Second poetry collection arrived in the post!

So my newly published (January 2017!) poetry collection, Chemotherapy for the Soul, arrived in the post today from Canadian Publisher, Fowlpox Press. What a lovely surprise waiting for me when I got home from my day job!


I love the glossy black cover; it fits with the tone of the collection, which deals with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. The full colour illustrations fit the theme too – check out ‘Chemotherapeutic waste’ picture below:


I actually wrote these poems in 2012, and submitted them to publishers in 2013. After holding onto them for 3 years, Fowlpox gave me an acceptance in September 2016. Just goes to show that even in the slow world of publishing, patience sometimes pays off!

Moving House…another brief hiatus from writing!

Boys a dear! If ever there was a way for life to get in the way of writing plans, moving house would have to be top of the list. This past week, Joseph Robert and I have been heaving heavy loads, scrubbing, reporting repairs and unpacking. This has inevitability put both of our writing commitments on the back burner – for at least a week or so.

A new writers' pad in the making.

A new writers’ pad in the making.


Among many things, I can’t wait to get our library out of storage, where our beloved books have been residing in cardboard boxes for the past half a year while my hubby and I relocated from London and got ourselves organised in Belfast. Hopefully, now that we’re settled, we’ll be getting back into open mic poetry events, reading through our backlog of submissions sent for Bindweed Magazine Issue 5 and promoting our own work – keep reading for more updates on my latest poetry collection, Chemotherapy for the Soul coming soon!

Second poetry chapbook published! Chemotherapy for the Soul available from Fowlpox Press 


I am delighted to announce the publication of my second poetry collection, Chemotherapy for the Soul, now available from Canadian publisher, Fowlpox Press. What a wonderful way to start 2017!

This collection is different from my first chapbook, A Model Archaeologist, which was often humorous in tone. Chemotherapy for the Soul deals with darker themes including mental illness, dysfunctional family relationships and depression.

Thanks to my publisher, Virgil Kay, for this fantastic opportunity to be published again and to my lovely husband, Joseph Robert, for proofing the poems before they went to print.

You can get yourself a copy as follows:

As a free PDF flipbook

paperback or hardback book from Peecho (€3.90 soft cover/ €10.70 hard cover).

Thanks, dear readers!

Goodbye 2016, Happy New 2017

If ever there was cause to celebrate the end of a – personally and globally – bad year, tonight would be the night! Now is a time for looking forward, but as with anything, if you don’t recognise bad with good there is no moving on. So here goes:


❌ My day job in London didn’t work out. I worked in an environment that I thought would have been supportive to writing, but wasn’t. I have since learned to keep my day job and writing career separate. Promoting my work is a job now reserved only for literary events away from the 9 to 5.

✔ Joseph Robert and I moved to a smaller, quieter place (Belfast) away from big city life in London, where we can focus on writing and our work/life balance. We have been enjoying a slower way of life, long walks in the countryside for creative stimulation and great, locally produced Northern Irish food. You can’t beat that.

✔ The lower cost of living in Northern Ireland means money goes much further. In the new year, we will be moving to a proper writer’s pad with loads of room to accommodate our huge collection of treasured books. However- Continue reading

Leah as the Artist’s Muse – new fiction in Scarlet Leaf Review 

This month, I have a new short story published in Scarlet Leaf Review. This one is around 3659 words. You can read it alongside the other stories and poetry in the December 2016 issue published today.

Author photo from Scarlet Leaf Review

Author photo from Scarlet Leaf Review


The question that people most often ask, when they find out I am a writer, is where I get the inspiration for my work. As any author will tell you, fiction has a basis in fact. I take ideas from everyday situations or slice-of-life stories that I hear from other people. This one is based more on the former. Is the protagonist, George, simply being sweet, or is he a sinister stalker?

Hope you enjoy it!

Words Ireland writers’ event Belfast

Words Ireland event Belfast.jpegJoseph Robert and I were at the Words Ireland writers’ event at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast this afternoon to hear Moyra DonaldsonSheena Wilkinson and Ian Sansom giving advice on their experience as professional authors. There was a turnout of at least 50-60 writers attending at various stages of their careers; a show of hands revealed that the majority (myself included) had published a book with an ISBN, many had been published in magazines with an ISSN (both Joseph Robert and I included), some had tutored creative writing in workshops (myself included), a few had received grants or funding for their work and only 3 were completely non-published and attending for advice on a starting point to their careers.

Since my writer-poet hubby and I have only been in Northern Ireland for 4 months, it was good for us to get involved and see what resources, funding and support is available to writers, particular for authors from a non academic background. The advice was both useful and insightful: of the professional authors on the panel, 2 explained that only 10% of their income comes from writing books. The rest comes from doing events in schools, at libraries, literary festivals and tutoring creative writing courses. One of the 2 was a completely self-taught poet. The other had a Masters in Creative Writing, but had actually written and edited her first book before doing the course. In addition, advice on professional development as a writer was given, including joining the Society of Authors and financial advice, such as getting an accountant.

