CLAIRE HAMILTON — CREATIVE WRITINGThe pen is mightier than the sword

Students' books and stories

Forest: Fact and Fantasy

Disasters, dragons and dark deeds Dean writers bring local history to life.

A new book Forest: Fact and Fantasy is the latest offering from the daring team of writers who produced the popular book of ghost stories, If You Go Down to the Woods: A Dean Witch Project. This time they have spent two years delving into the history of the Forest and surrounding area asking questions such as: What were the Romans doing at Clearwell? What happened to the Italian prisoners of war at the camp near Speech House? Who was the White Lady of the Wye? These stories together with a host of anecdotes, legends and childhood memories are creatively expanded and illustrated to inspire readers to visit local places with new enjoyment. 

Claire Hamilton, creative director of On the Edge Publishing said: ‘The stories bring local history and legend alive. Forest: Fact and Fantasy will be a revelation to locals and make the perfect visitor’s companion.’

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Forest Fact and Fantasy cover

Only £9.99 including P&P

If You Go Down to the Woods

This spooky book was launched at the Forest Bookshop. It got off with a bang in torch-lit darkness with a chillingly dramatic reading from the fifteen authors, beginning with a witch’s cackle and ending with a scream.

Inspired by the film, The Blair Witch Project, the team of local writers travelled through the Forest and explored its scary legends and tales. They interviewed owners of pubs and haunted houses, unearthed the spirits of mysterious wells and pools, ancient standing stones, and the eerie industrial heritage of mines and mills. They visited castles and churches, uncovered ghosts of soldiers, murderers, and old poets. They also researched Big Cat and wild boar sightings, not to mention the ghostly goings-on of a famous rock band in a Forest castle.

The book is crammed with photos and spooky stories from all over the Forest. It invites the reader to experience these chilling legends through the eyes of fictional characters who travel the dark side of the Dean and brave its supernatural mysteries.

The book would make an ideal Christmas present, and is informative as well as chilling. It is on sale in many outlets in and around the Forest.

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If You Go Down to the Woods cover

Only £9.99 including P&P

Sex and the Forest

Challenged by their Creative Writing tutor, Claire Hamilton, a group of students have brought out a daring little book of sex stories.

Inspired by the Manhattan-based series Sex and the City, they have titled the book: Sex and the Forest. All ten writers, five men and five women, have brought their most eloquent writing skills to bear upon this delicate yet delicious subject-matter.

The book contains a selection of short stories which celebrate the act of sex wherever it takes place – in the Forest, a hotel bedroom, a flight of steps or even out in space. The result is a raunchy, highly entertaining and readable little book which steers clear of pornography on the one hand and cliché on the other!

Sex and the Forest cover

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Buy for Kindle

Only 5.99 including P&P

Work in progress
by Heather EnderbyHeather Enderby

1951 John Whelbourne
He stood by his wife’s graveside. It was one of the places he had visited everyday for weeks now in his search for answers. Twenty two and a half years of marriage had ended on her death and he felt loss. Words could not capture the depth of this feeling. The empty space beside him was still solid with memories, cold with the relentless truth, and it filled him with longing.

Man should not be alone. Read more ...


by Jonathan MartinJonathan Martin  

In the great meeting space of the city the white sanded floor ran dark and wet in streams of blood. The cattle slaughter had been good, the beast had died well - instantly even. The Priest had cut true and now he and his novices cut rigorously, hacking and grinding, pulling apart the remains of the beast before circle upon circle of seated warlords and warriors. The hide was tough and the bones strong. The stomach contents spilt, putrid and sickening, summoning the lesser demons of the flies to it. But no one spoke, even the priests were too enthralled. Read on ...

From Wiltshire with Love
by Guy WilliamsGuy Williams

David was pleased with the way the morning had gone.  He’d won over some clients and earned his commission. Not a bad day already and it was time for an early lunch. He was wise enough to know the only direction from a high spot was down, so no point staying on at his station. The best choice of food always went to the early birds, and he wanted to make some of that blackcurrant cheesecake his today.

A quick bathroom stop en route to the canteen had him catching his reflection.  ‘The prime of life, seasoned yet without decay, best keep smiling and stay this way,’ he told himself.    Read on ...

