Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast – short stories episode no.9

Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast ‘short stories’ episode number nine went live tonight.

I’ve been starting off the first few weeks with the flash fiction that have appeared on my blog as ‘Flash Fiction Fridays’, reading out three per fortnight. Eventually I’ll run out so do email me should you like to submit your own.

This episode contained four stories: ‘Fragments from the past’, a 773-worder by Cindy Vaskova,  ‘Discarded’ (279 words) Karina Kantas, and two stories by AJ Kirby: ‘Desire’ (127 words) and ‘The Birthday Cake’ (159 words). See these green links to read the stories… and / or you can hear my dulcet tones on the podcast.

The podcast is available via iTunesGoogle’s FeedburnerPodbean (when it catches up), Podcasters (which takes even longer) or Podcast Alley (which doesn’t list the episodes but will let you subscribe).

Cindy is a first year student in Journalism.

Other than that normal bit of her life, she writes short fiction stories – every Friday, and has a novel in progress in the background to which she dares go near from time to time.

Cindy has her own blog, where she posts her writings, while doing some tweeting in between.

Karina Kantas writes novels, short stories and when her imagination is working over time, she writes thought-provoking / dark flash fiction. She writes in the genres of fantasy, sci-fi, horror, romance, YA and thrillers and is presently working on two new novels: Road Rage; an urban thriller, and Broken Chains; MI5 thriller.

With over thirty publications, Karina Kantas doesn’t just want to be known as an author of exciting motorcycle fiction, so she continues expanding her genre writing. She is also the owner and editor of http://www.urban-novels.com and can be found on Twitter.com and Facebook. Her inspirations are the author S.E.Hinton and the rock band Iron Maiden. ‘Discarded’ was originally pub in 2008 in Heads & Tales, Karina’s collection of flash and short, thought-provoking fiction.

AJ Kirby is the award-winning author of five novels (Paint this town Red, 2012; Perfect World, 2011; Bully, 2009; The Magpie Trap, 2008; When Elephants Walk through the Gorbals, 2007), two novellas (The Black Book, 2011; and Call of the Sea, 2010), one novelette (Bed Peace, 2011) and over forty published short stories. He is also a sportswriter for the Professional Footballers’ Association and a reviewer for The Short Review and The New York Journal of Books. He will return with more flash fiction on the Flash Fiction Fridays page on 13th April then 25th May. 🙂 You can reach him via: Author website, Goodreads Author Page, Amazon Author Page, New York Journal of Books and Facebook Novel Home Page.

Thank you for downloading / listening to this short story episode and my other podcasts. They have, up to recently, been weekly but I’m embarking on editing my four novels so I have dropped the podcasts to fortnightly – one episode of short stories per month, one episode of hints & tips or red pen session.

All the details of these episodes are listed on the podcast page of this blog and my email address to submit a short story for critique (or review for the Short Story Saturdays) is morgen@morgenbailey.com.

The podcast is available via iTunes, Google’s Feedburner, Podbean (when it catches up), Podcasters (which takes even longer) or Podcast Alley (which doesn’t list the episodes but will let you subscribe).

You can read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore and Kobo. And I have a new forum at http://morgenbailey.freeforums.org.

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Flash Fiction Friday 024: ‘Fragments from the past’ by Cindy Vaskova

Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the twenty-fourth piece of flash fiction in this series. This week’s piece is a 773-worder by Cindy Vaskova.

Fragments from the past

Joss bent a little and carefully passed through the hole in the fence.

It was a bit cold so she zipped her jacket.

She took a few steps before stopping.

It’s here alright, she thought looking at the construction before her.

It appeared as a black silhouette on the pale background of the sky painted with only a few lost clouds and the sun somewhere in their hug.

The rusty rails of a rollercoaster still stood tall, but the train which ran on them was long gone. She could still remember the loud noise it made, the joyful screams it gathered as it descended.

She turned around. To her left there was another construction, mostly demolished. She knew what it belonged to – the Giant Ferris wheel.

Only its foundations were still there, and the torn seats from a few of the cabins thrown on the ground.

The multiple lights that glimmered in the night from the body of this giant monster of beauty were captured in her mind.

She easily drew the lines of the wheel in her imagination, put the seats there, filled them with people and made it spin slowly, revealing a spectacular view of the city in the far distance.

Joss smiled but her smile was sorrow.

This truly was the place of her amusement park, the one from her childhood. Or it once was.

She first came here with her father, than on several school trips.

That was twelve years ago.

Today the colorful attractions had turned into a few piles of junk, scattered around a field with dry and lifeless grass.

Nevertheless she remembered how it used to look back in the day.

Joss continued walking.

When she was little she needed hours to go on each one of the rides.

43.

There were 43 attractions.

She started naming her favorites in her mind: the Star Fire, the Flume River, Indie’s train, the Flying Dutchman, the Crazy Castle, the Music Express, and… She looked up at the late sky. Where she stood now used to be the most extreme and terrifying attraction in the park – the Tower.

Once upon a time you scary giant rose here too, she thought, looking up at the invisible construction of the Tower.

“Once upon a time you were all here,” she repeated, this time with a spoken whisper.

It was the happiest day of her life, her first visit. It was summer, end of school days; she ran under the sun all afternoon, and ate ice cream. Cherry flavored.

The amusement park was the only place she felt truly happy.

Surrounded by all the people, their laughter, their joy made her feel like she was home. She felt loved.

There were no tears, no worries, nothing bad or fearful.

For Joss the true meaning of life was captured in those few hours of fun and play.

She used to believe that she had found that very special place where her heart would feel eternal happiness and which will bring a smile on her face every time she comes back to it. That’s what home was – a place to come back to.

Then a few months later it was taken away from her, doors shut down, buildings and constructions demolished and turned to scrap, to garbage.

Land property issues, they’d said in the newspapers, a false contract.

She looked at the dead field again with tears steaming her eyes. It was empty like her heart was for some time.

She wiped them as they rolled down her cheeks. She had no reason to be here anymore.

Everything was gone.

As the sky had almost darkened Joss walked away refusing to take the memory with her, and left the amusement park back through the hole in the fence.

With her departure, a strong wind blew through the lonely place.

Out of her sight, in a three-mile radius, radio stations sped up then slowed down and buzzed with a weird noise before turning off.

White noise danced on TV screens.

On the field the echo of a child’s laughter passed. Other laughs followed, it growing louder.

Music started playing as the Ferris wheel span slowly, suddenly stopping a kissing couple at the top.

Many children ran around, pulling their parents’ hands towards some magical ride that caught their sight.

A little girl with a cherry-flavored ice cream stood near the entrance looking at the distancing figure of a woman. She waved and smiled to her as past and present mixed together, then ran towards the rollercoaster in this parallel world of memories, followed by her dad.

The wind ceased.

The field was dark and empty.

I asked Cindy what prompted this piece and she said…

A few days ago as cleaning some forgotten boxes I found an old flyer of this amusement park I used to go to. Several years ago it got closed, sadly. But the colorful drawing of the attractions on it made me remember how much fun I had there. I figured out this park must have made so many kids feel joy and afterwards when it got closed all of them probably felt robbed somehow. I know I would feel like that. So I thought this monument of the past, of excitement and laughs should be put down in words. A story should be told.

Thank you Cindy. I loved it, especially the idea of the clouds and sun hugging. 🙂

Cindy is a first year student in Journalism. Other than that normal bit of her life, she writes short fiction stories – every Friday, and has a novel in progress in the background to which she dares go near from time to time.  Cindy has her own blog, where she posts her writings, while doing some tweeting in between.

If you’d like to submit your 1,000-word max. stories for consideration for Flash Fiction Friday take a look here. Cindy’s story will be podcasted in short story episode 009 (Monday 26th March).

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with novelist and article writer Jane Reynolds – the two hundred and ninety-seventh 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 also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore and Kobo. And I have a new forum at http://morgenbailey.freeforums.org.

Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast ‘short stories’ episode no.7

Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast ‘short stories’ episode number 7 (lucky for some) was released today Monday 13th February (unlucky for some).

I’ve been starting off the first few weeks with the flash fiction that have appeared on my blog as ‘Flash Fiction Fridays’, reading out three per fortnight. I’m starting to run out so if you’d like to submit your own feel free to email me. This episode’s unlucky stories were:

The Paper Doll’ (996 words) by Cindy Vaskova

Albeit for small mercies‘ (272 words) by yours truly, Morgen Bailey, and

The Advert’ (997 words) by Susi Holliday.

I didn’t critique them but just simply read them out and I hope you enjoy this format.

Cindy is a first year student in Journalism. Other than that normal bit of her life, she writes short fiction stories and has a novel in progress in the background to which she dares go near from time to time.

She has been involved in a school project, creating a short fiction story anthology called “The Red Hill”. Recently Cindy started her own blog, where she posts her writings, while doing some twitting in between that.

Morgen Bailey is a writing-related blogger who also hosts the weekly Bailey’s Writing Tips audio podcast, two in-person writing groups (based in Northamptonshire, England), is the author of numerous short stories, novels, articles, has dabbled with poetry but admits that she doesn’t “get it”, and is a regular Radio Litopia contributor. She is Chair of another local writing group (which runs the annual HE Bates Short Story Competition), belongs to a fourth, and can regularly be found on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. When she’s not researching for her writing groups, she is a British Red Cross volunteer, walks her dog (often while reading, writing or editing) and reads (though not as often as she’d like but is spurred on by her new Kindle) and somewhere in between all that she writes. Everything she’s involved is detailed on her blog https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com and her email address is morgen@morgenbailey.com. You can view / download her eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords.

Susi ‘SJI’ Holliday is the author of numerous short stories and at least two half-finished novels. Her writing leans in the direction of crime, horror and anything a bit dark (some of it is even funny). Several of her stories have had competition success and some have been published online. You can find more details on her website www.sjiholliday.com and blog www.sjiholliday.blog.com and you can also read her regular story postings at www.theblackflag.co.uk in the ‘Twisted Tales’ Stories section. In 2012, Susi hopes to complete her next (as yet, unstarted) crime novel, while continuing with the day job until the lottery numbers come up.

Thank you for listening to this short story episode. I hope you enjoyed it and I look forward to bringing you another a fortnight. In the meantime, next week’s episode will likely be hints and tips. All the links mentioned in these shows are listed on the podcast page of this blog and if you’d like to take part if any aspect of it, my email address is morgen@morgenbailey.com.

The podcast is available via iTunes, Google’s Feedburner, Podbean (when it catches up), Podcasters (which takes even longer) or Podcast Alley (which doesn’t list the episodes but will let you subscribe).

 

Flash Fiction Friday no.13: ‘The Paper Doll’ by Cindy Vaskova

Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the thirteenth piece of flash fiction in this weekly series. Today’s piece is a 996-worder, entitled ‘The Paper Doll’ by Cindy Vaskova.

There was a circus on the beach of the sea. Right on the sand, no more than five meters from the water and its waves. And it performed only at night.  For certain people, at a certain price, an entertainment one-of-a-kind, once а year for three nights. Until the dawn. There was no tent, just a few huge pillars, build deep into the sand for the performance holding the ropes for the trapeze and tightrope acts, so except for the seats and the lights, the circus was opened to the sky above.

There were magnificent acrobats, twisting their bodies, in the most amazing ways, then slowly, unwinding themselves; trapeze acts, flying high, swinging, unbelievable for the eyes of everyone watching. How could they manage that, with no roof to hold all the strings required to hold the bars, no metal, nor anything? Was this, which held them, coming down from the dark sky? Alas this illusion optical or psychological remained unanswered for the audience. It was the magic of the circus no doubt.

The tightrope walkers were balancing on tin ropes and wires some lower, some on a greater height, balancing with umbrellas or only with their bodies and hands, without protection whatsoever to hold them if they tend to fall, making the audience gasp and shiver and tremble and fear. They looked like moving on the spine of the night, on some invisible line, only for them to see. Then of course for a comic relief came the clowns, funny and stupid, stomping and falling, with red noses and green hair, blue trousers and big yellow shoes. Animals, though a few, roared or crawled, and watched with, as people imagined, hungry eyes.  The sand was flattened in the centre of the circus and there, unicyclists three of them were riding, and juggling at the same time, making everyone dizzy. Musicians were playing from the darkness, out of the light, no faces just music, corresponding to the acts of all the performers, following their every step – piccolo for the clowns, fast violins and loud drums, most likely timpani, keeping on edge the public while the tightrope walkers or the trapeze performers were making their final step. Not the usual circus music you would expect to hear, but then again not the usual circus you’d expect to watch.

