Tag Archives: blog

Getting to Know You: Matthew Crow

Today, I’m delighted to have fellow Geordie writer, Matthew Crow, on the blog. His latest novel, ‘Another Place‘ was published by Little Brown earlier this month. Thanks to Matthew for taking the time to chat to us. 

Vic x

Tell us about your novel.
Another Place book is about a girl, Claudette, who is released back into her hometown after being hospitalised due to depression. It’s the story of her recovery and re-acquaintance with her old life, whilst an investigation into a missing schoolgirl rages on in the background, and Claudette’s slow determination to help find out what happened to her friend, despite its negative impact on her own mental health.

What inspired it?
Location, to a large degree. The title is taken from Gormley’s sculpture – Another Place – with the cast iron bodies staring out to sea, which I think is one of the greatest works of all time. I wanted to write about the sad, strange beauty of a fallen seaside town. Depression has always been an interest of mine, as it’s been something I’ve long lived with, and am fascinated by how it affects other people. In terms of literary influence, I suppose it was all those great novels that are ostensibly mysteries and yet seem to envelope and expose the communities in which they’re set – Donna Tartt’s oeuvre, Smilla’s Sense of Snow, In Cold Blood, To Kill a Mockingbird etc.

Where do you get your ideas from?
Characters. People. I could never start with an idea of a theme or a narrative. It seems too huge to me. I always start with a character and a voice and the rest sort of builds from there. So Claudette came first, then came Sarah and their mutual stories emerged later.

Do you have a favourite story / character / scene you’ve written?
In this book? Probably anything between Claudette and Donna, her best friend. There’s a scene in Young Adult, one of my favourite films, where Mavis – the Charlize Theron character – overhears two girls chatting and rushes back to ‘repurpose’ their dialogue for her own literary endeavours, as the encounter has broken her writer’s block. I totally get that. I think there is something so glorious about two girls chatting away – the wit and wisdom and potted histories and shrouded resentments etc – that to capture it accurately, even to a degree, always works well in text. I enjoyed writing those passages and I enjoy reading them back, too.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever been given and who it was from?
Probably from Broo, my agent, who said ‘Just fucking finish it’ or something to that degree. The world at large is not waiting for your next book. In the first instance, you’re writing only to do the best you can, so fannying on and getting hung up on the minutia is redundant. Do not talk about how hard writing is. Do not tweet your progress. Do not assume that yours is a heavy cross to bear. Nobody asked you to do this. Write because you love it, finish it quickly, and edit it slowly. Nobody can do anything with a blank page so the first hurdle is your own.

What can readers expect from your books?
Wank jokes and Geordie idioms. Strong characters with flaws. Humour. Heart. Darkness.

Have you got any advice for aspiring writers?
Stop banging on about it and get it done.

What do you like and dislike about writing?
I don’t dislike anything about writing and don’t understand those that seem so constantly focused on its difficulty and awfulness. If I don’t enjoy something I stop doing it, and fortunately writing has never been anything but a pleasure to me. It’s where I’m happiest. I like the sense of control, and the sense of showmanship. As someone who never excelled at sports or anything like that, the fact that I can sit at my kitchen table and turn a tidy one-liner which can make a whole day feel like a success is a total joy and one I hope I never tire of.

Are you writing anything at the moment?
At the moment I’m editing a book that is coming out next year called Baxter’s Requiem. It’s set between Heaton, in Newcastle, Tynemouth, and France. And I’m very excited about this one.

What’s your favourite writing-related moment?
It’s the little things. Writing is just rearranging, really. It’s taking a ‘fact’ and titillating it into something equally true but also, hopefully, beautiful. To happen upon a sentence or a passage that hits its mark without losing anything in the process is a total thrill. Every book feels like your first, I find. So to get a passing break where you realise that you’re in charge and know your shit is priceless.


