For The Kids!

So, last Tuesday I did something I’d not done in too long. I ran a workshop for children. That’s the kind of thing I used to do an awful lot of when I wrote for children, but when I changed to short stories (ver much) for adults I stopped. I think I probably thought I wasn’t qualified anymore. But, when I discussed the idea with a nearby library I jumped at the chance. I realised I missed it.


And on Tuesday, it happened. It was the first I’d done since 2008, if memory serves, and I loved it. It was great fun, the children who came were great, their stories were great, and everyone ended up leaving after achieving something and with a smile on their faces.


And as a result we’re now looking at turning it into a regular thing. An after school club, probably bi-monthly, for over 7’s (though all ages above are welcome) with a view to producing an actual printed book at the end of the term. If you’re in the Macclesfield area and fancy it, or would like more details when they’re available, then drop me a line by using the form on this page. Places are limited because I want to be able to give a decent amount of attention to everyone there. Give me a shout if you think you might be interested!

Five Things About My Next Book

I’ve been busy over the past couple of weeks with edits on my next book, Beautiful Trees, so, now they’re done, it seems the right time to do the 5 Things About Your Next Book thingy that Helen Krionas, Dolly Garland, and Dan Purdue have all tagged me in.

But before I do, there have been other things I’ve been busy with too. Editing has taken up a lot of my time, as has running my flash/short fiction online course (there’s still a space or two if anyone’s interested). I’ve been preparing for tomorrow’s children’s workshop, and I’ve had a birthday (which, thankfully, passed without incident). So, yes busy, but fun.

So, Beautiful Trees…


1 It’s the second in the Beautiful trilogy and picks up where the last book left off, continuing Lily, Alexander, and Lucy’s journey only this time, instead of telling it through significant words, it’s told through trees.


2 Like Beautiful Words, there are facts in there too. I’ll not reveal too much but one thing I did learn that surprised me, was that some trees can communicate with each other.


3 It’s definitely not a write what you know book, which has been a really cool change from what I usually. Researching before I wrote the stories was fun.


4 There are a couple of birds in my trees. Well, there would be, wouldn’t there?


5 It’s illustrated, like the last one, by Miranda Sofroniou. And the illustrations are, in my humble and biased opinion, stunning. They look a little like this:


And there you have it. I’ll not tag anyone myself, but if you feel you’d like to share then let me know.

Children’s Writing Workshop

So, on Tuesday 5th August I’m running a writing workshop for children. It’s for children aged 7 and up and will only cost £2. I’m looking forward to it very much. I used to run an awful lot of workshops for children when I wrote for them but since switching to writing things for adults I’ve not really done any (I think the last one was back in 2008). So, yes. I’m looking forward to it. It will be fun. Places are limited so it’s probably best to book early, and you can do so here.



Better Late Than Never

So, I’ve been a little quiet on here of late. Mostly because I’ve been busy. But I’ve managed to shift a mountain of work from my desk/computer and now I’m a little freer I’d like to point you in a couple of cool directions.


First, the winner and shortlisted mini-flash collections, from the Bookimbo competition I judged, are now available. They’re very lovely indeed and you can check them out here. Watch out for an interview with the winner, right here, very soon.


Second, National Flash Fiction Day happened a little while ago and the anthology to celebrate it is available here. There’s a story of mine in it. Doesn’t it look good?


And that’s about it for now. More soon…

Carys Competition Time!

The lovely and very talented Carys Bray has a new book out. A novel, and it sounds excellent. So, as she’s lovely and talented  I’m thrilled to have her back on the blog to talk about it. And as if that’s not enough, leave a comment and you could get your hands on a signed copy. Over to Carys…



Nik has invited me to his blog to talk about my debut novel A Song for Issy Bradley which was published on 19th June – thank you, Nik! Here’s a little bit about the book:
This is the story of what happens when Issy Bradley dies. 
It’s the story of Ian – husband, father, maths teacher and Mormon bishop – and his unshakeable belief that everything will turn out all right if he can only endure to the end, like the pioneers did. It’s the story of his wife Claire’s lonely wait for a sign from God and her desperate need for life to pause while she comes to terms with what’s happened.

It’s the story of the agony and hope of Zippy Bradley’s first love. The story of Alma Bradley’s cynicism and reluctant bravery. And it is the story of seven-year-old Jacob. His faith is bigger than a mustard seed, probably bigger than a toffee bonbon and he’s planning to use it to mend his broken family with a miracle.
A Song for Issy Bradley is a novel about family, but it’s also about faith, doubt and miracles – things that have always interested me. I was raised in a Mormon family. As a child I spent many hours in church meetings, listening as the adults told miraculous stories from the scriptures and everyday life. Many of the miracles were decidedly prosaic – the finding of lost car keys and fortuitous encounters in Asda – but others were startling and marvellous. In a particularly memorable tale, a Mormon Elder was said to have commanded a dead man to rise, and the man sat up and explained that the life had come back into him like a blanket unrolling. I loved these stories, they made the world a magical place. And as I wrote the novel as I revisited many of them.

I never expected my little book to find a big publisher. As a result I’ve been very uncool (i.e incredibly excited) at pretty much every stage of the publication process. It was exciting to see the book for the first time – it has a beautiful cover, really lovely end pages and, without its jacket, it is red, my favourite colour. It was exciting to read a blog about how the cover was developed. It was exciting to read lovely blurbs and kind reviews. And it was extremely exciting to see A Song for Issy Bradley posters up at various tube stations when I visited London last week. I wandered around the underground with a slightly inane grin on my face (it’s possible that I’m still wearing the inane grin, a whole week later). It is also exciting to visit Nik’s long-established blog and talk about my very first novel – thank you so much for having me, Nik!
If you’d like a chance to win a signed copy of A Song for Issy Bradley, comment at the end of this post and I’ll pick a winner within a week or two.

Catching Up

I finished the latest draft of the work in progress yesterday (it feels almost done, which is a great situation to be in) so most of my time since has been/will be dedicated to catching up on things I’ve meant to have done already. I’ve a huge pile of emails I need to attend to and there are a few things that need writing, so they’ll be done very soon.


In the meantime, here’s what Bookmunch had to say about Beautiful Words.


I think this is my favourite line from the review: ‘It’s hard to argue with a book that picks the word ‘fuck’ as its most beautiful F word.’ Indeed. Who am I to argue?

A Couple Of Nice Things

Very pleased to point you in the direction of the Bookimbo Flash Fiction competition longlist. A huge congratulations to those who made it on there. The standard of entries was really, really high and there were loads of really good ones which didn’t quite make it so please don’t be too disappointed if yours was one.


And I’m over here, in New Zealand’s finest’s Flash Frontier mag, talking Beautiful Words in a piece illustrated (quite wonderfully) by Wellington Cartoonist Grant Buist and the lovely Rae Joyce. 

Here’s one of my favourites.


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