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.


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.



Continuing with the series of flash fiction challenges, my next was for the Nonsense Writing Challenge, also on Chris Fielden’s site. “Trampoline” is my contribution to the challenge. Once Chris receives 100 authors for this piece, an anthology is published whereby profits raised go towards another chosen charity (details of which are available on his challenge page).



by Gavin Biddlecombe

“This bouncymathingy is defective,” shouted the Troll, dragging a trampoline behind him.

The flustered salesman, caught unawares, looked around him. Now the centre of unwanted attention, his other customers refrain from their spending activities, drawn in by the curious character.

“I’m sorry, sir, what seems to be the issue?”

“Just look at my horns. They’re bent.”

“Aren’t they always bent?”

The Troll pondered, “Good point. But still, look at my bashed head.”

“And this ‘bouncymathingy’ caused that?” asked the salesman, examining the item. “It looks fine to me. Did you fall off it?”

“Of course I didn’t fall off. I came in yesterday and had a recommended practice session before I bought it.”

“I see.”

“Yeah.” The Troll responded. “I was hoping to give those three gruffy billy goats a scare as they trotted passed. All I ended up with was this sore head.”

“And they did that to you?” asked the salesman.

“What? No. I had another practice before they turned up but it doesn’t seem to work very well under my bridge though.”

“You used it under the bridge?”

“Does it matter?”

“I imagine it’s a low bridge.”

“What’s your point?”

The salesman relaxed as his customers continued.



Cinnamon is my contribution to the Adverb Writing Challenge, found on Chris Fielden’s website, or to use its full name Mike’s Not-Entirely-Serious Wantonly-Rule-Breaking Adverb Writing Challenge”. Trying to recite this can only result in some tongue knotting, so I can understand why it was shortened.

Their aim is to highlight some common writing mistakes and force the writer to use them to create some seriously, or not entirely serious as the above name suggests, flash fiction. I was keen to get involved and there is a maximum 100-word limit for this one (excluding title).

With every 100 submissions, their team edits and creates an anthology where profits go to an assigned charity. In this case, First Story. You can learn more about this on my writing challenges page.



By Gavin Biddlecombe

Sneakily, she snuck out of the corner of the room, slowly inching forward until she reached the base of the extremely comfy looking double bed.

Stretching her neck over the edge by their feet, she quietly peered at the two people sleeping restfully.

“Good” she thought cheekily, “this time I’ll successfully reach my target”. Stealthily climbing up, she crept methodically along until eventually finding the perfectly ideal spot.

In between them, she happily curled up, licked her lips and gave a final wag of her curly tail as she dreamily shut her eyes for a comfortably peaceful sleep.




Skydiving Not Quite For Beginners

Skydiving Not Quite For Beginners is my contribution to the 81 Words Writing Challenge. I came across it on Christopher Fielden’s website as I needed a few extra prods to keep me writing and having bought his book on how to write short stories, I also checked out his site.

81 Words requires the flash fiction to be exactly 81 words, excluding the title. Skydiving Not Quite For Beginners has been greatly thinned from its original draft. It took several attempts to get there but I got it down to a coherent format. It’s incredible how much can be said with so few words. Just consider Ernest Hemingway’s six-word story:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Six thought-provoking words…

Back to the 81 Words, it’s a great little challenge and well worth giving it a go (see link above for further information).

Also, good luck to Chris who’s also trying to achieve a Guinness World Record for most contributing authors in one book. The aim is 1000. At the time of writing, 330 stories have been received. 670 more required to publish the anthology.

Skydiving Not Quite For Beginners

by Gavin Biddlecombe

“Wind’s too loud. You need to speak up.”

“Jack, right?”


“I’m Dave.”

“Hi Dave. New to skydiving?”

“Pretty much. This is my first solo jump.”

“I figured. Haven’t had any lessons have you?”

“What makes you say that, Jack?”

“What you’re looking at isn’t your altimeter. That’s your wrist watch.”

“No problem. I reckon I can get the timing right.”

“Brings me to my next question.”

“Best be quick before I pull the cord.”

“Why the rucksack?”

“Ah. Now then…”