Coming Home, Consequences, and Getting Ready for Brechin

Image Credit:-
All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Some images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos.
Scottish photos taken by me, Allison Symes. Screenshots also taken by me (though a huge thanks goes to Sarah Archibald for the Brechin/Angus Book Festival poster).
Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing.

Facebook – General

Hope you have had a good day. Today was marginally less hectic than yesterday. Am hoping Wednesday will be better still!

I issued my November newsletter a little early (as it was easier for me to send it out before I went on holiday). If you would like to sign up for a monthly round-up on news, tips, prompts etc., do head over to my website (landing page) at

Was good to get back to submitting work to #FridayFlashFiction on my return too. Am loving reading the other stories on here too.

Will be a busy period on Chandler’s Ford Today for a while too. As well as my forthcoming Chameleons review, I have a smashing interview coming up with an author I met as a result of my being a guest speaker at the Hampshire Writers Society (it really is a small world), and of course I will be reporting back from the Brechin/Angus Book Festival. I’m also looking forward to reporting back on the Bridge House Publishing event in December.

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Why is it Mondays are always the most hectic day of the week? Still, it was lovely to see Lady have an absolute ball this morning playing with her best buddy, the Rhodesian Ridgeback, and her other pal, a charming Hungarian Vizler. The latter, I swear, has the sweetest smile in the park and is always so pleased to see us! Both dogs also make their appreciation of being able to share Lady’s water bottle known as they have their own ways of saying thanks!

I’ll be reviewing Murder with Ghosts, the most recent production staged by The Chameleon Theatre Group for Chandler’s Ford Today this week. Some of my favourite influences make themselves apparent in this play. More on this when I share the link on Friday. And if you think the title sounds fun, you’re right!

Sent off my box of books for the Brechin/Angus Book Festival today. It’s always difficult to estimate how many books you will need for events like this but I was pleased to get my parcel off on its way.

And talking of books, I hope to share further publication news soon.

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It is true what they say about needing a holiday to get over your holiday! Having said that, it is lovely to be back at home after a lovely break away.

Am delighted to say the November issue of Mom’s Favorite Reads is now out. See link below. My article is about Memories, appropriate for November of course, and there are splendid flash pieces in as a result of my theme. Do check them out and I hope you find the article inspiring. What role could your character’s memories have in their stories? What happens if memories “clash”? Perspectives differ after all. Plenty of food for thought for stories there.

I’m also pleased to be the featured author on Page 50 of the magazine. And remember it is FREE.

The journey home acts like a grand tour of Scotland. It is fascinating to see the landscape change from mountains and rivers to farmland to lowland. In previous years, when we’ve been here in late May, there has still been snow on the mountains.

As ever, Lady didn’t really want to go home. She loves it on the beaches here but she will adore seeing her friends again next week.

I shall be finishing my prep work for the Brechin/Angus Book Fest this week and resume flash fiction writing so plenty to look forward to there.

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Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

One of the reasons I love the 100-word story is the fact you don’t have to wait long for the pay-off! I also enjoy the challenge of having to keep coming up with characters and story lines. And stories like this are easy to share on social media and I think make a great advert for what flash fiction is and can be.

Flash as a whole has sharpened my writing considerably and I find myself asking where is the story in this character I’m thinking of writing up. That’s a good thing. Knowing where the story is helps a lot later on too when you need to tell people what your tale is about. You will definitely know and you do need to be specific. What you don’t want is the glazed expression on the face of your audience as you try to tell them!

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Pleased to be back creating YouTube videos once more. Hope you enjoy Consequences. It was great fun to write though I have muted sympathy for my character here.

Good to be back home again after a wonderful Scottish break. (Particularly pleased to be home as weather conditions yesterday were horrendous and I hope everyone is okay). Looking forward to being back in Scotland next week too! Have had the delightful task of boxing up books ready for the Brechin/Angus Book Festival, which will be from 19th to 21st November. I plan to write up a report on the Festival for Chandler’s Ford Today after I get home again (and hope my current post there on Making the Most of an Author Event proves useful).

One lovely thing about events is I can often get to demonstrate what flash is by reading some out. It doesn’t take long and it can lead to sales! Am also looking forward to running a flash workshop and giving an author talk about The Ups and Downs of Becoming an Author as my route to the writing life has had its fair share of cul-de-sacs! Nor did I expect to end up being published in flash fiction. I do not regret this however!

Also pleased to be the featured author in the November issue of Mom’s Favorite ReadsAmazon Link for this further up.

