‘Roll the Dice’ published

Readers of this blog will know that I’ve written about Beacon Hill before. To those passing east of Stafford or visiting the nearby County Showground it may appear an unexceptional hill rising above the Sow valley on the outskirts of Stafford.

It’s an interesting place with a lot of history, including a battle fought to a stalemate in the English Civil War.

I’ve included some of its history and topography in non-fiction pieces and the odd short story.

I’m grateful to Platform 4 Prose for publishing ‘Roll the Dice’ which contains several of these elements.

‘Outbreak’ published in Phantoms for the Festive Season

It’s always a great feeling seeing your work in print. I’m delighted to be published online too but perhaps as an ex-journo there’s nothing better than ink.

A few weeks ago I learned my short story ‘Outbreak’ had won second prize in the Crowvus Christmas ghost story competition. It’s published in this festive anthology that landed on my doormat today.

The book

The story is set in present-day Stafford (my hometown) and features real buildings such as St Mary’s church and the Ancient High House. It links an outbreak of typhus in the past with current sickness. Perhaps a doctor who dealt with ‘jail fever’ can help a man struck down in 2021?

Back cover

Thanks to the publishers for selecting my piece and the other writers including winning story ‘Last Christmas ‘ by Keith Porter. Congratulations Keith!

Susan Crow, publisher, wrote of my piece Outbreak: ‘Not only does this story have everything a ghost story should have but it is also thought-provoking in terms of recent world events. A cleverly crafted short story. ‘

Copies are available here

Second place in Christmas Ghost Story prize

Delighted to hear – on Halloween of all days – that my ghost story ‘Outbreak’ has won second prize in the Crowvus Christmas Ghost Story Competition.

It’ll be published in an anthology of stories soon. More details can be found here

I’m particularly pleased as the story is set in my hometown of Stafford and, if you know the streets, focuses very much on St Mary’s churchyard, the Ancient High House and Market Square.

It’s fictional but with plenty of real geography and happenings included.

It was inspired by the story of local hero Bernard Fry, whose grave is pictured below.