22 May

A New Look for Jilly Wood

How much have you changed in the last five years? The stories I’m writing now are very different from the ones I was working on when I started this blog. I’ll be giving this site a makeover later this year or early next to make it look and feel less romantic and more epically fantastic.

Until the revamped Jilly Wood website is up and running I won’t put up new posts. I won’t collect or keep any individual’s personal data, so for now you won’t be able to follow or comment on this blog.

In the meantime, I’ll be blogging as usual with my friends at Eight Ladies Writing. You can find a link to my most recent posts below and I’d love to see you there—or you can always get in touch with me via the contact form.

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15 Jul

Story Snippet: Cinderella’s Big Night

An alternative fairytale, originally written as a flash fiction challenge for my group blog, Eight Ladies Writing.

Cinderella inched open her dressing-room door and paused seductively on the threshold of the bridal chamber. Her wedding dress had been a demure cloud of white silk and tulle, but there was nothing virginal about her nightgown. If the populace could see their fairy-tale princess now, there’d be a riot.

Her outfit was a scanty mix of midnight-blue satin and lace, with a few strategically placed ribbons and buttons to make life interesting for Prince Charlemagne. The inarticulate croak that emanated from the royal four-poster was all she could have wished, but when it was followed by another she stopped smoldering and closed the distance to the bed in record time.

The frog that stared furiously at her from the center of the coverlet had smooth, shiny skin with an elaborate pattern that bore a disturbing resemblance to Charlie’s richly embroidered ceremonial coat. Across the room, the cabinet that had held her crystal Jimmy Choos stood empty.

She tried the door and both windows. Locked. Her godmother had blanketed the room with a silence spell, so there was no point in shouting for help. She had to figure out a plan. Fast.

The obvious first step, kissing Charlie-the-frog, was surprisingly enjoyable, but didn’t achieve anything except to confirm the amphibian in question was indeed her prince. Lingual dexterity was one of his most delightful distinguishing features.

She set Charlie back on the mattress, calling on the ingenuity that had taken her from pauper to princess before her twenty-first birthday. What would her godmother say? If at first you don’t succeed, scry, scry and scry again.

Cindy grabbed a silver bowl from the pile of wedding presents on the table, moved it until it caught the moonlight, and filled it from the pitcher of ambrosia beside the bed. The reflected image was hazy, but over short distances the resolution should be good enough.

“I’ll buy you a new one,” she said to Charlie, as she reached for his state-of-the-art game controller. She dunked it briefly in the bowl, turned it on and felt magic tingle in her thumbs. As soon as the surface of the liquid settled, she started to search the castle. Up, down, right, left, image followed image. Nothing outside. No-one in the guardroom or the guest chambers.

Her blood began a slow boil when she flipped to the throne room – everyone who was anyone was gathered there. At the top of the thickly carpeted steps stood Wanda, her treacherous stepsister, looking like the ‘after’ section of a makeover show. The witch was arm-in-arm with a hunk who was superficially indistinguishable from Charlie. Wanda was wearing Cindy’s Jimmy Choos, neon pink lipstick, and a triumphant smile.

This wasn’t a heist, it was a goddamn coup.

“I don’t think so,” she snarled at the bowl. “This is my story. My shoes, my prince, and my happy ever after.”

She finger-combed a piece of confetti from her hair and let it fall into the bowl of moonlit ambrosia. Next came a sequin from her negligee, and as the mixture began to bubble she dropped in her wedding ring and made a wish. A shimmering lilac-scented cloud rose into the air, hovered for a moment, and disappeared under the doorframe.

Charlie hopped athletically to the top of a carved bedpost; together they held their breath and watched the scene in the scrying bowl as the cloud slowly re-materialized above the impostors.

“Now!” she yelled, and Charlie croaked his agreement.

The bowl lit up with a flash of brilliant lilac-colored light as the cloud exploded, drenching the throne room in glittering droplets. By the time the image cleared, Wanda was standing between two of Charlie’s elite Royal Guardsmen. They held her arms and avoided her eyes as she stared at the floor, where a suit of formal court clothes sat in a shimmering purple puddle. The fabric of the linen shirt moved intermittently, as though something inside was trying to hop its way to freedom.

There was a rush of air behind Cindy; a moment later Charlie’s arms came around her and she was dragged back against his muscular chest.

