Very short stories #19

I hope you’re well and managing to keep safely occupied. This month, I’ve been putting The Diamond Device (my current work-in-progress) through a beta read, as well as exploring ideas for my next writing project. Am currently bouncing around between a SF murder mystery, a straightforward fantasy and a rather pulpy sword and sorcery. It probably means I’ll end up going for something else completely. Maybe it’s time to revisit the world of A Quiet Rebellion, although I’ll only write more stories there if the characters are keen on it. If you’ve read the books, are there any characters you’d like to see in new adventures?

Book reviews

Lots of book reviews to catch up on since I last posted a batch.

Tacitus: Gentleman to Heroes by Robert Casselberry
Death in a Scarlet Gown by Lexie Conyngham
Sapphire & Lotus by Audrey Faye and Shae Geary
Serendipity’s Tide by L. Shelby
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie
The Madness Project by J. Leigh Bralick
Fallen into the Pit by Ellis Peters
The Tell All by Libby Howard
Shadows of Athens by J. M. Alvey

And here are a few very short stories from December and January.


“Another dead ‘un!” screeched Mother. “Smashed at the foot of the tower.”
“Oh dear. Shampoo, please.”
“Bulging eyes, bruised neck. And a broken ladder.”
“How strange.”
“Wring your hair out, Rapunzel. And keep your window shuttered. Don’t want you catching cold.”


“No body?” asked the detective.
“We don’t know where he is.” The circus master sighed.
The detective rolled his eyes. “Do I hear you right? You can’t even tell me whether it’s a missing person case or a murder investigation? What was his job?”
“Human cannonball.”


Jake choked on his drink. “You can’t have seen a unicorn! They’re extinct.”
“I know what I saw,” said Ben. “It turned into a man and slipped away.”
“Be like that!” Ben stomped out.
Jake rubbed a scar on his forehead and sighed. Another witness to silence.


I stare through the glass. Grubby fingermarks obscure my view of the bracelet. My hands tremble. Sweat breaks out on my brow.
A latent compulsion, therapists say. Don’t give in. Easy advice to give.
I. Cannot. Resist.
Sighing, I fetch the window cleaning spray.


Breath puffing in the cold air, I reach further in. My numb fingers trace the outline of a box.
I grin in triumph. The last of the summer ice cream. Time to disinter it from the freezer.

11 thoughts on “Very short stories #19

  1. Happy to hear that you have another novel on the way, and that you have many ideas for the one after that. My theory is that it, unless you have a breakout hit, is better to try new things with the potential to attack new readers, than to write sequels. That said, I just published a short sequel to a modest seller, but that was out of desperation. Unlike you, I’m struggling to come up with story ideas I can get excited about, so it was a last resort. Of course it was a story I knew I needed to tell sooner or later, and well, if your characters have a stories to tell, what can you do?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks! in AQR, my characters definitely call the shots. I wouldn’t say I have *many* new ideas, especially viable ones. This time round, I’m trying to be more efficient by exploratory semi-outlining rather than charging into a draft and then grinding to a halt when I can’t see my way forward. Hence, looking at a few options before deciding which to focus on.

    All the best for your sequel! ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Popped over to read your very short stories (good fun, my favourite is the circus one) and was intrigued by this comment. I also have charged into drafts and ground to a halt, more times than I care to remember. So what is semi-outlining? I need to know!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks! Poor Detective Hapless never quite gets the right end of the stick, does he? ๐Ÿ™‚
        I’m not using the term “semi-outlining” in any technical sense. I’m just roughing out plots that feel like they’d merit a novel-length story and trying out different strands/subplots for greater complexity. aka making it up as I go along, but more quickly/not in such depth ๐Ÿ˜›

        Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s a good mix of ideas for your next story, I’ll be curious to see what you decide on! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Beyond Lester and Isabel, it could be fun to see an entertaining minor character like Franka thrown into an unexpected adventure of her own, since she’s so different from the PoV characters in the trilogy.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. I can accept that. However, until I read your novel Iโ€™m going to imagine heโ€™s a dashing yet modest middle-aged man with a rapier-sharp wit. ๐Ÿ™‚

            Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to MH Thaung Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.