A Christmas Ghost Story

‘Know whit’s traditional at Christmas?’ he said. ‘Ghost stories. Everybiddy loves a Ghost story’ I swirled the beer at the bottom of my glass and smiled. ‘Load a shite, in’t it?’ ‘Naw, naw. Look at Dickens and A Christmas Carol. Classic ghost story that.’ I raised an eyebrow. ‘Name another then.’ ‘Well, they don’t need to be set at Christmas, dae they? Take that MR James bloke. He wrote hundreds a ghost stories and used to invite his work pals tae his office, get them drunk and scare the living shite oot of them. And wis there no a series of ghost stories oan the telly at Christmas? Oanyway,’ he paused to take a swig of his beer, ‘it’s a tradition. Nothing else to say aboot it.’ ‘Dae ye think they’re real? Ghosts?’ ‘Naw! Gie us a brek! See me? Man o science. If...

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The Perfect Family

In the best traditions of Christmas, I’ve written a ghost story. The subject matter is very delicate so I think it only fair to issue some trigger warnings. If you have suffered from infertility, miscarriage or SIDS, you may find the following distressing.   The Perfect Family Joe had left her after the second baby. Two kids under three could be a handful, she acknowledged that. But being pregnant was so wonderful; to feel another being growing inside you, to watch your body change over the months, to experience the awe and magic when the baby arrived. Besides, being a mother was all that she knew how to do. It’s all she ever wanted. While other girls at school dreamed of their futures they’d mention pop stars and actors, but they’d also talk about...

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Carniepunk by Various

I have always found carnivals and traveling fairs very sinister places; places where the ‘freaks’ and dispossessed gather together and, at least in my imagination, seduce the unaware into the underworld, never to be seen again. It seems I’m not alone in my madness as Carniepunk, an anthology of urban fantasy stories set in and around traveling fairs, proves. There is a wide variety of stories in this book and many, like ‘The Werewife’ by Rachel Caine (one of my favourites) have a dark, surreal, nightmarish quality to them. For me, the best story in the collection is ‘The Demon Barker of Wheat Street’ by Kevin Hearne. Here, the author manages to blend his vision of hell with comedy – a psychic dog who sees “…a poodle in my future”...

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Dipping A Toe in the Self-Published Water

It has taken me a long time of debating with myself whether or not to self publish my short stories. Part of me worries that they’re not good enough; part of me worries that I will be tarred with the same brush as some self-publishers who are happy to put their names to low quality drivel. (Please note I said ‘some’ – I have read just as many good self-pubbed books as bad ones.) But if I don’t have confidence in my own work, how can I expect other publishers to? So, having spent time going over my fiction and selecting those I truly believe to be my best, “And The Angels Cried and other stories” should be available for the Kindle soon. My book will be a collection of short and flash fiction and cover a variety of genre...

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The Rabbi In The Attic by Eileen Pollack

The Rabbi In The Attic is a collection of short stories written by Eileen Pollack who covers a wide range of topics . In The Rabbi In The Attic, Eileen Pollack has brought together a collection of short stories which although written from a Jewish woman’s viewpoint, are so filled with humanity and universal truths that there is something in there for everyone. There are stories examining the relationships between parents and child, between the old and new traditions and in the titular story between orthodoxy and progressive rabbis. There are two stories which look at the beginning of the working life of a young girl and the relationship she forms with a school teacher and then how the relationship changes when she is a grown woman, two snapshots of the same life...

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