42 Brighton Prize

Out Now: The Brighton Prize Anthology 2017

I’m featured in the just-released The Brighton Prize 2017.

Last year I wrote and entered a flash-fiction story to Rattle Tales, a Brighton-based writing collective, for an evening of readings they were hosting.  My story Death Rattle was selected, and I got to read it live in Brighton to an audience of rattle-waving writing enthusiasts.

It was a great night – it was wonderful to see how other writers performed the stories they had written, and the audience questions that followed each story were often illuminating.  It’s notoriously difficult for writers to take their craft to a public stage, and I was really excited by the opportunity.  Sadly, the 2018 Rattle Tales night falls a little close to my wedding day, so I’ve refrained from submitting to it!

I wrote Death Rattle to be read out loud and tried to emphasise sound throughout the story.  I also tried to avoid certain tongue-twisting combinations of words that I might struggle with on the night!  I’m really proud of the finished tale; I think for such a short piece of writing it tells a much larger story than it first appears.

I’d love for you to check out the The Brighton Prize anthology; not only to read my submission but also check out the stories from the writers I shared a stage with last June as well as the acclaimed tales that were selected The Brighton Prize – the short story competition run by Rattle Tales.

Happy reading!

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36 American Gods

Why I Won’t Be Watching American Gods

I first read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods in my late teens.  It was winter time and I fitted it in between college classes and bus stops and it struck such a chord with me.  The book is full to bursting with rich imagination, and images from that first reading that have stuck with me ever since.  Which is why I won’t be watching the new TV adaptation of the book. (more…)

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30 Robin Jarvis and The Whitby Witches

Robin Jarvis and The Whitby Witches

I first read Robin Jarvis’ The Whitby Witches when I was a child.  I can’t have been any older than ten, because by the time I finished the series I had yet to leave primary school.  And actually, I didn’t read them – my mum read them to me.  It was probably her eyes that first alighted upon that fateful tome, bound with a leering hound front cover that arrested both our attentions in that little library up the road.  We devoured it swiftly and ordered the sequels shortly after.  After reading and loving those too, I requested the boxset from my Grandma for Christmas (she lived near Whitby) so I could own those fantastic stories for myself.
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15 Kim Newman and Anno Dracula

Kim Newman and Anno Dracula

I’m halfway through the literary feast that is Dracula Cha Cha Cha, the third book in Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula series. I’d been intrigued by Anno Dracula ever since I’d spotted it in Waterstones and admired its Victorian cover design, but I actually read it for the first time after being lent it by my girlfriend a couple of years ago. It contains one of the best opening sequences I’ve ever read: a Jack the Ripper-style murder in London fog, seen through the eyes of the killer. I was hooked. What follows is in essence an alternate history but also a reinterpretation of that most infamous of vampire novels, Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Count Dracula escapes his hunters, the protagonists of Stoker’s story, and takes Queen Victoria as his bride. Meanwhile, a killer in Whitechapel is hunting down vampire girls and gorily dispatching them.
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06 MacBride is the New Black

MacBride is the New Black

I have just finished reading Flesh House by Stuart MacBride. It was brilliant, though I don’t know why I sound surprised – I’m not a MacBride novice by a long stretch, and I was in fact re-reading this one. I’ve actually read most of his novels – my first, the aforementioned Flesh House, must have been back when I was twenty or so. It was (and is) an extremely gripping police procedural, veined with a delectably black sense of humour and splattered with enough visceral detail to keep Jack the Ripper himself happy. After reading it for the first time, I tracked through the remains of his oeuvre, devouring his books on sight. Of course, this reading fervour rather blinded me to the chronology of his Logan McCrae series; I don’t think I read a single book in consecutive order, having started with the fourth and finishing with the first. Not a problem – they’re all great stories and they work well as independent novels. But that hasn’t stopped me going back and reading them all again from the beginning.
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