Flash, part-stories, short stories
No you didn’t. You wanted to marry Maverick.
Ok, now you’re splitting hairs.
No. You were naive and falling for heros who don’t exist in real life.
True. I still do 🖤
No you didn’t. You wanted to marry Maverick.
Ok, now you’re splitting hairs.
No. You were naive and falling for heros who don’t exist in real life.
True. I still do 🖤
Today on the Fiction Cafe Writer’s Group this photo prompt appeared along with some words which ideally they wanted as the first few words He wanted her job and it would be easy enough …
I enjoyed sipping a coffee during a break from the rug room activities and came up with the following 742 words. I decided to share it with you – especially you Patti, as I know you like a creepy tale from me 🔪xxx
Happy reading folks and keep writing
He wanted her job and it would be easy enough to achieve if he was subtle. Eight years he’d been overlooked as each new high-flying and well-spoken graduate came in to look after the collection.
‘No-one knows the pieces like we do, do they?’ Mason snarled his upper lip while his huge hands flattened the static fur of the old cat on his lap. Its bony frame felt good beneath his touch and he pressed a little harder, but still the cat purred, the sound vibrating through the small cellar room where he kept all the tools for his caretaker role beneath the museum.
A light flashed on his call box which he knew meant she had arrived. He stood and the cat rolled off, scrabbling to hold on to his trousers with extended claws, one embedding itself in his flesh.
‘Geroff!’ Mason flicked the paw away and re-opened the email photo. Just one more look. His pupils reduced to pin holes as the light from the screen gave her delicious face to him. He licked his lips at her sweet smile, the angle of her neck rising from a cream dress which showed her collarbones. His heart quickened as he imagined running a finger along one. It would snap delightfully between his strong fingers.
The cat curled around his ankles and he shook out some food from a box onto the floor and watched the animal crouch over it before he opened the door and locked it behind him.
* * *
‘Good morning! You must be Arabella, do please come this way.’ Mason stepped back to allow her through.
‘Thank you so much, and for agreeing to my request. I always like to start a day early to get to know the place so I feel more at ease when the public come through, you know?’ she smiled at him, her teeth a perfect row of ivory.
‘I couldn’t agree more. So many curators do not understand the lie of the land when they start and concentrate only on the most valuable items, but I say it’s the building, its infrastructure which can hold all the fascination.’
He kept his hands behind his back and the brown tweed three-piece suit he wore camouflaged the raging need within his limbs to pull her to one side, into the dark corridors.
She was wearing the same cream dress and as she shrugged off her coat, he noticed how the material hugged her petit frame. ‘Oh, you’re so right! I love architecture and have always admired this building. How long have you worked here?’
‘Eight years now.’ They strolled up the stone stairway to the main hall, away from the side door which she’d been advised to use today while the museum was closed, when all other staff were home playing happy families. Mason had been delighted to have been asked to show her in, show her round. It gave him a chance to size her up.
He pulled the half moon glasses from an inside pocket and perched them on the end of his nose. ‘These stained glass windows? On Mondays and Tuesdays, I clean each pane. Very carefully, with very gentle movements using soft cloths.’
‘Wow! No wonder they still look so brilliant.’ She was so enraptured by their colour, she did not realise her mouth was open while she looked up through the dust motes circling in the air above them. She was oblivious to Mason’s eyes upon her throat, or the vein throbbing fast in his neck.
‘Yes, you have to handle them with the most delicate of touches because they will break very easily and cannot ever be replaced, and that would be a tragedy.’ did her smile just falter, had he pushed his luck and scared her off as he so often did.
‘Can we see my office if that’s ok?’
‘Yes, of course, forgive me. This way.’ And he gestured for her to walk along the west wing, across the black and white tiled floor he polished on Wednesdays and towards the row of mahogany doors with brass handles.
‘Oh look!’ she turned to him, her tiny hand over her mouth like a child in awe of a coveted gift, ‘This must be me!’
