Tag Archive | Flash Frenzy

Act Now, Don’t Wait, Guaranteed to Work

Cleaning Supplies. CC2.0 photo by Chiot's Run.

Cleaning Supplies. CC2.0 photo by Chiot’s Run.

Act Now, Don’t Wait, Guaranteed to Work
written by Rebekah Postupak

♥ for Beth ♥

You know how they say that stain remover stuff advertised on TV can get anything out?

It’s a lie.

Take the birthday you gave me a yellow shirt (you didn’t know yet to avoid giving me pastels) and then, foolish girl, handed me a popsicle.

“Bonus party favor,” you said, grinning, as a cherry-colored, duck-shaped stain suddenly appeared on my chest.

This meant trouble: kids already loved tormenting me for my ubiquitous stains. I tried explaining my precarious situation to you, but you just made quacking noises until you were laughing so hard your quacks devolved into hiccupping snorts.

I scrubbed and scrubbed (it really was a great shirt) but, though the shirt doesn’t fit anymore, the duck still waddles, like it imprinted on someone hiding just past the seam.

Then there was the time I was housesitting for Mrs. Schauer.

“Merlot!” you said when you showed up, wine in one hand and a shopping bag with Camembert and chick flicks in the other. Not once did you tease me for being scared in that big house by myself. You were less merciful, however, when an hour later I kicked my glass over on the white sheepskin rug and subsequently cleaned it so thoroughly, the spot glowed.

“I didn’t know Mrs. Schauer’s sheep were grey!” you said.

“Club soda next time, okay?” I grumbled. You stuck your tongue out and poured me another glass.

Things only grew worse. Your emergency caramel macchiato I tipped over on my master’s thesis. Your byline-splashed newsprint smeared on my fingers (and then nose) before my first job interview. The ketchup-and-fries you snuck in transformed into a mini Picasso on my wedding dress. Even the delicate bottle of Giorgio celebrating my Halima’s birth became a perfumed ochre garden on my sofa.

And now, you insolent wench, despite knowing better, you’ve really done it: crossed the Great River and smeared a violent mark across my heart.

I’ve scrubbed with bleach, peroxide, vinegar, and baking soda til my hands are raw and bleeding.

Cruel, heartless girl, leaving me all these stains, but nothing to get them out with.

____

Written as a tribute to darling Flash! Friday draggin Beth Peterson (December 29, 1960 – September 2, 2015) via last weekend‘s Flash Frenzy weekly flash fiction contest. Host Rebecca Allred gives a whopping 360 words and a photo for inspiration: it’s live now (runs Saturday mornings through Sunday evenings); give it a try!

Sixty Seconds with: Brian Creek

Ten answers to ten questions in 20 words or fewer. That’s less time than it takes to burn a match*.

(*Depending on the length of the match and your tolerance for burned fingers, obviously)

Matchlight

Our newest Flash! Friday winner is — FINALLY!!! — first timer Brian Creek.  Read more about him at his VERY OWN WINNER’S PAGE (FINALLY!) here, and read his winning story here. But for now: you couldn’t do better than take one minute to get to know him better below.

1) What about The Arabian Nights inspired your winning piece? I imagined sitting down with my son and reading him one of these fantastical stories. The tale grew from there.

2) You’ve been writing flash a good while but this is your first win. What’s kept you going? The support of a fantastic group of fellow writers. And a ‘Flash Points’ article written last July by yourself.

3) What do you like about flash? As someone who struggles to finish projects, Flash allows me to complete a satisfying story before my attention – squirrel!

4) What flash advice would you give other writers? There are no rules to Flash (other than the word count). Experiment with themes, styles, and formats.

5) Who is a flash writer we should follow, and why? I wouldn’t feel right just picking one of the fantastic FlashDogs. Or David Shakes. I can’t decide. ☺

6) Do you participate in other flash contests, and which? Thursdays I write over at MicroBookends, while the weekend sees me writing or judging for Flash Frenzy.

7) What other forms do you write (novels, poetry, articles, etc)? I have a folder full of unfinished short stories, novellas, and novels that I wish I could focus on more. 

