Dear readers of The Pen and fellow bloggers, this will be my last post for some time. Exactly how long, I don’t know.

Last July, I had a fall and exacerbated a previous knee injury. This further caused problems to the severe osteoarthritis I already had in my right knee. In the last two or three weeks, it has been difficult to walk more than 20-25 feet without pain, and in the last week, after a series of x-rays it was discovered what little cartilage left on the right hand side of the knee has fragmented so the whole knee joint is now moving “bone on bone.” A total knee reconstruction is the only solution, but at the moment, that is not possible due to other medical conditions and being overweight.

The only relief from pain is morphine twice a day, and if you’ve ever taken morphine, you’ll know what that does for your imagination, creativity and concentration–I’ve even fallen asleep four times while trying to write this post. I can’t promise I’ll read your blog posts and comment while I’m away, and any chance of doing any editing of my current WIP just isn’t going to happen :(

Stay safe and well my friends <3


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Flights of Fantasy

The Cave Mistress over at The Scribe’s Cave, has given us a new prompt in her series of abandoned places. You have 50-200 words to write your story, poem or whatever you want to produce.  You can leave a link to your story in the cave  My story begins after the photo.

Japanese shrine
“Grandfather…what is happening to your arm?” Haruki asked, pointing wide-eyed as Taiga’s arm began to shimmer and morph. Small scales began to form and gradually grew larger until they covered his whole arm.

“Ahh, Haruki, you have discovered my secret.” Taiga chuckled and pulled his grandson into an embrace. “I had hoped to tell you on your birthday, but it seems the ancestors have other ideas.

Haruki watched as more and more scales appeared, and finally two huge wings sprouted on his grandfather’s back.

“Would you like to go flying with me?” Taiga’s eyes twinkled as he handed Haruki his jacket.

Haruki’s nodded excitedly.

Taiga lifted Haruki onto his back. “Hold tight now, we wouldn’t want you to fall into the ocean.”

Haruki laughed in delight as his grandfather ran and leapt into the night sky with effortless ease.


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Not Just any Tom, Dick or Harry Will Do

by warszawianka

What do you think of Gaylord Oglesby as a name?

Umm…depends on who he is.

He’s a serial killer in my book.

Gaylord? You’re kidding.

Yes, Gaylord, what’s wrong with Gaylord?

You’re going to call a serial killer Gaylord.

But no one would suspect him, would they?

I would. It’s no wonder he became a serial killer when his parents named him that.

Gaylord Oglesby

Osvaldo Beauchamp?


Osvaldo Beauchamp

Well, how about Lucius Grubb?

Hmmm…yeah, I like that.

Lucius Grubb it is then.

Ever had that conversation with a friend or fellow writer? A fellow writer will always understand your problem. A friend…well, they’re probably accustomed to your strange questions so they won’t be too surprised.

There are a few random name generators out there on the internet, but I’ve recently discovered two that I think are a cut above the rest.

The first one, Random Name Generator, allows you to choose common, average or rare names. You can pick from 10 to 100 names, male, female or both. Overall, it will generate over 480 million choices.

The second site, Writers’ Den  is more complex and gives you a character name generator, first line generator, character profile generator, or plot idea generator.

So, have play and let me know what you think.

Posted in Writer's Help, writing | Tagged , , , | 36 Comments

No Stock in Think So’s — J’Sharn’s World

Written for The Scribe’s Cave, a place where wondrous things dwell. Hike up the mountain — watch out for the yeti — and add your piece of flash fiction based on the photo prompt, which this week is the abandoned stock exchange in Belgium. You only need 50-200 words and the Cave Mistress will warmly welcome you. When you’ve written your story, add it to the link to share with others. Be sure to read the other stories too. You’ll find my contribution for this week after the photos.

Belgium BuildingAgent Matthews studied the photos. It was going to work—it had to. He’d been hunting them for seven months and every time he got close, they dropped off the radar. Someone was tipping them off.

The grey man turned from his view of the city. “You’re sure that’s where they are this time?”

“Our contact in the Belgian State Security believes so.”

“Believes so?” the grey man didn’t like ‘believes so’s,’ it was too much like ‘thinks so.’  “In other words, they don’t know.”

Matthews bristled, he didn’t like Nimrod Quinn—nobody liked Nimrod Quinn. No one ever called him Nimrod Quinn. Everyone thought of him as “the grey man.” Everything he wore was grey—even his skin looked grey. There was something about him, something that…

“Your team is ready to go in?” the grey man cut through his thoughts.

