#AprilPrompts Day 21 – Blue

I’ve noticed quite a number of my posts throughout April have been quite dark, so have decided to make a change for this prompt. Today’s little tale has a feel-good ending. I hope you like it.

Blue

blue 1st

Amy sat in the garden sipping her first cup of tea of the day. Shielding her eyes from the blazing light of the early morning sun, she gazed into the cerulean sky. No clouds marred the beautiful blue – it was going to be a scorcher!

She cast her mind back just two short months. Lying in hospital, with the awful cocktail of drugs pumping into her weakened body, she couldn’t go outside and her only view of the blue sky she loved was through the windows. She could cope with how sick they made her and losing her hair, but not being outside and able to gaze up at the azure firmament was more of a blow.

Being allowed home filled her with joy. Amy loved eating breakfast in the garden; listening to the birds chirping, smelling the sweet fragrance of the blooms and sitting under the summer sky, well there was no better way to start the day.

The phone rang and Amy picked it up. As she listened to the caller, tears started to stream down her face. She mumbled, “Thank you,” and ended the call.

There would be plenty of blue skies now – the cancer was gone!

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#AprilPrompts Day 7 – Truth

This was an interesting prompt to work on – there are so many facets to explore. Here’s the one I was drawn to . . .

Truth

Day 7 - Truth

Day 7 – Truth

“Raise your right hand and read the words on the card,” the clerk directed.

“I do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that the evidence I shall give, shall be the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

“Please state your name.”

“Beverley Tyler,” she replied confidently. A barrister for the prosecution approached the witness stand, a solemn expression on his face.

“Good morning, Mrs. Tyler. Can you please recount the events of the second of September last, for the court?”

Beverley turned to the jury, keeping her eyes deliberately averted from the dock. “I was walking home across the waste ground leading from the High Street to Wintersloe Crescent. I heard a muffled scream close by and went to investigate. I walked around the huge concrete slabs and . . . that’s when I saw them.

“The woman was on the ground, her face bruised and bleeding, her clothes ripped so badly she was practically naked. The defendant had a knife in his hand and he stabbed her. I moved away and phoned the emergency services.”

“Had you seen this man before?”

“Every day of my life – the murderer is . . . my brother,” Beverley sobbed.

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#BlogFlash2013 Day 21 – Success

Another #Blogflash comes to an end. This is the final prompt. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my posts on the various subjects we were given. I’d like to say a big thank you to Terri Guiliano Long for hosting the event – I’ve really enjoyed the challenge and have made some great new friends!

* * *

Success. How do you quantify it? Society defines success differently to ‘ordinary’ people; if you haven’t got millions in the bank, a high-profile career, your face on the cover of magazines, or a title, you haven’t ‘made it’. That, to me, is superficial crap. Here are my thoughts on the subject:

Success

Everyone has their own yardstick for measuring success. For some it’s having enough money to do as they please. For others it’s gaining a promotion, winning a competition, passing an exam, or having a long and happy marriage.

I measure my success differently, and on two fronts:

The most important to me is having raised a daughter who is beautiful, talented, and clever, but above all kind, generous, honest, loving and giving.

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My secondary success, but still important, is my writing. When I look at reviews written by readers about my book, and I see how much they enjoyed it, I feel successful.

” 5.0 out of 5 stars Could not put it down, 10 Oct 2012

By Pat JonesSee all my reviews

Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)

This review is from: HEART SEARCH – book one: Lost (Kindle Edition)

I started to read this in a waiting room at the hospital – nurse had to call my name three times before it registered – I was so deeply engrossed in the book. I found I was hooked, wanting to kick Remy and say “dont waste your time looking up the M6″. To me a sign of a good book is one where you are in there with them and in this case I was right in there.
Totally enjoyable and addictive – cannot wait for book 2 – hope its soon!”

Heart Search Test Cover 1 (2)

#BlogFlash2013 Day 1 – Laughter

Last year I took part in the BlogFlash run by Terri Giuliano Long and I loved every minute of it. It really helped me to explore writing in a different way, especially being limited to 100 words. Now she’s running another one and I’ve signed up again. So every weekday in March I’ll be posting what I’ve written from the prompt supplied. Day 1’s prompt is Laughter. I hope you enjoy it!

