Prompety Prompt and my 200-word Story…

I was delighted to be asked to be a guest on the wonderful Prompety Prompt podcast… then I realised I had to write a 200-word story based on the prompt “The Tear in her Dress”, and then write live against the clock! It was the single most terrifying writing experience of my career… and a ton of fun. Dave (Stephen) and Letty are brilliant hosts, and I was able to share my terror with fellow writer and splendid fellow Ian W Sainsbury. You can listen to the whole podcast here and on all the usual pod-dispensers. And here’s my 200-word story, which came to me at four in the morning on the day of the recording, and was inspired by a dinosaur dress that my daughter wears…

Here’s the story text…

Luna wasn’t going to the school prom. Mum and Dad wouldn’t allow it. They’d gone all funny after she got her first period this week. She thought they’d be happy — she was the last in her year to get it — but it triggered whispered conversations behind closed doors.

Luna bought a dress for the prom. It had a dinosaur pattern and practical pockets. She loved it and she was going. She clambered out of her bedroom window while Mum and Dad argued downstairs.

Prom was a disaster. They laughed at her dress with the dinosaurs and the pockets. They laughed at her glasses and braces. But that wasn’t the worst of it.

Stephanie Leigh was the first to notice the tear in Luna’s dress. It happened as the clouds parted, revealing a full moon through the school hall windows. They stopped laughing after that. They screamed instead. Screamed as Luna grew a snout. Screamed as her braces pinged off her fangs. Screamed as she bit down on Stephanie Leigh’s throat. Screamed as she feasted on their intestines.

Mum and Dad arrived soon after. Both lycanthropes. They consoled their pup, then went hunting rabbits and worrying sheep.

Luna had a ball.


Come and see me chatting with the very splendid FM Dixon at the Faversham Literary Festival on Saturday 19th February at 4pm!

Time travel, magic, witches… and happy families! Join Kent authors Mark Stay and FM Dixon as they exchange ideas, antics and themes that run through their fiction written for teens and young adults… and for all the family!

Mark Stay lives in Herne Bay and is co-presenter of the Bestseller Experiment podcast. He is the author of the Crow Folk series, Robot Overlords, Back to Reality and The End of Magic. F.M. Dixon works at University of Kent, and can be found with surprising regularity in London, Paris and New York, assuming you know where to look… and when.

Free event. Booking required. GET YOUR FREE TICKETS HERE.

“Two Chickens for Laura Longarms” will be read by Julie Walters!

In a bit of news that left me genuinely gobsmacked, I learned that the story I wrote for LJ Ross’s wonderful anthology Everyday Kindness will be read on the audiobook version by none other than Julie Walters! Or to give Julie her full honorific title: Dame Julie Blimmin’ Walters!

Her Most Royal Dameness, Julie of Walters.

I have a wee bit of history with Julie. I worked at Orion when we published her autobiography and novel (both of which are terrific) and I ran a quiz at the Orion Sales Conference when she was there in 2004 (I think), along with the likes of Michael Palin. All I had to do was run a fun quiz in front of my childhood heroes. Simple. Only… it went on a bit too long. This was in the ballroom of the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne. Hundreds of authors and Orion staff, all fed and restless and ready to rush to the bar and get drunk (as was the tradition at sales conferences)… and we were into the second hour of the quiz and there were still a couple of rounds to go. I lifted a card to read the next question, took a breath. “How long…” I began, and a familiar voice came from the darkness, “Not as long as this bloody quiz!” Yup. Julie Walters heckled me, and got the biggest laugh of the whole conference and I still rank it as one of my best moments on stage. So to hear that she is reading my story for the audiobook feels strangely serendipitous.

Two Chickens for Laura Longarms is a Woodville story about kindness and sacrifice and has a fun monster. The Everyday Kindness anthology features over 50 amazing stories, and the audiobook also features the likes of Richard Armitage, Katie Leung, Celia Imrie and many more! You can pre-order it from Audible here.