Fiction in a Flash!

I was sitting down with one of my students (I’m an English tutor for my day job) and discussing parallelism the other day when I noticed that the phrases we were using would make great prompts for some little bits of life stories. So I copied them down and wrote up some Fiction in a Flash!


Nothing is really fleshed out, but I thought I’d share them. I’ve underlined the phrases I used so you can see where they each came from. And I alternated them in bold so you can distinguish each “story”.


Can you come up with something using the same phrases?


Unlocking the screen, I let my four dogs out the door. They made a racket as they barked and chased each other across the yard. Breathing a sigh of relief that the noise was no longer in my house, I shut the door. When I looked out ten minutes later, I discovered that all four of them had escaped under the fence.



A runner has to keep in shape somehow. So runners can often be seen jogging and lifting weights. I even know one that goes rowing on Sundays.



“He told you I wanted help with painting the kitchen,” she complained as the kids headed out the door.

“Mom, you need more than several brushes and one roller to do the job,” Jake said.

“Yeah,” Alex added. “You need at least a couple of cans of paint.”



The guest speaker looked toward the audience. He hadn’t expected such a large crowd at this podunk college, but he was always happy to impart his knowledge. Leaning against the table, he rubbed his hands together in his mind. It wouldn’t do to let them see too much of his plans. Smiling with anticipation and open his mouth to speak, he wove a spell over his gullible audience.



When I’m buying a birthday present for that special someone, I search everywhere. I comb through music shops looking for the perfect CD or sheet music. I haunt electronic shops, sorting through bins of odds and ends to find that elusive piece to build a new robot. Finally I visit the clothing shops so I can deck out my precious in the latest style. Nothing is too good when I’m shopping for my darling’s birthday.



Getting dressed for the office takes meticulous patience. He has to pick out the perfect outfit and make sure everything is pressed neatly. His hair must be styled perfectly and not a line can be out of place. Then he packs up his laptop computer into his leather briefcase and tucks his cellular phone into his pocket (even if it ruins the line of his pants) before leaving for the train.


Cup o’ Sunshine

A few weeks ago, this image was posted as a prompt for one of the contests within my writing group. Although I am not participating in the contest, the picture intrigued me and I wanted to write a story to go with it. It took me a few weeks, but I finally figured out my story.

So here’s my version of “Cup o’ Sunshine”. What is your story?


Every cup of tea, every reading she did was a different story, a different look at a life lived. She never knew what would appear in the cup when she poured the hot water. Even though she used the same leaves every time, she wouldn’t get the same result. Each customer, each person, deserved a different response. So she boiled the water over the open flame, whispering the prayers to her Goddess, before carefully pouring it into the simple white cup.

The petitioner was instructed to stir the water then, just three times, making sure to disturb all the tea leaves. Then the person tipped the cup towards her as they wrapped their hands around it and she peered inside.

This time she was startled to see a light emitting from the cup even before the young girl tipped it towards her. As the cup tilted her way, the practitioner could see clouds wafting from the brim. She had assumed the fluffy, white trails wreathing the edge of the cup were steam or froth added when the tea was stirred, but now she could see it was actual clouds. Clouds and mist that surrounded a small sun settled in the center of the cup.

“What does it mean?” the girl asked in a tentative voice as she also peered into the cup.

The practitioner breathed a sigh of relief now that she’d seen into the cup. She hadn’t wanted to give this child bad news, but this could be nothing but good. “You are a cheerful person,” she said, continuing to peer into the cup as she spoke. “Happy and content. You will have a peaceful and long life.”

The girl smiled in response, her demeanor showing that the woman had been correct. “Thank you, Grandmother,” she answered, bouncing to her feet. She practically skipped out of the shop.

The old woman shuffled over to the sink and poured the cup of sunshine down the drain; setting the cup on the countertop to dry until her next customer.

Music of Our Lives

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post about music and writing (THE MUSIC OF WRITING which was essentially the idea of using music as a soundtrack to a novel or short story. Or using it to listen to while writing (I pointed out that I get distracted while writing so I tend not to listen to it.)

In that post, I mentioned using a song as a basis for a story and brought up one of my own stories (Drunken Scotsman) which is one of two stories I’ve written that is based on a song. (Yes, I do have a point to this… I’m not just rambling today.)

Writers, novelists, authors, whatever you want to call yourselves, get their story ideas from the world around us. (Wow, okay that was just bad grammar… sorry.) The point being that music is a great place to get ideas and use as a jumping off point.

Which brings me to my actual point, on my wonderful, fabulous writing site, there is now a contest, which is based on MUSIC! Specifically CDs. (I’m adding a link to it here, but unfortunately you must be a registered user of the site to actually access it) Musicology Antholgy takes a CD of the author’s choice and that author then creates short stories (no more than 1500 words) around the songs and lyrics in the CD. Authors have almost two months to work on this and depending on the CD chosen that would average about 20,000 words.

