A busy day – five ‘woo hoo’s and it’s only 3pm!

The day started off brilliantly with me finding out I’d been longlisted, with 121 others(!), for my 143-word story ‘Two Peas’, written especially for Ad Hoc Fiction for their theme of ‘door’. To read the story (and if you enjoy it please click on the ‘Vote’ button) please pop along to https://adhocfiction.com/read/#FlashEbook then keep clicking on the ‘xx more’ until it shows ’53 more’. (NB. there are only a few days to do so; the current theme is ‘Feed’ and then votes for that will open October 30th replacing this one.) Thank you!

Secondly, I’ve been interviewed over at TL Clark’s blog, and starts…

Author name: Hello. I’m Morgen Bailey.
Morgen with an E. Not to be confused with the handful of MorgAn Baileys (mostly American), including a rocket scientist, basketball player, Green politician, and transsexual porn star. I get some interesting Google Alerts!

Are you a traditionally published/indie/hybrid author?
I’m both. I self-published seven books between 2011 and early 2018, and my eighth, The Serial Dater’s Shopping List, was traditionally published, the first of a two-book deal, by Bombshell Books (part of Bloodhound Books) in July 2018. (Hello Betsy, Fred, team, and fellow Bombshells!)  Self-publishing means the author has total control but not the support of a publisher or agent. I’ve been very lucky with Bombshell in that I got to choose the (fabulous) cover, and had a blog tour and review promotions upon release. These days it’s generally up to the author anyway to do most of the marketing and I’m hiring two marketeers to help with this.

Thirdly, I’m the judge for the annual Flash 500 Short Story competition! You have until the end of February to submit your stories but it’s never too early to start planning. Lorraine says, “We are looking for stories ranging between 1,000 and 3,000 words, with strong characters, a well-crafted plot and realistic dialogue (where used). Make us laugh, make us cry, but most of all, make us feel!” That’s exactly how I judge too! Click on the link or photo above to find out more.

Fourthly, I’m going to be one of The National Association of Writers Groups’ (NAWG) regular contributors to their bi-monthly ‘Link’ magazine. You can look forward to writing and editing tips, competition advice and more. Click here for more details.

And fifthly (not finally as the day’s far from over…), an anthology I contributed a (very British, based in Cambridge and inspired by Trinity College’s Great Run) story to is available for pre-order from Amazon. See https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cool-Weather-Warm-Hearts-Anthology-ebook/dp/B07G4LK4XQ for details. Clicking on the picture below will also take you there.

 

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My ‘5pm Fictions Collection’ (250 stories) is free today… for the last time!

This is the full collection of five volumes (250 stories) written one a day, and is free today, Saturday 31st March.

The stories in these collections vary in length, point of view (first, second and third) and genre.

Volume 1: Here there are family heirlooms, thefts, murders, kidnapping, Chelsea buns, and alien hums. We meet mothers, strange little girls, characters looking to improve themselves, and several cold feet.

Volume 2: There are criminals, victims, revenge, men in uniform, luck and misfortune, sharp edges, sticky red hands, no faded circle of skin. We meet a generous aunt, a fan of Hawaiian shirts, a modern-day Cleopatra, and a young girl with wings.

Volume 3: Here we have neighbourhood watch, chalk and fromage, a picture on a mantelpiece, , a whooshing sound. We meet a daddy’s girl, a cry baby, Dad’s Army, a borrowed dog, an African grey parrot, amateur actors, and others who don’t listen, are doing their best, feel stupid, or should have knocked.

Volume 4: Here we have young and old love, spirited and strained relationships, local and exotic locations, and those who love or loathe shopping, circuses and those who think their life is a circus. We meet a disillusioned artist, an eight-foot tall blue alien, untidy teenagers, a fortune teller, and several dogs and dead (human) bodies.

Volume 5: Here we have a passion wagon, a full moon, police escorts, tugged hearts and curved smiles. We meet a variety of dogs (including borrowed and best in show), a ghost from a half-empty bed, an American werewolf in London, a contented tree, and spouses with revenge on their mind.

Download this for free today from http://mybook.to/5pmFictionCollection (this link leads to the Amazon store in your country) and you can see the writing prompts that inspired these collections at can see the writing prompts that inspired this collection at https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/my-writing/short-stories/5pm-fiction.

Below is one of the stories from this collection (my favourite):

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Wednesday’s Child placed second in the annual NWG members comp

A ‘Woo hoo!’… my story below has been placed second in the Northampton Writers Group annual short story competition. I originally wrote it (almost a year ago) as the first-placed story in my now defunct 500-word competition (where you provided the prompts and I wrote the stories – as close to 500 words as I could get – from my favourite prompts). If you go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/626510 you can read the runner-up, ‘Number 18’, as well as see what else I have on offer. So, here is the story with the prompts, supplied by Jane Dutton, below it.

Wednesday’s child

Peering over his John Lennon glasses, Byron Salisbury, of Salisbury, Peech and Talbot, studied the legal documents adorning his leather-topped mahogany desk, then re-read the birth certificate given to him by the young man sitting opposite. “Oh.”

George Foxbury edged forward on the Chesterfield visitors chair. “Oh, Mr Salisbury?”

“There is…” Salisbury scratched his right cheek. “There is a… er, bit of a hitch.”

“Hitch?”

“Just a small… very small…” Salisbury pinched together his right thumb and first finger then peeled them apart, leaving a miniscule gap. “Nothing that cannot be worked out, I am sure, Mr Foxbury. George.”

“Let me guess…” George sighed. “Grand pa pa Henry’s left all his money to a cat’s home?”

Salisbury shook his head.

“Most?”

Salisbury shook his head again.

“No, a dog’s home. It was Grand ma ma who loved cats.”

Salisbury coughed as he rubbed his hands.

George Foxbury looked from the solicitor, out through the window to the trees thrashing around thanks to Storm Katie, then back at the solicitor via the bland magnolia walls. “I don’t mind how much money he’s left to… whichever… but I’d really like the house.”

Salisbury frowned, pushing his glasses further down his nose. “I’m afraid it says here you inherit all his wealth–”

“Yes!” George clapped his hands and leapt up, grabbing Salisbury’s right hand, shaking it vigorously.

Salisbury cleared his throat then watched George sit as the words “I’m afraid” sank in.

“Afraid of what?” the younger man asked.

“As his… legally proven next of kin, you are to inherit the estate of Henry Foxbury III, late of Foxbury Hall, Bumbington, Oxfordshire.”

“Yes, yes,” George chivvied.

“Yes indeed. You are to inherit the said estate on your eighteenth birthday.”

“Right. The year after next.”

“I’m afraid not.”

“Why?”

“Because legally you are…”

George leaned further forward. “I am…”

“2000… 2016…”

“Sixteen, yes. I’ll be eighteen in two years.”

“No.”

“What do you mean ‘no’?”

“You were born at the end of February.”

“Yes.”

“The very end.”

“Yes.”

“The very very end.”

“Yes. So?”

“Have you ever looked at your birth certificate?”

“Not really. Grand ma ma kept it with all the other official paperwork after my parents died… with Grand pa pa Henry’s driving licence, shotgun licences, other guff, you know. She kept them all together, our three, in an envelope marked ‘Birth Certificates’. I just pulled out mine. Checked my name.”

“And you know what year it is this year?”

“Of course. 2016. What’s that go to do with–?”

“A leap year, George. What day do you think you were born on?”

“I’m not sure. I think Grand ma ma said it was a Wednesday. Far to go.”

“Wednesday is full of woe. Let me just check…”

George pursed his lips as the solicitor looked up something on his computer.

“It was a Tuesday, George. Full of grace, and I hope you will be as I explain how this is going to go.”

*

  • Character name/s: George Foxbury, Henry Foxbury, Mr Salisbury
  • Location: Solicitor’s office
  • Object: Henry’s will
  • Dilemma: George is expecting to inherit on the 18th anniversary of his birth. He was born on February 29th.
  • Character trait / emotion / quirk: Henry is dead. Mr Salisbury rubs his hands frequently and pronounces his words carefully.
  • Colour / shade of colour: Magnolia
  • Other comments: George is sole beneficiary.

Writing a story from ‘consequences’ prompts

FACEBOOK background books smallHello everyone. I’ve just finished writing a piece of flash fiction from prompts given to me by some of my (sixteen) intermediate students and I thought you might like to read it, especially as I’ve been a bit rubbish recently at telling you what I’ve been up to (mostly getting my eBooks available as paperbacks!!).

 

I was hosting a session on structure last Monday and we ‘played’ the story outline game I do in most of my courses. Take a look at How to write a 28-word story for the details of a previous challenge. This time I had to write a 246-word story featuring Eric and Storm (or Eric Storm), in a conservatory with a russet lion, one of the characters was fearful and it had to be a romance. This took me about twenty minutes to write but fell short of the 246 words (by about fifty) so I added in some description and tweaked it to my satisfaction until it hit the word count. So, without further ado, here’s the story…
Eric looked from the garden to his son. “Why the Wizard of Oz?”

“I don’t know. Why not?”

“It’s not very Christmassy, not very…” Eric did ‘jazz hands’. “Nativity.”

Ben rolled his eyes. “It’s on TV every Christmas.”

“And you’re playing which part?”

Lion 897102Ben wiggled his tailed bottom. “Look at my costume, Dad.”

“The lion then. But that’s red.”

“Russet, Mum said.”

“A shade of red. Not really brown though, is it?”

Ben sighed. “Does it matter? It’s the only bit of material Mum had. I thought it looked really–”

“Alright then, but why have you chosen the name Storm?”

“Because it’s a storm that takes Dorothy to Oz, on the yellow brick road anyway.”

“I thought the lion was called… What was he called?”

Ben crossed his arms. “He’s just called the lion. That’s dumb. He needed a name so I’ve given him one. Storm. It’s also an X-Men–”

“Mmm. And he was… scared.”

Ben coughed and looked at the conservatory’s chequered flooring. “Yeah, that’ll be easy.”

“Why?”

Ben didn’t look up. “Because I’m good at scared.”

Eric leaned forward. “No, you’re not. You’re the bravest boy I know. Take that time when–”

“Daaad!”

“You are. What have you got to be scared about? You’re good at learning your lines and…”

“Lucy’s playing Dorothy.”

“Lucy?”

“Falkner. You met her dad, Andy, at last month’s barbecue. They’ve just moved to…”

“Oh yes. Really nice girl. Why are you…? Oh…” Eric giggled.

Ben blushed.

***

365 covers montageThere you have it. My 246-word story. If you’d like to have a go at writing something from a consequences sheet, let me know how you get on. If you’d like to write from some of my prompts, take a look at my home page for the weekday writing prompts (or click Today’s online writing groups’ poetry and story exercises: 20 May 2016 for yesterday’s)… or you could buy one or both of my Writer’s Block Workbooks, each containing over 1,000 prompts and weekly tips. I’m currently devising no.3 which will be sets of prompts (two characters, a location, an object, a trait, and a dilemma each day for a year!).