15/11/2018

MEMORIAL - a story in one hundred words


MEMORIAL

I was fourteen, running away from my stepfather, ducked in here out of the rain and practically fell over Mike. He gave me one of his coats.
It was our home for months till they caught me shoplifting and put me in care, but then the social worker tried it on so I came back to Mike.
Five years we had before his cough turned worse. I got us into a shelter but it was too late.
The Social cremated him and gave me his ashes. That’s his grave there – the only dad I ever had worth the name.


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This week's prompt photograph was taken by our leader personally - Rochelle - who you will find on her blog at  https://rochellewisoff.com/  From there you can follow the link to read other stories by dozens more writers like me, all of whom hope you will leave a comment and want to read more.

With Christmas coming up, I trust your shopping list includes lots of books? You can buy my latest book, Helter-Skelter, an historical novel, by clicking on the cover image on this page. Or if you like prehistoric adventure, the first in my Living Rock series, A Volcanic Race, is available on Amazon. Read it now before the next one comes out - I will be publishing Wolf Pack very soon.

08/11/2018

TREE DANCE - a story in 100 words

TREE  DANCE

When the Council declared the old tree was dangerous, the town mourned. Generations had swung from its branches and eaten picnics in its shade.
By popular vote, Hal was selected to carve the remaining trunk, and Running Bear supervised progress from his folding chair.
“Be careful what spirits you awaken, boy – trees have long memories.”
Hal laughed, but when he surveyed his work that evening, shapes had appeared that he didn’t recognize. Shivering, he hurried home.

In the morning there was a track in the grass, as if many feet had danced around the tree all night.
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I had to resist the temptation to write a story about my elder son, who is in the process of carving the trunk of a tree which was felled beside his house. We also have a tree-carving artist who has made woodland creatures to delight the children - and adults - out of felled trees around our village. So much better than reducing a grand old tree to firewood and wood-pulp.
Thanks to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers and to J S Brand for this week's photograph.

01/11/2018

WHEN I'M BIGGER - flash fiction for Friday Fictioneers


WHEN I’M BIGGER

Why does crying make your eyes all blurry?
I’m hungry, but when I asked Mummy for a biscuit she said I’d made her brush slip and she smacked me.

I don’t like it when she paints her models because it makes her busy and cross. She calls me a little pest and tells me to ask Daddy, but I don’t want to.

When I’m bigger I’m going to bite him – perhaps that will stop him hurting me.
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This week's photo prompt was taken by Jeff Arnold and it made me screw up my eyes trying to get it in focus, hence my story, which happened so fast that it only reached 80 words. I hope you agree that I was right to stop there? Please leave a comment and follow the link from Rochelle's blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/  to read other stories.

It doesn't seem possible that it's November already, but my son and grandson's Trick-or-Treat call last night made it clear. I shall have to get a move on with my decorating if our new old cottage is to look its best by Christmas!

Helter-Skelter - how about buying yourself an early Christmas present? My latest novel is on Amazon in paperback or Kindle, (click on the cover at the top of my blog to find it) and would make a great fireside read. Or a beach book, if you're in another temperate zone!

25/10/2018

ROMANTIC BONES - a 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers


ROMANTIC BONES

Mum hasn’t got a romantic bone in her body.
I asked her once, “You must have fallen in love with Dad?” but she soon shattered that illusion. “I got pregnant with you.”
Her garden is full of vegetables – she loathes flowers. “Dead in days and drop mess everywhere.”
She said the same when I wanted a puppy – except for the dead part, of course.
In a last-ditch attempt to ignite her romantic spark I took her to the famous Exhibition Hall.
She stared at the magnificent roof and said, “I wouldn’t fancy having to clean that.”
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I think of myself as a romantic, but I have a strong streak of practicality which asks, 'How would one clean that roof?' Possibly by employing my grandson Joe, an abseiler who tackles jobs just like that. At the moment he is in Sydney, working at their famous cricket ground - my husband is green with envy.
Thanks to Roger Bultot for this week's photo and to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog https://rochellewisoff.com/

I have finally got round to opening an Author Page on Goodreads, so if you have read either of my books - A Volcanic Race or Helter-Skelter - do please consider writing a review.    https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18537528.Liz_Young
And if you haven't read them yet, now is your chance!

