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Behind the door (Friday Fictioneers)

There was a light coming from under the bathroom door.

Thing was, I had turned it off.

And I live alone.

So who turned on the light?

I sat in the chair that I dragged around to face the door. I clutched a cricket bat tightly in my hands, and stared, unblinkingly, at the light. I’m not sure why I sat in the chair. I should have taken off, run away, called the cops.

I was waiting.

No noise came from the room beyond the door but the scent of strawberries danced in my nostrils.

*CREAK*

I raised the bat…

 

 

This is a Friday Fictioneers prompt

word count: 100

 

© 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.

Short and Sweet: My writer journey part five

Today is Friday Fictioneers day and it is as good a day as any to put together a post I’ve been planning for a while.

Writing to a prompt…Or… 100 word flash fiction.

 

I hear you now, ugh limiting my writing to 100 words? Hard? impossible? Why?

Ha! Writing short fiction is HARD, but it’s not impossible.

Why write a story in 100 words?

Well, I do it for three reasons.

One, its hard but its not impossible.

Two, its fun and the prompting community is fabulous! By joining in a flash fiction mob you not only meet some amazing writers but you get to read some amazing short pieces.

Three, it’s short… it (hopefully) doesn’t take you long to do, and it means you can post fairly regularly. A good thing for your readers. (Your readers might also thank you – short pieces are great to read when waiting for a bus/train/coffee/friend… etc).

 

So, how do I do it?

I, personally, love the 100 word prompts that are based on a photo. There are many prompt groups out there, some go off a sentence or even a single word. But for me, the visual image spurs my creative juices.

So, steps… Well…

I test myself. In both writing speed and the “flash” part of fiction… as in, What is the first thought that occurs to me when I see the prompt photo?

I give myself ten minutes (at most).

I look at the photo and let the first thought capture me. It might be an emotion, a concept, a piece of dialogue… Whatever it is, I just start writing… When I have a short piece – maybe two paragraphs I stop. Then I cut.

Everything that is extra such as dialogue tags I lose, movements or thoughts, and adjectives are easy to cut too. Be brutal. 100 is barely anything, you need to be tight, controlled and cut to the chase.

One hundred words limits what you can write. It will test you. I completely recommend it as a training ground. Trying to create a short piece that invokes an emotional response is hard! Especially when you hit 102 or 99 words. It does force you to really concentrate on your message. What is it you really want to say? Say it and move on.

I usually target an emotion or a moment in time. A snap shot if you will.

I try to have a beginning, middle and end, but given the limitations of word count sometimes its only a middle and end.

I don’t always have a full story. Sometimes my 100 words is a video clip of dialogue or a way of putting the reader into a moment of emotion or sensation. Hopefully I succeed, sometimes I don’t. But the great thing about a flash fiction community is that your readers WILL comment on your story if you generate a good response. So you will know pretty quickly if you have hit the mark or not.

And, it is quid pro quo… do comment on other pieces, especially if you enjoy them 🙂

Give it a go…

Enjoy the challenge.

It will make your writing sharper.

…and heighten your descriptive skills while training you to cut superfluous words.

I think my writing has improved since I started writing flash pieces several years ago.

If you want proof… Check out my Prompt tab on my blog… Friday Fictioneers is the mob I belong too. Jump in and have a read. The lovely Rochelle is our prompt master. It’s a great community. Enjoy reading. And don’t forget to comment. 🙂 I’ll have another prompt piece out tonight. Hang around…

 

Read part one

Part two
Part three
Part four

 

© 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.

I’ll always return (Friday Fictioneers)

The crackle of leaves beneath my feet reminds me of where I am. The smell of wet dirt and dogs, of rotting mulch lift my spirits like nothing else. It’s cool here beneath the canopy of green, dark in places where the wanning sun cannot reach.

It’s around here somewhere. You would think time would diminish the memories but they’re as clear as if the crash had happened yesterday.

That broken tree points the way. And there she is. My spaceship. I press my wrinkled hand against the side and blink back tears. Time may pass, but I’ll always remember.

 

 

This is a Friday Fictioneers prompt

Word count:

 

© 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.

#Pimpmybio #Pitchwars Laurie Bell – My bio

So I’m diving into PitchWars 2017 and thought I would get my bio up and popping… This year is an Adult Sci Fi titled White Fire.

