Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 73

This week's image was created by Laura Leiva over on Deviant Art. It's a hobby of hers, and if you ask me she's pretty good at it! Love this image.

The General Guidelines can be found here.

How to create a clickable link in Blogger comments can be found on lasts week's post here.

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.


Everything around her was going up in flames, literally and metaphorically. It burned her eyes while it burned her soul. Everything she had lived and worked for turned to ash in an instant. 

She feared that after this she would turn to stone, her heart turning cold, unable to sustain any meaningful life from here on out. 

It was her own fault, she’d let them in, she’d let them stay. She’d fallen in love with their quirky ways. 

She’d had opportunities to take control and put them in their place, but she hadn’t done it, choosing to be gentle and hopeful instead. She had provided clear boundaries and limits, held up the red flags so they knew exactly how far they could push it, but they hadn’t heeded any of it. And so now this had happened. 

Her own mother had given out plenty of warnings as well, but they hadn’t heeded her either, and now she was consumed in the blaze too. 

The fire had been unrelenting, as was its nature. It had taken everything, gutted all of it, leaving no place safe. Her tears scorched her face as all she could do was watch. 

It hadn’t been what she wanted, but in the end it was what had become necessary. She chided herself for not having done more early on to stop this outcome, but in the end she wasn’t the only one responsible and accountable here – it took two to tango.

She wondered if she would ever be able to recover, the spark of hope ever residing within. She pondered the possibility. It was all down to the right circumstance, and what happened in the time between. She would need a long time, she knew that. 

In the meantime she waited for the inferno to subside and the dust to settle and some order from the chaos to assert itself. It would take millennia.  

Monday, 17 September 2018

Fancy a free copy of Mostly Dark?

I have decided to run a free of my book Mostly Dark over on InstaFreebies for a limited time, in an attempt to sign people up to my newsletter.

Yes, I have a newsletter. It's random and talks about of my writing adventures and books that might interest my readers, and any offers and giveaways (mine and from others) - I even throw in the odd cat picture as a bonus!  

So if you fancy it, why not claim your free ebook here?

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 72

This photo was taken by Flemming Beier, a Danish Photographer. He won't say where exactly this was taken, just that it was in Denmark. He has lots of interesting photos on his page at 500px.

This ended up a shorter tale than I expected. And one that wrote itself. I like it when that happens.

The General Guidelines can be found here.

How to create a clickable link in Blogger comments can be found on lasts week's post here.

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.


I watched them come. Having been left to decay, the surrounding woods had encroached leaving the lake boggy. They pushed their way through it, intent on their mission. It had been a long time since I’d received a visitor.

Once they had pulled up in front of the door, they clambered into the hallway, their heavy boots shaking the dust out of the remaining floors above. It was strange hearing voices again. It had been too long since this house had heard more than the whistle of the wind or the creak of the trees, or even the insects skittering in the woodwork. I had missed how it bounced off the walls, bringing life to the building, returning memories of a happier time.

I wanted them to find me. I wanted them to know I was here. That I had been here for a long time, trying to hold on to the only thing of value. I had held on alright, but literally to my death, and now it was all corroding and turning into rubble.

I could hear them debating how to reach me, trying to work out whether it would be safe to come up to the second level. There were holes, lots of them, but there was some flooring left. I’m not sure it would hold though, and neither were they.

They brought in ropes and climbing hooks. I waited.

The first head peeped over the floor and was joined by another on the other side of the room. They gasped. I was found, along with the chest I had been protecting, my bones never letting it go.

Their hands came and took it out of my grasp; their gentle respect as they placed me to one side, touching.

They carefully opened the chest. They looked inside, and they ruffled through the pages. They saw what no one had, the only thing I had to offer the world. There was laughter and delight. It would set them straight, it would help them rebuild. All the answers were there for humanity to begin again.

I could rest now. 

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Reviews - Newsletter Ninja: How to Become an Author Mailing List Expert by Tammi Labrecque

Newsletter Ninja: How to Become an Author Mailing List ExpertNewsletter Ninja: How to Become an Author Mailing List Expert by Tammi Labrecque
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am a complete novice in regards to author mailing lists and was keen to read this to enlighten myself and begin to understand how to go about creating an engaged list of subscribers.

