Tag Archives: flash fiction

Short and Flashy2 with Bonus Short Story

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Short Story Cartoon2

 

Short and Flashy may be the new in thing with writing and I’m so glad to hear it because I love writing short stories and flash fiction.  I found that out about myself when I was writing my first book, The Tower.  When I needed to have a brain change because I couldn’t find the words I needed to say for the book, I would write a piece of flash fiction or a short story so I could think about something else besides the book I was writing. It helped reset my brain.  It made it easier for me to come up with what I needed for my book.

Over the fast few years, people have read more of my short stories and flash fiction. I am assuming it is due to lack of perceived time to read.

Do you know what flash fiction is? In case you don’t, I will try to explain.  Flash Fiction is a complete story (has all the components of a story) in a limited number of words. They can be challenging to complete.

Think about how our reading world has changed since the computer came along.  The time was we had no choice but to go to the book store or the library to get our reading material.  Now we have small portable screens that let us have a book zipped to us over the airwaves.  We can get anything we want to read from Amazon including short stories which we might read while we’re sitting under the hairdryer or waiting in a doctor’s office.

According to Anne R. Allen, one of the authors of How to be a Writer in the E-age: A self-Help Guide, short stories make money and hold their value.  Kindle Singles often sell for the same as a novel-length book.  Ellery Queen and Woman’s World still pay top dollar for genre stories.

Short stories are great for practice.  Learning to write short stores can keep your writing from getting sloppy.  Having short stories in your portfolio might give you another book to publish or an opportunity to publish in a magazine.

I put the majority of my short stories in an eBook called Shirley’s Shorts and Flashes. The book was published on Amazon.  Publishing my work of short stories was something I didn’t want to pass up.  You may also have an opportunity to see what you can do.

Below you will find one of my short stories called Angie’s Secret.  Please comment with a critique and let me know the good and the bad.

Amazon link to Shirley’s Shorts and Flashes:  http://amzn.to/15HB87j


 

Angie’s Secret

 

“Are you going to tell him?” Mattie asked.

“Heavens no, this is my secret. I told you because you’re my best friend, and I know I can trust you.” Angie sat at the table with her cup of tea. She was pale around the eyes and mouth. “I am doing this on my own. I’m thirty-four years old, and I know this is the right thing for me.”

“It may be right for you, but girl you look like crap. Do you want another cup of tea?”

“Sure.”

Mattie went to the stove and brought the teapot back to the table. She asked Angie if she’s eating enough.

Mockingly Angie replied, “Yes, mother, I am. I can take care of myself. Stop worrying about me.”

“How do you think you’re going to pull this off when he barely lets you out of his sight?”

Angie thought of the days ahead as she sipped her tea. Her excitement showed.

Mattie looked at her, seeing the smile, said, “Ok, girlfriend, spill the beans. I want to know what’s making you smile.”

“I have to go home.”

“Angie, remember, no matter what, I’m your friend.” Mattie grabbed Angie, hugged her tightly.

“I’ll be in touch, and don’t worry,” Angie said as they broke apart. She walked back to her house. Her bedroom light was on. Crap, he must know I’m not in my room. I’ll walk through the front door as the grown woman I am.

After she entered the house, she almost made it to the stairs before she heard her father’s harsh voice.

“Angie, is that you?”

“Yes, father, it’s me.”

“Come here immediately,” her father, bellowed.

Angie walked into the library, ready for battle. Her father kicked back in the recliner, with a drink in his hand, asked, “Where have you been?”

“I went to Arlene’s for tea. I left your dinner on the table.”

“It was cold. You are one lousy cook.”

“Yes, father. I’m going upstairs to my room, goodnight, father.”

***

The clock advanced slowly, but 2 a.m. arrived. She pulled her suitcase from beneath her bed, took one last look at her room and left. Her father appeared to be asleep when she opened the front door. As she stepped out into the night air, she took her first deep breath of freedom.

She whispered, “John, are you here?”

“No, he’s not here,” her father said laughingly.

The Workaholic (Short Story)

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Hello, everyone, I wrote this a couple of days ago and thought I would share it. It is a story about a man who let work rule his life. I hope you enjoy it.   Shirley

 

The Workaholic

 

James stood by the large picture windows, gazing over the open fields, to the purple-tinged mountains beyond. Darkness would be coming soon and with it a storm. He flinched as a crack of lightning split the murky sky. He turned and threw another log on the open fire, sending a flurry of ash into the air. He refilled his whiskey glass and took a deep sip. He savored the taste as it warmed his throat. He was trying to build up the courage to make that phone call he had been putting off all day. He reached for the phone just as it started to ring.

