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A Bowl of Cherries by F.E. Birch – Release Day Author Guest Post

Happy Release Day to A Bowl of Cherries by F.E. Birch, a writer I have known for a number of years.


I am excited to delve into these tales when they arrive but in the meantime she has agreed to share an insight into her writing process.

About the Book

There’s nothing cosy about these crimes.

Succulent rich stories of the dark and unknown that might terrify, horrify, or deliciously delight. Thirty-two previously published and prize winning tales that contain themes of death, destruction, abuse and emotion, each one a veritable stride into a unique and different world.
From the psychologically disturbed, the raging mad, the vulnerability of victims, and desperately needy, there’s not much that isn’t covered in the dark genre for those that like their stories to be troubling, distressing and quirky. NOT for the faint of heart, this comes with a triple X warning!


“A delightfully dark rollercoaster, dipping into a selection of slickly written shorts.” — Robert Scragg, author of All That is Buried


“A patchwork quilt of daring fever dreams, stitched together with effortless, bewitching prose. Highly recommended.” — Rob Parker, author of Far from the Tree


Order here for Kindle
Order here in paperback

About the Author


FE Birch is one writing pseudonym of a writer that first put pen to paper at the age of five but really took it seriously from 2004. She has had over 150 short stories published and/or placed in competitions, a ‘faction’ book published by Harper Collins and her first crime novel is currently out on submission. A Bowl of Cherries is a self-published collection of 32 shorts that will steal your breath and make sure you never look at cherries in the same way again.

Author Guest Post – Planning the perfect crime … short!

I’m not an expert on flash fiction, or short story writing, I only know what works for me. 

I like the short story form as they are quick reads, often intense, emotional, and leave you with a taste that lingers. When you live a busy life like I do, and I read slowly, it takes ages to read a novel and sometimes I just want a satisfying fast read. 

When I’m writing I often start with a prompt or series of prompts. It could be someone I’ve noticed, or something that’s happened that I store up for future use. An idea forms, and it could be a character, a feeling, a setting, or a plot. Something has to happen. I was always surprised when people talked of short stories that were thousands of words. To me they are mini novels, novellas, or short novels. A story can be told effectively in a paragraph, if it’s done right, or three hundred words, or three thousand. My longest short story is five thousand. I don’t know if I could keep the momentum of a short story for longer than that. 

I wasn’t sure if I could write a novel, but I have, and that is a totally different process. 

I think a story has a limit and as you start to write, the story flows and ends when it needs to. If I have to write to a word count, say two thousand words, I know I have space to add characters, add settings, scenes, sensory detail, that add to the story, but it mustn’t be seen as filler. If I only have 100 words then it has to clipped, tight, in and out, no messing about. 

It’s easier when I don’t have word count to work with because as I type the story ends itself then I can edit the rubbish and mould the rest. I like that. 

I sometimes write a couple of paragraphs that might be a set of ideas rather than stories and then I store them for future use to prolong, to make into something more. If I write a character I like, I can revisit them, give them more of a story, build up a ‘happening’ , take something very short and turn it into something darker, something more enticing, or sinister. Then others are just right as they are. 

It’s as individual to the writer as it is to the reader. I like to be provoked as both, so for me anything goes, and the rules are your own to make. I know I’m not to everyone’s taste. 

There aren’t too many avenues for the stories I like to write and read and there are no mainstream magazines to submit to that take stories like mine. Nothing I write would fit People’s Friend! 

Competitions and anthologies have been kind to me over the years and given me an outlet, but again, it’s difficult to find them on the shelves of bookshops, unless they are written by famous authors. 

Whilst I’m waiting for a publishing deal for my novel, I’ve pulled some of my best stories together for Bowl of Cherries. All different, all quick reads, all dark and twisty. All short.

