Friday Flash Fiction – a Winter Warning

Hello once more friends. It sure is getting cold out there, so I urge you to come in, pull up a seat and help yourself to a warm drink or two. I have hot chocolate on offer, but there is also mulled wine for the alcoholically-inclined (I include myself within the latter group).

Ah, the task of personal blogging has become 300% easier since I hit upon the idea of a regular feature and the Friday Flash Fiction challenge is just that. I also have to thank the Friday Flash Fiction challenge for keeping me sane. This week, for example, I have written out an awful lot of words about display cabinets. The joy of dashing out a mere 100 words of lovely fiction is a joyful escape.

Anyway, here is November’s second 100-word* flash fiction story…

WINTER WOES**

Marcus viewed the approach of winter with dread.

You know it will soon be time for your nightly duties,” Rachel had told him the other night as she pulled the curtains shut. Marcus tried (and failed) to look enthusiastic.

She’d told him years ago that this was the duty of every husband. Marcus wondered if this was true. He’d never dared raise the subject with his Wednesday night drinking pals.

That night, Rachel slid into their bed with an inquiring look. He assented with a sigh. A pair of ice-cold feet attached themselves to his much warmer legs.

*The diligent amongst you may notice this particular flash fiction story is a word or two over the 100-word limit. Tsk! Brevity will be back next week.

**Most of my flash fiction stories aren’t autobiographical. This one definitely is.

Friday Flash Fiction – It’s A Holiday Theme

Ay yes, Cava was consumed. It helps with creativity, scientists have proven.

Ay yes, Cava was consumed. It helps with creativity, scientists have proven.

Dear reader, Friday 1 November finds me back staring out of windows as the rain lashes down. Autumn is here and it’s being shoved heavily from behind by winter, desperate to join the party too. How is 1 November with you?

It’s a far cry from my activities of last week which included spending the bulk of my time outdoors dressed in shorts and t’shirts. Did I fulfil my mission, did the lap top I took with me make an appearance out of the rucksack? Was it fired up? Were writing duties undertaken, despite the siren call of Cava, sunshine and walks on the beach?

Well reader dear, ahem – WRITING WAS UNDERTAKEN. Sorry for shouting, but it’s just that I did rather surprise myself. There is a lot to be said about sitting on a balcony to write. Since returning home, I’ve been Googling ‘living abroad’ and indulging in fantasies which involve six months of the year spent in sunnier climes and a little apartment, complete with bijou balcony, where I perch myself every day and tip-tap-type out words of wisdom. Or words that get me paid at least.

Anyway, back to the Friday flash fiction challenge! I’ve taken on a holiday theme for this one. Of course, it does not reflect anything that may or may not have happened last week…

Manners Maketh The Man

Penny bristled to herself – was it really that hard for holiday-makers to learn the words ‘por favor’ or ‘gracias’?

The group had been getting on her nerves all week. The loud singing, the crass remarks and the lack of manners particularly piqued Penny.

Tony, the biggest and loudest of them, was now at the bar. “Oi Manuel,” he snapped his fingers. “Six vodkas and cokes.”

As he passed Penny’s lounger, she stuck out a foot. Tony and his tray went flying. A nasty accident, but not one which could be blamed on the hotel. The waiter and Penny gave each other the ghost of a wink.

Words, Words and Superfluous U’s

Greetings friends. I wish you Friday felicitations from afar this week. As you read this, I am sunning myself and sipping on a Cava or two in Costa Teguisa, Lanzarote.

I have, as you may have guessed, scheduled this post well in advance. How organised of moi! As I write this, my intent is to take Katie and the Deelans (working title) with me and proof-read it, edit it and re-write the ending as per a friend’s excellent suggestions. Have lap top, will travel and will WRITE.

You are allowed, mes amis, to have a little bet to yourself. “Friend,” you may well be thinking, “you do kid yourself if you think an iota of work will be done when there is sunshine abounding and drinks a-pouring. C’mon, know yourself dear girl and know that little if anything will be done to that book.”

10 to one I do anything? Or would 100 to one be more accurate?

Anyway, in the mean time here is a teeny piece of fiction for you to enjoy…

Words, Words, Words

  • What’s with the z’s instead of s’s friend? I’m not a fan.
  • Hey, it makes sense. When you hear the word, the sound is closer to an ‘ess’ or a zed. Say it out loud for yourself.
  • I maintain the s’s rock. I’m not keen on all your missing u’s either. Neighbor, flavor etc. Urgh. And as for your missing o’s. Really, estrogen and celiac are vulgar.
  • Haven’t you heard about the world’s letter shortage? Our economic policies re letters will ensure that words never run out. Did you hear me? You’ve gone awfully quiet.

 

It’s Friday – And That Means a Short Story

Is there anything more appealing than a freshly-made scone?

Is there anything more appealing than a freshly-made scone spread thickly with jam and cream*?

