Thursday, 26 December 2013

'Assisted Dying' - Published in Sirens Call magazine

On Christmas Eve I was informed that the new December Issue #12 from Sirens Call Publications was available for download. Another piece of mine is in it this month, on Page 18, called 'Assisted Dying'.

The theme this month is 'Dead & Dying' and I had to write about my own demise, so again these are not tales for the faint hearted!

The good thing about this ezine is that it is free to download.

Daily Picspiration - Throw Yourself Away

My Daily Picspiration piece went up on Sunday.

As soon as I saw the picture I saw the story. It looked like Mossman Gorge to me, near Cairns, in Queensland, Australia. When I visited it was cascading with water, although the second time I went it was as dry as it is in this picture. I liked it flowing, and that is what I envisaged in this piece. It contains elements of a visit I made to The 12 Apostles, along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria too. That's what it's all about - twist it all up and see what comes out!

You can read 'Throw Yourself Away' here.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Bad Santa Blog Hop 2013

This year I decided to take part in Ruth Long's Bad Santa Blog Hop 2013. It's about taking the idea of Santa and turning it on it's head, in which ever way suits, and writing a piece of flash fiction, up to 500 words bout it. This is what I came up with.


“Give me a look at that list, will you?”

Alfred handed over the computer print out. It was heavy.

“Wow, that’s grown since last year.”

“Yes, it get’s bigger every year.”

“But we only need a couple of hundred, don’t we?”

“Yes, that should be enough. How do you want to select them this year? Gender? Area? What?”

“Gender’s no issue, I don’t care about that, but area matters; we should just pick one. I don’t want to waste time like last year trying to get round them all – we cut it fine as it was.”

“True.” Alfred remembered the previous year when they’d only just managed to get away before sunrise. They couldn’t risk another close call like that.

“And remember; check birth dates - when I say over 18, I mean it! We’ve got to keep some kind of moral integrity!”

Alfred snorted a laugh. “Okay, that’ll cut the list in half then.”


“Anything else? I need to put this together quickly otherwise the invites won’t make it.”

“No, that should be it.” Santa rubbed his hands together. “I can’t wait; finally a good use for the naughty list.”

Alfred grinned. “Indeed.”

As they stuffed the last stocking, Santa stretched. “I’ve definitely had it for tonight.”

Alfred’s eyebrows arched. “You sure about that?”

Santa chuckled. “Well I’ve had it with stuffing stockings; it’s time to stuff something entirely different!”

They both let out a hearty laugh, and climbed back up the chimney.


They slipped through the gates and followed the thumping music. They’d never heard jingle bells set to a rave beat before and liked it, but the sacks hindered their ability to dance along.

Alfred had done a great job setting up; the DJ’s booth stood in the middle of the courtyard decked out in Christmas glitter, and Christmas trees lined the perimeter giving it a cosy feel. The place was heaving with bodies, all getting into the spirit of thing by way of free hot toddies and eggnog.

“A bit of a different kind of venue to last year.” Santa looked up at the derelict factory.

“Yeah, being able to create just has made it much easier, and we’ve got a huge turnout.”

“Indeed, perfect.” Santa pulled his sack up to the podium by the DJ and climbed up.

He grinned at the MC and took the mike.

“Ho, Ho, Ho boys and girls. I have arrived!”

There were raucous cheers and wolf whistles as he reached into the sack and threw out a handful of sweets to the crowd. They grabbed them eagerly. He exchanged glances with Alfred. “That should warm them up.”

Alfred laughed as they threw out more. “It’ll get them going that’s for sure, like it does with the elves.”

“Yeah, but hopefully they won’t start making toys on us!”

“No, hopefully it’ll be something else they’ll want to make!”

They sniggered at each other and threw a sweet into their own mouths. It was time to join in.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Surrender - MWBB

This weeks Mid-Week Blues-Buster brought an interesting song. It's only the second song I've really listened to from this band, but I really liked it, it said so much. But as always the challenge is putting those thoughts and emotions into a story. So here's what I came up with, and it earnt me an honourable mention. Enjoy.

The Song Prompt for this weeks was:
Heavy in your Arms, by Florence & the Machine

He saw it in her face that first night; the look in her eyes. He didn’t let it distract him from what they were doing, and still lost himself in the moment of sexual ecstasy - but he’d registered it.

After she left in the morning, showering his face in kisses and making him laugh; he sat and pondered what he’d seen. He didn’t want to do it again; break someone’s heart, it wasn’t much fun. But this one? Could he love her?

He sighed. He wanted to; he wanted to give her all she deserved, but could he? Or would he just let her down like he had all the others?

Later that day he had to smile at the text she sent. She wasn’t going to wait for him, she was going to run the show and he liked that. And when she turned up at his door again the next day, throwing herself into his arms, he was overjoyed to embraced her, although he kept her in check with his silence.

