Would you beta read and / or review for me?

Looking for beta readers and reviewers!

Yes, if you love reading and would be willing to give feedback (from answering a handful of questions to pulling the story or novel apart) on my writing, please take a look at the …Beta Readers page. And / or if you’d like to review any of my books on your website, let me know from the choice on my Amazon page. Thank you!

This Blog’s Highlights

Rather than clutter this home page, below are this site’s highlights:

And you can email me via morgen@morgenbailey.com.

In His Shoes – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s smaller short story collection (just 93 stories instead of 250!), The Story A Day May Collection, available in eBook and paperback from Amazon  and Morgen’s online store where you can not only instantly download the collection but also purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

In His Shoes

Looking out through the office window, Elle pictured herself in Tom’s shoes then told herself off when she saw the image of her size fives comically floating around in his elevens. She didn’t know he was elevens, of course, being a colleague, but he was tall, and tall men usually had big feet. She smuggled a laugh remembering what big feet implied, but harking back to previous boyfriends she figured it was a lie made up by a man who should have had very small feet.

Not the time to joke, she told herself as she watched Tom wobble. Now was the time to have small feet, hers balancing on the ledge instead of his. She wanted to get nearer, to speak to him, but the MD, Steve, had told them to keep back.

She wondered who had made Tom go out there. It was always a ‘who’, rarely a ‘what’. A spurned love, crippling debt caused by a spurned love. She didn’t know Tom that well so couldn’t recall any mention of a love, spurned or otherwise.

Someone next to her was crying. Turning round she spotted Hayley, the Accounts Assistant sobbing into a wad of tissues, mascara running down her face. She couldn’t imagine her and Tom being an item and knew how easily Hayley burst into tears; a missing cat, broken arm, missed appointment, none of them hers. Steve was consoling her, or trying to, her wailing getting louder, and looking at Tom, Elle saw this was making him more nervous.

With Steve distracted, Elle knew this was her chance, so she casually walked towards the open window and leaned out, just a little. “Hi, Tom.”

Tom screamed and clung on to the metal window edging. Behind her, Hayley screamed.

“Sorry,” Elle whispered.

Tom said nothing.

“Hi, Tom,” Elle repeated, this time quieter.

“Hello, Elle.”

“Can I ask a silly question?”

“Please go back inside.”

“I prefer it out here.”

“So do I.”

“This silly question…”

“I know what you’re going to ask. What am I doing out here.”

“No, that wasn’t it. I can see what you’re doing.”

“OK, why then.”

“And your answer is…”

“Because I’ve had enough.”

“Of…”

“Elle, please go back inside. This was supposed to be quick and before anyone got to work but…”

“You can’t do it.”

“I will. I’ll jump.”

“But you haven’t yet.”

“You’re not helping.”

“OK. I’ll go back in…”

“No! Stay!”

“The police will be shortly.”

“Oh, God.”

“Wouldn’t it be better to come inside before they do? Say it’s all been a big mistake.”

“No.”

“Why ‘no’?”

“They’d arrest me.”

“The two other options open to you would be worse.”

“Two?”

“Still being out here when they do arrive, or being a splat when they do.”

“Don’t say that.”

“What? Splat?”

Tom nodded.

“You’re on a fifth storey ledge with nothing but concrete to break your fall. How did you think you’d end up?”

“I didn’t think…”

“Seriously?”

“It just seemed like…”

“The right thing to do?”

Tom nodded again.

“Why?”

Tom shrugged then screamed as his right foot slipped sideways, his shoe falling to the ground with a sickening thud.

“See, that could have been you,” Elle said, then wondered whether it was the right thing to say. Seeing Tom was now struggling to balance in his socked right foot said, “Take your sock off, there’s no grip.”

“I can’t.”

“You’ll fall if you don’t.”

“I can’t bend down.”

“I’ll go and get your shoe then.”

“No! Don’t leave me.”

“I’ll send someone else.”

Tom shook his head, gently, both hands gripping to the window edges. “I’ll just stay still.”

“You can’t do that forever.”

“I know.”

“Then we’ll have to come up with a plan B. What size shoes do you take?”

“Eight.”

“OK. Back in a tick.”

“Don’t!…”

But Elle had disappeared.

“Steve. What size shoes do you take?”

“Ten, why.”

“That’ll have to do. I need your right one.”

“What? Why?”

“Please. Just…”

“OK,” Steve said and handed Elle his right shoe.

“Tom. Put this on, it’s going to be a bit big but wiggle your foot to the front for grip.”

“I can’t move.”

“It’s fine. Your right foot’s on the ledge. Just hold on tighter and lift your foot up a little. I’ll lean out, position it and you put your foot in it.”

“This is crazy.”

“Yes, it is, but not as crazy as you coming out here in the first place.”

“I never knew you were such a bossy boots.”

“When the situation demands it, now lift.”

Tom lifted his foot, Elle hovered the shoe underneath it and Tom wedged his foot to the front of the shoe. Keeping hold of the window frame, he shuffled along the ledge until he reached the window. He slowly bent down so Elle could grab his jacket and pull him into the office where their colleagues crowded round them, all talking, one crying, at once. Steve then took charge and led Tom and Elle to his office.

After prolonged questioning by Steve and the police, a check-up at hospital and counselling sessions booked, Tom was released into Elle’s care and it wasn’t long before she found out that the size debate really wasn’t true.

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Thank You For The Joy – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s smaller short story collection (just 93 stories instead of 250!), The Story A Day May Collection, available in eBook and paperback from Amazon  and Morgen’s online store where you can not only instantly download the collection but also purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

Thank You For The Joy

Joy picked the book from the charity shop shelf and stared at the cover. An artist’s illustration of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina smiled faintly back at her. She’d never really been a fan of the classics but it was on her book group’s reading list and buying it here would not only save her money but mean she could read it ahead of time, helpful given its size.