Blimey – why I didn’t think up a regular blog slot beforehand, I do not know. It’s much easier to write (and schedule ahead) when you know exactly what you are going to be writing on a particular day…

Once again then, friends, we find ourselves at Flash Fiction Friday. There are quite a few other flash fiction blogs out there and words counts vary – anything from 20 words (or the Twitter 140 characters) up to 1,000. In my book, 1,000 words counts as a short story, but I have also noted that Prima looks for 800-word stories every month for its magazine. And you can win £100. Worth trying, hmm?

Anyway, here’s this Friday’s flash fiction effort…

Baked to Perfection

I’ve been making cakes,” announced Jed, “baking’s really therapeutic isn’t it?”

Anita looked at what he’d done. Covering the kitchen table were beautifully decorated cupcakes, slices of malt loaf, treacle scones and an elaborately iced, three-tier fruit cake. Her mouth watered.

Where to start? Should she try scones, fresh from the oven and thickly buttered? Or should she slice into fruit cake and cram her mouth with dried fruit, marzipan and sugar paste?

I’ll get a plate,” she murmured, the doctor’s prescription still in her handbag. Blood test results back that morning: type 2 diabetes and coeliac disease…

 

*Photo taken from the BBC Good Food website. The recipe for this scone is here.

Another Friday Flash Fiction Challenge…

Better late than never on the regular (ahem!) flash fiction feature, eh?

I certainly needed a 100-word brain break this week as readers I have worked like a SLAVE. I’ve written one cook book, edited a diet book, written 12 blogs (14 if you include my own too), applied for various jobs and indulged in a little light banter on various social media networks.

I have sweet Fanny Adams left in me and plan to spend my weekend doing nothing more stimulating than reading celebrity gossip mags (I’m desperately behind on updates to the progress of Kim’s post-baby diet, and as for Kerry Katona pregnancy news, the lord only knows what has happened in the last two days…) and watching famous folks try to dance. A soupcon of Cava or five may accompany these reading/watching efforts and I may well do all three in bed.

Anyway, without further ado here is Friday’s flash fiction challenge…

All Bagged Up

“Mercy me!” cried the old lady, “please don’t take my bag. It’s got all my belongings and savings in it.”

The thief paused. Conscience wasn’t usually a consideration, but today his own granny had gone into a home and he was feeling more merciful than usual. On the other hand, that care was going to be expensive. He pulled out a handful of notes, thrust them at the old lady and ran off with the bag.

Sadly for him, he’d just had his first (and last) encounter with a witch. The bag twitched ominously. An enchantment had been triggered…

Take a Brain Break – the Friday Flash Fiction Challenge

Greetings friends, I thought I’d introduce a spot of regularity to my blogs. It’s what experts recommend after all…

Usually, my blog modus operandi is to wait for the muse to strike me. Honestly, that lady hits hard when she eventually gets here, but she is a fickle creature; I leave the door open for her and she only deigns to appear on rare occasions. T’uh! So I remembered the lessons of my newsletter writing years where regular columns, features and photo caption competitions were the stuff we editors and writers relied on to fill our pages.

Participation – from you, you and YOU

Hence, lovely audience, I am hoping for a little participation from you, yes you, in the Friday flash fiction challenge. I stumbled upon this idea one Friday. Having spent several hours writing about products for a client, I felt my brain needed a break. It needed to shift from research, facts and key word placement (subtly done, I promise) to fictional creativity. But only a little.

I opened a new document and typed out a 100-word story. I rather love flash fiction (and there’s a great guy out there who posts a 300-word flash fiction story every day) and its neat exposition, rising action and climax, otherwise known as beginning, middle and end. I then posted the story on the LinkedIn writers and editors group and asked for contributions, so thought I’d try the same idea here in lovely, lovely blog world.

Veni, Vidi, Vici

There are writers amongst my esteemed and valued audience, but then aren’t we all to a certain extent? Someone replied to my Friday flash fiction challenge with Veni, vidi, vici – which of course counts as it falls within the 100-word limit.

Anyway, here’s my own effort and a promise to post one a week every Friday. I’d love it if you could contribute – post your efforts below. Thank you!

The Case of the Disappearing Cat

Alice loved her cat. He was everything to her – friend, companion, substitute child and hot water bottle, so when he went missing she howled.

She paced the streets seeking him out and sticking posters on lamp-posts, but it was no good. He had disappeared.

She was, however, approached by a private detective agency. They had noted her patience, tracking skills and determination to leave no stone unturned. Would she like a job with them?

Would she ever! Alice signed up with joy. A day later, her cat returned. The agency was glad to see the back of him.

Grateful Thanks and a Writing Plea

Gimme a 't', gimme a 'h' etc etc

Gimme a ‘t’, gimme an ‘h’ etc etc

Once upon a time, I worked for a company whose unofficial motto was: “Never Knowingly Original”.

