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Short Cuts

Most of what I write concerns historical fiction, but from time to time I'll wander off for a brief visit to other genres. Here's a sample taken pretty much at random, some published, some unfinished and a few just written for fun.

Erdington High StreetTornerai

Daily Mail Love Sunday Magazine and Discollection, Summer 2017

This is based on an actual meeting between my mother and a young airman. I make no apology for the predictability of the ending as it's exactly what happened.

The inside of Gray’s, the posh draper’s shop just up from the funeral director’s, smelt of dark cloth and shiny buttons.  Two women at the counter looked up at the sound of the bell and Josie fought the impulse to reach up, tip-toed, to still its jangling.  She approached a rack of dresses, trying to keep her heels from clacking on the shiny parquet.  The women resumed their low-toned conversation with the regal dowager who reigned from behind the counter... More>

French CuirassierThe Cuirassier of Verdun

It Never Was Worthwhile

I don't go in much for ghost stories. So here's one from the WW1 collection...

Gilles sat down on a weathered boulder by the road.  Despite the January chill he was sweating in his heavy greatcoat and his breath rasped from the exertion of the climb up through the woods from the front line.  Artillery rumbled from the lines to the north and he looked up sharply, suddenly aware that the fall of the ground may have exposed him to German snipers.  But the trenches were obscured by a small coppice and he relaxed, reaching inside his greatcoat for his Gauloises... More>


Discollection, Summer 2017

I've always admired H Rider Haggard's Nada the Lily, and the idea of writing an homage has appealed to me for many years. Tokoloshe is the first of two, the other being Yellow Impi. They deal with the magic and sorcery that populated Victorian fiction of the Dark Continent. Both stories are set to appear in Discollection, to be released in the first half of 2017.

The amaPondo seemed more amused than challenged by my teachings. On a typical evening I would sit among the village elders in a wide circle outside the headman’s hut, passing around their harsh snuff and talking far into the night... More>

Battle of Britain MemorialWaiting


Written originally as a short story, this was never finished as it's now become the prologue of Maybe It's Tonight. Here it is in its original, unfinished form.

The sky is beginning to lighten in the east. Leaning against the gate at the end of the runway, a solitary figure pulls the fur collar of his flying jacket higher around his ears. A match strikes, illuminating a narrow face with shadowed eyes that flick constantly up to scan the horizon. A faint, swishing crackle and a pulsing redness as a pipe is lit, then the flame dies and the figure pulls itself up to perch on the top bar of the gate... More>

Dawn over the Merrick, GallowayEach Moment

6x6 Reading Café

The 6x6 Reading Café is set to become an institution. This was a piece I wrote for its inaugural production, which carried the theme Beginnings. It recalls a black night of some years ago, which was followed by the brightest of mornings. There's magic in mountains...

When a night becomes endless it has to be ended. Climbing this hill in the dark is cold and wet, but the darkness of a morning mountainside is different from the darkness of a lonely bedroom. Here is, if not hope, then at least an absence of despair.

The dog doesn’t care either way. He quests, head down... More>

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Penkhull Press

Both The Larks and It Never Was Worthwhile are published by Penkhull Press. You can visit their website or view their latest blog post by clicking below


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