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Author Profiles

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introduction - author profiles

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Introduction

Below are some profiles of authors that have submitted to many of the writing challenges and are active members of the AOFFWC Facebook group.

7 Writing Challenge Books

Flash Fiction Author Profiles

The biographies are presented in two section (Admins and Members) in alphabetical order.

Facebook Group Admins

Gail Everett

Gail Everett

I began writing fiction at the age of three, when I penned and illustrated a brief and tediously repetitive tale about a character I called The Shy Indain. My spelling was clearly a tad suspect, but the story survives to this day – after my mother died and I was dealing with her personal effects, I discovered that she had kept it, in spite of the fact that it had been written on something which looks suspiciously like Izal toilet paper. I can only hope that no one else in the family was caught short by my short story.

Apart from the other tales I wove for my mother when I was a teenager, and late home yet again on a Saturday night, I didn't return to fiction until sixty years had passed, by which time I had exhausted most other possibilities for enjoyable pastimes in which to engage whilst sitting down.

Having decided that I would make a belated attempt at getting a degree, I signed up for BA Arts and Humanities with the Open University, and decided to take Creative Writing as my specialisation. When younger, I had chosen to go to a vocational art college instead of university, and forged a career in design during my working life. I moved through the ranks to become a junior designer, senior designer, art director and ultimately, studio manager. I didn’t enjoy that last position, and after the day job had beaten me to a pulp, I left.

I then took a City & Guilds course in ceramics and eventually became a craft potter, with an emphasis on hand built work in Celtic knotwork designs inspired by my love of Irish art and culture, which had begun many years previously with a chance encounter in the school library with the Book of Kells. When I was in my early forties, the Riverdance phenomenon inspired me to take up Irish dancing, and I also learned to play the bodhran, but on hearing my efforts, one could be forgiven for wondering if the goat were still in the drumskin.

I am now fully retired, and having quit town life, I live in Darkest Devon – where it rains six days in seven, my home is in a village which is the next best thing to the back end of nowhere, and I am owned by three black cats, who are the light of my life.

Finally – having put on far too much weight, the resemblance between truth and reality has now become somewhat distorted, as I no longer look exactly like my profile picture. This was taken about seven years ago, but I’m too bloody vain and idle to change it. ;-)

Lesley Anne Truchet

Lesley Anne Truchet

AMBITION? OR NECESSITY?

When the government upped the retirement age for women in the UK, it didn’t suit my circumstances at all! I explored various ideas of self-employment enabling me to work from home in France and decided that my writing ambition had been simmering on the back burner for long enough.

I launched myself into an online writing group, making a commitment to the exceptionally talented Chris Fielden, Michel Rumsey and others, plus engaging myself with other writing associated activities. It’s been five years since I began writing from home and my self-employment writing idea has earned me just about enough to buy a week’s shopping, and I’m not talking prestige supermarket prices. No matter, I enjoy my writing and that’s more important than being as rich as J K Rowling, sigh.

So, I plod on, hoping for a smidgen of fame in order to leave my footprint on record, no matter how small, (or large) it may be.

Sir Michael of Rumsey

Michael Rumsey

Hi, I am Michael Rumsey, originally from Ipswich, Suffolk, UK, now retired and living in Athens, Greece. I ‘met’ Chris a few years ago when surfing the net for story competitions and thanks to that had success with three on his list.

Once the challenges started, it was a red rag to this bull and so far I have charged my way into all of them. My first ever published short story dates back to BCP (before cut & paste). I have stories of 4,000 plus words to my credit but tend these days towards flash, Ad Hoc for example.

Like most, I get an assortment of rejections upon which I give myself a slap on the wrist. It is now swollen beyond recognition. I have written several non-fiction articles and a few short bios that saw the light of day. I also enjoy writing book reviews and most recently have been gathering brownie points from reviews on Trip Advisor.

I was delighted when asked to help with this page. From day one, I have been amazed by smart comments and clever submissions from you. Many times I think I wish I had thought of that and now I look forward to seeing your own Member Profile.

Find out more about me on Facebook.

Michael is also the first knight of this flash fiction realm. Below is the proof in the form of an official decree / certificate thingamajig.

Knight Certificate

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Facebook Group Members

Barbara Noble

Barbara Noble

The original ‘scribbling child’, I have written poems and short stories since around the age of 10. One of the first poems I wrote at the age of 12 (58 years ago), won a school prize and was featured in the local newspaper . (I’ve included it at the end of this profile.)

