Paws for Thought

Paws For Thought: 27 Tail Thumping stories

Last year, Keith & Sharon Boothroyd, a husband and wife team from West Yorkshire, launched a project to help raise funds for the RSPCA.

It's an e-book anthology called Paws For Thought.

There's a wide selection of short stories – from ghost, crime and twist in tales, to the light- hearted and upbeat. And of course, there are stories that feature animals.

All income raised from kindle sales of Paws For Thought will be donated to the RSPCA Halifax, Huddersfield & District Branch.

Paws for Thought

As our e-book is a charity anthology, we have a variety of work from published top short story magazine writers, including: Pasty Collins, Fran Tracey, Tara Westgate, Alan Williams, Beatrice Charles and Jacqui Cooper.


Key Dates

Man Booker Prize 2019

24th July 2019  
3rd September 2019  
14th October 2019

Start a Creative Writing Class: How to set up, run and teach a successful class...

Start a Creative Writing Class: How to set up, run and teach a successful class...
by Helen Yendall

Are you a writer who also wants to teach the craft of writing? 

Do you want to supplement your income, get away from your desk, challenge yourself, meet new people and have some fun along the way? 

‘Start a Creative Writing Class’ is a practical guide for writers, teachers and would-be teachers. It focuses on the nuts and bolts of setting up a writing class for adults (ie: post 16-year olds), covering everything from finding a venue and arranging insurance, to marketing the class and giving feedback on your students’ work. 

There’s also plenty of advice on dealing with students and ideas of what (and how) to teach. You should also find it useful if you work for a college or school as a creative writing teacher, or if you’d like to run workshops for writers’ groups or festivals, or even if you plan to start a writers' group. 

‘Start a Creative Writing Class’ covers the follow topics (and much more!)

Why Teach Creative Writing? – the benefits for you and your students 
Setting Up a Class – your USP, market research, pricing, promotion, finding a venue 
Teaching Tips – qualifications & training, getting experience, what makes a good teacher? 
Learning Styles – the different types of learners 
The First Class – getting off to a great start 
Running the Class – giving feedback, handling homework 
Managing Students – troubleshooting, protecting your own writing time 
What to Teach – tips and ideas for lesson content 
Writing Prompts – 100 x 5 minute exercises 
Ice Breakers – some warm-up ideas for the class 

What readers say about 'Start a Creative Writing Class': 

"Easy to read and packed full of great advice." 

"full of information and ideas and a true guide for an aspiring teacher. "

"All the things I worried about, Helen has thankfully covered! Which gives me more confidence to set up a class."

Start a Creative Writing Class

About Helen: 

Helen Yendall lives in the English Cotswolds and writes mainly short fiction. She's had hundreds of stories published in magazines and is now working on her first novel. 
She started teaching creative writing in 2009, when she acquired an adult evening class more by luck than judgement. Since then, she’s honed her skills, taught hundreds of classes and workshops and set up and run her own writing class in Gloucestershire.  

She has the PTTLS (City & Guilds) qualification to teach in the Lifelong Learning sector, a certificate in Creative Writing from Birmingham University and prior to becoming a writer and tutor, worked for many years in marketing. She now runs a bi-monthly writing class for seniors in Stratford-on-Avon, which she thoroughly enjoys. 

Making Life Easy...

It is now a little easier to send an entry and to vote.

No more completing forms and uploading files!

To send your Drabble entry, simply copy & paste into the body of an email to us HERE

To cast a vote, simply email us HERE with the  Story# and Title in the email

Drabble #4

Send your 100-word story in the body of an email - click HERE

Open for entries Now
Closing Date 30th April 2019 at 20:30

Entries in so far (updated as entries received) -

I Found it on Cyprus: Victory
Waiting for a Kiss
Don't Always Believe Your Eyes
The Fall
The Truth (for want of a better title)
Spaced Out
Flight of Fantasy
No Sweet Corn, Thanks
Mother's Days
Composing a Story of My Life
A Story Only Time Could Remember
Pest Control
The Unknown
I Have No Face
Boy Racers
There Will Be No Headstone
Dear Millie
The Light of a Goddess
Fear Against the World
Irreconcilable Differences
Last(ing) (W)rites
Five Tears
Terms and Conditions

Voting on Drabble #3

Story #22 is in the lead
Story #44 is in 2nd
Story #7 is in 3rd
Story #29 & Story 77 are joint 4th...

