“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

#IWSG post -- If you could backtrack anything in 2017, what would you do differently?

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Hello all! Remember me? Probably not, so I'll be chatting to myself. I've missed the past two IWSG posts, being busy meeting writing deadlines and travelling. So I'm glad to be back and look forward to reconnecting and doing a great lot of reading.

Alex's awesome co-hosts for the December 6 posting of the IWSG are Julie Flanders,Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner! Try to visit if you have the time.

I'm so rusty at this, I actually went to the IWSG Page and checked out the question of the month, something I don't usually do, but I think it's a great idea when you're stumphhed for what to be insecure about, LOL!

So here's the December 6 question - 

As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

There is always the benefit of hindsight, but if I had known I'd have 2 publishers asking for my full manuscript for my 'American in Paris' women's fiction, I wouldn't have planned a 5-week holiday right after the RWA conference, which left me scarcely any time to write. 

But it was kinda cool working on my story from my cruise ship balcony as we powered through the Aegean and Ionian Seas passing by the Greek Islands. I'll never have that experience again. So, no matter if I was tardy delivering my manuscript to Avon and Tule, and they toss it in the rubbish bin because it took me 2 months to get it to them, I had a magical time.

No matter what, I'm a writer, so I'm insecure. I've plenty of projects to work on while waiting on the powers-that-be. I'm revamping my paranormal story, getting a chapter done of book two, so I can include it when I re-publish my Under the Tuscan Moon as Vampire Obsession.

  • So, now tell me, are you insecure about anything?
  • What would you change about 2017 if you could?
Thanks for coming by...

Now, a shout out for WEP (Write...Edit...Publish). We posted our December challenge on Dec 1st. If you'd like to write something for us, we post on Dec 20th or before. You can sign up here in my sidebar or visit WEP and check it out. We also have all our challenges prepared for 2018. All is revealed HERE.


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

WEP October challenge - my #flashfiction - The Strange House in the Woods.

Well, I'm back! Thanks to those of you who followed my trip on Facebook, but I mostly posted on Instagram. Was a wonderful five weeks, so now I'm struggling with jet lag which is particularly cruel this time. I'm getting about two hours of sleep a night, then teaching through the day which is a real hoot.

It's time for WEP again. Every October we host a Halloween challenge and we're ready to go. If you have a Halloween story in your files, you may like to post to the thread. Just click 'Submit' in my right-hand sidebar or go to the Write...Edit...Publish site. Love to have you.

Here goes...through the eyes of a child...

Inspired by a true story I read about what happened to those assisting foreign powers in war-torn countries.

The Strange House in the Woods

Yasmina hated being in these strange woods without her Dada.
By the time she and Mama reached the house, darkness was catching them. The house was big and black and trees stood all around, trying to hide the house from them.
Looking up at the sky, Yasmina saw a heap of tired old clouds with raggedy edges ripping apart, falling onto their heads like grey angels. The snow exploded while she danced around, arms in the air, catching snowflakes. Soon her gloves were soaked, so she ran across the frozen grass to the door. If they didn’t get inside it’d be dark. She hated the dark.
Mama was trying to stab a big key into an old lock, but she couldn’t budge the door. She was taking a long time, so Yasmina slapped her ears with her wet mittens and watched the snowflakes scattering.
‘Stop it!’ Mama yelled.
Even though she was freezing in the big coat the kind Red Cross lady had given her when she got off the aeroplane, Yasmina tried to stand still so Mama wouldn’t be angry.
‘Help me,’ Mama said.
They pushed and pushed against the door, grunting and groaning. Creak! Suddenly they both fell inside on top of each other. Yasmina laughed, but Mama said a bad word.
Mama hurried back outside and grabbed their suitcases. Dropping them onto the carpet, she said another bad word.
Snow had followed them into the house, blown in by the wind which howled like angry ghosts, swirling, tossing snow into their faces.
Bang! Mama kicked the big old door shut, then hopped around the room holding her foot and yelling lots of bad words. Finally, she stopped hopping.
Yasmina ran to the window and looked up the road where they’d walked from the car into the woods. Was Dada coming soon?


