Flash Fiction – We stand together

Image © J Hardy Carroll

 

My feet crunch on broken glass, tears rising quickly.

‘Why…’ I begin, but the choke in my throat holds back the rest of my words.

Afternoon sunshine streams through the window, the upended tables and chairs brushed bronze, shards of glass glint gold.

The air is heavy with dust. With loss. But underneath there is something else. Love. We fall silently into our roles, a human chain, stronger together, clearing out the rubble. At first I think nothing is salvageable but then I realise there is. Amongst the splinters of wood, the twisted metal, it is there. A tiny kernel of hope.

We stand together.

 

‘We stand together’ was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 word story challenge inspired by a photo prompt. This week’s prompt is topical as we all try to make sense of the senseless. My heartfelt condolences for everyone affected by the atrocities in Manchester.

Join in with the challenge over at host Rochelle’s blog here.

Flash Fiction – One day…

Image courtesy of Sandra Crook

‘Writing’s a dead end job.’ The careers advisor had said. Even now, I remember the heavy feeling in my stomach as my hopes sank.

I straighten the stack of paperbacks on the table. Check there’s a spare pen.

‘There’s no money in books.’ She had said and I wish she could see me now, sitting under the ‘Bestsellers’ sign.

Outside, the queue snakes around the corner. It’s nearly time.

‘Lisa, have you finished?’ My manager snaps. ‘The author will be here in a minute.’

I scuttle back to my place behind the till, wishing again I hadn’t given up so easily.

 

My careers advisor told me writing wasn’t a viable career and sadly I listened to her and for 25 years I pushed my dreams to one side. Thankfully, in my 40’s I decided to try and write a novel and am still stunned that my first two books, The Sister and The Gift, have both been International No.1 Bestsellers, selling over 750,000 copies. It’s never too late!

‘One Day’ was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 word story challenge, inspired by a photo prompt. You can join in over at Rochelle’s blog, here

 

 

Flash Fiction – Unbearable

Image courtesy of Liz Young.

 

‘I’m dying.’ Panic builds.

‘Shh. You’re not. I won’t let you.’ He tightens his grip on my hand and I remember the first time he laced his fingers through mine. We had picnicked under the sunflower sun, the smell of cut grass drifting through the breeze. Now it’s the stench of hospitals that sticks in my throat. Dettol and decay.

‘I want to die.’ I can’t bear the pain anymore.

‘You said that last time you gave birth but it was worth it afterwards when you held our baby, remember? Midwife says not long now. Relax.’

‘Relax?’ Bastard. I hate you.’

 

I missed last week’s Friday Fictioneers. I was trying to juggle the school holidays with finishing the first draft of book 3, but the end is in sight! I also took part in a local library incentive which made me cry, which you can read about here

I’ve tried to keep this week’s story lighthearted. I’m sure from the prompt there will be many entries bringing a lump to the throat. ‘Unbearable’ was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 word story challenge, hosted by Rochelle, inspired by a photo prompt. 

Supporting my local library (aka crying in public)…

There’s nothing I love more than getting out and meeting readers so it was a real privilege to be invited to Corby Library for the launch of their Reading Ahead Challenge.

This is the first year Corby has taken part in this challenge although lots of other libraries in the country already take part. The scheme is designed to encourage more people to read. When you sign up you get a card where you keep track of your next six reads (or listen if you prefer audio books). There is a get together each month where you can talk books with like-minded people in your local community and at the end you get a certificate. Although today was the official launch you have between now and October to join in. I met some lovely people including some writers and their passion for books has inspired me to come home and do some work to my own manuscript.

Libraries have always been a huge part of my life. From my primary school who let me borrow far more than the one allocated book per week, to my village librarian who joked when I told her I had exhausted all of their stock that I should write my own book (I went home and started The Sister). I’ve many fond memories of visiting the big town library with my own mum, touching the books, taking ages to choose the ones I wanted, and then taking my own children to pick their bedtime stories.

I was overcome with emotion when today I saw The Sister on a library shelf for the very first time and was told how popular it is, along with The Gift. This has definitely been one of my highlights of being published and I found the thought of library users choosing my book to take home incredibly overwhelming. Luckily before I could shed too many tears at the enormity of it all the cake was brought out and I had to compose myself. After all it would have been rude not to have a slice (or three) wouldn’t it?

You can find out more about the Reading Ahead Challenge here.

Don’t go out there – #flashfiction

Image courtesy of Jellico’s Stationhouse

 

The back door creaked open. I shouldn’t go. But the thought of Jake waiting for me at the park pulled me. I shivered and it wasn’t the middle-of -the-night-chill but the anticipation of Jake’s hands heating me.

I wheeled my bike down the side of the house. Paused as the latch on the gate squeaked open. It wasn’t too late. I could go back to bed but my feet carried me forward. I pedalled as fast as I could. I pedalled so fast my dad’s warning words couldn’t catch me ‘there’s a killer out there.

I didn’t care.

I was in love.

 

A super busy week with a deadline looming and the school on their Easter holiday but when I saw the prompt it fitted perfectly with a paragraph I’ve just written for book 3 soI couldn’t resist using this excerpt.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly 100 word challenge inspired by a photo prompt and hosted by the fabulous Rochelle

My first foreign editions (aka we haven’t run out of peanut butter)

I was bleary-eyed when I answered the door to the postman this morning and took in a parcel. I couldn’t remember ordering anything, although admittedly I have been known to 1-click on Amazon and wipe it instantly from my mind. Half-asleep I opened the box and I think I must have screamed because the spaniel rushed out of the kitchen with her paws over her ears and my husband rushed in.

‘What’s wrong?’ he shouted, a panicked expression on his face as he looked for signs of injury/electrocution/flood. ‘This isn’t because we’ve run out of peanut butter is it?’ Luckily for him I was too excited to be offended that he thinks I am such a drama queen. In the box was books! My books! My first ever foreign editions and suddenly I was overcome with tears. A little over a year ago I’d almost lost hope of ever holding a paperback in English. The thought I might one day be published in other languages had genuinely never occurred to me.

This Polish edition is gorgeous, shiny and embossed. Crammed full of words I do not understand but I wrote those words and the realisation that around the world readers are getting to know Grace and Charlie is such a humbling feeling. There are many more foreign editions to come and I hope this sense of excitement, this sense of wonder, stays with me for each and every one. And just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better I also found a new jar of peanut butter in the back of the cupboard. Hurrah. Celebratory toast was eaten by all.

The Dead Good Reader Awards are open for voting. By voting you could also win £200 worth of books. If you loved The Sister, and have a few seconds, I would massively appreciate a nomination in the Debut Category. You can vote here. Thanks. Louise x

Flash Fiction – Buttercups

Image courtesy of Jennifer Pendergast

 

You loved playing dress up, twirling in my far-too-large wedding dress until your heel caught in the lace and you tumbled onto the dried grass.

‘Mummy.’ Your lip trembled and I plucked a buttercup, shining gold in the sun, telling you it was a magic flower. All was well in your small world once more.

I blink. Somehow time has slipped passed. Weeks, months, years.

You rush towards me. This time it’s a gown and mortar board that swamps your still-small frame.

‘Mum!’ You’re nervous. I push a buttercup into your hand.

‘Collect your degree, darling.’

Your world is larger now, but I’m still here. Always.

 

‘Buttercups’ was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 word story challenge inspired by a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle