Halloween Hearth Stories 2020

I wrote a thing for the Halloween Hearth Stories hosted by Parliament House Press. This weekend and next they are publishing a selection of creepy/spooky/Halloweeny short stories from some of their authors (that’s me, Mum!) and my story is online now for you to have a gander at.

I’ll come clean, I cheated a bit.

The story you will read from me is actually an excerpt from the sequel to The Book and the Blade (coming in 2022, published by the lovely Parliament House Press peeps). So, I guess if you love it then it’s really good advertising for my book. But if you hate it, well then, at least it was short, right?

Here is the link to the story,


Happy reading!

The Idea

I had the idea for The Book and the Blade nearly 20 years ago and it hurts me to write that!

When I was 18 I started University in York and one of the drawcards for the city was the rumoured 365 pubs… one for every day of the year.

There’s a famous street called Micklegate that has somewhere in the region of 20 of these establishments all crammed into the one cobbled area and some genius came up with the idea for The Micklegate Run – you start near the ironically named Bar (old Norse for “gate”) and have a drink in every pub on your – increasingly meandering – way down towards the river.

Let’s be honest, even if you only drink water that’s a LOT of liquid!

Well, we were young and stupid and sucked in by three-for-one prices and this wonderful new invention called Red Bull that went remarkably well with vodka and so we tried it.

It didn’t end well.

In fact, I don’t remember it ending at all.

What I do remember is an idea.

Imagine getting so drunk you didn’t realise the people you were talking to were ghosts. The world is spinning. You just want to get home. But you live in one of the most haunted cities in the world and the ghosts know you can see them.

I always thought it was a good idea and now, thanks to Parliament House Press, it will be published in 2022!

22 years after I started uni!

They say good things come to those who wait.

Here’s hoping.

The Start

In the beginning…


I started writing the York ghost story last night… finally! I’m not entirely convinced by the tone yet and it’s a bit cliched but I’m happy I’ve started. The characters are taking shape and I have an idea of where the story is heading. It feels so good to write fiction again but I need to work at 3rd person storytelling. My voice is all really passive… and then I go to bed and read Terry Pratchet who is a master. At some point today I’m going to sit down and write in here exactly what it is that I know I need help doing. This is something that has played on the edges of my mind since I started taking writing seriously. I’m not 100% sure how to articulate it but I’ll give it my best shot. I have 5 classes and an observation today, plus lots of marking but Sam is off poorly (so Kel is at home) so I might stay for longer this afternoon. It was -7 this morning. The car was frozen solid and Charli had to let me out at her school because the handle wouldn’t work in the cold.


I wrote that word emphatically because I first had the idea for this story nearly twenty years ago! In my next diary entry, I’ll write about that. But for now, I actually have a record of when I started writing this book… Sunday, January 30, 2019, in Richmond, North Yorkshire… and apparently I stayed behind at work on Monday to write a little more 😀

Cheers folks!