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North Bristol Writers have launched a fundraising campaign to finance their debut anthology, a collection of short stories going under the title of North by SouthWest. I’m really proud to be involved in this in a small way, but they need your help to make their dream a reality – could you spare a couple of quid in exchange for fabulous incentives?

In their own words :

North by Southwest is an anthology of 15 stories by 10 North Bristol Writers: 

The stories are original, never before published, inventive and have a great variety which is a strength of the book, showcasing as it does the work of the writers after a year or so of collaboration. Bristol is such a creative city and the stories are certainly infused with that energy. Bristol has had such a great effect on transport through the ages – it’s an airplane city, a railway city and a port city so such themes recur, as does the theme of ‘North’, The stories are beautifully illustrated by artist Claire M Hutt with art to appear in B&W in the physical book.

Join The Noon Train (by Roz Clarke), or a Tragedy on Concorde (by Margaret Carruthers), walk from Portishead to Bristol in Latitude (by Pete Sutton), join John Cabot as he sails from Bristol in search of new lands in Fisher of Men (by Justin Newland) or just sit back and let Desiree Fischer’s Taxi Driver take you where you need to go. If those forms of travel are too dull then strap in to John Hawkes-Reed’s war elephants in Miss Butler and the Industrial Automation Group or journey Like Giants with Kevlin Henney.

Explore new visions of Bristol in House Blood and Lye Close (by Ian Millsted), Bristol Pound (by Jemma Milburn) or Christmas Steps (by Pete Sutton).

Or indulge in a bit of darkness in Gardening Leave, Uncle Lucas and The Top of the Hill (by Clare Dornan) and Hater (by Pete Sutton).

We have the stories, we have the art, and now we need the money to pay for the typesetter and printer in order to create our book. We need you to help get this off the ground by using this Fundsurfer to pre-order your copies & also grab a bunch of other great rewards including signed artwork & personalised stories.

If we get over £2,000 we have a few stretch goals that we’ll share.

Please pledge what you can & share with your friends and family!

I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of these writers before, on Colinthology and Airship Shape and Bristol Fashion, and you really are in for a treat with North by SouthWest – if you help get it off the ground they have some great incentives too!



Watch the video, feel inspired, follow the link, check out the rewards on offer, feel greedy, pledge!

The rewards are fab, there are books, art, and tickets to BristolCon 2015, among others, not to mention the warm fuzzy feeling of having helped people out… Plenty of good things to choose from!

You can pledge as little as a pound, and every penny will go to help out local writers to bring a brand-new anthology to life. So please feel free to get involved!

ETA 7/11/14

North By Southwest is now over 25% funded and I’m hard at work editing the stories for it. I can confidentially report that they are remarkably good and well worth an investment of some of your Earth pounds….

ETA 19/11/14

The Anthology has three weeks to go and is only a whisker off being 50% funded. Every pound counts at this stage, so please rummage down the back of the sofa and see if you can spare a couple of quid! Editing is going well and I know you’re going to love these stories 🙂

ETA 21/11/2014

21 days to go and we’re over halfway there! The editing is coming along nicely, we have five finalised stories and a number of others that are very close to being fully edited, and I can confirm that the quality of them is very high. And as it’s Friday and I’m in a good mood, I’m going to share an extract with you so you can see what you’ll be getting when you pledge (you have pledged, right? It’s very easy and there’s cake in it for you*)

Anyway, this is an extract from “House Blood” by Ian Millsted. Ian is a Bristol writer, fanzine editor and cricket fan whose short story “The Traveller’s Apprentice” featured in Airship Shape and Bristol Fashion.

I hope you enjoy it.


The lord and lady were expecting guests; of their own kind of course. I joined another manservant, some winters my senior, and we waited by the door to accept the cloaks of the visitors on their arrival. After we completed that first task the butler showed them into the Green Room where they were greeted by our own lord and lady. There were five in the visiting party: the lord and lady brought their daughter and there were two blood as well, two girls about the same age as my fellow manservant. They looked more like house blood than field blood to my eyes, although their skin appeared too soft to have served much in either capacity. Their lord bid them remove their cloaks, beneath which they wore simple white shift dresses. Although they did as they were asked their eyes barely registered any response.

“A gift for you, Lady Blaise,” the visiting lord said as greetings were exchanged.

“Twins?” my lord asked. His guest nodded in confirmation.

“And red haired,” said my lady. “You do us high honour.”

“I’ve been keeping them back for the right time,” said the guest. “They should be sweet indeed.”

The two girls in white were directed to stand either side of the fireplace. Our lord and lady and their guests sat and talked of mutual friends and of the wider world I had never seen. They spoke of things they remembered, and seemed to miss, from when they were younger. The visitors’ daughter joined in with all this even though she looked no more than five or six winters old. Her voice was childlike but her words were those of a much older person.

The three of us, the butler, the other manservant and I, stood still in the corners of the room all evening. My lord did not call for drink to be served as I had been told he probably would not. It was my lady who eventually called attention once more to the twin girls.

“Now, I think we must share this gift you brought us, before you depart.”

The visiting lord called the two girls to step forward into the middle of the room. He offered his hand to help my lady out of her chair and guided her to one of the twins.
“Our hostess first, I think,” he said.

My lady wore one of her finest gowns; crimson velvet and full to the floor. She walked once around the girl who was standing stock still save for her barely perceptible breathing. She gently touched a spot on the girl’s neck and then, slowly and carefully, she put her lips to the place she had chosen. She spread them wider, before biting into the girl’s skin. Two trickles of blood ran down the girl’s neck and shoulder, chasing each other like raindrops on a window. They ran inside her shift and I watched, doing nothing, as eventually I saw the blood drip to the floor.

My lord had, by now, joined my lady to feast, although choosing to do so at the veins on the opposite side of the girl’s neck. Our guests commanded the other girl to kneel so that their daughter could reach to bite her neck. Her parents knelt to join her in feeding.

There was no conversation while our masters drank. They made no loud noises as a field blood might when sucking a pear or apple. The room was hideously serene.



And if that’s whetted your appetite you still have three weeks to pledge!


ETA 28/11/2014

Fifteen days to go, under £400 to raise and a whole bunch of stories fully edited and ready to go – This is gonna be fab! I’ve seen the cover art too, I’ll give you a sneak peek in the next day or so!


ETA 03/12/2014

Current pledges stand at £1732 with ten days to go, and it’s looking very likely we can pull this off – hurrah! And hence, as promised, previews of a couple of pieces of the art by Claire M Hutt that will accompany the stories. Don’t forget that you can pledge to receive some (£25) or all (£100) of the art that Claire is providing – she’s a very talented artist and this is an absolute bargain!

Illustration from "House Blood" by Ian Millsted

Illustration from “House Blood” by Ian Millsted



Illustration from "Christmas Steps" by Pete Sutton

Illustration from “Christmas Steps” by Pete Sutton

Ten days to go, so pledge like you’ve never pledged before!



*Portal Cake