Guest Post: Martyn Taylor on Ghosts

Today on the blog, writer Martyn Taylor is on the blog to talk about ghosts. Martyn read at the inaugural North East Noir at the Bar in Newcastle in June and since then has been a regular at Elementary Writers workshops. 

You can join Martyn and other members of Elementary Writers for original ghost stories and poetry on Saturday, 5th November at Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade’s Watch House for ‘After Dark’. Email to book your seats. 

Thanks to Martyn for this very interesting post. 

Vic x


Martyn Taylor on Ghosts.

I make no bones about it.  I am a Shakespeare fan.  As far as I am concerned, anything that needs to be said about the human condition has already been said, by him, and better than we can ever hope to do (not that it will ever stop us trying). The English language is packed with aphorisms taken from his writing.  The one that concerns me here is ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamed of in your philosophy’ (Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 5). Hamlet is, of course, talking about the ghost of his father, but to me this simple statement applies to everything, our lives, our society, our planet, our universe.  The more we discover, the more we realise there is yet to discover.  In an effectively infinite universe, as we understand it today, we humans have hardly scratched the surface much less dug down to deep and meaningful levels.

Hamlet spoke of a ghost.  Ghosts, so far as I can tell, are universal in human societies, at least until recently.  Let me say that I do not believe in ghosts.  In scientific terms they are like a faster than light drive, something devoutly to be wished but beyond our comprehension now.  That statement may not apply next week.  But I do not believe in ghosts, which is not to say there may not be echoes of individual human spirits that persist after physical death, possibly even the spirits of societies.  I have not been presented with any evidence that convinces me about this the way evidence about gravity and quarks does.

Yet I have ‘met’ two ‘ghosts’.

One was at our local church on Easter Sunday several years ago.  When the time came to offer a sign of peace, a young girl in the pew in front turned around and smiled at me.  I knew instantly she was our daughter, Lucy, who was stillborn.  I heard her say ‘Be at peace, I am’.  My heart hasn’t broken over her death since then.  Now I know there are all sorts of psychological explanations.  I may well have imagined her just to fulfil the wish that had tormented me for fourteen years and more.  Nobody else in our party saw her.  I suspect most ghostly encounters have their genesis in such need, and I have not sought any further contact – I talk to myself more than enough anyway – unlike my mother and her sister, both of whom frequented spiritualist churches, somewhere you will need wild horses to get me.

The other encounter was completely different.  It was the day of my elder brother’s wedding, which was being held from our house rather than Amanda’s parents’ (I had no idea of the reasons then and am not going to rehearse them here).  It was just before tea time and while the grown-ups were doing whatever it was grown-ups did, I was kicking a ball against the garage door.  A middle-aged man came in through the front gate.  Even I could tell that the suit he wore under the tightly belted gabardine raincoat was old-fashioned (what I later came to know was a Demob Suit).  This was late summer, and nobody needed to wear a raincoat.  He was tallish with thinning fair hair and an almost invisible Clark Gable moustache.  I had no idea who he was and had never seen him before.

‘Do the Taylors live here?’ he asked.  I nodded.  Just then the ball rolled off the garage roof and began to bounce towards some flowers.  I turned to catch it, not wanting to risk Mam’s displeasure. When I turned back, he was gone.  The only sign he had ever been there was that the front gate was open.  Mam was most particular about the front gate being kept closed at all times.  Eventually I got bored and hungry, and went inside.  After a while, I had to tell my story.  As I described the man all the colour left Auntie Lilian’s face.  When I was finished she produced a cracked and crazed black and white photo from her handbag.  Was that the man?  Yes, it was.  The man was her husband, Bert, who had been dead a good decade and whom I had never met, or if I had met him I had no memory of it because I would have been about three at the time of his death.  Tea was rapidly served after that and nobody made any mention of the encounter to me ever again.

