one hundred breaths

October will bring with it the first of our new releases for the autumn. Stephanie Shields, author of The Star Princess And The Kitchen Witch, is releasing her first book intended for adults only, one hundred breaths.

The book, consisting of a hundred, one hundred word stories, is a collection of tales of love, loss, the unusual, the painful and the hopeful.

Ahead of the one hundred breaths’ release (October 1 2018) we spoke with Stephanie and asked her to tell us more about the book in answers of, of course, one hundred words.


Cynefin Road (CR): How would you describe one hundred breaths in one hundred words?

Stephanie Shields (SS): It’s the twists and turns of my mind as I look at the world and watch it turning.

It’s expressions of hope and words of warning, desires of wishes and cautions against their fulfilment. It’s whimsical and tender and loving yet unsettling, holding up a mirror to the lost and those that do the losing.

It’s about hope and love and the minutiae of life that occurs in every breathing second which supports people in getting through those times, for good and for bad.

And there’s a little bit of magic in there too, if you know how to look.

What is your process in writing hundred word stories?

I defer to Hemingway in describing the process; I just sit down at my keyboard and bleed.

There is no specific process, I might make notes on my phone, I might sit at my laptop and type various lines or thoughts. Some ideas never progress beyond 8 words or 25 and sometimes I think that’s the words telling me this is the length they want to be.

And sometimes I can have an idea and know that it is good, it’s a fire, a feeling that grips me from the inside and those I always pursue to the full 100.

How meaningful are your stories to you?

I realised when I had about 30 or so that I had no back up copies saved anywhere and the thought of losing them was like a blow to the stomach. I created a backup copy and emailed a friend, designating her Keeper of the Stories.

They are my work, my art. A way of engaging with the world when perhaps I can’t or don’t want to find the right conversation.

I do have favourites, some that sit deep in my heart, and some that disturb me even though I wrote them. But overall, I’m proud I made them happen.

In one hundred words which writers inspire you?

When I was a child, Judith Kerr, Tove Jansson, Eve Titus, Susan Cooper. I came to Tolkein very young but that means I’ve had plenty of time to read and reread The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. As I went through my teens to my twenties, Terry Pratchett, Jilly Cooper, Robert Jordan, Joanne Harris, Joanna Trollope, Georgette Heyer. Shakespeare along the way. And most recently David Quantick, Sarah Phelps, Patrick Rothfuss, Rupi Kaur, Nayyirah Waheed, India Knight, Sali Hughes, Cailtin Moran.

Inspiration is difficult to define. They all write things I enjoy and what’s inspiration without enjoyment?

What are your plans for the future?

Having a large drink after I’ve finished answering these questions. Dearie dearie me. No-one tells you that these are steps you need to take when you start being published.

I’ve never been very good at having plans. I have ideas and aspirations and hopes, plans not so much.

This evening I shall have a bath. This week I will see good friends. This month I will share a present to make someone smile. And this year I will accept all this year has given me and all challenges that this year has presented me. That’s plans enough for any woman.

Why, in a hundred words, should readers pick up one hundred breaths?

I would hope because they want to, because they are curious or interested or in need of distraction.

Perhaps there is a question in their own hearts they cannot answer or haven’t been able to ask. Maybe because they need to see the world through someone else’s eyes before they can look back at it through their own.

Because the stories I tell, the fables I spin, the doom and the delight; none of it is nasty or unkind. It may not always be cheerful but there is a truthfulness of spirit and a care that sometimes we all need.

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Audacity #5: May 2018

We are delighted to publish the latest collection of potent works from authors and writers across the world.

Audacity is a curated Zine produced by Cynefin Road for free distribution worldwide.

In this divided and confrontational world of ours, please read and share our fifth edition, Ability.

Audacity #5


Audacity Submissions Open

We are seeking contributions to a very special zine, Audacity, which is being put together in this tumbledown world of ours.

The topic for the fifth edition is ABILITY.

We are looking for writings of up to 500 words, photographs which speak volumes, and art which shouts a thousand words at a time. Our submissions deadline is April the 30th, so there isn’t long to get your creative on.

With this edition we are asking only for submissions for those creatives who are disabled or with disabilities, people dealing with chronic illness, visible or not, people who are neurodivergent or anyone who has been questioned in their ability to achieve self actualisation.

Submissions to be made to:

Audacity may well be a zine, and completely pro-bono, but it will be freely distributed across the world in electronic form. Call it a showcase, call it an anthology, call it a collection. Call it what you may, we’re going to take this inspiration, this creativity, this love, and we’re going to add a little magic and set it free on the winds. Where it belongs.

Alternative War: Online Index

In 2017, working with Byline Media, we proudly published a significant public interest work: Alternative War.

Based upon painstaking open source research, interviews, and investigation, the book presented a clear picture of a covert information war taking place across the West, being waged by Russia in partnership with far-right figures and populists.

The public interest in the book’s continued publication remains over-riding at the start of 2018.

A third edition of the book is being prepared as soon as reasonably practicable which will for the first time incorporate footnotes, to ensure that any material not specifically cited and referenced already is captured fully. This is an administrative procedure.

Due to the volume of material contained within the book, we have constantly weighed the pubic interest against administration and found the former has always taken priority.

In the meantime, the constantly evolving, organic index for this work can be found online at

Happy new year.