Changes and Conjuring Up Worlds in a Few Words

Facebook – General AND Chandler’s Ford Today post

Many thanks to all with their kind words of support following the loss of our lovely border collie, Mabel, yesterday. She gets a brief mention in this week’s Chandler’s Ford Today post, where I talk about the changing seasons and my love of autumn.

Autumn was always blighted by inconsiderate firework users (too many of them going off too late at night and for days and days on ends. Absolutely terrifying for most dogs. Not going to be a problem for me this year, sadly, but I do make a plea for the adoption of silent fireworks (yes, they exist) or to focus on organised events which have the saving grace of (a) being safer and (b) don’t go on too late in the evening. The latter gives pet owners time to calm their pets down etc and is much appreciated by said pet owners.

I also put in a plea to look out for hedgehogs under the bonfire heaps before lighting them. I’ve been fond of the creatures ever since I read Mrs Tiggywinkle’s adventures courtesy of Beatrix Potter.

I also invite comments in on what your favourite season is and why. This post was a real joy to write and selecting the images a pleasure (though I could have put so many more in!).


Feature Image - Changing Seasons

My latest CFT post.   Image via Pixabay


Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

An interesting question that came up at Swanwick in the summer was whether flash fiction counted as poetry or prose. It is always counted as prose but it is possible to write poetry as a piece of flash fiction.

Obviously you have to keep it short but the way you express yourself in a few lines can (a) have a poetic quality about it in itself and (b) the way you present the lines on the paper can also create a link to longer poems being presented in the same way. For example:-


I stumbled through the woods.
Not sure what was following me.
I knew I had to dump the goods
No other eye should ever see.


I’ve written this off the top of my head for this post and I can already see ways of improving it. (Hope to do this and include it in my next collection!). But you can see that it looks like a poem but reads like prose. It is a complete story in itself and the word count means it would come in under flash fiction categories very easily.


The eerie quality of fog can have its own beauty

The eerie quality of fog can have its own beauty.  Image via Pixabay


The Interview Interviewed!

I have interviewed Gill James before for CFT and most recently on her wonderful historical fiction, The House on Schellberg Street.  Here she interviews me for her blog!


Blogging via diaries and tablets, ancient and modern technologies via Pixabay

Blogging via journals, diaries and tablets.  Image via Pixabay



Goodreads Author Programme

I’m glad to say I am now part of the Goodreads Author Programme and I love the author Q&A they start you off with to help introduce you to people.  Please do send in questions via this and in the meantime here is what I’ve put up on site so far.  There is a blog attached to this too.  I have written a quick introductory post and, as I get into the habit of writing regularly here too, I will share the links here eventually.  In the meantime here is the Q&A.

Writer at work. Image via Pixabay.

Writer at work. Image via Pixabay.

Fairytales With Bite

My latest Chandler’s Ford Today post talks about the changing seasons and why I love autumn.

A sad change for me this week has been the loss of my elderly border collie.  In the fullness of time we’ll adopt another rescue collie but right now the house feels very empty without my lovely Mabel.  Change can be a terrible thing at times.

Having said that, change is vital for writers.  We need to be able to see what is wrong with our own work so we can edit it effectively.  We need to be open to new writing ideas.  (My being open here led to me writing flash fiction and ultimately being published in it with From Light to Dark and Back Again).  We need, I think, to keep setting goals and striving to achieve them if we are to develop further writing skills (and hopefully publication credits too).

A more positive change recently has been where I was interviewed by Gill James.  (I’ve interviewed her before for CFT).  I share the link here.  Amongst other topics we talk about why I write in the genre that I do.  Sometimes re-examining why you are doing what you are writing wise can be a good idea.  It can reinvigorate your enthusiasm, also perhaps get  you to evaluate if something really is working for you  (and be open to change if not).



My two lovely girls, sadly now gone.  We lost Mabel, the border collie, this week.  Gracie, the bearded/border cross, died just over five years ago.  Both dogs loved their toys!




This World and Others

One huge advantage of writing flash fiction is it teaches you to write “tight” as you don’t have the room for wasting words.  So how can you conjure up new worlds in just a few words?

What you are after is a general impression for your reader.  You can’t go into too much detail but there needs to be enough for them to pick up and fill in gaps with their imagination.

For example my story Calling the Doctor in From Light to Dark and Back Again is one of my very short tales (100 words or thereabouts) and in a few lines I’ve conjured up a naive character, a sense of menace and a rough setting.

This is because this tale has a twist based on a well known novel and if you know that book, the setting of my story would come to you at once.  (Even if you didn’t know the book, there is still enough in the naivety of my character for you to picture what that person would be like and get a sense of their world that way).

So it is a question then of selecting the most important thing your reader must know to make sense of your story.

Ironically, this can work well for longer pieces of fiction too even though you would have the word count to go into more detail.  By focussing on what is the most important thing(s) for your readers to know, there will be no waffling and the images created in your readers’ minds will be so much the stronger because of that.



Do your stories have the right impact on your readers?  What are the ripples caused by the images you create?  Image via Pixabay.



