Blog

It’s That Time of the Year…

The Dawning, cover.To hope y’all had a happy and peaceful Yule, to wish you a wonderful 2019 – and to plug my novel, The Dawning 🙂

Published in 2010 by Weathervane Press, The Dawning is a domestic thriller, taking place over the course of a single New Year’s Eve Night, as each member of the Haywood family is forced to confront their fears…

If you like, you can read a (non-fear-filled) extract below –

It is New Year’s Eve and, at last, Nicola is free. Just as she was hoping she would be.

“We’re free!” she shouts, running through the night, through the cold, damp streets with Christine, laughing and laughing, while the stars wheel and glitter in the big, black sky. They’re like sequins on a velvet prom dress, those stars, so pretty. Gazing up, Nicola feels her heart lifting, her body stretching and tingling as if she’s taking off, about to fly. She’s no longer simply running over the dark, glistening cobblestones, but leaping and soaring. She couldn’t stop laughing if she wanted to, and she’s sure that Christine feels the same. Christine’s eyes aren’t green out here, but black and glinting, and her teeth flash U-V white as she throws back her head, revealing a pale perfect triangle of jaw and her long, creamy throat. Her blond hair pours away in a wintry stream. She’s beautiful, scattering bright, icy trail-backs into the night. Into this magical, fizzing, promising night, that’s filled with light…

The streetlamps all have shimmering gold halos and many of the tall, grey houses have Christmas trees, lit Christmas trees, in their big bay windows. They’re twinkling red and green and purple and blue, and the air, Nicola thinks, it’s so pure, though it still smells like smoky bacon!

She laughs then, even harder, loving the sudden hot lines of tears that come slipping and sliding and sparkling down her face. She’s glowing; she knows it. There are little lights, little whirling stars, inside her. It was Christine who put them there, Christine who gave them to her when she handed her that pill.

“Christine! Happy New Year!”

Coming up – Refining Your Novel

My next course for Writing East Midlands begins on January 12th at Nottingham’s Waterstones.  ‘Refining Your Novel’ will run over six Saturdays, from 1 till 3pm.

During the course, we’ll be playing with editing techniques and exercises.  We’ll be delving more deeply into themes and imagery, and consider powerful openings and satisfying endings.

We’ll also look into the practicalities of submitting to agents and publishers, including how to produce an effective synopsis.

Suitable for writers who attended ‘Beginning Your Novel’ and to any other writers who’d like to hone or push or shake up their novel in progress…

Beginning Your Novel

My next 5 week course for Writing East Midlands – ‘Beginning your Novel’ – starts at 1pm on Saturday, 27th October at Nottingham’s Waterstones.  During our workshops, we’ll be using playful exercises and published examples to develop a deeper understanding of essential fiction elements such as character, setting, point of view and structure – and we’ll start putting them into practise…

I’ll be on BBC Radio Nottingham tomorrow (3rd October) around 2pm, talking to Alan Clifford about the course and my writing generally.

(And I’m not at all scared – honestly ;-))

Short Story September

I feel incredibly honoured to be included among the featured writers for Dahlia Publishing’s brilliant Short Story September.

If you’ve missed it so far, it’s not too late to get involved.  As well as highlighting stories from incredible authors like Leone Ross, Angela Readman, Courttia Newland, Alison Moore, Sarah Hall and many, many more (I know! I know!), the project aims to get as many people writing short stories as possible, offering challenges, opportunities, prompts, advice and giveaways.

You can sign up at http://shortstoryseptember.co.uk/

Or follow @dahliabooks on Twitter, throughout September

May You

Towards the end of last month, I was delighted to recieve my copy of May You, The Walter Swan Prize Anthology,  It features great stories from the 2017-2018 long and shortlists, and also includes my story, ‘Touched’, which made the top six.

I’m very grateful to the Walter Swan Trust, the publishers,Valley Press, and to the anthology’s supportive editor, SJ Bradley , as well as the judges, Angela Readman and Anna Chilvers who said of my story – “We both really enjoyed the sensual feel of Touched… The relationship between the girls, which involves control, bullying and subtle cruelty, is convincingly drawn.”