Welcome

Welcome to my blog. The home page will always display the most recent blog post so please use the tabs to navigate your way around. Keep up to date by visiting the 'News' area. The 'Short Stories' area and the ‘Flash Fiction’ area contain everything produced thus far, and comments would be much appreciated! Be sure to check out the 'Three Words' area that will explain how you can get involved in influencing the written work to come, or for details on contributing your own artwork visit the 'Artists' area! You can read my 'Blog' (in the truer sense), additional content is also available via the 'Other' section and don't be afraid to leave a comment in the 'Guestbook'. Thanks for visiting!



Thursday, 21 September 2017

Quick Update - 21/09/17

Hey!

Another quick thanks for those who voted for me in the recent contest I took part in at Short Fiction Break! The contest appears to be quarterly, so I'll stop asking for your votes going forward. Aside from being annoying, I have a few question marks over the validity of the contest's entry form in the public vote element of the contest. Going forward I'll just post a link to the stories via socials as an opportunity to read them before they go up on my site a few months later, so be sure to follow my Twitter / like my Facebook page for an advanced reading.

The judges are still deliberating over the contest proper, but I'll only post about the results if I make the shortlist. This will be the process for the foreseeable future in regards to this contest. Much like what I've been doing with the Micro Fiction contest, I see it more as a prompt to get more regular content out on this site for you guys to read!

In other news I have a new Micro Fiction piece (yes, the missing piece from the previous batch) appearing on Horrortree.com in their weekly 'Trembling With Fear' segment! It'll be going up on Sunday (24/09/2017) and is called 'Metronome'! I'll post links to it on my socials again, before eventually whipping up a picture for it and giving it the 'Micro Complete' treatment in due time and adding it to the site!

Pretty happy that the recent trio, based on the theme 'Ticking' have won one contest, and earned me an external pub between them!

Until next time, buh-bye! :)

__________


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Saturday, 9 September 2017

I Won the Monthly Micro Fiction Competition!

Hello!

I finally won the monthly Micro Fiction contest I regularly enter this month! I've been near the podium a few times, but this is the first time I've come out on top! It feels like a bit of a weight off my shoulders given the relatively low number of entrants, but progress is progress! As such I'm changing the way I do things a little bit, so I wanted to take a moment to explain how. The eagle-eyed among you may have already noticed I posted two Micros to the site yesterday instead of three...

I originally entered the contest as a writing exercise first and foremost, because it's a hard discipline for a writer like me who tends to waffle on. I've definitely seen improvement in my writing overall since I started entering, so it's been worth it just for that! But then I realised it was also a chance to WIN something! I came close a few times at the beginning of the contest's inception, and suddenly it became a realistic goal. The competition is still very much in its infancy, so while on the outside it doesn't look particularly 'hard' to win, that also added a pressure to prove myself at this level. Finally achieving the win DOES feel like graduating, but there's no real reason to stop with the exercise!

A good side effect of the contest has been having regular fiction to upload for you guys to read, but also the small format has helped me look active across the board whilst I work on my much preferred longer form pieces in the background without fearing I've fallen 'off the grid'.

BUT, I now want to start looking for other opportunities to share my Micro pieces. As I seek alternative places for publication it means that, as most places want a period of exclusivity, I can't lump them together in their triple themed post on here the way I have been doing.

SO, sadly, the triple theme post format has come to an end! I'll instead be dropping the individual pieces on site as they become available, which could vary quite wildly depending on their publication status and external rights! Just be aware of the new format / timescale!

View the contest results page here - http://bit.ly/2vSX2pV

Or view the winning entry 'Letter Bomb' and another piece, 'Conflicted', here - http://bit.ly/2vTeDhn

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P.S - There's still time to vote for my latest contest entry! The deadline is September 12th at midnight Pacific Time.

Voting takes seconds! All you have to do is click on the green button and select my story in the tiny form on this website! - http://shortfictionbreak.com/fall-17/

My entry 'Partners in Crime' is listed about half way down the page, or you can follow the quick link and read it here - http://shortfictionbreak.com/partners-in-crime-2/

Thanks in advance!

