May I Want by Tiah Marie Beautement

May I Want, a brand new original short story of mine, is now LIVE and FOR SALE on Amazon, thanks to my lovely publishers, Stubborn Raven.


To some the seas hold many mysteries, but not to Laila. Her seaborne gifts have given her much, but when she is visited by an old acquaintance from her previous life she will find out that all gifts, hers included, come at a price.


Cover of May I Want by Tiah Beautement

~The ghostly light of the waning moon shimmered on the skin of the sea, creating an endless road. To Laila, it beckoned with promise. Seduction. “May I want?” she whispered, borrowing her daughter’s phrase.~

~The need to keep secrets was as much a part of the village as the stones it was built on.~

~A weaver’s magic cannot be forced.~

~Please know that I, too, have lost.~

~Her mother had whispered in her ear two of the vows sea-weavers must make: first, do not harm; second, never accept coin for the art.~

~No gift is truly for free.~

USA Amazon link

UK Amazon link

Okay, Okay, Okay by Finuala Dowling

Cover of Okay, Okay, Okay is rings of aqua blue. In the center, there is an ECG read out.

~You expected to find that you were a main player in your mother’s life, just as your mother was the main player in yours. But here was Mom thinking about Olive Schreiner, or having her feelings hurt, or going swimming with Roland. And, on every page she was anxious, like a woman being chased.~

~Life was tiring. Babies knew it: that’s why newborns brought their clenched fists up to their eyes and squirmed with resistance.~

~She’d never thought of herself as a diarist, but there seemed to be so many things other people didn’t want to hear, and yet one wanted to say them.~

~In the medical mind, a woman’s heart is never broken…women’s symptoms are often pooh-poohed when they are presented.~

~’That’s okay…I’m glad you put him in his place. He’s such a narcissist. Or failed narcissist, should I say?’
‘What do you do once you’ve failed at being a narcissist?’
‘Become a sycophant?’

~A university, Viwe decided, was a place you went to in order to discover what you did not understand.~

~Jesus stared blankly. You can do anything in life as long as you don’t have to do it on demand. Every son he’d learned fro this show and in his ten-year singing career had evidently flown out of his mind.~

~That’s the thing about life – you gotta keep the ashes and the waybill.~

Wikipedia page

Blood Magic Box Set by J.T. Lawrence & M.J. Kraus

Blood Magic Box set features a white woman in black trench coat and red hair with flames coming out of her hands.

~My name is Jacqueline Denna Knight, and I turn my pain into magic.~

~Now tell me why you like like you’ve just been dragged through the week backwards.

~I love long stories…Especially if they involve barbecued nipples.~

~So I was dealing with a magical mixture of an ancient Chinese torture method, and Freddy Kruger. After a funeral and the morgue, that pretty much made my Wednesday evening.~

~Let me tell you, if you don’t have a big-hearted tech-genius surrogate-mother dwarf in your life, you’re missing out.~

~Like the Rapture…But they came back.~

Upturned Earth by Karen Jennings

tan cover with a mountain in the back, with old fashion mining equipment in blue sketched in the foreground.

~Six days he had suffered this sickness, or perhaps five. He did not know. He longed for land and the steady earth beneath his feet. Dirt or rock or sand. It didn’t matter which.~

~Don’t be a fool. Out there there is no Queen, only a King, and that King is the Company. You’ll do as you’re told, boy. Out here all bodies bow to the kind.~

~She had come to the mine one afternoon to ask the man for money, whispering to him as she drew him aside that their children were starving while he spent all his earnings in the pub. He had denied her request without words, answering instead with a fist to her jaw.~

~My father does not easily tire of watching his guests enjoying themselves. Even if their enjoyment has long since ceased.~

~With one hand he takes out money. The other is raised to the sky in praise of his god.~

~No man can survive a mining town without being corrupted and weakened by it. All feelings for his fellow man is lost. He is scarcely human any longer.~

Karen Jennings’ Facebook author page

The Dragonfly Sea by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

Cover of The Dragonfly Sea is layered blues and greens scattered with the bright colours symbolising dragonflies.

~Between religion and my black skin there shall be a sky’s distance until the day I hear the Call to Atonement.~

~To savour its essence. To do that, you must taste at least three languages on your tongue.~

~In the world, English has the biggest ears.~

~When the tide has risen, it also falls.~

~The ocean is an old country.~

~Stories are malleable within a person’s feelings: they can be squeezed to acquire the shape of truth.~

~Ayaana discovered that “nowhere” was also an inhabited space.~

~Destinations are ephemeral. Nothing lasts, only the voices of the heart and gut count.~

~They sing because life is a dragonfly: flutter, shine, fly, die.~

~He turned his story into water and soil.~


Learning How To Drown by Cat Hellisen

Cover of Learning How To Drown shows a row boat in a lake, with houses lit up in the dark on the hills in the background.

~I write stories about people who live on the edge.~

~Seeing into the future is not a straight line…You are given the choice of a hundred paths through a treacherous swamp. Some will lead you safely onwards, others drown you, and sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which.~

~The problem with broken heart is that they are sharp and jagged and filled with long fine shards. Broken hearts are cruel. Broken hearts can see only their own misery.~

~In water we are made, in water we will trust.~

~”Oh, dying always ends,” she says. “it’s Death that takes forever.”~

~I met The Jesus in a bar, while I was busy turning wine into water.~

The Company of Birds by Nerine Dorman

The Company of Birds cover features an illustrated owl in charcoal tones tinged with faded reds.

~If the world had to fall to dry academia all the time, we’d all be turned to stone out of boredom.~

~I’m so tired of trying to make everyone happy. They just end up abusing your good humour.~

~Children are not the be-all and end-all of the world.~

~The moment I’d left my parents’ home to follow my studies, I’d died to my old life. There was no return.~

~It was one thing to find messages, but quite another to meet the messenger.~

~Life never quite turns out the way we expect it, and each year the choices we have to make become fewer and fewer.~

If You Keep Digging by Keletso Mopai

If You Keep Digging by Keletso Mopai has a blue cover with vibrate plant illustrations scattered across it.

~I look at it, the body, lying inside the white box in the middle of the living room, surrounded by pretty white sheets and mourners lined up to see it. I tilt my head to get a better view; I still can’t find him. He is gone.~

~The first few weeks living in South Africa, I realised that I was empty, longing for a place no one would take me to.~

~Do you have a car? With what money? You feel sad. This is not the type of interview you’d prepared for. Your friends and the internet had told you to expect, “Tell me about yourself”, “What are your weaknesses?”, “What are your strengths?”…But here you’re being asked if you own a flipping car.~

~As soon as you open the door, you wrap your arms around her and just weep. You would did your heart out with a shovel if you could. If it means not feeling the heaviness of your bones. The dryness of your throat. The pain.~

~You hope someone will call her beautiful. That life makes her dance to every love song played on the radio. And when she goes cold someday, you hope she won’t stop loving, because you won’t.~

Twitter: @KeletsoMopai

Pain and Prejudice by Gabrielle Jackson

Cover of Pain and Prejudice by Gabrielle Jackson shows a picture of a woman's reproductive organs made out of flowers and herbs.

~Textbooks have wrongly presented sperm as the go-getting gamete that hunts down and pierces the waiting egg. . . the egg plays an active role in attracting and capturing semen-while semen is quite weak and slippery, incapable of implanting without the egg’s participation.~

~Sick women can’t work or can’t work full time, and they have more sick days, which supports the idea that women are weaker than men, don’t pull their weight at work and don’t deserve equal pay.~

~When it comes to “active” life expectancy- the number of years living free from significant limitations that prevent you from doing everyday tasks-men have overtaken women over the past three decades. Women still live longer, but men live better longer.~

~ A male GP once earnestly said to me, ‘I’ve never had a fibromyalgia patient who wasn’t batshit crazy.~

~We’re currently in a situation where 70 per cent of chronic pain patients are women but 80 per cent of pain studies are conducted on men or male mice.~

~Their study demonstrates that period pain can progress to chronic pelvic pain-as quickly as one year…The messages that period pain is normal and the afflicted should suffer in silence are potentially setting women up for a lifetime of pain. This is a major factor in the long delays women face in diagnosis.~

~26 per cent [of teen girls] miss school because of pain.~

~We have to stop believing that pain is a natural state for women.~

~Although endo affects about the same number of women as diabetes and has a similar economic cost, it receives 5 per cent of the funding of diabetes.~

~I used to scoff at the wellness industry…but after four years of researching…I finally understand. I don’t blame women for seeking out these views and therapies. they’re not stupid, or gullible, or somehow more credulous than others; they’re desperate…a perfectly reasonable response to being ignored, dismissed or made to feel stupid by a doctor.~

~Pain isn’t killing us, but it is denying us our full humanity. Refusing to understand this fact of life for women is tearing opportunities from our grasp. And I say, enough.~


Missing Person by Sarah Lotz

The cover of Sarah Lotz' Missing Person features a dark background with a pink dress with a red sash.

~The kid may be in trouble, but he still had that thing, that inner self-assurance that no amount of hardship could fully extinguish.~

~Shaun learned the bizarre truth about his uncle in a cemetery on a damp October evening.~

~Later, when he was back in the safety of his room, he’d think-with a certain amount of grim irony-that of all the places to hear that a relative had come back from the dead, a graveyard had to be the most apposite.~

~You should see how people react if I get out of the [wheelchair] in the store. They either act like they’re witnessing a medical miracle or think I’m some kind of charlatan.~

~He wouldn’t say they were friends exactly, but there was no doubt they shared a bond of sorts and he now understood why she’d cultivated such a brittle carapace.~

~But maybe, just maybe, she’d enjoyed the sneaking around. Doing more than she’d let on. Being the centre of it. Playing a game, seeing how far she could push it.

The Unfamous Five by Nedine Moonsamy

Cover of The UnFamous Five is a swirl of colours, very 1970s esq.

~The Five lost their taste for adventure when the streets exposed them to the fact that they were not able to be heroes when it mattered most.~

~His heart aches, wishing people could have the easy fluidity of the computer whose readiness to receive new data and code, to experiment with languages and grammars that are almost always unfamiliar, is exemplary. The computer has no ideals, no culture and tradition – even the source code can be rewritten and replaced with a multitude of context free grammars for purposes of adaptation and evolution. He hangs his arms around the monitor in an act of love and solidarity. The computer stands alone and unburdened, just like him.~

~Photos, he sees, are good mirrors of the past, but unreliable reflections of the future.~

~We all think we’re special or breaking with tradition to do things for ourselves, but it’s all just part of a pattern. A system of sameness that make us think that we’re all doing it differently.~

~What will the soil make of us? What will it make of our children?~


Feature on behalf of the Sunday Times