8) What is/are your favorite genre(s) to write, and why? I love using Sci-Fi to step out of the normal world and see ‘what else’ and ‘what if’.

9) Tell us about a WIP. CHRIS AND MIKE vs THE WORLD – I’m currently expanding my 100 word Micro Bookends entries into novella length adventures.

10) How do you feel about dragons? Always wanted one but we never had the room.

Sixty Seconds III with: Nancy Chenier

Ten answers to ten questions in 20 words or fewer. That’s less time than it takes to burn a match*.

(*Depending on the length of the match and your tolerance for burned fingers, obviously)

Matchlight

Our newest Flash! Friday winner is Nancy Chenier.  Read her winning story here. This is her THIRD fabulous win at Flash! Friday (sparkly sparkly!). Read her previous #SixtySeconds interviews as well as her bio here. Then take another minute or two to get to know her better below. (And no, don’t bother counting the words in her response; third-timers can be as wordy as they wish!)

1) What about the prompt inspired your winning piece?  When I saw the picture, the thing I most wanted to do is find a conflict that didn’t involve a love triangle because I knew others would be doing that — and with a much more deft hand than I ever could.

2) Your (wrenching) winning story is straight fiction. Spending more time on that side of the sandbox these days, or does specfic still hold your heart? Spec-fic definitely — in fact, I wavered over submitting this one in favor of a fantasy idea.

3) We’ve checked on your middle grade novel’s second draft progress in September and again in Februrary; how’s it going now? What do you enjoy about the process–or is it all challenge at the moment? How do you keep your eyes fresh, and how do you find what you need to keep working at it? It’s on the back burner until the squidlet starts school (September!). I just can’t get a long enough stretch of time to fine-tune a second novel-length draft. What I’m working on now is fine-tuning shorter pieces and looking to publish more short fiction.

4) You’ve been writing flash for over two and a half years. Is flash your main squeeze, or have you ventured into short stories or other forms? What form/genre haven’t you tried but would like to? I started out writing short fiction and dove into flash with much more zeal last year when I discovered the community (here!) of weekly contest flashers. The Flash Dogs community in particular has really fueled the flash-fiction fire.

5) Has your approach to flash/prompts changed since you started? if so, how? what have you learned about writing flash? Wow, yes. The sheer volume of finished stories produced has pushed me into new territories. Once I’d written several time-travel, android, changeling, dragon, love triangle, death, birth, illness, steampunk, etc. stories, I lost patience with “just” cranking out a story. Of course that means I put more pressure on myself and so–on the downside–it sometimes stymies me from finishing and submitting.

6) Any new publications/accolades we should know about? Some of my stories found their ways into Luminous Creatures’ Five Hundred Words of Magic, and in the FIRST Flash Dogs anthology.

7) Speaking of publication, what are you currently working on?  Stories for the SECOND Flash Dogs Anthology! It’s a really exciting project with Solstice as the unifying theme–both dark and light. The picture prompts are incredibly evocative and I can’t wait to see how the other dogs have been inspired.

8) What are you reading? Favorite book of this past year? Which author would you love to write like, and why? I’m going back through the Game of Thrones series noting how the series has departed from the books (a bit of a geek that way). The stand-out book of last year: Leckie’s Ancillary Justice.

9) Let’s talk writing communities. Belong to any? How about writers’ conferences or workshops this past year? Which conference/workshop is your favorite, and why? Writerly-wise, I’m pretty much only an on-line presence. I started seeing the #flashdogs hashtag a few weeks after I got into Flash Friday (and Finish That Thought and Flash Frenzy). I went back and forth over sending a query about becoming part of the group (Was I being too presumptuous thinking they might include me?). Mark sent me a warm welcome. All that fret for nothing.

10) Let’s say you won a grant to use in any writerly way you’d like. Where would the money go, and why? (What’s the most important thing a writer can/should spend money on?) Time. Time. Time. The squidlet is at a full-time-attention age. I’d use the money to take a year in San Diego so my parents could take care of her for extended periods (without Mommy-guilt setting in).

Bonus 11) Any shouts out/thoughts/comments/messages? Say, have I mentioned Flash Dogs yet?