Well hell-looooo-ooooo…Entanglement, my short story on the theme of echoes has been shortlisted for the 2017 Crediton Short Story Competition, and you can read it here. Thank you judges – and Winfrith.

My latest blog as writer-in-residence for @UKHysteria is all about flash fiction, bringing you 18 top tips and a great story generator from award-winning women writers, editors and judges around the world – @kathyfish; @KitdeWaal @NualaNiC; @nodghosh @megpokrass; @authorzoesharp.

The Sixth International Hysteria Writing Competition is open till 31 August 2017 and includes flash fiction (250 words); short stories (2,000 words) and poetry (20 lines). Thanks everyone for your enthusiasm, great feedback and re-tweets too :D.

In fine company on the inaugural 2017 Bath Novella-in-Flash Award shortlist
with 37 Foolish Things. Congrats and great good luck everyone – and big thanks to the well-organised team at the Bath Flash Fiction Awards.

 I’m delighted to become the third Writer in Residence for the
Hysterectomy Association

This year the Sixth Hysteria International Writing Competition for women offers three categories – flash fiction (250 words), short stories (2,000 words) and
poetry (20 lines). There’s no theme, beyond writing about “things of interest to women.”
Finalists are published in the Hysteria 6 Anthology at the end of this year, ISBN number and all.

Entries open 01 April and end on 31 August.

Over the coming months, a dazzling array of women from around the world
are joining me, generously sharing their best writing tips and some exercises to help you whip your work into shape for the competition.
And my Ten Tactics for Writers is here.

To stay up to date with the latest Hysteria competition posts and news,
just sign up for the newsletter.

Happy writing – I know the judges are looking forward to reading your work!


 Delighted to have three stories in Carry Her Home, the first Bath Flash Fiction anthology, edited by Jude Higgins and Ad Hoc Fiction. Nocturnal, about a night out, for the late, great Arthur Tauhore (07/10/1958 – 28/11/1993); Ten Bucks Used To Buy You A Lot, about Mary Doyle Keefe, the woman behind Rosie the Riveter, and Rules – for all the motel cleaners out there.
In excellent company, there’s stories from one hundred and twenty four other authors across eleven countries too. Robert Vaughan says the anthology offers “unique landscapes, with unusual words, startling sentence fragments and odd characters…remarkably crafted stories…truly international with heartfelt prose, playful poetics and taking literary risks.”
You can order yours here 

• Thanks judges! Double trouble – very excited to have two stories longlisted for the InkTears Short Story Contest this year.

 A Furious Hope (ed: Zelda Chappel), an anthology featuring poetry and fiction from
fifty-four writers, is available for pre-order. Includes my story about a clootie well,
The Orchard of Hopes & Dreams. For the latest, follow @AFuriousHope and .

 My review of Alice Kaltman’s darkly funny debut short story collection about post-crash America, Staggerwing, is out now, over at The Short Story .

 My noirish story about predators, The Girl in the Kiss, is out over at Spelk Fiction.
Thanks, Gary Duncan.

 Two new stories in the latest issue of Halo Literary Magazine, themed Embers . Scratching the Matchbox, which takes its title from a phrase Virginia Woolf used in her diary about getting a conversation going which “brings together simple, everyday associations in a gently poignant story.” Free to Roam is dedicated to Portadown author, Orla McAlinden. Set against a backdrop of segregation, the story “captures perfectly the sharp bite of teenage insecurity and competitiveness.”  You can
pre-order Halo hereThanks Lorrie and team, and
Ruth Thorp for fine c
over art.

• Tis the season…Double trouble – two stories in
Noble Gas Quarterly, Issue 203.4 – “And, the body snatchers are only doing their job” – Perishable and The Court Jester. Thanks NGQ and Sara Iacovelli!

• Festive gratings – my story Magic is out now, over at Issue Six of
The Nottingham Review with a bunch of talented writers. You can read it online, download it or read it on Issue – if you enjoy this issuu, your donation is welcome. Thanks Spencer!

