November Blog

Autumn woodland scene

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to a new and totally unoriginal feature that I’m calling MONTHLY BLOGS. The concept is simple; I will have a ramble once a month about my writing life, my reading life and my personal life. Nobody asked for this but it’s happening. You’re welcome.

What have I been writing?

Aside from the fiction I’ve been posting here and on Medium, I’ve been frantically working on a whole bunch of other stuff in hopes of making up for time lost during my mental health crisis (we’ll get onto that later).

First, I’ve been cracking on with what I hope will be a final round of edits for my novel. I plan to query it to literary agents again because, well, why not? I’ve made some pretty big changes to the opening and to the ending since my last round of submissions, and the story is certainly better for it. But I’m doubtful that it will get picked up, mainly because I want to keep my expectations low so that I’m not utterly crushed by inevitable rejection it’s kind of half way between the young adult market and the adult market and it’s hard to fit into a definitive genre. Basically, I don’t think it’s something that is ‘trendy’ enough in the traditional book biz right now. So when if I don’t get any bites from agents, I’m going to gear up to self-publish it next summer because I think it’s a good story, damn it. I’ve worked too long and too hard on this book to give up on it.

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The Last Cig in the Packet | Short Story

The Humber Bridge at sunset - "The Last Cig in the Packet" short story

I wrote this story nine months ago and put off publishing it in case it was too morbid or doleful. It’s certainly a lot different to the silly, whimsy fiction I tend to post. I was also scared of sharing too much of myself. This story is fictional, but it is inspired by own experiences with depression, self-harm and suicidal ideation. It’s Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK right now. I figured that sharing fiction like this might help in one way or another.

Ask for help. Lean on your loved ones. Don’t be too proud to admit when things are getting too difficult.


‘What are things like at home?’

I think of the thick layer of dust that sits on every surface in my living room, the unopened mail which carpets my hallway and the stacks of dirty mugs in my kitchen sink.

I shrug. ‘Fine.’

‘Do you live alone?’

I nod.

Dr Taylor looks away from his computer screen. ‘And how do you find that?’

I shrug again. I’ve lost count of how many shrugs I’ve given him over the course of the past five minutes. ‘Fine.’

‘What about when you need support? Who can you turn to?’

Another shrug. ‘My mum, I guess.’

‘Does she live nearby?’

I nod.

‘You see her often?’

I nod.

‘Does she know about the self-harm?’

My hand automatically moves to my forearm so that my fingers can poke at the fresh wound which lives there. It’s just beginning to crust over. The stab of soreness calms me. I’m looking forward to the inevitable sting that will occur later when I peel away the fabric from sticky, angry flesh.

‘Yes,’ I say.

‘So if you were in crisis you could go to your Mum’s house?’

‘I s’pose.’

‘And do you?’

Course not. When I’m in crisis I wallow in it.

‘Sometimes,’ I say.

‘Good. So your mum is an important part of your support network. I’ll make a note of that.’ He turns back to his computer screen and taps away at his keyboard.

I look at the beige walls of the bland office and wonder how Dr Taylor himself isn’t stir fucking crazy.

Continue reading on Medium >

Anxiety Girl by Lacey London | Book Review

Anxiety Girl by Lacey London book cover

Sadie Valentine is a beautiful young woman who, upon first look, seems to have it all. She has gorgeous flat in the most sought-after part of Cheshire, a wonderful best friend, and a successful career as an artist. But when things in her life start going wrong, anxiety, depression, and panic attacks begin to take hold and cause her to lose control. Continue reading “Anxiety Girl by Lacey London | Book Review”

Where Monsters Lurk | Short Story

Monster illustration - "Where Monsters Lurk" short story

The monster leers at me with dull, sunken eyes, its mouth agape and spittle smeared across its chin.

Its grey skin is plagued with more yellowing warts than unusual. Its long hair is lanker, greasier, and more dishevelled. I’m sure its hooked nose is more crooked than I’ve ever seen it before.

It’s the last thing I want to look at first thing in a morning, but it can’t be avoided. It took up residence in my bedroom years ago; it’s almost part of the furniture.

I turn away, sick to my stomach, and retrieve my day’s outfit from the wardrobe. Black trousers. Loose grey t-shirt. Black, fine-knit cardigan. Black ankle boots. As close as I can get to an invisibility cloak.

I run a brush through my hair and that’s that — I’m ready. I don’t bother with makeup. Couldn’t bear it.

In the bathroom, I brush my teeth while avoiding eye contact with the monster that lurks in there. It’s a little smaller than the one in the bedroom and easier to ignore if I concentrate hard enough.

There have been times when curiosity has got the better of me and I’ve snatched a glance at it. The shortest of glimpses of its repulsive flesh under the harsh bathroom spotlights — its skin pale and thin enough that I can see the blood pulsing through the veins beneath it — is enough to make me retch…

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Concealed: A Compilation of Short Fiction by V.P. Grey | Book Review

Concealed by VP Grey book cover

If you’ve ever struggled with your mental health, or you’ve known somebody who has, the short stories in Concealed will no doubt resonate with you in an incredibly powerful way. If you haven’t, you can treat Concealed as a window into the minds of those who battle with mental illness. Continue reading “Concealed: A Compilation of Short Fiction by V.P. Grey | Book Review”