He nodded at her excitement and opened the door with Curator on a brass plaque. ‘Yes, this is you, and on the desk is a green button. Anything you need, I’m always on the other end. You only have to call.’
‘It’s amazing! Thank you … Mason, isn’t it?’ her heels clicked back to where he stood taking up the whole doorway and offered to shake his hand. ‘I look forward to working with you.’
His hand engulfed hers. ‘The pleasure is all mine.’
That’s really uncouth, to advertise your birthday btw…
Maybe, but then again it’s a great way to share the day with my WordPress friends 🎉
My son said to me: “you’re half way to a hundred now!” and grinned as it is a given I’ll make it there. Bless.
So I’m a 1969 baby. Lots happened that year, so my arrival onto this planet shares some fascinating company:-
Neil Armstrong landed on the moon
March saw Concorde’s maiden flight
President Nixon declared the start of the end of The Vietnam War
Have a coffee .. this is fun! When did you last pause to see what happened around the world in the year of your birth?!
The flowers, by the way, were from a friend and her mother – sent in a clever box in the post by a florist company. They are my favourite colour combination of petals, so pretty and feminine 🌸 I met the friend when she was four and I was eight while our fathers served in the Royal Air Force together. Our mothers were good friends in their twenties and thirties but then geography appeared to be what kept them apart thereafter.
Now our mothers are in their seventies, they have absolutely nothing in common and rarely see each other. My friend’s father sadly passed away about ten years ago from lung cancer whereas mine is hanging in there with lung breathing difficulties, ironically. I totally see now that our mothers were friends purely because of their husbands’ career choice.
They live only two hours apart and both drive but have only seen each other twice in the last five years. One is smiley, friendly, laughs a lot and socialises with many local friends and is totally at ease when mixing with her daughter. The other is tetchy, judgmental, cold, has no friends and finds it almost impossible to do something for another.
Here’s a crop of oilseed rape in the evening sun in front of one of the biggest oak trees on the farm. I took it last night during an hour’s drive searching the farm for a runaway horse.
A flustered neighbour appeared at my kitchen window in a panic as her friend’s horse had ‘pushed past the gate and has been seen running towards your farm’
This happens sporadically throughout the year. We are surrounded by horse owners and sometimes a lapse of concentration can happen, or an electric fence can fail. Horses can be home birds or flight animals and if the latter they can travel miles.
Turned out this little chap had galloped about six miles to the edge of town! Luckily a dog walker who knows about horses was able to catch it and various police cars were by now involved, the owner sensibly having warned them. This is the photo I sent the owner (who stayed home in case he went back) and I know the vision would have brought huge relief to her evening of anxiety. I’ve mislaid a horse once or twice in my past and there is no worse feeling in the pit of your stomach. Actually there would be. Losing a child.
I am over half way through the CBC course EDIT & PITCH YOUR NOVEL
See this link for their next start date in June. I can thoroughly recommend it for anyone who has finished writing a first draft and then is stuck as to how to start editing, how to approach the process while not wasting your valuable time. It’s £200 and worth every penny. The video tutorials each week cover all the worries we have and how to break up the editing process into manageable chunks.
I’ve really enjoyed starting to incorporate the detail scene analysis we did through week 2. Each and every scene is only allowed to stay if it moves the plot forward and/or heightens tension. I shall no longer keep a scene simply because I like it or I think that one was well written and it was one of my originals!
When we’ve got back to Suffolk from a drive to Manchester area where we are collecting our son’s new truck, I’ll get back to the book. Hopefully there’ll be no errant horses!
Man of the Woods is driving, my son is to my left and I’m in the middle of the bench seat .. we look like a rabble of builders!
I’ll give you a wave if you like anywhere near the A14, A1 to Leeds then across the M62 towards Manchester across something called Saddleworth Moor.
Ok, well it’s lovely to chat and to have exercised my wordel-mind for half an hour but I’ll leave you alone now to get on with your day. I’ve got some reading material 🖊
Blades slice skin as he pushes his way through undergrowth which whispers against his legs; high brambles snag his top and he pauses to listen for his hunter.
