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Daily Archives: November 16, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday 061: Carte Blanche by Marion Grace Woolley

Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the sixty-first piece in this series. This week’s is a 922-worder by multi-genre author guest bloggerinterviewee and spotlightee Marion Grace Woolley, which won first place in the Swanezine Short Story Competition in December 2011. 🙂

Carte Blanche

We’re like the sea, you and I. Rolling to a thick, deep rhythm that only we can hear. That invincible river of truth running between two distant shores, the type of truth you can drown in. 

Some nights, that’s exactly what happens, dragged beneath the surface of my own consciousness. Pulled under by the crocodile teeth of my own lies, ready for that final death roll. I wake, sweat drenched and sour in my own scent. Afraid that I will never be able to rise again, back to the cool oxygen that my body craves.

That’s the thing about cravings. Some things you crave because, without them, your flesh would die. You need to breathe, to eat, to drink. But other things – you need them just as much, but, in needing them, you’re killing yourself.

You never understood that, did you? You never quite got it.

And now it’s too late. Every day of our lives I tried to explain it to you. Tried to show you; make you aware. At first I thought you hadn’t noticed – I really was that subtle. Pouring your champagne before mine. Helping you into your coat as we left the restaurant. Would I have noticed? Probably not.

But as time went by, I started to suspect. I knew you better than that, see. To me, you’re like crackle glass. There’s nothing transparent about you. If you were ordinary, I could look straight through you and know all there is to know. I could see our future on the other side of you. I could look you over, and look away.

But you’re not. Your clarity changes with the light. Those thick fractures within you, they fascinate the eye. I could gaze at you for a lifetime and never see the complete picture. It takes a complicated person to be that beautiful. It takes intelligence to break itself upon the jarred rocks of self-realisation and denial.

That’s how I knew that you were choosing not to acknowledge me. You were fully aware of my craving, yet you chose to overlook it. You chose to withdraw into the facetious playroom of childhood innocence. You chose to be stupid, blind and dumb.

And every part of me wanted you more for that.

I couldn’t help what happened that night. The fairy lights twinkled as bright as stars around the garden trellis. Your husband and his fat, porky guests quaffing port like pigs in a mud hole. Drunk on their own fine taste and sense of self-worth. I watched you smile, like a string of pearls strung around a pauper. That fake, false way that I watched you cultivate over twenty years of marriage.

I missed the girl in you. I missed the part that was real; that was genuine. Where did she go? Sometimes when we’d take tea, or walk in the country, I’d imagine that I caught a glimpse of her. For a moment she would return as if from some far-flung adventure to the outer shores of existence. ‘I was always coming home,’ she’d say, then just as soon be off on her next escapade, far beyond my grasp.

I loved you from the first moment I saw you, standing in your skinny gym slip at St. Mary of the Immaculate Heart’s. I cherished those all-girl dances we used to attend. They were our salad days. Where no man could touch you, because none were invited.

Every sentence begins with ‘I’, because I never knew what you thought or felt. Did you ever look at me sideways in the showers? Did you ever wonder? Did you ever, for one brief moment, in the dark-enraptured night, consider what it might have been like?

Each of your boyfriends came and went, so literally. Yet I was always constant. After every heartbreak, after every betrayal – wasn’t I always there, just as I ever was? Perhaps you believed my inventions, those imaginary boyfriends who never called and never sent me flowers. Surely you knew that there was only ever one. One person, out of the entire world, that had my full attention.

It had to be said. As we sat beneath the eaves of your grand affluence, staring out across the night-cooled lawns towards the lake. It had to be said.

The sting of your hand across my face burns still. That hot horror as you realised what I had been trying to tell you all our lives. And in that moment, as your eyes flashed and your pearls broke and scattered, I knew that you had known. I knew that, in your own way, you had expected this moment to come.

I suppose, if we’re now to be honest, I had always known your reaction. What caused me to provoke you, I cannot say. The empty look of your Gould-guzzling guests, your husband’s hollow laugh; the sheer plasticity of it all? The faintest recognition in the depths of my soul that there could be another life behind all of this. Something real. Something meaningful.

And now, there is nothing. Should I regret opening my mouth? Because I do, with every ounce of my being. If, by staying silent, I could look upon you every day for the rest of our lives – look, but never touch – I would sign my name to that contract. But it’s too late. That river of truth touches both our continents, but forever keeps us worlds apart.

Should you ever return to the country of our birth, you shall find me waiting. Here, beneath the eaves.

I asked Marion what prompted this piece and she said…

Carte Blanche was written specifically for the Swanezine Short Story Competition in December 2011. Incredibly, it beat 214 other entries to take the (cash) first prize. So, an afternoon well spent.

I’ve been a long-standing supporter of a scriptwriting community called Celtx. They used to run short competitions on their forum, based on prompts. Their 14th competition, in 2008, asked for a ‘script over 5 pages of a meeting between two formerly-close friends that haven’t seen one another for over a year.’

I titled my seven-page entry Meet Me Next June. It was set in a café where two formerly-close friends, June (ho ho) and Emily, were experiencing a less-than-comfortable reunion. Friends for years, they had fallen out when June finally confessed her feelings and tried to kiss Emily. It’s a theme that I had been holding onto for a while.

At the time of writing Carte Blanche, I had been enthused by the Muse. Every now and then – rarely – you meet someone who captures your imagination. It’s never a deliberate thing, but it has the effect of wiring you into the mains, rather than running off double As.

Possibly for that reason, this story was one of the easiest to write; it just flowed onto the page. I think I knew, when I got to the end, that I’d written something special. It’s a hefty thing to say, but I still class this as one of the best pieces I’ve written to date. See what you think.

It was great. Thank you, Marion.

Marion Grace Woolley is the author of four novels and a collection of short stories. In 2009, she was shortlisted for the Luke Bitmead Bursary for New Writers.

Balancing her creative impulses with a career in International Development, she has worked and travelled across Africa, Australia, Armenia, and a few other places beginning with ‘A’.

An associate member of the Society of Authors, Marion is currently at work on her fifth novel.

You can find out more about Marion and her writing from her website and see her book trailer on YouTube.

***

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 psychological thriller novelist Rebecca Reid – the five hundred and fifty-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.

** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!

See http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008E88JN0

or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books (including my debut novel!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance 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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Writania Best Book Pitch Challenge: 15-30 November

I’ve entered my chick-lit novel in a competition to win a free book trailer and voting started today!

You don’t have to vote for me (obviously) but please do vote:

http://writania.com/the-writania-best-book-pitch-challenge-entries

you’ll need to scroll down to the ‘comments’ bit for the choice of elevator pitches then scroll back up to vote.

There are plenty (33) to choose from… 🙂

… and voting ends November 30 so plenty of time.

Winners are announced with their book titles on December 3.

Good luck to everyone taking part (I don’t expect to win but you do have to be in it to have a chance, as the saying sort of goes).

 
11 Comments

Posted by on November 16, 2012 in competitions, ebooks, events, NaNoWriMo, novels, writing

 

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5am Flash: Indie Author Books – Children’s & YA

Having seen one of my interviewees Rosanne Dingli say on a LinkedIn thread: “someone should write a blog soon about all the wonderful indie books available by very capable writers”, I challenged them to give me a <15-word synopsis for their book(s)… they are accepting the challenge and their books are appearing here. What I’m after is your name (listed within each section alphabetically by first name), your website / blog address, book title, book link (where we can buy it), genre and summary in no more than 15 words (a test of your editing skills :)). You can email me these details for up to 5 of your books (please don’t paste them into this page’s comments section). My free and $0.99-$2.99 eBooks are detailed on the Books – mine page.

