Extracts/ Flash Fiction

Merry Weather

At first, I didn’t see her. She was caught between two bushes, tangled up in cobwebs, spindly branches and the lacy trim of her silvery blue cape. I did hear her, though. Cursing so much that I thought a group of drunken sailors had strolled around the corner from the pub in town.

But no. All the swearing was emanating from a tiny fairy, red in the face from her efforts to untangle herself.

If it wasn’t for the fact that she saw me and gave such a scowl that my legs automatically wanted to run for the hills, I might have laughed. Instead, I mumbled an offer of assistance while pulling my most solemn expression, and stepped forwards to help. My fingers slipped in my attempt to de-cobweb her and I ended up jabbing her in the head. She bit me for that. Straight through the skin, so that a bead of blood rose from the puncture wound and stained her clothes. I winced, but her long frenzy of expletives detailing every inch of my incompetence drowned it out. Then she wept, equally as loud, about the state of her clothes and how they were positively ruined.

I think it was supposed to make me feel sorry for her, but in actuality it made her terrifying hold on me weaken enough to simply pinch her roughly out of the tangled mess, tearing her cloak completely. She wailed even more. I pointed out, bluntly, that she was free and if she hadn’t have been wearing the ridiculous thing, she probably wouldn’t have ended up in that state in the first place. In answer, she took a small stick from the top of one boot and jabbed it at my nose. Hot sparks shot out the end, singeing my nostril hairs. I let her go in disgust and watched her zoom away, emitting the wettest raspberry I’d ever heard. At least, I hope it was a raspberry…

Extracts/ Flash Fiction, Poetry

Extract from my current WIP

I don’t usually write poems or songs in my books, but this time the story called for one. And as this blog features quite a lot of my poetry, I thought I’d share it. To put it in context, it gives a vial clue for my characters to find something:

‘And when the snows begin to ease

On mountains high, with cool breeze

Look out to the peaks every morn

From which the ice sparrows are drawn

And watch them duck and dive

Until upon the floating cities they arrive,

Stealing crystals for their nests,

Those naughty sparrows, dragon’s pests.

Extracts/ Flash Fiction

Extract: Necromancer’s Cage

Johnathan left the building and strode to the end of the street, trying to stay as casual as though he was just out for a midday stroll. Unfortunately, he’d forgotten it was still winter and the snow had now turned to ice. His feet skidded out from under him, causing him to walk with his arms splayed out for balance. When he reached the corner where the Bandits and Winkit were indeed waiting, he found Jasmine and Samuel in fits of giggles.

‘What happened to you?’ Jasmine asked, making Johnathan feel terribly self-conscious. ‘You look as though you were attacked by a violent dishcloth while attempting to dress yourself in the dark.’ She took out a small compact from the pockets of her thick coat and opened it up so he could see his reflection in its small mirror.

His face, where he’d scrubbed it quickly, was covered in red blotches and the buttons on his shirt were all done up wrong. He saw his face redden even more with embarrassment before she finally shut the compact again.

Extracts/ Flash Fiction

Extract: The Door Between Worlds

They turned a corner and found themselves in a street full of stalls of every kind and colour, stretching as far as they could see. There was a black stall with yellow stripes to their right, selling honey and beeswax candles, and to their left was one which was deep purple, selling various creams and powders. One of them was called ‘Anti-Wart Cream’ and was advertised as being perfect for witches who wanted to avoid looking evil.

As he read the label, a woman with a greenish tinge to her skin and six extremely large warts on her chin came up to the stall and looked at the powders and creams with interest. The vendor, a tall, stout woman, smiled at her.

‘Ah, Baltinda! It’s good to see you again. How’s the anti-evil cream coming along?’ she asked.

‘Well, as you can see, my skin is gradually fading back to its natural colour now. I can’t believe I was involved with that coven for so long that my skin turned green! I only went there for a laugh, I never thought I’d start becoming a wicked witch like the rest of them,’ the green-tinged woman replied.

‘Ah, you can’t help things like that. Wicked witches are very clever at deceiving good witches. I think Wilhelmina is the only good witch I’ve ever known not to be lured by their charms.’

‘Oh, don’t talk to me about Wilhelmina. She’s so full of good spirits that it makes me sick,’ the woman spat in disgust. Ramble noticed that her green skin darkened slightly as she spoke.

‘Now there’s no need to upset yourself, Baltinda. Here, have some more anti-evil cream,’ the vendor said, handing her a large jar of it.

‘Thank you,’ the witch said, taking it quickly and spreading some on her cheeks. The green diluted within seconds. ‘I know I shouldn’t carry on, but have you heard that she’s made friends with Ramble now that he’s come back?’

‘No, I haven’t. What’s she up to then, I wonder? I knew that she’d met him several times before, but they were never very—’

The vendor stopped as she caught sight of Ramble looking over the witch’s shoulder. Seeing her stare, the witch turned around. She let out a small cry and stepped back, knocking several packets off the stall. Ramble bent down and picked them up, handing her one of them.

‘Here,’ he said. ‘I believe you need this one.’

The witch looked down at the packet he’d given her. It was the Anti-Wart cream. ‘I—’ she began, but before she could say anymore, he gave a curt wave and turned away to merge with the crowd.

Extracts/ Flash Fiction

Extract: Necromancer’s Cage

Nodnol. The city of alchemy and invention. Its bustling streets were filled with shops of every kind, from humble florists and clockmakers to whole emporiums of spas and beauty parlors, garages for automobile alchemy, and Kerical (alchemy and electricity, a power source hailed for its efficiency) research centres.

Shop chimneys spat out colours from across the spectrum, vibrant oranges and pinks to inky purples and blues, and everywhere, in every street and every shop, was the sense of determination and drive; the drive to be the next big inventor or the one who would make the next alchemical breakthrough.

Well, every shop except for one.

In a small street backing off from Nodnol’s main square was a neat, green painted shop with the words ‘Alchemical Pharmacy’ stencilled above its broad windows in large, white lettering. But it showed no dispays of powders or jars of loose ingredients as one might have expected to find in other alchemy-based pharmacies. No, instead the windows revealed only cardboard boxes, being packed by a silver haired man still wearing his dispensing apron. His movements were slow and weary, as if he was packing away his very life into those boxes.

Extracts/ Flash Fiction

Wyld Times- a story idea

Aelfire’s head rested on a small, moss covered mound, his body stretched out on the grass as the sun lit the hill. His long hair was splayed out around him, and so deep was his sleep that he didn’t even feel the gentle tug as the pond nymphs plaited it into the lengths of silver rope weed growing out of the pond’s spongy bank.

‘Ladies, please,’ Gwenti said, striding towards them from where she had stood watch over Aelfire from the shadows of the woods. ‘I think that’s enough playtime for now. Run along.’

The nymphs chittered angrily and dived back into the murky waters of the pond. Gwenti sighed. Those mischievous creatures were always up to something when Aelfire rested there. It was as if they couldn’t leave the boy alone. She knelt down beside him and carefully untangled his hair. He didn’t stir, but the day was well underway and she needed him awake. ‘Lord Aelfire,’ she said, putting a hand on his shoulder.


She shook him. ‘Lord Aelfire, it’s time to move.’

He yawned and rolled onto his side, blinking as the sunlight reflecting off the pond hit him full in the eyes. ‘Already? I thought you said we had til noon?’

‘It is noon, my Lord. The city beacon has already been lit, in a few moments the Gulls will be released. We need to be well away from here by then. If they catch us so close to the city gates, then it’s an automatic fail. Not only for you, but for me too. If you fail this trial, my role as your guardian will be over. They’ll choose someone else to train you in the Wylds, and believe me when I say you don’t want that, and nor do I. Your mother would never forgive me if I let you end up in the hands of one of them.’ 

‘You worry too much, Gwenti. We’ll win this trial,’ Aelfire said with a grin. ‘Just…where’s the first checkpoint again?’

Gwenti cast him a long, hard look.

‘Hey, I’m joking, I’m joking,’ he said, picking up his pack and slinging it over his shoulder. ‘I know it’s the Mergrave stone. Let’s go.’

Extracts/ Flash Fiction

The Face

There was a face in the tree. It rippled up the branches and into the leaves, finally coming to a stop in the soft white flowers. There it would wait, until an unsuspecting bee or wasp landed on the delicate petals searching for pollen. Then: gulp! The insect would be swallowed whole by the face, with not even a furred black leg or crystal-like wing left as proof that it was ever there. Once full, the face would retreat down to the roots of the tree and hide. Hide away from the sharp senses of the woodland huntresses, with their sharp, hooked nails and unrivaled speed at climbing trees: dryads, the protectors of the wood. They had been chasing the face for more years than it could remember, ever since it had stole away from them one night when it was little more than a babe.

You see, the face was once a male dryad, and it was well known amongst all dryad kind, from those in the great wilds to those in small country woods, that a male babe was an omen that the woods would soon die. Fearing that her sisters would turn on the babe, the face’s mother placed it by the road where humans often passed by, in the hopes that it would be found and cared for by them. But seeking its mother’s breast as all infants do, the face had crawled back to dryad’s dwellings in search of her. There it was discovered by the dryad queen, who, repulsed by all it represented, sought to gauge it to death with her savage nails. Yet the earth did not wish the babe to die, and granted it the power to become one with the woods, with only its face ever visible. It eluded the queen, and rippled across the ground and out of sight. Angered and fearful of what it might do, the queen ordered her sisters to seek it out and kill it on sight.

Soon after, the trees of the dryads’ dwellings began to fade. They could not see that it was their own neglect doing so, and not the babe. For the babe was now a face, and no longer a dryad at all. While the trees of the dryads died, the trees the face inhabited thrived, growing tall and strong for another year.