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Author Profiles

Quick links on this page:

introduction - author profiles

take me back to the hall of fame


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

7 Writing Challenge Books

Flash Fiction Author Profiles

The biographies are presented in two section (Admins and Members). Members appear in alphabetical order. Admins start with Lesley and Michael, who conceived / launched the AotFFWC group, then lists other current admins alphabetically - ladies first, then the gents.

Facebook Group Admins

Lesley Anne Truchet

Lesley Anne Truchet


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

Amanda Garzia

Amanda Garzia

I was born in Canada on the last day of February (no, not a leap year). Love Story by Erich Segal had just ceded the top spot of The New York Times Best Seller list after a whopping 41 weeks and, more pointedly for the purposes of this profile, Judith Kerr’s curiously named novel, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, would soon hit the shelves.

When I was eight, my family and I moved to my parents’ country, the island of Malta. I have been passionate about writing since the age of ten, putting pen to paper in little diaries. As a teenager still pining for the Land of Maple Leaf, I launched Penpal Magazine to keep in touch with friends and family left behind. Armed with a typewriter and a bottle of Tipp-ex, I got my inspiration from Jackie and the know-how from the blueprints delivered to my door courtesy of The Writing School’s correspondence course for aspiring authors.

In 1987, after years of creeping totalitarianism in every sphere of life, there was a change in Government. The University of Malta removed the numerus clausus and re-opened its doors to the Humanities. I opted to study English and Psychology, the subjects on offer which chimed most with my love of writing.

The Sunday Times of Malta’s 'Fashion Supplement' published my first article, titled 'Not so Ready to Wear', in 1998. It was about the mean-spirited manner in which changing-room mirrors bounced back my image every time I was shopping for clothes, my chief complaint being how they mysteriously magnified the bags under my eyes, brightening cream and coverage notwithstanding.

Other articles followed in The Times of Malta, its Sunday edition, and Maltese English-language periodicals. Whilst raising my son and leaving the cooking to my husband (whose chief hobby it is, apart from watching every football league except the local one), I regularly wrote for Child Magazine, a quarterly for parents. The high point of this was being asked to interview Kate Gonzi (wife of the then Prime Minister, Lawrence Gonzi) in 2008, a teacher by profession heavily involved in the promotion of mental health awareness.

Raised bilingual, I have gone over texts by Maltese academics, tweaking them for a more idiomatic expression. This spurred me to apply for a (distance-learning) Masters in Children’s Literature at Roehampton. As a result of my interest in authoritarianism, conflict, and trauma, I wrote a paper about Kerr’s semi-autobiographical novel. My dissertation, 'The Survivor’s Voice in the texts of Johanna Reiss', pursued the theme, comparing this author’s autobiographical novels for children with her memoir for adults. I am now trawling old Maltese newspapers to research the Eighties, aspiring to use that dark period as a backdrop for a work of fiction.

Thrilled to stumble upon Christopher Fielden’s website in time for my stories to appear in the first volume of Adverbially Challenged, I’ve taken part in the challenges with gusto. The regular prompts on the AotFFWC Facebook page have been marvellously engaging and entertaining and instructive, as will also be, for sure, the opportunity to be part of its administration team.

Glo Curl

Glo Curl

I was born in Cornwall, but grew up in Hertfordshire. On leaving school I chose computing as a career as I (logically) reckoned it was a fast growing industry and would keep me in employment (I wish I'd had the same foresight to buy a share in Microsoft 14 years later). I joined a small software company initially as a technical assistant, rising to self-taught programmer. My gradual loss of hearing was making communication and meetings difficult (no workplace disability assistance in those days!) and after 10 years of commuting to leafy Mayfair, I left to do something completely different.

My husband and I moved to Cornwall (coincidentally only a few miles from where my paternal GG grandparents had lived in the 1800s) and ran a photographic printing business for 23 years, before digital came knocking at our door and we decided to retire rather than upgrade. My love of animals has been lifelong, and up until early last year I was a volunteer for a local animal rescue for 4 years, producing a monthly newsletter, overseeing the website and creating content for the Facebook page. I also put together a little book of poems to raise funds for the charity and, having started, continued to write verse and learn a bit more about it. Nowadays, I enjoy developing my poetry, gardening on a small scale and feeding the umpteen birds and other wildlife that visit our modest patch of Cornish paradise that we share with our rescue pets.

