My bits of writing include flash fiction and short stories. Some of these have won prizes. Often the stories appear first in my newsletter, so if you want to be part of the club, sign up below!
A few of my bits of writing have been recorded and I’ve posted these to my Look and Listen page.
In mid July 2021, I released a collection of ten stories and flash fiction with fairytale/legend themes, some longer than others, some more serious than others. Entitled Dragon Gift, the three stories featured in Jacqueline Belle’s StoryTime for Grownups are among the ten.
Since release, the little book has garnered some lovely reviews.
Go here to purchase.
The clarity of sun on water
Long listed in Flash500 annual short story competition 2020/21.
A trip to the beach and a soldier’s reckless behaviour, clarifies a few things for nurse Elsie.
Jack has cadged the loan of a jeep. Elsie is crushed in the back, thigh to thigh with Ted. The ruts in the road are hard as concrete and deep as trenches, and the growling jeep jerks like a Fifth of November jumping jack.
The full story was featured in September’s newsletter and exclusive to subscribers. Don’t miss others – sign up above or click here to read past newsletters.
Push, breathe, push
First seen by newsletter subscribers in July 2021
Edie can’t hear the television. She tuts, lifts the cat off her lap so she can leave the couch, and squints down from her third floor window at the front of the block of flats.
Council workmen in yellow hazard jackets and hard hats are jackhammering holes in the footpath. Chunks of concrete skip about their armoured legs. Read the rest here.
From a creative writing workshop prompt, which was: What happened after Alice left the tea party?
Trigger warning: UK culturally specific!
‘She didn’t eat much.’ The Mad Hatter waved his arm over the sandwich mountains, the biscuit hills and the cake islands filling the table. Read the full story here.
Originally a workshop prompt based on this image, then used in Twitter’s #7DayTale where it was well received.
His fingers splay against the glass. The scene beyond is a moving picture of trees and grass.
Read the rest here.
Written for a competition but then re-written for my February newsletter, to celebrate Valentines Day – and the romance of my novel Keepers.
A sleeting February morning isn’t optimal to find love. Especially here on this grey, wind-blown high street. Condensation-filled cafe windows and heads-bent shoppers scuttling like crabs to their holes, are hardly the birds singing in blossom-filled trees and rainbow skies Jenny might wish for. Read the full story here.
Recorded by Jacqueline Belle
This woodcut of the Great Flood of 1607 has always touched me, with the floating cradle. It inspired this story, written for the monthly Secret Attic competition, where it won first prize. With their permission, it was also included in the 2020 Resilience anthology produced by Dean Writers Circle, the proceeds of which went to Forest Read Easy Deal (FRED), a local charity supporting adults with literacy problems.
It was also selected among the top ten entries for Stroud Short Stories, read by me at their online event on 9 May. But for a truly magical experience, listen to Canadian poet Jacqueline Belle read it on my Look and Listen page.
Agnes has a headache. The thick air presses her temples, her heavy-lidded eyes squint despite the lack of sun. She glances up, for the hundredth time that morning. Black clouds broil above the fields, frothing like a mad dog’s spit, resisting the wet wind tossing them across a purple sky to merge with the distant mountains. Read the full story here.
Recorded by Jacqueline Belle
Runner up in Graffiti Magazine’s 2020 prose competition and published in their Issue 25 in October 2020. To listen to Canadian poet Jacqueline Belle read it as part of Story Time for Grownups, go to my Look and Listen page.
It’s apt that Lille is here, where the waves play tag with their deaths on the sand.
It was on this beach that she first saw the young fisherman. His sodden body rose and fell with waves lethargic from the storm and Lille’s soul ached at his wasted beauty. Read the full story here.
Recorded by Jacqueline Belle
Prepared for an event in Ross in 2020 which, well, hasn’t happened yet. However, most excitingly, you can hear it read by poet Jacqueline Belle as part of the Story Time for Grownups series on my Look and Listen page. Her voice adds so much to the drama of the piece.
In the icy winter night, the dragon circles high above the sleeping village. Her great leather wings beat the air. Her shiny-scaled body twists, the ridged tail curling and lifting to sweep the stars. Read the full story here.
One of two bits of writing done for inclusion in the Resilience anthology published in 2020 by Dean Writers Circle.
‘The ship kept thic down.’ My new neighbour grinned at his own wit, using dialect to confuse me. ‘Why auld Buck never had fence out front. The ship mowed for him.’
Read the full story here.
A workshop piece based on this photo by Penny Kerr as the prompt
Giants stalk the land. They come in winter, garbed with long coats, hands on shoulders, waiting for prey … Read the full story here
A bit of nonsense for Dean Writers Circle meeting where the theme was fairytales. Nursery rhymes count, right? A friend counted references to 22 in here.
Might as well be living in a shoe box. Actually, just the shoe.
All these kids.
How had it happened?
You had ’em, Sis, her step-sisters pointed out. (They were too ugly to have their own.)
Mum always said she was the black sheep of the family. Baa, baa to that….Read the full story here
Photo credit: Internet Archive Book Images on Visual hunt / No known copyright restrictions
I’m helping to organise a children’s History of the Forest of Dean book which will be written by best selling children’s author Andy Seed. We spent early in 2020 (when such things were possible still that year) visiting Hopewell Colliery to talk to Freeminer Rich Daniels about life as a freeminer over the 800 years the rights given by King Edward have been exercised. We also visited Clearwell Caves where ochre and iron ore have been mined for thousands of years. In between we wandered up an old dram road to a monument to a 1904 mining disaster, which inspired me to post this piece of flash. I wrote it a while ago for a water-themed comp I didn’t in the end enter.
How high did the water rise? Did it lap at the toes of those who had found life-saving height on handy rocky shelves? Did it embrace waists, the cold fingers of a no-longer-desired lover tugging at drenched trousers? Or did it soak through heavy flannelled shirts to turn arms and shoulders into numbed sponges? Read the full story here