What time did he say he would arrive?

Is the opening line of David Fell‘s flash story “The Meet” that appears in Winter Chill, our latest anthology of flash fiction and non-fiction tales set to chill you to the bone. What lines will you cross to get what you want?  And is the outcome as valuable as the costs you have had to pay or endure?

Like all nine authors in the anthology, David has kept his story to 250 words and under – quite an achievement, for each author to make our blood run cold in such few words.  Look out Stephen King, there’s a new generation on the war path.

The anthology is beautifully produced and illustrated by artist and publisher Alban Low, of Sampson Low Publishing, and the text was edited by Museum Co-creator, Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone.  We would also like to thank NG Bristow who helped with the judging of the competition we ran, from which these winning stories were selected.

Want to buy the anthology? It is just £2.99 (+p&p) – just click through here

Read on to discover, a little bit about our winning authors and what inspired them:

Andrew Anderson is a civil servant from Bathgate, Scotland, writing fiction in his limited spare time, the inspiration for his story “Thin Blue Line” was:

“I was inspired by thoughts of how isolation from society and support, in the middle of winter, could lead to something unspeakable taking place.”

Sue Dawes lives in the wilds of Essex and writes crime, literary and speculative fiction, the inspiration for her story: “The Undertaking” was:

“The idea for ‘The Undertaking’ came after reading a fascinating internet article about the life of a mortician, which then led to further research and the question: ‘What if?’ which is always a great place to start a story. It began as a much longer piece about a man who could only find love in death and was then reduced to flash fiction.  The challenge was balancing the uncomfortable description of the studio and mortuary procedures, whilst leaving enough details of the crime for it to work.”

Carrie Dunne is a retired teacher, science/maths tutor and teacher trainer for 3-16 age ranges. She also writes science and maths books for primary school teachers, the inspiration for her story: “Nanna’s Christmas Spirit” was:

“I started writing it at Christmas time and was reminded about how my Nan used to stay some Christmases and how my Mum, now a Grandma herself, helped with certain jobs when she stayed with me. It’s the feeling of on-going family traditions that I wanted to put across plus the twist of a fictional great Aunt to add the chill.”

David Fell is a recovering economist, faltering poet, grizzled navigator, occasional entrepreneur/ writer/ speaker/ activist on sustainability, and soul food connoisseur, the inspiration for his story “The Meet” was:

“I have two characters, Maggie and Cute, who are private investigators, a bit like the Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis characters in Moonlighting.  Maggie and Cute spend their time chasing climate criminals.  The stories are darker and weirder than Moonlighting, and when I saw ‘Winter Chill’ I just knew they were sitting in a freezing car park where something bad would happen…”

Retirement gives Dan Harwood time to write flash fiction, which prevents the wordiness evident in “The Omelette” (performed once at Bedminster Down Comprehensive School, 1979). The  inspiration for his story “The Dark Cherub” was:

“Midwinter is a time when the supernatural seems closer, with the season reviving memories of long-dead relatives who won’t be coming to visit. This little story is based on truth, in that I did find a rather creepy tree decoration mixed in with my dead uncle’s other more mundane glass balls. It didn’t behave like it did in the story though, and I am not sure whether I am glad about that or not. I guess the story could also be about the nasty forces which all too often propel undesirable entities to the “top of the tree”.”

Sara Hodgkinson is a freelance writer and bonafide bookworm who spends her spare time crafting fiction and wandering the wilderness that surrounds her Lancashire home, the inspiration for her story “Hanging with the cool kids“, was:

“I work as a freelance writer and most of what I pen for my job revolves around travel. As much as I love what I do, it can be nice in my spare time to deviate from this a little. I don’t really adhere to one particular genre when crafting fiction, focusing instead on creating pieces about characters and situations that truly intrigue. This is my first dalliance with horror, but I’m sure it won’t be my last! It was incredibly fun to write and I’m already cooking up ideas for various other creepy flashes. Inspiration for this piece came from an urban legend I’d heard a while back, brought once again into the forefront of my mind by the tail end of a paranormal programme I happened to catch after a long day! Something sparked in my mind and I found the story more or less wrote itself.”

DT Langdale is a proud Yorkshireman, nature lover and aspiring novelist. “Hedgar’s Stakeout” is his first published story.

“I was immediately drawn to the Winter Chill anthology competition. Not only is the title itself quite evocative of a dark, threatening landscape, but the genres thriller and crime were encouraged. This, combined with the noir-style cover image, instantly transported me to the graveyard, where Detective Hedgar waits to finally catch his serial killer.”

Jane Lomas is a worrier in remission. Her most treasured possessions are a fountain pen and walking boots: protection against the fears. For her story “Saving Amy” she found inspiration from the stories of her local area:

“I live in East Anglia, an area that suffered at the evil hands of Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins. I love local history and delving into this period of time is both fascinating and terrifying. I imagined how it would feel to have a loved-one accused of witchcraft, and the lengths I would go to protect her. I am not a brave person, but there would really only be one option.”

Maria Precedo is a gardener by trade, with an itch to write. “A Significant Find” is her first flash fiction to be published.  She tells us how inspiration came to her:

“One of the things that winter brings to my mind is Orion, which can only be seen in the northern hemisphere in the colder months – it’s one of the few constellations I can recognise, or even spot in the light-polluted skies of London. And I’d been to an exhibition about mudlarking recently, which displayed an amazing variety of artefacts that were found on the shoreline of the Thames. A Significant Find bubbled up in a freewrite against these background inspirations.”

All about walking blog posting is unpredictable – if it’s raining biblical downpours then a blog post is more likely to appear, in most other weather conditions we are out walking and not blogging on a keyboard…..


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