My bits of writing include flash fiction and short stories. Some of these have won prizes.

dragon gift cover

A few of my bits of writing have been recorded and I’ve posted these to my Look and Listen page.
For less polished tales, take a look at my Writing Prompts blog, where I post reasonably regularly. Join in via Facebook.

A voice Rosie trusts

One of the pieces of flash fiction in Dragon Gift, I uploaded it here as a reminder about the impact of fireworks on animals, knowing that those who read it, understand.

fox in forest at night

Rosie gasps for air which is too slow to fill her lungs. Her tongue lolls, catching at mist.
She lifts a sodden paw, sets it down, lifts another – and slumps to the decaying mulch.
Terror – at the bangs, at the fizzing of the sparking lights – has given way to worry. It gnaws at her stomach.
Where, where, where?

Read the rest here.

A river’s call

A short story based on the theme of Journeys and very relevant to my part of the world, where the River Wye is in serious trouble.

A visceral urgency goads her through the swells, a magnetic draw luring her to the place of her conception. This voyage was fated the day she abandoned her natal river to flourish in the ocean’s vastness.

Read the rest of the story here.

The texture of pastry, the crunch of a homemade biscuit …

This short piece was longlisted in the Winter 2022 Reflex Fiction competition and appeared on their website. It was later voted into 4th place by kind supporters – thank you. Here it is to save you another click.

Sweat from the plastic seat soaks her thin dress. She wants to stand, air her backside, feel pressure through her legs, her feet.
‘Won’t be long,’ they say.
She was dressed and ready by early morning. Breakfasted too, if that was breakfast. An unblended morsel regurgitated in her throat. Swallowing it down was a triumph, of sorts.
Through the glass, the leaves on the beech had hung motionless, still sleeping. Snippets of birdsong drifted in with each opening slide of the door.
Now a blowsy wind harries the beech, tugging the dying leaves, whirling them in a boisterous game before dropping them to the pavement.

old lady's hands in her lap

She waits, closes her eyes. She picks over the best of it.
Spring’s primping bluebells partying their brief time in the sun before a nascent leaf canopy banishes them for another year. The lush smell of strawberries, searching out plump fruit with the grandchildren: three for the basket, one for me, one for you. Laughing.

She smiles, inwardly. Conjures the feel of lifting the corners of her lips.
How did she ever take that for granted?
Harvesting autumn’s banquet to bubble into ruby jellies. On her knees – she senses the motion in numbed legs – hacking at frozen ground for parsnips for Christmas dinner. Tossing logs onto a fire from a basket carried indoors in her own working arms.
The texture of pastry, the crunch of a homemade biscuit.

A darker memory elbows its rude way through the moments of content.
A deer on a forest path, hoof caught in wire, eyes crazed with pain and panic. Exhausted by futile struggles, it barely moved as she looked on from a respectful distance, speaking into her phone.
‘Won’t be long,’ she whispered to the deer.
One moment leaping. The next, whiplashed into immobility.
The deer. And her.
Did the deer hide in memory too: of stippled light, a suckling fawn? Or simply crave release? Which came, with the ranger’s bullet.
‘Mum?’ Her son is here, frowningly apologetic.
A blinked response is the best she can do. She aches to do more.
She aches to beg a ranger’s bullet for herself.

When last we walked in the woods

A piece of micro-fiction on the theme ‘Shrink’. It didn’t win any prizes, but is a tribute to my collie Sam.

The box goes in the rain-stained rucksack along with the dented water bottle–just one bottle today–and we make our ambling way into the forest, walking stick in hand.

It’s good to have you here again, a coming home. We wade through bracken, pause by an oak where once you waited for a cheating squirrel to descend. Sun filters through new leaves. A bird sings its blessing.

I pull out the box, unseal the plastic bag, shake out the contents.

Dry-eyed, heart full. Our tramped miles have shrunk to this, a circle of ashes around the oak’s bole.

Bridges are what you make of them

This story was shortlisted in the winter 2020 Retreat West flash competition.

image of a bridge

A faint slap of water rises from the clogged canal through the barely bobbing mass. Ahmed balances a foot on a bottle, splays his toes over the famous red letters for better grip. The other foot rests on a rusted drum. He see-saws, grinning, happy with his skill. He skips to a mud-caked carton, moving quickly, arms spread, keeping tight hold of the bowl clutched in his hand. A final stride and he is over.

Read the full story here (a 2-3 minute read).

Angels and clock towers

The story appeared first in my March 2022 newsletter (see above). Sign up and get ten more stories for free!

Something light and local. When a blank postcard falls through Edna’s letterbox she’s at first only vaguely curious.

The postcard fell through the letterbox onto the hall carpet. It was a Friday. Edna remembered that later because she was about to open the door to leave for her Pilates class when the rattle of the letterbox made her jump.

Read the full story here (a 2-3 minute read).
Image courtesy of Sungreen website

If you scream long enough into darkness

Winner of the Retreat West Echo-themed flash competition in early 2022, listen to the narration to get the absolute best from this story! Go to my Look and Listen page.

Push, breathe, push

A Twitter #7dayTale exercise to the theme of Making Music, with word prompts rhythm, resonate, resound.

My legs shake as I stand in the crowd. Watching. Bile fills my throat. No, no, no.

Read the rest here.

Edie’s Trees

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.

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

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.

Train Window

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.

Love by the book

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.

Sabrina’s Rising

Recorded by Jacqueline Belle – listen here. The full story can be read in Dragon Gift and in Who can believe in witches?

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. For a truly magical experience, listen to Canadian poet Jacqueline Belle read it on my Look and Listen page.

The Moon’s Silver Path

Recorded by Jacqueline Bellego here. The story can be read in Dragon Gift.

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.

Dragon Gift

Recorded by Jacqueline Belle. Listen here. The title story for, you guessed it, Dragon Gift.

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.


One of two bits of writing included 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.

Winter feast

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

She didn’t know what to do

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

Five days, five nights

Published in Who can believe in witches?

In 2020 I helped to organise a children’s History of the Forest of Dean book written by best selling children’s author Andy Seed. We spent early in that year (when such things were possible still ) 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.

2 thoughts on “Bits of writing”

  1. I love enticing illustrations on this page. This is a neat little collection of writing.

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