Another free collection!

Minor Discord 

From MAY  25 – 29 this collection of ten-minute short stories and flash fiction will be free to download as a Kindle edition.  Many of the stories have had success in writing competitions, and,  with around forty entries, it should keep you entertained for some time…

U.S. link

Dare to visit the dark places at the edges of the map, places where you will feel unsettled, and from where characters will follow you, whether you want them to, or not. This collection of stories and flash fiction will take you into the shadows. Don’t get left behind…



‘In this collection of flash fiction and microfiction, Laycock provides a wide variety that will satisfy anyone who loves short stories. Most of the stories are dark, bizarre, and deliciously creepy; a few are lighter but just as captivating.’

‘This book perfectly illustrates my contention that the short story is an art form, and a much-underappreciated one at that.’

‘Laycock’s use of vivid imagery makes the stories an immersive read, and she manages to say a lot with very few words–a truly remarkable accomplishment.’

‘…delighted to have purchased this collection of short stories and flash fiction.’

‘This book was a page turner for me, and kept me reading for longer than intended into the dark hours’

‘… quirky, eerie tales that collude with the darker side of story telling.’

‘…a gamut of emotion…’
‘I have purposefully declined from using the word…twisted, though on the, QT, I think it should be in there somewhere.’

‘This didn’t disappoint!’
‘…all well written & so easy to get into.’

‘The characters and scenery are well presented…allowing the characters to take you on their amazing journey…’

‘My favorites were: The Visitors, a practical joke gone awry; Soul Control, a humorous take on population control in heaven and hell; and Drop-Dead Gorgeous, a twisted tale of an employee at a morgue with a vivid imagination.’
‘…wonderful twists and turns as in Expectations and Cold Comfort. And then the darker tales, The Last Place and Two’s Company, just the thought of that doll, ugh  and then the brilliant tale, loved this, Taking Flight. These are a few that stuck in my mind.’

‘Birds…death as a stalker in his personalised black car, really good story.
Cold Comfort…A spooky love story, enjoyed this & could have read a full book about this.
Soul Control…Lucifer & Gabriel, straight away this was a story for me, it was funny & bizarre right up my street, again, BOOK!
A Stitch in Time…an unfinished sampler causes a couple of problems, intriguing story.
Drop Dead Gorgeous…A really creepy story, skin crawling & freaky!’

‘…reading the many stories that make up Minor Discord was a challenge, and it is one that I have enjoyed.’

‘Helen Laycock’s creative talent shines through…; her skills and creativity are to be admired.’

‘…there were times when… I had to pause and re-read simply for the enjoyment of the imagery they conjured (e.g. White Light).’

‘I cannot say which was my favourite – there were too many!’


FREE short story collection – Peace and Disquiet

A collection of twelve slightly disturbing tales which encompass mortality, mentality, brutality… and reality.

From 23rd – 27th March


FREE collection of short stories for adult readers –

Peace and Disquiet


A collection of twelve slightly disturbing tales which encompass mortality, mentality, brutality… and reality.

UK link:

US link:


‘the work of an accomplished writer, one with true knowledge of the craft’

‘an outstanding collection of short stories’

‘I was left open mouthed at the sinister realism and very brave and powerful writing’

‘two of the very best stories of this kind I have ever read’

‘I almost felt as if the words themselves were drawing me in and binding me to each and every syllable’

‘Helen Laycock writes with a deep understanding of her characters’

‘intriguing and is crafted with figurative, poetic language which flows beautifully’

‘each one is a masterpiece that could only have been created by the master story teller that she undoubtedly is’

‘Great short stories that send you through a host of emotions’

‘…brought tears to my eyes’

‘Each story is unique and well crafted’

‘compelling reading’

‘a great collection of short stories that are well written and enjoyable’

‘shades of Roald Dahl’

‘The author has a wonderful clear-as-a-bell, way of writing with good finality to each story.’

‘Well worth the price’

‘I found it very difficult to choose a favourite story amongst this collection.’

‘I was held captive until the end’

‘…stick in my mind long after reading them’

‘she can certainly send shivers up the spine!’

‘this author writes in such a way that you can’t help but turn the page’


This book is also available as a paperback edition £4.50 / $7.00

More about the book:,150868.25.html

If you enjoy the collection, please would you consider leaving a review on Amazon, or any other reading site. It would be very much appreciated.

Thank you!

FREE short story collection

*** Roll up! Roll up! ***

~FREE short story collection~

Take a pinch of humour, a touch of light-heartedness and a drop of whimsy and you have the perfect recipe to be savoured any time, anywhere.
Light Bites – a collection of satisfying and uplifting tales.

Just click on the Amazon links to get your Kindle edition FREE (worldwide) until the end of the month.

Light Bites

US link:

Collecting thoughts…

There’s never really been a pigeon-hole large enough to accommodate me and all my writing baggage. A pigeon loft might be better suited.

*sinks into fuzzy daydream*

~I could compartmentalise it and have a corner for children’s books, another for children’s poetry, one for short stories for adults, one for flash, one for… oh, I seem to have run out of corners. ‘Grown up’ poetry can sit in the middle~

*slaps own cheeks and returns to reality*

But even then I’d need sub-categories. Where does it stop?

