“Bless you!” Kane said.

The ghost of Auntie Brenda sniffed and looked at Kane reproachfully. “You know I’m allergic to cats.”

“I knew you were allergic to cats.” Kane stroked Bertie’s ears. “I didn’t think it would last afterwards.”

Auntie Brenda’s expression softened. “Poor little mite.”

Kane tickled under Bertie’s chin and tried not to grin. “This is not a poor little mite. This is a bruising bully with more attitude than fur.”

Auntie Brenda leaned forward and ran a spectral finger over Bertie’s coat. “Give that cat a bit of food and some love and he’ll have a coat you can be proud of, won’t you, sweetie?” Bertie gave her a disgusted look before leaning into Kane’s caresses. “Poor thing has lost its owner and is all alone in the world.”

Kane felt the weight of Bertie settle heavily on his lap. When he helped the spirit of Bertie’s last owner to pass over, he had not expected to have to deal with a cat afterwards. “I’ve always wanted to ask,” Kane began carefully. “Why did you always have cats if you were allergic to them?”

“Oh, I got used to them after a while.” Auntie Brenda wiped her nose on a ghostly tissue. “Besides, it isn’t a home without a cat. Now that you have your own little flat, it makes sense to have cat.”

Kane looked around his new flat. It was self contained and, for the first time he could remember, he didn’t have to share a bathroom or kitchen. He wished he could risk getting a new build flat, though instead of this Victoria conversion. He had spotted a few ghosts on the way in and he was sure Auntie Brenda had been gossiping. On the other hand, there was something grand about the high ceilings and painted mouldings. Auntie Brenda had helped him choose the right furnishings in the charity shops and it was starting to look cosy. “Ow!” He glared down at Bertie. “Just because I stopped tickling you doesn’t mean that you can spike me!” He went back to gently stroking the soft fur under Bertie’s chin.

“He knows what he likes.” Auntie Brenda chuckled. “Now, I have to get some rest.” She faded slowly from view.

Kane leaned back into the armchair and listened to the deep, vibrating purr of Bertie sprawled on his lap. Contentment settled around his shoulders like a warm blanket. Things were looking good.

Keep the Change

Mrs Tuesday looked sceptically at Ferdi who leaned casually on the counter. “That’s £8.72. Cash only.”

“You have lovely credit card readers right there.” Ferdi said, nodding at the hardware.

“But you get extra special treatment, bosses orders.” Mrs Tuesday smiled with an edge of malice. “£8.72, in cash.”

Ferdi shrugged. “It’s not always wise to carry a lot of cash around, but I usually have some on me.” He pulled out a fake designer wallet and handed over a note to Mrs Tuesday. “Where’s Jasmine?”

“Hmm?” Mrs Tuesday pulled out a small wooden device from under the counter.

“Jasmine, the cute werewolf who works here. I thought she might like to go for a coffee.”

Lady Freydis drifted over. “Jasmine is indeed beautiful.” She smiled maliciously at the goblin leaning on the counter. “And it is true that she prefers the romance of non-werewolves to her own kind.” She sighed. “It’s so romantic. She has been dating Darren King for some time. They are wonderful together.”

“Darren King?” Ferdi straightened up. “Is that the Reverend Darren King? The exorcist?”

“That’s him.” Mrs Tuesday said. “He dotes on Jasmine. It’s very sweet.”

“Wasn’t he in the Royal Marines?” Ferdi said, glancing between the two ladies. “And didn’t he sort out that nest of ghouls single handed last week.”

“He’s very patient with Jasmine.” Mrs Tuesday said. “If you ask me, she’s been very good for him.”

“And she adores him so completely.” Lady Freydis said. “It’s so heartwarming. You can feel the love and loyalty radiating from her in waves.”

“Umm.” Ferdi said. “Can you let her know that I asked after her.”

Mrs Tuesday ran the £10 note over the rowan-wood scanner. The enchantment flickered and died. Instead of a crisp tenner, she was holding a battered ten-shilling note. “Ferdi, you know these haven’t been legal tender since 1971.”

Kadogan appeared from the back room. “Is that Ferdi?”

“I must have picked up the wrong wallet. I like to keep a few curiosities around.” Ferdi abandoned the small bag of incense and the outdated banknote and backed quickly away from the counter. “I’ll just check in my car.” He turned and fled.

Kadogan frowned after him. “I do not know why he bothers attending here. Did you tell him that all prices are double for him?”

“Mrs Tuesday was charging £8.72 for a £1.99 bag of incense.” Lady Freydis said. “But I think that is acceptable.”

“Indeed, Mrs Tuesday is to be commended.” And Kadogan stalked into the back room.

Mrs Tuesday exchanged a feline smile with Lady Freydis. “I think being overcharged is the least of his worries.”


painting of birds
Image from McGill Library via Unsplash

“I’ve come to collect my inheritance.” Rhys said. He looked at his cousin coldly. “Our grandfather deliberately left me something in his will.”

“Yes, Grandad left you something so you couldn’t contest it.” Sarah said. “He knew what you were like, and how you took all that money from Gran.”

“Our grandmother may have been generous, but I did nothing wrong.” Rhys said. “So, where is it?”

Sarah sighed. “I knew you would be here, even before the funeral.” She glared at her cousin. “Don’t bother coming to the service. Everyone has had enough of your drama, and if you never bothered with Grandad alive, I don’t see why you should bother with him dead.”

“I wouldn’t like to upset anyone at a difficult time.” Rhys said. “Now, the scrapbook.”

“I knew you would want it as soon as Grandad died.” Sarah said. “You should really wait for the will to go through probate, but Grandad talked about it with me and mum, and we all thought you should have it straight away.” Sarah walked into the living room but came back into the hall before her cousin could follow her. “Here you are.”

Rhys took the bag from her and carefully pulled out the bulging scrapbook. The battered cardboard book was stuffed with cuttings and prints, overflowing and expanding, with strips dangling like tendrils from the faded covers. He slowly opened the book. “You know this is very precious to me. It contains a lot of memories.”

“You were always very precise in your speech.” Sarah said. “Please, just go now. We are all mourning here.”

Rhys flicked through a few prints slipped between the pages and paused at a poem clipped long ago from a newspaper. “It appears to be all here.”

“Sign this.” Sarah said. She held out a formal letter on solicitor’s notepaper.

Rhys read through the letter slowly. “It says I have examined the scrapbook and accept it.” He shrugged. “Do you have a pen?”

Sarah picked a pen up from the hall table and handed it to him.

“There you are.” Rhys handed the paper back to her.

“Can I have the pen back as well, please.” Sarah held out her hand.

Rhys reluctantly handed back the pen. “I don’t suppose we will meet again.”

“I don’t think so.” Sarah said. She watched him turn and walk out of the house. As he reached the small gate, she called after him. “Just so you know, Grandad noticed that you had swapped the print in the scrapbook for the original. He swapped it back the week before he died. But at least he left you something.” And she closed the door firmly.

Burning Bright

Kenny Lescano at

“I can’t find my book.” Stella pulled up the cushions on the sofa.

“We’ve been through this before.” Tim said. “The therapist said you don’t need the book. Just take a breath and carry on.”

“I need my book!” Stella snapped. “I’m lost without it.”

“We’ve discussed this.” Tim said. “You can manage fine. It’s just your obsession getting out of hand.”

“But what am I going to do without my notebook?” Stella stood up and turned on the spot, searching frantically for a sign of the plain blue notebook.

“What do you need it for right now?” Tim said.

“What am I supposed to be doing?” Stella checked behind the clock on the mantelpiece, but still no notebook.

“The therapist told me that I wasn’t supposed to help you, but think about it. It’s six in the evening. Shouldn’t we start making dinner?”

“I’m the cook.” Stella said firmly. “You never cut the carrots right.”

Tim sighed. “So why don’t you look for the book after dinner?”

“What am I making?” Stella opened the drawer in the coffee table and started rummaging frantically.

“It’s on the whiteboard in the kitchen.” Tim said. “So I know what to pick up when I’m shopping?”

“I hate it when you shop.” Stella grumbled, pulling the drawer entirely out and tipping it over. She scrabbled through the contents piled high on the carpet, but still found nothing.

“You have to let go of all this nonsense.” Tim said. “It’s affecting Chloe.”

“How am I supposed to know what she needs for school. She has exams coming up.”

“It’s in her planner and on the school website, and, if you really want to do the best for Chloe, you can ask her. She needs to learn to do things for herself.” Tim knelt next to Stella and started putting the stuff back in the drawer.

“She’s only fifteen.” Stella struggled to put the drawer back in. “That’s far too young. And what about the phone numbers?”

“You back your phone up to the cloud every evening before bed and we have an address book on the shelf by the front door.” Tim stood in front of Stella. “Stop.”

“But what about dinner tomorrow? How about when I need to sort out the MOT? I can’t remember when I need to wash the windows!”

“Remember what the therapist said.” Tim caught Stella’s hands. “We need to do the breathing exercises. Okay, breathe in through your nose…” He watched Stella’s expression change and all colour drain from her face. “Stella, what’s the matter.” He followed her appalled gaze and turned around to look out of the window. He felt the weight of the oncoming breakdown settle heavily on his shoulders.

“Do you see that?” Stella swayed but resisted as Tim tried to guide her into a chair.

“It will be fine.” Tim said, hoping he was right as he looked back at his daughter standing defiantly in the garden next to the firepit where Stella’s notebook was brightly burning.

Wonderful Start to the Year!

Look at this!

Three Furies Press is AWESOME!

I have officially signed a contract with Three Furies Press, and, if I hold up my side of the bargain, they will be publishing Out of the London Mist next summer. Every now and again I remember this and I have this huge grin on my face. It’s a massive step. I have known the people involved for a few years, and they are wonderfully generous and supportive people. I feel very blessed to be included in their journey,

I’ve always wanted to write, tumbled into self publishing, then entered a phase of an incredibly stressful personal life and never quite caught up on ‘being an author’. However, in 2018 I started submitting work to publications. I had a few hits and a few misses, but, to my mind, this contract finally makes me a proper author, a real writer who has to do all the ‘writer’ things.

Of course I’ll be involved with publicity and promotion. That’s part of the job and I’m looking forward to working with the Furies on this. And it also means I need to take things a little more seriously. I can’t get distracted too much by knitting or Reddit or some amazing cat video on YouTube. Writing is now my job.

This means that I really need to come to grips with my newsletter, keep up the flash fiction (I think it is an excellent workout), and get some stories out there. I need to get better at reading, and get into the good stuff, so I will be posting more reviews. And if I am enjoying myself as much as I expect, I’ll be having a lot of fun and sharing it on here. So watch this space, as I’m going into 2020 on a wonderfully optimistic note.

Lots of people have got me here, so thank you to all you wonderful guys who have given me the positive feedback and encouragement that means that I am still writing. Your kind words have made a massive difference to my life, and I am grateful. Thank you.

Happy New Year!

Last year was a rollercoaster with writing, from getting rejections, to struggling with stories, to getting acceptances, to stopping regular posts for the White Hart to getting a contract for a book, Out of the London Mist and there is so much more to come.

This year, I’m going for it with gusto!

I wish everyone reading this a wonderful, safe, happy and healthy year with lots of good things. Thank you for reading my blog.