Tag Archives: #shortstories

CAST OFF – Stories for the beach?

CAST OFF is my collection of short stories based on female characters in plays by Shakespeare. It was published by Solstice in 2017.

In each of the thirteen stories I take one of his characters and imagine what she might be thinking and doing when not on stage. So we have Kate, from the Taming of the Shrew, thumping her creator for writing such horrid role for her; Nerissa, from The Merchant of Venice, delighting in dressing up in men’s clothes and cavorting round town with her mistress, Portia; Cassandra, from Troilus and Cressida, revelling in poor personal hygiene and loud wails; Hermia, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, getting blind drunk and passing out under a tree in a pub beer garden; Hermione, from The Winter’s Tale, wondering if she will bother to ‘come back to life’ and return to her bullying husband; and many more.

As you may have worked out by now, The stories are not a serious contribution to Shakespearean studies. They are are mostly humorous, gently feminist, and available from Amazon books in print form or as ebooks. A lighthearted summer read to pack, or download, for your late summer holiday perhaps?

Cast Off: myBook.to/CastOff




Can you write a six word story?

It feels like there are more and more competitions for short stories these days. And by short, I mean really short – flash fiction competitions for stories with fewer than 500, 300, or even 100 words. Even a competition run by the Sunday Times for a 10 word story.

It seems like a modern trend, but Ernest Hemingway was celebrated for his brevity nearly one hundred years ago. Not just were his novels spare, without a word wasted, his first story collection, in our time, featured eighteen stories in which only four had more than 250 words, and the shortest was a mere 75. (For comparison; I’ve already exceeded 100 to get to this point.)

Hemingway was thought for many years to have written a story in 6 words as a bet with William Faulkner. This has been proved to be an urban myth, but no one has identified the actual author. The story did however adhere to Hemingway’s famous ‘iceberg’ theory – that a story should only reveal a fraction of its meaning and leave the rest to be uncovered by the reader’s imagination.

So, here is the famous story.

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Makes you think – and feel – doesn’t it? In just 6 words!

If you want something a little longer, here are the links to my books:





Getting Festive

December already and almost time to be thinking of buying presents, the Christmas card list, Christmas day lunch and putting up the decorations. Plenty of households around me have got all this in hand – to judge from the number of twinkling lights in the front room windows. I haven’t got further than pointing out to my husband that my favourite scent is running out.

If you need to kick start you Christmas spirit, why not download Festive Treats. It’s free (which might explain why it has been an Amazon best seller continuously since its publication two years ago), and it’s full of quirky, good humoured, not to say humorous, short stories about the Christmas period. (Declaration of interest, one of the stories – Mary’s Christmas– is mine).

Although the anthology received a one star review from a dissatisfied reader (had she had a story for the anthology rejected? Or really didn’t like one of the authors?), the stories have been generally well received and garnered many four and five star reviews. Here is a selection from the more typical reviews:

“This is a lovely, if rather eclectic, mix of yuletide short stories. I really enjoyed reading these tales, some are feel-good, others somewhat irreverent and cheeky, and a few slightly darker takes on the Christmas season. For me, there is something for everyone and it is definitely well worth a read to get you in the Christmas spirit!”

“Great book full of some really fun, sweet, lovely and thoughtful short stories. Perfect for those moments over the Christmas holidays when you want to sit down and read but know you haven’t much time!”

“The stand-out story in this book is Mary’s Christmas. I also enjoyed Katharine D’souza’s tales as well. As with any compilation there is bound to be one or two (at least) that are not to your taste. But for free you shouldn’t really complain.”

Ah yes, did I mention it was FREE?

Here is the link if you’re tempted – after all, what have you got to lose?


Links to my books and social media




FREE E-Books all this week.

On my last blog I posted the blurb and excerpts from my two YA novels that are currently free to download from Amazon books. And many thanks to those of you who downloaded a copy – you’ve put me back into the best seller rankings again!

Today I am posting the blurb and an excerpt from my collection of short stories, CAST OFF, which is also free to download until the 22nd September.