Laughter

laughter

Tinkling chuckles, loud guffaws and huge belly-laughs echoed around the hall. The comedian drew satisfaction as he continued his act. He lived for this. It was his destiny to brighten people’s days – or that’s what his mum always said.

Even as a child he was always joking around. “My boy will be a famous comedian one day,” his mum often bragged to anyone who would listen. And they nodded and smiled.

Fame was elusive; there was too much competition, but he didn’t really care. He made a modest living doing what he loved – making folks laugh was enough.

Free Fiction: The Curse of Splintermoon Manor

It’s been a while since I treated you to some free fiction, so I decided it was time I rectified this oversight. This came from a flash fiction prompt I set my writing group, Writebulb, which was the proverb, ‘Never judge a book by its cover’. I hope you enjoy my take on it.

The Curse of Splintermoon Manor

splintermoon

The long, wide hallway was resplendent with ornate mirrors, oil paintings of previous occupants and intricately carved wood and plaster. As Beth paused to gaze at a particularly severe-looking woman, she realised just how much she enjoyed the research aspect of writing.

Splintermoon Manor, a 16th century mansion, lay deep in the Essex countryside. It was reputedly one of the most haunted houses in Britain, and as such, was the perfect setting for the novel Beth was planning. She wasn’t one to just surf the internet for research, Beth preferred to visit places, take photographs to refer back to and soak up the ambiance; there was a strong atmosphere in the manor to absorb.

She continued slowly along the polished wood floor, taking a few shots as she meandered then halted as she came to a strangely carved wood panel. This was so different from the rest; taking a photo she then moved closer.

The panel’s carvings of runes started at the centre then worked in an ever-growing spiral towards the edges. Around the frame were strange symbols; some she had come across in earlier research, but others were entirely new and they fascinated her.

Beth placed her index finger on the centre rune and traced it along the spiral until she heard a soft click. She looked around, but was alone. As she turned her attention back to the panel, she noticed a thin bead of light from one edge that hadn’t been there before. She pushed gently at the edge and was surprised when the panel swung inwards on well-oiled hinges, revealing a brightly-lit passageway.

Beth’s eyes grew wide and her mouth gaped; most old mansions reputedly had secret passages, but she never thought she would find one. After a brief hesitation she stepped over the lintel and gazed around. There was a dead end behind the panel, but the long passage turned a corner ahead so she couldn’t see how far it went. Taking a deep breath she began to walk forwards.

Moments later, Beth heard a soft click behind her. She whirled around and saw the panel had closed. No-one was there. Trepidation coursed through her, but she continued on her path.

The passage seemed so long with its many twists and turns; although still lit, the passage gave Beth chills, especially as the eyes in the paintings seemed to follow her. These portraits had a sinister edge – all the frames had the strange symbols carved into them.

Beth turned another corner and was met by a huge door with the exact same carving as the hall panel. She paused, pondering whether to continue on, her curiosity warring with her practical side, when the door swung open. Curiosity won and Beth moved cautiously over the threshold.

Entering the large room, she heard a reedy voice, “Welcome, Beth.” Sitting in an armchair by an open fire was an old man. Dressed in clothes from the Victorian era, his papery skin resembled parchment yet his eyes sparkled with youth. It was strange seeing this ancient man with such eyes.

“How do you know my name? Who are you?” Beth blurted out.

The old man chuckled. “Allow me to introduce myself – I am Edwin Splintermoon and your great, great uncle. I’ve been expecting you, my dear.”

“Pleased to meet you,” Beth replied automatically. “Sorry, but what do you mean you’ve been expecting me?” An uneasy inquisitiveness scorched her eyes and voice.

Edwin skirted the question, “You look so much like her, you know,” his voice wistful.

“Who?”

“Amelia,” he replied pointing to a portrait on the far wall. Beth’s eyes followed his finger and gasped as she caught sight of the woman. Apart from the hairstyle and clothes, she could have been gazing at her own reflection.

“Will you tell me about her?”

Edwin nodded and gestured for her to sit opposite him. Beth complied and waited for his account.

“Amelia was my eldest sister, your great, great aunt, and mistress of this manor. Five years after she inherited the house she met a man and became smitten. I didn’t like or trust him – he had shifty eyes – and tried to persuade her to send him away. She wouldn’t hear of it and we had a terrible fight. Two nights later, there was an awful commotion coming from her room. Fearing for her safety I rushed in, but there was no sign of her. Her room was in disarray and on her bed I found a lock of her hair and a drip of blood. She has never been seen or heard from since that night,” Edwin’s voice became sadder in the telling.

“I’m so sorry,” Beth wasn’t sure what else to say. She looked down at her hands and failed to see a strange glint in the old man’s eyes.

“You are the last descendant of our family and will soon inherit this magnificent home. As such, will you do me the honour of signing our family book?” Beth raised her head and saw a pleading in Edwin’s sad eyes. She nodded and he rose, shuffling across the room to an old writing desk.

On the desk was a huge tome. The outer covering looked like animal skin and the pages inside like parchment. He flicked through until he found what he sought – part of a family tree. He pointed at the elaborate diagram, “See?”

Beth stared at the page; there was her name and above that those of her parents and grandparents. Edwin passed her an old-fashioned quill and pointed just below her name. “Sign it there, please.”

As Beth signed her name, she was surprised to observe red ink on the page. As she watched, it altered to black. Strange, she thought. She moved towards Edwin. “I really must go now. It’s been lovely to meet you – perhaps I can visit you again.” She extended her hand.

Edwin grabbed her hand in his papery ones; a sadistic grin marred his features and a sizzle of fear trickled down her spine. She pulled her hand away and moved towards the door, but it had vanished. Beth gasped and she heard a wicked chuckle behind her.

“Sorry, Beth, you’re not going anywhere. You see, in signing the book you have bound yourself to this house forever. You can never leave and you can’t destroy the book either, it’s protected by the curse.”

“Curse? What curse?”

“Legend has it that one of our ancestors was a witch hunter in the seventeenth century and he tricked a witch into falling in love with him just so he could destroy her. When she realised what he had done, she cursed him and his bloodline for all time. Within a couple of days of her death, this book appeared in the house. Every descendant of the witch hunter who writes in it has been bound to the house and isn’t released until the next relative does so. Now it’s your turn and I can leave . . . at last.” As she watched Edwin began to grow younger and at the same time, lose substance until he was little more than an outline.

“Will you help me, please?” she begged, tears forming.

“Sorry my dear, there’s nothing I can do. Perhaps you should be careful what you sign – after all, you can’t judge a book by its cover!”

Aftermath #BlogFlash2012

Hi. I felt a little lost this morning. For the last 30 days we had the task of wrestling with a prompt, trying to come up with something creative and entertaining yet staying within the word limit. It was no easy task I can tell you – but I loved every minute of it! There’s nothing like stretching those creative muscles in the brain to set you up for the day! I’d like to share with you some of my experiences from taking part in this event and my feelings about it.

 

To begin with, the support and encouragement we all received from Terri Giuliano Long was fantastic. She was a superb host, came up with some challenging prompts for us and made a point of commenting on our work every day. We all owe her a huge debt of thanks. Her posts were pretty awesome and very insightful on occasions too!

Part of the challenge was to visit at least 5 other blogs each day to see what they’d written and leave a comment. I think I ended up visiting virtually all the blogs almost every day, but it was so worth it. All the people who took part in this challenge are wonderfully talented and it was interesting to see how many different takes came from the same prompt. Some of the people even did a series for the whole 30 days, leaving us in suspense until Day 30 to find out whether there was a happy or successful ending; the way these writers worked the prompts into their stories was awesome and incredibly creative.

I feel I’ve made some great new friends from taking part in #BlogFlash2012 and fully intend to keep in contact with them, either through their blogs or on Twitter. I’ll miss the day to day interaction with them though. Those that visited this blog left lovely and encouraging comments about my writing, which has boosted my confidence.

I’ve also had some awesome comments from my followers who aren’t involved in the challenge too – thank you all for your great support!

As for me, wearing my writer’s hat, I believe I’ve grown even more in my ability by taking part in this challenge. Some of the prompts were quite easy to write about, some dregged up painful memories and beautiful ones too, but some really stretched my imagination as well as my writing skills. It’s not easy to tell a story in 100 words or less. Ultimately, I feel that my writing has improved, and I proved to myself that I can write in genres other than just fantasy. I’m very sad it’s over!

So, would I take part in the next #BlogFlash? You try stopping me!!