The idea behind this, to use the CD as a jumping off point for the story (or stories in this case), is fantastic. Music is such a basis in many lives, causing memories when we hear a certain song or bringing that urge to break into dance moves or actual singing that having a story that goes along with a song can only bring that music more to life.

So join the site and check out the contest. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Read Along Fun!

A few months ago, I posted cards and played a game to introduce the new book for one of my favorite authors, Jeri Smith-Ready. Now her street team (Team Jeri) put together a reading marathon for one of her other series (the Shade Trilogy) for the month of June. It’s a fabulous series, but it’s a LOT of reading in a short amount of time!

Although the books read very quickly (and are well-worth the re-read or new read), they are looking at reading all three books, plus the two novellas between June 1st and June 30th. So if you can commit that amount of time, it sounds like a lot of fun! I just wish I had the books available and could commit to it.

If you need the books, you can get them at amazon or through Ms. Smith-Ready’s site (Shattered is only available through the site) or at your local bookstore.

Jeri Smith-Ready blog

And the wonderful Jennifer Strand from Team Jeri on Facebook created a schedule following the one that Team Kilt did a few years ago. Like I said, it’s a lot of reading in a short amount of time, but if you think you could do it, follow along. Even if you can’t read everything in the month, the books are well worth checking out!

Team Kilt put together one heck of a Shade series read-along
marathon a few years back and we’re put all their hard work to good use again.
During the month of June, a bunch of us are going to read
(or re-read) Shade,
and Shattered together.
This isn’t a formal event by any means, just a bunch of fans that miss the
Shade world. Hope you’ll join us!
Created by Judy G.
Here’s a suggested reading schedule to keep you on track to
complete the entire series during the month of June.  You certainly don’t have to follow this, but
we’ll share a special post about each section on the days listed on this
schedule.  Watch the #ShadeReadAlong
hashtag on Twitter to see these special posts and to chat with other fans
participating in the read-along.
06/01/15 – Read-Along begins
06/03/15 — SHADE Ch 1-11 
06/05/15 — SHADE Ch 12-18 
06/08/15 — SHADE Ch 18 – SHIFT Ch 4
06/10/15 — SHIFT Ch 5-12 
06/12/15 — SHIFT Ch 13-20 
06/15/15 — SHIFT Ch 21 – End 
06/17/15 — SHINE Ch 1-11 
06/19/15 — SHINE Ch 12-20 
06/22/15 — SHINE Ch 21-32 
06/24/15 — SHINE Ch 33- End 
06/26/15 — BRIDGE 
06/30/15 – SHATTERED

Hope your reading schedule will allow you to join us for
this fabulous event. Personally, I can’t wait to visit Aura, Logan, Zachary,
Martin and Nadine Ross!
Created by Marissa O. (aka Bionic Elbow)

Fiction Festival

April is almost over, but it was Poem-A-Day (Poetic Asides) month at Writer’s Digest. If that’s not your speed, author Beth Cato (you might remember that I promoted her novel The Clockwork Dagger a few months ago) is participating in #TwitterFictionFestival.

Beth’s idea is to use her posts for other authors to use as jumping off points for their own stories, she told me that she wanted to do mini stories/story prompts and poems. Whatever she decides it looks like a lot of fun!

You can see Beth’s posts at her twitter @BethCato, follow the twitter feed itself at #TwitterFictionFestival or check out the prior year at #TwitterFictionFestival Archive.

Each author will have a specific posting time between May 11-15 for their prompts/posts. So keep an eye out for your favorite author!

And make sure you check out Beth’s blog and her new novella (The Deepest Poison) in the Clockwork series! It debuts in just a couple of days.


Inspiration for stories comes from everywhere. It can come from a conversation, a song, a picture, a quote, even a line from a movie.

One of my favorite lines is from the movie The Land Before Time with Petie and Ducky. To begin with they are great characters, with a great relationship in the movie. But through-out the movie as Petie attempts to learn how to fly, they continue to support each other and these two lines are (if I remember correctly) oft repeated with variations:

“Did I fly? Did I fly?”

“Nope. You falled.”

There are many ways you could go with just those two lines.

So my challenge for this post? Using either the above line (or a line from your favorite movie), write a story or poem!

Or let me know where you get your inspiration from.

Movie line from Land Before Time


So I had a couple of different entries planned for this month. I was going to do a grammar entry and I was going to introduce a friend of mine who’s an author. Unfortunately my month kind of got away from me and here it is the end of the month and I don’t have an entry written.

So I’m going to do something else instead. I’m going to give you fifteen words and challenge you to use at least half of them (yeah I know that doesn’t divide up evenly—I’m an ENGLISH major not a math major) to write a flash fiction story. Bonus points if you use all of them. And I’ll be working on the same and posting mine in the coming weeks!

And check back in the next couple of weeks for that grammar entry AND the introduction of the author!

brown          pound           sound
shout          chair           pushed
growl          myself          mound
been           clown           crown
where         howl            cloud

Good luck! Happy writing!