My debut flash fiction collection from Chapeltown Books



The big day is nearly here and I am both nervous and excited about it!  I set up a few writing prompts on this page the other day, one of which was “The dragon was terrified”.  I share here the link to the page as I posted my story on this tonight.  Hope you enjoy it.


One thing all visitors to the magical world should be aware of is that magic can and does go wrong, even in the hands of the most experienced practitioners.  In When Magic Goes Wrong, I share some advice as to what you can do if you are ever unfortunate enough to be facing this.


Journeys is an apt post for tonight as my Chandler’;s Ford Today blog is the second part of my interview with Martin Kyrle who has written about his adventures on the Trans-Siberian Railway.  My writing journey continues tomorrow (1st April 2017) with my first cyber launch of my debut flash fiction collection, From Light to Dark and Back Again.  In the post I look at how your characters travel, do they need magic to assist them or can they manage without it and ask if their journeys and who they meet change their perspectives on life or reinforce them.


Both focus on my interview with Martin Kryle.  His travel book, Jottings from the Trans-Siberian Railway, is very funny and his Kyrle’s Laws are wonderfully humorous and practical.  It was lovely to meet Martin and the book is a great, fun and enlightening read.

Feature Image Part 2 of MK Interview




Going Backwards is a follow-up post to my one of yesterday which talked about the way forward.  It is possible for characters, instead of developing and moving on, to go backward.  Is it because they can’t handle the pressures?  Are they retreating to give themselves time to work out what to do about the situation they find themselves in? Does their wish to “go backward” for a while help them or make the problem worse?


I think I may have come up with my favourite post title tonight.  The Wonderful Ways of the Awkward Character (I admit it doesn’t trip off the tongue easily, though!) looks at why characters can be awkward and why are brilliant for writers.


My latest Chandler’s Ford Today post is part 1 of my interview with Martin Kyrle, former Liberal Democrat councillor and now published author. His book Jottings from the Trans-Siberian Railway describes a fantastic journey taken by him with friend and photographer, Michael Roberts, across Russia, Mongolia and into China.

One thing I love about non-fiction writing is how it is increasingly using storytelling techniques to entertain (as well as give you the facts and figures of whatever subject you are reading about). Martin’s book is a very good example of this and would appeal to lovers of travel books, railways and funny stories!

Martin and I discuss the book and I give a summary of the contents. The photos in the book are stunning. The book is written as a travel diary and is very easy to read. It sheds light on a part of the world which is still wilderness (especially Mongolia).

Martin also shares why he wrote the book. The second part of the interview next week will include a summary of Kyrle’s Laws (including the wonderfully named Law of the Public Bog!) and what Martin would have done differently had he known then what he knows now.



My latest CFT post gives a review of the book and shares part 1 of the interview with its author, Martin Kyrle.  This photo was taken by me though all images in the book itself are taken by Michael Roberts (and are simply stunning!).


Books make wonderful gifts. Image via Pixabay.



The Way Forward looks at how our characters should know what their way forward is, even if they keep being frustrated in trying to achieve it by circumstances or other characters.  They need to keep finding their way forward.  It’s easy for a writer sometimes to feel a bit overwhelmed by the choices we can make for our characters which will turn the whole story.  And as for marketing work, there are so many options available, it can be difficult to find our personal way forward.  But our characters should know and be driven by the need to achieve it.  Are yours?


I list three of my top thoughts in Favourite Things about WritingI deliberately limited this as it would have been too easy to write all night on this topic!  I love writing as it takes you out of yourself (really useful in times of stress), encourages reading (never a bad thing) and there is a strong sense of community in the writing world generally.  See what you think.  Comments as to what your top three favourite things about writing would be are very welcome.


My post this time is Part 1 of an interview with local writer, Martin Kyrle, who along with photographer Michael Roberts, has produced Jottings from the Trans-Siberian Railway, a fascinating account of their experiences on an amazing railway journey.  (Amazing not always in a good way either!).  More tomorrow….


Glad to report there appear to be no issues tonight.  My author page is back up.  What happened yesterday when it vanished remains a mystery!  Tonight I am glad to share links to two wonderful reviews of From Light to Dark and Back Again by my Swanwick Summer School writing friends, Jennifer Wilson and Valerie Penny.


Cyberlaunch Image

Would be delighted to have your company for all or part of my cyberlaunch for my debut flash fiction collection.  The launch is hosted by my publishers (Chapeltown Books are linked to both Bridge House Publishing and Cafelit.  Do visit their websites if you would be interested in submitting work to them).




How the very best fairytales start... Image via Pixabay


I do have a soft spot for rhyming titles so when I get the chance to write one…

Tonight’s theme is flash fiction.


I share a new flash fiction story, The Magician, on FWB and discuss why I love writing flash.  Hope you like the story.  Let’s just say pet owners will identify with this one.  I love flash because I can use it as a format for writing moments which simply aren’t enough in themselves to sustain a standard length short story.  The Magician I think is a good example of that.


Moments in Flash describe what I look for when writing a flash piece.  I need a moment to get me started or finished and I can work from there.  Flash is the only format in which I sometimes start with the ending and work backward to the start point.  It is also brilliant for using a punchline (and I love those).  I sometimes use the Hemingway six words story exercise to get me started on a piece.  I also share how I started writing flash fiction.


I’m pleased to share news of a local author book launch for this week’s post.  Jottings from the Trans-Siberian Railway by Martin Kyrle and Michael Roberts is being launched at the Independent Holiday Shop in The Brooks, Winchester on Saturday 3rd December.  The book is aimed at armchair travellers and railway fans.  I’m only sorry I can’t go but it is for the best reasons.  I’ll be at the Bridge House Publishing/Cafelit joint book launch for Baubles and The Best of Cafelit 5 respectively.  I have stories in both of these and am looking forward to catching up with everyone again.  I very much hope the launch in Winchester for Messrs. Kyrle and Roberts goes well.  I also hope the launch in London for Bridge House and Cafelit also goes well.


Again I share news about the Jottings book launch.  I also report I’ve sent the proof back now on my flash fiction collection (and it looks good!).

En route.  Image via Pixabay.

En route. Image via Pixabay.


Fairytale heroines. Image via Pixabay.



Fairytale Heroines shares what I like most in said characters – everything from being intelligent and resourceful to not just relying on Prince Charming.  One of my recent favourite heroines is Princess Fiona from Shrek.  (Incidentally, I don’t really know why she clearly thought she was ugly as an ogre – she wasn’t!).


Structure shares my thoughts on story structuring.  I prefer to think of it as the “edit where I check my story makes sense” but appreciate that is something of a mouthful.  I also share how many edits I carry out on a story and why.


My post this week is to share news of a local author book launch.  Martin Kyrle and Michael Roberts are bringing out Jottings from the Trans-Siberian Railway in a fully illustrated book.  Their launch is in Winchester in early December.  More details in the post which is due to appear tomorrow.  Always good to share news of a local author launch (and given I’ve got a book coming out I won’t pretend to be unbiased here!).  I hope this launch goes well.


I share my thoughts on Andrew Marr’s recent series, Paperback Heroes – Sorcerers, Spies and Sleuths (I think I’ve got that in the right order, apologies if not but the three elements are definitely correct!).  I also share my thoughts on creative writing courses which this series linked to via the Open University.

Listening to an inspiring crative writing talk... Image via Pixabay

Listening to an inspiring crative writing talk… Image via Pixabay