Introducing Writers on Rejection: A new series


A rejection for one of the stories that was eventually published in my collection.

Rejection. The dreaded ‘R’ word. For writers, it is the one thing we fear as well as the one thing we try our hardest to avoid. But all writers – no matter whether we’re just starting out or we’re further down the line – experience it. From standard rejection slips and emails from journal editors to funding application failures and responses from agents and publishers, it can come in a variety of forms. Continue reading

The End – Norwich launch

I had a lovely time in Norwich on Thursday night when I was invited to read as part of the launch of The End: Fifteen Endings to Fifteen Paintings (Unthank Books). As mentioned in previous posts, the book features stories inspired by the paintings of artist Nicolas Ruston – all of which mimic the stills from old, black and white movie end title sequences. The paintings were exhibited at the event, which was held at the University of East Anglia, and some of the writers who feature in the collection also gave readings from their stories.


Endists: Me, Aiden O’Reilly, Ashley Stokes, Gordon Collins, Tim Sykes and Dan Powell.

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The End: First review

The End: Fifteen Endings to Fifteen Paintings, which is due to be published by Unthank Books in autumn this year, has received its first review in Lakeview: International Journal of Literature and Arts. To have a read click here. The book features new stories inspired by the artworks of Nicolas Ruston, including my own story ‘Harbour Lights’, and is due to be launched alongside an exhibition of the paintings around September (details to follow). To find out more about the project and the writers involved go to the dedicated The End website.

The End is nigh

the-end-bookI am delighted to say I have written a new short story, which is set to be published in an anthology called The End: Fifteen Endings to Fifteen Paintings early next year. The book features new stories inspired by the artwork of Nicolas Ruston and you can find out more about the project by clicking here. Continue reading

I’m not very good

… at blogging. Possibly because nothing much is happening at the moment apart from editing the novel and doing the day job. I’m working on draft eight of The Dark Sky, Falling and hoping to finish it over the next couple of months – depending on how much time I can spend on it. I never really plan when I write (well, not much) but now, fairly late in the process, I’m having to write an outline to make sure everything is working and linking up in the way it should do. Continue reading


I have signed up to The WoMentoring Project – a free mentoring project, which is the brainchild of author Kerry Hudson, and that aims to support emerging female writers. The scheme has been created to help those who would usually find the costs of mentoring prohibitive. As the website says: ‘The mission of The WoMentoring Project is simple: to introduce successful literary women to other women writers at the beginning of their careers who would benefit from some insight, knowledge and support’. Continue reading

Hawthornden happiness

Hawthornden Castle viewed from one of the castle walks

I am back from my month-long writing fellowship at Hawthornden Castle, Edinburgh. Well, I’ve been back a fortnight but I’ve been busy with work (after a month away from the day job I suppose I have to do *some*). I had a great time – a really great time. I wrote like a demon, ate lots of lovely food and met five nice new writer friends… all in all, a wonderful, memorable experience. Continue reading


The first draft of the novel is done. It’s been a hard slog – at times painful, at times enjoyable – but it’s done. There’s still a long way to go – there’s lots of editing and redrafting to do – so I’m not celebrating just yet. Well, not properly. I have lots of work ahead including the three REs – research, restructuring and rewriting. As for research, I did some before but now I know what the story is I know what I need to get more information on; restructuring – lots of moving things about, putting characters into the past who are in the present, and so on; rewriting – adding words, taking words away (the delightful ‘kill your darlings’ time), improving or smoothing over what is already there (sanding away any words that snag). As has been said many times before by other writers – writing is editing. But when you’re dealing with a novel-sized beast rather than a short story-sized one, it’s a bit more daunting, mainly because there can be ramifications to your edits (as with the butterfly effect – the theorised flapping of the butterfly’s wings leading to the possible formation of hurricanes). But before all of that a bit of distance, a bit of down time and then… back in for the second round.


Seeing as I haven’t updated this blog in a while, here’s a little round-up of what’s been going on over the past couple of months. On 27th November I took part in a reading for Red Room at Blackburn Library along with Elizabeth Baines, Sarah Dobbs and Carys Davies. The event was a huge success with a warm and engaged audience of Bronte lovers and it was particularly nice to chat to people afterwards – including a couple of people who decided to challenge themselves and re-read Jane Eyre before coming along.

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Great night at the Portico

I had a lovely evening last night at the Portico Library, Manchester, to help celebrate the publication of Red Room. Elizabeth Baines, Bill Broady, Vanessa Gebbie, Rowena Macdonald and Felicity Skelton were all there, to either read extracts or full stories, and a good crowd of people turned up to listen to them. I gave a quick introduction to the book and then introduced everyone and it was a real treat to hear the writers reading out their work… something which always fascinates me because stories often sound quite different when read aloud. Continue reading