Tag Archives: short story

Through Death’s Door Book Launch

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To celebrate the launch of this anthology from me and Natalie Rix featuring stories from over 20 different authors, we are having an online book launch on Halloween. We would love for you to be able to join us, where you’ll have the chance to hear more about some of the authors and win some books!

To join us, all you need to do is CLICK HERE and click going. Hope to see you there!

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First Chapter of Contagion

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Much love to everyone who’s supported me on my writing journey so far, and as a thank you, I would like to share with you all the very first chapter of Contagion.

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My knuckles turn white as my fingers clutch the seat belt. What’s taking him so long? I continue to stare out the car window, past the shards of glass that lie glinting under the moonlight, into the dark warehouse.
Just as I consider picking up Dad’s car radio and ringing the station for backup, he steps out of the shadows, a handcuffed man in tow. I let out the deep breath I was holding upon sight of him. This isn’t the first time a meal out has ended in sirens and Dad rushing to the scene of a crime, and it never gets any easier for me, being stuck in the vehicle, having to watch and wait.
The window sticks as I hurry to wind it down, so I open the door a fraction instead. “Everything okay, Dad?” My voice echoes off the walls of the building, into the night air.
“Yeah, everything’s fine, Bryony.” He pants, dragging the handcuffed man over to the vehicle. “Could ya do me a favour and open the boot?”
I unclip my seatbelt and step out of the car to pop open the boot. I know immediately what Dad needs: antiseptic wipes and a medical facemask to prevent contamination. He should have put gloves on before going into the warehouse, but he was the first, and apparently only, officer on the scene and didn’t have time to spare.
He opens one of the backdoors and guides the man into the car with a harder than necessary shove.
“Sorry I took so long. I had to check the whole building for others,” he says as he opens the packet of antiseptic wipes and cleans his hands.
I hand a facemask over to him. “I was worried.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“I know, it’s just… since Mum—”
“—Your mum’s death was a terrible accident, courtesy of one of these a-holes. If they think they’re going to get me too, they’ve got another thing coming.”
The man scowls at us through the glass. I unintentionally reel back at the sight of his face—half a bald head that’s been taken over by oozing scabs and two long slits for a nose. He’s also older than I assumed he would be. He sees me recoil and slowly turns away, unfazed.
“Anyway, I need to get this guy into a jail cell as soon as. You know I hate to ask, but are you okay to walk back? I mean, I would drop you off, but I don’t particularly want you anywhere near this freak.”
I roll my eyes dramatically, making sure he sees. Sometimes I think he forgets that I am nineteen, meaning that I am more than definitely capable of walking myself home.
“Okay, okay, I get it. I’m mollycoddling you again, aren’t I?” He squeezes my shoulder gently. “Just make sure to ring me once you’re home, okay? Remember to lock the door behind you—”
“—And check all the windows are locked too. I know, I know. You’ve told me a hundred times.”
“And I will continue telling you even when I’m old and grey and you’ve long moved out.”
“You’re already old and grey.” I smirk, knowing Dad will take it in good humour.
“Don’t be so cheeky,” I hear Dad say as I turn away and start the walk home. And only once I disappear around the corner do I hear Dad’s sirens growing fainter and fainter as he drives off in the opposite direction.

I walk along the outside of our town, looking at the trees that surround it with our ‘no mutants’ signs nailed to their trunks. We’ve never needed a fence to keep the mutants out. Our public executions of the ones kept in our underground prison every time it gets full usually gives them enough of a warning to stay away. We still get the odd few that don’t listen, such as the one from tonight, but it’s not a common occurrence.
“Just a couple more steps,” I tell myself out loud as our house comes into view at the end of the street. I rub at my arms for warmth as each breath leaves my mouth in a cloud of steam. The gate has been left open. I close it with a click behind me, wondering who might have visited while we were out.
The sensor lights turn on, as I walk up to the porch, fumbling around in my handbag. “Where are you, damn keys?” I look under the doormat for the spare, but it’s not there. Tutting, I kick the doormat back into place with frustration. The amount of times Dad hasn’t been able to find his keys and taken the spare one instead should be a world record. I just wish one of those times wasn’t today.
I sigh and use our wheelie bin as a step to climb unglamorously over the fence, before landing on my feet in the squelchy mud of our back garden.
I pull the handle of the back door down, hoping for some kind of miracle, but as expected, it’s locked. “Crap,” I say, turning around.
“Looking for these?” A man is standing there, dangling a single key in front of my face. I open my mouth to scream, but before any sound comes out I feel a hard thump to the back of my head.

