I Won the Reedsy Contest for the Third Time!

I’m so happy! I’ve done it — a hat-trick! Finally won Reedsy for the third time. The story that won it was Bridgemoss Guardians! I would like to say a massive ‘thank you’ to all the team over at Reedsy — these weekly contests are wonderful. I’ve really become a better writer because of them.

If you’d like to read Bridgemoss Guardians, you can do so here on WordPress or over on the Reedsy website, where it’s been featured!

The other two winners are The Things That Do Not Float and Astro Naught.

Now, let’s try and get a fourth… 😉 (Unlikely, I know — but no harm in dreaming, eh?)

‘No Bubbles’: The next short (of breath) story of the Reedsy backlog!

Whoa, we’re getting there, aren’t we? This next one was written for the contest The Game is Afoot. I chose the prompt, “Write a story about someone who keeps coming across the same stranger.” The title of my story is No Bubbles (which I really like). As always, you can read it here on WordPress or over on my Reedsy profile!


I should have seen what was wrong with the scene sooner than I did.

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Well, that’s that, for now! I hope you liked this one, I had a blast writing it! Stay tuned for more of the Reedsy backlog.

Next part of the Reedsy backlog: ‘Ten Fingers, Two Hands’!

Continuing the wave of uploads, working my way through the Reedsy backlog! As there’s one contest a week, I’ve got quite a few kicking around. This story was written for the Dear Diary contest. I chose the prompt, “In the form of diary/ journal entries, write about someone who’s up late at night because they’re having trouble sleeping.” The title of my short story is Ten Fingers, Two Hands, and you can read it here on WordPress or over on my Reedsy profile! (As always!)


Wednesday 13th April, 2:33 a.m. — Dear Diary, I have lied to you.

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Well, that’s that for now! I hope you like the story — I’ve had this idea kicking around in my mind for some time now, and it was nice to get it out of the system, so to speak!

‘The Place Where the Birds Don’t Sing’: Part of the Reedsy backlog!

So, as you’re probably aware I was miles behind on everything. Well, I’m slowly catching up and I’m almost done! I’ve just got eight or nine weeks’ worth of Reedsy stories (and about two/three month’s worth of art for Art in Soul!). Here’s the first — I wrote this one all the way back at the end of March. It was written for the contest Spring in Your Step, and I chose the prompt, “Write a story about someone who finds something interesting peeking out from a melting snowbank.” The title of the story is The Place Where the Birds Don’t Sing, and you can read it here on WordPress or over on my Reedsy profile!


I know it’s not much of a defence, but I really didn’t know how much damage it would eventually cause.

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Well, that’s about it for now! I’ll be sharing the rest over the next few days, and I vow to never fall this behind again! In the meantime, did you know that I’m bringing Bite-Sized Horror back? It’s called Friday Afternoon Frights, and it started last week! Feel free to join in, the next one will be up tomorrow afternoon (4 p.m. British time).

‘Donum Ex Deo’: My celestial tale for Reedsy!

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*Looks into your eyes, flushes guiltily then glances away* Yeah, I know, I’ve neglected this blog as of late. But, hey, we’re living during a global pandemic. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s struggling a bit to maintain previous standards. On that note, I hope you’re all well and that you’re looking after yourselves! Seriously, stay safe, everyone.

Anyway, I’ve got a huge backlog of stories to upload, and a huge backlog of artwork to upload to my sister blog. This story was written for the Reedsy contest Bad Hair Day; I chose the prompt, “Write a story about a character who’s too polite to tell someone they don’t like a gift given to them.” The title of my short story is Donum Ex Deo, and you can read it here on WordPress or over on my Reedsy profile.

“Well, what do you think?”

“Uh…”

“You do like it, don’t you?”

“Well…”

 

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Sorry for being so behind on everything, I hope you’ll excuse me, considering current circumstances. Take care, guys! I hope to have more of my stories up over the next few days.

Check out my tasty story for this week’s Reedsy: ‘Maledictions and Muffins’!

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Well, here we go! Another week, another Reedsy contest. This week’s theme was This Magic Moment; magical realism. I chose the prompt, “Write about someone who works an average job — but incorporate elements of magic into it.”

I’ve recently been writing more and more non-horror pieces. Last week’s Grandma’s Garden (read it here) was a return to the norm — or at least, my norm! This week I’ve explored a bit more of non-horror. Nothing wrong with a bit of experimentation, right? The title for my story is Maledictions and Muffins, and — you know how this bit goes by now, right? — you can read it here on WordPress or over on my Reedsy profile.

The witch waved her wand in the direction of her victim, whispering the ancient incantations under her breath. The words snaked out from between her lips, like a worm out of an apple. Her opponent began to expand — growing, widening, fattening. Mavis knew that it wouldn’t be long until the object of her spellcasting finally bid adieu to this mortal world and exploded, insides splattering in every direction.

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The reason for the latest batch of non-horror pieces is simply because I don’t like to force my stories. I try to keep it very natural and easy. As a rule, I try to stick with the idea that comes first — as this is generally what I want to write, as opposed to what I feel I should write. This isn’t to say I’m abandoning horror (far from it, haha!), simply that I’m broadening my horizons. We can’t be all doom and gloom and zombies and gore 24/7, can we? Nice to spice things up a bit — every now and then!