As I say, I have a ready explanation for my encounter with Lucy.  I’m too imaginative for my own good.  As for my encounter with Uncle Bert… well, there may have been subconscious triggers but I have not found them yet.  I cannot explain it.  The rationalist in me would like a rational explanation for it while the writer in me wants it to be what it seemed to be.

Which brings me back to Shakespeare, and there being more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in any of our philosophies never mind a courtier called Horatio in Denmark’s medieval royal palace.  And we do so like our ghost stories, don’t we?


Guest Post: Gill Hoffs on the Collywobbles

Gilll Hoffs has been a guest on this blog many times before and it’s always a pleasure to have her guesting for us. 

Today, in the wake of her second book being published, Gill shares with us the nerves related to the release. Thanks to Gill for being so honest about this topic. 

Vic x


Killing your collywobbles: how to handle the release of your next book.
By Gill Hoffs.

My second shipwreck book has just come out and while I’m delighted to have 18 months’ work come to fruition, I also feel kinda sick about it.  With my first book, The Sinking of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story of the ‘Victorian Titanic’” (Pen & Sword, 2014, 2015), everything was new and exciting and the only way was up.  As a relatively unknown author writing about a long forgotten shipwreck, I could reason with myself that whatever I did was an improvement on the status quo and no matter what, my research and writing would raise awareness of the people involved and help memorialise them – so whether my book was a success or not, it was something.  And something is better than nothing.


But fast forward two and a half years from that first book’s release and you’ll find me fretting, full of excitement mixed with fear.  My Tayleur book has been in national newspapers, on TV and the radio, and led to trips to Ireland, the wreck site, and to meet descendants of people involved.  It’s been wild and I’ve loved every second of it but – and it’s a big BUT – this means the stakes are raised, considerably, for Book 2.

The Lost Story of the William & Mary: The Cowardice of Captain Stinson (Pen & Sword, 2016) came out in September and although the advance reviews and feedback so far has been great, I still feel queasy with nerves.  What if no-one reads it or likes it? What if, what if, what if… Many of you reading this have felt (or will feel) the same with your own second book or subsequent title, so here’s a list of things which have helped me through the summer and will hopefully help you too.

Do add suggestions in the comments section – killing collywobbles is a work in progress!

  • Keep lists in a project book of precisely what you’re doing to promote your book, e.g. a section on reviews (who approached, when, yes/no, what site or publication, etc.), interviews, articles, talks/signings. When you’re panicking and struggling to sleep you can look at all the positive steps you’re taking to get your book out there and noticed, and rest easier knowing that this is in hand and still to come.  Of course, this only works if you have put effort into promotion…
  • Remind yourself that people who enjoyed your first book are now rooting for you. They want your new book to be great, they want to love it, and they will come at your new title with a positive state of mind.  Make the most of connections made during your research or via your first book, keep in touch with readers and reviewers and if you can send them something extra (not a bribe, think bookmarks, pens etc.) then do so.  Don’t point out to them what you’re unsure of in your work, or otherwise try to put them off it – most people get the jitters and that’s no reason to sabotage yourself (and your publisher).
  • Celebrate every little thing to do with your new book. Enjoy the ride!  You’ve earned it!

Gill Hoffs is the author of Wild: a collection (Pure Slush, 2012), The Sinking of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story of the ‘Victorian Titanic’” (Pen & Sword, 2014, 2015), The Lost Story of the William & Mary: The Cowardice of Captain Stinson (Pen & Sword, 2016), and hundreds of short stories and articles.  She lives in Warrington, England, and can be contacted via email and on twitter.

Guest Post: Dawn Tindle on Literary Prizes

I’m not sure how I first came into contact with Dawn Tindle, the brains behind Book & Brew, but this year we’ve bumped into each other at countless book events and I like to think we’ve become bookish friends.  Dawn’s dedication to literature is really inspiring and I love the articles she posts on her site.

Here’s Dawn sharing her thoughts on literary prizes. Thanks to Dawn for being involved today.

