Josephine Lay - Publications - Novels & Short Stories

Saffron Tones


By Josephine Lay

Josephine Lay’s short stories focus on the human condition. This collection is all about people, their relationships and how they cope with loneliness and loss. Some of her stories are light and amusing, some darker and sadder, and some are frankly strange. They were written over a period of ten years, yet all have a thread that strings them together; a slim strand of colour… The many tones of Saffron.

The Short Story has, in the past, been less fashionable than the Novel, but it is gaining popularity in this frenetic, modern world, where people have less and less time to read. As Silas Marne says, ‘The world has accelerated; people, no longer have the time to read pages and pages of literary eloquence.

Book Cover Design by Jason Conway of Cre8urbrand

The Over 50's Escort Agency

front cover of The Over 50's Escort Agency Book by author Josephine Lay

The man in the mirror; who is he?  Why does he keep appearing to this unnamed woman?  Why is she compelled to begin the story of Stan?

This middle-aged man in an unlikely hero, but when he loses his job he has to dig deep to find his talents.  Two of his women friends suggest that he starts an unusual business; an escort agency for ladies over a certain age.  But there are darker currents that take both the writer and her hero into deeper waters.

A warmly amusing and sensitive portrayal of life, love and sensual experiences, which will enthral the reader to the end.

Josephine is a writer living in Gloucester.  This Novel is set in and around that ancient City.

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Hardback (Publishing)

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Josephine Lay – Biography


Playing with words and living with fantasy are my favourite pastimes.

I have always lived with fantasy as I’ve read fiction throughout my life but around twenty years ago, I started writing; I began playing with words and I was hooked.  For me, writing is an escape from mundane reality, a refuge from emotional turmoil and, at times, even a therapy.   Writing is one of the few ways in which we can become immortal.  Your voice and mind are captured in these inky symbols we call words.  How wonderful is that?

I began writing novels and short stories but more recently I’ve focused on writing poetry.  This latter passion began after two separate accidents in 2018, which left me with two concussions and two periods of post-concussion syndrome, one in February and another in July.  In many ways this was a serious set-back but it was also a seismic alteration in my creativity.  I had managed to finish my second novel in May 2018 but after the July trauma, I found myself unable to concentrate for long periods and found that poetry had become the best outlet of self-expression. 

I joined the Gloucestershire Poetry Society and began performing some of my poems.  I listened to performance poets, revelling in their expertise and the freedom of their medium.  I began to write in a performance led style and found that standing behind a microphone was liberating - a heady excitement, which has driven me on to perform at open mic nights in Gloucester, Swindon, Stroud and even Stoke on Trent.  I now co-host ‘Squawkers’, a poetry and open-mic night, in Cheltenham, at The Sober Parrot.

My first published adult novel is entitled ‘The Over 50’s Escort Agency, I also have a slim book of poems called ‘Inside Reality’ and a selection of short stories entitled, ‘Saffron Tones’.  At present I’m editing my second adult novel ‘Refuge’ as well as compiling another poetry book.

The first piece of creative writing I ever did, was a ‘still life’, a description of the room in which I was sitting, on a winter’s day, with the light slowly dying in the garden outside… very atmospheric.  I had no idea then, that within a few years, this was to become an abiding pursuit. 

When I first moved to Gloucestershire in the ‘90’s I joined a Creative Writing class run through Stroud College.  A few years later I sent a portfolio of writing to Bath Spa University and was accepted on a BA Hons Degree in English and Creative Studies.  So, at the age of 53 I found myself at University, surrounded by young people, studying a subject I loved and feeling so privileged.

For the last four years or so I have been running Creative Writing classes myself and find that helping others to play with words is a stimulating activity.  I am especially interested in writers who have some challenges to overcome when it comes to writing.  They may be dyslexic or find grammar hard to follow but these disadvantages can be overcome and what is truly important is their imagination. 

A few years ago, I joined an Art Class and found to my surprise that I could learn to draw despite finding perspective a challenge.  You will find examples of my artwork elsewhere on this website. And even more recently I have become interested in philosophy, having joined a philosophical discussion group.  I am tempted to write a book on my personal philosophy and have begun writing a few short essays on different philosophical themes.

Lastly, I would like to share the fact that I write a journal.  I have done so for several years (since 2004) and I would urge people to try this.  Not only does it record personal and family details but it often chronicles current affairs and their impact on you.

Josephine Lay

Josephine's Art Gallery