100 words about the blog's one year anniversary
Virtual anniversary cake (photo by Madison)

Are first anniversaries more significant than the following ones?

In a way, yes. During the first year, you don’t know what you’re doing. You’re learning all the time. You find out which of your expectations are on the money (not all that many) and you discover stuff you’d never have imagined. You find out if you can do this.

And maybe the highs seem higher, the lows lower in this first year-long roller coaster ride?

From now on, you’ve been there before. You have a history. You’re not the rookie anymore.

Look like you know what you’re doing, will you?


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Read a Lot

cemetery, writing horror
(c) Barbara W. Beacham

The cemetery spread along the area known as Devils Abode. It had been a burial ground for as long as man had settled in these parts, but only recently had they begun burying people there again.”

‘How is it?’

Rebecca put down the manuscript. Julie had negotiated an excellent deal for the world rights of their surprise bestseller earlier and Rebecca didn’t want to put a damper to her boss’s triumphant mood.

‘Rubbish, isn’t it? I know it’s rubbish, Bec.’

‘Dry, droning, derivative drivel. Has he never heard of Pet Sematary?’

‘He hasn’t. He doesn’t read. I told him he must read. Does he listen to his literary agent sister?’


Check out what everybody else is writing for MFtS this week.

Stage Fright

Paper Swans Schooldays launch Oxford; pretty anthologies and postcards on a display
Paper Swans Schooldays launch Oxford. (c), Sonya 2015


Nervous? Me? No, not at all.

The shaking sheet of paper she’s holding in her hands tells a different story. The shaking sheet of paper screams: Someone’s super-scared, someone’ll wet herself soon.

Don’t be ridiculous.

She’s only reading a story in front of strangers. This isn’t what fear’s for. Fear’s supposed to make sure she survives – she doubts the audience have come to slaughter her.


What, it’s already over? But she only just started enjoying herself. She messed up the voices – that could have gone better. But it went okay. Nobody wanted to killed her. They clapped instead.


The new Paper Swans anthology, Schooldays, is available now. It’s a thing of beauty, and I don’t just say that because there are two of my pieces in it.

FlashFlood Journal Open for Submissions

FlashFlood Journal is going to unleash a flood of flash fiction for National Flash Fiction Day on 27 June. They are open for submissions now, but only until 15 April – so send them something fast.

They accept previously published pieces, so anyone who participates in Mondays Finish the Story, Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers and/or Friday Fictioneers should have plenty of material.

Good luck!

Edit: Would help if I could read, wouldn’t it? According to the FlashFlood submissions page, the stories will be published on 17 April, not on 27 June.


Writing 101

She opens the email containing her first assignment with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Excitement because she’s going to do it this time. Trepidation because what if she can’t, if she’s not good enough?

Free write for twenty minutes. Don’t think, just write.


Relieved, she opens a new document. She sets her timer. Don’t think, just write.

She wonders if anyone has liked her latest Facebook status. She remembers the movie she’d meant to Google last night.

The timer shrills. Twenty minutes are up. She hasn’t written a word.

She unplugs the WiFi. She sets the timer again.

Beware of the Dog

a German Shepard behind a fence
photo by Tim Cooper 

‘Tada,’ she says. ‘Let’s go for a dip.’

‘Break into the lido? What if someone calls the police?’

‘Don’t be such a baby,’ she says with a grin. But she means it. Don’t call me a baby, I want to reply. I swallow hard. She’s looking at me, the challenge clear as daylight despite the dark.

‘Will we have to get naked?’

‘It’s called skinny-dipping for a reason.’

No name-calling this time. I fear it’s not an improvement. I don’t have a choice.


‘You go first.’

I climb over the fence. Then I notice the guard dog.