A graduate in Business Studies and a linguist speaking fluent French, German and Mandarinin, in my mid 30s, I travelled the world as a free-lance interpreter working occasionally for the then EEC Commission in Brussels, and also living and working for a time in West Berlin.

During the 1980's, I chaired Royston Writers' Circle for a few years. Poetry has always been my first love, and I have recently completed, writing out by hand, three hard backed books containing every poem I have ever written, which will be going into the memory boxes I have made for my three children.

I have never really been that interested in sending any of my work off for publication, although a few of my poems have appeared in various small press poetry magazines over the years, such as Robooth publications. I have also written a novel entitled Moonstruck on the Bi-Polar Express, for which I have never sought publication (lest my children might want to read it LOL) – but I'm no Sylvia Plath.

At the start of the Millenium, I lived and worked on and off in Bodrum, where among other things I wrote a small column for the Bodrum Observer newspaper, subsequently becoming fluent in the Turkish language. But my biggest claim to fame has been translating a 400 page novel written by the Turkish author and environmentalist, Akin Tekin. The book, The Ownerless Planet, was subsequently made into a film which won an award at the Cannes film festival. I was going through quite an upheaval in my private life during the year I spent working on the translation of this book with Akin & his family, and it became not just a labour of love, but proved to be quite cathartic for me personally. Akin wrote a really sweet acknowledgement at the end of the book, praising my work, which I will treasure forever. I think the book is still available on Amazon and I have quite a few copies left in my writing room.

I returned to live in the UK full time in 2015. Now that I am 'retired', my interests include travel, languages (I have always been interested in exploring different cultures), poetry, buying and selling antiques, auction hunting, spirituality and exploring and writing with other collaborators about the possibilities for global unity and world peace.

A Poet's Lament In The Year 3000

(Written in 1962 at the age of 12)

The works of ancient poets are still alive today –

Oh how I wish that I could boast the things they used to say.

Alas in this strange world there are no longer flowers

Whose beauty inspired poets to sit and write for hours.

The sweet smell of birds singing is now no longer heard –

All I can claim is the memory of hearing one blackbird.

The sky is never blue now, it’s always dull and grey

And everything seems dreary since laughter went away.

People never smile now, they’re waiting for the end,

For soon machines will rule the world, and humans they will send

Away to some lost planet where day and night are one.

We’re living in this fear now, and soon the time will come

When they whom we invented will banish us from earth,

And all too late we’ve realised and now know the true worth

Of simple things forgotten in the race to get ahead,

So now we pay the awful price and live our lives in dread.

Cathy Cade

Cathy Cade

I live with my husband and dogs, mostly in the Cambridgeshire Fens and sometimes in the shadow of London’s Epping Forest, following a career in libraries where creative writing opportunities were limited to annual reports. Since retirement, I’ve concentrated on a different kind of fiction and joined our local U3A creative writing group.

For me, the hardest part is thinking up story ideas, which is where the pressure to come up with something in less than a month – either for the writing group or for Chris’s website challenges – is proving invaluable. Most of my current output is short stories and flash fiction since parking my practice novel while I learned to write. I also learned to line-edit and format for publication by compiling the anthology published by our writing group, the Whittlesey Wordsmiths.

My attempts at verse have been honed by years of rhyming treasure hunt clues and owe more to Pam Ayres than Betjeman or Chesterton. Examples can be seen at Commaful and on my website.

Instead of budgets and report deadlines, my targets now involve word counts and competition deadlines (for no remuneration worth mentioning), but I’m having more fun.

David Silver

David Silver

I stumbled into journalism in 1963 after leaving school at 15 following scant exam success. I have worked as a reporter, sub-editor and comedic (some would disagree) columnist on several newspapers in the Greater Manchester area, most latterly the Bolton Evening News (now the Bolton News).

One of my favourite moments back in the day was meeting movie legend Warren Beatty who was filming on location in Manchester for his then latest production, Reds. I took my wife with me and she lay her hand on his arm, cooing, "I've been a fan of yours for many years." To which I butted in, "But she married me anyway." Mr Beatty actually laughed. Returning home, Mrs S clutched Mr Beatty's autograph to her bosom and swore she would keep it forever. Three days later, she lost it.

I took retirement (seriously knackered) in 2002, and from 2011-2016 wrote a light-hearted column, 'Smile with Silver', for The Courier, a Spain-based weekly newspaper for British expats.

With my passable knowledge of how the English language works, I took up Chris Fielden's challenges and found the activity shocked my brain out of its stagnant state. Thank you, Chris.