Fiction – children’s / Y.A.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • Bob FreyGuide to Seldom Seen Animals (children’s picture book) – helps explain in humorous ways some of the curious things that happen in everyday life.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • C.V. SmithNettie Parker’s Backyard ((ages 9-13) multi-cultural historical-fiction) – magical African-American woman symbolizes tolerance caring for eight Holocaust children in war-torn London.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • E.R. YatscoffArchie’s Gold (juvenile fiction, mystery) – when shoeshine boy Archie finds stolen gold coins in his money tin, danger begins.
  • Out On A Limb (juvenile fiction, suspense) – two mischievous boys + Egghead, a mean old man + a tree house = trouble.
  • Ransom (juvenile fiction, suspense) – three friends face off against a larger gang in a suspenseful story of integrity, bravery, and friendship.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • Erica MinerFourEver Friends (young adult) – in the 1960s four teenage girls bond over raging hormones and their love for music. Available in paperback..
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • Felicia JohnsonShuck, shuck, shuck (children’s literature) – children learn creativity, sound recognition, and self-confidence at outdoor play as expressed by one character, Hania.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • Fiona IngramThe Secret of the Sacred Scarab – adventure abounds when two boys find an ancient scarab on their first day in Egypt.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • Fiona Veitch SmithDavid and the Hairy Beast (bible-based picture book) – can young David save the sheep from the Hairy Beast?
  • David and the Kingmaker (bible-based picture book) – will the Prophet Samuel find the next king of Israel?
  • Donovon’s Rainbow (chapter book for 6-8s) – can Donovon Dove outwit the evil Raven to save Noah’s Ark?
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • Henry, Josh & Harrison HertsNimpentoad (children’s fantasy) – beautifully illustrated children’s fantasy that discourages bullying, and promotes teamwork, creativity, perseverance and teamwork (available from both websites).
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • Jerry MullinaxEnoree (Young Adult fiction) – in 1950’s South, eight-year-old Jake secretly befriends Josiah, a black boy across the Enoree River.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • Katherine L. HolmesThe House in Windward Leaves (middle grade fantasy) – the wayward Sadie leads her friends into an enchantment where their costumes become real.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • Kathryn Elizabeth JonesA River of Stones (YA fiction) – the divorce of a young girl’s parents gives Samantha an opportunity to grow.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • K. S. BrooksPostcards from Mr. PishMr. Pish’s Woodland Adventure, and The Mighty Oak and Me (fun educational) – children’s picture books promoting outdoor learning and literacy.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • Lesley FletcherAll I Want for Christmas is a Wishmas Tree – imagine the wistfulness and envy that children who do not celebrate Christmas feel as every street is filled with lights, seasonal music is playing and gifts being exchanged.Emphasis on inter-cultural traditions and family.
  • Hey Angel! – by envisioning this friendly and loving angel children can feel secure that ‘someone’ is always with them. They will soon learn that the someone is themselves.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • Mary Ellen RyallMy Name is Butterfly (children’s illustrated book) – discover the world of Monarch butterflies about a young girl’s summer in her enchanted garden.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • Mollie Carson-VollathTerrence O’Ferret (children’s illustrated non-fiction) – the story of how a girl discovered ferrets and got one for her very own.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • Omoruyi UwuigiarenThe City Heroes and Other Stories from the Heart of Africa (children’s) – suitable for middle grade readers, the stories within the collection contain messages and themes about forgiveness, charity, redemption and loyalty all from a decidedly African perspective.
  • The Adventures of Nihu (children’s) – Nihu is sucked into a world inside of a stone, visits a powerful ruler in an underwater city, and makes friends with a group of refugees only a hero could love.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • Nancy Di FabbioMidnight Magic – Be Careful What You Wish For! (juvenile fiction) – spooky thriller about a haunted painting, a phantom horse and the girl who loves him.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • Nick OrsiniFingerless Gloves (young adult fiction/urban fiction) – Tonight will be the most difficult night in 25-year-old Anton Duchamp’s life.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • Penny RossCave of Journeys (chapter book for 9 & over) – three friends journey back in time to discover legends and retrieve stories of Canadian history. Available in paperback and for the Kindle.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • Roger MortimerEagles’ Revenge (children’s) – the Rat-Kind are plotting to wipe out the Mouse Kingdom of Carminel.
