Guest Blogging, Intelligent Life, and Books For the Professions

Image Credit:-

All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated.

Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing.

My author picture taken by my other half, Adrian Symes.

Hope the weather is as okay as possible where you are – it has been rather cold here. There is a beauty about snow and ice but I prefer to admire it from indoors!


Facebook – General

Had some snow today but by mid-afternoon most had melted. Anyone else thinking no matter how many layers you do put on, it still isn’t enough? Okay, not just me then.

Looking forward to sharing Part 4 of Launches in Lockdown on Friday where I’ll be talking to the first batch of writers from CafeLit, Chapeltown Books, and Bridge House Publishing.

Again encouraging comments are coming in for this series so a big thanks for that. And I hope it does inspire writers who are wondering how on earth to hold their launches this year with ideas for just how they can!

There will be one part of this series on Friday week and after that I plan to write a round-up of what I’ve been doing as there have been developments over the last few weeks I’m longing to share. By the time this post is due, I should be able to share what I would like to share!

It is one of the oddities of the writing life that things tend to come in batches and often when you’re not expecting them. Still it all keeps me out of mischief and on my toes.

Most of my time at the moment is taken up with writing various non-fiction items which I’ll be sharing later in February and into March (and will be part of my round-up CFT post too). All good fun to do though.

I am enjoying making my short story videos for Youtube. They’re great adverts for my work and a fantastic way to share one and two line stories. (And all counts as part of my marketing of course!). See below for my most recent one, Intelligent Life.

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Facebook – General – Guest Blog Appearance

Many thanks to fellow Swanwicker, #ElizabethDucie, for hosting me on her blog today. Great fun to take part and I will have to get around to having the T-shirt made up (see the post itself for why!). It’s also appropriate for me when I’m wearing my editor’s hat (again see the post for why – come on, no spoilers here!).

I hope to meet up with Elizabeth again in August when hopefully Swanwick will be running again. She carries out sterling service running the Swanwick Book Room, something I know is much appreciated by everyone. (And it will be so nice having more than one book of mine there next time!).

No snow as yet here in my part of the world but the wind is building up in strength and it is so cold out there. Still nothing better than to settle down to my writing for this evening with a big mug of Options Hot Chocolate in my favourite Creme Egg mug alongside! (The irony here – the hot chocolate has far less calories in it than the Creme Egg!).

Fiction writers, what would you say was your favourite thing to write? For me it is either dialogue or a character’s internal thoughts and for the same reason – these show something of your character to your reader. These help your readers form judgments about those characters (and of course the fun then starts as your reader carries on with the story to find out if those thoughts were right or not!).

Managed to submit my short story today. Followed my own advice to take off a couple of weeks from the official deadline. Just as well I did too as I spotted an error in the way I’d titled my story. It has to be one of those which are submitted anonymously and I had missed something here so that was sorted out pronto and story then submitted.

It always pays to double and even triple check you’ve got your submission right for the requirements of the publisher or competition. That is never wasted time!

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Hope Saturday has been okay. We actually had some sunshine today and Lady had a bonus surprise as she got to see her best buddie over at the park today. Both dogs thrilled to see each other. Never let anyone tell you dogs can’t feel emotions – they so do. (Still a right mudfest in the park, mind you).

Writing wise I’m preparing material which I can say more about in March. Yes, I know (!) though March will be here before we know it. Am champing at the bit to share the news but it will keep for now!

I’m hoping to submit a short story later this weekend (probably tomorrow I think). Very happy with my character – she makes me laugh and yes she is meant to so if she does this for me, hopefully she’ll do so for others though it will be a while before I know the result. Delighted to have two stories in CafeLit 10 for later this year too.

Am also preparing and editing future blog material.

Worst writing challenge? I think it is knowing when to say that’s it, get the story or article out there, and test the water. The way I gauge things here is looking to see if any other changes would really add anything to the story. If the answer is no, then it’s time to get the work out there.

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Many thanks for the likes for my Intelligent Life short story video yesterday. Much appreciated.

And the videos are different ways of getting the stories across, which pleases me. They make me think laterally about what images would work best for the story. Sometimes there are direct links (as in the UFO in this one). Sometimes I find a plain landscape background works better especially if I haven’t set a story anywhere specific in time or space.

I use Book Brush to create the videos, I upload them to Youtube, and then edit that to include an audio track. Did I think I’d be doing things like this when I first started writing seriously? Absolutely not for the good reason the technology to do it simply wasn’t there! I am from the era where Pacman was the thing in computer graphics (younger readers, check out the picture! It really was like that).


