Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge

18 Oct

At the start of the year I started the Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge where I had to read a book either with the author or title from every letter of the alphabet. Half way through Oct and I have read 24 books but still have 9 letters to go (Q,U,X,Y,Z – not surprisingly, but also F,G,K and L). I think I need to be a little more strategic in my reading (or give up). Mmm, what to read next?

While I chose my next book, I can browse through Southlight, a magazine from the southwest of Scotland. I have a short story ‘Oh’ in it, which did the rounds of a few magazines before I added another section at the end (from the second character’s point of view) and managed to get it published.

I am also waiting for a couple of anthologies to arrive with my work in them, but more of that when it happens.

Picture of the front cover of Southlight 30
Southlight 30 – Magazine of Poetry, Prose, Interview and Illustration


16 Aug

I can’t tell you how delighted I am to be in Popshot Quarterly – my flash fiction is beautifully illustrated by Andrea Iris who has managed to get all of the elements of my story into her picture – a wallet, a watch and some keys.

Popshot Quarterly Autumn 2021

Gifts for Him

8 Aug

My second flash fiction for the Friday Flash Fiction Edinburgh Festival competition is now online at Friday Flash Fiction. It is called Gifts for Him posted on the 7th of August. There is a companion piece called Gifts for Her, posted on the 6th of August.

It would be great if you could add a wee comment below the stories letting me know what you think.

Gifts for Her

7 Aug

You can read my flash fiction Gifts for Her at Friday Flash Fiction If you are scrolling through, it is dated the 06/08/21. As ever, if you like it, it would be great if you could leave a comment on the website and if you like it ‘like’ it. If you are feeling generous, you could do a wee retweet or @colettecoen

I have just submitted the companion piece – Gifts for Him – hopefully they post that one too.

Twenty Five

14 Jun

You can read my response to the Scottish Book Trust’s call-out for Celebration themed writing at

Take a Deep Breath

10 Jun

The tag line of this blog is that is about writing and the creative process. Well, I am feeling very Zen at the moment and having had a birthday last week, it’s time again for a re-focusing. Those of you who have followed me for a while will know that life can be a struggle and that my creative time is nibbled away with a whole range of things – from the need to make money, to care commitments or the self-destructive need to sit and do nothing for a while.

But, I am feeling charged up thanks to two books and a YouTube video. First, the video – I have suffered from insomnia all of my life and up until now I have used the hours before sleep to tell myself stories and to let my mind go to a million places (some of them useful, others, not so much). But none of this was good for my mental, emotional or physical health. On a particularly rough day, my husband passed on a recommendation for Yoga Nidra for sleep. I have listened to the video a few times but can now use its techniques and fall to sleep really quickly without it. The fact that I am sleeping better has made me a lot calmer (albeit I have only been using this technique for a few weeks) and I feel as though I can concentrate better rather than my head spinning in different directions, with nothing getting done.

Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library was one of the books that has given me pause for reflection too. If you don’t know the book, a woman is allowed to experience all of the lives she could have lived if she had made different choices. Wow – mind blown. A great mix of philosophy, engaging characters and realism.

The second book, I am only half way through, but again, my mind is a bit blown. Will Storr’s The Science of Storytelling is easily the best book I have read about writing. That’s not to say that it is highly technical or explains the process or gives you great story beats. Instead it links in with the very heart (or mind) of storytelling. I have a deep interest in psychology, so this book is ideal for me. It talks deeply about perception and perceptions, of how we construct the narrative of our lives and how we can construct the narrative for our characters. Cracking. This will not be left half-read like so many other books on writing that I have.

And so, to action. I am trying to add a photo here of a blank grid which I intend to fill with lovely pink rectangles over the next 120 days (each one marking a writing day) but my IT is being obstructive. I will show you it when there is something more to see.

Free Event – Change of Date

8 Jun

The Scottish Writers’ Centre is hosting a great selection of readers and writing on the 15th of June at 7pm (changed from tonight). Tickets are free (although you do have to sign up for free membership of the Scottish Writers’ Centre to access). As with most things at the moment, the event will take place over Zoom.

I am reading a new flash fiction piece at the event and was lucky enough to hear the rehearsal of some of the other readers, so can guarantee a great night. Each writer only has a five minute slot to impress you, so there will be a cornucopia of talent.

I hope you can join me.

Australia here I come

11 May

I am delighted to announce that All the Places I’ve Ever Been is now available in Australia – where a lot of the action is set. All the Places I’ve Ever Been follows Meg as she leaves her job in the iconic Glasgow Apollo and travels the world with Australian rock band MindSet.

All the Places I've Ever Been - cover

Competition News – Congratulations

12 Apr

I was sitting last night thoroughly fed up with lockdown/Covid and all the attendant rubbishness when I opened my emails on my phone and my mood changed in an instant. ‘Congratulations’ – I like emails that start like that (when they are not spam) and so, good people, I give to you my 2nd place flash fiction Let’s Not from the lovely people at Cranked Anvil (that’s not me in the picture by the way, but I think it is a good illustration of my story.

You will see a countdown on the Cranked Anvil website for the deadline dates for their next Short Story and Flash Fiction competitions, so time to get writing.

This one is me – an old photo but you really don’t want to see what a year without a haircut looks like.

Are you Getting your Five a Day?

2 Apr

Oranges, apples, bananas, kiwi, melon – are you getting your five a day? Well, you can get them free for the next five days – or at least you can get my short story collection called Five a Day free for the next five days.

Happy munching. And as ever, the best way to say thank you (as I know you are very polite) is to pop a wee review on Amazon.

Five a Day: Short Stories and Flash Fiction by [Colette Coen]
Free ebook collection