Lost Gods author interview: Anna Smith Spark

I wanted to follow up on our gorgeous Lost Gods anthology, a book of SFF short stories, by interviewing some of the authors (okay, whoever was willing). I hope you will find these interviews interesting, and enjoy their stories.

What’s your writing name?

My name is Anna Smith Spark, author of the Empires of Dust trilogy – The Court of Broken Knives, The Tower of Living and Dying, The House of Sacrifice.

What’s your story called (in Lost Gods) and what was your inspiration behind it?

My story in Lost Gods is called ‘Water’. It’s a story about a selkie – a creature from Celtic myth who is both a woman and a seal. It can be read as the backstory to a woman who makes a very brief but significant appearance in The Court of Broken Knives and/or as a companion story to my story ‘Stones’ in Three Crows Magazine: Year One. Or it can be read as a story about women and motherhood in any time any place anywhere.

I’ve always been haunted by folklore about selkies, mermaids, fairies who form some kind of relationship with humans. Men who follow a fairy princess to the Otherworld and return to find a hundred years have passed and everything they knew is gone and dead; fairy women who live with a human family but are unmasked and forced to flee leaving it all behind. 

These stories have so any layers of meaning: otherness, cultural change, integration, immigration, xenophobia …  very obvious feminist readings about power and gender, a wife’s outsider status in a traditional patrilineal family structure, men’s fear of women’s sexuality …  and the universal fear of life change, moving on from the innocent time when your primary relationship is with your parents to it being with your partner, then perhaps with your own children, and you can’t go back from that, that time is gone, and then your own children too move on and you’re not their primary relationship any more, that too is forever gone … 

The story looks at all these things, and at the very basic experience of being a mother to young children, how hard it sometimes is. You do feel like an alien being, sometimes, frankly, and to your child you do have this terrifying terrifying role as a god. 

More specifically, the story was inspired by a stretch of the coast path between Gurnard’s Head and Zennor in west Cornwall. The ruined cottage and the stream are real places on that walk. Zennor has a mermaid legend – with a happy ending, interestingly, the mermaid comes up from the sea to the church because she’s drawn by a man’s beautiful singing, he goes with her to the sea, years later a fisherman meets him living happily as a merhusband with his merwife and merchildren. Zennor was where D H and Frieda Lawrence lived during the First World War, as written about by Helen Dunmore in Zennor in Darkness; Patrick Heron had a house, Eagle’s Nest, above the village. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, very isolated, a glorious suntrap with the sea beyond and the moors behind, and this incredible blazing white sunlight drenching everything.

The curd cakes mentioned in the story are a reference to a recipe that was created in honour of The Court of Broken Knives. You can find the link to the recipe on my website www.courtofbrokenknives.com. They’re delicious.    

Why do you write fantasy? 

Because of all the things in the Flecker poems quoted below.

The endless possibilities. Magic. Wonder. Beauty and horror beyond mortal ken. All the dreams and fears we have as children, the terrible cosmic awe we feel standing looking up at the vastness of the stars, the sea with the sun setting into it in fire, ancient ruins against storm clouds. The re-enchantment of the world, the yearning for something more than this: on Halloween the hollow hills will open; beneath the cold Atlantic the World Serpent lies drowsing; on another distant shore dragons dance on the west wind. Fantasy makes these things real. Makes life stranger and more beautiful. Makes the world a better, stranger place.  That oak tree might be the doorway to fairyland, that cloud might really be a castle in the sky – once you’ve read enough fantasy, you don’t quite know. On some deep level I really believe in fairies, selkies, dragons, magic. So obviously I write about them. 

But also I have no idea why I write fantasy. I wrote fantasy stories all the time as a child, I stopped writing completely, one day as an adult I started writing a scene without any idea what I was doing, no plan at all, and it turned out to be epic fantasy because … all of the above. But it wasn’t intended. Just happened. Turned out there was a vast fantasy world in my mind. (It was what is now the second chapter of The Court of Broken Knives. The twist at the end of the first section took me by surprise as well).

What’s your writing routine? 

