I’m visiting Miriam Drori’s blog today to talk about Darkness, a new anthology of speculative fiction in aid of Mind, and share an excerpt from one of my two stories in the collection.

Miriam Drori, Author

I’m delighted to welcome the author Tim Taylor to the blog. Tim has been a friend of mine for several years. His blog is full of his brilliant short stories and poems. Today, he’s here to tell us about something a bit different. Over to you, Tim.

Hello Miriam, thank you very much for hosting me today.

I’d like to talk about a new anthology of speculative fiction that I’ve been involved in. Darkness, published by Twisted Fate Publishing on 10 October, is a mix of sci-fi, fantasy and horror, by a group of previously published writers who have come together to make a book in aid of the mental health charity, MIND. All the stories relate to the theme of darkness, in many different literal and metaphorical ways.

The book is available on Amazon (via this link) for £9.99 in paperback or £3.99 on Kindle. All profits go…

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The Test

I’m delighted to host another guest poem today, from George Simmers, fellow Holme Valley Poet, and the editor of Snakeskin Poetry Webzine.

The Test

The test has a judicial air
It is renowned for being fair

It can’t be cheated or beguiled
It terrifies the nervous child

The test puts children in straight rows
The poor child’s agitation grows

The test just exudes a calm authority
The child feels her inferiority

The child is shaky at the knees
She would dearly like to please

The test is printed clearly, neatly
The child’s demoralised completely

This test will sort the children out
The child is pulverised by doubt
The test’s job’s to discriminate
The child grows certain of her fate

The teacher smiles  to cheer the class
The test decides this child won’t pass

The child will fail; her spirit’s broken
The teacher sighs; the test has spoken

And all the country is impressed
By the rigour of this test

Snakeskin can be found at:

Pic: Rashi Latif / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)


Today I’m proud to announce the publication of a new anthology of speculative fiction, Darkness, by Twisted Fate Publishing. It comprises a mix of sci-fi, fantasy and horror tales by seven previously published authors, and includes two of mine.

The anthology is formally published on 10 October, but is available on Amazon to pre-order at £3.99 on Kindle or to buy now at £9.99 in paperback – via this link:

All profits will be donated to the mental health charity, Mind.

I’m particularly pleased that this anthology includes the first outing in print of a story from my (very) slow-burning sci-fi project. Regular readers of this blog will be aware that I’ve been working at this, off and on, for quite a while (see https://timwordsblog.wordpress.com/2019/03/17/a-first-taste/), in between other things.

So here, to celebrate – and hopefully whet your appetite, is a short extract from that story, Delving. Peiku and his friend Vahe are in a ruined city, searching for artefacts with the more experienced Ravakinu. But the Guardians are searching for them:

They all returned to the doorway, made visible by the pale moonlight beyond it. Vahe and Peiku felt their way along the wall to the corner and Ravakinu left, with the briefest of waves.  

In the corner, with their backs against the cold damp wall, it was not only dark but completely silent. Time had passed quickly while they were making their way to the old city. Now Peiku found himself counting the seconds and minutes away.  

“D’you think it’ll take him long to find somewhere?” he whispered. 

“I hope not. I don’t like it here.” 

“Me neither. I hope the Guardians don’t find him before he gets back.” 

“I just hope they don’t find us.” 

There was a tremor in Vahe’s voice that Peiku had never heard before. She had always seemed completely fearless. He reached out for her hand. She took it and squeezed like a drowning man clutching a lifeline.  

After a while, Peiku could make out the sound of footsteps in the old street beyond the doorway. At first, he thought it was Ravakinu, but then there were voices – not the excited chatter that he had heard earlier, but deeper, more purposeful. His hand closed around Vahe’s like a vice. 

“Guardians!” he whispered in her ear.  

Sure enough, as the footsteps drew closer, he could begin to make out words. 

“They came in this direction. I reckon they’ll be hiding out in one of these old buildings.” 

The footsteps stopped. Peiku could see some kind of flickering light beyond the door – white, like that from Ravakinu’s artefact; not the yellow light of a burning torch. Then a strange bright circle appeared on the far wall of the ruined building and hung there for a moment like the disc of some weird moon. It began to sweep to and fro across the room. Peiku could see a booted foot in the doorway. He huddled into the wall, not daring even to breathe, and felt Vahe bury her head in his shoulder. Now the white disc was coming towards them!