Image courtesy of J Hardy Carroll
Shadows loom from all corners of my room as daylight fades like hope. Insects scratch-scratch-scratch, scuttling under my creaky metal bed frame. I’m trapped in a spider web of shattered memories.
Fluttering. A moth. Gossamer wings translucent in the moonlight. Fragile. We’re all so fragile. Easily broken. I should know.
Footsteps thud outside my door.
‘This place is so cool.’ The excitement in the boy’s voice is palpable. ‘Are you sure it’s deserted?’
‘No-one’s lived here for years.’
‘I’m here,’ I scream. But they don’t hear me. No-one ever does.
Oh that scratching. The endless scratching.
Help me. Please.
I had SUCH a great publication day yesterday for my third novel, The Surrogate which you can find over on Amazon here. Yesterday evening I took part in a live Facebook chat with Kim Nash, the publicist of Bookouture, which you can now view here if you missed it. We chatted about the writing process, how I approach novel writing, editing and getting published. Of course I gave Friday Fictioneers a plug as it’s often the highlight of my week.
‘Daylight Fading’ was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 word flash fiction challenge inspired by a photo prompt. Do join in over at Rochelle’s blog here.
Image courtesy of Sarah Potter
The moon is hiding behind the rain clouds, and everywhere I look is black. Crushing. The horn blares again blasting cobwebs from my dusty memories and I think of the other time I was in a car with the dark and the rain. Suddenly I am terrified.
I’m arced over the wheel now, hyperventilating. Panic tearing my chest in two. I haven’t felt like this for years. It’s all starting again. Just like I always knew it would.
Lisa is back in my life and I am slipping into the past.
The good. The bad.
All of it.
I was delighted when I saw this week’s cobwebby prompt as if fits perfectly with an excerpt from my forthcoming book The Surrogate which will be published next week! I’m ridiculously excited. Early reviews have been fabulous. If you want to, you can find it over on Amazon here.
Friday Fictioneer’s is a weekly photo prompt posted by Rochelle. Can you write a 100 words flash fiction story? Join in here – it’s great fun.
Photo courtesy of Kelvin M. Knight
‘Bread and water,’ mum had said clipping him around the ear. ‘That’s what you’ll get if you’re caught nicking again and no soft, warm bed.’ She made him return the sweets he’d stuffed into his pockets to the corner shop where he’d muttered apologies he didn’t mean. Later, as he’d picked at too-thick stew and sticky dumplings he wished he’d still got that Mars Bar. He hated mum’s cooking.
Mum was wrong. His bed is soft and it’s always warm here. The food is good, no bread and water, but still, right now he’d give anything for home-made stew and dumplings.
I’m delighted that in less than 2 weeks since publication The Sister has entered the Top 20 Paperback chart in the UK. Tesco are currently featuring The Sister as part of a ‘Try a new author’ for £2 deal’ so grab yourself a bargain (other supermarkets have their own offers running too). In the run up to publication day my self-doubt set in big time. You can read that post here and my Waterstones launch party was a mixture of emotions, you can read my post on that here.
It’s too late was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 word story photo prompt. Hop over to host Rochelle’s blog to find out how to join in.
Image courtesy of CEAYR
Sometimes I wonder if it would have made a difference if you’d told me somewhere else. Somewhere beautiful. Whether sitting cross legged next to the bubbling stream, sunlight dappling the water would have softened the blow. Do you remember our picnic there? Warm breeze kissing our skin, your lips kissing my neck? It was perfect until we opened the picnic hamper. Wasps buzzing around our sandwiches, ants marching towards the jam jar.
Sorry, I’m drifting. That always did annoy you, didn’t it? But did the ugliness of our surroundings coax those ugly words out of your mouth? I still wonder. Sometimes.
It’s been a week for celebrating! The Gift was listed in Amazon’s half yearly trends report as the third biggest selling ebook of 2017 so far and Sphere (Little, Brown Book Group) shared the exciting news they will be republishing The Sister on August 24th and it will be available in retailers for the first time. You can read my post about that here. It’s been an incredible year and I’m so grateful. I wouldn’t have honed my writing without Friday Fictioneers.
‘Sometimes’ was written For Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 word story challenge inspired by a photo prompt. You can join in over at host Rochelle’s blog here.
Image courtesy of Kent Bonham
‘Because I straighten your boots when you sling them on the mat?’ She was crying.
‘It’s not just that. You’re endlessly plumping cushions. Making the bed as soon as I get up to make tea. You live your life by hospital corners and I can’t live like that.’
I didn’t look back once as I left.
Now, I throw open the door of my cold bedsit which doesn’t feel like home and kick off my boots. I hesitate. Bend down and place them neatly together. I sink down on the sofa. I don’t have any cushions. But I don’t have her.
Hurrah – this week I finished my structural edits. I was stunned & delighted The Surrogate reached the top 40 in the UK Amazon chart on preorders 3 months prior to publication. Thank you! You can read my ’15 stages you go through with a structural edit’ post here. I’ve also had an emotional week with a big change you can read about here.
‘Wonky Boots & Crumpled Sheets’ was written for Friday Fictioneers. A 100 word weekly story challenge inspired by a photo prompt. Join in over at host Rochelle’s blog here. (For all my US friends who might not understand the connection the first thing I noticed was the car boot which I think you call a trunk over there?)
Image courtesy of Janet Webb
If I could make a wish it would be for one thing but how can I when I know she’d wish for the same thing too? I thread my fingers through hers. It’s ridiculous but I’m almost hoping for bad news for myself. There’s a one in four chance of making it and my rational self tells me if I am the lucky one it doesn’t necessarily make her the unlucky one but still. How could I live with myself?
The door begins to open and I squeeze her hand. This is it. Good or bad. Life will never be the same again.
This Sunday 17th, I’ll be talking live over on Facebook at 8pm GMT about writing, editing and getting published. I’d love it if you could come and join me or pop over and post a question and I’ll make sure I answer it. Join The Fiction Cafe here to post questions & view the live stream or watch on catch up.
‘The Lucky One’ was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 word story challenge inspired by a photo prompt. Check out the other entries at host Rochelle’s blog here.
Image courtesy of Claire Sheldon
My euphoria regarding the future was tinged with sadness as I emptied my locker. It was the end of an era. The corridor was devoid of students but was jammed full of memories. Me and Lisa shuffling along, heads down, new school shoes squeaking on the lino during our first day at this school that felt a world apart from our small, safe, primary. On my way to find Lisa, I pressed the corner of the West Side Story poster back down that was hanging off the wall.
Lost in my memories it happened in an instant. My back slamming against the lockers, hands around my throat.
In celebration of the weekend cover reveal for my third novel, The Surrogate, I thought I’d use an excerpt from the chapter I am currently editing which fits perfectly with this week’s prompt. If you wish to do so you can pre-order The Surrogate in the UK here and the US here prior to its September release.
You can join in with Friday Fictioneers, a 100 word story inspired by a photo prompt, over at host Rochelle’s blog, here.