I have two days a week to write, plus the occasional Saturday or Sunday. I write nine to five on those days and that’s all the chance I get, if I don’t use them that’s it for the week. So I tend to use them frantically. It’s quite good, actually, certainly motivates me.

I think about what I’m writing all the time, though. Listen to the cadence of the prose, think about the story and the characters, the setting, the way things are evoked … I live in the story while I’m writing it, I do see it as a whole thing before my eyes, sort of walk through it in my thoughts bending down to look carefully at details or seeing the whole and how it works as someone might look at a painting. 

How has coronavirus affected your creativity?

 Aha ha ha ha ha.  I was homeschooling two children through it, so … creativity? You don’t know what true creativity means until you’re simultaneous teaching fronted adverbials and short division while on a teams meeting with your child-free boss while realising you didn’t get a Tesco.com slot this week so there’s nothing for lunch unless you risk death and also nasty looks from an old git who refuses to wear a mask properly by going to the shop with the kids. I have never been so creative.

Read ‘Water’. I had no idea it would be quite so prescient. 

Which three books would you recommend everyone reads?

Just three????? 

M John Harrison, Viriconium. All epic fantasy is a mere footnote to Viriconium. As I said to Steven Erickson by the pool in LA. 

Astrid Lindgren, Ronia the Robber’s Daughter. Wild, beautiful, mysterious all-ages fantasy.

 James Elroy Flecker, Collected Poems 

We who with songs beguile your pilgrimage
And swear that Beauty lives though lilies die,
We Poets of the proud old lineage
Who sing to find your hearts, we know not why, –

What shall we tell you? Tales, marvellous tales
Of ships and stars and isles where good men rest,
Where nevermore the rose of sunset pales,
And winds and shadows fall towards the West:

And there the world’s first huge white-bearded kings
In dim glades sleeping, murmur in their sleep,
And closer round their breasts the ivy clings,
Cutting its pathway slow and red and deep.

(From The Golden Journey to Samarkand) 

We travel not for trafficking alone;
By hotter winds our fiery hearts are fanned:
For lust of knowing what should not be known,
We take the Golden Road to Samarkand.

(From The Golden Road to Samarkand)

Those lines are everything to me, and why writing fantasy is the highest and noblest purpose in life. 

What’s next for you? (use this space for self-promotion if you’ve new things coming out or have other projects that you want people to know about) 

Several things, but most of them sadly a deep secret that I can’t really talk about yet. As in ‘Water’, I’ m writing more and more about my own lived experience, complex, confessional book – just in a high fantasy setting because that’s the best setting there is.  Elena Ferranti with dragons!  I do feel a moral obligation not to flinch away from writing the bleak truth as I see it about power and political responsibility, but I’ve been consciously writing more hopefully about the world. Empires of Dust was about tearing down false narratives, critiquing everything, it is a very nihilistic, scorched-earth approach because human life is inevitably destructive. But I certainly believe that individual goodness is possible, that love and acts of kindness are indeed humanly necessary, and I’m shifting my focus more to write that too.

Less cryptically, I’ve got a short story for the Grimdark Magazine kickstarter project The King Must Fall, which is probably a last scorched-earth nihilistic hurrah to Empires of Dust (and features a cameo by Grimbold Books supremo, author of the amazing Anna (no relation), and general-force-of-good-in-the-world Sammy K Smith). I’m also down to write a story for Grimoak Press’s Unbound III next year. And God of Grimdark Michael R Fletcher and I have co-authored a serial for Grimdark Magazine that we’re finishing up, which took far longer than anticipated because neither of us plan anything, and that turns out to be more of a problem when you’re trying to follow on from something someone else wrote (Our editor: Guys, uh, did you, like, read the previous chapters before writing the next one? Us: No. Obviously. Why would we do that?)

Looking at the above – if you run a publishing house called Mundane but Ultimately Quite Pleasant, please feel free to get in touch.

