My Christmas Book Ketchup & Other Short Christmas Stories Is Now Available On Amazon!


I have put together a collection of six short stories called Ketchup & Other Short Christmas Stories which is now available on Amazon. It’s the first Christmas book I’ve written and I loved putting it together. Now it’s back to writing my next novel 🙂 …

Hope you all enjoy it. 🙂

To purchase Ketchup & Other Short Christmas Stories go to:


A Short Story A Day For A Month: Short Story: One Woman And Her Dog



Emma often went on hiking walks with her dog Casper. The jack russell terrier was the only man in her life since her boyfriend Matthew had run off with her best friend Amy 2 years ago. And right now she wouldn’t have it any other way. It wasn’t that she had become bitter against the idea of finding a man but it just wasn’t a priority in her life. Having met and started dating Matthew at 16 and spending the next 7 years with him she hadn’t much time to concentrate on herself, her goals, her interests, her inner sense of being. She had learned so much more about herself in the last 2 years than she had in 23 years. And that was kind of nice.

And one of the things she learned was how much time she loved spending with her 5-year-old dog. It was always a huge pleasure taking a stroll with him or going hiking like they did today. He was a terrier so he tended to be a handful. Tugging madly on the lead, dragging Emma everywhere, barking wildly at cars and other dogs. But that was Casper and she loved him as he was. Maybe her arms didn’t so much though!

When she finally reached the top of the countryside footpath, she settled Casper down with some treats and toys and took a deep breath as she looked out at the amazing view. She took her mobile phone from her pocket and videoed the view before her before turning the phone around to herself.

“Hi YouTube, you join me and Casper …”

She moved the phone around to show Casper who was chewing a sausage. She then moved the phone back on herself.

“On our latest hiking trip!”

She turned the phone back to the scene before her.

“As you can see we have made it to the top and isn’t that view just tranquil and beautiful? It’s worth the long walk up though I must admit I am tired and I still have to go back down. Casper doesn’t mind of course. He’d walk … or rather run all night if he could.”

When she had finished making her video, she joined Casper by sitting down on the ground beside him. She petted his head softly. They stayed admiring the view of Howth – Cliff Path loop for another twenty minutes and Emma penciled in Kilmashogue – Mountain Access route into her diary as their next destination. They made their ways down again and Emma thought out her later editing for her YouTube channel One Woman And Her Dog.

A Short Story A Day For A Month: Short Story: Finding Love



It was everything to me just sitting having a cup of tea on the sofa with my new husband Kyle. To everyone who passed us on the street they probably seen two gay guys in love. In fact we were a straight and a gay guy in love and it had taken quite a journey to get to this point. Sometimes I think Kyle is the only one who gets me, who understands me. My mum and dad think my sexuality “changed” when I fell in love with Kyle. They are totally supportive but my sexuality didn’t change. Kyle gets that and he’s ok with it. Well he married me so I suppose he must be ok with it.

“Jesus, married, can you believe it?”, he said, sipping his tea.

I always loved his Dublin accent. It always seemed so hot been a Londoner living in London surrounded by for the most part English accents or maybe most people I knew were English in any case.

“No, I can’t. I think we done it ok though. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.”

“Grandad Michael really did! Way to re-inforce the Irish stereotype!”, he laughs.

“He had a good night …”

“He was up on the tables singing I Will Survive!”

“Do you remember my Dad’s speech?”

“Oh yeah, ‘when Kieran told us he was gay, it was a surprise but when we realised he was with Kyle, we were so pleased.’ Because I’m so amazing of course.”

“Ah you’re alright I suppose.”

He is amazing but we won’t tell him that.

I remember how we met. I was struggling to keep the rent going on this place and reluctantly for someone who likes my own space decided to go with the advice of my then-girlfriend to advertise for a flatmate. As luck or faith (which Kyle doesn’t believe in but it was faith) would have it, Kyle was just after moving over to London and was crashing on a mate’s sofa while he job-hunted. He seen my advertisement on the internet and put it on a list of four places. Told me after we got together that “I picked your place because I liked the look of the host.”

I guess I liked the look of the lodger too. But I was surprised I did. Then I got to know him and I fell very quickly for him. Then I was really surprised, really confused. And mostly really happy. When my ex ran off with yaman, the barman everyone fancied, he had comforted me. And yet it was more my ego that was hurt, my heart had been elsewhere with Kyle for a while. And I fell even more in love with him because he was so kind to me.

A few months had passed. One night in the kitchen I had kissed him. His face instantly told me that he was very shocked.

“I think we’ll just put this behind us. That wine is very strong.”

“I only had one glass and you had only two. I know what I’m doing.”

Well I did at that point. The first time I got lost in the moment with our close proximity in our tiny kitchen.

I went in for another kiss. He stopped me.

“What makes you think I like you back?”, he’d grinned.

“C’mere.”, he added and we kissed passionately.

“That was nice Kyle.”

“Yeah … so are you into guys Kieran?”

“No, just you. It’s weird, isn’t it?”

“No, it’s completely normal.”, he smiled and we kissed again.

Back in the present he snuggles into my side and flicks on the TV.

“Big Brother time followed by Rylan.”, he says.

A night in with my man. I couldn’t ask for anything better. Long ago I was a bit of a player and I never thought I’d find love. Now I know just how wrong I was.

A Short Story A Day For A Month: Short Story: Catching His Attention


Sophie sat in the cafe. She had just had a facial and felt great.

Oh my god! What’s that?!

She watched as a pint-sized hippie went up to the counter and ordered in a large cappuccino.

She must regularly have those. It certainly shows on her big, round belly!

The hippie subsequently took a seat behind her and started reading some new novel called Freedom by Nick Blake.

Oh yes that new dreary subculture novel that all the weirdos are reading.

She turned back around and checked her nails.

Babes, you are due a manicure methinks.

A man joined the hippie. He was another hippie. They began talking about social issues. Sophie almost went to sleep.

Why do I always end up beside these wannabe activists?!

The waitress came over. She made a sideways glance of distain at the hippies.

A sensible, conformist young woman. Quite pretty in a plain sort of way.

She asked Sophie if she wanted anything else. Sophie ordered in another skinny latte. Soon the waitress came back with her order.

As she nursed her coffee she noticed a man looking over at her. He was tall, dark and handsome.

And of course he’s looking at me. They always do. I’ll play hard to get for a bit.

She took a sip more of her coffee seductively while avoiding his eyeline.

It was hard been beautiful but someone had to do it!

She looked discreetly back at him.

Yes, he was still looking. Well of course he was!

He smiled to himself.

The usual effect I have on men.

She proceeded to give him less and less attention like her dating guides had told her. He seemed to get a bit angry.

Thank you dating gurus!

And then he got up.

I know how to get my man. Come to me baby. I’m all yours.

As he approached her table she held out her hand to greet him. But he didn’t seem to notice. He walked past to the table with the hippie. The man with her had left.

“Hi, I notice you’ve been reading my book …”

The hippie smiled nerdily.

“You wrote this? It’s really good.”

“Thanks.”, he smiled, modestly.

“Is, is um, the guy that left your boyfriend?”

A sparkle appeared in the hippie’s eyes.

“No, I think his husband might have something to say about that.”, she smiled.

Now there was a sparkle in Nick’s eyes. He extended his hand.

“I’m Nick.”

“Well I know that. Nice to meet you Nick. I’m Eva.”

They shook hands.

“Would you be free to go for a drink with me maybe?”

“Oh I don’t know, chapter six is pretty interesting …”

Is that this bloody hippie’s attempt at playful flirting?!

He grins.

“It really gets pretty dreary Eva.”

“Well in that case then I guess I’m free.”, she smiles and they get up and leave the cafe. Sophie looked after them as they left in shock. She drummed her fingers on the table.

His loss! I wonder if that hunk at the top table is looking at me …

A Short Story A Day For A Month: Short Story: In My Blood

Today is the 16th of August and I have set myself a challenge to write a short story a day until September 16th. I hope I can stick to it and I’m determined to. So here goes with story 1:



I am a man. I am not a man based on the shape of the parts of my body. I’ve had top surgery and am on hormones and that makes me feel more comfortable. But many refuse to see me as a man, refuse to see me as ‘trans enough’, refuse to leave behind a dated way of seeing gender. More fools they are. Some tell me I won’t ever be a man, some tell me I won’t be a man until I have the surgery down below. To be fair they sound like perverts with their obsession with my body. They are so thick really. My gender is not defined by my body. My gender is in my brain, not in my pants. My gender is in my blood.   – Brian.


They say I need to choose. I’m looking for the rulebook that says that but funnily enough it doesn’t exist. When I say I’m non-binary they look at me like I’m an undecided freak. No dears I’m looking at the freaks when you all talk to me. They speak about my body and how it looks but that has nothing to do with my gender. Did the first humans on the planet say “you’re a boy” and “you’re a girl” to each other? I doubt it. Respect me and I’ll respect you. I don’t need to pick a binary gender when I don’t feel like one to be valid in your binary world. I am already valid. My gender is in my brain, not in my pants. My gender is in my blood. – Penny.



The world is good to me. Been a cisgender female. They see me as female. And yet it’s sad why they do. They look at how my body parts are shaped, they look at what I was assigned at birth and they say, “yes, you are female”. But that’s not why I’m female. I’m only female because I feel female. Nothing more, nothing less. We are all reduced to our body parts like we are all mindless zombies. My gender means more to me than something some bigot or fake feminist reduces it to. My gender is in my brain, not in my pants. My gender is in my blood. – Katie



Short Story: The Mystery At Hammond Mansion Part 5 (Of 5)



Emment sat in his car across the road from Alexander’s and Josh’s house. It was half eight in the morning. He waited, sipping a takeaway coffee. Soon Josh emerged from the house with their son. They got into one of two cars. It was clear that Josh was taking Leo to school so Emment stayed put. It was really Alexander’s movements he wished to track. Ten minutes later Alexander exited the house and got into the other car. Emment waited until he had got to the corner and then started the engine.

Emment followed for a short time when Alexander pulled over to the side of the road. He got out and gestured over to Emment to come join him in a cafe. Emment pulled over and reluctantly joined him in the cafe.

“You forget I work in law. I know a cop’s next moves.”, Alexander smiled as he ordered in a coffee.

“That would be perfect for the perfect murder.”, Emment replied, ordering his own coffee.

They sat down by the window.

“So where were you going?”

“Well let me think, 9 in the morning … work.”

“Or to sort a few things out before work …”

“Such as?”

“Well let me think … keeping Samantha Shepherd quiet.”

Alexander laughs.

“You watch too much TV. I had an affair Emment. I don’t go around with a hit list.”

“That affair could have led to a hit list.”

“It could have. But theories don’t always add up to facts. Look, I get it. You’re doing your job but I’m not going to have you harassing me or my family. Neither Josh or I are involved in Marie’s death. And while you are hovering around outside our house there’s a real killer out there getting away literally with murder.”

“Well from where I’m sitting no one else has as strong a motive.”

“You don’t think so … or you’re listening to the wrong people.”

“What’s this whole coffee thing exactly? To warn me off?”

“To tell you to stop harassing me and my family.”

“So you are warning me?”

“You aren’t even on duty yet. You are doing this off your own back.”

“And you’re been defensive about it for some reason.”

“Of course I’m been defensive. I had an affair behind my husband’s back. I don’t want him finding out.”

“This case is a bit more important than your extramarital affairs in case you hadn’t noticed.”

“But they aren’t linked Emment!”

“I’ll decide that. Not you.”, Emment replied, finishing his coffee and exiting the coffee bar.

Emment made his way back to his car and noticed Josh’s car pull up across the road from the cafe. He made his way over to him.

“Josh, hi.”

He looked quite startled.

“Oh hi Emment.”

He had dropped Leo off at school and had clearly went in search of Alexander. Why?, Emment wondered.

“Just doing some grocery shopping.”, Josh said, but it was clear to Emment that he was lying through his teeth.

His eyes looked like they were about to water.

“You ok mate?”

“Yeah, yeah, grand.”, he replied, trying to shake off the threatening tears.

“Come on. Let’s grab a bite to eat.”, Emment said.

Josh reluctantly agreed.

They went to a nearby sandwich bar.

“I don’t have many people I confide in. And some things feel like a betrayal to confide about …”

“Sometimes it isn’t a good thing to keep things on your head either Josh.”

“I guess … sometimes I think I’m going mad … Alex doesn’t even know. Know that I know.”

Emment gave Josh a few moments as he sipped his coffee nervously.

“He was cheating on me with … with another guy. I mean it was a once-off affair as far as I know. But once it does happen. How do you know it’s once? You know what I mean.”

It didn’t take much for Emment to realise that Josh meant with Marie but wasn’t saying.

“The trust goes.”

“Yeah … and then I end up trying to find his car to see if he’s meeting someone. You came out of that cafe where his car’s parked. Did you see him there? Was he with anyone?”

“Yes I seen him there. No Josh, he wasn’t with anyone.”

He looked relieved but then guilty.

“Of course he wasn’t. He made a mistake. It’s my fault. I can’t seem to stop punishing him for it. And I know everyone deserves a second chance. It’s just so hard.”

“You aren’t punishing him Josh. You’re punishing yourself. He was the one who cheated. You are entitled to feel how you want about that.”

“But I love him Emment. I don’t want to think the way I do about him. We have a kid together. No matter what he’s done we have to make this work.”

“How did you find out?”

“The guy he was cheating on me with died in a car crash. His brother told me. Came to see me to tell me.”

“Alexander’s brother?”

“No. The guy who Alex was having the affair with’s brother. He took glee in it to be honest. Nasty twat.”

Marie’s brother?!, thought Emment.

“His brother? Are you sure?”

“I’m thick but I’m not that thick. Yes, his brother.”




At 8 that night, Emment waited in a bar for Patrick Shepherd to arrive. When he did he arrived with his sister Samantha.

Emment wasn’t happy. He had wanted to spare Samantha this. But if this was how it had to be, then this was how it had to be.

“Patrick, you couldn’t bear that your sister had changed, could you? She became an atheist, she had sex outside marriage, she drank, smoked, partied …”

“It was the influence of that Alexander Hammond-Kelly! She was in love with him! He was destroying her purity …”

“And you wanted to be the one to do that, didn’t you Patrick?”

“How dare you?! That’s out of order! She was my sister!”, Patrick protested.

“What kind of a sick mind do you have?!”, Samantha added.

“Oh I’m not the one with the sick mind here. You’ve been in love with your sister most of your life, haven’t you Patrick? And suddenly she tainted the ‘ideal image’ you had of her. You went that night to the Hammond household to have it out with her about her recent affair with Alexander and her desertion of God. But in the process you argued, told her you loved her, tried to kiss her … but you didn’t go alone, did you?”

Emment looked to Samantha.

“You were there too, weren’t you Samantha? Both of you killed your sister? Two blows to the head.”

“And why am I supposed to have killed Marie?”

Emment’s eyes scanned over her necklace.

“She was bringing shame on the family.”

“You can’t prove any of this Emment.”

“How many times have you wanted to get out Samantha? This whole Godliness to this extent, is it really you? It must have killed you seeing your twin sister having the guts you never had …”

“She was a disgrace! Having sex with a man who had sex with men!”

“A pretty sexy man who was gay. I say that from a non-sexual perspective but for anyone into lads Alexander Hammond-Kelly keeps himself pretty well. Suave, loaded, it must have been very annoying for you actually seeing your twin sister involved with an actual physical man while you devoted your life to your invisible man in the sky.”

“Do not talk about God like that!”

“Did Marie say something along those lines before you hit her over the head?”

“She was asking for it!”

“She left the teaching our parents set out. We were doing her a favour. What kind of life would she have had without God?!”, Patrick added.

“What is your problem with religion?! You were made by God!”

“My problem isn’t with religion.”, Emment replied before gesturing to his fellow police officer Kate who was at the bar to come over.

They arrested them.

“You two can’t prove anything!”, Samantha ranted.

Emment took his mobile phone from his pocket where he had been recording their meeting.

“That’s where you’re wrong. I can.”



Emment and Janet went back for dinner and after-drinks at the Hammond mansion. During after-drinks he joined Josh on the steps for a cigarette.

“You done well with the case.”

“It’s my job … besides you kind of helped me.”

“Unwittingly.”, Josh smiled.

“Yeah.”, Emment grinned.

“How’s everything with Alexander?”

Josh smiles as he looks in at Alexander and Leo playing cards in the living-room.

“We’ve talked. We’re working on it.”


“It might take time.”

“Of course.”

“But I think we’ll be ok. I hope so anyway.”

“Yeah, I hope so too.”


The End.





Short Story: The Mystery At Hammond Mansion Part 2 (Of 5)


The next stage of Emment’s investigations was to go and see Marie Shepherd’s family. In contrast to the huge house that was the Hammond mansion, Marie Shepherd’s family home was a small but comfortable house in a council estate. Emment parked the police car outside the house and got out. A group of teenagers were loitering sitting on the wall of the neighbour’s house.

“Sergeant, are you here because the Shepherd one snuffed it?”, one teenage boy shouted.

Emment didn’t respond and went to knock on the door. A young woman in her early thirties appeared with a cross with Jesus around her neck. She had a striking resemble and Emment realised she was Marie’s identical twin Samantha. Her eyes were red and tired. She greeted him and led him inside where the Shepherd family were seated in the living-room. Marie’s mother Sally, a warm woman in her late fifties, offered Emment tea as Emment surveyed the final members of the family, Marie’s father Michael, early sixties, in a wheelchair and looking angry and her brother Patrick, mid-twenties, a mechanic with an uninterested face and Patrick’s girlfriend Kate, early twenties, prim looking.

“I’m very sorry for your loss.”, Emment began.

“That’s all very well son but what are you doing about it?”, asked Michael.

“Well, um … we’re gathering a list of sus … of who was there in the house that night and questioning them on what they seen.”

“And how long will that take?”

“I just have the people who worked there left to speak to …”

“It’s that son-in-law. The gay one.”, Patrick said.

“This is what happens when someone hasn’t God in their lives.”

A religious fanatic, thought Emment. Great, that’s all I need!

“Was Marie seeing anyone?”

“Not that we knew of. She was seeing a nice chap Matthew who did missionaries with the Church. But it ended recently. He was very hurt as he was very fond of our Marie.”, Sally said.

Interesting, thought Emment.

“Where could I find Matthew?”

“Oh but Matthew would never hurt our Marie. He’s a sweet boy.”

“No, I’m sure he wouldn’t Mrs. Shepherd. But I’d still like to speak to him if I could just to see if he knows anything about who could have done this to Marie.”

“Of course.”, Sally replied uneasily and supplied him with Matthew’s address.

“Was Marie enjoying her employment at the Hammond house? Was she having any problems that any of you knew of?”

“Oh she was very happy with the position. It paid well. And with just the two parents there there really wasn’t much problems that she had to deal with.”, Sally said.

“It was just of a Sunday when the rest of the family came over for dinner that she did. That gay fella would go on about atheism and obviously it’s not the kind of thing any decent young woman would want to hear.”, said Patrick.

Patrick was actually beginning to irritate Emment. He hadn’t been reared to describe people by their sexuality and he silently wished he’d say Josh but knew it was clearly too much to ask.

“And what about the other members of the family? Did she like them?”

“She did, yes. She didn’t know them too well. But they were all otherwise quite charming.”, Sally said.

After Emment left the Shepherd house, he went to speak to Matthew. He lived in a small flat overlooking the local Catholic Church. He seemed surprised to see a policeman at the door but he greeted Emment pleasantly with a strong handshake and offered him some tea. They sat down in Matthew’s kitchen.

“I understand that you and Marie Shepherd had been dating. But that recently the relationship fell through.”

“She left me. Told me she wanted more from life than I could give her.”

“And how did that make you feel?”
“I didn’t kill her.”

“We just need to eliminate everyone …”

“I was angry and hurt. But I wouldn’t hurt a hair on Marie’s head.”

“Ok … was it a sudden change? Did she previously feel like she could have the life she wanted with you?”

“I believed so. She was a sensible, steady girl. Not like these crazy modern girls you see. She wanted a home life and a family. She knew I was going to be able to provide for her. Once that seemed enough for her. Obviously working in that big house gave her big ideas.”

Matthew paused.

“It was a pity. Because I loved her. She was the girl I was going to marry. You need to look into that Josh fella officer. More than once she had arguments with him.”

Afterwards Emment went over to Hammond mansion. There he interviewed a butler called Jeff who said she was ‘a bit of an airhead’ but he ‘had no reason to want to kill her’, a cleaner called Eimer who said ‘she kept to herself and read the Bible a lot’ and a chauffeur Mark who said ‘she was a pretty girl but too in love with the Almighty for my taste’. Finally Emment got to speak to someone who actually knew and liked Marie, housekeeper and cleaner Annette.

“She was a bright girl. The impression I got was that she wasn’t used to using her mind. Everything had been almost decided for her. Get a decent job, marry a nice Catholic boy and have a family and she didn’t question it which was a pity because she was bright enough to do so. Maybe she was beginning to live her life more her way having left that Matthew chap. Sadly she never got to Officer. She was a nice, quiet girl.”

“And she got on for the most part with everyone?”

“Everyone bar Josh Kelly-Hammond. Look, it was a clash of personalities. Josh is an intellectual and to be honest Marie was so sheltered that it was a bit of a culture shock. A real pity really as I often thought they were quite alike despite their differences.”

“In what way?”

“They both had brains Officer. Not that the other members of the Hammond family don’t. But they don’t really go into anything. Marie and Josh did. But Marie was afraid to go too far. A real shame.”

When Emment left the Hammond mansion, he went over to Josh’s and Alexander’s house. It was a Georgian-style townhouse in Dublin City. Emment knocked at the door and Josh answered.

“I have a few questions to ask you Josh.”

“I thought you might.”

Josh let Emment in.

“Leo, keep watching the cartoons there. You need anything buddy, just holler.”

“Noted Dad.”, Leo replied, sipping down some coke.

Josh led Emment into the kitchen.

“Alexander’s at work so …”

“That’s fine. It was you I wanted to see.”

“Ok.”, Josh replied and for the first time Emment noted nerves in his voice.

“Tea? Coffee? Beer?”, Josh offered.

“Coffee’s fine. I’m on duty.”, Emment replied, sick of having tea all day.

“Oh yeah, sorry.”, Josh grinned, making Emment tea and grabbing a beer himself.

He’s nervous about something to be drinking, thought Emment.

They sat down at the table.

“I’ve spoken to three people today and your name came up. Josh, what aren’t you telling me?”

“In what way?”

“You knew her better than you let on, didn’t you?”


“I haven’t time for this, of course Marie.”

“Ok, ok … maybe. More at the end maybe. She, um, she wasn’t that bad at the end.”

“Wasn’t that bad at the end?”

“I mean she was still Catholic and she believed strongly in that and that was grand. But she … she wasn’t as vicious about it. She seemed to understand at the end that people felt differently and she understood the angle to why they might. The night before she was killed was a Sunday. We always went over for dinner of a Sunday. And as I left she came over to me and I remember that her words were ‘I finally get it, this whole atheism thing. I watched an interesting documentary about it.’ I got to explain to her that I didn’t believe in God but it didn’t mean I didn’t like Catholics, heck I’m married to a Catholic and my son is Catholic and I left the house that night thinking we could maybe be friends. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be.”

“That’s convenient Josh …”

“It didn’t happen overnight. Gradually week on week she was becoming easier to get on with. I think she was probably a nice girl beneath it, just … just a bit brainwashed to not like people.”