Fruit Salad & Flash Fiction

 

A few years ago, Charli Mills decided to run a flash fiction challenge. People turned up at Carrot Ranch to pen a few words from a prompt. Practicing their craft, exercising their writing muscles, or just having fun.

The responses each week ranged from silly to deadly but always entertained and always told a tale in 99 words.

She had a vision to turn these 99-word tales into a collection from an international community.

The diversity and creativity of participants brought both beauty and complexity. A lot of tweaking, thinking, changing, and rearranging went into this collection. As editor, I had the privilege of participating behind-the-scenes to help create a unified, organized anthology of vastly different pieces by many different writers, all with their own unique style and voice.

Somehow, somewhere in the process, we turned this lovely bunch of writers into a lovely bowl of fruit. Strawberries, bananas, blackberries, and blueberries. Pineapple, kiwi, grapes, and tangerines. (It was quite a mix.)

These tasty treats needed a cohesive element to hold them together. I thought of how sweetened gelatin could suspend within it all sorts of fruits. And that is how I originally presented the ‘blueprints’ for the book. “Hey, Charli. It’s like…erm…a Jello fruit salad. You know what I mean?”

This fruity analogy has stayed with me.

Have you ever made Jello fruit salad? You have to find the right mix of fruit. Then, examine each piece to find the perfect selection. After that, you wash it and trim it. Finally, you add the colored, sugar gelatin. Voilà. A scrumptious dessert.

We worked hard. And I’m proud to share the fruits (and Jello) of our labor with you.

With over 30 writers whipping up flash, short stories, and essays, The Congress of Rough Writers: Volume 1 is a cornucopia of delights.

 

Huge thank you to all the anthology authors. For being a part of the writing community that Charli created and, ultimately, part of this anthology. By lending your voices, sharing your experiences, and penning great fiction, you have all made this book what it is. Rock on, fellow Rough Writers.

 

 

Where you can buy the book: 🙂

Congress of Rough Writers

Amazon Global Link

 

Where you can write some flash: 🙂

Carrot Ranch

 

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Featured On the Reef ~ Rough Writers Anthology

 

 

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!

 

Featured

 

The Congress of Rough Writers (Flash Fiction Anthology)

Volume 1

Witness great feats of literary art from daring writers around the world: stories crafted in 99 words.

Flash fiction is a literary prompt, form, and tool that unites writers in word play. This creative craft hones a writer’s skills to write tight stories and explore longer works. It’s literary art in thoughtful bites, and the collective stories in this anthology provide an entertaining read for busy modern readers.

Writers approach the prompts for their 99-word flash with creative diversity. Each of the twelve chapters in Part One features quick, thought-provoking flash fiction. Later sections include responses to a new flash fiction prompt, extended stories from the original 99-word format, and essays from memoir writers working in flash fiction. A final section includes tips on how to use flash fiction in classrooms, book clubs, and writers groups.

CarrotRanch.com is an online literary community where writers can practice craft the way musicians jam. Vol. 1 includes the earliest writings by these global literary artists at Carrot Ranch. Just as Buffalo Bill Cody once showcased the world’s most daring riding, this anthology highlights the best literary feats from The Congress of Rough Writers.

 

You can get your copy here: 🙂

Congress of Rough Writers

Amazon Global Link

 

Contributing Authors:

Charli Mills (Series Editor)

Sarah Brentyn (Editor) *

The Congress of the Rough Writers (contributors):

Anthony Amore, Georgia Bell, Sacha Black, Norah Colvin, Pete Fanning, C. Jai Ferry, Rebecca Glaessner, Anne Goodwin, Luccia Gray, Urszula Humienik, Ruchira Khanna, Larry LaForge, Geoff Le Pard, Jeanne Belisle Lombardo, Sherri Matthews, Allison Mills, Paula Moyer, JulesPaige, Amber Prince, Lisa Reiter, Ann Edall-Robson, Christina Rose, Roger Shipp, Kate Spencer, Sarah Unsicker, Irene Waters, Sarrah J.Woods, Susan Zutautas

 

* As editor of this anthology, I had the privilege of working with these amazing writers and helping shape this collection. 🙂


Enlightened #WritePhoto

 

 

I was alone.

My boots clicked on the stones. Ahead of me, a shape blurred and shifted. Behind me, another. But I didn’t look at either now. It wouldn’t change anything. They would still be there and I would still be alone.

The arch at the end of the walkway glowed with the promise of knowledge.

I wanted to run to it. I wanted to run from it.

With each step, I grew more uncertain. My thoughts a whirlpool.

Curious. Apathetic. Eager. Detached. Anxious. Calm.

Petrified.

I stopped. My body fought to escape its skin, pushing, pulling, stretching. Trapped, it grabbed my mind, twirling it like cotton candy, and tucked the feathered bits into a crevice I couldn’t access.

I straightened. Continued walking. Reached the arch directly after my first shadow and slightly before my second shadow.

We were alone.

And we were ready to step into the light.