Anna Smith Spark is the author of the critically acclaimed, multi-award shortlisted Empires of Dust grimdark epic fantasy series The Court of Broken Knives, The Tower of Living and Dying and The House of Sacrifice (HarperVoyager UK / Orbit US) described as ‘game of literary thrones’ by the UK Sunday Times and ‘like early Moorcock and Le Guin’ by the UK Daily Mail. Her favourite authors are Mary Renault, R Scott Bakker and M. John Harrison. Previous jobs include English teacher, petty bureaucrat and fetish model. You may know her by the heels of her shoes.


Twitter: @queenofgrimdark

Facebook: Anna Smith Spark


Lost Gods author interview: Lindsey Duncan

I wanted to follow up on our gorgeous Lost Gods anthology, a book of SFF short stories, by interviewing some of the authors (okay, whoever was willing). I hope you will find these interviews interesting, and enjoy their stories.

What’s your writing name?

Lindsey Duncan

What’s your story called (in Lost Gods) and what was your inspiration behind it?

My story in Lost Gods is entitled “Hunting Fire,” and it began as a one-hour free write exercise on the theme of unseasonable weather.  As usual with these things, I didn’t finish it in that hour, but I developed the threads that would carry the story forward.  Also as usual with these things, I took the prompt and turn it on its ear.  I decided to write about a warm spell in cold terrain from the perspective that this surge of warmth was a bad thing, even a catastrophe.  The idea of making a bitter, wintry environment into something hospitable fascinates me; it’s not the first (or last) time I’ve written a story in this kind of setting.

But I knew that humans would struggle in such a place, so the Glaciads came into being.  I always try to avoid the “humans in fuzzy suits” approach to creating nonhuman peoples, so that led to different mores, social structure … and a daughter for the main character, who turned out to be integral to the story’s resolution.  The Glaciads have their own gods, of the core, of the ice, of the winds … and something else.

Why do you write fantasy? 

I write fantasy because I adore creating worlds, playing with what-ifs, and mixing up real world facts to suit myself … and also because it’s habit.  I have been writing fantasy since my fingers first touched keys, so I suspect that even if I tried to write a mainstream tale, magic would sneak in by the back door.  History and mythology have wonderful wells to draw upon, but I love the freedom to take it in a different direction. Something I particularly enjoy is taking an absurd idea and playing it straight, often to the point that the comic origins disappear.  My story in another Grimbold anthology, Unexpected Heroines, involves the concept of a tree who operates as a spy in enemy territory.

I’m still working on a way to play “it’s raining men” as a serious story.

What’s your writing routine? 

I write most days, but there isn’t a particular time or amount of time set aside for it; it depends on how tired I am after work, how many other things are going on, and whether I’m grumpy enough to want to stab all my characters and leave them for dead.  (Granted that I love writing about the afterlife and spirits, so that might make the good *start* of a story.)  

I usually cycle between 2-3 projects, stopping at a set point to switch to the next.  I’m an incubator, so that gives me the opportunity to let things simmer on the backburner … and I’m incapable of doing one thing at a time, anyhow.  These projects are usually of different types / different stages of process:  for instance, I might write in a novel WIP while editing a short story.

How has coronavirus affected your creativity? 

My day job is in catering, so there was a lot of stress and anxiety about the survival of the business, coupled with the necessity of changing tactics to stay afloat … a move away from the elaborate desserts and appetizers we specialize in, and where most of the creative joy in cooking resides.  Add to that I also play the harp professionally for parties and events, and that business understandably dropped off a cliff.  I very much felt like I was creatively useless.  Sometimes, I was overwhelmed and just had to hibernate for a while.  Overall, though, it didn’t harm my writing:  if anything, it focused me, because it was the one thing I could still do, a creative escape that no one could cancel.

Which three books would you recommend everyone reads? 

Everyone’s reading tastes are so different, I couldn’t begin to suggest a book (or three) for everyone.  Good fantasy anthologies are hard to find, though, so I thought I would suggest three to check out:

Fantastic Companions – edited by Julie Czerneda

Not just traditional familiars and talking animals, but a wide variety of companions, including ancient gods and constellations personified

Murder by Magic – edited by Rosemary Edghill

Stories merging magic and mystery, written both by fantasy and mystery writers.  Surprise:  some of the best fantasy comes from the mystery professionals.

