December 31- New Year’s Eve- a piece of flash up on cafelit today and my Trio of Terrors is out to buy in paperback…

A new piece of flash out today on Gill James’ cafe lit site – The Last Visit– is about an elderly woman spending her last day in her now sold home, visiting the derelict orangery in the gardens, which stirs up long ago memories of a forbidden love affair and its outcome.


The paperback version of my ghost stories Trio of Terror- Supernatural Tales is now up for sale on

I’m pleased I’ve managed to get this taster of my short stories up before the end of the year, (just) as it was one of my writing goals. It is priced at £3.80 and if you are kind enough to buy a copy please could you leave a review on amazon/goodreads/blogs/facebook? Thank you.

The stories are set in Filey, Bingley and Halifax.

Christmas story up on Horror Tree/Siren’s Call and 2019 writing plans… including Marilyn Monroe…

which is set in Keighley’s Cliffe Castle

This room features prominently in the story.

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It Came Upon a Midnight Clear – one Christmas Eve by Alyson Faye

The dead-eyed squirrel stares at me from its glass case, poised on its perch for eternity. We exchange looks. I blink first. Score one –  to the squirrel. Turning away I lock the cabinet doors and click off the overhead lights. The shadows rush in to swallow the taxidermists’ trophies.

Keighley Castle Museum is closing early as it’s Christmas Eve. Everyone’s packing up or getting ready to hit the shops, or go to the pub or meet up with their partners and children. The usual stuff. Me, I’m in no hurry. There’s no one waiting. Not any more…


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Free horror mag with great fiction in to download and read off Siren’s Call– try one- you won’t regret it. they are a really supportive editing team too.


What will 2019 bring for me?

I have signed up for a mentoring package with talented Leeds based thriller writer Ali Harper who will help me grow my crime novella set in post war Britain into a novel- big gulp ie about 90,000 words- I am excited but trepidacious- is that a word? Think film noir with a femme fatale, dashes of murder, sex and double dealing, twisting and turning through nightclubs and back alleys in Birmingham and London, leading to a femme powered conclusion.

I will try to write some short fiction along the way to keep my writing muscles in tone and I will be teaching a new workshop – on Marilyn Monroe – for another passion of mine is the Golden Age of Hollywood.

at the Craft House in May. Very much looking forward to this.

I will be attending Edgelit again in July 2019 in Derby Quad and I am involved in 2 local writing groups as well as teaching my own writers’ monthly drop in class at the Craft House.


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Whatever you are doing in 2019 – enjoy it, let it empower you and try new things out.

best wishes to you all

Christmas fiction pieces from my monthly drop in creative writing group which I teach at the Craft House… have yourself a merry little Christmas read….

Light on Baildon Moor by Kath Wharton

Christmas passed like a ghost,

snow bones sidled

on moor’s open road.

Carols echo – choir to a cross,

red berry baubles

warm winter’s cold stare.

Evergreens whisper a prayer

on the skyline,

submerged in a Silent Night.

Lost voice in a dream,

mist surfs in air –

a first breath crept in

through stars open window.

Silhouettes following white light.

He passed like a ghost.

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or Gillian’s comic take with a spiritual serious note in the last line.

Christmas Eve by Gillian Wright

“Christmas Eve! I’m done with shopping,”

Congested traffic, people pushing,

The list gets smaller, but I’m still worrying.

Father Christmas, the children wanting.


Eligible male cousin who owns a salon,

Reached his apex at just twenty-one.

Designer label on a shirt made of chiffon.

Better than last year when I bought him a baton!


So no more ugly trips will I be making,

Instead the call of church bells ringing.

Listening to the choirs singing,

I wonder though when Christ went missing?


Bingley Poetess Kate’s humorous take on a salon trip with a difference:-


An ugly mop hung from

the apex of his crown.

Congestion of matted silky strands

lurked behind his ears

around his neck

down his shoulders

and who knows elsewhere.

A worried look seeped into

sad brown eyes

as dexterous digits removed

the collar with the label.

Warm water penetrated

dripped brown onto

the white slab

as gentle hands massaged.

Steel combs tufted

prickly brushes smoothed

shiny scissors snipped

clipped and coiffured.

All done now Deefa.

Quite eligible for Crufts!

