Two workshops coming up in January 2018….run by me and the other by writer/actress Irene Lofthouse…

Me and artist Jane Fielder at her gallery in Park Road Bingley in front of one of her Janescapes- I am running a workshop there on Monday 22 January 1-3.30pm; Tel 01274 552143 inspired by Jane’s art and for beginners onwards.

Me and Jane Fielder.JPGjane fielder creative writing workshop flyer.png

One of Jane’s pics on childhood memories.

Stories from Stone: 9 creative writing workshops led by Irene Lofthouse

at Undercliffe Cemetery Bradford.


MON15 January
MON29 January

February 2018

 April 2018
 May 2018
Led and facilitated by best-selling author and storyteller Irene Lofthouse.
Located at the unique and internationally-known Undercliffe Cemetery, these workshops will explore its environs to stimulate and inspire a variety of writing styles and genres.

The Cemetery is not only the home of the great and good of Victorian Bradford and beyond, but of its workers, soldiers, nurses, artists, inventors and more. It’s a regular location for film and television, and has fantastic wildflowers and wildlife.

During the course we’ll experiment with flash fiction, monologues, short stories, short scripts and dip our toes in poetry. Participants will polish pieces to appear in an anthology and they’ll have the opportunity to perform these at an event on May 19th organised by the Cemetery Charity.

£120 (incl refreshments)
Booking and payment in advance essential.
12 places maximum

I am booked on this course and you can find out more by messaging me on facebook under Aly Rhodes or through my blog contact page or Irene Lofthouse at

Still time- to enter Saltaire Writers Group Creative writing comp… great prizes.. free entry…

Here’s the link:-

closing date in  15 December 2017; I’m judging the Flash fiction short list.

Here are a couple more free writing comps you might be interested in having a go-

Raising funds for lifeboats, closing date is end of December FREE short story comp

Ad Hoc Fiction’s weekly flash competition at

Run by Reader’s Digest;

Remember- You’ve got to be in it to win it. Good luck.



Mini sized anthology published to raise funds for homelessness charity/submitting opening/guesting on the blog….

Available to buy from– this tiny Christmas stocking sized book filled with 80 word mini tales from many authors has been published and is being sold to raise funds for a homeless charity. I have a mini tail included- ‘Mermaid’– I will be giving some as gifts this December.

I will be reading at Ilkley Library this Saturday 9th in a 5 minute slot along with others from Menston Writers including Otley writing group folk like Martin Fuller and poet Kevin Holloway. It is part of the library’s ‘Winter Tale’s event.

I also have a new drabble out on Horror Tree at under 12/3/17 listing, titled ‘Scarecrow’

Here’s the opening:-


“Out in the field, tied up on its pole, Harry’s scarecrow twitched. The button eyes were always open. It watched Harry’s ma creep out to meet her beau. It watched Harry’s dad following, shotgun prepped………”

Horror tree editors Stephanie Ellis and Stuart Conover are the nicest folk to deal with and they are currently looking for flash and drabbles, original and unpublished to fill the slots on ‘Trembling with Fear.’ So if you write horror or fancy writing horror dust off those drabbles and send them in.

I am currently sorting out running a guest writer spot on my blog, hopefully to appear most Fridays – that might be too ambitious but say 2x a month anyway. The first interview is up posted, with Fliss Snowden and I’ve approached other writers I know to answer a mini questionnaire and have a (reprint) of their fiction posted. If anyone who follows the blog is a writer/aspiring writer and would like to feature next year then please email be and get in touch. Open to poetry or prose- either- thank you.

Interview with indie author Felicity Snowden:-

Fliss in Thassos (2).jpg

1) Hi Felicity and welcome. Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started as an author.

Hi Alyson,

Many thanks for inviting me onto your blog.

My name is Felicity Snowden and I live in Morley, near Leeds – married with grown up children, a very patient husband and an elderly but energetic Labrador. A Yorkshire lass through and through.

I always enjoyed books as a young child but my main interest was in drama and music and luckily my mother had a way of getting me into every musical and stage production she possibly could. That was fine by me – I loved it.

Then at High School I discovered the `library’ an intriguing haven of literature where I could virtually spend hours. From then on I started scribbling down short stories which although completed – never got published.

On retirement in 2010 I started spending summers in Bulgaria where I found the time and inspiration to write. My first novel, a time slip mystery set in Adwalton, West Yorkshire ‘When Dead Men won’t Lie’ was published in November 2014.

