Tag Archives: Verulam Writers Circle

Bird Talk accepted for publication by Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction

I am very happy to report that my short story “Bird Talk” has been accepted for publication by Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction. The story should be out in either issue 30 or 31 – so probably the Autumn or Winter of this year. The magazine is available to purchase in hard copy or as as free download. I’ll send a link out to the issue when it’s published.

I am very excited about this – this will be my first fiction publishing credit, so Woohoo to me!
I did have a good feeling about this one – it’s my most recent short story and provides part of the setting and themes of the novel I’m working on. It’s also been well critiqued at both Critters, OWW and Verulam Writers’ Circle, so if there’s any of my reviewers reading this post, thanks very much for your feedback! Comments from a variety of different readers are really useful, particularly in picking up detail errors or suggesting better phrasing – things that I would be less likely to spot myself.


“Bird Talk” is also now available to purchase as a separate story via Smashwordsand Amazon.

Work commenced on Roger Draper novel

As suggested during my last visit to the Verulam Writers Circle, I have started work on the novelisation of the Roger Draper story. The short story Bird Talk will remain a short story and I am still hoping to sell that somewhere. However, I will now also be working on a novel length piece that uses the same characters but expands the tale to explore what is going on in the medieval town of St Sewards. Who is responsible for the despicable dark acts of magic that are taking place? Will Roger, the niave priest, and his unwanted companion, Jake, the armless beggar/soldier, be able to solve the mystery that shrouds the abbey and town?

So far I have a rough outline for how the story will progress. Next steps so far are to find out more about the town that St Seward’s is based on, this is now largely done thanks to some very good websites, such as www.salbani.co.uk, although I will do some book research as well here. I am now sketching out the main factions competing in the town, so I can then drill down to the characters involved in the various political and magical machinations in the town. From there I should have enough material to sketch out a plot I think, and then work on a synopsis.

Writers Circle Feedback

I attended an informal session of the writers’ circle I belong to last night: Verulam Writers’ Circle.  I received some feedback on the first scene of my story Bird Talk. The feedback seemed to be positive, which was pleasing, and the other writers in the group seemed to be interested in the content as well as the style of the story.

What surprised me was that they thought I should turn it into a longer piece. Maybe a novella, as I had started out as if it was going to be a longer story, building up the characters, setting the scene etc.  I thought this was a fair point as it is quite a long story, over 8000 words.

I think I may do this, however, the story’s with a magazine at the moment, so I’ll wait to see what their feedback is first. Suggestions were that I could develop the social conflict/political side of the story, with the magical element running through it. Also some allusions could be made between medieval and modern times regarding the use of belief to control people and the hysteria of the witch-trial, like in the Crucible.

This does give me a dilemma about my writing strategy, as it seems I naturally want to write longer pieces, flesh out the characters, but I feel I only have time for short stories. So what to do?

The easier option maybe to actually try to get better at short stories, and this may need some further studies of good stories to see how I should be doing this.


“Bird Talk” has been published in Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction #33

“Bird Talk” is also now available to purchase as a separate story via Smashwordsand Amazon.