A Deadly Substitution

 

“Your Majesty, I beseech you…”

“It is not your place,” the king continued rewrapping tampered-with food parcels. “I’m surprised it’s you who objects.”

“I live for the court,” the jester looked at his pointy shoes mumbling, “and this may bring the end of it.”

“What was that?”

Taking a deep breath, the jester lifted his head, bells on his hat jingling. “The commoners…they will revolt.”

“Nonsense!” The king’s face reddened, softened, and then he laughed. “Ah, another of your jokes.”

The jester cringed. “No joke, Your Majesty. Substituting carob for chocolate… It may be the end of the kingdom.”

 

 

The weekly 99-word Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch  

February 4, prompt: Substitution – In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that features a substitution. *Bonus points for fairy tale elements.

#BlogBattle is a monthly writing prompt for flash fiction/short stories hosted by Rachael Ritchey.

February Prompt: Revolution 

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“The End” #SoCS

 

I had just typed “The End”, not because I’d actually use that in my novel but because I wanted to see it. I wanted those two words to satisfy me in a stick-to-your-ribs kind of way. I’d finished. Done. Complete. 

Except, as I hit the “d”, my finger lingered over the key. I had a sinking feeling. Shit. What was that? Why? Where was the relief? The satisfaction?

There would be no pat on the back or job well done today because, whether I wanted to admit it or not, I knew what was happening. My story had just started. There’d be a lot of shredding going on today. Because “The End” was the beginning. 

 

 

 

 

Having a bit of fun playing in Linda G. Hill’s SoCS (Stream of Consciousness Saturday) prompt. No planning? No editing? Yes, please! 

This week’s prompt: Write about the beginning of something and the end of something. Bonus points if your first sentence contains “the end” and your last sentence contains “the beginning.” 

 

*No editing allowed in the #SoCS but, alas, there was a teensy bit. I cut out some of the curse words as I’m not sure they’re allowed (and there were more than a few). Jeepers, I didn’t think to ask that. Shame on me. I should know better. Because. Me. 🙂

Featured On the Reef ~ Sue Vincent @SCVincent

 

 

This is a special kind of feature not for a specific book but for a specific lady: Sue Vincent.

 

Featured

 

Sue Vincent

What to say…

A lot of people describe Sue in terms of her wonderful writing, her kind nature, and her larger-than-life online presence. These are all accurate. All true.

As a blogger, she is interesting, talented, prolific, and generous. A cornerstone of the blogosphere, you could say. I thought I’d only been following her blog a few years. Sounded about right. But time flies when you’re having fun.

I looked recently and realized I’d been participating in her #writephoto prompt since 2016. Written stories for her Ani’s Advent calendar each December since 2018. Had multiple guest posts on the Daily Echo. Not to mention the numerous posts, from both my sites, that she was nice enough to reblog. She has helped countless bloggers in this same way–promoting their work, sharing their posts, hosting opportunities to write.

I adore Sue’s #midnighthaiku (haiku combined with intriguing & gorgeous photographs–both her own). These are must-read, not-to-be-missed posts for me. They are my daily echoes of Sue. 💗

Beyond all that, though, I need to say this:

To me, Sue has always been a beautiful and wise old soul. I felt a connection to her straight away. A kindred spirit. She is an incredibly intuitive, compassionate, spiritual being. She is, basically, a Sue-shaped ball of light.

