Category: short stories

I Don’t Know What I’m Thinking, Either

I Don’t Know What I’m Thinking, Either

It’s short story week! Jump on over to read Glenda & the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, or read on for a few thoughts about the story itself.

Yeah, and my bedside table is just as tidy as that. *snorts*

I do that writery thing you always read about, where I keep a notebook and a piece of paper by the bed. It seems like a reasonable thing to do, right? I mean, who knows what pearl of genius may rise to the surface in the night?

But this is what really happens:

If I wake up in the night, it’s because I need the loo, and I’m mostly concentrating on not walking into any walls or tripping over cat toys. If I survive that excursion, I sink gratefully back into bed and hope I haven’t woken the cat up. Because if I’ve woken the cat up, then she wants cuddles/play/food, and I have to either provide the first two or ignore the last, in the hope that she gives up and goes back to sleep. This is an unusual occurrence. She’s a very persistent cat.

However, assuming I survive this, I have every intention of going back to sleep myself rather than attempting to pen an inspiring note by the faint light filtering in through the curtains. My writing’s pretty illegible at the best of times. Half-asleep and in the dark, it’s going to look like the local spiders are sending us ransom notes.

Of course, I have tried, because it seems very writery, and I like pretending to be writery. But I’ll tell you now – my 3am dream thoughts are not lighting papers of story. They’re somewhere between a 5-year-old’s Christmas list and the ramblings of someone on a morphine drip. I mean, what do you do with “Rabbit. Green snow – bees. Yeah.”?

Not a lot.

However, I was evidently both relatively lucid and able to hold the pen like a normal human being when I wrote this one down: “Glenda & the Horsemen of the Apocalypse”.

I mean, it’s not a story.

But it was a seed.

Read on and enjoy!


Yeah, not QUITE like that.


Do you write down your dreams, or ideas that come to you in the night? Have they led you down some interesting paths? Tell me in the comments!


Dragons, & the Stories We Tell Ourselves

Dragons, & the Stories We Tell Ourselves

It’s short story week, and we’re joining Beaufort Scales, High Lord of the Cloverly dragons and barbecue aficionado. Jump straight to the story here, or read on for a chat! (And if you’ve not encountered Beaufort before, there’s a Q&A with him here, or you can ask me about his other short stories!)

Dragons don’t swim! That’s a truth.

One thing I have always known, is that I am terrible at drawing. I failed art at school (somewhat like PE (sports), I doubt anyone knew it was possible to fail art until I came along). I have a terrible sense of proportion and no spatial awareness whatsoever. Hence, I spend a lot of time measuring and using spirit levels before drilling holes anywhere, as eyeballing it is not an option for me (and pictures are still usually wonky, because even if I get the holes in the right place, I can’t sit them straight), most of my photos have horizons with more angle than the Tower of Pisa, and cakes are never cut evenly.

And this generally doesn’t bother me. Drawing has never been a passion for me. I love other people’s drawings, and admire anyone who has the talent to create such beautiful things. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to do.

But. I have a dragon. And of all my characters, he’s the pushiest and the one I’d most like to see. Plus I can only illustrate his stories with so many cups of tea and slices of cake, especially as the latest one has no tea or cake in it. (Sorry, Beaufort.)

But I can’t draw. This is one of those truths I know about myself.

Like, I can’t dance. I’m no good at maths. I’m terrible at sport. I’m even at worse at small talk.

All these things I know, although, when I think about it, I’m not sure how I know. I dance at home and scare the cat, because I’m not one for going out. I haven’t had to do maths since I was at school. I haven’t played sports since I was at school. And I go into every social occasion so convinced that I can’t talk to people that I’m stressed out before I even begin.

The only one of these truths I’ve tested is the drawing.

Hands up, they’re not brilliant, and I’m not digging for compliments there. I can only draw his little dragon face at one angle, and it’s best you don’t look too closely at his paws. However, he is recognisably a dragon, which was more than I’d hoped for. So maybe I’m not as terrible at drawing as I thought.

Maybe I can still learn these things.

