Sunday, 13 May 2012
Friday, 6 April 2012
Wednesday, 4 April 2012
First Amazon review!! (because, you know, already released on Kindle folks)
Scarily honest Scottish Gothic rural myth,
:-) haha! How fab is that? I am acrobatic! I am a blowtorch! Who knew?
Thank you so very very much
& 5 stars (which always makes me think about a certain ancient school disco, but less said about that the better)
And a wee mention of my Ghosts in the Guardian (!) for a piece about magnificent MMU
Monday, 26 March 2012
Monday, 19 March 2012
I'm happily shooing aside my book news (off you go Ghosts, back to the loch house with you for a wee while longer) to proudly join so many other bloggers in celebrating the release of 99 Reasons Why by Caroline Smailes.
This controversial! experimental! groundbreaking! but more importantly, simply brilliant new novel provides the reader (aside from an excellent read) with the possibility of multiple endings, and today, as the book is launched, I'm honoured to host one of them right here...
99: the reason why I was only worth ninety-nine quid
It’s been six days since the little girl in the pink coat went missing and me Uncle Phil’s in me bedroom.
We’ve been watching the little girl in the pink coat’s mam on the news. She was appealing to the public for witnesses.
‘Didn’t realise she had a mam,’ I says, looking at me telly.
‘Everyone’s got a mam, pet,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.
‘She sold her story to The Sun,’ I says, looking at me telly.
‘Got a few quid,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.
‘She wanted nowt to do with that bairn before all this,’ me Uncle Phil says, looking at me telly.
‘Do you know where she is?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.
‘Belle?’ me Uncle Phil asks me.
‘She’s safe,’ me Uncle Phil says to me. ‘Your mam’s keeping an eye on her.’
‘Can I be her mam?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.
‘No, pet, you’re a filthy whore,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.
‘Can you make Andy Douglas come back, Uncle Phil?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.
Me Uncle Phil shakes his head.
‘I love him,’ I tell me Uncle Phil.
‘Andy Douglas is your brother, pet. You didn’t seriously think Princess Di was your mam, did you?’ me Uncle Phil asks me.
‘You’re a cradle snatcher just like your mam,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.
‘Your mam miscarried when she found out I’d been banging Betty Douglas. Betty was expecting you,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.
I don’t speak.
‘When you was born, your mam went mad and I ended up buying you from Betty Douglas for ninety-nine quid,’ me Uncle Phil says.
‘Ninety-nine quid?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.
‘I paid a hundred but got a quid change for some chips for your mam and dad’s tea,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.
‘You bought me?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.
I’m a little bit sick in me mouth.
‘It was the right thing to do,’ me Uncle Phil says to me. ‘I got Betty Douglas pregnant straight away with Andy.’
‘I’m pregnant,’ I says to me Uncle Phil. ‘I’m pregnant with me brother’s baby,’ I says, and then I throws up on me purple carpet.
‘You’re a filthy whore,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.
‘What am I going to do?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.
‘You’re going to have the baby,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.
‘Have me brother’s baby?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.
‘Then I’m giving it to Betty Douglas to bring up,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.
‘You what?’ I says to me Uncle Phil.
‘It’s the right thing to do,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.
‘I can’t—’ I says to me Uncle Phil.
‘It’s either that or I’ll make you disappear,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.
I don’t speak.
I’m thinking, they’re all a bunch of nutters.
99 Reasons Why is available in Kindle and IBooks editions -
What are you waiting for? You know you're intrigued.
(and there are way more than 99 reasons to love Caroline)
Monday, 5 March 2012
The Kindle edition of my third novel is available right now, right here -
Blimey, Amazon can be speedy, and publishers even speedier. And wonderful (thank you Weathervane Press!) I also recieved a package of print copies on Friday morning. My book - my actual book - went for a long, damp park walk and think with me on Saturday morning. Nevertheless, I remain in a daze, am immensely proud and grateful, but still can't quite fully believe it truly exists (perhaps the reality will sink in when I take it out on the town for whisky?) I'm a very lucky woman.
And further kindness - the incredibly talented and prolific Caroline Smailes took time out of her incredibly awesome book busy-ness (she has her latest 99 Reasons Why and Freaks both due for release this month) to read my Ghosts. This is what she said:
'Stunning, absolutely stunning, this chilling tale is woven with sparingly eloquent prose. It is fearless, it is believable, it is captivating. I am left with an ache. I understand human suffering just that little bit more.'