I have tried to stick to this ethos throughout my blogging experiment, shamelessly ‘borrowing’ ideas from other much more experienced and knowledgeable folks and this evening is no exception.

I’ve recently signed up to follow a gent who blogs a 300-word piece of flash fiction EVERY SINGLE DAY. A marvellous idea certainly, but it is not this one I’m, er, nicking. (Though I do think it might be an interesting and educational exercise if I were to embark on such a process. For your sakes dear readers, I would keep such scribblings private.) No, said gent thanked the newbies who have recently started following him – c’est moi and others – and I thought to myself, “Aha! What a jolly good idea.*”

I THANK YOU

So to all those who have recently ticked the ‘follow’ bit on my blog, thank you ever so much. And to all those who have been following me for a while, thank you too ever so much. I am very grateful and I hope I bring a tiny bit of something to your life, even if it’s only a sigh of irritation as a ‘new blog alert from highheelsandpinkglitter’ hits your inboxes. (Does anyone know the correct plural of inbox, btw?)

As I have bored myself witless over the last few months with my own musings (the situation has been exacerbated by my work situation which means I spend a great deal of my time on my own speculating aloud on topics such as the weather and feeling hurt when the cat doesn’t want to be in the same room as me) I would welcome guest posts with OPEN ARMS.

RE-BLOG, RE-BLOG, RE-BLOG

Fellow bloggers may think to themselves, “Lordie, lady laziness, why don’t you just re-blog something??” I know, I know – but I’d really love some dear person to think up something which would fit with my very loose set of topics… Actually, scratch that, write about anything you like and just throw in the odd reference to anything I’ve written about – even if it’s just one word. ‘The’ will do, to be honest.

Best case scenario – I am flooded with enough guest posts to keep me in thrice-weekly blogs from now until Christmas. Worst case? No guest blogs at all… Reader, have mercy on me.

 

 

 

*For some strange reason, blogging brings out the Nancy Mitford in me.

Picture courtesy of nursingworldnigeria

Clearing the Decks – And Trying Not to Puke

Words, words, words

Words, words, words

Recently, I heard someone opine that the first draft of a novel was basically a ‘word vomit’.*

Ooh, I get what she meant, but as someone who has just written the first draft of her first book, ‘word vomit’ made me want to cry. I must endeavour to toughen up if hearing some other person’s description of the writing process makes me react in such a pathetic way.  It was not a personal comment on my own attempts, for heaven’s sakes!

Having triumphantly typed out ‘The End’ almost 14 days ago, I have ignored The Book ever since. I didn’t dare look at it and, as I had really galloped towards ‘The End’ at the rate of knots, not caring about casualties such as spelling, grammar, credibility or sense, I certainly feared to view it again.

So, adopting my best school prefect voice, I said to self today – “You MUST look at this. You MUST read it again. You MUST change stuff if necessary.” So in between writing bathroom blogs and bugging the editors of air conditioning websites (yes, really), I read Book Part 3.

And, er, it was not quite as bad as I feared… Now, next week’s Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway is reading parts 1 and 2. And perhaps putting chapters up on Readwave and asking for feedback.

Declutter – It’s Good For You

In another bid towards encouraging creativity (or putting off bidding for jobs online – you decide…) I finally got round to clearing out the spare room. I now have the dedicated office I promised myself way back in April. It’s a minimalist space where creative energy will flow, uninterrupted by endless tripping over of piles of washing in various states of dryness and dodging piles of paperwork. That’s the theory!

A women’s magazine I’m rather fond of (Woman & Home) had an article about de-cluttering in its latest edition. The aim, apparently, is to own no more than 100 things if you want to be free. Store all your music, books and pictures on your PC or online, go for a capsule wardrobe and the rest is easy. Idly, I wondered to myself, do ‘toiletries’, ‘skincare’ and ‘make-up’ count as three things, or should one count up the individual items? If the latter is true, I may well have reached the 100-item limit five times over. Woe!

Just to demonstrate that I can do a 100 limit, I did recently write a piece of flash fiction. It was for a competition. I didn’t win, or get mentioned or anything really, but it’s the taking part that counts, don’t you reckon? Here it is:

I’m a Deelan – Oh My Lord!

On Thursday I came home from work, disheartened.

My cat didn’t greet me at the door, but a handsome stranger was waiting in my kitchen. “Bobbee,” he said, “do you recognise me?” I shook my head. “Who has kept you company all these lonely months? Who has slept on your bed every night while you cried yourself to sleep?”

“You are Jazz?!” I exclaimed. “My cat?”

“I’m a deelan,” he said, “a human who can change into a cat and you are one too. Look!”

He clicked his fingers. I changed into a cat.

If any of you have your own examples of flash fiction, I’d love to read them so please feel free to post in the comments.

 

*LinkedIn – the writers and editors group. Very good for brain storming, and asking for advice on the creative and the more prosaic, such as ‘hey, what printer do you use and why?’