I’m not going to say too much about this one. Sack of Souls was first published by The Molotov Cocktail back in December 2016 and it’s one of my favourite stories. When Grinning Skull Press announced they were still looking for extra stories for the latest Deathlehem anthology, I got in touch and mentioned it was available. They were open to reprints but Sack of Souls was below their required word count. They asked me to send it over anyway.

So I did. And they accepted it.

Deathlehem

I’m really pleased the O Unholy Night in Deathlehem is going to contain two of my Christmas stories, as well as stories by friends of mine. I can’t wait to get stuck in.

Sack of Souls will be published in O Unholy Night in Deathlehem before Christmas. I’ll post a link here when it’s available.

*Previously published.

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Deathlehem-1The Coal Shed is a story I’ve had kicking around since last Christmas. I wrote and submitted it to an anthology that never happened. While there are a lot of calls for Christmas horror stories, they’re also quite seasonal. Hence the wait.

I love Christmas and I have fond memories of getting up early to write this story, which I started immediately after I’d finished writing Crying the Neck. The opening pages, describing an old lady meandering into the fictional town of Lee Sodbury, were actually taken from an alternative opening to the only book I’ve ever finished writing (Memories of Ghosts). The book will never see the light of day but I’m glad I found a way to share this character and a little of her adventures. She’s someone I might come back to.

O Unholy Night in Deathlehem is the latest in the series of Deathlehem charity anthologies from Grinning Skull Press. Grinning Skull Press is ‘a new voice in the world of Horror Fiction.’ Their mission is to ‘bring you the very best the genre has to offer.’ I shall be sending more stories their way in the near future.

The Coal Shed will be published in O Unholy Night in Deathlehem before Christmas. I’ll post a link here when it’s available.

Dq0gWM-WoAAur2kWe were on holiday in France when the results of The Molotov Cocktail’s Flash Monster contest were announced. Flash Monster is their flagship contest, the one they come back to every year, and in the past I’ve managed three rejections and a close but no cigar – so my expectations this time around were measured.

I remember scrolling through the results and finding one of my three entries in the close but no cigars. I genuinely thought that was it for me. And then I got to tenth place, ninth place, eighth…and nothing. Not until I reached the top three and…there I was, in second place, with my story, The Lamppost Huggers!

The kids got a bonus trip to Raptor Park for this one.

Years ago, in my previous job, I used to traipse up to the high street in all weathers to catch the bus into work. The Lamppost Huggers was one of those ideas I woke up with – I don’t know where it came from – but the setting and the main character’s daily commute were very familiar to me.

I read all of the top ten entries on the ferry home and they were all superb – so many ideas, so much imagination. My heartfelt thanks to Josh Goller and Mary Lenoir Bond for running these competitions and publishing one of the best lit zines around.

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The Molotov Cocktail publishes “volatile flash fiction, the kind of prose you cook up in a bathtub and handle with rubber gloves.” And as I’ve said many times before, I’m a huge fan.

The Lamppost Huggers was published in the Halloween 2018 Flash Monster issue of The Molotov Cocktail, and will appear in the fifth winners anthology in around a year’s time.

PS (15 Jan 2019) Just found out that The Molotov Cocktail has nominated The Lamppost Huggers for Best Small Fictions!

The Arcanist Ghost StoriesAs much as I love horror stories, I love ghost stories even more. The Gothic mansion, the whispers in empty rooms, the lingering dead – what’s not to like? I’ve written several ghost stories over the past few years but this is only the second one I’ve had published. I’m not sure why the others have struggled to find homes, maybe it’s because the genre is so old it’s hard to create something that feels new. Blame MR James.

I really enjoyed reading The Arcanist’s ‘Year One’ anthology, so when they announced a ghost story competition, I knew I was going to have to commit some serious time and energy to it. I submitted three stories in the end. Boîte Fantôme was the first one I wrote and the last one I submitted, and I was over the moon when it won the competition.

The Arcanist is an online literary magazine, focusing on “genre-based flash fiction.” From the Wild West to deepest space, from gay ghosts to wheelchair-bound paranormal investigators, the Ghost Stories collection is impressive for its diversity. It’s perfect for a chilly, autumn evening. My only wish is that it was longer!

Boîte Fantôme was published by The Arcanist in the Ghost Stories anthology on 1 October 2018. It was also published online on 26 October 2018 and you can read it here.

Ghost Box

While you’re here, why not sign up to receive the latest stories from The Arcanist – delivered straight to your inbox every week for free! I know I have.

PS Boîte Fantôme has also been nominated for a BIFFY. That’s two now…

Molotov Lit Zine crew

Molotov MeIf anything, this year’s Flash Fiction Festival was better than the last. I got to meet Josh and Mary, the editors of The Molotov Cocktail (above, with other Molotov Cocktail regulars – amazing!), and on Friday night I was invited to read my story, Boleskine, at the opening of the festival. Workshops by Haleh Agar, Calum Kerr and Ingrid Jendrzejewski were less intense than last year’s, while still being thought-provoking and informative. At one point, I wondered whether I was going to do any writing. Then Sunday rolled around and Christopher Allen cracked the whip. I must have written five or six stories in his workshop. Talk about a sprint finish.

Once again, we were invited to submit any or all of the stories we’d written for the festival anthology, and I sent in The Audience is Always Right. In the workshop, I was given the first line for this story and the rest was written against the clock, with only minor edits made after I returned home. I’m thrilled it’s been accepted.

The Flash Fiction Festival is for writers who want to learn more about flash fiction, with workshops from leading flash fiction practitioners from around the globe. It’s awesome.

The Audience is Always Right will be published in the Flash Fiction Festival Two anthology later this year, alongside stories from many of my friends. I’ll post a link here when it’s available.

Jeremy’s Wish (The Arcanist)

Posted: August 26, 2018 in Uncategorized

Jeremy's Wish

Following the publication of Sack of Souls in 2016 and Baubles & Beer Cans in 2017, I’m thrilled to have another dark Christmas tale coming out this year. Jeremy’s Wish is the story of a young boy and his Scrooge-like father on Christmas morning. Instead of the old maxim, “Be careful what you wish for,” the message here is perhaps, “Be careful what others wish for.”

Jeremy’s Wish is my third acceptance from The Arcanist this year and I can’t thank them enough. I’ve been inspired by the publication of their Year One anthology, and I’ve already written a couple of ghost stories for their inaugural competition – I’m really happy with them, so watch this space!

The Arcanist is an online literary magazine, focusing on “genre-based flash fiction.” The editors have published some really creative science fiction and horror since it was launched and I hope it’ll be around for a long time to come.

Jeremy’s Wish was published by The Arcanist on 21 December 2018.

While you’re here, why not sign up to receive the latest stories from The Arcanist – delivered straight to your inbox every week for free! Better still, check out what’s available through their Patreon account.

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This is not the first time fairies have crept into my work. Given the favourable response to Waternish Boy, I guess it was inevitable they’d find their way back at some point. But this time they’re not alone and their mission is even more sinister.

I need to thank Gary Buller for the title, as it was inspired by his superb fairy story ‘Wicked Congregation’, published in the ‘Monsters Exist’ issue of Deadman’s Tome.

And I’d like to thank Stephen Dillon at Things in the Well for including Wicked Collaboration in the second volume of Trickster’s Treats, as well as for the work he does to promote charities through his anthologies. I’ve donated my fee for this story to Women’s Community Shelters Ltd and hopefully lots of the other contributors will be able to donate theirs as well.

Wicked Collaboration was published in Trickster’s Treats: Tales from the Pumpkin Patch #2 on 24 September.