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Flash Fiction Friday 53: The Moon by Will Macmillan-Jones

Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the fifty-third piece of flash fiction in this series. This week’s is a 410-worder by comic fantasy (“and a little horror”) author and interviewee Will Macmillan-Jones.

The Moon

It started in a bar, as do so many things.  A dim-lit cellar, where the smoky jazz played by the house band drifted like the haze rising from the myriad of cigarettes.  He had been coming to the bar for a couple of weeks, but had not made acquaintances there, not yet.  Twice now, he had seen her across the room, her flowing blonde hair shimmering whilst the beguiling music played and the deep-voiced girl with the microphone sang slowly of love and loss, heartache and regret, and – yes – occasionally of passion and joy.

Suddenly, as the music swirled sensually around, she was beside him at the bar.  Their eyes met, and held in a long, long look before he turned away to order another drink.  Disturbed, shaken by the casual intensity of her gaze, he trembled as she lightly placed her hand over his.

“You seem to be alone,” she murmured in a velvet voice.  He nodded.  “So am I, tonight,” she said softly, then kissed him and took his hand in hers.  Looking into her eyes his drink lay forgotten on the bar, as she pulled, with such tempting pressure, on his arm.  Responding, he moved closer to her, smelt the subtle perfumes, entranced.  As they moved away from the bar the bartender swept away the drink with a wry smile.

“Where can we go?” he asked, a quiver in his voice.

She answered with a smile that shivered his soul, and slowly licked her lips.  Then turned, as he watched – but not for long – as she swayed out through a door marked ‘PRIVATE’.  Without hesitation, he followed.   Through the door lay a set of steps, leading downwards.  A warm, dim glow lit the stairs, and reflected from her golden hair.

His breathing became short now and he hurried forward, filled with anticipation and desire.  Yet, he did not anticipate the figures that appeared behind him, and seizing him in their strong hands threw him across the cellar floor and onto the low altar that lay in the center of the cellar.  Other, hooded ones took him, and bound him spread-eagled on the stone. Gently, they took his clothes, and left him naked. Wildly, he looked around as the hooded figures began to sway and move around the altar as they chanted in a strange tongue.  His bowels loosened as She approached, crowned now with ivy, raising the sacrificial knife above her head, filled with anticipation and desire.

I asked Will what prompted this piece and he said…

In the summer of 2011 I was lucky enough to join a weekly flash fiction competition on the Authonomy authors’ website.  The judging panel was the other writers who entered the competition, and the only prize the experience of writing a completely new short story every week for three months.  But what a prize that was…this was one of them.  Some of the other writers liked it.  I hope that you do.

I did. :) Thank you, Will.

Will is a fifty-something lover of blues, rock and jazz. He presently lives in South Wales, and has just fulfilled a lifetime ambition by extending his bookcases to fill one entire wall of his home office.

Working as a professional tax consultant, he writes to escape the stultifying boredom of his job. He has an irregular blog, www.willmacmillanjones.wordpress.com where he “rambles incoherently about writing”.

His publisher’s website is www.safkhetpublishing.com. You can read my interview with Will here.

If you’d like to submit your 1,000-word max. stories for consideration for Flash Fiction Friday take a look here.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with crime novelist Ann Cleeves – the five hundredth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me. I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2012 in ebooks, interview, novels, short stories, writing

 

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Flash Fiction Friday 39: The Picture by Will Macmillan-Jones

Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the thirty-ninth piece of flash fiction in this series. This week’s is a 418-worder by comic fantasy (“and a little horror”) author and interviewee Will Macmillan-Jones.

The Picture

The Picture hung in the window of an art gallery in the arcade.  Every day, on my way to and from the office, I walked through the arcade with its myriad of tiny exotic shops on my way to and back from the station.  As the arcade was narrow, and roofed with curved glass for natural light, the images of the passers by merged with the reflections of the goods on sale in the various windows.  Sometimes I had fun with the curved glass, making silly faces that bounced backwards and forwards across the street, from shop window to shop window.  Other shoppers would snigger at me, but I sometimes caught them doing the same.

But whenever I reached the art gallery, I would stop, and peer at the portrait of a young girl.  She was pictured in the first flush of her beauty, a sweet smile on her lips, her head lowered slightly so that she seemed almost to peer upwards through her auburn hair.  Her dress swelled and flowed, and when the light twisted, to me, she seemed almost to move.

The label below the frame said, simply, ‘Portrait of a girl’, with no artist listed.  I did go into the shop to enquire, but the price – well let’s just say it would take me a long time to earn that much, let alone spend it on a painting by an unknown artist, however captivating.  For it was captivating, at least to me.  I found after a week or so that I couldn’t walk back to the station without passing the gallery.  If I tried, I felt uneasy, insecure, and when I got home I had no appetite and slept indifferently, and with disturbing dreams.

