Tag Archives: DFQ

Dark Fairy Queen – Midsummer Night’s Dream Contest: An Eye for an Eye

fairy, fairy dreams, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

An Eye for an Eye

Ariana released a soft sound of surprise that echoed slightly in the low evening light as her mother’s guiding hand scribed urgent words on her palm.

Though sightless and deaf, Ariana felt her mother move away and she instinctively pressed her toes into the grass. Drops of dew, decorating her bare feet with diamonds, reverberated, and micro echoes vibrated across her skin. She stretched her fingers through the echo of her mother and let the jasmine scented air whisper. She wondered what her mother’s urgently etched words on her palm meant.

Then the wind blew through her and whipped up a storm, and an unpractised murmur left her silent lips as the tornado whirled about her.

The wind spoke with an unintelligible moan, but she heard it – and then whispers, soft whispers susurrated in the arcs of light that suddenly filled her vision. She opened eyes that hadn’t opened in years, and light fluttered like a new-born butterfly.

With wonder she heard the whispers uttered by her own mouth. Delight filled her heart, swelling within her bosom, and she knew her days of night and lengthy silences were finally gone.

Mother had promised that one day she’d both see and hear, and now she could…

She blinked, and gazed upwards, letting the soft crimson sun tickle her face, and its familiar warmth sent shivers of delight down her spine, and twilight’s tears rested like raindrops on her cheeks. Her eyes began to focus, and the yielding sounds of dusk filtered through her mind, and she twirled, enjoying the senses that now filled her soul!

Her mother stood, facing the sunset, her back to Ariana, and Ariana gently stepped closer, relishing the green blades of grass between her toes and the vivid colours that now flooded her life. She brimmed with gratitude for whatever spell her mother had cast, and threw her arms around the woman before her.

Her mother’s unexpected flinch sent a spike of ice through her heart and she spun her mother round. Sightless eyes returned her stare as the sun slipped away, flushing Ariana’s new world into unknown indigo and gold. Words could still not yet form in Ariana’s mouth, but understanding grew, and she knew her mother had traded, an eye for an eye.

Tables turned, and through tears that twinkled like glittering stars her mother blindly felt for Ariana’s guiding hand.

* * *

My entry (396 Words) into our Dark Fairy Queen’s New Contest

It is summer, a faint breeze blows, and the leaves are rustling. As dusk falls, the fireflies glow in a distant meadow. Have you not felt the magic of a summer night?
Your story should let us celebrate a midsummer night by creating 400 words.
For your theme, your story must take place, at least in part, on a summer evening. Also, choose one from the following list:
Dreams – Fairytales – Myths
Your story should be posted on your personal blog or a friend’s and linked up below with the Inlinkz tool (which opens July 15).

Please click the link below and read the other enchanting entries!

Writerly friends and Wombat’s Writing Challenge…

dfq minion con UK,

DFQ Minion Con – Nottingham

I have amazing online writing communities – in several places – but the one that’s inspired me for years is #DFQ  and the lovely Anna, and we recently organised a meet up in Nottingham for its UK members. The Cross Keys was our meeting place and we loved the decoration! It was a scene of wonderful writerly delight, invention, and meeting of like-minded souls. We all ‘got’ each other and it was great! 

This is us: Nick, Angelica, Bekah, Lisa (Me), Becky, Miranda, Sorcha, Wombat, Jessica and Alex and during our wordy meet up Wombat issued us with a challenge… He gave us each a first line, picked at random, and to be woven into a story… Here’s my response with its first line italicised:


Nick is an average young man, filled with aspirations, struggles, hopes and doubts. He has everything that gives a young man life and a hunger for more. In five minutes he will cease to exist.

Nick bends his neck and stares up into the canopy. Dappled light flickers across the leaves, and he flinches as a glancing beam temporarily blinds him. Blue lights dance in front of his eyes and he grins as his gaze flicks across the foliage in the arboretum. It’s quiet and except for the soft hum of bees his ears pick up no sound.

Goosebumps ripple across his skin as a draught rustles through the leaves. The change in temperature makes him clutch his arms to his chest and his muscles tense in answer to the chill that fills the air. The sun, the light above the woods, begins to dip, to lower beyond the horizon and a lazy orange haze, like fire, shimmers through the tall trunks. Nick’s forehead creases and an urgent thought in the back of his mind begins to stir.

Racing to the front of his head, come memories, flashes of colour, memories of sunsets on beaches, and kisses that taste of salt, and the grit of sand between his toes. Nick shakes his head. It takes only moments for the light to fade and with it the hum of bees retires, replaced with the hoot of an owl and a sliver of white glimmering high above the trees. Nick rubs his arms and he remembers more.

Night life, sitting in a restaurant opposite a chatty blonde, cars rushing by on fast roads, a multitude of lights, orange, red, yellow, neon blue and more. He grins as he remembers a hand holding his, as he stands on a pier watching waves crash across the dark ocean, the moon a twinkling river of diamonds on its surface.

The moon is gone before he has a chance to recall more and birds begin a dawn chorus as he stands on dew damp grass. His memory smiles and despite his boots he feels the wet grass beneath his feet, and daybreak evokes pictures of waking in a tent, of bacon crackling on the stove, and a girlish giggle as he strokes her hair in the new glinting sunlight of the day.

His earlier thought simmers, just beyond reach. Birds now twitter in the canopy and as warmth caresses his skin, Nick grabs at the distant notion.

The clack of a woodpecker tunes his thoughts to fingers on a keyboard, then to a jackhammer on the pavement, heat haze shimmering like dust. The haze clouds his mind, confuses his thought process and impinges his memories. The dazzling sunshine glints, and realisation floods his brain, and he flinches as fragments of glass cut through his mind.

Nothing is real.

Heat fizzes and pops and in a second his thoughts cease.

Nick stands, silent and immobile, and two caretakers trample through the simulated arena to collect his body.

Back at the computer the tech guys shake their heads and begin reprogramming.

Anna is an average young woman, filled with aspirations, struggles, hopes and doubts. She has everything that gives a young woman life and a hunger for more. In five minutes she will cease to exist.

DFQ Minion Con - Nottingham - FUN

DFQ Minion Con – Nottingham – FUN

Great Indie Books for Christmas

Books are great Christmas gifts – you know that, I know that…everyone should know that!


© Lisa Shambrook

So the great #DFQ has compiled a list of some of the best indie books available this Christmas…look no further for the perfect book to give the person you love.

I can atest to the brilliance of some of these books, having read many of them myself. My personal favourites include:
Orison by Daniel Swensen, Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire by Paul Ramey, Dead Sea Games by J. Whitworth Hazzard, Minstrel by Marissa Ames, Fog by Michael Wombat and I’m currently reading and loving The Complicated Geography of Alice by Jules Vilmur.
I can’t wait to bury myself within many more of the books upon this list…

And my two novels Beneath the Rainbow and Beneath the Old Oak are there accompanied by two of the anthologies I’ve also written for In Creeps the Night and Cutthroats and Curses.

So pop over to Yearning for Wonderland and feast your eyes upon The 2014 DFQ Literary Gift Guide a wondrous list of words and stories, you’ll find something to love!

DFQ Literary Indie Guide 2014

DFQ Literary Indie Guide 2014