Roses stretch like weeds

In a response to today’s daily prompt I incorporated the word Spike into my flash fiction challenge.

This is the final contribution to my series of seasonal flash-fictions of 99 words each!.

A thousand petals like fallen snow, gather on the ground. The sun peers through growing buds until the rain blasts the ground, the fades. Bright skies return and the tarmac steams. Blackbirds chatter at the cat as she crouches, patiently, hopeful that the grass gives camouflage to her black and white fur. The roses have stretched like weeds against the garden fence, thorns that cover the stems in belligerent spikes. The cat sinks further, nose and tail extended.  The garden is growing, bursting forth; but she remains still. Nose twitching, eyes narrowed on target. A sparrow hops towards her.

I have to admit that I’ve really been struggling with this image as there are so many clichés that just felt unavoidable. The challenge was meant to explore the seasons in slightly different ways and give a unique texture or taste to them.

Please find the further three contributions below; but which piece is which? Leave me a message and let me know if you’ve managed to work them all out!

One:

The sky is a tapestry of falling rain and threads of smoke. Leaves drift in slow spirals between heavy drops. Grey puddles spill off the path and into sodden grass, tramped with muddy boots and wellingtons. Water gurgles in the roadside drains and steals away with sycamore seeds. Conker shells burst, shining chestnut nestled between layers of bronze, amber and fading green. Interwoven clouds in faded lines and jagged blue tears. Pale sunlight peers through the cracks and paints the tarmac gold. The umbrella snaps to attention, stolen from a desperate grasp, whipped up, away, lost to the tapestry.

Two:

Spires of bright fuchsia sway. Scattered bursts of buttercup, daisies and dandelions dance on the meadow. Waves of long grass whisper and break on the fence line. The thump and trundle of an antique tractor approaches, rumbling over hard-baked earth. The driver bounces from window to window over the dips and furrows of the ancient field. A blast of Heart FM twists across the boundary. Bare toes wriggle on the fresh-clipped lawn. Wide-eyes fixed on cracked blue paint. Pigtails and tiny fingers stick in fresh varnish. The metallic beast makes a slow spin, grumbling, puffing, ready for the next charge.

Three:

I love it when the air smells like ice. Dark green pine sways between barren branches and then mountains rise behind. Cars crunch salt, engines purring. It’s an experience, negotiating ice in six-inch heels; challenge accepted.  Coffee cup clutched tight to my chest. The bitter taste of rising steam is mellowed with double cream. Hat pulled low on burning ears and sunglasses paint the sky in gentler hues; lines of pink and gold across frozen blue. There’s another flurry on the horizon. Feet slip without warning. The ground is harder than it looks and less forgiving. Must buy boots.

Four: 

A thousand petals like fallen snow, gather on the ground. The sun peers through growing buds until the rain blasts the ground, the fades. Bright skies return and the tarmac steams. Blackbirds chatter at the cat as she crouches, patiently, hopeful that the grass gives camouflage to her black and white fur. The roses have stretched like weeds against the garden fence, thorns that cover the stems in belligerent spikes. The cat sinks further, nose and tail extended.  The garden is growing, bursting forth; but she remains still. Nose twitching, eyes narrowed on target. A sparrow hops towards her.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Fibi

When the air smell likes ice

Following on from my self-set challenge, here is the third in a series of seasonal flash-fiction. Again, I’m not going to tell what the season is, but I really hope that you can guess.

I love it when the air smells like ice. Dark green pine sways between barren branches and then mountains rise behind. Cars crunch salt, engines purring. It’s an experience, negotiating ice in six-inch heels; challenge accepted.  Coffee cup clutched tight to my chest. The bitter taste of rising steam is mellowed with double cream. Hat pulled low on burning ears and sunglasses paint the sky in gentler hues; lines of pink and gold across frozen blue. There’s another flurry on the horizon. Feet slip without warning. The ground is harder than it looks and less forgiving. Must buy boots.

Part One and Two can be found respectively.