A pain grips his hoarse throat as he gasps for oxygen after running miles in the moonlight. He searched for and found the cover of forest but it feels far from safe.
Scanning the space he left behind he can no longer feel the shadow chasing him or smell the toxic burning of scorched flesh. .
The bark on an old oak is damp and feels gnarled against his young palm. His fingertips find a groove, fingernails fill with matter. Mack does not see the ruby eyes blink above his dishevelled head, nor notice the fog cloaking the forest.
Snapping twigs beneath his trainers sound like symbols to his heightened hearing and he stops in a clearing.
Cold air moves his hair from his forehead, the stench has returned. He is close and Mack would rather die than see again the face which is melting…
Sorry; don’t know where that came from – I just looked out at the moon 🌒 😂
Good morning my lovelies – I’m drinking tea brought to me by Man of the Woods. He’s gone out to check slug activity on the young crops and I’m watching the clock hands do that thing where they look sedentary but they’re not. Imagine going round and round in circles and never seeing any other platform.
“Oh, hello 10 it’s you again. What have you been up to for the last twelve hours?”
Self editing can start to feel like that so I was delighted when a Curtis Brown Creative email dropped in to tell me one of their courses was about to start.
I’ve already done the first two of their set of three, so having got to the end of my manuscript a few weeks ago, it seemed churlish not to do the final one – EDIT & PITCH YOUR NOVEL.
Yes I purchased the genius book called Save The Cat (STC which I now can’t help using to analyse every damn film I watch) but the necessary evil task of actually reaching in to the chest freezer of my novel and hauling out really heavy scenes which grip in their frozen determination was proving impossibly painful.
The first tutorial video last week was a blessing when Anna – one of the top tutors on the course, and a published author herself – reminded us how far we’d come. We’d arrived at the end of our first draft; a goal which for many is never attained.
We were encouraged to think about what type of novel we wanted to write. (This is the bit where I get in a muddle as we already know I’ve been told it crosses genres. I’m still going to whisper at this point that I want it to… and this is why I’ve been more seriously considering Indie Publishing).
There is romance, but no sex. This is as warm as this one gets…
(And the book’s not called TRAIN by the way..!)
Anyway, for now, let’s keep walking down the Prepare for agent submission path. This week Anna wants us to print the beast out and re-read it again; while pausing to analyse every scene, marking on a chart (made in Word) whether it works, drives the story on, has more than one story ‘point’… she calls this the diagnosis of the pain, which is rather relevant don’t you think?!
The rape is in flower .. it’s pretty though lots of people suffer with hay fever 🤒
(Nice pic, but totally irrelevant to the blog. So that would go if I was editing this post like my novel!)
This one is totally relevant though. To the title of this post! I’ve not read the book, which he wrote in 1983, but I watched with gripped fascination more than fear at the genius clue-dropping as to what the two MC characters’ worst fears in life are… delivered carefully to the viewer should they choose to ‘see’ them.
The mirror image of opening and closing scenes – which STC says we should see in 99% of films – was not only there, but cleverly illustrated the journey arc of the characters. The only constant was the Volvo. The horrendous premise of the final frame leaves the viewer facing their own primal fear … I won’t say what it is in case you haven’t seen it … suffice to conclude that as a human experience it GETS you.
My friend, who is not studying writing and does not read novels actually left the cinema saying ‘that was crap’ (she likes SAW and HOUSE OF WAX type horrors). I totally disagreed, in our good-friendship humour way that we can!
She’s also not a parent…..
All of the Curtis Brown Creative writing courses can be found here.
I recommend printout out the coursework and sticking it into a journal like I’ve done here… you’ve got it then for every book you write!
Have a great week whatever you’re up to xxx
… is the working title of a potential Book 2 and a project I plan to work with during April, for CampNano.
I plan to type 400 words per day minimum. This is so easily achievable I am feeling no pressure whatsoever. I’ve still other writing goals going on in the background, one of which is starting to pop more fiction posts on this blog (you all reacted so favourably to my random poetry and short stories, it gave me a buzz which I’ve been missing recently).
