‘I Am the Groundskeeper’: My entry for the Halloween edition of the Reedsy contest!


Well, Halloween has been and gone! And what a great one it was! This week’s Reedsy theme was naturally focused on Halloween. I chose prompt #1 — “Write a story about someone spending the night in an old Victorian home-turned-hotel on Halloween.”

The title of my short story is I Am the Groundskeeper, and — as always — you can read it here on WordPress, or over here on my Reedsy profile! The story is set in one of my favourite places in the world — rural Wales. I had in mind the countryside around Llanon, Aberystwyth and Aberaeron.

The knife doesn’t slip in easily, I have to really force it.

Continue Reading

Hope you like the story, and I hope you had a great Halloween! I know that I did!

Until next time, peace out!

And Now, Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming. Sort Of.

Fair warning: this is going to be a bit of long, rambling post. Reflections on the past and plans for the future. 


Bite-Sized Halloween 2019 Thoughts

And that’s a wrap, folks! Halloween 2019 is officially over and November is here. That means that my Bite-Sized Halloween story has drawn to a close! If you’d like to re-read all of the parts, I’ve consolidated all of the posts into one short story — you can find it here!

I hope you guys enjoyed Charlie’s little Halloween tale. Considering that I mostly winged the story, I am actually quite happy with the end result! When I made the very first Bite-Sized Halloween post, I didn’t actually know where the story was going to go… I kinda made it up on the fly.

I think if I do this Bite-Sized Halloween again, I’ll definitely plan out the story ahead — so that I’m not just making up rubbish as I go along. I mean, I think Charlie’s story turned out pretty good, all things considered, but there are bits that I’m not too enamoured with. I’d have liked to have spent more time with Marion, to build on him as a character. I also felt that the ending was a tad rushed, as I realised I only had a few days to finish the story arc before Halloween… But it was an experiment, and I had a blast with it, so I’m not going to beat myself up about it too much. And based on the response, I think some of you guys enjoyed the daily snapshots of a larger story — so I definitely think I’ll do this sort of thing again in the future. Who knows, maybe I’ll do A Very Bite-Sized Christmas? We’ll have to wait and see what Santa/Satan brings.

And of course I’m a little sad that Halloween is over. It’s my absolute favourite time of year, and my partner and I dressed up and had a great time — we went out and partied a little bit, binged a fair few horror movies. It was lovely. Here’s an obligatory snap:



Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the album that I wrote, recorded and released in the space of 30 days, which I think is a pretty good achievement. So, if you’d like to revisit Charlie, Marion, and the world they inhabit — but in the form of music — please be sure to have a listen. You can find Children as Ghosts on YouTube and SoundCloud:




If you like the tunes, head on over to my music-focused Facebook page and give me a like!


November, NaNoWriMo, and the Unfortunate Limitations of Being A Frail Human

And now, on to future plans! Following the conclusion of my Bite-Sized Halloween tale, I’d like to return to the previous rhythm of posting a new Bite-Sized Horror post every day… However, this November I am participating in National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo! If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it’s an annual creative writing project — participants attempt to write 50,000 words between the Nov 1st and Nov 30th. And if that sounds like a lot… that’s because it is. (It’s ~1,667 words a day.)

As I’ve got a large commitment, I think maintaining my previous standard of one Bite-Sized post a day is unrealistic. If I try to do both, I fear that I’ll crash and burn. Damn this frail human form, with limited energy! So, for November, I’ll be posting Bite-Sized Horror stories as and when I find the time to do so — my focus will be on my NaNoWriMo story.

Don’t worry, come Dec 1st I aim to return to the daily stories (and as mentioned, maybe it’ll be a Bite-Sized Christmas story arc). But until then, this blog may go a bit quiet.

And that’s pretty much all I wanted to say. So, if you made it to the end of this post, congrats and thank you for sticking with it! I hope you all had a lovely Halloween. To my fellow NaNoWriMo participants: good luck! I’m right there with you! If you want to buddy up on the NaNo site, here’s my profile: https://www.nanowrimo.org/participants/joshuainsole. And to everyone who comments/likes/gives me general support and encouragement — thank you so much!

Until next time… Have a good one!

Listen to ‘Children as Ghosts’: A Very Bite-Sized Soundtrack!

Children as Ghosts.png

As promised in my very first Bite-Sized Halloween post, here is a sneak peek at my other creative hobby: music.

As a huge fan of synth-drenched 80s horror soundtracks — particularly the works of John Carpenter (HalloweenThe Thing, etc.) — and Halloween-y music, such as Dead Man’s Bones, I wanted to capture similar vibes with my own songs.

At first I was going to throw a few pieces together, here and there, and share them with you guys… but, as is wont to happen, the project grew and took on a life of its own. What I actually ended up with was an album’s worth of material, put together over the course of October. Think of it as an accompanying piece to the (recently completed) Bite-Sized Halloween story — the songs retell the tale of Charlie, through the medium of instrumental music. There’s eleven songs in total, each touching on — and sometimes embellishing on — key moments of Charlie’s story.

You can listen to Children as Ghosts on YouTube or on my SoundCloud (both linked below). I hope you guys dig it — I had an absolute blast making it! Oh, and please bear in mind that I’m not a professional musician — I’m just a guy with a guitar, some percussion instruments, a synth and a drum machine who likes to jam some tunes when he gets the chance.



If you’re interested, I have a Facebook page for my music — I don’t update it very often, but you can hear my tunes as and when I upload them if you head over and give me a like. No pressure — this is just a bit of fun. A ‘side hobby’, if you will!

