Friday, 30 October 2009

In Celebration of Hallowe'en

I’m unleashing the opening to my most recent novel, ‘The Lives of Ghosts'

There were ghosts at the Loch House long before we arrived, with ours.
Marie told me about them towards the end of the journey. After nine hours behind the wheel and all that silence, her voice didn’t sound right. It was hollow and tinny and seemed to scrape at the air trapped between us. Air that had smelt of melting rubber for the entire four hundred mile drive.

“There have always been stories about the place,” she said. “Sightings of shadowy figures and sudden lights. Strange noises in the night. For a while, we even thought about including them in the brochure. Some people like that kind of thing.”

Looking back on it now that I’m older, I imagine that she was simply talking for the sake of talking, chatting to ward off the panic as the reality of what she was doing finally started to set in. I can clearly remember how her eyes flicked at me in the rear-view mirror, a dark, wet flash and then away, and how her shoulders had risen; she was practically cowering in her seat. Clinging to that wheel. And certainly not thinking straight to say the things she said.

. . .

If you’d like to continue reading, or want to find out more about 'The Lives of Ghosts', please visit my website, where (for a limited period, as they say, whoever they are) you can read the complete first chapter.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Thaw Blogsplash

Fiona Robyn is going to blog her next novel, Thaw, starting on the 1st of March next year. The novel follows 32 year old Ruth’s diary over three months as she decides whether or not to carry on living.

To help spread the word she’s organising a Blogsplash, where blogs will publish the first page of Ruth’s diary simultaneously (and a link to the blog).

She’s aiming to get 1000 blogs involved – if you’d be interested in joining in, email her at or find out more information here.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Competition Ramblings

A few weeks ago, I received a package in the post. Feeling the shape and weight of it and scrutinising the postmark, I was pretty certain it was the package I’d been waiting for. A strange new nerviness descended. The parcel was tightly sealed, bubble-wrapped, and by the time I’d finished juggling scissors and old sellotape and finally broken it open, I was practically popping with excitement, myself.

It contained exactly what I’d hoped.

A pile of brand new, as-yet-unpublished short stories, each neatly printed, each writer anonymous.

I had been asked to judge a local writers’ group annual short story competition. The terrifying responsibility of the task hit me right alongside the enormous privilege. But even before I started reading, I was grinning from ear to ear.

I love competitions.

I’ve had stories short-listed in a few, including the Asham and London Writers. And I’m pretty sure that having How We Were Lost placed second in the Yeovil Prize helped to draw it to the attention of certain publishers. But I also believe competitions are hugely rewarding even without the placings or the prizes. They’re great for the discipline of constraints and regulations, and for their deadlines, and perhaps for pushing writers into attempting something new.

Tonto Books have recently announced the results of their latest short story competition, judged by the marvellous Caroline Smailes. The finalists’ anthology, ‘Even More Tonto Short Stories’ looks like it’s going to be a fantabulous collection and I wanted to add my congratulations to all the winners, but most especially to some highly talented, bloggy friends, Shanta Everington, Nik Jones and Fiona Robyn.
And to those who didn’t quite make it this time (ahem) – Congratulations too for giving it a go (-:

Friday, 9 October 2009

Nik's Blog

The very generous and talented Nik Perring has invited me over to his place for a spot of mild interrogation (it was fun).

Thank you Nik!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

After the Circus . . .

We did it!

And I loved it

So I'd like to say some enormous THANK YOUs

Firstly, thank you to awesome, award winning author Nicola Monaghan, who was not only generous enough to share her reading table, but also helped so much beforehand, offering encouragement about my writing, easing my nerves and ensuring that our pieces worked so well together.

Thank you too to LeftLion for organising such a brilliant, buzzing event, to Nottingham Writers Studio for all their support, and to all the lovely, lovely people who came along to listen.

You're all fabulous.