I am also attempting to make an orange cake as we haven’t cooked together for months either 🙄
This is melted marmalade mixed with icing sugar which I plan to drizzle across the top of the cake while it is still warm in the pan 🍊
I was inspired last evening when I watched an author live by Julie Cohen. You may recall I attended a writing retreat with her in November in Devon and went on subsequently to finish my main manuscript – which we are calling SECRETS UNDER A TUSCAN SUN, by the way!
So Julie was chatting to a group of us in an online book club all about her most recent title which you may have heard about? Louis&Louise published by Orion.
… and while I’ve yet to read what is fast becoming a much talked about debate about how gender affects lives and expectations, I know it’s going to be a masterpiece in writing because everything Julie writes is so (that is sickly but it’s ok coz she’ll never read this!).
So the idea for Paper Goodbyes came after I watched a documentary narrated by Michael Portillo in his Hidden History series. He made a program about the former Odeon in Bradford which closed for over forty years until Bradford City Council bought it for a £1 and agreed to raise the funds needed to save it.
It’s story touched my heart. A group of people have saved it and it’s due to open its doors again in 2020!
My novel is written from the POV of a nine year old asberger sufferer (and I have three experts already agreed to help me with the details and to do sensitivity readings). It is set in the street in which this magnificent building stands. I’m very tempted to self publish this next year to coincide with Bradford’s grand opening – what do you think of that as a plan??
Here’s my first basic synopsis, just for you my wonderful readers 😘🥂
Max doesn’t care that he has no friends because in reality, he does (in the pages of history books). Luckily his mum works in the old fashioned book shop on the outskirts of Bradford and he will have to accompany her daily during the summer holidays. But that’s ok because that gives him thirty five days to get to know everyone on those pages.
Even the old creepy man who trudges past the shop daily cannot dampen his spirits – even when his mother begs him not to make eye contact.
Zoe is torn. She needs the money from her quiet job on the edge of the city. World Books should have closed a long time ago but it’s owner has a hold on her. Her son needs the correct care for the seven weeks over the summer but nowhere will take him with his problem. If she can just keep him safe, away from idiots who don’t understand him and his needs, everything will be fine.
Frank is waiting to die. Fifty years since he last communicated with his wife, through the big screen one Christmas Day. His front line had been their last. Feeling her closest when he is outside the Picturehouse, he is petrified that when it is bulldozed at the end of August, he will be lost forever too.
Oh bollocks, look! In all the excitement I’ve burnt the efforts…
Actually, I think we may have got away with that. Topping drizzled, then lightly sprinkled with icing sugar…. yup, no-one will ever know it’s not perfect (only you and me 😃).
Cup of tea with that?
I make excuses but there’s only one reason I don’t clean the house my husband bought us last year; I dare not disturb his rotting body.
OMG – it’s been too long my lovely friends on WordPress – how the devil are you all?
I’ve been doing lots of studying on The first line hook. How did I do?! Did that catch your attention? 🤣Man of the Woods is safe and well, I assure you.
The old fallen trees in our woods have been receiving his attentions all winter and we now have enough fire wood stored to run a small island.
So, what have you all been up to with your writings recently? You tell me yours and I’ll tell you mine.
I was editing last time we spoke, and since then I’ve sent the manuscript to fresh eyes for a viewpoint and some feedback about whether the story ‘works’.
I met with two industry professionals who (without reading a word of our books) attempted to show and teach us the magic of an elevator pitch. How to condense your 77,000 word novel into two sentences. Jeee whizz, have you tried that recently?
‘Well, there’s this woman ….’ is not going to cut it 😂
Two worlds collide when English carer Martha is left a vineyard by Blanche, whose extended family in Tuscany have deep rooted links to the mafia.
Secrets start to unravel, as does her resolve to never fall in love again, when she meets Antonio on his release from prison.
