Wednesday 26 September 2018

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 74

This week's picture prompt was created by Eric Frey, a French photographer. He has some really captivating work. Take a look on Art Limited, or on his account on Flickr. He calls this one 'Mirage'.

I was unsure if this story was where I wanted to go, but their voices were insistent, and I've ended up really like it. This could be part of a much bigger story. Food for thought!

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.


 “What do you think it is, Jack?”

“I don’t know, Duncan.” They eyed the strange object in the sky from their comfy spot on the beach. They liked it down here at night, it was nice and quiet.

“I don’t trust it.”

“You don’t trust anything since the invasion.” Jack laughed.

“Do you blame me? This is their type of tricky shit.”

 “True. But it’s floating up there. They came from under the ground.”

“Maybe, but I still don’t trust it.”

“It’s not moving very fast.”

“There ain’t much wind.”

“Was it here last night when you can down to the beach with Darlene?” Duncan asked.

“Nope.” Jack took a swig from his bottle. “It was just the usual plain dark sky.”

“Do you see how it shines onto the water too?”


 “How’s that happening?”

“I’ve no idea.”

“This is freaky shit. We ought to call Bert down here.”

“He don’t like being disturbed at night. He’s up early out there all day keeping those things at bay over on the North Quarter. I don’t think we should bother him.”

“But this is important, not like when we called him out for that water fish thing.”

“Whale, it was a whale – that’s what he called it.”

“Never seen nothing like it.”

“Neither had I.” Jack remembered how Bert had raged for a full hour about it, calling them names they hadn’t understood. “What was it he called us?”

“Numb skulls I think it was. Some old folk term. He loves those.”

“Yes, and nit wit or something. What do you think they mean?”

“I think they’re mean drop head, or that we’re like the Jonas brothers. But he’s wrong. We know more than they do.” Duncan threw his empty bottle out behind him onto the sand where the others were. “But this is different. He’ll want to know about this.”

Duncan got up and pulled the device out of his pocket. He fumbled the buttons. If THEY heard him there’d be in trouble – it wouldn’t be the first time they’d had to run for their lives. He heard the strange buzzing noise it made before it connected. Then there was a funny squeal and a voice.


“It’s Dunc, Bert, you gotta come and look at this.”

“Where are you?”

“The Beach.”

“Not another bloody fish.”

“No, something in the sky.”

There was a pause, then, “Okay, I’m on my way.”

Duncan and Jack resumed their drinking, opening fresh root beers. The thing was still floating there even though it had shifted over a bit.

It wasn’t long before they heard Bert’s boots clobbering on the board walk down to the sand.

“Well I’ll be damned!”

His exclamation made them turn to him.

“What is it Bert, some kind of strange hocus pocus? What did the invaders cook up this time?” Duncan’s mouth had fallen open in anticipation.

“It’s a cloud.”

“A what?” The boys spoke in unison turning back, goggling at the object.

“We ain’t seen one of those in decades, not since before the war.”

“What does it mean?” Jack didn’t take his eyes off it.

“It’s means things are coming back, cycles are returning. This is a good omen.”

“But should it glow like that, Bert?” Duncan was sure it was wrong.

Bert’s face fell. “Only if there was moon light on it.”

“Moonlert? What’s that?” Jack asked.

“Moon light. There used to be a big planet up there that the sun used to reflect off at night. We called it the moon and the reflecting light moonlight. ‘twas pretty. But the invaders killed that too. And the cycles stopped, cycles which created clouds – what that thing there is. But that glowing ain’t right.”

“Knew it!” Duncan grinned at Jack, whose eyes were still on Bert.

“That glow means radiation. That means it’s picking it up from over Eastwards where the worst of the bombs were.”

“Those nuclear ones, Bert?” Jack knew things too.

“Yep, those ones, Jack. They carry mean stuff in them that caused all that death after the explosions were long over. And if clouds start up again they’re gonna start carrying that stuff around.”

“What should we do, Bert?” Duncan was standing now, ready for action. Jack joined him.

“Nothing we can do, Dunc. But I need to go tell the elders. This is gonna change things.”

As Bert hurried away, Duncan and Jack looked at each other, eyes wide and followed Bert. 

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.