Monthly Archives: October 2013

Flash, times three

Time passes, and my Elephant Words deadlines get sooner each week. I thought I’d post links to my efforts thus far, so you can have a peruse at your leisure.

The idea of Elephant Words is simple: each week, an image is posted. Writers then take it in turns to respond, with a story, a reflection, a poem, a joke. It’s a round-robin, so everyone gets to post an image and you move up through the week each time (hence, the deadlines really are getting sooner….).

Little Bird

Abandoned-House-b-1This image put me in mind of war. A burned out house set me off on an American Civil War path, until I noticed the contrails across the evening sky. That brought me into the 20th century and the war in the former Yugoslavia. From there, it was a case of wondering who had lived in the house and whether, perhaps, she still did. Click to read Little Bird.

Carter and the Blue Cow

Carter and the Blue CowNext up was this little gem. It took me longer than I thought to craft a story around this. My first instinct was to bring the cow to life as some sort of judgmental vegetarian alien: an object lesson that first instincts are not always right. I ended up with something more literal, inspired in part by the feedback loops which the connected world creates for us, as well as by a large colourful cow outside a front door. Click to read Carter and the Blue Cow.

And So We Carve

And So We CarveYou might need to zoom into this one to see her, but in amongst the pumpkin patch, there’s a little girl. This time, all the stories that popped into my brain were very literal – or related to a long-ago real-life trip to a pumpkin farm in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. (There were pumpkins. We went home. Short story.) A bit of dreaming later and reality was banished… you can read what follows by clicking And So We Carve.

Next week’s image gets posted on Sunday and I’m up on Monday…. I’ll tweet the latest tale and post a link up here too. If you’re on the Elephant Words site, have a dig around – there are some fab writers on there who’d love your eyes upon them 🙂

Happy flashing!

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A big elephant and a little bird

Thank to the lovely Nick Papaconstantinou, I am taking part in Elephant Words, an online writing challenge.

Each week, a writer posts an image on the Elephant Words site. Other writers then respond to it, through stories, recollections, poems, comics, whatever takes their fancy.

This was my first week, and I had the luxury of five days to think. Next week, it’s down to four. In a few weeks’ time, there’ll be a short breath between the image being posted and my story in response. The deadlines are heaven-sent as they’re making me put deadlines on other work that I’m doing (yes, that novel will be edited before ThoughtBubble).

This week’s image was tAbandoned-House-b-1he photograph shown here. You can see it in larger format at

And here’s my response:

I hope you like it!

*All image credits to the people who own the images, as listed on the original sites.

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Editing: dead darlings, flashers in the woods and someone stealing your shoes

So the blog has been a bit quiet for a few months, largely because (a) I was being a productive writer and (b) there was a heatwave. Probably more (b) than (a), but let me believe my own lies at least…

In the past few months, I have written a highbrow piece called Sentient Zombie Space Pigs, which has today received a very lovely review from John Freeman at Down The Tubes. I’ve also been compiling Vol 3 of Disconnected, our comic anthology of stories set in small towns – we’ll be launching that at the Comic Art Festival in Kendal later this month. And I’ve been discovering the joys of editing. Continue reading

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