Two Chickens for Laura Long Arms

There’s a new FREE short story for subscribers to the Woodville Village newsletter…

Superb art design by Andrew Bowden!

This story was previously published in November 2021 as part of the Everyday Kindness anthology compiled by LJ Ross in support of the charity Shelter. All of us were still reeling from Covid and lockdown and the idea was to put a little good out into the world.

The result was an amazing anthology with stories from a wide range of incredible authors. I do urge you to check it out and support the good work of Shelter here:

Regular newsletter subscribers also know that I usually record an MP3 audio version of the story for them to download. Well, in this instance someone beat me to it. And that someone is only Dame Julie Bleedin’ Bloody Walters* herself! It’s part of the same anthology over on Audible and she gives a beautiful and heartfelt reading.

I was blown away when I heard that she chose to read my story, especially as I have a wee bit of history with Julie that you can read about here.

Laura Long Arms is based a little on the legend of Jenny Greenteeth and other such nymphs who lurk at the bottoms of ponds and wells and lure people (especially children) to their doom. I grew up in a time when children were bombarded with public information films warning us about the dangers of deep and still waters, so her legend has always resonated with me, and there’s no reason why she can’t return in another tale from Woodville. 

I really hope you enjoy this story where Faye learns that a little kindness can go a long way…

*To give her full honorific.

“Two Chickens for Laura Longarms” will be read by Julie Walters!

In a bit of news that left me genuinely gobsmacked, I learned that the story I wrote for LJ Ross’s wonderful anthology Everyday Kindness will be read on the audiobook version by none other than Julie Walters! Or to give Julie her full honorific title: Dame Julie Blimmin’ Walters!

Her Most Royal Dameness, Julie of Walters.

I have a wee bit of history with Julie. I worked at Orion when we published her autobiography and novel (both of which are terrific) and I ran a quiz at the Orion Sales Conference when she was there in 2004 (I think), along with the likes of Michael Palin. All I had to do was run a fun quiz in front of my childhood heroes. Simple. Only… it went on a bit too long. This was in the ballroom of the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne. Hundreds of authors and Orion staff, all fed and restless and ready to rush to the bar and get drunk (as was the tradition at sales conferences)… and we were into the second hour of the quiz and there were still a couple of rounds to go. I lifted a card to read the next question, took a breath. “How long…” I began, and a familiar voice came from the darkness, “Not as long as this bloody quiz!” Yup. Julie Walters heckled me, and got the biggest laugh of the whole conference and I still rank it as one of my best moments on stage. So to hear that she is reading my story for the audiobook feels strangely serendipitous.

Two Chickens for Laura Longarms is a Woodville story about kindness and sacrifice and has a fun monster. The Everyday Kindness anthology features over 50 amazing stories, and the audiobook also features the likes of Richard Armitage, Katie Leung, Celia Imrie and many more! You can pre-order it from Audible here.