In a recent story, I explored one of the worst shipwrecks that occurred off south-eastern Australia, a notorious stretch of coast known as the “shipwreck coast”. I have been fascinated by the history behind a treacherous, narrow bay, the Loch Ard Gorge named after the 1878 shipwreck of the Loch Ard merchant ship, one of the Australia’s deadliest shipwrecks, where only two survived from the 54 on board.
Loch Ard Gorge is located near Cape Otway on the south-eastern Australian coastline where the infamous southern Ocean has eroded the sandstone coastline creating many the natural rock formations including the ‘twelve apostles’ along the Great Australian Bight. This region is prone to storms and pounding surf from the Antarctic, and rich marine ecosystems of great white sharks, seals, whales, dolphins and many species of fish and other marine life. This thriving region is also home to more than two hundred shipwrecks during Australia’s colonial history, a short span of time compared to the sixty thousand years of indigenous occupation.
In writing my own fictionalised account of this historic event, I imagined a third survivor, one who fled England for Melbourne undetected, a damned soul for who must eventually pay their due. I was inspired and fascinated by the gothic folklore of the sea, damned sea voyages encapsulated in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and Homer’s The Odyssey among others.
I recently wrote my first flash fiction piece for children and young adult readers. This was a challenge for me with my usual writing themes exploring the darker side of fiction and best suited to adult readers.
In writing my flash fiction piece, I drew on some of the most influential children’s fiction to develop my own story, one that had deep roots in my personal experiences and one I hoped would resonate with children experiencing bullying and coping with being different. In telling this story, I wanted to channel the reality of these extremely difficult daily experiences and also to show how being different is a hidden strength.
Some of my inspiration for my own story was was Alice in Wonderland, The Secret Garden, The Chronicles of Narnia. These classic children’s fiction all feature protagonists exploring magical worlds hidden to all but them while escaping a harsher reality that exists beyond the borders of the their fantasy world.
One of the stories I have been working on recently was retelling a fairytale with an LGBTQI focus. There have been several recent explorations transposing gender roles in fairytales, but I wanted to draw attention to the inclusivity of love and also retell a fairytale that could highlight struggles for LGBTQI community both past and present.
I recently came across a gorgeous fairytale retelling in French FairyTales by Sophie Masson and illustrated by Lorena Carrington titled ‘The King of Crows’. This fairytale was new to me and I loved it’s complex themes, the parts of other tales wound into it in such a unique way. It was a vibrant fairytale with elements that were part-quest, part-curse and transformation.
In my own retelling, the sorcerer curses a queen for her refusal to submit to him and refusal to marry him and is transformed into a crow along with the subjects of her kingdom. Under the strict rules of the curse, the crow queen must find her true love but cannot be seen in her human form at night. The queen finds her true love, a young musician playing in the forest one day, a woman like herself who has no desire to marry a man and be a wife or mother. This unlikely union becomes true love and they marry under the Queen’s decree, but the consort cannot keep her curiosity at bay and seeing the Crow Queen by moonlight. The Sorcerer comes victorious to claim the Crow Queen, taking her far away to be isolated forever. Desperate to save her Queen, the consort consults a fae being who tells her how to find her Queen, beyond the moon and sun, to a land untouched by light and gives her a pair of iron shoes to wear. She will know her queen is near when the iron shoes break, and know she has found her queen when the blue grasses sing. The Consort begins her quest and long trek until the prophesied words become true and she rescues her queen, no longer a crow, the lovers are reunited.
I am pleased to announcethe release ofNew Tales of Old, Volume 1from Raven & Drake Publishing on 30th April, 2021. This anthology of short stories is inspired by fairytales and legends, reimagining with a twist. Two of my short stories are featured, “A Trail of Corpselights” inspired by Hansel and Gretel fairy tale, (you can read more here ) and “The Dark Harpist” a dark fantasy reimagining of the Pied Piper fairy tale, (more details here).
If you are interested in purchasing an ebook or paperback copy of New Tales of Old, Volume 1, more details can be found here.
I am pleased to announce that the speculative fictionanthologyWrath (Seven Deadly Sins, #7) published by Black Hare Press was released on 30th April, 2021. The final instalment in the themed series based on the Seven Deadly Sins, short stories featuring in Wrath are all based on “Wrath: Manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury.”
My short story “Them” explores the theme of Wrath in a dark fiction, delving into aspects of psychopathy and demonology. You can about my research for the story here.
If you would like to purchase ebook, paperback or hardback copies of Wrath (The Seven Deadly Sins, #7), more details can be found here.
I am pleased to announce the release of horror anthology Death House published by Raven & Drake Publishing on 20 April , 2021. The anthology is inspired by the haunted houses theme, featuring my dark microfiction “Agnes House” inspired by true crime, horror elements and psychopathy.
If you are interested in purchasing a paperback, limited edition hardback or ebook copy of Death House, more details can be found here.
I am pleased to announce that horror flash fiction anthologyWatch(Five Hundred Fiction, #3) published by Black Hare Press was released on 20th April, 2021. This anthology is inspired by stalker themes, dark fiction and horror genres featuring my dark contemporary fantasy “The Eldritch Wood”.
If you are interested in purchasing an ebook, hardback or paperback copies of Watch (Five Hundred Fiction, #3) more details can be found here.