I didn’t think that was too bad, but what it showed the profressionals from the outset was that my story crosses two genres and they asked me where I saw my book sitting in a book shop, i.e. next to which authors?
The sizzle of excitement which the question evoked was short lived when no-one could think of anyone, and I came away with the advice to think hard about what primary story I wanted to write;
1. Antonio’s crime thriller tale
2. Martha’s romance
But I want both. Am I being greedy? I don’t think so; it’s simply not the same story without the grit.
I did come away with a possible new title – and everyone I’ve spoken to seems to like it.
So I sent it on to two people to read whose opinions I trust to be honest and constructive. I’ve since received one feedback report which makes for fascinating reading. I believe it all, and now I’m stuck. On how to start the necessary changes I mean.
I’ve walked away from it while I take a breather, doing that thing all writers go through when they question what on earth they are actually doing.
I think one of the biggest problems is that I never had a plan, a plot, let alone an arc for Martha to follow. I pantsered my way towards the midpoint and ground to a halt last summer; you watched me. Then slowly the wheels of the cumbersome steam train shufftied (my new word) round and we made, with loud efforts full of steam, steady progress through to autumn.
Reading ‘Save the Cat’ was a game-changer. I wished I’d had it eighteen months earlier. Even though I typed THE END in early January, and have happily skipped through it twice pretending to know what I’m doing during a phase called ‘editing’ I’ve never been truly convinced I knew what this was about. And the message is coming through loud and clear – IT SHOWS.
Can I really do this?
Meanwhile, you know me, I had to keep typing. My writing buddy over at alitlebookproblem said pretty much the exact words I’d been thinking – TAKE A BREAK FROM THE WIP.
Last autumn I thrashed out a 17,000 erotic piece and submitted to carina press, remember? A polite rejection 8 weeks later hasn’t put me off trying again and I remembered how I enjoyed the words pouring from my fingers, so last week I typed another. Except this time, I did more research.
Mills and Boon’s Dare line has been around for a little over eighteen months now. Some talented writers have produced many great tantalising tales. They are still love stories but with far more explicit sex on the page. Pure and simple unadulterated sex (is that a conundrum?). I read four titles and certainly saw the ‘pattern’ which some call formula. Meet the hero and heroine in chapter one, none of this fiddling about taking the reader on a long arduous journey to find him/her. Settings are exciting cities around the world, New York (been there once and got stuck in a motel outside JFK), London (go there a lot), Milan (yup, tick), Paris (twice – hey I could do this).
So I’ve typed the first three chapters and a synopsis of a sexy little tale involving an independent and sensual businesswoman on the verge of expanding her business into LA (been there four times). She just needs a massage before she leaves. Except Scott gives more than the sports therapy his business card portrays….
Out came the 8,000 words like ants to a jam spillage. I printed off the pages, found the pink pen, made some grammatical changes, played with syntax. Lucy and Scott are there in the first chapter, I disturbed by mere mentions of third parties. The internal dialogue pov is from them both, split 50/50 like many M&B titles and the pacing I believe is worthy of what would be the next 42,000 to complete the expected fifty total that is a M&B category romance in this category.
This time I have a story arc in mind, a HEA and a change of mindset across the book for both characters. All we need now is for the peeps at M&B to like my voice, amongst the thousands of submissions they will be receiving weekly for this line, because everyone probably thinks they can write a sex scene….. don’t they?
Don’t know how he got there, but can we just take a moment 🖤
My tiny tattoo.
My reminder that I’m a little shining star within my world.
Yes I can do this because I could self publish – any of – these titles at any time. However…
When I process my clients’ horse rugs, I do them to the best of my ability. And I want the same for my writing. I want each piece to be the best it can be, and alone I’m not convinced I can make it so, hence the confusion as to what help I should take.
Do some blogs again, said Julie.
She was correct – I’ve so enjoyed sharing this with you this morning. I love chatting and shall make a cuppa and read some of your blogs now.
Oh, and Michael? I’ve killed Matsu, it’s a complete disaster 🙈
This notification from WordPress cheered me up though 🎉