Every dog

I found out this afternoon that I’ve been shortlisted for the Retreat West short story competition, a piece of news perfectly placed to brighten up ‘Blue Monday‘. My story, Like a Dog, will appear along with nine other short pieces and 10 flash fictions in the 2019 anthology. There is also a final round of the competition to decide first, second and third places, which will be judged by Paul McVeigh. Results on this are due in February, but to be honest getting into the anthology is such a great start to 2019 that I already feel like a winner. Cash prize would be highly welcome, though.

The full shortlist for the competition can be seen on the Retreat West blog page.


A league of their own

The video of David Mildon reading my story, The Dungeon Master’s Guide, for the Liars’ League Halloween night is now up on the Liars’ League YouTube channel. David gave a truly legendary performance, and it was quite amazing to hear my words brought to life in that way. It was a whole new experience for me.

The YouTube page also includes links to the other five stories performed on the night. I particularly enjoyed Victoria Finan’s Stawberry Creams, read by Margaret Ashley, and Dan Howarth’s Hide, Go Seek, read by Math Jones, but I thoroughly recommend watching them all. There was some wonderful writing and plenty of scary twists and shocks.

The next Liars’ League event is a Christmas special and takes place on Tuesday 11th December. If you’re in London on the the night, you should definitely go along.

Scare stories

I’m very excited to say that a story of mine will be performed at the Liars’ League Halloween event at The Phoenix in central London on Tuesday 9th October.

The story, The Dungeon Master’s Guide, is about a disgruntled AD&D dungeon master and, along with my CRPG story from last year, is probably the geekiest thing I’ve ever written.

Liars’ League is a monthly reading series I’ve wanted to get a story accepted by for a while. The premise is that writers submit stories and professional actors perform them. It’s a great idea and I can’t wait to hear my story come to life in this way. Previous stories in the series have been broadcast on Radio 4.

Doors are at 7pm and entry costs £5, which is a bargain for a night of six scary Halloween tales! Full details are up on the Liars’ League website.

One in a million

I have a story out in the first issue of a new lit mag, A Million Ways. The story, titled Everybody’s Waiting, is – perhaps typically – somewhat morbid. You can buy a copy from the mag’s Facebook store.

Thanks to Dan Hancock and the team at A Million Ways. They’ve done a great job putting together a beautiful little magazine, which I know must have been no easy task. You can read more about Dan’s inspiration for the mag in an article he wrote for the Dorset Writers’ Network.

Light weighed

There’s a detailed and pretty even-handed review of the latest issue of Popshot up at the website of the new UK Lit Mag Review, including a couple of paras about my story, Last Light.

The site promises to review a new UK (or Irish) literary magazine every week.

Often it feels as if new issues of small magazines appear and then vanish without a trace, which is a shame as they often contain some quality fiction and deserve to be talked about. This site should help correct that.

Looking forward to more reviews as they appear.



Issue 18 of Structo has arrived, and the publication is looking as beautiful as ever.

Inside, there’s a an illuminating interview with Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) as well as some great fiction.

I particularly enjoyed Emma Sloley’s Schadenfreude Season, about a washed-up former child star and the invasiveness of celebrity culture. It’s one of those stories with no rough edges, that knows exactly where it’s going and takes you there with total confidence.

Ross McCleary’s A Fear of Flying Sleep was also impressive for its incessant parade of terrors. It’s a veritable thicket of anxiety and existential angst.

I am honoured to be in such company.

Structo issue 18.