And then the music ceases, just for a moment, for The Ringmaster to appear, all dressed in red, with white gloves, a white bow-tie, big red top-hat, black pointy beard, and eyes mesmerizing, deep and black, with a sparkle in them. Without a microphone, his voice spreads in the vastness, loud, remaining powerful, for all to hear. He gathers round the public’s attention, with smooth words and moves announcing the next part. There are no pauses for this circus.

The Ringmaster opens his hands, pointing them in direction, to nowhere, to the dark, and flames start walking towards him. Fire-breathers, like dragons step into everyone’s vision and suddenly the lights turn off. No one dares to move.

Music changes. There are Arabic drums and flutes, to which the flames dance like snakes. The audience can see only a glimpse of the performers’ faces, when the fire catches them. They hypnotize with this dance macabre. All fades to black, for a moment, then the lights turn on again. Applause, like thunder, comes from all around. Everyone is speechless. But there’s more to see. They feel it. It’s time for the 13th act, the last one which performs as the sun is about to rise, making a path for itself on the surface of the water. They know something is about to happen when The Ringmaster, smirking, announces:

“Ladies, gentleman you are about to witness the most extraordinary act in your lives. One which you will not forget, one you will tell stories of, one to show you magic inhabits this reality. This is one to test the nature of your minds, to ask not only your eyes but your inner vision as well – your ability to dream and fantasize. Let your emotions feel you, let them circulate in your souls. Face them as you watch. For your entertainment, and yours only, tonight you will be reborn seeing the unbelievable. Welcome, The Paper Doll and her Master – Sasha!”

“Go on, your dad be proud.”

Sasha looked at the big, strong acrobat, nodded silently and made her way into the light. Her father, The Ringmaster came close and whispered in her ear, “Be a good girl. Don’t make me angry”.

The sky had started to lighten. Sasha, holding a human-sized paper doll moved around the audience making them turn on their seats, watching baffled at what was happening.

Under the sounds of darbuka and kaval the girl, barefooted, stepped in the water, and continued until it reached her waist. The sun was an upside down smile on the horizon, burning orange.  She then dived and again the audience gasped. A wave passed and the paper doll appeared above the water with no sight of Sasha. From where the audience sat, it didn’t look like a paper doll, but like a woman dancing on the tip of the water, curving her body, slow with the rhythm of the music, a sound sad and lonely. She was a mirage, dim before the watchers’ eyes, a mermaid, a siren, calling for all. It looked so real, yet impossibly for this paper doll to touch the water, to dive and appear again, reaching a hand for the ones on shore, with no voice, only body language. The audience stood up, with tears in eyes, breathless. Kneeing down, before the water they gave their souls away for love, for salvation. For this unknown girl drowning as her dance stops, lost forever. They cannot bare this end, so they die with it, soulless. Behind, the devil and his demons await their feast. They lick lips tasting the souls they’ll devour. Tonight the circus on the beach opens again.

Morgen: Wow. I asked Cindy what prompted this piece and she said…

Well, crazy as it sounds, the inspiration for this flash story came to me one morning after I woke up from a curious dream about a circus on the beach, a girl whose father seemed to be The Ringmaster and one particular, strange, strange dance with a paper doll which she performed. Couldn’t put my head around it for a while, because as we all know dreams tend to become a bit weird at some point, but then I thought it might just transform itself into a proper story. So I decided to build the rest of the scenery around those few things I remembered from the dream and voila! A flash fiction story was born.

It doesn’t sound crazy at all… very normal, to me anyway. 🙂 Thank you Cindy.

Cindy is a first year student in Journalism. Other than that normal bit of her life, she writes short fiction stories and has a novel in progress in the background to which she dares go near from time to time. She has been involved in a school project, creating a short fiction story anthology called “The Red Hill”. Recently Cindy started her own blog, where she posts her writings, while doing some twitting in between that.

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 Tannbourne publishing editor Ellen – the two hundred and twentieth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers, editors 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.