Of course, high levels of motivation will be required before I tackle sport or small talk. And I’ll probably keep the dancing at home, and the maths to my phone. But, y’know. I could try.

Truths. Aren’t they funny things, sometimes?

And, on that note – Beaufort looks at a truth he thought he knew about dragons in this week’s short story. Enjoy!

Beaufort Scales & A Rather Difficult Flying Lesson

PS – the drawings are actually mostly of Gilbert. I’m still working on Beaufort.



Do you have any truths about yourself you’d like to test out? Let me know below!

Pixies, Snail Tipping, & a Small Monster

Pixies, Snail Tipping, & a Small Monster

It’s short story week, and I’ve jumped into a little backstory to the BBN (Big Bad Novel). Just straight to the story here, or read on for ramblings!

Poor wee snails. Pixies should be ashamed of themselves.

I keep heading back to the BBN, because I like it over there. I know the characters, and they’re fun to hang out with, plus they have so much going on that just has no real bearing on the BBN itself, yet which make for entertaining stories (in my humble opinion, at least). And all the ingredients of this story really just felt as if they belonged quite nicely in the world of the BBN.

As to where the ingredients came from – honestly, I have no idea where the monster in the bathtub came from. I can’t remember. If it was from a tweet, thank you to whoever tweeted it. If it wasn’t – well, no idea. The snail tipping I do remember, however. I was horribly tired, and trying to say something about nail clippings (why, I’m not sure. I’m okay with not knowing that one). In my tiredness that became snail tipping, which led to a discussion with the SO about snail-tipping pixies, because of course it did. And because that was too appealing an idea to be left alone, it made its way over here.

So read on, enjoy, and watch out for those young pixie hooligans…

A Monster in the Bathtub

All she wanted was a nice peaceful bath…
We All Have Sock Monsters

We All Have Sock Monsters

If you’d like to hop straight to this week’s short story, away you go – it’s The Sock Monster. Enjoy!

The sock monster’s been at it again…

Honestly? I hate wearing socks. I hate wearing shoes.

Every year when it starts getting cold I go through this novelty factor period, where I love putting my boots on, much the same as I love wearing jeans every day for about two weeks. Then I realise I’m going to have to wear jeans and socks and shoes for months. At which point I withdraw my approval for winter and start counting down until I can get my feet out again.

I should point out that I grew up between the tropics, where bare feet were basically compulsory, and New Zealand, where jandals (which is what we call flip-flops. Or thongs, if you’re from Oz. Or insert your preferred terminology here) are pretty much national dress in summer. Sometimes winter, too, if you’re hard core and don’t want to wear gumboots (Wellies. Galoshes. Rain boots. This is getting more complicated than I anticipated). I’ve never really adjusted to wearing shoes year-round, and try to avoid it as much as possible – if I can get away with jandals, I will, and if I’m at home it’s bare feet until my toes go blue. Which happens.

So my socks don’t exactly get a lot of hard wear. Which is why I never understand how I can go from a full drawer of matched, intact socks, to a drawer full of somewhat matched, Swiss cheese-ed footwear. I really do not wear them enough for holes to appear so quickly, or so indiscriminately – old socks and new socks, I turn around one day and they’ve all got holes in them.

Which leads me to the only logical conclusion.

I have a sock monster.

You probably do too.

And having established this, I did the only sensible thing I could.

I wrote a story about it.

Read on!

My sock drawer may look full, but trust me – most of them aren’t even intact…
For the Love of Short Stories

For the Love of Short Stories


When I was a kid, I loved short stories. I mean, they’re a whole world, a whole adventure, wrapped neatly and ready for devouring in one sitting. What’s not to like, right? And in one book of short stories you have a dozen or more little slices of imagination, that you can dip into, or skip, or return to, exactly as you like. Wonderful things, short stories. And the skillful ones – well, they’ll punch just as hard and bite just as deep as a novel, all pared down to the bones of the author’s fancy.

