Category Archives: Author

My First Big Upset

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I wrote this a couple of months ago. I wasn’t sure whether to post it or not, but I’ve decided to go ahead:

I’ve been pretty lucky so far with my writing – I’ve submitted short stories to quite a few different places and have only received one rejection so far. I’ve made many author friends along the way who have been such a huge help to me. I’ve edited for many different people and only ever been met by huge thank yous and appreciation for my time and detail.

But for the first time today, I’ve actually been left in tears. I sent a short story over to someone, specified I didn’t want any proofreading/editing done, just purely wanted an opinion on whether I should keep or delete the epilogue.

I received a message from them pretty soon after, nothing about the epilogue at all, but a big paragraph on basically why they didn’t like my story.

Now, if I was asking for a critique, or an opinion, then fair enough. But my story has been edited to publishing standards over a period of time using more than one editor, the cover is finished and I’ve been working on a pre-order schedule ready for its release at the end of March/early April.

And all of a sudden I was sat here crying, questioning everything. I’ve been so excited about this release – the first time it’s my own book and not as part of an anthology. I’ve been putting everything in place and in the next moment, I was ready to delete my entire story.

It wasn’t what I asked for. It wasn’t what I expected. I wasn’t asking for a book review.

And the worst part? Everything is personal preference. He doesn’t agree that my character is so forgiving. He felt a sense of Stockholm syndrome in my story. Why can’t my character be forgiving just because he’s not that sort of person? Even if there is Stockholm syndrome in my story, what’s wrong with that? Stockholm syndrome is a very, very real thing! My mum compared it to me writing about a character breaking their leg and someone telling me that my character should have stubbed their toe instead.

As I said before, if this was a review and a reader posted this, that’s their right. But I wanted ONE question answered by him.

But that wasn’t the end of it.

I thought he had given up 15 minutes out of his day to be nice and helpful to a stranger, but I was wrong. In response to reading and tearing up my story of just under 10,000 words, he wants me to edit his entire novel of 200,000 words, and also hinted that if I have time, he wouldn’t mind me editing his 135,000 word one either…

Two questions…

If my story is that bad, why would you let me anywhere near your writing and trust my editing skills?

Is 15 minutes of your time, purely reading and not editing a short story, a fair exchange for expecting me to edit 335,000 words for you?

I think in the future I will be sticking to my close circle of author friends.

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Book Launch – The Mutation Chronicles

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Hey, everyone. On Wednesday 27th March from 4pm GMT, I will be holding a book launch on Facebook for my story, Contagion, along with the two other authors in the series. There will be special guest authors, games and lots of giveaways, including a giveaway of all three of The Mutation Chronicles books that are ready for release!

Special guest authors so far, along with me, Natalie Rix and Alanah Andrews, include:
Curtis Bausse
E.L. Giles
Marcus Turner
Fallacious Rose

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You can join our event by clicking right here!

Hope to see you all there.

First Chapter of Contagion

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Much love to everyone who’s supported me on my writing journey so far, and as a thank you, I would like to share with you all the very first chapter of Contagion.