His heart began to pound as he grabbed for the receiver. The tentative nature of his voice was heard clearly as he murmured, “Hello.”

“Hello, James, this is Edmond from Buying Direct and do I have a deal for you.”

“What, oh hell, don’t call again,” he shouted as he slammed the receiver down. I’m not calling her. She is the one who left. His mind immediately went back to a week ago when he came home after being gone for two weeks and found her and the kids were gone. He was expecting his two-year-old daughter to start screaming “daddy” as soon as she realized he was home, and his five-year-old son starts asking to go out back and play catch. So much for expectations. What he got was an empty house with a note left on the dining room table. He’d memorized every word since he’d read it so many times.

James, I’ve taken the kids and moved out. I’ve tried to talk to you many times, but you kept putting me off or not listening at all. You can’t stay away from home for weeks and expect me to handle the house, the kids, the bills and that dog of yours. Don’t bother calling Mom’s because I’m not going there. If I want to talk to you, which I doubt. I will call you. April

After reading the note, James made his bar area his most favorite spot in the house. The drinking began the day he got home and has only stopped when he passes out on the couch. Normally he is fastidious about his appearance but not this week. He looks like a drunk on skid row. His facial hair now has six days’ growth, not to mention the hair on his head is greasy. He’s not removed his clothes since he walked through the door. They smell like body odor and wet dog scent and are very wrinkled.

The storm rumbling outside enhanced James’s angry mood. He couldn’t believe, after all, the years they’d been together, and as hard as he worked, she left. She can stay gone. I don’t need her, and I will fight for custody of the kids. She’s not going to get away with doing this to our family. James picked up his glass from the coffee table poured himself another glass of Crown Royal over rocks. He’d lost count of the number of times he’d filled his glass.

“Come here, Brutus. You will be my family. Won’t you boy? You love me don’t you? We don’t need her.” The Mastiff shook his head slinging saliva on the coffee table before he jumped up to lay beside James on the couch. James began to rub Brutus’s head and ears. “You’re such a good boy. You won’t leave me, will you?”

 

“You know, Old Boy, I have to go back to work on Monday. I don’t think I can go back to Raleigh and leave you here. I’ll give my boss a call tomorrow and tell him I can’t abandon you. I’m sure he’ll understand. There’s no way I’m leaving you here. She’ll be sorry she left us. You wait and see.”

The phone rang again but this time, James was too inebriated to care who was on the phone. He picked up the phone and slurred “Hello.”

“James, it’s April.”

“Yeah, what do you want?”

“The kids want to talk to you, but I can hear in your voice this is not a good time.”

“Why in the hell would you care what kind of time it is. You’re not here. You took them and ran away.”

“Sober up James if you want to talk to the kids. Goodbye”

The phone clicked, and she was gone. He didn’t even bother to hang it up before he laid down on the couch and passed out.

The Market (Flash Fiction)

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This is a flash fiction that is based on a picture taken by Mathew Wright for a challenge he does weekly. I decided to try my hand at it this week. This is the address to his blog if you would like to check out more about him. https://mjwrightnz.wordpress.com/2015/09/22/this-weeks-mega-short-story-challenge-10/

Let me know what you think of the story.  Blessings    Shirley

***

jams and jelley

“Who is the girl you have working the jams and jellies table at the market? Jack, I know what’s going on, so don’t bother denying it.”

“April, you’re crazy. I work as hard as you do to get this market going and all you can do is accuse me of things I don’t do. Why are you doing this?”

“What are you talking about. You try to turn things around on me and I’m not having it anymore. I stand over this hot stove day after day while you go and play with the playmate of the week.”

“I’m going back to the market. I’ll see you tonight when I get home. Maybe you’ll have cooled down by then.” Jack left the kitchen shaking his head and headed back to the market.

April watched as the car left the driveway. She went to the phone and punched in a number. “Hi, it’s me. He’s heading back to the market. I feel the same way.”

Two hours passed since the fight. Police came to the door and notified April her husband was dead. She cried hysterically. The female officer stayed until she calmed down. She asked April if she wanted a phone call made and April refused. She pulled herself together and assured the officer she’d be okay. Then she was alone. April went to the bedroom and pulled the suitcase from under the bed. I’m Kazakhstan bound. She left through the front door singing “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”

What Does a Publisher Do? Part 2

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Hello All, below you will find part two that goes along with last weeks post. The Chicago Press has done an excellent job in explaining exactly what is an Editor and his/her job.

publisherMay I Speak with an Editor?
In a publishing house, an editor may do a number of things. An acquisitions editor is the person with whom you’ll first come into contact, since this is the person with the primary responsibility to recommend projects for publication consideration. Some houses call this position sponsoring editor or commissioning editor.

Beyond that, your acquiring editor (the person you will quickly come to call “my editor”) may line edit your book. Even if this doesn’t get a thorough line editing, the acquiring editor will need to make decisions about your manuscript that can include cutting big chunks out, insisting you rethink parts, or requiring you to add something you’ve never thought of before.

If this weren’t confusing enough, many publishing houses establish rankings within their organizations that assign different job titles to acquisitions editors at different salary or seniority levels. Some houses have adopted rankings for editors that mirror the academic distinctions of assistant, associate, and full professor. You may find yourself reading a letter from an assistant or associate editor, or perhaps someone whose title is simply editor. Don’t be distracted by this. The person who has expressed interest in your work is the first person with whom you want to bond, whether or not she has been promoted to the highest ranking at her press. Obviously, there can be advantages to working directly with a very senior editor. But if you find yourself chatting with the associate editor for politics don’t sit there wishing you could meet the real politics editor—it’s likely you already have.

A manuscript editor or copy editor will be responsible for correcting style and punctuation, and may raise questions about clarity and intention. Sometimes a piece of writing will be subject to only the lightest cosmetic adjustments, while other times the manuscript will be substantially reworked. Once, manuscript editors were housed in a publisher’s offices, but increasingly manuscript editors work freelance, and are managed by someone in-house. The manuscript editor will be the person responsible for querying anything unclear or missing from your text. You, however, who are responsible for the final version of your book.

A developmental editor isn’t an acquiring editor, but may be assigned to an important project, lending the author or volume editor crucial assistance. Developmental editors are common at textbook houses, but are rare in other branches of book publishing. Sometimes development means taking a chaotic project and organizing it, while in other cases development might mean taking on myriad details (such as permissions and illustrations) for a complex volume initiated by the press itself. Authors who have heard about developmental editors sometimes wonder aloud why the press can’t provide one to help them through the last rewrite. But a developmental editor’s time is precious, and those work hours will be committed only to projects for which the publisher sees the possibility of significant return.

You might also work with someone described as a line editor. A line editor is someone who, as the title suggests, combs through a manuscript line by line, not only reading for sense but listening for rhythm and euphony as well. You might even get some fact-checking thrown in. Though line editor and manuscript editor are closely related job titles, a “line edit” is frequently reserved for trade books. Line editing is expensive.

A managing editor usually oversees copy (or manuscript) editors, and sometimes supervises further elements of the production process. Managing editors manage not only the copyediting process, but much of the scheduling your book will require. Increasingly this means that the managing editor must juggle the schedules of freelance copy editors, proofreaders, and indexers while keeping an eye on the printing schedule. The managing editor will likely not manage the acquisitions editors, however.

Diane Baker to Brian Aherne, playing a high-powered trade editor in The Best of Everything: “Oh, no wonder you’re an editor! You know so much about people!” Different kinds of editors perform different functions. All, however, are grouped under the editorial umbrella of a publishing house, which embraces two functions: acquisition, or signing books up; and manuscript development, or making them better. Some acquiring editors spend all their time “editing a list”—that is, bringing in projects—and no time developing or enhancing the author’s words. A specialized monograph publisher may operate this way. More commonly, acquiring editors both bring in projects and, perhaps selectively, spend time on detailed shaping and rewriting. On the other hand, a developmental editor may spend all of her time on shaping a manuscript, and have no acquisitions responsibilities at all.

Dobyns Chronicles

The Time is Here…..

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I’m so excited and can’t keep my old heart from jumping up and down. I finally have my book of short stories on Amazon. It’s called, “Shirley’s Shorts and Flashes”. You can read just about any genre you want with these stories. I started working on them a couple of years ago.

One thing I’m very pleased about is using Afaheem Solutions to do the drawings before every chapter. Those pictures set the story off and give you little hints what it’s about. It was fun to see what concepts he would come up with in a short period of time. If I wanted something changed he would do it immediately.

I think my favorite of the stories is Forever Love based on a true event from my life. If you like paranormal, love and tragedy all wrapped up in a neat package, you will like this story.

Take a look at it and let me know what you think about the book.  Blessings to all.        Shirley

Flash Fiction

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I love writing flash fiction. It lets me stretch my writing muscles a bit, but not feel overwhelmed. Today I wrote a flash fiction called Football Fantasy. I was required to use six words: alarm, agent, football, song, explosion, and fantasy. I’m posting it for you to read. Please give me some feedback. I love hearing from everyone.   Shirley

Football Fantasy

Can it be true? Has my life long fantasy happened? When the alarm went off this morning, I knew in my heart that it would be a great day. I jumped out of bed with a song on my lips. I’m happy. I’m blessed. When the agent called yesterday about being the place kicker for the Hurricanes, I had a difficult time talking because of my excitement. Me, Amy Jackson, playing football for a professional team.