And I hope to share further publication news later this week too. It’s all go right now but that is good! (Also can’t wait for the Bridge House Publishing celebration event on 4th December in London. So looking forward to catching up with writing friends there. We last met up in person in December 2019 though Zoom has been a lifeline – and a great way to share the wonders of flash fiction writing!).

Every story has to have a turning point. In flash, of course, you reach that point a lot sooner. That in turn makes you focus on what leads to that point.

It is why twist in the tale stories work so well in flash and why I often write that line first before working backwards to reach a logical beginning.

But there is nothing to stop you having that turning point right at the start of your tale. When I do this I have already sketched out various ways in which I could take that promising start. The one that has the most impact (by having an equally intriguing middle and satisfying ending) is what I go with. It pays to take time out to work out different possibilities. Best of all it’s fun too!

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Goodreads Author Blog – Mixing Up Your Reading

I like to mix up my reading in different ways.
Firstly, I mix up fiction and non-fiction.
Secondly, I mix up reading novels and short stories/flash fiction anthologies.
Thirdly, I mix up reading in paperback/on Kindle.
Fourthly, I watch stories (via film) and listen to them (via radio, audio books).
But the important thing is getting the reading in and doing so regularly. What I love to read directly inspires what I write.

Online retailBooks are books regardless of format

books signage

Photo by Paul Stollery on

people reading books in library

Photo by BERK OZDEMIR on

assorted books

Photo by Tuur Tisseghem on

opened book on tree root

Photo by rikka ameboshi on

BookBrushImage-2021-9-17-20-3426AE - July 2021 - Great characters will keep you turning the pages


Facebook – General – Mixing Up Your Reading

Do you mix up your reading or do you find you are reading in one genre in a go?

I read across a reasonable number of genres but find I’m one of those readers who have to have their “fix” of crime fiction for a while before then going on to have a “fix” of fantasy stories before coming back to crime, moving on to historical fiction and so on.

I zig-zag all over the place at times, though I love all that I read (which I think is the most important thing. With never as much time to read as I would like, I want to make sure all I do read is going to pass the will-it-entertain-or-inform-me-or-do-both test before I get too far into the book. I’m glad to say I’ve only abandoned one or two books in my time and that several years ago. I realise now life is too short to waste on a book that simply isn’t gripping me when there are thousands out there that will!).

Facebook – General Part 2 – Publication and Events

I think I can say it’s been a good week so far. Am delighted to report a post I wrote on my writing rituals is now up on Bridget Holding’s Wild Words site. I met Bridget at Swanwick this year and loved her talk on finding your voice.

A Writing Ritual: Allison Symes

Image used for Wild Words and my post on A Writing Ritual.  Many thanks to Bridget Holding for hosting me.

Also glad to say I will be having new stories on Cafelit very soon (indeed two are due on there this week). Will keep you posted. Lovely to have work on there again. It is a fabulous place to showcase your writing.

Also looking forward the Bridge House/Cafelit/Chapeltown Books celebratory event on Saturday.


Some of the books I’ve appeared in and FLTDBA of course. Image by Allison Symes

Love the cover for this. Image supplied by Bridge House Publishing.

My last Bridge House story is in here. Naturally I hope there will be many more to come! Image supplied by Bridge House Publishing.

Very pleased to have appeared in these lovely books.


Hope there will be more anthologies in the New Year.



Busily finishing off the follow-up to From Light to Dark and Back Again.



Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

It took me a while to get the title for From Light to Dark and Back Again right. Funnily enough, I usually find titles for the stories themselves not too difficult to come up with but coming up with something for the collection was more problematic. It was when I decided to focus on the theme and tone of the stories that the title came to me, as it does reflect the mood of the tales well.

With the title sorted out, I could then focus on an appropriate cover image to send to Chapeltown. The wonderful ripple picture comes from the magnificent Pixabay website and Chapeltown then put their fabulous frame around it. It’s a cover I’m very proud to be associated with as people DO judge the book by the cover!

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Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again Part 2

Some new flash fiction pieces from me will be appearing on Cafelit soon. Will keep you posted!

Am also glad to share the link to Bridget Holding’s Wild Words website where she has hosted a post from me about my writing rituals.

It is a joy to write fiction and non-fiction, though the first has always been what has “called” to me the most. I’ve always had a love of stories and always will though it is great that now a lot of fiction techniques are being used to make non-fiction work more accessible to people. Long gone are the days of long lists of dates and figures… now we look at how people would have lived back in the days of whenever. A much better approach.

I would hope flash fiction would also be a way to convince the die-hard non-fiction only reader (and I’ve known a couple in my time) that you can enjoy storytelling. And that it can be kept to the point like any good non-fiction article.