Katharine Nicholas Dec 2018

mistletoe image

THE DUNG TWIG by Hannah Silcock

Parasite of
light and water,
poisonous healer,
shower of truths,
there she sits,
awaiting the
festive joy
of a stolen

poinsettia image


by Carrie Canning

Dark myth of toxic wolf sap

Hidden deep in sullied bracts

Ding Dong merrily your high

Rich mocking those who vilify

Black as pitch, pretty blood red star

Legend belies what you really are

Copyright remains with the authors who kindly allowed me to post their work on my blog.



Saltaire Craft House Creative writing winners have been chosen:-

Myself and poetry judge Mike Farren have selected the winners and runners up in the flash fiction and poetry categories after reading blind, over 50 entries. April who owns and runs the Craft house has acted as admin on this and she will email the winners tomorrow or the next day.

If you don’t hear anything, then sorry it’s not you this time. But thank you for entering and I hope you enjoyed the fun of the writing and entering.

There will be a prize giving/readings/q&a event on Tuesday 8 January 2019 2-4pm with food and drink where both myself and Mike will be there. Tickets are £5 to be bought from the Craft House in advance or on the day. There is a limit on numbers who can attend due to space limitations.

Craft House

Hope to see some of you there, and have a lovely creative Christmas, and New Year.


The latest e newsletter from Australian horror writer Deborah Sheldon, who is also in DeadCades …

Deborah Sheldon‘s horror fiction was new to me, when I was assigned an e interview with her by the Horror Tree- I read her ‘Thylacines’ first up and then carried on through Devil Dragon and her award winning short story collection Perfect Little Stitches


and I was hooked on her fast, pacy, enjoyable stories. Try her fiction – you won’t regret it.

ThylacinesDevil DragonPerfect Little Stitches and Other Stories

Ebook giveaway

Sometimes, the ties that bind are sharp enough to cut. In these eleven stories, set in contemporary Australian suburbia, Deborah Sheldon examines the darker side of family relationships. Unsettling and incisively written, each story of betrayal, envy, loss or bad blood resonates for a long time after reading.

Open to newsletter subscribers only. The giveaway will run for about one more month – until my January newsletter comes out. The winners will be picked at random. Please enter the competition here. Only the winners will be notified.

Short story acceptance

Dimension6 is the speculative fiction magazine brought out three times per year by Coeur de Lion Publishing, based in Australia.

My horror story, “The Tea and Sugar Train”, has been accepted for publication, and will appear in the October 2019 issue of Dimension6.

Christmas and holiday reading

These holidays, why not support independent publishers and discover your new favourite writers at the same time?

DeadCades: The Infernal Decimation (The Infernal Clock) – a horror anthology featuring stories set from the 1880s to the 2020s.

Aurealis magazine (Chimaera Publications) – Australia’s longest running small press science fiction and fantasy magazine.

Year’s Best Hardcore Horror (Red Room Press) – an annual collection intended to give recognition to the extreme, harder side of horror, stories that break boundaries and trash taboos.

Breach magazine (Breach) – a bi-monthly online zine for SF, horror and dark fantasy short fiction by Australian and New Zealand writers.

AntipodeanSF – online zine devoted to the promotion of the best in short-short speculative fiction from the podes and antipodes, and in the promotion of fresh, new speculative writers.

Upcoming ebook giveaway

In my January newsletter, I will start an ebook giveaway for my two crime-noir novellas, Dark Waters and Ronnie and Rita (IFWG Publishing Australia).

Each story a mirror-image of the other…
A bad man trying to become good.
A good man turning bad.
Both men motivated by love.

Free romance-suspense novella

When a robbery occurs during one of her cleaning shifts, Jayne McMurray becomes the prime suspect. She’s evicted from her rental property and fired from her agency. Enough is enough. Destitute and desperate, Jayne wants to track down the real culprits and wrest a cut of the money. But can she risk it with insurance investigator Ted Shepherd on the case?

Download your free copy from Smashwords, Barnes and Noble or iBooks.

Thanks for reading, and keep in touch

If you have any questions, comments or feedback, email me here.
Get the latest news on my Facebook page, managed by IFWG Publishing Australia.
You can also friend me on Goodreads.


Flash piece up on Cafe Aphra- which is closing its doors end of this year…

Taken me a while to root this piece out, forgot about it truth to tell- but saw a tweet that site was closing for a while and remembered.

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Cafe Aphra: An Online Community for Writers

This is Café Aphra. Grab a coffee, take a seat and join in…

Night Skating by Alyson Rhodes

By Cafe Aphra November 02, 2018

Me and Joe were inseparable as boys. “You could be twins,” me Mum used to say smiling.