When Dead Men Won't Lie  paperback.jpg 2) Which writers have influenced you?

Writers who jumped out at me from the library shelves were Wilkie Collins, Daphne Du Maurier, Denis Wheatley and Agatha Christie- who enticed me into their world of atmospherics and mystery. Historical literature has always drawn me. Intrigued by how people lived, their motivation and how their struggles and achievements have shaped our lives today.

I also have a great admiration for Rosamunde Pilcher with whom I share a love of family life and also her birthday – 22nd September. Her books always remain in my memory long after I have turned that last page.

3)Your books are written (living) in Northern England – how have the people and its landscape shaped your stories?

I have been fortunate in my life to travel quite extensively in Europe and lived for some fifteen years on the south coast but for me there is nowhere to compare with Yorkshire. The Dales and the stunning coastline, the bustling cities and traditional market towns bringing people from all walks of life to our lovely county.

Many of the literary giants, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell and the inimitable Bram Stoker were drawn to Yorkshire, especially the wonderful Whitby on our east coast, the setting for my second murder mystery ‘Grave Misconception’


4)Writing is a solitary business – how do you interact with other authors?

Many people believe that Authors can take a much deserved rest after publishing but of course that is when the marketing madness sets in and the real work begins. Having at first been dubious about the prospect of promoting my new novel I have found that I actually enjoy that aspect of my work.

I have also been fortunate to attend the UK Indie Lit Fest in Bradford and this year had the opportunity to work with Morley Arts Festival in launching the first ever Indie Book Fair for our town.

These events in our region are not only invaluable for establishing contacts in the Indie world but help to establish a wider audience.

5)What do you have coming up in the future?

I am currently working on the second in the series of Yorkshire Murder Mysteries, due for release April 2018. ‘Swindler’s List set in present day Leeds where the lovely Annette McBride and Lou Bannister meet up again in the big city ready to move on with their lives. However the course of true love never runs smooth and as always it seems that the past is always coming back to stand in their way.

Thank you for your interest and please visit my Author Page ‘A Time Traveller’s Tales’ for the latest in the literary world and updates on my work.

Thank you for agreeing to be ‘interviewed’ by my for my blog Fliss, and thank you too for all your hard work in organising the Morley Indie Book Fair and welcoming me as an indie author to it.


Reviews of Women in Horror annual 2:-

I am delighted to say there are 2 reviews up on for the annual- one is from Horror tree co editor Stephanie Ellis (also to be found at and who wrote an articulate and thoughtful review which gave a lovely mention to my story -“Mother Love by Alyson Faye, a touch of wonderful gothic…..Gloriously creepy.”

A second review was posted by a writing friend of mine, Melissa, who kindly agreed to read a genre ie horror that wasn’t her first choice but she happily did enjoy the stories and penned an interesting review. She has her own book out on amazon :-

London Lives by [Wade, Melissa] Do check it out; it’s great fun and well written.

Last week at James Nash’s kind invitation I did a mini workshop on flash fiction – tips/prompts and entering comps at the Otley Courthouse with my old writing group. Not old in age you understand! It was a fun and entertaining session with some really great fiction coming out of it. Dribbles to drabbles to sudden fiction.

I have a drabble out myself this weekend on Trembling with fear section called ‘Scarecrow’ which hopefully will make you look at those humble bedraggled guardians of our fields in a whole new way.

My writing buddy Martin Fuller also is regularly appearing on the Horror Tree site now with his longer pieces like ‘The Scutterings.’ He is an adept writer of the creepy and macabre.

Sadly I had to miss the book launch in Otley of ‘The Darkening Season’ the other night due to another commitment. But thank you to Russell for reading my piece ‘Zombie Hunting’- much appreciated.

A fistful of flash comps for free to enter:-

We want the weird, spooky and unconventional side of Christmas. Entertain us with up to 300 words using Christmas Folklore as your inspiration. Closing date 15 December 2017







Tell a tale in 40 words with sound effects, cash prizes- they run regular mini contests so it’s worth book marking their page. I’ve won in the past.

Tell a tale in 80 words in this bi monthly comp with cash prize and to raise funds for fighting homelessness. Here is their tiny anthology they are printing for a Xmas stocking filler. My tiny tail about a Mermaid has won in the past.

linked to the Bath FF Prize, this has a word prompt, 150 word limit, runs weekly and they compile an online e doc for you to vote and read.