Getting to Know You: Kelly Lacey of Love Books Group Blog

When I went to read at Edinburgh Noir at the Bar at the end of last month, I went for a meal with all the participants prior to the event. I sat beside the lovely Kelly Lacey of Love Books Group blog. I’d never met Kelly before but we chatted for a while and found that we had loads in common. 

Kelly and I have become fast friends and I am pleased to welcome her to the blog today. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Kelly – I know how busy you are! 

Vic x

Tell us about your blog, Kelly.
My blog is in its sixth month, we review books, festivals and theatre productions. We review mostly works of fiction. I have two guest bloggers who help me and it means our readers get a varied voice on the daily posts. We are also always on social media.

What inspired it?
My blog was born after my mother had been quite ill and I was spending a tremendous amount of time at the doctors or in hospital waiting rooms. To fill my time and escape from the noise and fear around me, I would dive head first into books. I may have been sat in a cold and sterile environment but my mind was off on exciting and addictive adventures. When I finished the books, I wanted to talk to people about them and say how they made me feel.  That’s when I started the tiny few clicks to find out about blogging. I did not know it would be life changing for me.

I started a very basic blog and wrote my reviews and I got excellent feedback, I then took more time to research the various types of blogs that there were. I contacted Joanne from Portobello Book Blog and I really gained a lot of knowledge about WordPress and blogging. Joanne was very positive and supportive. I will always be very grateful for all her help and for keeping me right with names!

Then I realised I really had to follow up my blog with social media. So that took off too and now I am posting from the blog everyday.

There is a Disney song from the movie Aladdin, it’s called ‘A Whole New World’ and it really captures what my blog has done to me life. Shining, shimmering and splendid, is right.

What’s been your favourite blog assignment and why?
I was honoured to be one of CoastWords Chosen Bloggers for 2017. It was an eye-opening experience.  It meant a lot of travelling and time. But it was totally worth it. I really learnt a lot and it was lovely to meet an array of varied people.

How do you choose what to feature on your blog?
I really have an issue saying no to authors and publishers. Hence the need for me to have two guest reviewers.  We are slowly working through our TBR pile and interviews, all of which will get on the blog at some point.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given and who it was from?
In relation to my blog, my father always says to make sure I stay true to myself. Not to be influenced by other people and to remember that my light is just as bright as everyone else’s. Most days as he’s leaving for work he shouts upstairs ‘Remember to sparkle’. 

What can readers expect from your blog?
They can expect reviews with a soul.

Have you got any advice for aspiring bloggers?
Do your research on the various blogs and find your perfect fit.

What do you like and dislike about blogging?
I love blogging, I wake up and I am excited about it. The day I don’t, well, I guess that will be the day I dislike it.

What’s your favourite blogging-related moment?
Coming 2nd in the ABBA Awards 2017 for Newcomer, I didn’t even expect to place. It really meant the world to me.

How can people get in touch with you?
If you would like to feature on the blog with an interview, review or #Favfive then please read our review policy and use the contact form on the blog

You can also find us on: Twitter, Instagram,  Facebook.

What’s next?
We have lots of reviews and interviews coming up on the blog. In the near future we have The Edinburgh Book Festival, Berwick Lit Festival and Bloody Scotland.

Thanks so much for having me on the blog today Victoria, I am honoured and delighted.

Sparkles and smiles,

Kelly xoxo

Getting to Know You: Claire Meadows

Today, I introduce you to Claire Meadows.

Claire is a really impressive woman. She’s the founder of After Nyne Magazine and an Ambassador for male suicide prevention charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably). 

Not only that, Claire’s third collection of poetry –To the Lions‘ – is available through Urbane Publications now. Wonder woman or what?! 

You can follow Claire on Twitter

Vic x

Claire Meadows

Claire Meadows

Thanks for being on the blog today, Claire. How did you get into writing?