I really can't tell you what this means to me. Overwhelmed.
Thank you X
Sunday, 19 February 2012
From 7.30, April 26th, at Nottingham Writers’ Studio
Apart from the regular wonderful crew, NWS will be open to non-members for the evening (EVERYBODY welcome!), although please get in touch if you’d like to come along so that I can pretend I can do maths and tell people about numbers. Or something.
(and aside from anything else, how much wine to accrue? And not just for me – so who knows??)
Saturday, 4 February 2012
Firstly, I’m looking forward to running a workshop about Openings and Images with Lee Rosy’s fabulous writing group in Nottingham next Wednesday. We’ll be playing with hooks and pictures – in particular, I might be hijacking (/honouring) some stunning Gregg Crewdson prints for inspiration. Shiveringly brilliant images such as this...
If you would like to find out more about Writing at Rosy’s, please investigate here –
Wondrous things reeling along with my Ghosts. There’s a press release. There’s a Facebook page (possibly!). There’s pre-ordering available (already!) on Amazon and at the Weathervane Press bookstore. There’s me going woah! But mainly going wow!!
(and it seems there might be a general over-enthusiasm about !exclamation! marks!! too)
Thank you tons for all the support already. You’re great, you are.
Wednesday, 25 January 2012
Wednesday, 11 January 2012
Could it be that the story I’ve been muttering on about for ages is to be released in a matter of months?
That I’ve just signed a publishing contract with wonderful Weathervane and my Ghosts will finally be unleashed?
More (professional – well, professional-ish, is that even a word? It is now!) details to follow...
Friday, 6 January 2012
talking about 2011 becoming 2012 (and quite clearly not really knowing what I'm talking about at all) but hugest of thanks to Fiona Robyn and She Writes for letting me babble.
Friday, 16 December 2011
And yet – what a view!
He felt compelled to admit that, just as he felt unable to stop looking. In the distance, beyond the fairytale trees, the deserted playground had transformed into a futuristic city. It was all strange, glittering angles, sci-fi walkways and suspension bridges, elegant towers with head-spinning drops. Today, it would be padlocked. It didn’t belong to the children anymore, not to these present-day children anyway, although they were everywhere else, moving in fits and bursts and surging ripples. Scattering across the other hills and craters like blown confetti, their bright coats and flying scarves unreal against the white.
Almost everything was white. The sky all around Zac, and his chattering teeth, the air that snapped between them. His knuckles, he was sure, were blanched to the pale of their bones beneath his gloves. Zac wondered if, in all his life, he had ever felt this scared.
The rope tied to the front of the sledge was frayed and grubby, not much more than a handful of unravelling strings. Yet he leant forward to wind it tighter around his woollen fists and as he shifted, the snow directly beneath him creaked and dipped. Like the warped old wooden boards of some galleon, the precarious deck of a sinking ship. Any moment, he knew, it might give, it would collapse. He’d be sent flying, falling, spinning over the edge –
As if that wasn’t the whole point of being up there. What was wrong with him?
He couldn’t give up, couldn’t trudge down to where the little kids were playing, closer to the bottom. Far too vividly he could picture that return: Mum and Dad waiting with Jamie, while the sledge bumped along behind Zac as if he were a toddler dragging some dead-eyed toy about, a plush, stuffed dog on a lead maybe, a duck with wheels. He knew how, as soon as they saw him, they’d start to laugh.
Of course there was no possibility of retreating. And yet – no way he could sledge down.
He’d started to shake, he realised. To shiver. But that was just the cold, surely? The cold, which was everywhere. Pushing up through the snow and the sledge, through his jeans, his flimsy skin. A cold that seemed to rise directly from a secret darkness packed far beneath the blinding earth. A chill so abruptly cutting, stinging, that Zac was forced to blink back tears. He blinked and blinked, wishing with all his might that he was sitting at home, beside the fire, watching television perhaps, and eating toast. Definitely eating toast, he told himself. Although truly, he longed to be anywhere else, doing anything else. To be anyone but Zac.