The days grew into weeks, which gathered up into months. He took out the shoebox he kept under his bed and sifted through all the cards and scribblings she’d given him, trying to find the courage to return the emotion, but all he’d been able to give was his time; taking her out to dinner, shows, the cinema, pubs, bars, anywhere to keep her entertained and distracted, because he knew she wanted more. She would start to say something then stop, or tell him she wanted to know him better and then wait for him to speak, but he wasn’t good at speaking, he was only good at showing, so that is what he did. He took her to bed and showed her time and again.

It didn’t stop her pouring herself into him by including him in everything she did. He was happy to join her and get to know her friend’s boyfriends. He enjoyed the elaborate dinner parties she arranged and lost himself in the drunken conversations. But every moving it was still there; that look in her eyes.

Then the first year was over and they celebrated, and the whole evening she was watching him with expectation. He did all he could, spun her the best night they had had, and in the morning he thought he had pulled it off, but there she was looking at him only this time with a little box in her hand. He was terrified.

She had always been forward, moving it all along and he wondered how far she was taking it as he turned the box over in his hand. It was a perfect tiny square with a raised top. His mind reeled at the idea that someone else might pop the question. He fiddled with it, delaying, but she pushed his fingers against it, showing him where he could start unwrapping.

He fumbled it open and tipped the lid a crack, trying to glimpse what was within, before revealing it. And what he saw made him frown and he paused, opening the lid wider and picking up its contents.

“A key?”

“Yes, a key.”

“To your heart?”

She laughed. “No, to my apartment. It’s time, don’t you think?”

“What, for us to live together?”

She frowned at him and laughed again. “No silly, for you to be able to come round whenever you want. Why, do you want to live together?”

“Well...” He flustered.

She laughed again. “That’s what I thought. One step at a time, eh?”

“But..” He stammered.


“But, I thought, you know, that as we’re in love, you know, that was the next step? I mean, it’s been a year.”

Her jaw dropped as she looked at him, and he felt his cheeks flush. Then she threw herself on him, pushing her lips against his with such a fierceness he could only surrender - although surrender was all he wanted to do, so he returned the passion.

That night he packed a bag, and when they reached her apartment he picked her up, carrying her over the threshold. There were no broken hearts here.

Five Sentence Fiction - Alone

There was no way I was going to miss this weeks Five Sentence Fiction prompt or photo. It spoke to me immediately.

Alone… By SHA-1 SOURCE 

‘I am totally alone and always have been’, she thought to herself as she left, and with it came a sense of relief.

The visit had confirmed her feelings; feelings that she’d fought for so many years and tried to prove wrong at every turn - that these people weren’t to be trusted and never had been.

She walked across the park, her emotions swirling; going from deep pain to the elation of finally having closure, something she had longed for, for so many years. She had been seen, she had been heard, she had been acknowledged and that was enough; she could close this chapter now and move on.

There was going to be fallout as she came to terms with it, knowing that they weren’t really there for her - never had been, never would be, but at least she could be sure of one thing: herself, and that was all that mattered now. 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Always a Price - MWBB

The Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge has returned after a hiatus for National November Writing Month and I was ready to get stuck in. Although the song prompt was not really my cup of tea, so I went with the lyrics. I struggled with the ending, it was difficult to find a way to end the piece. And it is probably behind why it didn't get placed. Have a read.

The Song Prompt for this weeks was:
Dirty Boulevard, by Lou Reed.

He’d been told that there would be a good life there; that it was like the roads were paved with gold, that there would be plenty for him and his family – well what was left of it, now the war had taken his wife - but it wasn’t true.

He tried real hard to find a way; he worked any job he could get, sometimes up to four, but most of them were shitty, most of them consisted of him having to humiliate himself some how. And he tried hard not to give in to the darker side of life, but it was there for the taking, offering up pretty much as much cash as he wanted if he was prepared to stoop so low.

He thought about it, considered it, and spoke to his children about it. They looked at him and listened to him tell them how much difference it could make to their lives, how much it could give them; the opportunity of college, the opportunity of a good life, a proper home, not just some ramshackle broken down apartment, somewhere safe where they wouldn’t be surrounded by shootings, drugs, and violence.

They looked unsure at him, especially his son. He was just coming into teenage and the school wasn’t working for him, not when it was busy fighting the attitude of all the other kids in the area. But he looked at his younger sister and thought about how tender she was, and wondered how his father could ask her, or why he would. But she smiled up at her dad and said she’d do anything for him, so there was no argument. He promised her it wouldn’t be for long, that it would be okay and that he would be there to protect her.