I’ve always written… and had an affinity with the written word. Growing up I had a rich and varied inner landscape in my head that I was careful to suppress. I suppressed it for a variety of reasons – I guess the main one being that I felt like the world I created in my own head was preferable to the one in which I found myself. Living on a council estate from the age of 15 was a brutal lesson in survival. You can’t be soft or how weakness. The only way I could feel I could be myself truly was to write it down, to weave life into poetry like rope so it was strong enough to support me.

Tell us a bit about your current book ‘To the Lions‘. What’s it about? What inspired it? Where can we get it?

It’s a testament to the dark side of love. All kinds of love, your love for your parents, betrayal by your parents. Love for a lover who makes you ache with want, for tortured souls who find each other. You can create torture for each other or find the most splendid kind of bliss. Love for a best friend who you’d have gone to the ends of the earth for, whose departure from your life leaves a hole.

It’s probably my most personal collection yet. I had a lot of ghosts to lay to rest. Whether they’ll stay rested is another matter. You can get it direct from my publisher Urbane Publications or from Amazon. You can also get a signed one from my website.

And your upcoming release…

My collected works – Blood Season. I’m very excited about that one – my past three collections and thirteen new pieces. That will be out in May.

You’ve had a really rich and varied career, could you tell us about that?

Ten years ago I was working in Extradition Policy at the Home Office. I left to broaden my horizons in the private sector – three years in the Home Office had made me stale. My horizons were certainly broadened – a short tenure at an absolutely appalling property agency in Mayfair, and I ended up as the PA to the legal team at McDonald’s Europe.

Then I had a whopping big breakdown in 2009 and was hospitalised for nine weeks. A complete collapse. My husband told me I was to abandon working for the big egos and pursue something I truly loved. Such amazing support – I’ll forever be in his debt.

How do you manage to successfully juggle everything?

By having a stellar support cast – in particular my editor, Luciana, at After Nyne Magazine and the team that works with her. I’m tremendously lucky to have found someone I can rely on to that extent.

What about After Nyne? How did that get going?

It came out of my husband’s insistence to follow something I loved. In 2010 I started an artist’s agency, which gave me a real drive to push the work of rising artists alongside established ones. That company folded and I then started up our existing magazine Nyne as a blog, and then moved back into publishing as After Nyne in 2014. From June 2016 we’ll be selling out of 160 WH Smith stores up and down the country. It’s been a long road but we’re getting there slowly.

What are you working on at the moment?

You’ve caught me out, Vic – I should be able to say ‘this and that’ but I actually have nothing in the pipeline at the moment with regards to writing. I was asked by a publisher to write a self-help book based on my journey but with everything else going on it’s been sidelined. I’ll keep you updated.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Persevere. It took me ten years from starting work on my first collection Gold After to finding my darling publisher Urbane. It forced me to be the very best poet I could be. For the majority of us who are not related to someone very famous there are no easy routes. So hunker down and stick with it. And find a good role model, one that will keep you sane when you want to drown in gin.

What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you when you started writing?

That you’ll have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince of a publisher. And all that agony… it’s going to be very useful to you.

What’s the one story/poem you wish you’d written?

Wolf Hall. Hands down. What else is like it?

Do you have any writing idols?

Truth tellers, visionaries, and Jackie Collins.

Review of 2015: Andrea Anastasiou

I’ve known Andrea Anastasiou for over ten years now and her bravery has always been a massive inspiration to me. Andrea never lets fear get in her way and I really admire her for that. She’s here to share her 2015 with us today. Thanks Andrea! 

Vic x

Andrea Anastasiou

2015 has been quite the year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?
Finishing the first draft of my memoir was a big moment for me, as well as ‘winning’ NaNoWriMo. I cried tears of joy! I’ll always remember 2015 as the year I finally started to write books.

And how about a favourite moment from 2015 generally?
Finding out that my sister had beaten cancer was definitely the highlight. I also spent a lot of my time travelling in countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Greece, Spain, Germany and Austria. A highlight of the travels was the writing retreat that I did in Skyros; I made friends for life and rediscovered my love for creative writing. It was magical! I’ve also enjoyed documenting my travels on my blog, Scribble, Snap, Travel. 