Opening the front cover, she expected to see the price but was greeted with a small floral label with an inscription in neat, faded handwriting. She smiled as she read the five words: ‘Thank you for the joy’. A date accompanied the writing: 1st December 1942. Although long before Joy was born, 1st December was significant; not her birthday but that of her mother.

The inscription was signed by a Thomas Manley and finally a location: Penzance. The man’s name meant nothing to her, but Joy had been to Cornwall as a child and remembered the bleak, windy cliff tops, the desolate beaches, crowded only in summer. It was those crowds that her parents had wanted to avoid so they always went in winter, when others would travel abroad. They’d stay on a farm, she’d ridden a pony called Bracken and helped feed the pigs. Those holidays had led her to become a vet, a job she’d only just retired from, and found herself with more free time than she’d wanted, the book group helping with that.

It had been too long, she decided, since she’d been to Cornwall. With a free week ahead of her, she paid for the book, and went to the coffee shop next door to use one of their computers.

There were more Thomas Manleys than she’d expected, even narrowing the search to Cornwall, but only one with any relation to Penzance; Tom Manley, who died the year before, a teenager and therefore not her Thomas Manley.

Then Joy put in her mother’s maiden name, Evelyn Scott, and there appeared a photograph of Thomas James Manley (1927-) beside a letter with familiar handwriting.

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Not Like They Used To – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s smaller short story collection (just 93 stories instead of 250!), The Story A Day May Collection, available in eBook and paperback from Amazon  and Morgen’s online store where you can not only instantly download the collection but also purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

Not Like They Used To

“They don’t make them like they used to, Ted.”

“No, they don’t… what don’t they?”

“These glasses. They don’t sit right.”

“I thought they looked new. Take them back then, can’t you?”

“Suppose. And they’re fussy.”

“Fussy, Frank?”

“Fuzzy.”

“Oh. What, like you can’t see properly?”

“Not properly, no.”

“Then definitely take them back.”

“Vera’s going to town tomorrow so…”

“They shouldn’t have let you leave the shop if they weren’t right.”

“Felt OK then.”

“What made you go for pink?”

“Eh?”

“Your glasses, they’re pink.”

“Are they? They were brown at the shop.”

“They’re pink now.”

“Faded too then.”

“I think they’ve given you the wrong ones. Take them off and see.”

“…Oh.”

“They’re not the ones you chose, are they?”

“No, they’re not… they’re Vera’s.”

“Vera’s? Why are you wearing hers?”

“I don’t know.”

“Won’t she be missing them?”

“Probably not, they’re her reading ones.”

“Oh, right. Did you watch the game last night?”

“Did, Ted. Bit disappointing.”

“Bunch of girls, aren’t they. I used to play football, you know.”

“I do.”

“Teddenham Tigers.”

“And you were good.”

“Thank you, Frank. Back then it was a proper sport on proper wages.”

“Didn’t tell me you were professional.”

“Not me, no, but the lads who did, you know, in the big clubs, got a normal wage and were grateful. Didn’t drive around in flashy cars back then. None of this status symbol and wags.”

“Wags?”

“Wives and girlfriends.”

“Oh yeah. And none of this rolling over in ‘pain’ with the slightest nudge. Lads knew how to tackle back then.”

“They’re all sissies nowadays. That’s why I prefer watching rugby.”

“Gentleman’s sport.”

“And they’re built like men. You know, big, strapping.”

“I do, Ted.”

“The footies are all tall and lanky, like matchsticks.”

“Don’t make them like they used to, Ted.”

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Stronger Than He Looks – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s smaller short story collection (just 93 stories instead of 250!), The Story A Day May Collection, available in eBook and paperback from Amazon  and Morgen’s online store where you can not only instantly download the collection but also purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

Stronger Than He Looks

They can’t see me, you know. I’ve been down there, on the beach, looked up. It’s impossible. Little round window, dark unless you put the light on. So they ignore me, get on with throwing things for their dogs, rounding up children when it gets cold. Really cold now so not many people there, just the ones who still think it’s romantic, even in November.

I like to pretend they’re up to no good, that they’re plotting to bump someone off, bury the body in the sand or in the shrubs that only the dogs explore. They don’t care about the weather, to them it’s only water, only wind. Not like us, we like warm, to be indoors when it gets really bad.

They forecast snow this year so we’ll get cut off and I’ll have no one to watch, except for my neighbours but they get boring, predictable.

Mrs Jones broke her hip last time we had ice, never went out again when it was like that, would send her old man to run the errands. Then he died and she moved away. She was nice, the only one who didn’t think I was stupid… but then she didn’t know any better.

Dad called me stupid. “Stupid Stuart”, then he laughed. Stopped laughing when I grabbed his throat. Didn’t know how strong I was ’til then. Then he left and I was glad, had mum to myself and we got on good. Like a house on fire, she said. I didn’t know what a house on fire was like so found some matches and… she wasn’t happy. Shut me in here ’til I learned my lesson, but I told her I learn slow so I’m still here. She’ll come for me. Sometime. She always does.

I wanted to go downstairs when I heard a noise, a thump, but she’d be angry and…

Look! There’s two men down there arguing. Look very angry. One of them’s jabbing the other one in his chest, like Dad used to do with me. Don’t look like my Dad though. Taller and bigger, this one. The other one’s weedy like me. I want the little one to… go on! Give him as good as… ah ha ha, he’s fallen over. Serves him…

He ain’t moving. Weren’t expecting that, were you? Don’t get too close, he might…

You’re never going to move him… oh, stronger than he looks. Drag him into… that’s it, so no one can see. I won’t tell no one. Your secret’s safe with…

Mum?

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