Since my early teens I have read fiction avidly, particularly quality fiction. As I had written reports and feasibility studies all my professional life, I thought writing fiction would be easy by comparison. How wrong I was.
I took up writing fiction seriously when I retired from corporate life in 2009. I then spent a whole year analysing different methods, tips and tricks employed in writing novels and short stories. Only then did I feel competent enough to put pen to paper in earnest. I embarked on my first novel, Through Glass Eyes, and learned a lot more along the way!
My preferred format is the short story, flash fiction in particular (to write a complete story in less than 1000 words can be extremely challenging!)
Fortunately, I have been reasonably successful with my short stories. Here is a list of my ACHIEVEMENTS. In the SAMPLE WRITING section there are several examples of my shorter work. I trust you will find them engaging.
I also enjoy writing novels and have completed four so far. In 2018, I began researching my fifth, a story set in India in the year immediately prior to independence. Writing is scheduled to commence soon and I am aiming for publication in late 2020.
You can find my published novels and short story books in the BOOKS section.
THE CLOVELLY WIFE
Shipwright Martin Colwill’s apprenticeship is coming to an end . . . Married to the most beautiful woman in Clovelly and buoyed by the prospect of a partnership in his employer’s business, it should be one of the happiest times of his young life. But all is not well with the newlywed.
SHORTS FOR CHRISTMAS
12 short stories for Christmas - some to cheer, some to ponder, some to wonder.
LONGER SHORTS FOR CHRISTMAS
More Shorts for Christmas is the follow on of Shorts for Christmas. Stories to delight, amuse and provoke thought.
THROUGH GLASS EYES
Ever wondered what your car thinks about you? Or about anything else, for that matter? If so, this autobiography of a 1975 Triumph Dolomite Sprint will go a long way towards satisfying your curiosity.
THE CIGAR SEED
ETA is back with a vengeance. They're planning their most devastating act of terrorism yet. But the Cubans have something ETA desperately needs to succeed . . .
ADOLESCENT IN OLD AGE
Neil Mather’s life is unravelling: a failing business, a sexual indiscretion, a threatened marriage. The banks refuse to bail his business out. He could ask his elderly father, Raymond, a man of means, to help him. But Raymond never shows any interest in Neil, only in his vicar, Judy, a relationship of which Neil is deeply suspicious . . .
I let out a low growl when I see June’s stockinged legs. Hungrily, my finger traces the pencil-thin seam from the heel of her impossibly high red stiletto, up along her shapely calf, past the contours of her perfect thigh . . .
THE CUPCAKE KID
Back of his shack, the little boy hunkers down among whippy green cornstalks. An apple cupcake sits in his hand. A hell-hot wind gusts above him, shaking the cobs like rattler's tails. He opens his mouth wide . . .
UNTIL FRANK YACOBOVITCH
I have seen unspeakable things in my life: husbands emasculated by jealous wives; an eight-year-old girl disembowelled by a butcher; a man excoriated by a wacko who believed his victim to be the reincarnation of Saint Bartholomew. Horrific, shocking . . .
JUST THE WAY IT IS
Yasmin’s brute of a cousin will come for her soon. She recalls how he touches himself, the hunger in his hooded eyes, and shudders. From the way he leers at her, she knows he believes she is unsullied, that he will be her first. He thinks she keeps herself for him. She thinks he can think again . . .
ONE YEAR ON
His hand rests on her shoulder. ‘Today’s our anniversary, darling. Can you believe it?’ She stares in the mirror, sees wrinkles, liverspots, lips once full now thin. Twists her diamond wedding ring . . .
TOO LATE, NATE
Nathan May guides his Volvo down a narrow, potholed road winding eastwards out of the sleepy Cornish hamlet and brings it to a halt outside his uncle's whitewashed cottage. He takes an envelope out of his inside jacket pocket, pulls out the single sheet of paper and reads it. Then he sets his jaw, switches off the engine and steps out of the car . . .
Runner-up, second Silver Thread Short Story Competition 2010 with The Crossword Detective. Theme The Body in The Library.
Shortlisted for Writers Forum, February 2010, with Uncle Mungo’s Strange Request.
Runner-up, Lichfield & District Writers 2010 Short Story Competition with Mo Jones Gets You Loans.
Shortlisted for Flash 500, First Quarter 2011, with Not So Sweet Sorrel.
Shortlisted for Flash 500, Second Quarter 2011, with One of a Set.
Joint winner, U3A (University of the Third Age) national open romantic story competition 2011, with Lightning Never Strikes Twice. Story published in It’s Never Too Late To Fall In Love. Available from Amazon.