Guest Writer Spot

Thank you to Esther for publishing this piece of flash- one of my favourites- on her blog; it is also available to read in Otley Writers anthology ‘The Darkening Season’.


Every week, on a Friday, I invite a writer to appear in my Guest Writer Spot. If you’d like your writing to appear on this page, please contact me here or by e-mail: I 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.

This week’s Guest Writer is Alyson Faye. You can read more of her work on her own blog:

Zombie Hunting by Alyson Faye

This is not what I had imagined happening when Lisa had said we should dress up for Halloween and make a night of it. I’d been thinking more about wearing matching witch and wizard costumes, going on a pub crawl, getting hammered and heading back to mine.

Instead we’re crouching in the middle of freezing…

View original post 501 more words

Flash Fiction magazines to submit to and comps to enter:-

Christopher Fielden has collated an international listing for Flash contests (free entry and to pay for), how often they run, it’s pretty definitive:-

Here is a list which I have collated based on my own publishing/submitting experiences which I hope will be useful for those of you who would like to try your hand at writing and then sending off Flash fiction:- ed Joanna Sterling (Tubeflash)- closed though to new authors (75 worders)

for submitting 100 worders

Morgen Bailey at

for free monthly 100 words competitions, heads up on useful sites and editing advice plus prizes of editing. a site run by Dave Wing dedicated to Flash Fiction, promoting it, publishing it, runs monthly comps/anthology (run by Gill James) posts regular Flash

Literally 101 word stories only. If your piece is accepted you receive useful editorial/layout advice and there is quick response. (for horror) editor of Ragin Aardvark, does annual FF anthology (linked to Bath FF prize) a regular free comp (humour site) (free to enter mini Flash comps) (pay to enter FF comps) (250 words)

run by Stuart Conover, a fast expanding useful site for horror/supernatural writers with comps listed/magazine call outs, a fiction section for long and short pieces- fast response and editorial advice too. post monthly Flash pieces based on a prompt

site for reading flash/submitting it and regular flash comps

ed and founder FF guru Calum Kerr- one of the stars of UK Flash runs free bi monthly comps of 80 word limits with prizes

Lurgies, life and writing…..

Like so many other people our household has been struck down by the lurgy- my son calls me a ‘biohazard’ and 45 boxes of tissues later, I think he has a point. We should definitely buy shares in Kleenez.

I have proofread and edited Otley Writers latest anthology  ‘The Darkening Season’ which is NOW available to buy on amazon.

Here’s the link;-

The book launch is on 30 November in Otley, unfortunately this time I can’t make it 😦 due to a clash with a school event but I wish the group well.

In fact this Friday I am running a mini workshop, by invitation of poet and tutor James Nash, on Flash Fiction, at Otley Courthouse for the group. This will a fun challenge as there is a lot of experience in the room.

I am back at The Craft House tomorrow for part 3 of 4 – how to write a short story– we’re up to endings now!!! The group is small but terrific fun and there is some great writing coming out of the sessions. I love my Tuesday afternoons with them. Always  much laughter around the table.

I have a 250 word piece up on titled

‘Gone Fishing’ which is the opening of the longer story which has been recorded by South Tyneside Talking newspapers. It is a feel good tale about a daughter and father bonding over fishing. No horror in it all really.

The free Leeds based magazine ‘Suburban’ has published my 600 word story, Crow Girl in their November issue.

Here’s the link  Edition 33A November 2017:

Blogger and writer Esther Newton will be publishing my piece of flash, Zombie Hunting this Friday 24th November on her blog. This is the piece which I read out at Ilkley Literature Festival Fringe event and is one of my favourite stories, combining horror and humour.

I’ve been reading the tales in Women In Horror Annual 2, in which I have a story; I have really enjoyed the others, all written engagingly to a high standard comparable to paying horror magazines or anthologies I’ve read (and I’ve read a few by now)- there is a mix of American/British/Canadian authors and some interestingly different takes on the genre. I never thought I could feel sorry for a werewolf but reading Kathleen Danielson’s ‘Red’ I did! Nicky Peacock’s ‘Backseat Driver’ has a wonderful furry twist to the tail. Mine is the sole example of Victorian Brit Gothic horror- I love films and books in that genre. Tracy Fahey’s ‘All our Rooms are Ensuite’ is creepy and claustrophobic and you’ll view ensuites differently from now on.