18/10/2018

BIRTHDAY PRESENT - a 100 word story


BIRTHDAY PRESENT

“Come on, Mum – you haven’t chosen anything yet!”
Betty shook her head, too breathless to speak. It was sweet of Joe to take her shopping, and no doubt the Mall was a marvel of modern design, but why did everything have to be so spread out? Ten minutes just to cross the car park before they even reached the shops. Give her an old-fashioned High Street any day.
She clutched Joe’s arm. “Just take me to the nearest cafė, darling – I need a coffee.”
“But what about your birthday present?”
“You choose – I like surprises.”

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You'll probably GUESS (see what I did there?) from this story that I don't like Malls any more than Betty does - marathon shopping isn't my idea of fun - so I sympathize with the woman in this photo, taken by Jilly Funell for Friday Fictioneers. Thanks to our indefatigable leader Rochelle, who blogs on  https://rochellewisoff.com/

If you enjoyed this story, why not scroll through my archives and read some of the others? At my first ever Author Fair last Saturday I gave away little scrolls with a story on each one, hoping to attract more readers, though it was worth all the effort of printing and rolling them just to see the pleasure on people's faces at being given something for nothing!  

I reached a milestone last week when I sent off to my proofreader the second book in my Living Rock series. All being well, WOLF PACK will be out early in the New Year - watch this space!

11/10/2018

PRINCESS - a hundred word story


PRINCESS

“You said no?”
“I said no.”
“How could you? He’s such a nice boy.”
“And so rich.”
“That’s not what I meant, but having money isn’t such a bad thing.”
“He’s boring and possessive.”
“He’d treat you like a princess.”
“Yeah, right – give me diamonds and lock me up in his castle.”
“But you’re thirty – you might not ...”
“Get another offer? Thanks Mum.”
“Don’t you want to be married and have babies?”
“Give you grandchildren, you mean? When I get married – if I ever do – I want to share my castle with a prince, not a gaoler.”
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I just didn't fancy the idea of living in this building, with its slit windows, minimal light, and no way out, which prompted this week's story. Apologies to Rochelle who took the picture, and who also hosts Friday Fictioneers at https://rochellewisoff.com/
I have been extra busy this week, as I am going to my first ever Local Author Fair on Saturday at Crawley Library. Crawley is in Sussex, so if any of you are down that way on Saturday morning, do please pop in and visit my stand, where I shall be displaying - and hopefully selling copies of - my recent book Helter-Skelter, the cover of which is at the top of my blog - click on it to buy your copy.

04/10/2018

SHELL GAME - a story in a hundred words


SHELL GAME

Dave was out there as usual this morning in his car, waiting to follow me.
I did my normal Tuesday shop then met the girls for coffee, and while the babies played we went over the plan meticulously – we would only get one chance.

After an hour Sally left wearing my clothes, with her shopping in my buggy, Rene tucked my baby in with hers and walked off to the Mall, while I jogged across the park, my face hidden in Sally’s hoodie.

That evening we celebrated in the Refuge – Dave is no match for three women playing the shell game.
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Here we are again, another week, another raft of stories courtesy of Rochelle at   https://rochellewisoff.com/  who manages our group of writers, and thanks to Sandra Crook who took the photograph.
For any reader who doesn't understand my reference, the shell game is a sleight of hand trick played with three conical shells and a pea, similar to Find the Lady.
Local Author Fair - and if anyone is in Crawley on Saturday 13th OCtober, come and visit my stall at the Library (opposite Debenhams) where I shall be giving away more of my flash fiction.

