Tag Archives: fiction

The Ice Vault – a story for the Friday Fictioneers

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

The man’s mouth moved but her mind refused to accept his words. A pain, so sharp that she struggled to breathe causing her to gasp as she reached out to touch the motionless fingers. Eventually she raised her head, looked up at the man and nodded.

‘If you’re ready, we’ll take him to the vault. The process will begin immediately.’

‘Will he .. When he … Will there be pain?’

‘We don’t think so. It should be like waking after a long sleep.’

The woman nodded and then, she rummaged in her bag. ‘Take his teddy. He’ll need his friend in that strange world. ‘

Thank you to Rochelle at http://www.rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com who organises the Friday Fictioneers. Authors write a piece of 100 word fiction, prose or poetry based on a photo prompt and exchange comments on their work.  If you are a writer of short fiction, join us and see where your imagination takes you.

 

 

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The Strike – Friday Fictioneers

Photo Prompt ©Sandra Crook

Photo Prompt ©Sandra Crook

The boy, half his size, tugged on the hem of Alistair’s jacket.

‘What now?’ he grumbled.

The boy chewed his lower lip and beckoned. Alistair wagged his head, then knelt so that he was at his brother’s level.

‘I can’t see.’

Freddie had a point – they were engulfed in a forest of legs and steel capped boots.

‘Come on, hop on my shoulders.’ His muscles burned as Alistair rose. ‘You’re getting heavy mate. Hold on, we’re going to the front. Let’s show them bosses who they’ll be hurting. Wave your sign Freddie.’

‘Save jobs. Feed my brother.’

Thank you to Rochelle at http://www.rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com who organises the Friday Fictioneers. Authors write a piece of 100 word fiction, prose or poetry based on a photo prompt and exchange comments on their work.  If you are a writer of short fiction, join us and see where your imagination takes you.

 

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Copy – Blog post on Jenny Kane’s Blogsite

The following is a copy of the guest blog piece I wrote for the lovely UK author Jenny Kane. You can read about her books and hook in to lots of interesting interviews by visiting her site at http://jennykane.co.uk

Writing What I Know (or How Life Influences My Fiction Writing)

Thank you Jenny for inviting me to write a guest blog piece for your website today.

In the company of other writers and readers, we often discuss what inspires our storytelling. During November, I was with a group of four writers at a retreat in Shropshire and it was clear that each of us had in-depth knowledge and experiences that informed our writing. One focused his story on his life as an Asian child within a predominately-white British community and another was using the experiences of a relative within the mental health sector. The third writer was interested in the modern history narrative, drawing from her own memories and I enjoy writing about human strength, in particular what happen when a female character faces a threatening situation.

Silencio, my debut novel, is a suspense story set in Spain, narrated with Spanish characters, and based on real life events that took place during the mid to late 1900’s.

Writing tutors and experts instruct writers that it is best to write about something they know but most of us have not committed a crime, witnessed a murder or had a new-born baby stolen whilst in the Maternity Unit. I started writing this first full-length novel in 2011 after watching a BBC documentary on television about the Stolen Babies of Spain (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJJ7Pp_Zvvs). The investigative documentary introduced me to the background behind the baby trafficking of an estimated 300,000 babies in Spain during the Franco and immediate post-Franco periods.

I am an English woman, too old to worry about childbirth, and have not experienced the loss of an infant. How did I ensure that I wrote with authority and authenticity without the value of these experiences?

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My Experiences

I am a Mum. My daughter may be in her 30’s but I remember holding her as a newly delivered baby – the colour of her skin, the warmth and smell of her body. The memory

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of the sleepless nights and leaping out of bed to run to her assistance having recognised her cry in a room full of other babies, will not be forgotten. My maternal intuition kicked in from the moment of conception, well before the morning sickness and the tickling of tiny feet inside of my womb. Even now that she is an adult, I sense when my daughter is in danger and needs my support.