When she and Mama had walked the long and lonely road to the house, the trees scared her. They lined up along the road in black rows like the soldiers when they came to their village and took the fathers and boys away. She’d jumped with fright when clumps of snow dropped off the branches and fell to the ground, exploding like bombs. Mama had pulled her from her hiding place underneath some prickly bushes and she’d hit Mama, screaming, ‘I want my Dada!’
Mama wiped her tears and whispered, ‘I want Dada too.’
‘Why did Dada go?’
‘The bad men took him.’
‘Will Dada come back, Mama?’
‘He will never leave us, my child.’


Akham!’ Mama cried, slumping in the big stuffy chair near the fireplace.
Yasmina ran from the window and patted Mama’s twitchy hand. ‘Don’t cry Mama. Dada’ll never leave us.’ Finding an old blanket on the sofa, she covered Mama’s shaking shoulders.
Patting the flashlight in her pocket, she decided to explore the house by herself coz when Mama got the sadness for Dada it was best to leave her.
The room where Mama sat was big, bigger than their whole house back home, but not as pretty. The house where they'd lived before Dada went away with the bad men had coloured rugs on the walls and soft mats on the floors where they ate. Here, everything was brown, the colour of the bad men’s uniforms.
Pushing open a door, she entered a creepy room, with windows looking into the dark woods. There was a great big table in the middle of the floor with two lonely brown chairs. Opening the refrigerator, she saw food—not much—but Yasmina was hungry. Better not eat or Mama would be even angrier with her, so she took an apple from a bowl. Yasmina couldn’t remember when she last ate. Was it breakfast at the strange place where soldiers marched in rows outside? Or was that lunch? She couldn’t tell. The food had been strange.
Mama had whispered: ‘This is a hamburger. It is what Americans eat. We will get used to it.’ Yasmina’s stomach rumbled and hurt when she pressed it. Now she wished she had tried the brown meat bun.
She walked up the stairs, crunching the red apple which made a loud crack. She could walk to heaven. Maybe that’s where Dada was. The stairs groaned and cried louder than Mama. Spiders were knitting in the corners, trailing their threads down into the hall, their beady black eyes watching her.
She pushed open a door at the top of the stairs. Inside, there was a big cobwebby window in the roof and snow whirled around the black treetops and—she dropped the apple—there was a shadow in the corner. 
She screamed, but Mama couldn’t hear with the wind howling and her howling.
But maybe…maybe…
‘Dada?’ She ran towards the shadow, but the ripped carpet tripped her.
‘Dada!’ Her flashlight clunked onto the floor. She grabbed it and switched it on, but when she shone the light around the room, Dada had gone…again.
In the middle of the room there was a big high bed with a fat lumpy quilt. She was so tired after the long walk, she jumped under the covers.
The mattress was so soft, it felt like she was sinking to the bottom of the earth on a puffy cloud.
‘Goodnight Dada,’ she whispered. ‘Come back. Mama needs you. I need you.’
The snow whispered and rustled through the roof window. She pulled the quilt higher over her head so she couldn’t see the branches shaking angry fists at her.
She was nearly asleep when she heard a voice – ‘Alima...Alima…Alima…’
Who else would know Mama’s name?
Dada had come. Like Mama said.
Then she felt it.
A hand crept into her hand.
She wasn’t frightened.
His hand felt cold. His fingers shook and curled into her palm, tickling, like when they played games at their home in the mountains.
She smiled in the dark, feeling safe. She’d been feeling scared for such a long time.
Dada's home.

Thanks for reading. Please click on the list in my sidebar with DL (Direct Link) after the name. Feel free to join the challenge!

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

IWSG post. Hello and Goodbye for a little while! RWA conference pitching results are in! Overseas travels ahead!

Hello friends!

This is a hello and goodbye post. In my last IWSG post, my mind was full of the opportunities on offer at the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Brisbane and full of insecurities over the pitching opportunities.

Top Site for Writers
Well, the conference was amazing. Such great workshops. International Australian author, Kate Forsyth was outstanding. She's won a new fan in me. What an advertisement for dedication and hard work leading to success.

I attended every session from the Draft2Digital boys who flew in from Oklahoma and somehow we managed to sit together for lunch every day. The CEO of D2D, Kris and his sidekick Dan, hosted amazing sessions, and are they growing opportunities for their authors. I've always planned to go hybrid--to publish my paranormal stories and my flash fiction collections with them while trying to find a traditional publisher for my novels, so that's still my plan.

