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31 Oct

They said that I was too sensitive, thin-skinned, highly strung. Weak was the implication. Too weak to do what I wanted, to follow the career path that was my heart’s desire. I tried not to listen, but the words fed into my soul.

I lost myself in other words, words that took me to other worlds, where I could fight for the freedom of Narnia, solve mysteries with Nancy Drew, explore jungles and far off planets. I stacked the books around me, building a wall to hide behind. I slipped my little pieces of paper in place of mortar, like the faithful at the Wailing Wall.

A wall became a tower, then the tower became a fortress. I worked in a library, built my own at home, added more protection. For I am weak. Like Wilbur, I am the runt of the litter with nothing to commend me.

Cannonballs blasted at my castle, breaching the defences, arrows slipped through cracks, and spears rained over the ramparts. From within I could feel the forces that rocked the very foundations. I had two choices: to hide in a corner, make myself small, close my eyes and let my mind go into the books, never to return; or to come out fighting my foes: fists clenched, armour on, and with a strengthen roar that would silence the world.

This piece was inspired by the writing prompt for 23rd of Oct at Creative Writing Ink


Not One More

10 Oct

Not One More

I promised you I wouldn’t: not one more shoe; not one more drink. The shoes should have been easy, once the diabetes had taken my legs, but the beauty of them persisted, especially without the attendant blisters and wobble.

I didn’t care that staff laughed behind my back, or in front of my face, when I wheeled myself into their shop. Didn’t respond to their wisecracks of whether I thought they would be comfortable. What size? they would ask like it didn’t matter, but it did: there had to be consistency. A six is always easy to get and has the added benefit of looking in proportion, not shrunken or supersized, and I would always consider it my size.

I had low-level shelves erected all around the apartment and furnished them with my collection. I could touch the soft leather, smell the unboxed fragrance; pierce my fingertips with stiletto heels. Nubuck, patent, distressed or polished; red, pink, electric blue, anything but black. I don’t do laces either, or pumps, they must have a heel. Boots would be problematic for the height of my shelves, and they would flop unless I reinforced them, and no one would want to see that.

The drink, at least, was more understandable: I’d drink too, in her situation. The fact that it had contributed to my situation was neither here nor there.

I imagine that most drunks crave the alcohol, but for me, it is all about the aesthetics. My cupboards contained an array of glass sizes and shapes, for whisky, brandy, red or white wine. They didn’t have to be crystal, although a good malt deserved nothing less, but they do have to be beautiful. I love sitting (which is just as well) with a glass in my hand; warming the liquid to the optimal temperature or downing it before it loses its chill.

Breathing in the scent of a full-bodied Bordeaux warms my spirit for hours. The consumption, such as it was, was a by-product of the pleasure.

Not one more shoe; not one more drink. I would have kept my promise too, if you had kept yours: not one more fling; not one more affair.


This piece was inspired by a prompt at Creative Writing Ink (2nd Oct 2019)



19 Sep


Very Dry           I take a reading

Variations in pressure

Change the step

Listen to my asthma

Pull at my throat

Pray absent-mindedly

Or in despair

Oh my God.


The gradient of the hill shifts

With each passing day

Stormy             A sleepless night

The thought of what lies ahead

1 in 10

Fair                  A night of passion

A resolve to screw them all

Someone to talk to

And I’m there

Rain                 I cannot cry

It’s only a job

They cannot

Will not

Make me weep


Finally, it becomes a mountain

Pitched steeper every day

My steps shorten and grow slow

My breath

Infected by indoor pollution



A strong wind forces me backwards

Protecting me from the devil

I will become

If I reach the top

Just one more time.




A rare outing for my poetry – written a while ago, but published here due to prompt on Creative Writing Ink 


Photo by Alexandr Bormotin on Unsplash


A Star is Born

28 Aug

Just before I was deluged by proofreading work – Beech Editorial Services – I popped this little flash in the post (i.e. email). You can read A Star is Born here. If you like it, Like It.

I had written it originally for the wonderful Creative Writing Ink prompt, but thought it could do with another outing. I find the photographic prompts on the CWI website really inspiring, but have deadlines money attached to get on with – maybe at the weekend I’ll be able to grab a few minutes to get some writing done.

Here’s the Deal

3 Aug

So, here’s the deal. I get to brag a little, you get a story you can read for free at Writing Quarter.

The Writing Quarter June 2019 Winner


The Real Jazz Baby

26 Jul

Can’t be bothered reading more than 360 words at a time, then do I have the publication for you – The Real Jazz Baby is published by Reflex Press and contains ‘162 flash fictions from over 120 of the best flash fiction writers in the world.’ (My italics, as I am excited to be included in the collection). Can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Extra Teeth

26 Jul

Check out this Kickstarter campaign for a new Scottish Literary Magazine Extra Teeth. I have no involvement in it but it looks like it has the potential to be a cracker – they just need more support…

Shortlist and Publication

21 Jun

The Federation of Writers (Scotland) are a great group who run competitions, host readings and publish anthologies. I made it on to their Vernal Equinox Shortlist. You can read the winning entries here.

I have also had a flash fiction piece published today here. If you like it, give it a like, it all helps. Friday Flash Fiction.

Walk in Special

14 Jun



Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

It had been a horrible day, the worst of a terrible week. Delayed train, torrential rain, broken umbrella. So, I get to work soaked, only to be told that my classroom has changed and that I need to get myself over to the other campus PDQ.

The taxi is on the college account, but I pay for it, having to listen to the driver’s flat earth beliefs. When I get to Woodbridge the students are all but rioting, and I see that the guy I thought I’d got rid of, is back.

Apparently, I am not allowed to comment on his objectionable t-shirt, as it might be the only one he has, and we can’t do anything to discourage him, can we? I’m fed up having the argument that the female students find it repellent, and no one cares what I feel about it.

I get through the lesson, though there’s little enthusiasm for my compulsory slot, and spend the rest of the morning trying not to give the students the marks they deserve, as that wouldn’t go down well with management.

At lunchtime I am back at the main campus, but I can’t face the staff room. Everyone hates their jobs; hates their students; hates their lives.

My doctor has told me to walk; that the fresh air, sunlight and exercise will help, but my feet drag, especially on the way back where steep hills lie between me and my afternoon.

Then a sign catches my eye: Walk in Special. Should there be a hyphen there? I wonder, but no, maybe it’s a command. So, I take a deep breath, pull my shoulders back and walk in: special.

This piece was inspired by the above photo prompt at Creative Writing Ink

New Writer Awards

2 Jun


Thought I’d share this link, which includes a photo of three of the G2 Alumni (Gail Honeyman, Vicki Jarrett and Phil Murnin)

You can  find out all about applying for this year’s awards here.

Shooter Literary Magazine

Short fiction, non-fiction and poetry

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Scottish Writers' Centre

Company No: SC349247 - Charity No: SC040823


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The Power of Words

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A Writer on Writing, Reading and Life

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Author, Tutor, Speaker, Editor, Comp Judge:

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international prizes for emerging novelists


Helping authors get their books published

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I make nice frocks and write average poetry. And there's a bit of embroidery and the occasional rant.