Yeah, then I thought about it… What could I tell you about me?

Sit back, get comfy…

White Fire About

White Fire A taste

And the thing about White Fire is that I wrote the original draft when I was 17… a long long time ago.

A few years back, when I decided to push the writing thing, I pulled White Fire out of the dust and cobwebs congealing in my closest and you know what… it didn’t suck.

Then came all the rework.

 

So, now let me tell you a bit about me

These are the images I have been known by…

cartoonmeLaurie 3work two

I write science fiction and fantasy. These are my loves, they are what drive me on, they make me brilliant.

 

  1. I love books (literally… I have five bookshelves packed sideways to cram more in)

doctor

 

2. I love tv (yeah i could write a list, but then it would never end… if i had to pick some highlights… I can’t even…)

need to get out morein another galaxy

 

3. Movies too (if you want to talk Marvel… you had me at Marvel… )

I will work hard for you.

iron man

4. Chocolate. (nuff said.)  Happy

5. I have acted on stage (badly), sung in a concert (in front of people!), I have worked in theatre (behind the scenes) and even been an extra in a really dorky 5 min “how to” guide for a telephone company. I’ve written scripts, performed radio plays, directed grade one mini plays on fairytales. If I can give it a go, I will.2010_2Noises_DSC5224

YES… this is me.

 

How I work?

… Like a crazy person. I have no time yet I find time. I weirdly love the editing process, love making changes because changes make my words better, stronger and more brilliant. especially deep cuts. I have the BEST CP’s and Beta readers. Love to plot, plan crimes, and love to have mulitple characters in one room at one time.

plan b stargate

I’m all about Word. Love reviewer comments and track changes. If you have a good idea, I want… no… need to hear it. It might be way more awesome than what I was thinking of. (And I LOVE any and all grammar help! Line edits are my friend).

leverage

As an ex-teacher I have worked and read with children of all ages in the literary sphere. I am a Sci-Fi aficionado, and maintain an active blog of science fiction, fantasy, and flash fiction pieces, and volunteer as an Assistant Director in my local theatre company. I am published in several editions of the Antipodean SF E-Magazine www.antisf.com

 

So to wrap up… This is me…

I want to work with YOU…

Don’t say no…

my bad ncis vala

Check out all the other wonderful bios of #Pitchwars

Symbols (Friday Fictioneers)

 

“Why do they do it?”

I shrug. “It’s symbolic.”

“But, I mean, the flowers die after you chop them off. What does that symbolize. That we all die? What about when we gave them to Aunt Janet for her baby.”

“Dunno.”

“They make me sneeze.”

I snorted. His little nose turned red, his eyes watered and we placed bets on how many sneezes he’d make. It was hilarious.

“So why—“

“Jackie, I don’t know, aright? When they open the door just stay quiet.”

My collar’s too tight. I pull but it doesn’t loosen.

“I miss Granny.”

“Me too, Jack.”

 

This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt

Go here for more terrific 100 stories

Word Count: 100

 

 

© 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: Damnation by Peter McLean

Damnation by Peter McLean (A Burned Man Novel) Book three

About the book:

Don Drake is living rough in a sink estate on the outskirts of Edinburgh, doing cheap spells for even cheaper customers while fending off the local lowlifes. Six months ago, Don fled from London to Glasgow to track down his old girlfriend Debbie the alchemist. With the Burned Man gradually driving him mad, Don meets with an ancient and mysterious tramp-slash-magician, with disastrous consequences. Now his old accomplices must step in to save Don from himself, before he damns himself for good this time.

My thoughts:

Oh poor Don-boy. Just when you think things haven’t entirely gone to crap… Okay well, yes, Poor decisions thy name is Drake. To be fair, this time he IS trying to protect Trixie. From himself. Of course, she doesn’t need his help, or his protection. At least she doesn’t think so and her fiery blade does support that argument. In Damnation, Drake has run away from his new boss and his guardian, as well as the voice in his head. But running can never solve your problems, only delay the inevitable. And when Trixie finds him, Drake is going to need all the help he can get… Because his new boss wants him to do a job for her. And it’s one that he may very well have to refuse.

