Undead Dating – Collaboration!

Hello everyone! Back in June, which already seems like a lifetime ago, I attended the Blogger’s Bash in London and met some fantastic bloggers and writers. One such blogger was Steve, who with whom I clicked right away. Steve’s blog, Talk About Pop Music, is great fun and provides some well-informed information about a a variety of successful pop songs. I’d thoroughly recommend a visit! Anyway, we got chatting and Steve suggested that we collaborate in the future. I was happy to take him up on the offer.

Steve’s suggestion was that I write a short story based on the lyrics of a song of his choosing. He chose “Here in my Heart” by Al Martino, which interestingly was the very first UK Number One!  The subject matter of my story is perhaps not what most people would think of when hearing Mr Martino’s dulcet tones, but I enjoyed the way it unraveled for me regardless. I’m going to post it on my below but please do visit Steve’s blog for the original post and for some pop music entertainment! Cheers, Steve, I’m excited to finally work with you!


Undead Dating

By Adam Dixon

Horatio Brudenell-Cavendish shambled across the half-destroyed streets of Brighton, his undead heart heavy in his chest. He raised his head to watch the dark, churning thunderclouds and the flames dancing across the sky. Before he had perished in a drunken accident in 1756, he hadn’t expected his afterlife to be lonelier than his mortal existence, but here he was, reborn into a world where humans had been utterly vanquished with no-one to talk to. His black thoughts and self-deprecation had pursued him into this new awakening, and he doubted that this time he could end it so effectively.

“Oh, Lord, what a cruel joke you have played upon me!” he said, staring with dry, withered eyes at the terrifying flashes of light and fire which lit up the sky. “Was I so detestable to you in life that you must punish me so in death? Am I never to be loved?” The last sentence Horatio whispered, the sound barely audible and barely escaping the confines of his ruined throat. He saw the now familiar sight of hundreds of undead staggering across the remainder of the town and ignored them. He would not speak with them, and why should he? They were probably still rabid from the looks of them, and he had no desire to spend his time with such brutes. He dragged his feet aimlessly until he stood before a burned shell that was once a modern church. Even the holy places hadn’t escaped divine justice, it seemed. His sad eyes caught sight of a bright, cheerful poster which proudly announced that “The Brighton Undead Speed-dating Service is operating once again!”, and would take place at eight o’clock that evening on Brighton Pier. Horatio stared at it for a few moments before sighing and heading off in the direction of the pier. He had little hope of finding someone to spend eternity with, but he couldn’t allow himself to give up completely. Besides, he’d see Elsie again, and that alone was worth it. With that thought in mind, he smoothed the creases of his dirty waistcoat and tightened his frayed, mud-covered tie as best he could and pressed on.


The dating hall took place in the remains of the old arcade on Brighton Pier. Horatio still wasn’t certain he knew what an arcade was, but judging by the strange, oddly-coloured machines guarding the perimeter of the room he thought it must have been a forbidding place. The Pier had mostly survived the End Times, but everything past the hall had been destroyed and fallen into the ashen sea. The putrid odours of rotten and burnt wood hung heavy in the air, wrinkling noses which ought to have been used to it by now. The harsh wind screamed around the room from the gaping maw at the end of it, and coupled with the rough splashing of the waves it made it difficult to hear what was being said.

“So, have you been to one of these nights before?” the werewolf seated in front of Horatio asked in a loud growl. Horatio nodded, a greasy lock of black hair falling across his mottled forehead.

“Yes, I have tried my hand at these evenings thrice now,” he shouted, trying to sound interested. His eyes kept flicking back towards the zombie who stood at the door, watching the proceedings like a proud mother. Despite the disfigurement caused by her reanimation, Horatio thought she was beautiful. Her clothes, which had been in the ground a far shorter time than Horatio’s, were the brightest garments in the hall, regardless of the mud stains. Elsie Cartwright was like a shining beacon to a man adrift in a storm.

