I’m thrilled to announce that, for the third year running, I have a story in the annual charity Christmas anthology from Grinning Skull Press.

Following the publication of The Lamppost Huggers and Unbecoming Me, I’ve been taking a break from writing short fiction to focus on other projects, including my third album with the Prison Club Band, which is due in 2021

I’m such a fan of Christmas horror, I couldn’t resist writing something for Grinning Skull Press, and the end result is a new novelette called ‘Dead Man’s Tree’, which is set on the same stretch of the North Norfolk coast as the opening tale in The Lamppost Huggers collection.

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’ve read the last two Deathlehem anthologies and they were both fantastic. Very entertaining and just right for those long, cold nights on the run up to Christmas.

Dead Man’s Tree will be published in Santa Claws is coming to Deathlehem this Christmas – I’ll post links here when it’s available,

Back in January, I was lucky enough to attend the No Sleep Podcast’s Bristol date on their European tour – a fantastic evening of entertainment. While there, I met Owen Morgan, one of the owners of the Abominable Book Club, who was interested in publishing novels and full-length short story collections for inclusion in their boxes.

I was deep into the production work for The Lamppost Huggers and Other Wretched Tales, and I didn’t think I had the time or the stories to make up a second collection, even though the opportunity was attractive.

I didn’t send anything to Owen, although I realised that three of the stories I’d been working on would sit well together in a collection – Devil’s Reach, Hell’s Teeth and Unbecoming Me. More than this, I saw a way to link the stories through a recurring character, which adds an unexpected dimension to the collection.

Soon after, Dean from Demain Publishing mentioned he was preparing to open up for submissions for the second round of Short Sharp Shocks. I sent the three-story collection over to him and I’m thrilled to say he was happy to publish it as the first volume in the second series.

Demain Publishing, based in Cannes, France, is a relatively new initiative, set up by author, editor and award-winning script-writer, Dean M. Drinkel. Dean’s intention is to select and publish 6 novelettes a month as standalone e-books, with hard copies following at some point in the future.

Unbecoming Me & Other Interruptions was published on 18 September 2020 by Demain Publishing.

flashpocalypsecover2-2I’ve been so busy writing short stories, novelettes and novellas – as well as working on my debut flash fiction collection The Lamppost Huggers and Other Wretched Tales that I haven’t had much chance to write new flash fiction recently.

In March, The Molotov Cocktail announced the theme of their latest competition, Flashpocalypse. They were after stories with an apocalyptic or dystopian element of some kind, but no viruses or pandemics, because “that’s a little too nonfiction for our tastes right now.” This is exactly the kind of story I enjoy writing the most, so I knew I’d have to come out of flash retirement and write something new. So I did.

The Molotov Cocktail publishes ‘volatile flash fiction, the kind of prose you cook up in a bathtub and handle with rubber gloves.’ They publish two issues a month and five bumper issues a year, featuring the winners of the quarterly contests. And I’m a huge fan.

After the Ghosts was published online in the Flashpocalypse issue of the Molotov Lit Zine on 20 May 2020. It will be included in The Molotov Cocktail Prize Winners anthology volume 6 in 2021. Sadly, it won’t appear with my previous Molotov successes in my collection, The Lamppost Huggers and Other Wretched Tales – but hopefully I’ll get the chance to include it in another collection at some point in the apocalyptic future.

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On 1 June 2020, I shall be publishing my first single author collection of flash horror. The Lamppost Huggers and Other Wretched Tales features 26 flash fiction stories, including six competition-winners and three brand new stories. It also features cover art by Bram Stoker-award winner, Kealan Patrick Burke; and an introduction from Sunday Times bestselling author and fellow member of #TeamDarkness, Christina Dalcher. For more information and regular updates, check out my new website.

Not Alone 2The 500-word version of Canyonlands was originally accepted for the 2016 ‘A Furious Hope’ anthology, which sadly never materialised. I’d forgotten all about the story until Storgy magazine invited submissions for a charity anthology to help the homeless and vulnerable in our communities. In keeping with my recent approach of expanding my stories, I submitted a 1,000-word version of Canyonlands for consideration and I’m thrilled it was accepted because the line-up of authors for this anthology is incredible (see below)!

From the STORGY website: “Working in close partnership with UK charities The Big Issue Foundation (registered charity number 1049077), Centrepoint (292411), Shelter (263710), and The Bristol Methodist Centre (1150295), STORGY Books is publishing an exclusive anthology to help raise funds and provide support for people affected by homelessness following the devastating outbreak of Coronavirus. All proceeds from purchases of You Are Not Alone will be equally distributed between our partner charities to  provide ongoing support for people experiencing homelessness during – and after – the Covid-19 crisis.”

