Thursday 14 September 2023

🥂 Highly Commended Flash Fiction 🥂

Hooray, some good news to share!
A challenging little flash fiction piece I wrote at the start of summer, Pig Willow, was awarded highly commended by and competition seventeen judge Sarah Royston - @SarahRoyston4

Pig Willow deals with pregnancy loss, so isn't a jolly little nibble to leave a smile on your face. It will, I hope, leave you with something, though.

Click here to see Pig Willow on the site Competition Seventeen Highly Commended: Pig Willow – Free Flash Fiction First published by FFF September 12 2023

Photo credit simpleinsomnia on Flickr March 20 2016 Little girl in a pool with her back to the camera | simpleinsomnia | Flickr

Click here to see Sarah Royston's comment on (Twitter) run flash fiction competitions throughout the year, enter competition eighteen here Current Competition | Free Flash Fiction

Monday 31 July 2023

Sharing my work first published by other bloggers #3 Noelle

 By rights, this should have been #1, but, never mind 🙂

It was written as a flash for my writing group, and first published here Lou's Writing News, Cues and Reviews ( December 15th 2022


‘Now, Joanna,’ Maureen (her boss at the elderly complex) had said, ‘some – but not all – of our guests like their flat to be trimmed up for Christmas. It is not for you to judge, only to listen and do. If they want an olive-green bauble covered in cobwebs to be hung on a wonky tree, then so be it. If their pride and joy is a bald doll with a torn doily for a dress, and bent tin-foil wings, you tell them it’s beautiful and stick it on top of their tree. Got it? Good. Number eleven first.’

Number eleven: Doula’s flat. Doula was like a riddle Jo couldn’t crack. The idea she wanted her flat festooned contrasted wonderfully with the always dark, and sometimes horrifying, stories she told Jo.

            ‘That one round the back, girl, where I don’t have to look at it.’ Doula had managed to make decorating the tree an ordeal, berating her every time she picked up a threadbare bauble or battered cracker. Now, only the angel remained.

‘Handle her with care,’ Doula said, in a gentle voice, ‘she’s special.’

Indeed, she was. Her tin-foil wings bent, paper-doily dress (held on with yellowing tape) torn, and on top of a tangle of yellow hair clung a shining halo.

Jo lifted the angel up for a closer look, and gasped. ‘Oh, it’s a tiny bangle! How lovely. Whose was it?’

Doula stared, entranced, at the little angel, as Jo placed her carefully atop the wonky tree. ‘Was Noelle’s,’ she replied, and reached up and touched the angel. ‘She was due on Christmas. Born still Jan third. Never got the chance to wear it, so the angel does. Like she’s still here. Just life,’ she said to Jo, who was busy blinking back tears, ‘just life.’

Sharing my work posted by other bloggers #2 Tiddles

Also first published here Lou's Writing News, Cues and Reviews: Drabbling: The results of the Twenty-Twenty Club Drabble Competition 2023 ( on March 6th 2023 


I loved you from the moment I saw you lying upside-down in your litter tray. Eighteen months old and mad, you were meant for me. Nobody else could cuddle you; your pointy black face and moss-green eyes staring up at me in bewilderment. Always.

We removed the wallpaper because you kept climbing it, got used to mopping up puddles of water, puddles of wee when you started to forget, when you went blind.

Now, I hold you to my chest like a new-born, so you can feel my heart beating as your own runs out. I love you. Always.

Sharing my work posted by other bloggers #1 Sometimes Even Tina

I wrote Sometimes Even Tina for a 100 words Drabble competition from my writing group. It's about how easy it is to lose your identity when your name seems to be an afterthought.

It was first published on March 6th 2023 here Lou's Writing News, Cues and Reviews: Drabbling: The results of the Twenty-Twenty Club Drabble Competition 2023 (

Caterina was dull. Everyone who met her as a babe remarked that she was ‘no trouble at all,’ which translated as ‘she doesn’t do much, does she?’ By the time she started school, everyone had forgotten Caterina’s name. She answered to all sorts, sometimes even Tina. She didn’t know to correct them, so she didn’t. Everyone who met her remarked how ‘clean and quiet’ she was, which translated as ‘she’ll never leave her mark.’ So, it was rather ironic that when Caterina disappeared that day, everyone finally looked for her. But by then it was too late.