Beyond The Woods:  Fairy Tales Retold – edited by Paula Guran

A wide spanning anthology that takes fairy tale inspiration from dystopian science fiction to urban fantasy and even historical fiction.  The first few stories were too dark and tenuously connected for my tastes, but the quality climbs steadily throughout.

What’s next for you?

I don’t have any major projects about to come out, though you can check out my forthcoming short story and poetry at my website:  http:///www.lindseyduncan.com  I’m currently shopping a fantasy-mystery novel called Unnatural Causes, in which a snarky familiar tries to unravel the secrets behind the death of her enchanter.

My soft science fiction novel, Scylla and Charybdis, is still available from Grimbold Books:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B54QJYL/ 


Lost Gods author interview: Kerry Buchanan

I wanted to follow up on our gorgeous Lost Gods anthology, a book of SFF short stories, by interviewing some of the authors (okay, whoever was willing). I hope you will find these interviews interesting, and enjoy their stories.

Author Kerry Buchanan with a horse

What’s your writing name?

Kerry Buchanan. Never felt a need to hide behind a pseudonym!

What’s your story called (in Lost Gods) and what was your inspiration behind it?

Shades of Perdition.

I’ve always been fascinated by mythology, and grew up reading the Odyssey and the Iliad as well as everything I could find about the Greek and Roman gods. Throw in a dash of C.S. Lewis, and you have the makings of a story. My main character breaks a few moulds (and not by sitting on them, although that would also be a possibility). Cassie (Cassandra) is not your usual slim, sylph-like hero with ninja skills – that would be way too easy – so instead I decided to make her middle-aged, overweight and I gave her creaky joints and bosoms that would go into orbit if she spun too fast. Once I had my scene set and my character larger than life (in every sense), all I had to do was make her life even harder.  

Why do you write fantasy? 

I don’t just write fantasy (Knife Edge, the first of my crime series set in Northern Ireland, was released in April 2021 by Joffe Books), but until recently fantasy was almost all I wrote. I guess it’s back to those legends again. Plus, I decided at a very early age that dragons were the coolest creature ever, except maybe unicorns (but I’d grown out of unicorns by around five years of age). Almost all my stories have a dragon in them somewhere. I love the freedom within fantasy to let your imagination really fly, and I love the idea of magic.

It’s not that there are no rules when writing fantasy. I think it’s important to design a magic system, or a world, that is consistent. I won’t let my characters escape peril by suddenly allowing them to discover a new and hitherto unsuspected talent for (as an example) chucking fireballs at their enemies. It’s just that I get to write the rules and police them myself. That’s not to say I don’t make mistakes, because who doesn’t, but at least I try for consistent world-building.

What’s your writing routine? 

Until very recently, I didn’t have one. For many years, I’ve been a full-time carer for someone with dementia, and that led to unpredictable days and a lack of routine, as I had to fit in with someone else’s randomness. Just over a week ago, my father went into residential care, so now I have free time during the day, and I have no idea what to do with it! In theory, I work for a couple of hours every morning and another couple every afternoon, but sometimes my muse refuses to dance to my tune, so I end up being struck by inspiration at the exact moment when I should be starting to make dinner or feed the cats. Cue irritated husband foraging in the fridge for something easy to cook. Once I’m lost in my writing, time has no meaning.

How has coronavirus affected your creativity? 

If anything, it has improved it. Under stress, I tend to write more not less, so I’ve been hammering away. During the first lockdown, I edited North Star, an all-female anthology by Northern Irish female writers, as well as contributing a story to it, and I’ve been editing another all-female anthology, Femmes Fae-Tales, for my wonderful friends from www.sffchronicles.com as well as writing my own fairy story for the anthology. This has brought home to me how much the pandemic has affected many other people’s creativity. So many people are finding it much harder to write these days. Some are trying to home-school children whilst also working from home (all on the same ageing laptop); others are just so disheartened by the sickness and death around them that they can’t get their minds on their writing at all. For myself, I run away into my fictional words. My safe space. I’ve completed another crime novel and almost finished a third one since last June. 

