#Three Line Tales: Space junk

This is for Sonya’s Three Line Tales photo prompt.


This was the kind of photo shoot the public loved, and Scott knew he owed it to them—they were paying billions for this program that allowed him to walk in space.

He pulled himself through the immensity, feeling the eyes of stars as well as millions of earthlings following his beetling movements, to where the foreign bodies were caught up in the heat shields.

The anxiety that had grown to blind terror abated, and in a fury of irritated relief, he cut away the damn bicycle panniers and let them drift away into space.


Twittering Tales: Takeaways

This cautionary tale (280 characters) is for Kat Myrman’s Twittering Tales. If you don’t know who the Groke is, you ought to. Go straight away to the bookshop and buy a copy of one of Tove Jansson’s Moomin stories.

Photo by Leirdal at Pixabay.com


The Groke sat so still her great bulk made not even a ripple on the lake’s surface. She had spat out the boat part but she still had terrible stomach ache. The juicy part inside was tasty enough, but the rubber waders and the fishing tackle were playing havoc with her digestion.


Looking for criticism

Today, I have a favour to ask of anyone who reads fantasy and has about ten minutes to spare. I have a book, several in fact, but one in particular that I am pretty proud of. I’ve been sending it out to literary agents for months now, and their enthusiasm for the story is underwhelming to be kind about it. None of them has asked to read more than the sample pages, and about half haven’t replied at all.

The last agent said what she didn’t like about it (the first ten pages) was that she found it hard to follow. Now, I wrote it so I know what it’s all about. If I think it’s easy to follow, that could be just my natural bias and knowing what happens on page eleven. What I would really really love, would be for a handful of volunteers to read the first ten pages and tell me honestly what they think.

What it’s about: ‘Shadows in the Tide’ is the first part of ‘Ys’ a historical fantasy series set among the windswept fjords of Norway and the horse-running plains of Ireland in an alternate Ninth Century.

The story centres on Una One-Eye, daughter of a sea wolf, and Fiachra, the household’s Gaelic thrall, both gifted with some of the magic that has survived the Rök, the breaking of the world, and both cursed with its mark, the sapphire eye, impossible to hide from the fishmen Guardians who are collecting the magic to free their master, the Beast.

If you would like to help out with a bit of brutal honesty, just leave your email in the contact form and I’ll send you the first ten pages. Thank you!


#writephoto: Sweeping up

For Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt.


The beach swarmed with police on their telephones, forensics in their white overalls with their tape, marking out and measuring. The tide would be turning soon. They had to be quick.

Moll pulled up the hood of her anorak. It was brisk down by the sea in the mornings, got at her rheumatism. She squinted at the bustling coppers, lingered a little longer over the heap with a sheet spread over it, and snorted.

He’d had it coming. Everybody round there knew that. The coppers would be looking for a murderer, wouldn’t care if Eddie Carson had deserved it, and worse. If she’d been Jim Hurley and Carson had done that to her daughter, Moll would have ripped his liver out with her teeth.

She went back indoors to put the kettle on. While she waited for it to boil, she watched the coppers follow the line of footprints down to the sea. Would they think of a suicide? Or would that be too simple? Murderers did commit suicide afterwards though, didn’t they? Sometimes, surely. She put a couple of teabags in the pot. The coppers were on their phones again.

Moll picked up a broom and swept the front step. The water would be but a minute or two before it boiled; she’d best be quick herself. The wind was fierce, she decided, as she opened the gate and hurried down the path to the cove. She’d maybe get a bit of washing dried if only the rain would keep off.

The sand in the cove was damp but the tide wouldn’t cover it for a few hours yet, not round this side of the point. Methodically, she swept away the footprints leading from the sea—her own, old lady’s boots, leaving their deep-heeled prints where the others had been. She stopped to inspect the rocks for mussels then turned for home. The water would be boiled, and Jim Hurley would be more than ready for a cup of tea after his dip in the sea this morning.

#Twittering Tales microfiction: Flash!

This 279 character story is for Kat Myrman’s Twittering Tuesday Tales (late).

Photo by leoperezwildadventure at Pixabay.com


The sudden rattle & flash from the tourist cameras disturbed the birds of paradise. They disappeared into the tree canopy in a blaze of colour. It also disturbed something else. Something that wasn’t frightened. Something that was angry. The guide took one look and jumped ship.


#writephoto: An unexpected guest

This is for Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt. I let this one simmer awhile, hoping I would be able to get a more serious story out of the photo, but the original impression wouldn’t go away.


“Look!” David pointed across the valley at the hill beyond. “That looks just like the cave where Smaug lives.”

His mother frowned, but didn’t raise her eyes from her magazine. “Who’s Smaug?”

David sighed. “A dragon. Never mind. Can I go and look? There might be treasure.”

“Why don’t you go down to the stream instead,” his mother suggested and turned the page. “See if you can catch us a nice cod for supper.”

David snorted. “I’d rather have a packet of biscuits.”

“More biscuits? Haven’t you had enough sweet stuff this afternoon?” his mother said and rummaged in the bag with the remnants of their picnic. She handed him a packet of Jaffa Cakes. “Don’t eat them all.”

David took the packet and jumped to his feet. “They’re not for me. They’re for the Cookie Monster.”

His mother’s brow furrowed and she filled another couple of squares in the crossword before stopping. “Damn!” she said. “Doesn’t fit.”

A shadow fell across the page. She looked up. And screamed.

#Three Line Tales: Fly away

This is for Sonya’s Three Line Tales photo prompt.

photo by Charles Etoroma via Unsplash


She thought she could escape the pull of the portal by hugging the edge of the room and ran for the opening back to the city with its glistening slabs of anonymous concrete—the known, the dark, the sinister—calling to her to jump, to come back.

She hesitated, listening to the humming of the portal that sounded like music, sweet and low, sending her images from another world, bright and vibrant like childhood memories she didn’t have.

She gave a sob that was part grief and part joy, embraced the dream that drew her to the portal and let herself fly away.