Friday Flash Fiction – 600 – Nom de Plume

sunshine-blogger

 

Busy weekend away helping Sally’s aunt and uncle move house; we stopped for dinner at the motorway services on the way back. I still hadn’t written a word for my new writers’ group on Monday evening. Sally just laughed.

‘Rob, it’s not school, just tell them you didn’t have time, though you could write a whole book about this weekend.’

‘Yes… and if it got published would your aunt and uncle recognise themselves?’

‘Not if you changed the names.’

She continued leafing through some free magazine she had picked up, then pushed it to my side of the table.

‘Look, there’s a short story at the back, maybe you will get one of your short stories in a magazine one day.’

‘I am hoping to aim a little higher than some rubbish free magazine.’

I flicked back through the pages; there was actually an article written by a dog, looking for forever homes for his pals.

Lots of licks, Barney.

‘Oh please, spare me… ‘

‘Read the story Rob, maybe it’s good.’

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Protest

by Angelique Dubarry

 It started with a bumble bee and ended with the saving of a whale; thousands of signatures on the petition protesting to Sea Worlds in the USA for keeping Killer Whales in captivity. Saving The World from my computer was simple and addictive, till the day the door bell rang…

Hmm, it was quite a good story, our topic was The Internet – Good or Evil? Sally was busy playing with her phone, I slipped the magazine into my man bag. Nobody in my writers’ group would lower themselves to read this trashy magazine. What did Sally say about changing the names? No one would possibly know I had borrowed the story.

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On Monday evening there was a good turn out and it was a while before my turn. I read clearly and confidently, I was enjoying myself.

…till the day the door bell rang. I thought they were Mormons, two smart young men in suits.

‘Good morning Ma’am… Mrs Katherine Jones?… how are you today?’

I was taken aback they knew my name, but they were so polite and so American I stepped back and they stepped forward, into my house. On closer inspection their black badges did not mention Latter Day Saints and what they were saying did not make sense. ‘… home security…’

I thought they were selling burglar alarms; then they homed in to the extension where we keep the computer. Now their slick talking seemed to include the words ‘national security’.

I realised, when it was too late, I should not have offered them a cup of tea. When I was at the sink filling the kettle they disappeared, with the computer…

I looked up, the room was eerily silent, either they were totally absorbed, or they did not like my story. I stuttered, but managed to get to the end.

  ‘…but I don’t understand sergeant, what I have done wrong?’ I stammered.

 ‘Let’s hope your ‘38 degree’ friends can get you a good solicitor, one who will explain the extradition process.’

The tight lipped silence continued, I noticed the retired lady’s face reddening.

‘It’s okay Ruth, I’ll handle this’ said Giles, self appointed leader of the group. ‘Is this your own work Rob, or have you some explaining to do?’

How was I to know that Ruth Brown used Angelique Dubarry as her nom de plume? How was I to know that everybody recognised the story, because it had been short listed for the prestigious local arts festival competition last year.

 

 

 

 

 

Silly Saturday – Baz the Bad Blogger

In the first and last of my series of author interviews my guest is Baz the Bad Blogger who was happy to answer my questions as nobody else wanted him on their blog.

Welcome Baz, thanks for coming along.

It was a hell of a journey, I hope I’m going to get lots of book sales out of this.

Er, well it’s more a case of meeting lots of other interesting readers and writers. How did you come to start blogging?

THEY said it was a good way to sell my book.

What do you like to write about in your blogs?

ME.

Tell us about your new novel.

It is a dystopian fantasy set in an unnamed capital city. The government has been taken over by zombies and androids, but no one can tell the difference as none of them have any personality.

That must have made character development rather difficult.

I decided not to bother with character development.

So do you consider the plot line to be important?

I guess so, I just go for dead straight…

Moving on, what advice would you give to other bloggers?

When I started I wrote very long blogs so everyone would think I was highly intelligent.

And did they?

I don’t know, I never had any comments, so I decided to make my posts brief. I recommend two sentences at most, as no one reads past the first two lines anyway…

My second piece of advice is to have lots of pictures of fluffy kittens or cute puppies. I haven’t got any pets, but I found a dead rat in the back yard one rainy morning and he looked quite photogenic once he had been blow dried.

Your blog certainly has a unique style.  How many followers do you have now?

Umm… one, Tidetables something or other.

We had to cut the interview short as Baz had somewhere more interesting to be, but you can find out more about him and his novel ‘I Zomboid’ at his author page.

Baz has changed his cover photo…

Friday Flash Fiction – The Writer’s Tale

 

‘How hard can it be to write a novel?’ thought Joe as he walked through the town towards the Job Centre. Redundancy could be the best thing that ever happened to him; a golden opportunity for a new career as a writer. Passing the library he stopped to look at a notice in the window WRITING CLASS. He went in to enquire for details, couldn’t remember the last time he had been in the library; the sight of all those books intensified his desire to write one himself. He gave his details to the librarian.

‘It’s your lucky day,’ she said ‘the class meets in ten minutes, you could attend to see if it’s what you are looking for.’

The morning flew by, Joe listened to the other people in the group and thought If you can write, so can I. When they did an exercise the words flew out of him. He signed on.

At lunchtime he sat down in the coffee shop to make a shopping list, then strode down the road to WH Smith. Much later he emerged laden with purchases; writing books and magazines, note pads, pens, pencils, Microsoft Word, six Three for the Price of Two modern paperback novels, a large piece of board and a packet of felt pens.

 

Arriving home he staggered through the front door.

‘How did you get on at the Job Centre dear?’ called his wife.

He faltered and nearly dropped his shopping. ‘Fine dear, I’m just going on the internet to look up some job websites.’

He closed the door of the spare room.

An hour later his wife called out ‘Dinner’s ready.’

With no response she stumped upstairs and pushed the door open. On the wall was a large board with strange plans in bright colours. Joe sat at the desk in front of the computer, open notepad by his side. On the screen were written two words Chapter One; absorbed he hadn’t noticed her come in. She looked more closely at the board; at the top was written Dove Street, below were drawn two rows of squares filled with names, she peered at them puzzled. ‘Mary and John White, Mr and Mrs Khan and their three children, young Polish workers, old Mrs Green…’

‘Joe, what are you doing?’ she exclaimed, startling him.

‘I’m going to write a novel,’ he exclaimed proudly ‘in fact I may well do a series, there are so many interesting people who live in Dove Street, the possibilities are endless.’