Tag Archives: fiction

Beneath the Old Oak – A tale of Courage and Growth

Beneath the Old Oak is a story that brings forth a young girl’s courage
and helps her grow through tragedy like a tiny acorn turns into a majestic oak.

Beneath the Old Oak by Lisa Shambrook

Beneath the Old Oak © Lisa Shambrook

Meg’s mother is having a breakdown, and Meg can’t cope.
Seeking to escape bullies and overwhelming anxiety,
she discovers an old oak tree whose revelations begin to change her life.

Beneath the Old Oak is released through BHC Press on 16th October and is a novel that will completely captivate you.

Beneath the Old Oak by Lisa Shambrook

Beneath the Old Oak © Lisa Shambrook

“A brave book that tackles serious issues for a younger audience in a mature and sensitive way.” —LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Beneath the Old Oak by Lisa Shambrook

Beneath the Old Oak © Lisa Shambrook

“I was awake until about 1am reading this one. I could have put it down anytime, just didn’t want to.
This story leans heavily to the subject of depression. There are many of those on the kindle, few quite as believable, even less as credible. The family with a single child are wonderfully developed as they are deeply troubled.  A father who goes to work and his involvement limited in their troubled life, a mother slowly slipping away from all of them, and a young girl with too much weight on her shoulders left to clean up the mess.
…the oak tree becomes symbolic of the escape from harsh reality for both mother and child when there are so many issues that should be confronted, so many secrets that should be out in the open.
This is the kind of book I recommend people read regardless of what kind of genre you prefer. It’s one for everybody. Just read it.” —
Mr D. on Amazon

Beneath the Old Oak is now available in eBook and paperback (choose your format) at:
Amazon UK, Amazon US, and your local Amazon. Barnes and Noble, Waterstones, Google Play, Kobo, iTunes, and other online outlets.

Beneath the Old Oak by Lisa Shambrook

Beneath the Old Oak is the second book in the Surviving Hope novels, following Beneath the Rainbow already available, and once you’ve been charmed by Beneath the Old Oak you’ll be excited to read Beneath the Distant Star which releases on 11th December – and my publisher has offered a number of ARC copies of Beneath the Distant Star through LibraryThing. In exchange for an honest review you can read a prepublication copy of Beneath the Distant Star. Pop over, scroll down and request your copy now.

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Black Water – Mid-week Flash Challenge

Sunbeams glanced through the pines in a ricochet of dancing light across broken roof slate, and the wind wandered aimlessly exhausted amid the boggy heat.

Lance and Scarlett had fallen for the property, literally, upon first sight. Scarlett’s fingers had shaken as she clutched the details in her sweaty palm, and Lance had visions of renovation and luxury whirling through his head. It had been the easiest sale, and they hadn’t even gone to see the house in person.

The Estate Agent had watched the couple leave her office and finally let out a shaky breath. Shivers tingled as she tried to forget the day she and a colleague had visited the long abandoned property to take pictures. It was done, sold, out of her hands.

Fixing the place up would be a long and expensive job, but Lance couldn’t wait to get his hands dirty and his creative mind busy. This was their dream.

The woodland could be curbed, the tangle of brambles and bush, trained, and the pond turned into something truly beautiful. The house, the original stone actually made Lance’s heart somersault, would be lovingly rendered and he’d already made investigations to roofing companies to find the closest match to the tiles. The photo on the page was enticing, but the finished images in his head completely bewitched him.

Scarlett grasped his hand as they fought through the undergrowth, following the wall beside the overgrown driveway. Excitement was palpable as the tip of the gables and the tiny attic window came into view. Lance squeezed Scarlett’s hand and let go as they began to hack at the brambles, already brown in late autumn’s warmth.

Scarlett took a moment to shove a long stick into the still green water and swirl it around. “It’s not deep,” she said as her stick bumped into whatever constituted the pond bed. “Probably deeper in the middle…”

Lance grinned and wiped the sweat from his brow. “C’mon!” The concrete yard was much clearer of debris and they stood in front of the house. “After years of no care and attention, this place is finally going to get the love it deserves!”

Scarlett pulled her shirt away from her clammy skin and leaned up to kiss his cheek. “So much love!”

