Saturday, 30 November 2013


Woohoo! Just scraped through by the skin of my teeth this year and completed NaNoWriMo :D

Monday, 25 November 2013

Discovery Day 2

On Saturday 16th November I travelled down to London with two fellow writers, Antony N Britt and Neil Sehmbhy, for Discovery Day 2 at Foyles in London.

Discovery Day is an event where literary agencies Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh join forces, and let about 250 hopefuls who have been lucky enough to get a free ticket pitch their book to an agent. There were agents for both adults and childrens fiction, I went along to pitch one for the latter. You got 30 seconds to pitch; the agent would read the first page of your book and about 6 minutes of feedback.

I pitched a book aimed at 7-9 year olds, here’s the gist of my pitch…

Petronella Beetletwitch is a story about a fairy, who is considered odd at school as she thinks that humans are interesting creatures and not the scary fairy killers of legend.

Contact with humans is forbidden, but Petronella, or Ella as she prefers to be known befriends Cameron, a human boy and the pair battle to save the fairy kingdom from the evil clutches of Victor, a water pistol loving criminal on the run who is intent on stealing the fairies supply of magic dust.

It’s 27,000 words, aimed at 7-9 year olds and in a style reminiscent of Roald Dahl and Philip Ardagh.

It felt like I’d been waiting for ages when it was finally my turn, but well worth the wait as I got some great feedback from Emma Herdman from the Curtis Brown agency. Emma immediately made me feel at ease and my nerves evaporated as I relaxed into the pitch, and realised agents really are humans too!

My pitch seemed to be spot on, and after reading my first page Emma thought with a bit of tightening up my novel was ready to submit and seemed very keen and supportive of me to do so. It was reassuring to know I haven’t been needlessly banging my head against a brick wall; I really am getting ever closer to my goal of novel publication.

The ‘ask an agent’ lasted for about 10 minutes and also proved to be very useful. Sophie Lambert of the Conville and Walsh agency gave us some insightful information on approaching an agent, and also what might be her own dream book to represent.

The staff at Foyles were also brilliant and very friendly and helpful throughout the day, I don’t envy any of them that day, or the agents for that matter! 

All in all, the day was a fantastic experience, not least for the positive feedback for my book. I can thoroughly recommend going to future Discovery Days if the opportunity arises.

 The post-pitch much needed calories and refreshment!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Early Days...

I was writing from an early age and always knew I wanted to be a writer. The first ever thing I had published was a selection of puzzles I made for a Ceefax page, wonder what ever happened to Ceefax! I entered a poetry competition when I was about 9 and this ended up in an anthology...

Fly, fly, fly your kite
High up in the sky
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Til a bird plops in your eye.

I always did like toilet humour!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013


Published as a flash, but this is the start of a much bigger piece...

Shadows by Emma Finlayson-Palmer

Senka sat with her back pressed firmly against a wall, legs crossed and lost in thought. She daren’t move too much in the sunny afternoon for fear of someone noticing her peculiarity. She preferred being out by the dim light of the crescent moon where no-one would notice she was any different to the other teenagers.

Her family had moved from city to city, and on more than one occasion made a plane journey to a new country. They could never stay too long in one place, or at least so far they’d weighed up the odds and decided to move on before their cover had been blown. Senka was fed up and lonely, and longed to stay somewhere long enough to make friends, although she knew her parents would never allow this.

‘It’s for your own good!’ They would say. ‘You know it’s far too dangerous for people like us.’

Senka watched as the long shadows slowly gave way to the cover of darkness, and realised she had sat for hours on the cold, stone path. She rubbed her legs as pins and needles pulsated like a shower of arrows, and tingled with icy pain. When she could walk steadily once more she set off for home.

Outside the house she looked up at its large, dark windows, like glassy unblinking eyes gazing back at her. Her parents very rarely used any of the rooms at the front of the house, another tactic in keeping a low profile. Senka needed answers, she knew they were different but whenever she started asking questions they told her she was ‘too young to understand’ and that they’d tell her ‘when the time was right’. 

Her hand brushed across her pocket and she felt the crinkle of paper stuffed inside, and this renewed her determination. The letter had arrived that morning, and already she had read it so many times that she could recite it word for word.

Holding her key a little too tightly, Senka strode purposefully up the front steps and let herself in. She listened for the sounds of her parents, feeling drawn towards them as if she were magnetised she was quickly up the stairs and standing before them.

“Senka! We’ve been worried sick! Where have you been all day?” asked her Mum as she tossed aside a half packed suitcase.

“You’re packing? We’ve barely unpacked from the last move.” Senka’s voice raised several octaves higher than normal as she struggled to keep her composure.

Her father sighed, “I’m sorry sweetheart, it’s time, we really must move on. We’ve stayed here too long as it is.”

“No!” Senka threw down the crumpled envelope in front of her parents. I know now why we don’t let people see our shadows. I know it’s the only way humans can see our true form, and I’m not leaving this time.”

Friday, 1 November 2013