Short Fiction

Mountain Steps by Pexels from Pixabay

The old man paused and turned his gaze to the lands of his ancestors far below. Lands where once the black rhino and Cape buffalo roamed free and unhurried across bushlands and marshes. He leaned on his staff and studied the valleys and rivers through heavy eyelids. Deep grooves lined his leathery face like twisting paths of a life lived hard.

The journey up the mountain had been strenuous, filled with many perils and heartaches. A pang of regret stabbed at the old man’s withered heart as memories of all he had lost flooded his thoughts. But, like an old…


Snapshots of life on a dying earth, where humans and aliens co-exist carefully and with suspicion, and fragile alliances are forged only to shatter overnight.

Art by Tithi Luadthong

I work from home, which means I wake up the kids in the mornings, make them breakfast, pack their lunch boxes, and take them to school. I then work until 3 PM, at which time I fetch the kids and drive them to their sporting activities. When we get home, they have about half an hour’s break before doing their homework, and I start dinner. This our daily routine.

I have been generating an income from writing articles online and working as an industrial relations practitioner here in New Zealand while writing my stories in the wee hours of the…


I would never cry again

Image public domain from digitalcomicmuseum.com

Inlari war — The Great War — broke out on my eleventh birthday. On that day, I saw the sky burn. I had been feeding our chickens in the coop when a thunderous crack shredded the early morning calm, sending the chickens fluttering and flapping wildly. Dropping the feed bowl, I ran for cover in my family home as another explosion ripped through the air above me. Intense heat swathed my skin, like I had stumbled into a furnace.

The day before, Pa had told us the governments were talking about peace. Conflict between the aliens and humans had been…


Tales from Ireland’s mythological past

I like to play with mythology in my stories. To compare them and mix them and really dig into the different histories of ancient civilizations from across our little world. You find interesting stories.

Stories of old gods who had to destroy even older gods because they didn’t like being told what to do or because they wanted more power, or because no entertaining tale would’ve existed to explain our existence if no cosmic battle took place. Much of these stories revolve around the creation of the cosmos, the world, and the origin of man.

In a majority of these…


How journaling helped me process grief

Photo by Lawrence Aritao on Unsplash

My dad died during my final year of law school. He never woke up from his third heart bypass surgery. I stood next to his bed in ICU when they switched off the life support. I remember how his eyelids had opened at the last moment right after the machines went silent. His irises were all milky and faded. They were not my father’s eyes.

His passing had a profound impact on me. It felt like the ceiling to my world had been ripped away, that suddenly the rules of life applied to me. I didn’t have immunity, after all.


They came out of nowhere

Image public domain from DigitalComicMuseum.com

They arrived in two spaceships. Larger than New York City, each carried over five million alien beings. One crash-landed in Los Angeles and destroyed the city. The other came down in the Tonto National Park in Arizona, leaving a monstrous furrow rivaling the Grand Canyon in its wake.

They came out of nowhere. No contact, no message or warning. Just appeared between our moon and us one night. I lay stargazing on my roof, as I used to do on those sticky, summer nights, gazing up at the clear night sky dusted with shimmering stars. …


Failure and fun and the mystery of writing well

Photo by Adolfo Félix on Unsplash

I always look at what more successful writers say about writing so that I may learn from them and use what they teach to make my own nuggets of truth as it applies to my specific circumstances and skillset and peculiar lens.

Author Robert Harris wrote an article a while ago on writing fiction in which he stated that the writing process is a mystery, devoid of rules or fairness. Harris has penned several bestselling historical novels. I haven’t read all of them, and the ones I did read I read in a weird order. My first contact with his…


Words are more powerful than the fist

Photo by Kat J on Unsplash

But he hit me first!” Tears stained the little boy’s dust-caked cheeks. Blood trickled from a cut on his lip.

The woman held his hand in hers. His scuffed knuckles seemed alien on his young skin, like a corruption.

“Because you called him a coward.” Her eyes were soft and kindly and creased at the corners. She pressed a damp cloth to his lip, and the boy winced. “Your lip will heal quickly, Kete, but your words hurt Jac deeply. It will not heal so quickly.”

The boy sobbed. “But he didn’t have to hit me.”

The woman gave a…


How to keep writing despite not feeling like you are good enough

Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

Every now and again, I share some “writerly” advice from other, more successful authors. As a writer, I believe we never stop learning, and this is my way of having you along with me as I nurture my limited skill and attempt to sway Lady Luck to cast her eyes favorably upon me.

Mark Lawrence, the bestselling author of The Broken Empire and The Red Queen’s War trilogies, published a blog post a while ago where he and two other authors delve into the questions of luck and skill and the roles these play in finding writing success. I saw…


How I use short fiction to improve and hone my writing skills

Photo by Sung Jin Cho on Unsplash

I read an article a while ago on why short stories make such great movies, and it gave me pause to consider my feelings and experience writing short fiction and collaborating with other authors. There is so much more to short fiction than meets the eye. I was once told by a friend who, in turn, heard it from a producer friend in Hollywood that short-form prose is far easier to adapt than a full-length novel. And for various reasons, chief of which is the flexibility and creative freedom it gives to explore further where the author hinted only vaguely…

Woelf Dietrich

Reader, Writer, and non-practicing lawyer. Nominated a couple of times for the Sir Julius Vogel Award for Speculative Fiction. 2017 SJV Award finalist.

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