“Can’t’ve been much of a hit with the ladies, then!” the werewolf barked, shaking her great snout. Horatio’s attention snapped back to her and he forced a smile.

“Evidently not,” he said with a sigh. The werewolf cocked her head and gazed at him, a strange look coming into her yellow eyes. Horatio fidgeted, wishing the bell would ring again and signal the end of their three minutes together.

“Can’t think why, though,” she said, her pink tongue lapping at her chops. “You’re more interesting than most of the groaners I’ve met. Better looking, too.” The wolf huffed and turned away in embarrassment and Horatio grimaced. In life he had been tall, dark and handsome, but in death he was just as repulsive as everyone else.

“Ahh…well, thank you, madame, you are most kind,” he said, wondering whether or not he should return the compliment. The wolf certainly looked expectant. As he struggled for something positive to say about her, the bell rang.

“Oh, time’s up!” the werewolf said reluctantly. “Nice meeting you. Don’t be a stranger, now!” She gave what Horatio assumed passed for a wink. He smiled back and nodded politely, thanking her for her time. Standing up, he shambled over to the neighbouring table and approached the next eager face. The hall became animated as several others did the same, albeit rather slowly. The participants were obliged to endure an extra two minutes of “walking time” as the zombies present took a while to change tables. Horatio felt as if it would be a very long night. He looked up at Elsie as he sat down in front of his next “date” and she smiled and waved at him. Horatio felt his undead heart soar and he smiled back. He then forced himself to focus his attention on the newest bag of hideous in front of him and resolved to wait to speak to Elsie. She would be much more agreeable company, he was certain, and he would feel better for hearing her voice.

“’Ello ‘andsome!” the zombie in front of him leered. It had one good eye and its jaw was hanging by a few rotted threads of sinew. Horatio wasn’t sure if it was male or female, but he suspected that asking such a question would not start their meeting in the most positive light. Just another hour and a half, Horatio¸ he thought to himself, then you may speak with Elsie. Steeling himself, Horatio began conversing with his next “date”.


“I beg your pardon, Miss Elsie,” Horatio began once the “dating” had finished. “May I help you in any way?” He had managed to politely decline the werewolf’s offer of a night-cap without causing offense and had waited with impatience as the undead made their snail-like progress back to town. Horatio had taken a deep breath and shuffled over to Elsie. She turned to look at him and smiled.

“Oh, hello there, Horatio!” she said with genuine pleasure. “That is very kind of you! Yes, if you don’t mind, I could use a hand clearing away the tables. I’ll be here all night by myself, you see.” Horatio nodded, knowing all too well the limitations of their reawakened bodies. He set to work aiding her and worried over what to say. I must begin a conversation, damn it! He thought to himself with irritation. Why am I such a damnable bore? A bolt of lightning darted across the sky and struck a building somewhere in town, a tremendous crash filling the air a moment later. Still Horatio was mute.

“Any luck tonight?” Elsie asked, saving him from the awkward silence.

“Not especially, Miss Elsie,” he replied, spreading his arms wide. “Perhaps I am not good enough for the creatures of this new world. I daresay that I wasn’t much of a man for my betrothed in my former life, either, being a drunken scoundrel.”

“Oh, rubbish! I’ll not have you sayin’ that!” Elise chided, swatting him lightly on his shoulder. “You’re a strapping figure of a man, or at least you were, an’ anyone can see that! You’re a fair deal more agreeable than most of the folk from your time an’ all! An’ from my time, too, as it happens. My old hubby never spoke to me the way you do.” Horatio blushed, feeling what little blood he had left rise to his face. Elsie had died in the 1930’s, and she had lived a life destined to be frustrated by social barriers. They had become greatly reduced when compared to Horatio’s time, but they had not progressed enough for a strong-willed woman like Elsie.

“You have my thanks, Miss Elsie,” Horatio stammered. “Have you…have you had any potential…suitors?” he asked her, afraid of the answer but needing to know. Elsie looked at him and a shy smile crept across her face.