Friday 14 July 2023

checkmated by a scaredy-cat

I don't know how to play chess, nor wizard chess. Once upon a time, I could play draughts, but can't quite remember how anymore. 

There are two good reasons for this black and white gap in my knowledge:

1; holes in my brain, literal holes, where info falls out of existence like pennies in a ripped pocket. 

2; I am a terrible loser when it comes to games (all games) and not pleasant to play against. This is my sole (ha!) character flaw.

Now, what does One Night in Bankok and a rambling post about not playing chess have in common with this innocent looking little feline in the accompanying picture?
I'll tell you what: that teensy weensy silver bell you see underneath her chinni-chin-chin, that's what.

Basically, b*tch just checkmated me in one foul swoop. No, that isn't a typo. Her move truly was foul; brilliant, but foul.

Little Glinda, though still frightened by her own shadow, has proved more murderous than any other cat we've owned in a near quarter-century in this house. She can and will kill anything. So far, so typical of a cat. But Glinda takes the level of cruelty from 'ooh, NAUGHTY cat!' to a whole new spectrum. I won't elaborate, or you'll have nightmares.

So, thought I would help the birds out by belling her ass, and giving them an ice-cream van style tonkly warning on her approach. Which worked. I guess.

Turned out Glinda was so scared of being persued by an invisible ghost ringing a bell (under her chin) that she just stopped moving. Plonked herself down by the pond to stare doleful at the newts for hours, and had to be carried inside last night by John.

She crept upstairs at bedtime, and slept on our bed as per norm. Today, she went outside at first (pouring with rain, and very grey) light, where she has stayed every since. Covered in mud.

I relented, sucker that I am, and removed her collar. 
Why give up so easily? I hear you cry, because she checkmated me last night, that's why. 

Have just discovered that the b*tch peed through my duvet last night, while I was sleeping under it.

All hail the queen ♟️

Thursday 29 June 2023

Something Good Is Gonna Happen


Wow! What a frustrating week it’s been for my writerly-self. No success of any kind has to be found, even though I’ve sniffed around for it like a cartoon bloodhound (yes; with the deerstalker hat, monocle, and pipe.)

Two competitions – good ones, with actual cash prizes! – looked promising, and I began working on submissions, convinced I qualified for both. Then came harsh reality, slapping me around the chops.

Competition 1: Undiscovered/ underrepresented writers. Yes! That’s me!! I’m undiscovered and underrepresented. Me, Sir, me!!! Well, nope, not underrepresented in one important aspect (which shall not be mentioned), so that was a no-go.

Never mind, there’s always…

Competition 2: Underrepresented, you say? Why, that’s me, Miss, me! Hmm, the wording of the entry is a little loose and fuzzy, I know, I’ll email and ask for clarification, and while I wait, I’ll get started on my entry. Hurray! Entry going well, have words on the page, vague idea where I’m heading, but… Oh, no! This cannot be!! I’m (so it transpires) too successful? How can that be?

Holds up left hand, while accessing online banking with the right. Checks account balance. Are you sure I’m too successful? Because…


As I said, frustrating week. And then, another thing happened to add to it (third time’s the charm though, right?)

My firstborn child – not my real-life daughter, but my in-need-of-extra-support literary child, The Dendrites, got rejected. Again. I don’t even recall submitting it to this particular publisher, and I know it’s a tough child to love (The Undateables would never have it on; not even that nice lady at Flame Introductions would take it on, and she loves a challenge,) but I’m sad for it, nonetheless. It’s my firstborn, after all.

Still, onwards, and upwards we trudge. Something good is gonna happen, no?

Saturday 3 June 2023

Almost Famous...

A kindly stranger (not a stranger; a writer buddy I've known for a fair few years) who has a proper blog, and is a proper published author, did a profile of me for her own blog here ➡️ 

She interviewed me about various writing-related things, and published an original story by me: Midnight Chicken, Stone Spewers, and Men from the Past.
Give it a read, if you like, and them maybe read all her other posts. She is ace.

🥂 Highly Commended Flash Fiction 🥂

Hooray, some good news to share! A challenging little flash fiction piece I wrote at the start of summer, Pig Willow , was awarded highly co...