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Friday, 29 October 2010

Blogfest - Cinderella's Shoe

Here is a bit of fun, courtesy of Madeleine Maddocks at Scribble and Edit

Lucy stood in the queue at the railway station Lost Property counter and chewed at her fingernail. How could such a calamity have befallen her, the luckiest person alive? Or dead for that matter, if you assumed that being dead was, by definition, unlucky. The queue inched forward as a harrassed mother left clutching a wailing girl.
Then, suddenly it was her turn.
"Yes, hello," she said to a supremely bored looking official. 
"I've lost a pocket." she told him.
The official blinked. "A pocket? A pocket what?"
"A pocket, you know, for putting things in."
"I see," he said doubtfully. "And was this pocket attached to anything? An item of clothing perhaps?"
"No, no. Just a pocket," Lucy told him. "It had a ribbon round it," she added, helpfully.
The official gave her a flat stare. She smiled sweetly at him.
"Was there anything in this pocket, Miss?" he enquired.
"Money," she answered promptly.
The official nodded and reached for his pad of forms and an old biro. He was back on firm ground at last.
"How much was in this pocket?" he asked.
"A penny."
The official stopped writing, but did not look up.
"A penny," he repeated in leaden tones.
"It was my lucky penny, you see," Lucy added quickly, in case the official had failed to grasp the gravity of the situation.
The official very carefully and precisely laid down the pen on the pad and looked at her.
"It could hardly have been a lucky penny if you lost it, could it?"
Lucy bit her lip. The official glared at her; a thunder cloud on two legs. She decided a tactical retreat might be in order and, turning tail, she ran from the counter, tears welling in her eyes.
Everything was a blur, so she failed to see the young woman ahead standing at the edge of the platform, who was rubbing a lottery scratch card with a coin. She failed to see the young woman's jaw drop in amazement as she stared at the card. She failed to see the baggage trolley careering out of control. Lucy collided with the young woman and with a shriek they landed on the platform in a tumble of limbs. The baggage trolley swept through the very spot the young woman had been standing and with a steel wrenching screech slammed onto the tracks.
There was a breathless pause, then Lucy climbed shakily to her feet.
The young woman was staring at the trolley, then she gulped.
"Looks like my lucky day," she said. "First I find a pretty purse, then I win the scratch card jackpot, then you save my life, what else?"
Lucy held out her hand to help the young woman up.
"You get to meet your new best friend!" Lucy laughed. "Lucy Locket."
The young woman smiled and climbed to her feet with Lucy's help.
"Kitty Fisher," she replied.

Having just discovered that my daughter had no idea what this story is all about, I realise that I have sadly neglected my duties as a parent. In case anyone else is confused by the ending ... see HERE!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Back to the Blog

A big thank you to both of you who voted for me in Brenda Drake's cliff hanger blogfest. I was unavoidably absent from the interwebs during the whole voting excitement, so I didn't even know that I had been shortlisted until it was all over! I do think however that Rachel Morgan was a worthy winner and deserves to be followed on Twitter! @rachelmorgan13

In the end I decided to send "Another Small Step" to Strange Horizons. They take 10 weeks or so to decide, so I can forget about that one until after Christmas. I am now working on another SF shorty with the temporary title "Bonnie".  or possibly "A Matter of Life and Death" or even "Where There's Life". I have mapped out the story arc, and am reasonably pleased with the shape, but I am having a bit of an argument with myself. The creative director wants a scene where the protagonist is invisible (don't ask!) but the technical consultant can't think of a justifiable reason why he should be invisible in this scene and not later when it matters! I shall have to lock them in a room together until they've thrashed it out!

We got up at dark O'Clock in the morning yesterday to drive to Nottingham to look round Nottingham Trent University with younger daughter. She wants to study Design for Film and Television. I cannot begin to tell you how enthusiastic she is for this course. Isn't that great to see in a youngster?

Friday, 22 October 2010

Cliff-hanger competition

OK - just to avoid any confusion here is the link to the story!

Cliff Hanger

Thursday, 14 October 2010

End of Story

Today I finished the final-ish re-write / polish up of my SFF short story "Another small step", as I might have mentioned in one or two places. I say final-ish, risking the wrath of the custodians of the grammar standards, because no-one else has actually read it yet. I am bracing myself for the feedback! Once I have recovered, and revised, it's off to the publishers.

I need a haircut. It is long overdue (haha, get it?!).

Anyway, reminds me of when I was first married, my wife had just started cutting my hair. It was all about saving money, we hadn't two brass fathings to rub together (as the saying goes up north somewhere). I had been invited to a contractor's golf day and during the meal at the end of the day they had a comedian come in. He was rather rude about my hair cut and said "You'll never get a girlfriend with hair like that!" I wish now that instead of blushing beetroot, I'd told him, "of course I won't get a girlfriend, my wife cuts my hair!"

Day 1 - 14 October 2010 - It had to be done!

A new start - a new blog. Prompted by a little blog-fest competition hosted by Brenda Drake here *tips hat* I decided to have another go at writing a blog and this first post contains my entry. The object is to "write a new scene or post a scene from your current project that is no more than 500 words, which has a rocking cliffhanger (pun intended). It can be any genre. Just leave us hanging, craving more, and cursing your name for making us want to turn a page that isn't there. Easy peasy, right? Right."
So ... here it is ...

Tori gazed out of the window across the shadowy cityscape as the sun blushed the horizon. The misery of the last forty eight hours had taken its toll on her, leaving her eyes red rimmed and puffy. She had a blanket draped around her shoulders and she cupped a hot chocolate in her hands, its warmth and memories of childhood a small comfort in her distress.

Friday night had been special. Friday night was Jim’s surprise night and this Friday he picked her up from work and took her to see a rom-com, much to her delight, particularly as he seemed to enjoy it more than he was prepared to admit. Afterwards they went for a meal and in the soft glow of candlelight he told her that he loved her. Much later, curled up on the sofa in her flat they started to talk tentatively of a future together. When Jim got up to go, Tori asked him to stay.
“I would sweetheart,” he said, as he kissed her, “but I have to be up early in the morning”
“Oh? What are you up to?” she asked him in mock inquisitorial tones.
He grimaced. “Work.”
Then with a hug and a kiss he was gone.
Tori busied herself all day Saturday and wasn’t too worried when her texts to Jim went unanswered. When she called him in the evening his phone was switched off or was out of battery. There was no reply to his home phone, nothing on Twitter or Facebook. Perhaps he had had to work late? What would have stopped him from contacting her?
Sunday morning there was still no response from either of Jim’s phones. She spoke to a couple of mutual friends but they had not heard from him. As the afternoon wore into evening, Tori battled with a rising sense of panic. No-one had heard from Jim, no-one knew where he was. His blog was untouched, his webmail unread. There was no point phoning hospitals, he could have driven anywhere. She began to imagine him lying in a coma, alone, dying, dead. Sleep was out of the question. Over and over she replayed the special Friday night. They had talked of a future together; oh God, had he run from the commitment? In the dark hours before dawn, she was haunted by thoughts that he had vanished into the arms of another.

Now she stood and watched the sun rise on another week, her heart desolate. She could think of no reason why he would not have contacted her that was not heart-wrenching. Her reverie was interrupted by a knock on the door. She flew to the hall and flung it open to find not Jim, but the mailman. He handed her a brown envelope too thick to go through the mail slot. The writing was unmistakably Jim’s cursive script and she could feel through the envelope a small box, a couple of inches to each side. With trembling fingers she opened it.

Yes I am from the UK, and yes I did have to use a UK-US dictionary in a couple of places. I am sure someone will tell me if I got it wrong! I hope you are impressed that this happens to be exactly 500 words long!