Nine: A Journal of Imaginative Fiction

Starfish and Apples

My flash story “Starfish and Apples” is now live at Nine: A Journal of Imaginative Fiction. Read more about the story here.

Not sure if you want to part with your hard-earned cash? Here’s an extract:


Come away from the beach, children. Put that down, Zak. Shush, all of you, into the hut. Gather round, be quiet and listen. I have some important news.

Yes, I know I don’t normally take classes, Eva. Miss Whitehead is…ill. I’m going to talk about the forest today, and how it first arrived. Listen carefully. Your lives depend on it.

Yes, Zak, I was there at the beginning. I witnessed it all. If you pipe down and let me, I shall explain…




Today sees the official announcement of the Table of Contents for issue 3 of Nine: A Journal of Imaginative Fiction. It may very well be the reason you are here at my blog — in which case, welcome! (And if not? Welcome anyway!)

When I was a young child — five, or maybe six — the family sat down to watch “The Day of the Triffids”. I was greatly looking forward to it: my older brother had told me there were monsters, and what’s not to like about monsters? But as the scene in the greenhouse unfolded, as the night watchman played his torch along the stirring roots (my description of the scene may not be entirely accurate, the scene may even be entirely a figment of my imagination, since I’ve not watched the film since), I withdrew further and further behind the sofa and eventually burst into tears. My mother swiftly brought a halt to the proceedings and despite my siblings’ strident protestations the TV was switched off. Still tearful, I was bundled off to bed.

Where I had nightmares.

Of stirring roots.


You see the house was full of houseplants. Pots and pots of them. In every room. With roots. Stirring…

No, no. That was just my over-active imagination. Wasn’t it?

Anyway, I’m fine now. See?


Now I’m all grown up and everything, I know there’s no such thing as monster plants. And even if there was, I bet I could deal with them.


Want to know how triffids could actually emerge? I recommend you take a look at Kelly Lagor‘s remarkable story “How To Build A Triffid” at (I was lucky enough to read an early version of it, and it partially inspired my Nine story, “Starfish and Apples” — thanks, Kelly!)

Life Is A Beach

So…news of my last story acceptance landed in my inbox whilst I was sprawled on a beach near St. Ives, Cornwall. Yesterday, after returning from a day on the beach at Lyme Regis, Dorset, I discovered an acceptance from Nine: A Journal of Imaginative Fiction. It may sound like I spend all my life with my toes wiggling in the sand, but the truth is we live as far from the coast as it’s possible to get on this island nation. Given the trend, maybe that’s something I need to do correct…

Very glad to be appearing in Nine. I love the clean, minimalist look: it allows the reader to immerse themselves in the text without distraction. Plus, hey, royalties (maybe).

I’ll post more about the story when the details get firmed up. In the meantime, a picture of the boys digging on the beach as the Great British rainclouds gather…