I have two children, three grandchildren and a clapped-out Polo destined for the old Volks home. These days, I wear an affable facial expression to conceal the fact that I no longer have a clue as to what's going on in the real world.

Derek McMillan

Derek McMillan

Derek McMillan lives in Durrington with his wife, Angela, who is also his editor. He writes book, film and TV reviews as well as short stories for publications in the UK, USA and Canada. His latest book is called Darkness in Durrington and is available on Amazon.

He also runs a blog for short stories which has been visited by 8,000 visitors at the time of writing. It aims to encourage flash fiction in the Worthing area but has also had contributors from the USA, Australia, New Zealand and India.

Eileen Baldwin

Eileen Baldwin

My name is Eileen Baldwin, aged 73. Born in London.

Married 51 years. Mother of 3 daughters, and Nan Bee to 4 Grandchildren.

Hobbies: Writing flash fiction, I knit and crochet.

My main job is caring for my disabled daughter with my husband.

Writing has always been my go to, since I was little. I went to Charles Dickens infants and juniors schools, then secondary school. The teachers encouraged me to write stories.

I won a voucher for a story I wrote aged about 9, from a local company who set it up for school children.

I have some of my poetry in anthology books and also a life story about my disabled daughter. This in print with other authors.

In 2016, I was invited to write a story about the queen via a competition run by the local library. I compared her coronation and her 90th birthday to my life at those moments. I’m proud to say I was runner up and I read out my story to an audience with the Mayor in attendance.

Recently, I actually came first in a space competition. This time my poetry won. A special moment, it was on 25th anniversary, National Poetry Day.

I wrote short stories for my children in the 70's -80's and was also asked to be a volunteer at 2 local schools. I loved hearing the children read. I would reward them with a story of poem, including their names, after the teacher had checked them first.

I did suffer writers block recently. But thanks to the Authors of Flash Fiction Challenge group and Chris Fielden, I found fun in writing again.

Ibukun Keyamo

Ibukun Keyamo

Writing has always been my favorite thing to do. When I'm happy, I write, I'm sad, I write, I don't know what in the world I'm feeling, I write. It's immensely calming and satisfying to be able to see whatever wild plot was rushing through my head right there on paper.

I haven't been around very long I'm afraid, so my profile is not-so-surprisingly brief.

My name is Ibukun Keyamo and I'm 16. I was born in Nigeria and have lived here all my life. I'm a Bachelor of Arts undergraduate at the University of New Brunswick. I still have no clue as to what to major in although I'm leaning towards Psychology since I find the human brain extremely interesting.

My hobbies? Thumbing through a good book (although those are getting increasingly difficult to find), catching up on whatever television series has caught my attention and I recently took up photography.

I'm a book reviewer for OnlineBookClub.org. I recently got two of my stories published in an Anthology called N'Badan Lawa roughly translating to In Our City, Ibadan which was endorsed by the governor and I have a blog titled Everything Nigeria. I have written a few novels, all unpublished, but I had never considered writing Flash Fiction until I came across Chris Fielden's website while searching for story competitions online. And now I'm hooked.

Johanna McDonald

Johanna McDonald

I have only recently started writing following many years of wanting to.

 I'm not sure what stopped me in the past but I decided last year to go to creative writing classes. I completed the basic course and have since done a couple of advanced courses.

I have written a couple of children's stories that I will send off to be published one day. Not sure what's holding me back from doing that...

I enjoy writing short fiction and recently have joined a writing group that my fellow writing students have started up: 'South Hampshire writing group'. We meet monthly and do writing exercises and discuss competitions etc. Our aim is to self publish an anthology of short stories later this year.

By day, I am a practice nurse looking after the health needs of the people of Eastleigh.

I enjoy cooking, reading, playing guitar (badly) and walking my little dog.

John Notley

John Notley

I was born in Forest Hill, S.E. London five years before WW2 (this makes me an oldie I suspect) and spent 40 years of married life in the village of Hadlow, Kent. My father joined the London Metal Exchange as a boy of 15 and served them for 50 years before retiring as Secretary. By contrast, my own working life involved many changes and, in his eyes, I was a rolling stone.

I left Alleyn's School, Dulwich at 16 and was employed as an office boy by a local newspaper company; my ambition then was to become a journalist. After two years I was called up for National Service in the army, most of this time spent in Egypt. Upon my return, for some unknown reason, I joined a London travel agency and from then on moved a number of times before ending up with my own small travel shop (Angel Travel) in Kent.