“Let’s explore. This place has so much history, and we know nothing of it!” Lance could barely hold himself back and took Scarlett’s hand again. They crossed the threshold together, staring up into the dark, damp house with joyous anticipation. “Let’s discover its secrets!”

The wooden stairs creaked and strained, roof tiles shivered, and timbers itched with stories to tell. Floorboards, rotting and splintered, with deep holes leading to dark cellars, urged each step. Up in the attic, a partition wall, built to conceal, shook as sunlight from the fragmented roof shone in touching cracks and tell-tale interior scratches.

Slates gripped battens and rafters, and cracked pitch and roofing felt hung in stiff curved capes, ready to crumble at the slightest touch. Weathered beams braced, and plaster, paint, and mildewed wallpaper trembled and curled as mysteries clung in sanguine stains like red wine.

Outside, humidity cleaved to the trees, draping them in beads of perspiration and heavy sighs. The heat hung like a cloak and the blanket of algae swathing the pond sat in undisturbed silence, hiding its treasure beneath a mantle of green.

The house and its grounds whispered, telling secrets, not least its latest, as the Estate Agent’s colleague lay trussed and knotted beneath the calm shroud of black water and green weed.

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Feeling emotional today so this was cathartic… Miranda’s Mid-Week Flash Challenge and a photo taken by Flemming Beier, a Danish Photographer, click his name to see the picture this story was inspired by.

Write up to 750 words inspired by the prompt photograph.

The Memory Game – Mid-Week Flash Challenge

They said I’d never amount to anything, but what did they know?

They’re all dead now.

But, truth be told, they all helped. They helped me amount.

I amounted, is that a word? I don’t care, I amounted. I amounted to this.

Mother helped first. You’ll find her in the lavender bottle, father’s in the swirling beige decanter. Mrs Barnes lived next door. She hated me, but she’s in the blue jar.

There are more, many more, each one better than the one before. It’s okay though, they were old, most of them. It’s better when they’re old. They’d lived long, interesting lives. It’s fascinating how interesting peoples’ lives really are, even when they think they’re not.

Take Grandpa, he’s in the bottle stained green, Army green. His life in the services was paramount to my success.

Just in case you’re worried by my use of words, they aren’t really in the jars, or bottles. Not really. They’re dead and buried, all good and proper. They died of old age. No story there.

Old Mr Thompson, a real gentleman, but one who wooed many young flirty things, and Mrs Crane, she had some stories I can tell you! Ms Haines lived a riotous life during the swinging sixties. Bob, I’ll use his first name, he’s special to me, a real treasure, he’s a deep burgundy, wine red, churning like hell itself. He helped. He’s one of my most popular. And Mr Bartlett, oh, yes, we have the dreamer. Hatchet, he lived in the Amazon, not the bookshop, the warehouse, the real thing! Sandy, lived up to her name.

You’re wondering now, aren’t you? How did they help me?

I wasn’t much – they told me I wasn’t much. Even when Dad gave me that chemistry set when I was eleven, he laughed and told me not to burn down the house. I didn’t.

I wasn’t much at school that I’ll admit, but when you have Google, and the world at your fingertips, you can amount to much more than people tell you you will. Chemistry, bio-chemistry, neuroscience, electronics, astrophysics, and a little dabble at alchemy of a sort. You’d be surprised what you can learn online. I wasn’t an Emo locked in my room contemplating suicide *insert mwahahaha laugh here* I was learning. I was amounting.

Mother showed an interest, the first of her negligent motherhood, so I showed her everything. I think she was worried about the number of packages arriving from Amazon, the online store this time not the jungle, and that sparked her interest, or maybe it was concern. She was great! She wasn’t well, anyway. So, timing was imperative. She helped me learn.

So, now I’m renowned. I don’t think how I became renowned is really the issue. Nobody cares anymore. They only care that I amounted, and because I did I can help them. I can offer them, and you, a service that no one else can.

After patenting the process I amounted to so much I now own businesses, governments, clients, and the entire entertainment industry. People rely on me.

You know when life gets too much? When you’re so stressed out you don’t know what to do. You can’t cope, anxiety creeps in, panic rises, and you need something? It used to be weed, Ritalin, coke, the little blue pill, brown sugar, a little bit of skunk, a tab, acid or liquid gold, the Halcyon days. Now – it’s me.

