Here it is; fiction, life writing and the like.
‘Spectacular Flights of Whales’ in Coast Line, West Sussex Writers 80th Anniversary anthology, July 2017, Rumian Publishing. ‘Whether it was the beginning of the end, the end of the beginning, or something else entirely turned out to be immaterial. After a short interlude during which astronomers reported a slight increase in background radiation and sunsets appeared rather more purple than usual, the sky turned green and filled up with fish.’ 1947 words.
‘Jussdesserts’ Flash Flood, 24/06/17. He’s not smart, isn’t Fergus, but he knows what his mother says about how cleanliness is next to godliness and that not enough goddamn-sinners are getting their goddamn-jussdesserts-pardon-the-swearing. 492 words
‘God’s Scrubber’ Pen2Paper, Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, 09/10/16. “Valerie’s mother is nagging and she’s doing it, frustratingly, from under the screwed-up paper towels and muddy-looking wipes in the sluice so Valerie can’t dig her out. She’s doing her best with the unfinished business but it isn’t easy with the constant interruptions. This time though, despite the noises, she hopes she has succeeded because, a few yards away in the communal dining room, Pete is turning blue.” 3987 words, free PDF download
‘Ør1g1ns’ ZeroFlash fiction September 2016. “Slick as oil over water, Katia headed for the house of the man whose dreams she needed to reprogramme. She shifted through his bedroom wall like damp through old bricks to wait by his cot for the right moment. Then, as his eyes began to flick back and forth and his long limbs twitched, she bent close to his ear, reintroducing the precious seed stolen by the Reversionists to demolish the future.” 300 words, free to read.
‘Puddles Like Pillows’, ‘When Gliese Met Glasgow and Muira made a mint’, Albert’s Teeth’, ‘The Collector’, and ‘Ducks in a Row’ all now in the anthology, ‘Let Me Tell You a Story’ along with stories and poems from five other authors. Each piece has its own soundtrack, accessible from the printed page by scanning a QR code under the title.
‘The Spooking of Einstein‘, Urban Fantasist’s Grievous Angel, 18/11/15. “If you walk on the cracks, the bears will get you.”
“No, they won’t.”
But they did. Not bears exactly, more trans-dimensional, multi-versal, quantum-coherents with no sense of humour. 290 words, free to read.
‘Control’ now available as an audio track read by voice artist Lorraine Ansell. Soundcloud 10/11/15.
‘The Breathing of Souls’ published by The Writing Garden as an audio track, November 2015.
‘When Gliese Met Glasgow (and Muira made a mint)’, Pen2Paper – Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, 24/10/15. The aliens were not diplomats; they were traders-bordering-on-pirates because that was how their society worked. Find something everybody wanted and everybody was happy. They had no First Contact rules beyond haggling, although some of the preliminaries were not unlike the Glasgow Kiss and would come in handy later when they discovered football. 860 words
‘Albert’s Teeth’ in the LA Review of LA, issue nine, June 2015. 299 words.
‘Control’, Mash Stories, April 26th, 2015. There were many parts of Rosa that acted outside of her direct control and she would watch from somewhere above or outside while they got on with it. Most of the time they just responded to whoever was in the room, but occasionally one took the initiative and went out on a limb, so to speak. Probably not a story to enjoy, as such, but I hope it has meaning and does not betray the victims of this appalling crime. 479 words
‘The Justice Box’, Cut A Long Story, February 13th, 2015. ‘Jesus loves her, Jesus loves her, Jesus loves the murdering bitch.’ Emmy chuckles to herself in that private way only people whose heads are somewhere else can do. She hunches up on the bed and grabs her knees; pulling them up to her chin, and hugging them like babies. ‘Pretty boys,’ she says; and bites into her knee cap.’ 2839 words 99p
‘Level Playing’, Alfie Dog Fiction, February 8th, 2015. ‘Lag messing with the rendering, that’s what’s doing it. Power diversions to the SinCity sim, I’ll bet.’ 682 words 39p
‘Copied Right‘, Alfie Dog Fiction, February 8th, 2015. Something odd was happening. The air had been tingling for days; fizzing when he wafted his hand across his face, and just lately leaving a faint after-glow in its trail’ 688 words 39p
‘Terminus’, Fine Linen magazine, January 2015. The room stinks; pinned-shut curtains, asleep on their makeshift wire, silently breathe in odours of dead food and trap them there. 275 words. This is a subscription magazine.
‘Puddles Like Pillows’ Now out in the Lascaux Prize 2014 anthology, print and kindle versions.
