Another post reblogged for new followers. Some of you will remember this one. My candidates haven’t changed since I wrote this, but feel free to add your own choices in the comments. 🙂


Whac-a-mole is a fairground/arcade game that involves hitting toy moles with a mallet, as their heads pop up out of the five holes on the game’s surface. For a better description of this, please see the following Wikipedia link; that is if you are not already conversant with the general idea.


I have a different concept of my version of this game, call it a fantasy, if you will. In my version, the machine would be large; large enough to accommodate humans. It would sit in a cellar, or shed, somewhere out of earshot, and away from prying eyes. Inside, would be the people that annoy me the most. The smug, the self-important, the self-satisfied, swollen of ego, and enjoying undeserved reputations. Those that think that they really are ‘it’, and that their music, or skills, or humour and personality are beyond criticism. They believe that what they have…

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MYTHAXIS: A new concept online magazine

From Daniel Scott White, publisher of Longshot Island, Unreal, and Unfit, comes a new Fantasy Magazine project, Mythaxis.

This offers an exciting opportunity to bloggers and writers (including published authors) in the Fantasy genre. Daniel is looking for submissions to be included, and this explains how it works.

We want stories that are well written, intelligent, and enjoyable to read. We are looking for stories with metaphors and emotional ambiance and imaginative descriptive writing.

Getting Published Online

Submit your story using the form below. Just copy and paste it from your file into the content box in the form, where it says “Post Content”.

For your story to be published online, you must have a book that you’re selling. Include the link to your book in the form, where it says “Your URL”.

In exchange for your story, we’ll promote your book on this site (and elsewhere: newsletter, social media, etc.).

Sign up for the newsletter while you’re here.

Getting Published in Digital Format

In exchange for your story in the digital publication of the magazine, we’ll buy you any book you want from the catalog of books submitted by authors on the site. You pick a book being promoted and we’ll do the rest, including paying for shipping.

After you finish the submission form, we will contact you if we’re interested in publishing your material. Due to the volume of submissions we receive, we are unable to respond unless a story is accepted for publication. If you have not heard from us in thirty days, assume your work didn’t fit with what we needed at the time. We don’t promise that all stories put online will make it into the digital publication.

For best results, send your story to as many publications as possible. Just remember, “Simultaneous submissions are your friend.”

We wish you the best in your endeavors as an author.


The Boss (and a few other clowns)

Submission Guidelines
Fiction: 500 to 15,000 words.

Genre: Primarily magic, myth and chaos.

Pay: For online publication, we’ll promote your book. For digital publication, we’ll buy you a book.

Terms: We don’t charge for submissions. Reprints are welcome. Simultaneous submissions are most certainly welcome. Multiple submissions are not welcome. (If you don’t hear anything, wait 30 days before trying again. Thanks!)

Rights: We are looking for one time non-exclusive rights.

Here are some direct links.


Home Page.


About Mythaxis.


Sample Stories.

Follow Mythaxis on Twitter.

Check out mythaxis (@mythaxis): https://twitter.com/mythaxis

This is a real opportunity to get your work published online, from a reputable company that works hard to support new writers and bloggers.

Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

Is truth stranger than fiction?

Given that I am currently writing a serial based around what is best described as a ‘delicate’ subject, I woke up thinking about how people often refuse to believe things, because they appear to be unbelievable. When you read a horror or fantasy novel, you know that vampires and werewolves don’t exist, and you suspend belief so that you can just enjoy it. Much the same can be said for traditional romantic fiction, where serving maids or tavern wenches end up married to princes or dukes. We know it doesn’t happen very often (if at all) in real life, but we seek a diversion, and a happy ending.

But what about books (or films) dealing with the bad things that really happen? Serial-killers, child molesters, other sexual deviants, or unrelenting psychopaths who leave a trail of carnage in their wake? Such things sadly happen all too often in the real world. But unlike most popular novels or films in those genres, they usually don’t end up tied up neatly, with the perpetrator behind bars, following the dedicated work of an ace detective. There are currently 212 ‘official’ unsolved murders in Britain, one dating back to the 16th century. Add to that more than 3,000 unsolved sectarian murders reported during the Northern Ireland troubles, and real life shows us that it is all too possible to kill someone, and get away with it.

