Wednesday 30 June 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 206

This week's picture prompt is from Polish photographer Leszek Paradowski. It's not the first time I've used one of his images, and probably won't be the last. He has some fantastic stuff. 

This one was definitely a Tricky tale, and it didn't fail to move my story along.  (Last Tricky Tale was on Week 205)

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.


She stood at the foot of the tree and looked up. He was a big bugger, there was no doubt about that, and she could feel the energy thronging off him. But there was something more she had been drawn here for and she knew this tree held the answer. She hadn’t come this far into the wildwoods of Ferristan to be scared by an ancient overlord, no matter how strong he stood – and this one was so strong she feared her own energy if she pissed him off.

Tricky referred to him as a him, but in truth trees were not to be gendered, although they weren’t really ‘its’ either; they were far too sentient for that. Plus they did give off differing energies, much like the feminine and masculine levels within humans. Tricky hadn’t yet been able to uncover their sex lives. She knew they existed and suspected it was root based, thus next to impossible to witness. She could tell when one was putting out energy to attract another and had even lent her energy to bring them together. She liked to think of herself as a voyeur among them.

But all that was by the by when you were faced with a specimen like this: a dominant, strong, and clearly elder of this particular copse. She wanted to put her hands on his bark, but it might be too much for her to handle. Sometimes their energy could run through you and frazzle the ends of your hair – similar to that electricity stuff they had back before the shift. But there was a conversation she needed to have with this one, and it would be the only way.

She tentatively stepped forward placing her feet carefully between his at his base. She could feel the hairs on her body rise in response to the static he was giving off. She couldn’t be sure he was aware of her as yet; being so tall he might view her as nothing but some rummaging animal. She held her hands out, palms forward and slowly put them onto his trunk. Immediately the bright vivid green rushed through them and up her arms, into her body. It was so rich and had such depth she had to take several breaths just to manage it. Oh my!

She felt his consciousness turn to hers. This tree was beyond ancient for this land. It was one of the few that had survived the shift. It had been just a sapling at the time and this particular patch of land had remained intact. Every tree around it was a descendent of it, save for a couple more, but he was the eldest. He made that clear through the circles that he spun in her mind, and the pictures he created.

She had a couple of pictures for him: the places and people she sought. He knew of them too; they had been in the area. She checked her excitement and waited for the next image to project into her mind. And then there it was: the door she kept seeing in her dreams. But it wasn’t just any door, it was a portal and she needed to find it. But it was moving in a rhythmic fashion and she didn’t know why, until suddenly an image of a wave splashed in her face and she fell back, her hands leaving the trunk, and in that moment she knew: the ocean.

Oh bloody hell! She’d have to face the unsailable sea, dammit! She’d hoped that wouldn’t have to happen, even though she’d been drawn this far towards the coast.

She lay on the ground looking up at this giant, still in awe of his power. She gathered up her energy, drawing it into her heart, turning it into her yellow gold. Then she poured it out to the tree, wrapping it round his trunk as a thank you. She heard a shushing sound and the branches at the top waved. He appreciated her gift. They would part on good terms.

But she remained sat there for a moment, feeling a sense of love so pure for this species. She wished to would reincarnate as one, one day. 

Wednesday 23 June 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 205

This week's photo prompt was taken by Beano Burnett over on twitter. They posted it for the SundayPix theme of Clocks back in March. (every Sunday @wombat37 picks a theme for us all to post photos about). 

I am using the current Mid-WeekFlash prompts as inspiration for some scenes in the second Tricky Tales book - if they work for it. I have only supplied a snippet this week as the rest of the scene gets a bit indepth. (Last Tricky Tale was on Week 204)

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.

Broken ornate wall clock lying on the ground with shattered glass face


When she saw the clock she knew; time was her thing after all, that was no secret. Did he mean it as a warning, or did he have an idea beyond the human realm?