Vic x


Literary prizes: are they for readers or for authors?
By Dawn Tindle

The literary calendar is full of prizes honouring the great and good of the book world. From specialist awards to international accolades, prizes recognise authors who push the boundaries of literature to create new narratives for their generation. But, who are they really for? The reader or the author?

Books and brews

My book group, Book and Brew, started in January 2015 and we’ve met every last Sunday of the month since in Pink Lane Coffee. We started as five but have grown to seven. We huddle around the distressed (hipster) table with our favourite brews (they range from Americano to white hot chocolate) and (not so) healthy breakfasts (red velvet cake, croissants, bagels, sometimes toast) to discuss our latest read.

We are fairly like-minded when it comes to our taste in books but there is always a lively discussion about the text in hand. Would we read something by the author again? What did we learn from it? Did this book stay with us long after we had read it? Did the author keep us gripped or did we finish just because we had a book club deadline? All valid questions that get their fair share of the typically two-hour debate.

Meeting monthly has helped us all hone our critical skills. Sharing our thoughts on the books is a really valuable experience, both in terms of developing our own confidence in shaping and presenting our ideas, and because we get to consider the book from a different perspective with every comment offered by our members.

We didn’t know it, but the last year of reading and reviewing was training for some pretty import roles to come.


Becoming official readers

The Reading Agency is a fabulous charity that promotes the joy of a good book. They have a fantastic website called Reading Groups for Everyone that has resources, competitions and reviews to inspire and support book clubs. I registered Book and Brew with the site very early on and still use it to source freebies from publishers keen to get book clubs’ opinions on their latest titles (check out the noticeboard section if you’ve not already – it’s a hidden gem for review copies of books).

So, when I saw a feature on the site asking for book clubs to shadow the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction I signed us up. There’s nothing to lose, right? There’ll be loads of clubs entering so little old us up in Newcastle won’t have a look in, will we?

Well, we bloomin’ did. I got an email in May to say we’d been chosen as one of only 12 groups in the country to shadow the prize, and would receive a box full of The Portable Veblen to review. Sweet!


Our Baileys gig was so successful that we were picked again in August to shadow none other than the Man Booker Prize 2016, one of (if not the most) prestigious literary prize of the year. This time we were one of six clubs to be selected. Not bad, eh?

We were clearly doing something right. But what was it?

Hashtags, retweets and online stalking

The role of a shadow judging group is to read your given book prior to the prize announcement. Each member of the club reads the book, shares their thoughts on social media and then we all get together to discuss our views on the novel before logging our reviews on the Reading Groups for Everyone website. Using the prize hashtags and Twitter handles means you get attention from all kinds of people who are also following the prize, and you get to join conversations with bookworms you didn’t even know existed.

If you follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram you’ll know I’m obsessed with taking pictures of books next to an assortment of hot beverages, as well as pretty book stuff in general. So is the rest of the book club, and our social media feeds during shadowing duties are packed with pictures, quotes, comments and content about the book.

It’s this passion for books that keeps getting us shadowing roles. We are utterly thrilled if an author likes our tweets – there is something magical (and quite meta) about the author of the book you’re reading knowing you’re reading it. It’s even more exciting when they read our reviews and thank us for commenting on their work. Reviewing someone’s book is not easy – especially when you know how much of an author’s heart and soul goes into their writing – so it’s nerve-wracking to produce a critique you know the author, their publisher, The Reading Agency and anyone else following the prize could see. But, so far, all of our comments have been received gracefully. Phew!

We’re not professional reviewers, and we’re not analysing the books to examine which ideologies they purport or what faction of the literary cannon they are subverting or supporting. We just give honest reviews. We love books – they sustain us, entertain us and enrich us – and we’ll shout very loudly about the ones we admire.

Does it really matter?

With every book prize comes the inevitable media coverage about their worth. Do we still need a women-only prize in the 21st century? Yes, if you look at the divide between the number of titles commissioned by female and male writers.
Is it just a marketing tool to increase the sales of the big publishers? Yes, sometimes but the little guys are increasingly getting their share of  the pie.
Are they just pretentious, back-patting events for the London literati? They can be but that’s changing, too.