Except that then, suddenly there, between those confetti kids and their sledge tracks, through his own ice-bright tears and all that white, there was Mum. She was heading towards him, red-faced, arms pumping, puffing out steam and grinning as she waded closer. She was wearing her new suede coat. Such a deep, burnt orange colour, that coat; she flared like a flame against the snow. Briefly, Zac recalled church, the Christingles lining the deep stone sills. And then, despite how obvious it was that he was stuck, trapped, that he wasn’t about to go anywhere, Mum shouted. Shouting loud enough so that even the people waiting, far away, might hear.
“Hey, Zachary! Wait up! Wait for me...”
And almost before he realised what was happening, she was climbing on to the sledge behind him, wrapping her long, warm arms around his belly.
“You’ll be ok,” she whispered, and then she pushed.
And although Zac knows that the flight must have been exhilarating, that his heart was bound to have lifted as trees and kids and powder went tumbling past, his main memory of that sledge ride is of Mum. He remembers her arms around his middle, her cheek pressed against his own – and then, flickering out around them, against that glaring, spilt bleach sky, her joyous amber coat. The most vibrant, living colour, he’d thought then, in the entire Universe. Reaching out to grasp it with one flailing, grateful fist.
(glimpsed from The Dawning)
Happy Christmas x
Sunday, 13 November 2011
This week we lost Nigel. A wonderful person, a stunningly good writer, an inspirational teacher and an unforgettable friend. I’m finding it very difficult to write about him, although I’ve tried to express something of what he meant over at LeftLion, where James Walker has gathered together memories of this unique, amazing man.
But really, words are nowhere near adequate.
The Broadway Book Club Weathervane Reading will still be going ahead on November 24th, and will be held in celebration of Nigel. There are details here.
Nigel is the highly acclaimed author of One, Attention Deficit and an incredible poetry collection, Making Sense (Shoestring Press). His current, almost complete work-in-progress contains some of the best writing I have ever read.
It is impossible to explain how much he will be missed
Sunday, 6 November 2011
Or maybe two
(please don’t explode)
But firstly, the reading at Mayhem was amazing!! Such a lot of fun, and utterly terrifying – completely packed (my papers were shaking like a shaking thing, nevertheless it was great to unleash a little of my Ghosts.)
Alongside fabulous excerpts from Niki Valentine, Charlotte Thompson and local storytelling legend Pete Davis, there was an awesome performance scripted by the very talented Andy Kells and up on the big screen, Robert Powell, Christopher Lee and Tom Baker!! How good is that??
So, coming up...
This Wednesday, November 9th, at 7pm, I’m at Nottingham’s marvellous Lee Rosy’s Tea Shop, running a fiction workshop on openings and images with the great Writing at Rosy’s cw group.
And later in the month, I’m back at the Broadway (hurrah!) reading with wonderful Weathervane (irrepressible Ian Collinson and perfect Pickard) at the phenomenal Pam McIlroy’s brilliant Broadway Book Club, November 24th, from 7...
Right. That’s quite enough alliteration (more than enough), though if you’re not fed up of me wittering on about events (which you surely are) there’s a bit more of my blah about such things amidst an excellent article by Shanta Everington about workshops and Luton’s groundbreaking book festival over at the awesome The View From Here....
Saturday, 1 October 2011
all fans of supernatural storytelling. Leading horror author Niki Valentine
hosts an evening of haunting tales and live readings as well as a series
of screenings of cult television ghost stories including Tom Baker reading
The Emissary by Ray Bradbury from Late Night Stories; The Mezzotint
read by Robert Powell from Classic Ghost Stories by M.R.James, and
from Christopher Lee’s Ghost Stories for Christmas, the good man
himself reading The Ash Tree.
The Broadway is one of Nottingham's finest establishments and its annual Mayhem film festival is legendary. Alongside those screen greats, there will be spine-tingling tales from stunning storytellers Pete Davis and Marty Ross, a performance of Andy Cattanach's SMS ghost script 'Sent/Received', Nicola Valentine will be reading from her new novel The Haunted, and there's horror and wisdom from graphic novelist Brick too!
What am I doing there? (well, actually I'm reading something from my latest, The Lives of Ghosts, but you know what I mean)
A scary night for me in many, many ways -
am so excited, I can't wait :-)
It all takes place on October 31st (of course!) in the Broadway cafe/bar from 7.30 and it's FREE
Come along and join my trembling! Come! Come!