Blurb: Have you ever thought what a Shakespeare character might be thinking or doing when she’s not on stage? Does she like the role that’s been created for her? Would she prefer a different plot? Or love interest? How does she really feel about all that cross dressing? In this light-hearted collection of short stories, the author suggests a few answers to these and other questions.

Excerpt from – Is Not this Well? (based on The Taming of the Shrew):

Cast OffI felt I had to put a stop to it. Making people laugh is all very well; but not at my expense it isn’t. Besides, his proposed plot was bound to spoil his reputation one day, when people became more sensitive about such matters. I felt he should be more careful, even though, seeing as this was early days in his career, he didn’t have much of a reputation to spoil. However, it was my character he was slagging off, and I had a right to look out for my own reputation, never mind his.

His study door was open and I marched straight in without knocking, which I knew he hated, and put both hands on the back of his chair.

“Why do you want to write a play that will make you look like a mis… a mis…” I started.

“Misogynist?” he filled in, slapping down his quill impatiently.

He was always like that. Good with words, even ones that were not yet in common use. And if he couldn’t find the right word—well, he just made one up!

I nodded. Misogynist sounded like just the word I was looking for. Having given me the word, he shrugged dismissively and, picking up his quill again, turned back to his writing. I poked him sharply. So what if he hated being interrupted when he was working, he still hadn’t answered my question.

“Why do you want to look like a misogynist, and why do you have to portray me as such a cow in the process? You know me well enough by now; I don’t mind playing a feisty character if that’s what you want – give as good as I get and all that jazz. But you’re making me out to be a monster.”

He shook his head crossly, and a small spray of dead skin floated from his scalp. He really ought to do something about that bald patch, I thought, as I brushed the dandruff from the front of my dress with theatrical sweeps. Also I noted, but only to myself, by letting his hair grow all long and wispy around the sides he was only drawing attention to it.

“You’ve got to be larger than life and frighten all the men away, or the rest of the play won’t work,” he said, without stopping writing.

“I’m okay with that,” I conceded grudgingly, but I wasn’t letting him off the hook yet. “But why do I have to be such a shrew as well?”

He paused again and turned towards me. This time his face lit up. He really is quite good-looking when he smiles, even with a flaky pate.

“Thanks Kate,” he said, and I’d have sworn he was about to reach round and pat my bum till he remembered what happened last time. “You’ve given me a great idea for the title.”

He turned his back again, shuffled through his papers till he came to the first page, and re-inked his quill. He scratched out the title at the top and wrote instead in big bold letters. The Taming of the Shrew. I don’t think I’ve ever actually thumped him before, but it was bound to happen sooner or later.


Links to free downloads (to 22nd September).

TIP: Try right clicking on the links  if left clicking doesn’t work.

Cast Off: myBook.to/CastOff

myBook.to/AndAlexStillHasAcne  http://www.bookgoodies.com/a/B00RU1Y0G

  myBook.to/GirlFriends http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01EX9DPMS

Links to all my books





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Planning a launch.

When my writers’ group put together an anthology recently we planned a launch for the beginning of March. We:

  • Ordered extra copies
  • Booked a table in a local bookshop (who put the date in their Facebook calendar)
  • Talked about it on our own blogs, Facebook Twitter etc.
  • Mentioned it (more than once) to friends
  • Organised a press release
  • Had a slot on local radio
  • Put the date in our own diaries to make sure we turned up to do our stint on the sales.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well, the weather could! On the Friday it snowed. And snowed …

By Saturday morning roads were impassable so the bookshop owner couldn’t get in to open his shop, and most of us couldn’t get there anyway for the same reason. All that could be done was to ask the radio to mention the event was cancelled.

At the next meeting, we decided to hold another launch at the end of May. After all we still had the stock of books, and boxes of sweets, we had ordered for the original date. We dutifully put the date in our personal diaries. Job done.

Except it wasn’t of course – we didn’t double check it was in the bookshop diary until the last minute (it wasn’t, but as the date was free we could still go ahead, minus their advance publicity). No one thought to notify the local press and radio, and I wasn’t the only one who didn’t do any promotion via Twitter, blog and Facebook.