I found Chris's website in summer 2020 whilst looking for competition opportunities, having only just discovered flash fiction. Lacking the skill to weave lengthy plots, I could not even begin to contemplate writing a book, but flash has proved to be a welcome additional interest which forces me to delve into my imagination occasionally. It's a great feeling to have work accepted and see one's name in print or on a website; I've had a few poetry successes outside of the group, as well as being one of the happy band of contributors to Chris's anthologies. I enjoy the group challenges although inspiration takes a while to come. But when I am inspired, even the birds can't drag me away from my thoughts.

The Power Of Suggestion

by Glo Curl, published by Secret Attic in autumn 2021

Women would often tell me I had hypnotic eyes but I didn't really believe them—until now. And Kathy fancied me, maybe that made her highly receptive.

When she caught me that afternoon in the safe room of the Hatton Garden jewellers where we worked, pocketing three huge diamonds and a bagful of rubies, it was a cinch to take her in my arms and whisper a few sweet nothings, give her a good snog and then ask her nicely to forget she saw me there.  

"But Dan, how will you get away with it? You know the boss checks the stock every morning."

"I’ll be long gone. That slimy bastard’s been screwing my wife for months. They're probably at it right now, while I'm supposed to be conveniently attending the gem conference," I replied. "This bag of goodies is a small recompense. Maybe they’ll both realise that eventually. Just help me out, eh?"

"Dan, let me come with you."

"Kathy, sweetie, you're great, but honestly it wouldn't work." Taking her hands in mine, I gazed into her unblinking green eyes. "Remember to delete the CCTV before you lock up."

"Yes, Dan."

"I was never here, okay?" My voice was steady. I felt sure I'd got through to her. Of course, I did get through to her, hence my present predicament. 

They detained me at Dover. I assumed Kathy had snitched on me out of spite. In retrospect it was a mistake to boast to the local plods that I'd enjoyed every minute of my revenge.

An hour or so later the arresting officer slapped the handcuffs on and recited the caution. The word 'murder', and the names of my wife and boss, eventually filtered through to my shuttered brain. My legs buckled.

But I had an alibi. Didn't I?

Allen Ashley

Allen Ashley

Allen is an award-winning writer and editor of fiction, poetry and non-fiction. He also works as a creative writing tutor and critical reader / developmental editor. Allen is the founder of the advanced science fiction and fantasy group Clockhouse London Writers and is currently President of the British Fantasy Society. His latest book is the career-spanning poetry collection Echoes from an Expired Earth (Demain Publishing, UK – Kindle 2020, paperback 2021).

So what is Allen doing here?

“I met up with Chris Fielden at a science and science fiction symposium in Bristol a few years back and we got on like a house on fire. Or the Bristolians had nicked all the extinguishers! From there, we conjured up the Sensory Overload Challenge together and I have since contributed to all of Chris’s challenges. I love short-form fiction and I like having fun in what can be an overly serious and sometimes dispiriting writing world. I certainly enjoyed ‘The Great Gatsby’ but I’m sure I’d like ‘The Great Gnat’s Bee’ even more. There’s a new challenge for all of you out there.”

Find Allen on Facebook – it isn’t hard – or go to his website.

Christopher Fielden

Christopher Fielden

There is already far too much information about Chris on this website.

If you'd like to know more, please visit the about page.

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.

Hadlow - Ancient and Modern

by John Notley, published in "Timeless Dreams" by Spotlight Poets in 1998

Astride the Maidstone-Tonbridge Road

a Kentish village lies.

Whose only claim to fame (for some)

a tower which rends the skies.

A thousand years of history

have passed this peaceful place

recording birth and life and death

the moulding of our race.

The Parish Church - its heart - looks on

secure within its doors

which hold the memories of the past

chronicles of tears and wars.

Brass plaques pay homage to the lives

of young men in their prime

and memorials to the hoppers

who died before their time.

The bells ring out each Sunday

to call the faithful few

In nearby Tonbridge High Street

the cash tills ring out too.