What about those stories where someone goes missing? Because they like to have a neat ending, they are usually found, again by a detective, or perhaps a dedicated friend. If not, then we might read about the discovery of their body instead. But few books or films conclude with the ending ‘never found’. It is known that that almost 275,000 people are reported missing every year, just in the UK. The majority of those eventually return, contact the authorities, or turn up somewhere else. But at least 18,000 are never seen or heard of again. Read that number again. 18,000. In the USA, the number is far greater, with around 2,000 people reported missing every day. Yes, every day. That’s 730,000 a year. At least ten of those reported daily are never seen or heard of again, leaving a missing total of 3,650, not accounting for the many thousands who are found dead soon after, or much later.

If I read those numbers in a novel, I might have decided that it stretched my credibility.

If any of you have ever read any of my ambulance stories, you may well agree that many of them sound far-fetched, almost unbelievable. In fictional medical dramas, people who suffer terrible injuries almost always recover, thanks to the dedication of the familiar staff. Should someone suffer a cardiac arrest, a few pumps on the chest or two zaps from a defibrillator will see them up and about in no time. They are usually leaving for home with a smile, as the closing credits roll. In reality, that rarely happens. If you ask anyone who served alongside me in the London Ambulance Service at the time, they will confirm that, I am sure. We had a saying, ‘Dead is Dead’.
And surely nobody ever calls an emergency paramedic team because they are having trouble passing a hard stool? Oh yes they do.

So to my current serial, and its dark themes of child abuse, and consensual sex between statutory ‘minors’ and adults. We know that happens, but obviously don’t like to dwell on it. Few of us know a family or families where that sort of thing goes on. That is something that happens ‘somewhere else’, and you look on in disbelief as you watch it on news reports, unable to comprehend how the other parent could not have been aware. Hardly anyone has ever personally known an outwardly respectable man, living a seemingly blameless life whilst secretly sexually abusing his eight-year-old daughter or son, after all.

But I have. And I had no idea, until it was exposed. I saw the effects on the confused wife and strangely sexualised young girl first hand. And it was far more disturbing than anything I had ever read in a book, or seen on a film.

So I have to conclude that the old saying is correct.
Truth is stranger than fiction

You couldn’t make it up.

A You Tube Find: Time Travel?

I came across this on You Tube, when I was looking for something completely different. Sadly, I don’t actually believe that Time Travel was or is possible. But if it was, then I would be asking to try it in a flash! Some of these examples are completely unconvincing; others thought-provoking, or just interesting.

See what you make of them. 🙂

The Magic Pages: A story for Kim

This is a fictional short story, written especially for the lovely lady and great blogger, Kim. For any of you who follow her site By Hook Or By Book, https://cadburypom.wordpress.com/ you will know of her love for literature, libraries, and Pomeranian dogs. You will also be aware of the difficulties she faces, and her woes over the Trump presidency. This story is just for her, but I hope it will bring some joy to anyone who reads it.

Kim’s last day at the library was a far from happy occasion. Leaving behind her beloved books, her friends and colleagues, and most of all those thousands of children she had introduced to wonderful literature over the years. She had watched their discovery, fostered their love of language, and looked on as they gasped at amazing illustrations, and fantastic new worlds to explore. There was sadness and tears amid the celebration of her dedication, and the love she had given through her librarian skills.
But all those years of reading had taken their toll, and her health was not what it once was. Too many headaches, too painful, too often. She reluctantly decided she had to go, but her heart had never been heavier as she walked through the door for that last time.

Waiting outside, she saw the group she knew so well. The children of her Reading Club, trying to smile through the tears as they watched their friend leaving. Jay walked up to her, holding a notebook. She held it up to Kim, with a pen clasped in her small hand. “Write your wishes in this book, and we will make them come true, we promise.” Kim smiled down at the girl, and took the book and pen. On each page, she wrote a wish, using capital letters, and signing each page with a big heart design, and the letter ‘K’. She handed it back to Jay, and with a smile, simply said “Thank You”.

The kids took the book to where they liked to gather, in the clearing at the edge of the woods. Danielle took the book, and opened it. She read aloud to the rest. “Page One. I wish that I will always love books and reading.” She passed it to Michel, and he read aloud too. “Page Two. I wish that I will have so many friends that I could never meet them all”. Sophie and Rafael read the next page together. “Page Three”. I wish that the pain in my head would go away, and never come back”. Yesha could hardly read her page for crying, but she did her best. “Page Four. I wish that all my library children will never forget me, and always love books and reading.” Deanna and Robbie held the book together, and looked at each other, to see who would speak first. “Page Five. I wish that I will always read books, and tell the world about them too”. Laura, Vinnie, and Diane leaned over, and turned the next page. “Page Six. I wish that there will always be libraries, and they will have lots of books for children to enjoy”. Little Pete and Jay shared the last wish. “Page Seven. I hope that I will see my beloved dog again one day.”