My previous employment was as a midwife and nurse. Every hospital has common features and my experiences of working in various hospitals allowed me to add detail to the hospital scenes in Silencio. It doesn’t matter that a Spanish hospital is different from one in the UK because this is a work of fiction and as long as the reader believes that the place could be real, he or she will not be distracted from the story. Having had experience of Spanish health care and hospitals, I can testify that there are more similarities than differences.

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Spain is my second home and I have lived there for a number of years, speak conversational Spanish, have travelled throughout the country, and have experienced life in a Spanish community.

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However, I am English and was not brought up as a Spanish girl within a Catholic family. Not a problem, because as the saying goes I know a man who can or in this case, a young Spanish woman who was delighted to read and correct my work and give me an insight to the lives of her mother, her sisters, her fellow villagers, etc.

Mercedes, the main character in Silencio, is a journalist. I am not a journalist but I studied the subject at university many years ago, I read newspaper articles and I am lucky to know a young magazine journalist who gave me the benefit of her experience.

early-reading-of-the-news

Many readers have commented on the development of the love relationship and the passion between Mercedes and Orlando. Apparently, it is quite steamy and some of my daughter’s friends are shocked that Rachael’s mum ‘wrote this’. 25 years ago, I met my husband and I thought back to those early days and the excitement that a look or a brush of the fingers could stimulate. I remembered the heightened senses and the fear of commitment and tried to bring these to my writing.

Research  

During a three-year period, I researched background information for Silencio and most of it has not ended up in my novel. One of my pet hates as a reader is to read a research-led story instead of one that focuses on the characters and plot.

In addition to internet searches, books and library research, I tried to visit each of the places in my novel. I travelled on the public transport and ate in local cafes so that I absorbed the culture. This was important when writing about a country as large and diverse as Spain because the northern life is different to that of Madrid, and the society of the eastern coastal towns does not resemble that of the central plane. The clothing changes to suit the local climate and the locals socialise in different ways. Hearty foods of the north are too heavy for the warmer climates of the south. I changed a number of details after each research visit; for example, the men in a northern village play cards instead of dominos.

My novel-in-progress A Life on the Line takes place in 1961 between York and Scarborough.

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Last summer I spent several weeks in the area as I surveyed the layout for detail and interviewed local people who remembered the period. In the York library, microfiche records of local press helped me to discover the products, trends and issues of that year and the library of the excellent National Railway Museum holds information and photos that add detail to the backstory.

Friends

There is a saying that goes something like this ‘be careful of what you tell a writer as you or it may end up in her next book’. None of my characters is based on a single person I know but each is a compilation of the characteristics of many people I have met. Mercedes, in Silencio, does not represent either of these two beautiful friends but she has the strength of one and the humour of the other. Without the people in my life, there would be no characters in my stories.

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It is time to finish this piece but if anyone wants to have a discussion about what influences their own writing, I would be delighted to read your comments. You can find out more information about my writing and research (including links to articles about baby trafficking and the Spanish stolen babies) at my website www.laberrynovels.org

Follow me on twitter @LABerryNovels or @writelindy

Like me on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/silenciobylaberry

 

Silencio is available to purchase as a paperback through the following link or to order from any good book retailer  – ISBN 9781785890994

The EBOOK version of Silencio by LA Berry is available on all major ebook retail sites including Amazon, Ibook, Google play, Kobo, Nook – EISBN 9781785894732

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Excited to be a Guest Writer on Jenny Kane’s Website

Today I am thrilled that I am the guest blogger on Jenny Kane’s entertaining website, a perfect blend of coffee and articles about writing, books and life. Jenny is a talented writer living in the southwest UK and we connected through a Facebook group for local authors.

Click on the link below to read my article about how real life affects fiction writing.

http://wp.me/p75ZD9-Ng

Also at http://www.jennykane.co.uk

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Strings – 100 words for Friday Fictioneers

PHOTO PROMPT © Björn Rudberg

PHOTO PROMPT © Björn Rudberg

‘Such a shame.’

Joan didn’t look sorry. If anything, her eyes shone as she put her hand to the side of her mouth. I don’t know why she bothered, none of the others had arrived.

‘Flo told me he waited by the carousel for more than three hours. Imagine. All of those people disappointed, all that money to return.’