Once part four is thrown up here then I’ll compile them together into a post. I’ll probably even tell you what seasons I was originally aiming for. Fingers-crossed that I’ve managed to avoid my natural inclination to the abstract. I have a tendency to think flash-fiction and then jump across to poetry. So you may have noticed some rhymes sneaking in.  The only problem is, that my abstract is often too abstract for most people to make any sense of it.  So what I’ve been learning is to write simply. Or rather…more simply. If I have an image in mind then just say what I see without trying (and usually failing) to be clever.

Slim Grip on Reality

In response to the Daily Prompt: Cling

Rough seas rise up, dark and murky. Toes stretching in a frantic search for solid ground and arms flail for the coarse grip of rope.

The submissions are sent and my author-neurotic self is running circles, yelping oh my god, oh my god what if no one wants it! What if it’s not worthy, what if I’m not worthy?! Years of hard work and effort wasted? What will I say? How will I explain that I have failed? Once I’ve found a moment to breathe I remind myself that if traditional publishing is not my route, then the world won’t end. In the words of Obama, the sun will continue to rise. In the words of myself, of the things that are certain in this world, it’s that there is always change. Sometimes it just seems to take longer to get arrive. (Sometimes it feels like change got on the wrong bus and is now on a circular route and stuck in M25 traffic, but hey – it’ll get here.)

My journey as a writer will continue. Having simply finished the manuscript and sent it out, I feel rejuvenated (and then terrified) but mostly rejuvenated to start new projects; exciting projects! The second book in the series, a selection of short pieces for radio, a collaborative novella with an intended publisher in mind! Exciting, exciting, exciting!

Burning Embers will also, one way or another, live on. I believe that as Young Adult Fantasy is has a current market. As a genre it’s a saturated market, but I have to believe that I’ve got a unique voice to offer and a story that my readers will fall in love with, a world they won’t want to leave and characters that they’re desperate to champion. That is after all, the dream.

So, in the moments after the panic and in between the project planning, I look at self-publishing options. This blog was always supposed to explore the traditional and the non-traditional and so today I’m going to share a few things that I’ve recently learnt about self-publishing options.

  1. The book needs an ISBN if I’m going to do this. It’s not strictly needed for e-book but I’m vain and prideful and I want to hold my book in my hands! If I want to sell a printed version, it needs an ISBN and then and ISBN printed barcode – this means it can be sold. Hooray
  2. I want the ISBN to be registered in my name. This means I retain the rights as the publisher as well as the Author – double win.
  3. I need to generate more of an online presence. Kew twitter feed, reviewing other peoples works, finding an audience of peer reviewers (how do I find you lovely people?) Beta testers! I need to create a circle of people who are going to be just as excited about the book as I am. To be honest – this works in both versions. If there’s an agent or a publishing contract out there for Burning Embers, then building this circle up is still going to be important.
  4. I would like Burning Embers to be available as an ebook, and in print. I’d like it on Amazon and I’d also like it with Neilson and Gardeners, so that this way the big chain stores have a chance in stocking it. You have to fill out a lot of appropriate paperwork and there is still no guarantee, but if the book is not with a wholesaler/distributer – it’s not going to happen.
  5. I would really like someone to do a lot of the hard work for me. You have to send five copies of your printed book out to specific libraries here in the UK so that it’s legally listed. It’s something I’m capable of doing but right now my brain hurts.
  6. I would also like someone to make the copy-set pretty. This is also beyond my skill.
  7. Could they make the cover too?

So this is what I’m looking for, and I don’t have an enormous budget. My list of demands are the above plus 100 copies of the book. A press release, merchandise and other things I think I can probably do. I’ve even worked out how to get a paypal button on here, wordpress, so that I could sell and distribute the book myself. I’m doing a lot of research and maybe I’ll never need to use it. Perhaps though, I will.

If you’re considering self-publishing, do all of the reading. The pages and pages of PDF’s offered on the company websites. Compare them for the services they offer and the rights that you retain. If you get 100% royalties, that’s awesome, but do you own the ISBN?

It might be construed that I am procrastinating as I wait for replies to return to my inbox. I know myself though, I need to keep my mind busy. Research into a positive outcome is currently my life line and I’m going to hold on dreaming, for as long as I can.

If you have any advice of finding that circle of reviewers, I’d love to hear it!

