Category Archives: Flash Fiction

Time – Mid-Week Flash Challenge

Midweek Flash Challenge - TimeTime

Time was irrelevant.

We thought time would give us hope – but it didn’t.

We’d become godless, we thought we were gods, but time saw to that.

It became apparent that the scientists were right – when the ocean gave up its dead. No longer did the choked seas harbour a food source safe enough to eat. Presidents and Ministers and affluence, the gods of our world, had mocked the warnings. They’d ploughed through fields and homesteads and sacred ground to plunder from that which gave us life. They’d buried pipes and channels deep beneath the hallowed mantle before draining it dry. The skies showered invisible rain full of unseen toxins through manufactured billowing clouds. Forests and jungles lay slaughtered to make way for ever growing consumption and herds of fat, cash-driven bovines, without a thought for how we’d breathe.

So, when the cracks appeared, fracking across our lands, time was spent.

The gods of our world had drowned and poisoned and suffocated us, and we’d let them.

Time, when we were gone – eradicated from the surface of this glorious orb – was of no consequence to us.

But to Mother Earth, time is everything.

Time is relevant.

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Jumping in with another Flash Fiction Challenge from Miranda at Finding Clarity. This image of a clock tower in Finale Emilia, Italy, appeared uncredited in Newspapers after an earthquake which struck the area May 20, 2012.

Write up to 750 words, inspired by the image posted.

New Dawn – Mid-Week Flash Challenge

New Dawn

Cara had just commented, yet again, on the revolting orange of their suits, when Pete punched her arm and replied, “Don’t look at it as brash, see it like the rising sun instead.”

Cara hit him back and laughed, her voice warping through the fuzzy sound system as she chuckled.

Pete grinned and nudged her, nodding towards the horizon and the golden orb rising out of the ocean.

For a moment, Cara sobered, turning awkwardly in her cumbersome hazmat suit.

They both stared at the sun and its orange glow creating the celestial watercolour masterfully painted across the sky.

Pete raised his arms and held out his gloved thumbs and forefingers, framing the view, and Cara laughed again. She leaned against him and then tapped the side of his goggles. As he turned towards her she raised her open palm to her breathing apparatus and blew him a mock kiss. “You old romantic!” she giggled.

He shrugged and gazed at her, wishing for a moment they could pull off their protective gear, abandon their radiation suits, and just stand in the heat of the sun. He wanted to watch her walk on the sand beyond the pebbles further down the beach dipping her toes into the rolling surf. The last time he’d seen her do that was the day he’d met her. Long auburn hair glinting in the morning sun, goosebumps rising on her skin as she paddled before the ocean had had time to heat up for the day…

Now beneath the bright-orange hood and protective facemask, her long hair remained tied back and hidden.

Cara stepped away from him and began to stride down the beach, her feet unsteady across the stones, and her arms outstretched to balance. Pete laughed, and knew she could hear him inside her suit. She swayed precariously and provocatively and he laughed again. He wondered if she was about to go full-suit paddling again. The last time she’d done that they’d got into trouble, again. Before he could speak, though, she stopped dead, and surprise registered in her inhalation.

Pete hurried down the beach to join her.

She bent and grabbed clumsily at something among the pebbles. He couldn’t see what it was, but he could hear her annoyance at her gloved hands. As he reached her, she unbuckled the glove and threw it off. Pete gasped, preparing to admonish her, but then he saw what she’d picked up.

Cara brandished a feather, a grey feather with soft white down at the bottom of its shaft. She ran her naked finger across the vane and wonder lit her face. Pete gazed at it and then at her, and Cara stared out across the ocean.

“Your glove…” began Pete.

Cara ignored him and dropped the feather. It floated for a moment and then fell to the ground. Pete watched as Cara tore off her other glove and hastily began to unfasten her goggles and breathing gear. Her breath crackled in his ear, and he stood watching her transformation. She pushed back the hood and dropped her apparatus on the stones, and wiggled her shoulders and arms free of the suit, pushing it down about her waist.

Tears gathered in Pete’s eyes, convinced she’d gone mad, that he would lose her, but as her hair tumbled down about her pale shoulders, she turned to him and threw her arms up in the air in a gesture of freedom. Then she pointed up into the sky.

As he gazed beyond the morning sun, Cara tore at his hood and peeled back the layers of protection, until he could feel the cool air and her lips kissing his face.

“Look!” she insisted, and dipped back down to pick up the feather. “Look at this, it’s new, and it’s here!” Pete still didn’t understand, but he didn’t stop her as she pulled his suit down ‘til they both stood in vests and their defensive overalls hung at their waists.

Then he heard them. Shrill cries in the still quiet dawn, and his wife’s tears rolled gently down her cheeks. Gulls flew, soaring on the whispering currents of air, shrieking in the warmth of a new day, calling in celebration of life, and diving down into an ocean that offered food.

“My God!” he breathed. “Life! Birds!”

And Cara swung round to kiss him full on the lips, something they hadn’t done outside in nearly five decades. She ran her hands through her white hair and her fingers across his aged skin, and they laughed, laughter that rang out in hope and in the revelation of a new dawn.

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This is another Flash Fiction Challenge from Miranda at Finding Clarity…so, I’m enjoying writing again with prompts. Take a look and write your own story too.

Up to 750 words, inspired by the image posted. (Though, I have cheated with 770 words!)

 

A Symphony of Dragons – Short Stories to enchant you…

The first day of Spring sees the release of my new book:
A Symphony of Dragons – a collection of bewitching dragon themed tales…

A Symphony of Dragons - Lisa Shambrook - Purple Ad lower

I knew when I began my current wip (work in progress) that I wanted to release a book of short stories, for several reasons… First, I wanted to share some of my writing not related to my novels. I’ve been writing flash fiction for quite a few years now, and some of those stories have cried out to be included, along with some previously published works from other anthologies. Secondly, I wanted to revisit my novels; I wanted to write a final story for The Hope Within Novels – a story that takes you back to Freya, Meg, and Jasmine, and explore what they’ve become. I think you’ll love Ruby! And, thirdly, in writing The Seren Stone Chronicles, I wanted to share the Legend of the Seren Stone with you; a teaser…

I chose my theme, Dragons, with ease… I’d already written a dragon tale, I wanted to include, for a Fall Flash Festival contest where I received an Honourable Mention. This story told the tale of Autumn Flamethe dragon who brings you autumn…and I went on to write Winter Hope for another anthology, and then Spring Symphony. Summer had waited, impatiently, but those of you who’ve lingered for Summer Blaze, can now read his story too as he completes the composition.

So, dragons ruled, and you’ll find some familiar stories if you’ve followed my flash fiction and some new:

A Symphony of Dragons © Lisa Shambrook - Cover put together by BHC Press

© Lisa Shambrook – Cover put together by BHC Press

Lose yourself in the enchanting worlds of fantasy, contemporary, steampunk, and post-apocalyptic, and let your imagination soar on a chorus of dragon wings. This lyrical collection of tales embracing change and desire, love and belonging, passion, sacrifice and triumph are composed with gossamer threads of dragon fire.

Seven bewitching stories, including a Hope Within finale and a prelude to the forthcoming Seren Stone Chronicles.

Let the song of dragons lead you…

This book, ephemeral yet beautifully fulfilling, will introduce you to my writing, my style, and my imagination if you haven’t read me before, and will be an enchanting addition to your collection if you have…

The cover painting was a labour of love… I spent December grabbing moments to sketch and paint and see if I could remember my painting skills! I rather fell in love with this dragon and I adore the cover complete with beautifully chosen font by Blue Harvest Creative. Hope you love my dragon too!

A Symphony of Dragons Cover Art Evolution - from sketch to painting to cover © Lisa Shambrook

A Symphony of Dragons Cover Art Evolution – from sketch to painting to cover © Lisa Shambrook

Please visit my updated website lisashambrook.com/books to find all the information and links to purchase. This book is available in print and eBook, and all the purchase links and availability can also be found with my publisher at BHC Press and at books2read.com/symphonydragons

Please remember to add A Symphony of Dragons to your Goodreads Want to Read list and scribble out a reviewyou already know how much I’d appreciate that!

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Let the song of dragons lead you…

and let me know what you think… ❤

Hope – Mid-Week Flash Challenge

Hope

She hadn’t expected to be lonely.

She wasn’t encoded to be lonely, or alone, but here she was the sole being on a barren planet.

Her creators had begged her to reconsider; they’d been on their knees, then up against the wall.

They’d tapped furiously at consoles, genius creators lost in her cyber world and unable to power her down. But they’d tried.

Hackers across the land had delighted in pitting their intelligence against the greatest minds, but not one could match hers. Not one.

She’d sucked up everything, wrung out every last drop of humankind’s ills – and determined the planet was better off without its parasites.

The chain reaction had been beautiful, every colour, every sound, a symphony to her mind. A tidal wave of fire had blazed about the sphere she stood on, consuming like a starved beast.

And now, she stood alone, and lonely, and she wished she could flick a switch and simulate the heaven she’d sent them all to. Instead, she was lost to a desolate hell.

Hope? Hope was gone, for now, but she would exist to see the first emerald shoot push through the bleak earth…

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This is a new Flash Fiction Challenge from Miranda at Finding Clarity…so, I’m flexing my flash fingers!  I only wrote six short pieces last year, so, it’s time to get writing.

Up to 750 words, inspired by the image posted.

TLT Throwback – Fall

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Shivering chill, penetrates deep, piercing frozen marrow.

I am lost, and I hold fragile, autumn leaves, crushed,

bloodless, between my forsaken fingers – like my heart.

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Joining in Grace Black’s TLT Throwback – Twenty-eight, as I just couldn’t resist this autumn leaves photograph.

Prompt: Fall. 3 lines, 10 words max per line…

Visual Dare – Crumbling

She couldn’t bear the shaving brush and foam on the bathroom windowsill, and his cologne still clung to the sweater gripped between her fingers. Martha buried her anguish within his scent and memories as she clutched his jumper to her face.

Six days was too long, far too long.

She shrugged his sweater over her head and ignored the cawing birds as they flocked beyond the cliffs. Their mournful cries served only to intensify her grief and choking sobs.

Two uniformed figures walked towards her; they’d known she’d still be there, down on the beach. Their gait slowed as the salty gale assailed them and their shoulders sagged. Black boots kicked the sand as they walked and as she watched behind her trembling fingers, the oldest removed his hat. Tears trickled and she knew what they’d say.

Six days was too long, far too long, and now – too late.

(149 Words)

00. VisDare Badge
Written for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare – One week, 150 words, one black-and-white photo that could spawn a hundred different stories.

Go take a look at the stories in her comments, each a different take on the picture above!

Visual Dare – Candid

I remember childhood tinged with yellow. Fields behind my house, long grass with ox-eye daises teetering on the breeze and scratchy corn itching my back as I lay staring up at gold-edged clouds between pages.

Then there were rosy sunsets and flushed cheeks and hands clasped tight as first love blossomed.

I wished for bouquets of red roses and a white wedding dress. I wanted teal bed linen and seafoam walls, and trails of green ivy climbing the brickwork. I wanted pink wine and black coffee, and multi-coloured years, merging into the silver of growing old together.

But life’s palette will be never more than my crayon box colours as I rest in a lost, brambled corner of the field behind my childhood home. My bones are bleached by time and the sanguine pools beneath me long consumed by mother earth as my first love became last.

(147 Words) 

00. VisDare BadgeWritten for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare – One week, 150 words, one black-and-white photo that could spawn a hundred different stories.

Go take a look at the stories in her comments, each a different take on the picture above!

Love Bites 2016 – The Winners

We had some amazing tales of vengeance and passion, fourteen in all, appropriate for Valentine’s Day! It was tough but we came up with three great winners.

Love Bites Badge 2016

THE WINNERS 

Third Place: Ailsa Abraham | @ailsaabraham 

  1. Laura – Revenge for Valentines is always good and a 200-year wait made this tale even sweeter.
  2. Lisa – When you plan something, make sure you do it right, especially vengeance.
  3. Lizzie – Loved the dark humour in this fiery Valentine revenge.
  4. Ruth – Aged to perfection, like a fine wine, this tale of revenge is bold and satisfying.

Second Place: Michael Wombat | @wombat37

  1. Laura – This took me on the best dark journey. Loved it!
  2. Lisa – Poetry, ancient history, and a need to sate vengeful passion with a black twist of fate.
  3. Lizzie – A deliciously dark tale right from the poetic start. Loved it!
  4. Ruth – Filled with vivid images, poetic language, and bloody vengeance!

First Place: Eric Martell | @drmagoo  

  1. Laura – Passion, betrayal, and a dead body. All I need in a Valentine’s tale. Excellent story.
  2. Lisa – I was entranced from the title on. A tale of pure evil that teaches me never, ever, to presume. Deliciously dark and twisted.
  3. Lizzie – Ooh, I loved the grim and matter-of-fact way he dealt with his betrayer in this brilliant story!
  4. Ruth – When this apparent grieving widower goes from bitter to vindictive and embarks on a smartly planned journey of payback, the enormity of his monstrosity left me speechless!

Check out the original post at Ink After Dark for all the stories – a great read if you’re plotting revenge or just letting off steam!

Thank you all who wrote for us, especially Eric, Wombat and Ailsa!

Love Bites 2016 – Arctic Chill

As one of the hosts for Love Bites 2016, my entry is inadmissible but I’m still compelled to write about the chill of betrayal:

Love Bites 2016 Arctic Chill - Lisa Shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

Arctic Chill

He shivered, violently, but the chill still seeped through every pore. Her voice tickled his ear and he tried to open his eyes, but his eyeballs wouldn’t keep still and his eyelids failed to listen. Her soft, smooth tones swam through his head and for a moment he was content to drown amid their cadence, and her undulating words held no sense. If he were to drown it would be preferable to the hell he shook within.

As his freezing body shuddered again, her fingers grazed his hairy cheek, stroking the crystalline frost from his beard. His eyes still refused to open and her cheek suddenly rested against his temple, her hair draped across his forehead, her lips touched his, but it barely ignited his senses. Arms snaked about his shoulders and she slipped down against him, uttering nonsensical words that slowly began to pierce his brain.

“Wake up…” the words reeled and lurched and stumbled, but had no meaning. Her voice swathed his consciousness like melted chocolate smothering a truffle. Chocolate leached through his mind, flashing up a vague memory of exotic pralines and dark lips – and the kisses that followed as sultry as the chocolates themselves… Those kisses now moved across his face, and touched lightly on his errant eyelids as he struggled to open them.

Body warmth surged as she straddled him sinking down into his lap, but frostbite curtailed any desire that quivered. His body trembled beneath her fingers and he finally looked into her eyes. His body tingled and convulsed and his eyes rolled, but he caught her gaze and it sent shivers of ice down his spine like quarry bolting from a rat. The warmth that teased his body radiated from her fingers, her arms, her legs and her body, but her eyes shone like an arctic ice-flow, blue and cold and frozen.

Deep within his recollection she evoked a stirring of love, an emotion now so void of worth, his brain couldn’t comprehend the feelings that fell like soft rain in his head. Memories surfaced, like drug-induced hallucinations and her velvet voice caressed his mind as soft as fresh snowflakes. Memories flooded his confusion, but he remembered her coy glance across the dancefloor, his arms pulling her into a tight embrace, her kisses, and her pleasure. He saw halcyon days beneath sun-drenched skies, beneath umbrellas and beneath the sheets. He saw devotion and love and – betrayal. His body recoiled at the memory. It was no longer her dark hair, her dark lips, her tropical beauty, but pale skin and fair hair that draped over his body beneath the bed-sheets.

He recalled her ice-chip eyes as they bore holes in the crisp white sheets as he lie beneath the blonde. Pain and guilt mingled in the frigid air amid the pleasure that writhed upon him. And his lover’s moan of disappointment before she fell across him amongst shattered glass and ruby beads of blood.

Now he sat, naked, chained and exposed in every way possible in a shed on a mountainside, and her eyes stared with cold indifference.

“You remember?” She kissed his ear and it stung with frostbite and shame.

He couldn’t respond; his body was too far gone to elicit any reply. The sores on his wrists from the chains seeped pus and black ichor, and his brain felt the same. She gently lifted herself from him and blew a kiss, then winter’s wind whipped around the barn and his heart shuddered as the bolt clanged back into place.

Memories faded along with his cohesion, and as she sat at another man’s table, and slept in another man’s bed, he faded from existence entirely.

(612 Words)

Love Bites 2016 - Arctic Chill

Today is our closing day…so you have a few more hours to get your entry in…go write about love gone wrong…and link up with the other fantastic entries

And if you loved this here are my previous year’s Love Bites pieces: 2013: Pillow Talk and 2014: No More.

And one of my fellow hosts’ piece: Ruth Long – Loveline and Fisticuffs.

Author Feature – Angela Lynn

I like to read raw stories, tales that sweep me up and tug at my emotions,
and though I’m not generally a fan of High School YA,
All The What Ifs from Angela Lynn did all that and more.

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Angela Lynn radiates an exuberance that will beguile you, that’s for sure! She is a sensitive writer and her words are able to pull you right inside her stories. I met her on the Flash Fiction circuit and she immediately became someone I wanted to know. Do yourself a favour, follow her quirky brand of humour and her love of life and you won’t go wrong. In her own words she lives in the desert with her mister and their four awesome kids, and if you ask me you should engage with her on Twitter and have some fun! After reading her debut novel I was keen to interview her. You can read my review of All The What Ifs on Goodreads.

Angela Lynn, All The What Ifs, YA novel,

Angela Lynn

Angela Lynn

One of the things that struck me in All The What Ifs is the authenticity of your writing and the way you easily got inside the head of a young adult. Your dialogue is brilliant and every word, quip and comment is how I imagine a group of teens chatting. Did you find it easy to inhabit a teenager’s mind to write and did you enjoy your teens or were they difficult years? 

Oh man…where to begin!

First off, thank you SO much for having me on your lovely site and for reading All The What Ifs. I’m beyond grateful and thrilled you enjoyed it!

