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A Curious Request by Laurie Bell – Etherea Magazine #6 NEW FLASH FICTION PUBLISHED

Hi there fabulous readers

I have a new flash fiction short story published! It’s called A Curious Request and it appears in the January 2022 edition of Etherea Magazine.

If you have not subscribed to this terrific speculative fiction magazine – you should get on that ASAP!

And check out that Cover artwork for A Curious Request! *star eyes emoji*

A moment to reflect (Friday Fictioneers)

PHOTO PROMPT © Bradley Harris

Sitting here, on another planet, I stare in awe as a sun I’ve never known peeks above the horizon. Our arrival was in the middle of this world’s night. Unrecognizable stars led our way into the city centre where we were welcomed as members of the new workforce, our visas stamped and our identities confirmed. After I got my assigned bunk and met my new family I took the walk signposted by the locals to the cliff top. I now listen to an unfamiliar ocean kiss the shore. The sound is the same yet so different. I’m glad I came.

This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt

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Word count: 100

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© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

Review: Social Queue by Kat Kerr

About the book:

I thought I was nobody’s teen crush, but turns out I was just missing the signs.

Zoe Kelly is starting a new phase of her life. High school was a mess of bullying and autistic masking that left her burnt out and shut down. Now, with an internship at an online media company—the first step on the road to her dream writing career—she is ready to reinvent herself. But she didn’t count on returning to her awkward and all-too-recent high-school experiences for her first writing assignment.

When her piece, about her non-existent dating life, goes viral, eighteen-year-old Zoe is overwhelmed and more than a little surprised by the response. But, with a deadline and a list of romantic contenders from the past to reconnect with for her piece on dating, she is hoping one of her old sparks will turn into a new flame.

Social Queue is a funny and heart-warming autistic story about deciphering the confusing signals of attraction and navigating a path to love.

My Thoughts:

Oh Oh Oh I enjoyed this read so much! If you are in the mood for a cute romantic comedic coming of age tale with lots of heart, misunderstandings and friendship drama then read this one immediately. Zoe is a young woman writing her first article for her internship at a online media company. She’s eighteen, just out of school and recreating herself after a rough final few years of high school. This time she will show the world who she is and her brilliant idea for her first story – writing about her non-existent love life gets all the attention it deserves. A series of follow-up pieces are suggested when she is inundated with comments from a number of fans suggesting she might have missed their signs of romantic admiration. This is a story that has ALL the feels as Zoe goes on a few dates with these admirers to see if she did indeed miss a connection or two.

Zoe is negotiating her autistic needs within a society not set up to handle such requirements. Her lessons on disability awareness and language use in the media are absolutely needed and deftly handled. Zoe is also redefining her relationships with friends, family and work colleagues as she blossoms into adulthood. But Zoe’s sweet heart is at the forefront of this adorable remeet-cute story. You will cheer her on, get angry on her behalf and melt with her when she discovers romantic love for the first time. A terrific story that left me smiling for the rest of the day. If you need a pick me up, read this fabulous book by Australian Author Kay Kerr.

A alien heist (Friday Fictioneers)

PHOTO PROMPT © Brenda Cox

The image took up an entire wall. “And this is a typical representation of how the humans recreated images by hand of their natural flora.” The tour guide’s waffle fades as she continues down the hall. Now is our chance. Jill leans against the door, I hover in front of her blocking any sight of her nimble fingers manipulating the lock with her magic.

“Can you believe that’s how they talk about us?” I huff.

“Kel, shut up. We must focus on recovering our timeship.”

“But doesn’t it infuriate you?”

The door pops open. “Of course.” She yanks me inside.

This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt

You can read more FF prompt responses here

Word Count: 100

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© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

Earth night remembered (Friday Fictioneers)

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

“What are you doing with that?”

“It’s a planetary tradition. Burning the tree a week after the day of celebration.”

“Are you sure that’s right?”

“Oh yeah. My ma’s grand ma was on the last ship off Earth.”

“I still don’t think that’s right.”

“Just don’t drop that end. Come on. The pyre is up ahead.”

“So it just burns?”

“Sends sparks into the night air. Everyone then stands still to watch the sparks rise and disappear.”

“Weird.”

“You’ve got the bottles, right?”

“That’s the part I do enjoy.”

“Prepare to scull the entire bottle at midnight. And holler. Loud.”

This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt

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Word Count: 100

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© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

Family History (Friday Fictioneers)

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

As the lights disappear into the distance behind me, I let out a sigh. No blood spilt this year. Not bad considering it was a full moon only a week ago. I never wanted to be one of them. I guess you can run but what you are will always win out. Hereditary. My nails are still blunt. That’s something. The change hasn’t happened yet. My taste for raw meat is growing stronger. I eye the driver, notice the vein in his neck and direct him to drive via the alley up ahead. I clamp my eyes shut, growling softly.

This is a Friday Fictioneers prompt

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Word Count: 100

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© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

When you close your eyes (Friday Fictionees)

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The noise coming from the wine cellar pounded in time with her heart. Raucous cheers, whistles, thumping boots upon the wood floor. Mollie’s was pumping, and she was late. As she entered the cheers grew louder. “Bout time girl” was shouted her way by more than one drunken soldier. She threw various hand signals back garnering further laughter. A foaming drink was poured and jammed into her hand before she could blink. She slammed it back. “Another!” she shouted.