If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, you can read chapter 2 for free as well by signing up to my mailing list!

My Interview for A Flash of Words

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Here’s my interview for my story ‘The Consequences of Grief’ featured in the ‘A flash of words’ anthology

What was the inspiration for your story?
When I was studying creative writing at uni, a fellow author (can’t remember who unfortunately) came to give a talk. We practised an exercise where we shut our eyes and Imagined ourselves led down. Where are you led? What’s the weather like? Take notice of your surroundings. I imagined myself in a dark field at night.

After taking notice of your surroundings (eyes still shut), turn your head to the left, there is a shadow approaching. Wait for it to get closer. What or whom is it? When they reach you, what do they want? I imagined my cat who had died years back approaching me.

From this I came up with an idea about going to a field to visit my dead cat every night because I couldn’t let her go. The cat soon became a child and ended up as the basis behind my story.

Was there a time when writing where you had to sit back stunned at what just happened? If so, what was it?
The ending. It wasn’t what I was originally going to go with, but I thought it would give the most emotional impact.

What do you think is the key to writing a compelling flash story?
For me it would be not too many characters. I sometimes get a bit lost when someone has a lot of characters, but especially in flash fiction there’s just not enough time to learn who each and every character is if there’s too many of them.

Apart from writing, what do you do for fun?
I’m very crafty and am always making things. Painting is an especially big hobby of mine — mostly watercolour animals.

Can you relate to any of the characters in your flash fiction story?
Yes, I really relate to the MC. I am not a parent myself, but I still know what it’s like to grieve.

If you were on death row, what would you want your last meal to be?
Easy. A chicken chaat from my local Indian restaurant as a starter. Afterwards, an Oreo crunch waffle from Kaspa’s and also Kinder Bueno cookie dough. For drinks, a Coke Zero, Oreo milkshake and Snickers milkshake.

Pick up a copy of “A Flash of Words” in paperback or eBook at any book retailer worldwide, including Amazon! (aff link)

Cover Reveal for A Flash Of Words

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Yes, I know I’ve been neglecting this blog a bit and to be honest I’ve been neglecting writing too, but I have been editing A LOT of novels for other people lately.

You may remember me saying that I have been accepted for publication in the anthology ‘A Flash Of Words’. Well, it’s hopefully coming out NEXT MONTH and I have also received an image of the cover that’s going to be used. Unfortunately my name didn’t make it onto the front, but I guess my story being inside is what matters most!

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First drafts are allowed to be shit

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Take mine for example:

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I had an amazing idea for a short story in my head so I grabbed my pen and paper and began to write. Needless to say I have not done whatever was in my head justice at all – what I wrote is shit.
I started doing edits to it as you can see but it just wasn’t working out so I’ve ripped this page out and started again.
Your first draft is allowed to be shit. It is extremely uncommon to write a story and think ‘this is perfect.’ There’s always mistakes whether it just be spellings or a character that doesn’t work. For me I know that my first draft does nothing to grip the reader. But that’s okay because it’s not finished yet! My second draft will be much better and maybe it will take me ten rewrites to get it perfect but I will get there!

Hilarious story!

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This is not my story (nor my experience) but I just read this and thought it was one of the most hilarious stories I’ve ever seen, so just had to share it with you!