Favourite book in 2015?
I’ve read loads of great books this year, but if I had to choose one it would be Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. I cannot believe it’s taken me so long to find Kate’s work – I love her writing! I’m utterly mesmorised by this book.

Favourite film of 2015?
I’m not big on watching movies (I’d rather be reading!) so I have probably only watched a handful of them this year! I recently watched The Descendants, which stars George Clooney, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And no, it’s not just because he’s in it! Although admittedly he doesn’t hurt the eye.

Favourite song of the year?
It’s extremely difficult for me to pick a favourite song, however, I’ve written to Josef Salvat’s remix of Rihanna’s Diamonds a lot this year. It reminds me of writing from a branch of Starbucks in Saigon every morning back in February; I then subsequently found myself writing to it while I was briefly in Salzburg this month, and it brought back a lot of memories. So I guess this song defines my year in some roundabout way. 

Any downsides for you in 2015?
My life completely changed over the last six months – my long-term relationship ended unexpectedly, and all the plans we made together went out of the window in the space of a week. But I now see it as a blessing; the breakup has set me on another path, one in which I’m focusing solely on myself and my career, and I couldn’t be happier. I’m really looking forward to focusing on my writing and my wellbeing in 2016.

Are you making resolutions for 2016?
I don’t really believe in NY resolutions, as I don’t think you need to wait until January the 1st to start making changes. However, saying that, in the New Year I’m going to start learning German, and I’m also vowing to continue to write every single day. I guess these can count as resolutions.

What are you hoping for from 2016?
I have so many goals for 2016 – it’s unreal! However, the main thing is to be happy. I also have plans to move to a different country in a few months, which is really exciting. I’ll be revealing more on my blog over the coming weeks! 

Getting to Know You: Kerry Richardson





Today on the blog, we have Kerry Richardson telling us about herself and her writing. I’ve been lucky enough to meet Kerry at several writing events and she’s a great friend on social media, I can’t wait to read her debut novel. 

Vic x

KerryTell us a little about yourself …

My name is Kerry Richardson, I’m 37 years old (goodness, time flies – I’ll be pushing daisies before you know it). I live in the North East of England, and have done all my life (well, apart from a stint down south where I lasted the grand total of 3 weeks). I am married to my ever-patient hubby Peter, and we have a naughty but exceptionally cute dog called Koda. I’m a qualified and experienced Crime Scene Investigator though I currently pay the bills by working in the police control room. Yes, I love crime scene work; no, it’s nothing like the TV and yes, I’ve seen my share of dead bodies.


Do you usually write in a particular genre?

After doing my Bsc in Crime Scene Science, I decided to return to uni whilst working full time and complete my masters in Creative Writing – I wanted to do something completely un-work related but that meant something to me. I’ve always written, ever since I was in primary school and used to staple handmade books together to give to the teacher. I currently write under the crime genre umbrella, but dabble in flash fiction and children’s writing too. Because of my job, I have access to the resources I need to complete effective research in relation to crime writing and all that it entails.

Tell us how you got interested in writing?

I became interested in writing as a child – my primary school teacher Mrs Muztachs, and junior school teacher, Mr Black, were extremely encouraging and fed the belief that I could do anything I wanted. It’s a bit clichéd but it’s just one of those things I’ve ‘always done’. I wrote my first novel when I was 17 and it was a complete knock off of the old TV show ‘Airwolf’ – though I used a plane not a helicopter. Back then I didn’t have a clue about copyright and whatnot – it was completely hand written, and reading it back is horrendous. But it still holds a place on the shelves in my office. I also used to write a lot of poetry, and was published in an international anthology way back when.

Are you working on anything at the moment and can you tell us about it?

