‘The Drowning of Arthur Braxton’ – Book Launch


Last Thursday (April 11) was the launch of Caroline Smailes’ new novel ‘The Drowning of Arthur Braxton’ published by Friday Project at Belgravia Books in Ebury Street near Victoria Station.

I first came across Caroline  as a contributor to the 100RPM project last year and she’s always one of the nicest people on Twitter. However until Thursday, we’d never met in person. She’s really just the same in ‘real life’ (people on Twitter tend to be) and it was a pleasure to catch up with someone who is always  encouraging and full of fun.

This is the second time I’ve taken photos at a book launch, the first being ‘The Night Rainbow’ by Claire King. It’s not that easy. Much as I love books, they provide a distracting background and it’s difficult to get well composed photos in such a confined space especially if, at this shop, there’s no vantage point over the floor space. It really is a case of gaining experience, taking plenty of photos and learning from mistakes.

Having said all that, I’m quite pleased with the full set of images from the night.  The author tends not to see a lot of the event as they’re the centre of attention, which is nice in one way but they don’t get much of a chance to see who’s there and what else is going on so it’s good to get shots that capture the feel of the evening.

Needless to say it was a lovely relaxed evening, helped by wine and cake. It’s always great to meet new people especially those who were just names on Twitter before. The only frustration I have is seeing afterwards that someone you know from Twitter was there and you didn’t recognise them from their avatar!

I haven’t started the book yet. I’ve read Caroline’s other work which has that gritty but also humorous feel to it which reminds me of growing up in the North and it has received critical acclaim so I’m pretty confident that I’ll enjoy it.

Thanks to Caroline, her publishers and Belgravia Books for hosting a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

p.s. If you ever get the chance to visit, this is a wonderful independent bookstore. Not an inch of shelf space is wasted and it’s a great place to browse and buy.

100RPM – One Hundred Short Stories Inspired By Music

Today sees the publication of 100RPM – One Hundred Short Stories Inspired By Music, with an introduction by ‘80s Popstar and singer / songwriter Nik Kershaw (‘Wouldn’t It Be Good’,’The Riddle’). The anthology put together by celebrated author Caroline Smailes and features one of my stories ‘Baker’s Shop’.

This anthology of 100 stories is made up of short piece of flash fiction based on a song on YouTube. Full details of the project and the other chosen writers are available here.  My entry ‘Baker’s Shop’ is based one of my favourite Tori Amos songs ‘ Baker, Baker’ from the album ‘Under the Pink’ (1994). If you’ve never heard it before, then have a listen here

All proceeds from the book will be going to the charity One in Four, which provides support and resources to people who have experienced sexual abuse and sexual violence.



The e-book is available via Amazon (UK) or Amazon (US) at a discounted price for a limited period only.

Freak Out Thursday

Today I’m turning my blog over to ‘FREAKS’ which is being launched this very day in ye old paperback or e-book Kindle thingymebob. It’s a unique collection of short stories with comic book style illustrations written by two of my favourite twitter people, Caroline Smailes (99 Reasons) and Nik Perring (Not So Perfect). It’s illustrated by Darren Craske with the rather tranquil and demure cover designed by leading movie poster designer Sam Bennett.

These short stories explore the more disturbing consequences of ordinary, flawed human beings obtaining superpowers, each featuring a character with an unusual superpower.

Meet The Photocopier, a woman who can reproduce herself at will and attempts to teach her daughter to do the same. The man who can break his way into his lovers dream and the woman in My Little Pony pants who likes to be ridden like a pony (I’m not wholly convinced about that being a super power, I think that’s just a bit of a personal fetish!)

The stories aren’t credited so the reader is left to guess which is written by Caroline or Nik so I’m having fun trying to decide who wrote what (especially the My Little Pony Pants woman ). As someone brought up as a kid on Marvel comics, 2000AD featuring Judge Dredd and Commando (plucky Brits shooting Germans until they emerged from their bunker waving a white flag and wondering at the courage of our glorious WWII troops), I love the the idea of combining the short / flash fiction story  with the comic book and it’s another great example of why I love the vibrancy of short and flash story telling.

If anything else was needed to whet your appetite, here’s one of the stories from the book (I’m guessing Caroline for this one).

SUPER POWER: The ability to make oneself unseen to the naked eye


If I stay totally still,

if I stand right tall,

with me back against the school wall,

close to the science room’s window,

with me feet together,

pointing straight,

aiming forward,

if I make me hands into tight fists,

make me arms dead straight,

if I push me arms into me sides,

if I squeeze me thighs,

stop me wee,

if me belly doesn’t shake,

if me boobs don’t wobble,

if I close me eyes tight,

so tight that it makes me whole face scrunch,

if I push me lips into me mouth,

if I make me teeth bite me lips together,

if I hardly breathe,

if I don’t say a word.


I’ll magic meself invisible,

and them lasses will leave me alone.

 Just a reminder that we’re just over a month off from National Flash Fiction Day so look out for events via the website and help put flash fiction in the spotlight. I’ll be in Oxford on the night (they won’t let me during the day) reading a new story, which I erm… need to write. *exit stage left pursued by nagging doubts*.

#100RPM : Coming along nicely

In these ‘value brand’ recessionary days, it’s always nice to have a bit of good news for a change. A while ago, I told you that my story ‘Baker’s Shop’ based on the song ‘Baker, Baker’ by Tori Amos was to feature in an anthology of stories being put together by Caroline Smailes (author of In Search of AdamLike Bees to Honey, and  last seen promoting 99 Reasons Why on BBC Breakfast)  as an ebook, with all proceeds going to the charity One in Four, which provides support and resources to people who have experienced sexual abuse and sexual violence.

Last week, my story was edited. I shuffled a couple of commas and semi colons around like a sheepish schoolboy (so much for a Grammar school education!) but I survived. This week, there’s more progress. Caroline now has a title 100 RPM and the beginnings of what looks like being a brilliant cover. It’s all coming along nicely.

I’m pleased about this as I haven’t written anything for the past three weeks. My mind is full of too many other things (some good, some bad) and I’m finding it difficult to concentrate on any one thing at any one time. Sleep is elusive and even gardening, my best way of relaxing, isn’t helping. 100RPM is reminding me that I can write well and hopefully there are other stories ahead.

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