Wednesday, 30 May 2012


My short story 'Downtime' has just placed third in the Multi-Story short fiction competition. Below you will find a link for the story itself.

And here are the judges comments:

3rd Prize - Downtime by M. Trevelean
Comments - The style is very spare and uses the present tense to convey a sense of tension and immediacy. The use of a countdown towards an event that is not obvious to the reader until the very end creates a sense of danger. The style is in harmony with the only character, about whom we are told very little except that he is a rich, risk-taking shit - which is all we need to know. This is very effectively done.
This is a dark story and its conclusion is open to interpretation. It isn’t clear if the underground room is a tomb or an engine by which the “hero” asserts the triumph of his will over Nature and his enemies. One suspects that both interpretations are true.
I chose this story for third prize for its general competence and I thought it original and provocatively ambiguous.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

My Sweetshop Life

Flash fiction with a sweet tooth.

My Sweetshop Life

The illusion of choice. Sherbet Lemons, Pear Drops, Midget Gems, Cola Cubes, Pineapple Chunks, Sports Mixtures, Bon Bons, Wine Gums, Tom Thumb Drops, Pontefract Cakes, Sherbet Pips, Milk Bottles, Cola Bottles, Red and Black Berries, Flying Saucers, Blackjacks, Fruit Salad, Astro Belts, Jelly Beans, Flumps, Cough Candy, Mint Imperials, Pan Drops, Jelly Babies, Peanut Clusters, Chocolate Raisins, Yoghurt Gums, Liquorice Allsorts, American Hard Gums, Chocolate Peanuts, Foam shrimps, Sugar Mice, Salad Gums, Cherry Lips, Red Laces, Parma Violets, Cinder Toffee, Chocolate Limes, Cough Drops, Raisin Fudge, Butter Toffee, Aniseed Balls, Liquorice Comfits, Love Hearts, Sour Plums.

I'm not five. I'm not greedy. But too much choice is no choice at all. I can’t have a selection if I can only pick one. And if I can only pick one then I can’t pick any. That’s the problem. If I knew what I wanted before I saw the selection then it wouldn't be a problem, but confronted with a choice without time to consider all the options? What kind of choice is that? There's no kindly shopkeeper either, to point me in the right direction. So I believe I have no choice. I turn and leave the shop empty handed. Every time.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Either / Or

Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is Bliss. I think I fall somewhere in-between - I don't know enough to be powerful, yet I'm not ignorant enough to be blissful. Oh nuts!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The ‘Great’ Scottish Summer

As I write this I can hear the wind lashing torrential rain at the window, while I have the heating on to try and keep warm. It’s May in Scotland.

Scotland, as most people will be aware, is not known for its weather. The four seasons of the year tend to blend together to create one long ‘mono-season’ which, for sake of simplicity, we’ll call - ‘winter’.

The thing about the weather in Scotland is that it’s not necessarily that bad, it’s just not ever any good either. It doesn’t suffer from extreme cold, minus thirties or having six feet of snow eight months a year. Neither does it have blistering heat in the hundreds. What it does have is constant rain, drizzling, cold, grey, ever-present rain.

Atlantis is drier.

It’s the insipid dullness of it all that really affects people. In the winter it’s cold and dark, in the summer it’s cold and grey, in the winter it’s cold and dark, in the summer…well, you get the point. Scotland has a high suicide rate, which will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever visited during July, when there is a real risk of drowning (on the way to the pub).

It is painfully depressing for all inhabitants, having survived the long dark of winter, having not seen the sun for six months, to get to British summertime, only to find that it has been cancelled yet again in favour of a new season – ‘Diet Winter’ - all the rain of winter with none of the festivities.

So, next time you’re having a BBQ in the sunshine on a warm, balmy summer’s day, spare a thought for Scotland – whose inhabitants will be hard at work under the dark rain clouds.

Building an Ark.

Friday, 4 May 2012

How NOT to quit smoking - for FREE!!!

Tartare by M Trevelean will be FREE to download from Amazon over the holidays from the 5th May - 7th May. 

Edinburgh, March 2006. The smoking ban begins across Scotland. Many smokers would kill to give up cigarettes. Edgar Ferrol will.

Edgar Ferrol has stopped smoking. He blames the countrywide ban that came into effect last week and his Uncle Derek, who inconveniently died of lung cancer. He can't sleep, has a horrible cough and thinks he might be coming down with something. It is not going well.