I’m currently working on my fourth novel, which is provisionally titled ‘Watch You Burn’. It’s a novel about an arsonist who targets a group of people who have bullied her since she was young. The fire investigator and the CSM work together to search the fire scenes in an attempt to discover who is responsible.

Since graduating from my masters in 2011, I’ve been sticking to the one novel a year rule that most writers try to follow.

My first novel, ‘With Deadly Intent’ is due out next year (2016). ‘With Deadly Intent’ is a crime novel which I’ve based in Sunderland. It features a serial killer as the antagonist, and the Crime Scene Manager and Detective Chief Inspector as the protagonists. I’m also busy working on editing and preparing a short story for self-publication later this year.


What do you like most about writing?

The thing I like most about writing is the escape, I guess. I can put my mind anywhere I want to, and fill pages with characters and plot. I love getting to know my characters, learning about their history, and being surprised by them as I write. I’m quite organised so I tend to do a character profile for each character before I begin to write. I usually start a novel with an idea and am often as surprised as the reader when it staggers off in directions unknown. I tend to use twists and sub plots, as well as keeping the identity of the antagonist a secret until quite late into the novel. They say write about what you know – I know police procedure and crime scene protocol – but I love researching the subjects I don’t know much about. When writing book 3, I had a fab bloke on speed dial who didn’t mind being asked questions like “If you were going to sink a body in the north east, where would you do it and how?” I love how friendly and willing everyone is when it comes to assisting with research.

What do you like least about writing?

I guess it’s the editing process – I’m terrible for editing as I write – this usually means that by the time I’m finished the novel, I’m often onto about the sixth draft anyway. I print off the novel once complete, put it away, and then pull out my faithful red pen. But I find editing time consuming and would usually much rather be working on the next novel!

Do you find time to read, and if so what are you reading now?

I read as often as I can – usually this is when I’m on nightshift at work or on holiday – I went to Egypt in 2009 and packed 14 novels and hardly any clothes – nowadays I use my kindle app on my tablet so it’s not as bad, but I read loads on holidays. I love reading – there’s something about losing oneself in a good book, reading about characters you can relate to, and feeling the emotions they feel as you progress through the novel. I can speed read so tend to race through a novel once I start. I’m currently reading several books – ‘The Hitchcock Murders’ by Gavin Collinson, ‘No Name Lane’ by Howard Linsky and ‘Poppet’ by Mo Hayder – I’m not normally one for starting a new novel until I’ve finished the last, but I’ve been reading on my phone so have been mashing it up a bit.

Who has been the biggest influence in your writing?

Wow that’s a tough one. I loved reading Enid Blyton, Willard Price and Franklin W. Dixon as a kid, then progressed onto trashy Mills and Boon in my teens. I’ve always loved anything that grabs my attention instantly – so the likes of Arthur Conan Doyle is never far from my grasp. Most recently, I’d say my influences lean towards the likes of Karen Rose and Mo Hayder – I love how Karen interlinks each novel with overlapping characters but that each one can be read as a stand-alone – and I love how she makes her characters and plot pop in each novel. Mo is splendidly dark, delving into the deep crevasses of evil – I particularly love the Jack Caffrey novels as he’s a bit of a loveable rogue. I think attending events such as Harrogate Crime Festival is a massive influence in itself as well, though – there’s something about meeting up with other like-minded people that just oozes inspiration. And I have regular writing days with my good friend and author, Eileen Wharton; it’s fab having someone close by to write with as this often means we can bounce ideas off each other.

When you’re a famous author and write your autobiography, what would the title be?

My autobiography? Wow – I doubt people would be interested in my life – but if I had to think of a title I reckon it’d be something daft like ‘Hands in many pies.’

What’s been your proudest moment as a writer?