 

 

 

My attempt at #writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent

 

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Turning comments off as I won’t be available to approve or reply. Just wanted to write a little something for Sue’s wonderful writephoto prompt. It’s been too long. 💕 Be well, my friends. 

 

Choosing #WritePhoto

 

 

There was a prophecy.

I didn’t believe it.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to or that it was, necessarily, bad, I just didn’t hold with such nonsense. Someone foretold something about someone at some time. Vague, much?

Also, these things always seem to be in riddles. They can never come right out and tell a person that he will die next Thursday or he will inherit ten goats from a long-lost uncle, named Fred, in three years.

Anyway, I heard the prophecy, as one often does, from a seer over a cup of tea that tasted like a mixture of cinnamon, dirt, and confusion.

I was a chosen one.

I scoffed.

Or someone near me. (Near me in bloodline or proximity?) One who would do great and terrible things. (Well, shit, were they great or terrible?) And I, or the person of undisclosed closeness to me, would know the prophecy was to come about on the eve of the day of his birth (now she’s precise) 15 years after the death of a loved one.

Well.

Fascinating stuff, eh?

I had questions. She refused to answer them. Said she wouldn’t even if she could. Which led to more questions (which she wouldn’t or couldn’t answer). Ah, such fun we had that day.

As I recall, I left before the tea got cold but not before she grabbed my wrist, imploring me to take this seriously, and telling me to watch for the day the world turned blue.

Delightful tea notwithstanding, I left in a hurry.

And, of course, I saw the blue of twilight (not altogether unusual) as I wrapped my son’s birthday gift. He would be turning 15. Still, I dismissed the old seer’s words as coincidence until he peeked his head in the room and gazed out the window. “Whatever you’re wrapping, I don’t want it. I want this,” he tossed a photo of my late wife in my lap. “It’s been 15 years. Time we bring Mum back, eh, Dad?”

 

 

Happy New Year!

 

My attempt at #writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent

 

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Direction #WritePhoto

 

 

“No, no. That’s east. I’m sure of it.” Angela looked back at the three strangers she’d managed to pick up along her travels.

The tall, ginger-haired boy tilted his head. “I think that’s west.”

“North,” the little girl toddled up next to him. “South!”

Ginger-hair sidestepped the girl, giving Angela a look. “Why did we bring her?”

Skinny girl punched his arm, “Shit, she’s a baby. We couldn’t leave her. What’s wrong with you?”

Ginger-hair rubbed his arm then shrugged, “Kids are sticky and loud.”

“Okay,” Angela took a breath, blowing it out loudly. “Enough. We go that way. With the little girl.”

“Which way?” Skinny girl asked. “You’re flailing your arms around and expecting us to know what you mean. Also, let’s not forget we don’t know where the hell we’re going and no one agrees on…anything, actually. And can we give the girl a name at least?”

“Toward the sunrise,” Angela said.

“Sunset,” Ginger-hair corrected.

“Dammit!” Skinny girl flung her hand at the nearby house, “I’ll say it again. It’s right there. A house. Signs of life. Possible help. No-brainer. And, fine, I’ll give her a name. She’s…Pam.”

Now-Pam yelled, “Pam!” Skinny girl smirked. Ginger-hair did not. Angela opened her mouth to argue and Now-Pam lowered her voice, “no house.”

“It’s right there, squirt,” Skinny girl pointed. “See?”

“See?” Now-Pam poked her stubby finger to the branches seemingly growing out of the roof.

“Huh,” Ginger-hair said. “I don’t remember that tree being there.”

Angela backed away, “It wasn’t.”

“No tree,” Now-Pam said. “Bad house. Run.”

 

 

 

My attempt at #writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent

 

writephoto-logo

 

Featured On the Reef ~ Quantum Wanderlust

 

 

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

 

Quantum Wanderlust (A Short Story Anthology)

13 Time Travel Tales

What if you had all the time in the world?

Thirteen authors answer that question with short stories about time travel. Go back in time to right a wrong, forward to see the future. No jump is too large, no method unfeasible, no lesson beyond learning.

• Visit the past to learn a family secret.
• See the formation of a future dictatorship.
• Assume responsibility for weaving the fabric of time.
• Travel back in time to WWII.
• Use a family heirloom to solve problems.
• Wear an inheritance to visit ancestors.
• Leave a dystopian future for the hope of something better.
• Make history come true in an unexpected way.
• Fight evil fairies to protect a chosen angel.
• Live with the childhood memory of visitors until the day they arrive.
• Seek medical help for a memory issue and get way more than bargained for.
• Discover that with great power comes great responsibility.
• Uncover the secrets of a pharaoh’s tomb and curse.

Do the characters observe or interact? Is the outcome better or worse than the original timeline? Read these stories to learn how far they go, how they get there, and what happens when they return.

The scope is virtually limitless, definitely timeless.

 

You can get your copy here: 🙂

Amazon US | Amazon UK

(This anthology is a fantastic way to sample some great writing by some great authors and it’s FREE. Just saying.)

