Sunday, 24 December 2017

Whispers by Julie Swan


Julie Swan’s background is as an electronics engineer and mathematician. She has been enjoying writing short stories and articles, some of which have been published, for over ten years after joining a local class. She is now part of a local ladies writing group, Pink Ink. Julie has a husband and twin daughters and lives in a lovely spot between the New Forest and the sea.

She had been sure that the house had whispered to her. You should live here. Buy me. Buy me.

Ellie sighed as she looked out at the view. It certainly was a wonderful view. She wished she had someone to share it with. Not just anyone, of course. It had to be someone special, someone companionable to remark on the different types of vessel making their way along the Channel, to speculate where they had come from or where they were going. Someone to be comfortable with.
A guardian angel must have been guiding her when she’d found the cottage. She’d been idly perusing property websites on the internet, mainly trying to find a value for her own property, when something inspired her to enter the search parameters for something with a sea view in the price range she was prepared to pay. She didn’t care where it was but she’d hankered after a home by the sea since she’d been a child.

She’d been determined to move. Since she worked from home, location didn’t really matter, although the southern part of England was surely to be favoured over the northern part of Scotland. Not because Scotland wasn’t beautiful but being within easy reach of London was preferable. There was the odd circumstance when face‑to‑face meetings were inevitable for her work, there were occasional special deliveries to be made and there were the theatres, museums and galleries which she didn’t want to do without.

And when she was ready, she had a lot of friends in London. They would probably visit her on the south coast but not in the wilds of Scotland.

So, much as she liked the cabin on the loch and the croft by the sea she’d made a short list of properties on the south coast. And it had been a short list. She would get much more for her money as she travelled north.

The list comprised a tiny fisherman’s cottage in Cornwall, a town flat in Dorset — with marvellous views over Poole harbour it must be admitted — and a small dilapidated three‑bedroomed cottage in West Sussex. They all had sea views. She tried to find each of them on Google Earth and found the Cornish and Dorset offerings but, although she could find the Sussex cottage on the aerial views it couldn’t be seen on street view as it was hidden away from any made‑up road, a distinct point in its favour.

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Saturday, 23 December 2017

To Wish Upon a Star by Paula R C Readman


Paula lives in Essex, with husband, Russell, and a cat who adopted them called ‘Willow’. In 2010, she had her first success when English Heritage published her story in Whitby Abbey- Pure Inspiration, since then she has won two writing competitions, including having a story selected as the overall winner by best-selling crime writer, Mark Billingham, and had several other short stories published too.

Find out more about Paula and her writing on her Amazon Author page and on her blog:

As the inky purple sky began to lighten, luminous arcs of brilliant blue and yellow flashed diagonally towards the horizon. In the distance against the retreating darkness, the mountain tops shimmered with a halo of silvery gold light as day forcefully regained its place once more.

Estella, with a heavy heart, stepped away from the reinforced glass window. Maybe she had been too hasty waiting all night, but she felt she couldn’t afford to miss the opportunity to win her heart’s desire, if the legend was true.

Swinging the weighty protective curtain aside, it caught her delicate lace robe, pulling it from her porcelain shoulders. As the curtain fell back into place, it blocked out the growing heat from the morning light. She wondered if the forces would be stronger tonight as it was the beginning of the Belili Festival.

The festival celebrated the return of the first spring moon as it rose over the planet of Beltane. With its return came the first meteor shower of the season so she was reassured that she would certainly get her wish granted. 

As she crossed the stone-tiled floor, the only sound that echoed within the viewing tower in the granite castle that she called home was her bare feet as she headed for the stairs. Shivering slightly, Estella pulled her robe back up and tightened the belt again. She wasn’t aware of the cold as she descended into the living quarters buried deep underground.

Reaching the corridor that led to the bedrooms, she paused briefly before the solid fireproof door. Her hesitation took her by surprise for a second, but as the tension dispersed and she relaxed, her mind began processing the key numbers she needed to enter.

“Remember,” she said reassuring herself as she tapped on the keypad. “This is still all relatively new to you.” 

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Friday, 22 December 2017

The Stuff of Fairytales by L.G. Flannigan


L.G. Flannigan loves dark chocolate and her children, husband and dog. She lives in Somerset and when not writing works in a library. She writes contemporary adult and young adult novels plus the occasional short story having been published in the On This Day, Snowflakes and Baubles anthologies. Her contemporary novel Ordering Flynn Matthews, shortlisted in Choc-Lit's Search for a Star Competition, was published July 2016. The follow-on novel, Failing Flynn Matthews, was published in August 2017. L.G.'s musings can be found at

I’ve been paid a mighty sum to kill her. It would cost the villagers nothing to do it themselves but they are simple god-fearing folk who don’t want her blood staining their hands…darkening their souls. Still I’m not complaining as their fear gives me work. 

I collect her from the gaol, shackled at the ankles and wrists and wrapped in an oversized cloak. People never cease to surprise me. They want her dead but still they give her protection against the winter cold. A tiny slip of a thing, possibly no more than seventeen winters old, she is easy to bundle in the back of my cart. I make sure her chains are secure so there’s no means of escape. She doesn’t struggle. How this girl evokes such fear astonishes me. True her kind exist but I refuse to believe that she could tear me to pieces and rip out my heart - that is the stuff of fairytales.   
It’s usual to provide some proof of death, the body for instance but not this time. Not one single drop of her crimson blood is to return to the village. I’m an honourable man so I’ll do as they ask. I will earn the bag of gold that’s stowed away in my cart. 

As I drive the horse along the track it clears of people, dust flying up as they hurry towards the safety of their homes. Doors bang shut and the scraping and rasping of furniture being pushed up against them echoes out. As we round the corner and disappear from view a breath-like breeze ruffles my hair as if the villagers sigh in collective relief.   

I make a stop half way to journey’s end and take out my lunch of bread and cheese, kindly prepared by the inn keeper’s wife. My captive moves her head a little as if trying to catch a glimpse of what I’m eating. The folds of the cloak mask her face from me. There’s little point sharing my food, she’ll soon be dead.

The winter sun no longer takes the edge off the cold wind so I eat quickly and move on. It is with some relief I reach the woodland. It gives me some shelter from the bitter wind. Five furlongs in and a path wide enough for my cart splits from the track leading into the deepest part of the wood. 

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