And no one refuses Her.

Book three continues Don Drake’s story into his own soul. Author Peter McLean has created such a detailed world and deep characterization that it takes no time at all to fall into Damnation and be carried down into the depths with Drake. The language is just a nasty as in the previous two books so if you are a little delicate perhaps think twice about reading, if however, you have no problem with rough and nasty language then dive right in. Peter has created such believable characters that it is easy to believe the magical underworld of London and Scotland truly do exist. A terrific story, one that I read in only a week. And I still love Trixie. She is such a fabulous secondary character. A foil to Drake in many ways, she could be his conscious if she could be bothered. I’m with her, TV and coffee in between beheading demons (not the cigarette’s though – that’s icky.)

All I can say is, there had better be a book four coming in the future!

 

You can read my Interview with the Author here

You can read my review of Book One Drake here

You can read my review of Book Two Dominion here

 

Author Interview: Lauren Lynne – The Recalcitrant Project

This is the ninth interview in my series of Author Interviews.

Pull up a chair, sit back and relax. Enjoy reading.

I am chatting again with Lauren Lynne, author of THE RECALCITRANT PROJECT

After madly searching my skin for scars that might indicate a chip insertion I huff out a heavy sigh and collapse back into my chair. “You’ve made me paranoid little lady,” I whisper while peering over my shoulder. I feel eyes staring at my neck… my skin is crawling.

Hi, Lauren, thank you so much for your time today, I love it whenever we get to catch up and chat books!

Me too, Laurie!  Thank you so much for having me over for a visit.

I love this book! Apologies, haha, but I might end up saying that a few times.

I’m so glad you liked it.  I love it when my crazy ideas resonate with readers!  Speaking of that, I can’t believe that I saw in the news just today (July 25, 2017) that a Swedish company is going to start putting a chip into the hand of their employees.  I guess my ideas are not so far-fetched.

I know… I am freaking out about that. *shoots another scatter-gun look over both shoulders* Tell me, what gave you the idea for The Recalcitrant Project?

I am always delighted to have a chat with you.  You want to know where I got my idea… well, we were getting ready for the next round of state testing at the school where I was teaching and I had a nightmare.  I got up in the middle of the night and started writing as fast as I could before those dream-fed ideas melted away like ice cream on a hot day.  Now the idea of chipping people was a cross between chipping animals and a scene I remember from Mission Impossible where an agent dies because a mini-explosive was implanted in her brain.  I may have the source wrong, but I can see the incident taking place in a helicopter and I swear I can see Tom Cruise in my mind.  It’s no lie when I say that everything I see, do, and experience may end up recycled in a book one day.

That’s fabulous, dreams are so great for inspiration. This book is such a departure from your Watcher Series, why did you want to write The Recalcitrant Project?

I had been thinking that, as much as I love my Secret Watchers characters, I wanted to show the world that I was more than just a one-trick pony.  I didn’t know if I could write a dystopian, but I sure wanted to try.  My nightmare motivated me.

Well you certainly proved that!! Your main character Elise is amazing… Strong, intelligent… Did you base her on anyone? What was your muse for her?

Back when I started The Recalcitrant Project, I knew it would be different.  My Secret Watchers characters are blends of people I know in real life and some bits are random thoughts about what I wished would have happened to characters in literature, film, and/or TV.  Elise is based on an actual person.  She is my oldest son’s ex-girlfriend.  This was done with her approval of course.  All of the awful things that happen to Elise, came right out of my mind and had nothing to do with the real life of my muse.  Elise does behave just as my muse would.  I’ve seen her in some tough situations and she has handled all of them with grace and spirit.  She is feisty, but she has a big heart.  I didn’t have the kind of courage and confidence that she has shown until I was into my thirties.

Me either. That’s why I love books like this. But poor Elise. She goes through so much in this book… such a powerful journey. What were your motivations for her, what did you want her to learn?

Wow, what a good question.  Elise begins the book in a mental state where she is basically going through the motions in her own life.  As events unfold, she finds the strength to look outside herself.  Elise also discovers that when we make a mistake, it is our job to help fix it. She is driven almost to the point of obsession to repair the damage she has inadvertently done.  She was tricked, but to her, it doesn’t matter; she will make it her mission to fight against injustice.  I wanted my readers to know that it isn’t always easy to do what’s right, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. When things go wrong; choose to go forwards.