Shortlisted for Flash 500, Third Quarter 2011, with Desert Island Dicks.
Longlisted for Fish Publishing Short Story Competition, November 2011, with The Price of Silence.
Shortlisted for Flash 500, Fourth Quarter 2011, with The Big Issue.
Third place in Flash 500, First Quarter 2012, with The Cupcake Kid. Judge’s comment: There’s a lightness, narrative economy and charm about this story which I found enchanting. A boy steals a cupcake, hoping and believing he will get away with his crime and be able to eat it in peace. He does get the chance to eat the cake, but – as in the case of most wrongdoing – there’ll be a price to pay. It’s a clever moral fable and should be required reading in primary schools.
Shortlisted for Crimeculture’s Sherlock Holmes flash fiction competition, July 2012, with Desert Island Dicks.
Longlisted for Flash 500, First Quarter 2012, with Alone At Last.
Runner-up, Firstwriter International Short Story 2012 Competition with Twelveheads Revisited.
Longlisted for Flash 500, Fourth Quarter 2012, with If Only.
Selected for Balsall Writers’ 2014 anthology Snapshots, which was shortlisted for NAWG 2014 Denise Robertson Group anthology prize.
Highly commended for Morgen Bailey’s 100 word writing competition, December 2015, with New Beginnings.
Shortlisted for Words with Jam’s 2015 Short Story Competition with Lost Souls.
Second in Morgen Bailey’s 100 word writing competition, March 2016, with Dream On.
Shortlisted for Frome Festival’s 2016 Short Story Competition with Lost Souls.
Longlisted for Flash 500, Second Quarter 2016, with Heart To Heart.
Shortlisted for Writers Reign 2016 Annual Short Story Competition with Czech Mate.
Longlisted for Fish Publishing 2017 Annual Flash Fiction Competition with Angel Of Death.
And All The While showcased on Reflex Fiction website, May 2019.
Longlisted for Flash 500, Second Quarter 2019, with A Promise Made.
My fondest childhood memories: playing games with my friends in the traffic-free backstreets of a gritty, industrial town in Lancashire; swimming in the municipal pool; on a Saturday morning attending the ABC cinema as an ‘ABC Minor’; watching huge ships tramp silently up and down the Manchester Ship Canal, waving furiously to the sailors leaning over the railings. Then my parents upped sticks and moved to bucolic Chepstow, a charming market town straddling the River Wye. From my bedroom window I watched in awe as the twin support towers of the first Severn bridge rose like two massive rugby posts from the villages of Aust and Beachley. No doubt this sowed the seeds for my love of rugby and engineering!
All too soon there was another move on the cards, this time back ‘up north’ to rural Cheshire and my fourth school in as many years. My parents intended to stay – but not me. I was off to university in Yorkshire, a land much misunderstood and maligned by my Lancastrian forebears. Four years later I was back in Cheshire, not through choice but because it was a great job offer. After obtaining my professional letters my wife and I moved again – to Papua New Guinea. Boy was it sticky! But the laid-back lifestyle and complete lack of one-upmanship more than made up for the climate. The colourful people we made friends with were marvellous. Now we had an appetite for travel – next stop Hong Kong! Four frantic years in a city that never sleeps were exhilarating but demanding. The energy put out by those all-night mahjong sessions would illuminate Blackpool for a week!
Time to settle down and start a family, and as the demand for engineers had imploded at about the same rate as the housing market we returned to good old Blighty and an uncertain future, but with a compensating baby girl. Coming home was a culture shock – I guess all returning expats will tell you this. I found myself over-qualified and over-expectant. Career change calling!
What on earth could I do after almost ten years in my engineering comfort zone? I know – I’ll try selling! As a ‘professional’ man I rather looked down on selling – it wasn’t a profession, it was a job that mouthy, flashy, shallow people went in for, wasn’t it? Nothing could be further from the truth.
During a sales career spanning twenty-five years I met some of the most charming, intelligent and engaging people one could ever hope to meet – colleagues and customers alike. I’ve come across ex-doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers, engineers – some disenchanted with their professions, some hungry for change. It was a challenging, if stressful life knowing that you’re the crucial cog without which no one gets paid, and no two days are ever the same.
I retired from corporate life in 2009, in order to pursue my love of writing and to help others realise their writing dreams. So far, it has proven to be a pleasurable and rewarding way to pass those free hours when not pursuing the 1001 activities that seem to fill a retiree's life!