I'm inviting D2D to guest post here in the future. If you have any questions you'd like to ask them, ask them in the comments here and I'll include them in the question and answer format.

So, what else is news? Well, I'm getting to it.

I pitched to Avon Books and Tule Publishing and both asked for my full manuscript for my Paris novel. Carrie Feron from Avon wants me to edit it so it's more women's fiction, then to send it to her. Like me, she's crazy for books set in Paris. I'd certainly be honored if she offered me a contract.

I'm going crazy getting it tweaked before I leave for overseas in a coupla weeks. (I do have a problem ever letting go--you know, it can always be improved...) I'm spending 9 days in Paris checking out locations that are in my novels. Good excuse for another visit.

I'll tell you more about my trip in another post, but my itinerary is: London, Paris, Arles in the South of France (Vincent van Gogh sites - I have an airbnb with the same view of the Rhone as below where Van Gogh painted his first Starry Night! Okay, I'm a bit of a fan and he does turn up in my novel).

I'm proud of the story I wrote from Van Gogh's POV for a WEP challenge...

Then back to Nice, one of my favorite spots in France, then onto Milan where this time I'm going to see what's left of the original Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci.

Then onto delicious Venice where I'm joining a cruise to Montenegro, Croatia, Corfu and other Greek Islands. Back in Venice I'm celebrating my birthday with my daughter who's currently living in London. Big,  big celebrations for a couple of days there, before heading to Rome and the flight home. 5 weeks of travel bliss over for the time being.

I fly out at 1am tomorrow, so won't get much time to return comments until I'm in London. I appreciate every comment and I'll eventually get back to you.

Meanwhile, I  hope things are going super for you. Hope some of you in the US caught the eclipse! And I hope you stayed safe during Harvey and do stay safe with the next hurricane (Irma?)

There is a post at WEP announcing our winners for the August REUNIONS posts. What qualities entries! Our next challenge is DARK PLACES for Halloween in October. Start imagining those dark stories!

Please join us.

Thanks for coming by! Appreciate it!

Where will I be for the next IWSG? Cruising the Greek Islands...but who knows? I might get something written...

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Write...Edit...Publish August challenge - REUNIONS. My #flashfiction, The Reunion.

It's time for Write...Edit...Publish again. This month of August, the challenge has been set by Nilanjana Bose--Reunions. I've asked for early posts as I'm busy with the Romantic Writers of Australia conference, then packing for a trip to Europe soon after. So...I'm posting early myself!

I've been inspired into a magical foray for this one, a flash fiction piece, as always. My first thoughts were of The Kiss by Rodin and checking out the backstory for all those The Kiss statues in various places--St Pancreas station, Times Square, Milan, Paris--but the stories weren't what I was looking for. Here's my story instead ... sorry it's slightly over 1,000 words ...

The Reunion

Charlotte scarcely remembered the long bus ride from the city through the rugged countryside, so focused was she on seeing Jack again.

‘We’re here,’ the driver said. ‘You’re being met?’

‘Yes,’ Charlotte said, as she slashed her lips with the bright red shade Jack loved.

Slinging her black tote over her shoulder, she thanked the driver who’d come to the door to help her alight.

‘Are you sure about this, lady?’ he asked. ‘People who wander into the bush often never wander out again.’

‘I’ll be fine.’

‘No luggage then, love?’

‘Not this trip.’

‘Are you sure you’re at the right place? There’s no one here.’

‘He’ll come.’

‘But no one lives here. All the houses were bulldozed years ago. There’s nothing left.’

Charlotte smiled and turned away, slipping a pill under her tongue. ‘Thanks for bringing me this far, young man. I know it’s out of your way.’ She handed him a tiny red rose from the posy she carried.

He twirled the flower. ‘I’ll come back. One? Two hours?’

‘Thanks, but no. You can be on your way now.’

Charlotte walked away, tugging her bright red coat around her shoulders. The last leg of her journey stretched ahead.

The track was once a well-maintained gravel road and there’d been shacks amongst the trees, but now it was no better than a goat track.

It was hard going, but she made it to Gulliriviere, the tiny settlement where she once lived with Jack. It’d been named by Irish ex-convicts who were used to plentiful rains in their home country. How flummoxed they were by a river that bore nothing but gravel year after bitter year.