STORGY is an online literary short story magazine consisting of a core group of dedicated writers, who aim to inspire artistic collaboration and provide opportunities for creative minds to meet.

Canyonlands will be published in the You Are Not Alone anthology from STORGY on 1 June 2020.

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I wrote three stories for The Arcanist Ghost Story contest. Boîte Fantôme (which one the contest) was the first, and Delicate Equilibrium was the second. Like my previous acceptance (The Other Side of Giving), Delicate Equilibrium was simply too much story for the 1,000-word limit. I’m glad I had the opportunity to extend it to a more-comfortable 2,000 words, and even happier that this coincided with a submission call from Transmundane Press for stories about time travel.

Yes, Delicate Equilibrium is both a ghost story and a story about time travel, and you’ll have to read it to find out exactly what that entails!

Transmundane Press is a genre-based, independent press that aims to produce quality fiction through mentoring and a rigorous editing process that promises clean language, developed plots and characters, and thought-provoking themes.

Delicate Equilibrium will be published in the On Time anthology from Transmundane Press in 2020. I’ll post a link where as soon as it becomes available.

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The Other Side of Giving is a story about the darker side of Santa’s Christmas operations during a period of prolonged austerity. A haggard stranger appears in the woods next to a remote village, with a sinister message for anyone wishing to celebrate the season.

“The world is growing. Costs are rising. Sacrifices must be made.”

I wrote the original 250-word version of The Other Side of Giving for a Christmas competition in 2018. It always felt like too much story for such a small word count, so I’m glad it didn’t win. A year later, my 2,000-word version of the same story was quickly snapped up for the latest Deathlehem anthology from Grinning Skull Press – and what an anthology it is.

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.’ They’ve already shared the title and cover art for the 2020 Christmas anthology, and submissions are open now. It looks amazing.

The Other Side of Giving was published in A Tree Lighting in Deathlehem on 24 December 2019.

That moment when you’re waiting for half-a-dozen overdue submission responses and an editor from a fantastic lit mag contacts you out of the blue to ask you to submit something for Halloween. That’s what happened to me last week and if felt great!

I’ve been a fan of Ellipsis Zine for a couple of years now and really enjoyed issue four, ‘The Whisper Place’, which had an amazing cover and was packed full of creepy and unsettling flashes. This year, Steve (the editor) is looking to publish a week’s worth of fresh horror stories online to celebrate Halloween, and I’m thrilled I had a story I could send his way.

Under a Black Glass Ceiling was originally written for, and finished up as a close-but-no-cigar in The Molotov Cocktail’s Phantom Flash contest. I knew something wasn’t working the way I wanted it to when I submitted it to that contest and I’ve been tinkering with it ever since. Steve’s request couldn’t have come at a better time, because I’d finally arrived at a version of the story I was happy with.

Ellipsis Zine is an online literary magazine for beautifully written fiction & creative nonfiction. They ‘love stories that make us forget where we are, stories that introduce us to people, places and things we’ve never seen before and stories that stick with us long after we leave them.’

Under a Black Glass Ceiling was published by Ellipsis Zine on 30 October, just in time for Halloween.

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I was suThe Arcanist Monstersrprised and over the moon when I heard I’d won The Arcanist’s flash fiction contest for a second year running (after last year’s success with Boîte Fantôme). This year, the theme was ‘Monsters’. It should have been easy but I honestly couldn’t think of anything to write. Close to giving up, I trawled through my computer files, looking for an abandoned story or a title or anything that might inspire me. What I found was a first sentence I barely remembered writing:

There’s a girl next door who puts dead flies in her sandwiches.

With nothing more than this, I took my laptop out into the garden, sat down and wrote. By the time I had a first draft, I was buzzing with excitement. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

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 it seems to be going from strength to strength.

Fledglings will published by The Arcanist in the Monster Flash anthology on Wednesday 9 October 2019 and the Year Three anthology in 2020. It was also published online on 25 October 2019 in time for Halloween.

Two acceptances in two days is something that doesn’t happen anywhere near often enough! I was still riding high after The Arcanist accepted Lingering when the email popped up from Flash Fiction Festival, confirming they were accepting my story Malik for the third festival anthology.

Funnily enough, I didn’t write any complete new stories at this year’s festival, although it was another fantastic weekend of learning, laughing and sunshine. Malik is one of the stories I wrote at the first Flash Fiction Festival. The story was inspired by Liam – the devilish real-life robot that dismantles Apple iPhones. It’s not the first time Malik has been accepted for publication but, sadly, the ZeroFlash anthology was aborted.

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. I’ve been every year so far and it’s awesome.

Malik will be published in Flash Fiction Festival Three. I’ll post a link here when it’s available.