Image courtesy of Douglas M. MacIlroy
I’m free and yet I’m not. Not in a cage but still trapped by bars of my own making, but they bring me comfort, these bars. They keep me safe. They stop me flying because if I were to flutter my wings where would I go? Who would I be? What’s to stop me falling? The world is so huge and I feel so small. So insignificant.
I screw my eyes up tight, blocking the voices telling me I can, my own telling me I can’t. I try. There’s a shift. A movement and then it happens. I’m rising, soaring, flying. Free.
How joyous I was when I saw this perfect prompt. This weekend I conquered a lifelong phobia of public speaking and appeared at the Althorp Literary Festival. You can read how I got on here and see the photos.
Yesterday I had a great time on the radio chatting about Friday Fictioneers, the way it’s helped me tighten my writing and my love for the WordPress writing community. You can listen to that here.
Soaring High was written for Friday Fictoneers. A weekly 100 word story challenge inspired by a photo prompt. Read the other entries and join in over at host Rochelle’s blog 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.
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 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 © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
I’m broken. Exhausted. Afraid. The stench of my fear is cloying, catching in my throat. The ties binding my wrists slicing deep into my flesh.
Pain. So much pain.
The shutter rattles. He’s back. I curl into a ball as though I can fold myself away.
‘It’s time.’ He drags me outside. The brightness of the sun burns my eyes.
‘Please, Sir.’ A little girl holds out a coin to the man. ‘Can I have a photo with your monkey?’
I plead with her with my eyes – save me. She doesn’t listen. No-one ever does.
She strokes my matted fur so gently I want to weep.
Huge apologies for not getting around to everyone’s story last week – I usually do try. Finishing the draft of book 3 took longer than expected (doesn’t it always!) but it’s off with my agent now so I get a few days rest – hurrah!
‘Broken’ was written for Friday Fictioneers. A 100 word story inspired by a photo prompt. You can join in over at host, Rochelle’s blog, here.
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 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.