Recent Reads: One Word Reviews

Here are the last twelve books I read. In short, they were all excellent and I highly recommend them all (I don’t blog about books I didn’t like – life is too short!) They’re a mix of police procedural, domestic noir, psychological thriller, sci-fi/horror thriller,  dystopian thriller, thriller-thriller, crime-with-a-bit-of-romance and just a hint of the paranormal… take your pick from below 🙂

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Three Book Launches

One of the big things that many authors (especially debut authors) get excited about is book launches. It’s certainly something that I daydream about while waiting to hear the fate of my book with publishers. Often self-published and small-press authors have to arrange and pay for the launch themselves. Some publishers may not see a huge benefit in doing anything at all – after all, it might not translate into sales… but I think the birth of your book-baby is something to be celebrated, no matter on what scale.

I’ve been to three launches recently (two of them this week!), and they were all very good and very different.

Sarah Pinborough launched THE LANGUAGE OF DYING at Foyles, Charing Cross Road in December. There was a lot of book browsing, an author Q&A with Will Carver, wine & cookies, and afterwards everyone went to the pub across the road. It was perfect, simple, and I met loads of interesting people, including Uber-Reviewer, Liz Wilkins.


On Tuesday, Mel Sherratt launched WATCHING OVER YOU upstairs at The Fellow, Kings Cross. As this was a private room in a pub, this basically involved lots of drinking and mingling with authors, readers, and Mel’s friends and family. Mel’s agent, Maddie Milburn, gave an impassioned speech, followed by the lady herself thanking everyone who had helped her along the way. It was a lovely night (with a few amusing drunken antics and loads of photos, of which I took none) and felt like the perfect celebration for Mel reaching the pinnacle of her long journey to becoming a successful author. Note that I said pinnacle of her journey, her already successful career is now surely set to rocket 🙂


Finally, my agency-mate Luca Veste launched DEAD GONE at Belgravia Books, nr Victoria on Thursday. This was a shop I had never been to before, and I instantly fell in love with the table of books, covered with so many unusual titles that I could easily have spent a fortune. Luca’s editor, Sammia (Avon), gave a lovely speech, followed by a humble and hilarious one from the man himself. Again, this event was centered around wine, nibbles and nattering… and afterwards, a trip to a nearby curry house (I didn’t go… wish I had…)

* * *

I hear that Luca and Mel are carrying on the celebrations in their home towns of Liverpool and Stoke next week… I’m looking forward to seeing photos and hearing all about those!

Thanks to Sarah, Luca and Mel for inviting me to their launches: three perfect venues, three great authors, three must-read books.

Now it’s back to daydreaming about my own… 🙂

Winners of the #SJIBFS Flash Fiction Competition

Well the day is finally here – and hopefully some of you have been involved in the activities detailed on the National Flash Fiction Day site? If not, get over there now and see what’s happening! Flash Flood has been running since midnight and stories are being fired out every ten minutes – so there’s loads to read over there…


*Drum Roll*

Here are the winners of the inaugural #SJIBFS Flash Fiction Competition, with some comments from our head judge Sarah Pinborough on what made them stand out from the crowd.

3rd place – Saving the Planet by Juliet Boyd

2nd place – A Little Light Relief by Zoe Gilbert

1st place – Rabbit by Al Kratz

Sarah says…
I think this did everything a piece of flash fiction should do. It gives you a snippet of a story that somehow manages to tell you the whole without cramming too much in. It was very well constructed, subtle and chilling. I loved it.
A Little Light Relief: 
I thought this was a lovely little vignette piece and such an original idea and well-written.
Saving the Planet: 
I’m a sucker for Triffids and this was a really nice take on that kind of story. Again, a good snippet insight into a bigger story that manages to convey that story within it.


Well done Al, Zoe and Juliet!

 The pieces will be published in the  Summer BFS Journal which should be out in August.

Big thanks to fellow judges Phil and Sarah for giving up their time, and thanks to Harper Voyager, Gollancz and the BFS for the fantastic prizes 🙂


P.S. If anyone who entered is planning to post their entry on their blog, or gets it accepted elsewhere – let me know and I will link back to it and spread the word – I think everyone who entered would love to read them!

P.P.S. Same time next year? 🙂