Big Head Syndrome Published in Okay Donkey Magazine

I love Okay Donkey Magazine for its regular output of weird fiction. I submitted my collection (still unpublished, working title: Aiming Towards the Sun) to their press earlier this year in response to a call for submissions. They decided to go with a different author this time, but got in touch to say they enjoyed the collection and gave me some helpful feedback on story ordering. They also invited me to submit a stand-alone story for the magazine.

I'd recently been working on this story, Big Head Syndrome, with input from my flash fiction feedback group, and it seemed like it would be the perfect fit for Okay Donkey. The editors agreed!

You can read Big Head Syndrome here:

Vixen Published in Flash Fiction Online

Today I'd like to sing the praises of one of my favourite flash fiction publications, Flash Fiction Online. It's a Friday morning ritual for me to read this week's story on the site. Although not explicitly a speculative fiction publication, FFO leans towards the weird - which I love!

I submitted my story, Vixen, to FFO some time in August 2020. A couple of months later I was very excited to get a message from then-editor Suzanne Vincent saying she wanted to publish it - but I needed to change the ending.

Anguish! I was in love with my last line. But, after I thought about it, I remembered a member of my writing group telling me pretty much exactly the same thing, that the symbolism didn't work. At the time, I'd put that advice aside because although I agreed there was a problem, I hadn't known how to fix it. Thankfully, Suzanne made some suggestions that helped me see a way to an ending that made sense.

Lesson? Always listen to that member of your writing group who doesn't say much, but what she does say always goes straight to the heart of the problem.

You can read Vixen here

On-The-Spot Writing

31st Jan 2021

My story After the Race was published today in Brilliant Flash Fiction.

This story won an "on the spot" writing contest. Participants had one hour to write a story on the theme "race" (all interpretations allowed).

To me as a runner, the word instantly made me think of racing - something I hadn't been able to do all year due to Covid-19 restrictions. I remembered that I'd once tried to write a micro about walking home from my first half marathon, not having anyone to share the experience with, and so having an imaginary conversation about it in my head. I also remembered that I'd structured that micro as a single run-on sentence in second person - yuck! Some people might be able to pull this off, but in this case it had been a disaster.

So I figured I'd try again, without looking at what I wrote before. No weird structure. Several times longer. Same basic idea, although I ended up setting the story after the character had arrived home rather than during her walk.

The result? It's not bad. Several readers have told me the emotions feel very real.

I think it helps that I didn't have time to edit the life out of it. I threw it onto the page, neatened it up, and then the hour deadline was nearing so I sent it in.

Want to read? Here's the January 2021 issue of Brilliant Flash Fiction. Scroll down the page to find After the Race.

Publication: Marmalade

2nd Sep 2020

Sheffield-based arts organisation Kurious Arts have published the shortlisted stories for their "curious" themed short story competition in A Very Kurious Anthology

My story "Marmalade" -- a dystopian story of a mother and child surviving in a post-apocalyptic world -- features, along with winners "The Gestation Period of a Lemon" by Holly Rose Gammage and The "Land of Cardboard" by Enzo Kohara Franca.

Grab yourself a copy here for £7.50

Kurious Arts has been amazing in supporting my writing this year. Until the Covid-19 lockdown, I was using their co-working space in Castle House, Sheffield, as a place to write. Since March, they've run weekly online Writers' Cafe sessions for goal setting, planning, prompts, and mutual support. My work-in-progress novel (currently at 25,000 words) got off the ground thanks to Laura Wake's novel-writing course in early 2020, which was hosted by Kurious.

If you've read any extracts from my novel, you may recognise similar themes in Marmalade.

Publication: Tooth and Claw

3rd July 2020

Thank you Banshee Press for publishing my dark, rustic short story, Tooth and Claw.

The Banshees suggested some excellent edits and in general were great to work with. Check out their free 2020 online issue.

Publication: Red Flag

15th June 2020

I'd like to thank 101 Words for publishing my microfiction Red Flag.

This story was shortlisted for Quarantine Quanta. Thank you to organiser Maura Yzmore for suggesting 101 Words as a suitable publication venue.

Escape Pod Flash Fiction - 3rd Place

12th June 2020

My 500-word story The Day The Sun Went Out achieved joint third place in the 2020 Escape Pod flash fiction contest. Listen out for the story on an upcoming episode of the podcast (probably around September).

This story is a spin-off from Behind the Sky, the post-apocalyptic novel I'm currently working on. Sign up to my mailing list and I'll let you know when I eventually finish and publish it. I don't have a regular newsletter, so you won't be inundated with emails.

Publication: Not Ready

1st April 2020

Thank you to Fifty Word Stories for publishing another of my fifty-word stories, Not Ready.

This micro is a linked story with Side Effects, which was published in February.

Writer's Domain Love Poem Contest 2020 - Runner Up

25th Feb 2020

I don't write many poems, so it was a fantastic surprise to hear that Blue Jeans won the 2020 Writer's Domain Love Poem Contest.

Writer's Domain is a content creation platform that I've worked for as a freelance writer for several years. Several times a year, they run creative writing contests on their blog.

I wrote Blue Jeans during the creative writing group at Sheffield Central Library. Run by Claire Walker, this group is always a great source of inspiration.