Edgar is a 31 year old data administrator living in Edinburgh. He is single and lives in a small flat on his own, has family in England that he hardly speaks to and a bunch of work colleagues he calls friends.

After weeks of misery, having tried every conventional way to beat his cravings, Edgar stumbles upon an unlikely cure whilst drunk in a local restaurant. Raw animal flesh. Things start to improve but as the animal meat becomes less effective and his life takes a turn for the worse, Edgar decides on a new course of action, one that will drive him to murder, cannibalism and self-destruction.

'Tartare' is a black comedy about the nature of addiction, personal choice and a stolen cow called Frank.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Plane fair?

I remember when travelling by air was glamorous, before it became dangerous, until the present day when it’s merely tedious. Where better a place to see in full glory the gradual erosion of our civil liberties than at an airport; a place by dint of booking the flights in the first place, where you can easily afford the most expensive shake-down of your life.

I don’t like being suspected. I don’t like feeling under suspicion, even when I’ve done something wrong, when you could be excused into thinking that I should at the very least expect to be suspected, even to have the suspicion that I may well be suspected as I am a suspect, which I feel is suspect in itself. However to be suspected when I have cheerfully paid my money, turned up at the allotted and quite unnecessary 4 hours before take-off and then stood in line quietly and patiently is patently absurd.

I understand the need for security checks, after all as a nervous flyer I quite often find myself hoping to reach my destination whereas others are expectant. I understand the need for bags to go through X-Ray machines; that I should have my carry-on belongings scanned for metal or pointy implements, I even don’t mind performing a strangely edifying striptease in front of strangers, whipping my belt off with gusto and a wiggle as I hand over my trainers to be scanned for foot odour (100% clean record and counting).

What I don’t and won’t excuse however is the worrying increase in gruffness and inhospitality that is starting to reek from these terminals. After all, the prelude that I’m referring to is often followed by family holidays, special occasions or a trip to see a loved one. Airports and the process of air travel should be an ode to the human spirit, one of adventure, of family ties, love and conquering of distance. Instead it has been reduced to a long line of people nervously wondering if they’re carrying over 100ml of shampoo or whether they can take their lighter on the flight while they wait for the next stony-faced official to bark at them to walk through the next bit of technical wizardry which checks to see if your dentist was a member of the Third Reich.

During my travels I have experienced some mind-boggling procedures at international airports. The USA for example still has the most accidentally hilarious Visa questionnaire I’ve ever set eyes on with questions such as:

“Have you ever been convicted for an offence involving moral turpitude?”  As long as moral turpitude doesn’t mean ‘sex with animals’ then that’s a no from me.

 “Are you involved in espionage?”  Oh if only it were that easy the Cold War would’ve lasted half an hour.

Do you intend to carry out terrorist activities while in the United States?  Define ‘Terrorism’. Blow up a skyscraper? No. Go to Disney World? Yes.

Or in Australia, where it takes the best part of a day to fly to from pretty much anywhere, where they ask things like -

Are you carrying any porn? – No but my wife’s a prostitute, does that count?

Are you carrying any Biological specimens? – Yes I’m smuggling an Alien in the stomach of my companion here.

Are you carrying any soil or Earth? – Yes I asked the pilot to pop in to Home base on the way so I could plant some magnolias during the stopover in Dubai.

Of course the security questions are there to improve safety and security, but asking someone if they’re a drug dealer is never going to give you balanced results and the common sense vacuum doesn’t stop there. On my last trip I had the contents of my suitcase rifled through while I waited to check in, then I went through security (wearing a suspender belt just in case there were tips on offer) and then after waiting to board I got patted down in the tunnel as I was boarding the plane. Why? I’ve been in the terminal for the last 6 hours; the only thing I’m smuggling on board is my last drop of patience with airport security.

In the end the airports, governing bodies and nations are all just trying to protect people from acts of terrorism, smuggling and people trafficking – all of which are good, morally responsible reasons and reasons which the vast majority of passengers agree with. But it doesn’t mean that everyone is a suspect. It doesn’t mean you should treat people like animals, or you should be rude or short with paying customers or inflict draconian measures on people who are simply trying to get from A to B without a rubber-gloved hand poking into C.

In short, try making flying and going to airports an enjoyable experience if you can, lest you start doing the terrorists job for them and put people off flying altogether.