“Actually, there was a charming ghostly fella who spoke to me tonight,” she said. “I know it’s not my policy to get involved but he was ever so nice. He was a Frenchman who died whilst visitin’ the area centuries ago. Very polite an’ not at all high-an’-mighty, much like yourself, Horatio! I think I might like to see him again.” Horatio felt panic flood his body and he was struck dumb by the feeling. Come on you, fool! His mind screamed at him. It is now or never!

“Miss Elsie, I…” Horatio began, chewing at his lower lip. It tasted awful and the shock of it made him forget his embarrassment. “I wonder if you would consider spending some time with me instead?” Elsie paused during folding a chair.

“With you, Horatio?” she said, her eyebrow rising and her mouth opening slightly. Horatio cleared his throat and continued.

“Yes, I understand that it is somewhat improper of me,” he said, smoothing the front of his half-rotten suit jacket. “But, you see, I have been…in love…with you for some time now.” Horatio looked at Elsie with sincerity in his eyes. Elsie’s eyes widened and her hand flew to her breast.

“Miss Elsie, since I have reawakened I have been so alone,” he said, stepping towards her. “My heart is lonely, and my soul although it be damned cries out for a companion. I…wish to spend the rest of my unnatural life with you, Miss Elsie. You would complete me.” Horatio trailed off, surprised by his tenderness and feeling the beginnings of panic returning. Oh, Lord, what if she denies me? He thought with desperation. I will die all over again! Elsie stood watching him, her undead eyes blinking rapidly. The wind howled around the arcade in a mocking laugh and the pier creaked ominously as if it were about to collapse. Horatio almost wished that it would.

“Oh, Horatio,” she whispered. “You do have a way with words! Any girl would be lucky to hear them!”

“Miss Elsie, I will give you my arms gladly if only you will restore this blackened, un-beating heart of mine,” Horatio said, reaching out a wasted, green-hued hand. Elsie laughed and seized it, gripping it tightly and beaming like an angel. Horatio felt his shoulder groan and worried that he might live up to his promise in a more literal fashion than he had intended.

“Horatio, you’ve said enough pretty words,” Elsie said, gazing into his eyes. “We’ve time enough for those and more besides! Truth be told, I’ve not had eyes for anyone else since you first walked in here. I’ll share your arms an’ give you mine also, you silver-tongued charmer!” Horatio felt his spirit dance and his heart suddenly flutter in his chest like a phoenix arising from ashes. He had never felt so happy, even in his mortal days. Elsie took his other hand and smiled at him.

“But let’s take it slowly, shall we?” Elsie said with a sly wink. “No need to rush when we’ve got all of eternity before us!”

“No, indeed not, Miss Elsie!” Horatio said, his own face breaking into a wide smile. He ignored the unnerving creak as his jaw stretched and he stared deep into Elsie’s eyes. Happiness, I have found you at last! he thought. Perhaps the new, dead world would not be so bad after all.


NaNoWriMo Success!

Hello, WordPress!

As some of you may be aware, I took the plunge this year and took part in National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo hereafter), a challenge in which participants aim to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. Today I am ecstatic to report that I am one of those who succeeded, as this afternoon I validated my word count at 50,116 words! My novel isn’t finished but I am over the moon and filled with new confidence about my writing. I now know for certain that I can make time to write every single day regardless of what I have going on. It’s an eye-opening and exciting thing to realise!

However, putting in the effort has had some downsides. First of all, my poor blog has been neglected this month despite me promising myself to add and update or two. To be honest, everything got put on hold for Nanowrimo: WordPress, my social life, my various smaller projects and my music practice all had to be shelved for the duration of the challenge. I still managed to find time to read, though, as I can’t be doing without books! Nonetheless, I have no regrets over taking part as I have thoroughly enjoyed it and I have great pride in myself for seeing it through. I plan to right some of these wrongs starting today, and I’ll return to writing short stories to post on here shortly. I’ll also be kick-starting my ‘Fiction Fursday’ posts once again and doing my best to keep up with any writing competitions and challenges thrown my way. I’m planning on catching up with you wonderful people on the blogosphere, too, so that will be great fun!

