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:

The Big ‘D’ – Deceit and Dishonesty

It occurred to me recently that when we create fiction, we are at great pains to weave the most elaborate of lies, whether the fabrication exists transiently in the embodiment of a short story, or as a prolonged and complex experience as in a novel.

This notion struck me as I was constructing a story based around a very strong childhood memory. The setting was real, the feelings which were conveyed in the story were a true reflection of how I recalled them and, to a great extent, the characters had actually existed. These were the elements of truth. Many of the events had happened, too, but at some point, I deviously veered away from reality and the account became not only dishonest, but worse, convincing. It had seamlessly morphed into a lie-slash-story, rather than a straggle-ended memory. But I felt deceitful. It was credible.

The basic untruth – a nugget of an idea – that is manufactured by us, is subsequently developed into a multi-faceted falsehood as the story unfolds, or, to look at it another way, lies beget lies beget lies; we consciously pepper and layer the original falsehood with convincing details of setting, and events so realistic, and character traits so believable, that the reader is lured in. Duped. Taken for the proverbial ride. To excel in the craft of deception is what we strive to do.

Congratulations! You’ve tricked ’em again!

The effect of the lie upon the reader can transcend far beyond the end of a book if a deep enough impression is made upon them. That our lies can elicit emotions makes me a little uneasy. I have always regarded myself as the pinnacle of honesty. That we have the power to trick through words, however, makes our honesty questionable, perhaps. Yet, it’s fine to raise the spirits and induce laughter; jokes are lies, after all.

But what if the story is sad?

We are manipulating the emotions and expectations of our readers… because we can. Yes, ostensibly they know that the words we give them are conveying a fictitious world, complete with inhabitants, but, nevertheless, regardless of this acknowledgement, their response can be intense. When characters in whom they have invested get hurt, or die, readers can experience a degree of trauma. I have cried at books – The Book Thief, Me Before You, The Time Traveller’s Wife. Having unwittingly become immersed in the lie, I fail to realise that I am crying for people who have never existed.

In all honesty, morality doesn’t come into it. This has just been an example of how viewpoints can become askew if you think about things too much. By dint of their function as readers of fiction, there is a tacit agreement that they are willing to be duped and led headlong into a lie, the bigger the better.

But it does beg the question of whether in a court of law we would get away with it.

I think I could.

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*