Long Covid and my first published story (or seven)

The epilogue to “Greenfingered Growths”, my year-long alien-invasion-gardening-column epic has just been published in Bear Creek Gazette.

“What’s that?” you say, “Alien invasion gardening column? That you’ve been writing for a year? Why haven’t we heard of this before, Jim? Surely you would be flinging about all the self-promotion and waxing lyrical about planning a series to last exactly a year, including a story for each season and so on.”

Well, yes, I would have. But since I last wrote something here making fun of our Prime Minister and his handling of the pandemic, I have been suffering with Long Covid and am now essentially house-bound and jobless. Even now, I have to grab my writing time when my brain is feeling up to it. But let’s not dwell on that! That’s for another time.

(I suspect if I’d written about the minutia of dealing with my parent’s debilitating illness, death, my own grief and then my own debilitating illness, it would have made for a much more entertaining blog for the past decade but, unfortunately, I don’t feel comfortable talking about such things. Which is a shame, isn’t it?)

The fact is that, after becoming ill, I could barely focus on watching a TV show or reading a book, let alone write anything. I built up over the months from journaling about my day (e.g., “I feel tired. Too tired to move. It sucks.”), to writing 500 word “flash fiction” stories with Writer’s HQ and ultimately sent something to Bear Creek, which editor Stuart Buck not only wanted to publish (my first published story!) but generously allowed me to turn into a series. I am very thankful for this opportunity. I’m also very pleased to be progressing mentally and physically, even if I can’t leave the house under my own power.

But, as I say, let’s not dwell on that.

Let us, instead, dwell on the fact that if this IS the first time you have heard of Greenfingered Growths, you can now “binge-read” the entire series at once (and it will probably make a lot more sense that way).

Links to the stories are below, and since I mentioned “binge-reading”, I’ll present it in a Netflix-style format:

Greenfingered Growths

Affable gardening columnist, Murdoch Brimley, has a solution to your soil problems involving a plant that can take human form. But is he now more garden than gardener?

Strong female protagonist (off-screen) * Sci-fi * Irreverent

Episode 1

It’s the end of winter. Wyrmmas is approaching and with the worms fleeing the soil, Murdoch has a drastic suggestion to replace them. Mrs Wrought sees something that alarms her.

Read this episode

Episode 2

With the coming of spring, a new flowerbed has appeared in Murdoch’s Garden in the shape of two human bodies. Mrs Wrought is concerned at the disappearance of Murdoch’s wife. The sheriff pays him a visit.

Read this episode

Episode 3

Murdoch has a suggestion for losing your inhibitions at summer parties by imbibing the “Lunar Lemon”. The FBI takes an interest in his activities.  

Read this episode

Episode 4

Murdoch Brimley is away. A replacement columnist writes about cakes.

Read this episode

Episode 5

Autumn. Mrs Wrought has fled the town. Murdoch is representing his community in the Tri-state Organic Marrow competition but his chances of winning are threatened by an invasion of the marrow snatchers!

Read this episode

Episode 6

Winter is returning. Mrs Wrought is back in town. Will this be the final column by our apparently affable gardener or will he survive the showdown against an old woman with a flame thrower?

Read this episode

Episode 7


Read this episode

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