Is there intelligent life on earth? Well, my latest flash fiction story video gives two views on that. Which do you agree with?!

Oh and I think I found the perfect soundtrack for this one – many thanks, Youtube!

Online marketing and social media became even more important for writers and publishers in 2020

Flash tales work well across the genres, which is one of the things I love most about it, but I also feel humour comes across especially well here.

As you are looking to impact your reader with an emotional response with your story, why not go for the laugh? I often use twist endings in my stories but a good punchline is fabulous to end a story on and I love reading such as well as writing them. (Couldn’t we all do with stories that make you feel good right now? And a giggie is a fab way to go here!).

Also if you have a funny scene from a longer story that you can’t justify keeping in there because it interrupts the flow, doesn’t really add anything to the tale etc., instead of just binning the material, could you take another look at it and turn it into a self-contained flash piece? Would be worth a go I would have thought. If it works, you’ve got a piece you can submit elsewhere.

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For my author FB page tonight, I mentioned that one of the worst challenges for a writer is knowing when a work is finished and it really is time to get the work out there somewhere. I judge this by asking honestly if any further changes really would do anything more for the story. When the answer is no, the story gets sent out. Now this does apply to flash fiction obviously though there is one more check I do and it specifically relates to the flash fiction format.

Why? Because I am thinking of two things with my flash tales – impact and word count (and in that order too).

So my last edit on a flash story is to check certain phrases to make sure I have used the best, strongest words to conjure up the image I want readers to see and that the story does have the impact I want it to have.

An odd tweak here and there can make all the difference but when you have got to this point, you know this will be the final edit and after that the story gets sent out.

If I end up with a choice between two words and both have the same kind of impact, I go for the one that my character is most likely to think or say. If I have a pompous character, say, then whatever they come up with is going to reflect that pomposity (and hopefully in a humorous way too!).

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Goodreads Author Blog – Books for the Professions

At the end (almost) of a busy week, I thought I’d share books for the professions. Some of these may have been edited a little!

Plumbers – Leak House, David Copperpipe.

Lawyers – Pride and (Without) Prejudice

Postmen – Going Postal (no editing there!) and any of the old penny dreadfuls though for these good people they would naturally become the old penny blacks!

Tree Surgeons – Wind in the Willows (also a good one for weather forecasters), The (tree) House on Pooh Corner.

Writers – The War of the Words, James and the Giant Pen

Interior Decorators – Curtain (Agatha Christie’s last Poirot novel).

Dentists – White Teeth (what else?!).

I’m very fond of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, which is on Radio 4, where the panellists will often have to come up with books or film titles for a specific profession. All good fun. Hope you enjoyed these and do send in your suggestions for suitable books for certain jobs.

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Twitter Corner

Book Trailer and Blogging

Image Credit: All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing.

It has been a busy couple of days on Facebook and Twitter and I share some tweets below relating to Tripping the Flash Fantastic, my latest flash fiction collection from Chapeltown Books. Of course, it will be hectic in the run-up to my cyberlaunch on Saturday 10th October 2020. Hope to see you there! Have been having some fun with Canva as I get ready for my book launch for Tripping the Flash Fantastic on Saturday.— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) October 5, 2020

Join me today on #PatriciasPen with the lovely Allison Symes @AllisonSymes1 chatting about her writing. #IARTG#flashfiction#newrelease#writingcommunity#blog #Tuesdaytreat— Patricia M Osborne (@PMOsborneWriter) October 6, 2020

Am thrilled to share my book trailer for Tripping The Flash Fantastic. Hope you enjoy. Cyberlaunch on Saturday 10th October between 7 pm and 9.30 pm UK time.— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) October 6, 2020


Many thanks to the lovely Patricia M Osborne for hosting me on her blog today. It was great fun to take part!

I talk about Tripping the Flash Fantastic (of course!) and how I relished having input into the cover design. I also share how I become a flash fiction writer in the first place. All the details you need for my cyberlaunch are in this piece too.

Now a word to the wise: I will be setting a quiz during my cyberlaunch. Keep an eye out on what appears in my blog appearances this week including my own Chandler’s Ford Today post on Friday. It might prove useful and that’s all I’m saying for now!😊

Facebook – From Tripping The Flash Fantastic Cyberlaunch page

FOUR DAYS TO GO and another double bubble from me.

Firstly, a huge thanks to #PatriciaMOsborne for featuring me on her blog today. It was great fun to take part.

(Oh and I love the Queen of Flash Fiction title, says she blushing!😍😆).

Coming up very shortly…. my book trailer for Tripping The Flash Fantastic.