I recently attended the announcement of the Gordon Burn Prize on the first night of this year’s Durham Book Festival. The nominees sat patiently on the stage for the Q&A and were asked by the chair whether literary prizes are important. The room went silent. No one answered. A few of them shuffled nervously in their seats, swapped over their crossed legs, recrossed their arms. Seconds felt like minutes as not one of the authors said anything. Then the room burst into laughter. I wasn’t sure if the authors were being very British in their modest reluctance to extol the virtues of being elevated above their peers, or if they were genuinely struggling to answer the question. Obviously, saying prizes don’t matter when you’re at a prize-giving event would not go down well, but the fact that none of them were forthcoming with a positive response really made me think about the prize process.

Some authors will lap up the attention, while others will shy away from it. Sales will rocket until the prize is announced when they’ll slowly trickle back down the charts. The prize winner will have their fifteen minutes (or two-book deal) of fame while the shortlisted nominees go back to their writing desks. It’s all part and parcel of any process in which only a few writers and books are selected for attention above the thousands of others printed in the same year.

Whether an author views prize giving as prestigious or painful, I guess, is up to them and their level of comfort in the spotlight. What I do know, however, is that book prizes are a wonderful thing for readers. And shadow judging them is even more special.

We’ve read more books than ever (we usually try to get through the full shortlist before the prize is announced), we’ve talked to more authors than before, we’ve engaged with more bookworms than we ever thought possible, and we’ve been retweeted by publishers countless times. We’ve become better reviewers, more confident in our critiques, and our debates are more eloquent and considered.

Our experience as shadow judges and the response from the nominees at the Gordon Burn Prize leads me to one conclusion: literary prizes may be enjoyed more by readers than by authors.


Guest Post: Rob Walton on Challenging Yourself.

When I put a call out for performers to volunteer to write original ghost stories for ‘The Visitation‘ , I received a message from Rob Walton. Last year, our performance at The Cumberland Arms – ‘Blood from the Quill’ – featured three guests and they went down a storm so I was very keen to have more ‘guest performers’ (i.e. people who may not necessarily be regular attendees of Elementary Writers).

Rob’s taken time out today to talk to us about the challenge of writing – then reading – an original ghost story. Thanks, Rob! 

Vic x


So I’ve taken a year out of teaching commitments to do more writing and creative projects. So I see a tweet about the Old Low Light in North Shields, a great local venue I’ve recently visited.  So there’s a hint of some Hallowe’en writing/reading shenanigans.  So here I am, in the same month as the event and with my story almost finished.  So I need to work on some Sentence Openers  (‘SO’ for short).

I wanted to take part in the event for various reasons.  I’d never written a ghost story and had absolutely no idea if I could.  I really liked the venue and it’s very local (I’ve got a chance of running home if I get too scared).  I like being part of evenings with other writers, sharing work and experiences.  I hadn’t actually completed a short story for a long time, finding myself writing flash fictions as ever, and more and more poetry for both adults and children.

How to start?  Well, when I was teaching very small people I’d often bang on about listening and talking coming before reading coming before writing coming before rejection from your best friend’s poetry magazine.  I had copies of ‘Phantoms at the Phil’, Volumes 1,2 and 3 on the shelf, so I pulled out all the stops and took one down.  Then I read it.  Then I realised I could at least have a go, if only the dead bloke in the corner would give me my pen back.

I’d previously had an idea for something with a specific local setting using a specific song, so I tried it and got somewhere.  This was followed by a certain amount of research – some online and some walking the mean streets of Shields.  For the latter, what I actually did was collect my nine-year-old daughter from school in the car (I was trying to raise the spectre of global warming) and drive along, stopping every so often for her to write down details.  Apologies if you were driving behind us, but we’ve all got to suffer for my art.

As I wrote I discovered that my original idea for using a song wasn’t the right fit so it, along with much of the research, wasn’t used – but it was important in getting me to that stage.  The final choice of song made much more sense and helped me make progress, and the whole thing started to come together.

I’ve really enjoyed writing it, and now only need to fill my pen with the right blood group for the last few edits.

Guest Post: Bernie Steadman on Writing Groups

Bernie Steadman is our guest on the blog today. Bernie is here to talk to us about writing groups. 

Obviously, as the facilitator of two regular groups, I am an advocate of writing groups. But don’t take my word for it – have a read of what Bernie has to say.

Thanks to Bernie for taking the time to write this piece for us.

Vic x

Bernie Steadman

Bernie Steadman on Doing it together (an antidote to the loneliness of the long-distance writer. 

It can be a lonely business, writing. At some point the avoidance tactics have to stop, the bottom gets attached to the chair, fingers flex and the process of creating a new story begins. You settle into long hours teasing out the plot twists and fleshing out the characters.

It’s easy, however, to fall prey to doubts when you are alone for so long with only a screen or notebook. Is it any good, or is it total rubbish? Even worse, you read a brilliant book and want to throw yours at the wall.  Support was needed. I tried several ways to build it; a local writers’ group which meets regularly, an on-line community, and attending as many writing festivals as I can afford.

I belong to Bow Wharf Writers. We meet in the back room of Art Tea Zen in Langport, Somerset.


Regular critiques from the members and having to do ‘homework’ or plan and lead a session are invaluable in keeping me fresh and open to new ideas. I started writing short stories and poems; things I hadn’t done since school. We read and critique each other’s work, find stimuli to get us writing during the session, and enjoy days out in places with a bit of atmosphere to spark our creativity.


A few of us finding inspiration in the history of Bridgwater.
Also enjoyable are the twice-yearly ‘Ways with Words’ evening which form part of the Langport and Ilminster Litfests. It can be challenging for writers to stand up and read their own work aloud, but it’s an invaluable skill to develop.

Reading an extract from Death and Deception

When I first started writing I joined the Word Cloud, an on-line writing community that takes particularly good care of new writers. On there I could submit short pieces, and learn the language of critique, as we were all expected to comment on other writers’ work. I had to learn how to give criticism fairly, and to receive it graciously (yes, that was hard…)

In the meantime I was working so hard on drafting and re-drafting my first crime novel. Writers’ Workshop (parent company of Word Cloud) offered an on-line ‘Self-Edit your novel’ course, so I signed up for that, and learnt a huge amount. After applying the skills learnt on the course to the first novel, I can honestly say writing the second one was a lot more straightforward. Not easier, of course…

So, five years after starting to write seriously, Death and Deception, which took two years to complete and was rejected six times, was signed up by independent publisher Bloodhound Books (never give up!). They are about to publish the second in the series, Death and the Good Son on December 6th, and I’m already getting butterflies.

Death and Deception

Do look in your local area for writers’ groups and go along and see what they do. Take care to find one which is serious about writing, but not full of its own self-importance. You need to feel able to experiment there, to challenge yourself… and to fail. A supportive group will enable all that, and you may well find some good friends and the support you need.

Bernie taught English for many years but only dabbled in short fiction and poetry.  She completed her debut novel, Death and Deception, when she escaped the classroom and could finally stop marking essays.

Death and Deception was the first in a series featuring DI Dan Hellier and his Exeter-based team. She has also completed the second, Death and The Good Son, which will be published by Bloodhound Books on 6th December 2016.

Bernie lives in a small village in East Devon with her husband and two cats. She is a Trustee of the Ferne Animal Sanctuary and a keen practitioner of Iyengar yoga. Regular application of cake and coffee may also feature in her writing lifestyle.

Getting to Know You: Victoria Griffin on the ‘Flooded’ anthology.

As a special treat to readers of this blog, I present to you our second guest of the day. I know, I spoil you!
Victoria Griffin is the creator of ‘Flooded: A Creative Anthology of Brain Injuries‘ and she’s here today to talk to us about this brilliant project and why everyone should donate to this brilliant Kickstarter campaign.
Thanks to Victoria to taking the time to chat to us today.