My proudest moment to date as a writer – getting my Masters would probably be up there near the top. There was a couple of lecturers who didn’t have a lot of faith in my abilities – no name dropping though – and it knocked my confidence greatly. But there were also lecturers who were ultra-encouraging and believed in my writing – without them I wouldn’t be writing what I do today. Passing gave me the boost I needed to continue. Then of course, top of the list, was signing and returning the contract for my first novel to be published! Special thanks go to Darren Laws of Caffeine Nights Publishing for that one. The next proudest moment will no doubt be my book launch!

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?

If I wasn’t a writer I’d probably still be a CSI somewhere – I loved being out and about helping people by finding evidence at crime scenes. Or maybe I’d have been doing my back up career of working with animals or something! I don’t know – I’m just grateful to be writing.

Where can we find you online?

You can find me online at www.kerryannrichardson.com, on Facebook as KA Richardson and on twitter @kerryann77. I do a monthly blog which is posted on all these monthly, and can also be found on Linked In as Kerry-Ann Richardson.

I review my 2013.

So, today is the final day of 2013. How was it for you? Here’s how it was for me. 

Wishing you all the best for 2014.

Vic x


2013 has been a great year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?

2013 really has been a good year for me. Although I haven’t done a great deal of writing, I set up my own business, Elementary V Watson, and it has got off to a great start. I’m running a couple of writing groups a week and arranged two performance evenings as well.

Completing the first year of my teaching degree and being rated ‘outstanding’ was pretty special.

I did my first ever public reading in April 2013 at the Literary & Philosophical Society in Newcastle. That was nerve-wracking but seemed to go well.

The blog post I wrote about Sjogren’s Syndrome was well-received, too. Oh, and I was invited back to blog for Whitley Bay Film Festival.


And how about a favourite moment from 2013 generally?

On the whole, 2013 has been a really good year for me. I’m managing to stay relatively healthy (most of the time) and I got a diagnosis of Sjogren’s Syndrome after all these years of wondering. Although that’s not a great thing to have, it means I am now supported by a confidence-inspiring medical team and I know that I’m not being fobbed off. My health is improving which is great and I started going to the gym which helps. I was lucky enough to be bridesmaid for my best friend in June which was wonderful. When I look back on 2013, it is with happiness.

Favourite book in 2013?

‘And the Mountains Echoed’ by Khaled Hosseini. Followed by ‘The Lollipop Shoes’ by Joanne Harris.

Favourite film of 2013?

That’s a tough question to answer. I loved ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, ‘Django Unchained’ and I thought ‘Stoker’ was very good indeed. That said, I went to see ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ twice at the cinema and I loved it both times, I have a wee girl crush on Katniss.

Favourite song of the year?

‘Blurred Lines’ by Robin Thicke. I know the song and the video caused a lot of controversy but I think too much was read into it. It’s just a great, catchy pop song that makes me think of happy times in the summer. I also love ‘Work Bitch’ by Britney, it’s a great song to listen to in the gym.

Any downsides for you in 2013?

There’s been no Lotto win for me. Other than that, the only disappointment is that I haven’t had time to write very much.

Are you making resolutions for 2014?

Keep thinking positively, keep trying to exercise but know your limits.

What are you hoping for from 2014?

To graduate from my PGCE. I’d like to do more writing and become thinner too. Too much?

If Santa was to bring you any one thing you wanted on Xmas morning, what would it be?

Extreme weight loss or a Lottery win. Or both. Oh, and a cure for all of the world’s ills.

Kevin Bufton reviews his 2013.

By the power of the mighty Facebook, I’ve been introduced to lots more lovely people this year. Kevin Bufton is one of those people. I’ve invited him to review his 2013. So, sit back, eat some leftover turkey and sweets (not together, obviously) and see how 2013 has been for Kevin.

Vic x

Kevin Bufton

2013 has been a great year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?

Without question, seeing the first reviews roll in for my debut novella ‘Cake‘, and my first short story collection, ‘Six of the Best: A Hellish Half-Dozen‘. It was great to have the books released, but to find out that people read them, and actually enjoyed them, well – it makes the long and lonely nights in front of the laptop worth it.