I’ve been looking forward to sharing this since the weekend. Hope you enjoy my book trailer for Tripping The Flash Fantastic.

For anyone who didn’t see the poster a day or so ago, sorry. I suspect it was a formatting thing. The original poster was a pdf. This below is a jpeg file. Hope you like it (and you learn so much doing this kind of thing!)


Hope your week has got off to a good start. Lady had a fab time today with her best buddy, a wonderful Rhodesian Ridgeback, and other pals in the park this morning. Think furry toddlers running around, stopping every so often for a drink, and then home for biscuits and rest. Very much like a trip to the day nursery for them! It was great to see them run.

Pleased to say I’ve now got the link for the Chat and Spin Radio Show. I was on Saturday night (3rd October 2020) and come in about the 7 minutes mark on the link below. Hope you enjoy. Link above and below.


Just so you know, Chat And Spin Radio are an Internet Radio Station based in the UK. They broadcast to half a million UK & International Listeners per week 24/7. Their site is at

Their blurb says they are looking for Writers, Artists, Illustrators, Bands & Singers and Charities to come on the Radio Station over the Phone or by Skype / Facebook for FREE PUBLICITY/PROMOTION to get out to their listeners.

The 10 Minute Live interview goes out on their Evening & Late Show. They broadcast that for 6 nights a week. Do see the site for more details.

For both of the occasions I’ve been on, I’ve found it paid to prepare something to say well in advance. I didn’t use all that I prepared but it did help me to focus on what was really important to get across. I found that so useful.

Facebook – From Tripping The Flash Fantastic Cyberlaunch page.

Double bubble from me on here tonight. As you’ll see from the post below I’ve been having fun with Canva!

Delighted to now share the link to my interview on Chat and Spin Radio on Saturday night. I am the first guest on Part 2 of their Saturday show and the interview starts at about the 7 minute mark.

Hope you enjoy – and tomorrow… the book trailer!


FIVE DAYS TO GOFIVE DAYS TO GO (and see jpeg file above).

Due to tech issues I’ll have to share the link to my interview on Chat and Spin Radio tomorrow. Tech issues are the bane of us all! The interview was great fun and I look forward to being able to share that.

Meanwhile, I was on the show back in May and am delighted to repeat sharing the link for that here now. I come in at about the 27 minutes in mark. Hope you enjoy. (And I look forward to sharing what is effectively Part 2 tomorrow, hopefully!).

I am appearing on blogs in the next few days too and look forward to being able to share those as and when. Many thanks, all.

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Facebook – From Tripping The Flash Fantastic Cyberlaunch page

I plan to share snippets over the next few days in the run up to Saturday’s event. Hope you enjoy.


It’s going to be a busy few days in the run up to Saturday but hopefully a lot of fun too. I was interviewed on Chat and Spin Radio on Saturday night and I hope to share the link for that tomorrow.

I will be appearing on blogs over the next couple of weeks, before and after the launch, and am looking forward to sharing the links for those.

Things to look forward to then include:-

Sharing my book trailer.

Sharing a couple of stories during the next couple of days from Tripping The Flash Fantastic PLUS I talk about how I came to write these tales. (And I don’t know about you but I LOVE being read to so I hope you will enjoy my reading to you!).

Sharing a link to my podcast appearance on #WendyHJones‘ marvellous The Writing and Marketing Show. Do check this show out as there are some fab interviews on here and there is so much useful advice. I was on for Episode 4 naturally talking about all things flash fiction related.

Talking of which, over to you now. If you have questions about flash fiction, working with a small press and so on, do send them in.

Meanwhile, here is a taster of some of the work I do. This is Job Satisfaction from my debut collection, From Light to Dark and Back Again.

Interesting day. “Went” to the Association of Christian Writers’ event day via Zoom. Lovely to see a good attendance and great insights from the guest speakers.

Later this evening, I’ll be on Chat and Spin Radio. I hope to be able to share the link tomorrow.

And it is one week to go to my cyberlaunch for Tripping the Flash Fantastic. Should be a fun week!

Today was one of those rare days when I didn’t have to go out at all. Wasn’t sorry. Tipped it down for a lot of the day here. (Got a real soaking yesterday so think I had my fair share of the rain then!😊).

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Facebook – From Tripping The Flash Fantastic Cyberlaunch page

ONE WEEK TO GO TO CYBERLAUNCH! And I start the countdown for this week with a radio interview.

Delighted to chat to Ron on Chat and Spin Radio tonight. I was talking about what flash fiction and Tripping The Flash Fantastic (of course!). Looking forward to sharing the link tomorrow.

And I’ll be popping up on blogs over the next couple of weeks. Looking forward to sharing the links but keep an eye open for these. You may find the information in them useful for the quizzes I’ll be setting next week – and there will be prizes!

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

It was great fun taking part in #PatriciaMOsborne’s blog today.

I started writing flash fiction in 2013. Seven years and two books later (and a number of pieces in anthologies), I think it was a good move!😆😆😆

It was a delight to chat about flash fiction on Chat and Spin Radio on Saturday. Always happy to spread the word about the short word!😆😆

Am looking forward to sharing links to blogs I will be appearing on later this week. Am also looking forward to sharing the book trailer for Tripping the Flash Fantastic tomorrow too.

What does flash fiction writing mean to me? It means I’ve found a form of writing which means I have to invent characters all the time, which I love doing.

I have constantly changing situations too as one story might be 100 words long, another 500 or so. And the settings vary. For this new book, I’ve used time as a setting too and written historically based flash tales. I love the variety. The only restriction is not going above 1000 words and that’s fine with me!

I will be posting daily on the cyberlaunch page for Tripping The Flash Fantastic this week. The discussion page will include videos, links to interviews and blogs I am or will be appearing on. See for more.

And if you have questions about flash fiction or working with a small press, do send them in either during the week on at my launch on Saturday night.

I use all kinds of writing prompts to get me started on stories, especially for flash. I love the opening line kind most but picture prompts are useful and I occasionally use one of my own photos to inspire ideas.

And what is particularly nice is one of the prompts that came up during the cyberlaunch for From Light to Dark and Back Again, I actually did something with! That prompt became the story The Terrified Dragon which is in Tripping The Flash Fantastic.😊. Need to do that kind of thing more often I think!

Goodreads Author BlogBook Buying

Book buying is a habit. It’s a very good one!

I like to buy online and, of course from physical bookshops when I can get to them.

I like to buy at book launches (online or otherwise) and I usually ask for books for presents for Christmas and my birthday.

So nothing unusual there then. True but it’s getting into the book buying habit to begin with that matters, I think.

I’ve heard people moan about the price of books but what they forget is the hard work that goes into producing them.

They also forget that you can read a book you own as many times as you like. The same people often think nothing of spending much more on a meal out etc. (So I am puzzled as to why they moan about a book but they do and I’ve heard them – at a Book Fair too – argh!).

So I guess it is down to what you prioritise. Books are high up on my list and always will be!

Tried and Tested – and Book Offers!

A very busy night tonight and a special post about book offers too and I will start with those I think!  Also included this week is a link to my guest spot on crime writer Val Penny’s wonderful Book Review blog.  Many thanks to her for hosting me.


Book news! I’m Bridge House Publishing/Chapeltown’s author of the week and there are free books up for grabs AND special offers on others. What’s not to like?

I’ve had the great pleasure of being published by BHP/CB in various anthologies as well as with From Light To Dark and Back Again. These form the basis of the package below.

BOOK PACKAGE: There are SIX, count them SIX, publications where I have work on offer for £4.00, all as mobi-files. This includes To Be…To Become (the Waterloo Festival competition, anthology), Baubles (BH anthology), The Best of Cafelit 4, 5 AND 6 and From Light to Dark and Back Again, my first flash fiction collection.

And for those of you who would like print paperbacks there’s an offer for you too.

PAPERBACK OFFER: My first published story was A Helping Hand in Bridge House Publishing’s Alternative Renditions. That isn’t available on Kindle BUT is in paperback and that along with From Light to Dark and Back Again is on offer at a mere £7.00 for the two!


I’m giving away one signed copy of:-

From Light to Dark and Back Again AND
Alternative Renditions OR
Baubles OR
One of the Best of Cafelit books I’m in.

First come, first served, naturally. Also one book per customer.

If you’re interested email my lovely editor, Gill James, at with your contact details. Also let her know which of the books you would like and Gill and I will take things from there. I’m looking forward to getting some books off in the post next week!

So two lucky people can be in for a free read! What are you waiting for? Gill is waiting to hear from you!

All of the above books are available on Amazon.

And if you would like to try some of my work out first, head over to Cafelit at…/l…/Allison%20Symes

Do check out the other wonderful stories here. You’re in for a great read, I promise.

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Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today

Busy night tonight but fun! Hope you saw the book offer posts earlier. Meanwhile back to CFT and I’m glad to share my Tried and Tested Writing Tips this week. Hope you find it useful.

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Will be a busy day tomorrow. As well as my usual CFT post (all about tried and tested writing tips), I’m Bridge House Publishing/Chapeltown Books author of the week and will have news of book offers so stay tuned.