‘Couldn’t he borrow one?’

‘He’s a diva! Went off on a rant by all accounts. No one’s seen him since.’ Joan licked her lips and withdrew her treasure from its case. ‘Guess who’s been promoted?’

Why did I suspect foul play?

Thank you to Rochelle at http://www.rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com. She organises the Friday Fictioneers. Authors write a piece of 100 word fiction, prose or poetry based on a photo prompt and exchange comments on their work.  If you are a writer of short fiction, join us and see where your imagination takes you.

 

 

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Whispers – Writing inspired by Art

Oil by Fabian Perez

Oil by Fabian Perez

 

We shared secrets once upon a time, our thoughts fused, harmonious as though we were one soul, not two. I never asked your opinion; rarely did it differ from mine. We played our games at the expense of others – everyone knows that children can be cruel, and the weak suffered when we sharpened our tongues. Our beauty and youth protected us; no one dared to mention the word ‘bully’. You were my world and I was yours.

Then Maria arrived. At 15 she was already a woman, with Latino eyes that glowed with promises of passion and with a shape that drew hungry stares from all of the boys. Your loyalties shifted and suddenly I was invisible. From the side-lines, I watched as this witch cast her spell and I had no power to warn you of the danger. The remainder of my school years were not easy – victims do not forget or forgive. Your new love rallied their support and I was made mute. Friendless, I left those school days behind me but the lesson was not lost.

People say that I have grown into my looks. My once willowy figure has swollen so that curves accent my tiny waist and shapely legs. At great expense, a surgeon softened my face. Illicit earnings paid for the changes (but that’s a secret you aren’t allowed to share). It isn’t hard to get lost for a while – I didn’t need forever.

‘So, here we are again. Who would have guessed that we would run in to each other? Do I know what you do now? Please tell me, I want to know it all.’

Are you able to read my mind? Can you detect the plan? Of course not. You are enticed by my shape, and my eyes, and the messages I imply.

‘Two children within two years. That’s a lot of work for you. Yes, I understand. You must be so tired. Why doesn’t your wife understand? No, I don’t have children, life is too good. No husband either.’

Do you know that I am reeling you in? Tantalising you. I know you. You were my soulmate. You still are. Let me in again and I will show you dimensions of my personality that you never knew.

‘Yes, I have a wonderful career. My job takes me to exciting places. I do meet interesting people. Things are never dull.’

Are you envious? Is that a spark of desire I spy? If I move a little closer, will you be able to resist – the swell of my bosom, the scent of my perfume? Not too fast, it’s better to wait for what you want. Can you feel the heat of my hand against your ear, the warmth of my breath?

‘Can I let you in on a secret? Are you able to guess what it is? Something to do with lust. Keep trying. You’re close.’

The bulge in your throat moves as you swallow and a sweat is dampening your brow. I pretend to stumble and your arms reach out. We are a perfect fit, my dreams have not misled me.

‘This wine is going to my head. Time for bed. Would you? I may not get there on my own.’

Everything is ready upstairs. Two wine glasses half filled, one stained with the print of my lips. A rumpled bed. The camera. An envelope addressed to a tired mother.

 

 

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Progress – a story for the Friday Fictioneers

 

Photo prompt © jean-I-hays

Photo prompt  © jean-I-hays

 

Once, businesses thrived on Route 66. Our community worked to supply the passer-by.

That was years ago, before scheming developers forced the decision to divert the traffic away from our town. Now, thousands of cars use the super-highway to go to a recently built shopping centre. They say that you can buy anything there. Even if I had the cash, I couldn’t bring myself to use it.

My father couldn’t pay the bills, opting for a quick, but bloody ending.

Our inheritance crumbles as the earth reclaims what it can; hand-outs feed my mother and her children.

Thank you to Rochelle at http://www.rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com. She organises the Friday Fictioneers. Authors write a piece of 100 word fiction, prose or poetry based on a photo prompt and exchange comments on their work.  If you are a writer of short fiction, join us and see where your imagination takes you.

 

 

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