And The Flash Fiction Results Are In…

Meet the Winners!

It’s with great pleasure that I’m announcing the winners of my second flash fiction competition. Once again, I had a staggering amount of entries so thank you to everyone who entered. I’m only glad I wasn’t the judge – there were some stunning entries and I’d have picked far too many winners! Here they are. You can read the judge’s report below, as well as the winning entries:

1st Place: Geoff Le Pard with The Refusenik

2nd Place: Adam Dixon with Gemini

3rd Place: Anna Cookson with Breathing in and Beathing out Love

Highly Commended:

Kim Russell with Empty Platform

Dafne Mathioudaki with Shadowman

Julie Hutchinson with The Head Hunter

Christine Humfrey with A Little Gem

David Harrison with The Corner of the Street

Now read the top three stories:

1st Place:

The Refusenik


Geoff Le Pard

It starts with grit. An unwanted irritant, inveigling its way inside the shell. Within hours the host has tried to protect itself, by coating the guest. All it does is replace one foreign body with a bigger problem. The guest is adapted to its environment but the relationship is uncomfortable. The host tries to smooth, add an acceptable surface but it is a compromise, a coping mechanism. Gradually it seems less foreign but the accommodation is never comfortable; the defences are still at work, trying to make the grain more like the host, a reflection of it.

And just when the guest and host reach a kind of equilibrium, another, greater problem, a predator appears and the unwanted guest is the prize, the host discarded. The guest is not an irritant but precious, a commodity. But it is not free; just the subject of another unwanted relationship.

Raul turned the pearl in his fingers; he was that pearl. A piece of human grit, washed into Europe’s maw, ground by its machine. An irritant, clothed, fed, educated but always unwanted. A foreign object, gaining knowledge of systems, until one day his value was appreciated. An interpreter, a go-between. No longer grit but a pearl; the accumulation of layers.

But not free. As a pearl, stringed, set and polished but a commodity.

A pearl is beautiful but inert. Raul’s beauty is his animation. And that is his difference. He can stand and fight.

2nd Place:



Adam Dixon

I think someone is watching me. Not ‘watching over’ me, but actually watching me. I get strange feelings whenever I am alone, usually an odd tickling sensation between my shoulder blades, as if someone is glaring at my back. There is nothing there, of course. Not physically, anyway.

When I am drifting from deep sleep towards wakefulness, I sometimes see a figure floating above me. In the split second before I start into full consciousness, I catch a glimpse of the figure. I am certain that it is a baby. A spectral new-born that hovers above me, gazing down at my resting body. In that second, I can see accusation and pain in those big, seemingly innocent eyes… I don’t think the ghost of my twin sister approves of me surviving her.

I wonder what her purpose is, watching me like this. It makes me anxious, and since childhood my insomnia hasn’t abated. Whenever my heavy eyelids close and I unwillingly succumb to the oblivion of sleep, I know that she will be there when I wake up. Watching. Waiting. According to our mother she had been holding on to me tightly in the womb right up until the end. She didn’t want to let me go…

3rd Place:

 Breathing in and Breathing out Love


Anna Cookson

There are five slow stains on the bed from when you were here last night. We breathed in and breathed out, then. But now, as the sun slides plaintively under the tousled curtain, and the day is more than half begun, there’s a space between the sheets that smells of you.

 I like it at first because I’m breathing you in again, but, when I’m more awake, it reminds me that you’re gone and my knees come up to my chin, like the pain is closing me up.

 Last time, it was three weeks. You said you were busy, you said you had work. And then, you came, with the flowers with the baggy petals. I was suspicious of their dropping necks but I let you in. I let you right in.

 After, I watched the big pink petals drip their blowzy bodies onto the table and crinkle until they were a parched husk, but you didn’t see that, you’d gone again.

 You’d gone to them.

There are three children in your family and a woman with a blank face because I don’t want to imagine it.

 You clenched your fist when you say it’s hard and you say you can’t change the situation and you tell me not to wait.

 I tried to breathe you out, but, when the call came, and the night was porous for love, I said yes, and I breathed you in…

 Knowing all the time that I’d have to breathe you out again.

Here is what the judge had to say about all your entries and she’s also offered some helpful tips for next time:

Flash Fiction Competition – Judge’s Report:

Overall, this competition was very successful and many of these short stories were a delight to read; some brought tears to my eyes, when others made me laugh out loud. There was such a wide variety of genres and the competition was exceptionally challenging to judge, but, in the end, some extremely worthy winners were selected. Unfortunately, I couldn’t put every story in the highly commended section, but if I could I would! It was an honour to read all of your stories, and hopefully I will get to judge this competition in the future as it was great fun.


  • Try to make your story unique. Before you go to write it, think to yourself: ‘will anyone else think of this?’
  • Always target your story to a certain audience who will understand it. There were a few that did confuse me occasionally in this competition
  • There were quite a lot of stories involved with death. Perhaps next time you could interpret death in different styles instead of typical deaths
  • Finally, even if you didn’t get into the highly commended section or above, you could be in the future so please don’t be disheartened and try again when the next competition comes around – all of your stories were brilliant!