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read, as always, and I’ll look forward to interacting with you soon! Well done to anyone else who took part in Nanowrimo this year. Win or lose, you’re all writers to me!

Liebster Award!

So, a little while ago now the wonderful Niki over at https://therichnessofasimplelife.wordpress.com/ nominated me for my first blog award! I’ve been rather lax in getting this sorted, so I must apologise! Another kind soul and fellow blogger over at https://solitaryhavenblog.wordpress.com/about/ nominated me as well, and I will get to those questions as soon as I can 🙂

Niki’s questions and my answers are as  follows:

5 writing/blog related questions-

  1. What did you write before you started blogging? (Journal, short stories, nothing…)


Before I started blogging I was working on a novel, which I recently shelved because I realised that it was far too complicated for me at the stage of writing I was at. I’ll get back to it one day. Before then, I used to write a lot when I was a child, although I often didn’t complete everything that I started! Those were always novel ideas with farfetched, exciting plots which were invariably influenced by whatever I happened to be reading at the time.


  1. Who did you first share your blog with?


Initially it was friends and family who read my blog before a few kind bloggers noticed my work and began sharing it around.


  1. Who do you hope reads your blog most or who do you hope doesn’t? (Be sure to specify which you answer!;)


I hope that other writers will read my blog because it is their approval which I so desperately seek and their criticisms which I am so mortally afraid of! I hope lots of people read my blog, I wouldn’t want anyone to avoid it!


  1. How long do you typically spend creating a post from start to publish?


Typically I write stories which sit at around the 2000 word margin. I spend about a week writing it and another week editing before I put it online. Well, that was how it went before I took part in the April A-Z Challenge! Now I know that I can get stories written faster, so who knows how that will change in the future? I’m hoping to have a least one story written per week.


  1. Do you secretly hope for a post to go viral? Why or why not?


I suppose that would be an incredible rush to achieve a viral post, but I’m not sure if I’d want it to happen. It’d just be another way to earn the proverbial “15 Minutes of Fame”. I doubt much would come of it and I think I’d prefer getting exposure the old fashioned way.

5 random questions-

  1. What piece of advice would you give your younger self?


Keep on writing, mate! It’s good for the soul! Also, tell the guys not to buy you vodka shots on your 20th birthday…you’re welcome.


  1. What takes smell takes you straight back to your childhood?


This is going to sound a bit disgusting, but the smell of maggots takes me back. Before you start thinking that I had some warped childhood rampant with rotten food, I should explain that it was when my dad would occasionally take myself and my brothers fishing. He would often use maggots as live bait, and now the smell reminds me of those times. It’s still a bloody disgusting smell, though!


  1. If you had to move today, no questions asked to another country, which would it be and why?


I’d love to live in Canada. During my final year at university I read up a bit on their history and it fascinated me. I’d love to see the beautiful snow-covered forests and the bustling cities, and sample the famous Canadian hospitality! I hear they’re very friendly oot there, eh?


  1. If you could live in any time period (other than the present) what would it be and why?


I think that the early 1900s would have been an exciting time to live in. It wouldn’t’ve been a time of peace, as Britain was involved in the atrocious Boer Wars in South Africa and many other ridiculous disputes over its Empire, but it certainly would have been exciting. The Suffragette and Suffragist movements were making great strides for women in political thought, and there was even an Olympic Games held in London in 1908! In all, that decade probably would have been an interesting one to be alive in.