Which three books would you recommend everyone reads? 

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. This is an epic read, and a real eye-opener. Apart from being a great book, it really makes you think about the future of species and how humans try to manipulate them. 

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, because it’s such a lesson in world building. Even down to the languages he’s created and the different races and customs. Many are nicked from the very mythologies I grew up with, but none the worse for that. It is, however, a story of its time. If you’re looking for a book that passes the Bechdel test, this is not it!

The Elderings Series  by Robin Hobb. Yes, I’m cheating here because there are more than 15 books in this series, but they’re sooo good. 

What’s next for you?

I still love writing fantasy, and will go on doing so, but currently I have a three-book contract with Joffe Books for my crime series, so that’s keeping me pretty busy at the moment. Knife Edge is doing well, and the second novel, Small Bones, should be released around June of this year. The third one, Close Hauled, won’t be too far behind. I’ve also been commissioned to write a story for another international anthology, and I run online writing classes, groups and sessions all the time. My Ulster Dedicated Writers meet four times a week, and these sessions are when I get most of my writing done.


The Fox Spirit Book of Love

The Fox Spirit Book of Love edited by Chloe Yates

I love writing for anthologies. There is always a central theme that ties a book together, and as a writer it’s actually pretty interesting to write within constraints. Every single writer interprets the theme in a slightly or completely different way. That’s what makes anthologies great.

My submission for the Fox Spirit Book of Love was quite random. I almost didn’t do it. I had this story that I really loved, but I had no idea where it was going to find home. It’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea in both style and substance. But I’m glad it turned out to be Chloe Yates’ cup of tea – the estimable editor of the Fox Spirit Book of Love. This anthology has stories by several writers who are well-known names in the British SFF indie scene, so I’m thrilled to be a part of it.

Recently, Alasdair Stuart did a full review of the anthology in his weekly newsletter, The Full Lid. If you aren’t familiar with it, I highly recommend it. It covers all things pop culture. For my story, The Holy Waters, he said:

The Holy Waters’ by Dolly Garland packs a book’s worth of history and background and tragedy into one short story. As a pair of monarchs struggle to deal, in very different ways, with the loss of their children, the story pulls back and back until we get if not comfort, then context. If not understanding, then acceptance. It’s intensely ambitious and one of the best pieces in the book by some distance.

That certainly made my day. Reviews are subjective, of course. And you may hate the story that someone else likes. But as writers, when we put our heart and soul into a story, we hope that at least one person out there gets what we’re trying to say. This particularly applies to this anthology, which is all about love. Different kinds of love that speak differently to each of us.

If you are interested in some heart warming stories, do check out the Fox Spirit Book of Love.


Problem Daughters Anthology: an interview with the editor

I interviewed Rivqa Rafael, one of the editors of the upcoming Problem Daughters anthology. It’s an amazing, worthy project. I hope you will find this interview both interesting and useful. Please do spread the word about this anthology.

Problem Daughters will amplify the voices of women who are sometimes excluded from mainstream feminism. It will be an anthology of beautiful, thoughtful, unconventional speculative fiction and poetry around the theme of intersectional feminism, focusing on the lives and experiences of marginalized women, such as those who are of colour, QUILTBAG, disabled, sex workers, and all intersections of these. Edited by Nicolette Barischoff, Rivqa Rafael and Djibril al-Ayad, the anthology will be published by Futurefire.net Publishing and is currently being crowdfunded.

DG: Problem Daughters. Let’s talk about the name first.  Why this title? And why “Daughters” specifically, as opposed to women, mothers, sisters etc.

RR: We put a lot of thought into our title; of course we wanted something that would make people curious about what we had to say, as well as something that accurately reflected our aims. So it’s “problem” in the sense of not being accepted by mainstream feminism, and that could be for any number of reasons. Mainstream feminism doesn’t respond well to difference; it expects all other concerns to be put on hold for the cause. Race, ethnicity, religion, ability, choice of profession (most notably sex work); these and other intersections can make feminism a less accepting space. We’re a problem to feminism; feminism is a problem for us. The anthology is both of these aspects.

