Behind the Scenes, Friday 13th Edition

So it was on this very day, sort of, that I released my Ghost Stories zines last year. If you haven’t read them – and you should – they’re full of short stories, advice columns, quirky advertisements and art all pertaining to death, the afterlife and magic. And I hadn’t even heard of Maggie Stiefvater then. Anyway, I don’t have a Volume IV to share with you all, but I have made even more ridiculous death/the afterlife/magic work since, so I thought I would take today to share a bit about how and why I ended up with so many macabre-ish, funny-ish arty-ish things in my portfolio.

Ghost Stories

A couple of years ago I wrote a (very) little story for The Story Shack about something that in retrospect sounds suspiciously like the church watch on St Mark’s Eve. It was sitting by itselfie on the internet and last January I noticed that 2015 contained three Friday 13ths. I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth and it’s useful to have solid deadlines, so I thought I could do a project to practise my Photoshop, actually write and maybe have a laugh. My friend Ruby, who proofread, had less of a laugh. By 13th November I had three relatively well-formed zines, a more thorough understanding of the YouTube playlist format and a healthy respect for the black and white filters on Photoshop. I kind of love Ghost Stories – I mean, I also hate it because I read it back and think ‘ew’ – but it’s the first thing I made after I finished school for the hell (ha) of it, and it reminded me why the term ‘black humour’ warms my soul. Now go warm your soul.

Ghost Stories Volume I by Francesca Burke

 

Hell’s Belles

You know that feeling when you’ve recently quit a job, rediscovered supernatural YA novels and decided to dye your hair pink and commit to being a full time eccentric? Last autumn I tried to supplement my income with waitressing, which to cut a long story short was not the career for me. When I rejiggled my freelancing so I could afford-ish to go back to marketing full time, I realised how much I valued being my own boss, muttering swearwords, blasting Fall Out Boy and making ridiculous things because I could. There’s a stall in Southend high street selling home accessories that say things like ‘eat glitter for breakfast and shine all day’, ‘life’s a journey’, etc.; I always wanted to paint them black and ad lib… so I did.

I even made stickers. Hell’s Belles – which was also influenced heavily by the pastel goth tag, 9 years of listening to My Chemical Romance and the exact colour I wanted my hair – is one of my favourite lines on my Etsy. It’s weird, either offensive or funny depending on your sense of humour and made of everything I’ve been interested in over the last couple of years: magic, cynicism, cursing, cynical cursing and inspirational Instagram posts.

I have a suspicion I’ll make more of one or more of the above. Look out around Halloween.

New Spooky Story Shack Piece!

I’ve got a Christmas present for you guys! It’s a superduper Halloween story that I wrote in September! It’s illustrated by Daniele Murtas and I think they did an excellent job.

If you liked it (or even if you didn’t) please leave a comment either on The Story Shack or here. I was tempted when I wrote it to make a longer story out of it, but I liked the ending so I wasn’t sure if continuing it would have made it less good…

Anyway, I have to get off my phone and get on with freaking out that it’s Christmas Eve tomorrow. I might do a Christmas Eve post. Hark the herald angels and all that!

Update: this is the last Five Ways to Celebrate Five Years of Indifferent Ignorance celebration, unless I’ve miscounted… which is entirely probable.

Merry Christmas Snowflakes, Here’s a Delightful Story to Warm Your Bones

I wrote it and everything.

Big thank yous to Lakshmy Mathur for the artwork and Martin who runs Story Shack for sorting out my weird formatting.

Season’s greetings snowflakes!

If you could tell me what you think it would be like receiving a gift from you. As opposed to for you, and let’s face it every blog ever is a gift for you. A badly-wrapped, misshapen Dobby-like gift.

Okay it’s time to hit the Christmas snacks. Happy birthday Jesus!

 

 

I Have a Piece of Work Published! On An Site That I Don’t Run!

The overly obnoxious title wasn’t kidding (although I did want to attract as many of you social media fairies as possible).

Ta-dah!

Nail Varnish, written by me, illustrated by Sherri Oliver, published on The Story Shack.

You’ll never make it, they said. Writing is a difficult career to catch a break in, they said.

Lots of thank-yous to the excellent Sherri for the artwork, and for putting a Starbucks in the piece (this is relevant to nobody except me, as I had been to Starbucks the day I received the art and was feeling pleasantly pro-tax avoiding corporations after their nice service), and to The Story Shack itself, for not telling me my work is crap or ignoring me completely. Please let us know what you think of the collaboration, and give it lots of nice +1s and Twitter/Facey shares. Check out the other work on the site too while you’re there – Nail Varnish sits next to a piece about a gay goat herder in Jerusalem, which can only be a good omen.

It’s time to update my CV, methinks… How many UCAS points will I get for this?!