He thought he was playing clever, but Tricky knew better. She always did. These high class villains always believed they were ahead of the game and that was their downfall. Pride comes before a push off a cliff edge, and she had just the right cliff edge in mind.

But before that could happen she had to work this out. Rush into this and it would be her downfall not his.

She looked round the whole room. It was made to look like it had been vandalised, but Tricky knew what she was looking at, and it was a set up. Things might look thrown but they’d been carefully placed.

She took a deep breath and pulled energy up out of the floor to replay the last moments that had taken place here. She saw the wisps of human energy flying round, moving this, putting that there, dropping that over there. But the clock, he’d handled that carefully and deliberately. He knew exactly what it was – and that scared her far more.

He placed his palm over the glass covering the dial and his energy colour changed, firing up from its residual pink to an intense red. Then he had popped out of existence and the clock had fallen to the ground. But it hadn’t shattered; another energy had come and put their foot on it, purposefully breaking it and sealing him in, removing the opportunity for anyone to follow.

Tricky sniggered. Any ordinary person to follow. Oh he really didn’t have a clue about her, did he? She’d been so cautious, yet she hadn’t needed to be. Pride also made you stupid.

She spun her arms in an arc, collecting up the energy like spinning cotton candy round a stick. Then she thrust it into the broken clock face. It reassembled itself in an instant, and she sighed, letting her breath out as a whoosh. She slipped into its workings and through its cogs out into the time dimension Stanislov thought he could hide from her in.

Thursday 17 June 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 204

This week's picture prompt was taken by photographer, Leo Fry, for Forest sculptor Spencer Byles who spent a year creating these large-scale works of art deep in the woods of La Colle sur Loup, Villeneuve-Loubet, and Mougins.

A snippet from my Tricky tales again. (Last Tricky Tale was on Week 203)

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.

Circle of Light

Tricky pushed her way through the dense forest. There was no clear path in sight; she used her senses to guide her. A strong dark energy pulled her in. It was a deeper shade of green than any she’d come across when working with the trees.

She came to a clearing, and within it found a circular construction of entwined branches. Man made? She stepped up to one and put her hand on it. She immediately swooned backwards, taken over by an abrupt spinning sensation as a vivid luminous green energy shot through her. She removed her hand. It was a vortex of energy, something humans weren’t capable of forming.

She debated stepping through it. If she did, she might move into another world. Tricky grinned. Intriguing. She couldn’t possibly resist. You didn’t discover things by taking the cautious route.

She lifted her foot and put it on the other side of the twisted braid of branches, bracing herself. The green light hit her again and she let it sweep through her, taking over her own; it was the only way to withstand it.

The further in she walked, the more circles she found, reducing in size, one behind the other, like a telescope of giant twisting portals.

The energy beat through her body and filled her with a buzz she had never felt before. It made her want to spring and bounce. She let out a raucous belly laugh, helpless to stop it and found it was the only way to get through it.

Oh she hadn’t felt this much joy in a long time. The closest she had come to this was when she had bedded John Thatcher. He’d known how to keep things lively. She missed him. As her mood turned wistful the energy followed and she found her mind travelling to all sorts of places she hadn’t visited in a long time, the energy opening her up to the full range of emotions.

By the time she had reached the last one, she was bawling wantonly. She didn’t care. Sometimes it just had to come out; no one was ever served by bottling up their emotions.

She had to get on her knees and crawl through the last one, and as she did so she saw the shimmer ahead of her. It was her time bubble where she had stashed the jewels. Why had it manifested?

Tricky was immediately on alert. Had someone been here? Had someone seen her when she had stashed the stones? Surely not. She took a breath and swept her arms from her feet to her head several times, sealing in her energy and protecting herself from whatever she might find in the shimmer.

She moved sideways into it, unsure what to expect, but there was only the shelf she had created to place the bag of stones on. It glowed green like the light inside the circles. Something inside was leaking out.