Where once the seventh day was quiet

and towns could breathe and rest

now shoppers push and shove each day

not God but man knows best?

Time passes by at breakneck speed

but still some things remain.

A name upon a map, a church

perhaps a country lane.

back to top

Facebook Group Members

Andrew Ball

Andrew Ball

When he’s not trying to write, Andrew Ball raises Black Angus cattle on the banks of the Rappahannock River in tidewater Virginia, USA, an occupation that leaves his mind free to wander. Occasionally, those wanderings turn themselves into stories.

His work has appeared in The Secret Attic, Mocking Heart Review and Reading-Works.org.

In a former life, he was a Professor of Biochemistry and Microbiology, specialising in the secret life of viruses that very few people cared anything about.

In yet another life, he grew up in England.

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.

Boakesey Boakes

Boakesey Boakes

Occupation(s): Currently unable to work due to disability / long term health problems.

Previously primary & secondary teacher – mainly sciences and Maths, but also all other school subjects except Modern Foreign Languages and Politics/Sociology & Economics. Have also worked as a fishmonger, salesperson, local government clerk & spent some time in the armed forces, where I actually did very little, but the bits I did do, if I told you about them, I’d have to shoot you (OJ). I’ve also worked as a freelance photographer and taught photography to adults and kids.

I’m a former Mensa LocSec and ran Special Interest Groups, including a Sherlock Holmes one.

Potted bio: I grew up in north Wales (Welsh is/was my first language) & have worked in various places across the UK and east Africa. I live with PTSD and SAD and have been waiting nearly 3 years to see a psychologist for ‘treatment’. In the interim, I rediscovered my love of writing, thanks to my good pal Janet Lees, who has been running Writing for Well-being workshops here on the Isle of Man, which is where I currently reside.

I am a member of Lapidus International and am about to start training to become a Writing for Well-being facilitator, so I can help Janet provide more workshops for people. Writing, for me, was initially cathartic, but it is now much more. I have a vivid imagination and love creating new characters and worlds for them to exist in. Folklore and mythology is also a big influence, although, as a scientist, I can turn my hand to factual writing too.

I’m also a fledgling poet. My Welsh education taught me that poetry had strict form and metre, so I’ve only recently discovered the joy and freedom of free and blank verse. What a revelation it has been!

I’m keen to help others discover the fun writing brings. I started a local writing group in January and hope it will continue to grow and that we can develop our writing together.

I’ve not submitted anything to publishers yet but hope to do so next year. However, one of my pieces was selected for the Places of Poetry anthology, released on Poetry Day in October. I even got asked to do a book signing (see photo) at my local indy bookshop, which made my head swell to 3 times its normal size, whilst convincing me that yes, maybe I actually am a ‘proper’ writer.

Bob Tateson

Bob Tateson

Robert Tateson was born in Rotherham and took his PhD at Edinburgh University. While working as a geneticist at the Sick Children's Hospital, he had a dream of leaving and writing a SF novel, only to wake up in a steel rolling mill on the edge of Sheffield.

He was eventually washed up on the shores of Orkney where he survived for many years as a
coal man, chimney sweep, crofter and milkman before submitting to fate and becoming the maths/science teacher on the island of Stronsay for 16 years.

He is now retired in Kinlochbervie and has rediscovered his ambition to write.

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.

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. ;-)

NOTE from Chris and the rest of the admin team, added February 2021

With deep sorrow, we announce the passing of Gail Wareham Everett.

Gail was a committed member of this group and a much valued part of our administration team. She has suggested and run many challenges over the years, most notably Gail’s Gladiators, which has resulted in lots of collaborative stories being published. We will continue to run Gladiators in her memory. She also designed Michael's 'Honorary Freedom of the Hall of Fame' certificate and our complex map. Her talents were limitless.

Gail passed away peacefully on the 3rd January 2021 following a short illness. She will be greatly missed.

Helen P Stephens

Helen P Stephens

When I was 9 years old, I had to compose a sentence to demonstrate my understanding of the word 'ambition'. I said, "My ambition is to be an author like Jackie Collins."

Convinced my teacher wouldn't know my favourite authors – Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl – I demonstrated my understanding of the word 'author', by naming the grown up writer that I’d spotted on the front of my sister’s book, which she’d left in the bathroom.

