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!

Friday, 9 September 2016

Emily - Betrothed - Class of '89

Flash Fiction / Micro Fiction
Length - 100 words each

Three pieces written for the competition theme 'An Unwanted Birthday'.
* 'Emily' was 'Highly Commended' in the competition!



Back again, drawn from nowhere. Dad sits with his party hat on, Mum busy lighting the candles on my cake whilst I dance alone in the dress she bought me, all mauve with stencil flowers on it.
                The last candle won't light, the wick is wet with sorrow. Dad doesn't even bother to comfort her, a me-shaped chasm open between them since Mum miscarried all those years ago.
                Dead before I'd even lived, a special kind of ghost. I am an anomaly, though they'd have called me Emily, a conscience born of tragedy, on the day that hurts them most.


She pulled back from their secret moonlight embrace, resisting his questing fingers.
                'I'm betrothed to Count Valer, Sir Henry. Tomorrow when I come of age, Father will have his wish.' She went to kiss him again, but he stood firm, a dark expression staining his face.
                'Suppose Count Valer isn't around tomorrow.' Fingers danced atop his sword pommel.
                'Father has gambled our meagre lot arranging the ceremony, I have to marry someone.'
                'Marry me, instead.' She drank in the murder that spilled from his eyes, her breaths growing heavy.
                'There's not much time.' She said, quivering, 'bring me his head.'


Class of '89

All my friends are dead. I thumb through pages of an open yearbook, reading by mounted candlelight their signed, hopeful messages.
                'Something to drink, General?' She hands me a glass, looks from me to her departed brother, centre page, and raises her drink in silent toast. All the women do, clustered in solemn huddles about our old school hall.
                Turning point in the war. Emergency conscription. The class of '89, wiped out after one week of fighting.
                'Happy Birthday.' She whispers, and takes her leave.
                All my friends are dead. Born a week earlier, and I'd have shared their fate.



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Monday, 5 September 2016

The Month That Was... August '16



We're onto month two! It's the fifth of the month today, which will be the new regular time spot going forward! Welcome to, The Month That Was - August '16 !



Make that 9 out of 11! Back to finishing with a piece on MorgEn Bailey's 100-Word Free Competition in the 'Highly Commended' position this month, with my entry 'Binnie'. :)

You can view the winners' tales here - http://bit.ly/2bcISWJ


New Content This Month - (What can you actually read this month!?)

All three entries to MorgEn Bailey's 100-Word Free Competition , including the 'Highly Commended' piece 'Binnie' , have been added to the site. The theme this time was 'Holiday'.

You can find them here - http://bit.ly/2bc3Ssn

Two of the Micro Fictions have been turned into my Social postcards, and hit Media on the first and fifteenth of the month.

(I'm still yet to receive a single entry into the Micro Pic Competition ! You could have your artwork seen by a wider / different audience AND win a free coupon to an online Writing Course!)


The Graft - (Daydreaming is well and good - you've got to have goals. But what have I actually done this month?)

Frustratingly inactive this month! It doesn't make a lot of sense. As discussed last month, I wanted to scale things down and just focus on MFS. While that is the case, for the most part, the reintroduction to the project was overbearing and almost paralyzing! I managed to eek out a bit of actual writing towards the end of the month, but it's become unnervingly clear that it's not going to be as straightforward as I'd like. I've got about ninety 'scenes' left to write for the first draft. But even writing just the one actually split into three...

According to Brandon Sanderson's lectures (more on that later) I'd say I'm mostly a 'discovery' writer that likes to think he's an 'outliner'. So when I have my neat frames and plot structures which take ages to construct, I'll be in the process of writing and suddenly actually putting pen to paper (literally, I like to do my first draft by hand) I'll get a few ideas that change EVERYTHING! Which means I doggedly finish the small section I'm working on, and then proceed to overhaul the entire project! It's massively time consuming, and also mentally exhausting, and then I'm at risk of walking away from the project for 'space', coming back after too long and oh here comes that lengthy reintroduction period again!

I do however feel the project grows stronger each time through the process. But I'm not the type of person who can churn out 'dead' text, just to have finished something. At least I know my foibles though right? Maybe one day I'll learn another way...

Ultimately not a lot has visibly happened. I finished the scene in question on the final day of August, coming out fourteen pages in my handwriting, which usually equates to about 250 words per page. So that's... something! Hopefully September will see an improvement!