I can give you anything, whatever you want. I can help you escape for however long you wish, wherever you wish, doing whatever you wish.

I’m in the memory game.  I am the memory game.

Whatever memory you want to experience, I have it. I only take from the dead. I have clients queueing up to donate to me on their way out of this life, hoping they’ll live forever in someone else’s mind. That their memory will be your favourite, that their moment standing on the beach, waves lapping at their ankles, cotton clouds wafting by will be your chosen moment of calm.

So, tell me, what do you want to experience? Love, sex, peace, war, I have it all. What are you buying?

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Amazing picture for Miranda’s Mid-Week Flash Challenge from Mikhail Batrak, check out his art, it’s gorgeous!

Write up to 750 words inspired by the prompt photograph.

Human 76 Release Special Offer: Free eBook Download

Ghabrie and Human 76 is finally here! 
And available as a free ePub eBook for two weeks to celebrate its release. 

Human 76 - An Unprecendted collection of Post Apocalyptic  Stories - Ghabrie

Join a new Fandom and Like our Human 76  Facebook Page to keep up to date with blogposts, links, fun stuff, and information you won’t find anywhere else!

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Please also find us and list us in your Want To Read on Goodreads
and when you’re done, please review Human 76.

Snippet of 'Leaving the Nest' by Lisa Shambrook - Human 76

Snippet of ‘Leaving the Nest’ by Lisa Shambrook – Human 76

We are supporting Water Is Life and all profit from book sales will go
to this deserving charity – helping to provide water where people need it.
A charity that helps people who struggle within this world.

Snippet of 'We Make the Future' by Lisa Shambrook - Human 76

Snippet of ‘We Make the Future’ by Lisa Shambrook – Human 76

FREE Download from Lulu until 1st July
(ePub version of the book which can easily be converted to Kindle using Calibre.) 

Buy Links: Lulu Paperback

Amazon Paperback UK and US

Other buy sites will soon be available – Amazon Kindle etc –
once the Distribution avenues are open.

Enjoy, and please review and let us know what you think! 

Flash! Friday – The New Dawn

 

The New Dawn…

On Friday everything changed and the early morning stars, adorning the firmament, blinked in sorrow.

Gossamer threads spread, like wanton ivy, and frosted fingers painted intricate designs across earth’s delicate canvas. Iced tendrils and frozen webs wandered far coating the planet’s filigree crust. Oceans stilled and froze, and the sun’s shamed, fading rays shimmered into moonbeams and tears.

Prophecy sang in the ether as decades of dreams, and dreamers, expired, and atop the summit, Jack Frost surveyed his work then left on the dusted wings of the iridescent chill.

Old Mother Earth shivered beneath Saturday’s long awaited age of ice.

(100 Words)

0. Flash! Friday
I didn’t want to miss the chance to join in with Flash! Friday’s last Flash Fiction contest. I’ve dipped in and out of it, sometimes in awe of the standard of writing, sometimes in awe of participating numbers, but it’s always been a great contest and produced some truly amazing writing! Rebekah Postupak did a fantastic job bringing great writers together on Fridays.

Please pop over to the dragon’s nest and read some of the offerings at Flash! Friday, you won’t be disappointed and even though the site is closing on 18th December, all the stories will remain accessible.

Beneath the Rainbow, Oak and Stars…find Hope

Stand beneath the old oak’s boughs,
staring up at a late evening rainbow as its colours arc across the sky
and early stars begin to shimmer…
This is how the rainbows, oak and stars entwine.

The Hope Within Novels BLOG post

I’m so happy that all three Hope Within novels are now out and available. I thought it was time to show how they interweave and why the major themes are so important to me.

Beneath the Rainbow is an enchanting story of tragedy and the hope that rises from it. It introduces the theme of hope, the running melody through all three books.

Beneath the Rainbow AD with public reviews“It’s those silly dreams that keep us alive.”
Freya won’t let anything stand in her way. Not even death.
A heart-breaking event leaves Freya’s family devastated, but Freya has left clues to her secrets and her family need to uncover them before it’s too late.
As she watches from beyond, hope and stories of love prevail.  Her united family help, however, as final yearned for wishes remain unfulfilled, time begins to run out.
Freya is certain she’s the only one who can help as precious life hangs in the balance.