27/09/2018

LATE FOR WORK - a tale of consequences, in one hundred words


LATE FOR WORK

Gerald pedalled furiously along the dark streets, shot through an amber light, and collided with a delivery van, breaking his wrist.
Gerald’s absence left Dennis, the night porter, to set the breakfast bar, and he neglected to turn on the coffee urn.
Deprived of her morning caffeine, the Foreign Secretary departed angrily for a Cabinet meeting, but her trailing scarf became trapped in the revolving door. Before Dennis could press the emergency button she was half-throttled.
As she was rushed into Emergency, Gerald watched the drama, totally unaware that his failure to get up on time had averted a war.
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It took me ages to come up with a story this week,but I've been busy helping with the local Arts Festival, so I hope you'll forgive any shortcomings.
Thanks to https://rochellewisoff.com/  Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers, and to Yvette Prior for the photograph of a lovely mosaic floored lobby.

20/09/2018

ALFREDO'S - a story in one hundred words


ALFREDO’S

There’s a secret hidden in the side streets of our town, known only to the locals. Tourists are directed to promenade restaurants with music, free entertainment and lights reflected in the night-dark sea.

On rare occasions some will venture further and discover Alfredo’s, where they will be shown to a table outside – only the kitchen is indoors – and given a carafe of local wine. There is no menu. Alfredo serves whatever his sons caught that day – sardines, swordfish, octopus – with salty potatoes, salsa picante and tomato salad.

The alley breeze keeps the diners cool, and if it rains there are Alfredo’s famous umbrellas.
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This week's image - thank you, Dale Rogerson - took me straight back to Tenerife, where there is a restaurant much as I describe here. It is in Los Cristianos, called El Cine, and has been in the same family since the 1970s. We spent many a happy evening there, usually with family or friends. 
Thanks to https://rochellewisoff.com/  for hosting Friday Fictioneers. If you follow the links from her blog you can read how other writers interpreted the image.

I have been busy these past few weeks with a house move, and apart from a prodigious amount of painting still to do, we are settled in comfortably for the duration. ie - until they carry us out! See my previous post for a photo.

13/09/2018

HANS AND GRETA - a one hundred word story for Friday Fictioneers


HANS & GRETA

Every hour, on the hour, the carved doors swung open and Hans moved smoothly to meet Greta. Watched by townsfolk and tourists alike, they leaned towards each other to kiss, then danced to a foot-tapping peasant tune before parting company.

Behind those closed doors Hans and Greta lived in a comfortless world of jigsaw lights and intricate draughts, fires that never stayed lit, curtains blown frantic by every breeze, and constant chest infections.

One bitter winter day the doors opened on emptiness - relieved only by a hand-painted sign: ‘Couple wanted. Free accommodation. Must be reliable.’
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Here I am again, after a week off writing while we moved house. We are now living in an old cottage and, although I have some painting and other odd jobs still to do, we are settling in. There are twenty of them, owned by a Village Trust, and we are very lucky to have been offered one.
Must dash - I now have a garden and it's in need of some TLC  :)


30/08/2018

VANITY, THY NAME IS WOMAN

VANITY, THY NAME IS WOMAN


Sadie can’t pass a mirror without stopping to gaze at her reflection.
“You’re vain,” I tease her, but it’s more than vanity, it’s obsession.
First thing you see when you walk into her house is a full-length image of yourself. They’re everywhere – plain mirrors, ornate, large and small. No pictures, just mirrors.

Anyhow, I hadn’t seen Sadie for a week so I called round and let myself in. No sign of her, but all those mirrors spooked me.
As I opened the front door I spotted Sadie waving at me - from behind the hall mirror.
I slammed the door and ran.
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My house is full of mirrors too - perhaps that's why I had to write a story despite being in the throes of moving house! The two men with a van arrive at 8.30 tomorrow morning to move our furniture 50 yards along the road, and we've spent the past few weeks renovating the new cottage. Well, not new, about 150 years old, but it's new to us! And the past few days have been spent shifting boxes of books, clothes and kitchen stuff, and all the cr*p we've accumulated in three years of living here. 
Thanks to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers - please forgive me if I fail to comment on your blog - I am by no means certain the internet will move as quickly as we will!

23/08/2018

MAYHEM - a story in ninety-five words.


MAYHEM

‘A beautiful soul’, they said, over and over, and her father agreed, forgetting the hours he had walked the streets searching, the money paid in bribes to save her from arrest, in fines when the bribes no longer worked, and the shame.

‘A dreadful loss’, they said, and her mother wept, regretting each bitter argument over stolen jewellery and housekeeping money, remembering only pudgy arms and baby kisses.

To carry her soul to heaven they launched floating candles, which set the forest alight – their daughter blazing a trail of mayhem even in death.
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A quick story this week again - the only piece of writing I've done in a flurry of painting walls, filling holes with Polyfilla, and a multitude of trips to the DIY shop. Yesterday I spent half an hour crouched beside the toilet. No, I had not over-indulged the night before - I was pushing filler into gaps behind pipes with my fingers because no tool would fit. The joys of moving house!
Thanks to Carla Bicomong for the photograph which is this week's Friday Fictioneers' prompt, and to Rochelle for organising us, despite her own crammed schedule, on https://rochellewisoff.com/
If you are on holiday, have a lovely time, and remember to pack a book. I have two on offer - Helter-Skelter, an historical novel which you can buy by clicking on the cover image on this page, and A Volcanic Race, a fantasy, also available on Amazon.

16/08/2018

GLAMOUR - a story in one hundred words


GLAMOUR

“Why did you even start, Nan?”
“How could I not? Smoking was glamorous in the sixties.
I remember people like Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart – a sultry film star waiting for the handsome leading man to flick his gold lighter.
We used to practise with sweet cigarettes after school, and bought packs of five Woodbines to share behind the bike sheds.
A slim case was a standard twenty-first birthday gift, filled with pastel-coloured cigarettes. You bought menthols to be ‘cool’, or Abdullahs to appear daring.
Smoking was normal – everyone did it.
Nobody ever said it could kill us.”
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I'm still in the throes of renovating the cottage we are due to move into at the end of the month, so this week's story for Friday Fictioneers is the best I could come up with over this morning's cuppa. Thanks to Yvette Prior for the photo ans to https://rochellewisoff.com/ for hosting Friday Fictioneers.
To my fellow FF writers, please forgive me if yours is not one of the few I manage to comment on this month. 

08/08/2018

GRASS - a story in a hundred words


GRASS

It was strange, the way Barry disappeared.
“Buggered off with his floozy”, Pauline said, but it was the middle of summer and he was a fanatic gardener. I’d seen him out hunting slugs by torchlight, his compost heap was a fragrant delight, and he even had a machine to grind meat bones for his lawn, so him leaving just then was a mystery.
Still, Pauline did her best to keep it nice. “For when he comes back,” she said.
“That lawn is even better than he left it,” I told her, “What’s your secret?”
She smiled. “Bonemeal – lots of bonemeal.”
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This week's photo prompt is thanks to Ronda del Boccio and to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog at  https://rochellewisoff.com/
Again I have only just made it, thanks to Margaret buying me a glass of wine that relaxed me enough after a week of moving-related stress to be able to write! My sinister story-line owes just a little to my frame of mind this week. Mwah-ha-ha!
If you're going on holiday, don't forget to pack a book. My latest novel, HELTER-SKELTER, would make a perfect beach read, and by clicking on the cover on this page you can get your copy from Amazon.



