Image courtesy of Roger Bultot
Nothing. I’ve nothing except dust and junk. Mama’s attic virtually bare now. Opening the last box, I’m hit by colour and memories as vibrant as the shimmering material I find myself clutching to my chest, which aches with longing.
‘Do you have to go?’ I’d asked.
‘It’s how we’ll make our fortune.’ Mama kissed my nose as she set off for another long shift, sewing clothes for the ungrateful jewellery maker’s wife.
I lift the dress to the light. It’s heavy. Surely too heavy? The sparkles too bright to be fake?
I remember the headline ‘Missing diamond mystery.’
Perhaps I have something after all.
Happy New Year! Tomorrow, Thursday 4th January, at 19.30 GMT I’m live on the Facebook Group Crime Book Club, answering questions about writing, publishing and books as well as discussing my latest novel, The Surrogate. Whether you’re a reader or writer do pop over and join me if you can. You’ll need to join the group first here.
Diamonds & Dust was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 words story challenge inspired by a photo prompt and hosted by Rochelle. You can read the other entries here.
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 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 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.
Image courtesy of Shaktiki Sharma
‘Dan said ‘I’m going to give Stella the sack.’ Hilda relayed.
Stella’s throat burned hot. How could he? Today? It’s 30 years since she started here. Not that anyone remembered. She’d helped his wife arrange a birthday party for him too.
Stella fired off an email telling her boss everyone called him fish breath behind his back. She pressed send and gathered her belongings and her dignity, and stood.
‘Not going anywhere, Stella?’ Dan carried in a cake. Thirty candles flickering. ‘I said this morning I’m going to get you back for the party and surprise you!’
‘Sorry,’ mouthed Hilda. ‘Misheard.’
This week my sister asked for a more lighthearted story and as it’s International Women’s Day and she’s the strongest woman I know I had to step outside my comfort zone and give it a go.
Big thanks to everyone who has read, reviewed and recommended The Sister. Yesterday my publisher rang to congratulate me on half a million sales. You can read the first thought that popped into my head here. World Book Day was another step outside my comfort zone. An introverted writer giving a talk to 250 kids. What could possibly go wrong? I blogged about that here.
‘Act in haste’ was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 word story challenge inspired by a photo prompt and organised by Rochelle.
Image © Rochelle Wisoff-Field
Elsa dabbed the cotton wool against Edward’s leg. It came away crimson.
‘I’m sorry,’ she whispered. ‘It doesn’t look good.’ She reached into her case and pulled out a bandage.
‘Elsa! Why aren’t you eating your chips and why has Teddy got ketchup over his leg?’ Elsa’s mum swiped the bear and began to sponge his fur.
‘He ranned out in front of a car, Mummy, just like me.’
‘Let’s get you both cleaned up.’ Elsa’s mum’s knuckles bleached white as she gripped the handles of Elsa’s wheelchair and pushed her out of the kitchen.
She wouldn’t cry again. She’d run out of tears.
Yesterday I wrote a post on the 15 stages we go through when writing a first draft – no wonder writers are often exhausted! You can read the post here.
‘Can’t you kiss it better?’ Was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 word story challenge inspired by a photo prompt. Hop over to Rochelle’s blog for instructions on how to join in.