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

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 is scheduled to be published by The Arcanist on 21 December 2018. I’ll add a link here when it is.

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.

42189865_470287400149249_4929145317770657792_oThis 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.

Lepidoptera* (Littsburgh)

Posted: August 10, 2018 in Uncategorized

MothSo this might just be the highlight of my writing year to date. On 6 August 2018, I received the following email:

It’s your friends at The Arcanist. We’re promoting our book, The Arcanist: Year One, and we’ve been talking with one of our popular local magazines. They often feature excerpts from books as part of the promotion and we would like to use your story ‘Lepidoptera’ as the excerpt. (Did you know that it’s one of our most popular stories?) It would be the story in its entirety still under The Arcanist name but on the Littsburgh website. (Link in case you’d like to read more.) We just wanted to make sure that you’d be comfortable with this feature before we move forward. Let us know either way.

I couldn’t say yes fast enough. Since I sent Lepidoptera to The Arcanist earlier this year, it’s been published on their website, in their anthology and now on the Littsburgh site. Three successes for one story – I couldn’t be happier.

Littsburgh is “the online destination for the writers, publishing professionals, organizers, institutions, and readers who make Pittsburgh one of the world’s most literary cities.” It looks pretty cool.

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.

Lepidoptera was published by Littsburgh on 9 August 2018.

*Previously Published

I remember being intrigued when Unnerving Magazine first appeared on the scene. I wasn’t writing much horror at the time although I was rediscovering my love for reading it, and the promise of that first issue stayed with me.

Since then, I’ve become a subscriber to Unnerving Magazine and on a few occasions I’ve submitted stories but always without success. Recently, though, a couple of stories have come close, so I knew I couldn’t give up.

Another Side of Gustav Holst came to me in the form of a question: what if Holst wrote an movement for Earth as part of The Planets suite, but couldn’t share it for some reason? What might that reason be? It was a fun story to write.

Unnerving Magazine publishes horror, crime, science fiction and fantasy on a quarterly basis and I’d like to say a huge thanks to the editor, Eddie Generous, for accepting my story.

Another Side of Gustav Holst will appear in Unnerving Magazine #9 in February 2019. I’ll post a link here when it’s available.

Escalation* (FlashFlood)

Posted: June 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

This Saturday is National Flash-Fiction Day and the third anniversary of me being a published writer. I’ve been so busy working on horror short stories, I haven’t had time to write any flash recently, and I wasn’t going to submit to this until a writer friend mentioned that the FlashFlood journal accepts reprints.

Escalation was first published by Flash Fiction Fans back in March 2016. In fact, it was the fifth story I ever had published. Sadly, the Flash Fiction Fans competition was abandoned and  the website was taken down, so the story is no longer accessible – which meant it was perfect for the FlashFlood journal.

The FlashFlood happens every year on National Flash Fiction Day. Throughout the day, a new flash fiction story is published every fifteen minutes, and they’re available to everyone for free.

The new version of Escalation, which benefits from an additional 100 words, was published in the FlashFlood Journal on National Flash-Fiction Day, 18 June 2018, at 18.20.

*Previously published.