Excerpt: The King-Beast

Squeezed between almost vertical rises of rock, Nkem tried to suck her belly in as she heard the King-beast grunt, sniff wetly against the ground. This was no hiding place, she knew. It wasn’t even much of a breathing space.

But she needed to think.

She had hoped to corner and trap the King but maybe that had been a mistake. The territory was unfamiliar and it was dark besides. She didn’t know where to hide and she hadn’t imagined that the King-beast would have such an excellent sense of smell. In fact her imaginings had served her badly. She hadn’t imagined she would be facing a creature of such mangled and elongated proportions. She hadn’t imagined she would be facing a creature at all. The stories had always spoken of a cursed King, but she didn’t think that the curse would look anything like this.

Yet, here she was. And she had a job to do.

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Excerpt: A Love for Lady George

An excerpt from a short story I’m working on. Finished, but still in need of some tightening up.

As with so many of these stories, it all began on an early autumnal morn, all frost and fog quite unlike the usual September weather. A handsome young rider on a glossy steed sped across the moor to reach a black stoned castle high up on the hill lands of the Scottish border.


Perhaps, an introduction is warranted.


Young Lord George Grevindale was as fine and hearty a young lord as any other, the local tenants liked to say. You could go up and down the country and you would be hard beaten to find a lustier heir as full of vim, they said. They felt somewhat assured that, unlike some of the other baronets and dukes who got themselves new airs from the Continent, Young Lord George would never think to go increasing rents to fund a spot of ‘touring’, bumbling along from crumbling ruin to crumbling ruin. Nor need they fear any interference in the form of ‘improvements’ which usually included razing a village or two for a more picturesque view from the Great House. No, they said, their Young Lord George was a kind rarely found in England these days and they were glad of it.

Of course, this could have been due to the fact that Young Lord George was in fact a young Lady, a Lady Cartimandua Grevindale no less. However, she had been called Young Lord George for so long that nobody commented on it as especially strange, or at least no stranger than the way Miller’s wife made butter that tasted of blue cheese or Old Man Trought was known to occasionally roam the streets at night in nothing but his underclothes.

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Excerpt: Water Vessel

She did not look like the sort of woman who would become possessed. Her face was plain, pretty in some aspects, ordinary in others. She was neither fat nor thin, tall nor short. She was, as with so many other accused that Anayo had interviewed over the course of his career, unremarkable. Yet – and perhaps this was something to do with the way such stories were always told – when someone was meant to be demon possessed there were expectations that ought to be met. An iridescent beauty or a young maiden struck down by such affliction lent an air of tragedy to the story; a great sinner the assurance of justice.

Here was the assurance of nothing. Continue reading “Excerpt: Water Vessel”


Thinking back, it was a rare moment of clarity to have given Mother Kisembo such insight into Maartje’s character. “You are a muddy sort of sentimentalist,” she’d said. “Whatever you hold, it doesn’t matter so long as you stick tight to it.”

Continue reading “Patches”

A bit of inspiration

A bit of inspiration

I’m currently working on a full length novel that’s really been more of an exercise in how not to write (you can read the current – current! – prologue here). It’s gone through something like 5 story revisions, which on the one hand is satisfying because I feel like I’m actually working on it, rather than relying on the kindness of muses. On the other hand…

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