Flash Fiction – An excerpt from The Surrogate!

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

Authors for Grenfell – Signed & dedicated copies of The Sister & The Gift

 

I don’t have to describe my distress as I watched the horror unfold at Grenfell Tower. I don’t have to describe the desperate feeling of wanting to help and not quite knowing how to. You probably felt the same.

If you haven’t already heard about Authors for Grenfell Tower it’s an online auction raising money for the British Red Cross London Fire Relief Fund, for residents affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

Around 1:00 a.m. on 14 June 2017, a fire in this residential tower block in west London spread to engulf the entire building. Despite the heroic efforts of the fire service, all 120 flats in the building have been destroyed. The death toll stands at 58 and is expected to rise. Survivors have lost their homes, lost everything, and gone through unimaginable trauma.

There’s lots of incredible donations on this site already. I’ve bid on numerous books as well as donating copies of The Sister and The Gift which I will dedicate and sign to the winning bidder (you can bid for those here). Along with books there are numerous agents and editors offering manuscript and submission package critiques and offers of Skype mentoring sessions. You can check out the full list of items for auction here.

Winning auction bids will be paid directly to the British Red Cross’s relief fund for Grenfell Tower residents and neighbours:

“The charity has been asked by Kensington and Chelsea council to help co-ordinate fundraising in an appeal to support the residents and neighbours of the Grenfell Tower.

Money will be given to people affected by the fire, including those who have lost everything, to buy the things they need to give themselves and their families as much normality as they can get at this extraordinarily difficult time. 

By donating to the London Fire Relief Fund people will be able to help those who have been injured, bereaved, left destitute or traumatised by this tragedy.”

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. 

Flash Fiction – Can’t you kiss it better?

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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. 

Flash Fiction – Be careful what you wish for…

january-snowfall-nighttime

Image courtesy of Sarah Potter

 

When I was 6, Papa gave me a snow globe and I longed to be the princess inside, adored by my forever prince.

Be careful what you wish for Mama used to say.

From the outside looking in my life is perfect but I’m lost. Alone. Afraid. I rest my bruised face against the window, wondering what mood my husband will be in tonight, wondering where it all went wrong. What I did wrong.

I could leave. Be free. But where would I go?

Be careful what you wish for.

Instead, I paint a smile onto my lips.

 

I can’t believe it has been a year since I signed my book deal! I wrote a post you can read here on whether the reality has lived up to the dream.

‘Be careful what you wish for,’ was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 word story challenge inspired by a photo prompt. You can read the other entries, or join in, over at host Rochelle’s blog here

 

Fancy a mentor? I’m now open for applications via The WoMentoring Project

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I always wanted to be a writer, but never had the opportunity to go to university, and every time I read a book I loved I would Google the author, reading interviews, and often they would say they had completed a degree in creative writing, or similar courses.

Later in life, I started looking into courses, but an accident left me with a disability, my business folded, and with three children to support I wasn’t able, physically or financially, to follow my dream.

When I first heard about The WoMentoring Project, a scheme offering free mentoring to up and coming female talent who otherwise might not be in a position to progress with their writing, I was hugely excited. Looking through the list of mentors I noticed Louise Walters, and having recently read her book Mrs Sinclair’s Suitcase, which I loved, I decided to apply. I was delighted when she accepted my application, and although the mentoring only took place for a few weeks, throughout that time my writing and my confidence flourished. You can read about mine and Louise’s first meeting here, and our follow-up meeting here.

It has now been 2 1/2 years since I was mentored, and during that time I have signed a 3 book deal, published my first two novels – The Sister and The Gift – both of which reached No.1 on Amazon UK, and Canada. I have sold over 750,000 books, and my stories have been sold to over 15 territories for translation. In 2016 I was nominated for The Goodreads Debut Author of the Year Award.

I owe a huge amount to the project, in particular Louise Walters. My time with her gave me a good grounding on how to structure a novel, and how a story should flow, and I really believe if it weren’t for the opportunity, my first novel would not have been of a high enough standard to be published and I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I am eternally grateful.

I am thrilled Kerry Hudson, the founder of this amazing project, has again accepted my application, but this time I am returning as a mentor. Paying it forward is something I strongly believe in and I feel privileged to now be in a position to give back.

If you are a female writer and feel you would benefit from mentoring, you can apply to me via the project. To see if we are a good fit you can read more about what I’m looking for here, and if you are writing outside my genre there are lots of other mentors available.

 

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Flash Fiction – BFF

al_forbes

Image courtesy of Al Forbes

 

‘We’ll be best friends forever won’t we?’ She asks, piercing the daisy stem with her thumbnail and threading another flower through. ‘Finished.’ She loops the chain around my neck and as she draws back and studies me, the scent of her lemon shampoo lingers. ‘You look beautiful,’ she says.

She races across the field, honey-hair shimmering in the sun, tanned arms pumping by her sides. My January-pale stumpy legs struggle to keep up.

I want to tell her she’s the one that’s beautiful but I’m just her best friend, and my heart aches as I know that’s all I’ll ever be.

 

Written for Friday Fictioneers. A 100 word story challenge inspired by a photo prompt (my story this week inspired by the BF on the numberplate). 

To read the other entries hop over to host Rochelle’s blog here.