Oh yes, what a fabulous message Lauren. In some ways, Elise is very innocent to start with… It is a hard lesson for her to learn and she suffers a great deal. Why did you need her to go through this fiery journey?

I believe that all of us go through journeys in our lives.  Some lessons cannot be learned without working through them.  I feel that characters are much more believable when they have to fight their way through something and not just start out being a super hero.  I think that we all grow in this way – Life throws something at us and we have to find the inner strength to keep going.  Sometimes we have to teach ourselves along the way because not every answer in life can simply be Googled or just given to us.  Sometimes we have to work for it!

The Recalcitrant Project has a strong theme of government oversight and what happens when too much power lands in the hands of a few. What made you want to tell this story?

Sometimes in our lives, we are in a place where we see things happening and we feel like we cannot do anything about it.  Many people have felt what it’s like to have someone else in control of something they were unwilling to give in to.  I mean when we board a commercial airliner, we understand that we aren’t going to get to fly the plane, but when something you take for granted is taken away, it hurts.  I think that we all have to be aware of what is going on around us and make informed decisions.  Each of us needs to do the best we can with the tools we are given.  Each of us has to know what we are willing to give up for what we really want.  In Elise’s world, money isn’t really a problem anymore.  Everyone works and everyone is provided for.  However, the flip-side is that to make that scenario work, there are now very few choices.

Kate, Reign, Malorie are all friends of Elise’s and all represent different emotional states for her (and different trials for her to go through). Tell me about them? What were your motivations for each?

Malorie is easy – she is the best friend, big sister figure that is there to support Elise.  Elise takes her for granted.  Malorie is also how she really first understands unconditional love. Elise knows that Malorie will always be there for her and she will fight back and stand up for herself and what she thinks is right, just like family.  Kate is someone who Elise does not know if she can trust in the beginning, but as time goes by she almost sees an older version of herself. Kate is someone who has struggled and survived, fighting for what she believed was right, even if it cost her. Kate becomes someone Elise looks up to and even admires as she struggles with the results of the choices she has made in her life.

Reign is nearly the opposite of Malorie.  Reign is tough.  She has been through an even worse crucible than Elise goes through in The Recalcitrant Project.  She is the most broken character I have ever written.  I struggled with her, trying to make her mysterious, brave, and edgy without making her seem mean.  Reign has lost the broad picture and has a very limited view of the world.  She knows what will happen next but she has not planned into what will happen after her current mission.  Elise admires her and is more than a little afraid of her at the same time.

Bren, tell me about him?

I don’t think I am alone in wishing for someone to take care of me in the best way always.  Bren is that dream.  He is part Disney prince and part real person.  He is intelligent and caring.  He can also see past Elise’s exterior and respects what he sees beneath.  Bren is the “go to” guy – if you need something done, he will figure out how to do it. Bren is older than Elise and has a little more real world experience.  He is generally calm in a crisis and quick-witted.  Though he may be tough on the outside, he has a big generous loving heart that gets trampled a few times.

Why is he such an important catalyst for Elise?

When Elise looks at Bren, she sees all the good in the world – she sees hard-working, dedicated, loyal, kind… you know, someone with integrity.  She sees him as being so much more worthy than she perceives herself as being.

The Prison? Can you tell me a bit about that? How did you come up with that as a setting idea? Did you do any research?

I have a relative who works in corrections.  He inspired me and I did some research.  I knew that I wanted to move the prison East to where it is drier and more desserty and away from the moist, green, lush Pacific Northwest.  Elise’s life is in contrast and so is the environment.  Sounds like a good story guide question doesn’t it?

Is there a book two planned (please pretty please say it’s true)?

When I first wrote The Recalcitrant Project, I thought it would be a standalone book.  As I worked through it, I began to feel like I should leave open the possibility of continuing on.  My publisher, being smarter than I am, talked to me while The Recalcitrant Project was being edited and told me I had to write another one.  Okay, honestly, he asked me very nicely!  My brain has been churning ever since and I did start a book two manuscript.  I have no idea what the release date will be at this time.  I am working on other story ideas too.