To this day, I’ve not read any Jackie Collins books. But I have it on good authority that she was the queen of the bonk-buster, so I’m sure it got a few laughs in the staff room later that day. Unfortunately I was terrible at grammar and punctuation so, despite it being my lifelong ambition, I didn’t attempt to write anything until 2013, when a certain raunchy trilogy took the world by storm, dividing reviews between those that loved the sexy stuff, and those that hated the writing.

For me, it told me that, even with terrible grammar skills, it was possible to write a novel. So I did. Convinced that stories full of sex hid a multitude of writing sins, I wrote a bonk-buster (under a pen name). And it got published in 2014 by Accent Press. So, I suppose I achieved my ambition, quite literally.

In my real life, I’m a social entrepreneur, involved with a variety of community organisations. I veered slightly down a few odd paths over the years, from taxi driver to web designer, but in lockdown I re-evaluated my life, realised I’d been thrown off course, and decided to return to the writing path. I’m now fondly viewing my twenty years of random jobs as research and anecdote collecting, to prepare me for getting on with the real business of writing non-raunchy fiction.

During lockdown, I wrote my second novel (and started my third), and I ventured over to Christopher Fielden’s website to see if there were any more writing challenges, when I discovered my adverb-riddled flash-fiction happily qualified me to join this here group and so here I am.

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.

Jackie Morris

Jackie Morris

Jackie began writing in 2019, on the first day of her MA in Creative Writing with the Open University. On reflection this was a bold way to 'see if she liked it'. The MA was an immense learning curve, but she is pleased she did it, not least because she met some seriously talented people along the way.

Before the MA, Jackie was a full-time stay at home mother (she can't call herself a housewife, as not much housework is ever done) and before the mothering she was a computer auditor. Her true ambitions lay with the theatre, but there's more money in computer auditing. She still performs in amateur productions and occasionally does stand-up comedy courses in the hope that one day she'll have a decent five-minute set.

Jackie lives in Surrey with one husband, two children, three cats and a dog. Her short story 'Cuckquean' is shortlisted for the Willesden Herald Short Story Competition, 2022. Other work can be found online at Free Flash Fiction and Retreat West and in the 2022 Sydney Hammond Memorial Anthology and 2022 National Flash Fiction Day anthology.

She posts other people's craft advice and her own work her website.

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.

Kay Lesley Reeves

Kay Reeves

Kay Lesley Reeves is a retired teacher and UK ex-pat living in Spain with her husband and cat. She has always loved word games and reads extensively in two languages but only began writing when Covid put an end to more social hobbies. She has had poems and short stories published on Spillwords, and several on line sites plus Zooanthology, The Stars and Moon in the Evening Sky, Together Behind Four Walls. She is proud to have been a winner in a Globe Soup short story competition.

Finding Me

by Kay Reeves

I thought retirement meant the end.

A slow winding down.

Hours spent peacefully,

Patiently waiting,

Gradually fading

Into the long sleep

Of nothingness.

Instead I found a new purpose

A fresh creative me,

Lying in wait,

Hitherto unrecognized.

Now, for me, retirement means

The joy of singing in a choir.

The pleasure of painting.

The rhythmic delight of poetry

And the deep pleasure of prose.

Time to read and visit friends.

Myriad delights that leave no time

To contemplate the hour

When all will end.

Time to spend to change the world

Mend the damage we have done

Leave a place that's filled with peace

And happiness will never cease.

Kelly Jeanne

Kelly Jeanne

I'm Kelly Jeanne, age 64, living in San Diego, California.

I started writing at 13 to escape the reality of my abusive upbringing. It seems my specialty is humorous short stories, having developed my literary voice very early.

Because life had taken me on many unexpected detours, I stopped writing in my mid-30s and didn't start up again until I was 61 when I began writing my memoir. It took me a while to develop the different 'voice' that was needed for my memoir.

Soon after, someone had introduced me to Flash Fiction, where I was able to unleash the voice I so missed when I began writing at age 13. This was a godsend, because my memoir is very dark.

