Wandering Away with My Uterus

Cover for My Wandering Uterus

A while ago I told you that my short story ‘In Search of Sorrow’ had been accepted for inclusion in the anthology titled ‘My Wandering Uterus’. I’m very excited about introducing you all to my new character ‘Sorrowful Jones’ and the anthology promises to be filled with interesting articles, poems and stories, all carefully curated by Kate Laity and H Byron Ballard.

My previous post looked at the history and mythology around the Wandering Uterus so I thought today I’d give a brief outline of how my story was accepted and the process to publication.

Sub to Pub

As so often happens, I saw the invitation for submissions on social media. I was intrigued by the title and decided to submit.

I carefully read and reread the submission guidelines. These can be a little vague and tricky (many places ask for stories to be for,attend in ‘the usual way’ but each have their own ‘usual’ style so it’s always important to check their preferences’).  Luckily Kate had been very clear with what she wanted so then it was a matter of writing the story!

I’d long been percolating a character, influenced in part by cowgirls in the ‘Wild West’ but who didn’t fight using guns. I’ve been listening to a lot of Amanda Palmer and so decided that my character would carry a ukulele. This being me, there would also be elements of the supernatural.

So, Sorrowful Jones was created!

I wrote my story, sent it to beta readers who also loved it, but who made a few suggestions about how to change things and picked up a couple of grammar mistakes. Multiple readings and more edits and I was happy with the story.

Then came the stressful part – submitting! After getting hubby to check my formatting, my story was flying through the internet. I obviously started hitting ‘refresh’ every two minutes on my email to see if it had been accepted. The waiting for acceptance/rejection is always the hardest part for me. I always think of it like Christmas where you have the expectation and excitement, then on the day you either get the pony you’ve always wanted or another naf jumper. Luckily for me, after waiting impatiently for weeks, I had the good news that Sorowful Jones would be out in the world.

Kate and Byron then had the unenviable job of editing each submission before deciding on the running order.  First edits are sent to the authors for their approval or rejection. More often than not, I accept the suggestions as they will often make my story sharper and ensure there there are no major plot holes. There’s also the grammar and spelling mistakes that I always manage to miss, despite my best efforts.

Once they’ve been returned, the stories are collated and checked before the final proofs are sent out. This is our final chance to check for typos or any strange formatting. I once had proofs sent which were fine in .pdf format but once they’d been put into the book formatting program had strange gaps, added spaces and blank pages! It’s a laborious process for all involved to check for mistakes and I remember a book agent once telling me that you can read and reread a piece but it’s not until it’s been printed that you’ll see a very obvious mistake, usually on page one.

So that’s in brief is the process of putting an anthology together. It’s a long process of putting a book together, but it’s exciting and different every time. Now, we’re trying to get the word out and generate interest before ‘P Day’. If you’d like a review copy, please contact Kate or Byron. Keep an eye out for more information and news, including where to meet different writers in the anthology at conferences and more.

If you’d like to read more about my Path to Publication, as well as some hints and tips for submitting your own work, click here.

While you’re waiting for ‘My Wandering Uterus’ to be published why not check out my other book of short stories ‘Weird Wild available now. (The link below is an affiliate link which means I may receive  small commission, at no added cost to you, if you purchase after clicking)

My Life and Death as a Plant

Daniel woke up and groaned. His mouth tasted awful, and his eyes were crusted over. His skin tingled, all the way from the base of his toes to the roots of his hair, feeling as if a thousand ants were skittering across his body. What the hell had they been drinking last night, he thought as he tried to move his aching limbs.

‘Let’s go out to the Wislow farm,’ suggested Sam, taking a swig from his can of beer. He belched loudly and laughed.
Billy grunted his agreement, too drunk to put up much of a discussion.
‘Dunno mate isn’t Old Mrs Wislow a bit odd,’ ventured John.
Sam jeered at his friend. ‘What’s wrong, you pussy? Afraid?’
‘Nah, mate, just something I heard. Bunch of people went up there to talk to her about burning her fields or cutting down trees or summ’at and didn’t come home,’ argued John.
‘Yeah, I heard that too,’ said Daniel. ‘I heard she’s a witch. Why don’t we just go to the woods? I can nick my brothers are air gun, we can shoot cans.’
‘You’re a bunch of pussies,’ shouted Sam, throwing his empty can at them. ‘Get in the car you mummy’s boys and let’s go find your balls.’
Daniel and John looked at each other and didn’t move. Even in their drunken states, they remembered the stories of what went on up at Wislow Farm.
‘Oi!’ shouted Sam, blaring the car horn. Billy was slumped in the back seat, snoring loudly.
John shrugged and walked towards the car, Daniel dragging his feet behind him.

Daniel’s neck was stiff and shrieked with pain when he attempted to move his head. He’d had bad hangovers before but nothing like this. Perhaps Sam had slipped something into his drinks? Nah. He could be a dick, but spiking drinks wasn’t really Sam’s style. More likely he had caught a cold or something, running around the Wislow farm in the middle of the night.

Sam had crashed into the fence leading to Wislow’s farm. They had fallen out of the car, spilling cans and rubbish in their wake. Daniel and John helped drag Billy out of the car and dumped him by the boot. Sam screeched with laughter as Billy slid down the side of the car and face planted in a bubble of mud. A wind whipped around them, icy tendrils piercing their thin coats, sobering Daniel and John. Sam had strutted towards the small house, the pathway leading to the door was lined with pots of herbs and to one side was a vegetable patch. Candle-light danced in one of the ground-floor windows but it otherwise looked deserted. The wind caught the door of the shed to the right of the house, the banging causing all the boys to jump.
‘This place is shit,’ moaned Sam, throwing stones towards the shed, smashing one of the small windows.
‘Let’s just go, mate,’ said Daniel, kicking the flower pots over and stamping on the plants. ‘Billy’s out of his head. It’s cold and there’s nothing going on.’
‘Witch my arse. Load of bullshit and you wankers were scared. Alright, we can go smash up windows around the school.’ Sam kicked the flowers again and stomped over to his friends, roughly grabbing Billy and pulling him to his feet. He staggered under the weight of his friend as he turned. ’Where’s the car?’
Daniel spun. The car which had been nudging the fence-post was gone.

The skin on his hands felt as rough as sandpaper and flexing his fingers was an effort as Daniel slowly remembered the details of the night before. He remembered running and falling so perhaps he’d badly skinned his hands. That would explain the rough scabs. Man, he felt rough. He should have listened to his mum. She’d never liked Sam and said he would get Daniel into trouble. Well, starting now, Sam was no longer his friend. He was done with all his crap. Last night was the final straw. He’d not wanted to go to Wislow’s Farm, it was dumb and now he hurt all over. A sound behind him made him attempt to wrench his neck around, causing a loud crack as his vertebrae popped yet he saw nothing.

John’s focus had not shifted from the house since they arrived. He stood, unmoving whilst his friends looked for the car.
He slowly raised his arm, pointing to the front door.
Daniel grabbed John’s arm. ‘What are you pointing at? Stop arsing around and help us find the car. John refused to move. ‘’Oi, Sam, get over here. John’s gone nuts,’ shouted Daniel.
Sam tried to turn around but was hampered by trying to hold up a semi-conscious Billy. Finally, dragging his friend, Sam turned. He frowned, following John’s arm.
He dropped Billy and ran into the trees.
‘What the fu….?’ muttered Daniel. A yelp behind him and he turned to find that John had disappeared. Spinning, he heard Billy groan but just as Daniel moved to help Billy up from the ground, he slid across the ground in the direction of the shed, his hands grabbing at unseen hands squeezing his neck.
‘What did you do to my garden?’ a voice screamed from the house. Daniel didn’t see the face of the witch but heard her cane smacking the stone footpath as she hobbled along the path. He turned and ran. Then it all went dark.

Daniel’s eyes were still stuck closed. He tried to move his hand to remove the gunk from his eyes before remembering the crustiness covering his fingers. He tried flexing them again, then wiggling his hands but they barely moved an inch. Trying not to panic, Daniel focussed on moving his legs but like his hands, they wouldn’t twitch. He couldn’t feel anything binding him or holding him down yet he couldn’t turn his head or open his eyes to check. Becoming frantic, he strained his eyes, silently begging them to open. He rocked his entire body but nothing happened. He was stuck.
‘Ah, I see you’re waking up,’ a voice cackled. Daniel tried to move his head to find out where the voice was coming from but despite his straining couldn’t sense anything.
‘Don’t bother to move my little pretties. You damaged a lot of my crops last night and winter’s coming in. I need to restock my shelves, else I’ll go hungry.’
Daniel felt himself being lifted and heard ceramic hit as he was put down. ‘Now, you’re lucky my boy. I’ve strung up your friends in my shed. I think their meat will cure nicely. Whilst I’m waiting I’ve decided to have a nice leg of brat for my dinner, and whilst it’s already beer-soaked, I will need some herbs to go with it.’ Daniel felt his arm being tugged, then excruciating pain. He opened his mouth to scream but all he could taste was dirt. ‘I think this rosemary would go lovely,’ the old witch laughed, ‘But maybe I need more.’ Daniel screamed as the witch continued pulling pieces off of him.