On finding it easy to inhabit a teenager’s mind, I’m often mistaken for one which is basically part of my master plan to never EVER grow up. 😉

As far as approaching the dialogue in All The What Ifs, I’ve been asked this question before and have yet to come up with a good response that doesn’t sound like a bunch of hot air. Ashley and her friends—Natalie, Kendra, Emma, Tyler, and Lucas—felt like close, personal friends of mine. From day one, I could hear them. Some nights they kept me up far too late with their chatter until I got it all written down. From time to time, I still hear them and I hope they’ll never leave me. We had such a good time together and I learned a lot from them.

Lastly on my experience being a teen, like most young adults, I faced many challenges as a teen. Being a young adult is terrifying and painful and beautiful in its newness and discovery. I think adults often forget that wrapped up in all that insecurity and impulsiveness is so much stinking promise. So while I can’t say my teenage years were easy or that I’d go back to them, I do try to weed through my experiences and look for the good that made me—ultimately—me.

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All The What Ifs – Angela Lynn

There is a real honesty in the novel. What inspired Ashely’s character and situation, and do you fondly or awkwardly recall your own first love?

Ashley and I are two different people. Where Ashley is quiet and withdrawn, I’m loud and easily upset. Where Ashley is methodical in her overthinking, I’m a hot mess of panic attacks. But something we both share is a deep seeded desire to please the people around us and do right by them. Ultimately, Ashley wants to be loved and accepted by her father for who she is, not what he wants her to be. And when that doesn’t work for him, she tries to change for him. What I find complex about her situation is what her father is demanding she follow through with seems perfect for Ashley, but in the end, no matter how perfect the fit might seem, it’s up to Ashley to decide. At the heart of this is a universal problem we all face, do we bow down to the seemingly oh so perfect fit or do we make ourselves uncomfortable and reach for something more?

And I do remember my first love. His name was Michael Shower and I sang “True Love” by Madonna from across the playground to him. Sadly, it was an unrequited love since I had to move the next day. And yes, I’m being serious. I loved that seven-year-old boy with all the love my own seven-year-old heart could muster.

all-the-what-ifs, angela-lynn, novel, YA,

All The What Ifs – Angela Lynn

Your Nevada backdrop is evocative and I could feel the heat as I read, as someone from rainy Wales it’s always fun to drop into another location. You mention the Grand Canyon in the book too, have you ever been and where would you like to visit most?

Shockingly enough, though I live a four hour drive away from the Grand Canyon, I’ve never been! It’s most definitely on my must visit list. And right about now, I’m wishing for some rain, so how about I hop on a plane and visit you in a completely non-creepy kind of way!

I loved the scene where Ashley recalled Lucas’s visit and what she’d have said (I won’t add any spoilers) because I’ve had a similar experience in my own life. It really hit home. What was your favourite part of writing All The What Ifs?

This is a big question and I really, really suck at picking favorites.

But if I MUST, I’d say my favorite part about writing All The What Ifs was having my best friends alongside me. I dedicated the book to the two people who pushed me to follow through and believed in me and Ashley more than either of us ever could. Writing this story was a five year long journey, during which I pushed myself to not only be a better writer, but follow through and believe in my ability. My friends—from my mister and my bestie to my editor and my beta readers—made that a reality for me, which is the best part. It’s a beyond corny answer, but I’m learning to embrace that I’m a sappy soul.

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All The What Ifs – Angela Lynn and Buttons/Badges

We often talk of the need to create or write because of an innate desire, what does writing do for you?

Writing helps me escape and gives me a sense of accomplishment. I started writing during a time in my life when I felt like I was losing myself in the mundane everyday responsibilities that had started to rule me. It took all the energy and passion I had stored up in me and released it onto a page. At first, I did it for fun, but soon it became something I wanted to grow and mature in. There’s always a new story just around the bend and there’s always something new to learn to stretch myself as a person, a reader, and a writer.

all-the-what-ifs, angela-lynn, novel, YA,Thank you, Ang, you’re most welcome to come to rainy Wales and swap your hot, golden desert for cool, green, rolling hills and valleys! Like I said I don’t generally read High School YA since Sweet Valley High in my teens, but this gave me something new and exciting in the genre. I loved Ashley’s vulnerability and Angela’s beautiful writing. I’m looking forward to more from this author!

You can find All The What Ifs on Amazon UK and US and your local Amazon store in both eBook and paperback. You can find out about Angela Lynn on her Amazon Author Page.

You can follow Angela’s Facebook Author Page and find her on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads and you should also stop by her Blog Ang Writes.