‘The Breathing of Souls’, SoundCloud December 20th, 2014. In the walls of buildings, between the splinters of wood and the specks of brick dust, souls huddle and stretch by turns, waiting for their time to come. 200 words
‘Emily Buckingham and the Major’s Madam‘, Ether Books, September 2014. Mrs Wilberforce, fending off the attentions of her visitor and bending forwards in an attempt to field the low grasps of his hands, while also pulling at the leg of her outfit, was reversing into the street, presenting a set of cheeks such as might be seen in an exotic zoo. 7269 words in the fine spirit of farce. A paid download.
‘Sequenced Heir, Nipped Rind’ Scribd, August 2014. “The ambient light is the colour of swamp fog; I am suspended from the ceiling in a net like a balloon at a solstice party; and there is a worm in my mouth. This has to be the mother of all hangovers.” 1882 words.
‘Copied Right‘, Readwave, 02/08/14. Something odd was happening. The air had been tingling for days; fizzing when he wafted his hand across his face, and just lately leaving a faint after-glow in its trail’
Eight Days of Ether flash competition, June 2014. All free downloads, max 500 words.
1. Theme #Adventure. The space between thinking and doing. A door opens in the space between thinking and doing and a young woman steps through. Her body has no shape, her head is empty, her eyes are pale and dilute.
2. Theme #Hats. Pretending not to see. When Jodie put on her magic hat, she became invisible …She ran, crawled, dived, and shot enemies.
3. Theme #Time. When. When you don’t have any left because something in you stopped working. When you have too much and it hangs like wet blankets in your head and over your eyes. When someone steals it by gossiping …
4. Theme #Desire. Where Things Come From. Chocolates – dark and bitter and containing surprises such as a chilli-coated scorpion or a gingered locust
5. Theme #Risk. The People Indoors. Boring,’ says The Charlie. He’s The Paul’s opposite but the upshot is the same, pulling the decision away from absolute certainty back to something more lively. He rarely has any ideas of his own though, these are Carole’s prerogative.
6. Theme #Tragedy. When you can’t go on. Awards ceremony. Posh frock; pale peach …
A very cheap shot, this one! When the clear impetus was towards difficult human experiences, I only heard The Bee Gees. It’s a 22 worder and, ladies, you’ll know what I’m saying!  Tragedy – in case you’re so very, very young http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPcsMMEMbfw
8. Theme #Song and Dance. Dark brown voices, buttons and bows. We’re in Jackson, me and Jude, for the show. I have a two-day beard and my feet hurt like hell. I sling them up on the table and lean back.
‘How the Fat Fairies Saved the World’ Zouch Magazine, May 26th, 2014. Coincidentally – or maybe not – published at the exact GMT time of the event: Then, at about half past seven on a Monday morning (Greenwich Meantime, naturally), a huge invisible energy net, formed of particles so exotic they hadn’t even been assigned their own letter of the Greek alphabet, swept around the world, gathering up large moving objects and scanning them as it went, as if they all had bar codes. 1257 words
‘Cover Art’, Full of Crow, May 21st, 2014. Have you heard of anthropodermy? ‘I used chicken skin to begin with because of its ready availability, but I was soon dissatisfied with it for that very reason, as it dampened my enthusiasm for the end results.’ Probably not for the squeamish. 493 words
The Spider and the Wire Wool Madness Lascaux Flash Fiction competition, March 2014. ‘Since you found me, I have often been a spider, scuttling across blackness and rolling up tight in the brighter spots until you have gone.’ 243 words
‘Frozen Fireworks’, Readwave, February 6th, 2014. The last real day is bright and brilliant with a sky full of clotted clouds that tumble along like cream puffs in the thickening air. When the storms break, they cast scaled and feathered flying things down onto the sand, and the sand begins to swim like wet concrete around them. Also in audio. 292 words
‘Level Playing’, Readwave, February 6th, 2014. ‘Lag messing with the rendering, that’s what’s doing it. Power diversions to the SinCity sim, I’ll bet.’ 682 words
‘Doomcha Doof’, Readwave, February 4th, 2014. ‘People didn’t lose their souls, they had them confiscated for sinning. So what sin did you have to commit to become a dance-floor donkey?’ Also in audio. 249 words.
‘No Animals Were Harmed‘, Every Day Fiction, November 21st, 2013. “Thank you for disengaging sensory dampers and keeping your emotional reactivity processors operational; the audience is paying to experience your dysfunction. The first episode will go live in 5 – 4 – 3 …”. 997 words
Dance to the Wild Ice, Lancaster university online anthology, June 2013. ‘When Izzy’s eyelids got burned off, she had to watch all the time without blinking – apart from the frog-lick that slides across side-to-side, but you can see through that so there’s no escape and she’s been watching since Jinty started making the dance.’ 795 words
‘Silent Noise’, is an experimental piece using only dialogue. 23rd August, 2012. Whose eyes are Devil’s eyes, Phil? don’t tell her keep it secret we’ll know ho ho say it lo Secret.Tell me about the secret.It proved unsuitable for competition or print due to the slightly interactive nature of the format and so it is here on the blog. 533 words
‘Speckles in the Sky‘, This Personal Space, May 11th, 2013. The man was coming into view feet first: trainers, track suit bottoms, and finally a T shirt with Grey Power printed across the front. The rest of him was rather blurred, and what’s more she could see dark speckles in the sky. Written for a friend’s retirement, Speckles is published with her permission. 803 words
‘Dog Day’, Ether Books, October 16th, 2013. Within the hour, all four were done up like dogs’ dinners, installed in a stretch limo with cheesy piped music, and deposited in front of a gilded reverend of questionable denomination. This is a 69p download for smartphones. 2111 words
‘Puddles like Pillows’, Zouche Magazine, August 28th, 2013. After a while, with the streets and parks getting less cluttered, it started to look as if some cosmic recycler had dropped by to tidy us up. So then people stopped using the bins and just hung about with their cameras waiting for their banana skin or whatever to take off. 984 words. Finalist in the 2014 Lascaux Short Story competition and now in the anthology Wonderful!
‘Cat Nav‘ is out on podcast, August 5th, 2013, read by the wonderful Folly Blaine who pronounces ‘prestidigitator’ so you don’t have to. 999 words
‘Oars for Legs’, Full of Crow, July 2013. It’s very embarrassing to have a spasm in the middle of a – how shall we say – romantic interlude. Even more so when you have succeeded in trapping your paramour by the genitals and pinned him up against the wall. Cerebral palsy can be a bugger sometimes. 278 words
‘No Arrests in 2039′ out on podcast, read by the very talented Folly Blaine. A flash story about driverless taxis and a local council’s inventive approach to managing its crime statistics. You might want to take the bus after this.
‘Dance to the Wild Ice’. In Lancaster university MA programme anthology, June 25th, 2013. Set in the same world as ‘All the Birthdays’. When Izzy’s eyelids got burned off, she had to watch all the time without blinking – apart from the frog-lick that slides across side-to-side, but you can see through that so there’s no escape and she’s been watching since Jinty started making the dance. 788 words
‘All the Birthdays’, Lascaux Flash Competition, March 6th 2013. Also in FlashFlood, April 19th, 2013 When the spirits dance, you have to dodge out of the way and cover your head so they don’t hiss sharp into your ears or quick-grab your tongue. Mostly though, you have to keep your eyes open … Also in audio. 245 words
‘Stardust, Sunshine, Leeds, & LA’, Ether Books, February 15th, 2013. If your dad has dementia and your days are filled with World War II, escape into a virtual world and cybersex with an avatar is just the ticket – isn’t it? Download the app for iPhone (android in beta & coming soon) so you can read on your phone. 3629 words
‘Accounting for Nitwits‘, Every Day Fiction – January 21st 2013. Lady Isadora has just been elected President of an upper crust rose growers’ society: “I’ll even be overseeing all those absolutely fascinating little spreadsheet things.” My smile is fixing, like acrylic paint on a garden gnome. “They do all the work for you, of course, you just twiddle them a bit.” 995 words
‘Red is for Go’, Roadside Attractions – 22nd October, 2012. “‘Which one of us died?’ ‘He did. Back then.’ ‘And now?’ She looked up at the ceiling, at the bright carriage lights that cast unforgiving shadows under the sleep deprived eyes of its hot-desking passengers … ” Now on Scribd 2619 words
‘The Wild Rose and the China Doll‘, Full of Crow – 17th October. 2012 . “On a frozen beach, brown waves thundering under a gritty pier and a grittier sky, God got his own back and I burst, sparkling, into life.” Also in audio 699 words
‘Cat Nav‘ Every Day Fiction –