A very busy night tonight.

Association of Christian Writers – More Than Writers (and also Facebook – General)

In my monthly spot for More than Writers, I look at the changing seasons and attitudes towards them.  My maternal grandmother hated autumn.  She always saw it as the season when everything died (and ironically perhaps died in a September many moons ago).  I love autumn despite the downside of the darkening early evenings, fog etc.  Just as we have to have autumn and winter before we can hope to have spring again, I talk about how I don’t feel you can avoid the horrible side of life and how I feel I should handle this as a Christian.

Poetry conjures up images so beautifully. Image via Pixabay. See Sandra Lyn Gordon's wonderful poem on Chandler's Ford Today for another example of great imagery.

Poppies for Remembrance.  Glorious reds are so often a feature of autumn.  Image via Pixabay.

Chandler’s Ford Today/Facebook – General and From Light to Dark and Back Again

My weekly post looks at why writers should “put themselves out there” and flags up a local Book Fair a group of local authors and I will be running at the end of October.  I discuss the advantages of writers banding together like this.  There will be a nice range of books available at the Fair too, many with special offers (including my From Light to Dark and Back Again).  There will be YA fantasy, short story collections, flash fiction (guess whose!) and romantic comedy to name but a few.

One nice thing about events at the end of October is you have to have them indoors generally speaking and we will be at the Age Concern Centre in Brownhill Road in Chandler’s Ford. I will flag up a reminder a bit nearer the time but I should add we were pleased to meet many people at the recent Hiltingbury Extravaganza and hope to meet still more at the Book Fair.

And dare I mention THAT word? Yes, I think so. We see the Book Fair as a great chance to start your Christmas book buying! There will be special offers too…



Coming soon as they say!  Image kindly supplied by Catherine Griffin and Sally Howard.


Goodreads Author Programme

I’m working my way through what has been a busy week.  Pleased to say I’m now on the Goodreads Author Programme and I was delighted at how easy it was to set up the profile and share it on Facebook.  (It is now a link on my author page and my page for From Light to Dark and Back Again).  I loved answering the questions they use to get you started but then I do love author Q&As!  Please do drop by and visit the page.  Would love to answer writing questions so do send them in!



Do send your questions in to my Goodreads Author slot.  Image via Pixabay (and one of the stills from my book trailer for From Light to Dark and Back Again).


Fairytales with Bite – The Point of Fairytales


The link below takes you to the post but also to a slideshow.

To be fair, there is more than one point to fairytales but, for me, the most important one is fairytales can show children things about life and people’s behaviour in an entertaining way that doesn’t preach.

Cinderella doesn’t need to say bullying and cruelty to others is wrong.  You pick that up from the story (and the idea virtue is rewarded, even if it is slow!).  Okay this doesn’t just apply to children but for many it is their first venture into the wonderful world of reading (as it was for me).  All stories show the world we know to some extent via their characters.  We may not be able to identify with the strange world portrayed but we can do so with the character that’s battling for justice against the odds.

What is remarkable about fairytales is their bluntness at times.  They call evil out for what it is and not all of them end happily either (which is also a lesson in life we all need to learn but fairytales are a great way of getting that point across reasonably gently).

I grimace when people dismiss something as “just a fairytale”.  There is nothing “just” about fairytales.  They have to be well crafted stories to hold children’s attention for a start.  When people are asked to name the first book or story they read, they often refer to children’s classics, including the fairytales.


Feature Image - Flash Fiction - Books are Gateway - image via Pixabay

So true!  Image via Pixabay



This World and Others:  Using What is Around You

The link takes you to this post but also to a slideshow.

What is the most popular question ever asked of any writer?  My nomination would be “where do you get your ideas from?”!  Certainly it is the impression I have had from writer interviews I’ve read it is one of the top questions ever asked.

I can understand why people ask it but it is a difficult one to answer.  I get my ideas from a combination of sources and if you even try to explain that, all you will see is your questioner’s eyes glaze over as they were expecting a quick, pat answer!

Over time, I have learned to use what is around me to inspire ideas.  For example, in the UK right now, we are well into autumn and I’ve talked about the changing seasons in my Association of Christian Writers’ blog post this month on their More Than Writers page.

In From Light to Dark and Back Again, my flash fiction pieces have been inspired by moments in films, my take on well known books (for example Frankenstein and Jekyll and Hyde) and also my take on fairytales, my first love when it comes to reading and writing. My characters are nearly always amalgams of character traits, interesting things I’ve overheard that I’ve wanted to adapt and put into the mouth of a fictional person, and physical qualities (some good, others less so!).

So there is no one “go-to” place for ideas, nor should there be, and I guess the only answer to the question is to tell your questioner you get your ideas from many different places.  If they are really keen to know more, you can expand the conversation.  If not, well there’s your quick answer and you haven’t bored them!  Result!



Using what is around you can be the creative spark for many a great story.  Image via Pixabay.




As at the HE, we would also be delighted to share information about creative writing classes, the Hampshire Writers’ Society and so on so so do come and along and see us if you can. We would be very pleased to chat.