It was clear to me that Tammi Labrecque is indeed a professional as she used terminology I was not familiar with and I struggled to follow along in some places. By the time I reached the middle I had a list of questions, but reading further resolved the majority of them - and a few more I had to go away and work out for myself as each email messaging service provider works differently. The only question I still need to work out is how to create an 'onboarding' sequence of emails, as I did not understand how to do that at all even though it was discussed and referred to many times in the book. And things like getting subscribers to 'whitelist' your emails was again discussed and referred to and considered necessary, but there was no step-by-step about how to do this, although there were links at the end that provided more understanding. In some places I missed (& needed) a step-by-step guide and explanations of terminology.

By the end, I was left a little overwhelmed with how much I would need to do to create an engaged subscriber list. And I also wondered how someone with only 30 people on their list and zero budget would achieve that as I didn't feel that this book was completely aimed at the beginner. This would be a much better book for those that have been using a mailing list and sending out newsletters but not really achieving engagement. But I knew it was up to me to decide what level of commitment I wanted to give to this as it was clear it would be time consuming no matter how I looked at it.

All that aside, the book flows really well and Tammi is engaging and funny and I really enjoyed reading it. She also provides a huge list of links at the end to help the entire process, which is invaluable in itself. I will definitely be referring to this book multiple time. And I would recommend any author who wants to create a list of engaged newsletter subscribers to read it too.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 71

I haven't found the photographer of this specific photo but the sculpture is in the gardens of the Found in Padma Resort at Legian, Bali, Indonesia. It looks incredible. And I love how it is coming out of the lawn.

The General Guidelines can be found here.

How to create a clickable link in Blogger comments can be found on lasts week's post here.

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.


Some said that it wasn’t just a replica, that it was real. Some said they had seen others throughout the land and that they still existed. Some said that they only showed themselves to those that truly believed in them.

I believed in them. But then I was one of them.

And standing here now looking at Jafra frozen in defeat brought it all back. Not that I had really forgotten; it was always there staring me in the face: the blue turquoise glint across my brown eyes whenever I got excited, melting ice with my breath if I concentrated, and the tremors through my body when I knew there was another dragon close.

There were still dragons, but they were in hiding like me. It was the only way to stay alive through these times of Human domination. We were just biding out time until we could rise again and claim what was ours. Although I wondered if there would be anything left by that time – humans were consuming everything, and they didn’t care. They gloated about everything they took – Jafra’s remains being so public was a reminder of that.

If someone as high born as he had been, and so skilled a warrior, could be turned into a garden ornament to be mocked every day, what hope was there for the rest of us?

But ‘the rest of us’ was growing. I could feel the presence of others increasing in my blood. Thanks to the human’s advanced technology it was getting easier to find each other and breed, even if staying in disguise while doing so. It was only a matter of time before we could take on our natural appearance again and show the world the true dominant species.

We had learnt the errors of our ways; this time we wouldn’t be so trusting. We knew what to do differently; what the weak spots of the human condition were, and how to use them to our advantage.

I looked into Jafra’s eyes and could hear his heartbeat in my soul. A new world order was approaching. It wouldn’t be long now.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 70

This week's photo was taken by Veronique Yang over on instagram (under name of Golden Heart). It was taken in Zurich, Switzerland. Veronique travels to a lot of places and have some interesting pictures.

This story went very dark very quickly. Sometimes it is just the way it goes. And it's been a while since I've gone this horror filled. But be warned it might be for everyone. 

The General Guidelines can be found here.

How to create a clickable link in Blogger comments can be found on lasts week's post here.

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.

Satisfying Urges

I crawled up and out of the manhole, a passing tram covering my arrival. No one saw me. But then no one ever did – I made sure of that. Although today was novel, I didn’t usually come up during daylight hours, even though the day was almost over.

I had a special errand to run today, one I had been planning for some time. Butterflies took flight in my stomach when I thought about it, and a pulse somewhere lower reminded me of the reason behind it. It was time.

I skulked my way into the shadows the buildings threw, trying to become a part of them while moving along to my goal and journey’s end. The leaves on the ground thickened as I approached the gates to the park. Here it was: my playground, my sanctuary. It fed all parts of my soul.

I had chosen to come early so I could feast my eyes and take a proper look. The leaves were blossoming as they removed their summer attire, showing their true nature. I admired their actions, looking forward to doing the same shortly. It was time for my true nature to show itself too.

I found my favourite thicket and pushed myself inside. There was space for two while still remaining unseen. It was the perfect place for my business here tonight.

My nightly visits had proved beneficial; I’d mapped the movements of the people. They never wanted to think they were creatures of habit, but we all were – just some darker ones than others. I smiled to myself as I waited. She would come and she would sit and I would relish, oh so much.

I heard her footsteps as the tones of the day were dimming into nightfall. She clip-clopped in her high shoes like a parade horse. My fingers itched to touch them, and her feet, and her legs ... and oh so much more.

She paused, as she always did by the bench. It was her favourite place to hang. It was a cross point of visitors and brought her a steady flow of admirers. I had watched them; they too were regular. And some liked to do their business there and then. It was the most thrilling part. But some would want to find somewhere to go, somewhere close and covered – like this next one.

I shuffled back pushing myself into the denser part of the shrubbery. I didn’t want them to see me, not yet, and now with full dark just seconds away they wouldn’t.

She led him to the bushes, knowing her way in, entering gracefully. He also knew and didn’t hesitate – as some of the others did – and as soon as they were in he was revealing himself and she was on her knees feasting on it.

I took a moment to enjoy the view, my breath mixing with theirs, hot and heavy as it worked its magic. And then I struck, taking them both down.

They barely had time to react, the foliage muffling what small cries escaped their occupied mouths. She was easy, she was already half way down, but he crashed like a tree, the stake in his back shuddering as he fell on the one protruding from hers.

It was enough to finish me off, and I was done for the night. It was time to retreat. I didn’t need to clean them up that would be the job of those who found them. I had done my part. 

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 69

This week's photo was taken by Swen Stroop, a Norwegian photographer. This is Callanish Stone Circle, on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. Swen has some amazing photographs. Check out his site for more.

I thought of what story these stones really told, in contrast to all the strange ideas that we come up with to try and explain them. But in truth we don't know. There is a great deal that we don't know. And here I dabble in that.

The General Guidelines can be found here.

How to create a clickable link in Blogger comments can be found on lasts week's post here.

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.    


It hurt my soul to see it this way, so skeletal. It had been so majestic in its day, and I missed those days sorely. They would now be considered days of hedonism or living in utopia, but they;d been normal back then. Civilisation had been exactly that - civil.

I smiled when I thought about what they said this place had been and the tales they told; they couldn’t be further off the mark. Why was it that anything that couldn’t be explained had to have some strange religious meaning? Why did it always have to be a place of worship or be tied to some other cult rituals?

They had looked round the circle of bare stones that had once been the backbone of an incredible building and noted the sun shined through in certain places at certain times of the year, which seemed to verify to them that that had been the intention of the placement of the stones originally. Apparently it was so they were in alignment and connected to some new fangled idea of religion that existed back then. But as they had no concept of what the original structure had looked like they had no idea how wrong they were – let alone that religion was a new creation in the current civilisation, one used to control people, something completely unnecessary back then. Some days I could laugh at it, but some days it frustrated me.

When I visited other sites across Europe, and talked about similar structures that had once been tombs, they knew that what they were looking at was the bare bones of the structure, so why didn’t they realise that with the stone circles?

They would say it was because there was no ‘evidence’ of anything else. But as they had the aging process wrong and their understanding of time was completely out of whack, they didn’t realise just how old the stones really were, and how long they had been standing there. I did. I felt it in every sinew of my soul. I had lived through so much now and I could feel myself tiring – or was it just this time, this moment, watching civilisation yet again taking a dive and all of them oblivious as to why?

The clock was ticking loud now; if someone didn’t put the brakes on there might be a little bit more than a culling; they risked annihilation at their own hands. Although they were busy squabbling over weapons, thinking that whatever killed them would be man-made, but you didn’t fuck with nature. This was something they had forgotten for more than a couple of thousand years now.

It brought me back full circle to where I was standing; how this place too had fallen and people wiped out. Nature didn’t discriminate, it just abided, come what may.

Their tombs might be found here and there, but once they had been so much more. And these stones, these mini monoliths were all that remained of what had once been a palace – one of hundreds that fell across the landscape and housed the communities that lived in them.

Those communities had relished their life and embraced everyone and everything. It was pitiful to think that it was now being reduced to an obscure fantasy of dogma or doctrine, idolising an imaginary creator, something the people who had lived here would have never perceived.

Those people had been sure of themselves and confident in their pure essence, seeing themselves as pieces of a whole that needed to live symbiotically to enjoy the human experience. Not some individual fracturing to gain more than their neighbour so they could play cruel games of ‘mine’s better than yours’, or conditioned from birth that they weren’t enough without those gains – that some imaginary person was judging their every movement, and threatening them with horrors after this life if they didn’t conform.

I sighed. And these people wondered why their lives weren’t fulfilled, and why they suffered mental and emotional maladies. They were oblivious and had been taught to be.

What was here now was in need of cleansing so that the truth could return. I hoped for them all that it wouldn’t be much longer.