Firstly, Happy New Year to you, constant reader! I hope your Christmas and holiday season was restful and joyful, and spent with loved ones. It always feels for me like a physical and mental trudge up a steep hill at the start of a new year, but I know that some brisk walking to shake […]
Anthology Review – Symphony of The Damned
…no matter what the reader fancies, as long as it’s unsettling, s/he is certain to find something melodiously creepy in Symphony of the Damned. Rebecca Rowland, Horror TREE In my last post, I announced that one of my horror short stories features in a new anthology, Symphony of the Damned. You can still pick up the […]
New Horror Anthology – Symphony of The Damned
I signed my first actual, honest-to-god contract for a piece of fiction at the start of the month, for a horror anthology published by Savage Realms Press, called Symphony of The Damned. The book was published a couple of days ago, and I may have to frame that contract! I submitted “Shadows Under Leamouth”, my […]
A Groundhog Kind of Year
I haven’t had much to say on here because I haven’t been writing much; the process of writing has been a physical and emotional slog for the last few months, and I found myself picking up other creative outlets. Finding excuses to not write is just that: an excuse.
Troubling Fascinations – Belfast on My Mind
It’s been eighteen months since I last visited Northern Ireland, and I doubt I’ll be able to get over this summer; as of the time of writing, the GOV.UK site still advises against all but essential travel to NI (or at least I think it does; it may be downright illegal, depending on your source). […]
The Battle of Watling Street – New Cover Art for 2021
I’m pleased to reveal the new, much improved cover artwork for my 2017 novella The Battle of Watling Street. The imagery really captures both the story itself, and the juxtaposition between historical fiction and science fiction that defines my strange little tale that might really be about grief and loss, with historical figures and a […]
Winter 2020 Update – Reasons To Be Cheerful, New Short Fiction, And What’s a Chapbook?
In my July update I hoped for the best but prepared for the worst, and here we are in another year, in another national UK lockdown, with a very unprecedented Christmas behind us.
If I distilled anything palatable from the bitter brew of 2020, it was to be actively grateful – not in a wishy washy, Pinterest board way, but to frequently and actively list out on a piece of paper all the reasons to be cheerful whenever the new normal threatened to overwhelm. We are safe, we are fortunate that we can work from home, we continue healthy, we have a good broadband and Wi-Fi connection so we can connect to friends and family online, as well as buy most of what we need in the same way. We did manage to get out and about for some hiking trips in between lockdowns (pic above is from a brief trip to the Lake District in September), but I’m now doing my part as a stay-safe couch potato.
July Update and New Flash Fiction
Flowers are wilting My enthusiasm, too Only weeds survive.” – Gaia Garden The weeds are not only surviving; they’re winning, and a lot of my time is taken up with tackling them; in the garden and in my writing commitment. With lockdown easing, we’ve ventured out for a few walks, but always in less frequented […]
Getting Creative with the Coronavirus
I’ve had asthma since my teens, nearly forty years now. It lurks, ready at the lack of a coat to remind me of how it’s compromised my respiratory system. A mild cold in December mutated into a chest infection that hung around like an oblivious, unwelcome guest for nearly a month. Needless to say, I’m […]
Happy New Year!
I hope you all had a restful and enjoyable Christmas and New Year break. The tone of this post was set by my New Year’s Eve iTunes playlist (mercifully for my friends and family it’s quite short, unlike my eight-hour gargantuan Christmas version). While singing along to Abba’s “Happy New Year” I realised it’s not […]
Poem of The Month – The New Colossus, by Emma Lazarus
This month’s poem is inspired by both a trip during August to Northern Ireland, my journey of DNA discovery, and the depressing news cycle we watched when we (rarely) turned on the TV to catch the news while taking in the magnificent Causeway coast. I recently had my DNA ancestry traced on 23andMe and discovered that […]
Poem of The Month – Cave Hill, by Alice Milligan
We lived on a road at the base of the massive outcrop in the picture above which is, of course, Cave Hill. Straddling the skyline of North Belfast, it was immortalised by Jonathan Swift as a Sleeping Giant. The best panoramic views of the city and Belfast lough are from the peak by McArt’s Fort, or […]
Breaks and Pauses
…And the blackbird’s tune, And May, and June! – De Gustibus, Robert Browning I’ve added a lot of tags to this post; my four weeks away from writing and blogging generated quite a few thoughts and ideas, as well as […]
NaPoWriMo Day 14 – Philomena
Philomena Who’s in that house there, look? I thought I saw a light flickering in the empty rooms; who’d be in there late on Saturday night? Who’s in that house there – that wee house belongs to my dad! No one lives there now. Should we go and check it’s nothing bad? Who’s in that […]
NaPoWriMo Day 13 – The Customers
The Customers Finally, summer’s here, and we’re enjoying a wee drink in this bar. A mix of us, from both sides of the fence. Unusual for these troubled times but it works for us. The balmy moon glows in our glasses, when the yellow headed men invade the bar and call out for us to separate by faith. […]
NaPoWriMo Day 12 – David
(Apologies for the hiatus, I’ll be catching up with posting my NaPoWriMo poems this week…) David We’ve stopped here by a ditch, across the sea from home; guns across our chests, peering like Eagle Eyes action men. It’s wetter here, more clouds; the sky drips more, but still I know this grass, this hedge, this […]
NaPoWriMo Day 11 – Thomas
Thomas I was dumped at this church, unable to get home; back down the hill into town. This city, this town is deathly sick; my head stoved in with a brick and barrels from the bar. I watch a car toil up Forthriver’s rise, from this hill among the skies. No hallowed stones or weathered […]
NaPoWriMo Day 10 – Rachel
Rachel We came up on the tube by district line; we nearly missed our stop. Jumped off at Earl’s Court and running, we just caught the Olympia branch train, a short hop. It put me in mind of the Blitz, the push and shove onto the platforms; the songs, the camaraderie, worried glances at the […]
NaPoWriMo Day 7 – Roy
Roy Bells ringing on the radio, Merry Christmas Everybody, Silent Night; my ma wants a record of carols; I’ll pick one up tonight. I had a wee dance in the kitchen, and she laughed as I shuffled along; the fits have left me limping, and my arm hangs down all wrong. But after all, I’m lucky, […]
NaPoWriMo Day 6 – Brandy
Brandy Black and tan, contentious colours, your panting flanks and eager eye. A questing snout quivers to defend; loyalty is your nature, not a means to an end. Drunk, I named you for a drink, But Fido, that tired joke, is your ideal: faithful, trustworthy, except, perhaps, around a meal. Your greed was your doom, […]