Sunday, 30 October 2016


The key’s smaller than most of the others on the bunch, but you can pick it out easily because it is always slick with fresh blood. Some magic keeps it that way, never dripping, never drying, never rubbing off onto the other keys or onto your fingers. Not until you choose that one, put it in the lock, open the door.

I know she’s looked at it. They all do. Perfectly reasonable, a bit of curiosity. It’s only to be expected when something so mysterious is forbidden to you. And there’s always a chance everything’s going to work out this time – if all she does is look.

Sunday, 23 October 2016


The miller’s wife lifts her skirt hem to her knees and pounds up the stairs. She throws open the bedroom door and the sour smell of yesterday’s drink hits her as her husband shifts and moans in the big bed. He groans louder and pulls the covers over his head as she unhooks the shutter and pushes it back so that a shaft of bright midday sunshine falls over him.

She perches gently beside the hump under the covers and lays a hand on him. She can hardly contain her excitement, but if this great smelly lump of a husband of hers has achieved what she thinks he’s achieved, it’s only reasonable to be gentle with him.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

SNIPPETS Invitation

“For goodness’ sake!” her stepmother muttered. “We really don’t have time for this. Go on, girls, the carriage is waiting. I’ll just be a moment.”

The girl hesitated before setting her foot on the next step down, watching her sisters disappear, smirking.

“I’m waiting for an explanation,” her stepmother said.

The girl took two more steps down, cautiously because suddenly the too-big shoes seemed far more of a problem than they had when she had put them on in her room.

Friday, 14 October 2016


I’ve been coming here for more than half of my life. If you add up all the days I’ve spent here, it won’t add up to much, not compared to all the other days I’ve spent in other places. But it’s the coming back, that’s what’s important. That’s what makes it feel like home.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

SNIPPETS Beanstalk

From his bedroom window the plant had looked shiny in the early morning sun, but close to it was only the smooth, glossy dark, green leaves that shone. The stalk was paler, rougher, almost the texture of the big chestnut tree at the far side of the meadow that he used to climb to hide from his mother.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Happily ever after

I’ve been writing fairy tale pieces – as you may already know – and I’m also finishing off a young adult novel which will be published in December and it’s led me to think about happy ever afters.
It’s the ‘ever’ that bothers me. I mean, if you’re always happy, is it possible to appreciate the fact that you’re happy? And doesn’t it get a bit boring, constant happiness? Basically, if you’re going to be prosaic about it, I can’t see how ‘happy ever after’ is realistic.

Sunday, 2 October 2016


So I’m on my way through the forest, setting each paw down very gently as I walk because, even if I’m not hungry, it’s such fun to see the way everyone stands stock-still and stares when I appear from nowhere, just before they scarper. Honestly, do they think I’d let them actually see me if I wanted to eat them? They have no idea of the skill it takes to be a successful predator.