I was awarded a B.A. by the Open University in 1976 after six years of study and it was about then that I started to write short stories and poems, some of which were published. Since my retirement (during which I have taken on a number of part-time jobs including estate agency) I spend my time between the U.K. and Thailand where I do most of my writing.

I came across Chris by entering To Hull and Back in 2016 and since then have enjoyed the fun and inspiration which he provides.  Long may he reign.

Maggie Elliot

Maggie Elliot

My friends call me Maggie, among other things. Taking a creative writing course at the local arts centre when I retired awakened a desire to put pen to paper. Well, fingers to computer to be more accurate, but you get the gist.

The course produced an anthology which didn’t get published for three years, but I was elated to finally see my efforts in print. A poem I created whilst attending the course, 'Picture Me Calm', won third prize in the Swanwick Summer School poetry competition in 2017.

Entering Christopher Fielden’s writing challenges boosted my confidence enormously each time one of my entries was accepted. I have entries in both Sensorially Challenged Vol I and II, more pending publication and stories in two other anthologies.

It’s a pleasure to be part of  this Flash Fiction Group where I am learning loads.

Born in Scotland, I enlisted in the Women’s Royal Air Force at the age of 17 and travelled around the globe for 18 years ending up in Oxfordshire.

Why I write: Life provides everyone with unique experiences; some good, some bad. Sharing those experiences can have a positive effect on others as well as ourselves.

If I can write something that makes people’s lives just that little bit happier or give them an escape for a short period of time, then I feel I have achieved something from my efforts.

I don’t have ambitions of becoming a famous author, or a full-time writer. I simply write for pleasure.

Performing on stage for nearly thirty years with amateur dramatics taught me that entertaining people provides a natural high for both parties. If I can continue to entertain others with my writing, however briefly, I will consider my time well spent.

I live with five cats and watch classic comedies on television whilst my knitting needles produce a variety of goods for animal charities.

Majella Pinto

Majella Pinto

I am named after St. Gerard of Majella, the patron Saint of expectant mothers. Born in India, I moved to California as an adult and live here with my husband and two sons. I work in Silicon Valley to indulge my left brain, and my spare time is dedicated to my right brain which pampers itself in artistic and literary pursuits.

You may see some of my artwork at: www.artbymajella.com.

If this were the 5th century, I’d be a happy Abbot in a Byzantine monastery writing icons, praying, and filled with gratitude for the simple pleasures of time and solitude.

If this were the 15th century, I’d be the first female explorer, disguised as Ganymede discovering new lands, beating the Columbus’s and his likes.

If I had Aladdin’s lamp, I’d ask for a ride on the magic carpet and some extra wishes to shadow the jesters and clowns at the courts of Akbar the Great, Tipu Sultan the Tiger of Mysore, and Elizabeth the II. I wouldn’t mind an opportunity to interview Tughlaq either.

In the early 1900’s, I’d have emerged as a feminist freedom fighter alongside the idealists who won the War of Independence for a Democratic India, an India for all, regardless of religion and caste.

If I were Cinderella, I’d ask my fairy Godmother for three wishes: to wipe away poverty, to make all men and women kind and to free us all from our shackles.

Here I am in 2020, happy to be in my corner as wife, a working mother, a writer, an artist and praying in little bytes, not aspiring to be a saint, not yet.

Malcolm Richardson

Malcolm Richardson

Hi, I'm Malcolm. I've been writing fiction over ten years now. In earlier days I wrote a number of articles that appeared in a cycling magazine, reports on races and an interview! I started creative writing by joining a 'lifelong learning' course at a local university. It turned out to be a critique group and new starters were encouraged to think of a character and start writing a novel. Talk about jumping in the deep end!

After a few years wading through treacle the focus shifted to short stories, one to two thousand words. The intention was to produce a group anthology. Two anthologies were produced and I had two stories in each. Published on a print on demand site, the only sales were to group members.

Just over a year ago I joined a free online course aimed at beginners and those looking for a refresh. A great six week course led to the creation of an online Facebook writing group for course members. The main focus of the group tends to be flash fiction but members also engage in short stories, novels and poetry. This has encouraged me to be more prolific and so far this year I've won a flash fiction competition with several runners up places. Chris's challenges were highlighted to the group and this is how I became involved. I've had stories published in two challenges so far and have a number of others accepted for forthcoming volumes.

You can find out more about me on my website.