Bite-Sized Halloween #23: “If I Ever Get Back Home…”


He was still between worlds. He could feel neither the warmth from the sun nor the blades of grass beneath his hands. The child suffered no panic; only resignation.

Charlie lay down between the headstones – not experiencing the cold morning dew dampening his clothes – and rested his head on his hands. He was tired. He didn’t think he’d ever been as weary in his life. Slowly, his eyelids began to close.

Just before sleep took the boy, he thought he heard a voice – his father.

“Charlie, where are you?”

And then a whisper. “I’ll keep him safe,” said Marion.


This is the final part of a larger story for Halloween. All sections are in the form of a 99-word story. Check out the links below for previous parts!

Previous parts:
#1 | #2 | #3 | #4 | #5 | #6 | #7 | #8 | #9 | #10 | #11 | #12 | #13 | #14 | #15 | #16 | #17 | #18 | #19 | #20 | #21 | #22

Bite-Sized Halloween #22: The Cold, Grey Light of Day


The final BONG! reverberated through his skull, moments before he burst from the crypt. Charlie exploded out into the fresh air, just as the door slammed shut behind him with seconds to spare.

Charlie collapsed to his knees in the grass, eyes wide, hair wild, gasping for breath.

The sun was peaking over the horizon. He could see the sky fading from its inky blackness to the cold, grey November morning that was lethargically advancing.

Charlie watched the sun rise, laughing. But a nasty thought was nagging at the back of his mind. His smile faltered.

Something was wrong.


This is part twenty-two of a larger story for Halloween. All sections are in the form of a 99-word story. Check back tomorrow for the final part!

Previous parts: #1 | #2 | #3 | #4 | #5 | #6 | #7 | #8 | #9 | #10 | #11 | #12 | #13 | #14 | #15 | #16 | #17 | #18 | #19 | #20 | #21

Bite-Sized Halloween #21: Barriers Between Worlds


The pumpkin hit the case behind The Collector. THUD! THUD! THUD! The rows of shelves began falling like dominos, glass orbs shattering as they hit the floor, freeing the trapped beings.

A tornado of souls began whirling about the witchdoctor. His scream sliced through Charlie’s ears. “Help. Me,” grimaced The Collector, reaching for Charlie. The boy dodged past the witchdoctor, running for the staircase.

He leapt up the stairs, hearing the man’s death throes.

BONG! A clock was chiming. BONG!

What time is it? he thought, as he frantically ran up the steps, two at a time.

Too late.


This is part twenty-one of a larger story for Halloween. All sections are in the form of a 99-word story. Check back tomorrow for part twenty-two!

Previous parts: #1 | #2 | #3 | #4 | #5 | #6 | #7 | #8 | #9 | #10 | #11 | #12 | #13 | #14 | #15 | #16 | #17 | #18 | #19 | #20

Bite-Sized Halloween #20: The Library of Souls


The staircase opened out into in a library. The shelves held no books. The endless rows of glass orbs were full of things crying for help.

On the far side was The Red Door. Charlie could feel the heat. Could smell the sulphur.


The boy spun around, heart in his throat.

“Do you like my collection,” said The Collector, gesturing at the overflowing shelves, “of souls?” He grinned madly.

“Please, just leave me alone!”

“Now, now. Why be alone, when you can join them?

Never!” screamed the child as he threw the jack-o’-lantern at the witchdoctor.

He missed.


This is part twenty of a larger story for Halloween. All sections are in the form of a 99-word story. Check back tomorrow for part twenty-one!

Previous parts: #1 | #2 | #3 | #4 | #5 | #6 | #7 | #8 | #9 | #10 | #11 | #12 | #13 | #14 | #15 | #16 | #17 | #18 | #19

Bite-Sized Halloween #19: A Descending Stairway



“This must’ve been what Marion was talking about…” said Charlie to nobody. “He told me to hide.” He pushed the crypt door open and took a step inside. A spiralling staircase lit by candles. A whiff of smoke. And… was that a scream?

He began his descent. Round and round. Deeper he went, the smells of rot and decay filling his nostrils.

Charlie thought he must be nearing the bottom when a voice called out from above. A voice that sounded like crunching gravel.

“I’m coming for youuuuuu, Charliiieeee!”


This is part nineteen of a larger story for Halloween. All sections are in the form of a 99-word story. Check back tomorrow for part twenty!

Previous parts: #1 | #2 | #3 | #4 | #5 | #6 | #7 | #8 | #9 | #10 | #11 | #12 | #13 | #14 | #15 | #16 | #17 | #18

Bite-Sized Halloween #18: Shadows and Light


With sorrow in his soul, Charlie pressed on. He carried the jack-o’-lantern, casting its glow whenever they approached.

Something with long nails and sharp teeth popped up behind a headstone. “Hey, kid!” it said, in voice that was far too deep. “Got some real nice candy, for ya!”

Charlie shone the light in its face. It screamed, swore at him, and then went skittering away into the darkness.

He walked on. How far should he go? Marion had never said. And it looked like Marion wasn’t coming back…

Minutes later, he found the crypt with the flashing neon sign.


This is part eighteen of a larger story for Halloween. All sections are in the form of a 99-word story. Check back tomorrow for part nineteen!

Previous parts: #1 | #2 | #3 | #4 | #5 | #6 | #7 | #8 | #9 | #10 | #11 | #12 | #13 | #14 | #15 | #16 | #17