 • Get your freak on, with Pure Slush Vol 13, including my story, Vigil. Freak
Out now, eBooks to
follow. Have a taste here a taste of Freak here.
Special offer: 25% off print books with this code: 7THDAY25

• My historical short story about the original Wild Colonial Boy,
The Stripper, has been longing-for-solitude-cover-v1-1Highly Commended in the 2016 Stringybark Times Past Awards.
No, not that kind of stripper…and the anthology,
Longing for Solitude
is on sale now.
Many thanks David and judges.

 Thank you to the Margot Manchester Short Story Competition team at the Society of Women Writers Tasmania – Up and Running“ a great story of opportunity lost, dark, gritty and punchy” has been Highly Commended.

Exciting – one of the strangest stories I’ve written in a long time – The Seduction of
Raul Rodriguez IV – has shortlisted for Ilkley Literature Festival Short Story Competition. Thanks to ILF and judge: Mike Gayle. Champion!

• My new story, His Nirvana is over at Spelk, home to short, sharp fiction. Thanks Gary!

 Delighted to join the longlist for the 2016 Over the Edge New Writer of the Year (Fiction) with an extract from my contemporary women’s novel, Welcome Back, Stranger.
Thank you!

Last Summer

Last Summer

• Last Summer, my story for the late, much-missed Mark Finch is out now in Summer – Pure Slush Vol.12 , in good company with some great new work from almost seventy writers from around the world. E-books out shortly…

Mrs Horgan's Surprise by Alex Reece Abbott - Takahe 87

Mrs Horgan’s Surprise – Takahe 87

• Congrats all at Takahē Magazine on Issue 87! Literature & art from Aotearoa NZ to the world, now online after 26 years. My Mrs Horgan’s Surprise is very happy to join you – kia kaha! 

Takahe Magazine

Takahe Magazine






• New micro-flash: Blood Rubies over at 101 Words. Spoiler alert, it really isn’t about vampires. Sorry about that. It’s in another vein. 

Austerity Measures

Austerity Measures

• Yum, my short story, Austerity Measures, a contemporary tale about cheeses and survival is out now for your delectation at the very tasty London Journal of Fiction
Thanks Adam, she said with brio. Mwah, mwah, mwah!

tall...ish - Age Difference

Featuring Age Difference and 150 pages of short fiction…

• My tall story Age Difference, about sisters, is out now in print (150pp) in tall…ish aka Pure Slush, Vol.11 (editor, Matt Potter). Other platforms coming soon.

• Delighted to be invited to join the judges for the fifth Hysteria Writing Competition.
Three categories – short fiction, flash and poetry – deadline 31 August 2016, and winners are published in an anthology. Check out the interviews  with me (judging flash) and the other judges.

• Thrilled to learn that my short story, Mrs Horgan’s Surprise – set in rural New Zealand in 1913 – has just been shortlisted for the 2016 Sunday Business Post/Penguin Ireland Short Story Prize. Thank you.

• My story, Home Run, has been chosen as a finalist in the Field of Words Flash Fiction Competition. Thanks.

• Do you wanna dance? The February issue of revamped Flash Frontier is out now, edited by Elizabeth Smither MNZM and James Norcliffe. It’s full of dance-themed stories, including my new last dance story, Birthright and much more. Thank you, two-three.


• Nocturnal, about a night out with my mega-fabulous friend, the late, great Arthur Tauhore, has been selected for the Bath Flash Fiction Prize anthology, due out at the end of this year. Kia ora! 

• Look out for Independence, about teens and clothing, in the next edition (Suit) of Pure Slush next month.

• My contemporary short story, Austerity Measures, is shortlisted for London Journal of Fiction.

• Another story – to be announced – has been longlisted for this year’s InkTears Short Story Award.

• Zounds! What good fortune…an early draft of my latest novel, The Helpmeet (historical literary fiction, 121,000 words), has just been blind-judged as a finalist/winner for the upcoming Irish Writers’ Centre 2016 Greenbean Irish Novel Fair. Thanks to the judges – Anthony Glavin, Martina Devlin and Margaret Hayes – and congrats to the other
finalists too.

High Five! It’s here – editor Matt Potter is celebrating five years of Pure Slush, with ‘Five’ Pure Slush Vol.10, out now in paperback. Sixty two new poems and stories from all over, riffing on the theme “five” including my piece, Sashiko, about storytelling through this extraordinary (and, almost lost) form of Japanese needlework. Ebooks come in February. Congrats everyone!