 

~~~

 

Sue is now dealing with lung cancer and, I daresay, she wouldn’t mind some love and support from the blogosphere she has given so much to.

You can read her latest post here.
(Please check this out. It may be her final post and it is gorgeous—full of gratitude and love.) 💗

 

Quick March update:
Sue has just published a collection of her Midnight Haiku! You can buy it here: Amazon US | Amazon UK 

You can read about Sue here and about her books here.

You can purchase her books here: 🙂

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Sue’s Links:

 

Websites: 

Daily Echo

France & Vincent

The Silent Eye

Author Page:

Amazon

Social Media:

Twitter

Facebook

On the Reef: The Shark’s Friday Feature (which is, obviously, not on Friday this time around)

Hidden Obstacle #WritePhoto

 

 

There was something behind the rock.

She hitched her bag back over her shoulder and stepped off the path. Hidden in the ferns, she had time to think. Was there another way to get to the hill? Could she wait it out? Should she confront it?

A million more questions plagued her, comforted her, kept her still in body, if not mind.

She was stuck in the safety of not moving on.

The rock was fairly small for a boulder in these parts, wasn’t it? Or was it large? She didn’t dare peek, relying on the accuracy of memory.

Fear danced with reality and the rock became a boulder, then three, then a wall. Late morning shadows stretched before her, creating shapes of all that the obstacle could be.

Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath, another, another… On opening them, she saw the dark shape of the ferns. Felt the fear of the woman waiting in them. She stepped out from behind the stone, reached out her hand, and walked with her to the hill.

 

 

Here is my attempt at #writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent. (So pleased Sue was feeling able to bring #writephoto back. Please do visit and write a little something.) 

 

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Light at the End of the Tunnel

 

There would be no escape.

That was it then. She’d gotten turned around somehow. Night clawed at her bare legs, ripped through her thin, cotton gown.

She’d never been afraid of the dark but, tonight, it had teeth. It chewed her psyche, swallowed her hope of leaving this place.

A spot of light caught her eye. The beam from a flashlight bobbed just beyond the gate. A hand stuck through the bars, dangling keys from its fingertips.

She ran to the light, laughing.

They’d catch her and she’d be back here but no matter. First, she’d have her revenge.

 

The weekly 99-word Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

 

January 21, prompt: Clichés – In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that rephrases: “light at the end of the tunnel”.

 

Freedom of Flight

 

She always knew she’d be the one to die.

Ever since she was a child, butterflies landed on the chains that bound her feet as she worked.

She stood with the others before the sacrificial stone. Stained with blood and carved with butterflies, it spoke to the village of fear. Freedom caught mid-flight.

Each girl’s hand held a slip of paper.

One after another, they faced the crowd, lifted their arms. One after another they displayed their papers. Blue ovals.

She unfolded her sheet. Blank.

Today, she would be the reminder. Although they had wings, they would never fly.

 

 

The weekly 99-word Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch  

January 7, prompt: Butterflies & Stones – In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about the contrasting prompts butterfly and stones. 🦋 

#BlogBattle is a monthly writing prompt for flash fiction/short stories hosted by Rachael Ritchey.

January Prompt: Blank 

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Lemon Queens

 

It’s because of my sister.

She got a Disney princess dress for Halloween two years ago. Now she wears that stupid costume, and crown, every day.

We’re the Lemond twins but, in our neighborhood, we’re known as the Lemon Queens. And it’s because of my sister. She turned a serious business into a joke. And I hate her.

After the cards, cakes, and casseroles stopped, I opened a lemonade stand. I made the drinks myself. People said it was tasty. It wasn’t. I smiled. They knew we needed money and I knew to be nice, so we both pretended.

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch 

August 27, prompt: Lemon Queen In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that features Lemon Queens. 🌻

 

 

When She Was in Danger

 

I wanted to be brave.

Not like heroes in fairy tales.

Not like that.

Just an ordinary courage that snuck in the drafty front window in our kitchen and found me in the midst of calamity.

But I froze. Mind blank.

For all the bravery I thought I possessed, that I claimed I would have, should the moment arise, I failed.

Whether it dissipated when need barked at it or I never had it to begin with, I was frozen in a time when she couldn’t respond and I wear that coldness like a lead vest. My badge of dishonor.

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch 

May 14, prompt: Danger In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that answers the question, “What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you are in absolute danger?

 

 

Nourishment

 

She felt magnolia petals falling on her grave.

Freshly dug, soil still loose, the mound surrounded by mourners, she heard crying. Noisy sniffles, gentle sobs, painful wails.

She shifted focus from those above her, fixing her mind on the tree. Its branches reached for her. This time of year, it offered pale pink flowers.

This time of year, it needed her most.

And every spring these coming years. Her body would nourish the magnolia roots and, in return, her grave would be speckled with velvet petals. Nourishment for her soul.

When the grieving left, she would dance in nature’s bouquet.

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch 

May 7, prompt: Nourish In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about something that nourishes/is being nourished.

 

 

Featured On the Reef ~ Graeme Cumming @GraemeCumming63

 

 

On the Reef is a series featuring fabulous indie authors from around the blogosphere and beyond. Titles, covers, and blurbs that catch my eye, new releases, great reads… Basically, authors I’d like to highlight and works I’d like to share with my fellow book-loving word nerds. Happy Reading!

 

New Release

 

Carrion by Graeme CummingCarrion

CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY. WORDS HAVE POWER.

A sheet of black filled his vision as hundreds of birds dived at the cottage, pointed beaks thrust forward. From this angle, he couldn’t see many of them striking it, but the few he did see held nothing back as they hammered into the shutter. The scale of the attack was beyond anything he’d seen or heard of. And bloodied casualties littered the ground: skulls shattered, wings broken, innards spilling from them. The fact that so many of them continued with the onslaught in spite of this filled him with even more dread.

Salin has always wanted an adventure and, when the opportunity presents itself, he grabs it with both hands, taking his friends along for the ride – whether they want to or not.

With strange lands come strange creatures that stand between them and their goal. And that goal is the same for someone else, a man who believes the prize is worth every sacrifice – especially when the sacrifices are made by others.

The future is about to change. But who for?

 

Available for preorder. Delivered to your kindle tomorrow, May 9th!

You can get your copy here: 🙂

Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

About Graeme:

Graeme Cumming is a child of the 60s and 70s, gifted with a vivid imagination and the ability to convert that to the written word. Put another way, he’s an author who yearns for his youth and draws inspiration from the books, movies and TV of those times.

He has written stories since his childhood, but by his own admission has allowed too many other factors to get in the way of taking it seriously until recent years.

His first novel, Ravens Gathering, is a blend of horror, fantasy and thriller and is available as an e-book. His second novel, Carrion, also promises to blend genres and is currently undergoing what he has termed “a final makeover”.

Having wasted too many years not writing, Graeme has said he plans to make up for lost time, so expect more to follow.

Website / Blog
Amazon Author Page

 

On the Reef: The Shark’s Friday Feature