Matilda Pinto

Matilda Pinto

I am Matilda, an Indian just turned seventy. I love life to the hilt and often run out of fingers and toes when having to count the many blessings I’ve savoured all through life.

Born into a huge family of eight siblings, each different as chalk from cheese, growing up with them on a coffee plantation was a rich adventure. A life abounding in lessons learnt every day on sharing and caring for the animals around, for each other, and the bonds we nurtured with the neighbourhood folks regardless of their religion, rank and reserves as also nature as our source of sustenance was indeed rewarding.

Born in the post-independent era, my parents had a hard time raising this family, leave alone providing for books and toys. So much so, I read the monthly issue of the Reader's Digest time and over till the postman knocked on my door with the next issue. As a young girl, I recall having read Pride and Prejudice nine times for want of a library in town. Nevertheless, life offered chronicles good enough for stories ranging from mud-water fishing, setting up traps to catch wild boars to harvesting berries from the wilderness to engage my interest and fire my imagination.

In my close-knit village at Anandapura, to the South of Kodagu, India, everyone trusted everyone else and life was marked by sheer simplicity. Having imbibed this quality, I grew up making some trustworthy friends along the way. Foremost in the list is the elderly Sri Lankan widow of a doctor who I befriended at a park in the US, who ended up caring for my grandchild for five long years so that his parents could focus on their careers. Then comes the Filipino whose memory I cherish to this day, who kept home for them for fifteen years with implicit faith. Further, a host of friends at home keep a close watch over me under the trying circumstances with COVID19 lurking around. Friendship forged at every stage of my life has been so favourable that I deem it as nothing short of a miracle, wrought by trust.

Further, the company of my grandchildren has given me the resolve and a reason to make the most of my existence and leave behind heart-warming memories of a grandmother that will not be easy to forget. Narrating stories, familial, social, historical, religious, or otherwise and being their inimitable friend is a part of this aspiration.

I consider Christopher Fielden who has enhanced my zest for life as yet another blessing. I’m ever thankful to him for the challenges with which he has fuelled my creativity. Prior to the challenge, I had published a novel titled Fisticuffs of the Soul and a few short stories at Twist & Twain and then there was this long hiatus. I’m at it again, going tap, tap, to create an evening’s worth of stories for my readers. How I wish I had started writing earlier than I did. But then, each one must wait for one’s experiences and wisdom to convene for a creative outburst. Sounds so like Shakespeare who said, "There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune." My moment is at hand, and here I go exploring new grounds.

Paul and Yvonne Mastaglio

Paul and Yvonne Mastaglio

I started writing during 2018, finally succumbing to an urge that had been with me for years. My late dad used to write short stories and that influenced me to try for myself.

At first, I stumbled about, not getting anywhere but then enrolled on a couple of writing courses. One with the Writers Bureau and the second with Chris Fielden. Both proved extremely helpful and enjoyable to do. They definitely contributed in me having a little success in that I achieved 2nd place in a micro-flash competition and was short-listed in a short story competition in 2019.

My wife, Yvonne, has chipped in with ideas that led to another of my micro-flash stories being 'Highly Commended'. Yvonne, also, had a 100 word story 'Highly Commended' in a competition.

I have enjoyed taking part in Chris's writing challenges and would be thrilled if these were published with my contributions in them.

We are retired and our other interests include target archery, reading, cinema, theatre and fell walking. Yvonne also skis. Toby, our cat, should get a mention, otherwise he'll get upset!

Sarah Mosedale

Sarah Mosedale

I only started writing flash in 2018 so am a beginner with lots to learn. I wrote massively as a kid and am now returning to creative writing at the end of a varied working life which has included some academic / technical writing. If you really want to read my co-authored book Regulation, Markets and Poverty or one of my academic papers or policy briefs, give me a shout :-)

I have read widely and voraciously all my life (crime, sf, classical and modern literature, the back of cereal packets etc.) so am always amused when advised to read more as I suspect it would be physically impossible. Though it's fair to say I am now reading more short stories and flash. To be honest I didn't even know flash existed till about a year ago. I am a relatively untaught, seat of the pants type writer, love working from prompts, just seeing what comes out.

I feel very lucky to have got to a place in my life where my time is my own. I’m writing for fun, for intellectual stimulation and probably, at this stage, still for therapeutic purposes. I am told this phase will pass quite soon for which any readers will probably be grateful. I was thrilled to be longlisted for the autumn Flash 500 competition and am delighted to have discovered the flash writing and open mic community both on Twitter and in Manchester, UK, where I live.

Find me on Twitter.

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