Monthly Micros (Three pieces at 100 words each, set theme)
- Draft 1, Draft 2, Draft 3, Draft 4
- Submitted to Competition

Project X (Competition Short Story - ??? words)
- Nada! :(

MFS (Ongoing fantasy series, broken down into scenes, plus any note overhauls)
- Reformatted and overhauled Noting system of everything to this point (but not beyond active chaps)
- Typed up all produced so far, formatted into Kindle for easier re-reading
- Creation - One scene! :(

Bigger Project (Aside from MFS *MFS1 currently occupies this slot until I can finish the first draft!*)
- Nada! :(

TfTT (Special project)
-Nada! :(

Micro Pics (One Micro Pic taken from last month's best reaction to recent three Micros, plus one pic generated from archives)

This month, the popular Pic was of course 'Binnie', and the archived Pic was 'Last Ride'. Don't forget, by voting on the Twitter poll each month, you can have an impact on which Micro gets 'The Complete Treatment'! :)

Peripheral Tasks of Note
Devising this very post!
- Desperately trying to come up with a new timetable...


What I've Read


Finished the second in the 'Red Queen's War' series by Mark Lawrence this month. Fantastic stuff, and that ending! Last month I talked about how Snorri's tales gave the author his format for recounting the past as new material for the reader. This time around it falls on the main character, Prince Jalan, to fulfill that role and it's done expertly, and crucially, entirely feasibly. By this point in the story we've uncovered enough information about the past to want to know more, not as often happens an annoying sidetrack that we have to 'get through' until we get back to the good stuff, and the author delivers it seamlessly, the passing of the baton a really practical thing from a writer's viewpoint, but so effective in the storytelling too. So now, I've finally 'earned' my place at the foot of the third and final installment, 'The Wheel of Osheim'.


Another story rattled off, I need to figure out a way to schedule my reading from the short story collections more often. The problem I think is that a lot of 'short stories' in this collection and collections in general are a little misleadingly titled. Maybe we all have different interpretations of the word 'short', but I would prefer to able to read a story in one sitting without having to allocate 'extra time'...


See above...


Useful Articles I've read

This should probably be re titled 'Useful Articles I've Watched'. On an email from Goodreads (which tell you about new posts from authors you follow) I spotted one about 'World Building' from Brandon Sanderson. I regard Brandon as the best world builder I've ever had the pleasure to read after an introduction from a friend to his 'Mistborn' series. The link was to a class he teaches that has been filmed for Youtube and was the fourth in the series. Captivated, I'm slowly caching up on the series, learning lots of potential techniques and terms in the process.

You can view them for yourself here - http://bit.ly/2bW2Fdj

Aside from that, I'll just quickly mention Dan Purdue again, as he had some success recently, finishing on the shortlist for a competition held by Writing Magazine and Just Write - having his story put in print as well being invited to a reception evening to announce the winner. The fact he blogged about it is invaluable for writers like me looking up, as it's not a million miles from what I hope to be the next step in my development, so little windows into the world of a successful writer both educate and inspire. Similarly, he also blogged about his attendance to the Curious Arts Festival which provides a similar effect.

You can read his account about the competition evening here - http://bit.ly/2bVcjLO
And his visit to the Curious Arts Festival here - http://bit.ly/2bVcjLO


Competition Results + Reader Contributions

I've yet to receive any entrants to the Micro Pic Competition that I run on this site! :( Don't forget you can get more exposure for your artwork, and even win a free coupon to an online writing course!

At time of writing, the current Competitions that are open are;


The results of this month's Twitter poll, regarding which of the three Micro Fictions you liked best, was a tie between 'Sentence' and 'Sunken Valley' with one vote apiece! Always interesting when the tide goes against the one that the judge of a competition chose! (I am painfully aware that both votes may be cast by spam bots, Twitter uses anonymity on their vote polls!)


Any Other Business

So I got the results back from Project 4's competition this month, and sadly, I didn't make the top six. I have no problem with that. I do however, feel a little misled. It's my own fault, you should always be cynical to avoid disappointment. That may not be a happy way to lead your life, I'll admit, but sometimes it's a necessary way to cope in an industry grounded in continual rejection.

So you may remember, I entered partially because I was drawn in by the promise of publication. Every entry guaranteed! It boasted. Who knows? I thought. Maybe somebody new, aside from the judges I'm paying, will cast my story a glance and tell me they enjoy my writing! Which may have been the case if they were presented as a free giveaway eBook collection, or a recommended article sent out on a weekly email and with third party backing or announcement. Maybe not however, if you just list 289 entrants in an alphabetic list on a static webpage. As expected, the shortlisted have a few shares and comments, but a quick glance at a few other entries show that's where exposure seems to end.

 Yes, if I hadn't been so needy at time of submission I'd have chosen against publication so I could rework the story for another competition. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out though, so I'll be posting 'Picture Perfect' to the site at some point in the near future, and removing it from my active project list. I'm still waiting on the judges critique I paid extra for, so I'll reserve judgement on the overall degree of uselessness until such a time.



Thanks for reading! I'm thinking of trying a tactic to devote one day a week to a certain project. So TfTT Tuesday for example. I wonder if it will be nice to wake up thinking I can give it all to a certain project without feeling the guilt of neglecting what I should really be doing... We'll see how that goes! 

Until next time, buh-bye!


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