Tritely Challenged Anthology Release

Hot on the heals of the release of anthology Adverbially Challenged Volume 3 comes Tritely Challenged Volume 1, which hosts 100 of the most cliched works of flash fiction by 100 authors.

This time, Every Cloud… makes an appearance in the first, of hopefully many, volumes containing witty and amusing cliche-riddled stories. It is due for release on Saturday 28th April 2018.



(Tritely Challenged Volume 1 – cover artwork by David Fielden)

I don’t make any money from this book and neither does the publisher as the proceeds from book sales are donated to Book Aid International. You can find out more about what they do here.

All I receive is some exposure for submitting my flash fiction to the challenge, which will appear alongside 99 other authors whilst helping and providing awareness for Book Aid International.

If you fancy helping to raise LOTS more for good causes, take part by submitting your stories to the challenges or buying a copy of the book, which will be available as a Kindle eBook or in a printed format.


Kindle eBook Copy

The Kindle eBook version will be available on all Amazon websites by searching for either the:

(1) Book name Tritely Challenged, or

(2) Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN): B07CN9TNCF


Printed Copy

The books will also available in printed paperback copies available from the Amazon websites.

The ISBNs of the book are:

  • ISBN: 1986635619
  • ISBN-13: 978-1986635615


To read some of my other work, see Short Stories or Flash Fiction, and to find out more about Tritely Challenged, check out the links on my site to guide you there. Why not submit your own short story?




by Gavin Biddlecombe

Hank drew at Champion’s reigns, directing him to the boisterous saloon, dismounted and moseyed up to the swinging doors, spurs clinking with each step.

The din settled within as the punters paused to examine their newest guest, silhouetted at the entrance. Hank ignored the rank, stale smell of sweat as he stepped forward, motioning to the barman.

“A bottle of sarsaparilla,” he called.

The barman reached under the counter.

Hank gripped the handle of his Colt revolver.

The crowd held their breath.

The barman’s hand appeared with a dirty brown bottle which he then slid across towards Hank. He released his grip and reached for the bottle. A slight nod put the barman at ease.

A spittoon rang in the background as the folk began to settle, prompting the piano’s jovial melody to pick up where it had been interrupted.


(Cliché Writing Challenge “Mosey” – 140 words) – Max 150 words


Continuing with the theme of flash fiction submissions to nonsensical challenges, “Mosey” becomes my second for the Cliché Writing Challenge, or as the first volume being released later in the year is called Tritely Challenged [Volume 1] (further information closer to the date of release).

I find when I’m writing these, my original ideas don’t make the final cut. When I start typing away and the the words fill up the page (screen or paper), the flow of the story begins, characters develop their own personalities and the scene appears, taking shape in my mind on how I want the place to look, feel and possibly smell. This is the flow that dictates the final outcome.

When I focus too much on sticking with the original plan, the creativity tends to dry up and that’s when I come to a dead-end. When this happens, I review my original thoughts and draft up another.  I don’t think I’ve wasted my time in making such changes as these often make up the bone structure (in part) for another story.

Let’s get the nib twitching…


Anthology Book Launch – Adverbially Challenged Volume 3.

Wow. Decide to move and soon it’s been a couple of months since the last written piece appeared on this site. Okay, so I lie a little. I have been sneaking in a few short stories here and there but they’ll require a little more editing before I’ll submit.

On the whole it has been a hectic few months where time has been allocated to other important areas albeit for the short-term. People have been toiling away in the background with their own work projects, which has resulted in a flash fiction on this site appearing in an anthology. That’s right, Cinnamon has joined a whole load of other adverb-riddled stories.  It is due for launch this Saturday 17th March 2018, and I am grateful their effort has made this possible.


(Adverbially Challenged Volume 3 – cover artwork by David Fielden)

I don’t make any money from this book and neither does the publisher as the proceeds from book sales are donated to First Story, a UK charity that helps improve literacy in low-income communities.

All I receive is some exposure for submitting my flash fiction to the challenge, which will appear alongside 99 other authors whilst helping and providing awareness for First Story.

If you fancy helping to raise LOTS more for good causes, take part by submitting your stories to the challenges or buying a copy of the book, which will be available as a Kindle eBook or in a printed format.


Kindle eBook Copy

The Kindle eBook version will be available on all Amazon websites by searching for either the:

(1) Book name: Adverbially Challenged, or

(2) Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN): B07BGZZ6DL


Printed Copy

The books are also available in printed paperback copies available from the Amazon websites here.

The ISBNs of the book are:

  • ISBN: 198493760X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1984937605


To read some of my other work, see Short Stories or Flash Fiction, and to find out more about Adverbially Challenged, check out the links on my site to guide you there. Why not submit your own short story?


Leading Up To… (Update)

Leading Up To… was originally just meant to be a stand-alone short piece of fiction, that soon ended up with a Part 2. It was whilst working on the second segment that the ideas continued to blossom.

Off screen these have become Parts 3, 4, 5 and so forth (now their own separate chapters), with the original two being expanded to become much more than what you see now.  As the plot grew, the characters developed and the story line sprouted new routes as the world expanded. Due to this, the original two will remain as they are on this site with the new work becoming its own short story, with a different title and main character. Updates will be posted later on in the year.


Golf Swing

Adverb Writing Challenge: Max 100 words (excluding name and title).


Golf Swing

by Gavin Biddlecombe

Gripping the club tightly between incredibly tired, sweaty hands Joe stood eagerly over the tiny, pimply white ball hidden snuggly in the long grass. Crazy eyes stared longingly at it as the club was drawn menacingly up high behind his head. Pausing momentarily at its peak, the club swung down in a sweepingly wide arc.

Joe gazed searchingly into the distance where a minutely, teeny round object would blend easily into the infinitely expansive sky. He turned smugly to his companion laughing heartily behind him.

“Nope still there, mate,” declared Andy amusedly, highlighting his friend’s hilariously failed attempt.


Golf Swing is my second contribution to the adverb writing challenge, previously covered on this site (link above for more info). The story was submitted for Volume 4 of the challenge.

The first was Cinnamon. Having received 100 submissions for the Volume 3, the third collection of stories by the 100 different authors is currently being produced with an expected release date of March / April 2018. Further details closer to the date.


Leading Up To… (Part 2)

Leading Up To… (Part 2)

by Gavin Biddlecombe

As the last two marshmallows dropped into the contents of his steaming mug, Dave inhaled deeply, enjoying the thick, rich smell of chocolate. There’s definitely an upside to working here, he thought, even if the days are long and the uniform takes some getting used to. He removed a couple of coins from his waistcoat pocket and stacked them on the cashier’s counter, looking around. Where has Cookie Jingle got to?

He leaned back on the counter and scanned the usually tidy canteen. Empty round oak tables surrounded by displaced red and green painted wooden stools dotted the room. It was quiet now. Everyone was hard at it down at manufacturing and they’d be busy with the latest list of requests.

Pushing himself away from the counter, Dave took another sip from his mug and made for the door, stifling another yawn. He was still getting used to the 40-hour days in this part of the world. He wasn’t sure where along the journey it happened but this time distortion allowed more to get done than back home. The next shift would be arriving within the hour so it was best to get going.

A panicking figure raced through the doors right into Dave, sending them both sprawling to the ground. Dazed and confused, he picked himself off the floor, trying to understand what had just happened. He glanced at the figure lying in a heap beside him, the contents of his mug staining their green jumper. Looking down at his hand, Dave realized he only held the handle.

“What on earth was all that about?” muttered Dave, chucking away the handle as he reached down for the murmuring individual. “Are you okay?”

“Oh, that hurt,” moaned Garland Tinsel as he was helped to his feet, wiping the thick liquid from his eyes. “Been looking for you everywhere.”


“We’re at a standstill. Manufacturing are waiting on the next list to proceed.”

“Already?” asked a surprised Dave. “I only just left the Listing Department ten minutes ago. Quickly, now.” Racing out of the canteen with Garland on his heels, Dave ran down the corridor to his office, heaved open the ancient book and brought up the next list of names. The monitor beside him blinked to life as he fired up the computer.

“How long will it take?” asked Garland.

“Well, I’ve crossed referenced most of these already, so give me a couple of minutes and I’ll print out the next set.”

“Oh, do hurry,” said Garland, hopping from foot to foot nervously, “I wouldn’t like a repeat of that year.”

“Don’t worry, we’ve stocked up on the goods this year,” replied Dave eyes flitting between book and screen like a spectator at a speedy tennis match, the blurring movement of his fingers typing away at the keyboard.

“No, not last year… that year. It’s very rare for us to stand around doing nothing down at manufacturing and it can be quite eerily silent.”


“Well, yes. We sing when we build,” said Garland, “and when we’re not building we’re, well…”

“Not singing?”

“It’s only happened once before.”

“Mm-hmm,” uttered Dave, still focused on preparing the list.

“I was too young to remember,” said Garland, glancing round the room nervously, “but the elders used to tell us the stories. It was chaos they said and people stopped believing. Those old stories scare me to this day.”

“And… There,” exclaimed Dave as the printer whirred into life, filling blank sheets with names and lists. He spun round on his chair to face Garland. His satisfied look melted away as his now unoccupied brain took in those last comments. “Stopped believing?”

“Oh yes, a very serious matter. Apparently, our reputation took a massive hit and it lasted years before people regained the spirit again”.

“Well, I won’t let it happen on my watch,” said Dave. “I’ll get on with the next batch immediately and phone through for collection when it’s ready.”

Unfurling his frown, Garland perked up at the positive note and turned towards the door, the list neatly tucked under his arm.

“And be sure to let Merry know next time she comes up for them to check there are sufficient names to keep you guys busy for longer than ten minutes. I’m certain there was enough for at least the next two shifts.”

“Erm. Merry?” asked Garland anxiously.

“She collected the last list,” said Dave, looking round.

“Oh dear.” Garland’s nervous twitching returned.

“Oh dear what?”

“In my panic earlier I forgot to ask whether you’d seen her. She volunteered for the last pick up and we haven’t seen her since”

Dave jumped off his seat, panic setting in. “Now then, I think we may have a problem.”

“I didn’t see her on my way here,” said Garland.

“And I left her heading your way as I went into the canteen.”

Dave thought back. Merry had been eager to deliver to manufacturing. She wouldn’t have deviated. “Right, get those back as quick as you can and I’ll search this area to make sure she didn’t come back. I’ll meet you in the canteen shortly.” Garland shot off to deliver the package, his legs travelling faster than the rest of him could manage.

The wrinkles on the side of his eyes creased as he shut them tight and thought back to earlier. Merry had not mentioned going anywhere else. She hadn’t wanted a drink at the canteen for fear of arriving late. Could she have turned back? The only place up this end is the archives room.

Without further hesitation, Dave stepped into the corridor towards archives.


Leading Up To…

Leading Up To…

by Gavin Biddlecombe

Sat at his desk and poring over the new intake of e-mails that continuously filled his inbox, Dave reviewed the names alongside the ancient, over-sized book beside him. He glanced over at the clock on the wall of the large office as it slowly ticked away. Almost 15 o’clock. Grimacing, he removed his specs and rubbed his eyes, stifling another yawn.

“Are you finished with the recent ones yet?” asked Merry Sparkletoes, startling Dave. “We need to get the list down to manufacturing as soon as possible.”

“Yep, here it is.” Dave reached over his desk, almost knocking over the remnants of his mug. He handed over the list. “We’ve only just finished Halloween and they’ve already been mailing us. I know there’s a need to get them in well in advance but this is ridiculous.”

“At least we can get ahead of the game. The quicker these are made, the better.”

“But they’re still chewing on their Halloween candy. Surely there’s plenty for them to get on with in the meantime?”

“They’re riding the sugar wave, excited at the next prospect”.

“I suppose,” said Dave climbing down off his seat “although we’re anticipating a lull the week after.”

“The sugar crash,” agreed Merry.

“Indeed, but it won’t last long.” Dave saved his place in the enormous book, collected his mug and followed Merry out of the office, down the long corridor to manufacturing. “The flood will start in a couple of weeks. It’ll be e-mails and letters galore”.

“I almost forgot about that. I’ve somehow blanked out last year’s mayhem. Poor old Garland Tinsel almost had a nervous breakdown”

“We’ve got the emergency team on standby, don’t we?”