02/08/2018

BUG HOTEL - a story in a hundred words


BUG HOTEL

After a week of unidentifiable noises from the garden shed, the hotel appeared overnight.
Word spread quickly and the bugs moved in – slugs and snails occupied the ground floor, woodlice and ants, beetles and flies took over the middle, and within days the top floor housed a burgeoning colony of bees.
They crept, scuttled and flew, mated and reproduced, and all the while Shirley lurked in the shadows, biding her time, guarding her nest.
Then her babies hatched – an instant army which spread, with inborn skill, a silken sheet over the entire structure.
The bug hotel had become a larder.
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Last week was the first time I have missed a Friday Fictioneers prompt in several years, but I have a valid excuse - we are moving! A local Trust has offered us the tenancy of a delightful terraced cottage and, having given a month's notice on the flat we've lived in for three years, we are in the throes of bringing a 170 year old property up to a livable standard. The previous tenants did some work in it, some of which is useful and some of which is unsafe.
SO we have a lot to do in a few short weeks.
This week's prompt photograph - thank you Sandra Crook for the photo and Rochelle for hosting FF - is a great template for a smaller version I plan to install in my first garden for years, but also brought to mind what I found when I tried to read the gas meter!
Meanwhile, thank you to the seven people who have bought my book Helter-Skelter so far. I have acquired one 5* review, which is a start :)  Please click on the book cover at the top of this page to visit my Amazon page and buy your own copy - I have a cottage to furnish!

19/07/2018

ECLIPSE - a story in 100 words


ECLIPSE
“Fetch another virgin now!” the Chief screamed, “The Sun is dying!”
The medicine man cowered. “But Chief – we’ve sacrificed all the virgins.”
“Get Daxo’s neice.”
“The gods will be insulted – she’s too ugly.”
“That’s why I’m sure nobody’s screwed her.”
The fire that burned Daxo’s neice had been his fault - she was still a virgin because no man saw past the scars. 
“Hide, Petl – they will sacrifice you,” he urged.
“They won’t if I’m not a virgin, Tio.”
“Who?” Daxo gasped.
“You, Tio – quickly!”
Despite himself, Daxo succumbed, and the medicine man arrived just as Daxo saved Petl - and the sun - the only way he could.
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This week's story is condensed from another I wrote last year, with apologies for my lack of  fresh inspiration. We have just been offered a Trust cottage and will be moving within a month - so much to do, so little time, but we're thrilled.
Meanwhile, a quick plug for my latest book HELTER-SKELTER - just the job for a holiday read so be sure to get your copy, paperback or ebook, before you pack your suitcase. Link to the Amazon page at the top of my blog.

11/07/2018

THE SLAVE GIRL - a story in a hundred words


THE SLAVE

 “Who will buy this lovely young virgin?”
“I will,” Petrus said and the hammer fell.

His home was a humble pottery in Stabiae, but a fig-tree shaded the yard, the kitchen was cool, and when Yani gave birth to a son, Petrus freed her.

One day he announced, “I go to sell pots in Surrentum,” and Yani said, “I will come too.”
Petrus stared as she packed all their belongings into the cart. “Shall I bring my wheel?” he joked.
She glanced at the mountain and shivered, clutching her child. “You can buy another – now hurry!”

They were ten miles away when Vesuvius erupted.
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Stabiae was a small village overlooking the Bay of Naples which, like Pompeii, was buried under metres of volcanic ash when Mt Vesuvius erupted.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stabiae
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I took this photograph on our village green at Halloween a couple of years ago - this was our local supermarket's offering to the festivities. Thanks to Rochelle for using another of my photos - I shall enjoy reading what the rest of Friday Ficitoneers thought of it. If you are not a FF contributor, you can find us by following the blue frog link from https://rochellewisoff.com/ - after you've left a comment here, of course.

And - if you click on the book cover at the top of this page, that link will take you to the Amazon page where you can buy my new book HELTER-SKELTER, which is the story of Albie, a boy growing up in Kent, South-east England, between the wars - a completely different genre from my last book, A Volcanic Race. For those of you who bought AVR, I am still working on the sequel and hope to publish it in time for Christmas.

05/07/2018

THE LAKE - a hundred word story for a hot day.


THE LAKE

That summer was a scorcher but the townsfolk were still shocked when Brandon appeared in shorts. 
His boss asked why he couldn’t at least get a leg that looked human, but Brandon said he was hot and they’d have to get used to it.
After work he walked round the lake, wishing he could grab a swim, but knew his stump would be too much.
Until Sadie got caught in the weeds, and he tore off his leg to dive in, then hopped ashore with her in his arms.
He swam every day after that, and at Christmas he married Sadie.
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The photo prompt this week was taken by J Hardy Carroll and posted on https://rochellewisoff.com/  If you follow the Blue Frog link from Rochelle's blog you can read other stories by Friday Fictioneers..

My Big News this week is that last Saturday - just inside my self-imposed deadline of June - my historical novel Helter-Skelter went live on Amazon. 
Publishing this book has been a dream for a long time. Some years ago an agent took it on but she couldn't find a publisher. Many of those she approached said I wrote well, but they didn't want an author who lived abroad and wouldn't be instantly available for publicity purposes!!
Well, now I'm back in England, the book has undergone a thorough edit, and here it is. If you click on the cover image the link will take you to the right page on Amazon.
For those of you who read A Volcanic Race and are waiting to read the sequel, be assured that I am working on that right now. I hope Wolf Pack will be out later this year.

28/06/2018

THAT SONG - this week's one hundred word story


THAT  SONG

That song has made him millions over the years. Wonder what his fans would say if they knew I wrote it?
The summer of ’67, it was, when he was too spaced-out to sit up, let alone write a tune. He found it one day and played it, the band loved it, and it took off. Did he give me the credit? Not bloody likely!
He’s had four different wives since then, all young and thin.

The old goat didn’t even recognise me this morning, pushing the Hoover round the studio.
He’ll remember me tomorrow – I’ll make sure of that.
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Thanks as ever to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/  and for taking the photo prompt this week. 
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And I have exciting news to share with you - my next book will be out on Amazon next week! 
Helter-Skelter is set in the first half of the 20th century, so it just qualifies as an historical novel, and is the story of Albie's search for his gypsy father after his mother abandons him at the tender age of twelve. 
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For those of you who read my first book, A Volcanic Race, and are eagerly anticipating the sequel, I have been working on Wolf Pack at the same time as completing Helter-Skelter. 
For those of you who didn't buy AVR because you 'don't read fantasy', perhaps I can change your minds?The book is definitely NOT sci-fi, and even people who only bought it out of friendship have enjoyed reading it!


22/06/2018

MAGNET FISHING - a story in 100 words

MAGNET FISHING

All you need is a strong magnet on a rope and you can earn quite a few quid in scrap metal, or even a fortune, like that bloke who found a safe full of cash.
The rope must have got tangled and the lad fell in trying to free it, then his dad went in after him and they couldn’t get out.
The canal walls here are slimy slopes. There is a ladder but it’s round that corner – they probably never knew it was there.
Drowned, both of them, in five feet of mucky water. Doesn’t bear thinking about, does it?
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Thanks to Fatima Fakier Daria for this week's photo on Rochelle's blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/  for Friday Fictioneers.
My story is what I imagine a local might say to a visitor or a reporter about a dreadful accident in the North of England which took the lives of a father and son this week.
 https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/magnet-fishing-dead-father-son-huddersfield-canal-river-calder-west-yorkshire-a8404026.html
Image result for magnet fishing accident

14/06/2018

JILTED - a story in a hundred words


JILTED

See that dress on the line? That’s my dream in tatters.
I shouldn’t have fallen for Hank, of course, but there’s a shortage of single men round here, and when he breezed into the bar, all tan and drawl, I was smitten.

Out in the cornfield he kissed me till I melted like butter in the sun. He came to supper, spoke respectful to Pa, charmed Momma, talked about settling down hereabouts, and we set a date.

He didn’t show.

When the dress is dry I’ll put it away in tissue paper.
You never know – I might need it again.


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Yes, I know it's probably a bird, but I saw a dress blowing in the breeze. If you follow the Blue Frog link from https://rochellewisoff.com/  you will discover what other writers thought they saw.
Thanks to Jean L Hayes for the photograph and to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers, for whom I have written 100 word stories for at least four years - that's the equivalent of a novella!