At last, I decided that I must break this spell, and stayed away from the arcade for a week.  A whole week, it felt like a lifetime.  Then, following a very long day in the office, I was hurrying to catch the last train home.  A violent storm raged the heavens, rain and wind battered the glass of the arcade, as I followed the damp footsteps of the last hurrying commuter.  Rounding the corner, I glimpsed a figure that moved against the glass of the arcade, and seemed to shimmer.  Panting, I followed the foot prints that led towards the glass – and stopped.  The footprints led through the glass, and I shook to see the girl gaze adoringly into the eyes of a lover.  ‘Portrait of a couple’ read the label.

I asked Will what prompted this piece and he said…

In the summer of 2011 I was lucky enough to join a weekly flash fiction competition on the Authonomy authors’ website.  The judging panel was the other writers who entered the competition, and the only prize the experience of writing a completely new short story every week for three months.  But what a prize that was… this was one of them.  Some of the other writers liked it.  I hope that you do.

I did (it’s really sad). Thank you, Will. I’ve been writing a short story a day since May 1st (for Story a Day May then 5pm Fiction) and I’m loving it. :)

Will is a fifty-something lover of blues, rock and jazz.

He presently lives in South Wales, and has just fulfilled a lifetime ambition by extending his bookcases to fill one entire wall of his home office.

Working as a professional tax consultant, he writes to escape the stultifying boredom of his job.

He has an irregular blog, www.willmacmillanjones.wordpress.com where he “rambles incoherently about writing” and he can also be found at www.thebannedunderground.weebly.com.

His publisher’s website is www.safkhetpublishing.com. You can read my interview with Will here and with Safkhet publishers Kim & Will Sutton and their authors Sheryl Browne and Bruce Moore.

If you’d like to submit your 1,000-word max. stories for consideration for Flash Fiction Friday take a look here.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with publisher Ilaria Meliconi – the four hundred and second of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2012 in ebooks, novels, short stories, writing

 

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Flash Fiction Friday 33: ‘Hachette’ by Will Macmillan-Jones

Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the thirty-third piece of flash fiction in this series. This week’s is a 582-worder by comic fantasy (“and a little horror”) author and interviewee Will Macmillan-Jones, which will be podcasted (by yours truly) on Sunday 17th June.

Hachette

Type, type, bloody type.  That’s all she seemed to do.  All day long, Type, type, type.  What she found to type about, I’ve no idea.  Suppose someone had an idea, because she kept on blathering some rubbish about a hachette and a contract, but it didn’t mean much to me.

See, I’m a chippie.  By that, I don’t mean I have a fish and chip shop, I’m a chippie – a carpenter.  A proper trade, making things, things you can touch, stroke, admire.  What was it she did?  Nothing.  Just bloody type, type, type.  That keyboard would rattle all day long, sometimes into the evening.  Even in the middle of the night, I’ve been woken up by the sound of the keys.  Type, type, type.  Not even paper came out of it, paper with words written on it, you know?  Nothing.  Just letters on a screen, which always faded when I went to look at them.  Nothing there.

I asked her, I did.  Almost begged her.  Get a job, a proper job, and stop all this rubbish.  Know what answer I got?  Got a contract, she said.  Well, I know about contracts.  You get them, you go to work, you get paid every week, or sometimes monthly.  Contract?  Never saw no money coming in from it, just type, type, type, bloody type.

I’d had enough that night.  Ten at night it were, and I’d been up since five, working me backside off to bring in money, cos she didn’t.  Got home late, I were exhausted that day.  No tea, no food, just type, type, type.  I shouldn’t have done it. I know I shouldn’t have done it.  But I just cracked, and the hatchet were in my belt.  It were so easy, just to bring it down in anger.

Well, I were sorry at once, and bound her up, put her hands in ice, and got her to the hospital.  They’ve sewn them back on, got to wait and see.

But then it got worse.  She were in the hospital, not at home, and every time I went to bed, do you know what I could hear?  Type, type, type.  And I knew I were alone.  But as soon as the lights went out, type, type, type.

Well, after the third night, I couldn’t stand no more. So I had the biggest drink I could, and went in to the room she used.  There was the computer, it were turned on, even though I had taken all the plugs out of the wall that first night.  I were fair shaking, I tell you, as I went to the desk.  I looked at the keyboard, but it were silent.  Then, the letters started to appear on the screen.  How could it do that?  It were unplugged, no one were typing!  I bent forward to read the letters, because I can be a bit short-sighted after peering at numbers on rulers for work for thirty years.

My hands fell onto the keyboard as I leant forward, and then I couldn’t move them away.  What were on the screen?  My fingers typed out C O M E  I N S I D E. The letters blurred, and then suddenly I were looking at them from the wrong side.  The inside.  How do I get out?  HOW DO I GET OUT?

This email has been sent to you from an unknown source.  If you do not recognise the origination of the email you should delete it immediately.