I absolutely love creating satirical stories, where I put my characters in silly, off-the-wall situations. To add insult to injury, I usually give them unusual names and have them come from towns and cities with outlandish names that are not made up. I have so much fun doing this.

I've not had many accomplishments, awards, or honours as a writer. So far, I have had one flash fiction piece published in an online magazine. One of my flash faction pieces, a Christmas childhood memory, was chosen to be included in a Christmas anthology in the winter of 2022. It will be both online as well as in print. Another one of my flash fiction pieces was chosen for an upcoming anthology sometime by the end of 2022, again, both online and in print. I hope to publish my own series of anthologies in due time.

Kiran Ramachandran

Kiran Ramachandran

Greetings from Qatar!

I was born in India in 1977 but I'm also a little bit from Malaysia because my mom's family has been in that country for about a century.

Studied English and Comparative Education at the Universities of Madras and Oxford. Started a PhD in Applied Linguistics at Portsmouth last year (distance mode, unfortunately).

Started my career teaching English then moved to publishing / editing / content development. Since 2007 I've been in the Arabian Gulf where I develop and deliver Technical English courses... well, I try to!

My journey as a writer started with the sort of poetry that went well with acne and silly crushes on pretty teachers. Luckily for the world, not a single line has survived from that phase.

I've tried my hand at plays (defined rather loosely), short stories, some serious poetry (that don't actually carry a statutory health warning!) and finally, the very short story... which is why discovering this lovely online group was a blessing.

(Oh can I include my early career CV here? That was a beautiful work of non-creative fiction!)

Never actually took serious efforts to get published which is why I only have a few stories in anthologies and on websites here and there and, in 2022, a slim collection of flash fiction. I've been organising a creative writing club in Doha fairly successfully for a few years.

Super-glad to join this community. Just reading the author profiles was a great joy! Look forward to being part of the shared creativity.

Klaus Gehling

Klaus Gehling

Born and raised without television in Germany, my family members were manic readers and radio listeners. "Your son has too much fantasy and he's always hatching some plan to fool around," my German teacher complained. But finally he pinned my first poem on the pin board at school.

In order to cure me of living on clouds, my father forced me to start an apprenticeship as a drawer. I got through by the skin of my teeth. But well done, Dad! Later, I was able to make money to fund my study. So, I wasn't strapped for cash as a student.

I studied sociology, social science, history and chiefly psychology in Göttingen, a wonderful old town with ivy covered university buildings.

After further education I worked as a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist. Nowadays, I’m still involved in the occasional professional education.

There’s no doubt, my writing has been tremendously influenced by my profession. My South African partner and I annually visit her country for some months. This fascinating place has a huge impact on my writing as well. It has widened my perspective greatly.

I’m a plot-driven writer. English is my second language, which makes it quite challenging when I’m on platforms such as this. But the admins are wonderful and very encouraging.

I play the guitar and chess. These hobbies make up a huge part of my day.

Madelaine Taylor

Madelaine Taylor

I’m a 46 year old Northumbrian that loves the history and traditions of the area. I spent my early adult years in theatre and folk clubs, playing, singing, acting and learning about the technical side of the performing arts. Then I moved into teaching, living in various cities in the UK and abroad before coming back home in 2018.

I started writing back in September 2019 after I signed up for a creative writing night class at my local education centre. Armed with a continuously topped up supply of tea bags, a warm blanket and a story that had been buzzing around my head for a few years, I sat down to write a book. It took a long time; many, many, days of getting nowhere or not liking what I’d written. Lots of arranging and re-arranging and lots and lots of distractions before I was ready for anyone to read it. During that time I started writing little scenes, snippets of tales that might develop into something bigger or one off pieces that I hoped would make people smile or squirm. Writing flash fiction for my course and micro stories for other people’s websites. I found I loved the journey that each piece took me on, even if I wasn’t always sure about the destination.

My first book, The Elemental Stone is a fantasy novel, and is on Amazon now. Its sequel is sitting as a very rough first draft on my computer and I’m putting short, free to read, prequel stories on my website here. I’ve had other fiction and non-fiction pieces published on websites and in compilation books by wonderfully creative people that know more about that kind of thing than I do and, more importantly, I’ve met some wonderful, creative and friendly people along the way!

