite thrills me. I'll be much happier not getting a wage for not-databasing.

What I would say if I was posting is [censored due to Something] and also that we really truly are judging the Summer Short Story competition AS WE SPEAK, and also the two themed ones. We are quite busyish really with the judging. Also, because it's not as though two alsos per paragraph be sufficient, we had an interesting notion about the Summer Short Story competition. T'original plan was to make a flip book (as in Tea Dance at the Waldorf/Sex with Leonard Cohen - and greetings to the people at the Leonard Cohen fansite who've paid visits to our own site on occasion) out of the two winning entries. But what we've found is that there are significantly more than two entries we consider publishable, and we'd frankly quite like to publish them. So we're wanting to do a short story anthology, basically, with a winner and a runner up and then a small fleet of commended stories, and we think it'll be quite great. What do YOU think?

Plus I had my, ooh, what, two dozenth rejection from a short story magazine this morning (resubmitted this afternoon with no further editing - plucky or nonsensical?), so I'm well up for the idea of reducing notifications of rejections.

I wonder if we shall have Christmas decorations in the office.



The keenly-eyed and beady-fingered (?) of you might well have noticed the posh banner we've got occurring in the sidebar over there ---->

Well, that's been made to facilitate the new media world that is blogging, myspace, livejournals, the lot. Believe me I'm quite the turbo geek so it's of no surprise to me that these things work. Essentially it gives us a 'click-through', that is, that someone clicks it and flies through to the Leaf website whereupon they fall over, marvelling at how brilliant our books are.

I meant to say something earlier but by all means please take one for your own blog, myspace, livejournal or even website. I know writers are more keen on having official websites than scrawly blogs but there we are. If you don't know how to embed one then don't hesitate to email us -- I'll say something nice to you with instruction. Otherwise you can email and request that you very much want to use the code, and with forthright politeness I'll send you it at once.

After that you can place it in your HTML editor, or your 'edit profile' page, or any place really that might happily support a spot of pan-internet sorcery.

Our appreciation is -- and always will be -- legion.


PS: I sourced out my own safety-pin thank you. And elsewhere my eyes are behaving wrongly and are resolutely hurting my upper-face. And... and and and... if you're doing the National Novel Writing Month... well. You understand precisely what I mean, and good luck to you. I'm 8,000 words behind schedule myself.


What I'm doing right now is primarily passing time until the printer on the desk behind me ceases to be in use by people who are not me. It's fairly frustrating. Not that I'm begrudging the other printer-user. Well, I am slightly, but I'm aware that my begrudgement is unreasonable and somewhat mean, so mostly that makes it all right. It's sort of intermittently in use. The printer. I keep thinking the coast's more or less clear for me to get cracking on the sizeable-ish printing job I have to do, then it whirrs again into action - as it did just then - and I have to pretend I was just wheeling my spinny chair in its direction for the sheer bally joy of the thing. Oh woe.

Also we're slightly out of envelopes. And we badly need brown paper. The brown paper acquiring mission was set for last Friday, but it sadly failed when the designated vehicle broke down and stranded the operator, who is even now housebound and socially isolated and having to order food over the internet. Goodness knows how people without cars manage to do ANYTHING AT ALL. Possibly that was slightly low. I apologise. I genuinely feel sorry for people whose legs and train timetables have been eaten tragically away by their cars.

On the plus side, the sun has somewhat come out. But the printer is only deceptively silent.



The song that contains the following words is possibly my favourite song in the whole world:

#I once had a whim and I had to obey it to buy a French horn in a second hand shop;
I polished it up and I started to play it in spite of the neighbours who begged me to stop.

Except really the diddlies are Donald Swann on the piano.

Hello there.

#To sound my horn, I had to develop my embouchure.
I found my horn was a bit of a devil to play DIDDLE-UM-DIDDY-DUM....

You'll possible be wanting some news.

News. Yes.

Oh right. Now, listen to this bit. Don't get distracted by comical song lyrics because it's actually kind of important.

The DEADLINE for the OPEN POETRY COMPETITION is being EXTENDED by ONE MONTH, so it now closes on 31st JANUARY. We've had a little bit of understandable flak in the past for extending the deadline on the Writing for Children competition, which upset some people who'd rushed to make the earlier deadline, and we do apologise profusely if anyone feels similarly pillocksed about on this occasion, but we're primarily doing it because we don't think it's really on to expect people to rush to finish their poems over Christmas. We hope very much that you approve. There.

#WHO. SWIPED. THAT. HORN? I'll bet you a quid somebody did, knowing
I'd found a concerto and wanted to play it, afraid of my talent at playing the horn,
For early today, to my utter dismay, it had vanished away like the dew in the morn.
De-dum-diddy-dum-diddy-dum-diddy-dum-diddy etc.

Otherwise our news is fairly low key, if not mildly tragic in a sort of mundane and essentially privileged fashion. Primarily we had a brief stationary crisis in the office yesterday, wherein we found ourselves quite horribly deprived of both A4 paper, clean and scrap, and sellotape. But we're over it now, and my back hurts a little, because I've spent a good forty minutes of the day bearing the ream of paper across country in my rucksack, in the most dreadful rain, and my umbrella has rusted into several fairly pointless sticks wrapped in soggy cloths, but what of it? We can print words off the computer screen, and then we can tape them to things. We ask little more from life.

Tomorrow we're having another meeting in the pub. This is mostly why our office is possibly just a little bit happier than yours.

#I miss its music more and more and more. Without that horn... I'm feeling sad and so for-lor-ooooooooooooooooooorn....

And if anyone knows where my French horn is, please to be letting me know in comments.


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