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I Published a Book!

I published a merry bloody book!

And now that we’ve got Halloween and Bonfire Night out of the way, I’m finally able to flog it. It’s Christmas-themed, y’see. Yes, sensible old me thought it would be a cracking idea to make my first foray into the self-publishing world with a seasonal book that folks will only ever want to buy for around 6 weeks of the year. I mean… you live and learn, right?

Merry Bloody Christmas is a multi-genre short story collection which I originally wrote and posted on this blog last year. I was reasonably chuffed with the stories then, but I knew they weren’t as polished as they could be. Not only that, but they soon got buried as I continued to post new stories and book reviews. So, I pulled them from the site, dusted them off, whipped them into shape, and published them. Continue reading “I Published a Book!”

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders | Book Review

Lincoln in the Bardo was the 2017 Man Booker Prize winner, and it’s been on my to-read list since then. It tells the story of Abraham Lincoln during the loss of his son, which came at a time when the American Civil War was in full swing. Little Willie Lincoln is just 11 years old when he dies, and he finds himself trapped in a ghostly realm between life and rebirth, along with a bunch of bickering, whinging, whining ghosts. The novel is told through a series of excerpts from newspaper reports, books, journals and diaries, as well as the first-person narration of various ghosts who witness Lincoln entering his son’s crypt and cradling his body. Continue reading “Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders | Book Review”

The Flingahrung | Microfiction

“It’s a Flingahrung. Duh.”

She scrutinised the mass of screwed up newspaper, bent chicken wire, flaking acrylic paint and globs of PVA glue. “What does it do?”

He ran his grubby fingers through his hair, coiffing it into an electrified bird’s nest. “Don’t you know anything?” Continue reading “The Flingahrung | Microfiction”

The Authentic London Experience | Flash Fiction

“Before we go to Buckingham Palace, we have to get some of those mince pies.”

“Ugh, do we have to?”

“Yes! We’re in London at Christmas. It’s, like, compulsory to try traditional British mince pies when you’re in London at this time of year.”

“Fine. But they sound gross. Who puts meat in sweet pies? Only the Brits.”

“They don’t have meat in them. The mincemeat is just fruit and stuff.”

“Really? So why do they call it mincemeat?”

“Beats me. They’re kind of weird over here. Look at that — ‘Freshly Baked Mince Pies’ — it’s, literally, a sign! I guess we’ll head into that café to try some.”

The café is dim and grimy and void of customers, but that doesn’t stop the American tourists. It’s all part of the authentic London experience, or so they think.

CONTINUE READING ON MEDIUM >

I Gave Her My Glock | Flash Fiction

It was a simple little wallet; plain black faux leather, worn and tatty. She saw it fall out of his coat pocket and land on the pavement as he walked down the street. He didn’t notice; his hands were full. She lurched after him, grabbed the wallet, and babbled at him until he turned around.

“Excuse me! Your wallet. You dropped… I’ve got… wallet… Excuse me!”

When he turned and looked at her, she lost her breath and flushed bright pink. She thrust the wallet at him. “You dropped it.” Continue reading “I Gave Her My Glock | Flash Fiction”

Down the Hatch | Flash Fiction

“Take a seat, Miles. Drink?”

“No, no thank you. Better not.”

“Oh, go on. It’s Friday, after all.”

Miles wipes his brow and sits down at his boss’s desk, while Mr Cooke pours two generous tots of whiskey.

“It’s been a tough week, Miles.”

Miles nods.

“Have you not found it a tough week?”

“Oh, yes sir. Very tough week. Yes. I nodded.”

“You what?”

“No, I… I agreed. Tough week.”

“Let’s talk about it.” Mr Cooke pushes a glass towards Miles. “Tell me about your week.”

“Well. I had… a few problems.”

“Oh, I know, I know. Exactly how much money did you lose the company, Miles?”

Miles swallows hard. “It was, um, a little over… seven, I think. Yes, seven million.”

CONTINUE READING ON MEDIUM >

Green Pen | Short Story

It was the same grizzly scene he’d seen eight times before. A pale corpse, its face stricken with fear and its neck punctured with a green ballpoint pen. Blood sprayed about the room and pooled around the body. And a note, written in green ink on yellow paper, which read:

You won’t catch me. If you do, you’ll come to regret it.

Never any prints. Never any clues. Never a single thing to go on.

Investigations on the pen and paper had drawn a blank. Both were popular brands which had been sold in supermarkets and stationary stores up and down the country for years. Tracing potential suspects was impossible; too many people bought the damn things to isolate any decent leads.

There were never any witnesses. Neighbours never heard signs of break-in or struggle or even the murders themselves. There was never any nearby CCTV to hint as to who had been in the area before and after the crime took place.

The victims weren’t linked. They didn’t know each other or share mutual friends or acquaintances. There was no evidence of them having enemies. They weren’t even alike in appearance or nature. All of them were from completely different walks of life, killed for the sake of killing, it seemed.

And it all left the detective completely and utterly stumped. Victim number nine gave him no more clues as to the murderer than victim number one.

He nurses a glass of brandy while staring at the four walls of his living room.

CONTINUE READING ON MEDIUM >

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert | Book Review

Alice’s reclusive grandmother is the renowned writer of Tales from the Hinterland, a book of dark fairy tales, but Alice has never really known her. Instead, she has spent most of her life on the road with her mother, running from bad luck which always seems to find them whenever they try to settle down. When her mother is snatched by unsavoury characters from the Hinterland, Alice must delve into the fantastical world of her grandmother’s stories in an attempt to break the curse of bad luck for good. Continue reading “The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert | Book Review”

Secret Santa | Short Story

“Lacy knickers?” Leslie’s face is crinkled with confusion. “Is this a joke?”

“They’re not for you,” Gerald grumbles. “They’re supposed to be for Lesley.”

“I am Leslie,” says Leslie.

“The other Lesley.”

“But I picked the other Lesley out of the hat – I bought for her.”

“Hang on. How do you spell your names?” Continue reading “Secret Santa | Short Story”

We Get It, You Vape | Microfiction

“You damn hipster,” Olrug said with a sneer.

Xalmun took a long toke on his electronic cigarette and blew plumes of vapour straight into his friend’s face. “It’s better for you.”

“Is it now?”

“Yup. Filters out all those filthy toxins. The dark thoughts. The sins. The impure fantasies.”

Olrug sighed. “But they’re the best parts. They give that nice, bitter burn at the back of your throat. It’s not the same without that kick, y’know?”

Xalmun rolled his eyes. “You gonna put this one out of its misery?”…

CONTINUE READING ON MEDIUM >