Liesl explores the historic city of Lisbon and meets Alex. Can she help him with a life-changing decision?

Will colouring in help Anna search for stability in her life when work and childrearing and youth are behind her?

In a French village, oppressive in the summer heat, an old man wonders if he may find peace for a devastating mistake made in childhood.

And where were you in July 1969 when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took their first historic steps on the moon?

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Short stories and flash fiction (usually less than 500 words) give the reader a chance to read in short bursts, to start in the middle of the book, choosing an appealing title, to pick up and put down while reading a longer novel. For the writer, short stories pose a challenge; characters need to emerge quickly, there is no time to describe sumptuous settings and the end of the piece needs to come to a believable conclusion.

From Lancashire and the Lake District to France, Lisbon and the Holy Land, this is an absorbing collection of stories and short fiction about life, love, and the strengths and weaknesses of human relationships.


  • A young wife who attempts to escape a controlling husband
  • A girl discovering why she is the ‘cuckoo’ in the family nest
  • An old man who is desperate to atone for his part in a terrible tragedy
  • A ghostly figure walking out into Morecambe Bay


The Olive Oil Man is one of those stories.

Brought up in Blackburn, I often went to the market with my mum. As a teenager, I worked on a stall to earn pocket money. The old market hall has been demolished but in my imagination, the feel of it, the smell of food and fish and the echo of Lancashire voices is still vibrant, still present as described in Francesca’s story. Thankfully, my mum never had a shopping trolley.

The Olive Oil Man was a runner up in the ICB short story competition 2015 and was published in their online anthology.

Read the story in full

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