Which brings me to the book I have actually written - A Volcanic Race - which is available on Amazon in print at the bargain price of £6.39 - or as an ebook. Click on the cover at the top of this page to follow the link to Amazon.

That's after you've left a comment here, naturally :)

06/06/2018

WAITING - flash fiction - one hundred words inspired by an image


WAITING

‘Nine o’clock by the statue.’
His typical text – terse and lacking in detail. He assumes too much, gives too little, yet I have been here since eight. It is now nearly ten.

When the morning rush eased off I felt too conspicuous in the thinning crowd and moved to the mezzanine. From here the people look insignificant, and with a jolt of clarity I realise that is how he sees me. Suddenly I am angry. As I leave the concourse the fresh air clears my head.

At nine pm my phone buzzes. ‘Where are you? I’m waiting.’
I delete his message.
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Roger Bultot's photograph was posted for Friday Fictioneers by Rochelle on her blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/ from whence you can follow the Blue Frog link to read dozens of other stories - all FREE! Except for the small payment of a comment, of course.
By the way - after reducing the line-spacing in my book A Volcanic Race I have been able also to reduce the price to £6.99 ($7.99) so now is your chance to buy a copy before I start asking you to buy my next book! Click on the cover (top right) to go to my Amazon page.

30/05/2018

ROCKS - a (mostly) true story in one hundred words


ROCKS


They had hoped to be in before Christmas – until workmen digging the foundations hit bedrock. A perfect base for our extension walls, they thought, but Building Regulations were inflexible. They had to dig down deeper, extract the rock, and pour concrete. It seemed total madness, but rules are rules, even in Ireland.

Then it snowed, the foundation ditch became a moat, and the caravan toilet froze solid.

Finally spring arrived, building work recommenced, and their spirits lifted – they had a garden to design. It made sense to start with a rockery – one thing they weren’t short of was rocks.
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This is almost a true story. My daughter and her husband are in the throes of renovating a cottage in Ireland, and the first photograph could (almost) have been taken in their garden. The one on the left was.

Thanks to Connie Gayer for the photograph which Rochelle posted on her blog at  https://rochellewisoff.com/ - from whence, if you follow the Blue Frog link, you can read other stories that are more likely to be Fictional.



24/05/2018

TREVOR'S PRAM - a story in one hundred words


TREVOR’S PRAM

The space beneath the mattress in the ancient pram could hide many small items, and Pauline supplemented her income by pilfering, careful to spread her net wide enough to avoid suspicion. With her husband in prison she struggled to make ends meet.

Trevor learned from an early age to snatch an apple or sweets to hide under his blanket, and his innocent face saved him from anything worse than an indulgent scold. By two years old he was an expert.

This pram’s a godsend,” Pauline told her sister, “It’s amazing what useful trifles you can hide under a baby.”
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Yes, I know - you're wondering how I got from that photo to my story. It's a pretty glass bowl, similar to one I have had for fifty years which is just right for serving sherry trifle. Other writers have no doubt been less obscure with their stories, which you can check out on https://rochellewisoff.com/ from where Rochelle hosts Friday Fictioneers. As she took the photo it is probably her bowl, though she clearly prefers plants to trifles. 
   

17/05/2018

GRANDMA'S BOOTS - a story in a hundred words


GRANDMA’S BOOTS

I loved Grandma’s cottage – after school I’d lie on her rag rug while she told the story of each scrap, eating buns hot from the chipped yellow stove. She made soup with vegetable peelings that Mum would have thrown away, never bought new clothes, and mended her own boots.
‘Embarrassing’ Mum called her, but she couldn’t stop me loving her.