When loss hits a family, grief is the strongest emotion and as hearts break human nature struggles to find something to cling to. Hope is the emotion we clutch and pull into our souls to help rescue us from the despair and pain.

Freya’s family needs hope and Freya has it in abundance. She is the only one who can help when life reaches crisis point.

The subtheme of Beneath the Rainbow is dreams…as quoted by the tag line “It’s those silly dreams that keep us alive.” Sometimes we need dreams to give us hope and sometimes they keep us alive!

Beneath the Old Oak is a beautifully woven tale that follows Freya’s story with her best friend, Meg.  Meg has grown up with loss in her life from the young age when she lost her best friend, Freya. She’s desperate to know where she fits in and the subtheme of her story is courage to face adversity.

Beneath the Old Oak AD with public reviews“Turn those dreams of escape into hope…”
Meg thinks her mother is broken. Is she broken too?
Meg’s life spirals out of control, and when she mirrors her mother’s erratic behaviour she’s terrified she’ll inherit her sins.
Seeking refuge and escape she finds solace beneath a huge, old oak. Life seems as transient as leaves upon the tree and as the seasons change the timeworn oak shares its treasured memories with her.
Meg wants to run away, but a devastating storm will change her life forever.

Meg has no idea how her life will play out when it spirals out of control and she has to face mental illness and a tragic past within her family. All she wants to do is escape, but her mother beats her to it.

She needs to change her dreams of escape (there we are again: dreams, linking with Rainbow) and turn them into hope. Meg’s challenge is not to lose hope when all seems lost.

Beneath the Distant Star is a turbulent story which takes us right back to Freya’s family. Her sister, Jasmine, was only a toddler when she lost Freya and cannot remember her at all. She fights her sister’s memory determined to become her own person and not Freya’s ghost.

Beneath the Distant Star AD with public reviews“Discover what you already have.”
Jasmine feels like the ghost of the sister she can no longer remember.
Her existence reminds her mother she has something her sister never will—life—and their fragile relationship shatters.
Jasmine craves love and acceptance but refuses to be her sister, Freya, and fights to become her own person. Life becomes a battleground as she disregards the rules and resolves to live her life to the fullest.
Jasmine’s reckless abandon threatens to destroy the very thing she needs most. 

Like Meg, Jasmine wants to fit in, but her battles alienate her from those who love her, and she loses hope of ever being the daughter her parents want. Jasmine craves acceptance and love and needs her mother to come to terms with her grief. Bringing us the subtheme of gratitude for what you already have. We sometimes disregard, or just miss, the beauty of what we have for what we’ve lost.

It brings the novels full circle fourteen years after Freya’s death as hope becomes the one force they can all cling to and build upon. Freya, Meg and Jasmine all need to find Hope Within.

The Hope Within Twitter AD JPEG

So, if you’re looking for books that will inspire and lift your spirit and steal your heart the Hope Within series will do just that.

Rainbow Stars Times New Yorker

Each theme means a great deal to me and has touched me personally. Though I haven’t lost anyone in my life, we have all felt grief at some point, it universally unites us as humankind. Dreams are what inspire me…the reasons I keep moving and working to achieve. Courage is something we all fight for and it grows with us, and gratitude is a constant, something that keeps us grounded.

Hope embodies all of these and inspires us to keep reaching for those distant stars…

Add these books to your reading list and feel inspired!

Buy here: Beneath the Rainbow, Beneath the Old Oak and Beneath the Distant Star.

You’re Not Alone: Anthology in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support

‘You’re Not Alone’ has now been officially released,
so if you’re looking for some short tales to escape
into a world of vastly differing relationships
(the theme of this collection), then look no further.

You're not alone charity anthology for macmillan cancer support,You will be whisked into a magical world of remembrance with Sylva Fae’s gorgeous tale ‘Lilies for the Mantel’, enchanted by my own fairytale ‘Love’s Silent Ache’, have your heart stolen by Nico Laeser’s ‘No Longer Broken’ and stirred with ‘A Year Afterwards’ by Lesley Hayes. Throw in a great mix of stories including Max Power’s ‘Babes’, ‘Last Goodbye’ by Paul Ruddock, ‘If the Shoe Fits’ by Katharine E. Hamilton and ‘Ooh Air Margrit’ by Rebecca Bryn, and you’re onto a winner. These are just some of my favourites and there are plenty more!

