Blog – latest thoughts and short stories

About the blog…

I like to keep followers up to date with thoughts, the challenges of a writer, short stories and other rare lightbulb moments via these blog posts and links. Resisting the urge to use an exclamation mark here…

Hopefully you’ll find a short story below that whets your appetite and gives a flavour of my novels. Some of the shorts are Sci Fi horror. Some are light-touch humorous. But they all explore the dark side of life…

I can’t tell you all about how to be a writer or a best-selling author. Or how to write compelling blogs that will get your ratings soaring. I’m not a teacher. I’m writing this for readers, publishers and other writers simply to say – this is what I love doing. And I’d like to know what you think, within reason!

So I’ve set up this blog page with the intention of writing something once a week (as opposed to once a year). Following the useful tips online which make clear that this is not as easy as I had thought…

And hopefully to get other contributions in due course.

Digital artist contributors

The growing list of links includes the digital artists who have published their works on Pixabay. I am am endlessly grateful to you all. I am still figuring out how to put acknowledgements under images without causing havoc so bear with me (since writing have done this :). We are all on a ‘journey’ here, wanting to push the boundaries and discover what else we are capable of. So I hope that using these wonderful images helps achieve that. Right, back to that blog…

Short stories and other things

Short stories are also available via the dedicated page.

  • When seances go bad – or death walks behind you
    Intro This short story was the result of a challenge – written in an hour, for a short story competition. Scored 90 out of 100 and a good experience. It concerns a Victorian seance, as you might have guessed. and there’s a dodgy medium and a few twists and turns, plus a London pea souper. […]
  • New Messiah Axel Cain – novel completed!
    Intro So the good news first. The final draft of New Messiah is done. Axel Cain appears from the wilderness, speaking with the voice of Gaia – the collective consciousness behind the biosphere, able to take tough decisions to sustain life, including getting rid of us if needs be… Axel has been chosen to avoid […]
  • Stripper Killer – a short story about partying to excess
    Intro to Stripper Killer This short story about a rather dangerous stripper is a modified version of the opening chapter to Creation. The first of the five book vampire series Drakul, Creation tells the story of estranged vampire king Tepesch Drakul and the struggle to restore his race. Tepesch and his family seek to combine […]
  • Frog Heaven, or be careful what you believe
    Intro A short story about religious belief within the frog community. Frog Heaven A very old wrinkled frog stood in front of a group of tiny frogs. Her bulging brown eyes scanned the group. Only two months ago, these youngsters had been no more than black specks in the spawn tanks. Now look at them […]
  • A Red, Red Rose – or when florists go bad
    Intro The idea of short story ‘A Red, Red Rose’ comes from a scene in Creation, first of the 5-book vampire series Drakul. Helpless bystander Lorna King is no longer a wishful dreamer when investigator Mark Williams visits her flower shop. Thanks to Josch13 of Pixabay for the featured image. A Red, Red Rose The […]
  • Pangolin – a short story about greed and ignorance
    Intro A very short story about the plight of the pangolin, seen through the eyes of two-year-old pangolin Lucky. ‘Up to 200,000 are estimated to be taken from the wild every year across Africa and Asia, and the pangolin is critically endangered. Their meat is considered a delicacy by some in China and Vietnam, while […]
  • Mirror Mirror – a short tale about becoming a better man
    Intro In this short story about an old mirror, Jonas begins to see the truth about himself and it’s a life-changing experience. Mirror Mirror Jonas Hagget made his final offer. “Look, I’ll give you all I’ve left. That’s six quid in your hand, right now, and you won’t have to take this old thing home […]
  • The Willow Tree – a tale of love and loneliness
    Intro Trees aways fascinate me – almost as if they possess different personalities. This short story concerns a man who falls under the influence of a malign willow tree containing the spirit of Ceridwen, and the blowhole which is her cauldron. If you missed your geography lessons, a blowhole is a sea cave where waves […]
  • Langley – or ancient evils never die
    Intro I wrote this haunted house short story a while time ago. It’s now the basis for a new novel ‘Langley Hall’, currently with my literary agent, John Jarrold. Langley Peggy Joint’s gnarled hand fumbled with the latch before entering the garden of Langley Hall. Soon after, the ritual commenced. Her shrivelled lips mouthed ancient […]
  • The Ancient Relative – or the pursuit of perfection
    Intro I wrote the short story Ancient Relative quite some time ago now, thinking about how different from us our far future descendants might become, to cope with the world we are currently creating. The Ancient Relative “Rinse away, please.”  The final patient of the day gobbed a mixture of filling, rotten tooth and spit […]
  • The girl with tattoos – or be careful what you wish for
    Intro A short story about a girl with tattoos who is not what she seems. The girl with tattoos Jason was strictly nocturnal, his life an endless round of night clubs, dark streets and immorality. Until one year ago, he had been studying philosophy at a London university and if you asked Jason why he […]
  • Meteorite – short story about a life-changing experience
    The short story Meteorite was written for a competition rather a long time ago, and did quite well although I lost the certificate. it’s a tribute to the famous movie the Body Snatchers. Meteorite Max looked at the clouds anxiously. “Typical.”  Only an hour ago, he had painstakingly pegged quantities of voluminous underwear and bedding […]