Funding is not something I had thought about pursuing until the idea was discussed today; as my writing ranges from the absurd to the subversive and very rarely flirts with the mainstream, I’m not convinced it may be the best route for me. However, since my goal as a writer is to bring my work to an ever growing audience, this may be an avenue that I decide to pursue at a later date. For now, I have a lot of food for thought to digest.

Food for thought: literary bites to digest

Food for thought: literary bites to digest

The White Kaleidoscope – Fiction in Carillon Magazine

The White Kaleidoscope 

Leilanie Stewart © 2016


I was fifteen years old when I was first struck with the desire to eat church candles. The notion swept over me as I slaved away at the till in the department store where I worked every Saturday for a paltry £1.50 an hour.

When I say church candles, I’m talking about a very specific breed. The big, thick, creamy, delicious kind that look like squat marzipan tree trunks. I’m not pregnant, nor deranged (at least the last time I psychoanalysed myself). I’ve always craved unusual objects. In fact, now that I think of it, my adventuresome palate has landed me in trouble once or twice in the past. Once, being when I masticated the yummy looking psychedelic balls of wool in the dusty classroom cupboard in my nursery school. Twice, being when I chewed my mum’s favourite pair of red leather stilettos. In hindsight, it’s a bit strange that my pleasant, straight-laced obey-all-the-rules mother had such incriminating shoes hidden in a brown paper bag in the cupboard in the first place.

But we’re straying from the issue. And I do have a point, believe me. Continue reading

Happy International Men’s Day 2016!

Today is International Men’s Day. To celebrate, I’m sharing with you 3 poems by the wonderful man in my life: my poet-writer-editor-hubby Joseph Robert. These poems were previously published in 13 Myna Birds Magazine in July this year.



You Know I Never Like To . . .

Joseph Robert © 2016


But complaining about complaining is complaining

And I hate to complain but this constant complaining

Really drains my energy and frustrates me

When you complain about everyone’s complaints against you

So, cut to the chase and other stopgap sayings

Do it already, blame a third party

For what we’re singly and collectively liable for

And then we can discuss with great dignity

The finer points of the generic interior design

Or landscape or architecture, depending on where we are

It doesn’t really matter too much as long as we can act

Like we can actually stand each other

We can’t complain

Jeweled / Cut & Clarity

Joseph Robert © 2016


Diamond Truths, Ruby Rants, Sapphire Songs, Emerald Fables

Amethyst Ejaculations, Cubic Zirconium Quotations

Gemstone Words, but missing a gold ring of meaning

To perch upon for their display and setting

They’re loose stones, precious or semi-precious, they’re loose

A palm full of star twinkle

Relevant only if we really force it

If we cast our own rings

With our daydreams overtaking our nights

Overhanging our days

A collection of set pieces

For when there’s energy to spare to do more

Than grin and bear it

In silence

Picking at the walls

Of the coalmine’s dark galleries

On The Casting Couch

Joseph Robert © 2016


Wealthy enough to inspire aspiration

But hard-working enough to be broken in enough

To mis-project myself into bed with you

Sure thing, that body’s sexy enough in this light

But you knew

You’re a character I could enjoy watching suffer

Sincerely concocted tribulations

When you meet your avatar

Of pampered, scented skin

And flatteringly cut cloth

Making dramatic facial expressions at us

With words that aren’t yours or mine

Unbelievable, but

I want to fall into those eyes

And die there 

At least two or three times 

In sickness and in health – writing and illness

It’s that time of year again when colds and flus are rife. When the season of norovirus is upon us, in the ever darkening northern hemisphere, what can we do when the spirit is willing…but the flesh is weak?

A still life snapshot of self-pity (photograph by Leilanie Stewart)

A still life snapshot of self-pity (photograph by Leilanie Stewart)


1. Rest for the body is rest for your mind

It’s a bit rich of me sitting here, writing this blog post, when I should be resting my flu-ridden body – and all the while I’m telling you to rest your body to help your writing in the longer term. Nevertheless it’s true: the brain is a physical thing and if it doesn’t rest, it can’t heal. If it can’t heal then the writing suffers. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

2. Turn fevers to your advantage 

On occasion, I have taken ideas or images from fever-induced states and used them in my writing. Check out my short story, Glen Abbott and the Green Man if you don’t believe me! Of course, nightmares and sleep-deprived delirium work pretty well too…

3. Watch movies and read books in bed

After all, there’s no better way to get inspiration than to take a critical look at all those who came before us.

Happy writing… and happy resting!

Related posts: 

Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone

Winter writing blues

Short Story Magazine Publishers

Here’s a list of markets that don’t charge reading fees to read your submissions. They also have a really quick response time, so you don’t have to suffer a frustratingly long wait to hear the fate of your fiction…and ego!

The Sacred Cow

Mithila Review

Streetcake Magazine

Scarlet Leaf Review

Bird’s Thumb

Eunoia Review

Black Denim Literature

Vine Leaves Literary Journal

Crack the Spine Magazine

Front Porch Review

Close to the Bone Magazine
Happy writing, folks! ✒