This rather lovely literary arts magazine which is out bi-annually has published one of my short stories. I’m absolutely thrilled, not least because it is a beautiful publication with some wonderful, talented writers, but also, this piece, entitled Rule Britannia, is very close to my heart. It was inspired by one of my favourite authors, Daphne du Maurier, and a book she wrote in 1972 entitled Rule Britannia. Her book is set in an imagined near future where the UK’s recent withdrawal from the EEC brings the country to the brink of bankruptcy and leads to an American warship being stationed in a bay in Cornwall and marines marching over England’s fields.
Obviously, although written so long ago, this book is incredibly relevant to now. There is civil confusion and fear, economic and military failures on the continent have resulted in the UK and USA joining together as a single nation USUK; there are speeches by the Prime Minister speaking about ‘unknown agents hostile to USUK’; streams of American helicopters dominating the English skies and a general fear that leads the people of Cornwall to defend their land. It is, in many respects, so relevant to the here and now that it can be read as a very bleak and frightening novel. However, there is still a wonderful air of satire in the desperation, particularly amongst the perfectly named Mad and her large house in Cornwall with its many occupants.
For my piece, I set the large house in Devon, for obvious reasons for those who know me. I wanted to create not just the air of desperation but hope. In the near future of the lawless country that has dissolved into chaos and violence, I could imagine this place would always provide sanctuary. No matter what winds of change would come, this ancient house would withstand yet another threat and although under attack by roaming gangs, a society ungoverned and streets in the midst of civil violence, there is a sense that this will pass. It’s what attracts me to works by people such as Margaret Atwood, to great stories such as Day of the Triffids and 28 Days Later. It could so easily be tomorrow but however desperate the world is, there has to be a shred of hope for us to carry on with the story. The light lingers in the background with the idea that it might just all be all alright in the end. Let’s hope it is.
You can feel flush and buy a copy in either full colour or black and white or, I believe there is a very generous option to read it free online. I will not check your bookcases.
With Spring definitely in the air, what better moment to share the news that I have had a dark and creepy tale published? It’s an absolutely gorgeous literary and arts annual with some amazing work and beautiful art. There’s also my piece which is at the more shadowy end of the spectrum. So if the blue sky and bird song has you rushing for your Gothic tales and M.R.James, then perhaps take a look. I believe it’s available at independent and good bookshops, and Waterstones and Amazon – although they may still be stocking the previous edition and not quite have this new one in yet. Maybe buy both and really get yourself in the Spring spirit with death and the macabre. Here’s a link to the publisher’s website. betweentheseshoresbooks.com
Here’s a pic from the wonderful launch party for Dream Catcher Literary Arts Magazine in the very beautiful According to McGee Art Gallery in York. The lovely publishers Stairwell Books hosted a great event and I even gave a reading of some of my work, clearly with my serious face on. A marvellous launch party and I feel very lucky to have worked with some incredibly inspiring and talented people. I even managed a bit of champagne at lunch earlier – to celebrate, of course. Here’s a link to their website where you can find the newest edition with my work. http://www.dreamcatchermagazine.co.uk
The excellent literary arts publication Dream Catcher have accepted one of my short stories for publication. My copy landed on the mat today and it is beautiful. They describe themselves better than I can –
Dream Catcher is an international arts journal, which offers contemporary readers a terrific mix of poetry, prose, artwork and reviews. Our contributors span the globe, making Dream Catcher a truly international magazine.
I’m so excited to be included in such a wonderful publication and… just in time for Christmas! So if you were wondering what to put in a Christmas stocking, might I suggest a dystopian tale of memory theft. Very festive.
Have a fabulous Christmas and I’m off to celebrate!!
It’s been a wonderfully exciting beginning to Autumn with the very lovely people at A Word in Your Ear asking me to come and read some of my work at one of their events in Bath. There was an amazing set design involving lots of clocks, since the theme was Tomorrow. The stage was lit beautifully and the audience was much larger than I’d ever imagined. Everyone was so kind and enthusiastic. What a fantastic evening in a great venue with such a talented bunch of people. There’s even a photograph of me looking like a newsreader.
As Summer draws to a close and we all head back to school and work, thoughts are turning to my favourite time of year, Autumn. I love these months, with all the excitement of Hallowe’en and bonfires not too distant. The air is different with the trace of earth and smoke. There is a gentler, softer light. Beyond that, the cooler months send us back inside to our fires and, for me, to different stories. My reading shifts from summers by the sea to darker, sinister tales. So too does my writing. I love the supernatural and eerie peace this time of year inspires. I’ve always been drawn to ghost stories and the thought of a good M.R. James or Dickens by the fire, glass of wine in hand, of course. In recent years, there have been some marvellous new collections released, including Jeannette Winterson’s utterly fantastic and nervously unsettling Christmas Days. Also, Eight Ghosts, intriguingly published by English Heritage, with tales by authors such as Mark Haddon and Sarah Perry.
With that in mind, I wanted to share with you the good news that my work has been accepted for publication by the BTS Literary and Arts Annual. They’re based on the concept of Dickens’ winter annuals and traditional winter ghost stories and supernatural. I’m absolutely thrilled and very flattered. I’m so excited to be accepted by such a lovely publisher and especially in the genre I love. It will be published in early November – in case you were wondering about any stocking fillers or needed something for yourself by the fire. I will post more details nearer the time. I do hope you enjoy it. Try not to get too scared, although that is the intention.
I hope you’ve had a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year to you all. I adore Christmas and the excess and excitement of it all. But I also love the post Christmas indulgence of lazing in warm corners with a stack of Christmas books, a small glass and a casual hand dangling in the chocolates. I look forward to this time every year, most especially the wonderful treasures of all the Christmas short stories. There seem to be more every year and I plough through them as fast as I do the Quality Street. This year has been no exception. I’ve received some truly fabulous collections. Amongst them is Night Terrors: The Ghost Stories of E.F.Benson – a recent find for me. Part of the Chitchat club, he was one of M.R. James’s listeners and, for my money, possibly as good himself. Eight Ghosts – The English Heritage Book of New Ghost Stories has some amazing contributors including a favourite of the Christmas story genre, Jeanette Winterson, along with Sarah Perry and Mark Haddon.
With that in mind, I’ve been inspired to write something of my own to share with you on these very stormy nights. Obviously, it’s not in the same league but I am a great fan of the short story and love the discipline of condensing all your thoughts and ideas into a few short pages. I hope you enjoy it and wish you a very happy and fulfilled 2018.
Having set out with the greatest of intentions, my website has been a little neglected due to a variety of fun and exciting new ventures. I’ve been scaring myself to death by speaking in schools about being a writer; talking at book groups about my book; and, in an echo of my previous life, judging a debating competition at a boys’ school – more of which to follow. It’s all been enormous fun and people have been so kind. I have, of course, shamefully used all of these wonderful occasions as elaborate excuses to dodge work!
As all good resolutions should be made in Summer, I decided to fulfil this holiday’s pledge and actually use my website to get some work out that sits in the dark drawers of my desk. I think my first proper post should be some fiction and not some form of rambling about my daily nonsense – although I’m sure I’ll manage that too in some form.
So, here is a recent story. Take five minutes, a cup of tea and hopefully enjoy. After all, it’s free. Let me know what you think HIde and Seek
WELCOME to my brand new, shiny website! It’s quite exciting to take some baby steps out of the dark ages but why do it? Primarily, its purpose is, at the moment, to publish a few short stories and small pieces that I can’t think of a home for. But who knows where it might lead!