He acknowledged Quinn with a nod.

“Don’t disappoint me this time Agent Matthews.” The grey man’s tone held no threat. The grey man didn’t need to make threats.

“How hard can it be to catch a geriatric alien and a thirteen year old child?”  Matthews immediately wished he’d kept his thoughts to himself.

Posted in The Scribe's Cave, writing | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

This Too Shall Pass – Sunday Photo Fiction

Each Sunday, Al Forbes supplies a photo to inspire us to write a piece of fiction, a poem, or whatever you like up to around 200 words. If you’d like to join in, wander on over to Sunday Photo Fiction. Click on the little blue froggy thingy to leave a link to your post and then read what others have written. You’ll find my story this week  after the picture.

Car Wrecks september-27th-2015

“It’s all right, Gloria, love,” Sylvia patted her friend’s arm as she sobbed into her cup of tea, “men always have a mid-life crisis. Look at my Fred; he wanted to swim the channel when he turned fifty-five,” she chuckled, “didn’t take long to get that out of his system.”

Gloria reached for a tissue and wiped her nose. “Yes, but not before a whole lot of other things got into his system when he tried it and he ended up in hospital with diarrhea.”

“Well Lou isn’t likely to get diarrhea from driving around in an old banger is he, and besides, what sort of racing car will he get for two hundred quid.” Sylvia refilled both cups. “Let him have his bit of fun, no racing team will take him on at his age.” Sylvia rolled her eyes, “Can you imagine the insurance premiums?”

A truck groaned to a halt at the front of the house and they heard Lou’s excited voice coming down the hall.

“Gloria love, come and have a look at my new racer. It’s even got my name on it.” Lou looked like a five-year-old on Christmas morning and he urged the two women to the front door. “And look, Fred found one too. He’s going to be Hit Man. We’re the new kings of the race track.”

Gloria turned and headed back towards the kitchen. “Come on Sylvie love, I think we’re going to need something a bit stronger than tea.”

Posted in Sunday Photo Fiction, writing | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

The Tooth, the Whole Tooth, and Nothing but the Tooth – Scribe’s Cave

Written for The Scribe’s Cave, a place where fiction dwells. Hike up the mountain and add your piece of flash fiction based on the photo prompt. You only need 50-200 words and the Cave Mistress will warmly welcome you. When you’ve written your story, add it to the link to share with others. Be sure to read the other stories too. You’ll find my very late post for this week after the photos.

drink machine run down room

“Is he kidding?” Jack took in the dilapidated state of the apartment. “He wants two thousand a month for this?”

The real estate agent had the grace to blush slightly. “Mr Grandino has been busy; he hasn’t had a chance to clean it up since the last tenant left, but he promises to so within a month, and to keep the drink machine full at all times—free of charge. And he’s also going to put in a snack machine—also free of charge.”

Jack’s eyebrows did a disappearing trick into his hair as he realised the truth. “He’s in league with the drink manufacturers, isn’t he—puts a drink machine in every apartment and gets a cut of the profits, right?”

The estate agent ran a hand through his hair, “Ummm…no, not exactly.”

“What then…exactly?”

“He’s…he’s actually in league with his brother. He’s a dentist.”

Posted in Flash Fiction, The Scribe's Cave | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

For the Love of Miss Matilda – Monday’s Finish the Story

It’s time for Monday’s Finish the Story. You have up to 150 words to dazzle readers with your brilliance, your wisdom, or even both – or just make us laugh. So, hop on over to Barb’s Monday’s Finish the Story  and have a go. Barb supplies a picture prompt and the first sentence. Don’t forget to click on the blue guy on Barb’s page and add your link so that others can enjoy your story too! My story starts under the photo.

Mango Tree-barbara-w-beachamShe lived in a mango tree in a small, white, house. The inhabitants of the town wouldn’t even walk on the same side of the street as the tree. “A witch,” some declared. “Off her rocker,” said Mayor George Andrews.

The “NO TRESPASSING” sign on the gate ensured they kept away—not that the town’s children took any notice of the sign. Sunday afternoons saw them sneaking up the stairs to listen to Miss Matilda’s wonderful stories and eat mango ice cream. It didn’t matter what punishment their parents threatened them with, the children knew Miss Matilda was their friend and nothing would persuade them to think otherwise.  Every Sunday they came home with the sweet smell of mango on their breaths and the stars of adventure in their eyes.

This lead to what would become the town’s motto:
“Children will go where through fear, no man goes.”

Posted in Monday's Finish the Story | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments