Publications and Demolitions

Once again, dear loyal reader, I apologise for the lack of recent activity on this blog. An update is very much overdue.

Rest assured, this does not mean I have been idling away the hours sipping gin and tonic and enjoying this unexpectedly pleasant spell of UK weather, (well maybe a few of the hours have been spent in this way…!) I have been busy trying to keep up with my self-imposed New Year’s target of submitting (mainly flash fictions) at least four times a month, and so far this year I have met or exceeded that target each month, so I am pleased with that progress. I’ve certainly found that having a (fairly modest) goal to work towards, that I can easily visualise on my submission log sheet is working well for me! Maybe I will need to re-evaluate for 2019 to up the ante a little.

I’ve had one or two successes over the last couple of months, and as anyone who follows me over on Twitter will surely know by now, the most exciting of these for me was getting a micro fiction into the National Flash Fiction Day 2018 anthology. You can read it here! The physical copy of the anthology can be purchased here! (Free if you have Kindle unlimited but the paper copy is so much nicer and there are some wonderful flashes in there).

A story I wrote called The Pickle Jar was published in issue 9 of the Cabinet of Heed, who were brilliant to work with. I hope to send them something again in the not too distant future. I’ve had a couple of acceptances for other flash pieces which you will also see online over the next few months.

More recently, I had fun entering The July Furious Flash Fiction contest, run by the Australian Writers Centre. It was quite a challenge coming up with something to fit the prompts with only 55 hours to think about it, and if the resulting story I came up with was a little rough round the edges, my excuse is that I submitted it only ten minutes before the deadline. (The story had to begin with a question, include the words ‘jungle,’ ‘jackpot,’ and ‘jam’ and end with the word BANG, all within 500 words). Sadly I did not win the $500 Australian dollar prize, but that won’t put me off entering again if possible for the August contest, which opens on the 3rd August.

If anyone is still reading, I thought I’d share my entry here as not sure what else to do with it! Any thoughts would be very much welcomed.

Becky

 

Pushing The Button

“You ready for the big push eh Jim? Not long now!”

Jim looked at his watch. Only thirty minutes remained until the Sparkhall Flat complex would be demolished, destroyed, gone forever. It had been a long time coming and Jim had overseen a lot of demolition jobs in his time, but this one was personal and he couldn’t help feeling a little sad about it. He’d always wondered if this job might come his way, yet when it did, it hadn’t seemed quite like the jackpot win he’d thought it would.

“Sure. Be glad to get this job over and done with.” This was true, but not for the reasons Barry was probably imagining. “You hold the fort Baz, I’m going to walk the perimeter one last time,” Jim said picking up his torch.

“I’ve done that boss; all the guys are in position. There’s no way anything’s got past ‘em.”

“I just need to check everything myself. Can’t afford any mistakes.”

Jim put on his hard hat and jogged down the steps of the portakabin that had served as his office for the last seven months. Folks were frequently surprised to learn how much time and logistical arrangements went into setting up a demolition of this size. There had been the usual issues with protesters and those that wanted the flats to be given listed building status, but most of the public agreed the place was an eyesore and that redevelopment was not viable. The council had plans for this part of the city, and they didn’t include making space for a couple of decaying concrete tower blocks from the sixties.

As he walked the edge of the exclusion zone, Jim swept the beam of his torch from side to side, checking for anything out of place. He reached the front of the first tower, and his light fell upon the jungle of weeds which had sprung up through the cracked paving slabs since the buildings had been abandoned. He allowed his beam to travel up the face of the tower, up to the eighth floor and across to the right a little. There it was. The little balcony that he had stood upon so often as a child, looking over the city and wishing he could fly off it and away, away from the chaos in the flat behind him and never have to come back. He’d managed it eventually, although at what cost? He’d left her behind and for that he could never forgive himself.

Jim reached into his inside pocket and took out the creased photograph he’d carried in his wallet for the last thirty years. He swallowed back the emotion that threatened to overwhelm him and headed back to the office.