Re my CFT post: I’ve picked those tips I use most often and go into detail as to why they are useful.

Absolutely delighted to have been guest blogger on Val Penny‘s Book Reviews blog. Many thanks to her – it’s been a good week writing wise when it comes to getting the word out there!

And talking of words, the ones I’ve found most helpful are the ones that encourage when all that seem to come in are rejections etc. This is why you need writing friends. We know what it is like – both the joys and the down sides. It is a roller coaster ride but nobody says you have to be alone on the thing!

Am delighted to share the link to the great blog from crime writer Val Penny. The fact that I am her guest on it tonight is not at all coincidental!

Many thanks, Val, for the invite. The questions were great fun to answer. Val and I met at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School (or more accurately just outside Derby Railway Station just ahead of us both going to Swanwick!) and we’ve been great friends ever since.

It is also lovely being on the receiving end of questions too!

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

I’m due to be Bridge House Publishing/Chapeltown Books author of the week. News of book offers tomorrow.

Getting the balance right between writing new material, revising and improving material that has not yet found a home, and marketing has never been easy to get right. Has there ever been a writer who doesn’t feel there is always something they could be doing better in any of these departments? I don’t think so!

One advantage to flash fiction of course is it can be a great way of getting work done and “out there” while working on longer projects. (And if said work is published, you’re building up your writing CV too).

What questions would you put to your characters to get the best out of them before you write their story?

One of my favourites here is “what drives you?” I use it to dig deep into a character because there will be an answer that is something nobody would mind revealing – the public face, if you like.

However, it is the answer the character (and we as individuals) try to keep to ourselves that is the really interesting one to work with! It can also reveal things about our characters that make us realise we can do so much more with them. It IS worth digging that bit deeper to get to these points.

Your stories will be deeper and have more impact as a result – even the shortest of flash fiction stories will benefit. If I know my character thinks they’re capable of, say, robbery, but I dig deeper and find in certain situations, they could kill, guess which story I’m going with!

You DO want to dump your characters right in the mire and put them under as much stress as possible and really see what they’re made of. Let the drama play out. Have fun with this, I do! (Oh and nobody said writers have to be nice to their characters, often it’s the opposite in fact!).


Many thanks to #ValPenny for hosting me on her Book Reviews blog. It was great fun answering the questions.

Questions like these are really useful for making you evaluate why you write and whether the “how” could be improved. (The answer is almost certainly “yes” to that by the way!).

Fairytales with Bite – Storytelling

Storytelling is one of our oldest traditions of course. You can understand the appeal of fairytales especially when it comes to the oral storytelling tradition. A simple plot, a structure that works, a clear goodie and baddie, and a happy ever after ending. Perfect way to end the day!

Now, of course, we expect our characters to be more nuanced. There is no such thing as the perfect hero. Villains have to have good (and understandable) reasons for acting the way they are (and that can include the fact they simply enjoy being evil. To them, that is reason enough!).

What I love about stories is that there is no one perfect format. I love books in all their forms but totally understand why audiobooks work for some, whereas the print format doesn’t. Our focus as writers is to come up with stories that can work in several formats. Our focus is to entertain. I’ve never understood why some look down on escapism. The world is sad and bad enough to make a wish to escape understandable. After all why did our cavemen ancestors tell stories? To remember what was important. To bring the community closer together. To escape the cares of their day and the ones to come for a while.

So as a writer then I want my characters to appeal to readers. I also want to drop my characters right in it whenever I can. I want my books to engage people. It’s a good thing to aim for: to improve your storytelling as much as possible. You discover better ways of expressing things, learn what works and what doesn’t. Enjoy your storytelling and relish every moment of it.


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This World and Others – Tried and Tested

My latest CFT post is Tried and Tested Writing Tips, which I hope you find useful.

How are your characters tried and tested?  Do they pass the tests you set them?  In almost any story you can think of, it is only when the characters are put right through the emotional wringer, do you see what they are capable of and where their limits are.  That is also where sidekick characters are useful – to help see your leads through to the bitter end and to get them through that “about to give it all up” moment.

Testing doesn’t need to to be overly dramatic either.  It can be as simple as a character having their patience tested by a relative who is trying to goad them (deliberately or otherwise, it’s not always consciously done).  Your character is very patient to begin with, then they become slightly less patient as time and the goading continues, and so on before they snap or do something they would not ordinarily have done.  Your character may be aware of this process so what do they do to try and fight it?  To not give in to that urge to snap no matter what the provocation?

Think about what would stress your characters out.  Think about their coping mechanisms.  What would happen if they failed or weren’t available when needed?

Have fun finding out!