  • Eagle Warrior (children’s) – in the distant mouse kingdom of Carminel, a terrible civil war has broken out.
  • The Ruby of Carminel (children’s) – the island of Carminel lies in peril.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • Samni GhaniThe shoe, the necklace and the Giant (children’s) – this is an adventure story about four children and their encounter with a Giant.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • Sherrill S. CannonGimme-Jimmy (children’s picture book) – Jimmy is a bully whose favorite word is “Gimme”, and who has to learn to share.
  • The Magic Word (children’s picture book) – Elisabeth needs to learn The Magic Word “please”, and to use it every day.
  • Peter and the Whimper-Whineys (children’s picture book) – Peter and the Whimper-Whineys helps parents cope with whining in a fun way.
  • Santa’s Birthday Gift (children’s picture book) – after reading a story of the nativity to a grandchild, she asked “But where’s Santa?”.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • SL Dwyer (and blog): Dirt (YA & adults, available on Amazon and Smashwords) – it’s 1933 and newly-orphaned Sammy begins to live a lie and all its consequences.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • Stacy JubaDark Before Dawn (Young Adult paranormal) – ESP spells D-A-N-G-E-R when a teen psychic takes secret classes from the local fortuneteller.
  • Face-Off (Young Adult (Sports)) – teenage twin brothers, stars of the high school hockey team, compete on and off the ice.
  • Teddy Bear Town Children’s E-book Bundle (children’s picture book) – three picture books featuring teddy bears: The Flag Keeper, Sticker Shoes, and Victoria Rose and the Big Bad Noise.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • Susan BrockerThe Wolf in the Wardrobe (middle grade fiction (ages 9-13)) – a boy rescues a wolf from a circus and keeps her as his pet.
  • Dreams of Warriors (middle grade fiction (ages 9-13)) – a teenage girl battles to save the family farm while her father is away at war.
  • Saving Sam (middle grade fiction (ages 9-13)) – a troubled boy and a damaged dog team up to save Sam.
  • Restless Spirit (middle grade fiction (ages 9-13)) – two teenagers attempt to free a captured wild Kaimanawa stallion.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • TJ PerkinsWound Too Tight (YA: 8-14) – cursed treasure, an enchanted watch, an evil spirit wants it back – run if you can! (available in various formats)
  • Mystery of the Attic (YA: 8-14) – Melissa needs to solve an ancient murder, but the evil ghost wants to stop her. (available in various formats)
  • On Forbidden Ground (sequel to Mystery of the Attic) (YA: 8-14) – Melissa is lured back to the old house to face her greatest fear alone! (available in various formats)
  • Fantasies are Murder (Book 1 in the Kim & Kelly Mystery Series) (YA: 8-14) – teen detectives risk becoming the next victims at a mystery weekend resort. (available in various formats)
  • Art of the Ninja: Earth (Teen) – Duncan needs to master the raging mysterious force within before he is destroyed. (available in various formats)
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here
  • Vincent MiskellDreaming Thomas: A Fairy Tale (illustrated children’s story) – daydreaming gets Thomas into trouble, but might just win him a princess and a kingdom.
  • you could have your children’s / YA book listed here

Click here for Fiction – novels & novellas

Click here for Fiction – poetry

Click here for Fiction – script

Click here for Fiction – short stories (includes flash fiction)

Click here for Non-fiction

So what I’m after is your name (listed above alphabetically by first name), your website / blog address, book title, book link (where we can buy it), genre and summary in no more than 15 words (a test of your editing skills :)). You can email me these details for up to 5 of your books (please don’t paste them into this page’s comments section). My eBooks including free short stories are detailed on the Books – mine page.

Please note: the chances are that I’ve not read the books listed on this page (much as I would like to have done) so these are therefore not personal recommendations but are, in the main, by authors who I have chatted to, interviewed or got to know… even just a little bit. 🙂 Kindle Fiction on Twitter recommends a variety of eBooks and if you’ve read any eBooks you’d like to recommend then you can email suggestions to kindlesrp@gmail.com.

** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!

See http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008E88JN0

or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books (including my debut novel!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance 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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