Dec 2014

Second for a Second Week


Put up my second story for
Microbookends after a relatively successful second place last week. And what happened this week? Well, second place once again.

Second place is nowhere - who said that? - well I'll take it as being
pretty fine.

Microbookends is a challenge where you are given the first and last word of the piece (90 to 110 words) and a photo prompt.

The two stories are re-presented here:


Christmas: Plausible Deniability

Explosive devices and a class of five year olds would have created less of a mess in her kitchen than Sue had.

She stood in the centre of the blast zone, pulling her hair, trying to recall why she’d volunteered to have Christmas at her house.

The phone rang three times - the signal that David had picked up his mum and was on his way.

She could hardly imagine the reaction her mother-in-law would have when she saw the kitchen chaos - Dick Cheney could take top tips from her interrogation and torture techniques. Sue cried trying to imagine an excuse - with plausible deniability - for such epic disorder.

(109 words) December 11th 2014 - Came second.


Kat’s Magic Spoons

Rating Kat’s chance of finding all his homemade dinosaur eggs as a long way south of negligible Sam sat back on the porch and laughed.

Kat waltzed theatrically out into the garden and spun around to look at Sam.

"You wanna double up on that bet?" She shouted.

Sam laughed. "A fool and her money." He nodded.

Kat pulled out the spoons and within fifteen minutes all ten of the lurid plastic dinosaurs were laid out in front of Sam.

"Incredible." he said. "How did ya do it, really?"

"Magical spoons, Sam. They can do anything. Some day I’m gonna use them to solve the mysteries of the solar system."

18 December - 110 words - Came second again!


Winter of Whimsy & Wyrdness - Week 7

Luminous Creatures, Winter of Whimsy & Wyrdness - Last Week

Put up my story for the last week of
Luminous Creature's - Week 7 -'Winter of Whimsy & Wyrdness.'

A copy of the story is provided below (along with my blocky version of the picture - The Glow). Click on the pic to go to Luminous Creatures Week 7 entries - and see the proper pic.

I completed my first
Mid-Week Blues Buster yesterday for ten months or so. Click on MWBB to go to the site.


The Incredible Lightness of Unbeing

The plaza had been bathed in the white sun of summer and Juan welcomed the exit north along the cool shaded gorge of Calle San Felipe. The basalt setts had been washed black by a hit and run shower and were as shiny as jet and the returning sun was making the oranges and blues of the shop walls vivid. Juan felt he was walking into a Mondrian vision of a townscape.

Juan was struck by the two men walking on the opposite side of the street both wearing the same light blue scarves. He was sure that they had been together when they had come around the bend, but were now walking apart as if they were trying to appear they weren’t together.

The thinner man was burying his face behind his collar and scarf and the fat man had pulled his hat down far too tight to look comfortable. He was carrying a battered leather bag which looked strained by its contents.

Juan couldn’t work out what was wrong but lost interest in the characters after they’d passed each other. Then he observed a third man who seemed to be walking between doorways in a caricature of a private investigator surreptitiously tailing his prey.

This man in black pulled into the door of the art shop almost opposite Juan, adjusting his sunglasses so he could see in the darkened shadows. Juan was now sure that he was following the men and he turned to look for them. They’d reached the plaza and he saw them nod to each other before they turned and walked quickly in opposite directions - the man had a decision to make now. Juan thought the fat man would be the easiest to catch, but it would depend what he had in the bag; books, maybe guns, or some cheeses stolen from the delicatessen just up the road?

The man looked at his watch as he stepped out from the doorway and walked to Juan.

“You must stop here. Walk back to the plaza.” said the man, pointing the obvious way.

Juan didn’t move. He noticed that the man had a mic and an earpiece in. He also saw the gun holster.

“I said...”

Juan nodded. “What’s happening? What’s going on?”

As the man looked to answer they turned to look up the street as a strange high-pitch ringing began. They clamped their hands to their heads, falling to their knees in agony as blood glugged out of their ears.

They saw a burning glow at the end San Felipe, painful to their eyes. It seemed to engulf everything, the buildings disappeared.

Uselessly Juan shouted.

The intense light grew steadily expanding in a walking pace explosion down the road, consuming all and heading towards the helpless men. The noise became deeper, crackling and popping as matter disappeared in an insane magical show - a reverse big bang. The man in black and Juan looked into each others eyes accepting this strange death before becoming light.

(500 words)


Quick Flash Thursday

Flash Fiction Thursday!

Wrote some super quick submissions late this afternoon - well quick for me anyway - for Micro Bookends and Thursday Threads.

Still have to consider whether to submit another story for
Luminous Creatures and Mid Week Blues Buster. Then of course tomorrow it is Flash! Fiction Friday. There really can be too many challenges! Quick maybe the only way to go.

The Luminous Creatures challenge is tempting with another chance to get a story published in their chapbook in the new year. The image for it by
Christian Miller is evocative:

theglow copy

Micro Bookends
Thursday Threads

Judging - FTT

Flash Friday Fiction - Judging

I was tasked with coming up with the first line and the Special Challenge for this week. And then I had to undertake the judging.

There were eleven stories from some fabulous authors. I judged them blind (the names and twitter handles removed for me) and gave them all several reads through before going through and commenting on them all.

The range of stories were as ever very wide. I quite quickly selected my favourite stories and reread them a few times before selecting my winning tales (one winner, two runner ups and a Special Challenge winner).

Loved all the stories and the winners were posted on the same night, which were;

  • Mark Driscoll - Second Runner Up
  • Erin McCabe - First Runner Up
  • Holly Geely - Winner

Congratulations to all of them, it was an enjoyable task but it'll be nice to get writing again rather than judging next time.

Finish That Thought & Flash Dogs Anthology

Judging - Finish That Thought

A week on from the win at Alissa Leonard's 'Finish That Thought' and it is my time to turn judge for the challenge. If you haven't tried the challenge before it's straight forward enough - you get the first line, with a bit of flexibility on it, and then 500 words to tell your story. There is also the Special Challenge, should you wish to accept it.

I'll be blind judging all the stories tomorrow - so what are you waiting for? Head on over to

Click on the badge to get through to Alissa's site.

I should have finished reading the Flash Dogs Anthology by tomorrow. Currently about half way through and there has been some truly great stories in there. The creativity of the 34 authors is something to behold. Will put a review up - on here and on Amazon UK - once I've ready every last morsel.

Flash Dogs Anthology: it is literally literary tapas.

Click on Tamara Rogers cover pic to get through to Flash Dogs website.

FDcover 250W

Or on the Amazon link to go get the book itself (UK Amazon).

FlashDogs Are Here

Flash Dogs Anthology - It's Here!

Flash Dogs Anthology - Available NOW

Yes, I know there's been very little twitter notice about this has there? But after all the hard work from the guys and gals at
FlashDogs HQ the first Flash Dogs Anthology is now available on Amazon. How cool is that? Cooler than absolute zero. That's cool I tell you.

Treat yourself, and your Kindle, now.

FlashDogs Are Here

Click on my updated poster (incorporating @TamRogers wonderful cover art) to go straight through to to the Amazon (UK) page.

£1.53 for the book (less than 1.5p per story) and all proceeds go to IBBY -
the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY)

FlashDogs Anthology - Volume 1

Flash Dogs Anthology - Volume #1

If you follow me at all on Twitter or on here then you can't help but have heard about it; the time is almost upon us. The first of many - well the first anyway - Anthology from Flash Dogs is to be issued on Amazon this weekend.

Everyone involved has been finding the whole thing a great fillip for their writing and general well being. We're all guaranteed 25% less likely to get flu this winter due to the glow we've all had over the last few weeks.

The FlashDogs have bloomed out of no-where like a big bang creation - which has produced a wonderfully bright Flash. It has shown the power of Twitter, without which this group and book would never have been possible.

The group comprises
34 authors from across the globe, hardly any of whom have met. The authors comprise 22 women and 12 men from the UK, USA, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, and Netherlands.

Over the last year or two we've been seeing each other regularly in the same Flash Fiction challenges, some of which are no longer with us, including:

  • Flash Fiction Friday,
  • Angry Hourglass,
  • Luminous Creatures,
  • Trifecta,
  • Race the Date,
  • Thursday Threads etc

As we've all been seeing each other so regularly across these sites it was only natural that a bond should develop and Twitter has been a fabulous tool for that - resulting in our wonderful Twitter club which we call the FlashDogs.

