Image courtesy of Dale Rogerson
It’s picture-perfect. Instagram ready.
The table set for twelve. Silver napkins. Crackers glittering gold. Fairy lights twinkle from the tree in the corner.
I bubble Processco into glasses before straightening the place cards, each name written in cursive script.
With my phone I snap a selfie, chin tilted, eyes wide, mouth pouting. Santa hat balanced cutely upon my glossy hair.
Can’t wait for you guys to arrive!!! #YouKnowWhoYouAre
Immediately the ‘likes’ start rolling in but today I don’t care.
There’s nobody coming.
I weep as I pack everything away.
850k followers and I’m alone.
This time of year can bring immense joy but it can also be the cause of unimaginable sadness. Let’s all look out for each other. Check on your friends, your neighbours, your family. Pick up the phone instead of commenting on a post. Social media can be distorted. Misleading. Above everything, Christmas should be a time for caring. Kindness is contagious, be a carrier.
‘A Social Media Christmas’ was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly challenge to write a 100-word piece of flash fiction, inspired by a photo prompt. Hosted by the fabulous Rochell Wisoff-Fields, you can read the other entries and/or join in yourself here.
Image courtesy of Priya Bajpal
The colours are bright.
To my left, a lion shadowed by the trees. Watching. To my right a tiger, his orange body striped black. Amber eyes glowing fierce and hungry.
I’ve never felt so scared.
A scream is torn from my throat as I curl into a ball, waiting for him to spring.
Above me, the universe spins and collides. Stars crashing into planets. The end of something.
My chest loosens. Heart slows.
The door cracks open.
‘Don’t you like your new nursery.’ My mother whispers, fiddling with the timer on my nightlight.
My mobile rotates, wallpaper looms.
‘Hunted’ was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 word flash fiction challenge, inspired by a photo prompt. Join in and/or read the other entries over at host Rochelle’s blog here.
Photo prompt – Dawn Miller
‘I need to find out who I am,’ she can’t meet my eye.
I want to tell her I know who she is; the love of my life. I want to tell her I’ve spent weeks organising a flash mob to dance her perfect proposal, but I don’t. I watch her leave.
I have my dignity, even if I don’t have her.
I tell him I’m leaving and my heart actually breaks. But he’s been avoiding me. My friends have seen him out with a bunch of girls. I walk away.
I have my dignity, even if I don’t have him.
‘The Journey’ was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 word story challenge prompted by the fabulous Rochelle. Do read the other entries and/or post your own story.
Photo courtesy of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
It was there, lurking in the gloom. Vague and amorphous and impossible to capture.
But that didn’t stop me trying.
I skulked and stalked and waited. Endlessly waited.
It was 3am on a cold winter’s night when I finally grasped it with both hands. The freezing air bit the tips of my nose, my cheeks but I didn’t care.
Triumph warmed me.
It was mine.
Slowly it began to uncover itself to me and I fell in love. Polishing it until it shone.
I’d pinned it down. At last my scattered thoughts a solid something.
This week I’m celebrating a new 3-book deal with Harper Collin’s imprint, HQ. You can read my blog about that here and The Bookseller announcement here, along with the blurb for my 5thpsychological thriller, The Family.
‘The Wait’ was written for Friday Fictioneers, a weekly 100 word photo prompt challenge hosted by the fabulous Rochelle. Hop over to Rochelle’s blog here and read the other entries or join in!
Photo courtesy of J Hardy Carroll
There’s a crack in the curtains just wide enough to watch you standing in the shadow of time at the bus stop; rucksack on shoulder, school tie skewwhiff. You’re cradling your heart in both hands, waiting for it to start beating.
Usually he doesn’t notice you.
But today there’s the gaze that lingers too long, the smile that’s too bright.
Take your heart and run away before it gets broken.
Instead you take his hand.
Now I’ll have to tell you the story of his dad and I.
The real story of you.
Be the one who destroys you.
‘Forbidden ‘was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly flash fiction challenge inspired by a photo prompt. Please do check out the other entries over on host Rochelle’s blog and join in!
Image courtesy of J Hardy Carroll
Sleep evades me. The longing for you is fierce and painful. I tell myself you’re no good for me, that I’m better off without you but there’s a void deep inside me that can’t be filled.
Again, I check the time. Not quite midnight. The night stretches before me long and slow. There’s a sinking, dawning realisation that I just can’t live without you.
I slip my feet into slippers, pad downstairs and there you are.