Further into the bush she trudged, her steps slowing, away from the desolation of the little street where houses were sacrificed for a lumber mill that was never built.


Controversial even then.

As she passed by, the eucalyptus trees rustled their arms in salute.


But home had left. Only the scraggly beauty of nature remained. Where once their cabin stood smugly, framed by the white picket fence Jack built and the fragrant flowers she planted and lovingly tended, there was … nothing.

‘Jack,’ she whispered, ‘there’s no clue we ever lived here … Oh … but I’m wrong. Look!’

Charlotte creaked to her knees before her tatty rose bush, hanging on after all these years. She tugged out weedy grasses, revealed tiny closed buds, then inhaled the earthy smell. ‘Not everything’s gone, my darling Jack.’ She lay the posy beside the rose bush, memories flooding her head.

She recalled her twenty-three-year old self following her love to his rough-hewn shack in Outback Queensland. It was two hours’ drive to the nearest town and a light plane trip to Brisbane twice a year. She loved the koala who lived in the tree nearby, she loved the solitude and yes, she even loved the big red kangaroos who nibbled the green shoots in her garden, looking cheekily at her over their shoulders as they loped away.

She’d set her easel amongst the trees and paint miniatue bush flora until the sun set on the faraway horizon. Her paintings would hang in art galleries in Australia and the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris long after she was gone.

Living in the bush had been good.

Leaving it had not.

After their cabin had been razed to the ground, they’d relocated to Byron Bay. Plenty of flora for her to paint, but Jack had to fly in/fly out to continue his work on the western Droughtmaster grazing property.

‘Hello, Madam Charlie,’ Jack would greet her at the airport. Tossing his duffle bag in the *boot, he’d hurry to the passenger door, wrench it open. ‘Come here,’ he’d growl, kissing her over and over much to the delight of the traffic inspector.

Their only argument was over his retirement.

 ‘No, Charlotte, I won’t retire. I’m only sixty-five. Our experiment with the new Droughtmaster breed is ongoing. Perhaps when it’s done …’



Phone call.

Frank Mangin, Jack’s boss.

‘I’m sorry, Mrs Sandilands ... Jack’s gone ... Heart attack.’

The bed caught her as she fell.

‘He wasn’t alone. We were working in the study.’

Only garbled noises came out of her mouth.

‘Can I call someone?’

Clunk! The phone hit the floor, but she could still hear Frank screaming at her. 

‘Mrs Sandilands? Im calling someone.’

‘No!’ No one could put her back together. 

‘Mrs Sandilands! Jack had a message for you. He said, and I wrote it down—um—Tell Charlie to come to the shack.’

‘Are you sure?’

‘Yes. I know your home at Gulliriviere is long gone. But that’s the message.’

‘Thanks, Frank.'

If Jack wanted her at the shack, then to the shack she would go…


Still kneeling at the rose bush, she took the gold fob watch out of its pouch and let it drop into her palm. She’d bought it years ago to give to Jack when he retired. It was a work of great artistry, with minute patterns painstakingly etched into every chain link. She read the inscription: 
To Jack, my wild Colonial Boy! Yours ever, Charlie. XX

She brought it to her lips, kissed it, just as the first pain hit.


The rose bush bloomed with blood-red roses. The fragrance enveloped her as it mingled with sweet summer smells.


With the sweet fragrance of roses whirling around her, she ran through the tall grasses, trailing her fingers over the white, silky flowers. He’d be waiting by the creek just ahead, beyond the grey houses.

She hesitated at the stand of weeping willows, their lush tendrils like dishevelled hair as they caressed the surface of the water.

Then she saw him—her Jack—running through the willows, pushing aside the graceful drapery. He hurried towards her—arms outstretched—welcoming her home.

She held out the fob watch and beckoned her love.

They gazed into each other’s light-kissed eyes, marvelled at their sun-painted limbs, overjoyed at the beauty they saw in each other. He took the gold object from her soft, smooth hand, then they strolled away hand in hand across the sparkling water, fading from sight in a gentle swirl of silvery mist.


The End

Words: 1037

Thanks to Olga Godim for the badge!

If you would like to join us, sign up in my sidebar or at the Write...Edit...Publish website. Click on entries with DL (Direct Link) after the names.

Don't forget--our next challenge is in October--Halloween! Wooo hooo...


Wednesday, 2 August 2017

#IWSG day -- Sure I'm insecure, who isn't? AUGUST IS BIG, SO BIG FOR ME!

Hello friends!

I missed last month's IWSG as my favorite aunty took ill. Unfortunately, she passed away, so I was too busy to think about posting on my blog.

But I'm back for August's post. I love the August question: 

What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

I'd rather not get started on this one -- but really, I'm always against all the rules for emerging writers which the big guys break all the time. 

And these broken rules don't hurt the story. 

Lately, every book I've picked up has got a Prologue (you know what we get told, right? Wrong. I love prologues but I'd be afraid to write one.) And backstory--you know how we get told to just insert it like splinters of glass--hey ho, I agree. Several books I've read recently start with a lot of backstory, whoa, pages and pages, yawn, yawn. Yeah. Readers don't really want to be bombarded with lots of the old stuff that happened pre-story, they want to keep ploughing along in the moment. Except those who read best-sellers, apparently, LOL!

Thanks to Alex J Cavanaugh and his team for keeping the IWSG on the road. This month he has the assistance of several luminaries:

Christine Rains, Dolarah @ Book Lover, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Yvonne Ventresca, and LG Keltner!

If you have time, do pay each a visit.

So, what am I insecure about this month?

Well, August is very important to me and my writing.

It actually starts today (July 27th when I was writing this post) with the IWSG pitch contest. Well, Australian time it's 10 pm tonight - 10am tomorrow. Insecurity to the max and black circles under eyes, anyone?

Hey, I totally suck at selling anything, but I'm giving it a shot. 


It's all over by now. I know some of you got 'favorited' by editors/publishers. I got 'favorited' by a publisher who I later found out was a vanity publisher who wanted money up-front. I hope no one else got taken in by them. It disturbed me that they were allowed in the pit. Now, moving on...

The next scariest thing happens from August 11 - 13th. This is the Romance Writers of Australia's conference, luckily held in Brisbane -- just a short stroll across the river from where I live when I'm in town. It's going to be MASSIVE for me as I've just finished my Paris women's fiction. Well, as finished as it can be before 600 more rewrites. And my next trip to Paris in September to check my locations for my sequel...

So, I've written a Synopsis with the help of my critters, touched up my bio and air-brushed my photo (just kidding) and sent my manuscript to the Director of Avon Romance/William Morrow who's attending the conference. I've paid for a 15-minute session where she's going to assess my manuscript. Altogether terrifying and wonderful. This is what she's looking for in case any of you are sitting on a ms that might suit Avon. They do take unsolicited mss for their Avon Impulse digital first line. 

Executive Editor, Senior Vice President
1. Which areas/imprints are you actively acquiring for?High concept historicals, historical romance, psychological suspense, women’s fiction
2. What subgenres are you currently seeking?Single Title, Contemporary and Historical
3. What kind of writing will especially pique your interest?I love writing with a very strong voice.
4. What are you not looking for, so we don’t waste your time and ours?Literary fiction, SF, YA
5. What would you love/hate to see pitched to you?Something with a great hook.
So, here's hoping my story is just what she's been searching the globe for. Now added to the session with Carrie Feron,

  • I have a 5-minute pitch to Tule Publishing
  • A session with a publisher with only 9 attendees
  • 15 minutes with Google
  • 15 minutes with Draft2Digital
and 3 days of fabulous workshops with fabulous people in between.

So, you get it? My August is going to be OUTTA THIS WORLD (even if Carrie says no thanks)!

And there's more:


I haven't neglected my Write...Edit...Publish friends. (Well, maybe just a little...)

We have a new challenge which opened yesterday. If you'd like to try your hand at flash fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photography, artwork, join our REUNIONS challenge. An excerpt from a WIP is totally fine if it suits the prompt. I know we're going to get our heartstrings tugged here.

CLICK on the SUBMIT button in my right-hand sidebar or trot across to WEP and add you name to the list. There you'll find some extra help to participate in this awesome prompt, dreamed up by Nila Bose and the badge created by Olga Godim.

C'mon. Make my August and yours even better!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Write...Edit...Publish JUNE challenge -- BRIDGES. My flash fiction, A Bridge too Far.

Here is my flash fiction for the WEP BRIDGES challenge for June. Open to all creatives who wish to join us. I've literally re-vamped a previously-published story to fit the challenge.

It's Shakespeare time again in my teaching schedule. Othello and A Merchant of Venice are on the menu. If you're a fan of The Bard you'll probably recognise some references. I've chosen names from random Shakespearean plays, but of course, Macbeth is always my favorite.

A Bridge too Far

‘Take me with you, Dad.’

‘Sorry, sweetheart. If there was any other way, we wouldn’t leave you here.’

Here was the International School of Exchange, one of the best Norweyan schools—big, ostentatious, gothic. 

‘Listen, sweetie, look at our separation as just another bridge to cross on your journey towards world domination. And, uh, it’ll be good for you to mix with humans for a change, to see them in another light.’

Dad so got it wrong. 

Bellona is loitering at the top of the stairway with her group of besties looking for all the afterworld like a row of creepy gargoyle statues. I have to pass these weird sisters to get to my next class. But, hey, they can’t put the fear of God into me. Bellona I can handle, but flanked by Portia and Nerissa, she looks scary indeed, even without a beard. I will need all my craft to survive.

‘Something bothering you, Emilia?’ Bellona’s voice wafts down the stairs like fog and filthy air. ‘I was just telling the sistas that something wicked this way comes. You look like you’re going to puke. Come along up. Wouldn’t want you to choke.’

I massage the banister knob with my left hand, feeling the silkiness of the aged wood smooth under my magnificent marble skin. I could glide up the stairs and float right through the lot of them, bitch slapping them while I pass, but my cred would be shot if I took that route. 

Maybe this is a place where I can belong, but there's a bridge to cross before that happens. 


In my Adolescence That Never Ends, I’ve discovered every school has its ghoul!

‘Come on up, you swine,' she says. 'New girls have to pass the test.’

‘What test?’ Why didn’t I keep my big mouth shut? Now she can't wait to get her long claws into me.

‘The test to see if you belong.’

Why do they suspect I don't belong?

Hmm. I shouldn’t have deliberately stepped on her shiny black Doc Martens when I cut her off at the classroom door. But that was pretty tame considering the way she’d baited me all the way through the Shakespeare class, jealous little warhorse. Not my fault I knew all the answers to Lady Macbeth’s questions (well, Ms Opine acted like Lady Macbeth in her sleepwalking stage, floating about the room in her long skirt, stroking her long red tresses, curling her dark red lips in disdain at the students’ stumbling answers to questions about Macbeth’s motivations). To tell you the truth, all she was missing was the candle in her hands.  

'Hey, Ms Opine,' I imagined myself saying. 'I knew old William personally, dig that? We used to chat after the shows in the Globe. I even suggested a few characters in history he might use for his next play. Where do you think he got the idea for Macbeth and King Duncan, hmm?'

Yep. I know every one of the Bard’s plays by heart, Ms Opine, in ye Olde English, not the modern crap you let students read these days. Like which sounds better--'Killing pigs' or 'Killing swine'? No contest.

‘Get off my boot, you weirdo,’ had been Bellona’s reaction to my little stomp attack after ckass. ‘Take that!’ She’d swung her long blonde mane (yes, she was very horsey. I thought it unusual in a Norweyan public school) and delivered a stunning blow to my solar plexus.

‘Ouch!’ I’d yelled, surprised at the power in her dainty little fight move. 

She gave me a strange look. 

Did she feel my flesh as hard and bony as her elbow? Is that what gave me away? Still, I couldn’t resist another stomp on her boots, grinding my rubber soles as hard as I could without breaking her foot. 

If you’ve ever tried to hurt someone by stomping on their Docs, you’d know it takes a lot of girl power. Those babies have pretty good toe protection. I put as much oomph as I dared behind that stomp/kick/grind. Bellona’s face turned as white as mine and her jagged breath concerned me for a minute as I wondered if I’d gone too far. The tears in her big baby blues were a bonus, looking quite dramatic hovering on her smoky fake eyelashes. But she was a tough chick for a human, or kinda human. 

Now, she’d rustled up reinforcements. I was facing a Birnam Wood Comes to Dunsinane moment.

Oh, great! An army gathered against me. I have to think fast or my first day will be my last day here. If I use too much power, I’m out. Too little, and these weird sisters and their cronies will make my life a misery just like the hags did to poor old Macbeth.

Was it worth taking the ‘test’, or should I refuse to listen to them, get back on my metaphorical charger and gallop away?

As Bellona and I played at outstaring each other, I thought of another school, another Bellona. Turned out that chick was a vamp like me. She didn’t want any competition. There could only be one Queen Lilith, so she demanded I take the test. I’d refused, but lived to regret it. I could have beaten that wispy vamp in a heartbeat, um, well. Well, I don’t have much choice this time, do I? I can't always run away. I’m here forever. If I’d passed the last test I would have been Head Girl at Cawdor by now. Hmm.

Avaunt! I race up the stairs, two at a time, holding my ridiculously long serge skirt like I'm some simpering Regency heroine. Those weird sisters step back as if they’ve seen a ghost. Well, you have, stupidos. Bet they’ve never bullied a ghost before.

Soon I’ll be Head Girl of the International School of Exchange. Pretty cool.

Hey, Dad, sometimes we’ve just got to decide which bridge to cross and which bridge to burn.  

WORDS: 995

I hope you like my story for the WEP BRIDGES challenge. Anything goes, as you can see. You have until June 21 to post - flash fiction, non fiction, poetry, artwork...The entry that catches the eye of the judges wins a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

Please click on the names in my right sidebar with DL (Direct Link) next to the name, or go to the WEP website limked in previous paragraph.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

IWSG post - 'I quit!'

Welcome to June's IWSG frenzy of posts. 

The purpose of the IWSG is to share and encourage each other. We can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. The IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Alex J Cavanaugh's awesome co-hosts for the June 7 posting of the IWSG are JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner!

Pay each a visit if you can!

June 7 Question: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

Now to the question. I'm not someone who suffers from writer's block. I wonder how that is even possible, but one day I might find out then I'll get it. No, I've allowed other things to block me...

George Charles Beresford - Virginia Woolf in 1902 - Restoration.jpgI started writing ages ago, in late teenager-hood and into my twenties. Then marriage and children intervened. I shake my head in amazement at those gals who say they write at the dining table with the kids screaming around their legs, but I've always been a Virginia Woolf believer in that writers need a room of their own. I blogged about Virginia HERE in my 'Are you too old for a writing career?' post.

So after managing to send off a few short stories (one accepted, one rejected), I decided I didn't have time for writing at that stage of my life. Not only the family pressures, but I felt too ignorant. So when the kiddlies grew some, I went back to university and learned more stuff. Even though 'they' say writers don't need a great education, being an avid reader of bios I've yet to come across a successful author who writes the big meandering books I like (think Gone With the Wind) who doesn't have a few degrees in creative writing and such after their name. 

Okay, so in about 2007 (where did those years go? Oh, that's right, I was gathering life experience), I decided to unquit and start writing again. I could handle the short stories, the flash fiction, but the Great Australian Novel is a lot harder than I thought, even with a nice tumble of letters after my name. 

But I'm learning. 

Thanks to some very giving writers who've mastered James Scott Bell, Michael Haugh, and the Donald Maas heroes etc 'rules' of plot and structure I'm learning the difference between short story writing and novel writing. Don't get me wrong--I have all the books, just that...

I didn't 'get it.' 

I didn't like making my characters suffer. Gulp. My critters have helped me chase my main characters up a tree and throw rocks at them (James Scott Bell who attended the University of California where he studied writing with Raymond Carver) which I must admit has added oomph to my stories which is where I am in my unquit phase. One day soon, I'll gather a few more bags of rocks and finally finish one of the five novels I've partially written.

And for those of you who didn't see my last post, I'm only posting for the IWSG and WEP for the next months, so I can actually complete and publish said novels.

I'm loving this new phase of writing even though coming to grips with plot and structure is hard.

I hope things are going great for you, too. I'd love to hear your story in the comments. 

And speaking of WEP, we have our BRIDGES challenge open. You can sign up in my sidebar or trot over to the WEP website where you'll find more helpers for this challenge. We're loving these challenges dreamed up by Nilanjana Bose and the badges created by Olga Godim.