The next day after school, they gathered again. Michel had a plastic bag, and Rafael had brought his father’s trowel. They dug a hole big enough to take the book wrapped in the plastic bag. Nice and deep, and marked with a special flat stone that Robbie had found nearby. Danielle spoke up. “Tomorrow, we will come back, and choose a page. We will wish for the wish on that page to happen, and know that it will. We must always be together, and stand by that pledge. Are we all agreed?” The rest of the group nodded seriously, nobody was smiling.

Soon after, Kim was sitting at home, thinking what to do. Now she no longer had to go to work, she had to do something with her time, as well as reading. “I know what I will do, I will start a blog about books, and spread my love of literature around the world, to people everywhere. Hopefully, they will become my friends too”. In the clearing by the woods, Michel tore up page two, and they all watched as he scattered the tiny pieces into the wind. Then they buried the book again, for another day.

Some time later, Kim finished reading her latest book, and took a while to think to herself. Finally, she spoke aloud, “I am always going to love books and reading, I just know it”. In the clearing, the children opened their eyes in time to watch Danielle scatter the pieces of Page One. Little Pete looked up, smiling. “Wishing this hard is tiring. Let’s go and get some ice cream”.

Kim often thought about the Reading Group, as the months passed by. She knew in her heart that all the children she had ever encouraged would always love books and reading. The rest watched, as Yesha tore up Page Four. This time there were no tears, she was smiling as she threw the pieces into the wind.

In the local paper, there was news of a new library opening. The first for years. The article said that books were making a comeback, and that children were reading as much as ever, if not more. The editorial concluded, “It is our contention that libraries will always need to exist, and that children especially should be catered for.” In the clearing, the smiling trio of Laura, Vinnie, and Diane each held one third of Page Six, before flinging the pieces into the air.

After two days of severe pain, Kim was tiring of the most recent migraine. It was hard enough to open her eyes, let alone read, and she was unable to enjoy writing her blog too. She decided to take a short nap, and was very pleased to wake up that afternoon, to discover the headache was gone. Back near the woods, Sophie and Rafael spoke to the others. They felt their wishing had not really worked, not as much as they had hoped. Everyone agreed that they should not tear up that page, but would come back to it another day. They put the book back into its bag, and buried it back in the hole.

The blog was going great guns by now. There were hundreds of followers, and the community extended all around the world. That made Kim very happy indeed, and she realised that she could still impart her love of literature, despite no longer being in her old job. Deanna and Robbie were pleased. They tore up Page Five, gazing up into the trees as the pieces swirled around.

Sitting quietly at home one day, shut in by the heavy winter snow, Kim looked at the framed photo of her beloved Pom. She smiled to herself, realising that in her heart, she knew she would see her little dog again, one day. Kneeling by the hole, Little Pete and Jay tore up Page Seven, throwing the small pieces out onto the snow-covered ground. The rest of the group looked at each other. “We still have Page Three” said Sophie, looking perplexed. Danielle reassured her. “We will come back to Page Three again and again until that wish is granted, have no fear”.

As Jay buried the book that afternoon, Little Pete muttered. “But what about the other pages, the ones with no wishes written on them?” Danielle and Michel exchanged a glance, and nodded to each other. She turned to Little Pete and told him, “They are for the wishes yet to come. We will know what they are when they are wished for, and we will come back until they are granted”.

The group walked away, thinking to themselves. None of them said any more. They just smiled.

Chatting to Elton John

I was in the middle of a long chat with Elton John, the singer and songwriter. We were both smartly dressed, and possibly at an exhibition, or very civilised party. He was holding a glass of mineral water with a slice of lemon in it. I could clearly see the sparkling effervescence inside the glass. I was leaning against a column, explaining to him why he was never as good in his later career, as he was on his first ever record release. I was trying not to look at his strange false hair, to pretend that I hadn’t noticed the outlandish wig. Then I woke up.

What is it about dreams?

I don’t care that much for Elton John. I have nothing against him specifically, but rarely think about him. I do actually consider his first album to be his best, but other than that, this dream has nothing to explain it. I have never met Elton John, and I am highly unlikely ever to do so. And I am sure that if I ever did meet him, I would not be so impolite as to criticise his body of work. So why that dream? And why last night in particular?

