The Little Man- read and listen here

I like weekends. Why? For two reasons.

One: I get to eat buttered toast in bed (if I ask my husband nicely, that is, or forcefully bribe him with cinnamon buns).

Two: the No Sleep Podcast releases a new episode for me to sink my teeth into. Oh, how I hunger for those RSS feed announcements. Mmmmmm. RSS feed. Mmmmm. 

Anyway, in my last post I spoke about my story ‘His Life’s Work’, which was produced by the very talented No Sleep team. They took my little pile of words and turned it into something marvellous: a living, breathing piece of work with AMAZING sound effects, particularly if you enjoy listening to a grown man gratuitously vomiting all over himself. Mmm, vomit. Mmmmmmm.

This week, it was the turn of my campfire story ‘The Little Man‘, released on Episode 13 of Season 10

Again, this is exclusive Season Pass content, but honestly- what else are you going to spend your money on? Beer? Shoes? Food? Why would any sane person do that, when the alternative is so much better? Who wouldn’t want over two hours of rich, immersive, fully produced audio fiction, pouring into your ear-holes and trickling into your cerebral cortex like molten honey? I ask you. In fact, I shouldn’t have to ask you! Tut tut. 

Anyway, this story was born of the No Sleep’s book group writing prompt, a regular challenge with a different theme each month to write around. 

With this story, I wanted to subvert the traditional ‘campfire tales’ approach, and make it more about the nature of friendship than about marshmallows or strange scrabbling noises outside the tent door. 

Hearing something I’ve written in real, spoken form is teaching me to be a better writer. I’ve learned that my preambles are too lengthy, and my carefully crafted descriptive prose sounds a lot more like carefully crafted descriptive waffle than I realised. I tried to work on both these issues with the story I wrote next (details coming soon), and I’m much happier with the end result.

Anyway, if you want to read the original version of ‘The Little Man’, simply click on the image above for a link to the PDF. Don’t forget to leave me your feedback, good, or bad, or even leave me a review on my Facebook page– it all helps me to gain traction!

Until next we meet, dear reader. Mmmmmmm. 



His Life’s Work- now out on the NoSleep Podcast

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but I did promise myself I was going to start submitting work this year instead of writing it, obsessively polishing and re-editing it, and then putting it in a dark corner of my hard drive to rot and wither. Once a story goes there, it’s done for- I just can’t bear to pick it up again once I’ve consigned it to the shadows. A careful sweep of my computer will bear sad fruit: countless abandoned novels, poems and characters, starved of attention, doomed to live out their days in a half-finished state, through no fault of their own. I’m just not a natural finisher of things. I am a beginner, but not a finisher.   

Anyway, I decided enough was enough. It was time to finish something, finish anything, and send it off, no matter how shit I thought it was. Published work that is imperfect is a lot better than near-perfect, unpublished work. 

And, so far, so good. I wrote a short story about a mad scientist, submitted it to an audio fiction podcast that I love called The No Sleep Podcast, and… they accepted it! You can find ‘His Life’s Work’ here on their website, although it is worth saying that you’ll need to buy the Episode to hear it, as it’s part of the Season Pass deal. It’s easy enough to click that ‘buy full episode button’, and it’s only $1.50 for over two and a half hours of awesome content, so go on, treat yourself. 

So, yes, that happened. When I got the email, I blinked, quite a few times. Surely this isn’t supposed to happen? Surely that should have said, ‘Thank you for your submission, but…’

But no, no mistake. Before I knew it it was edited, cast, recorded, produced and released. The excitement that hit me when release day grew close was unbelievable. Something I made, out there in the public domain for others to hear, and hopefully, enjoy. Or not. Again, who cares? It’s out there! I am published! I have transitioned! 

Perhaps it’s beginner’s luck, but honestly, who cares if it is. The podcast in question is one of my most favourite things in the cosmos right now. No Sleep has been producing superior quality, award-winning horror fiction in audio form for some years, and honestly, there’s very little else like it in podcast land. I’m an avid subscriber, have purchased all the season passes, and pretty much spend all my spare time plugged into the latest episode, so it feels incredible to have a story of mine accepted by the show. 

I’ll publish ‘His Life’s Work’ in written format in a separate post shortly. In the meantime, listen, support the show, and please help to turn me into a better writer with your feedback. 

Also, watch this space…there may be more productions to come! Onwards!

Why do we love horror stories?

What’s wrong with me- why do I love to be scared?

As a writer of horror stories, I don’t spend as much time as I should thinking about why I love horror fiction as much as I do. I tend to spend my time focusing instead on the mechanics of horror: the characters, the plot, and the gory details.

But there is nothing more thrilling to me than a tale that makes my flesh creep. What does that say about me? Does this make me a scary person? Someone to worry about? Am I going to translate my tastes over into other areas of my life? Start collecting human heads or trapping people in my basement (I don’t have a basement) or working on an inter-dimensional portal to the seventh circle of hell?

In short, no. Just because I enthuse about it, doesn’t mean I want to live it. It all comes down to one thing, ultimately: escapism. 

Horror fiction: escapism for all and sundry

When I was a kid, I, like many other teenagers in the nineties, fell headlong into the Point Horror craze that swept the nation, nay the globe, for many of my formative years as an adolescent. They were glossy books with brilliant cover designs that would make my heart skip a beat when I saw a new one I hadn’t yet devoured. They were easy to read, and therefore accessible, opening up a world of evil boyfriends, stalkers, neighbours and other paranormal beings, vulnerable teenagers who made questionable life choices, unexpected endings, drama, passion…everything a hormonally-driven fourteen year old could hope for. 

Ultimately, my desires when it comes to fiction, and reading in general, haven’t changed much. I still love a good old-fashioned yarn. A story with all the right elements: a well-rounded lead protagonist, a cast of engaging support characters, a threat or danger of some sort, action, chemistry…I want my adrenal glands to thump in response to the events on the page. I want to escape into an uncertain world, fraught with peril. Horror is the perfect genre for ticking off this fiction wish-list: it deals with serious topics, human topics, things like death, loss, transformation. Who here has never experienced fear? Not a one of you, I’ll bet. We’ve all been scared, and we all remember how it felt, how it really felt when your heart banged double-time in your chest and your hands began to sweat and your head began to pound, when your mouth went dry and you could suddenly smell the sour odour of your own sweat. 

And I think fear is something to be celebrated. It makes us who we are: human in the sense that everyone has something that makes them scared in a unique manner that is wholly personal to them.

As an illustration: I asked my Facebook friends what their worst fear was, as an ideas-generator for my next story, and the response was overwhelming: everything from being lost in space, to the death of a loved one, to cows, clowns, dolls, cheese, abandoned buildings…you name it, someone was scared of it.


The responses to my post was like a kaleidoscope of emotion: spanning from the tragic, to the sublime, to the ridiculous. 

what scares you 2

The cows? Turns out lots of people are afraid of cows:

what scares you 3

I think it’s healthy to be afraid, for fun, every now and then. It’s healthy if fear doesn’t feature as part of your daily routine, that is.

What are you scared of? I’d love to hear…let me know!