On the table.
Chocolate frosting glistening. Sponge light and soft.
Grabbing a knife and a plate I take you back to bed.
The diet can start next week.
The prompt made me smile, something you need, and very apt for me this week for those who have read about my 14 day sugar free challenge which you can read about here.
I’m absolutely delighted that my newly published 4th psychological thriller, The Date, has already hit No.1 on Apple’s iBookstore as well as the Amazon top 20 in both the UK & US. For the next dew days only it’s on special offer across all digital platforms for £0.99/$0.99. You can find it on your local amazon here.
The Longing was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 word photo challenge inspired by a prompt. Read the other entries and/or join in over at host Rochelle’s blog here.
Image courtesy of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
Beautiful women with Hollywood smiles thrust autograph books towards him but it’s me he wants. Mum said I was too fat. Too ugly. That nobody would ever love me but she was wrong.
He does. Tenderly he urged me to board without him, to ‘protect’ me from the throngs of fans.
‘Anything to declare?’ I am asked as I shift his guitar case from one hand to another.
Dogs scratching at the case.
‘You’d better come with me, Miss.”
‘It’s not mine.’ I protest but as he walks past me without a second glance I realise, neither is he.
It’s been a busy few weeks. My fourth psychological thriller, The Date, was published a few days ago and has already hit the UK top 40 and the US top 20. Thanks to all who supported. Publication day was spent in London where I was fundraising for Parkinson’s Disease, a charity close to my heart.
The Date is centred around Prosopagnosia/Face Blindness & for my YouTube channel I interviewed Hannah Read who has the most severe reported case in the UK to ask her what it’s really like when everyone looks like a stranger. You can watch that here and find The Date on Amazon here.
Friday Fictioneers is a weekly 100 word photo challenge inspired by a photo prompt. Hop on over to host Rochelle’s blog to read the other entries or join in!
Image courtesy of Yarnspinner
The claw lowered, closed its metal fingers. Slow jerky movements until the bear tumbled out of the machine, into my arms.
‘Hey gorgeous.’ He winked. I’d been called fat, ugly, stupid. Never gorgeous!
‘Can I buy you some chips?’
‘I should tell my parents.’ My eyes darted around the arcade.
‘You’re a big girl now.’
It was my lucky day.
Outside in the alley, drizzle hit my face moments before his fist. The bear wrenched from my arms. His stomach knifed open. A plastic bag removed. I curled into a ball on the hard stone floor.
I didn’t feel so lucky anymore.
This week I’m reading through the final typeset files for The Date – I can’t believe it will be published in a few weeks! If you missed the gorgeous cover you can check it out here.
‘The Claw’ was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 word story challenge inspired by a photo prompt and led by the marvellous Rochelle.
Image courtesy of Ted Strutz
I ignore the other kids. The wind bites my nose. I button my coat.
The familiar puff of steam. I clutch my camera with numb fingers.
A stone hits me in the back of the neck but I manage to snap a picture of the cab.
The photo won’t take long to develop and when it does I’ll show mum. It might be my dad! He’s been away on top secret missions since I was born. A spy masquerading as a train driver. Ferrying secrets.
She’ll say no. Call me a gullible idiot. She always does. But part of me still hopes. Perhaps it’s him. Perhaps he’ll love me.
Friday Fictioneers is a weekly 100 word story challenge, inspired by a photo prompt. Hop over to host Rochelle’s blog to read the other entires or join in!
Image courtesy of J S Brand
There’s a dark, empty space inside me that six months volunteering in a Nepalese orphanage does not fill. I’d hoped the wide, bright, smiles of the too thin children, the fierce hugs and the progress we have made would make me feel whole again. It doesn’t.
The summer is spent in the USA teaching sports to disadvantaged children. There’s no ‘I’ in team we chant, and yet I’ve never felt lonelier.
In Cambodia, I dedicate myself to Wildlife Conservation. The elephants stride, trunk to tail.
‘Beautiful, aren’t they?’
I turn towards the voice.
Clear amber eyes lock onto mine. My pulse flutters. This time, I might just stay.
Hurrah – I’ve finished book 4 and while I’m waiting for the edits from my publisher I can’t resist FF. For 48 hours only my latest psychological thriller, The Surrogate, is part of a flash sale across all digital platforms for £0.99/$1.38 – you can grab it on your local Amazon here.
Pop over to Rochelle’s blog and join in with Friday Fictioneers. Post a 100 word story inspired by a photo prompt.