Until next time, buh-bye! :)

__________

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Friday, 8 September 2017

Letter Bomb - Conflicted

Flash Fiction / Micro Fiction
Length - 100 words each

Two pieces written for the competition theme 'Ticking'.

* 'Letter Bomb' finished 1st place in the competition! :) It was first published 08/09/2017 on the competition result page at this address - http://bit.ly/2vSX2pV

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Letter Bomb

You arrive home to a package. It's ticking, and it's signed by your crazy ex. Do you open it?

(Read your choice backwards.)

No.

Chance a stood never you, damn. Detonator remote the blow they before see you thing last the is face crazy ex's your. Bushes the in movement there's. Phone your for reach you or, run to try you.

Yes.

Cared they know you time this least at, hey. Detonator remote the blow they before see you thing last the is face crazy ex's your. Bushes the in movement there's. 'You love I' reads clock ornamental engraved an.

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Conflicted

There's a clock on the wall drowning out my heartbeat. In a way that clock is my heartbeat. It holds the same power.

That power is life or death. Without treatment I'll die for sure, but the operation is supposedly very risky. It means no one can truly tell me if I should be scared or excited. I'm conflicted. Meanwhile the clock keeps ticking.

My parents have left, taking their mindless prattle with them. All I have to distract myself now is that clock. To give in and count the seconds.

But I can't. Because I'm unsure of which direction. 

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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Give me your votes!

Hello!

Same dealio as the previous Summer Contest I entered! The limit this time was 1500 words and the theme was dubiously titled 'Let's Fall in love'...

I had to scrap my ideas as this was sequentially unpacked! At first I planned my story to be about the sentence - a love story using the line directly. Then it was revealed that it was not to do with the sentence at all but instead had to be written around the words 'Fall' and 'Love'. Not ideal, as it meant the story I'd planned didn't work! So I had to plan another! And did!

Then it transpired that the word 'Fall' specifically meant the season! (Not very kind given that it's an international contest!) No wiggle room on interpretation allowed either! This caught a lot of us out on two fronts - people in my camp who took the word to mean 'the act of falling down', (So there was another complete story scrapped!) and the secondary impact in that other people set their stories in a different season! It's not just a case of simply changing the setting! Not if you want to win! It has to be a key factor in the story... making a lot of peoples' ideas redundant! (Unfortunately some of the authors in my group clearly didn't get the memo! Great stories, but now ineligible for the contest!)

So I had to come up with something else entirely and didn't have long to do it! In truth, my entry was a little rushed and that probably comes across in the ending. I tend to over write my stories and pare them down naturally but didn't have as much time as I'd like. It means that at the conclusion of the contest I'll post the competition version of the story on here in the future, but I also have plans to develop this one into something larger at a later date!

Unfortunately the entry form played havoc with the formatting! In my version there's a scene change that is indicated by a line break, but the version on the website has converted the entire story to double line spacing and swept away the transition to make it look like the conversation carries on and suddenly we're in another place! Aside from definitely leaving my entry dead in the water in terms of the contest, it means it doesn't read properly for you guys either which I'm annoyed about!

Please take a look in any case, and help me out by voting for me in the 'Readers' Choice Award' and maybe drop me a comment telling me what you think of the piece! We DO have an end date to voting this time around (probably down to those of us that asked for clarification the last time) and it's September 12th at midnight Pacific Time.

Voting takes seconds! All you have to do is click on the green button and select my story in the tiny form on this website! - http://shortfictionbreak.com/fall-17/

My entry 'Partners in Crime' is listed about half way down the page, or you can follow the quick link and read it here - http://shortfictionbreak.com/partners-in-crime-2/

Thanks in advance!

Until next time, buh-bye! :)

__________

* 09/09/2017 - The team at Short Fiction Break have since amended the scene change! Thanks to them for responding and reacting in time for the change to take place before the end of the public vote! :)

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Friday, 18 August 2017

The Midnight Train - Amicable Split - Viper's Nest

Flash Fiction / Micro Fiction
Length - 100 words each

Three pieces written for the competition theme 'Strangers on a Train'.

* 'Amicable Split' featured on The Drabble 's website on 10/10/2017 - http://bit.ly/2wQF2ce

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The Midnight Train

As I boarded, a young couple wearing clothes better suited to the '50s had a frightened look in my direction. The modern train made them look strangers to their surroundings. He wrapped his jacket around her shoulders like I'd let the cold in with me.

Despite the journey our train hadn't actually moved. I got off at the next 'stop' to find myself back at the station where I started. I posed the silent question, and its modern face shimmied to reveal the steam locomotive at its head. They weren't strangers on my train, I was a stranger on theirs.
__________

Amicable Split

Head down I boarded the train and almost bumped into a beautiful, blonde-haired woman. I gaped as long as the train guard would allow, before squeaking an awkward 'hello' I'm certain she heard over her headphones. No response.

Instinctively I felt for my wedding ring, forgetting it's not there anymore. Hers wasn't either. You can scream 'amicable split' until you're blue in the face, but the truth is one of you has to suggest it first.

Lives once so tightly intertwined unravel with a single pull. You feel. Then you heal. Until one day you're just strangers on a train.

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Viper's Nest

Beware the helpful stranger's pleasant face, and listen for the rattle beneath.

On her maiden commute to the big city, Mike offered Jen his seat. Deaf to protest, they exchanged phone numbers. The text she later received was originally intended for Mike's wife.

Nigel charmed her a week later. She thought her luck had changed, but the roll came up double-one. He was squeezing the attentions of another doe-eyed girl on the return journey.

Brad presented his ornate hood, but Jen stood, barking the words a famous man once (almost) said. 'I've had it, with these snakes, on this train!'

__________


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Thursday, 20 July 2017

Thanks for your help!

Hey!

Just a quick one to say thank you to anyone who voted for me in the recent contest I took part in! Unfortunately I didn't win the public vote, or place on the Judges' shortlist, so rest assured I'll be posting the story to the site in a few months with a horrible new cover image at some point in the near future!  

The winner of the Readers' Choice Award was a story (perhaps provocatively) titled 'It.' Well, I say story, it was actually a 1000 word poem. It's a powerful piece, and well worth a read... but I feel it had a tiny unfair advantage in subverting the contest slightly. Yes, I'm bitter, but when you're reading through hundreds of long form stories, a poem cropping up is obviously going to feel like a breath of fresh air. To be fair to the author they've really taken full advantage of the structure of the poem, creating dark and powerful suspense, and making it look visually appealing. I'm just saying, if I submitted a short story to a poetry contest, I doubt many would feel it acceptable that way around. But - it's a public vote and not bound to the same constraints as the main contest.

The overall winner was a wonderful story called 'Subject 34'. It's clever, current, and the concept is great! The 'subject' himself is also really well portrayed. So for a couple of minutes, definitely worthy of your perusal!

The link to the contest results announcement page is here - http://bit.ly/2vnBvBH

Thanks again for your votes! I'm just glad two entries that at least made the short list came from my group!

Until next time, buh-bye! :)

__________

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Friday, 30 June 2017

Summer Writing Contest - I need your help!

Hello!

I've taken part in a themed 1000-word short story contest. The organisers have introduced a 'Readers' Choice Award' in order to make their entrants engage in a bit of cheeky promotion on their behalf whilst the judges make their official decision.

It's clever if not see-through, in that making it an 'open' vote has essentially turned it more into a popularity contest than anything else. There's no sign up required, you just have to fill in a tiny autocomplete box by typing your (friend's) name. You don't even have to read the story.

I understand that it's 'just a bit of fun', but I'd be much happier if there was perhaps an additional award voted for by the other contestants. Similar to the 'Players' player awards' you find in sport.

A quick look at some of the other stories show some have well over a hundred 'shares' already, so I'm lagging behind by, well, over a hundred shares! In truth it might be too late to make up the ground (there's no formal indication of a closing date) but I'll encourage you to show my story a little love anyway!

In fact, it'd probably mean more to me if you'd have a read and drop me a comment at this stage! If I don't win by judges' vote, rest assured it'll end up on here anyway at some point in the future!

Voting takes seconds though so it'd be cool to have your support! All you have to do is click on the green button and select my story in the tiny form on this website! - http://shortfictionbreak.com/summer-17/

My entry 'Professional Courtesy' is listed about half way down the page, or you can follow the quick link and read it here - http://shortfictionbreak.com/professional-courtesy/

A comment or a share, to show you care, guys! (I'll see myself out.)