If you would like to read and review a copy please get in touch with me via email and I will send you one out, with my bloody finger prints attached. Thank you.

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Teaching, upcoming workshops and a new anthology out at the end of November….

I taught a one off workshop on how to write/edit short stories at Sunny Bank Mills gallery yesterday and said goodbye to the the little group there, who I’ve so enjoyed meeting and chatting to. One of the group sent me a lovely email where she said, “I have learnt so much more than I expected and it has reignited my love of writing……Thank you Alyson for your expert tuition. ”

I was so delighted to read that and receive similar feedback rom others. To inspire and share my love of language and writing fiction/poetry matters so much to me and if people leave my workshops wanting to write moreand enjoying it, then my job is done.

At the Craft House in Saltaire our group did a fun exercise around 8 words spewed out by the random generator. I have posted the short paragraphs we wrote as they are fun and were done swiftly under time pressure.

The words were;-

tawdry   pizza   patronize    liberate  tower     cajole       necklace     fluffy

We allowed ourselves some leeway to alter the endings with ‘ing’ or ‘ed’ or ‘s’:-

This is Melissa’s piece:-

This is exactly why I don’t like cats. Timber never learns. The airing cupboard with it’s tower of fluffy towels is not his spot to sit and relax. Damn. I knew I shouldn’t have left the door open when I nipped to the bathroom. Now I’ll have to cajole the little thing out of there. I swear those towels stink of him when he’s been nesting in there.
    “Timber, out,” I say, peering into the cupboard. It’s hard to be calm with a cat you despise. “Timber.” He’s deaf so I have to shout.
    Okay. This was not supposed to happen. Timber is pulling at my necklace.
    “Naughty Timber,” I say. “It’s no used glaring at me. I don’t like you. Matt is going to have to find you another home.”
Next up is Gillian’s:-

Random Word Piece by Gillian

Tawdry, pizza, patronise and liberate.


“Aren’t you ready yet?” yelled Tom up the stairs to Claire who was still putting on her make-up.

When Claire finally walked down the stairs Tom criticized her efforts and claimed her jacket looked tawdry.

They arrived at Pizza Hut in time to meet up with their friends. Claire always felt uneasy around Tom’s mates because they appeared to say things in a patronising way towards her. Deep down, Claire knew this relationship wasn’t going anywhere, but there was no way she could think of a way to liberate herself.

Constance it turns out has real flair for writing witty limericks- not so easy to do as you might think. I find it really tricky myself.

So here’s one she brought to class:-

There once was a fellow who’s head
Was so heavy it might have been lead.
It was filled up it seems
With high hopes and day-dreams.
Might be best if t’was brains there instead.

This is my effort:-

A Spoilt Princess

Princess a gorgeous, fluffy Persian wears her diamante necklace collar and leash, only after Jack had spent half an hour cajoling her with bits of his pizza, her favourite food. Jack stood up, towering over his pet.

Now was his chance to liberate the mouse from under his settee. This was the tawdry side of his beloved Princess.

He didn’t want to be patronising, but she was a fat fluffball who couldn’t kill for toffee. He was her clean up man.


I have 2 creative writing workshops coming up:-

One in Saltaire at the Craft House on Wednesday 13 December 10-1pm

and it has a Christmas theme- write a unique gift for someone- and take your work away with you to frame..

Here’s the link-

Christmas Creative Writing Workshop at Saltaire Craft Housse

In January 2018 I have linked up with Bingley artist Jane Fielder to do a workshop at her lovely gallery at 29 Park Road on Monday 22 January, 2018 1-3.30pm.

You can book at the gallery in person or by phone;-01274  552143

It is £20 per person and there is a maximum of 8 places to fill.

Below is a sample of Jane’s artwork on one of the themes we will write about in the workshop- Childhood Memories

jane fielder creative writing workshop flyer

Finally the proofs of the 2nd Otley Writers Group’s anthology have arrived. I am proofreading it before the world launch along with author John Ellis aka J. R. Ellis best selling crime writer of ‘The Body in Jingling Pot’ available on amazon to buy. And Sandy Wilson the driving force behind these books- also a popular author with books available on amazon.

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Here is the cover of the Otley book- The Darkening Season- looks fab.

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