Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wood Sprite - a flash fiction entry to The Faerytaleish Pinterest Contest

I entered another flash fiction contest. This one is by Anna Meade from Yearning for Wonderland. Anna has some "fairytaleish" pins and the challenge for this contest is to write a short story inspired by one of the Faerytaleish pins (300 words or less) and post in on my blog.

Here is the picture I chose to write a story for, originally pinned by Heather Sutherlin.


Wood  Sprite

The cold seeped into my bones, making my teeth chatter. I pulled my coat tighter around me and continued to walk. My campsite was around here somewhere. I had just intended to take a short, refreshing walk through the woods, but I must have traveled further than I meant to as I was having difficulty finding my way back. I wasn’t worried though. I knew if I kept walking in this general direction, I’d find the campsite again.
A movement to my right caught my eye. Something on the tree had moved. I stepped closer to get a better look. At first, I thought the tiny wooden stick with leaves on it that twitched slightly as I neared was just one of those stick insects I’d seen on a nature program once.
But then a tiny little face turned towards me, with eyes that sparked with intelligence, and I realized that I was very wrong. It had a vaguely humanoid body and tiny leaf-like wings. I somehow knew it was female. Her eyes were almond-shaped. I could hear a faint hum coming from her; it had a musical quality to it, a haunting but unfamiliar melody that felt as though it was moving through me.
When her face turned towards me, I looked into her eyes and I couldn’t look away.  Thoughts and images poured into my brain as if being projected there; the life and vibrancy of the forest around me filled me with warmth and knowledge. I was filled with purpose and knew that this forest and all of the life in it had to be protected.
She flew away, but her message stayed with me. I knew that my brief encounter with this magical creature had forever altered and expanded my view of the world.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mother Lioness - a flash fiction story for National Flash Fiction Day

I write a quick flash fiction story in honor of National Flash Fiction Day. The original story was 784 words long, but I was attempting to write a 500 word flash fiction story so I cut it down to 502 words.

My powers came to me very suddenly.
I took my three kids with me to the park while walking the dog for his evening walk. After a few minutes, Jasper, our collie, stopped suddenly, his body completely still as he stared forward at something I couldn’t see. The fur on his back slowly started to rise until it stood straight up and a low growl emanated from him. The kids didn’t notice any of this and skipped right past us, unaware anything was wrong.
That was the first time Jasper spoke to me, although I didn’t realize it was him at the time.
“Danger!” a decidedly male voice shouted in my head, and I instinctually heeded it.
“Katie, Callum, Jenny, get back here!” I shouted as I ran towards them. I didn’t know what the danger was, only that there was something dangerous ahead.
As I got close enough to my children to pull them close to me, three men came around the corner. Their eyes were deep red. Their skin was pale and I definitely glimpsed fangs on one of them. Of course, back then, I thought vampires were just fictional characters in books, so I had no idea what I was actually looking at. I didn’t need to know what they were to sense that they were dangerous.
Jasper was standing beside us, hackles raised, that low menacing growl still emanating from him, and I heard again, “Dangerous! Must protect!” (Dogs think in very simple terms.)
The vampires were looking at my children hungrily and moving towards us purposefully. That’s when my first shapeshifting occurred. The shapeshifting was almost seamless. One minute, I was noticing claws sprouting from my fingers and the next I was on all four, covered in fur, feeling powerful and very angry.
I pounced on the vampire closest to me, and with one bite, I crushed his skull. He disintegrated then and there.  I kept my cubs, I mean, my kids behind me and used a paw to strike out at one of the remaining  two vampires. I was pretty powerful in lioness form, judging by the five feet I knocked him back.
Jasper was biting the leg of the other vampire, shouting, “Kill! Kill!” I told him to let go, and he did. The two vampires immediately took the reprieve to get up and run away. My animal instinct made me desperately want to chase them, but I had my kids to protect so I stayed where I was.
My children were excited, having seen my transformation and stroked my back all the way home. We probably got some strange stares from people on that walk home, three kids and a dog walking beside a lion. Once home, I changed back into myself.
I thought that this was my new reality and accepted it. But then one day Katy, my oldest, turned herself into a cat right in front of me and I knew that we were all in for a crazy adventure.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lucky 7 Meme - from "Thinning of the Veil"

Luck 7 Meme

I've been selected for another Lucky 7 Meme, and as I am currently working on several different novels, I can pick and choose which ones I share for this one. Meg McNulty in her blog From Darcy to Dionysus is the lovely lady who tagged me.