Until next time, buh-bye! :)

__________

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Friday, 9 June 2017

A Comic's Story - The Comic Book Artist - Punch Line

Flash Fiction / Micro Fiction
Length - 100 words each

Three pieces written for the competition theme 'A Comic Story'.
* 'The Comic Book Artist' finished 3rd place in the competition!

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A Comic's Story

I wake, my hotel room startling in its simplicity. I panic. Where am I? I check the date - it's the fifteenth. 'Oxford' I think, and breathe easy.

Almost three-hundred miles and seven hours later I croak my opening witticisms, birthing worded wings for thirty minutes in a complex, dazzling display. The social butterfly. Everybody's friend. Kind of funny really. I shed them there, and crawl back to my hotel room alone.

I wake, my hotel room startling in its simplicity. I panic. Where am I? I check the date - it's the sixteenth. 'Newcastle' I think, and breathe easy.
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The Comic Book Artist

'Be ready,' The Hero whispers to his freshly inked nemesis, staring up the nostrils of The Artist. 'We're looking more and more like him with every panel. Our time will come.'

The Artist stares down at the outlined empty face of The Bystander, caught up in the collateral damage of the fight. 'Cameo?' he thinks, 'why not? It's good enough for Stan Lee.'

Image mirrored, the pen fights back. He cannot escape 'The Pull'.

He wipes debris from his eyes. Above him, The Hero and The Villain loom before a battle ruined sky. 'Oh the things you've put us through...'

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Punch Line

'Quick, Mum! Grampy's fallen off the sofa!'
                The poor boy wants to laugh but he's worried, so I bark it out for him. He's shocked, but he joins me and I hang an old arm around his shoulders.
                'Why are we laughing Grampy?'
                'We call it slapstick comedy.'
                'But I'm young. You're old.'
                'The pointy-tailed man downstairs doesn't discriminate. You fall, we laugh, and you grow taller. At my age people forget it's funny. The man whispers his own joke instead and we shrink towards its terrible punch line. Go ahead and laugh, please, I'm not ready to hear it.'

__________


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Sunday, 14 May 2017

Playing the Fool - Troll Country - Not Okay

Flash Fiction / Micro Fiction
Length - 100 words each

Three pieces written for the competition theme 'Fool'.
* 'Not Okay' finished 2nd Place in the competition!

__________

Playing the Fool

David rolled his eyes as Jon argued, shaking the will above their father's hospital bed. 'An equal share, Dad? He's leaving your company to work for a charity for chrissakes! That fool clearly doesn't understand how money works!'

Their father politely declined revision.

'... unless a listed beneficiary should have fallen on hard times and is unable to command an income. Under such circumstances the entire sum reverts to the aforementioned in order to support-'
                'The entire sum!?' Jon balked.
                David nodded his head. 'A little while working for nothing has given me everything. Not such a fool now, eh?'
__________

Troll Country

'Through there?' Mandrag said, 'I don't know, Sir. It's marked here on the map as 'Troll Country'.'
                'Don't be a fool.' His master said, snatching the aged parchment. 'Lazy cartography is all. You've heard of 'Here be Dragons?' It's just a local variation.'

Three deformed hulking brutes roared appreciatively as they stripped the cooked flesh from another human leg, the discarded femur taking its place upon an ivory pile some two feet high.
                Sir Geoffrey watched from their hanging metal cage with sunken eyes. 'I bet nobody ever leaves this place.'
                Mandrag quietly tore the map to shreds. 'Someone did.'

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Not Okay

Caught adrift in a supermarket aisle, grief, pure and simple, washed through me like a wave. I hastily concocted cover and dropped some canned food onto my foot.
                'These damned hands!' I said, forcing a smile through freshly salted cheeks. 'Help me pick these up will you?'
                'No.' My son's eyes were smouldering. 'You're not hurt. You're crying. Again. You're not fooling anyone,' he sighed. 'Just admit it.'
                'I'm-'
                Ten years young and freshly motherless, it should be me keeping him afloat. An approaching sea of faces whispered their symphony of sympathy.
                'I'm...'
                Worse. They circled with concern.
                'I'm fine.'

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