As a result we spent a pleasant hour chatting to each other, eating all the promotional chocolates, and selling one anthology to a friend of mine who’d wandered in for a slice of the truly delicious home-made cake sold at the bookshop, and felt sorry for us.

Maybe we wouldn’t have sold out if the event had gone ahead in March as planned and promoted. But we’ve learnt a few things about the consequences of not doing the preparation properly from our May effort.

anthcov2However, better late than never. If you’re tempted to buy a copy of this gently humorous anthology, Stories to Make You Smile, here is my link. It is an enjoyable read, ideal for lazy summer days on the garden lounger – and I’m not just saying that because mine is the first story you come to.





PS: If you have any good ideas for making a launch go with a bang (and some good sales), please share.



Still in the Mood for Love?

Today my blog has been taken over by writers from Solstice Publishing, whose anthology, Cupid’s Arrow, Vol 2, was published last week.

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Valentine’s Day encompasses romance for all ages. People go out of their way to show their affection for the one they love with flowers, candy, perhaps a special meal. Just how did this day come to be?

Valentine’s Day can be traced back to the third century, when Emperor Claudius III of Rom decided young men made better soldiers than those with wives and families to care for. Valentine, a young man who preached the word, felt this was injustice at its worst. He defied the emperor and performed marriages for young lovers in secret. Once his actions were discovered, the emperor ordered he be put to death.

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Today, we honor his memory by celebrating romance with the one we love. To honor St. Valentine, Solstice Publishing presents Cupid’s Arrow Vol. 2, a collection of tales of love.


An essence of bliss makes everything delicious.

Her last word before kissing him was, “Hush.”

Never say never…

She’s not your grandmother’s matchmaker.

Separated by the winds of war

They meet time after time…

Can love possibly come again?

Real life isn’t a fairy tale… or is it?

Love is a wonderful spell.

Love is a special feeling between couples. The sweetness of caring deeply for each other. A waterfall of romance is brought to you E.B. Sullivan, Jeffery Martin Botzenhart, A.A. Schenna, Adam Zorzi, K.C. Sprayberry, A.J. Kohler, Veronica Peters, Noelle Myers, and Palvi Sharma

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A Story for Christmas.

This will be my last blog for 2017 so I am signing off with a short story.

Not many people know that there were supposed to be four Magi, but one was sceptical about his friends’ plan, and decided to pull out. Anyway, here is a monologue, as recounted by –

Kevin, the fourth wise man.


Phone rings, Kevin picks it up

“Hello? Oh, hi Gaspar, How’s tricks? You planning one of our little adventures? Don’t tellTHREE-WISE-MEN-CYCLE-Preview me – another cruise? No? What did you say? A trek? On camels? All the way to Bethlehem? That sounds more like hard work than a holiday. What’s brought this on?

We’re going to see a baby? Whatever for? Don’t we see enough of our own grandchildren? Not just any baby you say – sorry, the line’s very bad – did you say it’s the son of a Goth? Oh, the son of a God. THE God! 

 Right! You’re not having me on, are you? So this son of God has a palace in Bethlehem we can stay at? Not a palace. A what? A stable – as in a home for a horse?

 I see. Tell me, honestly now, Gaspar, what kind of god gives birth in a stable? What did you say?  God won’t actually be there, just his wife. Someone else’s wife? Not even his wife, his fiancée? And she’s giving birth to the son of God? In a stable?

Gaspar – have you been drinking? You mean you’re telling me all this and you’re stone cold sober? And you’ve already persuaded Balthazar and Melchior to go along? Jeez, are you all mad? But how will you know which way to go? Sat navs don’t work on camels. You’re going to follow a car? Not a car, a star?

No, don’t say anymore. There’s nothing you can possibly add to persuade me to come along this time. No, no. No offence intended or taken. You run along and enjoy yourselves. You can tell me all about it when you get back.

Kevin puts the phone down.

What in Heaven’s name will the old fool come up with next!”

For more of my stories, including at least one free download, go to:

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, and that 2018 is as happy and prosperous as you deserve – or better!

Christmas wreath