Published in Ellipsis

Just published: Ellipsis 7 – A collection of flash fiction from 36 of the best contemporary flash fiction writers (their words):

Nicola Ashbrook, Joe Bedford, Kim Botly, Dianne Bown-Wilson, Dan Brotzel, Hannah Clark, Christine Collinson, Eamonn Patrick Daly, Mariah Feria, Alison Gibson, Donna Greenwood, Emma Hair, Emily Harrison, Jude Higgins, Amanda Huggins, Omar Hussain, Linda Irish, Denny Jace, Jan Kaneen, Emma Lee, Cathy Lennon, Rik Lonsdale, Rosaleen Lynch, Avra Margariti, Rob McIvor, Giulia Medaglini, Emily Painton, Steven Patchett, Aeryn Rudel, Tamim Sadikali, Sheila Scott, Hibah Shabkhez, Jeanette Sheppard, Chloe Smith, Sherri Turner and Natalie Wallington.


A story inspired by an image

IMG_3032It pays to try new things. Every month, Writers Forum magazine runs a quick writing competition with a specific theme and a tight deadline. Ideal for motivating writers to submit, one would think, but until last month it’s passed me by.

February’s prompt was that month’s cover image which didn’t immediately fill me with inspiration but for some reason (stir crazy after all the bad weather?) I decided to give it a go. The result was Halfway to Hank a 500 word, runner-up place, which is published in the March magazine.

So 2020’s rather-belated resolution: keep trying something new!

Here’s Something New!

My story, Quality Time, recently won a short story competition run by Soundwork. The prize was to have it read by an actor and recorded for their site – and today it has appeared!

This is a first for me, and of course, I’m both delighted and grateful to have it in the public arena.

Having another voice bringing one’s words to life definitely adds a different and interesting dimension. You can listen to it here

The story won first prize in the Henshaw Press competition last year, and you can read it here

Many thanks to both organisations for choosing my work. The encouragement is inestimable. (The picture is of Miggy, the Soundwork cat…)

New Year, same resolutions

old-clock-face-1Following the shock of my story Quality Time winning the Henshaw competition last autumn (while away on an incredible road trip around Spain) I’ve suffered a bit of a dry spell in terms of output. The win was incredibly cheering, as were a couple of shortlistings for my piece: 1200 Thread Count in the Exeter Flash Fiction and Writer’s Bureau Flash competitions, but the motivation well ran dry.

So, it’s a relief to be knuckling down again at last and hoping, as usual, for inspiration and improvement in 2019. Just write something – anything!


Leicester Writes Short Story Prize

I was delighted to receive a highly commended in this year’s Leicester Writes short story competition and to be included in the anthology of long-listed and winning stories.
The book was launched on Saturday 30 June at the end of a great short story writer’s workshop held in Leicester. Very interesting and motivating – time to start thinking about next year’s entry?

Thank you Anita Shreve

Coincidence is a strange thing. Just two days ago I downloaded an Anita Shreve novel on my kindle and started reading it for no reason other than that I saw the title and suspected I hadn’t read it. Over the years, I’ve greatly enjoyed a number of Anita’s books so when casting around for ‘a good read’, this seemed a failsafe choice.


So, I’m currently enjoying The Lives of Stella Bain.

I was astonished and saddened to read today that Anita died two days ago – too young these days at only 71. An obituary piece is here in the Boston Globe.

The sad thing about the death of writers you like and admire – Helen Dunmore being another – is that somehow you expected that they would always be there, writing away, crafting more for you to appreciate and enjoy – forever…

Now, too late, one can only appreciate what they contributed throughout their life and thank them for doing so.

The Power of Perseverance

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As a lonnnnggggggggg-time subscriber to Writing Magazine/Writers’ News, I’ve been mightily frustrated over the decades by the fact that, despite my best efforts, I’ve failed – yes, failed – to win a prize in any of their competitions. Okay, I’ve been short-listed (a whole three or four times), but other than that, zilch. (To be fair to them, I’ve by no means entered all their competitions.)

Anyway, the attitude I’d adopted was that sometimes, you just have to accept that your face – or your writing style – doesn’t fit. Certainly, some months, reading the winning submissions  I could see quite clearly why mine had missed out, but other times, well…

So, you could have slapped me with a wet haddock a few weeks ago when I received an email telling me that I’d come second in their 500 word short story competition – particularly as I recall thinking at the time of entering, “I don’t know why I’m bothering…”

Of course, I’m delighted, it’s great to see it in print (out this week!) and winning anything is always hugely encouraging. But actually, what really impressed me, having come second, was the attitude of the guy who came first (Dominic Bell). Apparently, so he says, he tries to enter almost all the Writing Magazine competitions to diversify his writing and actually finish something.  This is his third win, with three other placings.

Lesson to be learned there?

New: Instructions for Living

amazon-cover A collection of thirty-two of my short stories has now been published as a collection: Instructions for Living. The stories have all been selected from those which have either won prizes or been short- or long-listed in creative writing competitions in the UK and internationally.

The book’s available as either a paperback or a kindle version on Amazon and also as a paperback on FeedaRead. If anyone a) buys and reads it and b) likes it, I’d really appreciate it if you took the trouble to leave a review!  Many thanks.