—————–—————–—————–—————–—————–—————–—————–—————–—————–

I asked Will what prompted this piece and he said…

In the summer of 2011 I was lucky enough to join a weekly flash fiction competition on the Authonomy authors’ website.  The judging panel was the other writers who entered the competition, and the only prize the experience of writing a completely new short story every week for three months.  But what a prize that was…this was one of them.  Some of the other writers liked it.  I hope that you do.

I did. :) Thank you, Will.

Will is a fifty-something lover of blues, rock and jazz. He presently lives in South Wales, and has just fulfilled a lifetime ambition by extending his bookcases to fill one entire wall of his home office.

Working as a professional tax consultant, he writes to escape the stultifying boredom of his job.

He has an irregular blog, www.willmacmillanjones.wordpress.com where he “rambles incoherently about writing”.

His publisher’s website is www.safkhetpublishing.com. You can read my interview with Will here (and to know more about Safkhet you can read my interviews with Kim Maya Sutton here and Will Sutton here). :)

If you’d like to submit your 1,000-word max. stories for consideration for Flash Fiction Friday take a look here.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with historical / romance author Kristy K James – the three hundred and seventy-fourth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  I also now have a new blog creation service especially for writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 
7 Comments

Posted by on May 4, 2012 in ebooks, interview, short stories, writing

 

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Author Spotlight no.52 – Sheryl Browne

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the fifty-second, is of novelist Sheryl Browne.

Now residing in Worcestershire, Sheryl grew up in Birmingham, UK, where she studied Art & Design. She wears many hats: a partner in her own business, a mother, and a foster parent to disabled dogs, currently giving home to a feisty, but partially blind, midget Jack Russell and an OAP cross collie/lab.

Creative in spirit, Sheryl has always had a passion for writing.  A full member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association for some years, she has previously been published in the US and writes Romantic Comedy because, as she puts it, “life is just too short to be miserable”.

Sheryl’s new novel, RECIPES FOR DISASTER, combining deliciously different and fun recipes with romantic comedy, has just been released by Safkhet Publishing.

And now from the author herself:

I have been writing rom com for about twelve years and have come “close” but not quite close enough to secure publication here in the UK.  I have been previously published in the US, which was fantastic, but I felt I’d made it when my current lovely publisher, Safkhet Publishing, liked my style and asked me to write Recipes For Disaster for them.  I couldn’t have been more thrilled to have been given the opportunity to work on this rather unique project, which includes some really fabulous, different and fun recipes.  I was so nervous waiting for their feedback, I’d almost bitten my fingernails down to my elbows.  And then they said Yes!  They loved it!  Music to a writer’s ears.  Needless to say, I was euphoric.  Rejection is part and parcel of being a writer ~ and I would just like to mention here that often agents and publishers took time (a precious commodity, particularly in the current difficult publishing climate) to offer suggestions, most of which were constructive and all of which were appreciated.  Thank you. :)

If you’re serious about writing, you have to work hard beyond the initial writing of your story, getting editorial help, if necessary, and making sure to present your work professionally.  Agents want to know you are serious, after all!  There’s loads of advice out there and agents usually stipulate clearly on their websites what they want.  If you are lucky enough to get feedback, try to use it positively.  Rejection hurts.  Your confidence might dwindle sometimes, it goes with the territory, but take heart from the fact that people have bothered to respond and keep going.

I also enjoy script writing and did get through the first and second stages of a BBC sitcom writing contest.  So you might say humour is my thing.  Real people inspire my writing, real life events and the turmoil of emotions that often goes with them.  I like to look at the comedy in a situation.  Not that I would laugh at people’s disasters.  God knows, I’m a walking disaster myself (I’m the kind of person that breaks her ankle, goes to work on crutches, falls face-first off the bus and splats her face on the pavement!).  I’m looking to laugh with people, rather than at them.  My aim when I write is to leave someone with that all-important feel-good factor.  If someone laughs, it makes me feel good, and it’s a fabulous way to measure whether I’ve succeeded.

When I’m not writing, I strive to stop my witty son typing – THE END – halfway through my manuscripts and to keep up with the demands of my foster dogs, Little Snoops aka Rambo ~ who is partially sighted, feisty and the star of Recipes For Disaster (at least he thinks so) ~ and Big Max, who is nineteen years old and claustrophobic.  Hence the not too pristine housekeeping and the huge dog-flap in the back door, marked Burglars, please wipe feet on way out!

That’s hilarious Sheryl… definitely a book in the making in your household. :) You can find more about Sheryl and her work via…

Website and link to Sheryl’s blog: www.sherylbrowne.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Recipes-for-Disaster/245372252189480

Twitter: @sherylbrowne

Publisher: http://safkhetpublishing.com

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with romantic thriller novelist Ellen Deane – the two hundred and sixtieth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can read / download my eBooks from Smashwords.

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2012 in ebooks, Facebook, interview, novels, Twitter, writing

 

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