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My knuckles turn white as my fingers clutch the seat belt. What’s taking him so long? I continue to stare out the car window, past the shards of glass that lie glinting under the moonlight, into the dark warehouse.
Just as I consider picking up Dad’s car radio and ringing the station for backup, he steps out of the shadows, a handcuffed man in tow. I let out the deep breath I was holding upon sight of him. This isn’t the first time a meal out has ended in sirens and Dad rushing to the scene of a crime, and it never gets any easier for me, being stuck in the vehicle, having to watch and wait.
The window sticks as I hurry to wind it down, so I open the door a fraction instead. “Everything okay, Dad?” My voice echoes off the walls of the building, into the night air.
“Yeah, everything’s fine, Bryony.” He pants, dragging the handcuffed man over to the vehicle. “Could ya do me a favour and open the boot?”
I unclip my seatbelt and step out of the car to pop open the boot. I know immediately what Dad needs: antiseptic wipes and a medical facemask to prevent contamination. He should have put gloves on before going into the warehouse, but he was the first, and apparently only, officer on the scene and didn’t have time to spare.
He opens one of the backdoors and guides the man into the car with a harder than necessary shove.
“Sorry I took so long. I had to check the whole building for others,” he says as he opens the packet of antiseptic wipes and cleans his hands.
I hand a facemask over to him. “I was worried.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“I know, it’s just… since Mum—”
“—Your mum’s death was a terrible accident, courtesy of one of these a-holes. If they think they’re going to get me too, they’ve got another thing coming.”
The man scowls at us through the glass. I unintentionally reel back at the sight of his face—half a bald head that’s been taken over by oozing scabs and two long slits for a nose. He’s also older than I assumed he would be. He sees me recoil and slowly turns away, unfazed.
“Anyway, I need to get this guy into a jail cell as soon as. You know I hate to ask, but are you okay to walk back? I mean, I would drop you off, but I don’t particularly want you anywhere near this freak.”
I roll my eyes dramatically, making sure he sees. Sometimes I think he forgets that I am nineteen, meaning that I am more than definitely capable of walking myself home.
“Okay, okay, I get it. I’m mollycoddling you again, aren’t I?” He squeezes my shoulder gently. “Just make sure to ring me once you’re home, okay? Remember to lock the door behind you—”
“—And check all the windows are locked too. I know, I know. You’ve told me a hundred times.”
“And I will continue telling you even when I’m old and grey and you’ve long moved out.”
“You’re already old and grey.” I smirk, knowing Dad will take it in good humour.
“Don’t be so cheeky,” I hear Dad say as I turn away and start the walk home. And only once I disappear around the corner do I hear Dad’s sirens growing fainter and fainter as he drives off in the opposite direction.

I walk along the outside of our town, looking at the trees that surround it with our ‘no mutants’ signs nailed to their trunks. We’ve never needed a fence to keep the mutants out. Our public executions of the ones kept in our underground prison every time it gets full usually gives them enough of a warning to stay away. We still get the odd few that don’t listen, such as the one from tonight, but it’s not a common occurrence.
“Just a couple more steps,” I tell myself out loud as our house comes into view at the end of the street. I rub at my arms for warmth as each breath leaves my mouth in a cloud of steam. The gate has been left open. I close it with a click behind me, wondering who might have visited while we were out.
The sensor lights turn on, as I walk up to the porch, fumbling around in my handbag. “Where are you, damn keys?” I look under the doormat for the spare, but it’s not there. Tutting, I kick the doormat back into place with frustration. The amount of times Dad hasn’t been able to find his keys and taken the spare one instead should be a world record. I just wish one of those times wasn’t today.
I sigh and use our wheelie bin as a step to climb unglamorously over the fence, before landing on my feet in the squelchy mud of our back garden.
I pull the handle of the back door down, hoping for some kind of miracle, but as expected, it’s locked. “Crap,” I say, turning around.
“Looking for these?” A man is standing there, dangling a single key in front of my face. I open my mouth to scream, but before any sound comes out I feel a hard thump to the back of my head.

If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, you can read chapter 2 for free as well by signing up to my mailing list!

The Mutation Chronicles

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Two months ago, three authors planned out a book series together online in a group chat. One of those authors was me. Today, the first three books in this series of short reads have been edited over and over again, and are finally up for pre-order!

Closer to the date of each release, I will publish the first chapter of that particular book. Until then, I will leave you with this picture of all three book covers and their release dates!

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Pre-order The Faceless People by Natalie Rix here.

Pre-order Contagion by Lozzi Counsell (me) here.

Pre-order Exiles by Alanah Andrews here.

(Aff links)

My Interview for A Flash of Words

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Here’s my interview for my story ‘The Consequences of Grief’ featured in the ‘A flash of words’ anthology

What was the inspiration for your story?
When I was studying creative writing at uni, a fellow author (can’t remember who unfortunately) came to give a talk. We practised an exercise where we shut our eyes and Imagined ourselves led down. Where are you led? What’s the weather like? Take notice of your surroundings. I imagined myself in a dark field at night.

After taking notice of your surroundings (eyes still shut), turn your head to the left, there is a shadow approaching. Wait for it to get closer. What or whom is it? When they reach you, what do they want? I imagined my cat who had died years back approaching me.