• Ho-ho-snow. My (very) wee one hundred word story, Blizzard, has been selected for fab, freshly rejigged Flash Frontier.  Congrats Flash Frontiers people.

Northern Crime One
•  My story A Small Rebellion (inspired by Katherine Mansfield’s A Cup of Tea) was a winner in the Northern Crime Competition earlier this year – and now it’s out and about in the Northern Crime One anthology, alongside some of the best emerging
talent in UK crime. The authors are in the North, but the stories are wide-ranging. (My contemporary crime novel Last of the Lucky Country shortlisted in the crime novel section too).

• Stoked to learn that A Slice of Paradise is runner up in the Field of Words Short Story Competition, with some great judges’ comments too – thanks.

 Hysterical? You should be…Hysteria 4 is on sale now – an anthology of thirty winning stories, flash fiction and poetry from The Hysterectomy Association’s annual, international 2015 Hysteria Writing Competition. My story An Ideal Cottage and flash
Sunday Racers both feature.

The annual theme is always women – in their many and varied guises – and, each category features pieces that challenge women to reflect and review how they think about life.
A standout theme this year is strength and diversity; the indomitable determination of our heroines, characters and voices shines through. Each category section features sage advice from a selection of our judging panel.

 Blossoming in the Australia’s Field of Words competition as A Slice of Paradise, my short story about friendship and migration, has been listed as a finalist and published too. Earlier versions of this story were longlisted by Jennifer Johnston for the 2015 Fish Short Story Prize and shortlisted by Mary Costello for the Cúirt New Writing Prize 2014. Thanks, stoked :D.

• Roll up, roll up…Headland 4 is now live on Amazon for purchase.  In very good company, this issue includes Think No More of the Sea, my short story which received an Honorable Mention from Lorian Hemingway and was also Highly Commended in the Roberts earlier this year. The contemporary story is inspired by Katherine Mansfield’s (1913) poem, Sea Song. And thoroughly modern Headland can be read on a Kindle, or by downloading a free Kindle app for Mac or Android.

• Many thanks to the lovely editors who have nominated me for the 2015 Short Story of the Year Award (Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards) – a veritable United Nations:
Think No More of the Sea (Headland Journal, NZ); A Little Kismet (Maine Review, USA)
and The King Tide (WordsontheStreet, Eire).

• And happier yet – hysterically happy, to find out that two short stories, An Ideal Cottage and Sunday Racers have short-listed for the Hysteria Short Story Competition. Look out for the anthology Hysteria 4, out in November. And, more than happy to support the good health education work of the Hysterectomy Association too.

• Getting happy – thanks to the judges of the London Short Story Prize for longlisting my dark little story. And for the lovely feedback too (“Assured, dark, funny and sly. Happy Now brings nearly pitch perfect portrayal of a relationship turned sour. Brilliant female protagonist,
great ending.”) Where’s the Family Stone when you need them?

• Very pleased to be shortlisted by Wells Festival of Literature, for my short story
An Ideal Cottage (Judge: Rhidian Brook) about…well, an ideal cottage.
What could possibly go wrong?

• Is there ever such a thing as A Free Lunch? Exeter Flash Fiction Competition thought so and shortlisted this story. Thanks.

• My story A Little Kismet recently won an honourable mention in The Maine Review, so if you’d like to read about a date ad gone very wrong, it’s available now, along with some other great entries, in Juxtaposition, the short fiction collection.

• Delighted to be longlisted for the 2015 Over the Edge New Writer of the Year, judged by
Dave Lordan and congrats to the other finalists. Thank you.

• Break a leg Stand Up Tragedy live at Edinburgh Fringe – and thanks for choosing my story
Fair Trade,
just live here

• Headland Issue 3 is out now. Fifteen stories including my short fiction, The Orchard of Hopes and Dreams and available now through Amazon for your Kindle or Kindle app
(for Apple and Android).

 Writing a grudge date advertisement backfires in my short story A Little Kismet, which has received an Honorable Mention in the annual Maine Review Short Story Competition judged by award-winning author Darcy Scott – published this summer in their fiction collection Juxtaposition edited by Katherine Mayfield. Thank-you.