Hex Life – Witch Books Fearture 🧙🏻‍♀️😉

To celebrate today’s release of Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery Edited by Christopher Golden and Rachel Autumn Deering today, I’m doing a feature on some recent witchy book releases. 
Hex Life is a masterful anthology of eighteen tales of witches. A mix of creepy, kind, feminist and vengeful. Some are even set in their authors’ existing worlds – although these tales stand alone for those, like me, who haven’t previously read their work.
I’ve always been a fan of witchy books so much so that it was one of the ‘I read’ badges I ordered from Felfira Moon. 
For me it probably started with The Worst Witch (Mildred Hubble at Cackle’s Academy) and solidified with Harry Potter. Who doesn’t like the idea of having magical powers or going to magic school? I’m still waiting for my Hogwarts letter! 

The last few months have seen a bonanza of Witch themed books released and my Halloween loving heart is going to have an amazing October reading them all.

Sabrina: Season of the Witch by Sarah Rees Brennan
A prequel to the Netflix series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina sees Sabrina casting a spell to see how Harvey feels about her.

Sanctuary by V V James
The death of a star quarterback sees his ex-girlfriend, the daughter of a witch, accused.
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
An unlikely marriage between a witch and a witchhunter will surely go down in flames.

Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deirdre Sullivan
Sisters, Sacrifice and witchcraft as twins remove to a strange mountain town where teenage girls go missing.
Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey
A complicated woman’s investigation at a hidden school of witchcraft and wizardry.

I just want to highlight one of the tales from Hex Life, though it’s hard to pick a favourite with a collection this strong – and beautiful. Look at that detail! Widow’s Walk By Angel Slatter gave me Practical Magic’s “aunties” feels with the elderly witchy residents taking wayward young women into the fold. It twists tropes and has a purrfect ending.

A huge thanks to Titan for the gifted copy hardback copy of Hex life. The other books featured are a mix of gifted review copies and book subscription box featured books. A bonus mention to my stunning replica of Defence Against the Dark Arts by AlarmEighteen which I’m partway through reading.

Wonderland Blog Tour – Book Review

Good morning and welcome to my spot on the blog tour for this anthology of work inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. 
I think most people are somewhat familiar with the original stories. My first introduction to Alice, I’m fairly sure, was via the Disney animated film, and to be honest I’m not convinced if I’ve even fully read the original stories. I really must rectify that soon (would love a MinaLima to design an edition btw). The genre bending children’s fantasy, has definite horrific aspects and many a joke has been made about what Carroll was on when he wrote these tales. They are a true classic, and have been a springboard for many a spin off or retelling both on film, and on the page. 
The majority of the works in this anthology are short stories although these are bookended by two poems by Jane Yolen. The second of which I preferred. Some of the tales may be better appreciated by people who are familiar with the originals but despite this most can stand alone. 
I was only familiar with 3 of the 20 names associated and so I had the pleasure of being introduced to other authors, some of whose other work I am now likely to seek out as a result. 
There is something for everyone in here, but as with most short story collections perhaps not everything will be for everyone. Stories that although are well written, don’t quite make that connection. There’s historical, contemporary and futuristic tales in fantasy, science fiction, horror, historical and more. Topics such as capitalism and child abuse are discovered. Not be shelved in the children’s section next to the original. And most of the characters from Hatter to Cheshire, The Jabberwock, and even the more obscure Walrus, appear in one form or another across these tales. For me there were many more hits than misses and I will mention a few of the hits next. 
First up is the author I was most familiar with – MR Carey with There Were No Birds to Fly. The tonal similarity with his other works was apparent. That apocalyptic creepiness. Oddly this was the least recognisable in terms of its connection to the original, until the very end. Carey shows that being inspired by something can still lead to a highly original story. 
Next was Genevieve Cogman. I was aware of her and have her Invisible Library series waiting on my TBR. Her tale The White Queen’s Pawn had a wry and dark humour, and a be careful what you wish for moral. I definitely plan to bump her tales up the list. 
And the stand out for me was Cavan Scott’s Dream Girl. I won’t mention the genre as that is sort of a spoiler in itself but it was perfection. It reminded me of  the Wizard of Oz/Wicked retelling and I would love to be able to read a longer work based on what this becomes at the end of the story. 
Thank you to Titan for the gifted review copy and to editors Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane for bringing this together. Do check out the rest of the blog tour stops to see which stories stood out to everyone else. 

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