Time to Fly (300 Word Race The Date #6 Winner)

virus

The virus drifts, a long silk rope that winds in a loop deep within the man’s lower intestine.

Stuck here for days, embedded within the rotting meat of a cheap beef pie that the man has bought from an old mom and pop’s general store on the way home from his job at Johnson & Hibbard—‘The Tax Specialists’— the virus knows patience. In its limited way, it understands that the body encasing it is not, by and large, a strong body.

The virus unfurls and releases the initial infection. Continue reading

Ode to a Random Cat I Fed Earlier and Now It’s 3.20 AM

Dear Cat,

We started off so well,
I saw you outside 
(without a collar or bell),
I fed you to shut you up,
And keep you from little birds 
you might get rough (with),
Now you're yowling 
outside - monotone,
I was a fool to believe 
that you'd leave me alone,
And I have no boot to throw,
But you're black - 
if it hit you, 
how would I know?
We used to be close friends.
I'm not a catmurdererbynature
butyoudrovemetothis!

Review: ‘Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer’ by Roy Peter Clark

50 Essential Wriiting Tools

Dear Readers,

Sparky here with a quick review. Page-by-page, I’m currently going through ‘Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer’ by Roy Peter Clark. I’m finding it immensely useful.

Clark approaches writing from both a philosophical and practical standpoint: ‘Writing is a craft you can learn,’ he explains. ‘You need tools, not rules.’ With four different levels of tools at your disposal—’Nuts and Bolts’, ‘Special Effects’, ‘Blueprints’ and ‘Useful Habits’—the wide variety of tips and tricks covered will help to improve your writing on both a macro and micro level.

Continue reading

They Were Silent (300 word Race The Date Fiction)

John shot Sarah a look, gesturing impatiently for her to follow. ‘Come on! We’re getting close.’

She rolled her eyes and smiled, but started to pick up the pace. ‘Sure thing, Boss man. Whatever you say.’ She mock bowed, hinging at the waist as they walked. She was sweating profusely.

‘No sass today, thanks,’ he said, striding along a micrometre in front. ‘You wanted to come. We gotta be there by sundown; if we’re not, we won’t be allowed to join.’ He stared down the tracks at the dark line in the distance.  The horizon was nearer now, drawing into slow focus.

A crowd of teens lined the cliff face, bodies turned away from John and Sarah, faces looking down. They were silent.

In the distance, the sun was lower in the sky.

A shorter kid with black wiry hair stepped out to greet them. ‘Here for the competition, J?’ Continue reading

Echo (150 word Flash! Friday Fiction)

Nezarre looked down into the abyss.

The ancient waterfalls were no more. A stone dam had been laid across the Henabron River a half mile above, a thing of necessary evil in the dark times ahead. This had been the King’s wish, a way of halting the main water supply to Festborough’s southern lands.

‘What have the people of Dornaday done to deserve such unprovoked attacks?’ the old monarch had cried out from his gilded throne.

History was not kind. Nezarre feared similar past acts – suppressed knowledge about the Old Kingdom – had ruined the land, destroying Nature’s balance. The bemoaning cries of the spirits, both water and wood, still haunted his people; Festborough’s subjects suffered naught, more in tune with the roaming, sprawling wilds.

‘But violence begets violence, or so the seers say.’ He sighed and stretched out a hand, caressing a memory. The sensation was bitter indeed.

Jeremy Was Changing (250 word Flash! Friday Fiction)

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Jeremy was changing.

The lights of a behemoth barrelling down the nearby highway flashed, startling him into movement. He blinked, hunkered down in the backseat. As his lids lifted, illumination slithered across the ruts and rivulets of the back of his hand.

He frowned. These were not his hands.

The meat truck disappeared, a horn blasting in the distance. As the silence poured in, up rose the whispering of the waving weeds. That susserrance blotted at the trip-trip-tripping of his conscious thought.

Every night, for weeks, he’d woke to find himself lying in the backseat of the old wreck. The main house was three miles from the fence line, far from the old Chevy’s musty interior. It was rough country, and the first few times he’d risen bloody. Continue reading

Smarmbeard: A Prelude to an Echo

They came at midnight.

Old George had drawn watch duty that evening. As he looked over the port settlement of Old Mandre, he could see all was quiet, all was calm. The sea below lapped and washed across the dark stones of the foreshore like a hungry dog licking its master’s boot.

Yes, all’s safe and sound. As usual.

George sighed. He carefully lit his pipe, then peered down again from his perch on the high wall.

A metallic sound echoed off in the darkness.

He scrambled to his feet, dousing the flame. He squinted, night-blind, closed his rheumy eyes and then peered wide.

A minute passed. Nothing. A hissing in the black was all.

That damned cat.

George sat back down, wiped at his sweaty neck, and fumbled with his pipe. As he brought it to his lips, a soft scuffling sound behind alerted him to the danger. He turned, saw the dark figures scaling up over the wall, and reached for the bell, but it was late, far too late… Continue reading

Editor-Author Love

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Dear readers,

After fixing some issues processing CSS in Mac OSX Mountain Lion, I can see the pages of my blog once more. (Actually, I finally fixed my Windows 7 partition and I’m using that instead, but a win’s a win).

As some of you may know, I’ve recently been editing manuscripts for a certain large romance publisher. It’s been an excellent experience for me, and—on the whole—a great pleasure to work with a number of established and aspiring authors of the genre. Having previously had limited exposure to romance, I found myself genuinely impressed by the variety of ‘boy meets girl (insert sex scene), boy loses girl (insert angry sex scene), boy and girl reconcile (insert happy sex scene)’ narratives I’ve helped polish. Continue reading

Jeff Buckley’s Still Dead

JeffBuckley

Jeff Buckley's still dead
And these wine bottles are empty.
My sweetheart, 
the drunk, 
is floating — gently.
Melancholic tenor
and raw, firey chorus
Pours no more 
from his lips,
but digitally, for us.
Pain, passion, 
and fury — now laid dim.
He said his 'Last Goodbye'.
We barely knew him.

Why Does My Head Hurt?

keep-silence

'Why, oh why, does my head hurt?'

These headaches 
are getting far too intense.
The pain is a warning
I heed for the moment,
then I pop a pill,
and the moment is gone.

'I mean, I just don't understand.'

I sit 
at a computer
on the couch
on the train
on a bus
on a plane
head down
thumbs blurring
hunched over
descending
devolving
revolving
around a sun
that will one day go out. 
 Continue reading