How does it work?
  1. Go to page 7 or 77 of your current MS/WIP
  2. Go to line 7
  3. Copy down the next 7 lines, sentences or paragraphs and post them as they are written.
  4. Tag 7 authors and let them know.
I'm sharing 7 lines from "Thinning of the Veil," one of my current works-in-progress.
She had a very large volume in front of her.  The pages were yellowed with age and the binding was an old, weathered leather with very intricate patterns scrolled all over it.
“According to this, there is a veil between our world and the worlds of other dimensions.  Usually, no one on either side can see or feel anything from the other side of the veil.  Some people have a natural born gift for sensing things on the other side though, which is where we get mediums, clairvoyants and others like them.  There are places where the veil is thinner, and that’s where we get ghost stories from.  Where the veil is thinner, people sometimes glimpse things from the other side, from one or another of many different dimensions.”

I'm going to copy Meg's method of choosing the lucky 7 who I will pass this along to by choosing friends from the #ouatwriting and #storycraft conversations on Twitter.

Jane Isaac - @JaneIsaacAuthor
Susi Holliday - @SJIHoliday
Anna Meade - @ruanna3
Jeff Tsuruoka - @jtsuruoka

Dionne Lister - @dionnelister
Ang - @ang_writes

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Call of the Siren - Form & Genre Challenge 14 #FGC2012

This is my entry into the Form & Genre Challenge #14 at Write Anything. The challenge was to write a 1,500 word story in the first person point of view. This was a departure from the usual for me as I normally write in third person. I have to say that I enjoyed writing this though. I hope you enjoy reading it! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think. And if you like my story, please vote for it when the voting is open!