And he tried hard to be, but he wasn’t a fighter, never had been, which was why he’d left his country in the first place. So he ended up in the hospital, along with his beautiful little girl too – who wouldn’t be quite so beautiful anymore thanks to the switchblade the guy was carrying, and having thrown all his money at the man he couldn’t cover what was needed to try and make it right.

So it was on his son, who faired better, and was able to hold his own and dictate his own terms. And for a while he thought they would be okay, that in just another six months they could get out of here and find a better place, and repair the damage he’d done. But he hadn’t bargained on the depravity of the people, the crude desire to hurt another, particularly a young boy, who, by the time they’d finished with him, would never walk again, dependant on a catheter for both ends.

He sat there in his scant kitchen with his head in his hands, staring out of the window, wondering how he got here, how he’d been reduced to someone who would abuse his children in this way, and then he caught sight of it on a billboard poster across the street and started laughing; the very image that had inspired him, and given him hope, making him believe in a better life, in freedom.

When his children joined him looking puzzled he could only point at it, unable to speak through the laughter, but their confused looks remained as they wondered why a picture of the Statue of Liberty was so funny.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Daily Picspiration - Taken

My fortnightly Daily Picspiration was posted on Sunday.

A short sharp piece this week, which came to me as soon as I saw the picture. I think it speaks for itself in that it pulls no punches. I enjoyed writing something so short for a change. Enjoy!

You can read 'Taken' here. 


Monday, 2 December 2013

Book Tour - Tyler Nitbone, by Imran Siddiq

A good writer friend of mine Imran Siddiq is releasing his novel Tyler NitBone on the 29th of November, and to support him I'm taking part in a book tour to promote it. 

Having enjoyed Imran's first book 'Disconnect' - Part 1 of the Divided Worlds Series, with the second two: 'Disassemble' and 'Disrupt' waiting in the wings, I look forward to reading this too. Take a look. Tyler can cross into parallel realities. Employed by a secret organization, he collects data about worlds encountered to improve the Alternate Worlds Map. Except the organization have apprehended him, tampered with his memory, and accused him of a crime he can’t recollect. They must have the wrong seventeen-year old? Nope – even Tyler’s friends have evidence against him.
There are rules to being a Alternate Worlds Viewer:
DO NOT interact with the environment.
DO NOT interfere with events.
DO NOT reveal the ability to Cross.
Tyler has broken with one. But which? All of them?
Worst of all he hates his surname: Nitbone.
Chased by the organization, he will Cross into explosive worlds to uncover the real traitor or risk the lives of zillions.
Tyler Nitbone must interfere to undo the interference.

It is available as an ebook on and in print on and you can also try and win a copy through Goodreads.

You can even watch the wonderful trailer for it here.

Here are a few interview questions about how the book came into being:
What inspired you to write Tyler Nitbone?
The Greenhouse Literary Agency Funny Prize competition in 2012 made a call for humorous novels. Although I had certainty that I’d never win, it gave me a spark to write in a more relaxed manner than the serious overtones used in the Divided Worlds Trilogy. In some ways, it allowed me to write much as I think and behave?
How did you come up with the title?
Unlike previous novels where the title is a representation of a theme, TN is the protagonist, and the name – Tyler Nitbone – makes me take notice and giggle. Nitbone rolls off the tongue. I wouldn’t have used the name if it didn’t have that extra punch.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Oh most definitely. In fact it’s there on the cover as a tagline. Interfering in anything has consequences. They won’t always be bad, but they won’t always mean good either. Often people say or do something without realising the long term effect. TN is about how he must interfere due to the interference of a previous action.

How much of the book is realistic?
The bits that don’t involve the non-realistic parts… like parallel universes… and robots… and a certain orang-utan. Then again, maybe it is all possible.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
TN is an extension of me whereby I always try to help and do good, but sometimes it can be misconstrued and puts me in trouble. Poor TN… he doesn’t know when to stop and reflect.

Who designed the covers?
I seek out top-notch artists to create the character art. I pull together the art, and then create my text, style, background, colour changes, adaptations, tweaks and go all nuclear on creating what would grasp my attention. Covers are massively important. The TN cover is quirky and rather different from similar books in its genre, but still says YA Fiction from a visual viewpoint.

Imran Siddiq may have tried to leave Leicester a few times, but its become his place to wake up to two cats, freeze when the heating’s off and most of all, get down to writing. At a young age, his primary school teacher commented on his creativity and ability to tell stories.  At the age of 29, during a night in the jungle, the bug inside awakened, and for the last 5 years he’s been sacrificing every second that he can to write. A veteran of writing festivals, a presence on Twitter and gobbling up all forms of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, he hopes he can bring a smile to others in the same way that he had, aged 5, reading with a torch under his duvet. Imran’s preferred genre  is YA Sci Fi, and he has a tendency to throw a droid in every novel.
Imran can also be found on: