Tag Archives: flash fiction

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

Flash Fiction Contest Winner and More

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English: fireworks seen across the at Washingt...

English: fireworks seen across the at Washington, D.C., USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello everyone. Today is the day that I announce the winner of the 4th of July contest winner. I received wonderful entries which made the decision hard. I can fully understand that line all the judges say, “I wish they can all be winners.”  What I’ve decided to do is have a runner-up, who will receive one e-book of his/her choice. Today I will be posting the winner and the runner-up plus an Abecdarian poem I wrote called The 4th of July.  For those of you who don’t know what an Abecdarianpoem is, I’m here to help 🙂  The poem is comprised of  every letter of the alphabet to start you line. It is fun to do and can be a real challenge. I hope you enjoy all the post and please have a safe and happy holiday.

Shirley

!st Place Winner: John Granger

An Understanding

Nathan was having trouble standing still.  It wasn’t just the normal nervous energy of a 14 year old; Nathan wanted to get away from this place.  He looked at his mother, standing to his right, and wondered how she could just stand there looking so calm.  He surveyed the other families in the cemetery, all with fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands or wives just like his Dad.  He couldn’t understand why they all just stood there passively listening to this Major or Colonel or whatever his title was blather on and on about the meaning of their loved ones’ deaths.  And yet, he stood here passively, too – not screaming out and running to get away from the thought of it, like he wanted to.  He was just standing and pretending to listen. “The Fourth of July is a time to reflect on what our country means and what the sacrifice of the men and women who lay here means…” the man at the podium was saying. Nathan couldn’t see any sense in any of it.  He didn’t understand why his Father had been sent half a world away, why someone who never knew his Dad would walk up to him in a crowded market and blow himself up, or why his Mother insisted on bringing him to this stupid memorial service.  All it meant to Nathan is that he would never talk to his Dad again, never play catch with his Dad in the backyard again, and that his morning was being wasted listening to this garbage. “These are our American heroes.  They chose to put themselves in harm’s way in order to defend a way of life, to defend what they held most dear…” Nathan had an involuntary reaction to the word ‘heroes.’  He hadn’t even realized that he was listening and suddenly a lump formed in his throat.  His Dad washis hero.  He suddenly was listening intently to what the man had to say.  The man was explaining exactly why his Father had done the things he had done and although Nathan had heard the patriotic rhetoric before, it suddenly rang true in a way he hadn’t experienced previously.  His anger and resentment melted into pride.  He looked at his mother again and finally understood everything. Runner-up:  ES

The Fourth Cycle 49SE lumbered over and sat down by one of the great windows of The Distant Searcher explorer vessel.  It stared out into the vast emptiness of space, as it had done so every cycle for several revolutions.  In the darkness, a doorway slid open.  Another terraforming unit walked in, and stood near 49SE. “I extracted more information in the object that we found floating in space.  You know, the one near the burnt out planets,” 82NS said, “It is in a strange dialect, but I believe that it reveals ancient culture.” 49SE turned to face it’s worker counterpart. “What does it say?” it asked. 82NS lumbered closer, and placed broken remains of an ancient satellite near it’s counterpart. “Well,” 82NS started, “This one contains activities that ancient ones seemingly practiced.  They apparently celebrated something on a fourth day of a July.” 49SE stared at it’s counterpart with it’s work-worn iron face. “What is a July? What is a day? Was it a celebration for an achievement?” “Apparently, it was to celebrate the ancient’s independence from another group of ancients.  I believe that it was celebrated to commemorate that.  Not much else remains on the cylinders, other than a few practices observed by these ancients.” 82NS said. “What practices?” 49SE asked. “One of the symbol data cylinders mentions the eating of ‘hotdogs’ and ‘parades’.  Other than that, I do not understand how the various surviving images coincide with each other,” it’s counterpart replied, as it displayed images on itself for 49SE to visualize. “What is a hotdog? What does it have to do with commemoration?” 49SE asked, “What is a parade?” “As far as can be deciphered, a hotdog is a cheerful display of colorful vehicles and music commemorating victorious soldiers and independence from ancient beings.  A parade is an edible, protein based material that the ancients consumed.” 82NS replied. 82NS began lumbering towards the door, then turned back. “Oh, another cylinder mentioned the celebratory exploding of pyrotechnic compounds in colorful displays.” 49SE looked up at 82NS, and stood. “There is an asteroid belt between The Distant Searcher, and our next assigned mission.  It would be agreeable if we may continue this ancient practice of exploding objects in a celebratory manner.” 82NS nodded in agreement. “Happy fourth cycle to you, my friend.” it stated. “Happy fourth cycle to you!” 49SE replied as the two terraforming units left the room.
 

 

A celebration recognized in 1872

Between memorial and Labor Day

Celebrating American freedom

Declaration of Independence signed July 2, 1776

Event that went around the world

Fighting for rights from Great Britain

Government of the people, by the people

Home to all

Initially only thirteen colonies

Justifying our right to be free

King no longer has a say

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

Making our country favored by all

National Anthem is the song of the day.

On the fourth the nation was born

Parties, fun, and games rule the day

Quality of life is our goal

Rain sometimes spoils the parade

Squealing children run and play

Time of remembrances

Uniting the country

Voices of politicians heard

Wonderful fireworks displayed

Xenophobia isn’t our norm

Yesteryear was great but tomorrow is greater

Zillions have and will celebrate the 4th of July

 abecdarian poem, using the 26 letters of the alphabet chronologically. An abecedarian poem is a special form of an acrostic poem, in which the initial letters of the words beginning each line or stanza spell out the alphabet in order.
Recognized

 

Author Notes Xenophobia is a fear of anything foreign.
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