Vic x



Welcome to the blog, Victoria, what is ‘Flooded‘?
Flooded‘ will be a creative anthology of fiction and creative nonfiction devoted to brain injuries. It will be approximately 80,000 words and will include work of all styles and genres. The anthology is not merely meant to showcase memoirs or personal stories—though they will undoubtedly play a role. Brain injuries take many forms and are often difficult to describe. That’s why the anthology will use multiple genres to explore the experience of brain injuries and concussions, ultimately unifying to create an expansive, truthful representation of brain injuries.

What inspired the anthology?
In January of this year, I took a hit to the head during softball practice. I immediately felt drunk, but the next morning I had difficulty speaking and walking. My trainer assured me the symptoms would be gone within two weeks, after which the doctor assured me they would be gone within three. After four months, two ER visits, a drug overdose (caused by a neurologist who was supposed to help me), and a desperate struggle to graduate without being able to read or perform basic, everyday functions, I finally recovered.

On the surface, the concussion cost me my senior season of softball and four months of my life. But in reality, it left scars so deep, they are difficult to describe—which is what prompted me to write about the experience. When I realized there was no publication solely dedicated to brain injuries, I began to truly consider how concussion awareness is approached—with facts and statistics—and how inadequate that is.

That sounds awful, I’m so sorry you had to go through that. What was it like to be concussed?
A brain injury is difficult to describe. I feel like I could write a thousand pages and never capture the experience. I can tell you that my mom said I sounded like a four-year-old, and my dad said my eyes were always dull and lifeless. I don’t remember the first two weeks at all, and after that I would “lose” gradually decreasing sections of time—a few days at first, then a day, then hours, and eventually minutes. When I finally gained enough strength to walk around the apartment, I would get stuck on the stairs and have to call for help. A sound as small as footsteps would send me into sensory overload attacks—which I came to call flooding—during which I would involuntarily curl into a ball and be unable to move, speak, or breathe.

Have you ever been near to drowning? Each time an attack happened, I felt like I was drowning. Getting air was more difficult than pressing through the heaviest back squat I’ve ever attempted. And each attack lasted hours.

Still, all I’ve really described is the physical. Can I explain to you what it feels like to lose your mental capabilities? To lose your language? To not be able to understand words spoken to you? To feel paranoia so strong you can’t look anyone in the eye? To lose your emotions, so that all you feel are the artificial sadness and fear induced by the injury and medication?

What made you decide to combine fiction and creative non-fiction?
As I said, I can’t explain to you what it was like to have a concussion, not like this. I can’t tell you what it was like, but I can show you. I can write a story that makes you feel the fear of being alone when a flooding attack happens and wondering if you’ll get help before you stop breathing. I can write a story that makes you feel the overwhelming depression of losing the entirety of your identity. I can write a story that makes you laugh at the silliness of staring at a light for ten minutes because you believed it wasn’t there.

By compiling an anthology of fiction and creative non-fiction, we can use multiple genres, styles, and tones to truly convey the experience of a brain injury. Because it’s not what it looks like or how many people it happens to that matters. It’s how it feels and how it impacts the lives of human beings.

Anton Chekhov is attributed with saying, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” Simply telling people about concussions and brain injuries is not sufficient to nurture awareness and understanding. We need to show them.

What could someone who has never experienced a brain injury gain from reading ‘Flooded‘?
The anthology is not simply for survivors. While it will certainly be an outlet for them to express their personal realities, they are actually the group of people who (as readers) need the anthology the least. This anthology is about educating and informing those who aren’t knowledgeable about the issue.

When I realized I was concussed, my first reaction was to try to hide it because I knew I would be benched. What if I had read an anthology like ‘Flooded‘? What if I had known what could happen to me? I was lucky. I walked away from my brain injury with no permanent damage, and my poor decision early on did not negatively affect the outcome. But it could have. And for many, it does. Reading an anthology like ‘Flooded‘ may help others to make better decisions in such a situation.

If you have not experienced a brain injury, you might in the future. Or a family member or close friend might, and they will not be able to tell you what they’re going through, not until it’s over. What if you had the opportunity to gain insight into their struggles? I know my friends and family would have leapt at the thought of learning anything about what was happening inside my body and mind.

Concussions don’t just happen to athletes. They happen after a fall or a car accident. They are a part of life that needs to be addressed. At the very least, gaining empathy for another’s pain and struggles makes you a better, more understanding person. Who doesn’t need that in their life?

How did your concussion change your life?
The concussion completely altered the course of my life, directly and indirectly. Because of it, I wound up discovering a new passion—freelance editing. But the most significant result of the injury is its impact on my perspective and my worldview. I now have a much deeper understanding of the sorts of challenges some people face every single day—those who struggle with depression, anxiety, and learning disorders.

I also have an incredibly deep-rooted appreciation for the people in my life. We all know that extreme situations bring out the best and the worst in people. I saw people behave in ways I never would have expected. I saw true cruelty, to a degree I didn’t believe people to be capable of, not from strangers but from people who had been in my life for years.

But I also saw extreme compassion and sacrifice. I saw friends and family members put their lives on hold to make sure I made it. From driving across the country to staying with me when I was afraid of what might happen during the night, I can never repay those people, but I will spend the rest of my life trying. And now, I consider of every person in my life, would they be the one to make sure I kept breathing when an attack hit? Or would they be the one to step over me and leave me alone?

When and how can writers submit pieces for inclusion?
Submissions will be accepted via Submittable beginning November 15. The submission window will close February 28. Following the Kickstarter, detailed submission instructions will be available at All submissions will be read blind—without any identifying information—so that race, gender, and background play no part in the selection process.


Who can submit?
Absolutely anyone can submit. There is no requirement to have experienced – in any way – a brain injury. If a writer takes the time to research brain injuries and concussion in order to write a piece that accurately represents the experience, we have already educated one person on the realities of brain injuries. As previously mentioned, all submissions will be read blind so publication history is not a factor. Seasoned veterans and unpublished writers are both welcome to submit and will receive the same consideration. The work speaks for itself!

How does Kickstarter work?
Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing crowdfunding platform, which means we set a budget, and if we are a dollar short of that goal, we get nothing. For that reason, the budget I have set is the bare minimum we need to create the anthology. I have also set a target budget, which is the amount it would take to give the anthology the treatment I believe it deserves and, most importantly, to pay contributors an amount that is fair to their work and their talent. Keep in mind that the actual project budget is only 74% of the total budget. The other 26% goes to Kickstarter fees and rewards fulfilment.

What do backers receive in return for supporting ‘Flooded‘?
Rewards! By supporting ‘Flooded, you become a part of our family, and that does not come without its perks. Your reward will depend on your pledge amount. Examples of rewards are inclusion in thank-you sections on and in the print anthology, a special “behind the scenes” eBook, 25% off editing services, a custom journal, and of course, the ‘Flooded anthology itself. Dedicated contributors even have an opportunity to receive a “perfect copy,” delivered three months before regular distribution and signed by every single U.S. contributor—an offer that will never be available again. The rest of the rewards are below.


That’s a lot of money! Where is it going?
Other than Kickstarter fees and rewards fulfillment, the budget will cover cover art and design, interior layout, Submittable fees, editing and proofreading, promotion, and of course, contributor payments and copies. A breakdown of the minimum and target budgets are below.


How can I help?
Spread the word! Share a link to the Kickstarter page on social media. Tell your friends and family. Help us to turn this project into a movement. And of course, you can visit the Kickstarter page yourself, and pledge to support the project! We would love to have you as part of the ‘Flooded‘ family.


So whether you’d like to submit your work to the anthology or donate to the Kickstarter campaign (better yet, both), please do support this fantastic campaign. Well done to Victoria for turning her injury into something positive.