You're Not Alone - Indie Anthology for Macmillan Cancer Support

You’re Not Alone – Indie Anthology for Macmillan Cancer Support

I was happy to add my own story to this collection, since cancer has reared its ugly head in my own family, time and time again. I understand its ravaging pain and legacy, and truly wish to contribute something to the fight to beat it.

Love's Silent Ache by Lisa Shambrook for You're Not Alone...read more inside the anthology...

Love’s Silent Ache by Lisa Shambrook for You’re Not Alone…read more inside the anthology…

When we were given the theme relationships, I chose to write a fairytalea story of love trapped within the grasp of an evil power that refused to let go. Cancer is often unseen to begin with, something that grows and develops on its own into a canker that finally reveals itself. I hope and pray that one day, cancer and myriad other diseases that befall us will be eradicated, it’s only through research that this can be achieved. While we wait, there is an army of nurses who refuse to let cancer win, giving of themselves to help those afflicted to stay as healthy and strong as they can, while they can. I applaud these nurses, who help make cancer bearable for the sufferers and their families.

Macmillan Cancer Support

Macmillan Cancer Support

Each of the authors have been touched in some way, by cancer and when invited, wanted to help give something back. This anthology was thought up by author Ian D. Moore, after losing someone very dear to him, and he soon rallied the support and help of his author friends to put this book together.

All net proceeds from this book will go to Macmillan Cancer Support via the Pamela Winton Fund and you can also donate directly to The Pamela Mary Winton Tribute fund. This fund is in Pamela’s name but all donations go to Macmillan Cancer Support. Any kind donations are gratefully received.

You're Not Alone - Macmillan Cancer Support

You’re Not Alone – Macmillan Cancer Support

Read more details about the conception of this book and support in my previous post.

In this collection you’ll find short stories to thrill you, they’ll scare you and leave you looking over your shoulder as you head back from your lunch break. There are stories of hope, stories of courage and stories of sheer determination, much like the very story that created this work to begin with.

This link will take you straight to your local Amazon store where You’re Not Alone is available in both paperback and eBook.

Only £1.99 for eBook and £8.99 for paperback. 
Treat yourself to some great stories and all in a great cause!

Author Feature: Sophie Moss

Whenever I visit Heron Island, I feel like the wind whispers through my hair,
and I can taste salt on my lips, and hear the ocean lapping at my feet…
If you love romance then Sophie Moss is the writer for you…

s-moss-wind-chime-wedding-rosesI discovered Sophie’s gorgeous sensory writing through several flash fiction contests, which led me to read her evocative Seal Island Trilogy. From there I’ve eagerly waited for more from this expressive author.
I’m honoured to close this series of Author Features with one of my favourite writers, especially after I’ve just finished her latest new release ‘Wind Chime Wedding’ and loved it! You can check out my review on Goodreads.

Sophie Moss author, S Moss Author,

Sophie Moss

Sophie Moss

I fell in love with your Selkie books, fantasy romance with fairy tales thrown in, and I quickly became engrossed in Wind Chime Café. What inspired you to change direction from fantasy to the new Wind Chime series?

I had actually written about a third of a book very similar to Wind Chime Café several years ago. It was right after the recession hit in the U.S. and the war was going on strong and I wanted to write about a military man on leave coming back to his hometown and meeting a single mother who’d moved there to open a cute little cafe but who didn’t know how to cook anything but casseroles. I stopped writing the story about halfway through for a lot of reasons (and it’s very different from the final product of Wind Chime Café) but when I finished the selkie trilogy (or at least pressed pause on it for a while) I decided to revisit it. I noticed that café books were doing really well at the time, books on Navy SEALs were growing in popularity, and small town contemporary romances were becoming huge. So there you go.

Wind Chime Cafe Sophie Moss,

Wind Chime Cafe – Sophie Moss

Your characters are beautifully drawn, with intricate histories and depth, for example Wind Chime Café has an ex-Navy SEAL, and a great baker, Wind Chime Wedding has a teacher in its main role. How much research goes into your characters and their background stories?

