‘Stories From Home’ Anthology

Absolutely delighted to have a wee flash fiction piece on the French Revolution included in this wonderful anthology edited by Dr Hayleigh Barclay and Dr Sylvia Hehir.

All proceeds from ‘Stories From Home‘ will go to The Ambulance Staff Charity (TASC), a charity dedicated to ‘the mental, physical and financial wellbeing’ of the UK’s life-saving ambulance community.

The anthology is packed with over 60 poems and stories donated by over 40 writers including Carolyn Jess-Cooke, Zoe Strachan, Louise Welsh, Rob Maslen, Olga Wojtas, Elizabeth Reeder, Colin Herd, and contains everything from comedy to crime to fantasy and historical fiction.

So, if you can, head on over to your favourite ebook store and help to support this amazing charity.

A huge thank you to Dr Hayleigh Barclay and Dr Sylvia Hehir for allowing me to take part.


A huge thank you to Dr Hayleigh Barclay and Dr Sylvia Hehir for allowing me to take part.

‘Afore the Mast’ – Northwords Now, Issue 39

A huge thank you to Northwords Now for publishing my dark folklore piece about the reality of changelings. My contributor copies arrived today and I can’t stop grinning. Thank you!

My story is inspired by Robert Rendall‘s poem ‘Saut i’ the bluid’, and is available to read here.


APR Submission Time

Currently sacrificing my 10,000 word APR submission to the Old Gods. That’s how it’s done, isn’t it? That’s how you progress to the next year of the MFA?

#amwriting #crimefiction #historicalcrime #viledeeds #amediting #murderpen

First four chapters of #VileDeeds

First Steps into Novel Writing

This picture represents my first steps in progressing from writing short stories to tackling longer fiction. I mean, the longest piece I’ve ever written in one story world is 5,000 words. So, to have over 13,000 proper, crafted words, it’s an absolute bloody joy.

Yes, I know many of you reading this will have written multiple books, but this first one is so fucking special to me. To get this far, while navigating ME and receiving treatment for Emotional Intensity Disorder, it’s an enormous fucking breakthrough and deserving of all the swears.

I’m learning that there’s no feeling quite like completing another chapter. By the end of this year, I hope to experience the feels of having a completed book to edit and play with.

In the meantime, though, I have no qualms in giving myself a hearty ‘Whirrooo!’ and ‘Gaun yersel, Hen!’

#selfdiscovery #pompomshaking #naeshame

‘Sound of an Iceberg’ New Writing Scotland No.37

Absolutely delighted that ‘Thrum‘, my wee Imprint Award story about my first miscarriage, has found its forever print home at New Writing Scotland 37.

Look at all these amazing writers and that cover too!

A big thank you to editors Susie Maguire and Samuel Tongue for including my work.

Sound of An Iceberg‘ is available to buy here from The Association for Scottish Literary Studies.

On Embracing Rejection

A well-known and high profile creative writing competition is announced today. Now, I know my story will not be long-listed. My publishing credits are few and relatively recent. I still have much to learn about the craft and I have a fair distance to travel yet. But still, I’ve discovered this little kernel of hope inside me that I can’t stop igniting every time I submit a piece. Once the deadline passes, I go on with another piece and pay the submission no mind. But, then, when the announcement deadline arrives, I refresh and refresh and refresh. Today, I felt that little kernel and decided to stop and examine it for a moment.

You see, I think it exists inside all writers who create work intended for an audience. Of course, not every writer seeks publication. Sometimes a piece is written for our own eyes only. It could be a character study or a form of therapeutic writing, for example. But, when we do create a piece intended for a home in the material or digital worlds, we latch onto any small sliver of hope we can muster. We still do it even when we know we’re hoping against hope for validation. The writing ego always wants to feel that it’s not shouting into the dark, that our efforts mean something to someone somewhere, even if it’s just one other solitary soul in the universe.

And that’s where I find myself today. I know my story needs a little more tightening, that it’s up against far more skilful works by more experienced writers. Logically, my chances of success are limited. And yet, and yet, and yet, until the website updates, I can’t quench that little kernel of hope. I torture myself with constant refreshing, ‘Just in case…’

But there is no sadness when my title is not included on the long list. There is no jealousy of the other writers. There is merely the will to redraft and resubmit the piece of work elsewhere. There is always the will to keep going, to write something else, to try submitting again.

Now, why am I writing this? Wouldn’t it be better to say nothing at all, rather than to strip my creative self bare like this in public? No. Because I’m neither special nor unique. The vast majority of writers go through this process time and again. They experience rejection whether they are professionals with a long and prestigious list of publications or whether they’re amateurs like me. The point is we learn to develop thicker writing skins and we learn to stop internalising rejection as, ‘This means my writing is bad and that I’m bad.’ Somehow we learn over time to make peace with rejection. It’s true some rejections sting more than others, but there is always something to be learned from them. No piece of work is ever ‘a waste’.

So, instead of trying to smother these little kernels of hope whenever I sense them, I plan to leave them well alone. I will stop interfering because hope is a driver of creativity, no matter how much or how little of it you have. So, I will keep on keeping on because, well, you never know, right?

Reading my winning flash fiction entry at the Scottish Association of Writers Conference 2019