She’d pack us both brown bags filled with squashed sarnies and an apple each, before ushering us out for the day. Watch less, parent less, we’d explore for hours. In old quarries, up meadows and in the bombed out ruins.

Joe’s Mum never packed him a lunch. She struggled to feed the triplets let alone Joe, her eldest child. The triplets had been an “unwanted leaving present from the G. I’s,” I’d heard Mum telling Mrs Jakes, the next door neighbour.

There was no holding Joe back. He climbed, ran, jumped the highest, fastest and furthest of us kids at St Edmunds. He’d have been head boy too or so said popular opinion, if it hadn’t been for his family ‘background.’

It was night-times when we had our greatest adventures. After midnight, while our families slept, we’d climb out of our bedroom windows and meet up by Beckett’s Pond. In summer we’d build a tree house in the woods. But winter was our favourite season, especially when the snow fell.

The first fluttering flakes inspired joy in our hearts. Wearing three jumpers each, wrapped in scarfs and mittened, we’d head for our favourite stretch of the River Ouse.

Strapping on our home made pattens, we’d scratch elaborate mandalas in the ice. The huge river transformed into our exclusive ice road. We’d chase each other’s shadows; flying free. First linking our arms, then breaking apart and gasping for breath as the wind chafed our cheeks. We’d glide past the dark riverside hamlets, laden with smoky roofs, past the drowsing animals and the local cemeteries where the dead slept.

Joe would snow plow to a stop shrieking, “Look at me, George!”

He’d jump, spin and twist in the air before landing, hardly disturbing the top ice layer. He was a lithe Peter Pan. I was dumpy; solid in body and character.

I’d not wanted to go skating that Candle mas, but Joe had pestered me through out the school day. Now I realise my friend had not wanted to be at home while his mum ‘entertained’ her male guests.

“You’ll be there won’t you George?”

I’d nodded my head but I did not say yes, so I hoped it would not count as a proper promise. Me Mum was suspicious and she’d nailed shut my bedroom window. I was too proud to tell Joe this minor but important detail.

The next morning the local constable arrived, knocking at 11am. Mum made him tea and called me down. The PC held out a striped scarf and one fractured patten.

That was the day my childhood ended.




Lovely review of anthology I have a story in, and a shout out for my tale/net galley and C J Tudor’s latest

Thank you to reviewer J Dearden for mentioning my story ‘Angel’s Wing’ ‘The connection between the child and the grave digger in the opening story, ‘Angel Wings’ is moving and extraordinary.’

Siren’s Call have accepted a drabble from me for their Women  in Horror Issue next year.

I have just finished reading a net galley copy of C J Tudor’s 2nd novel The Taking of Annie Thorne,

due out in February 2019 and I loved it, and think it will be a huge hit. It’s more horror than thriller in tone, and changes gear as you read it. The anti hero protagonist is cleverly depicted and you will never guess the ending. Grab it when it comes out or sign up for net galley and get reviewing books for free.


Time to put up the Christmas Tree

A horrific Christmas tale from horror mistress Stephanie Ellis, co editor of The Horror Tree. You’ll never view tall majestic Christmas trees in the same way again. Horror Tree are always on the look out for submissions of drabbles and stories upto 1500 words for their Trembling with Fear column, and Steph is the most supportive of editors – so give it a go.

Stephanie Ellis

I wrote this little story a few years back and have put it up each Christmas. It’s back again for you to enjoy and is still one of my favourite pieces of flash.

The Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree waited patiently at the bottom of the garden.  It was nearly time.  From behind, the others rustled their bare branches in expectation.  They were old and nobody came for them any more.  It did not matter, Christmas was a time for sharing and they would still enjoy the festivities.

A new family had moved into the house in the summer and three young children had spent those distant hazy days running in and out of the trees, hiding from grown-ups and tormenting the ageing dog that had come with them.  The mother had spotted the tree during one of their games and made a mental note that it would be the…

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Markets For Writers

A comp for a 1500 word short story to enter from writer/blogger/editor Esther Newton’s blog. A writing blog I can highly recommend writers follow, as I do, as it’s full of tips,advice, comps, and general info.


Writing Magazine are holding their annual Open Short Story Competition. So the choice of subject to write about is yours! Here are some more details:


1st: £200, plus publication in the magazine

2nd: £50, plus publication on the website

Entry fees: £6, £4 for subscribers

Word limit: Between 1500 – 1700 words

Closing date: 15th January

To find out more, visit the competition page.


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