I do a ton of research. While writing the first Wind Chime novel, I read almost every book written by a former Navy SEAL to get a sense of who they are, what their lives are like, and what issues are important to them. I also do a lot of research online—reading articles, watching you tubes, etc. It’s very important to me that my characters come across as authentic.

Wind Chime Wedding Sophie Moss,

Wind Chime Wedding – Sophie Moss

I love the beauty of your writing which matches your locations. I know your Selkie series was inspired by a visit to Ireland, where did you get your inspiration for Wind Chime’s Heron Island?

Heron Island is loosely modelled after Tilghman Island, a real-life island only thirty minutes down the road from where I grew up. It’s a place known for sailing, fishing, and crabbing. It’s home to some of the last few hearty souls who still pull their living from the water. It’s one of the only places on the Eastern Shore that is relatively undeveloped. One of my favorite things about starting to write a new series is getting to know the place where my characters live. I’ve always been drawn to island settings, both in reading and writing. There’s something so soothing about being surrounded by all that water. The pace of life is slower. Neighbors look out for each other. Everyone knows everything about everyone.

Myself, reading Wind Chime Wedding on my Kindle!

Myself, reading Wind Chime Wedding on my Kindle!

So far, we know you for romance, are there other genres you’d like to explore, or is romance where your heart lies?

I will probably always write love stories. I’m a hopeless romantic. Nothing warms my heart more than a well-earned happily ever after.

So, if you want romance – you know exactly where to look!

Sophie Moss is a USA Today bestselling author of five full-length romance novels. She is known for her captivating Irish fantasy romances and heart-warming contemporary romances with realistic characters and unique island settings. As a former journalist, Sophie has been writing professionally for over ten years. She lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where she’s working on her next novel. When she’s not writing, she’s testing out a new dessert recipe, exploring the Chesapeake Bay, or fiddling in her garden. Sophie loves to hear from readers. Email her at sophiemossauthor@gmail.com or visit her website to sign up for her newsletter.

Find Sophie on Facebook and @SMossWrites on Twitter. She’s also on Goodreads and Pinterest. Sophie is also, like myself, a BHCAuthor.

Wind Chime Cafe Sophie Moss,

Wind Chime Café:
Kindle
Paperback

Wind Chime Wedding Sophie Moss,

Wind Chime Wedding:
Kindle
Paperback

Why Do You Read?

I read because there are so many stories out there,
so many lives I’ll never be able to lead,

so many worlds in other peoples’ imaginations that I want to visit,
and my soul has a need to discover the words other people write.

Why do you read...titleI read for the same reason I write. I have to. My own imagination is vivid. I have worlds inside my head, and dreams that need to escape, and these are the very reasons I read. If I have these amazing visions in my head that need to breakout onto paper, then I want to read the imaginations of those around me, I want to know their stories too.

As a writer and author the reasons people read fascinate me, for several purposes: firstly, I’m curious, and perhaps a little nosy! Secondly, as an author, I want to write books people want to read; and thirdly, it’s a subject that seems to divide.

I belong to many communities: family, church, online, book-club, local, neighbourhood – and everyone has a different reason for reading…

I asked my family and got different responses. My son only used to read short fiction because it was easy and he struggled with a tendency towards dyspraxia and dyslexia. My husband reads about things he’s interested in, ‘both fact and fiction’, and both my daughters read ‘to escape reality’, and ‘to escape into another world that’s better than this one.’.

I’ve got friends who love biographies, but not fiction, others who want to read to learn, and some who read just for the sake of reading. Some readers want absorbing stories but shy away from horror or sorrow. There are others who yearn for an emotional response, who need to commit and feel the emotion; those who want to be scared by horror, or weep amidst a tragedy, and whoop with delight as characters rise and triumph, and some who just need to escape.

So, I thought I’d ask you, the reader – why do you read?

Lastly, why do you read the books you do, do you choose because you love a specific genre, or author, or do you love an eclectic mix?

Do you stick to traditionally published works, or love to discover more from up and coming indie authors?

(If you read my latest author interviews, you’ll discover some of my favourite books from the last year…)

What books sit side-by-side upon your bookshelf? Tell me the books that have affected you the most, and tell me why you love them!

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:

Genesis

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