“They’ve been called in immediately. We’re not taking any chances this time around.”

“And the supplies of extra hot chocolate and marshmallows?” Asked Dave.

“Order placed months ago and in stock. It steadied Garland’s nerves and put him back in the game.”

“Good. Good.” Dave nodded, stepping into the canteen. “Hot chocolate top up?”

“Not just yet. I need to get this list down to manufacturing. They’ll be finishing their current batch and need them to remain ahead of schedule.”

“Yeah, won’t be long before the kids start writing to us too.”


Leading Up To…(Part 2)




By Gavin Biddlecombe


“What’s she whining about now?”

“Leave her Paul. You know Tiny’s scared when there’s a storm.” Andrea rolled over pulling the duvet up around her. “Rescues tend to be a bit apprehensive. You’ve seen how she’s been in the past.”

“But she’s out of her bed this time.” Paul clambered out of bed and gave up on finding his slippers in the dark. “I’ll go see what she’s up to.”

Facing the front door to their one bedroom apartment Tiny ignores the creaking floorboards as Paul ambles his way down the corridor towards her.

“What is it girl?” he asks, rubbing her back before approaching the peephole. “Still not used to storms are you?”

“What is it honey?” calls Andrea from the bedroom.

“Nothing I can see. The landlord needs to fix that light outside. It’s flickering again.”

A low grumble down in Tiny’s chest slowly develops into a deep, vicious growl, her hackles rising.

“There’s nothing out there,” suggests Paul looking down at her and trying to keep her calm. Tiny, barking wildly at the door forces him to take another look outside. Andrea stumbles down the corridor after them.

“What on earth is going on out here? We’re going to wake the neighbours at this rate. Are you okay Paul?… Paul? What are you looking at?”

“Did you order any ragged clown dolls?” cries Paul.

“No, why?”

“Then, I think the neighbours are the least of our concerns.”



Every Cloud…

The Cliché Challenge was a little harder than expected. Then again, the others weren’t a piece of cake either. With a maximum word limit of 150 words, I had to cut my original draft by nearly 100 words. And, no matter how much I tried to think of one, it seemed harder to add clichés to the story than just getting on with the tale. This is the latest available challenge from Chris’ website (as of Oct. 2017) and my fifth contribution. If you give any of these a go, I’d like to hear from you and how you got on.

I’ll also be submitting some unpublished ones to competitions to see how they do. I will, in the meantime, be adding to my current list of shorts as well. This will definitely keep me busy.


Every Cloud…

By Gavin Biddlecombe


Where’d he go? she thought, finishing tying her skates. He’d vanished into thin air. Jane made her way to the ice rink.

“What’re  you doing down there?” she laughed, looking over the wall.

“I’m barking up the wrong tree,” he replied. He paused as she stepped onto the ice, sliding across gracefully, “Whereas you take to it like a duck to water.”

“You were chomping at the bit,” she said, skating over.

“I believe” he smiled, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. Before having the chance to stabilise himself, his legs shot out from under him. Trying desperately to grab him, Jane lost her footing, ending up flat on the ice beside him.

“It goes without saying,” he groaned, “This is very painful”.

“If you think about it, every cloud has a silver lining”.

“Why do you say that?”

“We’ve already got ice for our bumps and bruises”.






by Gavin Biddlecombe

My bruised hands support me on this rough branch high above the ground. I’m thankful to be up here and even more so that it cannot climb. It’s been a few days since I found my refuge but the unbearable heat works against me.

The sweat rolls down into my tired eyes, stinging them and blurring my vision. I glimpse it occasionally, stalking in cover. Watching me. Waiting.

Its odour is repulsive. It lingers, clogging up my nostrils more than my own unwashed stink. I know when it’s close as I fight off the urge to gag from its overpowering stench.

The random dropped nut which taps its way down the branches beneath it is no longer a distraction. I recognise its sound, just audible but ever present. Continuous.

I reach for my water bottle, rationing the warm but satisfying liquid that slides down my dry throat as I fight off the fatigue. I must hold on. Surely, one of the others must have got away and found help.


Sensory Writing Challenge. 175 maximum word limit.