The Seesaw of Isolation

Will anyone come to save him? Last night, four feet of water swept into Pieter’s house, leaving him beached upstairs like a whale on the shore. The only way he’ll get out anytime soon is if someone comes to get him, and that’s dependent on anyone remembering he’s here….

My little story, The Seesaw of Isolation, won joint third prize in the 2020 Yeovil Short Story competition. Now, it’s been recorded by Tempest Productions, beautifully read by Stephen Blake. Click here to listen.

Forest Bathing swims to the Top

Absolutely over the moon to see my little story, Forest Bathing, take first prize in one of my favourite competitions run by Bridgend Writers’ Circle. You can read the story and those of the other winners here. This somewhat strange and rather dark story was sparked by long woodland walks during the second (winter) lockdown when rivers ran high and imagination roamed free!

Many thanks to all at Bridgend for choosing my story as their winner (for the second time!)

Road to Nowhere goes somewhere!

Flash 500 is one of my favourite competitions. Their quarterly 500-word limit story competition is always a challenge, but their annual short story competition is, for me, the greatest pinnacle to aspire to. So I was shocked and delighted to discover I’d been awarded first prize in this year’s competition. The judge’s comments were the icing on the cake!

You can read The Road to Nowhere here.

Utilising the Power of Suggestion

I’m delighted to report that this month a short, short story of mine won second prize in a competition run by Writing Magazine. It’s lovely to have the exposure of being published in such a significant journal and to receive the judges’ feedback.

They wrote:

“What works so beautifully in this story is the way Dianne uses the gaps in the story, and the power of suggestion, so that everything is implied and nothing is spelled out. The reader sees everything from the perspective of the unnamed child in the close third-person narrative, picking up and piecing together clues and scraps of information.

Everything jars and creates a sense of unease. There’s the barren feel of the day at Aunt Liliane’s, the unexpectedly lavish ice-cream, the money gift and the odd choice of a pair of cheap sunglasses. The writer’s quietly confident skill in using the power of suggestion to tell this family tragedy means that what is unsaid – to the child, to the reader – speaks volumes. It’s beautifully done – a sad, subtle story steeped in sorrow and permeated with atmosphere from beginning to end.”

This story started as an exercise in an online flash fiction writing course run by the wonderful writer, Ken Elkes. It pushed me to think of creating unusual connections in stories, which is something I find compelling as a reader.

Diamond Life

People often ask, ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ Last year I came across this image on the internet and was blown away by the woman’s incredible, ethereal beauty. So much so that it inspired a short story: Diamond Life. It’s a bit of a weird one, but I liked it. So did the rest of the world, sort of… I entered it into various competitions and it was shortlisted three times, early on, then nothing in subsequent comps. Finally, despairing (and a tad disappointed) I thought, I’ll give it one more chance. I’m glad I did, it won first prize in the NAWG (National Association of Writers’ Groups) 2021 short story competition. I was so pleased. This beautiful creature deserves it.

If you’re interested in reading any of my stories, my new collection Degrees of Exposure is available now. (Diamond Life will be in my next collection but in the meantime, you can read it in Henshaw Four.)

Out now: Degrees of Exposure

Here it is – my second collection of short stories, newly published and just waiting for an audience!

A young man is seduced by a knitting sorceress. A couple weekending in Copenhagen bond through an unexpected donation of wedding cake. An old ex-mercenary, cut off by floodwaters, finds himself transformed into James Bond. Two worlds collide in an out-of-town retail park as a middle-aged woman helps two asylum seekers in their quest for a better life…

In this new collection of thirty-three contemporary short stories, readers are invited to dip into different worlds, walking hand-in-hand with an eclectic and colourful range of characters as they deal with love, hope, joy, disappointment, and loss. All the featured stories have either won prizes or been short- or long-listed in international creative writing competitions. Feedback includes:

‘Moving and Inspirational’ – Writers Forum ((That) Hollow Place)

‘Wonderfully imaginative’ – Yeovil Literary Prize (Seesaw of Isolation)

‘Someone with a magical way with writing’ – Writing Magazine (Stitched Up)

‘Beautifully paced’ – Dahlia Press (Nighthawks)

Degrees of Exposure is available from Amazon or FeedaRead in paperback or ebook format. Reviews and recommendations are always appreciated.

Recent successes

In the past few weeks, I’ve been delighted and amazed to have been awarded first place in both the Henshaw Press quarterly short story competition and the NAWG (National Association of Writers Groups) annual short story competition. And to have a previously shortlisted story included in the new Henshaw Four short story anthology.

It’s a great feeling and I’m hugely grateful to all the competition organisers and judges who make this possible. The encouragement is beyond value.

All Human Wisdom

Great news recently. My story All Human Wisdom was awarded first prize in the Hastings Writers’ Room competition, addressing the theme of Missing.

The judges commented:

“The benign setting, contrasting a rural domestic idyll with an unexplained and unexpected disappearance, provides a layered and sustained tension right up to the final line, building a profound and tortuous sense of loss, hope, and longing for resolution that continues far beyond the story.”

Wonderful comment. And a lovely trophy to commemorate my win!

First time in Yours Fiction

Yours Fiction – popular, mass-market – and now featuring one of my stories! It underlines how important it is to keep testing new markets. I never thought this magazine was a good fit for my work, but a snappy acceptance for this piece proved me wrong. They’ve made a few editorial changes (including the title) but they are only minor and I’m fine with that. Nice to get the exposure…

1st in Writers’ Forum Fiction

My rather strange story (That) Hollow Place astounded me by taking first prize in the fiction competition in this month’s Writers’ Forum magazine (December issue). It was its first outing and I wasn’t sure whether it worked or not.

I’m delighted that it hit the spot and was judged:
‘A moving and inspirational story with a strong plot and satisfying resolution.’