A prize for everyone!

A timely response to today’s prompt Champion

When you’ve been working on a project for so long, you can be accused of developing tunnel vision. Your project is a culmination of coffee, late nights, long hours staring at a blank page, longer hours editing the same words over and over, more coffee… you get the picture. You dream of releasing it out into the world and watching it fly…and then comes all the waiting.

So I decided that I needed to write something new, something fresh – and I’m so glad that I did.

I’ve returned to the wonderful lists of Christopher Fielden and I picked out a few competitions. I’m not much of a poet (and doesn’t everyone know it – ba dum tish) but I’ve had reasonable success with flash-fiction. Something short, something snappy I thought? I can do flash-fiction!

So I submitted a piece to Christopher’s Writing Challenges. The gratification of knowing I’d done something of a good deed – submitting fiction to raise money for charity, was only seconded by the happy glow of seeing my work published on someone’s website. Wheee!

So I submitted to Third-Word as well!

I won!

I am so excited you would not believe, I’m even using far too many explanation marks!!!

Alongside a nifty prize, I still get that lovely glow of  achievement and I’m delighted that again, the Eighty-One words will be put to a good cause. Third word are going to compile an anthology to help homelessness. Triple win!

It’s been an exciting few weeks and I’ve set Burning Embers decidedly to one side, for now. I’m even working on a new Novel – tentatively titled: Initiate

Oooo…I hear you say.

More details will be forthcoming in other posts.

Someday

Response to a Daily Prompt: Someday

Someday, all my Dragons will come true.

Eleia stood at the window, with her hands in the sink. Beyond the horizon purple clouds were touched with silver. The tang of fresh-brewed tea drifted with soap suds. Despite the autumn warmth, the fire roared and crackled behind and she wore layers of heavy wool. Sleeves pushed back to the elbow to keep them out of the washing. A sponge was held by limp fingers, and a plate in the other hand. A shape separated from the mountain tops, lifting with a flap of outstretched wings.

An aquiline neck and serpent body that coiled like smoke as it rose. The beast screamed fire into the falling night and was silhouetted for a breath, before it was swallowed by darkness and vanished against the night. The screech raced along her arms and lifted the fine hairs. It tingled down her rigid spine as she lent forward. Soapy fingers slipped on the catch as she reached for the window.  The metal lifted with ease and the window opened at a touch.

She could smell the acrid singe of Dragon-breath. One day, she promised herself. Someday soon, she would do it. She would throw away the dishcloth and humdrum life. One day she would learn how to fly.

To me!

Audience of One: Daily Prompt

Picture the one person in the world you really wish were reading your blog. Write her or him a letter.

Dear Fibi,

If you’re reading this then you’ve probably gone a bit mad – because you’ve only just written it. Seek medical assistance immediately.

But I want you to remember how you feel right now. That fizz of excitement from laying tracks in front of a moving train. The MS is moving forward, track by track, week by week. Every time you come back to it, you’re amazed that you can keep moving forward. Well I’m going to tell you something important, something that you tell other people all the time. Have a little faith in yourself.

Yes, you might feel like you’ve been running uphill for far too long. But at least you’re halfway up now. Not only that, but this is the easier part. The home stretch. Continue the journey and then wrap it up. The giddiness growing day by day as the word count keeps creeping up. Not only are the words going down on screen – but they’re pretty good too. One day soon, you’ll take that next step of sending it all out again. Maybe you’ll even print out a full hardcopy to share with your mum.

Remember that at all times that the ‘Spelling’ is not your friend. It will deceive you. The computer, also with occasionally shut down and magically lose your work. So back it up with an obsessiveness created by the fear of impending doom. Delete all inclusions of the phrase ‘a little’ or ‘for a moment’ because these are pointless.

Pay attention to dialogue. No one ever says what they’re really thinking, so the characters should either. And how many times do you call someone by their name in one conversation? There is never a good reason to have a flat, uninteresting chapter. Invite tension and wibbly wobbly plot lines and at the same time, cut out anything unessential that is doing less than two things to the story. Either developing the world, adding depth, providing information, momentum or joy. But nothing that is only one.

Most of all, you must never give up (even if you run out of coffee.)

Love me.

What would you want to tell yourself?

Third Rate Romance – Surprise!

Another response to a daily prompt.