Tamara Rogers, one of the #FlashDogs, produced the great flyers and promos like this one below. The cover is absolutely - well I'll say it, top dog!
Flash Dogs Promo 250

The proceeds from the sales are all going to a great charity - the
International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), which is an international network not for profit organisation committed to bringing books and children together.

This is typical of this whole Flash Dog experience.
Professional: Creative: Giving: Wonderful.

The book will be available on Amazon for Kindle at the bargain price of £1.53. It has 110 stories from the 34 authors, which comes out at less than 1.5p a story! Being flash it is great to dip in and out of = perhaps with your short journeys - or visits to the small room.

FDcover 250W
The beautiful Flash Dogs - Volume 1 cover - another @tamrodgers product - check her out on Twitter

Much of the heavy work has been undertaken by four of the authors who our thanks go out to. These were at FDHQ -
Mark King and David Shakes (the King makers and shakers), Emily June Street being a fantastic and thorough editor. Tam's images have been beautiful and compelling, great for spreading the word.

A special mention must also go to
Natalie Bowers who won a prize in the very week of the Anthology coming out and donated her prize of $125 worth of book promotion to the cause of advertising it. Kudos!

The authors are all incredibly talented and you won't be disappointed. In fact I'm sure you'll be wondering when Volume 2 will be coming along.

In summary -
It's a great club and I'm proud to be a member!

After buying the book please follow us on:

@FlashDogs #FlashDogs


Finish That Thought

Finish That Thought - Win

Woke up this morning to find that my story for Alissa Leonard's Finish That Thought (2-23) on Tuesday had been chosen as the winner! Boy that is damn fine; my first full win FTF - have won the Special Challenge before.


The judge was one
Tamara Shoemaker one of the FlashDogs - we do get about don't we! Tamara's in depth reviews of all the stories were well, in depth. She was judging as she'd won the week before, which means - you guessed it - that I get to judge next week. Eek! My first solo judging - following the duel judging of Flash Fiction Friday a couple of weeks ago with fellow Poised Penner and Flash Dog @fallintofiction.

Finish that Thought is a weekly challenge held every Tuesday over a 24 hour period. It is for up to 500 words and the first line is provided by the judge. In addition the Special Challenge is given to add specific elements into the story - in this case it was the addition of at least 3 specific literary characters. Links to the website and Alissa's Twitter below:

Finish That Thought

The story is reproduced below:

Death: Hand Delivered

Three strangers appeared on my doorstep and in their pockets they bought death; and I welcomed them.

“Here you go, mister.” said tall hoodie.

One of the two mini hoodies handed me the packets.

“Thanks.” I nodded.

Their faces were covered in shadow, which was the point - the lack of eye contact was welcome.

“Anything for us, mate?” asked the second mini hoodie.

He looked nervous as he shuffled from side to side; unsure of his role.

“It’s all been paid for.” I said to the taller boy.

“Don’t mind him,” he said. “Thinks he’s delivering a chinese him.”

The younger lad stepped back with a shrug.

The taller said, “It’s why we have the on the job training. He’ll learn.”

A rye smile passed my face as a gust of wind blew rain into the doorway as if a full bucket had been thrown over us.

“You better get of and out of this.” I said. With that I closed the door on them and to the world.

In the kitchen I finished making a tea I knew I wouldn’t drink; the wine bottle was calling. It was just plonk, but I always liked the brand and it would be a shame to waste.

The packets were scrunched up by the glass to look something smaller - less important. I picked them up with the wine.

The plonk went down easily as one by one the packets were left to drop on the floor empty. My head began to feel protected from the world; fuzzy. The TV was muted, but I could hear people talking in low voices.

Blue lights from another disastrous day at Casualty flashed through the room turning it into a silent disco. Deep bass began throbbing through the walls in time with my heart.

Harry Potter shouted something from behind the bookshelf and a blue white electric flash scalded my eyes as he fought against something behind me. I couldn’t turn to see, but nothing came for me - I knew Harry had won. He always did.

I heard a crash, as someone broke in through the slide doors. They must have been waiting for me to be off my guard. I caught a glimpse of something behind the chair. I could make out the tip of a bow and knew instinctively it was Katniss. Was she was hunting me or whatever was behind me? Perhaps Harry hadn’t beaten the beast. I was confused, I couldn’t remember how Harry knew Katniss.

Despite the noise I was drifting. I could see snow, it must have been coming in since Katniss broke the back door. So much snow and I could smell tobacco.