What is that smell? I don’t know how many times I’ve mentioned it to the maintenance man. He tells me the same thing every time. “I’ll get to it when I can, Ma’am”. I have to take a shower before the agent and coach arrives. That bathroom heater needs lighting. I hate that pilot light. It only works when it wants to.
Where did I put those matches? Here they are.

***

On page four of the Tulsa World, Sunday edition, there is a small article, which reads: Amy Jackson, the rising star of the Hurricanes, the first duel-sexed team in Oklahoma, is mourning the loss of their new place kicker. She died in her home yesterday from a gas explosion. No further details are available at this time.

Help (100 Word Flash NonFiction)

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Hello all, I hope all of you who celebrated Labor Day had a great weekend. Today I am sharing a 100 word flash fiction that won me an overall best award. I will be putting it in my book, Shirley’s Shorts and Flashes. I hope you enjoy it. It is a story from my long ago past. That cowboy and I had a good time.

Help

Linda should be here at any time. I told her I’d wait at the bar.

“Little lady, let me buy you a drink?”

“No, thank you. I’m waiting on my girlfriend.” This guy is drunk and it’s barely 10:00 pm. I scoot down a stool, so I don’t have to be next to him. He moves also.

A cowboy watches, and I mouth “Help.” He walks up, my arms go around his neck, I call him honey. I kiss him and say, “I wasn’t expecting you”.

“I wasn’t expecting you, either. Let’s dance.”

Flash Fiction Story and August Contest

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Brother

The laughter at the wedding reception makes my heart glad. I want a drink right now, none of that mild crap. How do I tell Gloria on her wedding day, her brother is dead? James was found nude, in a muddy ditch, murdered? How does one begin a sentence you know will destroy someone’s world? I’m hoping her marriage allows her to let loose of her obsessions concerning her brother.

“Detective Donavan, you finally made it,” Gloria yells, and begins laughing,as she runs to meet him.

Donavan walks to meet her. “I certainly did. What happened to your beautiful dress?”

“Oh clumsy me, I fell flat of my face in the mud.”

Now it’s your turn. Let’s see what you can do with this. Use the same words I did and come up with a FF story keeping it under 120 words. The winner will receive an ebook from Amazon of thier choice under $5.00. Deadline will be Friday, August 10th with a winner announced on the 11th. Send stories to shirley_mclain@yahoo.com.  Have Fun

Hunky Brother

Flash Fiction by Craig Towsley

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Raccoons in a tree.

Raccoons in a tree. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I will be posting a flash fiction story by Craig Towsley. When he submitted his writing he stated it was from a larger piece of writing and he thought it could stand on it’s own. Let’s give Craig some constructive criticism or praises of his work.  It does not have a title.

***

Owl wanted to say something, to ask what happened the other night after Raccoon’s father dragged him home and pounded on the door until his mother woke up and opened it. 

They were sentenced to solitary confinement and house work detail and hadn’t seen each other for the last week. He kept stealing glances at the yellow, red, blue and purple bruise around Raccoon’s eye. Raccoon ignored him and deflected his questions by staring at the double rainbows overhead.

Owl pulled a handful of wide grasses and blew through them like a harmonica. The forlorn warble fractured the pastoral quiet.

***

“Warning” A Challenge. Can you do it?

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Here’s a challenge for you. Write a 100 word flash fiction, any genre. You must have a main character, beginning, climax and ending.  If you will send them to me at shirley_mclain.net, I will post them on my blog. When you write a story using only 100 words it is really bare bones, no fluff.  Let’s see what you can come up with.

I am posting the one I wrote for FanStory. It has made the All Time Favorite status and is also entered into a contest. I hope you enjoy the read and please let me know what you think of it.

I look forward to reading your stories and sharing them.

 

Warning

Thunder rumbled in the distance as Sally slipped out the door of her house. She had to get away from her vile, drunken husband. The police were her only hope. She knew if her husband found her, she’d be badly hurt.
“I need to talk to someone, please.”
“Hello, how can I help you?”
“My husband is going to hurt me. Please help me.”
“I’ll take you back and I’ll talk to him. Come with me.”
“No, don’t go to the door.”
Ignoring Sally’s warning, the officer went to the door, and rang the doorbell.
Six shots into the chest