Tricky opened it carefully and took out the glowing green stone. It was her mother’s piece of Jade. It was a large stone, taking up Tricky’s palm as she held it. The glow faded and the colour changed from lime back to dark leaf green.

Tricky took a breath, feeling the light energy leave her as it returned to the stone. She wondered why it had come alight. Had it been calling to her? Had it been trying to reach out and beckon her here to collect it? Was this part of the larger game at play? Jade was a highly protective stone. It would aid Tricky to remain on her true path and shield her from unwanted energies. It was a necessary aid in her journey.

She returned it to the bag, which she then placed in one of her pockets. She stepped out of the shimmer and took another breath, this time exhaling after into the shimmer, which made a popping sound as it vanished.

She turned to find the circles of twined wood gone. There wasn’t even a trace that they had been there, only the clearing. Tricky didn’t want to spend too much time pondering – not out here with the trees. They would delight in influencing her thoughts. She wasn’t the only tricky one out here, especially this woods which had many new and untouched species. She needed to get the stash back to her cabin quick smart.

Thursday 10 June 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 203

This week's picture prompt is from American artist Mark Hadley. He has some incredible art and is definitely worth checking out. 

As I am putting together Tricky's new book, there are snippets to be had. (Last Tricky Tale was on Week 202)

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.


Tricky crept into the glade. They’d know she was here, but she didn’t want to startle them all the same. She sat on the thick moss carpet and crossed her legs, letting out a long breath. Time in the glade seemed to still and shimmer.

It had been a long time since she’d sought their help, but she was stumped with a way forward and knew that time spent with them would bring her clarity.

One by one the butterflies began to appear until they spiralled up and down in a spinning kaleidoscope, the light catching their delicate wings turning them all colours of the rainbow. Tricky waited.

From the tops of the trees came a swishing sound and she knew they had arrived. The air glittered and one by one the spinning butterflies grew, taking on limbs and bodies, and with a flutter of a wing faces appeared.

They landed one by one on her head and shoulders, and knees and arms until they were all standing facing her. Tricky tried to remain passive and not be unnerved. She reminded herself they were friendly and not about to rip her face off. But she didn’t trust easy and the thought made her twitch as she endeavoured to remain calm, causing them to jostle about, their wings fluttering, a ripple like a wave running through them all as they maintained their balance.

Tricky took another breath and dare to close her eyes. They didn’t speak with mouth or tongue but with mind and light. She could see the question mark behind her eyelids and endeavoured to picture her predicament to them.

The single magpie and the man that controlled it, picturing Lucien Dufray in his room in the house, and then gone, and all the locations she had sought him, to no avail. She thought about the trees and their unsettled motions, and then Adric and his concern etched on that beautiful face.

She heard a fluttering occur at the sight of his face. Yes, he was a hottie and the fairies thought so too. But the picture they put in her head puzzled her.

The upside down chair from her dreams appeared, but this time with a cat sitting on it, looking at her, and not one she knew. Then another joined it and another, and they sat staring at her. Then they jumped off and the chair was turned upright, planted firmly into the ground and a mirror appeared on it, facing Tricky, and reflecting her younger self back at her. And behind her in that mirror came Adric’s face. What did it mean?

Then behind that there was water, lots of it, rushing and churning, getting closer and closer. The unsailable sea. And there was something in the water, but she couldn’t see what. Then the picture shimmered and melted away, and a road appeared, a long winding one. Yes, she had some travelling to do if she was to go to the coast.

The picture vanished and Tricky waited, but there was no more and when she opened her eyes she was alone in the glade.

She’d wanted clarity but felt more churned up than before, although now she had a direction – she had to go to the coast. But as their landmass was surrounded by it, how would she know which one?

She slapped her leg in frustration. She felt played. She’d rather they’d ripped her face off. It would have been preferable to the puzzle they posed. But the image of the path returned to her mind and she wondered if she didn’t recognise it. Wasn’t that Ferristan way?