September 24th, 2012. “Now you’ll stay in at night,” Joe told Houdini, the big, orange, cantankerous-looking tabby he was trying to stuff into a carrier. Not flippin’ likely, said Houdini, although of course he didn’t because he was a cat … 999 words
‘The Justice Box‘ Ether Books – September 2012. “Jesus loves her, Jesus loves her, Jesus loves the murdering bitch.’ Emmy chuckles to herself in that private way only people whose heads are somewhere else can do. She hunches up on the bed and grabs her knees; pulling them up to her chin, and hugging them like babies. ‘Pretty boys,’ she says; and bites into her knee cap.” Also on This Personal Space, 16th October, 2012. 2574 words
‘Baby Bird’ Read Short Fiction – September 4th, 2012. I keep thinking we should have left it to die, you know, rather than do what we did. Seal it back up, let it go wherever it was going, let someone else find it, not us. 1500 words
‘Five Shades for Greg’ is up on the Ether Books Olympic flash competition August 4th – 10th (midday UK time). What’s it about? You have to ask? Greg powered in to take Bronze in the downloads competition so THANK YOU downloaders! He’s still there, along with a couple of other tales, and there’s an Android app coming out soon. Check here. 652 words
‘If it ain’t broke …’ another Indie on This Personal Space, May 20th, 2012 and now very pleased to announce its availability as an iPhone/iPod download from Ether Books, 12/07/12. There’s a great deal of effort going into the prevention of disabilities, including Down’s Syndrome. But not everyone with DS sees that as a benefit so what would happen if you had the choice to go back and change your own DNA? Robert has to make up his mind. 1362 words
‘Stardust, Sunshine, Leeds, and LA’ Part of my ‘Summer Sale’ and out on This Personal Space, July 2nd 2012. Stardust Silverwobbit cast a critical eye over her outfit – head to this side, head to that – pink suspenders? No, not tonight. She ditched the pink suspenders … 3629 words
‘Introducing George’ Creative non-fiction published in Miaow 76, newsletter of the Cat Special Interest Group (SIG) of British Mensa, Summer 2012. Excerpt: ‘Let me introduce you to George. I’d like to say he’s the only one with a smile but, frankly, they all look like they’d have your hand off if you fed them after midnight and got them wet. Oh wait – somebody obviously did that …‘
‘Philosopher Stoned’ and ‘Kitchen Forensics’ Read at SWAG’s ‘Oscar’s Oscars’ night, May 18th 2012, as part of the West Sussex Writers‘ spot. Live. Scary? You betcha! Both stories are here on the blog.
‘Fete Accomplice’ out on Ether Books July 25th, 2012 as a paid download for iPhones/iPads. Also as an Indie on This Personal Space, April 22nd, 2012. Marissa Nalletamby, married with two children, starts to have romantic dreams about a man she barely knows. Is it an affair if she never actually meets him? And why is his dream-self getting younger? 5997 words
‘A Tale of Two Sixties’ Zouche Magazine & Miscellany. In Essays, 11th October 2011. My own experience of making the move from the north of England to the south in 1967. If the phrase ‘It’s grim up North’ resonates with you, think what it might have been like 40+ years ago without colour TV, a motorway, mobile phone, and internet communication to bring other ways of life to us. The psychedelia of Brighton and the unstructured life of an art student could not have been more different. 1472 words
‘Arthur’s Stone’ Full of Crow – October 2011. A snapshot of life with a man who has autism. 709 words
‘Lovely Girls‘ The Other Room Journal, 19th August 2011. This is the first piece I think of as literary. You may not, of course! It’s about the bleak life of a woman with cerebral palsy in a 1960s institution for people with learning disabilities – mental handicap, as it was known. Now on This Personal Space following the demise of TORJ. 1999 words
‘When Glorious Eyes Close’ Hazard Cat, 28th February 2011. Always room for a bit of cat schmaltz. 261 words
‘Moonrise’, Every Day Fiction, January 2011. Inspired by the unfortunate experience of a friend. It’s fiction, really it is … 303 words
‘Promotion’, PowFastFiction, October 2010. Now on the blog. First proper publication; thanks Karen [*!] Sadly, Pow Fast is no longer publishing. 485 words
‘Rory’s Tie’ in: Dog Days of Summer, Michael J Solender (ed), September 2010. My first competition entry. The task was to write in 101 words, a story containing the words ‘summer’ and ‘heat’. If you know anything about dogs, you’re ahead of the crowd. I suspect many readers were not and may remain baffled to this day. 101 words
‘Baby and Me’ The Psychologist, 1999 12(1). Volumes of The Psychologist have recently been archived. Hopefully this link points to a PDF that is accessible to non-members. ‘Baby and Me’, about my struggles with early computers, is in the Lighter Side section and so qualifies for this blog rather than the brain-achingly sciencey one.