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.

Catching Up

I have had a busy (well, busier than normal) couple of weeks. I’ve been writing and teaching as usual, and I’ve been reading too. Most relevant (to me) is my copy of the brilliant There Was Once a Place (which is out now), the latest Fiction Desk anthology containing my story, Loss Angina. It’s a brilliant book, brilliantly produced.

A Place

Look, they said lovely things about me too.

A Place2

I’ve also signed off the proof of my story, I Am No Good at Video Games, which is out next week as part of the National Flash Fiction Day anthology. I’ve only been in one anthology before, it’s not something I’ve ever really bothered with for some reason, so it’s all pretty exciting and different.


And, since Saturday, I’ve been judging the Bookimbo flash fiction competition. With over 300 hundred stories read it’s been both hard work and fun and it’s reminded me just how much of a double-edged sword judging can be. One one hand (or edge of the sword) it’s brilliant to be able to read so much good fiction, and on the other it’s horrible because so much of that good fiction won’t win. I emailed the long list yesterday, so that should be up at some point very soon. Watch this space.


And, speaking of very soon, I’m off to give a talk at a library about getting published shortly, so I’d better get my skates on.

There Once Was a Place

I’ve just heard from the good people over at The Fiction Desk that my copy of the anthology, There Once Was a Place – which contains my story, Loss Angina – will be with me soon. And that means it’ll be shipping to those who’ve preordered soon too. If you’ve not and you’d like to, head over here. It’s available as an eBook too, if that’s your preferred format.


And to give you a little teaser, here’s the beginning of my story…

“A couple of months after Jude left the man shaved off his lips. Won’t be needing these anymore, he said to himself, standing before the bathroom mirror, razor in hand, the tap dripping.”



My Baby Shot Me Down

Delighted to welcome the delightful Laura Wilkinson to the blog today. She has a story in the My Baby Shot Me Down anthology – ‘poetry and prose by women writers.’


So, without further ado, let’s cheer on the girls!


Blurred lines – after the bad news here’s the good

The stats on the coverage of work by female writers in the mainstream media can make for depressing reading. Whilst more women than men write (and read) fiction there is still a tendency within the industry to overlook their work.

But, thankfully, it’s not all bad news. There are plenty of blokes out there – like Nik here – who are cheering the girls on. Founder of new publisher Blinding Books, Richard Penny, is another. Blinding Books has just released an anthology of prose and poetry by women writers: My Baby Shot Me Down.

Ten years ago, when I was editor of writing and reading ‘girlie’ project – – I met Tony Cook and encountered ABCtales. Back then, I wasn’t a fiction writer; I was a voracious reader, a copywriter and sometime journalist. ABCtales was three years old, launched in September 2000 by John Bird (The Big Issue), along with Gordon Roddick (TheResized cover image Body Shop) and Tony (Chairman of Red Pepper and co-owner of the award winning independent TV production company Praxis Films). The idea then, as now, was to offer a forum where writers could share their work, critique their peers and grow their talent. It was, and is, brilliant, so when I began to tentatively pen my own stories in 2007 it was natural for me to post my work on the site. After all, I’d been a member, enjoying others’ work, for years.

It was at an ABCtales event in London that I met Richard. I’d admired his work on the site, as he had mine, and we stayed in touch. In email dialogue last year he mentioned his ambition to publish an all-female anthology. Intrigued, I asked why. He’d been bowled over by the exceptional work posted by authors on ABCtales, he said, and quickly realised that the best work on offer came predominantly from women. I was delighted when he asked if he could include a couple of my stories in the anthology that went on to become My Baby Shot Me Down.


Having said all this, it’s important to say that the anthology isn’t meant to be read exclusively by women. There’s enough action, suspense and humour to appeal to all. After all, the work was selected by a bloke. You can ask Nik what he thinks too; he has a review copy!

Thanks for having me over again, Nik, and good luck with your latest, the super lovely, utterly gorgelicious Beautiful Words. I love it, and know others will too.


About Laura

Laura is a writer, reader, wife and mother to ginger boys. After hedonistic years in Manchester and London, she moved to Brighton. As well as writing fiction, she works as an editor for literary consultancy, Cornerstones.

Laura has published short stories in magazines, digital media and anthologies, and three novels, with another scheduled for publication this year. Public Battles, Private Wars, (Accent Press)is the story of a young miner’s wife in 1984; of friends and rivals; loving and fighting, and being the best you can be. Two of Laura’s short stories appear in My Baby Shot Me Down, an anthology of work by women writers published by Blinding Books on 29 April 2014. For more information, visit: or follow her on Twitter @ScorpioScribble.

And this is her eye

one eye

About My Baby Shot Me Down

Ten new women writers showcase an exceptional collection of poetry and prose in My Baby Shot Me Down. An incendiary blend of cerebral and visceral, this anthology presents a broadened view of the personal, political and social spectra. The unsettling beauty of the language is rendered sharp and transgressive, shot through with high-calibre comedy. Expect full-bodied and full-blooded. Grey areas of the gender-jungle and identity are explored alongside matters of love, family, relationships and sex, making for stark writing that is vital, refreshing and life-affirming.

Available at all good bookshops – online and off. Here’s one link:



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