I used to make pancakes on a Sunday, for me and my flatmate. Slice up the strawberries, whip up a batch – not too much or it’ll lose all the air – and make myself a decent cup of coffee and hang over from my student year abroad in the states. Good coffee is hard to find, but pancakes for breakfast? Easy when you know how.
I was slouched in my hoodie, enjoying each creamy sip of caffeinated delight. The sunshine was streaming through the window, making the dust in the kitchen dance in the air. I had my nose in my coffee cup so I could inhale the sweet sweet nectre when she snuck through the kitchen door, turned in her socks and shut it behind her. It was a tiny room, with a cooker, fridge, sink and a singular cabinet as a worktop. Then squished in the corner was a fold-down wooden table for two, and a chair. The second chair lived in the hallway to save space. But it was such a small room. That as I sat, she stood right in front of me.
“Eh?” I’m not one for words in the morning…
She planted her hands on her hips, and frowned at me.
“Everything…okay?”
“Mmm…”
I was starting to worry. I put my coffee cup down on our tiny table. “Can I get you some tea?” Tea could fix everything.
“You know Mike?”
Mike? “The boy that was a bit…the one who you went on a date with?”
“Yeah. Mike…”
“Yes?”
“I think he’s my boyfriend…” The frown on her face deepened. I stood up and ushered her to the now vacant chair. I filled the kettle, splashing my hoody front and sweatpants with water. I flicked the switch on it and turned back to her.
“…really?”
“I think so?”
“How did that happen?”
“He stayed over – nothing happened but- …well…”
“Yeah?” I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She wore a hoody like me, but green and pyjamas tucked into fluffy blue socks. I hopped backwards, onto the cabinet and perched. Reaching for a mug and tea-bag.
“Well I was asleep-”
“Yeah?”
“He woke me up, in the middle of the night-”
“Oooh –ouch.”
“And he, well he asked if he could be my boyfriend!”
“What did you say?” The kettle boiled. I filled the mug and stirred it.
“Who does that to a person in the middle of the night?”
“Mike apparently.”
“I was asleep! I just wanted to go back to sleep!”
“What did you say?”
“I think-…I think I said yes?” She was running her hands over her forehead in confusion “Maybe it was just a dream?”
“What are you going to do?”
“I can’t ask him if he asked.”
“Noo…nono…”
“Yeah.”
I handed her the tea. Swapping it for my coffee. I cradled it again.
“Well…I guess – congratulations on your new…boyfriend-ness…”
“Thanks.”

Warning: This Blog May Contain Cats!

Warning: This Blog May Contain Cats!

I felt that this was probably an appropriate time to introduce two current stars of my short fiction and poetry. Please meet Lewis and Rosie, and be warned that if you have an adverse reaction to cute and fluffy creatures, this may not be the blog for you to follow.
My cats certainly provide a great deal of comfort and entertainment, but they’re both very different. Lewis is a possibly part Bengal, tabby with white feet and a superbly fluffy belly. His emotional range swings from desperately needy and affectionate to storming off in a huff and sitting alone in the bath. (Literally the bath, he’s very strange.) Rosie, who is black and white and a quarter Siamese, remains consistent in her affection.
I will refer to Lewis affectionately from time to time as a fluffy moron – as he is frequently ridiculous. He loves boxes! Put any box, or bag on the floor and he’ll climb straight in. (Very useful for taking him to the vets!) However Rob and I had an ice lolly each the other night, so imagine a standard size box for three ice lolly’s… This was left on the table. We heard a thump as we sat watching the TV. We looked around to the door and all we saw was this box skidding across the hallway floor, Lewis desperately trying to get in it! He’d managed to just about get his nose and half of his face inside and such was his determination, that he ran the box into the wall; KADUNK! Box and cat rebounded. He bounced away, shook himself and stalked away glaring at us both. As you can imagine we both dissolved into hysterical laughter.
Fortunately Rosie is much more intelligent.
I will do my best not to blog about the cats too often, but thought that everyone should have fair warning!

Like no Pie I have ever seen before.

My mum is infamous for her desire to ‘experiment’ with food. She’s going to kill me for publishing this, but it was just too funny to ignore.

Lemon Meringue Pie

I couldn’t take my eyes off the lemon meringue pie. My mother had laid it in the center of the table. She then sat down with an expectant air.

“I brought cheesecake!” I announced, placing it carefully beside the first dessert. Eight pairs of eyes flicked from one pudding, to the other.

“Cheesecake for me,” my brother was first to break the silence. His request was echoed by his wife, then my sister, her husband, my dad, myself – the gaze finally rested on my boyfriend, Rob.

He swallowed, “lemon meringue please.” A thick slice was cut and set down for him. We were transfixed by the way it wobbled. It just didn’t look…right.

My mum looked up, as an afterthought “I ran out of biscuit- you know, for the base.”

Rob doubtfully tapped the bottom with his fork. A wheeto fell off, rolled across the fine china and bounced onto the floor.

My sister lent forward, “Mum, why is the lemon bit, orange?”

“It’s not!”

“It bloody well is – why is it orange?”

“I ran out of cornflower,” the admission was almost a sigh.

“What did you use?” I hardly dared to ask.

“Custard.”

We watched every slow mouthful that Rob took, fascinated. A lemon meringue pie made from stale wheetos, and custard. “Mum,” I could no longer resist the temptation to ask “did you grate a lemon into the custard?”

“Well, it wouldn’t be a lemon meringue pie without lemon, would it?”

“…was it a waxed lemon?”

We left the house quickly that night. My brother –in-law slapping Rob on the back.

“Well done mate,” he laughed “took one for the team.

I started this story as an exercise, aiming to fit it onto a post card. This meant that it had to deal with a crisis and resolution quickly. I struggled, but I’m happy with the overall outcome. I hope some of the hilarity of my family dinners comes across. God bless substitution of normal ingredients – to things a little out of the ordinary!

Please find below, a picture of my post-card story. Try writing one? Let me know how it goes!

Image

Fi