Then one day there was no smoke drifting from her chimney, no smell of baking.
Mum bought a frock to bury her in and burned her old clothes, saying they weren’t fit for the jumble.
I hid her boots in my wardrobe.
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Thanks to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/  and to Courtney Wright for the atmospheric photograph. The stones on which the boots sit reminded me of the cottage my daughter and her husband are renovating in Northern Ireland - they will know exactly where I saw Grandma's stove!
Like many of you I have been busy writing, working on Wolf Pack, the second in my Living Rock series, and also preparing to publish another book in a completely different genre - historic drama/romance. Helter-Skelter is the story of Albie, his search for his gypsy father when his mother abandons him at the age of twelve, and eventually of his army service in the first months of World War Two.
Look out for Helter-Skelter by Elizabeth Young soon on Amazon.

10/05/2018

THE BURGER VAN - a story in a hundred words


THE BURGER VAN

Music was so unlikely in that dingy street that the night ladies paused in their negotiations to gather round the hatch.
Dale served everyone burgers and coffee, each burger-wrap and coffee-cup printed with a girl’s face.
“My daughter,” he explained.
They curled their lips. “What did you do to hurt her?”
He looked beyond them at the towers of wealth. “I turned my back when she needed me most. If you meet her, ask her to come home.”
He drove away, and the wind blew discarded cups into a corner where a ragged bundle huddled unseen.
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I can't get excited about cities - nasty noisy rushing places that hurt my soul - so this week's flash fiction was bound to be down-beat. Thanks to https://rochellewisoff.com/ for posting the picture prompt taken by another Wisoff - read Rochelle's blog for the full story, and follow the link from there to read others.
I have been busy working on the latest draft of Wolf Pack, the next book in my series. If you haven't read Book One yet, the link to A Volcanic Race is at the top of this page.


03/05/2018

THIRTY-NINE STEPS - a 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers


THIRTY-NINE STEPS

The villagers called Seth simple, but his mother was a witch – if he wanted to build his staircase, no-one was brave enough to stop him.
When he carried log after log up the hill they mocked. “Those steps are far too big!” and “Who wants to go up there?”
Seth simply smiled. “You’ll thank me one day.”

Then the rain came – first a downpour then a deluge. The stream became a river, Old Jake’s cottage washed away, and the villagers retreated uphill.
Each over-large step held a family and, until the flood receded, there they stayed - scared and soggy but safe.
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There are a few people in parts of England who would have welcomed some steps to higher ground a few days ago, but the sun has now returned. Thanks as always to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on https://rochellewisoff.com/  and to Karen Rawson for the photo prompt.
Her photograph also reminds me of a trip many years ago to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, where heavy rain turned a trickling stream into a raging torrent within half an hour, underlining the valuable lesson - don't mess with Nature.
I am feeling happy this week, as I and my novel A Volcanic Race have been given a lovely write-up on the Subscriber Spotlight pages of Writing Magazine's June issue. The article has already nudged one friend into buying a copy - click on the image at the top of this page if you would like to follow suit.


26/04/2018

SNOW ANGEL - a 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers


SNOW ANGEL

With the temperature twenty-five on the beach, the last thing we expected was snow, but after a night of heavy rain the mountain shone brilliant white.
After lunch we hired a car and drove up to look. It was magical but freezing, and we weren’t dressed for snow.
Driving back round never-ending hairpin bends, my foot slipped on the pedal and we slid towards a vertical drop.
Two feet from certain death we stopped, with the bonnet touching a snowman.
Or so I thought, until our snowman spread its beautiful wings and soared away over the sunlit void.
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Thanks to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog https://rochellewisoff.com/ and to Jan Wayne Fields for the photo prompt. You can read other stories by following the above link.
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When I lived in Tenerife, the sight of snow on the mile-high Mount Teide was an annual treat for the eyes. Once the Cabildo had cleared the very steep and winding access road, locals would drive up there to play in the snow, even enjoying barbecues, before building snowmen on their bonnets and driving down - the winner being the driver who got the furthest before the snowman melted! 
There is so much more to Tenerife than the average tourist sees - it is hardly surprising that my adopted island inspired my Living Rock series of books. If you would like to buy A Volcanic Race, the first in the series, click on the cover at the top of this page.