  1. If a movie were to be made about your life, what would it be called and who would play you in the movie?


Ha! Oh, I don’t know…I think everybody would like someone handsome and butch to play them, wouldn’t they? I often joke with my partner that I look like Gerard Butler in a suit…which promptly earns a hilarious comeback about how ridiculous that notion is! I suppose Mackenzie Crook would probably be a good choice…he’s skinny, a bit nerdy-looking and could probably pull off the aspiring-novelist thing. I would like to say that I think I’m better-looking than he is, although some might disagree! Sorry, Mackenzie…

As for the title…I don’t know, my life hasn’t been THAT exciting! It’d probably end up being something tame like History of Fiction Addict, I suppose. Yes, I know that’s dull, but I’m not very imaginative when put on the spot!


Here are my 10 nominees. I understand not everyone is into the awards, so no pressure. Apologies if you have already been nominated/accepted the award, but it’s all in the name of fun and friendliness, right? If you are so inclined, please see the rules of engagement below the nominee section. Listed in no particular order as they are all fantastic, I invite you to check out the following blogs:


https://crackerberries.wordpress.com/. A lovely blog with some fun writing which I discovered during the A-Z Challenge.

https://fictionisfood.wordpress.com/ Gary writes some engaging and often chilling short stories on his blog, so I urge you to check them out right now!

https://angelicakidd.wordpress.com/ Angelica writes some heart-achingly honest posts as well as some fantastic stories on her blog. PLease check her out.

https://rantingredhead.com/ Conor is a disgruntled, ginger-haired student whom I know and love dearly. He can bloody rant, let me tell you! Definitely worth a look.

https://sarahjaynenantais.com/ Sarah writes some brilliant short stories set within her TAK universe, which I am enjoying immensely. Some great ‘Mindful Musings’ on there, too!

https://startyourfiction.wordpress.com/about/ Jon writes some great pieces of flash fiction as well as honest, inspiring posts about being a writer.

https://katemcclelland01.wordpress.com/ Kate has been following me almost from Day One and she is an ever-reliable Re-blogger. She also has some wonderful stories and poetry of her own hidden away in her blog. Well worth seeking them out!

https://annalevensonpsy.wordpress.com/2016/02/21/i-am-anna/ Anna writes some amazing posts about being confident in herself, her sexuality and her life in general. She had some great posts throughout the April A-Z Challenge, but be wary of the Adult content!

https://homehugshuskies.wordpress.com/ Lindsay writes inspiring posts about her journey as a mother. She replies to comments and is an all-round lovely lady so please check her out.

https://theblogofchristineb.wordpress.com/ Christine is, as her blog will tell you, an interesting person. Enough said. Go check her out!

Here are my questions for these lovely bloggy people:

  1. What prompted you to begin writing a blog?
  2. What would you like your blog to achieve in the next year?
  3. Did you have any inclination towards writing before you started blogging?
  4. What is your blog about? Give me your best pitch!
  5. What are your favourite types of books to read?
  6. What are your favourite kind of movies to watch?
  7. What are your favourite kind of blogs to follow?
  8. Do you have any blog achievements so far which you are especially proud of?
  9. What kind of people do you hope to interact with via your blog?
  10. What does blogging mean to you?

Rules of Engagement should my nominees choose to participate-

(Please link back or let me know in the comments if you participate so I can check out your post!)

Liebster Award Rules:

  • Thank your nominator- in this case, Adam over at https://adamdixonfiction.com/
  • Share the award on your blog (save my image, or find one online, there are plenty!)
  • Answer the 10 questions Adam asked you
  • Ask 10 questions to 10 new nominees who have less than 300 followers (if I nominated you and you have more, please don’t be offended, not all follower counters are easy to find)
  • Notify your nominees

Phew, that took some doing! Thanks again, Niki! I hope you liked my answers and best of luck with your own blog!


Today I opened WordPress to the fantastic news that 100 people are


following my blog!
This is incredible news and I am grateful to everyone who has decided to hit that button. I’m ecstatic that so many of you enjoy my stories and I am constantly encouraged to keep writing by many of you.
So thank you one and all! My pen will be working furiously and I’ll have a massive smile on my face today!