 

Versatile Blogger Award

 award

Ueber Smug – Is how I feel. Elated, proud and very humbled. Not to be confused with über Smaug – giant fire breathing lizard of Hobbit fame.  My original intention for today’s post has been waylaid by the receipt of the Versatile Blogger Award.

I have to admit that I’m gobsmacked by this. I’ve been blogging here for exactly one week and one day, and didn’t expect to receive any kind of prize for my efforts so far!  I find that I currently spend a lot of time looking at the Stats page of my blog. Each day I grow ridiculously excited as the stats edge slightly over what they were the day before!  The number of followers is also climbing steadily and I do a little wriggle of happiness when I see a new name added to the list. Welcome friends – thank you for your kind attention. I hope that you continue to find my random ramblings and blind optimism intriguing.

Thanks must go to That EJ, who has nominated me for the award. That EJ has made me feel very welcome to WordPress, and I enjoy seeing an e-mail from his blog each morning. He offers a humorous insight to his daily life and I find his blogs to be well written. They’re smooth, unlike mine which ramble off into varied different directions before I remember I’m supposed to have a point, and attempt to rein my train of thought back in, with as few spelling mistakes as possible.

So, taking my lead from That EJ, what do I do now that I have received it? There are several items to check off the list.  The Rules of the Award…

1. Display the Award Certificate on your website/blog. – I’ll follow That EJ’s lead on this also, when I’ve worked out how to do it, I certainly will! Any advice?

2. Announce your win with a post. Make sure to post a link back to me as a ‘thank you’ for the nomination. – Check! I will happily link back to the benevolent bestower of said award.

3. Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers. – I think here I enter a difficult spot. I don’t follow 15 Blogs yet and I don’t want to be wishy washy about this either. I intend to do some more bloggy reading and will have recommendations for you all by the end of the week. (Must remember to complete previous promise and write 500 words of manuscript.)

4. Drop them a comment to tip them off after you have linked them in the post. – Once I have found them, I certainly will!

5. Post 7 interesting things about yourself. – Crikey! Okay…here we go. I’ll try to avoid things I’ve already put on my info page.

Interesting Things

  1. I was determined to be the first woman on Mars. I had a really good plan. I intended to study physics and maths before going on to study Advanced Mathematics and Theoretical Physics and Cambridge, become an RAF pilot, emigrate to America and join NASA, just in time to take part in the human missions to Mars– Plan failed when I realized that I wasn’t very good at Maths, or Physics.
  2. I used to have recurring nightmares about Jacket Potatoes.
  3. I love horse riding, especially cantering over the beach at Sunset. I’ve recently been introduced to Parelli and Natural Horsemanship. It’s such a beautiful approach to life and I can’t recommend it enough.
  4. I am a medieval re-enactor. Part of Buckingham’s Retinue, I re-enact the Wars of The Roses over the summer. Although this year I’ve been unable to attend many events, I’ll never forget turning up to the first battle I ever attended. I had my bow in my hand and bag on the back.  The sun was setting behind a flag of St George. Rows of canvas tents with their own pennants flapped and snapped in a summer breeze. There was a gentle hum of laughter and welcome as friends caught up. Damp grass brushed against my trainers and wood smoke drifted into a sky that grew slowly darker. I felt as though I’d walked off the train, and back in time. Amazing and unforgettable.
  5. I believe that you should write what you know. To this end I joined re-enactment and have made it my mission of travel as much of the world as possible. How will I write about snow, if I’ve only briefly experienced it, in English winters? So I moved to Canada for 9 months as an international Student.
  6. My favourite song is Wild Horses- Covered by the Sundays.
  7. I climb things really quickly – not because I’m particularly proficient, but because the quicker I get up, the quicker I can come down!

Please find my (soon to be 15) Award Nominees below:

1. GeekErgoSum – excellent artwork by the way…

2. Afantasycometrue – Fellow fantasy writer!

3. MissJeevious – Beautiful photographs.

3. Writeontheworld – Writing Advice excellence.

4. Mum’s the word. – World Observations

5. Craplandia – hilarious!

6. Farfromdone

7. Runaway