Mermaid 5th Jan 2012

Call of the Siren

I felt sand under my hands and grating against my cheek as the darkness lifted from my consciousness. My hair was wet and I could feel every grain of sand against my naked body as though I was lying against sandpaper. My head throbbed and I tried to stand but a wave of dizziness washed over me and I lay still again.
I could hear the ocean’s waves somewhere behind me, and the salty tang of the sea drifted by on the wind. I was still at the beach, but how did I end up like this? The last thing I remembered was finding a private section on the beach where I could lay and relax on my beach towel without being disturbed. I’d brought along my notepad and pen and was hoping the quiet would help me find my muse. I had a deadline approaching and a story to write.
Somewhere from the back of my mind, through the fog of a distorted memory, a face swam into view. I remembered seeing someone. He had walked up to me and asked me about my writing. He had wanted to know about the story I was working on. I remembered now! His name was Aigean.
Thinking it might help me work through some ideas, and because, well, the guy was easy on the eyes, I had started to tell him about my story. I told him all about my story about a girl who finds out she’s a mermaid and falls in love at the same time. I told him about the problems I was having with the plot line. I explained to him how I kept changing parts of the undersea world of the mermaids in the story because I couldn’t decide on how I wanted to portray it or on which portrayal seemed the most plausible.
His kind eyes had looked into mine and somehow I found myself spilling everything to him. I even told him all about my fear that my writing wouldn’t be good enough to share, that no publishers would love it as much as I did. Writing was all I had ever dreamed about doing and the fear that I wouldn’t succeed at it ate at my soul.
He’d settled down next to me and listened attentively as I poured out my heart in a way I would never have done under normal circumstances. I hadn’t understood then, why I had opened up so easily to him. At the time, his gentle gaze had seemed to catch me within it and pull the words from me against my will, and yet, as the words came, I realized I wanted to tell him everything.
As I finished telling him about the story I was writing and my fears about being an inadequate writer, I took a moment to study him. The sunlight shone warmly against his tanned skin. He definitely spent time outdoors. His hair was a light brown, full of lighter golden highlights and his eyes were a sparkling blue, or maybe they were green. I hadn’t been able to decide and had compromised by deciding they were teal. His smile seemed genuine enough. And his body was lean and athletic, with just enough muscle to give him a physique I would classify as powerful.
While I studied him, he was looking at me with equal intensity. I wondered what he thought of my long, straight brown hair and pasty white skin. I was pale enough that it would be obvious spending time at the beach, or anywhere in the sunshine, wasn’t something I did often.
My eyes were nothing special either. I had hazel eyes, a mixture of brown and green, but mostly they just looked brown. My lips were thin, but my body wasn’t. I wasn’t too plump, but I had a good twenty pounds more on me than I needed, and I was overly curvy. I wondered why he was talking to me at all.
But he’d only smiled at me and took my hand, pulling me to a standing position. He’d asked me, his voice deep and mellow, if I wanted to swim in the ocean with him.  I didn’t want to admit to him that ever since I had seen a dead jelly fish on the beach as a child and been told about its ability to sting, I had been afraid of entering the sea. It was a foolish childhood fear, and his voice, asking again, felt like a warm heat moving right through me, calming any fear I had, making me want nothing more than to follow after him as he walked into the ocean’s waves.
At first, we only let our feet get wet as the gentle swell of the waves reached out to us lazily and tickled our toes. But his hand tugged on mine to take me further into the water. And I couldn’t seem to stop myself from letting him pull me into the ocean after him. I didn’t want to stop him.
That’s all I could remember. How had I ended up from there, just entering into the ocean with him, to here, lying naked on the beach, waking up from an unconscious state? Had a wave captured us? Had I somehow hit my head? My head hurt and I was feeling dizzy. That made the idea of having hit my head seem more plausible. But where was Aigean?
Thankfully, there was still no one around or my nakedness would have been entirely too embarrassing. I cautiously lifted my head, hoping the movement wouldn’t cause the dizziness again, and spotted my clothes sitting further up the beach, away from the trickle of waves.  I was just lifting myself to my hands and knees when the water from the gentle waves reached my feet again.
That’s when things became very strange. My body started to tingle as if someone had just zapped me with a really low-powered tazer. My legs slid back into a prone position, but I managed to keep my upper body lifted onto my hands. This only helped me to see more clearly when my fingers started to grow webbing between them.  I didn’t have time to freak out about that though, because I could feel other changes occurring.
My entire lower body became super-heated. I should have been on fire to feel this kind of heat, but I looked down at my legs and there was no fire. As the water reached ever higher across my feet and legs, I noticed the changes that were occurring. Scales were appearing one by one on my legs. I didn’t feel them appearing other than that overall heat, but watching them was amazing. They appeared as if by magic. The skin underneath held a bluish tint that was soon covered by the scales as they started to encroach on more and more of my body. Eventually, my legs began to meld together into one, and my mind finally kicked in and told me what was happening. I was getting a tail, and not just any tail either; I was getting a mermaid’s tail.
So much about myself had changed.  Even my already-long hair had grown longer. I felt around my face and didn’t notice any change, but my ears were different. They felt pointier.  And I had some sort of openings on either side of my neck. Gills? I wouldn’t have believed any of this if I wasn’t experiencing it first-hand. But how had this happened?
The tide was slowly coming in, and I knew I would be able to swim out into that ocean, would be able to breath under the waves. But where would I go? I was all alone in this. And just as I thought those words, I heard him call to me.
Aigean! He was singing something soft and soothing. The melody called to me, and I moved myself deeper into the waves, wanting to get closer to his voice. As the water enveloped me, I found myself gliding easily through it. I followed his voice, but despite the allure of his call, I realized I didn’t want to just follow him around. I wanted him to come to me.
With the ease of someone born to it, I started singing. I’d never heard the song before that came so easily to my lips, but I felt its magic as it reached out towards him, ensnaring him as surely as he had ensnared me. I could feel him moving through the water, closer to me.
No, I wouldn’t be alone.

1,433 words

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Once Upon a Time Anthology

Once Upon a Time Unexpected Fairytales

My flash fiction story "The Guardian" and Robert's flash fiction story "What Daddy Doesn't Know Won't Hurt Him" will be available in an anthology of Unexpected Fairytales along with 88 other stories! It will be available as a print book or ebook! It will hopefully be ready in time to coincide with National Flash Fiction Day on 16th May (when the WINNERS of the contest these stories were entered into will also be announced).

These stories were all contest entries for the Once Upon a Time flash fiction contest of Unexpected Fairytales, hosted by Anna Meade from Yearning for Wonderland and Susi Holliday from SJI Holliday. They had 88 entries into the contest, and, with the inclusion of their own stories, that will make 90 stories for the anthology.

I have had a read through all of the stories in the competition, and I thought all of them were fantastic works of fiction that used fabulous wordplay and wonderfully creative imagination. Some of the stories were remakes of old fairytales with a twist, one was written as a poem, and some were completely new fairytales.

I will be sure to announce when the book is available for purchase, and I hope that you will go out and buy one!