So, that bit of introductory waffle brings me back to my point: putting together a short story collection; how should it be done?

Do readers like:

  • a true mix of stories?
  • a theme?
  • to be scared witless all the way through?
  • to laugh until they choke to death?

Many writers stick to one genre, so putting together a collection is easy. I don’t dip my toes into a huge range, but my short stories seem to roughly divide into light-hearted, humorous tales to tingle your taste buds (see Light Bites ) or darker stories where characters – living or dead – live on the periphery of society and their issues are not as simple as deciding whether or not to have another slice of chocolate cake (see Peace and Disquiet ).

I don’t seem to visit anything between – romance, for instance.

It’s a straightforward choice. As I write, I file under ‘Adult’ / ‘Short Stories’ / ‘Serious’ or ‘Humorous’.

It’s very tempting to grab a handful from each category and pop them into a short story collection, but I think readers need to ‘get into the zone’ when they sit down with a collection. They need to be prepared to an extent for what they are about to encounter. Having to adjust from funny to heart-wrenching in a matter of minutes can take its toll on the emotions.

And so it is that I have recently channelled all my energy into my latest collection, ‘Minor Discord’, which takes the reader to a variety of dark places through a range of characters and settings and does, incidentally, contain a soupcon of black humour. It’s quite a large collection with about forty entries, and I have included, too, pieces of flash fiction which have been written in the same vein. Some of these have been written in response to competition requirements, details of which follow those stories which were entered.

Here’s the blurb:

Dare to visit the dark places at the edges of the map, places where you will feel unsettled and from where characters will follow you, whether you want them to, or not.

This collection of stories and flash fiction will take you into the shadows.

 Don’t get left behind…

As yet, this collection is unseen by human eyes (apart from those of my proofreaders). Next, I shall turn my attention to completing another contrasting collection. I have quite a few completed already – and a title in mind.

If you ‘enjoy’ – is that the right word?- Minor Discord, I would be delighted to read a review. If you don’t, keep it to yourself, eh?

A taste of paradise

I’ve never won a raffle, a bingo prize – that smarmy fox in the purple suit puts me right off – or the lottery. Heck, if I had, I would be sitting under a palm tree right now, supping coconut milk. I did once win a bottle of still water on a tombola. Happy days…

I have been quite lucky, though, in writing competitions – though I think it’s fair to say that I’ve notched up more shortlistings than wins. Once or twice I have had a little windfall… the last being very little at £10, but one of the perks of winning is that sometimes a writer’s work gets published elsewhere. Like buses, things can be very quiet for a long time, then wham, bang, slam, it all happens at once.

I already have some work published in the One Word Anthology, a collection of flash fiction and poetry written by my writing buddies in my online writing group, Writers’ Talkback.

As one of the runners up in the Words with Jam Bigger Short Story Competition, my entry is included in Volume II of An Earthless Melting Pot (Quinn Pub.), newly-available. It’s a great cover! I should get a free copy soon. Yay!

This week, I got word that another anthology was out – The Aspiring Writers 2013 Winners Anthology. This one has four short stories of mine and one poem, all written to the brief given by Ronnie, the competition organiser. Only placed entries got published. This one, I’ll have to buy myself.:(

There is one more anthology in the pipeline, by Thynks Publications. This will be a book of poetry. I’m not yet sure of the title.

I shall keep going with my competition entries. It’s a great way to hone writing skill and I’d thoroughly recommend it to all writers as a useful exercise. As they say, you’ve got to be in it to win it! One day I shall be supping that coconut milk. Or maybe I should just settle for a Bounty.

Picking scabs

You know those people who just can’t leave things alone—constantly straightening the curtain, arranging the crudités with as much symmetry as four different vegetables will allow and repeatedly re-positioning the set of three china balls so that not only are they equidistant, but also in a line that points due south-east…

You don’t? Oh. It’s just me then.

Well, I do strive for perfection in the hope that one day I will be able to boot the Angel Gabriel out of his golden chair and wear his robes and wings with more panache than he ever dreamed possible. Maybe it’s a little on the OCD scale, but I like it that way.

Yes, I am getting to the point.

So, my point is… having written all my books and seeing them in all their glory on Amazon, you would think—would you not—that I could safely say Job Done. Oh no, not I (as Gloria Gaynor once sang).  Bit by bit, I am tearing them apart and re-publishing them.

A new line would be better there, I think.

I’ve found a better font!

I’ve got a better cover idea!

So, up to now, I have four books which are as perfect as I can achieve. It has not been without a struggle as I have previously mentioned. Having had an article published in the local press about my short stories collection, Peace and Disquiet,


I promptly poked my big nose into the publishing process for tweaking and new-cover-idea purposes, only to find the whole production system disrupted and my book no longer available. I’ve managed to put it right and here is the final…FINAL book, never to be fiddled with again:

And here are the finished books of Salt and The Secret of Pooks Wood (whose old cover wasn’t exciting enough) for children… uh, never to be fiddled with again.

*spits on hand, twirls three times and sings the rest of I Will Survive*