Read the Stories
Cast your Vote

Drabble #3 Entries

The Stories for Drabble #3
Good News, Bad News
The Waste
Things Get Loose At Night
Old Couples Look Alike I Quip
The Fire
Wrong Place, Wrong Time
The Shirt
I'm Not Really Listening
Naomi's Four-Stage Plan
​ There Are Days...
​The Storm in My Head
​A Bike Was More Than A Bike
He Called Me Again, I Think It's Love!
​The Silence
​Out of Time
​The Cave
​A Lesson in Thought
Freda Allsop's Cat
Ahead of the Mark
Nursery Visit
​Eveline's Ashes
Collision Course
Watercolours Bleeding
The Gift
The Struggling Author
Celestial Equator
Madness Marches On
​Green Seas
Rocks in the Water
​Murder in the Dark
What Miss Austen Left Out
​The Cat Article
​Hit and Run
Every Breath You Take
The Hero
Cold Cut Ridge
Goodbye Veronica
Life Underwater
​A Memory
Drowning in Milk
Being Human
The Lake
Into the Unknown
Moving On
The Avalanche and the Goat
They Did This
A Jealous Statue
Acid Test
Beam Me Up
Uncertain Vision
A Bush
Cryptic Clue
Being Late
Long Lost Lover
Last Day of June
9am-5pm 7pm-12am
Current Times
The Month Gran got hooked on The Wire
Sinking into Betrayal
Humans Are Not Allowed
Morning Performance
Die After Live
I Don't Have A Tail
True Freedom
A Decision Well Made?

Winner - Drabble #2

Story #10
The Ball
Come on. Throw it…
Yeah, of course I’m ready. Throw, throw, throw!
Where’d it go? Where?
It went this way. I know it did. Where, where, where?
Is that it? Nope. Similar, but not right.
This is it! Yay!
Quick. Pick it up, pick it up. Before anybody steals it.
Gottit, gottit.
Now, quickly, which way did I come from? Gotta get back to him.
Back as fast as I possibly can.
Look, look. I found it. Here it is
Sorry it’s a bit slobbery.
Throw it again? Pleeeeeeez?
Yay! Again.
I could play this game all day long.

(c) Andrew Troth

Drabble #2


* WINNER £35 *
Story #10 The Ball by Andrew Troth - 436 Votes 

Story #18 A-List Meditations by Freyja Torn - 411 Votes
Story #23 Hands Across Time by Julie Sheridan - 398 Votes
Story #38 Flattened by Benjamin Giles - 380 Votes
Story #45 Midnight Tunes by Savior Eyo - 379 Votes
Story #42 The Door by Sam Palmer - 374 Votes
Story #16 Move and You Die by Zoe Powell - 359 Votes
Story #08 Greyhound, Wind by Karen Walker - 312 Votes
Story #34 Clockwork by Jonah Levkowitz - 311 Votes
Story #01 The Mirror by Ryan McCormack - 299 Votes
Story #05 A Picture of Youth by Robert Grossmith - 280 Votes
Story #14 Elizabeth by Hannah Arnott - 265 Votes
Story #22 Goldilocks by Paige Lawson - 262 Votes
Story #29 Rhubarb by Keith Davison - 254 Votes
Story #36 Legs by Brian Webster - 244 Votes
Story #02 The Pet Detective by Tiffany Tripson - 211 Votes
Story #12 The Greeness of Home by MJ Christie - 208 Votes
Story #15 Fall from Grace by Wally Smith - 201 Votes
Story #03 A Slippery Dish by Alyson Rhodes - 198 Votes
Story #25 The Bird Feeders by Andy Mannion - 170 Votes
Story #32 Choices by Megan Rutter - 140 Votes
Story #41 Philosophical Psycopath by Akeem Balogun -121 Votes
Story #33 After the Crash by Judith Bristow - 118 Votes
Story #21 Wittgenstein's Cat by Paula Puolakka - 99 Votes
Story #13 Revealed Secret by Inguna Broze - 76 Votes
Story #04 Death by Bernie Hanvey - 74 Votes
Story #11 The Pebble by Franecs Tate - 73 Votes
Story #27 Weapons by Rose Tempest - 71 Votes
Story #30 Snapped by Talitha van Niekerk - 70 Votes
Story #35 Kerbside by Andrew Jolly - 68 Votes
Story #40 The Itch by Chiara Picchi - 65 Votes
Story #43 Duty Free by Mairi Jack - 59 Votes
Story #44 Wishes by Juliana Galloway = 52 Votes
Story #28 The Son's Plea by Julie Sanford - 52 Votes
Story #20 An Unlucky Accident by Carrie Hewlett - 51 Votes
Story #19 Work/Life Balance by Craig Potter - 51 Votes
Story #26 Sunshine by Linda Golding - 51 Votes
Story #45 Goodbye by Ella Mae Andersson  - 49 Votes
Story #31 Last Words by Alex Morrison - 48 Votes
Story #24 Rituals by Joe Luther - 48 Votes
Story #07 The Day I Died by Steph Sweeney - 45 Votes
Story #09 Tumbleweed by Olga Godmin - 44 Votes
Story #06 Pulse by Jamie Harding - 44 Votes
Story #17 But Not Forgotten by Emily Nicholson - 40 Votes
Story #37 What Is It You Ask? by Nasrin Sultana - 37 Votes