Rosemary bush

If you’ve enjoyed this story, check out my other free fiction.

Welcome to Women In Horror Month

Women in Horror Month Logo

And hello to you! Welcome to Day One of my Women In Horror Month Challenge. Today I’m introducing what Women In Horror Month is all about, and why it’s important to me.

Women in Horror Month

There are a lot of people who believe horror is not for women and I think that Women In Horror Month seeks to address that by highlighting the directors, movies, make up artists, writers, artists and more who love this genre. An international  initiative, WiHM showcases the assorted works of women in Horror, with movie screenings, blog features and  well-worth checking out their Facebook page to see if there are any events near you, but also to discover new authors and filmmakers and more.

What Women In Horror Month Means to Me

I’ve frequently been told that I’m ‘too nice’, ‘too funny’ or gods forbid ‘too normal’ to write horror, as if it’s the preserve of the twisted or depraved in society, those who don’t really belong. The fact is I’ve loved horror since I was a child and ghostly bedtime stories were a prerequisite for a spooky nights sleep.

I still love horror, from assorted movies, many of which I review on my site, as well as reading horror shorts and novels. However, there are still so many artists and creators I’m eager to discover, which is why I love Women In Horror Month.

I also want to subvert some of the stereotypes surrounding women in horror. Joss Whedon is often quoted as saying that his career has been about subverting stereotypes and I think the horror genre is one of the few where women can frequently ‘best’ the demons, be they serial killers, aliens, monsters or even school bullies.

I believe that to make somebody scared, to understand their deepest fears and truly terrify them is a highly personal thing. There’s a level of trust that you’ll take your reader on a scary journey, and deliver them safely home for hot coco at bedtime, having battled all the demons and survived with minor scratches. A lot of my short stories feature creatures, spectral entities and things that go bump in the night. And it would seem that you lovely readers would agree that women can write horror  with my collection of spooky tales ‘Weird Wild’ having 4.5* on Amazon.

I hope you’ll enjoy my collection of Women In Horror Month Daily Challenges and I’d love to hear what makes you scared.


‘My Wandering Uterus’ Wandering onto your bookshelf soon!

Cover for My Wandering Uterus

I’m very excited to announce that my short story ‘In Search of Sorrow’ will be published in an anthology titled ‘My Wandering Uterus’, edited by Kate Laity and H Byron Ballard with the stunning cover by SL Johnson.

My Wandering Uterus

The history of the wandering uterus is very long, starting in the Greek period. It relates to ‘women’s maladies’ whereby any illness or ‘hysteria’ experienced by a woman would be linked to her uterus. Greek physicians, including Hippocrates, believed that the uterus was a free-floating creature, an ‘animal within an animal‘, which would cause different symptoms depending on where it was in the body. Indeed, the term ‘hysteria‘ was coined to describe the action and symptoms of women, and comes from the Greek word for uterus ‘hysterika’. This paper by Terri Kapsalis on the Literary Hub looks at the history of the Wandering Uterus and how belief in women’s hysteria has perpetuated to the modern day. Kapsalis argues that the idea is so ingrained in our collective psyche that it will frequently be used to dismiss women’s role in society, undermine their skills and negate their freedoms. It’s a very interesting article and I recommend you take a few minutes to read it.

In Search of Sorrow

‘In Search of Sorrow’ is a short story, featuring my new leading lady, Sorrowful Jones. I’m really excited to explore her world more fully and am planning a series of short, interconnected stories which I’ll publish later this year (hopefully!). I don’t reveal too much of Sorrowful’s back story here, but she’s a traveller who is searching for women in need of her help. I’ve drawn a lot on our own travels when building the world of Sorrowful Jones, from her poncho which is woven with animals like those I saw in Peru, to some of the more supernatural ideas from Japan and South East Asia which I’ll explore more in the book.

I’ll keep you updated as to when ‘My Wandering Uterus’ will be published and also my progress with the rest of the book. I can’t wait for you to join Sorrowful Jones and me on the road.


The Silence

It’s been a long week. To differing degrees we’ve all been ill (even the pup,) and we’re shattered. Hubby has gone to bed early, taking the pup with him and the toddler passed out, still clutching her favourite book, hours ago. I’ve just finished watching a silly horror movie and should be working on the review, but as I turned off the TV it hit me: The silence. 

It’s not totally silent, the heating is doing that low hum, the clock next door which hasn’t told the right time in months is ticking and I can hear people and cars outside but I close my eyes and it’s so quiet.


And yet…..

A new set of voices has been nagging me recently, demanding I tell their tale. There’s been muttering, waking me in the night with a snippet of dialogue, a name or an action scene, a delicate whisper whilst making tea or a shout as I prepare our bags for the day.

And tonight, in the silence, their voices are a roar. I’m hoping tomorrow I’ll be able to make sense of the assorted post it notes I’ve written on, that half-formed ideas will percolate and be brewed overnight and things will be a little more cohesive. They’re whispering their names, shyly letting me know their preferences, twirling their costumes and sharing their voices. They’re coalescing, becoming more real (or as real as the Lamb’s assorted imaginary friends). I’m learning their wants, desires and mostly their challenges. This band of beaten women who want me to tell their story, now have an enemy to face and it will be a hell of a battle!

100Days of Happiness: Day Eleven 

Day eleven of our 100 Days of Happiness say the Lamb and I head to one of our favourite places, Killerton House. We met her bestie and I got to catch up with her mum (and my dear friend) which always lifts the spirits. The girls had a lot of fun belting around the gardens, I shared a delicious Victoria Sponge with the Lamb, then we all went on a ‘mouse hunt’ around the house. As always, we left very impressed at the volunteers who help run these National Trust houses and the assorted activities they have to keep little people entertained.

Here’s a bonus shot of one of the flowers still in bloom. So pretty, even on a rather cold, damp day!

As always, once the Lamb was in bed, it was time for me to get to work. I’m prepping a new novel, with elements of fantasy, horror, supernatural and adventure. It’s my first ‘big’ writing project since having the Lamb so I’m hoping to get back into it, and make a start on it during National Novel Writing Month in November. There’s lots to prepare for it, with character bios, locations and multiple fantasy worlds to create. I’ve been struggling to get back into writing for a while so I’m hoping this preparation will help and I’ll be blogging more about my experience so pop back to find out more.

What made you happy today?

Throwback Thursday: Interview for SFF

Last year I was interviewed with Adele for SFF World as part of our launch of Fennec Books, the imprint of Fox Spirit Books, for whom I’m commissioning editor. Our first book, Ghoulsome Graveyard (written by me) is already available, and our next book, which I commissioned, will be out soon. It was such an interesting and exciting project to read submissions and choose the novel I really enjoyed and to work with such a gifted writer. I can’t wait for you to read more about what were doing. In the meantime, check out our interview here.

Inspiration for Weird Wild


My collection of short stories, Weird Wild, was published on 20 March 2014. The first story I wrote for it was called ‘The Lake’ and was written as part of an online writing challenge. I didn’t know then what it would grow into!

My book babies, out in the wild!

I’ve always loved the woods. There’s nothing more relaxing than walking through forests, unless you’re being chased by a werewolf! We’ve visited forests in the UK, including ‘Wistman’s Wood’ in Dartmoor, as well as rainforests in Latin America and Asia and all helped inspire ‘Weird Wild’, with creepy mists, crooked trees and hidden dens.

Wistman’s Wood, Dartmoor

The Stone Circle in Weird Wild is definitely inspired by my love of archaeology. I love Stonehenge and have been fascinated by stone circles, both in terms of what they tell us about our ancestors, but also the more mystical elements. My logical, scientific brain (and a number of my tutors!) debunked the idea of ley lines but there’s still something magical about these stones. Who’s to say they aren’t portals to the fairy realm?

Stonehenge. I visited it while studying and the image of the stones rising from the earth has stayed with me. Magical

How pretty are bluebells? It was an annual tradition growing up to visit ‘Bluebell Woods’ and see them when they bloomed each spring. I was fascinated to learn some of the more nefarious uses of this beautiful, if deadly, bell. I’d also never claim to be a poet, but the poem for Weird Wild was written fairly quickly, the voices and the bells ringing clearly.

Buriton 2002
Bluebells near where I grew up.


Dartmoor, UK

So many beautiful lakes inspired ‘The Lake’. Whilst Lago Roja in Bolivia isn’t surrounded by trees like the lake in Weird Wild, the stillness and sense of isolation crept into the story.

Lago Roja, Bolivia. It was so peaceful and ethereal here


Out in the wild!


As always, any sticky plot points were worked out during long walks. There’s something about being outside which definitely clears the fog and helps the writing process.

Check out those wild flowers!



You can get your copy of Weird Wild from Amazon, or contact me below for a signed copy!