The crowd were counting down. The moment was at hand. A fleeting hope that the button might jam and the demolition fail crossed Jim’s mind. There was no turning back now.

“This one’s for you sis,” he whispered as he pushed the button.

BANG

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Some Publication News!

I’ve had one or two writing successes recently and wanted to share a couple of them with you here:

A little story called ‘The Fox’ is currently online here at Dog Ear magazine. This is a little magazine that is also a bookmark. Apparently it can be picked up in independent book shops, so I will now have to go and track some down! (In the hopes that my story makes it into print). I found out about them by reading the blog of Lori Cramer, who also has a story there called Quesadillas, so thank you Lori for your part in my success!

Secondly, my story ‘The Trial’ written as a response to the Visual Verse February prompt artwork was also published here along with several other excellent pieces. I really enjoyed taking part and hope to come up with something for March too.

I hope this has inspired some of you to also consider submitting to these publications. Good luck and happy writing!

Death Lined Up

It’s been a bit quiet on here of late, and for that I can only apologise to my handful of loyal readers! I’ve been working on various stories and also been trying to understand how to use Twitter amongst other things… However, I am pleased to report that a little piece of mine has been published here at 365 tomorrows, which publishes daily sci-fi and speculative flash fiction.

It’s a bit different from the sort of stuff I usually write, but I have enjoyed trying out something outside of my usual comfort zone, and a little bit of success has definitely inspired me to write more in this genre.

As always, would love to hear what you think.

 

Nailpolish Stories

For anyone who isn’t aware of this place, please check out Nailpolish Stories here on WordPress. (There is a little story of mine in this January issue too if you scroll down far enough to find it!)

I really enjoyed the challenge of writing a story in only 25 words and love the concept of using the name of a nail polish as inspiration. There are some great pieces here- enjoy.

The Man on the Platform

Yesterday I was reading this interview with Rose McDonagh who won the October 2017 Bath Flash Fiction award with her excellent story Pony.

In the interview she says that the story came from a writing exercise which involved writing some dialogue between two characters where one has a secret. I decided to have a go at using this prompt myself and came up with this story. Let me know what you think, or why not have a go yourself?

The Man on the Platform

“Is that man waving at you?”

“Huh? Which man?” We were waiting for the London train. It was your birthday and we’d both taken the day off work to go to the National gallery together. You wanted to see the Francis Bacon exhibition.

“That man over there, with the green checked shirt. I’m sure he was waving at you.” You were pulling on my sleeve. I was trying to shake you off like you were a small dog who’d clamped its jaws onto an appendage, whilst trying to appear disinterested.

“I can’t see anyone.” I wasn’t looking. I’d already clocked him there ten minutes ago. How dare he wave, the stupid bastard.

“There! By the wall. He’s wearing one of those gilet things over his shirt. I hate those things. So pointless. Why would you want your body warm and your arms cold?”

“Hmmm. I’ve never seen him before. He can’t have been waving at me.” Lies. But I wasn’t prepared for this. Lying came so naturally, I was almost convincing myself.

“Yes, he is, look! He’s waving again!” He was as well. He could see I was with someone. What on earth did he think he was playing at? The platform was beginning to fill up. I hoped he would keep his distance. I couldn’t face the introductions.

“The train will be here in a minute, come on let’s go. He must have got me confused with someone else. People are always getting me confused with other women who have curly hair. Even women who look nothing like me, like that woman with the whippet who lives on Lark Close. It’s like they think we all look the same or something. I think it’s discrimination actually”. Just keep talking, distraction, diversion. This will be over soon.

“Are you sure you don’t know him? He’s smiling at you. I think he’s trying to say something.”

Would you just let it drop already? “I don’t know him, okay? Look, the train’s here. Let’s find our seats. I’ve never gone first class before, have you?”

“No. Thank you. It was sweet of you. I hope they have champagne.”

“Don’t get too excited. I’m not made of money.” You held my hand and I didn’t look back. I knew he wouldn’t find us. Fifteen years since he’d left Mum for his other woman. He was no father to me.