Wednesday, 31 August 2016

The Wild Hunt Magazine

I stumbled across this awesome magazine whilst looking for places to submit my short stories to and instantly fell in love with it.

The Wild Hunt magazine is an exclusively online magazine which publishes the very best fiction that celebrates the weird and the surreal and I was incredibly fortunate enough to be published by them.

So if you grew up devouring fairy tales, old legends, old myths of magic beasts and adventures, ghost stories that leave you tingling then look no further than the Wild Hunt Magazine.

The great news is that all their content is free and they have a great selection of stories to read at your pleasure so go on, enjoy.

In here you'll find tales of dandy popinjays, super cute bunnies, strange plants, lost love, ancient magic heroic quests, intoxicating music and ethereal hippies.

The Mound by S.J.Budd

Overnight the garden had perceptibly shifted, even Marilyn with her city eyes could see that. Betwixt the falling of twilight and the lifting of dusk the garden had taken on a luminosity of green, so bright it seemed to vibrate with joy. A shade of green that possessed a wild and savage nature in servitude to no one. Marilyn almost dropped her morning cup of coffee. It seemed to her that the garden had travelled back in time to a primordial state of being.

In the centre of the garden stood a large round green mound that had not been there before. All the border plants and trees leaned in salute to pay homage. Just last night nothing was awry and it was all due to the strange lady at the end of Whitsand Cliffs.

When Marilyn meets a strange woman along the Cornish cliffs of Whitsand Bay she hopes her fortunes will be reversed. But sometimes you have to be careful in what you wish for.

About S.J.Budd

S.J.Budd is a horror/dark fantasy author from the UK who has had several short stories published im magazines such as Sanitarium Magazine, Siren's Call Ezine, Innersins, Bewildering Stories, Aphelion, Shadows at the Door, Deadman's Tome, Danse Macabre Magazine, Blood Moon Rising and The Wild Hunt Magazine.


Twitter @sjbuddj

Home Improvements by Jill Hand

Danae left for work one morning only to return to find that her house was gone, fallen into a sinkhole. She stood on the sidewalk amid a gaggle of curious onlookers, staring at the place where her house used to be. There was nothing there now but a ragged hole in the ground cordoned off by wooden barricades strung with yellow police tape. All my stuff was in there, she thought dazedly.

Imagine going to work as you do every day only to find your house gone when you  returned? Danae has lost everything, everything apart from her beloved cat; Evil George.

Danae is devastated but through her misfortune she finds the most beautiful cottage located on two acres of land on Greenwood Lane. It's going to be the start of a new life, especially when she meets two curiously odd fellows on her land.

About Jill Hand

Once a newspaper reporter Jill Hand now writes speculative fiction and her work has appeared in numerous publications including, Another Realm, Aphelion, Bewildering Stories, Jersey Devil Press, Suspense, Weird JJ, The Literary Hatchet, Nebula Rift, Silver Blade Magazine and The Siren's Call.

She has recently published her first novella, The Blue Horse

Twitter @jillhand1_gef

My Ex-Girlfriend's Ex-Girlfriend by J.M.Wetherall

My ex-girlfriend's ex-girlfriend called me up tonight and told me to look out the window. Did I not see it, in the haze above the steaming rooftops of apartment buildings, extending west'the greenish-gold filigree, a tear in the late summer sky?

"Don't you see, this is our chance?" she said.

In this beautiful  and ethereal tale our protagonist  meets their mysterious ex-girlfriend's ex girlfriend who is quick to befriend after a chance encounter at the laundrette the very same night they go for dinner for dinner and the next day she calls.  She is keen to make a real connection of their mutual ex.

However she soon presents him with a remarkable revelation, an extraordinary skill that she offers to share with him and together they can be truly free, not just of their ex-girlfriend but every every known physical restraint.

About J.M.Wetherall

J.M.Wetherall is a writer and radio producer living in New York City.

The Alchemist's  Daughter by Rebecca Hurst

Once there was a scholar who all his life sought to turn lead into gold. Alchemy was his art, science and his religion. It left no time for anything else; he lived as one who is blind, deaf, mute. Or at least he spoke, but only of gold.

In this quaint little fairy tale an alchemist dedicates his whole life to learn the secrets of alchemy in the process he loses everything, his parents, his wife and his home. Only his loyal daughter remains by his side and supports him by working at a nearby inn. She scrubs and cleans all day for her father and cares for a tattered old Jackdaw whom she comes across one day. The Jackdaw,reminding her of her tattered father soon becomes very special to her. She is kind to all things and one day a traveler arrives at her door seeking just a little cup of water she is quick to help. 

The girl ambles through life under the shadow if her father and collects tiny pieces of treasure keeping them close to her heart. She may not know how to create gold but she has more wisdom and sense than her father will ever possess.

About Rebecca Hurst

Rebecca Hurst is currently a doctoral student at Manchester University. Her previous work has appeared in many publications such as Magna Poetry, The Next Review, The Golden Key,SWAMP and Cricket Magazine. Her chamber opera Isabella premiered in London 2015.

You can find out more by heading over to her website here

Twitter  @zinadreams

All the Hippies are Dying by  Gwendolyn Kiste

My mother went to Woodstock. The real one, not any of the imposters that came after. She says she met my father there, but since I was an eighties baby- a product of shoulder pads and Aqua Net, not mud and free love - I doubt she kept him hidden away from relatives and friends for a decade and a half just to pull him out of cold storage and declare "Let's make a baby!"

Her mother is truly one of a kind, living off  "communes, acid and tie-dyes" dreaming forever of her magical time spent at Woodsock during the ultimate summer of love and freedom. She spends her whole life, like all the other hippies trapped in the music that she listens to but her daughter instead shuts her ears to it.

She has never met her father and spends her time pondering over a photo of her mother taken from Woodstock of her mother's friends captured forever in the frame forever obsessing over who took the photo remaining forever hidden. One by one the hippies in the photo start to die and so does a bit of her mother who's light  and shining aura starts to take on a  hidden darkness. It seems her mother may be next...

About Gwendolyn Kiste

A writer that I've long since admired her numerous work has appeared in many magazines such as Nightmare, Shimmer, Interzone and Flash Fiction Online to name a few. She currently lives on a farm with her husband, two cats and not nearly enough ghosts. You can find out more about her fiction by taking a gander to her website.

Twitter @GwendolynKiste

Sever by Jan Stinchcombe

When Sheila arrived at Langelinie Promenade, her cheekbone was purple and swollen. She was making a pilgrimage to the Little Mermaid statue, where a crowd had already gathered. Sheila pushed forward to see the mermaid or what was left of her, and heard a woman explaining to a small boy that the statue wasn't supposed to look like that. Someone had stolen her head. This was not nice. It was in fact, an act of vandalism. A crime.

A wild and strange tale that draws upon ancient folklore and fairy tales which shows us just how important and powerful our imaginations can be and that all crimes committed are permanently recorded in memories passed down.

About Jan Stinchcombe

Jan Stinchcombe's fiction has appeared in numerous publications such as Necessary Fiction, Conium Review Online Compendium, A cappella Zoo, Paper Darts and many others. Last year saw the release of her novella, Find the Girl. She has a regular column for Luna Station Quarterly, Notes from Rapunzel's Tower,  where she reviews fairy tale inspired works. You can find out more about her by taking a look at her website here 

Tsunami Mon Amour by Willem Myra

I hired a team of scientists-the best one hundred grand could get you in those days- and had them fabricate a hurricane I named after you. The scientists promised me it would kill at least three hundred people and wreck four times as many homes, and when you said, "That's all? it broke my heart because that was my present for you.

Two people are locked in a ferocious love keep their true nature hidden from the outside world but one day Marla is given an impossible task to show her undying love and devotion.

About Willem Myra

Willem Myra lives near Rome and is currently studying for a BA in Media Studies and has just tried his hand at writing in English. I'd say it is going very well.

Lore by Helen McClory

They killed the hare when the mist was on the early morning river. They had come upon her
in an abutting field, while crossing it silently out on a hunt. She lay in her form, resting, eyebright and whiskers quivering. Dew on the long and parted grass. One man whistled through his teeth. She did not move. Her nose moved. Someone cocked their gun.

A beautiful strange and haunting story that delves into the folklore and mythology surrounding the incredibly shy and elusive Hare who by folklore is associated with the moon and the sacred fires of Spring. Once Believed to have  been hermaphrodites they were thought to have been a balance of male and female energy which symbolises the Celtic Spring Equinox when all the male and female life forces are held in balance.

About Helen McClory

Helen McCory hails from Scotland. Her fist flash fiction collection, On the Edges of Fiction, which won the Saltire First Book of the Year, is available by Queen's Ferry Press.
Her debut novel, Flesh of the Peach, will be published by Freight in 2017

Twitter @HelenMcCrory

Return To Greenash by Mark Furlong

The nimble beast flashed with frenzied speed through the dark, dense trees. With each violent step the sodden ground surrendered,causing him to falter,recover,and then falter again. Sharp ,thorny branches sought out the vulnerable openings of Lathon's sallet, raking flesh, and digging shallow scarlet gullies into his arms. He desperately struggled to guide his steed through the thick underbrush with muscle memory instinct guiding his way.

"Do you challenge?"

An epic fantasy tale of deep magic, centuries old prophecies and the bounding nature of loyalty. Lathon and his beloved horse Childra fights his way to return to Greenash after 15 long years in exile. He thinks he is doing the right thing by coming back and returning the mystic sceptre beleiving it to be his defining quest but instead he invokes something much older and sinister.

About Mark Furlong

This is Mark Furlong's first published story and by day he is an online marketing manager for an STM book publishing company. He lives in Buffalo NY.

Bunny Museum by Ron Birch

We're going to the Bunny Museum! It is finally here. We don't know for how long but we know we have to go. Some have told us that if we don't go soon enough, it disappears and we'll have to wait months, perhaps years, perhaps never!,for it to return. We put on our long ears and slip our legs into the furry suits until we are covered. We're ready, excited. Off to the Bunny Museum!

Two friends set off in search of the location of the elusive clandestine Bunny Museum. It sounds so innocent but there's something dark and disturbing about the Bunny museum which is shrouded in mystery. 

About Ron Birch

Ron Birch has had many short stories published in numerous publications such as Mississippi Review, Cheap Pop, Eleven Eleven and PANK. His debut novel, Bliss Inc, is out now.

The Trolls by Christopher Dewan

They pulled off the highway and onto the winding country road that led to his parents' house.
"When's the last time you saw them?" Staci asked.
"It's been a while."

Ils is taking Staci, his girlfriend, to the wilderness to meet his parents. She's going to be the first woman he's ever brought back. Is there a specific reason for that? Is it all in his head? 

About Christopher Dewan

Christopher Dewan has had more than forty short stories published in numerous publications such as A cappella Zoo, Bartleby Snopes, Necessary Fiction, Passages North and wigleaf. He has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize and his collection of short stories, Hoopty Time Machines,  is due out in September 16 from Atticus Books.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The Wild Hunt

Today is a special day for me as I've reached the milestone of having 13 short stories published in the two years I've been writing.

When I first started out my tales were truly terrible but I feel that from an awful lot of rejection I've learnt a lot about the craft of writing and now I feel I'm starting to have something to show for it. I feel very honoured to have had just one story accepted and getting my work published is absolutely the best motivator to keep me tapping away at the keyboard.

My latest tale, The Mound, is now proudly featured in the epic Wild Hunt Magazine. This is a great site and has some great fiction already published. They are a selection of beautiful haunting stories, best described as ethereal. Having read all the stories already published on their site I'm really chuffed to be included amongst them.

The Wild Hunt is an online literary magazine that celebrates the weird, surreal,the other, and imaginary worlds. Its aim is to feature writing and artwork that includes strange occurrences, mysterious places, magic, creatures and monsters, the uncanny, fairies, folklore, horror, the ghostly and ghoulish, and any whirlwind adventures. There are no boundaries to the fantastic.

Please go and check out their wonderful site at and read all their wonderful stories, particularly mine, hehehe. And if you like them do share and comment as it means an awful lot to us writers.

The weather is fine and sunny today and as a reward I'll be toasting myself a large  rum cocktail as I watch the sun go down on sunny London.

Friday, 19 August 2016

How to Increase the Word Count of Your Novel?

You've just finished your totally awesome and amazing first draft of your novel. You feel epic on the verge of literary stardom but then you glance down to the word count and see it is dangerously small. There just doesn't seem that many words for all your efforts.

Unless you're Stephen King or J.K.Rowling the word count of  your novel is really important. If it's below 40,000 words it's a novella, nothing wrong with that, unless you want it published. The problem with having a very small word count/novella is that agents won't want to sell it to the big publishers as financially it's not worth their time and if you want to be published by one of the giants you'll need to have representation in order to get them to read your work..

So in short only novels will interest an agent.

Word count requirements are different within the literary genres. Young adult fiction can get away with having a shorter word count of 55-70k  whilst fantasy novels can be a whopping 120k without it seeming too long. So,generally speaking, unless your novel is YA fiction your word count must be at least 70,000.

If you have a word count that is below this, don't panic. Remember that the first hurdle is out of the way. You've committed your story to paper, that's a huge achievement, give yourself a pat on the back and maybe reward yourself with a big glass of wine.

What you need to do now  is stop writing. Don't even think about your novel for at least a few weeks or even a few months so that you can forget about it. This way when you next read it you'll be seeing it with a fresh perspective. You'll be amazed at what jumps out at you screaming for attention. Is your novel clear, is it scary where it's supposed to be scary, funny where it meant to get a chuckle or two? Are there any major plot holes? Once you've got a first draft done it may be a good idea to ask a friend to read it who will offer gentle feedback at this delicate stage.

Next when you are ready to start your second draft, and there's no rush, follow these tips for increasing your word count.

Top Tactics for Increasing the Word Count in Your Novel


You'll probably notice when you read over your first draft that your pacing will probably be too fast in your haste of getting your story out of your head and onto paper. Pacing is really important. depending on the type of genre you are writing in you may need it to feel fast paced but remember, don't skip on the detail. People read because they want to experience something, make sure there is enough description to allow your readers to really immerse themselves in your story.


Adding more description can really dramatically increase your word count but don't just add in loads of descriptions as this will render your story dull. Only add what is needed and remember the golden rule; show, don't tell. If your character finds themselves alone in a dark alley with an axe murderer just describe what the scene looks like. Tell your reader about how the characters feeling tell them about what they're hearing, what their smelling etc.

If your novel takes place in a another world or time period make sure you have done your research and add little titbits of world building to make your story feel authentic.

Add a Sub Plot

Now that you've got your core story written out why not think about adding a subplot to give your story some extra depth. Utilise all your characters don't just focus on bringing your main characters to life. Take a look at your secondary ones and see if any of them have a tale of their own worth telling. A great novel is one that is character driven with truly memorable characters such as the Harry Potter series. Remember to make sure it links in and complements your main plot, make sure it is necessary to telling your story.

A really cheeky way to increase your word count in a novel is to throw a spanner in the works that may distract or hinder your protagonist from their quest in the form of another character, event or situation.

Connect Your Scenes and Situations

Make sure that the story arc of your story isn't simply moving from A to B to C. Make sure their are adventures along the way and that they add to your readers experience of your novel. This is so much fun to do and can also take your novel to new heights.

About the Author

S.J.Budd is a writer of all things weird and creepy. Previously her tales have been featured on Deandman's Tome,  Sanitarium Magazine, Dark Gothic Resurrected, Liquid Imagination, Aphotic Realm, Aurora Wolf, Aphelion, Blood Moon Rising Magazine, The Wild Hunt, Danse Macabre, Shadows at the Door, Inner Sins, Bewildering Stories, Siren's Call and many more.
She lives at  and  @sjbuddj 

Spells and Persuasions, her debut collection of short stories of horror and dark fantasy is available now in paperback and kindle from Amazon

Monday, 8 August 2016

Hungry Ghosts by Calvin Demmer

Ten Tips For Surviving The Hungry Ghost Festival.

1.Do not interfere with any offerings. If done by accident, immediately apologise aloud
2.Do not open an umbrella indoors as ti may invite ghosts.
3.Do not marry, start a new business,or move home during ghost month.
4. Do not wander after midnight.
5.Chopsticks placed upright are a direct invitation for ghosts to partake in your meal.
6.Do not sleep facing a mirror or reflective surface. This may guide ghosts to you.
7.Do  not pat anyone's shoulder or forehead. It brings them bad luck and puts them at risk of being possessed.
8. Do not swim. Drowned evil ghosts seek victims for their rebirth.
9. Do not take photos,selfies or videos. Ghosts may appear.
10. Do not turn around if a voice calls you from behind.

Lara and Ray have just reach their hotel in China, their first holiday abroad. The trip of a lifetime and beyond! They have arrived during the Hungry Ghost Festival. The streets are adorned with lights and offerings to the dead who  are both loved and revered. Upon reading the ten tips for survival Lara realises that Ray has already broken the first rule. 

In this action packed tale which takes you on a creepy and gruesome path Lara and her boyfriend, Ray, have gone on a once in a lifetime holiday to China. It's make or break. But instead of feeling madly in love she feels empty, wanting more than what Ray can give. After one argument too many Lara decides to take a walk into the wilderness at dusk. She's determined to enjoy herself and make the best of things. 

Secretly she is trying to make up her mind over whether they should stay together, she's looking for a way out and if she carries on, up that path she might find it. A cool little tale that warns of not taking local traditions seriously and how you should never act on impulse!

About Calvin Demmer

Calvin Demmer is a crime, mystery and speculative fiction author. When not writing he is intrigued by that which goes bump in the night and the sciences of our universe. His work has appeared in a variety of publicaions including Sanitarium Magazine, Morpheus Tales and Devolution Z.

You can find out more about Calvin Demmer by heading over to website here

Twitter @CalvinDemmer

Saturday, 6 August 2016

The 2016 Ray Bradbury Challenge Part Two

As some of you may know, at the beginning of this year I stumbled across this quote from Ray Bradbury and set myself the challenge of writing 52 short stories during 2016.

Ray Bradbury argued that;

"When you start writing short stories, the quality doesn’t really matter; you’re practicing your craft. At the end of the year, you’ll have 52 short stories. It’s almost impossible not to have at least one good story among those 52. Writing short stories will teach you to be constantly looking for ideas. In addition, every week you’ll be happy, because by the end of each week you’ll have something to show for your efforts."

And now suddenly it's August and over halfway through the year, and my challenge. So far at week 31 I've written 20 short stories. I don't think that's too bad and despite being a bit behind with the numbers I've felt that I've learnt a lot.

It's not just honing the skills of my craft that I've experienced but also the development of the vital tools every writer needs; discipline, determination and time management. I've also learnt that if you have an idea for a story pounce on it like a hunter stalking its prey before it gets away from you because you're the only person that can tell that story.

I'm a busy person, we'll all busy people and there's only so many hours in the day. Currently I'm a full time mum and finding the time to write can be really tricky. I'm running around looking after my kids during the day and in the evenings when my delightful other half comes home I'd much rather spend time with him than stare into a blank computer screen. Writing is very important to me but my family is everything. If only I had more time...

So instead I now get up at half five each weekday to write. I'm not a morning person at all but somehow I do it because I have to find the time somewhere and by doing this I've set up a writing routine. Each morning it's gets easier. I have to write as else I would have woken up early for nothing and I know I don't have long. However two to three hours of solid writing per day adds up. Over the course of the week that can add up to 15 hours and a lot of words committed to paper.

And also did you know that when you start to write an innocent looking short story it can quickly spiral out of control into a novel? I started off with an idea for a short piece and before my very eyes it grew into a 30,000 word novella. 

I'm probably not going to be able to achieve my target of 52 short stories but I've learnt things that I never would have if I hadn't of tried. I now know that you've got to be really ruthless with achieving your goals whatever they may be and that you must never give up, even when you stop believing in yourself but you'll get somewhere eventually.

Oh, and always be on the lookout for your next story, because that could be the one.

Friday, 5 August 2016

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

I'm not embarrassed to admit it but I love Young Adult fiction even though I'm in my early thirties and have two children. To me there's something really delightful in slipping into the mindset of a teenager like Rory Devereaux and pretending I'm young again.

The Madness Underneath is the second instalment of The Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson. I've previously read the first book of the series, The Name of the Star and thoroughly enjoyed it. Now I think I'm a bit hooked and this book The Madness Underneath, ended on the highest cliff hanger I've ever come across in a book and I'm  now experiencing painful withdrawal symptoms.

I think the reason why I like these books is because of Rory Devereaux, the sassy teen from Louisiana U.S.A  who's come to study at college in London. There's something quite adorable about her but she's also feisty and wise for her age.  She's really interesting because she is real and has flaws just like everyone else.

Without giving too much  away for those of you who are not familiar with The Name of the Star, Rory is recovering from a traumatic ordeal. Except she's not really traumatised she'd bored out of her mind and itching to get back into the action and hang out with the Shades of London, which is both dangerous and thrilling. Rory is not a normal teenage girl, she has the sight she can see ghosts and through that she has seen a side to London that only a very few people at the top  know about.

In The Madness Underneath, Rory really finds her feet in the world despite her life falling apart. She's more powerful than she had bargained for after her ordeal and with that power comes great responsibility for she has the power to prevent the Shades from being shut down. But she's also in terrible danger.

Unlike The Name of the Star, this book gets off to a slow start, I felt like there wasn't much happening but it didn't fustrate me as the superb characterisation of Rory is so great that I'm just happy to coast along with her as she goes from one disaster to another. Some people might say that this book is lacking in plot and action but I think  this is a pivotal book where Rory finds her feet and figures out what direction she should be going in. She's at a crossroads, should she go  back to the U.S, or try and catch up at Wexford or should she give up everything to become a shade? She's choosing between her heart, her head and spirit.

So the book can feel a little slow, I think it's gentle and absorbing but it's worth going through as it does eventually kick off and my oh my, does it kick off. So many things happened that I wasn't expecting to happen and when I finished the last page I was gutted!

"I was in London, a city of stone and rain and magic. The red buses, telephone booths, and postboxes were a violent shock against the greys of the shy and stone. Red was blood and beating hearts."

The atmosphere of this book was superb as a Londoner I felt Maureen Johnson had it spot on. I have a real thing for urban fantasy set in London, Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere is firmly at the top of my TBR list.  I like the fact that Rory is American and we get to see how Americans view our way of life.

Fortunately  The Shadow Cabinet, the third instalment in The shades of London series is already  out. I don't know I would have coped if I would have to wait!

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Morpheus Tales: The Best Weird Fiction Volume 5

Morpheus Tales is a  top independent UK publishing company that has been running since 2008. They publish a quarterly magazine celebrating the top new horror  and weird fiction around. You can purchase many of their back issues and special themed issues from their website for next to nothing.

In this Anthology  Morpheus Tales, The Best Weird Fiction Volume 5 (Edited by Adam Bradley) you'll find a dark hand picked selection of the finest macabre stories. In here we learn of the strange machinery capable of ripping apart the very fabric of reality. What it is that waits for us on the other side? You'll hearts will be warmed by romance that doesn't go according to plan, of friendships turning sour and strange creatures that like to play with their prey.


The Cherry Tree by David Lear

"Thirty Chimes Avenue is a ramshackle, with it's rotten front door, broken and boarded windows, and skate tiles missing from the roof. And in the sprawling back garden a cherry tree stands stranded in a sea of weeds and brambles like some hapless vessel."

Ted, a retired seaman lives out the end of his days in grief of "unfathomable depths." He is haunted by a beautiful tree with a dark history. Each day he prays for forgiveness and hopes to atone for his sins but are his prayers ever heard?

Souvenir by Brockton McKinney

"Gordon paused, hunched over the corpse, breathing hard and cursing. The rain rolled down his forehead and hung on the permanent grin plastered on his blood splattered face. He lifted his head slowly towards the clouds and howled to the otherworldly thing that had brought him to this act."

Three high school friends take one last adventure after graduating from college, travelling across Europe before they head into the real world. They need one last souvenir of their collective friendship before they go their own ways.

Soulshredder by Lee Clark Zumpe

"There in the shadowy chamber of the former King's citadel, Ghallard found that marvellous sword abandoned behind a heavily bolted door sadly neglected and left in the bony hands of a rotting old skeleton."

Soulshredder;  an ancient sword born from unholy fires from unknown origins. It has an unappeasable appetite but surely Ghallard the Virtuous will be strong enough  not to fall under its spell?

A Silence Between Two Waves of the Sea by Robert Sagirs

"I don't get it," she tried yet again. "For years you hardly say two words about your life here and then you drag us across the country like it's an emergency or something, and I can't get you to shut up about your childhood."

Carl is still searching the universe for its secrets after losing the joy in his life. The last time he ever laughed was during a childhood accident that nearly claimed his life. But now he wants to delve back into his past and face his problems head on.

The Children's Garden by Sean Logan

"All right, so what are we doing?" Jay said as he bounded down his front steps and out into the crisp night air, feeling that charge he always felt on Halloween.

Jay  breaks his sister's heart for not taking her out trick or treating on Halloween as they usually do, he is too grown up for treats on Halloween he wants to trick instead with his friend and heads to the Children's garden...

Business is Business by Lee Clark Zumpe

"Bundled up in discarded threads plucked from trashcans and homeless shelters, Syd recognised the harbingers of the season. On her perch in the highlands of the Apalachians, clawing at the twilight, Winter sat scheming. Tonight she tainted the winds with a whisper and a promise. December would answer to her."

Syd, a down an out homeless guy gets wind of an incredible opportunity that will not only get him a decent warm meal in his belly but also see him through the cold approaching winter. All he has to do is shoulder the burdens of one man's guilt.

Solitary Man by Adrian Ludens

"I never took the time to tell you about my job and now I wish I had. I can't help but think it's too late, but it's worth a try. Maybe something I tell you today will help you get through."

A father comes to visit his son who's been left comatose after a nasty motorbike accident refusing to squash hope for his son's recovery. After all his work as a prison officer has allowed him to meet some curious individuals such as the mysterious prisoner who lives off the love of his craft.

Dust Devil by Candra Hope

"Do not look at them."
"What?" Tom Ellis blinked and turned around. His guide and translator was staring straight ahead. Tom frowned. Jamal, an old man with skin the colour of old leather left out in the sun too long, had a face that rarely changed expression. What some might call imperturbable. This sudden tension was strange to see.

Tom Ellis travels to the desert just outside Marrakech in search of ancient myths and legends. Along with his trusty guide, Jamal, he hears of the dust devils which inspire fear in the locals but all he sees are innocent dust clouds and overly superstitious locals.