“Daughters” felt like another interesting way to engage with our topic. “Women” would fit, sure, but having a different word in there makes our descriptions less repetitive, so there was a practical angle there. Not all women are, or can be mothers; the concept of a feminist “sisterhood” and the shared experience it implies is part of what we’re critiquing. But we’re all daughters, in one way or another, and responding to the past is another key element here.

DG: Why do you think this anthology is needed? Why not just standard BAME submission as many publishers tend to do these days?

RR: Anthologies can be anything from a completely open call to a most narrow, almost bizarrely specific theme, and I think this range is a great thing. I’ve written some of my best work (in my opinion) in response to calls for submission to anthologies; something about a theme can spark something I might not have considered. Problem Daughters falls somewhere in the middle of the pack in terms of specificity. Hopefully, this keeps the topic broad enough that authors can play with it in interesting ways, but specific enough to be inviting to the marginalised authors we’re hoping to attract. Of course, this anthology doesn’t stand in isolation, and I hope it complements past and future diverse works.

DG: As a woman from an ethnic minority, and as a writer, this idea excites me. You see in fiction, Indian women often depicted a certain way – exotic beauties, or sari wearing domestic goddesses, or whatever. I have a problem with that. I am sure this happens to other cultures, and other voices too. So I love this idea that you’re trying to find voices that are even more ignored than “minorities” in general because let’s face it, minorities can be snobby too about inclusions and representation. My question is – how do you define these women? How do you define “feminism” in this selective context?

RR: I’m so glad it excites you! That’s definitely part of what we’re trying to address. Even just the tiresome concept that a single white woman can be a stand-in for diversity (Star Wars, again? Really?). What you say about inclusion is such an important point; this has been my almost constant experience, being at turns “not Jewish enough”, “too Jewish” or my personal favourite, “Jewish in the wrong way”.

But in terms of the anthology, we don’t want to define these women too closely; they will be marginalised in some way, and we’ve given examples, but mostly we want the reaction you’ve given – an individual interpretation, written as a story or poem. Likewise, our definition of feminism is as broad as possible; our stories might come from womanists or authors who don’t self-identify with any such movement at all. Mostly, we want to see how our potential authors choose to engage with the topic, rather than define it for them.

DG: I believe three of you are editing this anthology, Djibril al-Ayad, Nicolette Barischoff and you. Would you say your experiences in fringes, or perhaps outside of mainstream voices helps you be more sympathetic or empathetic to the voices you seek to represent?

RR: I hope so. I can only speak for myself specifically, of course, but I really hope so. I’m white, able-bodied, queer and Jewish; I have a lot of privilege, and more passing privilege now that I’m no longer religious. But I also had a very different upbringing from the average white Australian, which stands out very starkly in certain circumstances. And within that very insular community, that “not Jewish enough” I mentioned before was often at play. There’s a bitter advantage to always being an outsider, but yes, I think it does force one to develop empathy. It’s much more pronounced for people with more prominent marginalisations, but hopefully, it’s a starting point.

DG: You have created an Indigogo crowdfunding campaign to support this anthology. Tell us more about this, and how would this help the anthology, as well as usually unheard voices?

RR: Our campaign can be found at http://igg.me/at/problem-daughters, and runs until 14 February. We’re running a flexible funding campaign; once we reach our halfway point of $4,500, we’ll be able to guarantee professional payment rates to our authors. Our second goal of $9,000 will allow us to publish a longer anthology, including essays and internal artwork; we very much hope that we can make this more beautiful, substantive version. If we’re funded beyond that, we have other ideas of how to make Problem Daughters even more special.

We’ve fixated on pro payment because it’s all too common for labour, particularly in the form of art or writing, to be demanded of marginalised people for little or no pay. We want to pay our authors what they deserve (or as close as we can reasonably get).

DG: For the writers interested in submitting to this anthology, what is the one advice you would give?

Don’t self-reject. If you’re not sure if your work fits the brief – submit. If you’re not sure if it’s good enough – submit. If this is your first potential submission, your first in English, your first in the genre – you get the idea. We’re a team of three experienced editors, and we want to read your story.