Tell me about your fabulous publisher?

Fabulous is a wonderful word for Wyvern’s Peak.  They have been very good to me.  I feel like I have reached out to a friend for help and have gotten more than I expected in return.  So far this is a great relationship and I look forward to many years to come.

When is it due and what is your main theme for Book Two?

I do not have a release date of any kind, like I said, but I am working on it as fast as I can.  I work a day job and take care of my family.  One day I will be a full-time writer, I’m just not there quite yet.

How do you come up with your ideas?

I get my ideas from everywhere.  No, really!  I’ve been known to make a note about a scene or the way someone says something while watching TV or reading.  I have been known to take notes the moment I leave the movie theater and in real life.  “Wait, say that again… can I write that down?”  I have endured many eye rolls and every one of them was worth it!  My writing flows from my imagination and my experiences.

Hahahaha, oh yes, I hear that! What messages do you want the Young Adult readers to take away from reading The Recalcitrant Project?

To young people, I would ask that they try to be their best selves every day.  Make good choices, but if you make a bad one – do what you can to fix it.  Learn from your mistakes and make a better choice next time.  I believe in you!

What about their parents?

For parents, I think that it is important to know that our children are watching us, so please be the best example you can be. Do what you can to teach your kiddos because one day you won’t be here anymore and all those lessons you passes on will be so very important.

I think reading is the most important skill we can teach children. I am always harping on about it to anyone who will listen.

Agreed and good for you!!!  There is a saying that a man who does not read lives one life, but a man who reads lives many.  I’m sorry I don’t know the source. I think it must be extremely difficult to function in today’s world without being able to read.  You can read for fun and you can learn.  I cannot imagine my life without reading.  My parents read and my children read.  I’m not teaching this year, but when I do, no matter the grade, I love to read to students for so many reasons.  Most of all I read to young people because I want to share my love of the written word.

What do you want the YA audience to know about your books?

Well, friends, know that I am a mom and a certified teacher of young people from age three to eighteen, so of course, there are life lessons embedded in my books.  I just can’t help myself.

Do you have any other new works in progress?

Oh my goodness, yes!  You’ve heard of “crazy cat ladies,” well, I’ve become the crazy story lady.  I have all kinds of books in various stages of completion on my computer. They are all for children and young adults or at the very least the young at heart.

Wooooooooooo, I for one, can’t wait! You self-published your first series. Can you tell me why you chose a publisher for The Recalcitrant Project?

In a word, Marketing. We all have things that we are good at and are willing to learn.  Marketing is not my gift and it does not hold my interest.  Some would say it should.  My argument is that there are only so many hours in the day and truly, I’d rather spend them writing. BookBaby is a good outfit.  They now offer marketing plans; I just knew that it was time for me to try something different and I wanted something more personal and face-to-face.

Any advice for writers in general?

My number one tip is to carry a little notebook wherever you go.  I also know that anything you practice, you get better at – so write!  I am also a teacher so I have to plug education.  Don’t be afraid to read a book or take a class to learn more about what you love.  Folks are welcome to visit my website where I have more tips, but in reality, I’m only an expert on me. If I can help someone else to be a better writer, I’m happy to share.

Thank you so much for your time again, Lauren. I love The Recalcitrant Project! 

Thank you, Laurie!  I so enjoy hanging out with you and I’m so glad you loved the book.  I also know that readers will be clamoring for what you have in the pipeline.  It’s fun to be in on a secret now and again – I look forward to when I can officially share yours!

Ooooooo *blushes* I sure hope so! and you bet… because I love talking to you… and want more. So, keep writing my friend.

Why is my skin so itchy around my hip… oh no… Where is that computer chip scanner? Eeeeeppppp

 

If you haven’t read any of Lauren’s work I ask you WHY NOT?

Go get some today. – To read my review – go here

 

Books by Lauren Lynne, young adult author.
The Secret Watchers series – Visions, Whispers, Insights, Perceptions, and Destiny – available now at BookBaby, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBookStore, Kobo, Copia, eSentral, Scribd, Gardners, Baker & Taylor, and more!
Get your copy today!
Signed copies available at http://TheSecretWatchers.com and http://LaurenLynneAuthor.com

Twitter @LLynneAuthor

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