My eyes closed then I heard a resonant voice from the kitchen.

“Watson, I believe this untouched mug of tea is the key to the entire case.”

I felt warm breath on my cheek. The last thing I heard was another voice.

“By Jove! Holmes, there’s a lady collapsed in the lounge with barely a pulse.”
(500 words)


Sirens Call eZine

Sirens Call

Made up this morning to find that my first submission to the Sirens Call eZine has been accepted. No badge for that, but my piece will be in the next edition of Sirens Call. It is on the subject of death, which funnily enough - or not - is the subject of today's Finish That Thought.

The Sirens Call eZine features a fabulous selection of short stories, flash fiction, poetry and art work.

Check out previous editions on their website:

Sirens Call 250W copy
Sirens Call


Flash Dogs Anthology - 13 December 2014

Not long now then and all 34 of the Flash Dog pack are getting very excited. It's not up to @tamrogers standards, but I've done a little sketch in celebration! The FLASH DOGS ARE COMING! Huzzah!!

FlashDogs Are Coming
Flash Dogs Website

Luminous Creatures 2

Winter of Whimsy and Wyrdness - Week 5


Following a little success a couple of weeks ago (okay Week 2) of Luminous Creatures '
Winter of Whimsy & Wyrdness' I managed to be selected again in Week 5. Woo hoo - on a roll! Click on the links to read it and the other stories.

I got me another badge then, albeit one I already had. It has me in the mood to collect some new ones.

Didn't get selected for the
Flash Fiction Friday FLASHIVERSARY competition. Disappointed after getting into Top 10 last year. Onwards and Upwards! Good to see one of the Poised Pen group getting into the semi final though @fallintofiction

Also on the downside I've no sign of a new job yet. Still sending of the CVs for both career jobs and just job jobs. Fingers crossed folks.

Thursday Threads

Thursday Threads

Submitted a story I wrote largely in the Caledonia and hey presto! a win and a new challenge badge for me. Huzzah! The Thursday Threads flash fiction challenge takes a line from the previous winning story, which you then need to include within your story and so on and on. Like a thread hey!

My story is reproduced below, or you can link through to the Thursday Threads site and read all the stories by clicking on the badge. The sentence which needed to be included was: '
You watched the whole thing?'

ThursThreads Winner 200

The Laughing Dog
Brian’s job description had recently been expanded to beyond acceptable. After the side boob incident on the six o’clock news he’d been tasked with reviewing every little excerpt supplied from the multitude smartphone images rolling in from the public. It was impossible.
“Consider it a new KPI,” Marriot had said, “Zero side boobs - or cock ups - on the pre-watershed news and you may keep your job. Otherwise it’ll be your bits shown on the news the following day. Capiche?”
He couldn’t afford another default - but it was a hopeless task as every sad little clip got fired through to Brian for vetting.
Kate - his long term crush at work - sent him a video with a dog in it. It had four asterisks in the subject line suggesting it was important. He clicked on it straight away and there was the drooling dog nodding along with a song from One Direction. It was cute he had to admit, but it was not newsworthy, so he quickly exited and went on to the next useless footage (some cop shooting a gang banger - no-one would be interested).
Brian worried about his house. He picked his stories and emailed them through to the news desk. Shortly afterwards he received a text from Kate - ‘You watched it all the way through?’
He laughed. How much time did she think he had?
Come six o’clock and FAB News was the only channel not to feature the dancing dog suddenly being devoured by that hideous alien.

Anthology-TASTIC! - Update

Flash Dogs and Poised Pen Anthologies

Loving the poster for the upcoming anthology from the Flash Dogs. It has been produced by @tamrogers who has been a star producing this and other pics for the anthology - check her out on Twitter.

Flash Dogs Promo (names)

Seeing everyone's names there - with mine hidden towards the back - it is going to be an absolutely amazing tome. Great thanks must go to the top dogs who have been putting in much of the effort in to produce this book, namely; Mark A. King, David Shakes, Emily June Street and Tam Rogers. Boss indeed!

The date for its debut on Amazon is expected to be
13th December and I really can't wait to get it on to my Kindle Paperwhite, next to the Poised Pen Anthology from earlier in the year and the Poised Pen Frightening Flash Fiction competition anthology.

Half Baked 200
Halloween Anthology 200
Frightening Flash Fiction available NOW on Amazon. Just 77p