The Lady of Laughter

Free Lit Magazine is very special to me.  It was the first publication that published something I had written.  It was back in April 2015, and the piece was Idus Martiae (or, Ides of March, – bet you can’t guess what it was about? 🙂 If you want to read it, follow this link here).  And so I try to submit something to them whenever I can.  Which reminds me, their next theme, for any budding writers and artists out there is, The Truth or Dare Issue and the deadline is mid-January, so go check it out!

Back to their current issue, I’m exceedingly excited to announce I have another piece gracing their wonderful pages…It’s called The Lady of Laughter, (or, The Personification of Comedy) and it takes a little look at one of the nine muses from Greek mythology, Thaleia, the muse of comedy.  If you have a moment, you can find the issue it is in here, alongside many other great pieces inspired by the theme of “humour”.

Don’t forget to let me know if you do have a read – I would love to know what you think. 🙂

At the Amphitheatre

pompeii amphitheatre photo credit wikipedia

(photo credit: wikipedia)

Dressed in their finest, sitting in the best seats so all can see their wealth whilst the poorer citizens are packed into the stands.

A deafening cheer erupts before a blanket hush falls.

This is what they have come for.

Not to watch a Greek comedy but a Roman tragedy…


(Side note: I have used poetic license in the above.  Plays were not shown in Roman amphitheatres which were circular, but in theatres which were semi-circular and thus more stage-like.)

This was written for Day 2 of “A Month of Mini Writing Challenges“.  See this page here for more details and a list of prompts.

Aquae Sulis

aquae sulis (picture credit - wikipedia)

(photo credit: wikipedia)

Carefully she etched her curse on to the lead sheet, before folding it over and casting it into the hot spring.

That’ll teach her.


This was written for Day 1 of “A Month of Mini Writing Challenges“.  See this page here for more details and a list of prompts.

Jousting for Murder – Short Story News

I love historical fiction.  I love to read it.  I love to write it, but I find it’s not something I write very often.

At one time, I believed, as did those around me, that I would be primarily a historical fiction writer.  I have in fact written two complete novels set in ancient Greece as well as a number of stories of various lengths and in various stages of completion set in other time periods.  But over time I gradually wrote less and less historical fiction and more fantasy and paranormal pieces.  Why that happened, I’m not sure.

Sometimes I will blend historical fiction and the paranormal together, like I did for the first story I got published, Idus Martiae, which was a re-imagining of the dream Caesar’s wife had the night before his murder. (You can read it here).  But still, my historical fiction writing has been limited, at least until these past few months, when I wrote The Sultan’s Daughter, set in a period and culture that I was unfamiliar with, and then Jousting for Murder, set in the Middle Ages, a period I have a great interest in.

And it is this latest historical short story that has been accepted and published in Tournament Games, an anthology dedicated to the Middle Ages and the Age of Chivalry.  The anthology is published by Zimbell House Publishing and edited by Evelyn M. Zimmer.

Tournament Games front cover

Jousting for Murder

The baron is celebrating his birthday with a joust and one of his closest friends, Miles Chevalier, is competing in a much anticipated competition.  However, when his opponent falls off his horse in front of the lists, it appears that Miles has killed him.  However, things are not as they seem.  Will Miles be able to find the truth behind the joust?  And more importantly, will he able to find the real murderer?

jousting for murder

You can learn more about the anthology over at the publisher’s website.

A side note:  Thanks go to Ben, whose knowledge of the Rule of St. Benedict proved extremely helpful in adverting a disaster in my story.  I will never forget that Benedictines were forbidden from taking food and drink outside of the walls of their religious house.  Brother John was almost in a lot of trouble… 😀

Excavating the Archives: In the Cave

This piece was written in 2012 and posted on an old blog, before I first posted it on this one in 2014.  To view the original post, you can click here.


paleolithic flash fiction

We had gathered outside the cave entrance, waiting since sunset, as per the orders of the clan-elders.  It was dark save for a few torches lit either side of the opening.

And here we were, waiting…for what?  No-one seemed to be sure.  Everyone was talking in whispers; the air of anticipation surrounded us.

As if pre-arranged, the crowd fell silent.  A distant drumming could be heard; although we couldn’t see anything, we all knew it came from inside the cave.

Moments passed and nothing happened.  Everyone was watching the entrance to the cave intently.

A noise from behind us had the crowd turning to face the other way, as one.  Before us, we could see our holy man, dressed in the skin and antlers of a stag, his usual awe-inspiring ritual garb.

‘Follow,’ he said, pushing his way through the crowd, heading towards the entrance.  ‘This night we speak to the children who come after us.’

Very hushed mutterings went up from those gathered, but one look from our holy man and it stopped.  He entered the cave taking with him one of the torches, and the crowd followed behind him in a long line.

We did not have far to go.  The line slowed, only creeping forward.  My heart beat in time with the rhythm of the drum which sounded louder now, but I still could not see anything.

When I was finally at the head of the line, those in front of me now gone, I was allowed into the small side cave.  The stone room was lit by torches that threw shadows around the wall and illuminated a painting that made my jaw drop.

‘Dip your hand in the dish, and press it to the wall,’ the holy man encouraged.  ‘Don’t be afraid. Go leave your message.’

I did as I was asked and as I removed my hand, a question came to me.

‘What does it say?’ I asked the holy man.

‘Do not worry, for those that come after will understand it.’

In The Hall of Two Truths

Inspired by this week’s Monday Inspiration – White Feather

The funeral was over, the door to the tomb, which had been filled with all that I could possibly need in the afterlife, sealed.  The opening of the mouth ceremony had been accomplished and I had made my way from the tomb through Duat, the underworld, passing all trials I met along the way.  The protective amulets and spells I had been given ensured success, at least this far.

And now I found myself here, in the Hall of Two Truths, met at the doorway by the jackal-headed god, Anubis, his ears alert, his face grave.  He took my hand and led me into the chamber, at the head of which Osiris, holding his crook and flail, sat upon his throne, Isis and Nephthys standing to either side.  I felt the eyes of the forty-two divine judges who resided in the Hall, on me as we moved along the magnificent pillared walkway, the only sound to be heard coming from the scribe-god, Thoth, who had already started to etch a permanent record of events here in stone.

Torches and braziers lit up the vast space, shining light on to the largest set of scales I had ever seen.  I swallowed hard as my eye was drawn to Ammit the Devourer, who waited patiently close by.  The thought of what was to happen should I be founding wanting at the final test was terrifying.

We stopped before the throne, so that I could make my supplications to the Lord of Duat.  As I began to speak, Anubis moved away and left me standing there alone, but my voice didn’t fail me.  When I next laid eyes upon the jackal-headed god, he was holding my heart in his hands.  Ma’at, the Lady of Truth was standing next to him, her ostrich feather standing proudly in her headdress.

At some imperceptible signal, Ma’at slowly, reverently, removed the feather and placed it on one side of the scales.  Nothing happened, for truth, justice, harmony and honesty carried no weight. Then Anubis stepped forward.  It was time to see how my heart would fare, to see how pure was my conscience.  Would I be admitted into the afterlife?  Would I attain transformation into an akh, or would the Devourer of the Dead have her way?

I put my back to the scales and turned my attention to the rest of the assembly, for it was time to begin my negative confession.  Addressing each of the judges by name, I started reciting the forty-two statements, silently imploring that my heart would not betray me, that my conscience would be found pure and unblemished and light against the feather…

I have not committed sin…

…I have not uttered curses…

…I have not been angry without just cause…

…I have wronged none, I have done no evil…

…I have not slain the cattle belonging to the gods.*

The time passed quickly and soon my confession was at an end.  I could not tell what my heart, if anything, had told those who looked on, but I would soon find out.

Slowly, I turned back around to face Osiris and my fate, hoping against hope that I was about to be declared “true of voice”.  The alternative didn’t bear thinking about…


* These statements are taken from those listed in the Papyrus of Ani, translated by E.A.Wallis Budge

A Little Bit of News…

My short story, Idus Martiae, has been included in the latest issue of Free Lit Magazine.  The theme for this issue was Dreams.

So, if you have a spare minute, please check it out, along with the other great pieces in the issue.  It’s free.  Just follow the link.

If you enjoy historical fiction, I hope you enjoy this 🙂  Don’t forget to let me know what you think.

The Abbey Ruins

The full moon cast an eerie glow over the abbey ruins, lighting up the yellow stone work in shades of pale gold.

Through the empty doorway a shadow moved, indistinct, but with purpose, an unfulfilled mission, centuries old, repeated each night, over and over, on a quest for peace.

The Hunter Gatherers – a piece of flash fiction

paleolithic flash fictionThere was something wrong.  The earth was changing.  Food was not where it once was; the herds had moved.

‘We have almost reached the end of our territory.  Do we go on, crossing into another’s  or do we go back and try the land beyond the river?’  Our leader solemnly asked.

‘The lack of food is not felt by us alone.  We will not be warmly received in anyone else’s territory at this time, and we have the women and children to think of.’  I raised my concerns.

Continue reading

In the Cave – a piece of flash fiction

paleolithic flash fictionWe all gathered outside the cave entrance, waiting since sunset, as per the orders of the clan-elders.  It was dark save for a few torches lit either side of the opening.

And here we were, waiting…for what?  No-one seemed to be sure.  Everyone was talking in whispers; the air of anticipation surrounded us.

As if pre-arranged, the crowd fell silent.  A distant drumming could be heard; although we couldn’t see anything, we all knew it came from inside the cave.

Continue reading