The jocularity hid their pain. Flashes of the battleground, blood and vacant eyes appeared every time she closed her eyes. “Another!”

This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt

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Word count: 100

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© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

Review: A Winter’s Promise (The Mirror Visitor Book 1) by Christelle Dabos

Translation by Hildegarde Serle

About the Book:

Long ago, following a cataclysm called “The Rupture,” the world was shattered into many floating celestial islands. Known now as Arks, each has developed in distinct ways; each seems to possess its own unique relationship to time, such that nowadays vastly different worlds exist, together but apart. And over all of the Arks the spirit of an omnipotent ancestor abides.

Ophelia lives on Anima, an ark where objects have souls. Beneath her worn scarf and thick glasses, the young girl hides the ability to read and communicate with the souls of objects, and the power to travel through mirrors. Her peaceful existence on the Ark of Anima is disrupted when she is promised in marriage to Thorn, from the powerful Dragon clan. Ophelia must leave her family and follow her fiancée to the floating capital on the distant Ark of the Pole. Why has she been chosen? Why must she hide her true identity? Though she doesn’t know it yet, she has become a pawn in a deadly plot. 

My Thoughts:

This is a fantastic read. If you are looking for a new fantasy series to read over the holiday period I definitely recommend this one. The world building is unique and oh so clever. The world is made of Arks -magical celestial islands – the only places that survived The Rupture. Ophelia is a thorn in her family’s side. She lives on Anima and communicates with the souls of objects. She enjoys the peace of her family archives and cataloguing the objects within the archive. She also has the ability to travel through mirrors and possesses a rather judgey scarf. The mirror trick is a handy power to have when you are avoiding your mother and her machinations to get you married. Ophelia has already rejected two, and her mother is at her wits end. Can Ophelia help it if she prefers her own company? Her mother settles the matter by promising Ophelia to a man of another Ark. Ophelia is devastated. Her little world has been upended. Still, she must make the best of it. Her fiancé Thorn is a surprise. He’s certainly not what she imagined. Now Ophelia is stuck on a distance unforgiving Ark where she is the pawn in a dangerous game of power and politics. Ophelia is not cut out for this. How will she survive?

This is a brilliant book one of a captivating series. If you enjoyed Harry Potter or Nevermoor, you must read this – it will become your next obsessive read. The voice in this text is charming. The worldbuilding is spectacular and highly original, and the story delightful. The magic is strangely believable and Ophelia is the perfect lead character – a small, mousey, introvert who can travel through mirrors and read the soul of inanimate objects. She is exactly the kind of character you would underestimate, and thus makes for an unexpected heroine of a political intrigue and mystery. I think that is Ophelia’s biggest power – she is exceedingly clever and can remain unseen in a sea of people. The Mirror Visitor Series is a world you’ll wish never to leave. If Harry Potter was crossed with Game of Thrones this would be that story. Read it now.

Review: Unlock the Angel (Seraphim Angel Order #1) by Calla Zae

About the Book:

His heart is engulfed with the dark… but for her, it awakens with light.

Disheartened with relationships, Cathy Lu concentrates on her career. But the magic around the August Full Moon lures her to a stunning angel who illuminates her desires in a way that makes her wonder if everything is just an illusion.

As a seraph bound to blood, death, and responsibility, Daedriel has never had a long-term lover. But one kiss from Cathy unlocks everything for him, making him want the forever.

Can he keep her safe while evil swarms around them? Or should he keep her away from him, away from all the darkness that threatens him?

My thoughts:

Another great romance from Calla Zae. This one is a little bit of heaven on Earth. Human Cathy is recovering from a bad relationship. She’s growing to enjoy her independence and is building her own home extension while planning for the August Moon celebration. Along comes an angelic carpenter to help her out. And Angel in a toolbelt? Hello. Daedriel offers to assist with the build but Cathy’s wanting him to assist with other activities! Daedriel can’t stop thinking about Cathy either. But he’s in town on a mission to fight a growing darkness and hunting for a dangerous criminal on the run. When the darkness comes for Cathy can Daedriel save her and the earth while not losing his heart?

And my gosh, the food! I was growing hungry while reading Calla Zae’s descriptions of Cathy’s her moon cakes, let alone her planned dinner for her Angel. Yum. And then there is a touch of pole dancing! Calla Zae has a way of sucking you into her stories. A fun holiday read.

Spare Parts (Friday Fictioneers)

PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Claire Fuller

“The people of this planet sure look funny.”

“That’s a sign. The people here don’t look like that.”

“Are you sure?”

“… reasonably? Never mind. We should find the part we need in this junkpile.”

“You didn’t purchase extra filters and exhaust at our last Hop and Stop?”

“How was I to know it’d pop a seam as we dropped to our landing struts.”

“A visual inspection?”

“Oh very funny.”

“Dear, what is that sound?”

“Ah, that’s a four legged Long Snout. The bark is considered fear inducing but not fatal.”

“It’s awfully fast. And loud. We should run.”

“Yup.”

This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt

You can read more FF prompt responses here. Have a read.

Word Count: 100

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© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

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