 My short fiction mini-collection, Small Rebellions: Three stories inspired by
Katherine Mansfieldhas shortlisted for The Emma Press 2015 Prose Pamphlet Competition. Rebel yell of thanks.

 It’s true – crime does pay. My short story about domestic violence, A Small Rebellion,
has won the Northern Crime Competition 2015. It will appear in the anthology
Northern Crime: One as a trade paperback and an e-book around Christmas,
published by Moth Publishing. Many thanks.

• One of the first short story writers I remember reading was Ernest Hemingway, so I am especially pleased to be awarded an Honorable Mention in this year’s Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition for my story about the everyman and the ocean, Think No More of the Sea. Many thanks.

• The Somewhere Road, a story about wandering, has been shortlisted for the Landmarks:
the National Flash-Fiction Collection 2015 (editor: Calum Kerr). Thanks for putting it on the map.

• My short story about grief, technology and Aspergers, The Last Time has shortlisted for the CreativeWritingMatters Short Story Competition. Thank you.

 • Stand Up Tragedy “takes in everything from music to comedy and is characterised
by an emphasis on truth” according to The Independent, which pretty much sums up
my short fiction, Fair Trade, which has just been selected by Stand Up Tragedy. Sob!

• My flash fiction, The Orchard of Hopes & Dreams has borne fruit and been hand-picked for Headland Journal 3, out in July. Well, well, clootie well. Thank you.

  What do you think of when you think of deer? The fine people of the port of
Felixstowe thought outside the container and short-listed Fair Trade for their Festival Short Story competition. Thanks!

 My short story Think No More of the Sea about the disaster at Fukushima
(and inspired by Katherine Mansfield’s 1913 poem, Sea Song) has been highly commended for the Roberts’ Short Story Competition at People’s College, adjudicated by award-winning poet and novelist Niamh Boyce, who said “this story of the sea really stayed with me…
the language was luscious and the descriptive passages blew me away…” Thank you,
she said, lusciously.

 Maybe sometimes happiness is something as simple as the company of a mutinous tri-colour Jack Russell? My short story, The Design of Happiness, has just short-listed for Mslexia’s annual Women’s Short Story Competition, judged by Alison MacLeod. It was a dogged effort.

My short story Think No More of the Sea about the disaster at Fukushima
(and inspired by Katherine Mansfield’s 1913 poem, Sea Song) has been shortlisted for
the Roberts’ Short Story Competition at People’s College, adjudicated by Niamh Boyce.
Thank you.

• The Somewhere Road and The Bridge have been placed as runners-up for the Maria Edgeworth Literary Festival Flash Fiction Competition (judge: Alan McMonagle). Maria was a pioneering nineteenth Anglo-Irish author, credited with transforming the novel into an edifying medium for
serious ideas. Her novel Castle Rackrent (published in 1800) really was groundbreaking: the first historical novel; the first regional novel in English; the first “big house” novel; the first
Anglo-Irish novel – and the first novel with a narrator who is neither reliable nor part of
the action. Go raibh maith agaibh.

Happy National Flash-Fiction Day – my story The Bridge has been selected for
FlashFlood, the National Flash-Fiction Day journal. The Bridge opens at from around 6am on 17th April 2015 and other stories will be posted all day. Morning!

Oh my cod…Delighted to have three diverse flashes shortlisted for this year’s
Fish Flash Fiction Prize (judge: Bret Anthony Johnston). Brill, thanks people :-D.

Have a favourite old bridge? Ever wonder who has walked over it before you – and where their journey was taking them? My short-short (innovatively titled The Bridge) has been selected by the editors at Flash Frontier. Thank youse.

Greed and corruption, conflicting personal and environmental agendas,
loss and survival and the enduring hope for another chance after a relationship
break-up…no not me, that’s Last of the Lucky Country (Southcoast One) – shortlisted for
the Northern Crime Competition. Flipping ‘eck. Happy New Year.

No ocean puns but (rather appropriately) short story The King Tide is runner-up in the 2015 Words on the Waves Awards (judge: Danielle McLaughlin). Thank-you.

 Lest we forget…a small act of remembrance for November – Dorothy’s War (about journalist Dorothy Lawrence’s amazing wartime exploits on the Western Front) has been selected for Flash Frontier’s Heroes edition.

Tide’s in – my short story The King Tide has Short-listed for the 2014 HG Wells Grand Prize. 
The anthology (Fortune) is published in November 2014. Thanks – Wells chuffed.
 Short story The King Tide, has been Short-listed for the Ilkley Literature Festival Short Fiction Prize (judge: Dreda Say Mitchell). Thank-you.

• Two flashes, Long Way Down and A Real Heel, Short-listed for Flash Frontier’s Falling issue. Thanks!

 The knives are out – my debut crime novel, Rocking the Boat, has
for the 2014 CWA Debut Dagger Award.

Something Sweet to Finish has been published by Edinburgh Fringe outfit, Stand Up Tragedy.

Double trouble – two short stories, Austerity Measures and By-Standing have been Long-listed for Bath Short Story Award.

Not so sweet – my dark flash fiction Something Sweet to Finish has been selected for the Flash Frontier’s Sugar issue. (judge: Michelle Elvy). Cheers!

Going Global – my short story about  conversation, Scratching the Match-box, Runner-up in the Global Short Story Competition. Thanks!

 Roast lamb in time for Easter – Hangi Day long-listed for the Fish Flash Fiction Prize 2014 (judge: Glenn Patterson). Thanks :-D.

Thanks to Flash Frontier editor Michelle Elvy & guest editor James George for selecting  Te Puna for the April issue (Scattered).Ka pai.

Grand to feature on the short-list again this year for the Cúirt New Writing Prize 2014 (Fiction), for the short story, The Cultivation of Roses. Go raibh maith agat, Féile Idirnáisiúnta Litríochta Cúirt.

My short story By-Standing about the collateral damage caused by a hit and run accident has been short-listed for the Global Short Story Competition.

Cheese has global appeal in 2014 – just weeks from Wensleydale finally being granted PDO status, my short story Austerity Measures has been short-listed for the Global Short Story Competition. Happy (cheesey) New Year.

My playscript Little Geek, based on the short story of the same name which was written for the Turing Centenary celebrations last year, has been selected for the programme of Script Surgeries by CIT (Creative Industries Trafford) and the 24:7 Theatre Festival. The sound of legs breaking.

 Taking Off, another short story shortlisted for Ilkley Literature Festival Short Story Competition this year – thank you.

Oh Hull, my debut novel The Maori House has just made the Lightship First Chapter Prize long-list (judges: award-winning author M.J Hyland; David Miller of Rogers, Coleridge & White, Alessandro Gallenzi of Alma Books.

My short fiction A Small Affair has been long-listed for the Lightship Flash Fiction Prize (judge: Etgar Keret, multi-award-winning author).

Many thanks to the Katherine Mansfield Society for nominating my short story An Epic Mistake for the 2013 Short Story of the Year Awards (part of the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards).

Thanks to everyone who came and big congrats to Chloe for all her hard work producing a fun, atmospheric – and sell-out event – at Newcastle’s lovely Lit & Phil last weekend (part of EAT! Festival. Her very special chapbook anthologies and box of tricks prove that you can have your cake and read it too.

Thank you and diolch yn fawr to Cardiff Women’s Aid, who have selected my short story, The Swansong of Mrs Mary Devlin, for the Cardiff Women’s Aid Anthology. Copies of the finished anthology will be available on their website, Amazon and Lulu from October 2013.

Thanks canny EAT! Newcastle Festival – two new short pieces, 
The Power of Tea
 and Confessions of a Tyrophile (i) have been selected for their Eat Our Words anthology.

Thrilled to be short-listed for the Cúirt New Writing Prize for the short story Austerity Measures. And so, a little bit of cheese goes a long way. Go raibh maith agat, Féile Idirnáisiúnta Litríochta Cúirt 😀

 An Epic Mistake has been selected for the Katherine Mansfield Society’s Creative Work. (This short story also shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and Ilkley Literature Festival in an earlier version).

My new short story Little Geek has just been chosen for the Take Tea with Turing anthology.

Young Alan Turing

  • Crikey! Sorry, another Famous Five moment – short stories Little Geek and Austerity Measures have been shortlisted for Wells Festival of Literature Short Story Competition.
  • Thanks 😀