So, I hope you guys like the piece — I really had fun writing it (but, then again, I always do!). I really liked the idea of a a kind and friendly witch in a cosy kitchen full of tasty smells, with a fluffy black cat pestering her for some crumbs. I thought it was simply a heartwarming picture.

Well, this has been enough rambling for one week, right? I best be buggering off! P.S. If you like the artwork that I made for this story, why not check out my side blog, Art in Soul?

Read ‘Grandma’s Garden’: My flowery entry for this week’s Reedsy!

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This week’s Reedsy theme was a nice one — The Ordinary. As put on the Reedsy site — The very last line of the NBC sitcom The Office is spoken by former receptionist Pam Beasley. She says: “There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that kind of the point?”

I chose the prompt, “Write a short story about someone tending to their garden.” Such a simple prompt, isn’t it? So lovely. I thought I’d give it my proper “Josh Insole” spin, though! My story is called Grandma’s Garden, and you can read it here on WordPress, or over on my Reedsy profile!

Grandma was always tending to her garden. Eleanor watched her as she went about her duties, a smile stretched across her kind and wrinkled face, a pretty little melody being softly hummed (and occasionally whistled), a wide-brim straw hat pushed snugly on her head.

 

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I loved writing this! I came up with the ending first, then worked my way backwards from there. Also, as was the case with my most recent stories, I made the art for Grandma’s Garden myself. If you’d like to see more of my art, why not check out my art blog? https://artinsoulstudio.wordpress.com/

‘Sea the Moon’ was shortlisted for last week’s Reedsy contest!

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Well, it’s been a while since I won/almost won the Reedsy contest! I don’t mind, though — it’s getting more and more popular by the week, which means it’ll be harder to win each time. Plus, there’s some awesome writers putting out some truly amazing stories over on the site, so it’s tough to compete!

With that in mind, I was super-pleased to hear that my psychedelic and dreamy story, Sea the Moon, was shortlisted for last week’s contest! This marks the fourth time I’ve been shortlisted for this contest. I’ve won it twice (and would love to win it a third time, but we can’t always win, can we?) so far, which I’m very proud of.

If you haven’t read it already, you can check out Sea the Moon here on WordPress, or over on my Reedsy profile.

The seagulls were weeping again. They had woken her from her sleep. It was funny, now that she thought about it. She’d also fallen asleep listening to their shrill pleas. It reminded her of the song her mother had sung to her as a baby. Sunset and sunrise, bird calls and bird cries.

 

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So, a massive thank you to the whole Reedsy team — not just for liking my stories (which is always appreciated, and is quite the confidence boost) but for hosting these weekly contests in the first place!


My previous Reedsy winners:

The Things That Do Not Float

Astro Naught

My previously shortlisted stories:

As It Ends

Honesty in G# Minor

What Did We Do?

Read ‘Routine’: My sunny story for last week’s Reedsy!

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Gah, I know, I know, I’m really not on top of things lately. Personal life (I won’t bore you with the details) and other projects often get in the way (and I’m not great at decluttering!) — but I’m always writing! Rest assured of that!

This short story was written for the theme Bildungsroman, as in, stories about formative years. I chose the prompt, “Write a story about two best friends.” Horror tends to come to me quite naturally, and it generally feels like my ‘home’. However, sometimes it’s nice to take a break and write something completely different! This story was one of those pieces — it’s a sunny, upbeat tale. As always, you can read it here on WordPress, or over on my Reedsy profile!

Daisy wakes me up each day with a kiss. I always sleep longer than her, so she’s always the one to wake me up. I sometimes wonder how long she’s been up before she decides to rouse me – minutes, hours? Does she get up to see the morning sun rising?

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I hope you dig the story! It was very pleasant to write. Oh, and I also hope you like the artwork, too! I’m really starting to enjoy doing my own art to go hand-in-hand with my stories (but more on this at another point!).

My dreamy story for last week’s Reedsy: ‘Night Train to Pinea’

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Well, I’m catching back up again, aren’t I? Even when I’m not keeping this blog up to date, I’m still always writing something or another — so when I don’t post for a while, I pile up a bit of a backlog of stories that I’ve gotta upload…

This story was written for the theme ‘Agatha Christie’. I chose the prompt, “Write a short story that takes place on a train.” My favourite kinds of prompts are ones such as this — giving you a push in a particular direction, but without being too specific. I like a little bit of vagueness when writing to a prompt, otherwise I get the feeling of being “tied down” to an idea, without any creative freedom of my own. So, I really loved last week’s Reedsy for this precise reason! Anyway, enough rambling… The title of my story is Night Train to Pinea, and you can — as always! — read it here on WordPress or over on my Reedsy profile.

“Tickets and passes, please! Tickets and passes!” bellowed the conductor, startling John awake from his slumber. His eyes snapped open and he lifted his head from the table. Panic jolted into his veins like crackling electricity. His stomach lurched.

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I really liked the psychedelic, dreamy vibe of this one! It felt very peaceful, yet very creatively fertile. P.S. I did the artwork for this story — I’m quite into painting abstract art, so I thought I’d have a go at making the related image myself. Maybe I’ll have a go at more of these in the future. Who knows?

Also, there won’t be a Reedsy story written for this week. The prompts for this week are all non-fiction. Non-fiction isn’t really my cup of tea — I like making stuff up, letting my imagination go wild! I don’t think my life is interesting enough to write about, really… Having said that, I will still be reading the stories that others put up (and you should too!) — as I’m sure there will be some great ones.