“Damned in-laws.” His lips found her ear. “You told me not to invite her.”


“You told Wanda you’d settle her once and for all if she stepped out of line.”

“Yep.” Cindy leaned in to his hands as they worked their own magic over satin and bare skin. “My godmother’s on standby. She’ll take it from here.”

She did.

And without further ado, Princess Cindy took her handsome prince to the matrimonial four-poster and loved him very happily ever after.

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26 Jun

Story Snippet: Daphne’s Last Dance

A Regency-themed short story, originally written for the weekly flash fiction challenge on my group blog, Eight Ladies Writing

Lady Mayfair’s masquerade was the last significant party of the Season, and Daphne’s papa had been distressingly clear about the family’s finances, or lack thereof. Unfortunately she had failed to Take her Opportunity, and so this soiree would be her last hurrah in the Beau Monde.

A long night in the library with a bottle of papa’s best port had done wonders for her resolution. The alternatives were clear. Get herself thoroughly compromised, or go home and marry the vicar. And since he was approaching sixty, had lost most of his teeth, and believed personal cleanliness was injurious to health, there wasn’t really a decision to make.

Viscount Wandering-Hands, irreverently known as Lord Pianoforte, was a terrible rake, but he was a stylish one. The matched bays harnessed to his curricle smelled sweeter than Reverend Whiffy, and his way with a freshly-starched cravat was a thing of beauty. No wonder he was all the crack, despite his propensity to take outrageous liberties.

Fortunately the orchestra had been playing an unexceptionable suite of classical dances when they arrived. Daphne had migrated to her usual wallflower position behind the potted palms and despatched her chaperone to play whist with the other tabbies. Aunt Evelina knew the end was in sight, and the opportunity to invest papa’s miserly allowance in an evening’s gambling was too great to resist.

A judicious dousing of water in the Ladies’ Retiring Room had rendered Daphne’s gown practically diaphanous. Exactly on cue, the band struck up a waltz. She pulled her bodice down until her décolletage was the epitome of scandalous, tripped strategically on an outstretched satin slipper, and landed, as she had intended, in the arms of Lord Pianoforte.

He looked down at her magnificent, barely covered bosom and took a firmer grasp around her hand-span waist.

“My dance, I believe?”

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18 Jun

Story Snippet: Copacetic Cop-Out

A sixties-themed short story, originally written for the weekly flash fiction challenge on my group blog 8 Ladies Writing.

“Copacetic Corner? A Counterculture Commune for Retired Revolutionaries? What the hell is this?”

Commander Mann pushed the brochure back across the desk with a snarl. Hand-printed with vegetable inks on recycled paper, the cover was an eclectic mix of paisley-patterned swirls and fluffy clouds emblazoned with hippie buzzwords: “Peace”; “Love”; “Freedom.”

“You didn’t read the good bits yet, Commander.” Rainbow pushed it back again. “I think ‘Can You Dig It?’ is an inspired name for an organic vegetable garden, don’t you?”

“I don’t see what this has to do with me.” His eyes met hers briefly and slid away.

“My mother is looking for investors,” Rainbow explained brightly. “She’s not getting any younger and wants to create a sanctuary for herself and her friends, but she’s having some difficulty raising the finance.”

Commander Mann was seized by a sudden fit of coughing. Rainbow straightened her mini skirt, crossed her ankles and waited politely until he subsided before continuing with her pitch.

“Apparently she has some kind of mystery blot on her copybook dating back to the sixties. We’ve been trying to get to the bottom of the problem. It’s very odd. She was in a couple of protest groups, nothing very radical, but afterwards there was a crazy rumour they’d been infiltrated by some kind of super-secret police task force.”

“That’s the most ridiculous thing I ever heard.” Commander Mann’s face was a sixties shade of puce.

“Exactly what I said, sir.” Rainbow reached into her macramé bag, took out a photograph and laid it on top of the brochure. “The flower child in the tie-dye kaftan is my mother. I’m not sure I recognize the groovy dude sharing her psychedelic mushrooms, though he does look vaguely familiar.”

Mann stared long and hard at the photograph. Then he opened his desk drawer and took out his cheque book.

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10 Jan

Kat Heyes Illustration for Jilly Wood

Thank you, Kat Heyes, for this beautiful illustration, I love it!


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