Short Story: The Christmas Present (From “Seven Wonders of the Word”)


This story is taken from Seven Wonders of the Word, available to buy in paperback

Holidays are here again and it’s the most wonderful time of the year – for everyone except Henry. Still reeling from festive heartache the year before, he is struggling to get into the spirit of the season, even despite his friends’ best efforts to cheer him up. But when a sprightly new face enters his life, tantalisingly wrapped gift in hand, will he be able to stop acting like a Scrooge and accept the Christmas present?

Download: The Christmas Present (PDF, bookfold)


Proudly Presenting… Seven Wonders of the Word [Available Now!]



“What is magic but a sleight of hand, or a trick of the light…?”

A sorcerer on the run. A knock at the door. A knot in time. A love against the odds. An earth-shattering silence. A magical Christmas gift. And a glimpse into the future…

Richard Swain proudly presents this scintillating septet of short stories, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary using the power of the written word.

High in concept and high in drama, this collection brings the wonders of the imagination to life in a spectacular showcase of fresh talent and storytelling.

As themes like wizardry, love, and even language go under the literary lens, you may never see the world in quite the same way again…

Contains the following short stories:

  • The Wizard on the Peak
  • Who’s There?
  • February 29th
  • To the Ends of the Earth
  • Hush
  • The Christmas Present
  • The Time-Ravaged Town

Available to buy in paperback now from Amazon

Short Story: Sonic – The Age of Steam


I can’t quite believe it, but this year marks the fifth anniversary of one of my first (and most prolific) serious writing challenges. For those who do not know, between 2009 and 2011 I organised the Sonic Relief charity campaigns that ran on The Sonic Stadium and various other related fan sites (in aid of Comic Relief, naturally). As well as a fundraising effort, it was a showcase of the creative talents in the Sonic community – so in 2011, after two years of encouraging other people to submit their fan art, videos, and so forth, I decided it was about time for me to put my own skills to the test for the drive’s third and final outing. Thus, Sonic: The Age of Steam was born.

Despite being labelled a short story, this is by far my longest effort to date. Consisting of six chapters, with the first released on 1st January 2011 and the rest then updated a few weeks apart up until March 2011, it drew inspiration from the Sonic Storybook games (namely, Sonic and the Secret Rings and Sonic and the Black Knight) by placing the world-famous blue hedgehog into a Victorian, almost Sherlock Holmes-esque environment. The working title for the project was “Steampunk Sonic” and, much to my delight, it received a very welcome and positive reception at the time. Fellow fans were keen to get involved by designing their own steampunk versions of classic Sonic characters (many of which I then integrated into the story), and all in all I feel it played an important part in spurring donations to reach the eventual grand total – over £1,000!

To celebrate five years since its initial release, I feel it only right to look back on my first major work and share it with a whole new audience of followers who might share my same passion and interest for the world of Sonic the Hedgehog and the age of steam. I enjoyed writing it so much that I actually started work on a sequel – The Age of Steam II: Curse of the Damned – but, due to one thing and another, I never found the time to finish it and only got as far as the prologue and first chapter. Nevertheless, if you want to see (and speculate further about) how the story would have continued, I’ve uploaded it what I’m dubbing the “prototype edition” of the sequel for your reading pleasure…

Last but not least, the official Sonic: The Age of Steam blog where the story was first released all those years ago is still alive and well – just in case anyone fancies experiencing the adventure in its original form!

Will I ever return to the world of Sonic fan fiction? Perhaps. But even if I don’t, I’m still immensely proud of what The Age of Steam managed to accomplish – not only for charity, but also for my own self-belief as a writer.

Download: Sonic – The Age of Steam (PDF)*

*Includes a complete collection of fan art inspired by the project for Sonic Relief 2011

Download: Sonic – The Age of Steam II: Curse of the Damned (Prototype Edition) (PDF)