 

Contributing Authors:

Staci Troilo (Editor)

Mae Clair

P. C. Zick

Michelle Jones

Joan Hall

E. J. Lane

Teri Polen

Mark Venturini

Leigh Ann Beckett

Irene Aprile

David Macpherson

Harmony Kent

C. S. Boyack

 

On the Reef: The Shark’s Friday Feature

Rubbing Salt in the Wound #WritePhoto

 

 

“There used to be water here,” he pointed to the cliff. “Up to the standing stones.”

She nudged some loose debris with her foot. “This is cool, isn’t it? And, no, there wasn’t. Water, I mean.”

“How do you know?” He asked.

“I don’t,” she shrugged. “I just figured if it was you saying it, it must not be true.”

“Well, there was water here,” he insisted. “And it had salt in it.”

She laughed, “Salt? Okay, yeah, whatever.”

“Stop kicking that stuff. It was part of the water. Still is.”

“What’s wrong with you that you’ve got to make stuff up all the time?” She glared at him. “Water that had salt inside of it? You’re crazy, you know that?”

“I don’t know why I bother. Let’s go.”

She crouched and studied the debris. “I want to stay here and check this out.”

He grabbed her arm. “Don’t. Touch. That.”

“Why? Will the little, dried-up, old dirt eat me for lunch?” She yanked her arm from his grip and reached out.

“With salt,” he mumbled. The seaweed shot up and snaked around her body, thin tentacles covering her mouth and dragging her under the ground.

 

 

Happy Halloween and Blessed Samhain, my friends. 🎃💀

 

My attempt at #writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent

 

writephoto-logo

 

Featured On the Reef ~ Full Dark

 

 

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

 

Full Dark (A Short Story Anthology)

11 Dark Stories

What happens in the dark will come to light.

FULL DARK is a collection of eleven short works with impressive depth and range. Twisted tales of ghosts, villains, and the paranormal await you—mystery, heinous fantasy, and pure suspense. Acclaimed and award-winning authors as well as a few talented newcomers have joined forces to be your guide. Venture into the dark if you dare.

 

* FULL DARK is a benefit anthology. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Gary Sinise Foundation, an organization that does many wonderful things for our country’s active military, its veterans, and the countless first responders who sacrifice so much to keep us safe.

 

Just in time for Halloween… 🎃

You can get your copy here: 🙂

Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

Contributing Authors:

Retribution by Melissa Maygrove (Editor)

Just A Matter of Time by Loni Townsend

Forerunner by David Powers King

Taking Care of You by Carrie Butler

The Apartment by Lisa Buie-Collard

The Caricature by Nick Wilford

Shifting Sands by Elizabeth Seckman

Shadows Falling on Rainbows by Celeste Holloway

Meringue, Murder or Marzipan by Tonja Drecker

Haunted Lake by Michelle Athy

Soul Coin by Laura Rich

 

 

On the Reef: The Shark’s Friday Feature

 

Magic, Fey, a Year and a Day #WritePhoto

 

 

“No peeking!”

I sighed. “I know, Mirra, I wasn’t going to peek.” Although, that’s exactly what I had been trying to do.

She smirked, took a swig of her mead, and skipped away.

I watched them all, gathered to dance, drink, and watch me stick my hand through a hole in the standing stone. It made me absurdly happy and I wondered what the boy on the other side was feeling.

I would know soon enough, when the druids decided it was time for me to look through the Holed Stone.

They wouldn’t ask what I saw and I wasn’t sure if that was because they considered it private or because they already knew. I took a sip of my drink and relaxed at the sweet, honeyed flavor.

I didn’t notice Mirra was by my side until I felt her breath on my neck. She whispered, “It’s time.” The silence around me now was thick. I knew they were waiting, watching. My life was about to change.

Placing my forehead on the rough sandstone, I gazed through the hole.

“Well?” Mirra tucked a lock of hair behind my ear.

“Water,” I smiled. I had seen rain on this sunny, summer’s day. She nodded and kissed me on the cheek. “He did, as well.”

I slipped my hand through the hole and felt warm, calloused fingers find mine and grasp them.

 

 

My #writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent

 

writephoto-logo

 

Breakthrough #WritePhoto

 

 

“Check this out,” he crouched over some green stuff poking through the pavement.

“Okay,” I squinted. “I give up. What is it?”

“No clue.”

“Let’s go. I don’t like this. It’s not right.”

“Wait,” he reached out.

I grabbed his arm, “Don’t touch it! What the hell?”

“I’m just wondering…” He withdrew his hand but didn’t move.

“My mum says curiosity killed the cat.”

He looked up. “What’s a cat?”

“No idea,” I admitted. “Point is, you’re too curious. Could get you killed.”

“It won’t.”

“It could.”

“Hey! There’s something else with this green stuff. It’s like a…” He snapped his gloved fingers. “Damn. What are those things we learned about in The World Before class?”

I rolled my eyes. “Jerical…this stuff. It’s wrong. I’m serious. It’ll do something to you.”

He grinned. “You’re right. It will.” He lifted his mask.

 

 

 

 

My attempt at #writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent

 

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