Thank you once again to all who entered. Look out for the next competition soon.



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Guest Writer Spot

My Guest Writer Spot gives writers the opportunity for their  work to be seen and read by others. I’m happy to accept stories, poems, articles – in fact, anything and everything. All you have to do is make sure your prose is no longer than 2000 words and your poems no more than 40 lines. If you would like some of your writing to be featured on my blog, please contact me here or by e-mail:

My guest writer this week is Traci Aina. She’s sent me some amazing poems, which I’m going to feature in this slot today and in future weeks. Here’s what she has to say about herself:

Hi, I’m Traci.  I am a beginner writer, wife and mother of two.  As well as writing, my passions are literature, travelling, yoga and meditation.

Here is her first poem:

Another Baby Mother

Another Baby Mother walking down the street,
Just turned eighteen but her face is so bleak.
Robbed of her youth, robbed of her time,
And from her deep pit of misery she tries to climb.

The pushchair is heavy, laden with shopping,
It’s raining heavily, no time for stopping.
She sees two of her old school friends,
Laughing and care-free
But she’s tied down with a baby,
Now how could this be?

Struggling on the poverty line,
The estate where she lives is riddled with crime.
Alone in her flat, the baby is crying,
At times like this, she feels like dying.

The doorbell rings,
Could it be the baby’s father?
She opens the door – she owes her neighbour a fiver.









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My Weekly Writing Challenge

This week’s challenge  is to write a twenty-word story using as many words from the list given as you can, or you can write a story/poem from the second list:

Option one: Choose your words from the following list and write a twenty-word story:

  • Bubbles
  • Aquiver
  • Mellifluous
  • Champagne
  • Christmas
  • Serendipity
  • Nefarious
  • Dave
  • Aroma
  • Supine
  • Elephant
  • Van
  • Phosphenes
  • Nancy
  • Cromulent

Option two: Write a story/poem, centred around any of the following emotions :

  • Shock
  • Stress
  • Shame

Last week’s words were:

  • Xylopolist
  • Train
  • Ulotrichous
  • Sweets
  • Feline
  • Ecophobia
  • Liverpool
  • Furious
  • Argute
  • Trampoline

Here are your wonderful creations:

Amir Hosein Ghazi was quick off the mark:

The Liverpool sweets’ train hit the furious ulotrichous feline.

David Harrison sent in two stories which made me chuckle:

  • The xylopolist’s trampoline bounced his furious ulotrichous feline to Liverpool.
  •  “Argute feline! Scoffed my sweets!” roared the xylopolist with ecophobia.
Helen Gaen always amazes me with her stories:
  • The argute, ulotrichous xylopolist loved trains, sweets and felines.
  •  Furious, the argute xylopolist threw trampolines and trains. Ecophobia?
  • Liverpool attracted xylopolists, trains and felines. Argute Andy devoured sweets.
Les Moriarty’s two brought a smile to my face:
  • The ulotrichous furious feline from Liverpool met the argute xylopolist.
  • The trampolining echophobic Liverpudlian boarded a train furiously eating sweets.

Option two was to write a story/poem, centred around any of the following emotions :

  • Bitterness
  • Bravery
  • Boredom

Carol Campbell posted her super interpretation of the emotion ‘bitter’ on her blog:






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Markets For Writers

Some of the markets I highlight have very short deadlines. My market for you today gives you plenty of time to craft your story. The Christopher Fielden Annual Short Story Competition “To Hull & Back” is now accepting entries, but you have until 31st July 2016 to send your entry.

It’s a humorous writing competition and welcomes stories from around the world. The maximum word limit is 4000 words. Previously published stories are accepted. Prizes are as follows:

1st: £1000

2nd: £150

3rd: £75

But there’s more than just cash to the prize – see website. Rules and other information including entry fees can be found on the website.



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Funny Of The Week/Funny Ads Part Five

The mind boggles…


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And the Winner of the Flash Fiction Competition is…



…going to be announced a week today on 30th November 2015!


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Guest Writer Spot

My Friday blog post offers writers the opportunity for their  work to be seen and read by others. I’m happy to accept stories, poems, articles – in fact, anything and everything. All you have to do is make sure your prose is no longer than 2000 words and your poems no more than 40 lines. If you would like some of your writing to be featured on my blog, please contact me here or by e-mail:

My guest writer this week is Adhin Shamina. Here’s a little bit about her, in her own words:

“I am thirty two years old, married. From a small village of Saint-Pierre, currenly living in a village called Surinam. Working as Nursing Officer for twelve years now. Hobbies are cooking, reading , playing badminton and of course writing. Wish to be known by my words.”

Here is her atmospheric poem:


Assumption of presence

that leaves us in illusion

whether of what we await,

wish to treasure as memories

or struggle to forget.

Holding us vulnerable

as objects to manipulate

according to their whims,

rendering us helpless

before their existence,

either real or imaginary,

as mere puppets with strings

held in the hands of the unseen.

Appearing now, disappearing then,

entangling minds

in a vicious hide and seek,

at times faith,

at times betrayal,

where emotions are stirred

as pawns in the game.

We grow restless

running after or away

from what eventually

remains unseen.



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