Friday, 28 February 2014

Reading - February's best bits


       No Fireworks      

         The Challenge of Honesty: Essays for Latter-day Saints by Frances Lee Menlove   

I've read so many fabulous books this month - I'm knackered, there have been a lot of very late nights thanks to numerous just one more page moments.

It seems terribly unfair not to review them all properly, but time constraints make it difficult (I've *nearly* finished the first draft of my PhD thesis - hooray - which means it's nearly time to start working on novel 2 - yikes). So, if you click on each of the pictures you'll go straight to a great review written by someone else. 

Thursday, 27 February 2014


I had a lovely time in Brighton. I met lots of very nice book-loving people, ate some lovely food and read Rodge Glass's novel Hope for Newborns on the train.

While I travelled home, my publisher presented my book at a conference. Here's a picture of the cover on an enormous screen and here's me talking about A Song for Issy Bradley in the short film that I did in November.

Unfortunately, the first of my trains home was running really late and I only just made my connection at Euston. This meant I couldn't buy the expected doughnuts, and so I picked the children up from school empty handed. One of them was cross, the other said they were glad I caught the right train as they'd rather see me than have a donut anyway. Aww.

Waiting at home was a parcel from Random House - beautiful new proofs and a small stack of postcards. Much better than doughnuts and less fattening, too.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014


We spent half term without a landline or internet connection. The kids couldn't play on Minecraft or watch the football (they were upset) and they couldn't complete their homework (they weren't upset).

I couldn't work on my PhD because I'm at a point in my thesis where I'm discussing several short stories that can only be accessed online (I was upset). It was a bit of a revelation to realise how much I rely on the internet, not just for writing, but for fact-checking, weather, music, news, recipes, booking half term activities and so on.

Finally, a full eight days after I reported the fault to BT, we're back online and I can carry on writing the last couple of thousand words of my thesis - hooray! I can also check my train times and print off a map of Brighton as I'll be travelling there tomorrow to have dinner with some lovely people who sell and market books. It will be the first outing for my new suitcase. I've packed my books, hopefully there'll be room for some other stuff, too.

Friday, 14 February 2014

U.K cover

Here's the U.K cover of A Song for Issy Bradley.

I think it's gorgeous. Not only is it a little bit red, (my favourite colour) but the bird is beautifully collaged out of things that are important in the novel: geese, autumn, the sea and a little girl. And the lovely quote from Nathan Filer is a wonderful surprise.

Edited to add...

Cover proofs arrived in the post this afternoon. My camera is a bit rubbish, but here are a few photographs.

Here's the back cover (left). I'm more than a little overwhelmed by the generous quotes from three brilliant writers whose work I really admire.

And here's the inside front cover blurb (right).

The little waves on the front cover are shiny and the lettering stands out (I'm sure there are proper, technical words to describe these things, but I don't know them).

It's probably very uncool of me to be so excited - and it's probably very uncool of me to use the word uncool - but I don't care!

Friday, 7 February 2014

National Flash Fiction Day

This year National Flash Fiction Day will take place on 21st June. If you would like to be in with a chance of publication in the National Flash Fiction Day Anthology, you can enter the 100 word Flash Competition (details below). The ten winners will be see their stories published and they will also receive prizes of books from National Flash Fiction Day sponsors (titles to be confirmed).

To find out more about the rules, terms and conditions, and how to submit your 100 word flash-fictions click here

This year the costs to enter are as follows:

One or two entries: £1.50 / per story

Three entries (max): £4

This year's judges include:

And me - I'm really looking forward to reading the entries. 

If you haven't written flash fiction before and want to get a sense of what can be done in very few words, you can still buy the 2012 and 2013 National Flash Fiction Day anthologies Jawbreakers and Scraps.

Or try the gorgeous single author collection Enough by Valerie O'Riordan - I read the first story almost 2 years ago and it still haunts me.

Enough by Valerie O'Riordan