“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.

You can find Kane’s story from the beginning here

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.”

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.