Nightfall by Edwin Plotts

"This jungle was filled with monsters, but none more frightening than Him."

There's a darkness that prevails to bring back the light from those who think themselves kings.

Unkillable by Glen Garrick

"Nate Ellis took  a sip from his coffee mug before he settled down in front of his computer. His novel was already up on the screen, and though he was not quite ready to work yet, he knew what he was going to do today.
He was going to kill Chud Quiver."

One of the joys of being a writer is that there is no limit to what you can create from your imagination. Just imagine if you were able to create characters so vivid, so passionate they seem to come alive...

The Key by Matthew Piskum

"With his tie loosened, I reach beneath his pressed, white shirt and grab hold of the thin black chain around his neck, the one he'd tried so desperately to hide form me."

A young man's father wants to take his secrets to his grave but his son follows him and takes the very thing he tried so hard to conceal.

The Depredators' Club by Deborah Walker

"It was good to be back. Molly Kroner was in the Depredators' Club for the first time in ten years."

Molly is back in the club and after recievng her first commission in ten years she's eager to build up her reputation. But there's a full moon tonight, Quentin's warned her that some things shouldn't be taken but £5k is £5k.

The Receipts by Paul Johnson-Jovanovic &James Brooks

"A night in on my own was a rarity, a time to savour. With  no whinging wife around, I intended to make the most of it. So off to the store I went for my bits and bobs...

A poor mistreated husband just wants a few minutes peace and will go to any lengths to find it.

Seasons in the Abyss by Anthony Baynton

"I write this in the hope that, should my nightmare befall another, they will be prepared. A vain hope, I suspect, but as my last act I can find no more honourable task."

A chilling tale that draws upon ancient legends of creation  where one man discovers what awaits us on the other side.

Crespuscula Beast by Sharon Baillie

"There's an itch under my scalp. A tingling at first, almost an abstract feeling, it's there, but it isn't, not fully until I can define it as an itch."

In this tale our protagonist is torment by a twilight visitor. It just wants to play...

The Function Room by Matt Leyshon

Gloom pauses, unsure that he has heard correctly. He too has detected a change in their routine, a shifting in the dismal spheres they inhabit.
"Three? he asks.
"Three," says Daisy.

It's just another normal day in Ledenton until Daisy buys three chicken livers for her cat throwing Gloom the butcher entirely out of orbit.

When the Letter came by Matthew Acheson

"I was in a very curious emotional state when the letter finally arrived. I had gone to check the post office religiously every Friday afternoon and each time I had returned empty handed until. There it was at last, in my trembling hand, shining like a bolt of cleansing fire out of the heavens-the letter."

Mr Browne has been trying to solve an impossible puzzle for many years . His ad for help in the newspaper is finally answered by a letter from an eminent maths Professor confirming he's solved the elusive puzzle. Mr Browne is delighted to say the least, there is so much more than a burning curiosity to solving this puzzle left by his father, his future depends on it.

The Birds of Averrone by Kyle Hemmings

"When the birds of Averrone circle above you, it means your lifeline is running out."

A young boy grows up in awe of the mysterious birds of Averrone, he's not afraid of them. He's afraid of what's going on inside his own home.

Morning Jog by James Gabriel

"I open suddenly to the ceiling and look around a room. My head swivels panicked. The room comes through in an unfamiliar static with voices full of giggles and tears between the walls. Eyes from every-nowhere penetrate through the layers of heroes and ghosts laced into my woven cage."

Each and everyone one of us has at least one nagging voice inside our head, usually the voice of reason that tells us to not eat the 8th slice of pizza but what happens when that voice has no reason or sanity?

Lilies by Gary Budgen

"I had left my keys in the trousers I had put into the washing machine and the lining of the drum had torn; so it was I came to fall in love with one of the damned."

M falls in love at his local launderette, but she's one of the damned but for M love is blind in a world turned upside down.