Like everything in life, farts have a time and place. However, I never realized that in the wrong time and place, flatulence had enough power to alter my course in history. Well, it can if it’s the third date with the man of your dreams. And, if it makes his eyes burn. If God destined us to be together, I was one SBD away from foiling His plans (that’s “Silent But Deadly” for you prudes).
It was about five years ago. I was trying to lose a few pounds so I was staying away from carbs. That’s when I met my husband, Rob. On our first date, he booked the next two. He liked me. I liked him. Things were looking real good.
He picked me up in a Cobra, Mustang and his pathetic attempt to win me over with a car totally worked. I’m not shallow, but since I spent most of my twenties picking men up because I didn’t want my hair to frizz in their non-air conditioned jalopies on 3 wheels and a 15 year old spare, I welcomed his fancy sports car with open arms.
We arrived at the restaurant and Rob was ordering food I hadn’t allowed myself to eat in years. I didn’t want to be “that girl” so I ate, drank, and oh, was I merry. Later we shopped a bit. Rob surprised me by buying an expensive pair of shoes that he caught me eyeing. Was this love?
That’s when it happened. Gas strikes in two different ways – uncontrollable toots or sharp, shooting pains that feel a lot like dying. I thought I was dying. Not to make a scene, I told Rob I suddenly wasn’t feeling well and probably needed to head home.
On the way home in his Cobra, he tried to hold my hand and ask me lots of questions, but I wasn’t having any of it. The pain was so bad it felt like I was being stabbed with a bunch of tiny forks. Then I realized …
My God, help me. I have a horrendous fart on deck. I’m in trouble. Big trouble.

The more I held it in, the more pain would shoot through my stomach and down my legs. I was even having to raise myself off the seat, gripping on to my door and the dashboard.
“Seriously, you need to hurry – I’m in a lot of pain.” I managed to say through gritted teeth.
“Wow, it’s that bad? What’s wrong? Do I need to take you to a hospital?”
How do you tell a man you just started dating that the reason you’re writhing in pain is because you have to fart?
Well, you can either tell him, or like me, let the fart speak for itself.
People, hear me. There was nothing I could do. As impressive as I am with sphincter control, this was out of my hands. Slowly, it eeked out. The more I tried to stop it, the more it forced its way through the door. However, to my pleasant surprise, there was no sound. I sat silently, sweat accumulating above my upper lip. Ok, maybe I got away with it. Maybe I’m home free. Then it hit me. Not an idea, a cloud. A horrific, fart cloud. Not in a, “Am I smelling something?” sort of way. More like a “Is someone dead and rotting in your trunk and am I in hell?” sort of way.
Suddenly, I panicked. “Roll down the windows!” I screamed (yes, I literally screamed it like I was in a horror movie).
“What? Why?” Rob asked, starting to freak out because I was freaking out.
“I can’t roll down the windows, unlock it! UNLOCK IT!”
“What’s going on?” Rob yells back to me, “Why are you …” then it hit him. I could see it in his eyes. Was it surprise? Horror? Water started to accumulate at the base of his eyelids, “Oh my God, I CAN TASTE IT!” he screamed.
“Roll down the windows!” As I screamed, the toots started to flood out uncontrollably. I scratched and clawed at the window like I was being kidnapped. Rob, unable to see either by fart cloud or panic, kept turning on the windshield wipers instead of unlocking the window.
It was chaos. We were acting like we were under siege by gun fire. We were under siege alright, just not by gun fire.
Finally he was able to hit the right control and he rolled down our windows. We both gulped in fresh air. I was horrified, yet happy to be alive, then remembered I just farted on the man of dreams, then sorta wished I was dead.
We sat silently for the rest of the way home. Although the shooting pains had subsided, I now desperately needed to use the bathroom, in an urgent, explosive kind of way.
He pulled up to my apartment and before he could come to a stop I had already jumped out, “Ok, thanks for dinner, sorry about the fart, love the shoes!” and ran in to my apartment like I was running from the cops.
I burst through my door and ran straight for the bathroom, where I was finally able to unleash and make noises that no one should ever, EVER, hear coming from another person.
Then I heard it. Rob’s voice. Right. Outside. My. Bathroom. Door.
“Anna? You left your shoes in my car and your front door was open. Where do you want me to put them?”
“Get away from the door!” I screamed like Reagan from The Exorcist.
“Ok, I’m sorry. Are you okay?”
*toot* *toot* *splatter* *ungodly noise*
“I’m fine, Rob – just leave the shoes there. I’ll call you later okay?”
“Okay, are you sure you’re …”
“I’m fine! Get away from the door!”
This man! I mean, I love him, but take a freakin’ hint!
Finally, I heard the front door shut, and the Cobra engine zoom away. I thought that was the last I’d hear from him. I didn’t think it was possible to ever see a man again after he screams he can taste your fart after only knowing you for 48 hours.
But, to my surprise, I did. A couple days later, actually. Now we’re married and he’s lying on the couch while I type this … “It was your rack that saved you,” he just lovingly reminded me.
Well, thank you boobs. You saved us. You saved our destiny.