My early short stories were blatant attempts to be published in lifestyle magazines or to win writing competitions. However, despite such riveting titles as, “An Album of Memories”, “Tender Reunion” and “Our Last Holiday”, magazine editors did not rush to publish my material.
Thankfully these were the days of gentle letdowns:
“I was pleased to receive your short story ‘Mistaken Identity’, which I have read with interest. Sadly I do not feel that this piece is right for publication in our magazine. I am sorry to disappoint you about this but wish every success with it elsewhere.”
I wasn’t disappointed, I read the rejections as encouraging critiques and re-focused my efforts on writing competitions, where I had critical success with the first short story I submitted to the then annual Ian St. James Awards, back in 1991:
This is excellent – well drawn characters, convincing dialogue and fast moving plot. Passed forward for our next round of judging.
Hurrah! Sadly, my story didn’t make it past the next round of judging and the stories I wrote in subsequent years never again received such high praise.
Life overtook me and I stopped submitting short stories, but I never stopped devising plots and characters and writing whenever I could.
Selection of Short Stories
The following is a selection of my short stories, some complete, others extracts. I hope you enjoy reading them – more of my writing can be found on TallAndTrue.com.
"And now the piece de resistance," the old Colonel announced, leading his guest into a sunlit garden. "What do you think, Mr Evans?" he enquired, waving his walking stick at the garden's centrepiece. Drew Evans stepped forward and circled the white marble sculpture. Two life-size male and female figures stood face to face on a pedestal, their hands caressing each other's cheeks, their lips fused in a kiss.
I had borne guilt and despair on the fate of our over populated and polluted planet for many years. Then in a waking moment, I saw how I, a lowly middle-aged nobody, could save the Earth, her people and all her precious life.
The bench outside the school headmaster's office was hard. It was designed to make you squirm. But once you'd sat down, you daren't wriggle to relieve the creeping pins and needles. Because if you did, the hallway would echo with the squeak of the bench legs on the polished wooden floor and the headmaster, Old Heavy-handed Hamilton, would look up through the glass of his office door and note your fidgeting.
My class had a lesson on "conservation" the other day. Miss said that this was where people reused old things or used new things more carefully. She said conservation was important to stop the work from getting more dirty and to help make it healthy again.
Stevie was slumped on the living room sofa when his mum and dad returned home from the shops. Their angry shouting drowned out the old gangster movie on TV.