It is claimed that we do not remember most of our dreams, and that those that are the most vivid, and the easiest to recall, occur just before waking. I can accept these claims, as I have no way of refuting them. But I do remember a lot of dreams, sometimes in minute detail. Most are easy to explain of course. Remembering my Mum, recollecting events from past jobs, marriages, even accidents. I have written a post about these before, and how I am often driving, and usually lost. But some defy all explanation, involving fantastic, impossible situations. Meeting people who are long dead, spending what seems like weeks, traversing a forbidding continent. Perhaps piloting aircraft, riding a fast horse, or swimming in stormy seas with whales. All of these have featured in my dreams.

And chatting to a 68 year old pop music legend from Pinner.

Ambulance stories (35)

The Black Ambulance.

If you ask anyone who works in the Ambulance Service, and they answer truthfully, most will have a very low opinion of the general public. When I was first working in London, there were no television programmes like ‘Casualty’, or ‘Holby City’, and no fly-on-the-wall documentaries following crews about on calls. TV shows and films showed ambulance crews as little more than drivers, walking about in the background, or lifting stretchers. The Police were the stars of the show, and they would bark orders at the ambulance staff, saying things like ‘be careful’, or ‘hurry up’. Even in ‘medical’ programmes, the ambulance would arrive with a patient, and the crew would almost disappear, cutting to a scene where a doctor, and a usually adoring nurse, were caring for the stricken individual. In many productions, especially comedies, the crew might even be portrayed as incompetent, often forgetting to close the doors, and losing the patient out the back. This may seem harmless enough, but it fostered a public attitude towards ambulance staff that lasted for many years; until the advent of shows like St Elsewhere and ER began to show another side to the work.

Most of the public had scant regard for us. They would address you as ‘driver’, and feel comfortable ordering you about, or arguing with you. This crossed all classes, and was as prevalent in affluent suburbs, as it was on the poor estates in the centre. They felt it was perfectly acceptable to be downright rude, openly insulting, and at worse, physically violent. When I worked alongside a West Indian colleague for many years, there would be frequent references to his colour, not only from white people, as other West Indians regarded him as part of the establishment, and fair game for abuse too.

This grew steadily worse, with frequent assaults on staff, and constant intimidation during calls. Add alcohol or drugs into the equation, and the job started to get downright dangerous, as well as wearing and stressful. Of course, we could call the Police to assist, and we often did so. They could do little, as the offender was usually considered to be distressed or unwell, and not arrestable as a result. We would be left in the unenviable situation of still having to convey them, even after all the previous unpleasantness.

On one particularly bad night, we had just attended the flat of a well-known argumentative time-waster for the umpteenth time. Sitting in the vehicle, in the car park of a Maida Vale housing estate, we came up with the idea of The Black Ambulance. My colleague bought into this plan too, though he shall remain nameless, as he still works for the LAS. The fantasy involved respraying the conventional white vehicle to a nice Matt black. There would be no windows to the rear, and the logo and sign-writing would be in contrasting grey. Anyone who abused or assaulted staff, would have the Black Ambulance sent to their address; and this would also apply to time-wasting alcoholics and drug users, persistent callers, and those just seeking someone to argue with, and shout at.

The Black Ambulance crew would be dressed in the style of a SWAT team, and wear mirrored visors on their helmets. They would carry implements to subdue and restrain the offender; instead of defibrillators, and dressings cases, there would be CS Gas, Cattle prods, and straight jackets. Once inside the back of the vehicle, the offender’s fate was sealed, and disposal their only option. There would be secret dumps, where they would be committed to landfill, and all traces of their existence would be removed, by a special team, following on later. For those pests outside in the street, and not in any dwelling, the vehicle would be fitted with a raising mechanism, to allow the underside to lift over the prone person. Then some kind of acid-based solution would be deployed, leaving no trace after our departure. Very soon, rumours of the terrible Black Ambulance would begin to circulate, and the low-life, abusive idiots it targeted, would be deterred from ever ringing 999 again.

It was only a short diversion, a momentary drift into fantasy. Yet it says something about the constant stress that we were under, that we could gain pleasure and satisfaction, from imagining being able to actually kill and dispose of roughly 10% of all those we were called out to.

Any volunteers for the Black Ambulance out there?