But I stopped reading them. I couldn’t say why, exactly – maybe just the desire to have something meatier, something to hide me away from the world for hours or days at a time. Maybe I didn’t like leaving characters so soon, or having so little time to get to know them. Maybe I forgot how many good short stories there are out there, after buying (or begging Mum to buy) one too many books with titles like “50 Tales of Bloodcurdling Terror!” or “50 Terrifying Ghost Stories!” These always had enticingly gaudy covers, with green-tinged skies glowering over dilapidated houses, in which a single light burned in an upstairs window. Usually they could be counted on to provide one or two good stories and a lot of terrible ones, but they were big books that looked convincingly creepy, which was good enough for my pre-teen self. I had yet to learn about the whole quality vs quantity thing.

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The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas


Well, technically it’s the week before Christmas, but near enough. If you’re anything like me, you’ve had quite enough gift lists, holiday survival guides,  and menu plans – if we’re not ready now, we’re probably not going to be, so we may as well embrace it. What’s Christmas without a few burned mince pies, an inappropriate gift or two,  and some lumpy gravy, anyway?

And in that spirit, it felt like it was time for something a little silly, something that maybe even caught the mood of the season. And, okay, yeah – I was messing around. I don’t think I’ve written in verse since I was in high school, and that, my friends, is an awfully long time ago.  Apologies, because I doubt my rhyming skills have improved much since. But hopefully it gives you a giggle.

Have fun these holidays!

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A Writer’s Christmas List

A Writer’s Christmas List

These are not as easy to build as they look.

​I know, I know. There are a thousand and one gift guides out there for the writer/reader/introvert in your life (because let’s face it – more often than not, they’re one and the same). But how many fancy pens and pretty notebooks can we really use? Especially as we are super-picky, and it’s entirely possible that, although we’ll thank you very much for your lovely gifts, and they’ll have pride of place on our desks, we’ll also continue writing in our cheap notebooks with the dodgy covers, using our scratchy, blotchy pens, because, well, habit. And writer weirdness. Don’t try and talk us out of it.

So, now you have some idea of what you’re dealing with (if you didn’t already – after all, if you have a pet writer/reader/introvert in your life, you’re reading this for a reason. Such as: they’re weird and I’m not sure what to do with them), let me make a few suggestions:

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Books for the Ah-ha Moments

Books for the Ah-ha Moments

Book dragon is cool. Book dragon is not worried about the future. Book dragon is taking all your advice with a pinch of – something.

So my last proper blog post was both an acknowledgement of the many fantastic resources of writing information out there, and a bemoaning of how long it took me to figure out that I didn’t need to implement every last piece of advice down to the letter. I have issues with this. When I went to Uni I took two biological science courses, because my biology teacher said I should. I took two English lit courses because my English teacher said I should. And I took archaeology and anthropology because my Mum said I should. Finally, I took philosophy because it sounded good to me, and I dropped out after the first year because philosophy got me thinking a little differently, and I realised I didn’t want to do any of it. I just thought I should.

All that aside (we could talk about the issues with ‘should’ all day), I have picked up a few writing books that I love. So, although I don’t really do book reviews, I’m going to talk about them a little here. They fall into two categories, the how-tos and the inspirational. Whether you find them quite as wonderful as me will depend on your process – but you never know where you’ll stumble across your ah-ha moments, do you?

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Advice on Writing Advice

Advice on Writing Advice



​When I wrote the rough draft of my books, it was by hand, with iffy internet. I didn’t read any articles about how I should do it, I just did it, for better or worse.

For years this has been pretty much how my writing has gone. I started out writing longhand, figuring it out as I went, and as back then all my writing was for me, it didn’t matter. I told my stories and made my bad jokes, and popped them in a drawer. When I last tried writing novels, I was in a pretty bad place personally, and I’m actually quite grateful I never delved into the online writing world, such as it may have been back then. I was tearing myself apart quite well enough without reading about all the things I was doing wrong.

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Broken Stories

Broken Stories

I should write notes to myself more often.

​Today is short story day. That’s what the more obsessive part of my brain keeps telling me over and over: Today is short story day because last week was blog week and we’re alternating these things dammit so why aren’t you writing a short story and you’re better at stories than blog posts so why aren’t you writing a short story?

And, with the greatest compassion, I’m going to have to tell that part of my brain to bugger off for a bit.

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