The Wolves of Pluto: Irenka’s Story, by Marek Dluski-MiziuraMarek Dluski-Miziura

A hurried striking on the cottage door pulled me squarely awake. I’d been aware of noise, voices, the crunching of vehicles - so unusual in my village at night that I thought it must be a dream. My bedroom door flew open.

‘Don’t worry Irenka darling, but we must go. Quickly let’s get you dressed!’ Mother started packing my clothes into an old bag.

‘What to take, the soldiers said take nothing but what we will wear if I take nothing.’

Mother is much shaken,I was thinking as I quickly pulled on trousers and jumper over pyjamas. Read on ...

Lucky Winners
by Mandy GodfreyMandy Godfrey

We’d never been to London before. I suppose I must have led a very little life. A big trip to me was going to the nearest hypermarket off the motorway. Mostly I went into town shopping or met the girls from work once a month for bingo then on to a club. John didn’t like that – as I can’t drive he’d have to come and meet me, which broke up his Friday night TV viewing. Otherwise, we visited our families or they would visit us. We made ends meet and we were happy but who could resist the chance to win £1 million on a quiz show? Read on ...

The Secret
by Brenda EdwardsBrenda Edwards

'Those bloody kids again. What are they up to this time?’ Concealed behind his nets William watched anxiously as his tormentors huddled together in Bev’s front garden. William just knew he was to be the target of their plot for they were casting surreptitious glances in the direction of his house. ‘Why me?’ He couldn’t understand why he should have been singled out for such treatment. ‘Do they think I’m easy prey because I’m getting on or because I live alone? Well, I’ll only take so much.’

Read on ...

On Her Majesty’s Service
by Alan M. KeefAlan Keef

‘Don’t do that,’ I shouted.

Too late.

The breakfast tray fell five floors from the balcony.

We stood, all of us, in awed silence and stared at Michael, who with total insouciance took a packet of cigarettes from his pocket, a lighter from another, flipped the lid, took one between his lips and lit it. He exhaled a cloud of blue smoke that drifted on the early morning air. I don’t think any of us heard the tray land. There were no screams and thus subconsciously we presumed that no one was hurt.  Read on ...

by Julia StorrarJulia Storrar

September was kindly that year, and a kind September is surely the loveliest of all months. With the August heat softened and harsh summer light mellowed to gold, only the merest hint of winter was discernible in the morning air. The woman stepped out of her cottage door and stood still for a moment. She wondered, yet again, at how – even as a little girl, something deep within her had always responded to the faint, sweet melancholy of early autumn. Now, though her hair was silver and her back quite stiff, the feelings were still there. Perhaps even a little stronger now that she was living her own autumn. Read on ...

David and Gareth: A Fairy Tale, by Angie Page

Angie Page

David sat at the kitchen table staring at his large bowl of cereal. He held the little spoon in his oversized hands and stirred the cereal round and round in the milk. His mom was busy at the cooker behind him, preparing his usual fried egg sandwich.

‘Don’t play with your food Davy!’

David looked up as he crammed another spoonful of cereal into his mouth and smiled sweetly at this mom. She smiled back as she poured his fried egg onto the buttered bread and put it on the table for him.

‘Finish up your cereal sweetie. Here’s your egg sandwich.’    Read on ...

Curiosity Killed the Cat
by James Frankland

James Frankland

‘To us, Richard,’ I said as we chinked our flutes. He still looked vibrant after all these years, I noticed under the soft lighting of our favourite restaurant. I suppose, I thought it was the occasion that finally wanted me to get it out of him. You see, a long time had passed; water under the bridge and all that.

‘Happy anniversary, love’ he replied, a smug smile illuminating him, like it always did.

‘Well, the champagne is superb,’ I said after taking a generous sip and placing the glass back on the gold coaster. ‘It’s not the usual one we have, is it?’

‘No,’ he replied. ‘This is a vintage Cristal 2002, chosen by our Maitre d.’
Read on ...

Catching Clouds
by Pat Reynolds


They had met by accident at the studios. A bump and scattered papers led to an apology and an invitation to dinner.

‘I know nothing of mountain climbing. Why do people do it?’ Fiona couldn't imagine anything so bleak.

Mike's eyes became dreamy. ‘I love the solitude. When I climb I feel closer to understanding what life really means.’

She was puzzled, but sensed he had opened a door which normally remained closed.

Through summer evenings they'd shared a closeness she had never felt before. There was only one dark spot in their relationship – his insistence that she climb.     Read on ...


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