Drabble #1


* WINNER £35 *
​Story #14 Green Peppers by Rebecca Shahoud - 198 Votes 

Story #1 The Dream Diary by Tricia Lowther - 194 Votes
​Story #20 Sentence by Wally Smith - 192 Votes
Story #5 Deathbed by Patsy Collins - 189 Votes
Story #7 The Fox by Kata Korcsog - 188 Votes
Story #3 Te Amo by Rafael John Maliwanag - 180 Votes
Story #25 I'll Never Forget Your Service - 177 Votes
Story #6 This Is How It Ends by Stephen Tuffin - 170 Votes
Story #21 Cat Burglar by Lynne Thomas - 162 Votes
Story #23 Lost to Me by MJ Christie - 150 Votes
Story #16 Crimson Mist by Phil Charter - 144 Votes
Story #10 Lost by Naomi Ige - 131 Votes
Story #17 Henry and His Hod by Bernie Hanvey - 131 Votes
Story #29 A GrandDaughtes Love by Andrew Mannion -131 Votes
Story #8 The Fateful Question by M. Mitchell-Bennett - 128 Votes
Story #4 The Photograph by Ros Collins - 104 Votes
Story #28 What We Wanted by Clare Kirwan - 101 Votes
Story #9 Domino Effect by Claudie Whitaker - 98 Votes
Story #13 No Fault of My Own by Conor Walsh - 68 Votes
Story #15 Carnival Barkers by Bronagh Johnson - 44 Votes
Story #26 Home by Joseph B.Wilmore - 44 Votes
Story #27 Bleak by Lauren Loh - 31 Votes
Story #24 Lace Glove by Iain Rigby - 30 Votes
Story #22 Children by Joe Luther - 27 Votes
Story #19 A Deal in the Desert by Barbara Young - 27 Votes
Story #18 The Unlived Life of Tom Scruple - 27 Votes
Story #11 Shoehorned by Harvey James - 25 Votes
Story #12 The Pearl by Jude Bristow - 22 Votes
Story #2 The Watcher by Andrew Hobson - 21 Votes

Winner - Drabble #1

Story #14
Green Peppers

Freezer ice had melted into grey beards grown on what was once bread. I pulled at a plastic bag; its bottom emptied. Out fell putrid slime.
I smelled damp; cabbage; urine. I remembered stacking the fridge head-high with healthy tomatoes, butter and cream from the farmers’ market; bright root vegetables.
Your fridge magnet still spelled: ‘dinners in oven’. It was a disaster of a lasagne, but I probably shouldn’t have flattened your skull with a mortar because of it.
I had told you I didn’t like green peppers.
After six years in Holloway, I had learnt to appreciate their taste.

(c) Rebecca Shahoud

There's Always Tomorrow

Writing is a long term vocation. You may have to keep reminding yourself of this. Especially when you want everything - money, writing projects, publishing success - to go faster.

Do you ever feel like this? I do.

I read a guy's blog this week where he talked about burn-out. He was so determined to get a novel finished he wrote 16 hours a day for about three weeks. He said that suddenly he couldn't make out the words on the screen. He was looking at a foreign language and he realized his brain had shut down.

The experience frightened him so much that he stopped writing and suffered a long period - over six months - of angst over what had happened.

For a long time he was too afraid to start writing again for fear that his mind would play this trick on him again.

Luckily that's not happened to me yet. Sounds awful.

The worst thing that happened one year was that I got one of those humps on my right wrist - apparently they're caused by hitting the keyboard too hard. It took a few weeks of gentle typing for it to go down.

It didn't hurt. I just looked deformed for a while. A friend suggested hitting it with a book - he said he'd heard that was the way to make them go back down. Not being a fan of pain, I declined his offer to fix it and trusted Nature instead.

I've never had it again - since I started using laptops.

I guess the point is that you can just push yourself too hard sometimes. I know that, say, Olympic athletes need to train for hours every day. I know that soldiers train hard every day to reach optimal strength, mindset and efficiency.

But what about more cerebral pursuits?

Clearly it's possible for the brain to be overstimulated - leading to mental breakdowns and, at the very least, stress.

Most writers agree that bouts of excessive writing can be physically draining. Even the most prolific writers don't recommend more than four or five hours max a day. It's fairly well accepted that much more and you're really in no condition to give it your best.

As writers we must learn patience.

Waiting on publishers is challenging. It's the main topic of conversation at the writer's groups I attend. It's also one of the reasons I'm launching Magellan Books - to act as a stopgap, where we writers have at least a chance of making money from our work while waiting around for agents and publishers to take notice of us.

Plus, increasingly, the publishing world requires 'proof' that readers want our work. What better way to showcase our novels, books and writing than on a respectable website? So that we can get feedback, reviews and testimonials - not to mention actual sales of our work to readers.

Plus of course there's the added benefit of feeling like a published author - which will seriously help your self esteem and hopefully boost your commitment to writing regularly.

Because writing needs to become a habit, especially if you want to one day do it full time - the dream!

You need to pace yourself. Live well but healthily. Keep your moral, mental and physical strength up and commit to writing every day.

In this age of 'I want it now', it may seem frustrating to have to wait for anything. But for the writer, this is often the reality.

Fact is, it's always been this way. Nothing's changed.

Except now we can at least publish ourselves on the Net while we're waiting for the call from Random House or Harper Collins. (Anytime, guys - honestly, I'm here all day, just waiting!)

And did I mention publishing with Magellan Books is free?

Plus you keep all the rights?

No contracts, no catches and no fees.

Just a professional platform to showcase your work.

Oh and, in case you're interested, you make money too!

Why wait until tomorrow?

(c) Rob Parnell