As she made her way back out of the glade and through the forest, she became more certain that it was.

Wednesday 2 June 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 202

This week's picture prompt is by Andrey Bobir, an artist from Kazakhstan. He does some amazing surreal art, and definitely worth checking out. He calls this one Life. 

This month I am writing the second Tricky novel, so I am going to be using these prompts to help me work my way through it. I think this makes a good start. (Last Tricky Tale was on Week 201)

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.

a chair upside down on the ceiling with a cat sitting under it.


‘Well, would you look at that!’


‘Yes, I know, Casper, unnerving, isn’t it.’

Tricky marvelled at the chair hanging upside down in midair. She’d seen many unusual things in her time, but this one was unique. Some would say, it’s a dream so what do you expect?

But Tricky knew better. Oh yes, she did. She knew that such things didn’t occur in her dreams, not in lucid dreams like she was having now, with Annie’s cat sitting here at her feet. There was more than just a weightless chair to this little bit of subconscious titbit.

‘What do you think, Casper?’ He looked at her and then batted a paw at the plant that seemed to be holding up the chair, despite it being suspended in the air as well. ‘Yes, that is curious, but trees are my thing, and would explain the acorns on the seat too. But chairs ... mmm ... and it’s upside down. Not getting comfortable, which would portent something is about to turn my world upside down. That’s not good. And then you, Casper, why are you here?’

He looked at her and let out another meow.

‘Yes, it means there’s something I’m not seeing right. Something I believe that is false. Mmm, I don’t like that at all, not one bit.’

There was a fluttering sound. Tricky looked over her shoulder at the front door. It was open and outside there were birds gathering. A murder of crows were settling around a single magpie, like the one she’d seen the night before. It eyed her, looking straight at her. She shook her head. ‘Nope, this is not good.’

Then they all took flight, letting out screeches and Tricky winced as she watched them go, flying over the trees and away. The trees were moving, swaying their boughs deeply from left to right. Something was wrong and something was coming.

She took a breath and shushed the trees, waiting for them to slow their movement and return from their restless state.

Another meow and she looked down at Casper who was sitting on her foot. He looked up at her, bright yellow eyes staring into hers. Then she blinked and was awake, back in her cabin.

She sat up and leapt out of bed, grabbing a shawl before going outside.

She stood at the backdoor and looked across the jetty, but there were no birds to be seen anywhere. Everything was quiet in the pre-dawn light.

Tricky’s body gave an involuntary shudder. She didn’t like this, no, not one bit.

Tuesday 1 June 2021

Happy Publication Day!

Today Pool of Players is released! Whoo hoo! 

This book has been a couple of years in the writing, and made my head hurt at times trying to wrap my head round the time travel element, but it is finally here. 

Sequel to my book, The Game, which is currently FREE, Pool of Players provides the answers many reader sought about who The Jester is, what happens to David and the people in his time, and how the girls are connected to The Jester. 

Read an interview HERE about it and my other writing. 

A book cover with a house on it, and grass covered steps into the garden

A world created in a pocket of time to provide a Pool of Players

David can’t settle back into his old life after playing The Jester’s games. Besides all the unanswered questions about why his time was created and how people are being selected for the games, he wants to find his father, but how can he slip through again?

The answer comes when he reveals the recruiters to the public, triggering a response from The Jester who grants his wish and snatches him away.

Back in the parallels, The Jester reveals his past and puts David through brutal and punishing times. An unexpected meeting with his father leaves David with a question he’s scared to answer, but attempts to speak to him again are interrupted by The Jester who wants to train David as his replacement.

Hanging out at The Jester’s house, David learns what he is capable of, and, in a bizarre twist of time, why he’s the perfect candidate.

Pool of Players is a dark, sci-fi fantasy that gives a new meaning to time travel. It's the second book in The Jester series, attempting to answer the questions left by the first book, The Game.