Colin Alcock

It's not just the books.

SHORT STORIES • POETRY & RHYME • FLASH FICTION • PHOTOS • VIDEOS • LINKS TO NOVELS

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JUST ME

Jack of all trades, master of some. That's my own assessment of a life where I've tried many things, done well in a few, failed in a few, but generally kept my head above water in this fast flowing river of life.

Now, I'm in calmer waters, having joined that band of retirees who can choose when to get up in the morning. Most days, anyway.

This website showcases some of my writing and some of my images and is a fluid selection, changed at the occasional whim to provide new works or older, but previously unseen material.

So, more may be added, a few items may disappear and maybe the style will change as it grows organically; for that's the serendipitous way I tend to do things.

I hope you enjoy what you find.

As for my background, click the button below for a brief resumé.

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Paul Hewitt believed he had found the perfect partner in Giules Franciotti, unaware of the missions that she and her feisty sister, Maria, kept secret from him - until he, too, was drawn into one, with a disastrous result.

As a consequence, all three lives are threatened before a disastrous finale exposes the truth.

A dark plot, but a light read.
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When Anne Grant invited her son to a Christmas Lunch at Arden Ash, without telling Edna Gray, all she had intended was to show an independence of spirit and less need for the constant guidance offered by her self-appointed mentor.

She didn’t expect the kind of interest his introduction would arouse – or that a train of events among her new acquaintances would lead to such tragic consequences.

For those who like a good page-turner.
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Some see the dandelion as an evil weed, others recall the beauty of a wildflower spread across a sunlit field.

Whichever your point of view, this compilation provides a varied collection of prose, poetry and rhyme to match many a mood.

A book that you can dip into at random.

Coming later this year:

THE SPIDER MAN

A new thriller for those of you who like intrigue, danger and suspense.

What's new for August?

In addition to the recent flash fiction, below,
there's a new short story
here that was written for summer.

The Boy Who Waved Bye-bye.

It's not a children's story, but a child could read it.
Though watch out he or she doesn't pack a suitcase,
when you're not looking!

News on my
latest novel is at the bottom of this page.

Summer Smile

Summer Smile

Old Black Beast


Words flow like sparkles on a stream, tinkling over its pebble bed, as it emerges from the dappled sunshine of soft, green-carpeted woodland. But I miss the clickety clack of that old, upright, black beast that once stood upon my desk. I would press down the shiny, steel-bound, round keys, feeling stiff sprung resistance to each letter hammered through the fading ribbon onto the page. I would hear each word as it emerged into life.

I miss, too, the short brush stroke of white Tippex, as I corrected the dyslexic errors of my typing. Words produced stranger even than the over-enthusiastic autocorrection of this electronic keyboard, which rarely knows the word I really want and yet, occasionally, surpasses my own intent.

I accept this age of swirling electrons; but sometimes, I miss the sibilant escape, the mysterious mistiness, of steam.

Global Traveller


Today I wandered by the sunlit, boat lined banks of the Tiber, down to the sea at Fiumicino. Earlier, I’d made a note where there were places to eat in the town.

Yesterday, it had been a casual stroll nearer home, around Falmouth: still too far away for me to go alone. Tomorrow, who knows? Perhaps, New Zealand: I have friends who emigrated there and send me beautiful pictures of their growing family enjoying, to me, an idyllic lifestyle.

Inwardly I sigh. I close the laptop and adroitly swivel my wheelchair around. I cross over to the long mirror that adds space to my small bedroom and heave my broken body up, to stand swaying, for just a few moments, before flopping back. One day, I promise myself, wherever you have shown me, Mr Google, I will walk, not just dream.

No Punishment Like Guilt

There’s no punishment like guilt. It will squash and squeeze you into the darkest corners, forever left to look over your shoulder, constantly holding your breath, as a stranger starts to speak, trembling at every flashing blue light and avoiding your parents’ sympathetic gaze. You can no longer look them straight in the eye.

I know that enduring pain. I chose not to save my brother, as he splashed hopelessly and helplessly, sinking into the deep canal lock. I wanted only one of me.

But now an escape is offered. If I stumble forward, in apparent collapse, and roll over the edge of the platform, to be sliced and diced by the through train, no one will expect suicide and parents and friends can still hold their heads high: while they manage their grief over both twins, so tragically lost.

But then, again: I am, I’ve always been, a coward.

Silversmith’s Pride

These were for the Marquis. Four pieces of fine silver, each delicately engraved and pierced to form tight scrolls surrounding the Coq Gaulois and the Fleur-de-Lys, their magnificence enhanced by the polished walnut stock, as each was mounted to a pair of duelling pistols. The silversmith’s prowess married to the gunsmith’s expertise.

In time one pair of these ornate decorations would be lowered slowly, as pristine as the day they were presented to the Marquis, in a leather bound case, lined with red silk. The other would be dropped to the ground, dented by stone, grazed by dirt, tarnished. Both pistols smoking at the barrel: both relieved of their shot.

Final Note

We had our own special harmony for “Land of my Fathers”, which we always had to sing. It was expected, you see, and the purity of my tenor voice flew like a bird over the smooth sand beds of the bass vocals. Until I was kicked out.

It was that Taff Evans did it. The new Choirmaster. ‘Trade descriptions,’ he said. ‘Your father was born in India, his father in Ireland and your mother was French. This being a Welsh Male Voice Choir, we can’t have you.’ Apparently, Dai Prentice (his nephew) was going to take my place.

Seventeen years I’d sung in that choir. ‘So you’ll be needing a new baton,' I said.

‘Why’s that?’ he said. ‘This baton’s traditional: been the Choirmaster’s for over a hundred years.’

‘And it’s made of ivory,’ I said, ‘and you don‘t find many elephants down the valleys, do you?’

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It's countdown time… well almost!

'The Spider Man' is at final proof stage, corrections and edits have been made and I'm just awaiting the result of one last proof read before I publish.

So far, I've managed to send the proof readers off on the wrong track with the storyline: it will be interesting to see which future readers guess the final outcomes of the main characters.

Oh, by the way, if you're not too keen on spiders, be wary of reading it just before you go to sleep.