From this I came up with an idea about going to a field to visit my dead cat every night because I couldn’t let her go. The cat soon became a child and ended up as the basis behind my story.

Was there a time when writing where you had to sit back stunned at what just happened? If so, what was it?
The ending. It wasn’t what I was originally going to go with, but I thought it would give the most emotional impact.

What do you think is the key to writing a compelling flash story?
For me it would be not too many characters. I sometimes get a bit lost when someone has a lot of characters, but especially in flash fiction there’s just not enough time to learn who each and every character is if there’s too many of them.

Apart from writing, what do you do for fun?
I’m very crafty and am always making things. Painting is an especially big hobby of mine — mostly watercolour animals.

Can you relate to any of the characters in your flash fiction story?
Yes, I really relate to the MC. I am not a parent myself, but I still know what it’s like to grieve.

If you were on death row, what would you want your last meal to be?
Easy. A chicken chaat from my local Indian restaurant as a starter. Afterwards, an Oreo crunch waffle from Kaspa’s and also Kinder Bueno cookie dough. For drinks, a Coke Zero, Oreo milkshake and Snickers milkshake.

Pick up a copy of “A Flash of Words” in paperback or eBook at any book retailer worldwide, including Amazon! (aff link)

Official Author

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I am so excited to announce that my story The Consequences of Grief is now out for sale on Amazon as a Kindle book, (featured in the anthology A Flash of Words). Paperback copies are also going to be available soon — I’m patiently waiting for those!

But not only is the fact I’m finally published an achievement in my writing career, it also FINALLY means that I’m a Goodreads author!

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And not only that, I am officially an Amazon author too!
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Here is a sneak preview of my story The Consequences of Grief from the anthology A Flash Of Words:

‘The wind is cold against my body, as I reach into my pocket and twiddle the small pill between my fingers. The stars are twinkling up above, although their brightness is only dim. It doesn’t matter though because I know my way to this part of the field, whether I am led by sunlight or moonlight.

I lie down, flattening the grass beneath me — there are daisies, buttercups and even tulips here.

I slide the pill out of my pocket and hold it in my wrinkly palm. Doctors call it the Final Goodbye Pill. Known as the biggest breakthrough in science for many years, it allows grieving individuals the chance to say goodbye after a loss, by bringing back the spirit of their loved one for a short time. But as everyone knows, all pills have side effects.’

If you would like to read the rest, then purchase the anthology here where my story sits alongside those from 48 other wonderful authors. (aff link.)

Cover Reveal for A Flash Of Words

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Yes, I know I’ve been neglecting this blog a bit and to be honest I’ve been neglecting writing too, but I have been editing A LOT of novels for other people lately.

You may remember me saying that I have been accepted for publication in the anthology ‘A Flash Of Words’. Well, it’s hopefully coming out NEXT MONTH and I have also received an image of the cover that’s going to be used. Unfortunately my name didn’t make it onto the front, but I guess my story being inside is what matters most!

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A Flash of Words

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I submitted two stories to an anthology and received back this very exciting news! 1 stands for didn’t make it to the anthology, 2 stands for possibly make it to the anthology but currently unsure and 3 stands for definitely in the anthology!

I can’t wait to see my story in a proper published book!

The Night Grandpa Died

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Below is a short poem I wrote about a year back. It is a very personal one that I have ruled out of any future publications due to knowing it doesn’t have the ability to resonate with other people, plus it not quite being ‘good enough’ in my opinion, so thought I would share it with you all.

There is a true story behind this one, which is that one night I was in bed and woke up to a strange calm feeling and I could feel someone comforting me. I knew I wasn’t alone, but I wasn’t scared, in fact, quite the opposite. The feeling only lasted about a minute and the next day I had a phonecall to say that my Grandpa had died.

The Night Grandpa Died
The gentle stroking of my skin disrupts me from my sleep. An invisible being emanating love and happiness down onto me. And calmness. The reassuring patting of my leg and the strange feeling of goodbye. Weird how I can feel someone with me when there’s no one there, as I search for a face, or even just an outline. But my heavy eyes soon shut again, and the few seconds of comfort disappear.