  • Iceman – a winter’s tale of crossing time
    Intro A tale inspired by a skiing injury and the discovery of Otzi the iceman. Iceman Kris Jarrett stared at his leg, still anchored to the ski that failed to detach. The leg had a new joint, half way down his shin. He wasn’t surprised, he’d heard the dry crack as he fell.  On the […]
  • Perfume – a tale of seduction and murder
    Intro Short story centred on a strange perfume, inspired by the books of Daphne du Maurier. Perfume The attractive young woman pushed back her wet hair as she came in from the darkness. Then smiled apologetically. “I’m sorry it’s so late, Mr Macon.” Something about her expression made him feel protective, but she was also […]
  • Kelpie – a tale of paying the price for love
    Intro Short story inspired by tales of mermaids and the legend of the kelpie. Kelpie “Holy Mother, bring me some fish. Okay, bring me one, that’s all I ask. One lousy fish.” Peter Cruickshank cast his net one last time, breaking the moonlit waters of the loch in a gentle arc before drawing it in […]
  • Wasp. A short story of a queen’s quest for revenge
    Intro Short story inspired by the most hated and extraordinary creatures that live alongside us – wasps. Wasp I might die tonight. I’m a fugitive, exhausted and hungry. The vicious winter is draining away my last, precious drop of energy. My ancestors go back 500 million years, when humanity was no more than a crazy […]
  • Volcano – when the Earth has had enough
    Intro A short story about volcanoes inspired by a past career in Earth Science and Ecology, and this Scientific American article. Volcano Karen sipped her tea thoughtfully. “So, how long have you been living here now?” I thought back. “Well, it must be five years.”  My wife Gina disagreed. “No, John. It has to be […]
  • Balloon Trip – A birthday treat has unexpected results
    Intro A short story inspired by the thought of a surprise balloon trip. With apologies to Jules Verne. balloon Trip It’s difficult to daub the thick paint onto the sandy rocks, but once dry, the colours will brighten and the paint is tough. Only Adrian knows how long it will last for. He finds painting […]
  • The Krampus – a short story of old evil returning
    Intro A short story about the malevolent Krampus, originlly written some 10 years ago (before the Hollywood version). The Krampus Ivan Kratchev sat on the cottage roof, mending tiles in the heat of the August sun. His back ached. He could see his daughter enjoying the garden shade, leaning against the warm bark of the […]
  • Kile Roker – the loneliest alien in the galaxy
    Who is Kile Roker? Kile Roker is a biomechanical. He was once the navigator of the Naukaa star ship, and among the last of his race. Even as the Earth cooled, Sirens found their way into the Naukaa.  Kile and his kind survived but the Sirens enslaved and cruelly tortured them. Eventually, Kile could take […]
  • The Shadow King – A Voodoo Magic Story
    This gripping Voodoo magic novel by John Frank Marshall mixes ancient beliefs of Vodun spirits with the menace of biological weapons. The narrative moves at a fast pace, blurring the boundaries between dream, hallucination and reality. The opening Jason Kramer is a freelance journalist, investigating possible United Nations involvement in a black market for biological weapons […]
  • Do urban fantasy writers really make a difference?
    A question for you Is it just me or is this world getting increasingly crazy? Does the work of urban fantasy writers actually matter in the end, or is it just plain old escapism? I feel like we are heading towards a moment where the human race can choose between the traditional and unsustainable Trumpish […]
  • Dystopian Fantasy about a New Age Messiah
    Background This latest novel from John Frank Marshall opens in a future world fighting over ever-shrinking resources. New age messiah Axel Cain is born in Isoland – a vast, circular expanse of darkness, desert, storms and suffering. Isoland was created for research by biotech industries. Separated from the rest of the world (the ‘Outside’) by an insurmountable wall, test […]
  • ‘Where Giants Sleep’ – 3rd book Ouroboros Finished!
    I was really pleased with the way that this third and final(?)episode of the Trilogy ‘Where Giants Sleep’ played out, with the distant past and the present coming together to build a new future (hence the name Ouroboros, which I have trouble spelling btw). It stretched me as a writer, which what I was seeking. […]
  • Trick or treat – a tale about the art of deception
    Intro In this tale about trick or treat set on halloween, Double-glazing salesman Simon Cushing thinks he’s found the sale of the century, only this time the trick is on him. Trick or Treat Simon checked his Rolex and made his final call of the evening. It was Halloween, and children were already playing trick-or-treat […]
  • 2nd novel in ‘Where Giants Sleep’ trilogy done.
    The novel Second Dawn  ended up writing itself, which was great. But now Second Dawn is complete, how does the trilogy end? How can Rift Queen Caia Esvane outwit the Scitha fleet, intent on reclaiming planet Eco for themselves?  The power of magic will not be enough this time, and Caia isn’t prepared to sacrifice […]
  • Sequel to Emergence – first thoughts
    I deliberately left a few story stubs I could build out on for the sequel to Emergence, the first novel in the trilogy ‘Where Giants Sleep‘, and am now spoiled for choice as to what happens next to the many and varied characters. In Emergence, a monstrous undersea authoritarian city, learns that the surface of […]
  • Thomas Budach – talented sci-fi artist
    When I was looking for illustrations for my novels and starting to put this web site together, I came across the work of Thomas Budach (see  and was pretty excited by the touch points to my writing. Similar obsessions about dragons, UFO’s, haunted ships sailing the stars, vampires, dragons, witches – weird, I thought. […]