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.

Maria Thomas

Maria Thomas

I'm a 50 year old mum of two and I always wanted to be a writer. Crucially, I never had the guts to do anything about it and I fell into project management jobs in financial services and found that I'm quite good at getting things done, which people appreciate. I'm currently the Lead of a Technical Compliance and Governance team for the commercial transformation arm of a big retail bank, so my working life is filled with risk and control. Something no one grows up wanting to do!

Anyway, back to writing. I'd dabbled a little with Facebook posts about my mum, who died when I was 18, and got a fair amount of praise for them. I had a number of ideas for novels written down but didn't know where to start, so did nothing about them. When Lockdown 1 hit, work asked some of us to reduce our hours to 3 days a week. I knew I'd drive my family insane if I was bored, so I signed up for a creative writing course and it's gone from there. At the end of the course, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I was invited to join one Facebook group, which led to me discovering how much I enjoyed writing flash fiction, which led to here.

I've done a lot more research since then on how successful writers write and realised we all have the same fears and difficulties and ways through them, and that's been really encouraging. I've read Joanne Harris's Ten Things About Writing and I've watched both Neil Gaiman's and Judy Blume's MasterClasses and found them so useful in helping me move forward. And then writing flash fiction has been really helping me nail my style and what I like to write about - which is feelings and emotions.

So, I plan to continue to participate here and in the meantime I have two books on the go, one of which is really about my mum, who still provides so much inspiration and is dearly missed. Who knows if they'll ever see the light of day. For now, I'm enjoying the creative process and am delighted and surprised by what comes out of me!

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!

Rosie Cullen

Rosie Cullen

I was born in Dublin. During my childhood my parents emigrated to Australia and their stories and my own memories formed the inspiration for my debut novel in 2021, The Lucky Country, a sweeping exploration of dislocation amongst the immigrants and indigenous people of Australia. We returned to Ireland but eventually made the move to England.

My career has taken me from working in theatre to writing for stage (Royal Shakespeare Company, Contact Theatre etc.) and following an MA in screenwriting to writing for screen and TV. I have been an Arts Council Writer in Prison and taught scriptwriting at various universities.

My work is now focussed on prose, I am currently working on a series of historical crime novels set in the eighteenth century, a psychological suspense novel and a folk horror novella. I also love flash fiction. Ever since I won the Charleston Small Wonders Slam, I have been increasingly penning short stories and flash and, pre-COVID, attending spoken word events. I have been published in MONO, Glittery Literary, Worktown Words, 50Give or Take, The Copperfield Review, Flash Fiction North and others.

Currently I live in Manchester and I am fortunate to belong to the amazing South Manchester Writers group which has been a tremendous source of encouragement, inspiration and friendship.

I was delighted to appear in the 81 Words Anthology and hope to connect more with the writers in this group.

The Gospels of Innish Bawn, by Rose Cullen

It is only I who am left, on this jagged rock, with guillemots and kittiwakes for company. Yesterday, I buried Brother Fintan in a shallow pit and covered him with slabs of granite in the crowded cemetery. He was my uncle and it was he who brought me here.

My parents died of fever and I, a child of seven years, was like to follow. Then Fintan arrived at our bothy on his way to join the monks of this sea tossed isle. My only kin. I often wonder why he did not leave me with some village woman. Perhaps, he feared that I should be ill-treated or sold into slavery. I like to imagine that during the weeks of my recovery my uncle grew fond of me and could not bear to be parted from my affection—although, in later years, he must greet all outward show with a blow from his staff until I learnt to keep my love for him as hidden as myself.

He was mindful of his sinning against The Rule; it weighed heavily. He bade me take the name of Cormac and guarded me close. My hair was shaved back to a high forehead like his own. There are those who call for us to cut our locks and adopt the roman tonsure. I hope not. I have no cause for vanity, but once, in a piece of glass, I saw my flowing auburn tresses, my eyes of deep sea-green, my moon pale face, and was startled by my own beauty.

