Acceptances, Videos and Other Nice Things

Hi All

I’m back from a brief hiatus, taking some time out to get married and go on honeymoon. As well as being the happiest few weeks of my life, they’ve also been pretty successful on the writing front.

Firstly, my story ‘Nesting Instinct’ has been picked up for publication at the relaunched Sanitarium Magazine. I’m not sure which issue I’ll be in, but I’ll post about it nearer the time when I have the full details and TOC.

I’ve also had a story ‘The Fifty-Nine Sound’ published by Trigger Warnings Short Fiction. This story is my tribute to my favourite band, The Gaslight Anthem. And my favourite song of theirs… guess what it’s called?

In other happy news, my story ‘Anderson’ will be read and recorded for the excellent The Other Stories podcast. This is a brilliant market that I’ve been dying to crack after coming close to acceptance in the past. My story is part of their War theme which will be launching towards the end of the year.

Lastly – my story ‘Hide. Go Seek’ has been accepted and read out to a paying audience by the Liar’s League. Unfortunately as the event was in London, I couldn’t attend on the night but they have posted the video of poet Math Jones reading my work. I love this clip. It’s 16 minutes long and I really hope people will take the time to check it out.

Lastly – oh, I already said that. Hmm. I lied. I’ve completed edits on a new novella called “Territory”. It’s the story of a close-knit rural community in Finland, plagued by wolves and isolation. It’s a bit of a departure from my usual stuff and is the first time I’ve based a story outside of the north of England. I’m going to start looking for a publisher. Hopefully people will dig it. More news on this as I have it.

Thanks for reading!


Round Here

This week I completed a significant achievement in my writing. I finished a novel.

As I said in my post, The First Cut, I’ve always struggled with imposter syndrome and not feeling like a “real writer”. Today I feel like I’ve made a breakthrough. I’ve always written stories and since I was a kid, I’d imagined myself writing a novel in the future. Yet the older I got, the more out of touch the achievement seemed. A combination of work commitments and general life stuff always made that ambition seem impossible.

But in the last year or so, I’ve started to take my writing a lot more seriously. Check out the podcast I guested on over at This Is Horror for further details around this. But, I realised that life wasn’t going to present me with time to write, I had to take it. So I did. This novel was written in stolen hours. It was largely written in the library opposite my office, where I spend most of my lunch breaks. It was written in silence as my daughter slept. It was written as notes in the back of notebooks that I typed up.

This novel is proof to myself that I can do it. That I have the discipline to finish a long project and the chops to make a coherent story along the way. Today I feel like I have earned some validation as a writer. It’s a good feeling.

So, the novel. The book is titled Round Here. The title comes from some lyrics by one of my favourite bands, Counting Crows. Check out the studio version from their amazing album, August and Everything After. The first chorus has a line that inspired me : –

“Round here, we always stand up straight.

Round here, something radiates.”

Round Here is set in a small town in northern England blighted by a spate of teenage suicides. As distraught parents close ranks, Natalie Hounslow returns home to help her parents keep her sister, Cate on the rails. As she explores her hometown, Natalie realises there is something far worse than death waiting for the residents of Upheath.

There is no publisher attached yet, primarily because I am yet to approach one, but today is a day to celebrate. The book is done. I’ve achieved one goal, now it’s on to the next – publication.