And how about a favourite moment from 2013 generally? 

I think it’s safe to say that the Royal baby was barely a blip on my personal radar. That meteor exploding over Chelyabinsk in Russia was certainly an impressive spectacle, mostly because it looked like something out of a science fiction movie. I feel bad calling it a favourite moment when so many people were injured as a result, but it was a remarkable thing to see.

Favourite book in 2013?

This may seem like nepotism, as I’ve been pimping this one a lot on my blog, and on Facebook, but ‘Spirit Houses‘ by my good buddy Die Booth is easily my favourite read of 2013. It’s so unlike anything I’ve read before – it’s part Gothic, part fantasy, part weird fiction and part something else. It’s almost like a novel of a bygone age, and I mean that in the best possible sense. There’s something refreshing, yet wonderfully familiar in Die’s telling of the tale and, while I may have read books that were technically better written, none of them excited me the way ‘Spirit Houses’ did.

Favourite film of 2013?

You’re kidding, right? I’ve got two small kids – I don’t get to see films anymore. That said, I did pick up ‘Mama’ on DVD, and that was 2013. It was really good. I like films that try to creep me out, rather than just go for the jump scare. Last year’s ‘The Woman in Black’ was another fine example of that.

Favourite song of the year?

‘Bang Bang’ by will.i.am – not my usual cup of tea, I must admit, but I just haven’t been able to get it out of my head. I love the video too.

Any downsides for you in 2013?

Reluctantly, I had to make the decision to close down my publishing house, Cruentus Libri Press, through whom I had released thirteen themed anthologies over the last eighteen months or so. The place will properly close its doors in February 2014, but the decision was made this year. Let anybody who thinks that publishing is an easy business to get into, in these days of ebooks and Print on Demand services take note, it’s not. It is hard. It takes over your whole life, and for very little financial return. There are perks, of course – I’ve made so many very good friends through the imprint that it more than makes up for the general drain of the work itself. In the end, I wasn’t put on this earth to be a publisher or an editor. I’m here to write – and the sacrifice had to be made.

Six of the best

Are you making resolutions for 2014?

No – I never do. Sure, I could stand to lose some weight, pack in smoking and get more reading done, but I know that if I make a resolution to do any of those things from January 1st, then I’d only end up giving them up again by two weeks into the New Year.

What are you hoping for from 2014?

That my writing career is a bit further along than it is at the end of 2013, just like this year I’m a bit further along than I was in 2012. My plan for the New Year is breathtaking in its simplicity. I am going to finish my first novel ‘Mr Twist’, I’m going to get it professionally proofread and edited, and then I’m going to submit it to an agent and, from there, to a publisher. No strings, no half measures and no fannying about – old school, baby.

If Santa was to bring you any one thing you wanted on Xmas morning, what would it be?

World peace… No, wait – a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and ‘Doctor Sleep’ by Stephen King.

Kevin G. Bufton is a father, husband and horror writer, in that approximate order, from Birkenhead on the Wirral. He has been writing short dark fiction since January 2009 and is currently working on his debut novel. He hopes, one day, to be able to scare people for a living. Check out his blog and Amazon Author Page.

Since Christmas is a time for giving, Kevin’s playing the role of Jolly Old St. Nick and giving away his debut novella ‘Cake’ and debut short fiction collection ‘Six of the Best: A Hellish-Half Dozen’ for free on Smashwords. Simply use the links below, copy-and-paste the relevant coupon code when you reach the checkout and BOOM – freebies for all. This offer is only good until New Year’s Day, when Kevin returns to his grumpy, curmudgeonly self (his words, not mine) but, in the meantime – Ho! Ho! Ho! ‘CAKE’ can be downloaded for free, with the following coupon code – ZH74Q https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/328255 ‘SIX OF THE BEST: A HELLISH HALF-DOZEN’ can be downloaded for free, with the following coupon code – TZ97Z https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/3625