This is a bleak and savage place. Sheer and forbidding. Blasted by storms and chill winds. We cling to steep sides with only a slender niche between two craggy outcrops on which to build the crude stone dwellings of our monastery and cultivate a small thin plot, mulched with seaweed. We catch what we can from the sea, net birds and scramble for their eggs. There are few visitors and whilst they may bring gifts of honey and mead it is the ingredients for our life's work that the monks most crave. The lapis lazuli. The cornelian. The flecks of gold.

All my childhood was spent in the Scriptorium under the tutelage of my uncle. To become his equal in talent. My fingers are ink-stained black. We labour on The Gospels of Innish Bawn. They are the light and joy of my days, for which I endure all hardships. From the first, Brother Fintan marvelled at my quickness; how deftly my fingers fashioned and held a quill, how eager I was to gobble up each word—not simply to scribe but to understand. From rough practice on coarse hides, my skill flowered on to the fine smooth vellum of our gospels. And it was not simply at writing that I excelled but in the depiction of all manner of beasts and demons and holy men of god. My uncle took this as a sign that we were blessed, for his own eyes were fading.

Once, when I found the sharp gaze of our abbot narrowed on me, I flushed and trembled that he had pierced my disguise. I felt his salty breath on the soft down of my cheek.

Your gift honours the Lord, Brother.

I sighed with gratitude.

My gentle brothers are gone. Taken by the pestilence. My eyes strain out across the roiling waters to catch sight of the boat which must one day come. And yet, even as I yearn toward the sliver of land which lies shrouded on the slate grey horizon, I dread approach. Without the protection of my uncle I am discovered and undone. Worse, my holy brothers shall be defamed as I am branded their sinful temptress.

And who should then credit the artistry of my hand? My decade long of toil? Or permit me to continue?

I pray to finish our glorious Illumination. The days pass in a fury. No one comes. Then, of lapis lazuli mere grains remain, of gold a few specks and of the cornelian—which makes such a brilliant red, there is none.

I contemplate the final page. The last sacred words outlined in charcoal black. It is not enough. Here should be both terror and ecstasy.

I know what I must do.

I stand now on the cliff edge, pale with coming death. My life blood has seeped from the slits in my wrist but I have used it wisely. The iron red juice bled into a mix which swirls and dances across the parchment. Shades which conjure fire and death melding into colours which rise in radiance to speak of unbridled life.

And one last; in the margin I have signed my name and it is not Cormac.


'The Gospels of Innish Bawn' first published in Masks Anthology 7, Worktown Live, and online in the US in The Copperfield Review, May 2021.

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.

Tony Thatcher

Tony Thatcher

The path I have followed has, like most people, been that of career and family. A degree in industrial design from Leicester Poly led to work in England and France. Much of this has been in the design of children's toys and I was a key player in the team that created Polly Pocket.

I have also worked in animation in the UK and Germany and as well as moving models a little bit and taking a photo, I was involved in producing the scripts and storyboards.

Possibly because he was not offered an alternative, my son listened to stories I had written for him. By the time he went to school our favourite game was penning new ideas and after we had reconfirmed that 'R' is for road, many plots, twists and gags came out of car journeys. And yes, it is possible these have been used in my work without attribution.

His taste has moved on but I am still writing the novel inspired by his young adult reading. Needing to improve, I joined a local writing group and was guided to Chris Fielden's excellent website. Tempted as much by the possibilities of earning from writing as by the joy of flash fiction and short story telling, I found the satisfaction of actually completing and submitting work. I have yet to be placed in a competition but have been published in Green Prints – The Weeders Digest with a story I had read at the Wells Festival of Literature.

I like to think this latter piece meets my writing aim of lightly carrying its message.

The novel is nearing completion now and when I'm not working on it I write to read at spoken word events. This brings together my love of performing from years of playing live music, developing viable new ideas and characters, drafting stories as if they were screenplays and adding the humour from my occasional spots at comedy stand up shows. And for inspiration from the journey, I sometimes travel to gigs on my old motorbike.

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Kelly J
What a handsome bunch you all are! I am so proud and humbled to be included with all of you experienced and talented authors and writers. You put me to shame. It's an honor to be a member of Authors of the Flash Fiction Writing Challenges! I couldn't go with the initials this time folks. Had to spell it all out. Kelly Jeanne.

Chris Fielden
Thank you, Kelly - very much appreciated :)