Rivqa Rafael is a queer Jewish writer and editor based in Sydney. She started writing speculative fiction well before earning degrees in science and writing, although they have probably helped. Her previous gig as subeditor and reviews editor for Cosmos magazine likewise fueled her imagination. Her short stories have appeared in Hear Me Roar (Ticonderoga Publications), The Never Never Land (CSFG Publishing), and Defying Doomsday (Twelfth Planet Press). In 2016, she won the Ditmar Award for Best New Talent. When she’s not working, she’s most likely child-wrangling, playing video games, or practising her Brazilian Jiujitsu moves. She can be found at rivqa.net and on Twitter as @enoughsnark.


Book launch: The Dark Half of the Year (you are invited!)



We need something to do during the cold, dreary winter days. What better than to read? Even more importantly, read stories that are set during specific winter days around the world, focusing on what lies in the shadows. 

The Dark Half of the Year is an anthology by North Bristol Writers. Since I used to live in Bristol at one point, apparently, I still count. That’s a good thing for me, as the anthology also includes one of my short stories, The Ancestors.

We’re having a book launch on January 28th in Bristol, and you are invited. It’s going to be fun few hours, with interviews, reading, and a panel. And of course mingling, talking about ghosts and fantasy over pints – because as it happens writers and alcohol aren’t too far apart. I don’t count, because I’m a bit strange (even for a writer), and pretty convinced that there is coffee in my blood. 

The launch event will start at 4 pm at The Famous Royal Navy Volunteer pub. You can join in the event on Facebook if you are interested in attending.

Please do spread the word. 

Look forward to see you in Bristol.


Fight like a girl – report from the book launch


What happens when a whole bunch of kick-ass women get together to launch a book about kick-ass women? Supported by awesome men who appreciate kick-ass women?

Well, for one – you have a great, fun day and a great book launch which included Aikido and sword fighting demonstration, a discussion panel about Fight Like A Girl, buffet, book signing, and general mingling with a great bunch of people.


On Saturday, April 2nd we gathered at The Hatchet Inn in Bristol, to launch an anthology that has been close to many hearts. Titled, Fight Like A Girl, it brings together science-fiction and fantasy stories featuring kick-ass female leads, written by female authors. In an industry where women are still judged only to be able to write fluff by many, this book is our platform to show otherwise. We’ve our incredible publisher Grimbold Books to thank for that. 


Fight Like A Girl is now available from all good booksellers, in paperback and Kindle editions. So we hope you will try it out, and if you do, we would appreciate all honest reviews. 

Link to Amazon UK

Link to Amazon US

Link to Book Depository (Free Global Delivery)


Fight like a girl – join the anthology launch party!


This is an open invitation to all of you for a kick-ass launch party. After all, what else can you expect from an anthology with the name as kick-ass as Fight Like A Girl?

So what is Fight Like A Girl?

It’s a fantasy/sci-fi anthology being published by Grimbold Books. The book will include stories from some of the best kick-ass females of British Science Fiction and Fantasy writing, and a short story from yours truly. 

This is the blurb from Grimbold Publishing:

What do you get when some of the best women writers of genre fiction come together to tell tales of female strength? A powerful collection of science fiction and fantasy ranging from space operas and near-future factional conflict to medieval warfare and urban fantasy. These are not pinup girls fighting in heels; these warriors mean business. Whether keen combatants or reluctant fighters, each and every one of these characters was born and bred to Fight Like A Girl.

Featuring stories by Roz Clarke, Kelda Crich, K T Davies, Dolly Garland, K R Green, Joanne Hall, Julia Knight, Kim Lakin-Smith, Juliet McKenna, Lou Morgan, Gaie Sebold, Sophie E Tallis, Fran Terminiello Danie Ware, Nadine West

The launch will take place on April 2 at The Hatchet Inn, Frogmore Street, Bristol from 13:00 to 17:30. There will be a buffet, fighting demonstrations (obviously), a whole bunch of geekery and fun! 

You can buy the tickets for the event through Eventbrite.

I hope you will join us, and please spread the word.