I Survived the A – Z Challenge

It has now been a full week since I completed the A – Z Blogging Challenge for this April. Being relatively new to blogging it was the first time I have taken part and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I set myself the task of writing a posting a short story for each day, with the word count set between 500 and 100 words. To make it even more fun, I wanted to include some of my new friends on the blogosphere and beyond and so I invited anyone who reads my blog or follows me on social media to suggest a prompt word for the letters I would be using. This turned out to be a great success as many lovely people chipped in and helped me out!

I stumbled a bit during the last few days, but I managed to pull it all together and complete my final three stories on the last day of April. It was quite demanding having to write even a very short story every day around my full-time job, but it was eye-opening as well. It showed me that if I have a set goal and I put pen to paper every day then I can achieve a lot in a short space of time. Although the stories were mainly thought of on my bus journey into work, preliminary notes scribbled on my lunch break and then written out in full once I’d finished work, I still managed to produce a variety of tales which my readers found engaging and interesting. I tried to avoid the more obvious connotations of each word and strove to come up with something which would surprise my readers. I ended up writing fictional pieces about a lonely dog, a calculating murderer, a perverted stone imp, a Dickensian double-act, a swarm of militant wasps and an invigorating love-affair, just to mention a few.  It’s given me a whole new confidence in my writing ability and my time management. I plan to print out these stories soon, so that I will have physical proof of the roughly 23,400 words I wrote in just one month…if that won’t drive me forwards with my writing, then I don’t know what else will!

If you’d like to revisit some of my stories, here are the links to the blogs and also links to the amazing people who helped me out.

A – ABANDONED (Niki’s Simple Life)
B – BOMBASTIC -(Kate McClelland)
C – CONCUBINE (Kate McClelland)
D – DRAGOON (Kate)
F – FRAGILE (Kate)
H – HESSIAN (Kate)
I – INKLING (Kate)
K – KARMA (My partner in crime, Samwise)
L – LEGERDEMAIN (Sakina Hussain)
M – MALEVOLENT (Esther Newton)
N – NORTH (Sakina)
P – POLYGAMY (My younger brother and great sport, Ben Kenobi)
Q – QUISLING (Geoff Le Pard, the man who inspired this Challenge)
R – RANCID (My dear old Mum-well, not THAT old, obviously!)
S – SAUSAGES (My work colleague, Sarah)
T – TORRID (Mum)
U – UNREAL (Geoff)
V – VACUOUS (Esther)
W – WASTED (My work colleague, Jamie)
X – XENOPHOBIA – (Viki Allerston)
Y – YURT (Viki)
Z – ZANY (Viki)

Thank you to every single one of you who read my stories and gave me feedback. You’re all brilliant, wonderful people! Alas, I have been a blogger far too short a time to post among such excellent and admirable hobbits!


How did your own A – Z Challenges go? Let me know in the comment section!

April A-Z Challenge Accepted!


Hi everyone ☺ I might be a bit late announcing this, but what the hell, here goes!
After seeing this last week and giving it some thought, I’ve decided to give this years “Blogging from A to Z Challenge” a go.
The idea is self-explanatory: bloggers are encouraged to post every day throughout April, excluding Sundays, and each day’s post will be related to a letter of the alphabet. Each day will follow the alphabet in order and will provide the prompt for that post. In short, I’ll be attempting to write 26 short stories next month! I’m going to limit these stories to between 500-1000 words. No pressure, or anything…
I feel like this will be a great way to test myself and see how well I will work under time restraints. I’m becoming quite fond of writing flash fiction, so this should be fun! 😄
If any of you fellow bloggers would like to join in, you can find all the information for the Challenge here: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/?m=1
Grab the badge and post it on your blog, then follow their instructions to sign up. Simple! ☺ Wish me luck, and feel free to give me some ideas for specific letters!
P.S. I hope that’s not cheating…